Barracks

BY : chayron
Category: Dragon Ball Z > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 18981
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z – it belongs to its respective owners. This fan fiction is not a commercial project, and I am not making any money from writing it.

Nancy103You’ve just given me an idea XD Thank you! It will take time (as it usually is with me), but you’ll see it come out later. So the answer to your question is as follows: you’ll see what it is in this chapter, but the real reason is as you suspect: someone is trying to get Goten killed. Well, that was also the reason why he was put together with Reyn in one ship. See you around ^_^

Sophie: Well, so far I’ve finished all my fics. It takes quite some time for me, though, since I get side-tracked by games, mangas, reading fics, writing for other fandoms, etc. However, just as for most writing people, the biggest inspiration is the support of their readers. I sometimes read a nice comment, kick myself in the butt and finally sit down to write something XD

Ava: I have always loved sci-fi with thriller elements. Space, spaceships, aliens, intergalactic wars, you name it! So I’ve done myself a favor and sent Goten into space, haha I was so excited at the opportunity ^_^
The trip to the infected ship will last for one chapter only; I didn’t want to elaborate on that too much since I do get side-tracked easily and finally want to start the third arc, instead. I love writing this fic, but I also want to finally finish it – I’ve been working on it for years and years now. It turned out to be one massive adventure, haha
My English improved a lot due to my betas’ work. I see my common mistakes and try to learn from them. I am also reading quite a lot in English, but yeah, I’ll never be a native speaker and my chaps will always be full of oddities XD Some people get irritated by those, others say they are exotic and like them.

Rupee: It is Goten x Trunks story as stated in the summary. There is also stated this thing: “Other pairings”. I don’t like to give spoilers. Those who come to my fics only for the pairing and quick fuxx, can go away – it won’t work out for them. And usually readers choose for themselves if they like the style and whether or not to continue reading after the few first chapters. Now we are at the stage with Goten x OC, but eventually it will be what it has to be. But first I’ll just tease the hell out of everyone with this sexual tension. Patience is a virtue XD

Yaoi_Angel: Thank you for the comment. I surely hope it won’t get past 100 chapters, though, haha Would take me years and years to finish XD I am already taking long enough as it is :(

Rinku: And here’s the next chapter ^_^

Joe Umm…are you certain there was no Goten x Trunks in all these 52 chapters? Maybe you were reading so fast that you just accidentally skipped those scenes?

falsedfaith691: Thank you :) Here’s a new update.

xxx


Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z – it belongs to its respective owners. This fan fiction is not a commercial project, and I am not making any money from writing it.
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Yaoi (male x male). Goten x Trunks and vice versa. Other pairings.

Barracks

by chayron (lttomb@yahoo.com), beta-read by quatreofdoom

Part 53

“Why don’t we simply circle it a few times and then head back to Mantanko?” Hianara suggested. “We don’t even need to go there. What’s the point if we aren’t going to save anyone?” He was staring at the shuttle’s view screen apprehensively. The drifting SUB 316 was becoming larger and larger, as were everyone’s feelings of unease.

Goten, who was securely belted to the chair next to the second-class, gave Reyn’s back a questioning look – Hianara’s proposition seemed sensible. This way they could avoid any unnecessary risks and also save some time.

“Your plan has a very serious flaw,” Reyn said. “All entries are logged.”

“Yes,” Onar confirmed. “SUB 316 has direct contact with Saremal station nearby. All the data from the ship’s main computer is being transferred there, meaning they will know who has entered the ship. This, in turn, means that they will also know who hasn’t entered the ship.”

Reyn turned his head to glance at the five men behind him. “This has happened before,” he said. “A year ago, there was an incident where a Saiyan crew was ordered to go on a rescue mission to save a few Humans from a ship infected with alkani. They refused to go. It caused quite a commotion and resulted in serious friction between the two legislative authorities. The captain made it sound easy, but we’ll actually be under the magnifying glass.”

“I heard that story,” Ialan confirmed. “Actually, they didn’t manage to find a compromise.”

“What compromise?” Goten grunted indignantly. “You either go or you don’t. I say this is idiocy. I’m pretty surprised Earth still hasn’t been infected.”

Reyn shrugged. “Saiyan ships that patrol their borders are under direct orders to take down any suspicious ships. They usually blame it on pirates. Most often, a bounty is put on the infected ship and anyone wishing to earn some money is welcome to take care of it. It’s a good income, too.”

Goten gave him a surprised look. “Seriously?”

Reyn nodded. “Yeah. Over the last four years, we took down two of their ships that were under suspicion of infestation. When Starcut reaches the area, it will take this one down as well; they're probably already heading our way.”

“It would cause a scandal if Humans got wind of this,” Ialan muttered.

“Actually, the concerned authorities already know,” Reyn said. “Despite their protocols, they usually treat infected ships exactly the same way we do. Most of the legislative confrontation I mentioned was just for show. There aren’t many Humans wishing to try the infestation out on their own bodies. There is an agreement on both sides, otherwise this wouldn’t work; the Humans are weak, but they aren’t stupid. The problem, however, is this rich fucker and his daughter. They are beyond their military's grasp. I presume he would have caused quite a scene if the orders hadn’t gotten through to us.”

“And we got caught in it…” Goten drawled.

“Actually,” Lumera, who had patiently kept quiet up until now, pointed out, “you volunteered to get caught.”

Goten rolled his eyes. Somehow he always ended up getting caught, if not in one thing, then another.

“Has the ship responded to our calls?”

“No, they haven’t,” Reyn said.

“I’d be pretty surprised if they did,” Goten grunted. “It will be a miracle if we find anyone alive.”

Onar shrugged. “Well, you never know.” He looked at the back of Reyn’s head. He felt a little bit of regret that the flight officer wasn’t going to disembark the shuttle and join them on the SUB; he seemed to be a reliable guy and the captain respected him too. “Besides, with this suicidal mission, I’ve got a favor to ask,” Onar said with a grin, but his voice was serious. “Just kill me if they get to me.”

The other five men’s heads turned to look at him. Then, slowly, all of them nodded. Hianara turned back to the screen to glare at the drifting ship. He wished they could just blow it up; why did he even volunteer to go there?

“I expect the same courtesy, though,” Goten demanded after a pause.

“Now look what you’ve done,” Reyn muttered. “You’re the head of this mission – you’re supposed to uplift our spirits, not make us think that we’ll all die.”

Onar chuckled. “That’s what they say in textbooks, and I’m just making sure you all know this is not a playground.”

Goten gave him a discontent look. “I suppose you mean me?”

“Weeell,” Onar drawled “I don’t see any other children here but you.”

Goten gave him the finger. “Screw you.”

The other five men laughed at Goten’s annoyance.

“One day you’ll get in trouble for disrespecting your senior officers,” Onar warned him, still laughing.

“Yeah, I get told that often,” Goten muttered. By a certain purple-haired bastard, he added in his head. He felt nostalgic, suddenly. For the hundredth time, he wondered if he would ever meet the prince again. The conclusion was the same as always – probably not. And it was for the best. Still, if only it was different. Goten grunted. It wasn’t, though.

The rest of the time while approaching the drifting ship they spent mostly in silence. A few attempted conversations ended quickly and all that was left was to stare at the forsaken ship through the screen. There was still no response to their calls by the time they reached the SUB, and it showed no visible life signs either. No one answered their request to dock either, so they decided to make their way onto the ship by blasting a hole in the hangar door. The defensive shield around the SUB was still on and it took a few attempts to get through.

Goten’s lips pressed into a tiny dash while he watched the defensive shield ripple a few times then go down with sparks and electrical discharges. The next shot was true and the drifting ship spat out various debris, along with all the air in the hangar. The shaking and jolting was making Goten’s stomach heavy. At least there were no corpses flying around like last time.

They fit through the hole easily and maneuvered onto one of the marked landing areas. Reyn chuckled as Goten exhaled in relief when they finally touched the deck. Even if Goten didn’t want to be here at all, he still preferred to be somewhere with a stable ground.

It was completely dark in the hangar, not even the emergency lights were on. Goten wondered if they damaged the electricity supply while coming in, or if something was already malfunctioning on the ship. The only source of light was their shuttle’s headlights. It was possible that they wouldn’t even be able to open the door to the rest of the ship.

All of their scouters started beeping as Reyn’s ki suddenly rose past the usual limit and continued rising.

“What are you doing?” Onar asked.

“I’ll be keeping my ki shield around the shuttle,” the flight officer explained. “I don’t want any of those little buggers getting inside.”

Onar stared at him for a few seconds, then raised his hand to his scouter to turn the insistent beeping off. He had only seen elites do that, and even then they didn’t do it for longer than ten or twenty minutes.

“You sure?” he asked, just in case.

“Yeah, get going,” Reyn told him. “And make sure you don’t bring any of them back here.”

“We’ll try,” Hianara said glumly. “It’s actually not too late to go back, you know?” he suggested.

“Quit talking crap! Get going or I’ll throw you through the door,” Onar told him. “Look at Goten – he doesn’t complain.”

“I would, but what’s the point?” Goten mumbled, waving his hands about. “Nobody ever listens to me.”

“Seriously, you two idiots, you volunteered!” Lumera told them.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Hianara said.

Onar gave him an incredulous look. “The hell’s with that? Is this kindergarten or something? If you don’t get your ass out there in a minute, I’ll be reporting you. But before that, I’ll beat the crap out of you.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Reyn agreed. “But we don’t have time for stupid fights.” He turned to Hianara. “You going on your own, or shall I toss you out the door?”

“Fuck you all,” Hianara grunted, turning around and heading to the end of the shuttle where the door was. “Let’s get this shit over with.”

The other four men followed him into a small cabin. They secured the door behind them and put their ki shields up. After the air was pumped out, they opened the trapdoor and entered the hangar. The four of them looked like lonely bonfires, their fields of ki illuminating the darkness in the huge hangar. Goten felt around in his pockets until he grasped the flashlight.

“Well, the air pumps don’t work,” Ialan concluded after tinkering with the wall partitions and several air pumps for a few minutes. None of the mechanisms were responsive.

They looked at each other. This meant that, even if they found any survivors, Humans would not be able to enter the hangar without their help. Not that they believed that there were going to be any survivors.

“Block the way,” Onar ordered Ialan.

The Saiyan nodded and stood at the door, extending his ki shield to cover the entire doorway so that the air wouldn't be sucked out from the other room when they opened it. Goten entered his ki shield and started typing the key codes they had received earlier into the lock. Five of them in a row failed and he became hopeful that the self-sufficient generator was damaged and that the door would never open. The sixth and last code worked, though, and the door slid open.

It was completely dark inside, just as in the hangar. The emergency lights were off as well. Coming in, Goten raised the flashlight to inspect the wide corridor in front of them. The corridor was so long that even if the laser light reached its end, he wasn’t able to discern anything at such a long distance. While the rest of the team was passing through the door he had unlocked, his eyes kept scanning the hall. The third-class wished they could have used droids, but droids were ineffective when faced with alkani – the creatures were too small and got in between walls and flesh, which resulted in droids damaging various electronics and shooting at everything that moved.

Once the other four members were standing next to him, Goten turned to block the door. While entering the combination that had worked earlier, he could hear them whispering amongst themselves. The light above the lock changed from green into red and Goten turned around to face the long, wide hall. He couldn’t see anything - the entire front of his ki shield was covered in small dark balls.

Goten let out a startled shriek and stepped back, almost tripping over his own feet. His ki dropped, surged up in shock, then dropped again. The tiny balls chattered while being rocked up and down by waves of ki. The stench of blood mixed with something acidic hit Goten through his weakened shield and made him gag.

“Hey! Hey!” Onar shouted at him. “Keep it up! What are you-”

The sudden surge of energy was so powerful that it nearly swept the other four men off their feet. The alkani shot into all directions, most of them being tossed into walls left and right, wet crunching splashes marking the end of their existence.

Onar watched the youngest team member cautiously. His ki-shield was back to normal so he’d obviously regained most of his composure. Goten was still looking around wide-eyed, his breathing erratic, but the flow of his ki was stable. Even in this poor light he could see that Goten was as pale as snow.

All of them started when their scouters beeped, emitting Reyn’s concerned voice into the dark corridor; his scouter must have caught the enormous power level as well.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Wasn’t me,” Goten denied automatically, still breathless. He coughed, clearing his throat, trying to get rid of the acidic stench in his lungs and nostrils.

“Don’t bullshit me. What’s inside?”

“Just… Gods, they are everywhere!” Goten exclaimed shakily. “I just… I was surprised.”

“Stop mucking about and find her,” came Reyn’s irritated voice. “Out.”

“Aww…so sweet,” Onar said when the line went flat. “He’s so worried about you.”

“Fuck you,” Goten spat, still rubbing at his sensitive nose. “Why didn’t you warn me about…?” Not finishing, he waved his hands about, indicating the shield around himself.

“Well, couldn’t you hear them?”

Goten was quiet, then just shook his head angrily. He had been able to. He just hadn’t known it was them. What he had thought was his colleagues talking had, in fact, been… Even now he could hear them, chattering, scratching around – it was a constant background noise. He lifted the flashlight to look left and saw tiny balls scurrying away in an attempt to hide from the light. The entire wall was covered in them.

“They ate everyone,” Goten said when the realization hit him. “That’s why there are so many of them.”

Onar gave him an askance look. “You’re somehow slow on the uptake. Wasn’t this exactly what we were talking about before coming here?”

Lumera snickered. “Younglings. Keep your shit together.”

“Enough,” Onar said. “Goten, you’re coming with me; we’ll take a look at the captain’s bridge. You three look for survivors and you know what to do if you find them. Don’t get separated and watch your backs. We are meeting here in an hour.”

Everyone confirmed that they understood the orders and moved forward. At first they walked together, then Goten and Onar continued forward while the rest of them turned into an adjacent corridor.

If Goten thought that what he saw on his previous rescue mission was bad, this was a hundred times worse. Entangled amongst blood-blackened clothing, numerous body parts were littering the carpeted floor. Mostly there were only bones, hair and feces left. He could also discern nails. He figured when there was nothing else left to feed on, the alkani were also going to eat that. He could guess that the stench here was much stronger - blood and urine stains were everywhere.

The distinct chattering followed their every step, but the alkani didn’t try climbing their shields anymore. After some time of walking forward, Goten saw the door leading to the captain’s bridge, but then his attention was drawn to the adjacent door on his right.

“My thermo scanner is catching something,” he said. “Looks like a Human. Shall we check it out?”

Onar gave the door a discontent look. “What’s the point? They’re already infected or will be as soon as we open that door.”

Goten looked at the waves of dark balls behind them. His ki rose suddenly. The chatter became much louder, angrier, but Onar saw the alkani retreat a few meters. He didn’t think he had ever heard of this happening before.

The third-class entered all six combinations one by one into the lock, but none of them worked, so he banged on the metallic door with his fist. There was no reply but he could see the figure inside the cabin move. Powering up even more, he punched the lock with his fist, his hand going through the wall as if it were melted butter. Sparks shot out of the lock, the lamp above it blinked green, then red, then went out altogether and the door slid open. Goten pushed Onar out of the way and behind himself nearly at the same time when a laser gun went off. It hit the third-class’s shield, took the opposite course, and burned a hole right above the attacker’s head.

“Try that one more time and I’ll fry you,” Goten warned him, a ki ball ready in his hand.

When the translated phrases ebbed away, the Human lowered the laser gun to the floor, and Goten approached to take a look at him. It was a middle-aged man, red-eyed from lack of sleep, and quite muscular for a Human. He also looked dizzy and was breathing deeply. Goten raised his head to look for vents and found all of them blocked; a little more and he’d have suffocated.

“Infected?” Onar asked.

The Human quickly shook his head in answer. His panicky gaze went out to the door, but the dark balls were staying out of sight; all he could hear was the furious chattering.

“Undress,” Goten said.

“Are you for real?” Onar drawled. “Do you plan on…?” he stopped, not finishing.

Goten shrugged. “If he’s not infected, I don’t see why not. As long as he stays inside my ki-shield, he’ll be fine.”

The Human listened to them talk, hesitated at first, then started taking his clothes off. Once naked, he was instructed to turn around a few times. There were no signs of infection and Goten told him to dress again.

“Stick close to me,” he said to the Human. “Step outside of my ki-shield, and you’ll die. We’ll be returning to our mothership in about fifty minutes. If you stay uninfected, I’ll take you with us.”

The Human nodded quickly. He grabbed his laser gun off the floor, then jumped back when a ki-ball hit the floor near his feet. Goten turned to look at Onar.

“I get nervous when they do that,” Onar said a bit sheepishly.

“It’s not like he’d kill his only chance to escape,” Goten muttered. He motioned for the Human to come. “Take the gun too,” he said when the man left it lying on the floor. “Just don’t make any sudden movements.” He grimaced when the Human entered his ki shield. The stench of sweat and fear filled the area. There was a lot of nervous and hopeful excitement as well, and it made Goten feel glad he opened the door.

“I’m Goten, and he’s Onar, the head of this mission,” Goten introduced them.

“I’m Darren Cooper,” the Human said, stretching his hand out.

Goten took a look at the hand, then shook it as he had seen it done by other Humans on Starcut. The Human squeaked in pain, and Onar shook his head in disbelief.

“Ah, sorry,” Goten said, letting go. “By the way, do you know anything about Elisabeth Montgomery?” he asked.

“That rich girl?” Darren nodded. “Yeah, she was one of the first to get infected.”

“So she’s dead already,” Goten summed up.

“Yeah, two days ago,” the Human confirmed. Goten started moving towards the door and, trying not to fall behind even one step, Darren followed the Saiyan.

Once outside the cabin, the third-class turned to Onar. “So what now? If we trust his word and we know she’s dead, is our mission complete?”

“Well, of course we trust his word,” Onar said; he didn’t want to stay on this ship a second longer. “Why shouldn’t we? He’s a very important eye-witness. I’ll contact the rest.” He tapped his scouter and started retelling the news to other team members.

“What about searching for other survivors?” Darren asked, gripping his laser gun convulsively. He was obviously glad that they were about to leave this forsaken ship, but there was also something restless on his face.

Goten gave him an askance look. “You’d have more chance to convince us that there’s something worthwhile to loot,” he said.

Onar, who had been about to order everyone to go back to the shuttle, turned to Darren. His eyes sparkled with interest. “Is there?”

The Human looked from one Saiyan to the other. “Well, of course there is,” he said finally, realizing this was indeed the only way to make the Saiyans stay on the ship for longer. “We should at least search that rich girl’s cabin. No one else is going to set foot on this ship anyway.”

“Where is it?” Onar asked. His eyes followed the Human’s finger pointing toward the captain’s bridge, deeper into the dark ship. Shortly, Onar conferred with the other three members, and it was decided they would go and take a look; since they already were here, better to make sure it paid off.

“What are you grinning at?” Onar asked Goten after finishing his call.

Goten shook his head. “Nah, nothing. I was just thinking that this was how they should have gone about it in the first place – just offered us a reward.”

Darren snickered. “Everyone knows Saiyans take anything they find anyway; there’s no point in offering additional rewards.”

“Well, of course we do!” Onar said. “Why leave it lying around? Makes no sense!” He turned to Goten. “They will catch up to us in about ten minutes. Seems they found something.”

“Survivors?” Darren asked hopefully.

“No,” Onar denied, “a safe. They are trying to open it. Nothing has worked so far.”

“Oh my fucking god,” Darren cursed in disbelief. “Why in the world did they send you at all?”

“We volunteered,” Goten explained, heading in the direction of the captain’s bridge. “Besides, someone had to go. And we didn’t really believe there would be any survivors at all.”

The Human muttered under his breath.

“Listen,” Onar said, following them. “Our orders were to retrieve that blasted Montgomery female. Nobody said anything about you. Your kind doesn’t give a damn about you.”

“Onar, that’s about enough,” Goten warned the older man. “Let’s just go to that cabin of hers.”

While walking, Goten noticed that the chattering around them was getting louder and louder. The alkani must have gathered from all around the ship to follow them over the walls and ceiling. He also noticed that the largest amount of the creatures was on the left side, where the Human walked. He didn’t know how, but the alkani were obviously able to find the weakest link in their small group. Darren was looking around, his face reflecting disgust and horror. The Human was keeping his pace easily, but Goten could tell that Darren was feeling the urge to just hold onto him to make sure he didn’t lag behind.

“How did it all start?” Goten asked.

Darren shrugged. “I don’t know. I woke up to someone’s screams and went to take a look. There were already about twenty of these fuckers on the loose. People were running around, panicking. And from then on it all happened very fast. We were instructed to stay in our cabins, but they can get in anywhere.”

Goten wondered what he would have done in that kind of situation. Probably exactly the same thing this man had done – barricaded himself in his room until rescuers arrived or just died waiting. If there were more Saiyans, they could stay awake in turns and guard each other with their protective shields. Alone, however, he wouldn’t last either.

There was a hollow thump over their heads and the Human screamed, leaping away. Goten was just in time to grab him by his arm before he could jump out of the shield.

“Stay inside,” he growled at the terrified Human. Still keeping a firm hold on Darren, the third-class raised his head to look above. The ceiling had started raining alkani on them. The creatures had lost their patience.

“Little fuckers,” Onar spat. His ki-shield was already covered in little black balls. “This is freaking annoying – I can’t see where I’m going.”

Goten looked around. “There,” he pointed, “hold onto that metallic rail. I’ll try to clear some of them off.” The Human still was looking around in a panic and, to make sure there were no more surprises, Goten secured his arm around Darren’s waist.

Having already experienced what Goten summoning his energy meant, Onar grasped the railing firmly. Still, he cursed softly when he was lifted off his feet. With loud thumps, the alkani splashed against the walls and his ki-shield wetly. In a second, Goten’s ki returned to normal, and, his hands still a bit shaky, Onar let go of the rail. It was obvious now why the shaii had insisted that Goten went with them.

“Where the hell do you pack so much power?” he grunted at the youngster.

Goten turned his head to the Human, who was trying to push him away. It took him a few seconds to realize what was wrong.

“Ah shit,” he said, letting go of Darren. “Sorry, I forgot.”

The Human grunted something in answer and rubbed his burned side. “You feel like a damn clothing iron!” he complained.

Goten didn’t understand what kind of thing or device that was and just left it at that without commenting. He raised his flashlight and, chattering, the alkani sped away from the beam of light so as not to be seen by him. There weren’t many of them now, though, just the ones that happened to be behind some cover when the third-class powered up. They were keeping their distance now, but Goten was certain that soon more of them would gather and he would have to remind them not to get too close.

They reached the cabin a few minutes later. The door was somewhat ajar, a carcass of bones wrapped in varicolored clothing jammed in the doorway. Normally, with this kind of interference, the door would be closing and opening, but since the power was off and it had no alternate power source, it just stayed stuck in one place. Goten walked to the door and peered inside the room through the gap. It was dark and his thermo scanner didn’t pick up anything. With his hands, he pushed the metallic door all the way back into the wall.

“How do you even know where she was staying?” Goten asked, curious. Turning his flashlight this way and that, he walked into the cabin. “Wow.”

“Yeah, color me impressed,” Darren agreed at the sight of the luxurious and spacious room. “Is that a freaking jacuzzi?” he muttered, trying to keep up with the third-class and at the same time bypassing the Human remains on the floor in a wide circle. “Everyone did. She wasn’t the quietest sort.”

Onar was already rummaging through the drawers of a dressing cabinet near the wall. Clothes and cosmetics were tossed onto the floor. Goten, meanwhile, was looking around the cabin, awed by the glamorous tapestry and the enormous four-poster bed in the middle. There was also the very peculiar and sharp smell of perfume mixing with that of blood and death and he kept rubbing his nose unconsciously, trying to get rid of the unpleasant blend.

Finding nothing of interest in the dressing cabinet, Onar moved to the nightstand with a huge mirror above it. He pulled the first drawer out and spilled its contents to the floor. Underwear and socks flopped onto the metallic ground. The second-class cursed and pulled out the second drawer. A jewelry box crashed onto the floor, broke, and spilled its contents all over the cabin.

Thinning his shield and lowering his foot to stop a ring that had rolled into his shield, Goten turned to look at the door. The alkani were tentatively crawling into the cabin, their chatter soft but ferocious. He spiked his ki and the creatures started clamoring. Unwillingly, some of them retreated to lurk behind the door. He bent down to pick up the ring. After turning it this way and that between his fingers, he shrugged and pocketed it.

“Are these diamonds?” Onar asked, raising a necklace. Goten’s flashlight reflected off the transparent stones, sparkling with various colors.

“I don’t understand anything about gems,” the third-class disappointed him. “Just take everything and figure that out later.”

All of them started when Goten’s scouter crackled. The third-class nearly dropped the flashlight in surprise, then gripped it firmer.

“Goten? How is it going?” Reyn asked.

“Umm…” the third-class hummed guiltily while Darren was shaking his head, getting rid of affright. “We are searching for more survivors.”

“You are doing what?” Reyn asked again just to be certain. “Ah,” he realized. “You’re looting. I should’ve known. Well, hurry the fuck up. Out.”

“Yeah, we should go already,” Onar said. He was gathering the last of the jewelry off the floor. His pockets were already bulging.

Goten nodded and turned to the exit. The alkani chattered in protest, but split sideways and hurried away. While they were walking back to the shuttle, Darren was shouting for other people to come out, but the only things that came out were more alkani. Nothing but tiny balls moved in this forsaken ship.

They were close to the hangar when all of them heard a loud thump against one of the doors they were passing. Goten turned to it and raised the flashlight. The bang repeated and most of the alkani gathered around the door while others ran down the hallway looking for other ways to get into the cabin. Goten’s scouter was clearly showing a person moving inside.

“You can open the door. It’s safe,” Darren shouted.

Goten gave him a look but said nothing. He walked to the door, making the alkani scatter away from it. It was silent at first, the scouter showing the person on the other side standing still. Then the door opened. The excitement on Darren’s face abruptly changed into the expression of shock and revolt. The woman that appeared from behind the door reached out for him and Darren stepped away quickly, his back coming up to Goten. She wasn’t able to pass the ki-shield, though, and clawed at it desperately.

“Please, help me,” she cried silently.

Onar inspected the torn clothing and bleeding wounds on her body and shook his head. “You are beyond help.”

“Please, take them out of me!” she begged, still trying to get through Goten’s protective shield. “It’s just one! Just one!”

“No,” Goten said, watching her carefully. Her face was swollen, eyes red either from endless crying or the lack of sleep or both. “We can’t take you with us.” He looked around at the clamoring alkani – the smell of flesh and blood was driving them crazy.

“Please, help me!” she repeated, tears starting to roll down her fevered cheeks. “They’re…”

She winced in pain and clutched at her left side. Darren saw two tiny balls slip past her fingers and roll to the floor. He shuddered; they had already hatched inside her and were eating her from within. He turned to the Saiyans, but both of them were just watching her with expressionless faces. He raised his laser gun without thinking.

When the woman’s dead body collapsed, Goten turned to Darren, who was still frozen in the same exact position with his laser gun in his hand. He was staring at the woman’s open eyes.

“I wish I could tear them all to pieces,” the Human growled suddenly. “All of these little fuckers! What in the world is w-”

“Let’s move on,” Onar said, not letting him finish what was obviously going to turn into a very long and exhaustive rant of grief and anger. These rants were very healthy, but he didn’t care enough to listen.

The hangar was only a few doors away and soon they were standing at the entrance. They were the only ones there. The red lamp was blinking above the door.

“Where are our guys?” Goten asked, looking back at the dark corridor. “They were supposed to join us ten minutes ago.” He tapped his scouter and was about to contact Hianara when soft curses and the sounds of heavy boots hitting the floor wafted from somewhere deep in the corridor. Goten lowered his arm back to his side and waited for the rest of the team members to show up.

Onar let out a loud whistle at the sight of a huge safe being carried by Hianara and Ialan. Lumera was just walking after them, observing the process and blasting a few insistent alkani here and there. They reached the door and dropped the safe to the floor, the loud metallic clang scaring even the alkani. Curious, Goten approached the safe.

“What’s inside?” Goten wondered, knocking on the sturdy metal with his knuckles. The walls were isolated and the thermo scanner wasn’t picking up any traces inside.

“No freaking idea,” Ialan said, kicking the safe angrily. “But it’s heavy as hell; must be something valuable.”

“Are you sure the Human is not infected?” Hianara asked, giving a mistrustful look to Darren. “He looks weird.”

“He’s not infected,” Goten said.

Onar cleared his throat. “I’m afraid we can’t take the safe with us – we don’t know what’s inside. And what if there’s more alkani?”

The Saiyans met each other’s eyes. Ialan kicked the safe again, this time regretfully. Lumera let out a longing sigh, powered up and tried to blast a hole in it. It didn’t work, just as it hadn’t worked before – when the blast connected, the safe whooshed backwards into the wall, getting stuck there. They had tried this about twenty times already.

“Fuck it,” Hianara summed up. “We need an elite here.”

Lumera walked up to the metal wall and pried the safe out if it, leaving a rectangular hole in it. He wasn’t going to give up so easily. He powered up to his maximum, making the other four Saiyans raise their ki in response. At the impact, alkani were tossed into the air, most of them melting on the spot. The walls on their right and left billowed out at the force and heat while the safe sank into the floor. Lumera let out a row of varicolored curses.

“Just leave it,” Onar said. He tapped the side of his scouter. He contacted Reyn, telling him that they were ready to enter the hangar.

Ialan stood in the doorway again to create isolation for the two perimeters, and Goten went to enter the code into the lock. The lamp turned green and the door whooshed open.

“Still, there’s definitely something wrong with him,” Hianara said, staring at the Human. “We can’t take him with us.”

Goten turned his head to look at the second-class. He could feel Darren suddenly getting nervous, the scent of panic and fear filling the shield again. “What do you mean?”

“What do you mean ‘what do you mean’?” Hianara grunted. “Look at his freaking color! He’s definitely infected! If not with alkani then with something else!”

The rest of the team stared at Hianara, not comprehending, then Goten realized; he had recently faced a similar question on Starcut. He laughed. “Haven’t you seen dark-skinned Humans before?”

“Dark-skinned?” Hianara wondered. “You mean this is normal for them? Like changing their color according to seasons?”

“No, you idiot,” Onar grunted, motioning for them to go through the door. “They are just born like that. Apparently there are quite a few coloring variations. You seriously haven’t seen any before? There are many different kinds on TV.”

“I don’t watch TV,” Hianara muttered, passing Goten and Darren, and entering the hangar.

“Where the hell are you taking that?” Onar demanded at the sight of Lumera trying to pry the safe out of the floor.

“With me,” Lumera said firmly. In order to pull it out of the floor, he had to power up again.

Onar rolled his eyes. He turned to Goten. “Care to try?”

Goten looked at the safe. “Umm… Well, yeah, I can.”

Unsure, the other team members looked at Goten. To his surprise, no one laughed. After a moment’s thought, the third-class left Darren in Ialan’s care. He walked over to the safe and started powering up.

“The fuck is with this?” Lumera muttered numbly when Goten’s ki rose over two hundred thousand. He smacked his scouter a few times. “What the hell?” he repeated.

“How about you stop now?” Onar said, unnerved. “It’s the safe, not the ship we want you to blow up.”

The third-class, unsure of how much he had powered up, stopped. He extended his arm and pointed his index finger at the safe. He had never had a chance before to use the technique he had picked up from the prince. A small glowing ball of silver light appeared on the tip of his finger, then it started stretching into a thin straight line. There was a soft popping sound when, with a motion of his hand, Goten drew the silver line over the safe, neatly cutting its upper half off. He peered inside. There was a pile of documents on the upper shelf. Grabbing the edges of the sturdy metal, Goten’s hands ripped the walls of the safe apart to reveal two more shelves. He powered down.

“There are some documents, more jewelry and…” Goten hesitated. “Some fancy scouters?” He turned to the other team members. “Umm…” he hummed at the sight of their shocked and mistrustful faces.

Onar regained his composure first. He moved forward to take a look at the safe. “Oh, wow,” he exclaimed. “The newest iScouter!”

“A what?” Goten wondered, picking one of them up with his fingertips. They looked smaller and quite different to what he was used to. The design was very unusual, white and pink colors mixing, the frame itself looking very fragile. He took his scouter off and fitted the smaller one over his left eye. “Ugh,” he grunted when rows and rows of gibberish in one of Human languages appeared. “I can’t understand anything.”

“Well, of course,” Onar said, grabbing the rest of the newfound scouters. “You can download different languages, but since they synchronize only with the networks Humans have, they can only be used as common scouters we have - for radioing, translating, and thermo scanning.”

Goten took the tiny scouter off. “And it’s ugly to boot. What’s the use of it, then?” he asked, wondering why Onar looked so ecstatic about them.

“They cost a fortune if you know who to sell them to.”

“Ah.” Goten turned it this way and that in his hand, then fitted his old scouter back in its place. He walked back to the Human and held it out for him. “Here, have it.”

Darren stared at the scouter for a few seconds, then took it. “Thanks, I suppose. What about the documents?” he asked.

“Take them if you want,” Onar said. “I’ve got no interest in those.”

“No, I mean there might be something important.”

Onar shrugged. When he and Lumera secured the contents of the safe in their large pockets, the team was finally able to move on. They left the documents untouched, just as they were, in the mutilated safe. Reyn was quite livid when they reached the shuttle, and Goten was certain that they were going to hear about it later. He also poked and scanned the Human a few times to ascertain for himself that he wasn’t carrying anything. In the end, Reyn was content with the results and the shuttle took off.

When the drifting SUB 316 started getting smaller in their screens, everyone finally relaxed. Goten exhaled and closed his eyes in relief.

“That went much better than I expected,” he admitted.

“Ha,” Hianara said. “You were so scared that you were jumping around like a little girl.”

“So were you,” Lumera said. “Even more so. Now the most important thing – how do we share the loot?”

TBC


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