The Rise of Zarbon is a one-shot by Destructivedisk about, you guessed it, the rise of Zarbon.
The story's theme is The Stars Are Projectors by Modest Mouse.
In space, the stars are abundant. Hope is less so.
Zarbon stood alone in the bridge of the ship and looked outside. He had a window on the bow of the ship which allowed him to see into the galaxy. The path ahead of him was dark and littered with stars. The nearest planet was only about fifty-five million kilometers away – Zarbon could make it there in no time. That was as far as he needed to get.
He wondered if it was all going to work out. He didn’t care about himself anymore – he just needed to know that his faithful crew would make it out okay. Frieza’s empire didn’t want anything to do with Zarbon’s crew; all they wanted was him. It made sense that this was how it was going to end. He had taken his chances with Frieza, taken his chances with the law, and now it was time to pay. He had gambled, and he had lost. It was only a matter of time till his demise.
Zarbon looked at the galactic countdown panel, which kept track of how long it would be until the destination was reached. He was no more than one hour away from completing his journey. He glanced at the radar. Frieza’s ship was gaining on him, but it wouldn’t reach him in time. He wondered who was on board the ship, and ultimately concluded that it didn’t matter. Only one person on that ship mattered, and Zarbon knew he was there.
There was only one ship, and consequently only one crew, tracking the dreaded Space Pirate Zarbon. That ship was the infamous Destroyer, and it lived up to its name. The ship, and its ever-changing crew, had never once failed Frieza on a mission. Headed by the most fearsome captain this side of the galaxy, Commander Dodoria, the crew was notorious for its merciless approach to tackling missions, and had returned from no fewer than seventeen missions without a living captive.
Frieza knew full well that no other crew would be appropriate for a mission like this. He no longer cared whether or not Zarbon made it out alive – he just wanted the nuisance out of the picture. He would have taken any means to accomplish this end.
Dodoria walked out onto the bridge of the Destroyer. Turning to one of his many specialists, he asked, “Where’s he going now?”
The specialist, an alien well-trained in tracking foes, replied, “He’s on his way to Alpha Dentauri.”
“Alpha Dentauri? What’s that?”
“It’s a desert planet in the middle of nowhere. Virtually unpopulated. Why anyone would go there, I have no idea.”
Dodoria scoffed. “If he thinks he can get away again, he’s dead wrong. I want every engine on this ship at full power. Do you hear me?!”
“Ye-yes sir!” The specialist alien pulled some levels, and the ship’s pace quickened. Dodoria crossed his arms and waited, glaring out of the starboard bow.
There were only two Destroyer ships in existence. The first was commandeered by Dodoria, and the second was commandeered by the Dreaded Space Pirate Zarbon.
The first, however, was by a substantial margin the superior. Zarbon’s ship was unmaintained and practically falling apart at the hinges. His crew knew not what to do with it and it showed. The engine room was no less than dilapidated, the hull was a mockery, and the technology was outdated at best.
Therefore, it came as no surprise when Zarbon became unable to match the new speed of Dodoria’s ship. He tensed for a moment, and then decided to improvise. He pulled out a walkie-talkie, and began communicating with his engineer.
“Stop the ship.”
There was a pause. “What, sir?”
“You heard me. Stop the ship and leave the engine room. I need you to prepare the teleporter.”
There was another pause. The engineer came to terms with his directions. He figured that, if Zarbon had gotten them this far, he could get them further. “Roger that.”
Zarbon exited the bridge and made his way to the teleportation room. He sent an extraneous crewman to the bridge so that he would know when Dodoria’s ship came near. Before too long, he had arrived in the teleportation room and greeted his engineer.
Over the walkie-talkie, he asked his crewman to alert him when Dodoria’s ship was with teleportation range. He was told that it would be in only a couple of minutes. He nodded to himself, and then began speaking to the engineer.
“You know how to fly a ship?”
The engineer turned his head, shocked, and took a look at Zarbon. “What?”
“You learned, right? At the academy?”
“I mean, only in simulations… I’ve never actually done it before.”
“Well, you better learn fast. As of three minutes from now, you’re the new captain of this here starship.”
The engineer gulped. “Me?”
“Yes, you. As soon as I depart, you will need to fly as quickly as you can. I can hold off Dodoria until you get away, and I doubt he’ll come after you. This ship is yours now. There is no time for fear.”
The engineer gulped again, more heartily this time. He turned his head down, as if to gauge his own aptitude. He looked back up at Zarbon and gave a disheartened nod. Zarbon, satisfied, took his position on the teleportation machine. The time for action neared.
Dodoria was grinning. He was not an alien who grinned often, or who felt emotions often for that matter, but this particular circumstance had him filled with glee. He was in firing range of Zarbon’s ship, and it was time to end this game. How fortunate he was that Zarbon’s ship had broken down when it did, for otherwise Zarbon could have made it to Alpha Dentauri.
“Ready the photon torpedoes,” Dodoria said, with a devilish smile, to his attack specialist.
“Target acquired, commander,” the specialist replied.
Dodoria stepped up to the window pane at the bow of the ship and glared over to Zarbon’s spacecraft. It was going to be a beautiful sight, watching the ship get blown to smithereens. Dodoria would be there to watch the fireworks as they exploded across the expanses of space.
“Fire!” Dodoria demanded, his voice filling the bridge of the ship.
Dodoria, stunned, repeated his demand. “I said fire! Fire!”
There were no fireworks. Dodoria took a step back from the window and turned around, angered by his crew’s disobedience.
“A good captain never takes his scouter off, Dodoria.”
The voice was pretty, elegant even, and came from an unseen corner of the ship. Out of the shadows came Zarbon’s tall, muscular figure. He had, noiselessly, murdered every specialist that Dodoria had on the bridge. The scouter-less Dodoria hadn’t even sensed him. “You should have seen it coming, you know. You thought it was going to be that easy?”
Dodoria grunted in frustration. “You’re right. I should have.” He began to charge an energy blast in his hand, a ball of pure, powerful ki. He unleashed the ball at Zarbon, watching it spiral flawlessly towards him.
Effortlessly, Zarbon dodged away from the ball, letting it crash into one of the modules to his right. “Now, now. There’s no need to get angry."
Dodoria did not follow Zarbon’s advice. Instead, enraged, he charged at Zarbon, fists first, his veins virtually popping out of his neck. He threw a punch at Zarbon, which Zarbon caught smoothly. He threw another punch which Zarbon aptly ducked out of the way off, countering it with an uppercut of his hand. He released Dodoria’s fist and flashed behind Dodoria, releasing a kick upon the pink alien’s back.
“You can’t win this fight. You know that,” Zarbon taunted, as Dodoria regained his footing.
“I’ve gotten stronger since last time, Zarbon.”
“Sure you have.”
Dodoria could handle many things, but taunting was not one of them. He charged again at Zarbon, this time headfirst. Zarbon once more dodged the battery, this time sidestepping it. Dodoria, unable to stop promptly, crashed into another module.
“You should be more cautious. You’ll need to report back to Frieza after this. Can’t do that with a broken ship.” Zarbon waited for Dodoria’s next move.
Dodoria, unphased, retrieved his own waklie-talkie and went onto the ship’s intercom. “All crew report to the bridge, now. Bring your weapons.”
“Sending your grunts after me now, huh? Gonna try that again?”
“Remember last time, Dodoria? Not a single one of them made it out.”
“You caught me off-guard last time. You’re not that strong!”
And then, Zarbon did what Dodoria never would have expected. He began walking away, off the bridge and into the hallway.
“No! You won’t get away!” Dodoria charged after the space pirate, who, once more dodged him and continued walking. A crewmember burst into the hallway, guns blazing, but to no avail. Zarbon swatted him away like a fly and proceeded.
Suddenly, Dodoria grabbed hold of Zarbon and held him firmly. “We were the perfect team, Zarbon. Why’d you leave me?!”
Zarbon cleared his throat. “I knew too much. Frieza already wanted me dead. So I got out while I could, and I took a ship with me. Betraying you was just collateral damage.”
Then, with this proclamation, Zarbon unleashed an explosive wave, releasing Dodoria’s grip on him and denting the walls of the ship. He continued walking.
Dodoria was not pleased. He recovered, and went running again. As Zarbon turned a corner, Dodoria realized that Zarbon was making his way toward an escape pod, and he tried to formulate a plan. He realized that the only crewmember down this corridor was a rookie, who would be no challenge at all to Zarbon. Though, with a good shot…
Dodoria trailed Zarbon as he went, preparing to stop him. Zarbon was unaffected, and just kept walking. He was quickly approaching the escape pod, meaning that he was just as quickly nearing the next crewmember.
Dodoria noticed the crewmember, who was peaking nervously into the hallway, and knew that it was time for action. Dodoria sprang once more and latched onto Zarbon, immobilizing the dreaded space pirate.
Shocked, the crewmember entered the hallway. His skin was a light-blue color and he had short, neat green hair. In his hand he flourished a hand phaser and pointed it unsteadily at Zarbon. It was fully charged and set to kill.
“Fire!” Dodoria shouted, Zarbon barely resisting his grasp. If the crewmember got him now, Zarbon would be decapacitated. Zarbon looked up at the young cadet and waited.
The cadet’s hands were shaking, his palms sweaty and his brow furrowed. He took a great nervous gulp, and tried to aim accurately at Zarbon. He froze in the heat of the moment, finding himself unable to pull the trigger. After a moment, he dropped the gun entirely and paused.
“This is a waste of my time,” Zarbon declared, before writhing out of Dodoria’s grip. He continued walking, shoving the young cadet out of his way. Dodoria, defeated, fell to his knees. He could not stop Zarbon alone, and there were no more crewmembers between the pirate and the escape pod. It was hopeless.
Zarbon opened the hatch and entered the pod. He detached from the ship and flew away, toward Alpha Dentauri. The other Destroyer was already long gone. The Space Pirate had gotten away again.
Dodoria had gathered his crew together on the bridge of the ship. It was time to strategize.
“Do we have any lasers that can destroy Dentauri?” one of his crewmembers suggested.
“Doesn’t matter. Frieza’s orders were to take him out personally, so that there’s no chance he escapes,” Dodoria lied. Frieza had issued no such decree, but Dodoria needed to take him out personally. He needed to see Zarbon’s blood leak out up close now, for Dodoria’s rage was just that great. Dodoria had no mercy left for Zarbon. His death had to be specifically seen by Dodoria now, for revenge to be truly achieved.
“Nobody can take him on individually. He’s too strong,” another crewmember retorted.
“He’s not too strong! Hear me?!” Dodoria erupted. “We can destroy him as a group. He stands no chance against us all.”
Dodoria’s anger silenced the room. They had no words left.
“The planet is large. We need to find him first, sir,” a crewmember suggested.
“We have a scout. He’s right over there,” Dodoria declared, pointing at the crewmember who had earlier let Zarbon get away. “You find him, cadet, and then we destroy him.”
The cadet with the light-blue skin stood on the ship’s teleporter. He was being briefed on his job by the ship’s sole remaining engineer.
“What do I do?” the cadet asked nervously.
“You are the one who knocks. You use your scouter to locate him, and then you find him. Then, you tell us where he is and hold him off till we get there.”
“I can’t hold him off! I’ll die!”
“We know. It’s a suicide mission,” the engineer bluntly replied. “Shame that the captain chose you to do it.”
The young cadet knew not what to do. So he stood there with a brave face on, and braced himself for teleportation. He had to do his part now.
He closed his eyes, and, before he knew it, he was gone. He felt the ground reform beneath him, and he found himself on the crust of Alpha Dentauri. The planet was more arid than he had realized. There were no geographical features for hundreds of miles. He could find the space pirate in minutes, he thought. He clicked his scouter, searching for power levels every which way. He found one, about a hundred miles away, and took off in that direction.
He flew high in the sky to avoid detection by the pirate, and soon found himself over the head of Zarbon. Using his scouter, he transferred the coordinates of Zarbon to his crew. He knew it would take several minutes for the first wave of crewmembers to arrive – consequently, he had to keep Zarbon stationary until they got there.
He descended, his feet causing a small puff of sand when he touched the ground, and met Zarbon face-to-face again.
“So, he sent you as the scout?” Zarbon asked.
“No surprise there. He had to punish you somehow.”
“You should’ve have shot me back on the ship. You can’t show weakness like that. You know better,” the space pirate lectured, almost like a teacher.
The young cadet hung his head in shame. “I know.”
“How long till the rest of them get here?”
“I don’t know. Couple o’ minutes.”
“You know what you have to do, right?”
The cadet looked up at Zarbon. “I guess.”
“There’s no more time for weakness.” The cadet shook his head. “You must restore the family name. There can be no question of that.” Zarbon began charging up an energy blast, one that was purple in color. He positioned it in front of his chest, facing inward.
“This will earn you status,” Zarbon claimed. “You must use that status to ascend the ranks of the Planet Trade Organization, and then you must gain Frieza’s trust.” The Cadet nodded.
“And then, Junior, once he trusts you, you must steal the crown from atop his head.”
At last, the Cadet spoke again: “I’ll miss you.”
Zarbon nodded. With a sigh, he released his purple energy ball and it pierced through his chest. He collapsed to the ground, his alien blood leaking out and discoloring the soil beneath him. He died with his mouth agape, and then he was no more.
Soon, Dodoria’s crew materialized around the scene. They closed in on the Cadet, before realizing that the dreaded space pirate had been vanquished.
Dodoria was immediately shocked. “Wh-What happened?”
The Cadet turned and looked at him. “I killed him.”
“Maybe I’m more powerful than you think.”
The group was collectively stunned. They stared at him. One member went to examine Zarbon’s body, and, after searching for a pulse, confirmed that he was indeed dead. In awe, the entire group wondered how no more than a lowly cadet had murdered the most notorious space pirate known to the galaxy.
“What’s your name, cadet?” Dodoria asked.
The cadet paused for a moment, flicking his blue fingers through his short green hair. “Zarbon.” In confusion, the crowd stared at him, glancing him up and down, struggling to comprehend what was happening.
Zarbon took a more dignified stance, and said, “Where I come from, it’s a common name.”