Unknown world, 18 days since Doomsday
The scenery here was nothing short of breathtaking as well as haunting. It was a forest of near-perpetual darkness. The tree canopy was so thick over the blue sky that one would be lucky to see direct sunlight in such thick foliage. Amidst the tall conifer-like trees was a small clearing. Despite the perimeter the conifers have taken around it, they were bent in a way that still shrouded sunlight from the ground. Stood in the center was a humanoid figure of amethyst skin sitting seiza and keeping his eyes closed. The figure appeared to have a type of chitinous coating over his torso and forelimbs, as well as around his cranium where a blue gem-like accent to his skin was present on top. The only other distinguishable feature was a large serpent-like tail at the base of his back.
The humanoid suddenly opened his eyes as he heard an oddly familiar sound reach his ear sockets. It sounded like… atmospheric reentry. It could've been a small asteroid if it weren't for several sonic booms indicating it was a shower. Something about the noise seemed off though. Not haphazard or chaotic like the typical asteroid. It sounded calculated and smoothened. The humanoid stood up. Someone was coming here, and he hoped it was not who he thought it was.
'Whatever the case, these fools have trapped themselves,' The humanoid thought. 'Might as well greet my new neighbors.'
King Vegeta's ship, 20 minutes earlier
That was the best word to describe the morale of the Saiyan convoy. 18 days of travel in space. 18 days with no room to spar, and 18 days of living off ration blocks. Sure the ration bricks available kept them fed with ease, but the taste left much to be desired. Fortunately for all Saiyans not in stasis, the journey was coming to a close. The entire convoy arrived at the staging ground within 3 days, along with more spacecraft that eluded Bardock's initial assessment. 3 attack pods were lost during that time, victims to a rogue comet tail, but a small transport had arrived to fill the space. It was not long before the convoy headed to their new destination, and they would begin landing protocols within the hour.
Bardock sat in a chair at the bridge sifting through a data pad he had found. There wasn't much in terms of entertainment so he figured he'd check to see if the late king had anything stowed away in his ship. There were a few text stories, some were interesting, others oddly bizarre. There was one document on dance that almost drove him to retch, reminding him too much of the Ginyu Squadron. At least the king kept it private, showing the late monarch had a sense of shame.
"Yo Bardock," Tōma called out, breaking the commander from his trance. "Your mystery planet's coming into view."
"Good," Bardock sighed. "At least we can step onto solid ground soon."
Tōma raised his eyebrows suggestively. "Did you find King Vegeta's secret stash?"
"Get your mind out of the gutter. I wouldn't tell you regardless." Bardock had found something of King Vegeta's, but knew better than to share it with Tōma, lest he end up just as sick to his sTōmach.
"Landing protocols initiated," The ship's onboard computer blurted out in a monotone fashion. "Ideal landing site selected. All ships will make landfall in 10 minutes."
Romei had entered the ship, followed by the remains of the royal court as well as Gine. "So this is the planet you selected?" Romei muttered. "It doesn't seem too bad."
"It looks amazing!" Gine announced, earning puzzled looks from several councilmen and women, causing her to shrink back.
The planet had a rich biosphere that could be seen from space. Several spots of green along the equator indicated islands, while the larger continents housed a multitude of biomes ranging from desert to lush forest. The polar regions were capped with ice and snow.
"It looks like the planet Kakarrot was sent to," Gine muttered, now keeping her volume low in the presence of the royal court. Her wonder at the planet was dimmed as she began to think of the fate of her son. Bardock placed a hand on her shoulder.
"We'll bring him back," Bardock consoled. Gine nodded, her frown unwavering. Their reverie was broken when four other figures entered the bridge. "Thought you guys would be at the exit ramp."
"I like watching reentry plasma," Selypa retorted, arms folded. "That and these oafs are too scared to step out first."
"Like you're not one to talk?! You remember what happened back on Arlia!" Leek snapped, earning a collective shudder from the entire squad except Bardock, who only chuckled to himself. "I'm not taking chances like that again!"
"Alright stow it," Tōma ordered. "We all know standard landing protocols. Tails wrapped, disembark with caution, set up a perimeter."
"I remember the third step being 'kill everything you see,'" a councilwoman spoke up.
"On a civilized world for conquest, that would be the case," Bardock retorted. "But since we're colonizing an uncivilized world, odds are good we may run into several more unexpected variables. We should assess the local flora and fauna, scout out the regional biomes, etcetera, etcetera."
Atmospheric reentry plasma began to lick at the main viewport of the bridge as the final approach was being made. The skies were blue with a slight tint of red, giving it a very subtle violet color, while the foliage was a vibrant green. Their landing spot was a large open plain with a large and dense coniferous forest bordering what would be considered the north. The attack pods were the first to land, leaving several large craters while the larger vessels found a landing sight a few hundred meters away from the attack pods. The engines of the various spacecraft died down and the hatches slowly opened up.
"Alright, let's check it out," Bardock announced as he stood up. His squad was quick to follow as well as Romei and the council remnants. Atmospheric conditions were ideal, so breathing was no issue. Bardock stopped short of the ramp and turned to the queen. "After you."
"Dispense with the pandering," Romei snorted.
"So be it," Bardock nodded, taking a step onto solid ground. He took a deep inhale through his nose and sighed. "Alright. Tōma, and Selypa, you guys round up the Saiyans from the attack pods and coordinate settlement efforts. Panbūkin and Toteppo, check for local fauna and if it's edible. Leek and Gine, scout out the surrounding area and report any findings of interest. By air, by foot, doesn't matter. I'll get to work setting up a perimeter and campsite."
Bardock's crew all nodded with affirmation and split off to their respective duties, leaving the commander himself to start uprooting some dry grass and some thick roots in the dirt. Romei stepped forward. "What are you doing?"
"Foraging for some tinder for a campfire," Bardock answered flatly, not averting his gaze. "I'm gonna need to fell a tree or two to get it going though."
"I see," was all Romei could say.
"You will have to get used to this, your highness," Bardock added. "I don't know how many missions you've had which called for roughing it out in the wilderness, but given the circumstances, we all should adapt."
This unnerved the widowed monarch. While she has had her fair share of combat missions in the past, only one of them required her to toil without the commodities of noble living, and that was when she was little. Bardock was correct. Such comforts were long gone with the destruction of her home and being severed from Freeza's resources. She sighed and began uprooting some dry grass as well. Bardock took notice of this but continued his work.
Leek and Gine ascended to a high altitude to survey the land around them. For the most part, it was a vast open plain bordered by mountains far to the east and the dense forest to the north. That region alone would require surveillance at ground level. Nothing but a vast expanse of coniferous trees except…
"Hey Leek!" Gine called out to her comrade. "Is that smoke coming from the forest?"
"Hm?" Leek lazily turned to see where Gine was pointing. "Could be a forest fire."
"It doesn't seem that way," Gine muttered. "I thought this planet was uncivilized."
"Scope assessments have been wrong before. Could just be a very primitive species."
"I don't know. Something seems… off in that direction."
"Space pirates? I don't know!"
"We should tell Bardock."
"You mean YOU should tell Bardock. I still want to scope out the rest of the area."
Gine frowned at this but conceded.
"That should be enough tinder," Bardock said as he put the last of his uprooted grass into a pile. "Now to get some lumber."
"Bardock!" Gine cried out from above, her descent rapid. "I noticed some smoke coming from the forest to the north."
"Show me," Bardock ordered, to which Gine took flight once again, Bardock following close behind. Gine stopped when she reached the altitude she saw the smoke and pointed north.
"There," She said. "Leek suspects either a primitive culture or space pirates. Either way, we're not alone."
"I say we investigate," Bardock suggested. "If it's space pirates, well… you already know the answer to that."
"And if they're natives?"
"I'm not banking on it being natives. If that were the case, we'd see at least one more smoke trail several kilometers in any other direction."
"Alright," Gine nodded, starting her descent into the forest, with Bardock following close by. By the time they were under the tree canopy, they opted to split off and approach the supposed campsite in a pincer maneuver. Gine was quick to adapt to leaping from tree to tree, as she was her squad's best scout, despite having a weak combat score. In fact, her low combat score made her an ideal scout. She was close to the target, but her footing had been misaligned with one tree branch and she fell to the ground, unable to right herself with flight, hitting the ground with a small thud. "Ow…"
Gine surveyed the area with awe. The forest was very much alive, several animals darting about in the distance while sunlight peeked through the towering trees. A twig snapped, causing all the animals to immediately run away and hide, leaving Gine confused until the realization let out a low growl, sending a chill down her spine. She slowly turned around to see a large maw of fangs and teeth, purely designed to tear at flesh with ease. They belonged to a large dinosaur that easily dwarfed Gine in stature, scars coating its scaly hide. Finally breaking herself out of her stupor, she clamored to her feet and began running as fast as she could, completely forgetting about her ability of flight. The beast let out a loud roar to let any lesser predators know that the hunt was on.
Despite its large size, the dinosaur was quick on its two feet, coming close to getting Gine several times. The chase came to a halt when she tripped over a gnarled branch and was backed into a corner. The beast loomed over her, saliva pouring from its maw as it opened wide for its snack.
Only to be stopped by a sudden kick to its head, sending it careening through the forest and hitting its head brutally against a large boulder. Gine shook her head to see who had dispatched the beast only to see a large green man with long black hair dressed in hide clothing. A single pauldron jutted out from underneath the hide and he wore a helmet, something that seemed too modern for where he was.
"Sorry about that," the green man apologized in an accent. "That little bugger was gettin' on my nerves anyways."
Gine paid no heed to the man's attitude and began running again. "Hey wait! I got a few questions!"
The green man's advance was halted when Bardock appeared before him, sending a left hook at the man's face, which he promptly dodged. "Whoa whoa whoa, easy! I ain't here to fight!"
"Then why the hell are you chasing my mate?!" Bardock snarled, readying himself into an aggressive stance. "Explain yourself!"
"I wasn't chasin' 'er!" The green man held up his hands defensively. "That big lizard over there was!"
"Dore!" Another voice called out from the tree canopy. "What have I told you about engaging with ze newcomers?!"
"'Oi!" The green man named Dore shouted. "He swung at me first!"
From the tree canopy emerged another humanoid, blue skin and beige hair. The same sort of get-up as Dore, but without the same helmet, and was better crafted. He was followed by a much larger reptilian humanoid with dark orange skin and sharp ears jutting from his head. "Forgive Dore's behavior. He has a pension for spooking newcomers."
"And who the hell are you?" Bardock asked, keeping his stance.
"My name is Thouser," The blue man introduced with a bow. "The tall one with me is Neiz. We intended to introduce ourselves later, but-"
"-But nothing! What're you cretins doing here?!"
"I could ask ze same thing about you. If anything, we were here first."
"Well unless you have plans letting your grey matter taste open air, I suggest you book it."
"Ah, if only we could. We are unfortunately stranded."
A new voice agreed with Thousa, prompting all eyes to turn to its direction. Emerging from the forest shadow was a humanoid of amethyst skin and white chitin on his torso and forelimbs, the subject's red eyes surveyed the scene.
"No way…" Bardock gaped at the new arrival, a cold sweat rolling down his face. "A member of Cold's clan?! Here?!"
"Genetically speaking, yes," The man stated. "But by all other accounts, I don't exist."
Gine shuffled back in horror as the amethyst man walked by, prompting Thouser, Neiz, and Dore to land from their engagement with Bardock. "Forgive my subordinate's premature introduction. Dore is correct in that the beast he had just felled was indeed chasing the small one over there." Gine flinched further back with fear as the proverbial demon acknowledged her existence.
"Cut the crap and tell me who you are," Bardock demanded, focusing his attention on the new arrival.
"But of course," The humanoid agreed with a bow. "I am Cooler. I am, regrettably, Freeza's elder brother."
Immediately Bardock was furious. The elder brother of the monster that tried to dispose of the Saiyan race like old trash?! This enraged Bardock and he charged at Cooler with reckless abandon, launching several punches and kicks, each of which were parried with ease. "Calm yourself, warrior," Cooler requested calmly while parrying the Saiyan's attacks. "I have no business with Freeza, and I can tell you do not either."
"Why should I believe anything you say?!" Bardock roared during his fruitless assault. "That bastard is responsible for the destruction of my homeworld!"
Cooler caught Bardock's fists and held them in a vice. "All the more reason to disdain that petulant brat," Cooler retorted, venom dripping from his words at the mention of the tyrant. "Freeza is the reason my squadron and I are stranded on this mothball of a world."
"Bullshit!" Bardock snapped, trying to wrestle free his hands. "I know your kind can survive the vacuum of space! You could just fly to the nearest civilized world!"
"If it weren't for resource constraints for such a journey I would have done so long ago," Cooler retorted. "I may be able to survive the vacuum of space, but I cannot go long periods without food or water just like any other being. Besides, my squadron still requires pressurized oxygen and thus cannot leave this planet with me, and I cannot leave them on this world to rot."
"Zere is one other issue," Thouser added. "Zis entire planet is encapsulated by an orbital bombardment system made of an array of satellites. Any attempts to escape would cause it to open fire upon ze planet. It is a measure meant to keep Lord Cooler contained here."
"Thouser, I've asked you several times to stop calling me 'Lord,'" Cooler interrupted. "I am lord of nothing as you can see." Cooler reverted his attention to Bardock as he let go of the Saiyan's fists. "Thouser is correct. There is an accursed satellite system that was implemented by my brother to keep me contained here. Were I to try and escape, their scanners would detect my presence and crack this planet open, turning it into yet another asteroid field. Even if the explosion does not kill me, the long trip to the nearest habitable world most certainly would."
"Why not just destroy the satellites to get through?" Gine suggested, finally mustering the courage to speak up.
"Another measure taken into account," Neiz finally spoke up, his voice raspy. "If at least one of those satellites were destroyed, the rest of the grid would open fire."
"Doesn't seem like it's meant to keep others out though," Bardock noted, keeping his guard up.
"Correct," Cooler confirmed with a nod. "The satellite grid is not to keep others out, it's to keep me in. Anyone who lands here is merely collateral."
"So, we're stuck here?" Gine asked with trepidation.
"Unfortunately, yes," Cooler frowned. "And I understand your people will have every reason to want me dead, be those reasons legitimate or otherwise. Fortunately I keep to myself deep within this forest, and I am not adverse to neighbors."
"What guarantee do we have that you won't decide one day to come over and kill us all?" Bardock snarled.
"I am not the genocidal monster that my family wanted in my upbringing," Cooler answered, the venom returning to his voice. "I was considered weak, too merciful, and a filthy wretch for such ideals. We also have a common enemy, should either of us devise a way to render that accursed satellite grid null and void."
"Keep to your word that you will not start the warpath against us," Bardock stated, his tone firm. "And I will see to it that none of my people charge in blindly to hunt you down."
"A most fair arrangement. If you do not mind me asking, who are your people, exactly?"
"And your name?"
"Hm," Bardock sighed, an inquisitive look donning on his face before smiling. "Very well, Bardock. I am open to discussions should you have a change of heart."
Cooler turned around and returned to the forest, with his squadron following close behind. Bardok approached Gine and offered a hand up, which she gladly accepted, getting back to her feet. Before either Saiyan could say anything, a deep pulsing was heard through the air. It took a few seconds until Bardock knew what it was.
"We should get back to the landing site," Bardock announced. It wasn't long before Gine figured out it was a pulsar code message, and agreed with her mate's order.
Bardock touched down a few meters from Tōma's position and walked over to his friend and subordinate. "What's up?"
"Couple things," Tōma answered. "First, we can confirm 203 Saiyans amongst us."
"203?" Bardock repeated.
"Some of the attack pods were doubled up. Second, Queen Romei plans to make an announcement within the hour."
"Thirdly, what took you and Gine so long? Scouting a forest shouldn't be too troublesome."
Bardock hesitated for a moment, choosing his words carefully. "I'll tell you and the squad after Romei's announcement," Bardock said. "This is a delicate subject, and even I'm on edge about it."
Tōma noticed Bardock's tone and nodded along. He proceeded to walk away until he remembered something. "Oh right, I almost forgot."
"Spit it out."
"Leek spotted a lunar satellite on the opposite side of the planet."
"Sufficient enough for the transformation?"
"By his estimates, yes. The lunar cycle here seems to be about 40 local days in length, with the full moon being 7 nights from tonight."
"Good. Inform Toteppo to check to see if the gibbous phases reflect 17 megazenos or more. He's got a decent grasp on the form."
"Consider it done," Tōma nodded before taking off to deal with other business.
"This planet has a moon?" Gine looked up to Bardock with worry plastered on her face.
Bardock was about to walk off until he heard the odd noise of dragging earth. Turning to see what was making the noise he saw Selypa and Queen Romei each dragging a large conifer over their backs.
"Hey, boss man!" Selypa called out, grinning at the situation. "We got some lumber for the campfires. You should see how her highness chops trees!"
"Stow it," Romei scoffed, not enjoying her situation nearly as much as Selypa was. "I just didn't want to idle about while everyone else was active."
"Nothing wrong about that, your highness," Selypa commented before turning her attention to her commander. "Did Tōma get you the memo about the announcement?"
"Yep," Bardock said. "Before that, I need to inform her highness about something."
"This had better be important," Romei sighed as she dropped the timber to the ground.
"FREEZA'S OLDER BROTHER IS HERE?!" Romei shouted with fear and anger. Bardock had informed the queen of his findings in the forest, and it was clear that the information was not sitting well.
"Your highness, please!" Gine pleaded, trying to calm the widowed monarch down. "If he was anything like the tyrant we know, we would be dead already."
"She's right," Bardock agreed. "I'm still uneasy about him myself, but if this satellite grid he mentioned is a containment measure, then-"
"Then what?!" Romei interrupted. "We escaped genocide only to land on a deathtrap YOU selected as our home!"
"There was no way in Hell I could've known about this, your highness!" Bardock snapped back.
"E-Excuse me," A meek voice called from the hall. Mung stepped in with a data pad in hand. "I've finished the orbital analysis of this planet. The satellite grid you spoke of is real, and its payload is devastating."
"Anything else?" Bardock growled, his patience faltering.
"Y-Yes, well, despite the magnitude of the weapons, the models are fairly old. Orbital debris has worn them down, they lack any protective shielding, plus I've counted only 162 units. A sizable ki blast could easily render one of them out of commission."
"Huh," Bardock said. His temper had now calmed down at the revelation of this information. His mind was now at work digesting this information and formulating a plan. "Thank you for the info, Mung. Dismissed."
"Right," Mung nodded before walking away.
Bardock began to shuffle around the room thinking to himself. "162 satellites, 203 Saiyans…" Bardock muttered before turning to Romei once more. "I suggest you make ready for your announcement."
In front of the late king's ship was a large crowd of Saiyans. Some were unruly and impatient, while others kept quiet awaiting their queen's announcement. A good two thirds of them were warriors trained for combat, but the rest were raised outside of the warrior caste system. Mechanics, pilots, medics, just to name a few of the roles present. Everyone in the crowd was called to attention when Romei stood atop the roof of her ship and launched three very audible beams of ki into the air with a single hand.
"Listen up!" Romei began, her voice amplified. "Planet Vegeta is no more - Destroyed by Freeza, whom we have served without question for five years. He sought information on the Super Saiyan Legend, and chose to eradicate us all before we could ever stand up to him!"
Romei paused to let that sink in. A quiet murmur brewed within the crowd at this information.
"This low-class standing next to me," Romei gestured to Bardock. "And his squad are who we should thank for standing here today, instead of being wiped out of existence unceremoniously, without a fighting chance. It was my late husband, King Vegeta the third, who had made the ultimate sacrifice…"
Romei's voice began to croak as tears threatened to well within her eyes, but she could not feign weakness, and steeled herself to continue.
"We are now here on this uncharted planet, which I will title… Romei. In 10 days time, you will all, regardless of caste, begin a training regimen with Bardock as your drill instructor and general, for as of this moment, I hereby disband the caste system!"
Romei paused again to allow the crowd to let that sink in again. Many reacted with outbursts of anger, while others were shocked. Not wanting this to get out of hand, Romei launched three more ki beams into the air to gain their attention again.
"We owe our continued existence to Bardock and his squadron! By the standards of the caste system, they are weak, but they have proven how that very same system is flawed! They have also proven how we all can become stronger. Strong enough to one day challenge Freeza and his rule! Strong enough to stand toe to toe with him in a true battle! Strong enough to one day kill that monster for what he did not just to us, but to every single civilization he had tossed away like garbage! We will one day seek vengeance upon him and kill that bastard once and for all!"
The crowd cheered for Romei's words as they struck right home for every Saiyan present. Everyone present was eager to train and grow stronger to one day overthrow Freeza's empire. Once the crowd's cheering had died down, Romei spoke up once more.
"General Bardock and his squad will prepare the training regimen for all of you. Retain that fire you all show now, and temper it. Sharpen it into a sword that will be vengeance incarnate and cement us as the greatest warriors of all time. Dismissed!"
Later that evening
Bardock's squadron were all settled around a large bonfire, cheering for their commander and his promotion. Even Gine joined in the reverie as they congratulated their leader for the umpteenth time. While Bardock wanted none of it, he couldn't help but smile at how his squad was proud of him, and he in return. When the cheering finally ceased, Gine spoke up.
"So, what is this training regimen going to entail?" The Saiyan scout asked her mate. "I know it won't be easy, so I know to expect that."
"I have a few ideas," Bardock shrugged. "Day 1 will certainly be to make an example of the old elite-class warriors here." That earned a collective laugh from the squadron, especially Toteppo, who is usually silent.
"I'm guessing the usual physical regimens are gonna be mixed in, but I know you've got more ideas," Selypa chimed in.
"I'm game, as long as we get food in the end," Panbūkin commented, earning a collective eyeroll.
"You won't be game when I mention tactical study is part of it," Bardock said with a sinister smirk.
"S-Study?!" Panbūkin stammered. "That's not training!"
"It is for the mind," Tōma retorted, tapping a finger on his forehead. "General Nappa is strong, but he easily makes Toteppo look smart."
Toteppo only grunted at that comment, earning a collective laugh.
"So Bardock," Leek spoke up. "You said you'd tell us what you and Gine found in the forest after Romei's announcement."
The Saiyan commander and newly promoted general sighed, running his hand through his jagged hair. "I know keeping it secret will be bad in the long run, so I'll be blunt," Bardock said. "We're not the only ones on this planet. Freeza's older brother, Cooler, and his personal entourage are stuck here."
Everyone at the campfire was stunned into silence and looked at their leader with a mixture of emotions, barring Gine who already knew this information.
"Yeah, I know. I'm not happy about it either. At least his information regarding the satellite grid in orbit holds up thanks to Mung, but I'm having trouble trusting him beyond that."
"Why do I get the feeling this was a ploy set up by Freeza himself?" Selypa snarled. We barely escape genocide and now his big brother is here to finish the job!"
"I wouldn't be so sure," Gine retorted, earning all eyes on the Saiyan scout, to which she recoiled, but steeled herself to explain. "When we first encountered him, he and his soldiers didn't act aggressively towards us, and he seemed to hate Freeza about as much as we do."
"And again, he wouldn't be on this planet with a proverbial gun to his head otherwise," Bardock added. "Which brings me to my plan."
The squad members looked at their leader with curiosity, wondering what his plan was.
"Mung confirmed that there are 162 of those doomsday satellites in orbit, and we have 203 Saiyans among us. Trouble is, only two thirds of the lot are warriors, and half of that lot can destroy one satellite no problem. That's where the training regimen comes into play."
"We could just use the full moon," Panbūkin suggested.
"Too dangerous," Toteppo retorted.
"Toteppo's right," Tōma agreed. "We don't know who's got the Oozaru form under control and who doesn't."
"Moon training will be done in due time though," Bardock added. "Tomorrow I'm gonna go over with you guys the regimen and how we'll be getting these sorry bastards into shape. Especially the non-warrior caste."
"I doubt they'll sTōmach it all that well," Leek commented.
"You used to be in the pilot caste before you joined my squad, right?" Bardock retorted, giving off a cheeky grin.
"Only because I was stranded for five days with Panbūkin after he ate all the rations!" Leek snapped back, earning another group laugh - barring Panbūkin.
"Whatever," The Saiyan commander shrugged. "Let's get some rest. Gotta acclimate to this planet's rotational cycle after all."
Everyone proceeded to drift to sleep, except for Gine. The others had not seen a flap of crimson take off over to the forest.
Romei flew over the coniferous forest with a harsher-than-usual scowl plastered on her face. Her heading was in the direction of the column of smoke. She slowed her pace to a stop the moment she saw the clearing of where the smoke was coming from. Down in the clearing was a cabin built from local timber, with smoke venting from slits in the roof. One could consider this abode to look cozy, but Romei was not looking for cozy. She wanted to obliterate the offending location with one swift stroke. She extended a palm aimed directly towards the cabin, and a sphere of ki began to coalesce in her palm, until a small hand grabbed her forearm.
"I don't think that's a good idea," The owner of the hand stated. Romei frowned with irritation and turned to see Gine holding her forearm.
"Hands off," Romei hissed, snapping her arm out of Gine's grip, dissipating her attack in the process. "The caste system may have been dissolved, but you still have no authority over me."
"I never gave any orders or demands," Gine retorted, her expression serious, almost reflecting Bardock's neutral. "I'm only making a suggestion."
"Well, you can 'suggest' on what to do with these bastards' corpses after I blow this shack to kingdom come!"
"I would not do that if I were you."
Both Saiyan women were stunned to hear a new voice. Romei moreso as she did not recognize the voice.
"Show yourself, Cooler!" Romei demanded. "Prove to me you aren't a lying bastard like your brother!"
Cooler rose from the forest canopy with one arm behind his back and another holding a bright sphere of ki, illuminating all of his features that the Saiyan queen had grown to loathe.
"Throw that sphere," Romei spat. "I dare you."
"You misunderstand," Cooler said, his tone calm. "This sphere I hold is nothing more than a candle I use when navigating the space around my home."
"And how do I know that sphere isn't packing enough ki to level a city?" Romei retorted.
"This will prove my point."
Cooler then dropped the sphere of ki right next to his house. Gine watched with surprise, while Romei observed with an ever-present scowl, waiting for what would be a grand explosion.
The sphere hit the ground and unceremoniously fizzled out of existence, leaving Gine relieved and Romei dumbstruck.
"I come from a long line of liars, murderers, and extortionists, and it all sickens me to the core," Cooler started again, venom pouring from his words. "If you think that I am just like my brother, you are sorely mistaken. I do not want to begin hostilities towards you or your people. I do not fear legends like my brother, I respect them. If you-"
"What legends?" Romei interrupted. Cooler remained silent for a moment. "Answer my question, damnit! What! Legends!"
Cooler sighed and closed his eyes. "Generations ago, one of my ancestors was a ruthless conqueror granting no mercy, not unlike Freeza. His name was Chilled. He remained uncontested for a time until a warrior wreathed in a golden light supplanted his rule. His dying body was retrieved and the last words spoke were the warrior's name: Yamoshi, the Super Saiyan."
Both women floated there, slack-jawed at what Cooler had just said. His clan spoke of legends of the Super Saiyan as well? Suddenly it made sense. Why was Freeza questioning the Saiyan legends of old? He was trying to correlate them to the legends of his ancestor, who was defeated by the legendary warrior!
"You, the small one from earlier," Cooler spoke again, gesturing to Gine. "Thank you for intervening on your superior's rash decision on coming here. Rebuilding my cabin would have been such a pain, and I doubt my squadron would be pleased either."
Gine did not know how to react to this gesture before Cooler spoke again. "What are your names, by chance?"
"G-Gine," The Saiyan Scout answered meekly.
"Romei, Queen of the Saiyans," The widowed monarch answered, much more composed than the former.
"Well, as I told the one known as Bardock before, I am open to discussions when you are," Cooler bowed before descending to his cabin and entering through the door.
Romei floated there for a few minutes, unsure of what to make of all this. Gine snapped herself back to reality and floated over to the queen.
"Your Highness," Gine said quietly. "I suggest we head back to get some rest."
Romei did not respond and flew back to the landing site, with Gine following close behind. It was easy to keep pace given how slow Romei was flying this time. The monarch's mind was trying hard to process this information she had been presented. Gine's suggestion was a good one, as she was too tired to sort through all this information tonight and needed not just a fresh head to think with, but to be wide awake to train herself before Bardock's regimen could begin.
Thouser - Salza
A/N: Hookay, fun times with this chapter. Cooler is a thing now because Chaos Theory. I borrowed the Bardock OVA with Chilled because why not. Only difference is there's no time bullshittery here. I figured this would be a decent approach for Cooler, instead of just "Oh hey, Freeza's a spoiled ass, but I'll clean up his mess because I'm a prick. Time to go kill Goku." None of that here. I'm giving Cooler a legitimate reason to hate his brother, and what better reason is there than with exile to an uncivilized world locked down by an array of Independence Day lasers in orbit? Hope this was a fun read. Leave a review if you feel inclined, and do stay safe during these times. :)