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?”
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.
Onto Rebels Chapter 9
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