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Zarbon's Mission (どでかい戦闘力!! 砕け散るフリーザの陰謀, Dodekai Sentoryoku!! Kudakechiru Furiza no Inbo) is the twenty-first episode of the Namek Saga and the fifty-sixth overall episode in the uncut Dragon Ball Z series. The episode first aired on August 1, 1990.
Zarbon searches the Namek skies for Vegeta, swearing to rip him to pieces. Frieza tells Zarbon he will hold him responsible for Vegeta's escape if he is unsuccessful in locating the Saiyan. As Zarbon continues to hover outside, Vegeta can be seen inside Frieza's spaceship. He has successfully entered Frieza's throne room and has found the Dragon Balls. Vegeta speaks to himself, knowing that while Frieza and Zarbon are distracted, he can easily steal the Dragon Balls with the element of surprise. Since Vegeta has finally recovered from his battle with Zarbon, and has escaped from the rejuvenation chamber fully healed, he takes the opportunity to steal Frieza's Dragon Balls.
As Vegeta uses an ample amount of energy to power up his hand with ki, he yells out to Frieza and Zarbon to gain their attention. Both Frieza and Zarbon are surprised by the noise they hear from the ship, which turns out to be a sudden blast from Vegeta. The blast blows open the top ventilation shaft of the ship, with flames exploding out from the ship's exterior, and directly at Zarbon, who was trying to fly into the ship. As the flames rise upward, Zarbon dodges the fiery inferno from the explosion caused by Vegeta, becoming even angrier as a result.
Vegeta gathers the Dragon Balls and swiftly tosses them out of the ship, using the same amount of strength in order to ensure they land close to each other, although very far from Frieza's ship. Zarbon says the blast came from a certain direction as Frieza realizes Vegeta must be going after the Dragon Balls and panics. They both run to the throne room to find that the Dragon Balls are missing. Frieza starts screaming for the Dragon Balls and Zarbon becomes frustrated and completely annoyed, yelling for Vegeta and jolting out of the ship to search for him once more. However, the Namek skies are as clear as ever. Only the ashes from the devastation within the ship are spilling into the sky. Zarbon's desperation is heightened as he convinces himself that Vegeta could not have gone very far.
As Frieza becomes furious and yells at Zarbon for disappointing him, Vegeta watches from behind a mountain and remains hidden. He then proceeds to the water and says that if he flies away, he will surely be spotted. So he decides to swim away while staying underwater. Vegeta successfully escapes from the ship and heads for his newly acquired Dragon Balls.
As Zarbon kneels with respect to his master, Frieza tells him to stop apologizing and get his act together. Zarbon feels shameful and does not want to disappoint Frieza, coupled with the fact that he does not want to fail his mission or lose his life as a result of his failure. Frieza blames the entire situation on Zarbon for allowing Vegeta to escape with the Dragon Balls. He then warns Zarbon that he now has only one hour to retrieve Vegeta and the Dragon Balls, bashing his tail into the ground and striking fear into the heart of his elite right-hand man. Zarbon promises to succeed and flies out of the ship in search of the treacherous and disloyal Saiyan.
Vegeta is seen rapidly swimming underwater to his destination... the Dragon Balls. Meanwhile, Gohan pinpoints the location of a Dragon Ball using the Dragon Radar, which happens to be the same Dragon Ball that Vegeta had hidden earlier... after he had butchered the entire village full of Namekians. Gohan stumbles upon the village to find Namekian corpses all over the place and is completely overwhelmed with grief and saddened from the grotesque sight of the deceased. The loss of some Namekian children and older Namekians completely infuriates Gohan as he curses Vegeta's name for doing this.
Vegeta is then seen coming out of the water and searching for the Dragon Balls. He stumbles upon them, stating that sometimes he impresses even himself. He now believes he has six Dragon Balls in his acquisition. However, he is unaware that the other Dragon Ball is currently being taken from that location by none other than Gohan. Vegeta is overjoyed and begins speaking of how the whole universe will tremble before him. Vegeta senses that someone is coming. He says that it might be Zarbon, but immediately corrects himself, stating that the approaching power level is not as strong as Zarbon's. Just then, Krillin is seen holding a Dragon Ball and flying rapidly toward his own destination... to help Gohan get his potential unlocked. Vegeta becomes surprised, acknowledging that the Earthlings truly are on Namek after all. Krillin is so ecstatic about his own potential being unlocked by Guru, he fails to realize that Vegeta has noticed him. Vegeta dashes right after Krillin in order to acquire what he believes to be the final Dragon Ball in his quest to achieve immortality.
As Gohan buries the bodies of the deceased Namekians, he promises to try and bring them back to life. He then proceeds to acquire the Dragon Ball which is hidden in the lake. Gohan proceeds to swim underwater and resurfaces with the Dragon Ball. Meanwhile, Goku is dangling from the ceiling performing grueling push ups in fifty times Earth's normal gravity. Goku is so tense and tired, he can barely move his muscles.
Krillin is seen flying high-speed, telling himself that it will not be long now. Vegeta refers to Krillin as a worm as he is chasing his prey and continues to fly right after him. Zarbon is still furious over Vegeta's escape and is scouring the skies in search of the Saiyan traitor. Zarbon states that if he had his scouter, he would have easily been able to locate Vegeta. He reminds himself that he will have to answer to Frieza if he is unable to find Vegeta. Just then, Zarbon notices a ray of light swiftly zooming in the sky. At first, he assumes that it is Vegeta. But then he realizes that it is Krillin and remembers how Krillin was responsible for saving Dende alongside Gohan. As Zarbon contemplates the situation, he notices that it is none other than Vegeta himself who is quickly following Krillin. He promises that Vegeta is not getting away and dashes after him at full speed.
A sequence of Vegeta chasing Krillin and Zarbon chasing Vegeta is illustrated as they dash through the Namek skies. Vegeta then recognizes that he has been followed and is convinced that it is Zarbon. He says to himself that he will overcome his opponent since he has become stronger from getting beaten and that the overconfident Zarbon is unaware of his Saiyan genes.
While Goku's spaceship is passing through an intergalactic storm, the Saiyan can barely move his muscles. The ship's Gravity Machine is going haywire, skyrocketing to one hundred times Earth's normal gravity. This does not allow Goku to move. A transmission appears and Dr. Brief is on the other end. He tells Goku to ride out the storm and that it is bound to stop. Goku's ship continues to pass through the stars as the thunder and lightning tears the skies asunder.
Meanwhile, Bulma is seen leaning on a rock reading a book before Krillin suddenly hops in front of her from the sky. Bulma gets annoyed at Krillin for surprising her with his sudden arrival. Krillin tells Bulma that it is dangerous to be out in the open the way she was and Bulma reciprocates by telling him she will do whatever she wants. Bulma then notices that Krillin is holding a Dragon Ball and proceeds to examine it. She quickly asserts that the Dragon Balls of Namek are very large in size. Krillin tells her that this Dragon Ball was a gift from the eldest Namek, Guru. Krillin asks Bulma of Gohan's whereabouts and she tells him that he went off to find another Dragon Ball. Just then, Krillin senses a huge power level approaching. Bulma reassures him that it is probably just Gohan. Krillin denies that assertion and he is right to do so as Vegeta appears on the scene. Both Krillin and Bulma are left in complete shock and fear from seeing him. Krillin curses his inability to sense that he was being followed due to his being excited over his new-found strength. Vegeta states that he has found some Earthlings without any help who are stranded on Namek, referring to the frightened Bulma and Krillin. Vegeta quickly demands that Krillin hand over the Dragon Ball and not do anything stupid. He also recommends that they do not try to escape or Bulma will suffer the consequences. As Vegeta turns around and states that they have company, Zarbon appears, elegantly rotating in the air before gracefully landing with one leg on the ground and flicking his long hair backwards. Bulma is knocked out by his appearance and quickly finds herself attracted to Zarbon, stating that with his brawny good looks, he is likely here to rescue them from Vegeta. Krillin knows all too well what evil Zarbon is capable of and tells her that she does not even know the half of it.
- The creature Gohan finds on the Namekian Dragon Ball that Vegeta hid underwater on Namek looks similar to the creature that ensnared Gohan and Krillin on Fake Namek.