Once upon a time Frieza and the gang went to Planet Frieza 79 because the vending machine on Frieza’s ship ran out of space funyuns.
It was snowing pretty bad, so everyone stayed indoors. Captain Ginyu took the opportunity to start a karaoke contest; the ultra-competitive Burter and Jeice couldn’t resist singing love ballads to one another, and even though Recoome didn’t know how to read, he did a wonderful job reciting the lyrics to Kush Baby rap on the screen, but it was Guldo’s rendition of “Revolution 9” that really brought the crowd to tears.
Unable to take it any longer, young Prince Vegeta stormed out of the room, his cape fluttering behind him. He liked his cape; it made him feel like proper royalty. If Zarbon was allowed to wear a cape, then it was only fair that a real prince like him got to wear one too.
Down the hall, staring out a window at the snowy landscape beyond, stood the elegant baby boy known as Kuriza. He was bundled up in a crimson snuggie and was sipping hot space cocoa from a straw.
The Saiyan boy just wanted to be left alone so he could train. He wanted to be the best there ever was. He wasn’t a singer or a lover or any of that other alien nonsense. Storming down the hallway, ranting to himself inside his head, he barely noticed when he ran into the Arcosian prince. Kuriza squealed like an underage Konatsian and dropped his drink.
“Excuse you, monkey!” The little Arcosian blushed in incertitude. “Watch where you’re going!”
Vegeta looked up, almost as if he didn’t realize what he had done. But when he saw the broken glass and steaming, spilled cocoa, his eyes narrowed, and he crossed his arms. “Hmph. You watch where you’re going.”
“Excuse me? How rude.” Kuriza raised his chin just like his father had taught him. Vegeta was after all just a filthy ape, if Zarbon was to be believed. “You should maintain proper etiquette, Vegeta. Your manners are severely unrefined. You are going to get yourself in trouble if you continue to act like a brute.”
“That’s Prince Vegeta to you.”
“Prince…?!” Why, I-I…!” Kuriza’s eyes nearly bulged at of his head. The Saiyan’s impudence was outrageous. “Y-you better be careful, Vegeta. If you don’t stop right now, I’m telling papa!”
The Saiyan boy raised a gloved hand, waving Kuriza’s threat aside. “I know you won’t tattle.”
“Really? How do you know?”
“Because only babies tattle.”
“Vegeta!! My patience is running thin! Daddy will punish you if you don’t stop being mean to me!”
Vegeta was tired of that blabbering fool’s blabbering mouth. Kuriza’s skin was sallow and crimson, and his face was even uglier than his father’s. That warranted a ki blast to the kisser in the Saiyan Prince’s assessment.
“Here, catch!” he smiled deviously, throwing a blue ball of ki at Kuriza.
Kuriza was an awkward child, a child of the stars if you will, and his power level was not yet respectable. He took the blast like an Arlian concubine and fell over, shrieking wildly. “Wh-what was that for, Vegeta?! You insolent cretin! You pervicacious ape! I’ll make you pay for that!” He jumped to his feet, sneering monstrously. His snuggie had been torn to pieces by the attack, so he ripped the remnants of it from his thin, pale body. It was very sad, because Papa Frieza had given Kuriza his snuggie two months prior, after the young Arcosian had beaten Cui in a dance-off. It had taken Kuriza weeks to learn his dance moves. And for what? Ire bloomed in the young lord’s veins.
“Pay…? Me?” A small grin crept onto Vegeta’s face. “What, you need money to buy another blankey, baby?”
“That’s enough, Saiyan! I’m done speaking to such a stubborn imbecile!”
A pink ball of ki formed between the Arcosian boy’s hands. It grew larger and darker in color until it was a deep, sparkling carmine. He raised a palm and fired the blast at Vegeta, who, laughing, jumped out of the way. But when the ball split into many smaller tendrils that homed in on Vegeta, the Saiyan boy’s eyes widened and he realized that maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to provoke Kuriza’s wrath.
Falling to the ground, half of his armor blown away, revealing a bare shoulder where blood was seeping out from a deep cut, Vegeta grimaced and got to his feet again. His cape lay in tatters on the floor. “Why… you…!”
He was preparing a blast that would one day be known as the Galick Gun when Nappa came strolling down the hallway, whistling a tune about cabbage to himself. When the former Saiyan General saw what was going on, he ran over to the boys. There was a crack in the looking window and the metal-tiled floor had been blackened and charred. There were a few holes in the ceiling from Kuriza’s last attack, too.
“Heeeeeey Vegeta!!” came Nappa’s cheerful voice. Glancing at Kuriza, he said, “And uh, hey Lord Frieza’s kid.”
“That’s Prince Kuriza to you, Saiyan,” the child said haughtily.
“Uh right, Prince Kuri–”
“Show me what you’ve got!” Vegeta shouted, rushing at the other prince.
“Heeeey, whoa now, kiddo.” Nappa grabbed Vegeta by the tail and picked him up, holding him upside down. “You gotta calm down, Vegeta.”
“Shut up, Nappa! Stay out of this!”
“No can do, princey-poo.” Nappa gave him a good shake. “Now why don’t you and, uh, Prince Kuri-whatever talk out your problems?”
“I don’t wanna talk to that fool! I wanna blow him away! He’s space trash!”
“How impolite,” Kuriza replied, folding his arms and looking away, as if he had been deeply offended. “That boy is an uncouth barbarian.”
“Oh yeah?! At least I’m stronger than you!!”
Vegeta shot a flurry of indigo ki balls at Kuriza, blowing up the wall and shattering the window. Instantly, an icy gust of wind blew in, draping the three in a dainty layer of snow. Nappa punched Vegeta deep in the gut to make him stop struggling. The sudden sneak attack took the boy by surprise, and he spit blood as he hung upside down like an adventurous Christmas ornament.
“Look, you two have a lot of problems, and that’s great, but I wanna go make snow Super Saiyans, so see ya!” Nappa threw Vegeta to the ground and jumped out of the window. They were on the fifth floor of the outpost. Nappa remained hovering in midair and turned around. “Oh, and you better not misbehave, Vegeta.”
“Because if you do, Space Santa won’t get you anything for Space Christmas!! Harharhar, if you’re naughty, you’ll be the only one without a present! Think about that, Vegeta!!”
“Wha… who?” Vegeta was lost for words. Rubbing his bleeding shoulder, the Prince of all Saiyans scowled at Kuriza, who stood deft as a water dancer right next to him. “What’s he talking about?”
“It does not surprise me that you don’t know about Space Santa,” Kuriza scoffed. “Saiyans are such a savage species.”
“At least we don’t need to wear blankets when it gets cold out!” Vegeta launched himself at the young Arcosian lord only for Kuriza to spin around and slap the boy in the face with his tail. Vegeta fell to the ground, sliding on the melting snow, and crashed into the wall. Lying in pain, he did not get up.
Kuriza yawned and marched off down the hall back to his room. When he passed Vegeta, he said, “Space Santa comes once every year on Space Christmas. If you’ve been good, you’ll get whatever you want. But if you’ve been bad, Space Santa’ll give you… well, I shouldn’t spoil it.” He raised a hand to cover his mouth as he giggled to himself. He was so prim and proper, it sickened Vegeta. “You’ll find out soon enough, Vegeta.”
That fool had insulted his pride; he couldn’t let that slide. Prince Vegeta tried to stand, but he slipped on the icy metal tiles again and fell over, smacking his head so hard that he was knocked unconscious. And as he lay there, the noble Saiyan Prince dreamed of Nappa and Guldo and a big fat man with a beard who was most certainly not his father.
The young lord genuflected before his father’s hover pod, his head bowed in trepidation. Papa Frieza was glaring through his chestnut skull. He could feel it. It was the worst feeling in the world.
“Explain yourself,” his father said coldly.
Lord Frieza’s tail flopped around like he was an annoyed space cat. “You know it’s almost Space Christmas, don’t you? You should be on your best behavior, not acting like some ill-mannered monkey. I have enough to worry about without hoping you two don’t destroy my outpost.”
“But Father… he ruined my snuggie!”
“He did what?!”
“And he spilled my cocoa!”
His daddy smiled and closed his eyes. “Very well. We’ll go see Vegeta so you two can work out your problems.”
They walked in silence to the medical room, where Zarbon was sweet-talking Malaka and Guldo was getting his third eye opened (he had gotten a terrible case of pink eye from the karaoke mic). The rejuvenation tanks were empty.
“Where is Vegeta?” Daddy asked, all bored and such.
“He checked out an hour ago, Lord Frieza,” the bird-faced birdboy told them.
“Is he fully healed?”
“I’m afraid not. I advised him to remain in the rejuvenation tank for at least 24 hours, but he was stubborn about it.”
“Where is he now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, Lord Frieza?”
“Find Vegeta so we may leave.”
“At once, Lord Frieza,” Zarbon replied dryly, bowing.
They walked back to the throne room together, father and son. “You haven’t told me what you want for Space Christmas,” Lord Frieza observed. “Would you like another stuffed animal? A Wintaar, perhaps?”
“I would very much enjoy a new space snuggie, Father,” Kuriza said with a fierce, boyish scowl. He shivered and hugged his own shoulders. “And for Vegeta to get a timeout. He must pay for his rudeness.”
They passed Cui on the way back. The officer bowed and wished them a happy Space Christmas. He was looking for a raise, no doubt. “That one annoys me,” Father mused. “Always sucking up and grinning. Why is he so happy? He has whiskers like a space catfish.”
Kuriza couldn’t disagree. Cui was an unsightly fellow, and he didn’t get the boy’s heart to flutter any day of the week. They soon returned to the throne room, which was utterly vacant. His father’s hover pod, however, was not like it had been before. Someone had drawn all over it with a permanent marker.
Kuriza felt his face growing hot. There was a near-stick-figure likeness of him with a monstrous face and wild hands painted on the hull. Not to mention, Kuriza’s likeness was wrapped up in what looked like a blanket. Beneath his visage was printed: ‘I smell laik a dirty ape!!’. Next to him someone had drawn his father kissing Zarbon while Dodoria cheered them on.
Papa Frieza stopped dead in his tracks. “Who… did… this?” His father’s temper was rising to a furor. “How obscene!”
“It was Vegeta, I know he did it!”
There was silence for a minute or so. “Leave me.”
“I will not ask you again, Kuriza!!”
Kuriza ran. He heard something explode after he closed the door and didn’t stop running until he found the Ginyu Force. They were lounging around in the break room. Ginyu was passed out on the couch with a plastic cup of space eggnog in his hand. Recoome and Jeice were competing over who could eat the most Tordo’s Flavor Dust, while Burter was playing a game on the tele called Sonichu: Gotta Go Faster.
“Wake up, Mr. Ginyu,” Kuriza whispered politely, giving the sleeping horned alien a shove. “Wake up, wake up! You promised to take me to the space zoo today!”
But he wouldn’t budge. It was nearly as sad as when Mufasa wouldn’t get up either.
“Heh, mate, he ain’t wakin’ up,” Jeice grinned. “The cap’n drank the whole bottle himself, ha!”
“He really went overboard!” Burter agreed.
“Duuh, yah!” Recoome added.
“Hmph.” Kuriza drew his tail up to his chest like a proper fancyboy. “Fine, then I’m not getting him a present for Space Christmas. And you can tell him that when he wakes up.”
He left them to their games and wandered back down the hall, unsure where he was headed next. That’s when he saw him – a tall man, wearing red-and-white clothes, running down the hallway. His beard was white, his belly fat, and slung over his shoulder was a sack filled with lots of things.
“Sp-space… Santa?” Kuriza gasped. “Wait… come back! Please, sir, come back!” he put out his hand, but Santa was gone, just like that. The Arcosian boy’s eyes widened. He didn’t know what was going on. Was it Space Christmas already?
That was when he noticed Prince Vegeta, whose armor was still half-destroyed. His shoulder looked pretty bad. He was coming out of one of the workout rooms. A sense of guilt washed over Kuriza, then pity, then fear. Was Space Santa going to give him a present after all that had happened? Was he going to blame Kuriza for the fight? The boy hoped not. He was going to say something when suddenly Zarbon appeared from the other side of the hall. Shouting at Vegeta, he ran over. When the Saiyan gave him the sass mouth, Zarbon punched him in the chest, and Vegeta collapsed on the ground. Slinging the young warrior over his shoulder, Zarbon made his way out.
Kuriza sighed and found a vending machine. It was out of hot cocoa, so he got real mad. His first ki blast wasn’t strong enough – it bounced off the machine and hit the ceiling, raining sparks down upon the boy. Not wanting to mess around, Kuriza created a tiny Supernova attack and flung it at the vending machine. This time, an explosion rocked the room, and that made Kuriza feel a little better.
The sound of an explosion caused a guard of the same species as Appule to come running over. “Sir, what’s going on? Did the machine malfunction?”
“Cocoa!” Kuriza cried. “I want my cocoa!!”
“Y-yes, sir… right away!” The dude ran off like he was being chased by a space lion on the savanna.
He sat up against the wall, feeling uncomfortably cold, and stared out a window at the white expanse beyond. It reminded him of home, but he wasn’t used to the cold anymore.
“Kuriza!” His father’s voice had a metallic ring to it over the scouter, and that frightened the boy. “Answer me.”
“I’m here, Father.”
“We’re leaving at once. Return to the ship.”
“Yes, Father.” He almost hung up, but, biting his lip, Kuriza continued in a delicate tone, “Um, father… I-I… what about Space Christmas?”
“What about it?”
“Are we going to get our presents before we leave?” He left out the part about him seeing Space Santa on the outpost.
“Don’t test my patience, Kuriza. Return to the ship.”
He stood and walked down the hallway, pausing at the workout room Vegeta had come out of. The door was still open. Inside, seven Saibamen lay dead, squashed like bugs. The walls were painted with their blood. A janitor, wearing official janitor clothes, came plodding over, pushing his little cart, and when he saw what was inside the room, he screamed, created a ki blast between his hands, and shot it at his own face, killing himself.
When his corpse fell, and his blood began to pool on the floor mats of the room, Kuriza could only think that it would be even worse for the next janitor, and that made him feel a little better.
“My apologies, Lord Frieza.” The shark-faced Captain Ajira fell to a knee as the snow fell around them. “We will remedy this situation as quickly as possible.”
“You better,” Zarbon said sharply, giving her a dirty look. “We have places to be.”
It was so typical of a station commander. The Ginyu Force led the charge out into the snow, where time could be wasted far more efficiently than on the landing pad. Dodoria and Zarbon as well as our good Lord Frieza stayed behind, annoyed at the childishness of everyone else. Appule and Orlen made a snow Appule (it’s really hard to make an eggheaded snowman) while Cui took out his trusty pair of ice skates and danced around a frozen lake.
Vegeta sat on a metal wall, watching the rest of them throw snowballs. “Oy, watch this Burter!” Jeice grinned. “It’s my patented fastball!”
That made Burter hiss. “No way, man. I’m faster than any fastball you could throw!”
“Hey, shut up! All you talk about is how fast ya are!”
“Well, it’s true–”
That was when Jeice’s snowball hit him in the face.
“Dah hah, good one, Jeice,” Recoome grunted. Vegeta was scowling at the huge alien who didn’t look like an alien at all.
It was at that moment that Nappa came strolling out of the outpost, after having finished a particularly gruesome endeavor in the men’s room. Stretching his neck, he walked up to the landing pad, where Ajira’s technicians were probing Frieza’s saucer like proper Greys.
“Heeey, uh, what’s going on?” Nappa asked in his usual gravely voice.
“The ship won’t start up. There appear to be technical difficulties,” Zarbon replied in a lazy tone.
“Zarbon… what is that Saiyan wearing?” Frieza looked a little more than shocked. It was a shame that he wasn’t sitting in his hover pod. Wonder where that went. It’s too bad that a galactic tyrant can’t sit around all day and has to actually stand. That’s just brutal.
Zarbon looked Nappa up and down like he was a piece of meat (he was). “Uh… I believe he’s dressed up as Space Santa, Lord Frieza.”
“That’s right!” Nappa said cheerfully. “Ho ho ho!!”
“That’s quite enough, Saiyan. Go… do something until we leave.”
“But I’ve got all these presents!” he complained, ruffling the brown sack slung over his shoulder.
“I’ll take that,” Dodoria grunted like a good girl.
Nappa deemed this acceptable, as Dodoria was a peerless porker who would make a good Space Santa when he was dead and gone.
The fake beard was itching like an Arlian love rash. Nappa strolled on down to where the snow was piling up in the road. Everyone was having a grand old time except for Vegeta, who sat with his cape blowing in the wind, staring out at the approaching tundra.
“Hey Vegeta.” Nappa patted him on the shoulder, and Vegeta jolted as he stifled a cry. “Why aren’t’cha out there with the rest of them?”
“I hate them all,” Vegeta replied.
Kuriza was shivering bad. He looked like he needed a jacket or something. But he was having fun, at least. He was throwing snowballs at Ginyu. The black-horned officer was flopping about, dancing and posing like some working girl from Arcose.
Nappa pulled a space cabbage from his pocket and bit into it. “Cheer up, Vegeta, it’s Space Christmas!!”
The boy looked up at him and scoffed. “You look ridiculous, Nappa.”
“It’s Space Christmas!” Nappa repeated, trying to coax the boy into raising his spirits.
“Hmph, shut up Nappa.” The prince crossed his arms and looked away.
“Hey Vegeta, remember that time it snowed on Planet Vegeta? That was cool, huh?”
He was being a naughty boy, and Nappa was regretting buying him that gift he had, so he bent down, gathered some snow between his hands, and flung it at Vegeta. Vegeta was too lost in thought to expect such a dirty trick, and when it hit him in the back of the head, he nearly fell off that wall. Nappa nearly cried. It would have been so much funnier had Vegeta fallen off. He lamented how cruel fate had been to his comedic timing.
“That’s not my name, Vegeta! I’m… Space Santa,” Nappa whispered obnoxiously.
Vegeta’s cheeks were flushed. That might’ve been the cold, or it might’ve been the rage. It was probably the rage. “There’s no such thing as Space Santa, you brainless fool!”
“Hey, take that back!” Nappa retorted, stroking his beard. “Space Santa comes every Space Christmas. It’s a Christmas fact, Vegeta!”
Out of nowhere, another snowball pegged Vegeta on the nose. “Ooh!!” several members of the Ginyu Force shouted in unison.
“My apologies, monkey,” Kuriza called from across the street. “My previous throw was marginally errant.”
An ultramarine ball of ki formed in the boy’s gloved hand, melting the snow at his feet as he held it.
“Aw, Vegeta, don’t do it! Think of Space Christmas! You gotta be a good boy.”
“Hmph, whatever.” The prince marched off back to the landing pad.
“Heya, nice beard,” Recoome said, coming over to Nappa. “Say, uh, whaddya get me for Space Christmas, Santa? I need a new tutu for my dance routines after I ripped the last one, ahhhuhuhuh.” He smiled a wide-toothed smile, and Nappa thought that the stupid orange-haired oaf would look better with a few of those pearly whites missing.
“Space Santa only gets presents for good boys and girls!”
“Heya, whaaa?!” Recoome’s eyes got real big. He was just about to realize he needed to get angry now. “What’s that supposed ta–”
That was when Captain Ginyu hit him so hard in the face with a snowball that Recoome fell over, knocked out cold. “Heheheh, oops,” Ginyu said carelessly, walking over to his man. Recoome was bleeding out into the snow from a gash on his forehead. “That one must’ve had a rock in it. Oh well!”
He went back to playing in the snow like the others, as if he were a child too. But the only actual child out there was Kuriza. Nappa wasn’t very powerful, and he wasn’t very smart, but everyone recognized his authority as Space Santa, and he held court out there on the ice like Lord Frieza never had. Kuriza even sat on his lap and wished for a new snuggie, whatever that was. It sounded like something girls would wear.
By high noon, Ajira returned to the landing pad and confronted her God-emperor. “Just a few space-badgers in the hyperdrive.” She held up a burnt, furry corpse. “They didn’t do any serious damage. My technicians were able to make all necessary repairs, so you’re good to go.”
Zarbon screamed wildly. “Disgusting creatures, ugh! Take it away!”
“Heh, back on my homeworld, we used to eat those little fellas for breakfast!” Dodoria grunted lustily.
Frieza shook his head. These were his two highest-ranking assistants. He blushed in displeasure at himself for promoting such fools so high.
The snow was melting in their hair when they returned to the ship, except for Nappa and all the other baldies (there were a lot of them; bunch of ugly bald aliens, goddamn). Nappa wanted to grow a huge mustache and beard one day so that it could wrap around his neck and cover his poor bald head on cold days such as this.
As Nappa was walking down the hallways, he felt the ship take off. He was wondering if Dodoria had distributed the presents when he heard Kuriza shouting with glee from a room to the right. Peeking in, he saw the young Arcosian standing in a shiny new hover pod with a big red bow on it.
“Wew, yeah! Aww yeah!” Kuriza dropped to his knees and pulled something out from under the seat, throwing it up above his head like he was holding baby Simba. “That’s right, that’s what I’m talking about, yeah!!”
It was a crimson-purple bathrobe-blanket thingy of some sort. Nappa didn’t get why the kid liked it so much. He was much more concerned with Kuriza’s speech patterns and why the Arcosian was no longer acting very elegant. A guard came running over, sweating bad, and pushed Nappa aside in his mania. Sprinting in, he presented a silver platter to the young lord, knelt, and spoke leally, “O-one piping hot space cocoa, my lord.”
“Thank you, soldier. You are most kind,” Kuriza said, hiding away his blanket in his fancy new hover pod and jumping out to collect his drink. “You may leave now.”
“I-I… what?!” The green-skinned fishy-faced man looked utterly bewildered.
“You heard me.”
“I… it’s just usually Lord Frieza blows up his servants after they deliver him anything.”
“Oh.” Kuriza hopped back into his hover pad, his tail going mad like a hungry one-eyed snake. Sitting down in his hover pod, he sipped his cocoa with a huge grin. The guard took the hint and rushed out of there with a mixture of terror and unbridled enthusiasm on his sweaty face.
Nappa didn’t remember getting that kid anything for Space Christmas.
Further down the hall was Vegeta’s room. The Saiyan boy was in there, pulling off his armor. On his bed lay one single wrapped package that the boy had yet to open.
Space Santa poked his head through the door. “Hey Vegeta, whaddya get for Space Christmas?”
“I don’t know, Nappa.”
“Open it, open it, open it!” Nappa chanted impatiently.
Vegeta pulled off one of his boots before sighing and walking over to the bed. “Fine, if it’ll shut you up.”
He tore it open and held it in his hands and kept his back to Nappa. “Well?! Whaddya think, Vegeta? Isn’t he cute? Isn’t he the best? Aw Vegeta, don’t’cha love him?!?!”
The boy narrowed his eyes as he looked over his shoulder. “Why don’t you go do something, Nappa? You’re being annoying again.”
“Fine, fine, whatever.” Nappa marched off. He knew better than anyone how Prince Vegeta could get sometimes.
A lot of the aliens were gathered in the training room, bragging about their gifts. Nappa worked out for a few hours alone in the corner because no one likes a filthy monkey. He was the sweatiest Space Santa ever. Finally, feeling a bit tired and somewhat peckish, Nappa decided to retire to his quarters where he knew no presents awaited him.
On his way back, he peeked in on Vegeta’s room and found the boy asleep in his bed, snoring softly. The prince was clutching the lanky Saibaman stuffed animal in his arms as he dreamt of better times and better places. Nappa could barely suppress his joy. “Heh princey, what happened to your pride? If only Zarbon could see ya now!”
The barbarous warrior was quite pleased with himself as he made his way back to his room that night. “It’s the best Space Christmas ever!” he declared to himself. “That’s the first present I ever got him that he actually liked!”
But he knew the boy would never admit it. Nappa shook his head and swore under his breath. He cursed himself for not owning a camera. Maybe next year, Space Santa would get him one. One could hope. But first, he’d have to be a good Nappa… and even the bald Saiyan who had nothing going on in his brain knew that that was an impossible task.
|The Monster and the Maiden • A Space Christmas Story • One Chop Man|
Girl • Twelve Majestic Lies • Mountain Bird