CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX: PLANET OF THE SAIYA-JIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Zarbon woke up in his wife's arms. How he had missed that feeling. Lately, it seemed, he was either off-planet, or too busy to spend much time with Salad. Even when he was on Capitol, negotiating with Cold, Zarbon had been too stressed to pay her as much attention as he had wanted to. The fact that in the past few weeks he had usually gone to bed about two hours before she did proved it entirely. He quietly resolved to devote more time to her, work be damned. He gave her a light kiss on the forehead, light enough not to wake her up, and checked the clock. It was past time to get up. He brushed Salad's hair back lovingly, then he got out of bed.

            First order of business: Check to see if they were on schedule, and get the landing on Vegeta arranged. With any luck, they might be able to get a good hangar space for the ship. Without, he'd just have to pay a few people to watch it at all times. The Saiya-jin were notorious for ripping off anything that could be ridden in.

            Second order or business: Wake up Gokou, and see if there's any time to debrief him on Saiya-jin protocol as well as the Imperial version. of course, Bardock probably had by now, but it wouldn't hurt to review it a bit. That man had serious problems with his brain's central computer.

            Third order of business: Try to relax.

            Zarbon thought for a minute, then re-ordered everything- the new first order of business was to take a shower. Nothing could be more important than that.

 

***

 

            After showering and actually getting ready for the morning, Zarbon finally went out into the main portion of the ship. He stopped cold, utterly surprised, looking as though he had just seen an entire troop of ghosts pass bye.

            Gokou and Zangya were sitting down in the main room, playing chess. both seemed utterly awake and aware, and- miracle of miracles- Zangya actually looked relaxed, happy, and was actually smiling! She was also beating the crap out of Gokou, which figured, since advanced mental processes did not seem to be his forte.

            They both stopped and looked at him. Various scenarios played through Zarbon's mind of what could have happened the previous night to have caused this strange event to take place, ranging from a simple bout of insomnia to drugs to a wild, torrid affair (An idea which he threw out as soon as he realized which two people he was talking about).

            He looked at them both staring at him, and decided that saying something, anything would be best right now. Zarbon's mouth went dry as he tried to think of anything to say. What ended up coming out was, "Gokou, you're going to be checkmated in two moves."

            they both burst out laughing, puzzling Zarbon even more. he decided to leave the two of them to their game while he got the landing arranged. Today looked to be much, much stranger than  usual.

            He looked out the viewport- there it was, Planet Vegeta. They were quite ahead of schedule- Zarbon would have to slow the ship down to give everyone else time to get up and get ready.

            "Is that where I came from?" Zarbon jumped at Gokou's voice. The guy had a way of sneaking up behind you that was uncanny.

            Zarbon nodded. "Yes, Gokou. That's it. planet Vegeta. The home of your father, and his father before him."

            "It looks dead to me," Gokou said, scratching his head.

            "That's because it's primarily a desert world. Look, I'll bring up some stats for you-"

            "No thanks. I wasn't talking about that. I mean... a lot of people have died there. You can almost see it. I don't know how anybody can stand living there."

            Zarbon looked back at the planet and shuddered. he wondered what Gokou would have seen on Capitol had he been there... or on Rigel 7.

            "Gokou, could you please wake everybody up, and see that they get ready soon? We'll be landing in a few hours."

            Gokou nodded. "Sure thing!" he ran off before Zarbon could think to add one final remark- And please do it graciously.

            The sounds of doors slamming and Gokou yelling for everybody to wake up filled the small spaceship. Zarbon put his head in his hands and laughed. Today may be strange- but it was damn funny.

 

***

 

            Exactly three minutes later, everybody was up, thanks to Gokou's hollering- except for Salad, who probably could sleep through Armageddon if she had wanted to. Zarbon woke her up by speaking softly in her ear, the way she liked it.

            He had promised to himself to spend more time with her, and it was little things like that that mattered.

            "I do love you, dear, but I'm afraid that you have thirty minutes to get ready to land- and Zangya's using the shower right now."

            THAT got Salad up in a hurry.

            "Bardock, could you attend to the landing right now?" Zarbon called out.

            "Why?" Bardock asked from outside the door.

            "I promised to spend more time with Salad, and I think that now's the perfect opportunity."

            Bardock smirked from outside the door and gave Zarbon a small salute. "Heh. Some people..." He neglected to say that he would have done the same had Sash been alive.

            Bardock took over at the controls of the ship- that is, he took over after he checked to see that Gohan was doing all right, and was ready to go. He was greeted by Piccolo, who was in a surly mood to begin with, and the prospect of having to wear that armour again had darkened his temperament even more- although he seemed to be extraordinarily nice around Gohan lately.

            Bardock smiled and grabbed his son before getting the ship's landing ready. He had to show him the Planet of his Heritage.

 

***

 

            "Are we ready?" Zarbon asked everyone, right after they had landed. They each nodded in unison, which was quite eerie given the circumstances.

            He absently gave one final check- everything seemed in order, thanks to Bardock for slowing the ship's descent noticeably.

            "That's good, then. just try to keep the synchronized head-nodding to a minimum, please."

            He opened the door, and at that moment, Gokou and Gohan got their first real look of the Planet of their heritage.

            Bardock folded his arms and watched them, a good smile appearing on his face while Zarbon went out to arrange lodgings for the ship.

            Gokou looked around in awe at what he was seeing. The spaceport was busy today, with numerous Saiya-jin and associated aliens running around, minding their own business.

            He walked out of the spaceport and saw the planet stretch wide before him, all a desert with a red sky, yes- but still, it was his Heritage. Not his home, like the Earth, but Gokou felt a sort of... connection with this place; a feeling of Belonging that he had not felt before. Somehthing inside Gokou that was previously empty was filled up at that moment. From that point onward, he could have just left the planet and have been forever satisfied. he had seen it with his own eyes, he had seen his heritage.

            Gohan came scuttling up beside him. Gokou put his arm around the boy's shoulders.

            They had made it.

            They were home.

 

***