Bardock felt the weight of the capsule as he pushed his hand against it. “This one.”
His mate, Gine, nodded, looking between it and Kakarot, their baby son, who was still in his incubator.
“W-will it be okay for the incubator to travel?” she mumbled, hugging it a little closer.
Bardock’s eyebrow twitched. Of course it would be- why even…
His face softened, a definitely un-Saiyan part of him bubbling up to the surface. Not that it mattered.
If his hunch was right, being a ‘Saiyan’ wouldn’t mean anything soon enough.
He had chosen Gine for her un-Saiyan attributes anyway, something about how… caring she could get was…
It threw him for a loop every time. And he loved it.
“He’ll be fine, being in the incubator is a plus anyway. It should hide his power levels further, small as they are…” he mumbled, tearing the capsule off its dock. “Let’s go.”
“Wait.” Gine hesitated, looking at the other shuttles. “Are we not going with him?”
“...” He placed the capsule down, a grim expression sneaking its way onto his face. “...We can’t, they can track our power levels.”
“There... there needs to be a way. I’m not…” Gine sniffled. “I’m not ready to let Kakarot go…”
“You need to let him go or he will die ! Just like this planet!” he snarled. “You need to act like a Saiyan and do what needs to be done!”
“No!” Gine sobbed. “There needs to be another way! Something else! Bardock, please…”
He hated this. He hated every moment of it. How she could make him feel utter defeat even without lifting a finger against him.
Then again, she could make him feel more than he thought he could. Than he thought any Saiyan could.
“I know! I know…” His shoulders slumped a bit. “There really is no other way, the Scouters would locate our energy levels the moment we left the planet and shoot all of us out of the sky.”
“Y-you can’t mean that...” Gine was hugging the incubator closer and closer to herself. “There- there needs to be a way to hide our power levels.”
“Impossible, there’s no way to…”
“N-no way to...?”
“...Fuck it, we’re going to die anyway. “ He walked up and ripped off another capsule from the dock. “If we’re going to go, we need to go right now .”
Both Saiyans ran, hopping from rock to rock until Bardock ground to a halt at the empty wasteland near the pod docks. "Here should be far enough…"
He opened both pods and leaned against one. This is the stupidest, most asinine idea I ever had… His eyes landed on Kakarot. But if there’s even a chance it gives him a better life…
"What's the plan?" Gine asked, readjusting her hold on the incubator.
"...I'm going to wound you," he mumbled. "Hard enough to almost kill you, then do the same to myself." He rubbed a hand over his face. "And then hope to Kami they don't sense our dying energies as we make our way out."
"B-but we'd die!" she exclaimed. "Could we even survive the journey?"
"The pods would put us in suspended animation," Bardock explained. "We'd have to survive long enough to get help when we land though…"
"...Is this… our only option?" Gine whimpered. "I… I don't know if I can handle knowing Kakarot woke up to my dead body hugging him…"
"It's either this or we die with our planet," Bardock reminded her grimly. "Now, make your choice."
She sniffled. "Let's try i-"
Bardock had closed the distance, spearing his hand through her chest while hugging her close.
He didn't know what that stinging sensation was with his eyes, but he decided to ignore it. He needed to do this. For all of their sakes.
"I… missed the vital organs," he whispered into her ear gently. "I'm sorry, this is going to be even more painful…"
Gine attempted to shake her head, tears running down her eyes with a bloody smile forming on her lips. "I-it’s okay…"
Bardock closed his eyes and pulled his hand out, grabbing her shoulder to keep her standing. "Okay, try to be calm, if you panic you might die before the pod puts us to rest"
She nodded weakly again, letting him guide her to the pod and place Kakarot's incubator on her lap. He nodded once and let the pod close up on her, the seal hissing and the pod started to levitate towards its target.
He jumped into his pod, staring at his bloodied hand.
It felt… heavier.
He looked at his other and brought it down.
The wine tasted great.
Frieza let a smirk grow on her face as she leaned back on her seat, swirling her glass of wine as she looked out of the window of her spaceship, straight onto the home of those miserable little apes.
Soon that eyesore would be gone. They had done their job, and now it was time to clean up.
Her smirk grew wider, a chipper tune bubbling out of her body. Putting toys away was never this fun.
And she... Oh, she was going to enjoy this.
“Lady Frieza!” One of her radar operatives spoke up, coughing and sweating as he felt her gaze slowly locking on to his back. “T-there are two Saiyan pods leaving the planet, our guns are aimed and-”
“Hold your fire,” she commanded, her tail smacking against her seat, almost denting it. “Power levels?”
“A-almost nothing, sire.”
“...Do not engage.” She sighed, looking at the two pods rush by on her screen. “We wouldn’t want to spook the monkeys by shooting down an empty pod now, would we?”
“As you command.”
Nappa tore through the halls of Castle Vegeta, steadying himself as the sweat poured down his brow.
How could Frieza betray them after all this time? They had been loyal soldiers and conquerors in her name, despite how bitter it made them to be under her thumb. At least she had given them battle and blood, so the Saiyans hadn’t complained that much.
What had caused her to turn on them? Was she threatened?
Eh, he didn’t really think about it too hard. His thoughts typically didn’t advance much far past ‘punching’.
Nappa wheeled around the corner, dashing down the expansive hallway and smashing the door off its hinges.
He let out a deep, satisfied sigh. “Ah, I’ve always wanted to do that.”
“Nappa?! What the hell?!”
He looked over at the short girl who was, up until a moment ago, doing pushups in the middle of her bedroom. She had stopped, distracted by the fact that her bedroom door was now embedded in the far wall. “Hey, Princess Vegeta! We gotta go!”
“What?!” she exclaimed indignantly. “I am far too busy to go anywhere right now.”
As much as he wanted to just leave her behind, he was still scared of her father. “Look, Frieza betrayed us and is going to destroy Vegeta. It sucks, I know, but that’s how it is.”
Princess Vegeta stared at him for a few moments. “Do you mean the planet, my father, the castle, or me?”
Nappa blinked. “Yes.”
“Oh.” Vegeta quickly ran up to him. “Well, then what are you waiting for, you incompetent oaf! Stop wasting time!”
Nappa led her down into the secret hangar bay beneath the castle and grabbed a pair of pods, quickly setting them down on the launching pad. “Alright, get in!”
Vegeta curled her nose in disgust. “Won’t they just detect our power levels?”
Nappa laughed. “Yeah… except these pods have technology that blocks scouters! They were supposed to be deployed to the rest of the Saiyan warriors tomorrow. They could probably have saved a bunch of lives if they were just one day faster!” He rubbed his nose. “Ha… tragic .”
“Where is everyone else?” she protested. “Where is father?”
Nappa shrugged. “Looks like it’s just you and me, kid.”
The princess sighed, then climbed in a pod. “I’ll kill Freiza for this.”
“That’s the spirit!” Nappa exclaimed as he got into his own pod. “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”
The ships sealed up with a hiss and were summarily launched skyward, streaking over the planet and out of the atmosphere. Just like they had hoped, the pods passed undetected between Freiza’s blockade and before long, they were in deep space.
Suddenly, a bright light illuminated their pods and both Saiyans whipped around, just in time to see the planet consumed by a massive explosion.
There was silence.
It was at this point that Nappa realized he had no idea where they were going.
“Hey Vegeta, wanna sing a song? It’ll help pass the time!”
“We just saw our home explode! My father! More importantly, my throne and my birthright!” Vegeta yelled. “No, I don’t want to sing a song !”
“99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer…”
“God dammit, Nappa.”
Gohan sighed, cracking his back and wincing as the discs popped back into alignment. It had been a long day of tilling the fields of his mountain farm, but it would be worth it, come next harvest. The radishes were growing in droves since he’d gotten that new fertilizer from town.
With a smile, he stared at the sky as the sun began to dip below the horizon. What a beautiful day, even the stars were beginning to come out!
Wait… Was that a shooting star?
Just my luck! Oh, now what should I wish for… I do miss old Roshi and our lessons. It would be nice to have some company out here.
The star seemed to twinkle brighter in response and Gohan smiled a little wider, removing his work gloves and smoothing out the ends of his mustache.
What a beautiful day.
The aged man turned away from the shooting star and started walking slowly back to his small home.
That’s when he heard it: a boom as if thunder was rolling throughout the mountains. Gohan whipped around, quickly scanning the cloudless sky, but all he could see was the twinkling of the shooting star and… was it getting… closer?
Suddenly the shooting star seemed to split into two, both lights starting to glow crimson as if they were ablaze.
“That’s a… meteor!?” Gohan began jogging toward his home, his body groaning and protesting with every step. Curse these old bones, why did I ever stop training!? He moved his body faster, rushing into the small, domed house at the edge of his fields and going straight for his bed. He searched underneath until his hands felt a small, wooden box.
Opening it cautiously, Gohan sighed as the familiar orange glow of the four-star dragon ball gleamed inside. He quickly grabbed the ball, stuffing it inside a pack by the door along with some bread, cheese, and fruit. Just as the man was about to leave, he turned to the small potted plant he had growing in his windowsill. I can’t believe I almost forgot…
With careful fingers, Gohan plucked four beans from the plant and wrapped them gingerly in a handkerchief before stowing them deep inside a pocket in his shirt. At least if the plant died, he could start over with these. Kami knows Korin would rip him a new one if he found out that Gohan needed fresh beans. He wasn’t even sure he could make it to the top of Korin’s tower to collect more.
The air began to whistle as the objects in the sky drew closer. Gohan peered outside, noticing that they seemed to be heading straight for the ravine just south of his home. That being said, he wasn’t going to take any chances. Gohan ducked back into his home and grabbed his walking stick just as the ground rumbled wildly underfoot.
Whatever it had was just crashed down.
The old man slung his pack across his body and took the walking stick in one hand. Whatever had landed, he was too curious to not at least take a peek before calling Nimbus.
Although… just to be safe…
It was hard to describe exactly what Nimbus sounded like, but if Gohan had to pick an adjective, it would be puttering; almost like the old car he had owned that had died some years back.
The cloud whizzed overhead before dropping low, making it easier for Gohan to step on. “Thank you, old friend. I’d like to investigate where those comets just landed, could you take me there?”
In response, Nimbus rose quickly and began flying to the south. As Gohan drew closer, he noticed a few felled trees that must have gotten knocked over by the mysterious projectiles.
Such a shame, but what could have fallen?
Nimbus slowly continued toward the impact zones, and that’s when Gohan was able to get his first real glimpse of what had fallen.
From a distance, they didn’t look like anything, just debris in a pile of dirt. But upon closer inspections Gohan noted that the objects were made of metal. In fact, they seemed to be almost completely smooth spheres.
“Nimbus, take me as close as you can.”
With some trepidation, the cloud got right up to the two orbs, each of which was roughly the size of a small car, and came to a stop in front of one. Gohan noticed at that point that there seemed to be something of a bubble-shaped window on the front. Just as he went to peer inside, the orb began hissing and some sort of hatch began to lift open.
The old man stumbled back as the orb opened up to reveal… a woman? Gohan gulped. She was one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen… and she was wounded?
“Miss!” Gohan yelled as he rushed forward, spotting the bleeding hole in her abdomen. “Miss, what happened?”
The woman’s eyes fluttered open, and her face turned immediately to shock, then fury as she clutched some stranger metal orb closer. “W-where am I?!”
Gohan was about to respond when she started coughing up blood.
“Miss, please,” Gohan exclaimed as he fished in his shirt for the Senzu beans. “Please, you’re hurt. Take this! You’ll feel better after, I promise.”
The woman stared him down for what felt like an eternity before reaching her hand out.
Gohan sighed in relief as he placed the bean in her outstretched hand. She snatched it away quickly and eyed it suspiciously before popping it into her mouth.
A couple of bites and she swallowed it down, wincing at the flavor no doubt. “Now wh-“ she gasped as the color returned to her face. Her hands flew to the hole in the strange armored tunic she was wearing, wiping away the dried blood and finding that her abdomen was smooth and intact. “How…”
She immediately perked up. “Bardock!”
The woman practically flew out of the strange pod, still clutching the strange object in her arms. She banged on the second pod and stepped back as it hissed open. Inside, Gohan was able to see a rather large man with his own gruesome injury.
“Bardock!?” The woman knelt down and placed the strange object just next to the man. “Bardock, you need to wake up now.” She started patting his face gently, then slapped it with enough force to make Gohan flinch. “Wake up now, Bardock!”
She turned back to the old man. “Do you have any more of those things?”
“I need one, now! He’s going to die without it!” Her eyes were full of desperation as she stared daggers at him.
Gohan quickly fished out a second Senzu bean and tossed it over to the frankly terrifying beauty. She snatched it out of the air and popped it into her own mouth, chewing quickly before opening the unconscious man’s mouth and kissing him.
Wait no, feeding him. Gohan watched as the woman leaned back, forcing the man- Bardock? Was that his name? Bardock’s mouth shut and massaging his throat to force him to swallow. The woman leaned back, grabbing onto the small object and watching the unconscious man intensely.
Another small eternity passed, and Gohan furrowed his brow. Perhaps the damage to the man was too severe?
“Miss, I don’t thi-”
Suddenly the Bardock’s eyes shot open and he began coughing, clutching at his abdomen and staring around the surrounding area in shock. “Gine, what? Where?”
The woman, Gine by the sound of it, sighed in relief. “We made it, Bardock. We’re safe.”
“Safe…” Bardock leaned back, shutting his eyes momentarily. He then stiffened and leaned back forward. “Kakarot, is he-”
Gine nodded. “He’s safe too.”
The muscled man exhaled slowly. “Good. How are we healed?”
“Ask him,” Gine replied, gesturing to Gohan.
Bardock’s attention finally landed on the old man, and Gohan felt himself being scrutinized intensely.The young man reached up to his ear before grimacing and shaking his head. With a grunt, his grimace turned into a smirk. “Well then, it looks like we owe you our gratitude, old man.”
“T-think nothing of it.”
“What is your name, stranger?” Bardock stood up and stretched, flexing his astoundingly muscular body. Gohan gulped as he sensed an overwhelming amount of power flowing off the strange man.
Bardock nodded. “Gohan, interesting. Tell me, Gohan. What planet is this?”
“Planet?” Gohan cocked an eyebrow. “Well, it’s Earth, son.”
Gine gasped. “We made it.”
“Hmm, yeah. We made it.” Bardock turned back to Gohan. “Is there anyone else nearby? Any other settlements?”
Gohan shook his head. “It’s just me out here. Nearest village is miles away.” Shoot, why would I say that?
“Good, that is good news. Now, Gohan, how was it that you were able to heal us?”
The older man hesitated before producing his two remaining Senzu beans. “These. If you like, I can explain more at my home?” He prayed to Kami above that they would take his offer and just eat a meal with him peacefully.
Bardock sized him up before glancing back at Gine, the two sharing a wordless conversation and finally nodding. “Fine, we’ll join you. But if I detect even a hint of trickery, I’ll kill you and anyone else you might send after us.”
“Trickery?” Gohan’s stomach dropped. He had just casually threatened Gohan’s life. “I promise, no trickery. Just a meal and some conversation, I swear.”
Gine smiled. “Sounds good to me.”
“Fine, let’s go.”
The old man hid his relief and nodded to Nimbus. “You can go, I’ve got it from here.” The cloud zipped away and Gohan turned back to the two young people. “Just up the hill here, follow me.”