Bardock groaned, feeling his pounding headache and fiery chest wake him. He could barely lift his body from his seat from the dizziness, his skin cold, clammy, and pale from the blood loss pooling around his boots. The pod was bathed in a worrying red glow from the emergency light above. "Entering Lantern airspace, battery at critical levels, destination inbound," the pod cycled, turning Bardock's attention to the sight before him.

"Is this another vision?" Bardock asked himself, staring at one pod barreling toward the blue and green planet that usually appeared in them. "No, there's two," he said, fighting the debilitating pain to sit up and lean forward to grip the controls. "Which means one of them is already there," he said, his chest tightening from the other possibility, "or he never made it." He didn't have enough energy to be angry, but he still felt his face going red with it. "Shit, just-" Bardock weakly punched the controls, sitting back in his chair hard with impacted, weak breaths. "-shit."

"Entering gravity field," the pod announced, trailing the second pod dipping under the planet's sky. "Engaging landing mo-"

Bardock blinked and the pod went dark. No lights, no sounds, just him. He gripped the manual controls with his shaking arms, watching his son move over the other side of the planet. Bardock looked down at the planet he charged headfirst into, sighing at the vision of drowning flashing before his eyes. He looked out of the pod window, seeing a densely populated city far off in the distance under the sunrise sitting right on the coast. "I can swim there," he said hopefully, his legs screaming otherwise, "maybe." The pod tilted forward, making sure he could see the unmerciful ocean below. He desperately pulled at the controls to tilt the pod right side up again, but they were as helpful as the blood loss in his situation. He sighed, merely putting his hands behind his head and his knees up to his chest to brace for impact. "Scouter, get a lock on that space-"

He hit the water hard, the glass crushing under the force of the crash and tossing Bardock headfirst into the ocean. He screamed from the salt and glass that reawakened his dulled wounds, trying to push the pod aside with his little strength while holding his breath with lungs that were on fire. He looked around frantically through the water with his burning eyes, pushing away from the pod itself and watching long, gray beasts with fins on their sides, one on their backs, and tail fins circling underneath him with soulless, black eyes and razor sharp white teeth.

"I'm not going to be somebody's lunch!" Bardock declared in his head, using the adrenalin to fire down into the water with a bright yellow energy blast that scattered them. He tapped his Scouter's earpiece and kicked through the pain. "Must keep going," he told himself, feeling his chest tremor and water slip in through his gritted teeth. The burst faded fast and the sea monsters now entirely surrounded him, reappearing in greater numbers with every blast. "I can't stop now, not while my kid's out there… I won't be able to pull through this if he blows everything here to hell!"

As he thrashed around, cutting through scales, tentacles, and fins, he lost air quickly. His limbs burned, his lungs begged him to give in but he fought through it. One of the gray beasts opened its mouth and Bardock swung him aside, staring right into the twin blue shining blades of a tall, lean and muscular young man with bronze skin, glowing green eyes, and bleach blond hair in a low buzzcut. He wore a red battle vest and durable black pants, it was clear that he was prepared to fight. Bardock recoiled from the surprise, bumping into the suckers of an eight tentacled demon. He fought against it but his strength had failed him, gasping in water and falling prey to the beast behind him. The young man nodded to some of the beasts, dashing down through the water at blinding speed. Bardock tried to follow him with his eyes as long as he could, eventually losing him and consciousness to the darkness.

Bardock reached straight up with a forceful cough, spraying sea water all over the white examination table he sat on. He was panicked, looking around frantically at his situation. "Wh-where am I?" he asked with a rawness in his throat to the empty, small, podular room of all glass. He was surrounded by the ocean on the outside of the glass, where hundreds of men and women in long, green coats carted people around on rolling stretchers in a complex, tangled web of clear corridors. "A hospital," he said to himself in disbelief, "in an ocean." He looked down at himself, hooked up to at least ten bags of different IV fluids and wrapped in red bandages on his midsection over his back. He wore black underwear with a hole cut out for his tail. "On an uncharted planet in Lantern territory," he continued, leaning forward with his head in his hands, "with a ticking time bomb that I'm responsible for halfway across the planet." He looked up again, seeing some of the intrigued faces of the passers-by staring at him like he was an attraction at a zoo. The people here looked man enough, with slender faces, long and pointy ears, and some with gills. He looked around for a door, instead watching the wall open as if it was made of foam. The young man who he encountered before strode in with a set of soldiers in gleaming golden armor flanking him.

"Good, you're up," he said with a calm, collected voice, "you lost so much blood, when I brought you here, everyone was surprised that you still had the energy to fight. For a minute, we were certain that you were going to die."

"What is this place?" Bardock asked. "I need to find my son!" He gasped at the language he spoke that was not his own, touching around his mouth and feeling a paper-thin, clear strip gripping the inside of his mouth and outlining his hard jawline extending into his ears.

"Calm down, calm down," he said, "your heart can't afford anymore abuse right now. You're on Earth, more specifically, Atlantis. The device in your mouth allows you to understand and respond to anyone speaking any language from here, so don't rip it out just yet."

"Who are you?" Bardock asked, looking up and not being able to see the sun. "The bottom of the ocean… how long was I out?"

"My name is Kaldur'ahm," he said, taking Bardock's Scouter from a guard and handing it to him. "You can call me Aqualad."

"I need to know the time, Aqualad," Bardock pleaded, "my son's out there, and if we don't find him by nightfall, then we're all going to be in deep shit."

Aqualad glanced at the heart monitor, watching it increase in frequency. "It's an hour past sunrise, still morning," he said, giving Bardock a little relief. "I heard your ship when you crashed, sadly we couldn't salvage it. Most of the electronics had completely shorted out, that headset of yours is incredibly tough though."

Bardock saw his reflection in the glass, using it to fasten the Scouter correctly. "Thanks for pulling me out," he grumbled, thinking back on what led him there in the first place. "What about my armor?"

Aqualad's face turned stern, cold. "Gone," he said. "So much was embedded in your back, the surgeon thought it was part of your ribcage before he cleaned the blood away. Leaving incisions open was a problem though, you started clotting faster than our surgeons could keep up with. We were able to save this, however."

Aqualad handed Bardock his blood headband. It was a tad washed out, with the redness faded, but it was the sentiment that counted. He tied it around his forehead. "I didn't mean to hurt your scouts back there, whatever they were. They just surprised me. It's been one hell of a day."

Aqualad watched him pull the needles out of his body with ease, feeling a tad queasy watching the wounds heal nearly instantly. "You said you had a son with you, yes?"

Bardock nodded. "My other one should be here soon. I don't know how Lantern planets deal with refugees, but none of us can go back."

Aqualad studied him curiously, trying to figure out if he had seen anyone else like him. "Lantern planets," he said, "go back where?"

Bardock walked toward the foam wall door, beginning his solemn tale. "Planet Vegeta, home of the warrior race, the Saiyans. As of yesterday, my sons and I are all that's left."

Aqualad's eyes widened at the grim statement, empathizing while realizing that he wasn't the right person to talk to about it, at least not while he needed immediate help. "Come with me," he said, handing him a pair of green pants and a gold shirt, "and get changed."

Bardock jumped into the clothes and followed him out, taking in the magnificence of the society that saved him. He'd argue that it was as advanced as Vegeta was, it certainly rivaled it in technical prowess. The walkways were lined with gold and emerald among tall, oblong but beautiful buildings lit by anglerfish street lights that gave it an enchanting, haunted aire. All roads led to a stunning golden palace that stretched back as far as he could see. Statues of great Atlanteans stood in a row in front of a large staircase leading up to the central palace and throne room, where the leaders standing in front of a holographic map of the city talked to heavily armored soldiers left and right. "Queen Mera," Aqualad said, "the visitor is awake. His issue's way more complicated than anybody else we've rescued before, but I think it might sound familiar to you, Aquaman."

The king and queen turned around, facing the displaced refugee. The queen was as fierce as she was regal, with fiery red hair, bright green eyes and pale skin like the other Atlanteans with a slim but curvy figure. She wore a green jumpsuit adorned with green scales and a golden tiara with a flowing, thin golden cape. "Bring him here," she said, summoning him up the stairs.

"You recovered quite quickly," the king, this Aquaman, said with a deep, authoritative and heroic voice that matched his rugged, muscular look and physique. He was at least six inches taller than Bardock, with sunkissed skin and an Olympian's physique that was heavily tattooed under heavy golden armor, long and wavy golden brown hair and beard, a scar cutting across one of his eyebrows over his emerald eyes. Bardock tapped his Scouter, seeing it flash a set of numbers at the bottom of his screen. Impressive. "After the hits you took, we expected you to be out for at least a week."

"Thank you for bringing me here," Bardock said, glancing around at the rest of the Atlanteans approaching the staircase kneeling, "your highness. I come from Planet Vegeta, where it and my race was eradicated by Frieza, tyrant leader of the Intergalactic Trade Federation. I need to find my sons and recuperate my strength so I can find him and make him pay for what he's done. This planet's already on his radar, so it's only a matter of time before he destroys us all himself-"

"Slow down," Aquaman said, sitting on his extravagant throne next to Mera's. "You won't be able to think straight if you don't take this in steps."

"Please," Mera said, "start from the beginning."

"And who is this 'Frieza?'" Aqualad asked.

Bardock felt a twinge of aggravation from being interrupted. He told them his story, starting from the Kanassan all the way to his crash. "My son was sent here to seize this planet, to completely wipe you all out and secure this planet for potential buyers who want to start an Empire. If we don't find him before nightfall, then his ship will relay a signal back to Frieza's elite to check it in. I can take out three or four of them, but once one of them goes down, we'll get swarmed. This planet will be gone in hours."

Aquaman and Mera were stunned in silence, staring at each other in unease. "This is disturbing news," Mera said, "but you mentioned you had a second son- do you know of his whereabouts?"

"Sadly, no," Bardock said, tapping his Scouter, "but with this, there's no doubt that I'll be able to find him." He realized that the royals were simply staring at the device. He also realized that, relatively speaking, he was in the boonies of this galaxy. "We call it a Scouter. It reads the unique energy signals of each individual granted it's significant."

"Why can't you locate your other son with it?" Aquaman asked.

"Newborns have too low of a power level to track at far ranges," Bardock said, "by the time the Scouter locked on, I'd be right on top of him."

"No offense, but how is a newborn supposed to take over an entire planet?" Aqualad asked.

"I'd rather you not find out," Bardock said, "regardless, once I find him, I can assure you that I'll neutralize any threat he may pose."

Aquaman and Mera were still processing everything the visitor had told them, but their minds were stuck on Frieza and his seemingly imminent contact with their planet.

"I have nowhere else to go," Bardock said, the feeling of being backed into a corner making him panic all over again. "Until Frieza's dealt with, I can't risk this planet's destruction too, for my entire race, for my sons."

Aquaman nodded approvingly at the declaration, with Mera tapping the end of her trident leaning against her throne to summon four Atlantean soldiers. "I will send search parties out for any ship that looks like yours," she said, "as soon as we have found him, you will be notified immediately."

"Aqualad and I will help you personally," Aquaman said, "I just need to confirm that what you said is true. Not to sound cynical, but this isn't the first time a plea for help has ended in a plot to turn Atlantis to ashes."

"Ashes," Bardock repeated, looking past the king at a black, shadowy figure wielding two handheld omega shaped blades skulking behind the throne. The statues had been torn down and the palace looted and razed to the ground with masked, silent warriors in black chasing Atlanteans to their deaths all around him. He blinked and the shadows had vanished, bringing him back into the moment. He looked up at the king in distress. "You're all in grave danger."

"What is this?" Mera asked with concern, gripping her trident warily.

"We have to go," Bardock said, "if you're going to help me find my son, I need to assure that Atlantis is still here."

Aquaman and Aqualad looked at each other with confusion, Aquaman hefting a golden, glowing trident of his own and following the strange visitor. Bardock quickly made it to the edge of the city, a thin wall in between him and the ocean. "What do you mean by that?"

"Ever since Kanassa, I've had disturbing visions of the future," Bardock said. "That's how I avoided my planet's destruction and arrived here. I can't control it, at least not yet." He turned to Aquaman with a grimace on his scarred face. "What do you know of a man named 'Black Manta?'"

The mentor and apprentice looked at each other again for reassurance that they were hearing the same thing. "What do you know of him?" Aquaman said.

"That he's gathering an army on a small landstrip off the coast of the nearby continent and he's going to kill you today if you don't stop him first," Bardock said, the steps leading into the dark trench flashing before his eyes. "I know how to get there."

"Uoam's Island," Aquaman said, turning sharply to Aqualad. "Stay here with Mera and keep our generals on standby, I'll go investigate the visitor's claims and give you a signal as soon as I discover this 'army.'"

Bardock stepped forward. "I'm going with you," he said. "Backing you up, it's the least I can do for keeping me alive."

Aquaman put a strong hand on his shoulder. "You're a warrior, I can tell," he said, "but Black Manta has plagued Atlantis for too long, with strength, speed, and wit comparable to my own. You have two sons out there who cannot risk their only relative perishing, not now."

"You're still recovering from the crash earlier," Aqualad said, "the fact that you're walking around right now is a miracle, so don't test fate. Any weak spot on you gets hit right now, you're done."

"You're going to need me out there," Bardock pressed.

"Manta would skewer you before you could complete a breaststroke," Aquaman said with genuine worry over the headstrong visitor, "you must listen to-"

Bardock spiked his aura, making both of them jump back with the air vibrating in his yellow energy field making his hair stand up on all ends. "Now I really want to meet him."

The ground rumbling beneath their feet was enough proof for the Atlanteans. "Aqualad, you're with me. Mera will flank us with her guard from behind."

"You and Mera will be going together?!" Aqualad said, staring at Aquaman stranger than at the stranger. "You'll be leaving the city defenseless, who knows how long this will take!"

"Not very long," Bardock said, folding his arms. "I don't have time for a drawn out fight."

Aquaman chuckled at the confidence exuded by the soldier. "Go, Aqualad."

Aqualad wanted to argue, but Aquaman's mind was set. Within minutes, Mera and a small squad of Atlantean guards were prepared for battle with them. "You're certain this man can hold his own with us, against Manta?"

Aquaman slipped through the wall, gesturing them to follow on his lead.

"A simple yes would have sufficed," Mera said, trailing Aquaman with Aqualad and the soldiers on her side.

Bardock watched them fan out into a fully offensive battle formation. Whoever this Black Manta was, they certainly had enough confidence to know exactly how they should approach him. Bardock shot through the wall and into the water after the team of jetstreams rushing toward the island in his vision. Bardock swam overhead like a looming beast, leaving all of the Atlanteans behind as he shot forward at double the speed. Aquaman and Mera looked at each other in shocked disbelief at his sheer speed, bursting forward as well to not be outdone. Bardock shot upward through the water passing over a coral reef and soared into the gray, stormy sky. He looked down at the long landstrip of sand, seeing the Atlanteans swimming as fast as they could below the water. The black shadows in his vision lined the strip in the hundreds to thousands with a wide dock at one end of the strip lined with armored submarines carrying munitions of all sorts. The leader of the warriors in black diving suits stood in the center of the strip, handing black, spiked mines on chains to his underlings. He was tall and fit, wearing a high tech armored black scuba suit with a glowing red outline and a wide, black steel helmet with ovular, shining red eyes. The blades Bardock saw in the vision were looped around a thick utility belt, but it didn't matter to him either way. Bardock landed at the edge of the shore, glancing back at the Atlanteans waiting for the warriors in black to notice. "Black Manta," Bardock said, his voice sharp and clear cutting through all the commotion.

The mine-wielding diver turned to the Saiyan clad in gold and green, parting his men to get a better look at the surprise visitor in the awkward silence. "Do I know you?" he said, his voice modulated to be extremely deep and brooding.

"You don't need to," Bardock said, "all you need to know is that I have some very time sensitive goals that the Atlanteans are helping me achieve and an invasion is something I don't have time for today."

Black Manta's hands went for his blades with hundreds of handheld laser blasters humming with power focused on him. "I guessed I asked the question because you're here acting like there's going to be a fight."

The royals and Aqualad rose from the water, stepping in front of the Saiyan with their weapons drawn. "Our guest tipped us off to your plot," Aquaman growled, brandishing his trident and falling into a fighting stance. "It's over, Manta. Turn in your weapons and come quietly, and no one gets hurt."

Manta laughed, falling into stance as well. "The entire royal family is here, in one place?" Manta pointed one blade at the stranger. "If usurping the throne was your goal, you should have just said that up front!" He crossed his blades, making sparks fly from the electricity coming off his buzzing steel. "Kill them all."

"How am I bringing him in?" Bardock asked.

"How are you bringing him in?" Mera said in disbelief.

"Alive," Aquaman said, darting toward Black Manta as the laser weapons prepared to fire, "all of them."

"Stand back," Bardock warned him, rising high in the air with his aura bursting again.

Aquaman looked up, watching yellow orbs of bright energy swell on his hands. "What the hell?"

Mera and Aqualad hopped back just as the first wave crashed into the sand to knock hundreds of warriors to the ground from the shockwaves. Aquaman slipped from the tremor and looked up at the visitor again. Bardock landed in front of the royals and held his hand out, acutely countering each laser blast with his own energy. Soon, the blasts passed through as if he wasn't there at all. When Black Manta turned around, however, he no longer had anybody to fire at him. His army laid face down at his feet, all rolling and groaning in pain. "So- f-fast!" Aqualad stammered.

"Did you see that?" Mera asked in shock.

"Barely," Aquaman grumbled.

"Like I said before," Bardock said. "I don't have time for any of this right now." He smirked, drawing his stance and beckoning him forward. "Don't make me hurt you."

Black Manta let out a battle cry and charged, lunging forward ferociously with his blades. "I'm going to make an example of your guest, Aquaman!"

"Such a sod," Bardock said, dodging a thrust. Bardock planted him in the sand with one right hook to the chest, arching him over his fist with a painful yelp before letting him drop.

"Holy shit," Black Manta stammered, trying to climb to his feet but falling on his back.

Bardock flicked his finger at the opponent, denting his helmet with an invisible ray of energy to knock him out cold. He turned to the three Atlanteans staring at him in awe, hefting Black Manta over his shoulder and walking up to them. "I hope this makes up for everything you've done for me," Bardock said earnestly, "but I think I'm going to continue searching for my son using his trajectory from the air. I just need to be safe, in case your scouts don't reach him in time." Bardock handed Black Manta to Aquaman. "Your highness," Bardock said to Mera, "if it's alright, I'm going to link my Scouter's communication with that of your search parties, so that I'll know right away."

"You're leaving?" Aquaman asked.

"I have to," Bardock said, "I can't stop, not until I have both of my sons under my surveillance. The survival of this planet depends on it, and like I said before, there's nowhere else I can go."

"How are you going to get food, housing for them, if you leave now?" Mera asked. "Just stay here, we will find him and, now that we know where your loyalties reside, will make sure he stays safe until you decide it's time for you to leave. The world up here is far less forgiving than ours."

"I'll take my chances," Bardock said, floating in the air, "and thanks again. Once I find him, I may be forced to take you up on your offer, but for now I can't just sit idly while he's out there."

"Wait," Aquaman said, pointing with his trident over to the city on the coast miles away. "If you need help while you're up here, there's a man in Metropolis who might be able to help you. I don't know him very well, but he's saved the planet time and time again. If this Frieza decides to make a visit, it'd be good to have both of us in your corner."

"What's his name?" Bardock asked.

"They call him 'Superman.'"

Bardock nodded earnestly. "I'll keep that in mind. Again, I cannot thank you enough."

Aqualad looked around at the quick but devastating carnage the Saiyan caused. "I think you've repaid that debt in spades."

"Goodbye, for now," Bardock said, taking off into the sky.

Mera shouted up behind him. "What's your name, visitor?" she said, watching him vanish among the raindrops pouring over the ocean.

"Bardock!" the Saiyan shouted back.

The three Atlanteans stared up silently at the sky, then back at the ground littered with their opponents. Aquaman stood over his greatest foe, unconscious and on his knees after one punch. "That was-"

"Terrifying," Aqualad said.

"Badass," Aquaman chuckled.

Mera's guards secured the submarines and weapons, taking them under the water and away from the landstrip. "He's making a mistake, going out on his own like that. I don't think he realizes just how much work he's going to be dealing with."

"I think he'll be just fine," Aquaman said.

"I'm not talking about fighting," Mera clarified. "I pray to Neptune that we find his son before he does."

"We'll see him again, my queen," Aquaman said, "if this Frieza has as far of a reach as Bardock says he does, we're going to be seeing him very often."