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CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE: OUTFITTING

 

 

 

 

 

                "You're leaving so soon?" Bulma asked Zarbon, apparently having decided that it didn't matter if he could turn into a monster, he was still hot.

                Zarbon rolled his eyes. "I'll be back soon. I do have to return those people over there," he commented, pointing at Gokou and Piccolo. Gohan had not yet shown up. Chichi had made a last-second check to see if he had packed everything that he needed. Apparently, the boy was found wanting.

                "Just... come back, okay?" she asked, starry-eyed.

                "Oh, look. Isn't that Yamucha?"

                Bulma jumped about ten feet as she turned around faster than any ki warrior could.

                When she turned back, Zarbon was busy talking over some of the details with Gokou and Bardock. Zangya was somewhere in the ship, basically hiding from all contact with the outside. She really hadn't shown up much since they came back, except for a quick "Hi" when she and Zarbon arrived. Slowly, Bulma began to grasp why. Zarbon had hinted that something happened between her and Bojack, but it was unclear exactly what it was. Bulma shook her head at the thought of it. Poor girl. It was hard to believe that she was actually a fighter with that personality of hers.

                "Gokou, where IS that son of yours?" Zarbon asked for the umpteenth time.

                "I don't know," replied a confused Gokou, "With Chichi, I guess."

                "You guess..." Zarbon trailed off, closing his eyes. What could they be doing?

                His question was answered when Chichi's little air-car came driving over the hill, Gohan in tow, and packed to the gills with suitcases and bags and boxes and backpacks and tupperware containers and Hoi Poi capsules and the like.

                Zarbon sat down and put his head into his hands.

                "Hi, guys!" Chichi chirped, suddenly seeming happy as she dismounted the straining vehicle. She opened the passenger-side door, and out came Gohan, as prim and as proper as can be, hair cut short and slicked down with lots and lots of gel. He looked like a prisoner about to walk the Last Mile.

                "Now, Gohan, dear, say hello to your friends!" Chichi chirped to the poor little boy.

                "Hi," Gohan said dejectedly, eyes cast toward the ground.

                "Do you think you have room for all of his things?" she asked, pointing back to the car.

                Zarbon thought about space restrictions. No, probably not. But... this WAS Chichi... what could he say?

                "Why don't we just capsulize it?" Bulma asked absentmindedly. "It'll only take a few hours, and we can give you the equipment to compact it again."

                Zarbon shook her hand, nearly wrenching it off. "Bulma, you're a genius!"

 

***

 

                "So, this is your ship?" Gokou called from some room, somewhere in there. "Nice!" he shouted as the sound of a toilet flushing could be heard- that's where he was. "Ooh! Look at it flush! Hey, where do you keep the food?"

                Zarbon quietly considered hiding the refrigerator for the duration of the trip, then decided against it, as nowhere would be safe from the Almighty Gokou.

                "it's in the kitchen, where it always is," he muttered back at the Saiya-jin.

                "Really? Let's go, Gohan!" The sound of two sets of hyperactive feet echoes throughout the ship. Zarbon slumped back in his chair.

                He listened to sounds of two hungry Saiya-jin eating everything in sight as Zangya came in.

                "They're eating everything. Shouldn't you try to stop them?"

                Zarbon absently waved a hand in a defeated gesture. Trying to keep Gokou and his son away from food was like trying to stop the sun from rising and setting. It was possible if you had a lot of ki, but it just wasn't worth it.

                "We'll be in Capitol in no time, and we can always stop on an outpost somewhere for more supplies. SO, what's Bardock doing?"

                Zangya took a seat and answered him. "he's staring out of one of the windows somewhere. I've never seen him act so... so calm before. Either Gokou drugged him, or something happened on earth that we don't know about."

                "You weren't there when he explained why he didn't have a tail, were you?"

                Zangya shook her head. "No," she said quietly.

                Zarbon smiled as he filled her in on the details.

 

***

 

                "This alien food isn't much different from our own," Gokou shouted as he crammed an entire packet of some kind of nondescript meat into his mouth. Gohan, who was holding some kind of vegetable of a shape that would make his mother think that he was poisoning himself, quite disagreed. It didn't matter what shape it was in, though. Food was food, and for the Son family- that meant Business!

                Gokou stopped his eating parade when he felt a hand on his shoulder. he turned and faced his father, who was smiling in one of his rare warm, kind ones.

                "Gokou, Gohan, come on back. Zarbon has something for you two."

                Gohan jumped for joy. "Oh, boy! Presents!!! I hope it's something good!"

                "More than you think, my boy. more than you think. You may be Saiya-jin, but now you're going to look the part."

                They followed him out to the main central room of the ship, where Zarbon was. he was holding four small packages, and Zangya was standing behind him. Over in a corner was Piccolo, looking just as grim and serious as ever.

                "Protocall demands certain things," Zarbon began, "And suggests others. This one is one of the ones that's only suggested, but I think that it's in order."

                He handed out the packages, one to Gokou, one to Gohan, and one to Piccolo, holding the last one to himself. Gokou opened one curiously, and his eyes widened a bit.

                "That's Saiya-jin armour!" he exclaimed.

                "Yes, it is. There's an outfit in there for each of you. Don't worry about the fit- they're expandable." Zarbon commented, still holding the fourth package. "Use your individual quarters as changing rooms." Gokou and Gohan went to their rooms to change. Piccolo, however, stayed back.

                "Do I really have to wear this?" Piccolo growled.

                "Yes, you do," Bardock said rather firmly. "You don't have to wear them for the rest of your lives, but you will need them during the visit. Now go put it on."

                Piccolo growled something unintelligible.

                "Do it for Gohan's sake."

                Piccolo growled again, but went back to his room. Zarbon watched him, then remembered that he hadn't given out the last package yet.

                "Zangya," he called quietly, "I almost forgot- there's one for you, too," he commented as he handed her the box.

                She looked up at him curiously. "For me? I don't think-"

                "But I do," Zarbon interrupted. "You're a part of this team, right?"

                "I didn't think I was."

                "Yes, you are. King Cold doesn't really care one way or another, and since you can't serve your original purpose- giving info on Bojack- you're on the team. And since you're one of us, I'd like you to look official."

                Zangya put on a somewhat confused expression. "But... Do I really deserve to be on this team?"

                "As much as Bardock or I do, and you know it. If not for you, I'd be running around with Babidi right now, or dead thanks to Bojack. You've been a good friend, and you've proved your worth more than is enough. Even if you don't think that you're worth it, put it on anyway. At least for me and for Bardock. Please?"

                "Friendship?" She stammered. "You really think of me as a friend?"

                "After what we've been through? I sincerely hope that you consider me your friend!"

                Zangya's eyes watered as she took the package and hurried off toward her room. Zarbon realized for a moment that he was probably the first person to say anything like that to her in who knows how long.

                He turned to Bardock as he waited for them.

                "Zarbon, you just did something that was very beautiful," Bardock commented. "When you two came back, Zangya was acting a lot more closed-in than ever. It might have been what happened with Babidi, I'm not sure, but she seemed really afraid of you. What you just said healed that, I think, and something more."

                "Hmm?"

                "I'm saying that by giving her the Armour, and by calling her your friend, you just healed some of what Bojack did to her."

                Zarbon grabbed Bardock's shoulders and gave a joking shake. "Who are you, and what did you do to Bardock?" he shouted.

 

***

 

                About five minutes later, Gokou walked out, fully dressed in his new uniform. The armour was black, with a dark red bodysuit underneath. it sported shoulderpads, and leg/crotch guards. The full regalia. In it, he looked like a different person. On the chest was a small white teardrop symbol- showing that although he was not an official member of the group, he was under their protection.

                "Kakarotto, now you truly are a Saiya-jin," bardock said, as close to being sentimental as he would ever get.

                Literally seconds later came Gohan, dressed in a blue bodysuit with a simple shoulderless chestplate. There was something about the sight of him in that armour, with his hair the way it was, that reminded Bardock very much of Raditz when he was little. Bardock bent down to his level.

                "I take back anything that I may have said about your potential being wasted," Bardock said to his grandson, "You and your father have truly found your heritage, a long time ago."

                Piccolo's voice came from the hallway. "I... Piccolo... Will not wear this... this...!"

                Zarbon rolled his eyes. "Yes, you will, now come on out and let me have a look at you!" he called.

                Piccolo walked out, as stiffly as he could manage, with a miffed expression on his face. His armour was white, with shoulderpads, and had a purple bodysuit underneath. Zarbon had been worried that Saiya-jin armour would make him look like an idiot, but this exact type... was incredible.

                "What's wrong with it?" Zarbon asked the Namek. He got a grunt in return.

                "I look like an idiot."

                "And wearing a turban, a cape, purple clothing, and cheap brown pointy shoes doesn't?" Zarbon asked, and got some laughter from the entire group.

                "I'm ready," came Zangya's voice form the hallway. "May I come in now?"

                "Go right ahead. We'd love to see how you look!"

                Zangya stepped into the room hesitantly, and everyone fell completely quiet. The armour was a little off average- an indigo bodysuit, and a normal white-ish chestplate, this one with the proper Black teardrop, but that wasn't what had hit them. Nobody in that room had seen Zangya wear anything that was even nearly sculpted to her figure before, and the result was something far beyond where any of them would have placed her before. In about two seconds Zarbon realized why exactly Bojack had picked her, and had kept her around for ten years. he and Bardock both turned around in unison, out of breath and looking like goggling idiots.

                "And you're not involved with her in any way?" bardock asked in a whisper, "You're crazy!"

                "I told you, I'm married," Zarbon whispered back.

                "Well, I'm not!" Bardock said, and that was as far as he went. They both turned back, having regained most of their composure.

                "Do I look all right?" Zangya asked meekly, in a completely withdrawn pose that made her look gorgeous. Zarbon fought hard not to stutter when he answered, and by some miracle of grace succeeded.

                "Yes, you look quite all right. Doesn't she, Bardock?" Bardock simply nodded.

                Later, it amused Zarbon to no end that Gokou and Gohan apparently weren't affected, or didn't notice, and that the entire time Piccolo had an extremely confused look on his face.

                "Welcome to the team," Zarbon said, giving Zangya a respectful head-nod.

                "Now, for the rest of you," he went on, walking up to the other three. "We have a few days before we arrive at Capitol, and until then, I'd like to instruct you on the protocal for meeting either King. Bardock, will you assist me?"

                Bardock nodded. The lessons began.

 

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