Hello everyone! It has been a long, long time! But finally, I'm back and hopefully will be updating at regular intervals again! Anyways, without further ado;
Onto Chapter 28 of: Dream of Yesterday!
The Isolated chamber was bare save for a small bench and a windowless door. It was reinforced with steel and titanium, nearly welded against the frame. The walls a dull sheen of silver, kept meticulously clean by staff but had gone obvious years of disuse. The smell of rust itched in his throat, sitting just underneath the surface of the interlocked panels. There were Ki-Dampeners at each corner of the room, flickering on and off, crackling with static.
His hands and feet were bound in shackles, huge metallic beasts that covered nearly the whole of his hands and legs, wrapping around them and restricting movement to only the barest flicks of his fingers. Inside, there were pinpricks of electricity against his skin, trying to stifle the enormous amount of Ki that ran through him. It wasn't enough, if he wanted, Goku could break out in an instant. He'd been so out of control.
"I'll go to her after I beat your stupid face in-"
He tried to ignore it. In fact, he fought against the terrifying urge to kill with every fiber of his being.
"I bet her pussy will be so fuckin' tight now."
Rage swelled inside him again and the cuffs crackled. Goku barely recognized the angry hiss that came out of his own mouth even as he relived the memories.
Boot against Navac's back, blood everywhere, pain and fear burning bright at the back of his mind; the smell of terror and hopelessness spurring the rage inside. The words Navac said to him flashing dangerous through his mind.
Ignored the Ginyu force rushing to him, broken an arm and slammed the other into the wall behind him. Nothing could stand in the face of his rage as he stared down at his foe, gurgling blood, choking back vomit and begging for mercy. Goku had pressed down harder, a part of him relishing the suffering he was inflicting-
Remembered Ula's face, broken and terrified, her uniform torn and bruises appearing on her fragile, scaled skin. He snarled something at Navac, though now he couldn't even remember it.
He looked down at the bottom of his previously white boots, now scuffed with dried blood and felt disgusted at everyone, everything.
"Stand down, Oroitz."
Ignored that warning, brushed off Frieza's attack and forgot about it a moment later. He pressed his boot down harder, thrilled at the way armor gave and bones creaked; the memory of Ula's face and bruised body at the forefront of his mind. He couldn't even see what a monster he'd been at that moment. He'd turned into everything he'd ever feared.
It took Zarbon's face, frozen with shock and eyes pale with terror that he'd remembered himself and where he was. A second later another blast came his way, hit him square in the chest, nowhere near enough to wound him but enough to knock Goku down.
Frieza's delicate face was furious; mouth a thin, imperceptible line of rage, trembling. It was then he'd seen the destruction he'd caused and the bodies of Captain Ginyu and his friend, barely alive. His senses calmed and he felt the fear of the audience in the air, the ash of fire settling on his shoulders.. The putrid, metallic smell of molten steel had invaded his nose and then didn't remember anything after that, could only recall being led down here by a group of Icejin guards that tiptoed around him like he were some savage animal.
What hurt the most was that it was true.
He stared at his boots and grimaced at the sight of dried blood on them. Briefly he wondered whether he should break out or not. It would be an easy feat to just power up and destroy the shackles, rushing away faster than any of Frieza's family or forces could catch up -but his heart ached when he remember Kuriza. Even so, should he decide to run, where would he go? Goku couldn't sense Earth or Namek, not even the sacred planet of the Kai's as a method of centering himself in the chaos that was the Galaxy. His communication device was useless and the only time machine he'd had access to was destroyed along with Planet Vegeta.
And Frieza would certainly come after him for sure, and Goku knew he would kill anything or anyone that got in his way to avenge his ego. If he ran away, he'd effectively be killing hundreds.
No, ironic as it were, his bests prospects were on this ship and deep down inside that thought made something crumble inside of him.
Oroitz's destructive power had spread to most of the castle and staff scuttled about all day trying to make sense of the mess. Even the conference hall where Frieza and his family convened felt Oroitz's presence in the cracked walls and broken windows.
That his home would be defiled infuriated Frieza, but he kept it under wraps. There were too many things going wrong to risk tipping anyone off. A cool façade would maintain his family's –and by extension, his- pride and status.
His scouter beeped and Zarbon's tired voice filtered through, "Lord Frieza, Oroitz is firmly bound in the lower chambers."
Frieza frowned, though he was content at the fact. "Good. See to it that he remains obedient." He closed the line, staring grimly across the table, now covered in bits and pieces of debris and dust. The stones were cracked and the meticulous carvings desecrated. The remains of the wine he had been drinking had been spilt over the floor, only the glass seemed to survive and Frieza flicked it with his tail in a rare moment of visible fury, slamming it against the already fractured floor, further ruining it.
His father had his arms folded over his chest, staring grimly at the table and completely ignoring his youngest child's burst of temper save for a single sentence; "There is no use in taking your frustrations out on the furniture, Frieza."
When Frieza relented, Kold continued; "And the dampeners?" His father questioned, leaning forward on two muscular arms. There was the almost imperceptible tone of worry in his voice.
Cooler's eyes flicked to Frieza and the Icejin was sure that his brother was going to say something but thought better of it. That was good because Frieza was not in a mood to tolerate Cooler's ridiculous games. The ire of the last hour had not faded; in fact, it seemed to be getting worse every time he replayed what happened. Even his father's words held a grain of truth to them.
"They will work," Frieza assured him, though he had a hard time believing it himself. That Oroitz had disobeyed his direct orders was clear. That Oroitz had easily brushed off his blast had been clear. It was not entirely clear as to how powerful or effective the energy dampeners were on a man of his strength. The knowledge that his Ginyu Force lay in the medical bay's tanks made Frieza want to wrangle Oroitz. The utter humiliation of his elite team being beaten by a man who supposedly only had a 15,000-power level!
Kold sighed, breathing into his palms, "Arracacha informed me that the majority of the guests are safe or being tended to by our best doctors. It would be in our best interest to reign in the chaos as soon as possible." He looked disconsolate for a moment, "Still, that says little about the future of the Gala."
Cooler chose that moment to speak with conviction, "They will return again. What they wanted most was blood sport and besides, none of the ambassadors or officials were injured." He stood near the end of the table, arms crossed and stiff as ever. "Our future prospects look promising."
For once, Frieza agreed with his elder sibling and the feeling was as disturbing as it was unfamiliar. "At the very least it will keep our Family Name on their tongues for years."
"All that remains is to clean up this mess." Kold said his upper lip curling in distaste at the sight of the rubble strewn about the room. "Finding someone to rebuild this will be a nightmare on its own as I do believe we killed the last mason who did the impeccable stonework on the walls."
"We have bigger things to worry about, I'm afraid." Frieza loathed to bring it up amidst the destruction and catastrophe of the Gala but the matter was pressing and truth be told, there was no better time to discuss. "Earlier today, I received report from Dodoria that several of our satellite and equipment have gone missing, along with a number of scout ships. Contact is apparently not an option."
Kold sighed wearily, "What wonderful news."
"Indeed," Cooler commented, "Are you sure your sources are reliable?" There was a hidden taunt there, but Frieza was ready.
"My, Cooler, are you telling me that your underlings didn't relay such an important find? Oh dear, that's rather discomforting isn't it?" Cooler's visible twitch was more than a victory in Frieza's book.
Their father had apparently had enough, standing to tower over both his sons and pinned them with a look that would destroy planets. "Leave your squabbles for another time. Tell me what else you know."
Frieza was annoyed that the game had been cut off so abruptly, especially when the cards were so in his favor. However, his father was right. Baiting his brother would have to be left for another time. "Only Arracacha and Salza know of this and I instructed Dodoria to keep the information under wraps until the Gala was over."
"A wise move," Kold agreed, "Public knowledge of such…issue would have severely damaged our reputation-far more than this debacle. " He pressed a finger to his scouter, "Arracacha, please collect Dodoria and Salza and report to the conference room in fifteen minutes." There was a sound of confirmation and then the line cut off. Then, Kold continued, staring gravely at the cracked table in front of them, "In any case, we must discuss what to do with our prisoner."
Goku heard the unmistakable -familiar- sound of footsteps approaching his chamber. He barely realized how starved for company he'd been until this moment. Chained and feigning immobilization left him time to think. He couldn't even train, or keep himself busy. The Ki dampeners made his skin tingle as well and Goku felt dizzy – like he was constantly being shocked after running on a carpet for too long.
The door opened and Zarmine's face appeared, alone. She took a look at the room, disinterest painted all over the face. "I see you've made yourself at home." She commented wryly, cracking a small grin at his huddled form.
Even he could manage a smile at her dryness, "Hey Zarmine. What are you doing here?"
"I've come to collect you. It seems you have an audience with the Kold Family." Zarmine narrowed her orange eyes, "That was quite a show you put on there."
"They're fine, from what I hear. Ginyu and Recoome are already on their feet. Navac however, he'll have to take a bit longer. You certainly did quite a number on him." She walked over, "I can imagine that you didn't suddenly lose your temper."
Goku shook his head. "He said things."
"Things." Zarmine repeated, unimpressed.
He tried to elaborate; "I have a friend, back on the ship. She works in the Medical Bay."
"The healer? Ula?" She asked.
"Yeah. I walked in on him trying to…to…" Goku couldn't continue -it made his stomach roll. The depth of a violation like that he couldn't even imagine, let alone try to describe. He didn't even notice how easily she used Ula's name.
"He was trying to rape her." Goku winced when Zarmine continued unapologetically. "Are you surprised?" She sounded even the slightest bit confused, as if she couldn't comprehend his rage. Was decency something so foreign that it was lost on the soldiers here?!
"Why wouldn't I be?" There was anger creeping up his chest and the electric shocks running down his arms and legs increased, trying to keep the energy at bay.
Zarmine just continued to look down without the slightest hint of remorse. "What did you expect, bringing a female here?" Her upper lip curled in distaste and she folded her muscular arms over her chest. "She is attractive and weak. That's a combination almost irresistible to men who haven't had sexual release in decades –Men whose jobs are to exploit those exact weaknesses on missions."
"What about you? You're a girl and no one does those kinds of things to you." Goku continued indignantly, unsure of how to get his point across but unwilling to concede to her viewpoint, so obviously wrong that it boggled his mind.
Zarmine narrowed her eyes, silent for a few long moments.
It was enough to make Goku regret asking her.
"Not anymore," She finally answered with a soft exhale and Goku winced.
"I'm sorry." He shouldn't have asked. He should have thought ahead. His anger deflated in seconds and instead, he felt ashamed. Dredging up her past had not been his intentions.
Zarmine didn't seem fazed or mollified by his apology. "Don't be," She said, "I never blamed them. I was angry and hurt but I never blamed them."
"What happened?" Goku didn't want to ask but he had to. There was this weird, screwed up sense of morbid curiosity and need to understand. Maybe he could help Ula after this. Maybe Zarmine could make him see things that he couldn't see before. It was so wrong on so many levels.
The Captain was staring down at him, orange eyes cold and unfeeling. "You have an audience. Get up."
Confused from suddenly being closed off, Goku let Zarmine's hand wrap around the chain that held his cuffs together and pull him upwards with no resistance. Following her to the door, Goku obediently let her push him –softly- in front of her. They walked down the hallway in relative silence.
"I didn't mean to make you angry." Goku said, his fingers clenching in the cuffs.
There was a hesitant sound behind him but Zarmine's footsteps remained steady. "I know. I'm not angry."
He whispered an apology anyway.
Frieza was sure that if his rage could be made tangible, the galaxy would probably be reduced to ash. He had to settle for letting the air around him crackle dangerously. "I hope I did not hear you properly."
"You heard correctly, brother." Cooler regarded him with no more animosity than usual, not even deigning to uncross his arms in the face of Frieza's powerful wrath. "Execution is unnecessary."
Kold growled from the corner, "Frieza, I believe the castle is in a fine state of disrepair without you adding to the damage! Calm yourself."
Ignoring his father, Frieza focused on Cooler. "He made a mockery of the Gala, of the Kold family, Cooler. Does our family's pride mean nothing to you?!" The thrum of his heart was loud and he did not mention the way Oroitz had casually brushed aside one attack and withstood the other.
Cooler gave him a smug smirk; "I sense that there is more to this than the slighting of our family's reputation. Is there something we don't know?" He relaxed, letting his arms drop limply to his sides but Frieza had trained with Cooler for many years before leaving him in the dust and he knew his brother's ready position like the back of his kingdom.
"Enough!" Kold slammed his hands on the table hard enough to shake it right down to its foundation. Nevertheless, it did the trick.
Frieza calmed down, allowing his energy to drop and swiped his tail to fend off the falling debris. Even so, he was far from mollified. Turning to his father, Frieza gestured to his brother; "You cannot seriously consider Cooler's outlandish request."
Kold was quiet for a few moments, hiding his face behind interlocked fingers while he pondered Cooler for what Frieza considered far too long a time. "It seems a decent idea…"
"Absolutely not!" The angry tyrant interjected. "We have enough to worry about as it is!"
Kold interrupted before Frieza could continue his tirade, "Worry? What does it matter to you, my son? His power level is only what, 50, maybe 60,000? Our own powers far outrank his-"
Frieza scoffed, "You must remember that he put both Ginyu and Recoome-"
"Your supposedly 'Elite' fighting force." Cooler interjected.
He was ignored.
"-Into the rejuvenation tanks. It will still take a couple of hours for them to completely heal. That leads me to believe that his power might be considerably greater than we believed."
He was met with a curious glance from his father and Frieza realized he might have let a little too much slip. Instantly he schooled his expression but not before Cooler's face broke into a rare smirk. Frieza desperately quashed the need to pummel his brother into a pulp. It would raise too many suspicions. Damn it.
His hand had been forced, now he needed to acquiesce to Cooler's suggestion lest he raise any further alarms. With great reluctance and highly aware of the smug glimmer in his brother's eye, Frieza agreed.
There was a knock on the door –or what was left of it- and the unmistakable boom of Arracacha's voice filtered through. "Reporting, King Kold."
Arracacha's huge form came in, only a few heads shorter than King Kold. Salza and Dodoria followed him, each looking uncomfortable and covered head to toe in dust. In any other instance, Frieza would have severely punished them for appearing so haggard in his glorious presence but circumstances warranted an exception.
Bowing deeply, Arracacha addressed his lord; "King Kold, we were summoned?"
Kold nodded. "Frieza informs me that we are experiencing strange occurrences in our outer-lying sectors. Is this true?"
"Yes," the large Commander confirmed, white eyes narrowing. It took a few moments to explain and Dodoria nodded alongside him, Salza in quiet –rare- agreement with the pink alien.
There was a moment of silence as Kold contemplated what had just been relayed. "And you're sure you cannot contact the ships?"
"Not even the scouters, my lord." Said Dodoria. "Sounds like sabotage. It's too specific to be anything else."
"What do you think?" Cooler asked Salza, having not said a word the entire time.
Salza shuffled, his accent thick but laden with respect and a tinge of fear. "It is on a wide enough scale to warrant such suspicions though I do not know who would be fool enough to do such a thing."
"Fools indeed," Frieza, added, considering the scale of such actions, it could even be a declaration of war. "Do we have no clue who is behind these acts?"
Arracacha shook his head, "Unfortunately not. The only things we know for sure are that all the outer-sectors of your kingdoms have cut contact and that we have not been able to reestablish a link in any way." Turning to their father, he lowered his head. "I request that we send a search party to each sector. The more delays there are in finding the culprits, the bigger the chances of being unable to mitigate the damage."
"Our forces might be a bit too thin right now," Dodoria interrupted. "Many of our higher ranking officers and soldiers won't be up to speed since our tanks and doctors are busy with the guests and ambassadors."
That was true, Frieza realized. With many of the soldiers competing in the tournament and Oroitz's untimely burst of power, they were effectively left with only a small portion of their fleet.
"And if the perpetrators are strong enough to simultaneously take out the scout ships as well as the satellites and radios towers-" Salza continued, as if reading Frieza's mind, "Then it is possible that they are of considerable strength and should be considered a threat."
"It is something our current forces cannot deal with." Cooler agreed, staring at his lieutenant. "The majority of our remaining forces are too low of power levels to risk sending out."
Frieza almost snorted, "And when have you been so considerate of their lives, Cooler?"
That earned him a glare and a distinct downward turn of Cooler's lips. "Brother," He drawled, "We are already short-handed as it is."
"You are right," Frieza said before he could continue. Inwardly, he was cursing at himself for not realizing the implication of Cooler's words early on. "If we do end up losing them, we will be even more at a disadvantage than we already are." It was petty but the realization coming from his mouth would ease the strain of his shortsightedness from the moment before. "What do you suggest, father?"
Kold was quiet for a long moment. Then he lifted his horned head, looking at them all. "I believe it would be best to deal with the matter at hand. That is to say, the disappearances." With a broad gesture, he stood. "This information has been leaked to no one, yes?"
The Lieutenants nodded in unison.
"Good-" Kold continued, approval in his voice. "Then I suggest we take the opportunity to -as Arracacha advised- to make sure whatever is happening in the outer sectors does not move into the core while we are still at a disadvantage in terms of strength." He paused for a moment, looking for disagreement in the audience. "Though we do not currently have the numbers, we do have the element of surprise. It would be most unprofitable if word were to get out about such occurrences. In effect, we'd end up fighting two battles at once; one physical and one financial if our buyers decide to pull out in light of the information."
"Father is right," Cooler agreed.
Sycophant. Frieza thought.
"We should strike while the guests know nothing. " His elder brother continued, unaware of the cogs in Frieza's head turning like a well-oiled machine. "Hopefully, we will be able to contain and deal with the threat before any information leaks begin to occur. However, now it is a matter of whom we send."
And here was the golden opportunity Frieza had been waiting for. The glee was almost physical. "Why Cooler, I believe you're right." He started, keenly aware of the alarm forming in his brother's eyes. It was a rare, welcome sight. "While Father's presence will be needed, I, as next in line, will also be required to stay."
You're just extra family. Not essential.
The three lieutenants heartbeats were almost audible.
Frieza continued, desperately trying to stifle the smile that was threatening to break out. "It would be too suspicious to send forces from all the ships at once and since as you said, we are short-handed, it would be best to send out only one of our ships." Everyone knew the only ships that were currently available were the flagships and since He and his father were needed, that left only Cooler for the heroic voyage.
And a trip to the outer sector would take several months.
Cooler's mouth had all but disappeared into a thin line and Frieza barely stopped himself from cackling when it was apparent that his dear brother had only just realized what a trap he walked into.
It was sealed even further when Kold gave a nod of agreement, voicing his approval. "Of course, you are correct Frieza, my son." Turning to Cooler, he seemed utterly unaware of his elder son's palpable rage. "You will set out tomorrow. The dust will have settled a bit by then. Frieza and I will do our best to keep the information under wraps, so as to secure the discreetness of your venture."
Throwing a look to their lieutenants, Kold ordered- "Go to the ships and make sure that there is a link between the GIA of all three ships. It is to be on a separate grid and the information is to sync constantly every several planetary cycles for this world. Make sure that the connection cannot be tampered with by an external force or sensor. We do not want our aggressors to be able to sever or manipulate the information."
Arracacha, Dodoria and Salza nodded, bowing and leaving the room with such haste that even Frieza was impressed.
Looking at Cooler, he allowed a small smile to grace his face and was infinitely pleased to see his brother practically dig trenches into his palms with his nails. Serves the bastard right for his earlier request.
An eye for an eye, Frieza thought and pinged Zarbon for wine.
Goku let Zarmine lead him through the castle, glad that he didn't have to wonder where he was going. "Do you know what they're going to do?" He ventured asking, though he doubted Zarmine would tell him if she knew.
To his surprise, she answered; "I honestly don't know." Turning, she pinned him with an orange eye. "You should prepare to die."
That was drastic, Goku thought, furrowing his brows. "Kill me?"
When Zarmine raised a gold brow, Goku shrugged. Well, she did have a point. He had caused massive damage and Frieza's pride was as fragile as most the civilizations he crushed. It took only the merest of wayward glances to throw the tyrant into an unquenchable rage. Still, he hoped to avoid another confrontation.
"Either that," Zarmine said, "Or they'll reward you." She grabbed his chains and pulled him forward. "After all, the prize was entrance to the Ginyu force- you should feel honored." She said, but her voice said that it was nothing to be proud of. "Then again," The Captain said with a grin, "You did land them in the tanks."
Goku winced, but followed anyways and tried to formulate a plan in his head. If it was true and they planned to execute him, there would be no other alternative than to run. Or…to kill. Shaking his head and resolutely counting his footsteps, he hadn't realized his surroundings, only now taking in the cracked stonework and the broken floor.
"Your handiwork." Zarmine said before he'd asked, stopping in front of something that used to be a door. Knocking twice, she asked to be let in.
"You may enter," a voice sounded, cool and collected.
Goku bristled. It wasn't Frieza. However, he knew that voice. He knew that energy. When they entered his suspicions were instantly confirmed.
It had been many years since he'd seen the elder brother of Frieza, Goku's mind instantly rushing back to Earth and then to Namek. He was immediately glad that the Cooler of the present –er…past- was flesh and blood. There was no desire to engage another Meta-Cooler.
The Elder Tyrant locked eyes with Zarmine and the captain bowed deeply. "Lord Cooler."
He acknowledged her, "Captain Zarmine. I admit; I did not expect you." The admission was strange to Goku's ears, not having expected such sincere civility from any Icejin other than Kuriza. Then his cold red eyes flickered to Goku and stayed there for a few moments, chilling the Saiyan to the bone. Somehow, Cooler was just as terrifying as Frieza.
Goku was suddenly infinitely glad that he had been facing Frieza on Namek and not his elder brother. "Lord Cooler." He repeated after a moment, bowing as much as he could with his shackles.
There was a scoff and a flash of Cooler's tail, the cuffs falling to the floor with an audible 'thunk.' Dazed, Goku rubbed his wrists and stayed silent, unsure of what to do. Frieza, he could deal with but his brother was a different matter. Zarmine's presence was like ice water on his senses and Goku wanted to be sure that she would not be put in harm's way should he say or do anything.
"Raise yourselves." Cooler commanded and Goku obeyed, looking around the room for the first time. It was then he realized that Frieza was conspicuously absent.
Zarmine had noticed as well but she had also chosen to remain wisely silent as Cooler took them in. "You called for us, My Lord?" She said, gesturing to Goku.
"Yes," He answered, holding Goku fast with his glimmering red eyes. Goku knew that Cooler did not maintain a form similar to Frieza or the other Icejin and wondered why. He didn't think that it was a matter of superiority for the elder Icejin. "You are no doubt aware of your effect on our home," Cooler said, gesturing to the walls around them.
Goku visibly winced. "I'm sorry."
Cooler remained unimpressed with his apology, bringing a hand up to his scouter, he pressed the button. "A reading of 10,000. That is an interesting ability you have." He was commenting of course on Goku's skill on hiding his power level. "I am most impressed that you had managed to keep it hidden for so long. Tell me, Oroitz, does rage make you stronger?"
Goku shook his head, "I don't know. Sometimes it's training and sometimes when I feel intense emotions, it…happens." It was not a lie, exactly.
"So you have no control?" Cooler questioned, staring him up and down.
Goku shook his head, grasping onto the lie that Cooler had inadvertently supplied him with. "A little but not like before." There was a chance he could get away without have to tell Cooler anything. Of course, he knew that during the battle with Navac he had almost nearly transformed into a Super Saiyan.
Cooler's hand dropped and he stepped forward, sweeping aside the cuffs with a wide swing of his powerful tail. "Let me ask you a question, Oroitz." The use of Goku's name made the Saiyan wary, unsure of what the tyrant wanted.
It was certainly unusual to be spoken to so informally by any of the Icejin, not even the guards. It was enough to set Goku on guard.
"Why is it that my brother is so set on terminating you?" Cooler suddenly asked, making Goku startle. The grimace did not go unnoticed and Goku couldn't school his face into indifference fast enough. "Ah," the elder said with amusement evident in his voice, "So there is something. You may speak freely as I will not harm you."
Goku threw a glance to Zarmine.
She remained stoically silent but there was a slight nod to her head.
"I-" He started, aware of how close Cooler was standing. "I placed his elite force in the tanks…"
Cooler smirked, "I am aware of that yes. But something tells me that there is more to this story. My little brother was suspiciously adamant in killing you."
Gritting his teeth, Goku hung his head. "I blocked his attack…and stood up against the second."
The silence was so thick that he could cut through it. Cooler's eyes had widened and he could see Zarmine struggle to keep her countenance intact.
"Yes. I had suspected that you had…wronged Frieza somehow, but I had not been expecting that." Glancing at Zarmine, he asked, "Does anyone else know of this?"
"I think Zarbon knows." Goku said, "And Dodoria too…um…Zarmine too."
Another glimmer of amusement flickered through Cooler's energy. "That is rather interesting," Turning around he stalked back to the broken table and placed his palms atop the surface. "Your news pleases me, Oroitz. I rather like the knowledge that Frieza's two closest lieutenants witnessed such an act." It was Zarmine's turn to be inspected by the Icejin, "And I suspect you are new to this information?"
She nodded, still trying not to stare at Goku in shock. There was a momentary delay before she answered, "Yes, Lord."
Suddenly, the elder Kold chuckled.
Then it turned to a laugh as he threw his armored head back with mirth. "I see, I see." He said, the corner of his dark lips tugging upwards. The reds of eyes darkened as Cooler contemplated something before locking onto to Goku again. A wide smirk graced his features, more rugged than Frieza's delicate ones. "In light of this information-"
Goku stiffened, muscles bunching up and ready for action. However, he had not been ready for Cooler's next words; "I do believe I'll keep you."
"Keep me?" Goku blurted out before he could stop himself, swiftly regretting the action.
However, Cooler seemed to be in an amiable mood following the news and regarded them calmly. "Yes. It would be a waste for such a powerful warrior to be disposed of simply because my little brother's ego was wounded." His features suddenly turned grave and the mirth disappeared from his eyes. " You will report to my ship." That gaze slipped down to the Captain, "Zarmine,"
The Captain snapped to attention.
"You will report to me as well."
Zarmine was shocked, "Excuse me, my lord?"
Cooler frowned, "This is information that you are now privy to and you are to tell no one."
"Of course," Zarmine said, "but-"
Cooler stopped her with a raised hand, "That is a direct order, Captain. Both of you will head back to my ship and we will set out tomorrow to investigate a possible subversion against my family." He turned back to Goku, "As your actions have delayed our more powerful soldiers from using the tanks, it would be unwise to waste such potential." The gaze suddenly turned into a subtle glare, "I am not my brother, foolishly killing left and right. You are still of use."
"Yes, my lord." Zarmine answered, stepping back. "Is there anything else you need?"
"You are dismissed, Zarmine. Wait outside. I will speak to Oroitz alone." With one last glance at Zarmine, he finished, "Salza will be pleased to see you."
She nodded and instantly walked away, leaving Goku alone with the elder tyrant. Suddenly, without her presence Goku was far more wary. At least when Zarmine had been there, he could look at her for cues but without her guidance he was lost in how to deal with Cooler. Settling for guarded but still subservient, he met Cooler's gaze with no defiance.
Cooler regarded him for a few seconds before speaking, "I hear that you have another more interesting ability."
"Instant Transmission," Cooler clarified, "Or so Zarbon reports. It is the ability to teleport and you have used it several times in battle."
Goku nodded, "I pinpoint an energy and lock onto it."
"Most interesting," The Kold commented, turning his back to Goku, unaware that the Saiyan could kill him in seconds. Angling his head, Cooler continued, "That implies that you do not need a scouter to locate people. Foolish of my brother to waste such a talent. Tell me, can you sense me?"
It was strange to see a shimmer of interest pass through Cooler's red eyes as he pondered over what Goku had said. There was a long moment of silence and Goku shuffled awkwardly, unsure of what to do. He didn't have to think for long, as Cooler suddenly asked again,
"Who can you sense outside this room?"
Focusing his mind, Goku let his ki relax. "I sense Zarmine right outside. I can sense four guards standing at the door to this room. One is weaker than the others, another is injured."
Turning quickly, Cooler walked to him, barely a foot of space between their faces as the Icejin bowed to look him dead in the eye. "You can sense how they feel? Their emotions? How is it you know they are injured?"
Struggling to explain for a moment, Goku opened his mouth but Cooler stopped him, hand at his scouter and a heavily accented voice could be heard from the other side. "I see," Cooler responded after the man was done, turning his attention back to Goku. "I will speak of this later. Report to my ship Oroitz. Dismissed."
Goku barely remembered to bow on the way out.
Frieza stared out the crystalline windows of his chambers. Dodoria and Zarbon stood behind him and he could see their frozen expressions in the reflection of the glass, cracked though it may have been. "I have called you here for a reason," He began smoothly, tapping his tail against the floor amicably, creating a beat to his words. " And I suspect you both know why that is."
Zarbon gulped audibly, a whispered 'yes sir' accompanying his nervous shiver. Dodoria didn't answer but his wide-eyed stare gave him away nonetheless.
Taking off his scouter, Frieza placed it gently on a nearby table and tapped on the keyboard beside it. The Windows of his room flickered, effectively becoming screens where numbers and video feeds as well as all the information in the archives could flow to his fingertips. A few deft flicks of his fingers yielded the results he was hoping. He had gone through the archives
There was a picture of a humanoid, a mammalian male with pleasing enough features and a horrendous haircut pulled into an ever worse ponytail.
"It says here," Frieza said, his voice still light and airy, "That his power level should only be 15,000." Turning to Zarbon, he smiled widely. "Obviously there's been an error. Explain this to me." The last words were a hiss, barely rising above a whisper but his lieutenants knew him well enough to fear for their lives.
"Well?" Frieza asked, tilting his horned head in a mockery of patience.
It was Dodoria who spoke first, "Really, Lord Frieza, neither of us knew he could hide his power." He stepped forward, one foot at a time, and both hands out wide in a defensive gesture. "We've never even really had a reason to suspect him until now."
"Yes," Zarbon continued, latching onto Dodoria's words, "It might have even been a fluke; after all, it's unthinkable for a Saiyan to-" He didn't get to finish his sentence as he was bodily slammed into the metal wall, Frieza's delicate hand gripping his throat with crushing force.
"What. Did. You. Say?" The words were laced with rage, aura crackling wildly around them.
Zarbon choked, beautifully manicured hands coming to grip Frieza's forearm with as much force as he could muster but the tyrant paid no heed, pressing all the harder. "Repeat that for me, Zarbon," Frieza could barely force the words out of his mouth, "I didn't hear you correctly." When Zarbon couldn't respond, Frieza took delight in how quickly the life seemed to fade from his eyes before letting his grip loosen just the slightest.
No, Zarbon would not die so quickly. Frieza would make him beg for death before this was over. He brought his tail over his shoulder, the tip gleaming in the artificial light of his chambers, the glow of Oroitz's picture casting an eerie atmosphere over it all. Frieza was aware of how Dodoria stood shocked and he could smell the fear permeating off them both. Turning his attention back to Zarbon, he let the rage subside enough to smile thinly and dangerously, glee distorting his features when Zarbon's face twisted in abject terror.
"P-please my-" He coughed pitifully, tears streaming down his handsome face as he begged, "Lord Fuh-Frieza." Scrabbling at his arm, Zarbon tried his hardest, nails scratching in a futile attempt to free himself. He kicked weakly, but the lack of air was starting wear on his body and he was quickly losing strength.
There was a sound of fear and distress from Dodoria behind him and the acrid smell of sweat and blood invaded Frieza's nostrils.
There was a moment of stillness and Frieza's tail moved forward at lightning speed, the final desperation and hope in Zarbon's eyes dying. However Frieza's tail stopped at the last moment, barely millimeters away from his lieutenant's face. Loosening his grip, Frieza stared at the wall. Though dented from Zarbon's body and his force it was still reflective; the blurry picture of Oroitz staring back at him.
Slowly realization dawned on him and he released Zarbon, letting his lizard drop to the floor with a pathetic whine. Ignoring the coughing and the sound of dry heaving, Frieza turned back to the screen and stalked to it. His hands started shaking.
"Lord…Frieza?" Dodoria ventured, stuck between hovering from his spot and staring desperately at his fallen comrade, unsure whether to help or to stay; fearing his lord's wrath and rightfully so.
However, Frieza didn't pay him the slightest attention, eyes transfixed on the image before him.
That one time. That single time where the entire sealed off observatory had been annihilated in the wake of some explosion.
The scouters had been destroyed, half of his ship melted down and only Oroitz at the sight. No. No that couldn't be. That was impossible. The dead Queen's Tongue worms and the way he'd deflected Frieza's blasts.
Warnings flashed across his mind and a fear unlike any other Frieza had ever known gripped him so tightly he couldn't even breathe. They were just legends. Something like that couldn't possibly exist. But…but…
If it did then…
Frieza hissed, fists crashing down into the metallic surface of the computer, absolutely crushing it and sending the room into absolute darkness. The magnitude of what was happening was almost physical and Frieza barely remembered to breathe. Of course it was impossible, Super Saiyans were just that, legends. Quickly, he quashed that fear as soon as it came.
Frieza hissed again, slowly beginning to calm down as plans began to form in his mind. A few seconds passed and he turned, calmly and slowly to face his terrified lieutenants. "Zarbon," He ordered and his pale-faced peacock stood, legs trembling and hair askew. "How long have you know that Oroitz was a Saiyan?"
There was a cough, "Only recently my lord, I saw it as a glimpse when I registered him for the tournament."
Frieza mulled over the information. Oroitz didn't have the customary tail that the rest of the monkeys had. Neither had Vegeta adopted him into his group of barbaric simians. Perhaps this one was a cast out? Had Zarbon not slipped, Frieza would not have suspected Oroitz of even having Saiyan blood. After all, the man barely exhibited any of the traits that Vegeta and his Neanderthal group seemed to show. "Does anyone else know? Vegeta?"
Zarbon shook his head, "I don't think s-so." He gripped his neck where bruises were already forming. There would be no doubt that he would be needing medical attention as his consciousness was beginning to slip.
Good. It would not bode well to have Vegeta know that another Saiyan dwelled amongst them. And of course Oroitz could not be powerful enough to best Frieza as no Saiyan could back down from a challenge. In that sense, Oroitz was barely a blip on Frieza's radar, completely docile. The Saiyan had even…extricated Frieza's person from Cerise when it had been about to explode. Simply…simply being present at an explosion that caused the computers to go haywire didn't mean he was a Super Saiyan.
Frieza nearly chortled at his own misgivings. If what he were thinking was true, than Oroitz had true potential. Frieza could mold him, give him to Ginyu to train. A powerful, loyal, utterly obedient Saiyan would be of great use to him. However, Oroitz was now completely out of his grasp…and in the hands of-
Frieza scowled, realizing that he may have just given away one of his best resources to his most probable enemy. Cooler had no idea what was in his hands. A Saiyan as strong as this one was unheard of and Frieza suddenly itched to have the idiot back. Pinning a cold glare on Zarbon, Frieza spoke, "Perhaps your dull-wittedness will do us some good after all, Zarbon." Yes, it was true. Had Zarbon told Frieza earlier on that Oroitz was a Saiyan, Frieza might have instantly killed him.
When Zarbon looked confused, barely able to stand on shaky knees, Frieza continued. "Saiyans are universally dense and Oroitz proves to be no different. Perhaps we can use his position in Cooler's employ to further my own ends." A dark smile graced his lips and he turned back to his window, broken to the last piece of glass and with a wave of his hand, dismissed them.
Watching Dodoria drag out a half-dead Zarbon, Frieza planned in the darkness.
Goku shivered in alarm, barely sighing in relief when he felt Zarbon's energy stabilize. Frieza's rage had traveled across his spine like lightning and he was keenly aware of Zarbon's life slipping away like sand. He had been ready to move but thankfully, Frieza's rage subsided a few moments later.
"What's wrong?" Zarmine asked him, pulling on the rest of her new armor, different in both color and form than Frieza's.
Goku followed suit and tugged on his gloves and boots, tapping the toes to get used to the feel of the new fit. "Nothing. Just…felt something." He looked at her quizzically, "How do you know Cooler? And who is Salza?"
Zarmine chuckled darkly, "You will meet him soon enough. As for Lord Cooler, I was originally stationed under his command in the Delta Quadrant. However, circumstances relegated me to Lord Frieza's army." She flicked her golden hair, much longer than when he met her the first time, over her ear. Catching his eye she smirked, "Though Kold owns me, there are still things that are my own."
Goku agreed wholeheartedly.
When they were done, Goku stared at himself in the mirror. It seemed the spandex suit was universal amongst the troops. However, unlike Frieza's, his new bodysuit ran all the way down his legs and arms. It was either that or some strange looking…bikini thing. The battle armor was, however, similar to the one he'd worn only minutes ago. The shoulders were thicker but it barely reached his hips, stopping just under his ribcage and prominently displaying Cooler's insignia; a circle with two downward lines.
Zarmine, he had to admit, looked better in Cooler's armor than she did in Frieza's. The short armor added curves to her hard body and though her bust was fairly small, the roundness of her shoulders were enhanced. The spandex she wore was the same as Goku's, black and covering the entirety of her arms and legs. "Come," She said, gesturing the path of Icejin guard that followed them. "They will lead us to Lord Cooler's ship and we will prepare to depart."
Nodding, Goku followed the guard, mulling over what had happened the last few hours of his life. As a general rule, he was glad to be alive. However, he would be leaving Ula and Kuriza alone with Frieza. That was not a hopeful thought. Putting a hand to his new scouter, he pressed a button and was instantly rewarded with Ula's voice.
"Ula?" He asked, eyes widening, ignoring the looks from both Zarmine and the guard.
"Oroitz!" She squealed, "How are you contacting me? I thought the scouters couldn't pick up signals from far away?" There was a gasp, "Are you coming back?"
Shaking his head even though she couldn't see, Goku answered softly, "Not yet Ula. I…I've been put under C…Lord Cooler's command."
There was silence on the other end, "I see…Why?"
Glancing around, Goku sighed. "I'll explain later. I just wanted to tell you to be safe." Instinctively, he knew she was nodding.
"I will, Oroitz. You be safe as well and contact me when you have a chance. Ula out." The line cut and Goku let his arm drop, exhaling sadly. He would miss her. She had been the only reason he ever found himself around the medical bay at all. Though he could still feel the sting of her slap when the sight of a needle had caused him to scream and climb atop the nearest cabinet.
"It's best you drop your attachments," Zarmine said once the guard stopped following them, escorting them only to the docking bay. She dodged several of the mechanics and watched the wounded and tired soldiers move into the ship. "The faster you get rid of such things, the less they hurt when they're gone."
"is that what you did?" Goku asked softly, staring at the line of haggard aliens, all bearing the wounds of the tournament. He winced when he saw several of them glaring at him, their skin covered in cuts and burns from flying shards or molten metal.
She shrugged, "I had to. I learned the hard way that is does not pay to have any lasting connections to anything."
"Then how do you live?" Goku asked, watching her shake her head.
Looking at him, her flame colored eyes softened. "I don't."
Grabbing his wrist, she pulled him through the entrance of Cooler's ship and they left the Gala behind.