Barracks

BY : chayron
Category: Dragon Ball Z > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 18982
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.

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.
A/N: This fanfiction is dedicated to achillona, whom I have known for nearly ten years and, that is, for nearly whole of my fanfiction writing ‘career’. She helped me to flesh out the idea and shared her military knowledge with me. She’s always been very supportive and contacted me to check on how Barracks and I were doing. For as long as I remember, she’s always had issues with her health. Recently, I found out that she’s no longer with us. It’s just a silly fanfiction, but it’s all that I have to offer. I started Barracks with her in mind and I will finish it with her in mind. Thank you, Anzia, for your support, ideas, and love.
A/N 2: Thank you, everyone, for sticking around with me and my sporadic writing. I thought about answering your reviews like I always do but chapter 55 came out a year ago and I am doubtful if my answering them now would be relevant. A big part of the readers probably forgot Barracks altogether. I wrote a few emails and PMs to some of you and I hope I answered the questions you had.
Thank you for your encouraging and enquiring messages. I’ve got no intention of abandoning Barracks and I will finish it as promised, it’s just that my interest tends to jump amongst the stories that I’m writing. Well, in any case, the next chapter of Barracks is already at my beta’s (it is incredible that despite the ridiculously long breaks, she still continues to beta for me), so it will be posted in a week or two. What I was worried about was a difference in style or that particular feeling typical of Barracks. I wonder how it went.
Happy New Year, everyone, and thank you again ^_^


Barracks

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

Part 56

“Yep, this is definitely their ambassador to the Earth Republic,” Reyn confirmed after inspecting the photograph in the magazine more carefully.

The other two third-classes and Almanda gave him impressed looks.

“Are you sure?” Goten wondered. “I can hardly tell them apart; all of them look the same to me. If not for the fact that he blew up the station, I’d have never remembered him.”

“Doesn’t surprise me,” Reyn muttered. “You’re a bit of a racist.”

“Not really,” Almanda said. “Not giving a damn about someone’s race can’t be racist. I can’t tell these green lizards apart either.”

“Umm…” Kakarott drawled, staring at the three photographs underneath the spaceship. “Well, the faces are the same but their hair is different. One has purple, another has pink. This one’s hair is also pink but it’s short. And the jewelry is different. What?” he wondered at the look Reyn gave him.

“When does he arrive?” Goten asked.

Kakarott shrugged. “I need to find out which ship he’s on first.”

Goten dropped the documents back onto the floor and sat down next to the magazine. He couldn’t care less what the people in the control room thought. Sitting on the floor, he stared at his lap. The situation was getting more and more complicated. They had found the perpetrator, but whose orders was he following? Goten doubted he was acting alone. Had this been planned from high above? Maybe their prince himself ordered this? Stopping this attempt was going to loosen a huge boulder and make it roll downhill, crushing quite a few heads. If they killed this ambassador, it could be the perfect pretext for the Leiadors to withdraw from the alliance.

Reyn cast a careful look at the people around them. He squatted down to whisper to Goten. “He’s got diplomatic immunity, you know. We can’t so much as check his ship. I don’t think anyone can. It’s considered a part of the Leiadorian Republic.”

“You’re not helping,” Goten muttered.

“Okay, so we just blast him out of the sky and be done with it,” Kakarott said cheerfully to the two of them.

“Shhhh!” Reyn shushed him.

“Riiight,” Almanda drawled. “Any other bright ideas? Preferably ones that would not cause an intergalactic conflict; we don’t have many allies as it is.”

“If it comes to war, then it comes to war,” Kakarott said softly. “Nothing can be done.” He settled in the chair Goten had been sitting on a couple of minutes ago and opened the search system. He turned to Reyn. “Maybe you know what his name is?”

“Zeya-something,” Reyn told him.

“Let’s see what it spills,” Kakarott hummed, typing it down.

The flight officer gave Goten a look as if asking if his father was serious. Goten nodded glumly. Kakarott knew the culprit, had the means of stopping him, and that was it. As far as Kakarott was concerned, it was all straightforward.

“Yeah, that looks like the same guy – Zeiran Nunghmihnh,” Kakarott said after a few minutes of research. He shook his head. “Not sure about the pronunciation; sounds a bit like… Well, he’s supposed to arrive today at night,” he informed them with the same cheerful smile plastered on his face. “At approximately ten o’clock. We have about nine hours to get ready.”

“I’m going to make a call,” Almanda said abruptly. She was already fingering the side of her scouter.

Surprised, Goten and Reyn watched her leaving the control room hastily.

“What’s that about?”

“Let’s hope she won’t ruin it for us,” Kakarott said.

“Ruin?” Reyn repeated.

“You know who she is going to call?” Goten asked him, though it was more of a confirmation than a question.

Kakarott shrugged. “Her father probably. It would be nice if he could get this Zeiran checked and arrested or at least delayed, but I doubt even he can do that. He’d be breaching all possible protocols.”

Goten saw Reyn staring at him from above. Goten shook his head at him. “I’ve got no idea what he’s on about.” He shrugged. “And how can he arrest this guy anyway? We’ve got no proof. I can’t just say I dreamt him. They’ll just think I’m insane.”

“As per usual,” Kakarott confirmed. “Well, most of the time.”

The older man was starting to irritate Reyn. He turned to Kakarott. “Who exactly are we talking about? Who is Almanda’s father?”

Kakarott blinked at them in surprise. “Huh? Veden Grendal, the head of National Security, of course.”

Goten and Reyn met each other’s eyes.

“Ah, gods,” Goten sighed. He pulled his legs up and dropped his forehead to his knees. “Screw this. Nothing surprises me anymore.”

“It surprises me, for sure,” Reyn muttered, turning to stare at the door Almanda had just left through. “Mainly because I never realized. There aren’t many elite females named Almanda and… Actually, I think she’s the only Almanda I know.” He turned back to Kakarott. “I don’t think they’ve been in touch? I heard they don’t really get along.”

“Not exactly,” Kakarott said. “They have their ups and downs, but he speaks very fondly of her. She is just at that stage when kids rebel.”

Goten rolled his eyes. He couldn’t help feeling curious though. This was personal information and he wondered how his father could know.

“Ah.” Kakarott said when he noticed Goten and Reyn staring at him. For a moment, he looked uncomfortable. “Ah,” he repeated, “as I said, I have this friend in National Security and he sometimes shares various rumours with me.”

Goten and Reyn gave each other amused looks. They could both already guess who Kakarott’s “secret” buddy was.

The door opened but, rather than Almanda, a group of Humans and second-class Saiyan officers walked in. Goten rose off the floor and started diligently gathering documents. The group headed straight for the third-classes’ desk.

“Are you done looking?” the Human whom Goten knew as James Berlington addressed Kakarott. Berlington was head of the security personnel in the center and was also in charge of security during the meeting. He was a very busy man but still found time to check on them, even though Kakarott and he were supposedly the official representatives of the Saiyan side of security.

“We’ll be done when the meeting is over,” Kakarott told him firmly. “Any news on your side?”

The Human’s eyes left the terminal screen with the ambassador’s profile and gave Kakarott a level stare. He shook his head. “Everything’s going smoothly so far.” He lingered, his eyes flitting over the documents on the floor, in Goten’s hands, and on the desk. “What happened here? A tornado?”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Goten said, picking up the last few sheets, feeling the instinctive need to pacify a superior officer no matter the race. “We’ll be done in a second.” He straightened and lowered the documents back on the desk, smoothing the papers down and forming a neat stack.

“Here,” Reyn said, grinning at the Human. “Just like new. You can count them if you want.”

Goten’s eyes went wide. He felt the urge to kick Reyn in the butt. He knew that Reyn didn’t particularly like Humans, but he had no idea he’d be so stupid as to try and piss one of them off when they needed to lay low. Goten prayed to all gods that Berlington wouldn’t ask Reyn to show his ID or demand his name and do some serious investigation. Until now it had been enough that Reyn had Kakarott’s approval.

“That would only be helpful if I knew how many of them there were in the first place,” James said.

Reyn tsked regretfully. “Oh well, there’s always room for improvement,” he said in a soothing voice.

After looking around and leaving some instructions with the people at the terminals and his group, Berlington left the control room. The two second-class Saiyans and a Human that Berlington had left behind to watch over Kakarott’s group were giving Reyn disapproving looks.

“That was uncalled for,” one second-class told him.

The flight officer rolled his eyes. “I just teased him a bit. He’s a really nice guy for a Human.”

Goten grunted and seized the chance. “Were you flirting with him?” he asked, raising his eyebrows theatrically.

First, Reyn gave him a confused look, then grinned. “Not really. Just making sure NS’s reputation as the biggest assholes in Saiyan history stays untarnished. What? You jealous?”

Goten snorted. “Ha! As if. It’s just that you have this strange tendency to purposely annoy people you like.”

“No, no,” Reyn said shaking his head. “Rest assured. That was solely in your case.”

The two second-class Saiyans were grinning, their eyes going from Reyn to Goten and then back.

“Hey, if you’re unhappy with him, I’m free,” one of them said with a wink at Goten.

“And you’ll stay free,” Goten told him irritably, not missing the look the other second-class was giving Reyn. “Hopefully forever.” Goten turned back to the flight officer. “I told you I’m not jea…”

“Shut up, all of you,” Kakarott told them. “Goten, go and check on what Almanda is doing.” He looked at the two second-class Saiyans. “Give us some room here, I can’t work with you two breathing down my neck.”

The second-classes nodded. “Yes, sir.” They sauntered off to talk to one of the Humans at the terminals.

That had been too easy. With a roll of his eyes, Goten patted the stack of the documents one last time and headed for the door. Reyn and Kakarott met each other’s eyes, then the older man concentrated back on the ambassador’s profile.

“How many people are there on board?” Reyn asked.

Kakarott shrugged. He changed the window, opening the NS database. “It says it’s an MIRG 396. Nothing about the passengers or the crew.”

“Could be up to a hundred.”

“I really doubt it. Probably around forty, at most,” Kakarott said. He turned back to the ambassador’s profile. With these second-classes and the Human around, they weren’t able to discuss any possibilities. They had absolutely no proof that Zeiran was about to destroy the station. Anything they said would sound like the ravings of madmen.

Goten returned to the control room about ten minutes later. “I gather it didn’t go well,” Reyn said at the sight of the younger man’s face.

“Oh, it went just fine,” Goten said. “I couldn’t find her, then I remembered I have her number. I called her and she told me to piss off and hung up on me.”

Reyn patted him on his shoulder. “Sounds like what an elite would do.”

“She must still be talking with him,” Kakarott said. It was not possible to convince her father that there was something wrong with the ambassador. She didn’t even know why Goten had singled him out. No one had ever told her about the dreams. It was rather strange that she had believed Goten. He could understand why Reyn believed his son. This elite female, though…

“You two, keep looking,” Kakarott told the other two third-classes while leaving his chair. “I’ll go have a word with her.”

“Good luck finding her,” Goten grunted, annoyed. Wondering what his father was up to, he slid into the empty chair. The ambassador’s profile was open to a section about his seven spouses and his twice as many children. Goten had to ask himself whether the man had been driven crazy by the bunch of them or someone had kidnapped all of them to make him destroy the station and at the same time kill himself in such a manner.

Kakarott and Almanda were taking a while to return and the two younger third-classes used the time to get to know their enemy. It didn’t matter how this attempt would end, any outcome would probably mean war with the Leiadorian Republic. It was very likely that this had been arranged by the Leiadorian officials, namely, their current prince, Zarbon Nandith. They were losing a war with Ice-jins and the prince had probably decided he had made a mistake and switched sides along the way.

Zarbon Nandith was the eighth prince in the Nandiths’ royal bloodline. Despite its name, the Leiadorian Republic had always been ruled by kings just like The Saiyan Empire. When asked about it, they would just shrug and say “Republic” sounded more refined. It was all about finesse with the Leiadors.

Zarbon Nandith already ruled the entire Republic unconditionally. According to their traditions, he could only be called a king after reaching the age of forty. Technically, it would make no difference in his rule. The only things to change would be the way of addressing him and that his clothes would get even fancier. Goten found that hard to imagine, since the latest photographs showed that the prince already dressed like a rainbow.

The prince had no children and no spouse. In fact, this was not uncommon among the Leiadors as, just like the Namekians, an individual could produce offspring on their own. Still, as far as Goten knew, they were a very passionate species and usually intermingled amongst each other, enriching their genetic pool. Goten wasn’t certain how all of that worked and, to tell the truth, he wasn’t very keen on learning. Although the Leiadors were fearsome warriors, he found them weird.

Goten leaned back in his chair and gave Reyn a sideways look. The flight officer was reading the latest news from the Leiadorian Republic. Naturally, nothing there indicated that the Leiadors intended to change their stance concerning the war.

“I’ll go eat,” Goten said, standing up. “Do you want me to get you anything?”

“Nah, wait a few minutes. I’ll go with you; it’s almost time for lunch anyway.”

Reyn finished reading the article, closed the window, and the two of them left for the cafeteria. They had half-expected to find Almanda and Kakarott there, but there was no sign of either of them. They got their food and sat down in the corner, at the very end of the canteen, so that no one would bother them.

The food was peculiar here and Reyn noticed Goten pushing the salad around on his plate. The portions were also small, barely able to feed a grown Saiyan. It was a good thing that lately neither of them had much of an appetite either way.

“So do we really just blast him out of the sky?” Reyn wondered.

Goten’s fork stopped mixing the salad and he looked at the flight officer. “And what else do you suggest? We can’t get any evidence against him in such a short period of time.”

“I suppose not. It doesn’t…” he trailed off at the sight of two familiar second-class Saiyans entering the cafeteria. “It seems like we succeeded,” he said with an unhappy sigh.

“Huh?”

“Behind you.”

Goten turned to see the same two Saiyans from Berlington’s team. “So they really rose to the bait, huh?”

“Who knows? I think they have been told to keep an eye on us and, conveniently, we’ve given them a pretext to approach us.”

The two second-classes were already picking their way to Reyn and Goten’s table. Goten pushed his plate of salad leftovers away from him.

“And it’s only your second day here,” Reyn couldn’t help biting.

The younger male rolled his eyes. “Actually, I think they are coming here for you. The one with short hair seems to have taken a liking to you.”

The flight officer turned his head to give the aforementioned second-class a curious look. Besides being a second-class, the man wasn’t his type. Not that he liked any type in particular.

“So what do we do now?” Goten whispered.

“We smile a lot,” Reyn told him.

The two Saiyans approached their table and Goten’s bright smile lit up the entire cafeteria. The intruders took this as a good sign and immediately asked if they could join them at the table.

“Feel free,” Reyn told them, motioning toward the empty seats. Goten had been right, the older of the two second-classes was interested in him. His gaze was openly inviting. The flight officer lowered his eyes to his unfinished cutlet. This was going to get bothersome.

“I don’t think anyone introduced us,” the younger of the second-classes started. “I’m Areno Kamira. He’s,” he pointed at his older companion, “Raidri Mandera.”

“Reyn Dueri,” Reyn said with a nod. He pointed at Goten with his fork. “Goten Bardock.”

Areno went to buy some food while Raidri stayed at the table. In awkward silence, Goten reached out and pulled his plate closer to himself and started mixing his salad. He took one more tentative bite and gave up entirely – he was not one to waste food, but the taste was scandalizing.

“What the hell did they put in it?” he grunted, pushing the plate away again.

“Seems fine to me,” Reyn said with a shrug. He finished his cutlet and put his plate on top of Goten’s discarded salad. His coffee was lukewarm but he didn’t mind that and took a few pleasing gulps.

“How long have the two of you been together?” Raidri asked.

Reyn looked at him over the rim of his mug. The man didn’t beat around the bush. “Seems like forever,” the flight officer muttered.

Goten seemed too young for that statement to be true and Raidri’s face acquired an expression of uncertainty. Not sure how to take it, Raidri averted his eyes to Goten. The younger male shrugged. Office romances were never easy and Raidri could bet they’d had their own share of difficulties.

“Are the two of you…?” Goten asked softly, his index finger discreetly pointing at Areno and then Raidri.

Reyn was impressed. It was not often that he saw Goten taking initiative like this. As long as it was business, Goten didn’t seem to be bothered by any topics.

Raidri laughed in surprise. “Who? Me and Areno? Oh, no. No way.” He laughed again. “Do we really seem…?” He turned to Areno, who was unloading the plates off his tray. “Hey, they said that we…”

“No, you don’t look it,” Reyn said. He lowered his mug and chuckled. “He sees romance everywhere.”

“I don’t,” Goten denied. “I only asked. Why do you keep picking on me?” he complained.

“Are the two of you having some sort of crisis?” Areno asked curiously while sitting down.

Reyn shrugged. “You could say that. Probably the mother of all crises.”

“Maybe you just need some time apart to work it out?” Areno suggested. “Or some changes? A bit of experimentation, maybe?”

“Experimentation?” Reyn repeated. “What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Well,” Areno drawled carefully, “our shift ends in two hours. How about we all meet after that?” His look was nothing short of suggestive and it was impossible to misunderstand.

The flight officer turned his head to look at Raidri, who had cleared his throat to get his attention. “Just a little bit fun,” he said with a short smile.

Amused, Reyn snorted. “I can certainly see how that would help work everything out,” he said sarcastically.

Goten blushed. He didn’t know why his face had suddenly become red but, when everyone at the table turned to look at him, he blushed even more. What the hell was wrong with him? He lowered his eyes to his mug of tea but not before he caught sight of Reyn’s raised eyebrows.

“Seems like he doesn’t mind,” Areno concluded with a chuckle.

“Yeah,” Reyn muttered darkly, “he’s an exhibitionist at heart.”

Goten opened his mouth to protest, then decided not to and just let out an awkward cough. Reyn was probably right anyway.

Raidri wasn’t so certain about that. From what he was able to sense, there was an anxious and embarrassed air about Goten. That was not a combination one would expect from a man eager to go on a sex-driven adventure. It was, however, to be expected from an inexperienced youngling who wasn’t certain how his partner would react to this escapade. Reyn, though, smelled of sheer annoyance, which Raidri was able to understand better in this situation.

“So how about we meet here in two hours?” Areno suggested.

Raidri shook his head at his coworker. “Maybe it’s not such a good idea,” he said. It was now obvious to him that they were intruding where they shouldn’t.

Reyn gave him a level stare. “No, why, we’ll come,” he said challengingly. “But we are finishing late today, so how about we come at eleven?”

Areno’s face brightened with eagerness, then immediately clouded over. “Can’t it be earlier? The assembly is tomorrow and we’ve gotta get up early.” He saw Reyn shrug dismissively and it was clear that he could either take what he can get or stay with nothing. Areno glanced at Goten and nodded. “Sure.”

There was a sudden commotion outside the cafeteria. The noise kept growing, which seemed impossible considering they were able to hear it while sitting at the very end of the hall. The Saiyans looked at each other and rose from the table. Once they left the cafeteria, they were nearly swept away by a wave of reporters.

“What’s going on here?” Goten wondered at the people crowding the hallway.

“Some bigwig must have arrived,” Reyn said, looking above the Humans’ heads towards the end of the corridor.

A few tall Saiyans soon appeared. The white-tipped tails wrapped around their torsos indicated them as elites and, automatically, Goten leaned forward in order to see them better. The elites were wearing traditional Saiyan armor with the royal symbol on their breastplates. The royal guards. Now Goten’s eyes set on the short man walking amidst the guards. The crown prince was exactly as he remembered from his dreams. The prince was even wearing the same armor. His hard face and eyes were impossible to forget.

At the appearance of Prince Vegeta, the reporters and photographers went wild and rushed forward. They would have jammed the hallway but for the protective shield that was maintained by one of the royal guards. The reporters bounced into the protective shield and were pushed sideways while the distinguished group continued to proceed down the corridor. The reporters were shouting questions but the prince chose to remain silent. One of his guards informed them that the prince was going to make a public speech after the assembly. That didn’t appease them in the least and they continued to shout questions.

Without stopping, the group advanced along the corridor and was now next to the cafeteria. As the prince was walking past the Saiyans, they automatically saluted the royalty. The prince and his guards ignored them but then the prince’s eyes caught the side of Goten’s face and he turned his head to look at him, his pace faltering. Goten met the long surprised stare that was clearly wondering what he was doing there. The next moment, the prince turned away and continued walking down the corridor.

Not sure what had happened, Goten stared at the receding backs of the group until they disappeared.

“What was that?” Reyn asked him softly so that the other two Saiyans wouldn’t be able to hear. “It seemed like...” He frowned, unsure. “As if he recognized you?”

Goten nodded slowly. “But this is the first time I saw him. Well, outside my dreams, I mean.” There had been something strange about the last dream, though. Usually no one was able to see him but the prince had been able to see him clearly. They had even talked. Maybe it was not only him who was able to see these dreams? Maybe that was where the prince remembered him from?

A panic attack shot up Goten’s spine when he thought of another possibility. Was this the purple-haired bastard’s doing? Could he have told his father about some random “second-class” he took a liking to on the base? Surely, he wouldn’t have… Goten felt like slamming his head against a wall. Really, he wouldn’t have… That would be as good as death sentence.

“What is it?”

Goten raised his head to look at Reyn’s worried face. He shook his head. “No, everything’s fine. I just… Ehh… Never mind.”

Reyn didn’t seem to be convinced in the least but put it down to stress. The other two Saiyans were nearby as well and maybe it was something that Goten wasn’t able to share at the moment. In any case, Reyn couldn’t do much about it, so he just left it at that.

All four of them returned to the cafeteria. Reyn and Goten talked to the second-classes for a couple more minutes, then exchanged their hotel numbers and left. They didn’t plan on going to the second-classes’ hotel room but, if the men were waiting for them, they would not interfere with whatever they would be doing on this side of the station complex.

“Do I really look so helpless?” Goten wondered when they were walking out of the cafeteria.

“I think you know the answer to that question,” Reyn told him.

Goten rolled his eyes.

Neither Kakarott nor Almanda was in the control room. Goten tried contacting his father but his scouter only emitted a few pathetic burps. Almanda’s scouter connected but she cut him off again. Giving up, Goten took a look at the empty seat at the terminal. He thought about doing some more research, then realized that it wouldn’t change anything and left the room. They headed to their hotel room but it was also empty. They fed the cat and left again. On their way back to the control room, Goten’s scouter beeped and he took the call. It was Kakarott, who asked him and Reyn to go to their hotel room. His voice sounded urgent and Goten with Reyn rushed back.

They found Kakarott in the hotel room as arranged. A few moments after they entered, Almanda also appeared in the doorway. She was carrying a bundle of documents and was meticulously shuffling them while seemingly searching for something.

“It’s here,” she said finally, picking one of them and lifting it into the air for Kakarott to see.

The third-class nodded. “That was fast.”

“What’s going on?” Goten asked, frowning.

“We are leaving in…” Kakarott trailed off, checking his scouter, “…probably an hour and a half. May take longer, though. Depends on how fast he can arrange the visit.”

Goten stared at him then turned to Almanda. “What’s he on about? Are we about to run away? What visit?”

Almanda carried the documents to the bedside cabinet and lowered them. Then she thought better of it and, after gathering them back up, stored them inside her breastplate. As long as she didn’t stay on the Station, it was arguably the safest place in the universe.

She met Goten’s eyes. “No one is running away. My father is currently pushing the government of the Leiadorian Republic for permission to see that ambassador.”

Goten and Reyn looked at each other. “Umm…” Goten drawled. “Is that even possible? And if it is… What then?”

Kakarott shrugged. “Well, if we aren’t shot down before we even set foot on that ship, I hope we can prevent them from annihilating the Station.”

“By killing everyone on board?”

Kakarott nodded. “If it comes to that. I do hope that the ambassador will be more cooperative than that.”

“Ugh.” Goten suddenly developed a headache. He sat down on the mutilated bed. “Okay, so we kill everyone on board and then?”

“No, not ‘we’,” Kakarott corrected him. He motioned at Goten and Reyn. “You two stay here in case Almanda and I fail. You will need to destroy the ship with the Station’s defense system.”

“You’ll have to tell us the passwords and show us how it works,” Reyn said.

Kakarott nodded. “Yes, we’ll do that now.”

“Wait, wait a moment,” Goten said, putting his hands up. “From the beginning again. So you go and try to stop him. What happens if you can’t? How are you even going to get up there?” he asked, pointing at the ceiling with his finger.

Almanda patted the breastplate of her armor where she had stored the documents. “We’ve just been issued a ship.”

“If we can’t talk him out of it, we kill him or destroy the ship and run,” Kakarott said. “If we can’t destroy it, you will. You will need the coordinates, though, and they will only be known when the ship reaches Bruminan. Unlike I expected, it appears you can’t enter its identification number and just aim at it automatically.”

“And why not?”

“Well, that ship is supposed to be neutral territory and it seems that it’s got some kind of a security protocol within the Empire,” Almanda explained. “Bruminan’s security system simply won’t allow you to execute the assault order. For all we know, it may also record the attempt and send it directly to NS.”

“Yeah, that’s what would most likely happen,” Reyn confirmed.

Finding out the coordinates of the ambassadors’ ship wasn’t going to be a difficult task: Bruminan’s security system was going to start recording them automatically as soon as the ship entered the Station’s orbit. If the computers failed, then Kakarott or Almanda would send the data. If everything went fine, neither Reyn nor Goten would even need to use the laser cannons. In the worst case scenario, they would have to blow up the ambassador’s ship with Kakarott and Almanda still onboard.

ooOoOoOoo


“Look,” Almanda explained, losing her patience, “you press this and this, and then this blinking dot.”

Goten stared at the screen in front of him. He could see the blinking dot and pressed it.

“Not now!” Almanda yelled at him when the blinking dot disappeared and a chart with thousands of numbers sprung up onto the screen. “You have to mark it first!”

“Sorry.”

“Do it from the beginning again.”

Carefully, Goten closed the table of numbers. He stayed very quiet while wondering where “this and this” had gone. They weren’t on the desktop anymore. From the corner of his eye, he stole a look at the elite’s face. She looked as if she could start killing any time. He concentrated back on the screen. “This and this” were still not there.

“Oh my fucking god!” Almanda growled. Beside herself with anger and desperation, she rammed her finger into the screen. She rubbed it demonstratively, a greasy fingerprint marking the necessary icon. “Here it is! Press it, for the love of gods!”

Goten clicked on it to make a familiar chart with graded windows appear. This part was easy. He started entering the coordinates quickly. The elite next to him started nodding approvingly then, suddenly, she frowned again.

“No!” she yelled, shaking Goten by his shoulders. She pointed at the screen again. “You press that only after you enter them in this line!”

“I can’t enter them anywhere if you keep shaking me like this!” Goten growled back at her. With a snarl, he closed the window and stared at the empty screen again. He kept cursing in his head for about half a minute, then clicked the first icon again. He had never been good with technology. He was awful with it and the additional stress, hunger, and the lack of sleep made his brain freeze.

The orders that Kakarott and Almanda were so desperately waiting for had yet to come. It was taking much longer than expected to arrange a meeting with the Leiadorian ambassador. His ship had arrived about two hours ago and now was hazardously orbiting the station with many other ships. It was nearly midnight already and there were only three other people in the control room. It was a good thing that they were Humans, but even then they kept staring at Goten’s and Almanda’s backs in wonderment. They had, so far, withheld any comments.

Goten and Almanda turned to Kakarott and Reyn, who had entered the control room. Reyn was carrying a few bags with what Goten’s nose picked up as food.

“The cafeteria is closed, so that’s all we were able to get,” he said, lowering the bags in front of Goten’s terminal. “They call it McDonalds.”

“It’s edible,” Kakarott confirmed. “I’ve eaten five bags and feel fine.”

“For now,” Goten muttered, reaching out for the bags. He opened one and delved inside of it. The smell was peculiar, synthetic, but it wasn’t bad.

“Goten will screw it up,” Almanda informed them. “He sucks balls. The more we try, the worse he gets. It’s been two hours already and he’s learned nothing!”

Goten’s moody face told the rest of their comrades that it was possibly true, and Reyn took a look at the screen. The operating system seemed to be similar to the one on Starcut’s shuttle. Besides, he had already seen Goten repeat the actions at least five times. “Let me try it,” he said, pushing at the younger male’s shoulders to get him out of the chair. “I won’t be allowed into the conference hall without any ID anyway. So you go to the conference hall while I stay at the terminal.”

“You will also be closer to the launch pad and the ship,” Kakarott added. “In case you need to escape, you can start the engines while waiting for Goten to reach you. It will be faster this way.”

Goten raised his half-eaten chicken nugget into the air approvingly. “Good idea.” He’d rather run all the way to Earth if it were possible than have to stay at this accursed terminal. He watched Reyn open the task manager, choose the chart of nearby ships, find the ambassador’s ship, and start entering its current coordinates. The screen went black for a moment and then the fixed orbiting course that the ship was currently following appeared.

“Now enable the engage mode and boom,” Almanda said with an approving clap on the flight officer’s shoulder. “At least one of you has the brains.” She turned to a pouting Goten. “I’d say you’re the one with the looks, but you’re not. You just suck in general.”

“Screw you.”

ooOoOoOoo


Goten watched people assembling in the conference hall. He rubbed at his bloodshot eyes and blinked vigorously, trying to shake off the fatigue. He’d had an opportunity to rest for a few hours before the beginning of the conference but had barely caught a wink. He shouldn’t have gone to sleep at all because now he felt even more tired than he had before going to bed.

The third-class had chosen a seat near the door in the middle of the rows – it gave him a decent overview of the hall. Goten raised his head to take a look at the platform in front of the many rows of chairs. It was all how he remembered it – there was a tribune on the platform and, on the right side behind the platform, a line of leather armchairs for distinguished guests. There was also a short set of stairs to ascend the platform.

It was just a little past nine o’clock but the red-carpeted hall was already being filled with people. For now, these were mostly Humans, who were rushing to take the front or the back seats. Reporters weren’t allowed to attend the assembly. Everyone entering the hall was also checked for all possible recording devices. Goten had to give up his scouter as well. This was definitely going to cause problems – he wasn’t able to contact Reyn or find out any vital news.

At about five o’clock in the morning, Kakarott and Almanda had finally received confirmation that the Leiadorian ambassador was waiting for them. They boarded the ship that had been issued to them and set off. Since their scouters were out of range, they had to keep in contact via the nearby satellite using the ship’s transmitter and the computer in the control room. There hadn’t been any surprises while they approached the ambassador’s ship, but when they docked they had to cease all transmissions.

At least they had entered the ship safely. If something had happened after that, there was no way Goten could find out. His task was to thwart any possible backup plan that the enemy might be ready to execute after the unsuccessful attempt to blow up the station. The third-class only knew the approximate time that Bruminan was supposed to be destroyed. He could vaguely remember that it was during the crown prince’s speech.

At about half past nine, people started flowing into the conference hall in throngs. Goten could only imagine how efficient the security personnel had to be to be able to let them in so fast and, at the same time, to make certain no one unwarranted entered. The decision not to let any reporters or journalists in had caused quite a stir amongst the Humans, but the Saiyans hadn’t stepped down. Unless it was in any way beneficial to the government, it wasn’t common in Saiyan society to share important pronouncements with the media. The present material was going to be compiled in the way the officials wanted after the assembly and only then fed to the masses.

Here and there, Goten could spot several National Security agents. Just like Goten, most of them chose locations that didn’t hinder their vision. Up until now, he and the other third-classes had managed to maintain their distance from the real agents and hadn’t roused any suspicion. Goten hoped it would stay that way, at least for the length of the conference. There were also the two Saiyans from Berlington’s team to contend with. One of them stood quite close to the third-class and Goten hoped that he wouldn’t think of approaching and asking him why he and Reyn hadn’t come to their room.

Soon the hall was packed with varicolored uniforms. Most were the blue and khaki Saiyan uniforms for air and land forces. The Leiadors with their gray and green uniforms made up a large part of the crowd as well. The rest of the haphazardly colored uniforms belonged to the Humans and a few other allied nations.

The Prince of All Saiyans arrived at five to nine. The people saluted and were quick to move out of his path since it was common knowledge that the royal guards were quick to push the gawkers out of the prince’s way. Side by side, the younger Vegeta of Vegeta House was walking with one of the most distinguished Leiadorian generals. The prince’s head barely reached the general’s shoulder.

The conference started right on time. The first to ascend the short stairs and stand at the tribune was the head of National Security, Veden Grendal. The lights above the platform intensified to emphasize his distinguished persona and the plethora of medals on both sides of his chest. Unconsciously, Goten tried to find some resemblance between him and Almanda and, naturally, found some even though they were probably just his imagination.

“Good afternoon, honorable guests,” he greeted, “I’m Veden Grendal. Most of you know me as the head of National Security. Today, we’ve gathered here to discuss the progress of the war with the Ice-jin Empire and its allies, was well as further plans and measures to be taken. First, however, let me introduce our most venerable and distinguished veterans.”

The third-class was aware of the droning microphone but his mind didn’t register the words. He was looking around, trying to spot any potential danger and, at the same time, was ready to run straight for launch pad 3, where Reyn would be waiting for him. Goten’s heart was going wild and he was sweating. He kept wiping his sweaty palms onto his uniform. He wished he knew whether any danger existed at all. Maybe everything had already been resolved and he didn’t even need to worry.

Vaguely, the third-class became aware of the silence and, from the corner of his eye, glanced at the stage. It was Prince Vegeta’s turn and he was walking to the tribune where Grendal stood. Goten saw the prince lower his white-gloved hands onto the tribune. Goten’s anxiety increased tenfold. He could distantly recall this part of the conference, the prince’s speech was also familiar.

Then Goten felt a spark. Without any clear thought in his head, he plunged towards the platform. People behind him started clamoring. A wave of shouts crashed through the hall as someone released a ki-blast from the middle of the room. While the royal guards and the National Security agents were reacting to the danger only now, Goten was already on the stage, extending his protective shield over the nearby people. The powerful blast bounced off it and ricocheted into the opposite wall, taking it down. The whole complex shook and the ceiling collapsed, raining cement blocks and dust onto the people below. The hall quickly submerged into complete chaos.

The royal guards attempted to bar Goten’s way and manhandle him to the floor but the third-class knocked them away as if they were pins in a bowling alley. Another blast bounced off his ki-shield and Goten turned around to face the crowded room, trying to spot the enemy.

TBC


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