CHAPTER FIFTEEN: SETTING OUT
Zarbon was sick of having the same dream over and over again. For some odd reason, he dreamed that he kept getting killed by Vegeta- not the king, the prince. That wasn't an unusual dream- Prince Vegeta killed more people than he should have- but there were strange details in it. For one thing, Vegeta wasn't in his Royal Armour. he was in a battered blue uniform similar to Zarbon's. For another thing, it always happened on some strange alien landscape (green sky and blue grass- odd), with two of the strangest people that Zarbon had ever seen jumping around in the background. A bald guy with no nose, and some attractive green-haired woman who looked about ready to kill the bald guy. In this dream, Zarbon could almost feel it when Vegeta blew his guts out and threw him into a lake.
But it was only a dream, after all.
Zarbon was just being killed for the umpteenth time that night when he distantly heard his alarm go off in that horribly distinctive buzzing noise that was unique to all electric alarm clocks.
He shuffled awake, and absentmindedly did the one thing that he had wanted to do since he was a small child- he fried it with some ki.
/Damn, that felt good,/ he thought to himself as he slowly sat up, careful not to knock any bones out of joint, (when one is really tired, one always feels as though one is about to disintigrate) and calmly tried to fully wake himself up, and remember the past fifty years all at once. Fifty. Old for some, young for others. Half a century. Fun. Sleep now.
Zarbon fell back into his bed and slowly drifted toward a blissful slumber when he remembered something that someone told him once, once long ago, in an age long forgotten:
"You will depart tomorrow at Three in the afternoon."
He smiled. /Three. Such a small number. Such... a... small... OHSHITMYCLOCKSAID2:30BEFOREIBLEWITTOSMITHEREENSIHAVEAHALFHOURIMLATEGETUPGETUPGETUPGETUP!!!!!!!/
He did not get up as planned. He might as well have been paralyzed. His body seemed to be talking to him, and it said one thing. /You just try to get up, buster! You just try! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!/ He could actually hear the laugh echo in his head. Salad... Maybe if he could get her... where is she?
Salad more than obviously wasn't in the bed next to him, and he couldn't hear her anywhere in the small apartment that they had rented on Planet Vegeta. But then, in his current state, he couldn't hear a thing. He tried to shout her name, but his vocal cords had apparently fallen asleep. This was worse than being drugged, because you usually enjoyed it when they drugged you.
/Move, damn you! MOVE!/
/Just go ahead and try!/
/If you weren't me I'd kill you!/
At that point Zarbon felt something inside him give away. Sleep was coming, and it would take him, and then...
Something roundish, hard, and metal bonked against his head, defeating sleep entirely for the time being.
Zarbon sat up, this time propping himself up against the back wall to keep anything else from happening again. He looked down at what hit him. It turned out to be a small message container- apparently someone thought it was urgent. Who threw it, though?
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING STILL IN BED?" Salad's voice resounded from across the apartment. That's who threw it.
"You have fifteen minutes to get ready," Salad said, coming into the room (her voice calmed down, too), "One of Cold's men gave me that message ball. It's probably a warning asking why you're late."
"Salad?" Zarbon asked.
"Yes?" she turned her head back around.
"How in hell did I sleep until half-past two in the afternoon?"
"It's jetlag, remember? For us it's 5 in the morning."
"I usually wake up at five!"
"Exactly. Your uniform's out waiting for you- you'd better hold off the shower, there's no ti-"
But he was already taking one. The day that Zarbon arrived for an appointment half-cocked would be the day... well, let's not talk about it.
Salad picked up the message ball and considered it for a moment. Sure, it WAS for Zarbon, and it WAS imperial business, but then, this wouldn't be the first time she'd opened his mail, after all.
She opened it and pressed RECEIVE. The message consisted of one simple sentence.
DEPARTURE DELAYED UNTIL 6:30.
That previous grin crossed Salad's face. There really was no reason to tell him, now, was there?
A little over three and a half hours later, King Cold arrived near the ship, with his three elites in tow. Zarbon looked up at him.
"What happened? You're three hours late!" he asked, forgetting all formalities.
Cold smiled, amused at this. "Did you get the message ball I sent you?"
"Yes," Zarbon replied. "But I didn't have a chance to open it. I was late!"
Cold shook his head and left to get the ship. Doore and Neizu followed him, while Sauzaa sat down next to Zarbon.
"Hello," Zarbon offered back.
"So," Sauzaa said, "You were late and you didn't read the message? You could have taken it with you."
"I lost it."
"You lost it? You lost it! Ha! That's a first!" Sauzaa laughed a bit at this. "How did you, the great King of Organization, lose the message ball?"
Zarbon shot him an irritated look. "It disappeared between the time that I took a shower and the time that I got out and got dressed again."
Sauzaa smiled again. "that's just like Salad, all right," Sauzaa said, "he reads your mail then hides it."
Zarbon smirked. "Did she do that to you when you dated her?"
Sauzaa laughed. "Of course! How do you stand her, Zarbon?"
"Love changes everything. Trust me on that."
"Whatever you say," Sauzaa shook his head and smiled, "Whatever you say. Hey look, one of your new friends is arriving!"
Zarbon looked up to see Bardock approaching at a casual pace. Zarbon got up to greet him.
"I guess this means I'm coming with you, then," he said with little conviction in his voice. The man looked tired- spent, really. Zarbon didn't think to ask him about it- he, after all, felt rather worn out, too.
"Are you ready?" Zarbon asked.
"I mean, are you ready to leave. Anything you need to pack?"
Bardock shook his head. "No, not really.They're supplying basically everything for us, as it is. There's really no point in it. What about you?" bardock asked, pointing at Zarbon's small satchel.
"They didn't include earrings with the complimentary uniforms," he said with a slight grin. "You Saiya-jin- are way too Spartan."
Bardock smirked and sat down. "So," he asked, "Who's the girl?"
"The girl you were with yesterday. All I understand is that she's coming with us."
"Oh, her," Zarbon said, "Weren't you briefed on our mission?"
"No, I was not," bardock said, putting the emphasis on "not."
"Why weren't you? I thought I sent you a message ball."
"I didn't have time to read it."
"It said, 'urgent.'"
"Not urgent enough, apparently. Now, who was she?"
Zarbon sighed and prepared for a long explanation. "About two weeks ago I and several others of King Cold's elite were on a routine planetary raid when we were ambushed by-"
"Just get to the point," Bardock said impatiently, "Who is she?"
"When we were ambushed by a group of mercenaries led by a Southern Galaxy alien named Bojack. The mercenaries were extremely powerful and skilled, and killed all of us except for one. Me. There was a short scuffle later, not quite a fully-fledged fight, that resulted with me and one of Bojack's underlings being stranded on the planet- with the said warrior having been cut off from Bojack's team...."
"Please, cut the long story. You can tell me all of that later, now please tell me who that girl is!"
Zarbon rolled his eyes at his comerade's lack of patience. This was not a good quality in someone with whom you would be soon sharing a rather small ship for who knows how long. "I was about to tell you that. Her name is-"
"My name is Zangya, thank you." A newly arrived Zangya stated.
Bardock stood up and faced her. Zarbon rolled his eyes again.
"Well, Zangya, My name is Bardock. Your friend here doesn't seem to know who you are exactly. Maybe you can clarify for me?" He started to shake her hand, but stopped when she flinched.
"She doesn't like to be touched," Zarbon said from the side.
"Oh. Sorry. Now, who are you? could someone please tell me before I grow old?"
"Telling from your record, that's not exactly very far off," Zarbon said, smiling.
Bardock resisted the urge to try to crush Zarbon's skull. He instead offered a small, quiet, "Shut up."
"Now, Zangya," Bardock said, turning back to her, "Who exactly are you?"
"About two weeks ago," Zangya started, "Zarbon, along with several other elites, was on a routine planet raid, when..."
Bardock shook his head and listened. Arguing was useless, it seemed.
Shortly after Zangya finished explaining who she was and why she was there with them, King Cold returned with the ship being driven in by a few techs. Zarbon began to smile, but the urge seemed swallowed up by a sense of impending doom. /It's probably just the fact that you are about to embark on a mad fight against a guy who could probably take out King Cold's entire army if he wanted to, and also have the wonderful honour of facing his employer, who was probably even more powerful. (evil masterminds often tended to be that way) Nope, no reason to worry at all./ Zarbon shook his head. What had he gotten into? himself into?
Bardock wondered exactly how Toma was at the moment. If everything was going correctly, he should be clearing out the planet where Kakarotto disappeared right this minute.