CHAPTER 28: The Pilot

The days slowly rolled by, day after day of progressively tougher training. By the end of the second week after the return from Earth, Raditsu's limbs felt as if they were going to come off, but the payoff had been considerable - the scouter had registered his power level as a stunning two hundred thousand. The others were close enough, with Kakarotto weighing in at a hundred and eighty thousand, and Bardock registering slightly less.

Raditsu was sitting on his bunk when a loud knock sounded at his door. "Come in," he called, not looking up from his study of the floor.

The door slid open, revealing the wiry form of a low-class soldier. "Freeza wants to see you and your team in the main hall in five minutes," the little man reported.

Giving the little man a brief nod, Raditsu rose from his seat, stepping towards the door and closing it behind himself as the messenger scampered away.

The hall was nearly deserted, the only life being a pair of low-class soldiers conversing quietly in a doorway. Raditsu walked past them without anything more than a glance. After a few minutes of quiet walking, he emerged in the main hall.

Even the main hall was empty of people - except for the Saiyajins, and a few others. Kakarotto and Kiwi sat with their backs to a large pillar. Broli talked quietly with Sauzaa off to one side, while Bardock and Nappa stood with Rikum near a bench.

"I thought Freeza was supposet to be here," Raditsu frowned as he rested his back against another pillar. He received no answer.

After a moment, the sound of a door slamming shut caused Raditsu to look up - just in time to see Freeza finally show up.

"Alright, listen up," the Emperor thundered. "I have decided that the time to act is now. The group of you are going to come with me to Vegetasei, and we'll deal with King Vegeta personally."

Raditsu was a little surprised by that announcement. Few rulers took such matters into their own hands.

"I'm not sure that's entirely smart, Freeza," Broli told the lizard. "You could be killed, and Vegeta would win."

"I won't be killed."

"And how are we going to get there? If any of Vegeta's border patrols spot one of your ships, they'll destroy it."

"I've lined up a smuggler to get us in."


"He's a somewhat down-on-his-luck Saiyajin pilot named Han Soda. His copilot is a Cookiee named Stewbacca."


[Just what I need,] Raditsu thought sourly as he shifted in the cramped cockpit of the all-too-familiar Millennium Fugu. [Stuck in a little rattletrap with Tweedle Dum and the Hairball from Outer Space.]

Han Soda was unchanged - he was still as burly as ever, and just as gruff and just as unshaven. Even the scent of stale beer still hung about him. The shaggy Stewbacca was also unchanged. Then again, space smugglers were like that sometimes - poor, that is.

"SO where we headed this time, gang?" Soda asked with a cheerful little grin.

"Vegetasei again," Nappa grunted, shoving Stewbacca a few inches to the side so that he could have more than an inch of breathing room.

The huge Cookiee gave a loud nurr.

"He says you're crazy," Soda translated. "Quite frankly, I agree, but hell, if I get money for it I'm in."

"Why?" Kakarotto blinked. "Why are we crazy?"

Soda gave him a strange look. "You been living under a rock?" he asked in disbelief. "There's a HUGE army mobilizing out there!"

"How big?" Raditsu frowned.

"They're packed like sardines on six planets, and it's STILL barely enough."

Raditsu felt his heart begin to sink. If the army WAS that big, it'd be next to impossible to defeat.

"All we need is for you to get us into Planet Vegeta's capital," Kiwi told Soda. "After that, you can take your money and leave. Can you do it?"

"Definitely, but it'll cost ya. Fifteen thousand, all up front."

"That's highway robbery!" Kakarotto half-shouted.

"No it isn't," Soda grinned. "We aren't on a highway."

"Bastard," came the muttered reply.

Some credits changed hands - namely, from Kakarotto's to Soda's. A few moments later, the Fugu was rumbling to life, preparing to ferry its cargo of passengers towards glorious battle.