Feel the burn Sept 1, 2018 11:44:56 GMT
Post by Zarbon on Sept 1, 2018 11:44:56 GMT
Coiled Burn: A bubbling, but macabre burn (+2.5% All Stats vs. Good or Heroic Opponents). 5,000 WC required.
The gravity chamber. How long had it been since he had stepped foot inside this place? A month or more at least. Zarbon cast his mind back quickly, flicking through the pages of his memory like a particularly efficient telephone operator might have searched through a phone book in days gone by (not that the turquoise-skinned alien would know what a telephone was and he would have certainly found the idea of a ledger used for data storage to be terribly quaint compared to the personalised computer that he wore on the side of his face at nearly all times). After a moment or so, he was able to ascertain, with some certainty, that the last time he had trained in earnest was weeks ago aboard his master’s grand vessel and that had been months ago.
"Tch." He scoffed, expressing disdain for his own lackadaisical attitude. "You’ve been letting yourself off a little too easily, Zarbon. That simply won’t do, not in light of recent events."
While the P.T.O commander chastised himself, he moved across the room, lithe and graceful as a cat, with his boots making only the softest of noises as they met the unforgiving metal surface of the armour plating that coated the training room. While it was certainly true that he hadn’t been pushing himself as hard as he might have done, he hadn’t exactly been resting on his laurels either. In that respect, the Captain may have been coming down a little too harshly on himself. After all, every member of the P.T.O had been furiously active during their time on Planet Imecka. Even Lord Frieza, who usually excused himself from such displays of vulgar physical exertion, had taken a more active role in the brief, but intense, skirmishes that had taken place during their campaign to take over that dustball of a planet. Then there had been that bodyguard, Ledgic. The thought of the mysterious figure that had battled with his master on an (almost) level playing field caused gooseflesh to break out on Zarbon’s forearms (lucky for him, he always wore his delightfully fashionable arm-warmers and his body temperature soon regained some semblance of balance).
What a man. Zarbon thought as he punched in the command to bring the gravity manipulation device online. It was almost a shame that such a mighty warrior couldn’t have been brought to heel. I’m sure there are a multitude of battle tactics and techniques to be gleaned from such a competent fighter.
He sighed and absentmindedly flicked his long braid from where it lay against his chest, over his shoulder before pausing to look at his own hand, which began to glow with a faint halo of teal energy. He moved his long and delicate fingers up and down rhythmically, in much the same fashion as a classical pianist would when performing a recital or a magician rolling a coin over his knuckles. In fact, it was almost exactly like the latter, except it wasn’t a small piece of metal that bobbed up and down over the Zandoran’s mesmerising fingertips, but the biological energy produced by his own body, that which the people of Earth referred to as “Ki”. As with most things that concerned Zarbon, this display of energy manipulation was beautiful; the energy, aquamarine like his skin, rippled and flowed around and between his fingers like an impossibly slow and illogical laser beam. It was a trick he had learned as a young man, a bored prince marooned on a world with nothing to do except take part in petty squabbles between jealous siblings who all squabble for the right to someday be king. A smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth as he watched the turquoise energy dance across the surface of his skin, over then under, over then under.
No matter. He thought to himself, once again, thinking of the warrior his master had defeated in the skies above the dunes on Imecka. It wasn’t a complete waste, after all.
He was referring to the weird and wonderful array of battle techniques Ledgic had displayed in his battle with Frieza, a few of which were able to (briefly) give him the upper hand in their struggle, despite the Arcosion’s obvious superiority. Even then, Zarbon had been considerably less formidable than he currently was and it was clear from the outset that he would have been no match for the hammer-headed alien that fought with his master. Zarbon wasn’t ignorant to this fact and, while he was indeed guilty of hubris from time to time, he was also an experienced and capable warrior who was more-than-capable of following the flow of a battle to calculate it’s most likely outcome. He knew that Frieza would be all-but-guaranteed the victory in this confrontation, but there was always an outside chance that something in the unknown warrior's arsenal might be enough to catch his master off-guard and tip the balance of the battle in his favour. But so might he be able to do the same for his master if it came to it. So he hid and he waited and, most importantly, he watched the battle very closely, recording it all through the blue lens of his scouter so that he could re-watch it over and over again and deconstruct the impossible forces that were at play. He had learned a great deal from the subsequent analysis of that footage and had been able to replicate many of the strange man’s techniques. It was only later that he learned of the man’s identity and of his position as Don Kee’s bodyguard. He shook his head at the thought of such a warrior defending someone who was so clearly beneath him.
"What a waste." He said, echoing his previous sentiment. "And now there’s naught left of him but ash."
To the Captain’s mind, if he hadn’t succumbed to the grievous injuries he suffered at Frieza’s hands, then he had almost surely perished in the wake of Imecka’s destruction, it seemed unlikely that he would been able to escape. Then again, hadn’t he been able to extricate himself from a similar situation? Zarbon’s brow lifted and his lips pursed in contemplation as he considered the possibility that Ledgic had been able to drag himself from the desert and find some means to escape the planet before he and Tensile were ordered to obliterate it. He eventually had to concede that it was possible, but not likely. He raised a hand to his scouter and held a long press on the control nodule.
"Scouter, have the ship perform a deep-range scan for this energy signature." He scrolled through the devices list of stored power levels until he found the one that belonged to Ledgic, tapping once more on the nodule to confirm the selection. "Notify me of the results in two hours."
Zarbon released the button and left the little communicator to carry out the task before removing it from his face and placing it down on top of the console, the one area of the gravity chamber that would be unaffected by the machine’s manipulation of physics. Once he had made sure that the scouter wasn’t going to topple over the side and smash itself to pieces against the armoured floor when he increased the gravity, Zarbon moved his delicate hands to the large dial in the centre of the console. Above the dial, there was a small display with only a single figure, a numerical 1 which blinked on and off in a single block of green light. Zarbon chuckled under his breath at the simplicity of the interface; it was such a marvelously complicated machine, a wonder of science that even Lord Frieza’s most accomplished technicians were only just starting to wrap their minds around, yet the controls were so simple that a child could use them.
"Or a Saiyan." He mused, the smile falling from his face.
In truth, he didn’t know where the Gravity Chamber originated from, it clearly wasn’t P.T.O technology, that much was clear from the layout of the controls and the archaic interface; everything within the Planetary Trade Organisation was moving towards automation at a faster and faster pace (partially because the technicians were wising up to the fact that their Arcosian masters were liable to execute them on spot if a piece of technology didn’t operate as expected, something which was a lot harder to do if the technology was automated and the technician responsible for programming it was hundreds of light years away), compared with this contraption which still made use of analogue dials and complicated button sequence commands. It seemed that the Cold Empire’s scientist were yet to be able to find a way to replicate these devices without keeping the manual interface intact, which would have probably irritated Lord Frieza who might not have seen the reasoning behind this method of operation. Safety. For someone as immensely powerful as Prince Frieza, the gravity chamber posed little threat to him; it served as an effective training tool and nothing more. Yet to a lesser being, the dangers were very real indeed. Even someone like Zarbon, who was among the most elite soldiers...no… who now was the most elite soldier under Frieza’s command would have to be careful when choosing the intensity level of the machine, lest he find himself squashed like an insect under the enormous gravitational forces the chamber was capable of generating. The Captain suspected that the reason for the manual controls was to ensure that whoever was using the chamber had to physically be standing at the controls in order to change the gravity setting, that way, they would be able easily turn the dial back to a less intense level if they found that they had turned the machine up too high. Such a cautious mentality would probably have eluded his master.
"Well then..." He said, eyes fixed on the flashing green digit on the gravitron's display. "...I suppose I’ve delayed long enough. Now, what setting did we have this on last time?" He cast his mind back over the months and quickly uncovered the required information. "I believe it was 50. In that case, 60 seems like a good place to start."
With this, the aquamarine-skinned alien slowly began to turn the dial in his hand, watching as the flashing digit on the screen increased in value at the same time as he could feel the machine hum to life beneath his fingertips and through the soles of his boots. Soon after this came the familiar feeling pressure all over him; it wasn’t like a weight pushing down on him so much as he was the weight. It was his own body that was getting heavier, as well as everything he was wearing. A slight frown creased the Zandoran’s perfect skin and he fidgeted, tilting his head slightly as he adjusted to the rapid change in conditions; he noticed something tugging at his head and, for a moment, he thought that he had caught his braid on something, when in fact, it was just the weight of his hair resisting the movement of his head. He continued to turn the dial as the number on the display moved up through the thirties, then the forties before finally coming to rest on the desired level.
The number fifty blinked at him from the display and he took stock of the way his body felt. Zarbon certainly felt strange; he raised his hand from the dial and brought it in front of his face, clenching and unclenching his fingers in fascination. It felt like the digits were spring-loaded all of a sudden, closing them required no effort, it was as if a closed fist was his hand’s natural position, but extending the fingers was exactly the opposite. It was as if his entire hand was wrapped in a tight bandage that resisted his movements before tearing under the strain. He attempted the trick with the flowing energy from before, but the fine motor control of his hands was thrown out of balance and the beam soon collided with one of this fingers, making a sharp sizzling sound and turning the skin a dark brown colour.
"Tch." He hissed, wincing a little as he wafted the hand through the air to cool the tiny injury. "Looks like I might have to work on fine-tuning my energy manipulation skills under extreme conditions, how about this..."
He turned away from the console and strode a few paces away from the controls before planting his left foot on the ground, pivoting at the hips and executing a series of snap kicks in ascending height from nearly ground level to head height, each time his upper-body tilted a little further towards the ground. On the last kick, Zarbon kept his leg fully extended, the toes of his right boot pointing towards the far wall. He held this position for a number of seconds, remaining absolutely still except for the tiniest of wobbles as he overbalanced for the briefest of moments. Instinctively, his muscles corrected for this before bringing his foot back down to the floor to rejoin the other.
"...balance is a little off." He remarked. "Although my body seems to be coping with the strain of level 60 relatively well, all things considered."
This much was true, the last time he had trained under such intense gravity, the effects of his body were much more severe. It had been a battle just to stay on his feet at times, his joints and even his very bones had creaked and threatened to splinter if he made even a slight misstep. This time, however, the worst he had to contend with was an understandable disruption of his balance and some energy manipulation issues. It was evidence that he had indeed grown stronger on the intervening months, substantially so.
"Interesting." He said, before turning his head back to face the console. "Scouter!" He spoke on a slightly raised voice to ensure that the little communicator could pick up his voice. "Interface with the training room speakers."
"Successfully paired with ship's communications, Commander." Came the pre-programmed response of the scouter over the speakers embedded in the walls.
"Good." He lowered his voice again. "Scan for power levels, 50 meter radius."
He realised that he hadn't taken an accurate reading of his own power level in the whole time he had been back in Frieza’s employ, which had been the best part of a year. It was clear that he had grown in strength, it would have been impossible not to, considering that he had been given the honour of training with his Arcosion master on a one to one basis, inside this very chamber (or one just like it). To his knowledge, Frieza had only ever extended this honour to two other individuals, Tagoma and Palkon, the commanders of the two largest vessels in the Changeling’s fleet (besides his own, of course). Zarbon had performed his due diligence and thoroughly researched the both of them upon his reinstatement to the rank of captain. It seemed that these two were rising stars within the ranks of the P.T.O; intelligent and ambitious, the both of them, and capable warriors in their own right even before being on the receiving end of direct instruction from the Prince they served. Zarbon had often wondered why his lord had decided to take this unprecedented step and potentially lowering himself to the position of instructor; not only would he have to severely limit himself so as to avoid utterly destroying those he intended to train, but he stood to gain very little from the experience personally. Certainly, training with warriors who were so far beneath him that he could utterly destroy them with only a fraction of his true power would not stand to increase his own abilities in any meaningful way. So what was the point of it all?
Evolution. This was the conclusion that Captain Zarbon had come to, after considering that very question for some time. His master was many things; impulsive, merciless, overwhelmingly powerful and more-than-occasionally short-tempered. But one thing he was not, was stupid. Lord Frieza had a sense of pride in his own abilities that would put any Saiyan to shame, and it was a well-placed sense of pride, for he had been the most powerful being in the entire cosmos for the entirety of his adult life, with the possible exception of his, soon-to-be-late, father. Every single person the Arcosian Prince had met, across all the worlds he cared to visit, had trembled before his might, if not at first then certainly after he had presented them with a demonstration of his awesome power. There were precious few who dared to stand against the Cold Empire, but there were none who dared to stand against Prince Frieza directly. And that remained the case until Planetary Trade Organisation happened upon a planet inhabited by a race of savage warriors, the Saiyans. Although initially brought to heel and their barbaric nature put to good use conquering planets for the P.T.O, it wasn’t long before the first of the Saiyans dared to bare their fangs at even the mighty Frieza! It was a useless attempt at revolt, led by a cadre of elite fighters infiltrating Frieza’s command vessel along with their King. King Vegeta’s impotent rage was short-lived and Zarbon had borne witness to his swift death at Frieza’s hands, the latter killing him with a single blow. Despite the ease with which this uprising was quashed, it could not go unpunished, and punishment was dealt swiftly indeed! The entire planet of monkeys had been wiped from the face of the universe with nothing more than the flick of Lord Frieza’s finger, such was the power at his command. All of this is to say that Frieza’s confidence in his own abilities should not be misconstrued as arrogance, for he had no equal in the universe. Until, one day, he did.
Son Goku. Saiyan. A refugee from his homeworld’s destruction. Raised on a peaceful planet populated with nothing but weaklings, fodder for even the lowest-ranking P.T.O soldiers. Somehow, against every conceivable odd, this man, this ’monkey’ had clawed himself up from the cesspool of his genetic birthright and attained power that rivaled, nay exceeded, Frieza’s own. They had battled upon Namek as it shook in its death throes, convulsing as their blows rang out across the empty, dying world. It had been brutal, and it had not been easy, but, as unlikely as it sounded, the Saiyan had eventually toppled Frieza and left him for dead as Namek succumbed to its wounds and exploded, scattering fragments of its core throughout that quadrant of space. While Namek may have succumbed to its wounds, Prince Frieza did not. His body was mutilated, his energy all-but-depleted, but his will was iron-clad and he clung to life long enough for one of his father’s vessels to find him in the empty void where the green planet once spun. So he had healed, his mangled body had been repaired and, in parts, replaced with cybernetics which made him even stronger than he had been before and the Arcosion Prince made his way to Son Goku’s adopted homeworld, along with his father, to settle the score.
Unfortunately, this had gone much the same way as the last time and both of the Changeling Royals were soundly defeated. Zarbon had never been able to find out exactly what had happened on planet Earth, for there were no records and he didn’t dare broach the subject with his master, but Frieza had hinted at the details on exactly one occasion, the day he confided in his Captain that he had died at the hands of a Saiyan. The Prince gave no other details save for that one piece of information, but even that tidbit was especially telling, for he had already told his aquamarine-skinned attendant about the one known as Son Goku, but he made no mention of that particular monkey on this day. Nor did he mention the wayward Saiyan Prince, Vegeta, who Zarbon was already well acquainted with. His omission of the identity of the one responsible for his death could only have been deliberate and Zarbon had inferred from this, as well as the look of disgust and shame on Frieza’s face as he spoke (a look that simultaneously broke the Captain’s heart and filled him with a terrible fear for his safety), that it was neither of these likely candidates that had taken his life. It was very likely that there was another Saiyan, besides Son Goku, who had been able to get the better of the Changeling Prince, a notion that would have seemed absurd and borderline blasphemous to Zarbon had it come from any other source. It was this revelation that informed his deduction about Frieza’s decision to take a personal role in the betterment of his underlings; for the first time in his life, he may actually require their assistance to achieve his goals. Whilst Frieza had always had subjects, both willing and otherwise, to do his bidding, he had not once needed them for a single thing. He had considered himself to be the perfect being, as had those under his rule. He held the power to destroy stars in the palm of his hands and could survive unaided in the vacuum of space! Nothing was beyond him and if there ever was, he had the might to take it from whoever was unfortunate enough to possess it. But, following his second defeat, Lord Frieza’s considerable intellect must have wrested control of his faculties from the rage that had blinded him before. If a single monkey could ascend to the heights of power required to challenge him, could not others do the same? Perhaps his first defeat could be written off as a fluke, but the second? Not if things were as Zarbon suspected and there had already been a second Saiyan to achieve the impossible and topple the Galactic Emperor-to-be. This, he suspected, was the reason for his sudden inclination to train the likes of Palkon, Tagoma and even himself. He needed strong warriors by his side in the event that more of these ‘Super Saiyans’ crawled out of the woodwork. Even with the monumental strides Frieza had made in increasing his own personal abilities, he may find himself overpowered by their sheer numbers if he faced them alone. Though he would never admit as much, Zarbon knew this to be true, it was also the main reason for his continued quest to gain strength, though the trigger for today’s training session had been something far more recent.
The robotic voice of the scouter piped through the training room’s speakers, snapping him from his silent reflections and, for a moment, Zarbon forgot what he had asked of the little device. The look of puzzlement soon dropped from the alien’s face as he remembered the task he had set it.
"Good. List found energy signatures."
There was a brief pause while the command was relayed through the ship’s systems and back into the scouter which lay at the central control console.
"Two power levels located within a 50 metre radius."
That made sense, after all, there was only himself and Calor aboard this vessel at the moment, and he doubted very much whether there would be anybody clinging to the outside of the Capital Class Command Ship as it hurtled through the vast emptiness of space. After all, the only person capable of performing such a feat (to the Captain's knowledge) was the least likely person to do so.
"Hahaha!" Zarbon laughed, suddenly amused by the absurd thought of Lord Frieza hitching a ride on the outside of the ship. "That will be the day."
"First energy signature..."
"Ah yes, the results."
"...46 metres from location of scouter unit. Power level: 67,480..."
Impressive. Thought Zarbon. Though hardly surprising, considering the ease with which you've been able to rise through the ranks, Calor. And something tells me that you've only just scratched the surface of your power.
Lord Frieza’s newest officer, a handsome Varanus, had shown remarkable promise and had been instrumental in the Planet Trade Organisation’s efforts in trying to “liberate” the planet Imecka from the tyranny of their longtime ruler Don Kee. Of course that particular venture had been doomed to failure from the very start; it soon became apparent, to all concerned parties, that the people of Imecka were beyond hopeless. Despite the fact that Frieza had taken a different approach to usual and had opted for a more benevolent method of wresting control of the planet from the current leadership, the populace’s response had been tepid, at best. Make no mistake, there had been pockets of rebellion that had sprung up all over the desert planet and many of these rebels now counted themselves as members of Frieza’s P.T.O forces. However, waiting for the flames of insurrection to kindle had tested Frieza’s patience to its breaking point and beyond; eventually, the frustration (swelled by the Imeckan heat, which had been tormenting the frost-demon from day one) became too much for him to bare and he ordered the immediate destruction of the planet before his plans could come to fruition. Zarbon himself had carried out the destruction, along with Sergeant Tensile (another up and coming P.T.O soldier, and one recruited by Zarbon). Between them, they cracked the planet open and delivered a fatal blow to its core by way of Death Ball (a choice of technique which would have no-doubt pleased their master) and that was all she wrote for that particular dustball of a planet.
The reading given by the ship-enhanced scouter was about commensurate with Zarbon’s personal approximation of Lieutenant Calor’s power, if not slightly higher than he would have estimated. That was good; it meant that the reading of his own power level could be trusted.
"And the second reading?"
"Second energy signature: 5 metres from location of scouter unit - 137,208."
"Oh!" He said, slightly puzzled. "That’s quite high, isn’t it?"
It certainly was, at least compared to how he had been before. As the strongest member of Lord Frieza’s personal entourage, Zarbon’s power in his normal form had peaked at around 24,000 and, even when transformed, this only reached as high as 30,000 or so (he didn’t really like to show off that ugly side of himself, so he had never bothered to quantify the actual boost it gave his power to any degree of accuracy). If the scouter was to be believed, his current power level was somewhere between 5 and 6 times stronger than it had been the first time he had visited the planet Namek, where he had suffered the most humiliating defeat of his life.
"Oh, the things I would do for a rematch with that arrogant monkey!" He mused as he swept his eyes over every inch of his physique, still marveling at the power contained therein. "I daresay I would turn the poor boy inside out. He’d have to beg me to stop."
The captain halted that particular train of thought; he was getting a little too far ahead of himself and it never paid to do so. He knew full well that Prince Vegeta was alive and well, despite hearing from Lord Frieza that he had done away with the vertically-challenged Saiyan himself not long before Namek’s destruction. He didn’t doubt, for one moment, the veracity of his master’s words but, nevertheless, the fact remained that he had seen the, so-called, Prince of all Saiyans with his own eyes and he had been very much alive at that time (this was during a strange event that had seen the majority of Frieza and the majority of his most trusted aides ripped from their daily routine and transported to a strange landscape where they were harassed by a cloaked figure and his own quirky entourage [see the event archives for “Fractured Awakening”]).
."Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet, shall we?" Zarbon remarked to himself.
Hubris had gotten the better of him once before when he had faced Vegeta, he would not make the same mistake again. This new power he had achieved was formidable indeed, he may even have surpassed his friend (and idol), Captain Ginyu, who had recently met his demise at the hands of a trio or unconfirmed warriors. The aquamarine-skinned adonis grimaced at the thought. Despite how strong he had become, there were still beings out there who posed a threat to him, which in turn posed a threat to his master in the grand scheme of things and that simply wouldn’t stand. Zarbon raised a hand in front of him, the fingers suddenly glowing with a dense teal energy.
"I’d best get back to it then."
He smirked as he spoke then released the stored energy in a wide ball of Ki that raced around the circular training room, quickly traveling its circumference and coming up behind the emerald-haired warrior. He turned to face his own attack, this time holding out both hands in front of him to stop its forward momentum. The energy ball slammed into his palms and caused his boots to immediately slide several feet backward across the floor; the turquoise-skinned warrior gritted his teeth and tried to force his feet down and resist the tide of his own energy, the skidding slowed and he eventually came to a full stop. A quick sideways glance told him that he had been pushed backward until he was almost touching the far wall. With a grunt and another surge of energy, Zarbon dispersed the glowing ball of ki, which shattered into a million twinkling shards of energy. Standing up straight, he made his way quickly back to the centre of the room to begin the process all over again.
If he was going to get stronger, there would be a lot of more of this in store for him.