"I'm sorry I couldn't-" Tora's voice cut off. His ragged breathing ended sharply. His lids closed and his face froze into a permanent expression of defiance.
"Goodbye, Tora," Bardock replied, quietly. He knew that Tora couldn't hear him, but he couldn't remain silent. If he didn't, it would feel like a real parting. "You were my best friend," he added. He had never really expressed to Tora how grateful he was for the bond they shared. Tora was like a brother to him. And now, he was gone.
There was nothing to be done and Bardock knew that. Though he managed to voice a farewell to his friend, he wasn't quite ready to say goodbye. Bardock looked into Tora's face; he was still smiling though he had suffered much abuse at the hands of Dodoria and his men. It didn't make any sense.
He gently laid Tora's head on the harsh, unforgiving terrain. As he removed his hand, he noticed the crimson that coated his skin. Bardock had seen blood many times before. He had seen the blood of most creatures he encountered. There was something calming about it, something soothing. Throughout his life, blood had always had a positive connotation. It had always brought him a sick sense of accomplishment to see another living creature drenched in it. But not this time. He brought his hand closer to his face, studying the red stain. He flexed his fingers. The warmth brought a sick feeling to his stomach. There was no satisfaction, only anger and sorrow. All of the positive memories of the color were gone. There was nothing that could change the feeling of emptiness he held now. Everything about the once familiar substance was foreign. Bardock shuddered at the smell and the sight. He flexed his fingers once more, hoping that the unfamiliarity would disappear.
Tora's blood felt increasingly unnatural on his hand. He couldn't bear to stare at it any longer, yet somehow, he couldn't tear his eyes away. He looked back to Tora's face, the same crimson staining his tanned skin. Bardock had seen Tora covered in his own blood before, but this time the color seemed damning; anything in the place coated with crimson was lost to him.
Bardock noticed a white cloth tied to Tora's arm. It seemed to be the only thing that was almost completely clear of the color. He reached for it, eager to remove the crimson from Tora's face as well as his hand. Once Tora's face had a semblance of normality, Bardock stood, surveying his horrid surroundings once more. He looked from Borgos to Fasha to Shugesh. All of their eyes were sightless, lifeless, and all of them were covered in the same color: crimson. He tightly clenched Tora's white cloth in his hand. The sight of his fallen comrades made him both weak and angry. So Frieza was afraid he was growing too strong? Then, Kai be willing, he'd give Frieza a reason to worry he was too strong.
"I promise," he whispered to his crew, "Somehow, I'll get them for this, or I'll die trying."
Bardock's hand was becoming numb from his tight grip on Tora's white cloth. He released his tight hold and looked down. The once pure white was now stained with the same color as everything else: crimson. The color still disgusted Bardock, but he wasn't about to toss the cloth aside. He would keep it. It would serve as a continual reminder: a reminder of who he was, what he was fighting for, and what he could have become.
"Frieza has taken our loyalty and paid us back in our own blood," he muttered, angrily voicing his thoughts aloud. He looked back up at the destruction around him, a fiery new determination in his soul. Today was the day that his service to Frieza was officially terminated. He wouldn't carry out that pig's orders any longer. Not when he and his crew had sacrificed so much and gotten nothing for it.
Bardock's thoughts were interrupted by the harsh beeping emanating from his scouter. He turned to see what new threat had arrived. Dodoria's men. He turned to face them, still clutching the newly crimson strip of cloth in his fingers.
So this is where it begins.