Strength arose as the second reimagined story of Brady Patrick’s collection. Originally, this story was called Scintillator, and was going to be about Tien's emotional state after learning Shen was evil. I scrapped that because I didn't find it interesting to write about it. So, I wrote Strength several weeks before the end of my hiatus. On March 21, 2013, though I was not back to being active on the wiki, I updated Brady Patrick's page, with giving descriptions of each of the twelve stories. At this point, 10 days before I would return, I had already thought up a plot to replace the Tien story with. Within a few days, I had written it, and was very satisfied with my work.
After I wrote it on March 23, 2013, I went back onto the wiki to change the name to Strength, as that seemed a more accurate title to choose. My writing process for this story was rather quick, and I was aided by the isolation of not being on the wiki. I did not use any music while writing, which was a slightly uncommon way for me to do it. Usually, I would use a song (often a Jules one, since he is fantastic), but here, I did not need any such stimulus.
As for the story, that came from simply needing a replacement of the Tien story, and wanting it to connect with Second-best. Since this was my first story since the hiatus, and Second-best was my last story before it, it only made sense to connect the two. Using kid Vegeta here, I went for a completely different emotional state than those he had in Slaved or So Lonely At The Top. In Slaved, Vegeta had already been tortured by Zarbon a lot, and though near giving up, was still fighting for himself. In So Lonely At The Top, he was older, and therefore far more defeated. This story taking place immediately after he got the call at the end of the Bardock Special shows that while he is attempting to conceal any signs of emotion (mostly sadness at losing his father and friend than anything else), he is still stable enough to take on two soldiers, and kill one of them.
This story is a helpful extrapolation of the Zarbon-Vegeta relationship. I have always felt that since seeing the way Zarbon acted in the Bardock Special that he was jealous of the attention Frieza gave Vegeta. After successfully convincing Frieza to exterminate the Saiyans, he probably felt safe that Vegeta would die too. But then, bizarrely, Frieza spared Vegeta and his team, solely. Zarbon obviously did not like this, and in this story, he briefly tried to kill Vegeta. Using Appule was simply so that I would have someone Vegeta knew fight Vegeta. And since Appule wouldn't be stronger than Vegeta (alone, without Cherion) it helped explain how Vegeta won. Overall, this story is great setup to His Majesty's Pet, as Zarbon's torturing of Vegeta and Vegeta's trying to get back at Zarbon becomes a central theme. It almost appears in this story that, would Vegeta have been killed by Appule and Cherion, he likely would have been spared untold amounts of suffering. But hey, it's what we survive through that makes us stronger.
“Where is Vegeta?”
The words hung in the air for several seconds. A small, horned creature, clad in purple armor, stood up from his bulbous hoverchair and jumped off. Looking away from the vast window positioned to the stars, the small creature snapped his fingers. At once, a taller green servant ran into the room.
“Yes, lord Frieza?” it asked in a droll tone.
“Where is Vegeta, Zarbon?”
“We have already disposed of his body, sire,” Zarbon replied, somewhat surprised at the question.
“Not the king, you fool,” Frieza said, pursing his lips. “The prince. Where is he?”
“Oh, I think he’s still on the assignment you sent him on.”
Frieza turned his back to Zarbon, and walked out of the room. “Bring him back. I have a special mission to give him.”
“Of course, my lord.”
“Oh, and Zarbon,” Frieza said, stopping, and turning to face his obsequious dog, “Not a word about what I’ve done to his fellow monkeys today. He needs not know.”
Zarbon nodded and was off. Once out of sight of Frieza, Zarbon let out a heavy sigh; and anger played across his face like a fickle fiddler frolicking through the field. He couldn’t dare question Frieza out loud – such an approach would lead only to his early death. But alone, he couldn’t help but question why his noble overlord had, with one hand, wiped out the Saiyan home-planet and all on it, and with the other, given unnatural mercy to their Prince. Zarbon was fuming. He had thought he was rid of the brat when his wise counsel had led to all the others’ deaths. Yet the one he wanted gone most, the one whom he had put up with for innumerable, intolerable hours, was to live. And not only that, but he was going to get special missions from Frieza.
Zarbon had never betrayed his master, but this was beyond his scope of obedience. Making sure he was alone (skirting into a nearby closet), Zarbon activated his scouter, pinging the two nearest warriors onboard Frieza’s flagship. He spoke quick, and quietly:
“Lord Frieza has ordered Prince Vegeta’s execution. He’s out on assignment, so you will have to go to him. Leave immediately, and speak to no one of this.”
He did not even wait for their replies before cutting the connection. Zarbon came out of the closet significantly less angry, though he was still anxious. There would only be one who would be in Frieza’s favor; and that was him. No child monkey, prodigal or otherwise, would supplant him.
Prince Vegeta’s death will be an unlucky accident. That’s what Frieza will be told. That’s all Frieza will be told.
Vegeta finished his snack quietly. He had kept his dignity, his pride when the soldier had called him up to give him the news. But sitting on the bodies of hundreds of natives he had easily killed, there was only one thing on his mind. It was the one thing he didn’t want to think about. He was a warrior, not a weakling. But still, he couldn’t help but focus on the reality that he was one of the few Saiyans left. He knew Nappa lived, for the two had spoken via scouter; but anyone else… they were all dead. The asteroid that destroyed his planet had left no survivors. Vegeta’s heart started beating faster. His father, his family, everyone he had grown up with. They were gone. He had no one.
He dropped to his knees, and screwed up his face. No, he wasn’t going to cry. He had to carry on. No Super Saiyan would let this affect them. And why should it?! They were weak. They let a stupid asteroid kill them. Yeah, that’s it. They were weak. Weaklings don’t deserve sympathy.
But he could only tell so many lies to himself. His body acted on its own. He felt the great heat in his face, the pressure build up in his eyes. His vision grew foggy. “No!!!” he screamed.
He wasn’t that weak. He wouldn’t succumb to emotion. The five year old powered up, and began shooting energy up into the air to distract himself. It was nothing. They were nothing. None of his race meant anything to him.
Even as he thought it, he knew it wasn’t true. He was their royalty, their Prince. No other race would admire him, or treat him like his own people did. Frieza would just make him another soldier to kiss his boots. And he’d have to bow down to that pathetic sycophant Zarbon, as well. He shot another bit of energy off.
This time, as he fell to his hands and knees again, it was in exhaustion, physical as much as mental. He didn’t even notice his scouter beeping hysterically. He didn’t notice when a large purple ki blast came out from the darkness and silence, and hit him squarely in the chest. The Prince was thrown back, into a nearby tree. Disoriented, he didn’t have time to look up before another stream of blasts exploded around him, and sent his body flying again. This time, he used his energy to focus his body, and shoot out from the explosions. Once far enough away, he stopped and hovered above the tree-line.
Vegeta was puzzled; for, he was sure he had cleared the planet. His scouter had confirmed that. The natives did not even possess ki-wielding abilities. Wiping his misty eyes, he clicked his scouter again, and two readings popped up. They were both over 6000. That was impossibly high for any sort of native. Vegeta had no clue who they could be – only that he was in no shape to fight them. Clearing the planet had left him weary, and he had not fully recovered yet. At his best, he could take both of them on at once. In his current state, he would be lucky to match one of them, let alone both.
Vegeta noticed the two signals were coming closer, and descended from the air, to hide. Yet while he lay on the ground, hidden in the brush, the two stalkers seemed undeterred, and grew closer. Thinking this to be coincidence, Vegeta fell flat to his stomach, and did not move. Surely they wouldn’t see him. Then another explosion went off, and Vegeta’s arms were scorched. His armor cracked, and he was flung up into the air. As he steadied himself, and wheeled around, he came face to face with one of his pursuers. It was clothed in the same armor as he (sans his royal Saiyan cape), and had a scouter too. “No way…” Vegeta breathed, even as he blocked the creature’s punch. He was completely floored by the fact that this supposed ally was attacking him.
It was dark red with a single antennae and a plump figure. And it was out to kill him. Vegeta countered its punches, and kicked it back. He readied a galick gun, and quickly followed up with it. Before it even hit the red creature, Vegeta had turned around, for his scouter was beeping again. The other pursuer was behind him.
This one was purple with yellow spots and a large, elongated head. This one he knew by name; it was Appule, an elite soldier on Frieza’s ship. He didn’t understand why they were attacking him. But he would make them pay.
Appule led with a flying kick which Vegeta easily dodged, even in his tiredness. He flipped over the alien, and double kicked it right as it flew underneath. As he went to follow up, he noticed his scouter beeping again. The red one was still alive.
Vegeta didn’t have a choice. He couldn’t let them keep coming at him like this. Stopping in place, he thrust his hands to his sides, and created an energy wave, emanating from his center-mass. The result was a massive explosion which enveloped all of them.
Vegeta felt his scouter fry and snap off his ear. Good. The same must have happened to the others. Now he could hunt them individually. As a Saiyan, he held a keen advantage over the others, now that they were all in the scouter-dark. He had an acute sense of smell. Using this, he first noticed that the red alien was rather close to him. Indeed, Vegeta found the creature groveling in pain on the ground. Evidently the combination of galick gun and energy wave didn’t do much to boost his health, and he was in great pain. Tough luck, Vegeta thought. They had hit him with energy too, and he wasn’t whimpering like a baby. He landed, without a sound, behind the alien, and lowered into a stance. Flaring his aura up around him, he dashed into its back, creating another ki ball in his hand. As he hit the soldier, he knocked it over, then kicked off from it, and threw the ball.
Vegeta heard a long, arduous scream follow. As the smoke cleared, he noticed the creature in a crater, covered in many deep, cauterized wounds. It was mortally wounded. He wouldn’t have to expend any more energy. He landed, and smiled as he heard it continue to scream.
“Cherion?! Is that you? What happened?” Appule yelled, hearing the screaming.
He flew overhead, and noticed, in the crater, the horrible injury of his wingman. Appule cursed mightily to himself, and looked around, furiously, for any sign of the despicable monkey. And he got a white boot to the face. Appule shot downward into the ground, and struggled to stand back up from this phantom attack. Without his scouter, he was blind. He had no idea where Vegeta was. Then, from his left, in a tree, Appule noticed a bright light. It was Vegeta charging up an attack.
Having no time to dodge, Appule charged up his own blast. Then, Vegeta released his blast, and Appule did too; and the two dueled in a struggle of energy. Appule put forth all of his energy, confidently knowing that his power level was higher than this tired Saiyan’s. But as they struggled, Appule’s confidence abruptly fell. For the boy was swiftly overtaking him. The boy was screaming again, and Appule could feel the little Saiyan’s power rising, overtaking him. And then, in a flash of light, Appule was overcome.
Vegeta flew all the way to his pod without pause. He knew not if there were others coming for him, but he had no power left to fight them, and he didn’t want to die. Finding his pod, he opened the hatch and collapsed inside. He set course for his homeplanet, and then fell asleep.
Of course, young Vegeta knew not that Frieza’s ship still hovered in space, where Planet Vegeta once stood. Upon Frieza’s pilots noticing Vegeta’s pod on their radar, they ushered it into the ship. Finding Vegeta unconscious, several soldiers attempted to help the boy out, and took him to a rejuvenation tank.
When Vegeta awoke, he was sent to Frieza’s throne room. And cautious as he was acting, he noticed that no one seemed to know about the two rogues who had attacked him. Indeed, as he met with Frieza, his bows were met with equally chivalrous pings of regret for his race, and great admiration of his ability. Frieza gave him another solo mission, then bid him adieu. As the two left, Vegeta to his newest mission, and Frieza off to somewhere else, they happened upon two people in the hall. There stood Zarbon, Frieza’s highest captain with a rather bloody Appule, who was clutching a broken arm. Vegeta simply glared at them.
Zarbon spoke in a furious whisper, “How could you let him get away?! I should kill you for-”
“Kill him for what, Zarbon?” Frieza asked, coolly, “For whatever reason, surely not on my ship?”
“Oh, lord Frieza! I… I…”
“Enough, Zarbon. Get back to work,” said Frieza with little care before walking out.
Vegeta saw it all. He saw Zarbon with Appule. He heard what they had said. And the rage in his chest that thence sprung up was the greatest he had ever felt in his life. Maybe it was aided because of his fragile emotional state, but he didn’t know. The only thing he did know is that Zarbon would pay for trying to kill him. His pride swelled up in his throat. He wouldn’t let anyone kill him.
Vegeta walked up to Zarbon, even as the green alien towered over him, and glared down at him. “You won’t get away with what you did. You know I’m going to kill you,” he spoke.
“What was that, monkey?” replied Zarbon haughtily.
Vegeta lowered his voice, but spoke clear enough for Zarbon to hear him. He stared down the taller alien without fear. “I’m going to kill you someday.”
Then, gathering his cape around him, Vegeta turned, and left the room. He had missions to complete, after all. They would keep him busy. They would keep him from thinking about his race, from crying about his misfortune. They would keep him from being weak.
- The original description for the Tien story was "7. Scintillated - tien story about how he takes his anger of shen's betrayal out on some towns or something but then rises above it all".
- The new description of the kid Vegeta story was "7. Strength - The story of Zarbon's intended assassination of the young Vegeta soon after the destruction of the Saiyan homeworld".
- This story is named strength because of the strength it took Vegeta to rise above his emotions and take on Appule and Cherion.
- "fickle fiddler frolicking through the field" - was created to on a whim, partly to mock Destructivedisk's use of nonsensical alliteration.
- "Zarbon came out of the closet" - clearly has a double meaning.
- Using the heightened sense of smell was intentional, as it's a trait that Saiyans possess. Rarely do writers actually use it for anything, though.
Strength was a good story, though by no means my favorite of the Brady Patrick ones. I do like the connection between Zarbon's part, and the Vegeta's part, and finally the part at the end where it all comes together. This is one of the few stories of Brady Patrick's that actually has a fight, but it does work. Everything in this story is essentially something to distract Vegeta from his emotions, which works well. Since he later stated in the Namek Sagas that he welled up his emotions since this moment, it makes sense to make it a central point here. I also feel like the dialogue is superb, and in character for everyone. My only major complaint is that I probably should have named Cherion something else, though his name is decent. I would give Strength an A+.
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Part 18 ---->