The sun was shining and the bird-like creatures were chirping, it was another peaceful morning on Planet Dairy. Or it had been another peaceful morning then three spherical pods split the atmosphere and slammed violently into one of the planet’s no longer quite so peaceful meadows. It was the last peaceful morning the inhabitants of the planet would ever know.
The first of the three pods popped open and a small boy looked around with wide-eyed curiosity. One of the braver birds resumed singing. The boy zeroed in on the sound and in a lightening-fast move, darted across the meadow and snatched it before it could take flight.
The other two pods opened to spill out a hulking warrior with a shock of black hair perched on top of his head and a blobby, pink fighter.
“Nervous little Prince?” the pink fighter asked.
The boy scowled at how he’d been addressed. “Why would I be?” he snapped.
The third member of the trio shrugged nonchalantly. “He’s Saiyan Dodoria, the battlefield is like a second home to us.” He turned to the boy. “Prince Vegeta I want you to stay close to me. This is your first real battle. You can never be sure what the enemy will pull out of their sleeve.”
“You keep up with me Nappa!” the young prince commanded. He tossed the brightly plumed bid into the air then turned on the scouter covering his left eye and flew toward the highest ki reading.
“Prince Vegeta!” Nappa shouted and took off after his young charge.
Dodoria followed them.
“Don’t you have business of your own to take care of?” Nappa snapped.
Dodoria smirked. “Lord Frieza sent me to observe the little prince in action. You’re to clear the planet by the way.”
Nappa glanced toward where Vegeta was rapidly disappearing. “But there’s no moon on this planet,” he said. No Saiyan was born with the ability remain aware while in their Oozaru form and no Saiyan child was involved in a purging mission unless they were in their Oozaru form.
“Are you monkeys helpless without the moon?” Dodoria sneered.
“Try us and find out,” Nappa snapped automatically but a worried look remained in his eyes. Vegeta wasn’t ready to accept the necessity of the purges, it was the sort of thing where acceptance had to be grown into gradually.
Alien world or not Vegeta instantly recognized the building he’d been led to as a Martial Arts studio. He glared at the man meditating at the front of a room full of disciples. “Fight me,” Vegeta demanded.
A few of the newer students glanced around. They saw a tiny child, hardly more than a toddler challenging their master and snickered. Their more experienced colleagues sighed at their behavior and silently wondered where the kid’s parents were. The school’s mater gave Vegeta a longer look than his students had, he could sense the raw power pouring off of his tiny challenger. “Why?” he asked.
“Because I said so!” Vegeta snapped, unused to people questioning his demands.
“Why do you want to fight me?” the Sensei clarified.
Vegeta hesitated. “To show Frieza that I’m strong. Because I’m Saiyan, it’s what we do. We’re going to conquer this planet.”
“Try if you must,” the Sensei said. He stood and gestured for Vegeta to join him at the front of the room.
Vegeta warily made his way through the man’s disciples. Once he faced the dojo master the sensei bowed to him formally and fell into a fighting stance. “You may begin,” the sensei told him as he were teaching a lesson.
Vegeta crouched slightly, he took several deep breaths as he and launched himself at his enemy in a blur of kicks and punches, each blow intended to cripple or kill.
The sensei blocked every blow but fell back as he did so. He was far beyond the child-prince in terms of skill but had been caught off guard by Vegeta’s murderous determination even though he’d sensed the boy’s potential.
The students watched in shock as a child forced their master to give ground.
“Go home child,” the sensei said.
“Don’t call me that!” Vegeta snarled and hurtled a ki bolt at the man.
The sensei gritted his teeth and with a grunt of effort batted the blast aside. It blew threw the wall and left a gapping hole behind as it flew off into the sky.
Pedestrians screamed and pointed at the hole, the ki bolt and the fight which had spilled out into the street.
Vegeta renewed his attack with a vengeful fury, undeterred by the failure of his ki blast. It was, by far, his strongest attack but he wouldn’t lose, he couldn’t lose. What Vegeta lacked in experience he made up for in natural agility, strength and speed. He knew instinctively how to make his small, compact body into an advantage; Saiyans were born to fight and even at five years of age Vegeta showed that.
But the other fighter was an expert; a veteran who had honed his skilled in thousands of battles. He matched Vegeta in strength and speed. His movements were smooth and practiced, he wasted no effort in turning aside and returning Vegeta’s attacks.
Bystanders scattered as the fight moved down the street. Armed officers of the peace moved into contain the disturbance.
The Sensei caught Vegeta’s wrists, lifted him off the ground and pinned him against the side of a building. Vegeta tried to kick his way free but his opponent predicted the attack and leaned his weight into Vegeta to render further struggles useless.
“So young and yet you don’t hesitate to use killing attacks. Child, I pity you,” the Sensei said. “What sort of person would teach a baby to kill?”
Vegeta screamed, inarticulate with rage and lunged forward. His teeth snapped shut on his capturer’s throat and the boy bit and torn with a savage abandon. A coppery taste filled his mouth and blood gushed over both of them.
The man blinked at Vegeta disbelievingly as his knees buckled. When he dropped Vegeta the boy landed in a crouch.
Vegeta stepped over the body of the first challenger to contest his conquest of a planet, he was painted in blood from the jaw to the waist. “Who’s next?” he demanded.
It had been three days. There were no more great warriors to challenge the invaders but Planet Dairy’s army still remained.
Nappa glanced around the battlefield and groaned. After three day of near constant fighting his young prince was distinctly hyper.
Vegeta charged a group of enemy tanks with no regard for safety or common sense. The boy laughed joyfully as he treated mortar shells like dodge balls. He leapt into the air and caught himself on the first tank’s primary gun using his tail. His momentum swung him around, he released his hold on the gun barrel and flew to the body of the tank. He drove his tiny fist into a supposedly insignificant chink in the tank’s armor, released a ki blast then threw himself on to the next tank. The boy shrieked in delight as sparks and explosions rained down around him like fireworks.
Two more days passed. The military was no great challenge, but they were numerous and Vegeta’s reserves were far from inexhaustible. Five days with little sleep and the constant drain on his resources had pushed Vegeta near his limits. He’d long since forgotten anything he’d learned and had fallen back on instinct.
Dodoria watched the young prince with superior disdain. “He’s nothing but a trained monkey,” the pink fighter sneered “It’s a wonder Saiyans can even speak.”
Six days after the invasion of Planet Dairy began there was no one left alive with the ability or will to fight the two Saiyans.
Nappa glanced nervously between Vegeta and Dodoria as they surveyed the smoking ruins of the last of the planet’s military forces.
“Prince Vegeta, go back to the pods and wait while I finish up,” Nappa ordered.
Vegeta scowled. “What’s left to be done?” he asked. “There’s no one left to fight.”
Nappa glanced toward the horizon where a city’s skyline could just be made out.
“Them?” Vegeta asked scornfully. “I was there, the only ones left just run and hide.”
“My prince, we’re here to clear the planet,” Nappa said uncomfortably. Vegeta was much too young to be told this, he thought. They only sent Saiyan children to planets with moons so they wouldn’t remember this part. Even the children set on infant missions were set to planets with moons and they were hardly considered to be Saiyan unless they survived and returned. At Vegeta’s age he should wake from the Oozaru transformation without giving any thought to collateral damage, in a half dozen years or so he’d start to realize that it happened, that when he went Oozaru and smashed a city not all of the people who died had been fighters but he would think of it as an accident. As he got older, like all Saiyans he’d gradually come to realize the truth of planet purging, that the death of non-combatants was the goal of a purging mission and not a side-effect, but Saiyan children were raised on stories of glorious battle, not on the cold fact of mass executions.
Vegeta looked shocked and confused for a moment then he noticed Dodoria watching him like a hungry vulture. “If I wasn’t doing it right you should have told me,” he scolded Nappa. “You go back to the pods. I’ll finish my part of the job.”
Nappa and Dodoria followed Vegeta to the city and watched as the little boy went from house to house methodically slaughtering every living being.
Back in Vegeta’s quarters on Frieza’s ship Nappa watched as his young charge scrubbed at his skin until it was raw.
Frieza walked in unannounced and without invitation. He tsked sadly at Vegeta. “After all I’ve been told about Saiyan Warrior prowess you, the Saiyan Prince, balks at killing. I am sooo disappointed little Prince.”
Frieza met Vegeta’s eyes and Vegeta remembered Frieza threatening to destroy Vegeta-sai should he be disappointed in Vegeta. The boy looked down at his chaffed hands. “I don’t like blood getting beneath my nails,” he said arrogantly. “Next time I’ll have gloves added to my uniform.”
A child peered cautiously out of his hiding place, a building that hadn’t been boarded up quite well enough to prevent him from squeezing inside. His dark hair hung nearly to his knees in a ragged mane, his clothes were tattered scrapes and his manner was feral.
There was very little the boy was certain of. His own name was a mystery to him but he knew They were his enemy and he had to kill Them.
For as long as he could remember ‘They’ had consisted of everyone who was not him but recently he’d begun to think that there might be others like him somewhere out there. He’d been drawn back to the place of his earliest memories and had found a spherical chamber that fascinated him. Soon, soon he’d come back to stay and make full examination of the oddly familiar thing but first he had a job to do.
He had vague, unfocused memories of a before, of people looking down at him, of black scattered with diamonds outside a round window.
He remembered eight cycles of the seasons here. When he’d first come here the Thems had been everywhere he looked. They had taken him to a shiny sterile building and put him in a cage. They had poked and prodded and taken samples from him for weeks until his savior moon had come and freed him from Their clutches. He had awakened in the smoldering ruin of one of Their cities the next morning and had quickly hidden himself away before They could capture him again.
Deep down he’d know it wasn’t enough just to hide. So he had hunted the ones of Them that went to lonely, isolated places in case they were hunting him. As he learned the cycle of his savior moon he began to make his way to Their cities to allow it’s power to find a conduit in him so that it might work it’s will on the Thems.
Every season he got stronger and more confident in his abilities but he stayed cautious. The Thems had devices that made burning lights; his hand strayed over his other arm brushing extensive scar tissue, They had little flying needles that made him weak, They had nets and cages he couldn’t break free of without his savior moon and he always remembered the way They had hurt him when he was at his weakest.
They were much fewer in numbers now, after eight cycles of the seasons. They had learned to scatter, to abandon Their cities when the savior moon shown in the sky. They hunted him when she was away and he hunted them right back; so far he was winning.
And when They were all gone he would- he would... Well it had something to do with the spherical chamber. He assumed he would remember when the time came.