Planet Hera, Tullece's Office
A tall Saiyan sat at a desk inspecting a data pad displaying a starmap. As he inspected various solar systems and their respective planets, he grumbled to himself as he was unable to find something of interest. His hair was spiked like most of his race, though it splayed out in various directions, and was naturally a touch more disheveled. His skin was a cool tan and he was adorned in a custom combat jacket with primarily black coloring with lavender-hued plates and a white trim. The armor design was certainly not Freeza Army standard, and he would have it no other way.
A massive orange man with a harsh jagged scar along his jawline and brown hair tied into a braid walked into the office, offering a curt salute before the Saiyan waved it off.
"What is it, Amond?" Tullece lazily asked.
"A large spaceship entered the system, sir," The man now known as Amond elaborated. "From what our prox drones saw of the hull's markings, it's King Vegeta's."
"King Vegeta?" Tullece repeated, now giving his subordinate his full attention. "And here I thought that old bastard got incinerated along with everyone else when the asteroid hit."
"Could be an imposter?" Amond suggested with a shrug. "Our scout scopes don't show any impressive combat scores onboard."
Tullece held his chin for a good few seconds before finally making a decision. "Guide them to Landing Pad 6," The Saiyan ordered. "Have my personal corps on standby as well. Odds are good that this is a trap, but I've been looking for a bit of excitement as of late."
"Understood, sir," Amond bowed before leaving the office, leaving the Saiyan leader once again alone with his thoughts.
'King Vegeta the Third,' Tullece thought to himself. 'Not like him to seek out an outlaw world. But then again, since his throne's destruction, I bet he viewed this world as ripe for the taking. Or perhaps he wishes to play nice. Who knows? Amond may be right that it's merely some imposters. Regardless, I need to burn off some tension.'
King Vegeta's Flagship, Bridge
Bardock was slumped over the central holomap, rigidly rubbing his temples with his fingers almost as if in tune with a metronome. The others present clearly knew he was stressed, having to speak with his twin once again. Cooler sat to the side, now dawning an old grey cloak, while his squadron was milling about at various stations. Romei stood at the main viewport and watched as Planet Hera came into view, as well as 2 small craft flying in formation as if to guide their ship in for landing. Gine took note of this and walked up to the viewport to keep an eye on anything suspicious.
"Doesn't look all that bad of a planet, all things considered," Romei commented as the marble was fast approaching.
"On the surface, anyways," Bardock added, finally standing up from his hunched state. "Peel back the skin and you'll see all the festering ugliness underneath."
"They're guiding us in," Leek announced at the flight controls. "Should we follow?"
"Do it," Romei ordered. "Keep an eye on the radar, in case these two ships have friends."
"Aye," Leek nodded, as he adjusted course to follow the two spacecraft.
"Something's not right," Gine muttered as the ship was being guided. "To guide us in without hailing us first…"
"He thinks it's a trap," Cooler explained, earning several looks in his direction. "An old tactic I've read about where the ambushers guide in a potential threat without hailing, only to do one of two things: Parley, or plunder. I've seen father do it a few times from sheer boredom."
"Let us hope zey have better intentions zen your father, sir," Thouser commented as he assessed one of the terminals.
"They're guiding us to Landing Pad 6 at one of their ship platforms," Leek announced as he held the controls steady, reentry plasma now licking at the main viewport.
"Alright," Bardock sighed as he put on a dull grey cloak of his own. "Let's get this over with."
"Thouser, you and the others watch the ship," Cooler ordered his blue subordinate.
"Yes sir," Thouser nodded as he, along with Neiz and Dore began dispersing to maintain a patrol around the ship.
As Cooler's squadron dispersed, Tōma entered the bridge, wearing a similar grey cloak. "I feel like I'm joining a cult," The Saiyan commented, regarding his choice of attire. "When are we landing?"
"5 minutes," Leek answered, the reentry plasma no longer assaulting the viewport. "Landing Pad 6 is in view now."
5 minutes had passed and the flagship touched down nearly at the assigned landing pad. Slowly, the main hatch opened and Bardock took his first step on the escalator ramp. The now hooded group were greeted by two short, pink creatures with large bulbous heads. They were adorned in nonstandard combat jackets along with scouters to match. The two splayed their arms out as if to offer a warm welcome.
"Welcome to Planet Hera," The creature on the left greeted with a smile.
"To what do we owe the pleasure?" The other inquired.
"I seek an audience with Tullece," Bardock demanded from under his hood.
"Do you have an appointment?" The two creatures asked in unison, their collective smile now wavering, before it turned into a smirk. "If not, you will have to make one."
"I wasn't asking…" Bardock retorted, his power ebbing forth ever so slightly. "Now, step aside."
"Oh, I don't think so," The leftmost creature growled as he and his counterpart took a fighting stance. Their stances faltered when they suddenly received a transmission over their scouters, and immediately backed down and bowed. "My apologies. Commander Tullece will see you. His office is in the main building. We will guide you there."
Bardock simply grunted in acknowledgement and put the lid on his ki, suppressing it once again. The two aliens beckoned the group forward and they were led inside of a large corridor that ended with two large double doors. One of the guides placed an eye in front of what looked like a retinal scanner and the double doors slowly opened.
The space in the chamber was vast and mostly empty, a few decorative embellishments here and there, but nothing too extravagant. At the far end of the room was a decently-sized desk, and sitting at the desk was a Saiyan. Barring some key discrepancies, he looked as if he were Bardock's clone. Tullece stood up and put on a smile.
"Ah, the guests of honor have arrived," Tullece greeted with open arms. "So, you clearly do not appear to be part of King Vegeta's entourage, so who are you folks?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Bardock snapped back as he removed his hood, prompting everyone except for Cooler to remove theirs. The Saiyan commander glared at his twin with anger he had not felt in a long time. "Long time no see, brother, but not long enough."
Tullece flinched slightly to see that Bardock and Gine had made themselves known, but quickly recomposed himself and adorned a smirk before chuckling. "You know, you could've just asked to see me, instead of decorate your ship to resemble the king's."
"It is the king's ship," Romei retorted, glaring at the Saiyan pirate.
"Now who's this?~" Tullece asked, seeing the Saiyan Queen and having his interest piqued. He looked at the Saiyan queen with envious eyes, admiring her toned figure as well as what he could gather from her outward demeanor. Tullece stepped forward with a guise of politeness. "Well now, Bardock certainly keeps some tasteful company these days."
Tullece reached out to hold Romei's hand, only for the queen to grab his wrist and hold it in a vice. "Don't even try," The queen spat, her scowl deepening.
"I'd do as she says," Tōma warned. "Queen Romei is not one for advances."
"The Saiyan queen you say?" Tullece said, his interest piqued even more. "Well I don't see why she's against advances, since her husband isn't here.~"
Before anyone could say anything, Romei pulled Tullece's wrist and swiftly kneed his gut, causing him to gasp for air, and prompting several guards to aim their palms at her before Tullece waved them off with a strained chuckle.
"Feisty," Tullece grinned once he caught his breath. "Should've expected nothing less from a widowed monarch."
"You should be lucky we're here on business, pirate," Romei scoffed. "Else I'd make certain you'll be unable to make any more advances at all…"
"Tullece, back off," Bardock demanded.
"Sheesh, fine," Tullece sighed as he stepped away. "You know, Bardock, I'm surprised."
"Why's that?" The Scarred Saiyan inquired.
"It took a rogue asteroid for you to abandon Freeza's coddling support," Tullece answered with a grin. "And now you've taken Romei for yourself. Was Gine not good enough for you, what with her meager strength?"
Gine was about to launch herself at Tullece and attempt to throttle him, but Bardock stopped her with a grip on her shoulder. The Saiyan commander turned to Tullece and sneered. "So that's the lie you've been fed? At least tell me you're skeptical about it. A rogue gamma burst would've been far more believable."
"What are you talking about?" Tullece asked, arching an eyebrow with confusion.
"We were there when Planet Vegeta was destroyed," Bardock answered, his glare unwavering. "Freeza was the one who did it. It's no coincidence there was a recall of every Saiyan back home before this 'asteroid' hit."
Tullece flinched ever so slightly with surprise, but then returned to a devilish smirk. "Why am I not surprised?" The Saiyan pirate rhetorically asked. "The Saiyan race wasn't the first to be 'dismissed' in such a manner, and it certainly won't be the last. At least you and Gine have another generation in the works."
"What?" Bardock said, eyes widening at the insinuation, while Gine retreated back a few steps, shame plastered on her face.
"Don't tell me you don't smell it!" Tullece laughed as he gestured a hand at the Saiyan scout. "Probably for the best though, given how few of us are left. Makes me wonder who the father is. It certainly can't be you...~"
Bardock's eye twitched, signalling that the last of his patience had evaporated.
Faster than anyone could blink, Bardock launched forward and buried his fist right into Tullece's cheek, knocking him off his feet and sending him careening into the opposite wall. Before Bardock could follow up with a kick aimed at Tullece, the Saiyan pirate launched himself forward and brought his knee to his brother's gut, knocking the wind out of his lungs and forcing spittle to roll out of his mouth.
"Nice to see you haven't been slacking, brother!" Tullece grunted as he pulled a fist back and aimed it directly at Bardock's face. "I was worried Freeza kept you too cozy!"
Bardock caught the fist launched at him and returned one in kind, which was caught by Tullece. "And prove you wrong?!" Bardock grunted. "If there was any benefit from your betrayal, it drove me to push beyond normal limits just so that I could give you your own scar as payback!"
The two were locked in a power struggle, one trying to overpower the other, but the might of both Saiyan twins was equal. Their respective auras burned outward as a harsh gale churned from the two warriors, shattering all the windows in the process. As the shards of glass fell, rebounding off their auras, the two separated and charged at each other, launching volley after volley of martial attacks.
"And here I thought running a pirate kingdom would cause you to slacken!" Bardock shouted during their exchange.
"Oh please!" Tullece scoffed, barely parrying a well-timed punch aimed for his face. "I like to be on the front lines when I can!"
The Saiyan pirate pulled his head back for a headbutt, but Bardock feinted back and pulled his knee upward and slammed it into Tullece's gut, causing the pirate to cough up spittle and gasp for air. Not wanting to let his brother follow up, Tullece lobbed a sphere of ki into the ground to generate a smokescreen. Bardock was blinded in sight and smell, but his newly trained sixth sense had a lock on target. With a swift move, the Saiyan commander brought up a forearm just in time to block a kick that was aimed for his head.
"Gonna have to do better than that!" Bardock shouted as he spun with a kick of his own, colliding with Tullece's side and sending him flying. Bardock launched forth to pursue and the battle continued.
Gine could not stand idle as the two imp-like creatures began to assault her with their tag-team tactics, but held her own to the best of her ability. Their attacks collectively hit hard, but she was able to tank them far better than she could have a year ago, the benefits of recovering from her bout with Romei as well as fresh training. Batting one away prompted the other to take its counterpart's place.
"You guys are persistent!" Gine grunted as she did all she could to stave off the twin terrors.
"And the commander said you were weak!" The two aliens spoke in unison, unleashing a volley of ki at the Saiyan scout. "Your combat score is almost 900!"
If Gine had to hazard a guess, collectively these two possessed an individual score of 1,100 each. She was outclassed in terms of raw strength, but had the edge of being far more nimble and faster, as well as having Bardock's tactical training fresh in her repertoire to keep her opponents on their toes.
She batted as many spheres of ki away as she could, though some of them had hit home, but the worst they did was singe her skin and bruise on impact. The two imps lunged forward with their hands in a knife jab position. When they met their target, their arms went right through, and Gine seemed to vanish, only for two elbows, one for each creature, to crash down on their heads and send them crashing into the ground, cracking the floor beneath them.
"This is impossible!" One imp screamed in frustration. "We have a 200 point lead on you in strength!"
"Your strategy is brute force!" Gine retorted, settling in a defensive stance.
The two imps looked at each other and nodded before charging at Gine once more.
Romei had her hands full with Amond, who was easily knocked about. The orange man might have been trouble for the likes of Tōma, but Romei was much more powerful, and handled the subordinate with ease.
"Figures that pirates like yourself would be a lackluster challenge!" Romei scoffed as Amond struggled to get to his feet. "Come on! I'd rather be fighting your commander than deal with some overgrown walnut!"
Before Amond could say anything, a large, chrome object impacted the Saiyan queen with absurd speed and sent her skidding across the floor. Slowly standing and wiping a trickle of blood from her mouth, she saw the chrome apparition appear to be a pink creature tucked inside a chrome combat jacket, though a quick glance would give away the fact that it was cybernetics of unknown origin The creature landed next to Amond and assisted the officer to his feet. Romei looked at the blood she wiped off and smirked. "Now that's more like it…"
"About time you showed up, Kakao," Amond sighed as he settled into an aggressive stance.
"I got notice few seconds ago," The bionic mercenary now known as Kakao responded flatly with a thick accent. "Didn't know boss was inviting fight."
"You are one ugly bastard," Romei sneered, seeing the chrome being before him. "But if you'll make things interesting, I won't complain!"
"Looks not concern me, Saiyan!" Kakao retorted. "Only focus is performance!"
With a mighty shout, the Saiyan queen launched herself at the two space pirates, and their fight resumed.
Tōma was accosted by several low level minions, led by a taller man with dark teal hair, yet no hair on his eyebrows. The smaller subordinates dogpiled him, trying to hold him down, but the Second-in-command let out a massive shout that surged into a kiai and blasted the smaller minions away.
"You keep some very annoying company, you know that?" Tōma sighed as he got to his feet.
"Not my fault your commander decided to fight ours," The man retorted with a smirk.
"Brotherly feud. Not something I'm willing to interrupt."
"Fair enough," The teal-haired man shrugged before he launched forward and assaulted Tōma with a myriad of attacks, switching from ranged to melee at various intervals.
The fights within Tullece's office persisted until a loud droning could be heard from outside. Suddenly, several dozen more troops flew in and aimed their palms and weapons at the interrupting Saiyans. The personal battles were halted as Bardock held a blazing sphere of ki in one hand aimed for Tullece, and another at one of the numerous minions that had just arrived. The others opted to do the same, picking their targets and waiting to see who would pull the trigger. Before anyone could, Tullece simply stood up and clapped his hands together with an amused smirk.
"Bravo, Bardock!" Tullece applauded, earning a death glare from his brother. "I'm impressed that you lot are so powerful. Even Gine, who has a reputation for being abysmally weak. She managed to take on Rezun and Rakasei single-handed! Unfortunately for you lot, though while you have us out-gunned, it won't matter if you're outnumbered!"
"I beg to differ…"
Suddenly, Tullece felt an unsettling warmth aimed at his face. He turned to look at where it was coming from, only to see an amethyst finger pointed directly at him, with a single sphere of crimson ki at the tip. Tullece's blood ran cold at what he was seeing. Cooler removed his cloak to reveal his face, earning audible gasps from all of the Crusher Army Corps troops present.
Cooler dropped his finger and sighed. "While I am not one to stand in the way of brotherly quarrels - believe me, I know - We have more important business to tend to. I would kindly ask that you tell your troops to stand down."
Tullece was now beyond furious at what was happening. He looked at the frost demon for a moment and then to Bardock. "So this was your plan, brother?" The pirate spat. "You went from serving one stone-cold bastard to another?!"
"I would also kindly ask that you not compare me to the former stone-cold bastard in question," Cooler sighed with an eyeroll. "We all have a mutual interest in tearing Freeza apart. I was cast out for my comparatively soft nature and meager strength. The Saiyans seek retribution for what happened to their homeworld. While I do not know your reason, or reasons you want him out of power, I can safely assume they are more than justified."
"Then explain why you're here, for starters," Tullece demanded, scowling at the amethyst man.
"Directions," Cooler answered flatly, causing Tullece to look at the cold man as if he grew a second head.
"You stormed my office for directions?" Tullece repeated, his tone laced with disbelief. "What sort of con are you working at?"
"Allow me to be more specific," Cooler sighed. "Your star charts are likely more up to date than those of my allies. A star system occupied by the Freeza Army, preferably on the fringes and with a solid infrastructure to boot."
"...You plan to raid Freeza's worlds, eh?" Tullece guessed.
"Raiding his worlds would involve taking any valuable resources and destroying the rest. I want to steal his worlds in their entirety."
Tullece couldn't help but chuckle at the situation. "So let me get this straight: You and 4 Saiyans - 2 of which I left behind once upon a time - stormed my office for directions to a Freeza Army-occupied star system so that you could conquer it for yourself."
"And perhaps some fresh combat jackets that don't follow the Freeza Army standard, but I don't want to be too pushy," Cooler added with a shrug of his shoulders. "I suspect you will want something in return, however."
"What makes you say that?" Tullece inquired.
"Well, for starters, I imagine you'd want something to make up for the damage our skirmishes have created, plus I can tell you aren't the sort to give something away for free so easily."
"I'll tell you what," Tullece began with a smirk. "You guys gave me a much needed adrenaline rush that I've sorely needed for a while, so I'll leave the damages off the table. But before I consider your request, why don't you introduce yourself?"
You may call me Cooler," The Frost Demon curtly bowed.
"Good a name as any, I suppose," Tullece shrugged. "Now for my next question: How badly do you want to tear Freeza apart?"
"He and my father cast me and my personal squadron out, but didn't stop there. To add insult to injury, they deployed a satellite grid on my prison world to make sure I stay put. Were I to leave, the grid would open fire and cause the planet to violently explode, taking me, and my subordinates with it. I want to piss him off beyond the edge by taking away his precious toys..."
Tullece pondered what Cooler had said for a good minute before he smiled and turned to his subordinates. "Stand down!" He ordered, prompting every Crusher Army Corps soldier to lower their weapons. The Saiyan pirate turned back to Cooler. "Planet Aka, Star AV-1276. 1,060 light-years from here, so it would be roughly 2 months away for your ship to get there. It's a depot world with a few factories and refineries located on the more barren planets. It is also playing host to a particular inmate that would be of Queen Romei's interest."
"Who is this inmate, pirate?" Romei inquired, arching an eyebrow.
Tullece simply smirked at the queen. "Your second-born son."
"...Tarble...?" Romei muttered. On the outside, she had a mild look of surprise, but inside she was shaking.
"I cannot say what condition he will be in when you find him, but my scouts tell me that a Saiyan noble is under the custody of the Avocado twins - a formidable duo not to be taken lightly."
"You want something else, don't you?" Bardock guessed as he looked Tullece in the eye.
"Ha! You're too suspicious for your own good, you know that?!" Tullece laughed, causing Bardock's scowl to deepen. "I do want something else, but I have no time table for it. Just a little… bonus treat, if you happen across one."
Tullece began to march forward, folding his arms. "A planet. One with oxygen. Preferably one with no deep-rooted civilizations present. I want the biosphere to be diverse and rich with potential energy."
"What, you need hunting grounds, or farm lands or something?" Bardock guessed with a shrug.
"Close," Tullece answered. "I need a world that can grow the Shinseiju - the Tree of Might..."
Kakao - Cacao
Rezun - Rasin
Rakasei - Lakasei
A/N: And here's an update to this fic for the first time in forever! Not much to say about this one, except that I put off writing it for quite a bit. Regarding Kakao's accent, I opted for a Russian spin, since the Japanese version went that route. Just picture him with the voice of Heavy from Team Fortress 2. And what would Tullece be without his botany project? :P Hopefully this was a fun read. :)