Homura did not know where she was. And she didn't like it.
The sun beat down on the wide green fields spreading out in front of her. Strange, thin white trees grew in clumps with puffballs of leaves right at the top, sticking like groups of chopsticks out of the randomly placed mesas and cliffs that dotted the otherwise barren field. She glanced at the water behind her – blue as the sky and completely still. Not a cloud marred the glasslike surface, and she shuddered. She moved away from the water.
She raised a hand to block her eyes against the sun. She was no longer on Earth – that she knew for sure. That had been apparent in itself after Madoka had appeared and asked for her help. Homura's raised hand moved from her forehead to the ribbon on her head, feeling a hint of tears in her eyes. Madoka had appeared to her! The thought made her heart so light that she hardly cared about the strange surroundings anymore.
"Hey! You! Turn around! Slowly, got it? I'm armed!"
Homura tensed, her fingers going instinctively to the ring around her finger. Slowly, she turned around. The thing that confronted her made her wrinkle her nose in disgust. It was human in shape, but its skin was a pale blue and he had a bushy mane of white hair. He wore strange armor with shoulder guards and a black jumpsuit that came down to shorts beneath it. A strange green lens covered one eye. One arm was encased in what appeared to be a futuristic laser.
"Hands where I can see 'em," he growled. "You're trespassing on property of Lord Frieza."
Homura didn't move her arms an inch.
"Property? I was under the impression this whole planet had few inhabitants," Homura said.
"Well, it's none of your business. Now hands where I can see them!"
Homura felt the adrenaline start to flood through her muscles, preparing her for attack.
"Lower your weapon," she said calmly. "Or I'll be forced to become violent."
"Lower my – you're not in the position to be making orders!"
Her purple gem swirled to life in her palm, and in about as much time as it takes to blink, Homura's battle costume flashed into life around her. The gray pleats settled as she, with one fluid motion, pulled a gun from her time shield and pointed the barrel directly at the alien.
"How about now?" she said.
The alien's mouth dropped open, but his laser cannon did not waver.
"L-Lord Frieza will be hearing about this!" he said.
"I doubt it."
She pulled the trigger. The bullet ripped through the alien's shoulder and his weapon dropped to his side as he howled in pain. Already Homura was removing a grenade from her time shield, teeth gripping the pin and ready to pull.
But suddenly, the alien was in the air – he was flying! Shocked, Homura paused for a millisecond too long. The alien's cannon fired. Just in time – ha, she made a joke – the clock in Homura's shield starting turning. Instantly, the world froze around her, the laser paused in mid air. She pulled the pin of the grenade and threw it. The weapon flew a few feet into the air and then stopped in front of the alien. Homura moved aside of the laser's path, and stopped the clock.
The world started again – the laser hit the ground harmlessly. All Homura saw of the alien was his shocked face. Then the grenade exploded.
The charred body dropped with a crunch to the ground, and Homura shuddered. She had been so used to fighting demons, and before that, witches. It only occurred to her now that she had just killed a living being. The thought was not a pleasant one – never mind that he would have killed her if given the chance. It had been...too easy with her powers. She would have to be more careful not to be noticed from now on.
The remains of the blast still hung in the air – she had to go before she attracted anymore unwanted attention.
As she turned, a slow, mocking clap sounded behind her, sending a shudder down her spine. Too late.
"Well done," said a strange, almost hissing voice. "That was...impressive, I must say."
Homura slowly turned to face this...thing. He – at least, she thought it was a he – sat in a strange, bulbous hovercraft, his long tail draping outside it. His face was wide and flat, and he had long, deadly sharp black horns. He wore armor similar to that of the alien she had just fought, and a similar eyepiece, only his was red. Two people – if she could call them that – stood behind him. One was short, pink, and fat, with huge lips and horns all over its head. The other was tall with pale blue skin, yellow eyes, and long green hair in a green braid.
"Zarbon," said the one in the hovercraft. "What does the scouter say about her power level?"
The pale blue one raised a finger to push a button on his eyepiece. The machinery beeped for a moment, then stopped.
"Fifteen thousand, Lord Frieza," Zarbon said.
"Interesting...quite high for a young girl," the one called Frieza mused. "What is your name, girl?"
"Who would like to know?" Homura asked.
"Come, come, I already know that you're very bright. You must have been paying attention."
Homura narrowed her eyes.
"Frieza, I would assume, then?" she said.
"Indeed. And you?"
Homura considered whether or not she should answer. But then, she came from another planet, so her name shouldn't give him too much information.
"Homura. Homura Akemi."
"Hm. I have not heard of you."
"I don't make a point of being noticed."
"I see. What brings you to Planet Namek, then?"
His red eyes were level – and evil. Homura tensed slightly, knowing a potential enemy when she saw one.
"I don't see how that's any of your business," she said.
If he attacked, she could freeze time before he reached her. She was confident in her abilities – she could probably handle all three of them fairly easily. If she used her bow, of course.
"Oh, but I do," Frieza said. "You see, I own this planet now. So I think I have a right to know how and why you came here."
Homura's fingers twitched, ready to call her bow to her fingers in an instant.
"Sorry," she said. "But that's classified."
"By whose decision?"
Frieza frowned slightly.
"Zarbon. Kill her."
The pale blue alien smiled malevolently.
"This won't hurt. Much," he said, stepping forward.
"Funny. That was going to be my line."
Time froze in shades of gray. Homura drew her bow from nothingness and drew back the string. A glowing bolt of purple energy gathered at her fingertips.
As the clock in her shield came to a stop, she let the arrow fly. Zarbon only had time to widen his eyes in shock before the bolt pierced through his knee and he collapsed to the ground.
"Zarbon!" Frieza said, his face contorting into rage. "You fool – what are you doing?"
Homura didn't waste any time. She burst into the air, drawing her bow back for a second time. At the same instant, glowing white wings burst from her shoulder blades. The second arrow flew, this one striking the pink one through one pudgy arm.
Homura glided to the top of a mesa, planning to use the height to her advantage. But even as her wings vaporized around her, Frieza was suddenly behind her. Looking annoyed, he raised a single finger to point at her. Homura smacked her shield and time froze – she could see the beginning of a strange energy beam that had formed at Frieza's fingertip. She pushed off the mesa, flipping to land on her feet before starting time again.
The beam Frieza had obviously meant to kill her with hit the ground harmlessly – well, besides the perfect hole burned right through the mesa. Homura shuddered inwardly – that could have been her.
She pulled a handgun from her shield and fired off two shots before Frieza realized where she had gone. Again, he managed to appear right behind her – could he freeze time too?
When time froze, the beam was right in front of her face this time – that had been close. Too close. She bolted, trying desperately to find someplace to hide and regroup in the barren wasteland around her. All she could do was duck behind a mesa.
Time restarted – again the beam bored a hole through the ground. Homura flattened against the mesa, trying to quiet her labored breaths. He couldn't find her. He must not find her, or this time, she would probably die.