[Quest] World is Mine

Frieza

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When Frieza first awoke on this strange rock of ice, his first thought had been that he was, somehow, back on his home planet.

Only, that wasn't possible. His home planet had been destroyed a long, long time ago. And even if it had, miraculously, reappeared, why would he be here? He held no attachment to the place. His home was at the seat of his Planet Trade Organization--any ancestral ties he may have to a single planet were completely worthless.

But, no. Wherever he was, the air was different--harder to breathe, but within his limits. And, sure, it had been a while, but he definitely didn't remember his home planet's sky containing a large purple gas giant unlike any planet he'd ever seen before. Which only raised further questions of where the hell he was, and how he'd ended up here. He'd just gone to sleep after a normal day of work, and woken up... here. Wherever "here" was. What's more, he couldn't even fly.

Still, he wasn't going to sit around doing nothing but throwing a fit over this nonsensical turn of events. Like hell he was just going to lie down and die in a place like this. If he couldn't fly, he could walk. This was an ice planet. Ice meant water. Water meant life. Life meant food. And even if this bizarre planet seemed to be limiting his powers to some capacity, he could still fire ki blasts, which meant hunting would be no problem. The only concern was whether he'd find anything edible before running out of energy--but for now, he had plenty. He just had to survive until he figured out what the hell was going on, and from there he could figure out what to do next.

He kept walking. There wasn't much as far as plantlife was concerned, aside from patches of alien moss that clung to the edges of a foul-smelling geothermal vent, and as he continued through the trail of jagged rocks the air grew thinner and thinner. Perhaps he was climbing a hill or mountain--the visibility was too poor to tell. His legs were starting to ache, and for what was far from the first time, he cursed this damned planet for not even having the decency to let him fly. Frieza was a lot of things, but patient was not one of them. Fatigue was starting to set in, but that only angered him further. He pushed past it through stubborn will alone.

For a while, anyway.

Stubborn as he was, even he had limits. Eventually, his body gave out, and he collapsed against a large boulder, shoulders heaving and breath coming in shallow gasps. How long had he been walking? Hours, surely, but he had no way of knowing how many. The sky didn't seem to change at all, and even if it had, he didn't know how long this planet's day/night cycle actually was. Exhaustion flooded his body, and his limbs felt like solid iron. He exhaled, and shut his eyes. No point in not resting. Perhaps this was all some twisted dream anyhow. Not even bothering to clear a comfortable patch of dirt or start a fire, he curled up and fell fast asleep.

A loud roar jolted him from his slumber. Frieza scrambled to his feet. A large silhouette loomed over him, easily as large as his powered up forms and twice as wide. Whatever sort of beast it was, it was clearly not happy an alien interloper had found himself in its territory.

And in that moment, all the stress, exhaustion, and sheer, cold anger that had been accumulating since Frieza found himself stranded on this godforsaken rock, exploded.

"YOU DARE CHALLENGE LORD FRIEZA, EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE?!" he screamed, face contorted in rage. "FOR SUCH INSOLENCE, PREPARE TO PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE!!!"

He fired a volley of death beams until the creature collapsed, and then he fired about fifty more until it was little more than a sizzling, hole-ridden pile of burnt meat. He gritted his teeth together and exhaled shakily, and took a moment to compose himself. In all likelihood it had just been some wild animal, so yelling at it seemed kind of pointless now that the heat of the moment had passed. Whatever. It was dead now, and for the first time since getting here, he became acutely aware of how hungry he was. Well. Meat was meat.

Now re-energized, and much more mentally lucid, Frieza set up a proper camp. Well, it still wasn't much. Just a pile of rocks and a small fire. But it was better than nothing, and he wasn't going to put raw meat in his body if he could help it. It was probably a pretty pathetic sight, but after his earlier outburst, he was too exhausted--and hungry--to care. And it wasn't as if anyone was around to see him like this.

"It went this way!"

Speak of the devil.

A small group--probably a scouting party--of bizarre, tiny aliens broke through the blizzard. They were clad head to toe in thick coats, and wore cartoonishly oversized goggles. He stared at them in bewilderment, skewered yeti arm half-raised to his mouth, and for a moment they stared back, not moving. Then they chattered amongst each other for a moment, and the largest turned back to him.

"You... did you slay that beast?"

The alien gestured to the ravaged beast carcass by his campsite. For a moment, Frieza was still struggling to process this turn of events, but eventually found his voice. "Uh... yes?"

The chattering resumed. Then, finally, they hobbled up to his campsite, and threw themselves at his feet. It was only then that his mind really caught up to what was happening.

"You've saved our village!" the largest spoke. "Please, you must come back with us, so we can bestow you with the proper honors."

Well. This was far from the most unwelcome turn of events. Finally, this weird planet was treating him with the respect he deserved. A smug grin split across his lips. When life gives you space lemons...
 

Frieza

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After some time living on this strange ice planet, Frieza had managed to more or less pick up on the situation.

Firstly, the weird, bean-shaped aliens. They were called the Nomiin, and lived in a settlement along the slope of a shield volcano. Quite frankly, he didn't really like them. They were stupid, ugly, weak, and weird, but he wasn't exactly in a situation to be choosy about his followers. If he were, he probably would have just killed them all and ransacked their civilization. But as it was, that wasn't really an option.

The Nomiin gave him more than just food and shelter--they gave him a temple. Apparently they had gotten the idea that he was literally the mortal avatar of their high god, come to bring them salvation. And, well, make no mistake. Being revered as a literal god was always a good ego-stroker. But it wasn't the first time he'd inspired a reigious cult throughout his reign, and the novelty of it had worn off. Religious followers were more unpredictable than employees, and really not all that much more devout. They were also prone to destroying themselves in holy wars, misplaced zeal overruling self-preservation, which... wasn't good for business.

No. That wouldn't do. The only religion Frieza would accept ruling was CAPITALISM.

Still, the Nomiin were very stupid. Very, very stupid. Once he figured out what was going on, he decided to nip it in the bud by firing the self-appointed cult leader. By which he meant firing a death beam, right through their skull. "No! None of that. Shame on you."

This had about the same effect as disciplining a cat for bringing you a freshly killed mouse. Rather than coming to the sane, reasonable conclusion that they should maybe stop the offending behavior, the Nomiin doubled down on it. Obviously, Frieza's ire meant that they just weren't worshiping him hard enough. So they doubled down. Erected shrines, temples, brought him offerings and live sacrifices. Fine. Whatever.

God or not, he wasn't going to weaken his credibility by saying he genuinely had no idea how he ended up here. He fished for information more subtly, by asking the Nomiin to tell him about their civilization. Apparently they were going through some pretty tough times because the Inverxe--that was the planet's name--Natural Gas Company was exploiting them and their natural resources in order to make a profit.

That got his attention. He could work with this.

"Exploiting your people for wealth, you say?" said Frieza. "In that case, I think I'd be interested in meeting with a representative of this 'Inverxe Natural Gas Company' myself."
 

Frieza

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Frieza had his opportunity to meet with a representative of the Inverxe Natural Gas Company after what felt like a week on this godforsaken rock, when a group of much less stupid and ugly aliens parked their ship further up the volcano and came to collect the Nomiin's biweekly gas harvest. Upon arrival, they were apparently told that the Nomiin would no longer tolerate being exploited for their labor, now that their god had come from the heavens to save them. So, naturally, they came to visit this "god," and barged in, guns pointed, on Frieza reclining on his velvet and gold throne eating grapes, accusing him of challenging their claim to this planet.

"Frieza, your challenge to our rule of this planet ends now! Come quietly, or we will fire!"

He froze, grapes midway to his mouth, and gave his intruders a perplexed side glance. That... was very much not what Frieza had meant when he said he was interested in meeting with a representative of the Inverxe Natural Gas Company. Quite frankly, he had no interest in challenging their claim to this planet's resources, much less ending the exploitation of its indigenous population. But the Nomiin were stupid, so of course that's what they assumed.

Once the initial shock wore off, he straightened his posture, set down his grapes, and laughed haughtily.

"My, my, what do we have here?" he said, grinning. "I'm sorry to say, but I think you have the wrong idea. By all means, continue harvesting whatever resources you please from this speck of a planet. I merely wish to have a piece of the metaphorical pie for myself, you see."

The two grunt soldiers exchanged confused glances at one another, guns held slack. This... was very much not what they were expecting. They put down an ill-conceived rebellion every month, but a strange alien appearing out of nowhere and offering to join them was a bit unprecedented, to say the least.

After some wordless deliberation, the grunt on the left pointed his gun again at Frieza. "What are you playing at?!" he demanded.

Clearly they weren't used to peaceful negotiations. Well, he wasn't really one to talk.

Frieza sighed. "Quite frankly, I could ask the same of you. After all, I was just minding my own business before you so rudely barged in and started waving those weapons of yours around." With a single gesture, the guns were wrenched from the soldiers' grasp and flung against the wall, breaking to pieces. "That's better. Now we can talk properly."

The soldiers began panicking, having no other means of defense than their weaponry, and flung themselves to the floor. Clearly they had just expected him to be an upstart Nomiin, if they'd only sent two powerless soldiers to apprehend him. How insulting.

"P-Please, don't hurt us!" cried the one on the right.

"Were you not listening?" Frieza irritably tapped his tail against the edge of his throne. "I've no interest in crossing you, so please discard whatever foolish notion you had of me being an ally of these people." He chuckled. The very idea. "I merely wish to speak to whoever is in charge of this 'natural gas company' of yours. Surely you find this agreeable?"

"Yes, of course!" said the one on the left. "We'll take you back to our ship."

"Good." Frieza stood up with a wicked smile, hands folded behind his back. "Oh, and one more thing."

He fired a death beam through the shoulder of the grunt on the right. "From now on, you will address me as Lord Frieza."
 

Frieza

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(note: until otherwise stated, the contents of this thread are set before Dante's Abyss)
Frieza's sudden departure from the Nomiin settlement caused quite a stir. Apparently they were too stupid to realize he was leaving voluntarily, and kept sobbing and flinging themselves at his feet to stop him from being taken from them. One of them even self-immolated, which was... funny, but incredibly ludicrous. Yeah, the ego boost of being literally worshiped was not enough to be worth dealing with the Nomiin a second longer.

He followed the goons sent by the Inverxe Natural Gas company into their spaceship. It was small, a bit too cramped for three people, and more than a little awkward sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with two people who had just tried to kill him, one of whom was still bleeding from where he had shot them earlier, but whatever. The moment they took off and the Nomiin settlement receded into the distance, out of sight, Frieza felt a wave of serenity flood over him. Never before in his life had he the displeasure of interacting with such a detestable species. He didn't even have any particular desire to slaughter them all, he just wanted to never see them again, ever.

(But, given his track record, that didn't mean slaughtering them all was entirely off the table by any stretch of the imagination.)

The journey wasn't that long, thankfully, so Frieza had to only spend maybe five to ten minutes in that cramped space pod. Neither of the goons he had just threatened, as it turned out, were particularly in the mood for conversation, either with Frieza or each other. Which was a good sign, in that it meant he had successfully asserted his dominance, but also meant that the trip was at least five to ten times more awkward and boring than it really needed to be.

Also, the space pod's seating hadn't been designed to accommodate people with... girthy tails. Frieza had to lean forward, on his knees, and wrap his tail around the base of his legs just to sit somewhat comfortably. So much for affirmative action.

Eventually, they arrived in orbit, and the ship landed in the hangar of a small space station. Frieza stepped out of the space pod, and took a moment to stretch his limbs. Right then. First item on his agenda once he took over this place was redesigning these shitty space pods.

The goons followed him out in short order. The one with the injured shoulder hobbled off in the direction of what Frieza could only assume was the medical bay, while the other cleared his throat.

"Right then," he said. "Our CEO is usually pretty busy, but, uh. I think he'll be able to fit you in. Right this way, F--uh, Lord Frieza."
 

Frieza

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Frieza was led into a medium sized, well lit office, with fluorescent lights that were slightly headache inducing, cheaply painted white and blue wallpaper, and ugly navy carpeting that made him feel itchy just looking at it. The desk, meanwhile, was cluttered in half-finished paperwork and assorted knick-knacks. Frieza clicked his tongue derisively at the sorry spectacle. Had the CEO no budget, or just no sense of aesthetics? Either way, it wasn't an excellent first impression.

The CEO himself was a surpsisingly young looking humanoid male, with wide-rimmed glasses and sleeked back hair, and a perplexed expression directed at the goon who had brought him here. The nameplate on his desk read "K. L. Enton," along with a handful of titles in smaller print that Frieza couldn't make out from this distance.

"May I... ask who this is?" asked Enton, gesturing at Frieza. "Not to mention why you've decided to barge into my office unannounced at this time of day."

"W-Well, uh," said the goon, glancing nervously at his boss, then at Frieza, then back to his boss. "We were sent to capture the individual that the Nomiin were worshiping as a god. You know, the small, surface dwelling aliens? Well, he came willingly, but also, uhh... threatened us, and said he wanted to speak to--"

"I grow tired of this," Frieza interrupted sharply, smacking his tail against the ground. The carpeting dulled the sound, but it was still enough to make the goon jump slightly. He strode up to Enton's desk. "A pleasure to meet you. My name is Frieza. Contrary to what you and your subordinates seem to believe, I am not affiliated with the Nomiin. I simply happened to be passing by, and they jumped to their own conclusions. In other words, I have no quarrel with you."

The company president drummed his fingers on the hardwood of his desk, and aimed a perplexed look at Frieza. "That's... good to hear, I suppose," he said. "But if that's the case, why come all this way? Once the misunderstanding was cleared up, my soldiers would have been happy to leave you be. There definitely wasn't any need to speak with me in person, or anything."

The manner that this Enton addressed him was... not exactly rude, but definitely less formal than Frieza preferred in business settings like this. He sighed. "Shouldn't it be obvious? I'm here to negotiate."

Enton blinked. "Negotiate... negotiate what?"

Was he really this dense? Probably. "You're a man of business, are you not?" Frieza smiled. "I want to work for your company. Or, perhaps more accurately, I'd like to be in a position of some authority. Low level grunt work has never been my style, you see."

Enton stood straight up. "What?! You can't just... you can't just force your way into a high level position just like that! Who do you think you are?!"

Frieza's polite smile widened into something unmistakeably sinister. He circled around to the far end of the office, and pulled a spare office chair to the opposite side of Enton's desk, causing Enton to flinch away from him as he entered the man's personal space. How on earth had someone like him ended up in a position of any corporate authority? Nepotism, no doubt. Some people just weren't built to lord over others, and it showed in their every action, how they carried themselves.

Frieza liked to believe that his high power level was only part of the reason he was so successful in inspiring such bottomless terror wherever he went. The other reason was the delicate art of presence.

He pulled the rolling chair up to the other end of Enton's desk, tail fitting comfortably in the gap between the seat and back, wrapping around the base of the chair as he leaned forward and clasped his hands.

"I could answer that question," he said slowly, "or perhaps you, instead, could ask why only one of the soldiers you sent to retrieve me seems to have returned."

Enton paled. "Is that a threat? Surely you don't think you can just barge into a business and demand the CEO relinquish his position to a stranger!" He laughed, but there was a note of apprehension.

Logically, he must have reckoned that, whoever this upstart Frieza fellow might be, one man couldn't fend off an entire army, no matter how powerful he was. Logically, he held no solid claim to what he demanded. Logically, he could just call him out on his rudeness and demand he remove himself from the facility.

However.

There was just something about the way Frieza talked, the way he carried himself, that screamed to Enton, on a visceral, primal level, that this was not an individual to fuck around with.

And that was the value of "presence." It was a carefully honed and crafted skill as much as it was a natural drive to lead and command, and this Enton fellow possessed neither.

"Oh, come now," Frieza said sweetly. "Let's not jump to violence so quickly, shall we? We're businessmen, not savages. And you'd be right. I don't expect you to hand over your title here and now--that would be ridiculous. First things first, I'm interested in hearing more about this establishment of yours."

A bead of sweat rolled down Enton's brow. "Well, you could speak to our PR manager about--"

"No, that won't do at all." Frieza twitched his tail. "I don't want the watered down, PR friendly version of your company's mission statement. I want to hear it from you, the one in charge." He leaned in closer. "So, tell me your story. Tell me everything there is to know about this 'Inverxe Natural Gas Company.'"
 

Frieza

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At first, Enton was tight lipped about any information beyond surface level. The Inverxe Natural Gas Company, or the Enton Drilling Company as it was more officially known, was exactly what it sounded like. They mined natural gas from Inverxe. Though, with some prodding, Frieza was soon able to get a good sense of what was really going on here. As he suspected, the man sitting in front of him was not the company's founder, but rather he had inherited it from his older brother, who had died shortly after his father. So, naturally, the current CEO had been woefully underprepared for the position thrust upon him.

That was part of it, anyway. The full story had a bit more to it. Inverxe as a whole had a reputation for attracting off-world mining companies who wanted to extract the dangerous, inhospitable ice moon's natural riches, and the Enton Drilling Company was no exception. Most of them ventured into the labyrinthine natural tunnels that coiled beneath the moon's core to extract the rare, precious minerals from deep within. Though lucrative, this was also highly dangerous. Nightmarish creatures lurked within the bowels of Inverxe, lying in wait of unsuspecting adventurers to devour... or worse. Not to mention that the subterranean tunnels were subject to unpredictable tectonic and volcanic activity, which meant that entire expedition teams were frequently wiped out without a trace. And that wasn't even going into the slow setting madness that gripped anyone who stayed beneath the surface too long, tempting them deeper and deeper within the moon's core until they all, inevitably, vanished without a trace.

The Enton family had a less suicidal idea for how to make their fortune: stick to the surface. The surface of Inverxe was still crawling with dangers, of course, from ferocious wildlife to the thin atmosphere and frigid climate, but was, on the whole, more predictable. Though there weren't many minerals valuable enough to be found through regular surface mining (at least, not valuable enough to justify the interplanetary shipping fees), drilling for natural oil and gas was perfectly viable, and plenty lucrative. The founder, Enton Sr., assembled a team of highly skilled geologists to construct a geophysical profile of the moon's crust, and immediately lay claim to the largest hot spots. The venture was a success, and the Enton Drilling Company quickly became one of the dominant financial powers on Inverxe.

However, this success was not to last. Even before Enton Sr.'s passing, the company had fallen on hard times. The Kaalakiota Corporation had taken notice of the Enton Company's success, and had begun expanding their subterranean operations to the surface, as well as imposing harsh tariffs on oil and gas bearing the Enton brand. The decreased profit margin meant less money for equipment, which meant the Enton bigwigs began cutting corners to continue lining their own pockets, which meant a higher rate of equipment malfunction and on-site accidents, which meant bad press and workers going on strike... all in all, a complete mess. Not to mention the personal scandals that the elder Enton brother had gotten wrapped up in shortly after inheriting the company.

Frieza hadn't really wanted to hear the younger Enton brother giving his full life story, though. He considered cutting him off as he began delving into his own troubled childhood, being overlooked in favor of his elder brother and his own attempts to carve a name for hismelf ending in failure, but he decided to let the man babble on. That didn't mean he needed to pay attention, though. No, Frieza's mind was elsewhere, gears turning as he processed the situation laid out before him. It had been quite some time since he had needed to come up with a business strategy beyond "send in the troops, claim the bounty." Sure, he did on occasion run into precarious political or financial situations that required a delicate touch, but nothing on this scale. It was vexing, but... strangely exciting, to be faced with a situation that required him to rely solely on his own strength and expertise, rather than the raw power of his armies and accumulated wealth. After all, he didn't have the backing of the Planet Trade Organization here.

But that didn't mean he was powerless.

And before he knew it, a plan had begun to formulate.
 

Frieza

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There was one major, unique advantage Frieza had over literally everybody else working for the Enton Drilling Company: he could survive on the surface of Inverxe with no protective gear.

It wasn't just the cold that was the problem, though even that was intense enough to prove fatal for most non-native organic beings without high-tech insulation equipment. The thin atmosphere also meant low air pressure, as well as low oxygen levels and higher than normal levels of radioactivity. Of course, there were beings native to Inverxe who could survive these conditions just fine, but many of them were unintelligent if not outright non-sapient; good for hard labor, but not much else. More importantly, very, very few offworld speculators could boast the same. Even some of the species which had long inhabited the subterranean tunnels, such as the Dwemer, could not survive for more than a few hours on the surface.

To Frieza, however, it was downright mild.

Well. That was an exaggeration. It was well within the bounds of what he could survive, yes, but it was harsher than he was used to. From what he remembered of it, the climate of his home planet had been similar, to the point where it had been miraculous that intelligent life had been able to evolve at all. The vast, barren fields of ice were almost... nostalgic. That was a strange thought. He'd never been one to dwell on the past, always marching toward the future, but the piercing chill and the vast, glistening ice fields of Inverxe stirred within him memories he'd thought long forgotten. Nothing of importance; images, feelings, fond memories. He'd frequently ventured out into the snow as a child, hadn't he? He'd even gotten lost once or twice, and caused a bit of a stir. He didn't understand why. He always survived.

He pushed the meaningless sentimental thoughts from his mind. That was a long, long time ago. The thought that he might have been growing soft since then left a bitter taste in his mouth.

Still, he was able to grit his teeth and ignore the chill that, while only slightly irritating to him, was deadly to most everyone around him, and that alone had begun to turn heads. Practically speaking, it didn't make that much of a difference. Anyone could suit up and head to the surface, so it wasn't like Frieza was the only one capable of performing surface operations by a long shot. Not to mention the number of drones that patrolled the surface, so they really didn't even need to head to the surface in person most of the time.

But it was a big deal.

It was a big deal because when he'd casually mentioned it to President Enton, his jaw had hit the floor. It was a big deal because just based on that alone, he'd been easily able to secure a position as supervisor for surface operations. It was a big deal because, unlike all the other higher ups and supervisors who went down to the surface of Inverxe in person, he was able to show his face on scene, not obscured by gas masks or thick furs or other protective gear.

It meant people would remember who he was. It meant he could start bending them to his will with the sheer power of his presence. The simple act of standing before them, unaffected by the ice moon's extreme climate, the climate which they needed to go to such lengths just to survive, was a colossal show of dominance. President Enton may have been too inexperienced to realize it, but Frieza knew full well what he was doing when he strode up to the small maintenance crew, wearing nothing but his standard armor and a smile, and told them he would be in charge.

Even with their faces obscured, Frieza could feel the apprehension in the workers' every movement, shooting furtive glances his way as they tried to rush through the routine repairs. Perhaps word of his assault on the low-ranking soldier had spread among them.

They finished in record time, with no complications. And Frieza hadn't even needed to lift a finger.

This was going to be fun.
 

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The Enton Company space station had a wing set aside as a living space for its employees. Many of them were not native to Inverxe, and although the Dwemer were open to conducting business with outside representatives, their borders were very firmly closed to permanent immigration, with very few exceptions. This meant that one of the greatest barriers of entry to setting up a business venture on Inverxe was getting somewhere for you and your workers to stay, as interplanetary commute was... inconvenient. There were a few general research settlements scattered about the surface (anything below the surface would be considered an infringement on Dwemer territory), but for the most part, offworld visitors to Inverxe had to set up camp in orbit. Meaning the business facilities also had to function as small cities.

Now that Frieza officially worked here, that meant he had been assigned a suite of his own. Before the end of the designated workday, he was given a key, assigned a number, and told to report back in tomorrow.

The suite itself wasn't terrible. It was about the size of a studio apartment, with sleek white furniture that was actually more comfortable than it looked. There was a single bed, one bathroom, a kitchenette, a set of chairs, a kitchen table, a sofa, a coffee table, a wall-mounted television, a desk, a computer, and a leafy green potted plant nestled in the far right corner. It was perfectly serviceable, but it was so... ordinary, that it was downright surreal.

How long had it been since Frieza had had standard accommodations? Back in his home universe he tended to travel back and forth between bases often enough that it would be impractical to have a palatial mansion on every ship, every planet he owned, but it was always very clear that whatever quarters or place of residence he happened to use belonged to the one in charge. Although even here he possessed a degree of authority beyond what his position as a mid-level supervisor would indicate, it... wasn't what he was used to.

He could have just stayed in the temple built by the Nomiin, where he was treated like a god. But ruling over one small, relatively primitive alien settlement was nowhere near fulfilling, by Frieza's standards, and the lack of upward movement would have grown maddening. On the other hand, he could have just threatened the life of the Enton CEO and maybe some other bigwigs, and forced his way to the top. Truthfully, he had considered it. But, he reminded himself, he was in a precarious position, and couldn't act rashly. Though he still retained a good deal of his power (and, as he confirmed once he was alone, the ability to transform), perhaps even enough to win the hypothetical battle against the entirety of the Enton Company, he was essentially back at square one in terms of the type of power that really mattered for cementing one's rule: influence over others. He might be the strongest one here, but that meant next to nothing without people willing to follow him. Direct threats to others' lives could only go so far without economic and social leverage, and those needed to be rebuilt from scratch even if he did just start shooting people into compliance from day one.

Frieza threw himself down on the mattress and exhaled deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose as he planned his next move, mind whirling through strategy after strategy. It was a difficult situation. He could remain patient, calm, and logical even in this surreal, degrading situation, but that didn't mean he liked it. Not one bit.

He'd managed to pick up a bit of information regarding this place he'd ended up in, without managing to betray his own lack of knowledge. Apparently this solar system was known as the Crossroads, and it was far from unheard of for people from other worlds to just... turn up here mysteriously. The Crossroads civilization spanned multiple sovereign planets, and was advanced enough that it was easy to travel between them, but not to the point of grand scale interstellar production, or even harvesting the energy of their home star.

In other words, although Frieza himself was not a scientist, and certainly did not know how to create hyperdrive engines or dyson spheres from scratch, he knew what direction to steer innovation in order to get there again.

But that was still a long, long ways off. For now, he was still a mid-ranked supervisor at a petroleum engineering company. How long had it even been since he'd ever had to really answer to someone else? Granted, the Enton CEO was spineless and would probably cave to his demands, but still. President Enton wasn't even his direct superior. The Enton Drilling Company was divided into roughly two branches: the Exploration and Production branch, comprised mainly of geophysicists and engineers probing into Inverxe's crust in order to find rich sources of petroleum and optimize techniques to extract it; and the Drilling branch, which did the hands-on extraction, construction, handling, on-site management, et cetera. Frieza's job fell into the latter category. Each branch was run by a different vice president, both of whom reported to Enton himself. Enton, as far as Frieza could tell, did little hands on work related to finding or extracting oil and gas, and mostly handled the external, business related side of things (which mostly involved selling the crude oil in bulk to the Kaalakiota Corp, the company responsible for shipping and production.)

No wonder the Enton company was in such dire straits.

Tomorrow, he was going to introduce himself to the vice president of the drilling branch. All he knew about her was her name, and no-nonsense reputation. At the very least, she sounded more respectable than Enton himself, but that just meant she actually knew what he was doing, meaning Frieza would need to work harder to make a stand-out first impression. If he wanted to rise through the ranks quickly, he needed to both impress and terrify everybody he met. And he wanted to spend as little time working for someone else as possible.

The first order of business, then, was to learn as much about the ins and outs of petroleum engineering as he could. He'd handled oil and gas mining ventures himself during his tenure as Emperor of the Universe, of course, but never up close and personal enough to be directly responsible for on-site operation. The science was for the engineers to worry about, and the labor for the miners, but Frieza still needed to know what he, and they, needed to be doing. Information was power, and power was what he needed. He stretched, and got off the bed, prepared himself a cup of coffee, settled into the desk chair (which, once again, didn't make room for his tail, much to his annoyance; this would be the first thing he changed, once he was in charge), fired up the old Space Google, and prepared for an all-nighter.
 

Frieza

悪の帝王
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The following morning, Frieza, running on about a gallon of coffee and starting to regret his life choices, made his way down to the Enton Company's business wing. The CRVIX Hub was massive, enough for hundreds of businesses like the Enton Company to set up shop in orbit... for the right price. It wasn't just mining and prospecting companies, though. Retailers, restaurants, luxury stores, and the like were stationed within the Hub as well, though Frieza noted the prices were marked up quite exorbitantly. Honestly, it was less a space station so much as... a grand metropolis, open to all would-be venturers.

All would-be venturers willing to pay up, of course. He grimaced at the pricetag of his breakfast sandwich. Living here would not come cheap.

It was crowded, too. He didn't mind being physically shorter than most others in his first form. Really. He didn't. But from a practical standpoint, it made it easy to lose his way amidst the sea of people, and he didn't think he was currently in a position to deal with the backlash of just... threatening them to cut a path. Mundane living was surreal, but far from unbearable.

That didn't mean he wouldn't curse the fates that stripped him of everything he had, everything he was. He would not rest until he struck down whatever power was responsible for bringing him here. Until he reclaimed what he had lost.

To that end, having to awkwardly stand in a crowded rail train, wearing a fitted suit, was far, far from the limits of what he could bear.

It wasn't a long ride, fortunately enough, nor was it a long walk from the station to the Enton Company offices. From there, he just needed to take an elevator up to the executive offices, head down the hall, 718, 719... there it was, 720. He knocked thrice on the door, was told to "come in," and pushed it open.

So, this was Vice President Nena. She was a well built middle aged woman, with broad blue lizardlike features that reminded him a tad of Zarbon's transformed state, dressed business-casual with her hair pulled back in a tight bun and her intense gaze windowed by gold rimmed glasses. Her office was orderly, with few personal affects save for a potted plant and a photo of herself along with two children and a spouse (likely husband, but he wasn't going to risk appearing insensitive by assuming when he knew next to nothing about their race). She looked like as much of an expert on managing hard labor as she was on performing it, and Frieza knew right then and there that he would have to stay on his toes around her.

The vice president smiled at him cordially. "So, you're Frieza, I take it?" She extended a large, clawed hand adorned with jewelry. "A pleasure."

He accepted the handshake, and sat down across from her when she gestured him to do so.

"Enton says you caused quite the stir the other day," she said, a wry smile creeping along her features. "Most entertaining thing I'd heard all day. Don't expect threats and intimidation to get you so far under my employ, though. We're not like the silver tongued paper pushers over at E&P; it doesn't matter who your daddy is, how big you can talk, or if you injure a laborer or two. Here at Drilling, we only care about the numbers you can rake in. Everything else is secondary."

Frieza ran the numbers in his head. This Nena character clearly wouldn't be as easy to push around as her boss, and even if he could overpower her in direct confrontation he highly doubted she would cave to his demands. That was fine; meritocracy was his language, and he was more than capable of climbing the ranks the old fashioned way. What intrigued him, however, was the implication of animosity between the two halves of the Enton Company. He filed that away for future reference. Perhaps this was a crack he would be able to worm his way into.

That was neither here nor there, however. He chuckled. "So that's why the President sent me over to you, then. Clearly you're far more capable of dealing with difficult characters than he."

Nena laughed. "I like you already, Frieza. But you're not gonna get anywhere just by getting on my good side." She leaned in, and steepled her scaled fingers. "So, then. Tell me what you can do."
 
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