Much like how Ground Up was written, So Lonely At The Top was written on a late night when my brother and I were watching nick at nite. The story itself was written very quickly. I had no idea of what to do with the plot when the idea was first drawn up. I just knew that Cui would be the main character, and that it would feature young Vegeta. Recoome was an after-thought. I wanted to use a Ginyu Force member by himself. Guldo would have been too weak, and Cap'n Ginyu would have been too strong. I felt like Jeice and Burter worked better together, and that Recoome would be easier to use; particularly for Cui's recount that Recoome had once led him in battle.
While I did create the page about five days before I posted the story, I never worked on any of it until a few hours before posting it. It was all written in one night, as mentioned above, and I came up with much of the story as I wrote it. Several aspects of this story serve as precursor to my Vegeta story, which is now called His Majesty's Pet. At the time it was something else. But writing with Vegeta was supposed to be a little teaser as to what I was hoping to do with Vegeta later on. Unfortunately, I eventually deleted that kid Vegeta story, so this ended up as more of a standalone. While His Majesty's Pet will end up being written much after the commentary for this story takes place, it will still stay consistent with the horrible way Vegeta was treated in this story.
Back when I posted it, I was using much slower computer, than for any other story and for some reason it didn't allow me to copy and paste large chunks of text. So I had to post it in small parts over the course of several minutes. Luckily, not many people are online in the early morning, so I don't think anyone noticed, and only read part of the story.
It was sunset by the time lord Frieza’s ship touched down. Usually by this time of day, most of us had retreated indoors. It got very cold when the sun set on planet Frieza 41. But this was a rare occasion and even I was a little excited to see it.
Lord Frieza was the ruler of the galaxy, or at least as much of the galaxy as we knew about. He was bitter and ruthless; and most of us, his soldiers, feared him. There were stories of him killing people just for looking at him the wrong way. But I never understood this. As long as you completed all your missions and kept your boots clean, Frieza was no more menacing than a child. Of course, many of my fellow soldiers were just that; soldiers. Conscripted and forced into their roles. But for me, this was what I was born to be. A warrior.
The others didn’t see the fun in a life of constant fireworks and genocide. Well to hell with them, I thought. I wasn’t here for them, after all but for Frieza. And I hoped that he would take notice of me this time.
I had met lord Frieza once before. It had been on some backwater planet over five years ago. Back then, the weird ass Ginyu force was a lot more active. That was back before their big controversy… Anyway, the big one, Recoome had been my “squad leader” on my first mission ever. He was pretty ruthless himself, and if I wasn’t the amazing tactician I am then I probably would have died. Everyone else did.
Recoome and I had been the only survivors of the mission. It was a long and hard fought battle. Maybe that was why Frieza himself had decided to come down and congratulate us. I had hoped that at that time he might’ve given me a position on his ship. That was everyone’s main goal, anyway; to get a job on Frieza’s ship. But Recoome had taken most of my spotlight and I was ignored. I wouldn’t be this time.
This ship touched down without incident. Frieza did not keep very many guards because he was so powerful. Security was also surprisingly lax. But I guess it’s your decision when you’re the strongest being in the universe…
The front doors slip open and bright lights shone outward. The soldiers were all lined in neat rows to greet their lord, and even in the rapidly increasing cold, not one dared shiver. I alone stood before them all; for this was my legion.
The great lord exited first, on his own feet. It was rare to see him like that. I noticed familiar faces flanking. The large and stupid one, Dodoria, and Frieza’s personal servant, Zarbon. Zarbon was heavily ornated and elegant. But his looks deceived him. I had seen him fight, and surely he was a very underrated threat. But also among the entourage was a smaller figure. I could not see him particularly well from my vantage but I could easily guess its identity; Prince Vegeta.
The news had spread like wildfire of the Saiyans annihilation by none other than Frieza himself. But more odd than that was Frieza’s taking of Prince Vegeta as his own soldier… it just didn’t make sense when compared to the lord’s other actions.
I shook my head, clearing my thoughts. It wasn’t my place to question lord Frieza, after all. I wanted to remain in his favor. Frieza approached my outpost and gazed about at the soldiers and structures beyond. His face was unreadable. At long last, he came up to me…. Well I shouldn’t really say it like that since he was two heads shorter than me.
But kneel, I did. Thoughtless niceties left my mouth as I greeted him. These were empty, if expected words. He looked back at me, with those cold eyes, “Rise lieutenant! Come, welcome me into your home.”
I rose as commanded. Apparently it was too cold for even Frieza out here. Imagine that. Nevertheless, I took it as my duty to escort Frieza to my office. We walked briskly past the soldiers, not looking at them at all.
No matter the cold, their fear drove them and I could count on them to remain still until Frieza was inside. I had taught them well.
We entered into the capitol building of 41, and made ourselves cozy. Well they did any way. While I was not afraid of Frieza, I remained anxious and impatient for the lord to speak.
Zarbon and Dodoria took up positions around Frieza but Vegeta did not. He was not like the others. His face was gaunt and he had dark bags beneath his eyes. I noticed when he sat down he winced, as if in pain. But like me, the kid remained silent.
Business went on, though it was less exciting than I had hoped. Frieza was interested in some kind of power source within the planet itself, and was very motivated to get at it. As he spoke, my mind wandered back to the kid. I was not normally a curious person, but this was just so strange… it was like Frieza’s kid. And Frieza wasn’t exactly a good father.
The meeting concluded with little fanfare as my anxiety dissolved into disappointment. Frieza’s trip here had nothing to do with me. Worse yet, the way things were shaping up I wouldn’t even have the possibility of showcasing my new-mastered power.
Frieza began pacing around my office. When he spoke, his head was pointed to the ground as he remained deep in thought, “I’ve sent for the Ginyu force. They will be the ones who extract this much needed… device for me. You will accommodate them accordingly, Lieutenant.”
“Yes, lord Frieza,” I replied, without hesitation.
For now my spirits were back. I saw a way to impress Frieza and appoint me to his personal ship. With the meeting concluded, Frieza and his group shuffled out of the door, to leave. As soon as the door closed, I stepped back and pressed my wrist communicator. With this device, I could talk to any of my under-officers immediately. That’s just what needed to be done here.
“Sergeant! Sergeant! Do you copy, over?”
The crackling answered me back as I sighed in relief. “Yes sir, I’m here.”
“Good. Now sergeant, I need you do something for me.”
“Anything, sir,” he replied, ever so loyal.
I looked around, to make sure no one could hear. “Sergeant, I need you to disable Frieza’s ship before he gets back. Make so it won’t take off just yet.”
“Yes sir, I’m on it.”
I sighed in relief again. Even before I was sure that this deed had been done, I knew it would be. I had trained my soldiers well enough to trust my life to them.
It was not long before my underling reported back and told me the good news. Without his ship, Frieza was just as helpless as us here. And with the Ginyu force fast approaching, I had a way to show my strength.
Frieza was annoyed, though not at me when he returned. I graciously offered him my own quarters to which he obliged. Upon that, I left for some fresh air. My own crowded house was becoming too much to manage. Instead, I took to the outside onto a snow covered path.
I followed the path for some time without even so much as seeing another being. As I climbed up over a small hill, I saw where the path led to; an abandoned barracks. Three years ago, it’s roof had caved in so the soldiers had moved to a different building. It didn’t bother me very much. The building was one of the earliest of the outpost, and by now it was not connected at all to the rest of the installation. It had made it a pain for the soldiers living within to connect with the rest of us. Besides, I could use it right now to get away from Frieza and prepare for my fight with the Ginyu force.
I opened the door, and turned on the lights. Even so, it was dark and quiet. The rooms were large and flat, mainly used for sparring. Now abandoned, they looked kind of creepy. I walked down the halls, my boots clanking loudly on the cold metal floor. A slight ruffling came from a room to my left, and it startled me. I burst the closed door down, to see what lay within.
There, sitting on a dust covered bed was Vegeta. The imprint of his body had been on the bed, and it looked like my loud walking had startled him awake. I noticed he was embarrassed, and wouldn’t look me in the eye. Nevertheless my anger rose at his sight. What the hell was he doing locked up in my building?
“What are you doing here?” I scowled, barely holding in my temper.
“I was just trying to get some sleep. Zarbon doesn’t let me get much…” He replied, head bowed.
I didn’t care. Breaking into here was a slight against me, and something I would never have tolerated from one of my own soldiers. I grabbed him by his shirt, picking him up easily. Too easily; as I held him out I could see he was malnourished and severely underweight. What the hell was Frieza doing to this kid?
But I made no mention of it. I didn’t want Zarbon overhearing me…
Instead, I took the kid and dragged him out of the room. We walked in silence, him not daring to make a word and me too angry to. I picked up the pace, realizing that the ginyu force would be here any minute. It wouldn’t be proper for me to snub them and hide out here with the kid.
We came into one of the sparring chambers. The floor was wooden-plastered and the walls were high. No other features were in it. As I walked, the echoing of my feet became even louder. But it was not the only sound coming from the room.
“What the hell…?” I dropped the kid, as anger and surprise overtook me. The door on the far side was open. A figure was standing in its frame, silhouetted by the sun behind. I approached this figure, now curious to who he was.
Vegeta took this as his cue to seek revenge over me. The little shit was starving and tired, but his punches still hurt like hell. The first one was to the back of my skull and sent me crashing into the hard floor below. I rose, rubbing the throbbing bump.
“You coward! What the hell was that for!?”
Vegeta did not answer me, but went into a fight stance. I knew the Saiyans were insane, but this one was just something else. He really wanted to fight me. For the moment, my focus turned from the curious figure standing ahead, as I sought to beat the shit out the kid.
He charged me with a yell. I was taken aback by his skill. Not only did he have power, but he had finesse too. His physical state didn’t seem to have detracted from this. I weaved and ducked around his flurry of punches as he threw them. But then it was my turn. I kicked him hard in the knees, and elbowed him to the ground. The force of this sent him sprawling and sliding across the ice covered floor, in an almost comical sight. But when he slammed into the wall, I knew it was over. I could see the bone piercing the skin of his right arm and blood was now flowing. Shit, I thought again. This was Frieza’s little pet. I don’t think he would like me damaging it.
But before I could run over to see what state the young Saiyan was in, a voice rang out across the hall, “Hey! Whaddya think you’re doing?”
I spun around to face this new threat. But I needn’t have. For the voice alone was something I would never forget. It was Recoome, the Ginyu force member.
“Hey, Recoome. Long time no see,” I replied, casually.
It was perfect. All I had to do was beat him up a little and it would all work out. He flew over to me, and turned to face the crumpled and broken prince in the corner.
“Ha! Looks like Vegeta bit off more dan he could chew, huh?”
That voice annoyed me. Everything about Recoome did. By all rights he shouldn’t be so powerful; especially since he constantly acted like a little bitch. But maybe I was just getting bitter. A vein of jealousy popped out on my head as I clenched my jaws. I had to at least appear friendly.
“Hey Recoome. How about a sparring match?” I asked him, breathlessly.
I saw it in his eyes; he desperately wanted to. But Frieza had assigned him to a mission, too. And that was something that would obviously take precedence over a little fight.
“Uhh…. Well…” He began. Recoome turned back to face me and clicked his scouter, reading my power level. I tried to hide my smile as I knew it would be very low… so low that his arrogance would force him to take a minor break onto me. “3000, that’s all? Heck yeah I’ll fight ya. But you got no idea who your dealing with…!”
I stepped back to allow him his space. Each of us started stretching and preparing; and if I could remember correctly… he should start his poses soon. Obviously he didn’t remember me, but I did him. On our last mission together, I had witnessed a show like the one now; one of awkward flailing and jumping about. I had thought then that he was only doing it to have a little fun with the creatures we were killing. But now with my greater knowledge, I knew that this was one of his everyday exercises. What a little bitch.
Upon finishing his ballet, Recoome charged at me. I was taken aback by his sudden burst of speed, causing me to trip backwards underneath his vast weight. I rolled out from under him and jumped back. Another bit I had remembered from our mission together was that Recoome was very slow. Powerful too, but only if he could hit you.
My power level was 13,000; 14,000 on a good day. With Recoome still on the ground, I read his… 29,000. Even a Saiyan child could see that I couldn’t get hit again if I wanted to live.
I jumped back even further and charged up a blast of energy. Recoome was still dazed when he got up and I took this as my opportunity to charge. I tucked the ball of energy to my chest and sprinted up to the hulking giant. He turned just in time to be greeted with an uppercut to the face. He reeled back, clutching at his wounded neck; just as jumped into the air and spiked my own ball of energy into his skull. It detonated and the explosion sent off a huge wave of energy. Even I was knocked back in its blast.
The top half of Recoome’s armor was completely melted and burned from the blast. His skin was rattled too with many small cuts lining his chest and back. I laughed, long and hard, not believing that just one blast had damaged him so much.
He was standing, but not moving so I decided to approach him. As I edged closer to see the full extent of my damaged, he suddenly lept up and grabbed me. I could see that friendly sparring match was now a battle of life or death. He wanted to kill me.
Recoome tightened his grip over my neck, squeezing the life and air out of me. I began to choke and squirm, desperately struggling for a breath of air. Unlike most other species, mine needed to breath almost regularily. More than a minute and we would die.
My eyes glazed over and I began seeing spots. If only Recoome knew all about my race, he probably would of held on for a few more seconds. But he didn’t. Still raging, Recoome took me and threw me into a far wall. The force of the impact shattered all my armor, and sent a shard piercing into my back. Recoome readied an energy blast, a few feet back. Through my gasps and delirium, I could make it out to be a finisher. And I couldn’t stop him from killing me.
Suddenly, just as Recoome was about to throw his blast and finish me off, he stopped. The light pink energy dispelled into the floor and smoke and dust popped up everywhere. When it cleared, Recoome was on the floor, unconscious. Standing over him, arrogance and blood dripping from his face was Vegeta. He was clutching his fractured arm, but still had somehow mustered the power to take out the behemoth before me.
“What… the… hell… are you doing?” I spat at him. This was my fight. My time to show Frieza that I was worthy of his inner circle. Being saved by this Saiyan child was a disgrace, more than anything else.
“I don’t care about you. I just hate this guy more,” said Vegeta, kicking at the unconscious Recoome again.
Once again my temper flared, and I lunged out from crater in the wall at Vegeta. With a single swipe, too fast for him save his widening eyes, I back smacked him to the floor.
Before I could even so much sigh in relief, a quiet but echoing sound erupted. I swung around to face it. Standing alone was Frieza himself, clapping his hands together.
“Bravo, Lieutenant. I didn’t know you had such bloodlust in you. Especially for young Vegeta over there,” he said, gesturing to the crumpled figure of the prince at Cui’s feet. “That was quite a feat putting down Recoome like that. I don’t know of many soldiers that could have done that.”
“Thank you, sire,” I responded, kneeling down in a quick gesture.
While it was not there that I became part of Frieza’s force, this showcase was where I got his attention. When Recoome woke, he was no longer angry at me and quietly did his mission for Frieza. A few hours later, all of them departed, with Frieza’s newly repaired ship.
My one-sided rivalry with Recoome died that day. Afterwards, I had no intention to ever fight him or any of the other ginyu force members. Instead, my focus had turned to that of Prince Vegeta. He stole my glory that day, with beating Recoome like he did. I only hoped that one day I could face him again, and show that arrogant prince who was really the strongest.
I only hoped that I, Lieutenant Cui, could be the one to wipe that smug look off of the kid’s face. It would me, I promised to myself. It would be me.
- This was the first story where I wrote about kid Vegeta in normal text.
- This was the first first-person story I ever wrote.
- The parallels with this story and Slaved are numerous; for one, it is in first person; the main character's name is never revealed until the end; the main character is somehow humiliated; the main character loses a fight with a Ginyu Force member.
- Originally, Vegeta was going to be relatively older than he was eventually portrayed. In my original character list, he was listed as "Teen Vegeta", but after I wrote it, it was clear, he was wasn't a teenager, so I changed that to "Kid Vegeta", meaning this story must have taken place only within a few years after the the Saiyan's genocide.
- When Cui remarks that it was widespread knowledge that the Saiyans were exterminated, not accidentally killed, this wasn't exactly true. While the news spread between many officers (Cui being one of them), the news was never intentionally spread amongst regular troops. Part of this is due to regular species not caring about different species' fates.
- This story was originally supposed to be tied into the now deleted story of mine, Dragon Ball: Breaking of Silence. BoS has since been remade under the name of His Majesty's Pet.
I think this story was very important for me developing my writing abilities. After reading it back over, I can clearly see where I have improved. At this time, I wasn't experienced in writing at all, so doing a story like this was highly beneficial. I find the story aspect to be much stronger than the writing aspect. How Cui fights Recoome, with kid Vegeta in the mix, and Frieza too... I really think the plot is great. The descriptions of Vegeta and Cui and Recoome's fight was the highlight of the episode, and I really, really enjoyed reading back on it. Before I re-read this episode to do this commentary, I didn't have high hopes, but after doing so, I have been pleasantly surprised. I would give so Lonely At The Top a B+.
<---- Part 2
Part 4 ---->