1311: DragonballZ: Bardock, The Lone Survivor FINISHED – Chapter OnePosted: January 24, 2016
[Kitty enters the Snark Booth and sits down, cradling a cup of hot tea between her hands and wrapped in a warm, fluffy blanket. She sniffles periodically, but otherwise seems much healthier than she did during her last riff.]
Kitty: Hello, everyone! I know I keep threatening to force all of you to sit through my riff of… That-Which-We-Must-Not-Name… but I wanted to do a goofy fic first, or else risk turning into the Gloomriffer for all of eternity. While that does sound like a sweet riffer title (and I call dibs on said title if it hasn’t already been taken,) even I occasionally enjoy a crackier idiotfic now and then.
I don’t have any co-riffers along with me today because frankly five of my OCs laughed at me when I asked, two (potentially three) are in reserve for That-Which-Causes-Small-Children-To-Weep, and the rest of my named OCs are either in the wrong fandom or don’t even know what the hell riffing is.
(As an added note, I tallied all of the named OCs in my original canon alone and they total around eighty. I honestly did not expect the number to hit forty.)
Today’s fic is a Dragon Ball Z fic – which appears to be in short supply around here, which in turn means there’s fool’s gold laying about in bundles waiting to be scooped up – about one of my favorite DBZ characters, Bardock.
This is normally the part where I summarize the Dragon Ball meta-series (created by Akira Toriyama, and of which DBZ is the second part,) but since I have absolutely no idea where to start, Im’ma let Wikipedia help me out here:
Dragon Ball was initially inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist, Goku, from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls.
Bardock is Goku’s father, and was first introduced in a quick flashback during the Frieza Saga of Z as a nameless soldier that Goku simply bore a strong resemblance to. People showed a lot of interest in the character, so Bardock eventually got a name, a team, and a tragic anti-villain/anti-hero backstory, all of which came to us in the form of Bardock: The Father of Goku.
To make an increasingly long summary short, the movie opens with Bardock’s team gleefully wiping out the fishpeople who inhabit Kanasa, which is a planet Frieza (a galactic overlord who runs an interplanetary real-estate scam by committing mass xenocide rather than buying and reselling planets) has apparently been sending mooks at for a while now without success. Although the team successfully takes out the planet’s population over the course of a single night (thanks largely to the full moon turning them into giant monkeyzillas), one of the locals manages to survive long enough to give Bardock psychic powers so that he can be tormented with images of Planet Vegeta’s impending destruction – just as the naturally psychic Kanasa-jins were tormented with visions of their own fall.
Bardock’s entire team is eventually wiped out as phase one of Frieza’s plan to destroy the Saiyan race before any of them could become strong enough to go Super Saiyan (think golden monkey rage-god, but as a humanoid) and kick his lizardy ass. On one hand, this could be seen as a little paranoid on Frieza’s part, because besides a few derogatory comments here and there from various Saiyans, Frieza seems pretty heavily feared. On the other, King Vegeta is known to canonically stage a coup in an attempt to rescue his son (the Vegeta we become acquainted with in Z) and get back at Frieza for being an even douchier overlord than King “kill-the-messenger-and-murder-small-children” Vegeta.
While the coup ended in disaster for the Saiyans, a little paranoia was probably in order by that point – especially since several characters all the way up to Frieza’s two right-hand men comment throughout the movie that Bardock’s power level (which is how they gauge physical/ki power) is swiftly beginning to rival King Vegeta’s.
Bardock is stuck recovering from Kanasa when his team is murdered, and arrives on location in time for the last of his teammates – and, coincidentally, his best friend – to spend his last breaths warning Bardock that Frieza’s out to kill every last Saiyan. This makes Bardock go on a truly glorious roaring rampage of revenge, which ultimately culminates in… his death and the destruction of Planet Vegeta despite his efforts to save said planet.
The beauty of the story is in the hopelessness of it all. And in the fact that Bardock begins to realize what a monster he’s been just in time to die in the midst of his most/probably only noble act. Now that’s out of the way, and I can begin the riff. Huzzah!
DragonballZ: Bardock, The Lone Survivor FINISHED (which I recognize is probably supposed to just be DragonballZ: Bardock, The Lone Survivor) is one of the AU stories that takes a look at what might have happened if Bardock had somehow survived. As with literally every other AU story that lets him survive (yes, up to and including Episode of Bardock, canon though it pretends to be,) this ignores the crucial part of his heroic sacrifice: It was heroic because despite knowing he had no shot at facing down Frieza on his own, despite it ultimately being a futile effort because he was unable to rouse any of the rest of his fellow Saiyans to action, despite the fact that he was the first to die in the planet’s destruction, Bardock still carried on to the bitter end.
Bardock was a seasoned warrior. Not just another hired mercenary for Frieza, but a trained, experienced warrior who displayed a powerful sense of loyalty to and pride in both his teammates and his race as a whole. He knew he didn’t have a prayer. He had to have known. He was not nearly stupid or desperate enough to really believe that a galactic overlord who commanded so many mercenaries and controlled so much of the universe was weak enough to fall to one severely battered Saiyan warrior – although he was definitely desperate enough to give it a shot all the same.
He had god only knows how many chances to back down. He could have fled when he got his tail kicked after finding his teammates dead. He could have hit a healing tank at a Frieza-controlled planet along the way home to recover and completely avoided the slaughter. He could have reprogrammed his pod to go chasing after Goku’s pod when they passed each other in space. He could have let himself pass out when he lost his footing on the way to the spaceport bar to warn the other Saiyans. He could have let himself lie still and potentially be hauled off to a medical station when he fell over again inside the spaceport bar. He could have given up when everybody at the spaceport bar laughed at him and wrote him off as crazy when he tried to warn them about Frieza. He could have let any – or all – of the Frieza soldiers who swarmed him take him out on his way to intercept Frieza’s ship on its way to Planet Vegeta. He could have groveled and begged Frieza for mercy when the overlord appeared to deal with Bardock himself. He could have tried to flee when Frieza sent that Death Ball sailing towards the planet.
He had chances upon chances to back out or give up and pray for a quick, painless death – and instead, Bardock stood firm to the bitter end, even to the point that he held out his arms and attempted to catch and deflect the Death Ball before it could reach his home world. That man never once gave up until he had a last, dying vision of his son facing down Frieza in the not-to-distant future. That is what makes his sacrifice heroic. That is what makes his story one worth telling – what causes Frieza to remember him even years down the line when he faces off against Goku.
In much the same way that Boromir’s death defending the hobbits prevents Boromir from coming across as “that feeble-minded gloryhound” and instead makes it easier to understand him as the tragic Captain of Gondor who fell to the Ring’s influence for love of his own people, Bardock’s ultimate sacrifice (futile though it ultimately was) took Bardock from “that asshole who’s butthurt because his buddies died” to the proud Saiyan warrior who was willing to do absolutely everything within his power to protect his home and people – and who ultimately did exactly that.
But, hey, what the hell, let’s have him survive despite the rest of his planet dying. I’m sure that’s in no way disrespectful to his character arc.
(And we are not here to discuss the thing that is Dragon Ball Minus. You tried, Toriyama. You failed miserably, but you did try, so as a fan and as a fellow creator I am going to give you a pass and pretend Minus never happened.)
ANYWAY, LET’S START THE DAMN FIC, SHALL WE?
As always, it’s best we take a look at the summary to get some idea of why I picked this fic and what we might be dealing with.
Bardock survives Frieza’s attack in space, and decides to take revenge for the deaths of all the Saiyans on Planet Vegeta. But what he doesn’t expect is that revenge leads him down a dangerous road, one with hard battles and decisions, can he survive? R&R
We’re dealing with that. Aside from a few teeth-grindingly obvious grammar and punctuation errors and the juvenile begging for reviews and… god help me, I’ve finally forgotten what the other R stands for. Aside from that, the fic doesn’t seem awful enough to riff on the surface, right?
Well… except for the fact that the summary indicates some epic tale spanning at least as many chapters as Mythic Descent by Dragoness Eclectic (which I highly recommend, by the way.) Again, not a problem – in fact, I would welcome a read that extensive, because even half of MD’s word count would provide for plenty of space to explore characters and worlds and—
Fuck it. Fuck it. There is no goddamn way that you are going to experience anything even remotely resembling a quality journey into darkness like the one you’re advertising over the span of 8,405 words split up into eleven chapters. It is not. Physically. Possible.
But, hey, let’s not be too quick to judge. Let’s take a look at chapter one before we really decide whether or not this is stupid.
Dragon Ball Z: Bardock, The Lone Saiyan
Wait, I thought this was DragonballZ: Bardock, The Lone Survivor. What the hell am I reading?
Dragon Ball Z: Bardock, The Lone Survivor
Why even in the fuck do you have this all in your first chapter? Or anywhere in your written work, for that matter? This is not a damn physical publication, you little twit!
Chapter One: Change Of Fate
[takes a deep breath through the nose and says nothing]
Bardock quickly punched through one of Frieza’s henchmen. He then blasted another one away at a safe distance, when about 40 jumped on him. He was stuck, but quickly made an energy ball fly from his hand, killing the 40. He then jumped though space, and kicked a grunt in the gut. He was at a much closer distance than before. Frieza slowly rose from the top of his spaceship, sitting in a seat. He was smiling directly at Bardock.
Yaaaaaay, action. Excitement. Mook death. Woohoo.
Bardock chuckled and said, “That’s it face the music.”
You don’t sound like yourself, Bardock. Also, where are the, uhm…
…umpteen other soldiers that leapt on you after you blasted the first group away?
Bardock then continued, “Don’t be afraid of him men, I’d rather be a free man of my grave than living as his puppet, or his slave.”
IN my grave. He’d rather be a free man IN his grave. Good lord, please tell me you aren’t a native English-speaker, trunks1138.
Bardock then paused and listened to the agreeing soldiers.
They didn’t agree with him! If anything, they blubbered for mercy in case Frieza thought they agreed with Bardock! They only agreed with him in like, one flashback scene from the really old English dubs of Z!
“Come on! Let’s get to it.” Bardock taunted.
Okay, come on, Bardock, you’re running out of time to get to your really impressive “fuck you and the planet you came from” speech.
Frieza’s soldiers were still yelling, agreeing with the Saiyan Bardock. Frieza made a small ball of energy floating a top a finger.
Oh my god, you cut Bardock’s “fuck you and the planet you came from” speech. You really are working from flashback scenes, aren’t you?!
“That’s it. Now we’re talking.” Bardock yelled.
Clearly trunks1138 had not entered third grade at the time this was written (circa 2008,) because otherwise s/he completely missed the lesson where yelling is denoted by an exclamation point. Which looks like this:
Bardock then made an energy ball from his hand, and launched it at the tyrant. It spiraled through space, about to hit Frieza. Then, the small ball Frieza wielded turned larger, and Bardock’s ball hit the giant ball. Frieza then chuckled menacingly.
Why did you, heh, forget Bardock’s speech?! You know, that tiny little detail that really solidified Bardock’s change from ruthless monster to morally gray anti-hero?! HERE, LEMME REFRESH YOUR MEMORY:
“Frieza! Listen up! We quit! All of us! Got it? We don’t work for you! We’re free! You can find someone else to do your dirty work! Oh yeah, there is one last thing… [charges up an energy blast] This is for all the people that we’ve killed in your name! I wish we were never foolish enough to obey you! Here! Have it!”
“What? No way!” Bardock yelled.
Frieza’s ball moved closer and closer, and Bardock floated there, too surprised to move.
You know what, let me just show you why I hate everything about the way you rehashed this scene. Watch and learn.
Do you see what the problem is, class? Do you see why exactly 222 words (I counted!) of text could not ever be enough to narrate that entire scene blow-for-blow?
Anyone who said “no” should leave now.
But wait! From here on out the canon gets munched, crunched, kicked to the dirt, and pissed on for good measure! Let’s see how Bardock manages to survive this time, shall we?
But then, he realized that he had to survive to change the future. He quickly mustered all his strength left, and mixed it will his hate for Frieza.
Don’t forget to add two dashes of piss and a pinch of utter disregard for the canon and its creator. Then you’ll need to mix it all into a smooth paste before proceeding to fling it like so much dung at the fandom.
He launched the beam, and it created a small hole in Frieza’s ball. He stood behind his beam, as the giant energy ball went over him.
That’s not how beam-o-wars work in this canon. Bardock would need to throw at least as much energy as Frieza just did in order to create a buffer strong enough to protect him from the brunt of that attack, and he just used most of his energy flinging his Final Spirit Cannon at Frieza’s face – which was, by the way, absorbed by Frieza’s Death Ball. There is no way in hell that Bardock has anywhere near enough power to successfully shield himself from the Death Ball at this point in time.
He had barely survived. He heard screams behind him. He looked and saw Planet Vegeta become engulfed in the ball’s massive dose of energy.
All right, ignoring the fact that Bardock should be completely drained by this point and not in any way able to have survived in the first place, an entire planet is exploding behind him. He’s literally halfway between Frieza’s ship and the planet’s thermosphere. When Vegeta goes, it explodes outwards – enough so that Frieza’s ship is just out of range of the blast, and likely after having moved away, to boot. We’re talking chunks of rock and metal and rapidly-cooling lava and lord only knows what else flying out into space in all directions.
Bardock is going to get pummeled. And in the state he’s in right now, that will probably result in him dying. A lot.
Bardock was running low on energy, so he quickly lowered his power level.
He’s running low enough on energy to be easy pickings, but not so low that anyone with a scouter won’t dismiss his power signature as a rapidly-dying lifeform left over from the explosion. Is trunks1138 even paying attention at this point? If he lowers his power level (read: his ki) any more he’ll put himself into a coma. And Saiyans… probably can’t breathe in space? For long periods of time? According to Frieza?
…Fuck it, for the purposes of this, they can. But Bardock still has chunks of planet flying at him and is bleeding from roughly five bajillion different external and probably internal injuries. He’s essentially one of the walking dead by this point.
He noticed Frieza go back inside his ship.
But somehow Frieza didn’t notice that he missed somebody. Sloppy, sloppy.
He quickly flew over to it, and cut a small hole using an energy blast.
Okay, I don’t know much about all this newfangled space travel nonsense, but I’m pretty sure that’s horrible for the ship’s air pressure/quality and likely to have set off some kind of maintenance alarm. Also, if Bardock’s low on energy, how the hell did he fly against the vacuum of space sucking the ship’s air supply outwards?
He slipped inside, and sealed the hole back up.
Because fuck astrophysics or whatever.
He was in a long hallway now. He quickly entered a room for storage, and it was pitch black.
Would the room for storage be the storage room, chief?
Goddammit. Gimme a second, Patrons…
He made a small ball of energy so he could see,
You know, with as wide as Saiyan eyes generally are, I’d say they’ve got some pretty spectacular night vision. But that’s just me.
and noticed crates full of equipment. He quickly pulled a small towel from a nearby crate and wiped the blood on him.
Now is not the time for a celebratory literal bloodbath, Bardock. And why are there freshly bloodied towels in the storage room? In a crate, no less?
He then looked through the crates, finding a green Saiyan armor, blue pants like the ripped ones he wore, new Saiyan boots, and a Scouter. He changed into them, and sat in a corner. He let his energy ball decrease, and it was again dark.
Was he fucking naked before this? Granted, he just magically survived a Death Ball, but even canonically his pants manage to last as long as he does. And why is there spare armor in storage? Shouldn’t that be in some kind of armory elsewhere on the ship, and not floating about in an unguarded storage closet of unspecified size?
How could all this happen so fast? Every Saiyan is now dead. I can’t stop Frieza. Bardock though.
PTSD: You’re portraying it super wrong.
Then he remembered a Saiyan’s battle power increases after near fatal injuries.
Holy shit, how did he forget something about his own damn physiology? What the hell are you snorting right now, trunks1138?
He decided he would rest here, and then figure out a way to heal his cuts and wounds.
Well, best find yourself a nice comfortable crate to curl up on top of. Oh! Oh! Or you could pile a bunch of crates and bloody towels together to make a crate fort! Yeah!
“First, I’ll rest, then I’ll figure out a way to take out Frieza.” Bardock said quietly to himself.
…At the risk of inviting the DRD to do another big-lipped alligator song and dance routine, you really shouldn’t tell us things you’re going to have the character announce immediately afterwards. It’s stupid and…
He then fell asleep, although his mind was still racing.
Right, fall completely asleep in the middle of an enemy space craft whose air pressure alarms you just set off. Fantastic.
IT’S CALLED “TAKING A BREATHER,” YOU IDIOT. HOW HARD DID THAT CHUNK OF PLANET HIT YOU?!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Patrons, I have an angry DRD to talk to… or sing with. Whichever.