A/N: I find MasakoX's storytelling to be really evocative, especially considering he is usually only summarizing or sketching out little scenes. It made me wonder what this story would be like all written out.

Gine was the only Saiyan who worked in the mess hall, and she (mostly) liked it that way. It was lonely, sometimes, since her coworkers gave her a wide berth and didn't say much to her, but in a lot of ways it was better than hanging out with other Saiyans, who barely treated her like she was the same species. Her weakness stood out less next to beings who didn't judge their worth in power levels.

She was preparing the meat for the next lunch rush when Bardock came in the kitchen, causing the other cooks to scatter in fear. Gine was so startled to see him here of all places that she sliced through the tip of her glove, although luckily she missed her finger. Bardock looked at the ruined glove with disdain, but instead of commenting on it, he met her eyes.

"I have something to tell you," he said. He looked unusually somber. Normally he was easy going, not too bothered by anything. It was one of the things that Gine had found attractive about him, but she had been as surprised as anyone when he had agreed to couple with her. She'd been even more surprised when he agreed to do it again. She doubted there would be a third time, though. The results of that coupling were currently in the nursery, and a disappointment to pretty much everyone except Gine herself.

"What is it?" she asked. Bardock looked uneasily around the kitchen. The cooks were all huddled in the back corner, some of them with dishes burning on the stove in their absence. He stepped closer to her and lowered his voice.

"Frieza is going to blow up the planet," he said. His meaning didn't immediately penetrate, and once it did Gine brought her hand up to her mouth in dismay.

"That's awful!" she said. "But why would he do that? The Saiyans are his best soldiers!"

Rather than answer her question, Bardock looked surprised.

"Are you saying you believe me?"

Gine nodded.

"You wouldn't lie about something like that," she said. A rare look of respect entered his eyes, and she treasured it, although it was hard to care about such things in the aftermath of news like that.

"If you really believe me, then you've got to get Kakarot off-planet before Frieza gets here. We don't have much time."

"What are you going to do?"

"Go fight him, obviously," Bardock said with a smirk. Gine couldn't help but answer it with a smile.

"What should I do after that?" she asked. The smirk settled back down into something more apathetic.

"Whatever you want," he said, shrugging. "As long as it's not totally useless I don't care."

The remark stung more than it might have normally, coming on the heels as it did of something almost like camaraderie between them. But this apathy towards her well-being was more his usual style, so Gine shrugged it off.

"Be careful," she said before he rushed off. He didn't even turn around to acknowledge her words.

Without another glance at her terrified coworkers, Gine stripped off her gloves and hurried out of the kitchen, rising up the maze-like passageways of the main complex to the nursery. Once she got there she quick-stepped down the rows until she found Kakarot, easy to spot due to his intense resemblance to Bardock. He was also easy to spot because he was bawling his lungs out, making the baby next to him squirm and cry in response, but once she picked him up he stopped. She couldn't help but smile at that, despite everything.

Years of being on the bottom of the Saiyan totem pole had taught Gine how to stay out of people's way and not attract attention, so she made it to the pod departure area undetected. It was empty, all outgoing missions having been temporarily suspended. She would have found that suspicious, except now she knew why. She found a pod with a destination already programmed in, a planet so weak it was practically a joke mission, which was doubtless why an infant was going to be sent there. She wondered if it was the very pod Kakarot had been destined for. She placed him inside and then stepped back, ready to engage the startup sequence.

Upon being set down Kakarot had resumed crying, and Gine found her hand hovering over the button to engage the pod, unable to press it. Foolishly, she had asked to be present when Raditz was sent off on his own infant mission. It was not normal behavior for a Saiyan mother to ask such a thing, and the strange looks from everyone present had made it even worse when she actually started to get emotional. Seeing Kakarot in a similar pod, under even worse circumstances, made her actually start to tear up.

A Saiyan infant sent out on a purging mission was always retrieved before they were too old to be reconditioned. Raditz had returned in a few months time, already bigger and more self-sufficient than when he left. But if Bardock was right, Kakarot would never be retrieved from this infant mission. If he was lucky he would be found by some Earthling and be raised as one of their own. More likely he would simply destroy every civilization on the planet and then…

Hot, fat tears begin to roll down Gine's face. Even if Kakarot did complete his mission and killed all the earthlings, he would still have plenty of non-sentient indigenous life-forms to keep him alive. But what kind of life would he lead? He would know only killing, and nothing more. At best he would live out his days as a feral creature, barely more intelligent than the animals he hunted, and at worst Frieza would find him and kill him like he was planning to do to the rest of them. It was very possible all Gine was doing was delaying the inevitable.

In his infantile rage Kakarot was now flailing his arms and crying even louder. Gine bent forward without thinking to try to comfort him, but before she could, he accidentally smacked the internal door button. Before she knew what was happening the door had lowered and pushed her into the pod with Kakarot, where she lay in a jumbled heap. She felt the engines begin to hum to life, but from her upside down position she had no leverage with which to hit the emergency stop button. It was all she could do to hold on to Kakarot as she felt them both begin to ascend into space.

She thought several times during the next few minutes of trying desperately to turn herself around and gain control of the craft, but every time she thought of going back down to that planet, only to have to get out of the pod again and send Kakarot on his way, she couldn't do it. Maybe it was better this way anyway. Bardock had told her not to do something useless. Well, maybe this counted, maybe it didn't. But as she snuggled closer to her son and let the stasis sleep take her, she didn't much care which one it was.