Rebels

 

Chapter 8: Reconnaissance


As the small ship approached the system I6, Vegeta called the others into the control room for a briefing. Calling up an image on the large computer screen, he indicated a reddish planet. “That is the biggest populated planet in this solar system, Coolant48. We will head there first to reconnaissance for news on the Saiyan rebels. As you three are unfamiliar with the other cultures, do not leave the ship alone. I’ve downloaded the common dialects around this region into the scouters so be sure to have them on when you leave.”

Frowning, he continued. “Do not broadcast the fact that we are Saiyans until I say it is safe to do so. We do not know the reactions the locals will have to Saiyans; this is an ice-jin conquered world after all. If anybody asks, say we are humans. I doubt anybody out here would have heard of Earth, but to be on the safe side, do not give the location of Earth.”

The other three nodded seriously. However, all four could not help feeling excited and nervous with anticipation. “It’s at least another hour till we land.” Vegeta was about to dismiss them when he remembered. “Oh yes. And get changed into nondescript clothing. Not your garish orange gi Kakarotto. We do not want to stand out. In fact, I think we should get some local clothes to blend in.”

“Do you have any local currency dad?”

Vegeta smirked. “I am the Saiyan no ouji. All Saiyan investments and holdings are considered royal property. In fact, accessing the accounts will alert other Saiyans, which is a desired effect.”

-----

Two hours later, the four Saiyans were wandering around a noisy, dusty market square. They had already been to the local version of a bank and were now looking for clothes and food, not necessarily in that order. Aliens of all shapes and sizes pressed in all around them and Vegeta was rapidly feeling extremely irritated. The others were observing their surroundings with barely concealed wonder. Dressed in jeans and plain dark shirts, the four did not really blend in that well with the crowd. It was with relief that the prince finally spotted a clothing store.

The store was dimly lit but blessedly quiet after the din outside. They stood for a while, blinking at the numerous rows of fabric that hung around them and adjusting to the change in environment. A surly green-skinned woman with frizzy orange hair seated behind a counter at the front of the shop yelled at them to choose their own clothing, it’s self service.

They browsed around, noting that the shop did not have much variety of styles. Most of the local fashion seems to consist of loose shirts and pants, teamed with either a light vest or heavier jacket. The shirts were made of a heavy material much like linen in natural dusty cream and green hues. The only other type of fabric the shop has is some leather hide that seemed to be used in everything from pants to jackets, even the footwear and gloves. The leather wasn’t dyed and ranged in hues of black and dark chocolate to creamy tans, mostly plain but sometimes streaky. Without much choice in the styles of clothing, they quickly made their selection and Vegeta paid for everything.

Sitting at an eatery with their bundles of clothing awkwardly piled on their feet, they concluded that the local cuisine was as limited as the local fashion styles. There were only a few varieties of greens and even fewer choices of meats. The greens were all cooked in the same way; stir- fried in a huge pan with a bit of spices and condiments and the meat was simply grilled over a large fire. It wasn’t too bad though, relatively cheap and they bought a lot to bring back to the ship. Anything was a welcome change over the processed food they have been consuming for the past 8 months, barring the wonderful week they had spent at NV, or what they affectionately called New Vegetasei.

-----

Goku looked up hopefully as a pair of dusty, tired males trooped into the ship. The door hissed close behind them as father and son followed the tall Saiyan to the kitchen. Goten quickly exited from the training room when he felt their ki and headed towards the kitchen as well.

“Feh. What a waste of time.” Vegeta poured himself a cold drink before pulling off his scouter and dropping it on the table.

Trunks reached for the jug. “Not really, we did find out a promising lead.”

“Hn.” The surly prince scowled and crossed his arms. They had taken turns to leave each day, walking around and generally looking for any information on rebel activity. It turned out harder than they thought and they had already spent a month on the dusty, hot planet. Vegeta in particular was feeling extremely bad-tempered and irritated. As the only one in the group with experience dealing with foreign cultures, he had been out every day for the first two weeks until he trusted the others to move out on their own. Usually however, it was just the ouji and son team. Goku and Goten were a bit too innocent and not as shrewd; Vegeta shuddered at the thought of sending the two Sons alone.

“There’s a bar near the outskirts of town. The interesting thing about the place is that it is not one of the establishments operated by the ice-jins, and it is rumored that all sorts of characters meet there.” At his father’s rolled eyes, Trunks snorted. “It is a better lead than anything we have come up with so far.”

“We’ll go tonight.” The prince stood up, intending to have a shower.

“All of us?” Goten spoke up.

The prince considered for a moment before nodding.

-----

As night fell, the four Saiyans left the diner where they had taken their dinner and headed for the bar. All were dressed in cream colored loose shirts, tucked into fitting rough leather pants and knee high boots. The sandy grounds of the desert like world harbored all sorts of vicious crawling insects which left nasty bites and they were now mindful to keep their hardy high boots on when they left the ship. While Vegeta chose a matching black vest to team with his black pants, Goku had on a warmer jacket. The boys were dandily attired billowing in tan trench coats and Trunks had tied his shoulder-length hair back in a ponytail.

The bar was small and dimly lit. Music that seemed to be composed only of slow drumbeats helped mask hushed conversations. As they entered, a hush fell momentarily over the establishment as wary eyes and noses took stock of the strangers but the patrons quickly turned back to their own business. The Saiyans found a small table at the corner of the room and seated themselves such that all four could observe the activity in the bar. When their drinks arrived, Trunks took out a small bottle from his deep pockets and dropped a small pill in each of their drinks. It was a standard practice Vegeta had insisted on. There were two compounds in the small pill; one will neutralize the alcohol and the other will turn the drink a bright red if there are any known toxins present.

The four had been sitting there quietly for about 10 minutes when a tall blue-skinned figure approached them. “Vegeta?”

All four tensed slightly and Vegeta shot a glare at the stranger. “How do you know my name?”

The stranger stepped nearer to the dim light that hung over the table, flicking a long sea-green braid over his shoulder. Vegeta widened his eyes and to the others’ surprise, broke into a knowing smirk. “Zarbon.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Looking for information.” The prince stated bluntly.

Zarbon hesitated for a moment, then smiled, holding out a hand. “Dance with me?”

Vegeta looked piercingly into the other’s green eyes, trying to gauge his intention. Apparently satisfied, he got up and followed the taller male. The others stared, stunned. Goku in particular was writhing in jealousy.

/Kakarotto, Zarbon’s an old friend. He won’t say anything in front of the rest of you because he doesn’t trust you and it is harder to be overheard when we are dancing./ Vegeta’s explanation did little to reassure him however, as he continued to stare balefully at the handsome blue-skinned alien. Zarbon was as tall as Goku and well-built, his muscular figure obvious under the fitting fuchsia leather vest and pants ensemble. A few pieces of jewelry adorned his bare arms and a striking orb was centered on his smooth brow with a thin chain.

The normally placid Saiyan nearly jumped out of his seat in anger when Zarbon wrapped his arms around *his* mate’s slim waist as the two swayed to the slow, hypnotic music. The boys were alarmed at the low growls rumbling from the seething Saiyan and Goten placed a soothing hand on his father’s shoulder. Goku tried to relax and nearly succeeded until Zarbon leaned forward to whisper in the prince’s ear. “Dad!! Don’t draw attention to ourselves!!” Goten hissed in alarm as the two boys moved to sandwich the furious Saiyan.

“That male in the brown jacket seems very possessive of you.” Zarbon whispered slyly.

Vegeta smirked, his arms also wrapped around his old friend and ex-lover’s waist. “Of course. He is my Mate.”

Zarbon looked down and examined the scar on the prince’s neck. “Ah, yes. You’ve explained that to me before. Is he a Saiyan then? How ever did you meet him?”

“Hn. In fact, he is Radditz’s younger brother.”

Zarbon gave a rich chuckle. “Does he know about your past with Radditz then?”

Vegeta shifted uncomfortably. “Not really.”

“Secrets from your Mate Vegeta?” Zarbon tsked.

“He’s too innocent.” Vegeta warned the smirking alien. “He was raised on Earth, he never knew what I went through. Neither do I intend to tell him, more for his sake than my own.”

Zarbon gave a soft, mocking laugh at that reminder then the two fell silent for a while as they moved slowly to the beat. “I had no choice you know. Frieza damn near chewed my head off for not making sure I killed you and I had to go back to get you. But it wasn’t a coincidence that I left you alone in the regeneration tank with only that weak technician.”

“I know. And I appreciate it. I see you managed to survive the fall into the lake.” Vegeta smirked. The two fell silent again as old memories flooded back. They were secret friends when they were under Freiza together, and occasionally lovers. Knowing that they might have to be forced against each other one day, they made a pact. And both had kept their word as far as they could. Zarbon left Vegeta in the lake after their first fight and helped to distract Frieza and get the ice-jin out of the regeneration tank room. Vegeta was normally paranoid about leaving his enemies alive, usually preferring to fry them with a ki blast to ensure that they are absolutely dead but he left Zarbon after hitting him into the lake.

“So what brings you to this dustball?” Zarbon leaned closer Vegeta’s ear.

“I’ve heard news about surviving Saiyans. I’ve also heard about the rebel forces against the ice-jins.” Zarbon stiffened slightly and Vegeta picked it up. “You know something, don’t you?”

“Tell me first. Where is your alliance? What is your goal?” Zarbon hissed.

“I am the Saiyan no Ouji.” Vegeta gave a harsh laugh. “Where do you think my alliance lies? I came to pick up the remnants of my race, to rebuild my race. I also share your hatred of the ice-jins.”

“So you have come to help us?” Zarbon snorted. “I must warn you, we are fighting a losing battle.”

“But it is a worthy battle.” Vegeta smirked. “So you admit, you are involved with the rebels.” He gave a confident laugh. “I have gotten much stronger since we last met. And my mate is even stronger than me.”

 

“I’m sure you are.” Zarbon grinned. This was the confident ouji he knew.

 

“How did you get involved with the rebels anyway?”

 

An ironic snort. “Since you ‘killed’ me, I cannot exactly return to any ice-jin employment. However, once I had my freedom of sorts – if you can call it that, hiding on the run – I met up with some Saiyans who had also escaped. One thing led to another and …”

Zarbon fell silent, thinking. Finally he replied. “I will bring you to the rebels. 10 minutes after I leave the bar, follow me. You can track ki right?”

“Hn.”

Zarbon pressed closer to the lithe prince, a naughty smirk playing across his lips. “How about a kiss, for old time’s sake?”

Vegeta smirked back. “If you dare. Kakarotto will tear you from limb to limb.”

Zarbon sighed sadly. “Ah, you Saiyans are so possessive. Radditz was just as bad and you two weren’t even mated! Though once he loosened up, he was pretty good. Are you sure I can’t interest you two in a threesome? If he’s Radditz’s brother, he should be really hot in bed… “

Vegeta growled warningly as Zarbon laughed again.

 

 

Chapter 9: Meeting the Rebels



The four Saiyans flew slowly through the night air, following Zarbon’s ki. Goku flew beside Vegeta, uncertainty and jealousy boiling within him. Vegeta had briefly explained about Zarbon when he came back to the table but Goku could tell that the prince was deliberately leaving things out about Zarbon. Vegeta had said that they were good friends when they were under Frieza but ‘good friends’ don’t dance so closely! Goku’s hands fisted in anger. The way they swayed closely spoke of ease of close contact and familiarity, and Vegeta is not the gregarious social type. He had not missed the way their arms wrapped intimately around each other, Zarbon’s arms tightening and drawing *his* mate close to him at one point, nor their easy manner and light chuckles. Goku swallowed nervously. What if… Zarbon had been more than a good friend?

/Kakarotto… Zarbon knows that we are mates./

 

Vegeta could feel the jealously rolling off his mate. Unfortunately, that simple statement which was meant to reassure Goku only set him off even further. That onore KNEW that they were mates and still kept up those teasing touches??

They spotted Zarbon standing beside a cliff and landed softly near him. The tall figure slipped in between the boulders, motioning the others to follow. The pile of boulders at the cliff base cleverly hid the narrow entrance to a cave. The narrow passageway was dark but the small ki ball Zarbon held and their keen senses were sufficient. The passageway branched out a few times, leading to a maze of paths but their guide led them unerringly. Suddenly, they turned into a dead end. Zarbon rapped the stone wall sharply, flaring his ki signature briefly.

The natural looking wall swung inwards to reveal two males. One was a red-skinned bald alien and the other was definitely a Saiyan, his spiky black hair and features giving him away. A glance at his waist revealed a brown tail in confirmation. Both were dressed in a rag-tag mixture of spandex and the local fashion of loose shirts and leather. The young Saiyan also had on battered body armor.

The two guards stared suspiciously at the strangers and Zarbon explained in hurried, low tones. The Saiyan gasped at the mention of Vegeta’s name and holding up a ki ball of his own, stared at the prince for a moment before kneeling submissively, his head bowed. “Ouji-sama.”

“Get up.” Vegeta smirked, pleased at the show of respect. “What is your name?”

“Kon, ouji-sama.” The Saiyan guard kept his head bowed even as he got up, trembling slightly.

Zarbon led them into a large room, carved into natural rock. There were a few more aliens in the room, all who jumped to wary alert as the strangers came in. A tall, swarthy Saiyan stepped forward, frowning. Dressed in loose leather trousers and worn battle armor, his face and bare arms were scarred from numerous past fights and his wild black mane was caught up in a thick tail with a piece of leather. “Zarbon, what is the meaning of this?”

“Gion, this is Prince Vegeta.” Some eyes widened at the mention of Vegeta’s name but all kept quiet as Zarbon related how he met Vegeta. Vegeta then took over, briefly explaining how and why he came.

“So you have come to aid in our fight?” Gion was slightly skeptical but kept his tone respectful. All Saiyans have heard of Prince Vegeta but many believed him to be dead, killed by Frieza. Still, he was glad that the ouji came; it was a good omen and would inspire the Saiyan fighters especially. He had also heard that the ouji had a very high power level even as a chibi. As the ouji, Vegeta would also have tactical training and experience, a definite asset to the guerillas. 

“Hai. This is my son, Trunks. That brat beside him is his mate.” Vegeta smirked, introducing his companions in turn. He turned to Goku, wrapping a tail possessively around the taller Saiyan’s waist. “And this is Kakarotto, MY mate.”

There were a few startled gasps and Zarbon spoke up curiously. “If Kakarotto is your mate… er… how is Trunks your son? And I thought all Saiyans have black hair?”

“Kakarotto is not my first mate.” The prince’s eyes clouded over briefly with sadness, his brows pulled together in a frown. “Trunks’ mother was not a Saiyan. She was a human.”

“A half-breed!” Gion blurted out, shocked.

Trunks bristled at the comment but before he could say anything, his father snapped angrily. “He may be a half-breed but he is MY son. His power level surpassed mine when I was at his age!” Trunks felt his heart swell with pride at his father’s defense; praise from his father was rare. In fact, when he was much younger, he had despaired of even getting his father to notice his existence, much less acknowledge him.

Gion stuttered an apology as Vegeta glared at him. “Tell me more about the rebels. Who is in charge?” Vegeta ordered imperiously.

Zarbon grinned at Vegeta. “Ah, we don’t have a strict hierarchy here but Gion and I are in charge.”

Vegeta stared at his old friend for a while before bursting out in loud laughter. “You? You were one of Frieza’s most trusted and elite fighters!”

Zarbon huffed in mock anger. “It’s called a survival tactic.”

“Bootlicker.” Vegeta shot back, smirking.

“Troublemaker.”

“Pretty boy.”

Zarbon glared at the amused prince for a while before breaking out in a grin. “Ah, it’s good to see you again Vegeta.” Walking over to the large table in the middle of the room, he beckoned the others to follow him. “Come here, I’ll update you all on what’s happening.”

A large computer screen was set in the table and Zarbon tapped a panel on the side of the screen. A picture of the current solar system they were in appeared on the darkened screen. Pointing to a small blue planet at the edge of the system, he explained as the view zoomed in. “That is Coolant51. It is in a militarily strategic location and its main purpose is that of a defense outpost. Much of the troops and weaponry in this sector is located on this planet; if we secure this planet, we have more or less secured this solar system. We have managed to infiltrate through the planetary defenses and establish a small base there but we have not dared to launch an attack on the ice-jin bases yet.”

The screen zoomed even further on the snow-covered planet, showing the images of a large military base. “There are four of these, positioned around the planet. We have to take these out all at the same time but we lack the manpower to do so. We have enough people to attack maybe two bases at the same time. However, that would give the other two bases not time to prepare but also to call for reinforcements from off-planet.”

Vegeta studied the images on the screen intently. “How many fighters do you estimate to be stationed in each base?”

“As the main purpose of this planet is that of a defense outpost and stopover, there are only about thirty, at most forty personnel at each base. Some would be technicians whose main job is to man the planetary weaponry, but the tricky bit is to secure the base before distress calls can be patched out for reinforcements.”

Trunks grinned confidently. “What do you think dad? Can we take them out?”

Zarbon laughed condescendingly. “Boy, you expect to take out one base by yourself?”

“No, Kakarotto and I will be able to take out one base by ourselves. Each. The boys will team up to take out the third base, leaving the fourth base for your fighters.” Vegeta smirked, his arms crossed in his characteristic pose. Behind him, Goku, Trunks and Goten grinned confidently.

Zarbon gaped at the Saiyans’ audacity. “Vegeta, I know you are more powerful than me, but *really*.” The tall blue-skinned fighter drawled sarcastically.

Vegeta inclined a head towards Goku. “The rumors that Frieza was killed by a Super Saiyan? They’re true; Kakarotto killed that bastard. And since then, we have discovered more levels to Super Saiyan. Kakarotto would have beaten Coolant easily, even in that ice-jin’s final form, had that coward not escaped.”

The Saiyans in the room gaped at the mention of the Super Saiyan legend. “All four of you… are Super Saiyans?” Gion asked in open awe.

“You are stronger than Coolant?” Zarbon was flabbergasted. The tall blue beautiful fighter did a good job of imitating a landed fish as his mouth opened and closed a few times before he recovered enough to speak again. “Well! That would really put a kink in the ice-jins’ defenses!” He smiled broadly. “When are you ready to move out?”

-----

Vegeta lay curled asleep that night, his breathing deep and even. Beside him, Goku laid on his back, unable to sleep, his mind filled with jumbled thoughts. On one hand, he was truly happy that they have found the rebels. He initially came along on the trip mainly for Vegeta but the more he talked to the rebels, the more he felt it was the right thing to do. The Saiyan warrior in him would not also deny that he was feeling excited about the planned assault on Coolant51 in two days time.

On the other hand, he can’t help this feeling of insecurity that was growing within him. After they flew back to retrieve their ship, as they would be moving to the rebels’ quarters, Vegeta had spent much of his time closeted with the Zarbon and Gion, planning out the details of the attack. Goku and the boys had stayed in the room with them but they had little to add to the discussion. Goku reasoned that he should not have felt surprised; after all, the Saiyan no Ouji would be expected to be competent in military strategy. Still, he was starting to feel left out and stupid. His previous battles on Earth had been pretty straightforward; basically him versus the singular enemy. He had no experience with multiple troops nor weaponry.

Goku turned onto his side restlessly, sighing softly. That was the main reason for his insomnia – he was starting to feel insecure. About himself and about Vegeta. He knew he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and had always laughed off his friends’ jokes about it, but deep down inside, it had hurt a little. It hadn’t really mattered much in his previous battles, which largely boiled down to a matter of brute strength in a one-to-one fight but this current situation was something different. And for once, he was not the one everyone looked to save the day. Left out. Was he jealous? Was this how the other Z sensei felt? Was this how Vegeta always felt?

Another issue that was making him feel uncomfortable was the reactions of the rebels they met. Goku was still suspicious and jealous of Zarbon; Zarbon was much like 17, witty and urbane. Something Goku knew he wasn’t.

 

While Goku had been pleased to meet the other Saiyans, he was less than pleased with their reactions towards the prince. They were all profoundly respectful and he had noticed more than one speculative look at the handsome prince. He was more than a little curious though; Vegeta had not met any of the other Saiyans before, yet they have not only heard of him but were in awe. Vegeta must have done something to merit that respect and loyalty, perhaps he would ask Gion the next day. Would Vegeta lose interest in him now that they are not the last two full-blooded Saiyans?

Goku nuzzled his face in Vegeta’s midnight locks, inhaling the musky fragrance that was the prince, as he threw a possessive arm around the smaller figure. Yet Vegeta had proudly and openly announced that they were mated. Perhaps he was simply being a baka, as his caustic mate had remarked often. Perhaps he was just jealous for no rational reason. He drifted off into an uneasy slumber.

 

 

Chapter 10: Momo


A small decrepit ship flew closer to the ice-blue planet and stopped. “Ok, any closer and we would be detected by those sensors.” Gion pointed at the small satellites that hovered around the planet in geostationary orbit. “From here, we will have to fly in under our own power.”

The assorted fighters, dressed warmly in thick fur-lined jackets and pants, stood in the hanger strapping on their breathing apparatus. At Gion’s signal, they set up a ki shield around themselves protecting themselves form the bitter cold vacuum of space. Large metal doors hissed open and the rebels drifted down towards the planet, using the barest minimum ki to propel themselves in order to avoid detection from the sensors. At the speed they were falling, they should only register as space debris that regularly rains onto any planet.

Once past the stratosphere Gion led the way unerringly. Vegeta idly wondered how he knew the way. From their vantage, the terrain was a white smooth blanket, the relief occasionally broken by bumps and dips that were the mountains and valleys. Coolant51 was the furthest inhabitable planet away from the sun and temperatures on the frigid planet stayed well below the freezing point of water. Hence security on the ground level was low; nobody was expected to actually be able to land and survive long in the bleak snow- and ice-covered landscape. Although Coolant51 was far away from the sun, the light levels on the planet were almost comparable to that on Earth due to the reflection from the snow.

Vegeta broke out of his reverie as Gion’s voice came over their scouters, announcing that they were almost there. They landed on top of one mountain and, almost hidden by the snow-covered craggy rocks, was an entrance to a cave. A guard stationed at the crevice for their arrival deactivated the force field that kept the elements out. Stumbling into the warm cave, the rebels quickly unloaded the supply packs they were carrying and crowded around the radiators in the middle of the cave to warm their frozen bodies.

The cave was spacious enough for the advance scouting party of five but, with the arrival of almost twenty more fighters, it became quite cramped. However, nobody was complaining as the extra bodies meant more heat in the frigid conditions. Zarbon quickly brought the five scouts up to date on the four Saiyans’ arrival and the planned assault.

Pulling out a map, the head of the scouting party reported in greater detail what they had found out about the bases. A pretty, petite Saiyan with wavy black locks that fell to her waist, Momo initially seemed like a giddy female, hardly what one would expect to be a scout leader, but she quickly became serious as she settled down to business.

“The bases are all built on the same design. The perimeter defense control room is here, the planetary weaponry systems room is beside it, and the communications room is here.” She pointed to marked places on the map. “The barracks are located a distance away on the other side of the base.”

Zarbon frowned at the map. “We don’t have enough manpower to take out all three at the same time…”

“We don’t have to.” Vegeta cut in. “We only need to secure the communications room first. Since we will already be inside the base, we need not worry about perimeter defense or the planetary weaponry yet. Once we have taken out the communications, we can then quickly move to lock down the perimeter and planetary defense before the troops can react. These three rooms are located in close proximity while the barracks is located on the other side of the base.”

Gion nodded. “It’s a good plan. Once we secured the bases…”

“It will be quite simple to reconfigure the planetary defense systems. It should take only a few days to reset the recognition systems and passwords, provided the ice-jins do not attack in the meantime.” Momo stated confidently. “That’s why it is vitally important that we secure the outgoing communications systems.”

“Won’t the ice-jins be suspicious if there are no messages or updates in the meantime?” Trunks broke in.

Momo shook her head. “We have been monitoring the subspace communications for the past month and it appears that they only report once every week. Their last update was today.”

“All right then. How shall the attack parties be divided?” Zarbon looked wryly at the eager Saiyans. “I know you four can probably take out three bases by yourselves but you will require a guide in.” He looked pointedly at the scouts.

“I can escort Prince Vegeta in!” Momo smiled brightly at the scowling ouji.

“Just don’t get in my way, onna.”

Momo nodded cheerfully. “Oh no, I’m not really a good fighter. My main area of expertise is in computers. I’ll secure the systems while you keep everyone off my back!” She scooted closer to the prince, batting her long lashes.

“…” Vegeta stared wide-eyed at the beaming female. Goku frowned.

Another Saiyan stepped forward, looking at Goku. “I can show you in. My name is Koron.” Koron was a tall brawny male with short spiky hair. He cocked his head in confusion. “Sorry, your name is…”

“My Saiyan name is Kakarotto but on Earth, I was called Goku. You can call me Goku.” He smiled brightly at Koron, trying hard to ignore the equally bright smile Momo was bestowing on his mate.

A red-skinned scout with bushy white hair called Janz offered to guide the demi-Saiyans while the remaining two scouts would lead the fourth party.

-----

After the briefing, which in actuality wasn’t very brief as Gion and Zarbon drilled the plan over and over again, covering every minute detail that could possibly go awry, the rebels finally moved out. Vegeta and Goku were given the bases that were furthest away as they had the instant transmission technique, so the other two teams moved out first.

Vegeta, Goku, Momo, and Koron sat around the radiators, indulging in a favorite Saiyan pastime – eating. Momo and Koron were already bundled up in warm fur-lined suits, but Vegeta and Goku had opted to don their usual fighting gear as they would probably generate enough body heat from the upcoming fights. Goku was in his usual blue and orange gi while Vegeta was clad in a black spandex tank top and leather trousers.

The slight prince shivered again, rubbing his bare arms, more affected by the cold than his heavier mate, even with his ki raised to keep warm. Grumbling, he popped open a capsule and rummaged through his pack of clothing, finally drawing out a pair of long black gloves that reached beyond his elbow. He pulled them on and fastened the thin buckles on the hem that held the floppy material in place.

/Very sexy ‘Geta…/ Goku looked at the bad-tempered prince with amusement.

/Bloody climate… what’s taking the other two parties so long? And how come you don’t feel cold?/

Goku chuckled and hugged his chilled mate from behind. /Warmer?/

/Hn./ Vegeta sipped his hot cocoa, brows drawn together in irritation but made no move to pull away from the taller Saiyan.

The scouts looked at the pair with open curiosity. Zarbon had introduced them as mates and, now that they had taken off their coats, they could clearly see the matching armbands and scars on their necks. The prince had a commanding presence about him and it wasn’t until he was standing beside his brawnier mate that they realize how slight he was.

“Tell us more about Super Saiyan…” Momo wondered. “So is it as the legends say? Your hair turns gold and your eyes become green?”

Goku nodded. “Hai. That’s for the first level. Our hair becomes even lighter and our muscle mass increase for the second level. In the third level, our hair grows all the way down our back.”

“There are further levels??” Momo gaped.

“Hai. Our sons can achieve the second level while we can ascend to the forth level. The fourth level is the most interesting – our hair becomes black again and red fur grows all over the body. I can’t really explain it, but you will have a chance to see later.”

Momo fiddled with her scouter for a while. “Ooo… this I’ve got to record.” Koron shot her an amused look, but set his scouter as well.

“And how do you…” A beeping from their scouters cut off her last question and the four quickly put away their mugs and food. That was the signal from the other two groups that they were nearing their destinations.

“See you later!” Momo chirped excitedly, clinging tightly to the prince, as the pair disappeared.

Goku clapped a hand on the silent Saiyan scout’s shoulder and transmitted out as well.

-----

Lord Coolant had been in a foul mood since he arrived back on his main base in a cramped space pod two weeks ago. Messages had been sent out constantly, summoning all of his top fighters back and production on his space ships had been sped up. It appeared that he was preparing for a war of sorts. Nobody had dared questioned him, but one thing for sure, it had something to do with Saiyans. The ice-jin had been seen raving about the tailed warrior race, and it was fortunate that there were no Saiyan left in his service.

-----

Appearing a distance away from the ice-jin base, a pair of figures immediately crouched low and scurried to hide behind the boulders that dotted the landscape.

“Where’s the secret entrance you mentioned, onna?”

“Over there… Hey! Don’t move so fast!”

Vegeta rolled his eyes in irritation. “Hurry up, onna!” He hissed in an impatient whisper.

“Excuse me…” Momo huffed as she panted behind him. “It isn’t easy to run in this outfit, especially with the tools I’m carrying.” She grinned slyly. “Carry me?”

 

Vegeta stared at her for a moment, astonished. ~ Is that crazy onna *flirting* with me? ~ He mentally shook his head. ~ No way, she knows I’m mated. ~

 

“I’m only doing this because it’s faster, get it?” Grumbling, he stopped and Momo gleefully leapt onto his back, wrapping her arms around his neck as her lean legs fastened securely around his waist.

 

As he started to run again, the female scout leaned her head forward, warm breath tickling his ear lobe.

 

-----

 

“Does Momo have a mate?” Goku tried to ask nonchalantly as the two tall fighters jogged to their destination.

 

Koron grinned. The quiet scout had not missed the scowl the normally cheerful Earth-raised Saiyan directed towards the chirpy Saiyan female before they left. “No, she’s not. Don’t worry, Momo’s like that – she’s an incorrigible flirt. She knows you and Prince Vegeta are mated.”

 

-----

 

Vegeta began to feel really uncomfortable; the pretty female on his back kept up her assault on his ear, even nuzzling her cold nose into the crook of his neck. Once in a while, she would wriggle slightly and press closer to his back.

 

“Onna… could you stop that?” He meant to sound irritated but it came out more like a hoarse plea.

 

Momo gave a wicked smirk. “Stop what?” She squirmed a bit more and rubbed her nose in his hair.

 

Vegeta was *sure* that crazy female on his back knew exactly what she was doing. “Onna, in case you haven’t notice, I’m already mated.”

 

“Oh yes, I know.”

 

“Erm…” Momo was delighted to see an adorable flush creep up the prince’s cheeks. “So could you stop that?”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because what you are doing… it’s like you’re interested in me.” The flush deepened.

 

“I am.” A sharp nip on his ear lobe nearly caused him to stumble.

 

“NANI?”

 

“I’ll be frank. You intrigue me. I know I have no chance with you, especially since you are mated. But I would like a chibi from you.”

 

Vegeta fell flat on his face.

 

-----

 

Goku felt the startled shock through their bond. /Vegeta?/

 

/Not now… No, I’m not in danger. I’ll explain later./ The link was hurriedly cut off, leaving Goku to worry.

 

-----

 

“Say again?” Vegeta pushed himself up from the snow.

 

Momo picked herself up and chuckled at his stunned countenance. “I. Want. Your. Child.”

 

“What?? Why??” The outraged prince spluttered. “Do you think I’m some sperm bank?”

 

“You’re royalty. You’ve got good genes. You’re strong, a Super Saiyan four times over. You’ve got looks and brains too.” Momo enumerated calmly.

 

“Is this some crap about your biological clock ticking?” Vegeta had heard that phrase from Bulma before.

 

Momo shot him an amused look. “That’s an interesting way to put it, and it is pretty accurate.”

 

“Why not ask some other male?”

 

“I like you.”

 

Vegeta closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. ~ Why me? ~

 

“Let’s not talk about this now. We’re supposed to be carrying out an attack, not talk about… “ He waved his hand wearily, indicating that she should get on his back again. ~ Why do I care? I should leave this irritating female in the snow. ~

 

Momo grinned as she hopped on, noting his still crimson cheeks. “All right.”

 

“And no wriggling. No nuzzling.” A stumble. “No biting either! Or I’ll drop you here!”

 

Her silvery laughter was lost on the biting cold wind.

 

A/N: Thanks to chibi_vegeta, Dark Fate & Silmir for beta-reading this chapter!

 

 

Chapter 11: The Rebels’ Assault


As they neared the base perimeter, Momo took out a crinkly sheet of silvery black cloth. “Reflective cloth. It will allow us to pass through the sensors undetected.” Still on Vegeta’s back, she draped it over herself and the prince. Silently, he floated them over the tall wall. Security was surprisingly lax.

Once in the compound, Momo got off and kept the cloth. Silently, she led the way in. There were only two technicians on duty in the communications room, which wasn’t even locked, and Vegeta took them out without any problem. Momo quickly got to work, overriding the system and setting up her own passwords. The entire process took her no more than 10 minutes, and Vegeta could tell by the competent way she worked that she was almost as adept as his first mate at mechanical stuff. Locking the door behind them, they made their way to the defense rooms.

As they ran along the corridor, Vegeta could tell that there were quite a few ki’s in the defense rooms. He ran the options over in his mind. Should he power up quietly and try to take them out by stealth? Hm, what about the scouters? Looks like a full frontal assault. He grinned in hungry anticipation of the battle ahead, flexing and loosening his muscles.

With a loud yell, he powered up to level 2 and burst the doors inwards with a burst of ki. Before the stunned fighters in the room could even react, the golden prince had snapped their necks. Momo blinked in shock, all she saw was a golden blur, then four slumped bodies.

The explosion of ki had attracted the attention of the troops in the adjoining room, and three other fighters ran in. Although they were prepared, Vegeta had no problem taking them out. It was a short, brutal fight. Vegeta was almost disappointed, but he reminded himself that the priority here was to secure the base.

“Onna… maybe you should close your mouth and get to work on the systems? The other fighters are coming.” Vegeta rasped, his attention on the doors as he powered up yet further.

“H..Hai…” Momo stuttered, though she made no movement to turn away. She watched in fascinated amazement as his hair exploded in a golden mass down his back and his eyebrows disappeared into ridges. His ki was still skyrocketing, and even though she had set up a ki shield, she still winced at the tremendous wave of ki that washed over her. Had her scouter been set on reading ki and not recording, it would have surely exploded long ago.

His body continued to glow brightly and expand, a image of a golden oozaru superimposing upon his own body until with a bright flash of golden light, the figure shrank and coalesced. His hair shrank back and turned black again, though it now fell in longer locks down his shoulders. His tank top was gone, and red fur lined his chest and arms. Vegeta smirked and rolled his shoulders, his tail lashing behind him. ~ Aah… it’s been some time since I’ve last powered up to this level… I’ve forgot how powerful this level feels… this rush… ~ Interlacing his fingers, he stretched his hands out in front of him, cracking the joints.

“Maybe you had better take this fight outside… don’t want to damage the equipment in this room…” Momo finally found her voice. Kami! He looks sooo delectable in those tight leather pants! And the luscious red fur…  She almost purred.

“Hn.” Vegeta turned and cocked his head to one side, and Momo noticed that his eyes were lined in crimson. It made his already intense cyan eyes look even more feral, more dangerous. She hurried after the prince as he flew out towards the approaching ki’s, the defense systems forgotten.

The narrow corridors worked to Vegeta’s favor as it funneled the fighters two or three at a time. Neatly avoiding (most of) the lashing limbs (and heads and tails and tentacles), the smirking prince methodically cleared his way through the melee of fighters. Quite a number of them held weapons as well, but the small hand held weapons were proved useless. A few fighters left turned tail and ran back down the corridor and Vegeta flew after them mercilessly. Cowards!

They ran out into a courtyard, and just as he was about to ready a ki blast, a shimmering net fell around him. The aliens stopped and turned at him. Momo skidded to a stop in shock and hid in the shadows of the building. Gulping, she prepared herself to spring to his aid.

“It’s no use struggling! That’s a ki-net.” One of the fighters laughed. “It will drain you of your ki. And now…” He tapped the metal band on his wrist, and several large panels on the wall drew back, revealing heavy turret guns that swiveled in the direction of the still prince.

To their surprise, Vegeta laughed confidently. “Fools. Did you think this would hold me? Even with my ki sapped, I still possess enough to TEAR this net!” A loud ripping sound punctuated his words, and the metallic net crackled and short-circuited as the prince tore it apart.

With a startled yelp of panic, that fighter tapped his band furiously, and the mounted guns fired rapidly on the slight figure. The barrage continued for a good few minutes until the batteries were spent. When the debris settled, the fighters’ mocking laughter died away when Vegeta stepped forth, seemingly unharmed, just extremely dusty. With a mocking laugh of his own, the smirking prince let loose a blue wave of ki, incinerating the remaining fighters instantly.

-----

Goten found himself pressed on both sides as he strove to keep the base defenders away from the communications room. Some distance away, Trunks was doing the same for the perimeter and planetary defense system rooms as Janz worked feverishly in the room to shut down the defenses. They were holding their own, but tiring rapidly under the barrage of fighters.

Goten had a slightly harder time, as he wasn’t as strong as Trunks. Every hit scored on Goten caused a wince on his lavender-haired mate; though the demi-Saiyans do not share as strong a bond as their fathers – they cannot hold mental conversations, but they can feel emotions and pain through their bond. Trunks badly wanted to fly to Goten’s side but he cannot leave his position even for a while. Gritting his teeth, he hoped Goten would be fine.

-----

Zarbon glanced around at the smoking corridors, tapping his scouter to scan for more life forms. “Looks like this area is cleared.” Gion’s voice came over his scouter, confirming that they have shut down the defenses.

-----

As Goku quickly mopped up the remaining defenders, a nagging memory played itself in his mind. When he had burst into the communications room, he managed to catch the five aliens inside by surprise. However, one of them managed to hit a button on a panel, and the screen lit up for a moment before Koron lunged forward to smash the panel. He hoped nothing went wrong.

-----

“Lord Coolant.” One of the faceless, nameless technicians turned nervously to the scowling ice-jin, inclining his head in fear. “This just came from one of the bases on Coolant51.”

It was an extremely short transmission. An image of the room in chaos… a blurred golden figure and slumped bloodied bodies on the floor. Coolant leaned forward in fascinated anger. “Enlarge on that golden figure.” The image zoomed in. Coolant stared in anger and shock, even a little fear. The last emotion was one he was not used to feeling and he tried to mask it under the more familiar one of rage. That golden figure… that face! It was the golden Saiyan warrior who had defeated him, humiliated him back some weeks back! He stared in icy silence at the monitor, the image burning into his mind. The heavy mass of golden hair, the brow ridges… the blue and orange outfit. That same visage had haunted him in his sleep ever since his defeat; that of the golden Saiyan appearing enraged in his space ship right after him. He had vaguely remembered another golden Saiyan with him, but his anger was focused on the Saiyan which had *humiliated* him!

“Contact the base.” His voice dripped with icy rage.

“There was no answer.” The technician was trembling in open fear now.

“Mobilize all of the troops that are currently on the base right now. We move out to Coolant51 tomorrow.”

-----

It was a short and successful assault. The presence of the Super Saiyans and the speed at which they surprised the troops on the bases turned the battle overnight into the rebels’ favor. There were some injuries but no casualties.

-----

Goku sighed, feeling useless and bored. Vegeta and Trunks have been cooped up with Momo and the other scouts, helping to reset the planetary defense systems. Most of the satellite sensors have already been reconfigured to recognize any non-rebel troops as hostile, but the weaponry was still off- line as the reprogramming of that was dependent on the sensors. Walking absently around a corner, he almost bumped into Gion.

“Gomen!” Goku smiled apologetically. The older Saiyan looked at Goku closely and grinned. “Bored?”

“Yeah, how did you know? Mind if I talk to you?” Goku fell into step with the other Siayan.

“Because I am too. Because I know Prince Vegeta has been cooped up in the computer rooms for the past three days. Because you have BORED written on your forehead.” The two warriors laughed.

“Gion, can I ask you something?”

“Hm?”

“I don’t understand…” Goku frowned in confusion as he struggled with his words. “I don’t understand the other Saiyans’ attitude to Vegeta.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you all have never met Vegeta before, yet everyone automatically accepts him as one of the leaders. Not that I do not respect him, far from that, but…” Goku recalled the deference Radditz and Nappa had shown the diminutive and younger prince as well.

Gion stopped in front a window, looking out. Outside, a snow blizzard was starting to pick up. “How much do you know of our planet’s customs? Of Prince Vegeta’s past?”

“Very little.” Goku frowned. That had been a sore point in their relationship. Even though they were now mates and linked mentally, Vegeta remained close-lipped about his past and kept up strong mental barriers on his memories. Goku did not dare push his hot-tempered mate about it but he had to admit, he was extremely curious. “I was raised on Earth, I know almost nothing about Saiyan customs. And Vegeta does not like to talk about his history.”

Gion continued looking out at the white swirling snow, wondering what he should or could say. Start with something safe first. “We are respectful of the ouji because he has earned the title many times over. Saiyan culture can be harsh and unforgiving, and it is especially so for the royal family. One is not simply born a prince – one has to earn the title as well. Vegeta passed the first test when he was born with the highest power level in his generation. Normally, a Saiyan baby with a weak ki reading is sent off- planet. You can call it a form of selection. However, among the elites, weak babies are killed at birth.”

Goku stared at the calm Saiyan, horrified. “You mean they are not even given a chance?”

“No. The higher one’s class, the higher the expectations. And as the Saiyan no ouji, Vegeta was constantly trained and tested from birth. There are certain rites of passages. For example, one is termed S’vaar, or simply Survival, where the child is left in the jungle and expected to survive on his own for two weeks. Most undertake that at age five; Prince Vegeta passed that test when he was three. Another important milestone is K’lur or First Kill, and it has to be one of the nine designated Large Predators on Vegetasei. I killed my first when I was seven. Prince Vegeta killed his first during his S’vaar.”

Goku listened in fascinated silence. Vegeta had never mentioned those aspects of Saiyan culture. However, he did remember Bulma complaining to Chi Chi about the harsh training Vegeta put chibi Trunks through. Vegeta had even wanted to bring the boy out for wilderness training but the strong-willed blue-haired genius put her foot down at that. Now that he thought about it, the tension and anger at the CC had been palpable during that period.

Gion took a deep breath, hoping the ouji would never find out what he was going to say next. “But all that was nothing compared to what the prince’s sacrifice. Frieza had developed an interest in Vegetasei and demanded the young prince as a hostage. We Saiyans were prepared to fight, but the ouji agreed to Frieza’s demands. He was only twelve.”

Goku’s chest constricted in agonized sympathy. “Frieza broke that agreement. Vegeta told me that Frieza destroyed Vegetasei anyway but claimed it was due to a meteor shower.”

“Many of us guessed as much.” Gion’s jaw clenched in hatred. “Yet what our ouji did… knowingly going to Frieza… he has earned the title of ouji-sama many times over.”

“What...?”

Gion turned to look intently into the younger Saiyan. “That part is not mine to tell. I can only say, my experience as a troop under an ice-jin was an… awful period in my life. And I was only an anonymous fighter.”

 

Onto the next part!

 

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