Dragonball Z – Odyssey

-Chapter Three: "Fare thee well"-

The Capsule Corp yards rang to the sound of hammers on steel, the steady whine of rocket thrusters, and the whistling whoosh of pneumatic equipment. When Vegeta had announced his departure to Dr. and Mrs. Briefs the morning after his visit from the Supreme Kai, Bulma's father pulled out all the stops in upgrading the fish-bowl ship which had become the stock-standard for intergalactic travel across the globe. The sheer distance involved was far further than any ship had gone before, and at the top speed of their fastest vessel, it would take Vegeta close to three years to reach his destination.

While Dr. Briefs and his techies worked on increasing the power of the ship's thrusters and reinforcing the hull to travel at such high velocity, the Prince spent his day saying his farewells, and mentally bracing himself for the challenge at hand. He skipped breakfast and departed before sunrise that morning, taking off to his old haunt in the mountains; the place which had been the first stepping stone on his path to rebellion against the Cold Empire.

The place still bore the savage scars of the initial fight between the Z Fighters and the ruthless Saiyans. As he soared across the misty landscape, he saw several blast craters dotted across the mass of brown and green, the shattered remains of mountains, the crushed mesas and buttes of the Wastes. Upon landing, his eyes swept the terrain, immediately recognising a rusted samurai sword protruding from the dirt as the blade which had removed his tail. He saw the man-sized imprint in a rock face where he had slammed Goku into the cliff in his Oozaru form. He discovered a shell-shocked hillside, showing the impact of his furious attempts to bombard the then five year old Gohan with a multitude of ki-blasts. At the sound of a feeble, bleating beep, his gaze fell on a small piece of cracked, rectangular green glass jutting out of pool of mud. Nappa's scouter, after so many years, attempted to read the Prince's power level, before croaking into silence.

This was where Vegeta had declared his intent to challenge Frieza's might. He had come to Earth without being instructed to, hell bent on the gift of immortality. The Saiyan Elite had left Earth empty handed (with a multitude of near-fatal injuries to boot), and charged immediately back into the fray, going after the tyrant on a far-flung world.

The similarities, thought Vegeta, were striking.

He had been alone for a few hours, completing some much needed soul searching and mental preparation. Lost in his thoughts, he hadn't even picked up on Gohan's approach until he was almost on top of him. The demi-saiyan landed a few feet in front of the Prince, a small cloud of dust kicking up as his feet touched down, and he shot the silent Vegeta an enquiring gaze. "It's not like you to forget a training session." he announced, arching a brow. "What's going on, Vegeta? I don't think I've ever seen Capsule Corp so busy."

"The Supreme Kai paid me a visit last night." The Prince replied, casually resting his back against the trunk of a dead tree and folding his arms. "There's chaos and anarchy in the Southern Galaxies. The South Kai hasn't been able to stop the strife, and it is beyond the powers of Kibitoshin to bring an end to it himself. He's asked me to liberate them in his stead."

Gohan's eyes narrowed as he blinked rapidly, taking in the information. "So... You're travelling to the other side of the Universe to fight a powerful tyrant?" He asked quietly, dropping his gaze and lightly gripping his chin. After a few moments of silence, he shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyes. "Alrighty. When do we leave?"

Vegeta had been expecting as much from the youth. "We won't be going anywhere." he clarified. "I will be leaving as soon as my ship is ready. As early as possible."

And Gohan had predicted the refusal. "Come on, Vegeta." he scoffed. "I haven't been training with you so I can sit safely at home. I want to fight. I need to be out there with you, taking on impossible odds. You know I've gotten stronger. I could help you."

"I said no." Vegeta levelled his dark gaze at the youth, indicating that he wasn't budging on the decision. But, that didn't mean he wasn't going to explain. Gohan's attitude of late had earned him the Prince's respect. "If, by chance, the Earth is attacked again, only Kakarot would remain to defend your friends and family. You need to stay here. And regardless, I need someone to train Trunks in my place. Who better than you?"

The logic behind the argument, and the tone of Vegeta's voice acted as the perfect argument repellent. Folding his arms in defeat, Gohan gave a glum nod. "I see your point." he admitted, but his stance and tone said that he didn't like the decision. "Fine, I'll stay."

"I'm entrusting you to mould my son into a warrior, boy. I needn't tell you that my trust is hard to win and easy to lose." He said with meaning.

"I won't let you down, sir." Gohan replied, inclining his head.

It was mid afternoon when Vegeta returned from his preparatory sojourn into the Wastes, and rather than seeking a progress report on his ship, the Prince went immediately to his family. Trunks, as expected, immediately asked to join the Prince. "Let me go with you, Dad!" The teen demanded. "I can help you fight. You know how hard I've been training."

The Prince placed a hand on his son's shoulder, shaking his head. "I need you to stay at home and look after your mother. If someone tries to harm the planet while I'm gone, Kakarot and Gohan won't be able to do it alone. They'll need your help, Trunks. Just like they did with Majin Buu."

"But father..." Trunks scrunched up his face in annoyance. "I don't want you to go again. What if you run into trouble, and no one is there to watch your back?"

"I won't be alone. There are other fighters out there, wanting to go to war. But the odds are stacked against them. I'm going to tip the scales in their favour." he explained. "I'll be able to handle myself. Don't worry about me."

Trunks sighed and dropped his gaze, his shoulders slumping in defeat. Vegeta could clearly understand his son's dejection; If it had been Vegeta's father, telling him to remain behind while he went to conquer another planet, the Prince would have screamed himself hoarse and probably taken down a few of his father's Royal Guard in fury and frustration. Silently, Vegeta thanked his lucky stars that Trunks wasn't the arrogant and spoiled brat he himself had been.

"You're not budging on this one, are you?" Trunks asked, glancing up, earning an apologetic shake of the head from his father. Trunks sighed again, lightly rolling his eyes. "Alright, Dad. Just be safe." He extended a hand to his dad, but was caught by surprise when the Prince pulled him into a brief, one-armed hug.

"Take care of your mother."

Blushing at the rare hug, Trunks awkwardly shrugged his shoulders. "I'll try."

Saying Goodbye to Bulla had been as difficult as Vegeta had anticipated, although the little bluenette didn't cry or make a fuss. Vegeta knelt in front of her and told her he was going away for a little while, and that he had to go and help people who lived far far away. Bulla had fixed an extremely serious expression into her little features and wrapped her arms around her father's neck. "You just come back soon, okay Daddy?" she said in a quiet yet demanding voice.

"I will, Princess. Very soon." Vegeta replied huskily, blinking back an itch in his eyes.

"And don't worry about Mommy and Trunks. I'll look after them while you're away." she added, almost casually, placing a small kiss on Vegeta's cheek. "I'm getting bigger and stronger every day, see?" The bluenette stepped back and lifted her arms like a boxer. "Maybe I'll be as big as Trunks when you get back!"

"Maybe." Vegeta muttered through a sad smile, rising and tussling his daughter's mop of turquoise hair.

On his way across the yard, the Prince was met with a surprise farewell. Out across the sprawling expanse of perfectly trimmed grass sat his ship, and a small knot of people awaiting Vegeta's departure. As he walked towards them, he picked out Bulma holding little Bulla's hand, Trunks and Goten chatting with Gohan, and lastly (and most unexpectedly) was Goku. The usual bristle of annoyance slithered up the Prince's spine, but it was only temporary; Vegeta's severe hatred of Goku had dwindled into a mild annoyance over the past few years.

"Kakarot." Vegeta greeted with an emotionless nod. "I didn't expect you to be here."

"Gohan told me everything." Goku replied. "I was going to come with you, but we both know you won't let me." A small grin worked it's way onto his face. "Just know that if things get out of hand, Gohan and me are ready to join you."

"I appreciate the sentiment." No smile lighted Vegeta's expression. "But I'm perfectly capable of handling myself. I suggest you step up your regime. When I return from defeating this War Lord, you and I are settling who is stronger once and for all." Finally, his cocky grin broke through his mask.

"Oh, this mission will seem like a walk in the park when you and I finally settle the score." Goku smirked, extending a hand. The Earth's Hero was almost as eager as Vegeta for their rivalry to culminate in one final, glorious confrontation. Ever since they'd first clashed on Earth, some twenty-five years ago, the two had been constantly warring for the title of World's Strongest, and now, the combatants felt like the time was ripe for a grudge match.

Vegeta's grin broadened as he gripped forearms with Goku in a traditional Saiyan handshake, fixing the taller man with a glare. "Take care of the planet while I'm gone. Or you'll have me to answer to."

"I'll hold down the fort, don't you worry." Goku nodded, releasing the grip.

The Prince turned to his children next. "Look after your sister, Trunks. And train hard. Don't think Gohan's going to go easy on you." he said, with a glance towards the older half-saiyan.

"I'll train harder than ever, Dad." the teen replied with a stoic nod. "And I'll look after Bulla."

"Just be safe, Daddy." Bulla piped up with a smile. "You teach those baddies a lesson!"

"I will, Princess." the Prince smiled, tussling the little blunette's hair.

Finally, Vegeta's eyes found Bulma. "I'll be home soon, just like I promised." He said gruffly, approaching her.

At that, Bulma flung her arms around his neck, pulling him into tender hug, causing the Prince to flush an awkward red.

"You'd better, home boy." she said quietly, placing a kiss on his cheek. "Or I'll kick your ass from here to Other World. You got that?"

Vegeta's face broke into another sad smile as he nodded his understanding. "Loud and clear." he replied with half a chuckle. He turned away, alighting the ramp, pausing only to thumb the controls and seal the door. He made his way across the red tiles, slipping into the pilot's chair, and began tapping away at the controls, the ship around him winding into life, turbines thrumming, lights flashing on the panels. He spared a final glance through the window to his farewell party, all of whom were waving and grinning. All except for Bulma.

His wife remained stock still, a blazing look on her face, a lone tear trailing down her cheek. The blunette briefly closed her eyes, shook her head, and a smile worked it's way onto her face as she flipped her Prince the peace sign. "Give 'em hell, Bad Man!" she called.

Returning the gesture in kind, Vegeta's face broke into another sad smile, and a split second later, the ship soared into the air, zooming low across West City, gathering speed as it lifted, going into a steep vertical climb. Within a fraction of a second, it faded to no more than a speck of light in the skies, then vanished entirely.

…...

Two months. That's how long it would take for Vegeta to arrive on Marl. And in that two months, the Saiyan Prince intended to do as much training as possible. One of the additions to the ship was an improved gravity generator, and Vegeta planned on training in nine hundred times Earth's gravity; a height he had never even contemplated before.

His daily schedule was always the same. Wake up, eat, train, sleep. The only varying factor was the increase in gravity. By the end of the first week, he had cranked the simulator up to six hundred g's. By week four, he had moved on to seven. All the while, he felt himself growing stronger and stronger. But, with every amount of power gained, his hunger for more grew tenfold. It wasn't enough, he told himself.

It was never enough.

…...

"Arrival on Planet Marl in two hours. All passengers, please begin preparations to disembark. Ensure your baggage is safely secured in the designated area. Warning: Scanners indicate high level explosions around the planet's atmosphere, travel to and from the surface may be inhibited. We thank you for travelling with Capsule Corporation, and wish you all the very best on your visit to Planet Marl."

The cool robotic voice roused Vegeta from his slumber, and the Saiyan Prince rose from his cot, running his fingers through his hair. Two hours until he arrived, and his fight began. "Seems the Marlish aren't as weak as I assumed..." he muttered to himself, in light of the fact that they still appeared to be holding out after two months of steady combat. Even at this distance, his acute senses could pick up the echoes of exploding Ki blasts, and in his minds eye, he watched the scene unfolding.

…...

On Planet Marl, the defence was beginning to crumble. Giant, city-wide barriers had been erected across the planet, protecting the blue-skinned Marlish from the Seyorian assault. Immense star ships hovered in orbit around the beleaguered capitol, hundreds of dragonish warriors pouring from the vessels, peppering the cities with heavy ki-blasts. The Marlish troops fought bravely on all sides, keeping the Seyorians at bay as they had done for the past two months, but they lost three men for every foe taken down, and they were slowly being pushed back.

The Marlish hunkered down behind cover, blasting the approaching Seyorians, while Aerial Defence fighters peppered the skies from the shelter of protective barriers. This strategy was working well, forcing the Seyorians to descend out of range and approach the besieged fortress from the land. The fields of Marl burned, casting plumes of black smoke into the air.

Leading the defence of Marl was Grand Admiral Vaseon, a military veteran and one of the most powerful men on the planet. Covered from head to foot in jungle green armour, he hovered high in the air above the front lines, bellowing orders to his troops, while keeping a steady barrage of torrential ki harassing the Seyorian ranks. "Don't give them an inch!" he roared from behind his helmet, ducking and weaving between potent beams of energy, returning fire on the attackers. "Hold the line! Hold the line!"

The gold tridents of the Seyorians zipped through the air, impaling the Marlish soldiers unfortunate enough to be caught in the no-man's land, and the obsidian armoured troops bolted, screaming from cover, charging towards the defenders. From his vantage point, Vaseon could see that his men below would soon be overwhelmed. Reinforcements from the star ships were landing en mass just over the horizon. Gritting his teeth in a snarl, the Admiral tore his helmet off, revealing his chiselled and scarred features, a light blazing in his pale green eyes. "For glory!" he shouted, his aura blazing like a wild fire, and he zoomed to the ground, gathering speed.

He hit the turf at top speed mere feet from the Seyorians, and a giant mushroom cloud exploded into the air, obliterating the first and second waves. Before the smoke had even cleared, Vaseon rocketted through the haze, zooming between the confused and disoriented enemies, crippling them with savage combinations of punches and kicks. "To me! To me!" he roared, and a responding cheer issued from the Marlish lines. Inspired by their leader's prowess, they clambered out from behind cover, racing out to meet the Seyorians head on in one final charge.

"Admiral Vaseon! We've got another ship in-bound!" A voice called over the Admiral's communication channel.

Growling under his breath, Vaseon dispatched three more attackers before opening fire on the approaching reinforcements. "Let them come!" he snarled. "I'll destroy each and every last one of them!"

"No! It's not the Seyorians!" the officer replied frantically. "The ship isn't like any I've ever seen before! And it's too small to be reinforcements for them!"

Vaseon's furious sneer faltered for a moment, his eyes narrowing in confusion. "Then who is it?!" he growled, regaining composure, keeping up his barrage.

"The ship doesn't match any known designs. We ran checks on it's size and shape, but came up with nothing! I..." The officer paused. "I think help is finally on the way."

"Don't get your hopes up." Vaseon replied dejectedly. "We sent out distress beacons two months ago. If anyone had received the message, they'd have arrived by now. Face it, kid... We're on our own here."

Vaseon could not have been more wrong.

[Thanks for reading. Sorry again about the delays, still issues with the internet and work keeping me busy. I'll update again soon.

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