Chapter 2: Setting the pace
A few years later and there wasn't much change in Aikon's attitude towards Bardock. He had been offered to have Bardock sent away but his mate wouldn't have it. Matrika was determined to show her mate he was wrong to disregard their son. When Bardock turned three, she started teaching him to fly. He was only little so it took a while for him to get off the ground but he then grasped it naturally. Soon, Matrika was having trouble keeping him in her sight.
"Hey! Come back, you cheeky boy!" She laughed.
"Catch me if you can, Mama!" He giggled back.
"All right you asked for it!"
Matrika gathered her energy and sped off after her little son. Her experience was her advantage. She easily caught up to Bardock, grabbed him around his torso and cuddled him close to her. He started wiggling in her hug.
"I got you, Mr. Mischievous." She chuckled.
She started tickling him and he laughed out loud. This was just music to Matrika's ears. Bardock loved spending time with his mother. She could be firm but she was good fun.
Suddenly, the tickling stopped and Matrika stopped laughing. Bardock opened his eyes and looked up at his mother who was now looking to her right and down a little. She looked serious. Curious, he looked in the same direction as Matrika. There, he came eye to eye with his father. The saiyan commander stared at his mate and son embracing. The stare was intimidating Bardock, making him uncomfortable. Matrika felt the tension and held her boy closer to her. Aikon said nothing but spat at the ground then flew away. Matrika had a bad feeling. When they got home, it wouldn't be much better.
She was right. Almost as soon as Matrika and Bardock got home, Aikon made the atmosphere tense. Bardock knew the drill and went to his room.
"You shouldn't be encouraging him, Matrika." Aikon said, coldly.
"Why shouldn't I?" She replied just as coldly, "I was just teaching him to fly. Anyway, I thought you wanted him to be powerful? This is a good start."
"It's not worth spending your energy on him. You should be concentrating on the next one and making sure they are at least mid-class."
Matrika was a little stunned by this. Aikon was suggesting that having another baby would 'solve the problem'. As far as she was concerned, there wasn't a problem.
"We are not having another child. It wouldn't be fair on Bardock."
"The boy doesn't have a say. The moment he was born, he lost that right."
"You know; you are one big hypocrite. Need I remind you that you were like him when you were a boy? You only just became a mid-class as there was no class system introduced until we were twenty and you weren't exactly the almighty back then either."
Aikon couldn't believe the words from her mouth. He couldn't argue though. She was right. He was saved by a call to a mission over his scouter.
"I've got to go." He said.
Matrika said nothing. She was too angry. She kept her eyes looking at the floor even after he left the house.
Her angry trance was broken by a little voice calling her.
"Mama?" Bardock called nervously.
She turned to see his onyx eyes wide with distress. She crouched to his level and hugged him. The feeling of his little body against hers made her relax. But then he said a sentence that would set the pace for Bardock's childhood.
"Why does Papa hate me?" He asked.
She froze. What was she supposed to say? The three-year-old was bright. He had sensed the hostility from his father. Ok, saiyan fathers weren't known for their parental skills but most fathers at least liked their children and the children knew it. Bardock was just unlucky. But Matrika had to say something.
"When you were born," She said slowly, "Your father wanted you to be stronger than you actually were. This just upsets him."
"So if I got really strong, he might like me?" He replied.
Matrika said nothing. This seemed to be the conclusion Bardock wanted to go with. She watched him as he seemed to be thinking. It made her feel warmer. He did what she did when he was thinking. Both looked towards the floor when thinking. It was just a little mannerism they shared.
"I'm going to train really hard," He finally said, "I want to be stronger than Papa."
Matrika smiled softly at him and hugged him. She gently stroked his hair.
"You will, I know it."
This brings the story forward a couple of years. Bardock was now six years old and training hard, just like he said he would. He would spend almost every waking moment at the nearest training centre. Matrika often had to go looking for him when he had been there too long. At first, a lot of the adult saiyans weren't very tolerant of a little boy taking up one of the arenas and forced Bardock out of the way. But he didn't give up and eventually the adult saiyans respected him and let him train in peace. Aikon also had noticed his son visiting the training centres. He didn't let Bardock realise this but he was fully aware. But one day, the boy was in for a surprise, of the cruel kind.
One day, Bardock finished breakfast. He gave Matrika a quick hug then flew all the way to the training centre. At the entrance, the manager saw him.
"Good morning, Bardock," He greeted, "There's already an arena ready for you."
"Huh? Now?" Bardock replied.
"Yeah, someone's waiting for you."
Suspicious, the boy walked to arena 5 and walked in to it. At first it looked empty. That was until an energy blast skimmed Bardock's face. It left a slash across the boy's cheek. He made a quick back flip to face his attacker and was shocked. There was Aikon floating above him, just wearing his spandex pants and boots, his tail tightly wrapped round his waist. He was glaring evilly at his son. Bardock could feel his heart beat increase.
"So you want to be a warrior do you?" He said, "Well, let's get started."
Aikon's so called training methods were harsh. From the first move, Bardock was pushed beyond his limits. It was never ending. The monitoring team were finding it hard to watch. Bardock was fighting to stay strong as he was thrown about, kicked, punched and blasted. After fifteen minutes, Bardock finally collapsed on the floor through exhaustion. Aikon stood over him then turned away.
"Sorry to do it to you, Boy," He said, putting his armour back on, "But you need to learn your place."
Then, without even looking over his shoulder, he left.
Bardock lay on the ground almost lifeless. Why did his father do that? Being ignored was better than this surely. And where was his mother? Someone, though, did help him. A woman, same age as Matrika, dashed in to the arena, scooped Bardock in to her arms and carried him to recovery. There, Plenthor was cleaning a healing pod. He was shocked when the woman arrived with Matrika's son.
"Courne," He gasped, "What happened?"
"He was almost ripped to death by his own father."
Plenthor took the little boy and placed him in the tank he just cleaned and started the healing procedure. He then sent an apprentice to track down Matrika and bring her here.
Fifteen minutes later, Matrika burst in the room and went straight to the tank. Bardock was still unconscious with an oxygen mask on his face. Most of his injuries were healing but one wasn't. The first wound on his face. It was proving harder to heal. Matrika couldn't hold her tears back. How could anyone attack and hurt her son like this? Just six and already was experiencing a healing pod. Matrika could remember her first time. It was terrifying, and she had been much older than Bardock at the time.
"What happened to him?" She finally asked, shakily.
There was silence. The doctors weren't sure how to explain. But that just made it worse.
"ANSWER ME!" She bellowed, the saiyan rage exploding.
Inside the pod, Bardock was woken by the shouting. He couldn't open his eyes but he recognised his mother's voice. She was here, meaning he was safe. Despite the bellow, the doctors still remained silent. Matrika was getting increasingly angry until someone she didn't recognise stepped forward. It was the woman who brought Bardock in.
"Your son was tricked by his father," She explained, "The boy walked in to an arena and was attacked by Aikon. He held on for a good fifteen minutes but I think exhaustion got the better of him."
"Who are you?"
"I'm Courne. I brought Bardock here."
Matrika nearly hugged this new ally but she was more concerned about her little boy. She had to do something. Aikon had gone too far.
What's Matrika going to do? Watch this space. Next chapter, Bardock meets some new friends, one you will recognise