"Watch your step, Janine. There are a lotta cracks in the floor."
The two Saiyans maintained a close distance to one another as they traversed through the gloomy, frigid cave. And although the siblings were now sheltered from the icy wind which, moments ago, remorselessly pelted them outside, the overpowering chill of night was beginning to creep in on them. It had been fifteen minutes since the two had journeyed out and Janine was already regretting her decision. She felt a bitter sensation building inside. Deviating from the strict values drilled into her by their parents left Janine anxious to return home.
"You see that?" asked Turles, guiding his finger forward. "That's where he came from, in there."
Janine raised her head. Moonlight beckoned in through a gap in the ceiling, illuminating a large, isolated structure that obstructed most of the cavern. It was an abandoned facility of sorts, indicated by the smooth, modular composition, painted sanitary white and chrome. But unlike most establishments, there was no exterior facade, no sign to label it or hint its purpose; only a sea of stalagmites.
"Woah," Janine gasped in astonishment. "This must be some kind of research station... It looks deserted."
"A research... what?" Turles asked, looking quizzically to his sister for answers.
"Research station. It's where scientists study stuff. Like what we do at school, but for older, smarter people."
"Oh... Well, that's where he came from," Turles added. "And there's more like him inside, but they're not as friendly though."
"We should probably head home..." advised Janine. "It's getting late. No doubt mom and dad have noticed that we're gone, and are starting to panic."
Turles bobbed his head in agreement. And as the two pivoted on their heels, being mindful of the barely perceivable crevasses which could easily ensnare their ankles, they both suddenly froze in place. Two of the creatures, baring teeth and growling ferally, had silently snuck up on them, blocking their only exit. One clutched to a stalagmite, using a single arm to lever itself up horizontally. The other pressed its gargantuan knuckles into the ground, lurching forward as if threatening to charge. Turles gulped, cautiously stepped forward to greet them, and submissively raised his hands; striving to deescalate the growing tension.
"Hey, it's me!... Don't you remember? I was here the other night? With Zig-Zig?"
Unbeknown to Janine, Zig-Zig was the pet name that Turles had given to the lone ape back at the farm. Albeit, none of it mattered. Any diplomatic attempt to reason with these animals fell short, for Turles' soft tone and calming gestures were met by the slow rumbling of territorial grunts.
"Uhh..." Janine stammered, shaken and afraid. "W-... What are we going to do-...
WOOO WOOO WOOO AGHH! AHHH!
And in an intimidating display of raw, primal aggression, the apes exploded into a sprint; storming straight towards the frightened Saiyan siblings.
A wall-mounted heart monitor began to ping. The cardiac event recorder was detecting immense fluctuations. The bubbles intensified; a telltale sign that adrenaline was being produced - and in large volumes. The Saiyan's eyes shot open, pupils stricken and lively. This disturbing dream was enough to wake Turles from an induced coma. But following some concentration, and implementing a mastery assortment of mental and breathing techniques, his panic attack soon eased.
It was just... An old memory.
It took a few moments for Turles to regain composure, and as his blurred vision gradually cleared, the pirate's emotion briskly shifted from hysteria to uncertainty. Unfamiliar with his newfound surroundings, Turles swiftly educated himself, retaining as much detail as his eyes could allow:
Healing chamber, medic bay of a spacecraft. Dead crew member 10 feet away... Planet Sadala.
Behind his oxygen mask, the space pirate couldn't prevent the devious smirk that encompassed his face. Peering through the nearest porthole, an abundance of asteroids would pass by, frequently blocking his view - but the unmistakable glimpse of Planet Sadala, millions of miles in the distance, made Turles unimaginably pleased.
Finally, he was free of that torturous hellhole.
"No," Vegeta said bluntly.
"But, master, I-.."
"I said no."
Cabba frowned sourly. Vegeta had refused his offer to help. It made little sense to the Universe 6 Saiyan who, out of everyone involved, with perhaps the exception of Renso, believed this situation concerned the most. After all, Cabba was still a fully-fledged member of the Sadala Defense Force, and it was his friend recovering in the hospital because of Turles. But by declining his assistance, Vegeta had unknowingly poured more fuel onto Cabba's already burning fire. In an unexpected display of defiance, Cabba allowed the uncharacteristic words to slip from his mouth:
Then, Cabba's perception of everything drastically slowed. Goku and Vegeta pressed for the hospital elevator, but this invitation astonished the Saiyans, prompting them to abruptly pause. Vegeta rotated his head and cocked an eyebrow, the Prince's attention was now peaked. The two Saiyans from Universe 7 waited for the full proposal; Vegeta silently judging.
"Fight me, master... If you win, I'll stay out of your way. But if I win, you gotta' take me with you."
"Hmph!" Vegeta indignantly responded. "This isn't up for negotiation, Cabba... Look at what this Turles guy did to your girlfriend."
"GIRLFRIEND!?.." both Cabba and Renso yelled out in unison. Renso swiftly evaluated his former protege with a cynical expression; quickly critiquing Cabba's chances of ever dating his younger sister, Caulifla.
"Oh please..." Vegeta turned away, ignoring their reaction nonchalantly. "Besides, if what Renso says is true, then Turles will be gathering an army of criminals... A lot of which the Sadala Defence Force helped put behind bars. I doubt your face will go unrecognized."
Cabba felt his shoulders sink. What Vegeta said was true, Cabba was indeed responsible for locking away hundreds, if not thousands, of convicted criminals and psychopaths. And from personal experience, Cabba knew that some grudges can be difficult to shake off - especially when you deprive someone of freedom and sunlight for many years.
"And another point..." continued Vegeta. "You seem to forget that I am a Super Saiyan God. Even at your most powerful, you wouldn't lay a finger on me."
"Aw, come on Vegeta," Goku interjected, having developed a soft spot for Cabba. "Cabba is all kinds of crazy strong. I'm sure if he really wanted, he'd give you a good fight!"
This open display of respect evoked a smile from Cabba.
Thank you, Goku.
"Let's be real about this, Kakarot..."
"I am being real! In fact, if you don't wanna' face him, then I will!"
"Wait, you cannot be serious?..." Vegeta mumbled in disbelief, his frustrations building. "At what point did you stop understanding that it would be a bad idea to bring him along?"
Goku grinned confidently and mocked Vegeta's stubbornness: "Well, you won't need to worry about that. I'm a Super Saiyan God, after all. There's no way he can beat me, right?"
"You're a buffoon, Kakarot... A complete moron."
Cabba wholeheartedly appreciated the opportunity to prove himself and courteously bowed to Goku.
"Well..." Renso chimed in. "If you're gonna duke it out, I think I know the perfect place to do it..."
Turles lumbered his weakened, soaked body through the empty halls of the Providence, each painstaking step left behind glistening water spots on the glossy white floor tiles. The pirate had abandoned his recovery pod - opting to seek out his new crew than allow his wounds to fully heal. Strangely, Turles evolved an odd sense of appeasement; almost enjoying his body's anguish as it screamed out for rest.
I've never felt so alive, never so free...
The automated door hissed as it lifted. Suddenly all eyes in the control room panned to the rear, witnessing the frail Turles hobble through the open doorway and into their presence. With the exception of Turles' chest and legs, the Saiyan's body was entirely enveloped in wet bandages, continually dripping green healing fluid. The Namekian, Ants, elected to stand from his Captain's chair; donning a devilish grin and folding his arms.
"You're one tough bastard," Ants remarked. "Quite admirable, but also foolish."
Turles' leaned against the door frame and winced painfully before lifting his sole attention to the Namekian. Ants continued: "It's only been a few hours... You were expected to stay in recovery for at least another month. You need your rest."
"I will rest when I'm dead and in a grave," Turles responded bluntly. "I have years of catching up to do, and I refuse to spend a single moment of that licking my wounds in some triage bay aboard a shanty, old spacecraft. How many crew members do we have?"
"Including myself? Thirty-two" replied Ants.
"Good... Listen here!" Turles called for their ears. "On the count of three, I want you all to shoot me with your most powerful energy attack."
The collective eyes of the crew widened in unison, each member looking to one another for answers to this dangerous, abnormal request. They were aboard a small spacefaring vessel, not a combat or training arena, and confined to an even more compact control room. One misfired blaster alone was enough to puncture a hole through the interior and endanger lives, but asking for the entire party to unleash their full force was unthoughtful and criminally insane.
"Make sure you all concentrate your attacks on me... After all, we don't want any strays damaging the precious hardware of this ship, do we?"
A chorus of many nervous gulps proceeded Turles' instruction, even the ever-stoic Ants bared an expression of uncertainty and apprehension. The Namekian let out a relinquishing sigh before enforcing Turles' command:
"You heard him! Start charging up."
Turles staggered away from the automated door and found a central position that all his pirate henchmen could clearly focus toward. The Saiyan gritted his teeth together as his pain threshold continued to be tested - it was becoming increasingly irritable. How dare I allow such insignificance to hinder me! I am above suffering...
Turles began the countdown after taking in a deep breath. The crew began channeling every inch of their power, allowing them to shape Ki into various forms and colors; all with destructive and volatile intentions. Ants raised his middle and forefinger up, hovering it just over an antenna and focusing deeply. In quick succession, electrical sparks began brewing around his hand as the Namekian prepared his most lethal and fearsome technique, the Special Beam Cannon.