Beams of light shot back and forth through the darkness of space, colliding with targeted space ships. No sound followed the explosions as pieces of metal hull floated into the void. Aliens not equipped to survive the vacuüm were sucked out of the ships, floating lifelessly before what was left of them was blasted by the next barrage of fire.
The massive fleet of the Yousarian Empire, and what remained of Frieza's loyal followers had fought for years, but it was quickly becoming a one-sided battle. Without leadership, the Cold Empire had barely been able to maintain order, let alone a proper chain of command. Several of its strongest warriors had stepped up in attempt to grab power, but none had lasted long against the Yousari's relentless onslaught. It had been sixteen years since both Frieza and his father King Cold had gone missing in action.
As a result, the Yousari Queen had taken advantage of their absence. Under her leadership, her people had expanded their empire's borders, conquering world after world. After years of fighting losing battles and placating Frieza's whims, the time had come to push back and reclaim worlds that had been taken. In the face of a united front, the Cold loyalists had put up a spirited fight in the name of their all-powerful leader. But the division in the ranks was resulting in many losses. All that remained of the invincible Cold fleet were a mere 200 ships from what used to be 4,000, making a last stand against the Yousari's 1,000 ship armada. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Loyalists were out of options.
Sparks flew from the control panels of the Loyalist command ship as the mercenaries latest general, Shoul, grit his teeth. He considered his options as his men panicked around him, shouting status updates as if surprised that they were losing. He knew wasn't cut out for a job like this. The position of general had fallen to him when his predecessor, who had been all too happy for the job, had been killed in the last hold-out with the Yousari. Shoul had always considered himself more of a follower than a leader, and his inexperience showed. Almost all of his commands had led what remained of the mighty fleet into dead ends where the Yousari had picked them off. The best decisions he had made were simply orders to retreat. Yet, the Yousari were always a step ahead, cutting them off or taking over worlds that could have given them sanctuary.
It was crystal clear that the Yousarians were making this a war of attrition, but there was little more Shoul could do other than just try to keep the men under his command alive. If Lord Frieza were here, such weakness wouldn't be tolerated and he would be killed on the spot. It was that kind of strength that was needed in a time like this, not blind retreats with no plan. Shoul gripped the commander's chair tight as he went over the idea once again. In a situation as bleak as this, there was no reason to talk himself out of it this time.
"We've lost contact with the Alaoka! The enemy has cut the front line in half!" shouted his communications officer.
"We have a breach in deck B! We've got to seal it now before it compromises the engine room!" Another officer shouted.
"General! We are still waiting for your orders!"
Shoul stood up from his chair, his blue reptilian face as cold and fearless as he could muster.
"Send a message to all remaining ships, we are retreating!" he ordered.
"But sir, retreating to where?! The Yousari fleet is cutting off all escape routes."
"We won't stand a chance to break through their front line!" The ship buckled as another blast hit them broadside. Shoul steadied himself, glaring at the image of the Yousari flagships.
"Tell all remaining ships to use their best judgement and escape to wherever they can! Once they find a safe place, I want them to stand by till I say the word!"
"What word?!" his second in command cried in disbelief.
"Of Lord Frieza's return." Shoul said solemnly. The entire bridge fell silent. "I will go to his last known location, Earth, to personally confirm his safety or demise. Anyone who does not wish to join me, I suggest you head for the escape pods now."
"But General Shoul, after so many years there is no way Lord Frieza is…" his second in command started to say.
"We've never had a chance to confirm one way or the other since the Yousari began their assault on our border. We've done what we could on our own but it is time we sought aid. Even if Lord Frieza and his Majesty Cold are no longer alive, whoever killed them must be powerful enough to stop the Yousari in their tracks." Shoul sat back down in his chair, buckling himself in and bring up the ship's manual controls. He would fly the ship himself if he had to.
"And what if this powerful being is no friend of the Empire? Even worse, what if it's the Super Saiyan that almost killed Lord Frieza? We would be delaying the inevitable." Another skeptical officer said.
"Not even a Super Saiyan could survive an exploding planet. As for the Earthlings, we make ourselves look the victims. Earth is a backwater planet, I'm surprised if they'll know up from down. Even if this force is not native to the planet, there is still a chance if we play our cards right. I hold no illusion that this is a gamble, but it's better than dying here!" Shoul affirmed. His crew glanced at each other before looking back at their leader. "Relay my orders to the fleet and to the rest of this ship's crew. Anyone who has a problem with my orders should abandon ship now and pray that the Yousari are as merciful than I am!"
Within a minute of silence, the communications officers did their duty, relaying orders to all who could hear them. Shoul was comforted in his bridge crew's willingness to stay, but he saw more than a few space pods firing from the hull.
"Order Zeta squadron to draw away the artillery ships on the far side. Order the Xillasha to set the ship on a collision course for the Yousari main line. We need an opening!"
The order was sent as a group of tiny fighter ships zoomed off to the left side of the enemy line.
"Once we break through, full speed to Earth. I don't care what happens to the ship, just get it moving as fast as you can. We cannot fail!"
Queen Clemartis sat comfortably in her personal cruiser class space ship, watching the battle unfold at a distance. Though it seemed her squad would not need to intervene, she still wore her black battle armor and cape, watching events unfold with cold calculating eyes.
To her right stood Calla, her loyal body-guard and friend since her childhood days, though she now stood as her third in command of the former Anti-Saiyan Task Force.
To her left stood Forcytha, one of the four leaders of the Yousari noble houses, who had joined the group at its formation due to his skill and eagerness for battle. He was tapping the gauntlet of his own battle armor impatiently as he watched the conflict. Clemartis smirked at his irritation. He was a great soldier and proficient warrior but he always let his lust for battle get the better of him. Losing someone of his caliber to a careless mistake was something she would not allow.
At the helm at the front of the bridge sat Azera. He was the oldest Yousari of the group, the former head of security at the palace when Clemartis was growing up. His loyalty to her and her mother were unwavering, but it was his negligence that had cost the former Queen her life. When Clemartis came to power, she had punished and disgraced him for his error, yet he proved his mettle against the Saiyans. Her respect for him renewed, Clemartis allowed him to be one of the first members of her new unit and even gave him the position of second in command due to his experience. He mussed his green, leafy hair as he read the updates sent from the other ships, ready to move at a moment's notice.
The last two members of the Task force sat at opposite ends of the bridge, at the communications and weapons stations. Two Yousarian boys, still in their child stage, sat awaiting orders. As identical twins, they both had the same leafy blue hair and the same build. The sons of Lady Iris, another noble family that had a long standing rivalry with Clemartis' mother, were proud members of the squad. The young Queen had initially been hesitant when Lady Iris had approached her, suggesting that her children enlist. Lady Iris had made several unconfirmed assassination attempts on her mother's life and the two boys had proven themselves capable of performing the same kind of dirty deeds. However, Clemartis had agreed to it in order keep a closer eye on Iris' plans and to use the boys as potential bargaining chips. If she earned either son's loyalty, it would make it even harder for Iris to act. Though the boys looked the same, there personalities could not have been more different.
Ophrys, the elder twin, while strong was more of a scientist at heart. His knowledge of alien biology was unmatched and he was always eager to learn new things when they visited new worlds. His excitement tended to be a bit bothersome at times, since it made it difficult for him to focus. But he was very brave and was always willing to throw himself in the line of fire to save another. His brother, Sorrel, was almost the exact opposite. A spitting image of his mother, he was distant, always looking to get ahead in rank. Keeping his mind on the mission and treating everyone as if they were beneath his notice. Despite his obvious distaste for Clemartis and her rule, he still faithfully followed all of her orders and protected the team when it counted. Ophrys had tried on many occasions to get his brother to join in during recreational activities when such time was allowed, but he would always turn them down preferring to spend his time training for the next big mission.
Ever since the destruction of Namek, the Task force had spent it's time taking on missions that could not be handled by the Yousari military. Due to that the team had been hand-picked for their capabilities to match even a Saiyan's power, most of their missions had been easy in comparison to confronting what had remained of the once proud warrior race. Queen Clemartis clenched her hands when she remembered the day she got the news, a movement that did not go unnoticed by Calla. The day of Frieza's supposed death had been a day of celebration for the entire Yousari Empire. Every city on Alastromeria shut down for a planet wide celebration that had lasted for several days. Clemartis was relieved to see her people happier than they had been for several decades. Yet, no matter how hard she tried to enjoy herself, one detail of that news felt like a weight yanking on her heart. Something she still kept with her even after all these years.
That the last known Saiyan, Prince Vegeta had been on Namek when it exploded.
For all of his crimes against her and her race, Clemartis had wanted nothing more than to be the one to finally face him and destroy him. Doing so may have finally allowed her to move on from her mother's death and enjoy a peaceful galaxy. Although that peace had finally been achieved for her people, Queen Clemartis was still fighting to accept her missed opportunity. Years of seeking vengeance, training non-stop to surpass his formidable power had all been for nothing. However, as a queen, she had kept all of her suffering on the inside. She had an important job to do and now it was all coming to fruition as the last remnants of Frieza's legacy were about to be stamped out of existence. Leaving the Yousari Empire, her empire, at the top of the galaxies pecking order.
"It won't be long now my Queen." Calla's voiced snapped Clemartis back into reality. "Hard to believe after all this time, this is how it ends."
"Indeed." Clemartis said almost at a whisper. Observing the enemy ships she saw them break formation, attempting to scatter in all directions. Clemartis smirked at the futility. The enemy's chain of command must have been a bigger mess than she had expected.
"I still say we should board their flagship and end them personally." Forcytha grumbled.
"We're not out here for slaughter." Azera said sternly to the young lord. "This is simply a matter of 'divide and conquer'. Even if they were once our enemies, we should not turn away a chance to accept more warriors into our fold."
"Please," Forcytha scoffed. "As if any of those soldiers are worthy enough to be our allies. Besides at the rate we've been beating them, they'll have nothing left to offer except dead weight. Why not wipe them out and send a message to our future enemies."
"No." Clemartis said, interjecting herself into the conversation. "I will not waste a potential resource. The Cold Empire may be in shambles now, but it may only be a matter of time until another of their clan rises up to take control. When that happens, I want our people to be at their strongest. Using every advantage we have at our disposal. Is that understood Forcytha?" The red-headed lord gritted his teeth but made no protest. He made the mistake of crossing Clemartis on several occasions which normally led to a short skirmish, followed by another demotion. Forcytha was strong, but his power now paled in comparison to that of his queen.
"With all due respect your majesty, I kinda understand what he means." Ophrys said, adjusting the glasses. "Not in the slaughtering of the weak, that's just evil, but on our just sitting around here doing nothing. It's the final battle with our oldest enemy and our élite team is sitting on the sidelines? And for that matter, what about when the war is over?"
"Simple. We keep fighting to expand our territory." He is brother replied. "If our planet is ever going to return to its former glory, it will need more life energy. Conquering planets and taking their energy should be a simple matter now that the Cold Empire won't get in our way."
"Sorrel!" Calla attempted to scold the boy but he paid her no mind.
"I suppose you are right." Clemartis said, shocking everyone in the bridge. "Once this conflict is over, I want no expense spared on gathering enough energy to restore our planet's surface. However, I will not sink to Frieza's level to reach that goal. It will be a project of peaceful scientific exploration." Sorrel rolled his eyes, while Oprhys' light up like stars.
"Really? May I be so bold as to make a request to be a part of that project?" He said, failing miserably to act cool as he bounced in his seat. Clemartis smiled at his eagerness.
"Of course you will. I've already begun negotiations with Lord Magnolus and your mother about reassigning this squad to be one of the first exploration teams. You are not the only one eager to see what's beyond our region of space."
Ophrys beamed as he remembered his manners and bowed.
"Thank you so much your highness. I won't let you down!" he exclaimed. "You hear that Sorrel? We're going to be explorers!"
"Woo hoo." Sorrel said in the most unenthusiastic tone possible. Ophrys gave him an exasperated glare.
"Even if you're not happy about it, can you at least pretend for my sake?" the eldest brother moaned.
"Don't ask for the impossible brother." Sorrel said, holding up his hand and squeezing his index finger and thumb together. "This is how much I care about your little promotion. I'll be happy than for nothing else except that you will be able to have your scientific rambles far, far away from me."
"I'm assigning everyone in the squad to this mission, that includes you Sorrel." Clemartis added. Sorrel almost fell out of his chair, his elder brother laughed at his surprise. Sorrel made a fake cough, trying to regain his usual composure.
"With all due respect your majesty, I couldn't possibly accept such a generous offer. I feel my talents would be better used protecting our home planet if our forces thin out during this…exploration."
"I do not doubt that. However, you and your brother's abilities are strongest when you are together. I'm not about to separate you two when I may need both of your talents." She said, smiling at the boy's frustration. Realizing he was not going to convince her otherwise Sorrel sat back in his chair, defeated.
"As you wish." He mumbled. Ophrys smiled at the queen before looking back to his brother.
"Cheer up Sorrel. It will be a great chance for you to learn something from your big brother. I can teach all about different cellular structures and how they can…" he said about to begin his infamous rants.
"You're only a few minutes older than me! So don't go acting all high and mighty you halfwit." Sorrel said turning his back on the group.
"Now now Sorrel. We've talked about this." Calla said walking over to Sorrel. "You shouldn't say things like that. Even if it is only by a few minutes, an older brother is still entitled to act like one. " She smiled, peaking around the chair to make eye contact with the boy. However every time she got closer, he would turn the chair in the opposite direction.
"Perhaps I would, if he was good at ANYTHING remotely important. Biology is fine, when you can use it to your advantage in combat. Yet whenever we need to fight, I'm always the one doing the most of the work." Sorrel scowled at his brother. "It's no wonder mother passed over you to be heir to our house. Your half-assed talent is nothing compared to mine, and I intend to keep it that way."
"That's enough Sorrel!" Calla started to scold, but Ophrys' sudden laughter cut her short.
"I guess you're right there." He said with a big, embarrassed grin. "You are better than me where it matters to mother. And I think I can live with that. Not being an heir means no responsibility and that is a kind of life I could get used to." Calla gave the eldest twin a sad smile while Sorrel just turned to face the monitor.
"After all the hard work you two have done in the short time you have been with the squad, I will make sure you are both rewarded for your efforts." Queen Clemartis said. "That goes for all of you. I will give you plenty of time to decide if you would join me on this trip or not. But I want you all to know that I would not have anyone else at my side than you." Calla and Ophrys beamed with joy, Azera gave a small bow, Forcytha gave his trademark smirk and Sorrel simply 'hmphed' in his chair.
"I think it's safe to say that everyone here would find peacetime at home too boring," Forcytha said, putting his hands behind his head. "Everyone save the blue brat that is." Sorrel was visible irked by the insult but made no move to retaliate.
"Let's just hope the main fleet gets this mess wrapped up so we can start preparing." Azera said, bringing up the fleet status reports and looked them over a second time. Queen Clemartis tried to hide a laugh before looking back out to the battle field. It was at that time that she noticed the flagship's erratic movement. In front of it, one of the larger cruiser ships began to surge forward despite the heavy artillery tearing the ship apart.
"Azera," she said. "Get Gladolous on the line and tell him to focus on the flagship. Reinforce the main line before…" Clemartis didn't have time to finish before the enemy cruiser exploded. The shockwave tore through the fleet's front line, the sudden discharge of energy began to paralyze the smaller vessels, creating a huge gap. The giant saucer-shaped flag-ship picked up speed, creating a blinding white flare of engine wash behind it. Clemartis let out a low gasp as she saw the ship's trajectory. The flagship quickly gained even more speed, plowing through some of the smaller cruisers of the front line with suicidal abandon. Though it took noticeable damage as it ran the gauntlet, the ship finally broke through the fleet and shot off into space.
"Azera, get this tub moving! They're making a break for it!" Forcytha yelled running to the secondary helm and sat down in his chair.
"I'm trying to get a lock on their position, but they're moving too fast!" Azera yelled back.
"The comm is going nuts!" Ophyrs called out. "All of the enemy ships are retreating in different directions. The fleet can't pin them down."
"I can't get weapons lock on any of the main ships, they're out of range." Sorrel sounded off, slamming his fist on the console. Clemartis clenched her teeth as she watched the fleet that had spent so long trying to pin down was fleeing to the far reaches of the galaxy. This had been their best opportunity to quell the resistance, and it had slipped right through her fingers. Considering her options, she stood up from her chair and looked down at Azera.
"To think we pushed them this far. Target the flagship's trajectory Azera. We are giving chase." Clemartis ordered.
"Yes! It's about damn time!" Forcytha said, overjoyed.
"But your majesty, what about the rest of the fleet?" Azera asked looking back up at her.
"That flagship is all that remains of the rebel chain of command. If it is allowed to survive, the enemy will regain its strength. We are ending this now!" She said sternly. "Orphys, send a message to Gladolous. Inform him of our plans and that he is to dispatch the fleet to capture or destroy the other enemy vessels. I want them cut off from each other!"
"Yes your majesty!" Ophrys nodded and got to work.
"Everyone buckle in!" Clemartis ordered as she sat back down. "Full speed Azera. We are following that ship, no matter where it goes." Her second in command nodded and began to push several button sequences at the helm. Putting his hand on the throttle, he pushed it forward allowing the sleek Yousari cruiser to pick up speed. It darted through the mayhem of the battlefield, zig-zagging through the wreckage of the other spacecraft. Shooting past the main line, the Queen's cruiser speed out into space, after the Cold flagship deep into unknown territory.