"The universe is building up to something big," North Kaiou-sama murmured, suddenly all business. "I can't tell what it is, but it's going to be big."
Gregory was silent. The cricket had no idea what the blue deity was talking about.
"Oooh aah aah aah," Bubbles murmured, sounding both mystified and bewildered. Somehow, it seemed to Gregory that the monkey's tone of voice had summed everything up.
Bardock watched in sick horror as Dai Shinnoma's massive free hand rose almost languorously, wrapping itself about Raditsu's neck in a death grip. The hand holding Raditsu's collar loosened, also wrapping about the Saiyajin's neck. Raditsu struggled against the iron grip, but his efforts were in vain.
"This should be amusing," Dai Shinnoma remarked gleefully. "First I'll kill you, then I'll kill the rest of these pesky little insects. I enjoy swatting insects, did you know that?"
"Bastard," Raditsu croaked.
Dai merely smiled at him, then began to squeeze.
Blood fountained from Raditsu's mouth to splatter across Dai's face. The demon didn't even flinch; in fact, the blood across his snout seemed to please him, and he began to squeeze even harder.
Bardock couldn't stand it anymore. "STOP!" he roared across the plain.
The baleful eyes of the demon shifted to the elder Saiyajin. No verbal response emerged from that horrible muzzle; instead, the iron grip about Raditsu's neck tightened. The gold of Raditsu's hair slowly faded back to black as his ki level plummeted.
"I'm... begging you," Bardock choked, the words catching in his throat. He didn't give a damn if he sounded pathetic; it didn't matter. "Don't kill him. Take me instead."
"I think not, old man," Dai responded. With a negligent gesture, he hurled the barely conscious Raditsu to the ground. The limp body hit the earth with a thud, a sound that was deafening to Bardock's ears, magnified a hundredfold by the sudden rage escalating within the old fighter's body.
Still smirking, Dai Shinnoma flipped Raditsu onto his back with one foot. "Now comes the REALLY fun part," he leered, placing his right foot on Raditsu's chest and pushing down hard.
A scream of agony burst from Raditsu's lips, a scream broken by a fountain of red blood. The scream faded, leaving only Dai Shinnoma and the silent body of Raditsu.
And suddenly, something within Bardock's mind snapped.
Raditsu had looked up to him, strived to be like him. His efforts had earned Bardock's pride.
And now he was gone.
"What low endurance," Dai grumbled. "I was hoping for at least one more scream."
The last threads of the rope that was Bardock's composure suddenly snapped. Rage consumed the grizzled veteran's mind, burning a brand into his brain. Unable to restrain his fury, he threw back his head and howled a cry of mindless fury.
Not far away, Kakarotto watched his father through drooping eyelids, drawing on what little ki he had left. Even in his battered state, he could feel the impossibly massive rise in Bardock's ki. "How... is this possible?" he murmured weakly. "I thought... I thought that Ultimate was the highest level..."
As Kakarotto and the others stared, Bardock underwent a transformation. His huge muscles, expanded by his Ultimate Super Saiyajin form, began to grow smaller but no less packed with power; his torso also began to shrink. In fact, his entire body steadily grew more slender as his hair flashed and jutted out a bit more, rising into a crown of golden spikes. Despite his smaller frame, it was obvious from the sheer ki rippling from his being that Bardock had attained a level of power superior to Ultimate Super Saiyajin.
Dai Shinnoma looked quite dumbstruck, standing there and staring at Bardock, ignoring the dust clouds blasting out in all directions from beneath Bardock's feet.
The battered old man's voice finally lowered, fading away into silence. The only sound was the roaring of the dust.
"Bardock...!" came Broli's awed voice from somewhere to the left.
[I knew it!] Kakarotto thought to himself. [Father has attained a new level of power... His rage has allowed him to step over the threshold and reach the second level of Super Saiyajin!]
Bardock didn't notice the others. His attention was focused wholly on the demon who had murdered his eldest son. He experienced no satisfaction at the fear on Dai's face; indeed, the only emotion he felt was pure, unadulterated rage.