The Planet Vegeta... 24 years ago.
The son of a low class Saiyan warrior is born into Freeza's army.
His name: Kakarotto.
The Planet Kanassa.
A squad of low class Saiyan warriors ravage the inhabitants of this peaceful planet.
At the full moon, the Saiyans are transformed into their ferocious Oozaru form.
And with this great boost of strength, they utterly eliminate the Kanassian defenders.
The Saiyans behind the destruction are none other than Bardock and his crew. Bardock, the father of Kakarotto (title drop?)... He and his comrades, Toma, Selypa, Pumbukin, and Totapo, celebrate their victory. They managed to grab the planet well before their boss Freeza expected it. As a point of interest, they discuss why their boss desires such a planet; Rumor has it, a special energy exists on the planet that can give one powerful psychic abilities. Psychic abilities strong enough to see the future. (But, apparently, not strong enough to see that a Saiyan's weak point is his tail...)
Toma reckons that Bardock went a little crazier than usual. Celebrating the birth of his son, Kakarotto? Bardock denies it, noting that Kakarotto has little potential as a fighter, so he could care less about the infant. They encourage him to see the child after they return to Planet Vegeta, but Bardock ignores them.
Just then; Toolo, the last Kanassian.
And he strikes out at Bardock...!!
Toma takes no time in defending his comrade.
But according to Toolo, the damage is done.
Toolo claims that he has given Bardock the power of prophecy... the sight... vision of the future. And they are grim visions indeed. He has cursed Bardock with the ability to see his own people's demise, and the fate to be unable to change it, as they, the Kanassians, were. (Really? But nothing about their tails? Or blowing up the moon? Or making them a giant feast and sneaking of the planet as they eat?) With this final prophecy, Bardock kills Toolo... and then collapses.
On Planet Freeza, Nappa watches his young charge, the young prince Vegeta, conquer a group of Saibaimen without aid. Freeza's men are impressed, but Nappa isn't surprised the prince possesses such power. He is, after all, an exceptionally gifted Saiyan. But Vegeta is bored with training. He wishes to conquer a planet of his own.
Zarbon and Dodoria discuss Bardock's capture of Kanassa with their boss, Freeza. Zarbon is concerned that the Saiyans are growing too powerful. The prince, for example, is stronger than any they have known. Were more like him to be born, and they teamed up, they could become quite troublesome for Freeza's reign. Dodoria thinks he's being ridiculous, but Freeza doesn't find Zarbon's theories to be paranoid, but realistic. Something will need to be done about the Saiyans, and soon. But first, the crew that conquered Kanassa will need to be taken care of...
Just then, Vegeta barges in requesting a planet of his own to conquer. Zarbon is incredulous that he would dare come into Freeza's chambers without request, but Freeza does not mind. He is happy to fulfill the young prince's thirst for a more challenging objective.
Back on Planet Vegeta, new orders have come in to Bardock's crew. They are to leave for Planet Meat at once to clear out the population for Freeza. Though physically in perfect condition, Bardock's brain is having strange activity. As such, Toma and the rest leave without him.
Soon after his team leaves, Bardock awakens to a vision of Planet Vegeta's complete annihilation.
But not only Vegeta's destruction. He also receives visions of... something else.
Disappointed they would go without him, Bardock prepares to depart after them.
But before he leaves, he stops to see Kakarotto.
As he looks upon his son and his low Battle Power, more visions of Vegeta's destruction overwhelm him. He decides to leave.
But he is too late.
After defeating the inhabitants of Planet Meat, Dodoria and his elite squad sprung a trap meant for Bardock and his crew. They leave none alive.
No one, except...
A barely breathing Toma.
Toma tells Bardock everything. How Freeza betrayed them, how he fears the combined power of the Saiyan race, and how he plans to eradicate their entire planet. He begs Bardock to return to Vegeta, raise an army, and destroy Freeza before the Saiyans are wiped from the universe.
And then, Toma speaks no longer.
Aching with fury, Bardock unleashes his Saiyan rage.
Despite being distracted by strange visions of Kakarotto and Prince Vegeta, as adults, duking it out, Bardock manages to kill each of Dodoria's elites. Well, except for Dodoria.
(It was a good try though, mate.)
Undeterred, Bardock rises from the corpses of his fallen friends. He makes his way back into his space pod, and departs for Planet Vegeta to do as Toma requested - raise an army against Freeza. On Vegeta, Kakarotto departs for Planet Earth. And in space, Freeza closes in on the Planet Vegeta.
For a brief moment, Bardock, Kakarotto, and Freeza inhabit the same area in space. During which, Bardock is given another vision of his son's future...
His visions continue, even as he desperately makes his way across Planet Vegeta.
But his struggles to reach the other Saiyans are for naught. They do not believe him. Why would Freeza betray them? Bardock has clearly lost his mind over a harsh defeat. He shouts at them, damning them all to Hell. He doesn't need an army.
He collapses again...
And awakens on a strange blue planet.
On the planet with him, his son, Kakarotto...
He reaches for his child.
But only Freeza remains.
And the mysterious blue planet explodes around him.
(Whoa. Accidental epic foreshadowing, much?)
No army to aid him, and his friends dead... Bardock resolves to change history himself.
(Bardock strikes a pose with the Generic Freeza Minions who are lucky enough to become playable characters in the Sparking! series.)
In spite of it all, Bardock is not strong enough to make Freeza so much as blink. His last ki attack is snuffed out by the planet destroying Super Nova summoned by the space tyrant. His own men, Bardock, and all of Planet Vegeta are swallowed whole.
But before his death, Bardock receives one final vision.
Bardock goes to his death with a grin.
Deep in space, Nappa calls Vegeta over their Scouters to inform him that Planet Vegeta has been destroyed in a collision with a meteorite. Vegeta cares little, as he sits among the bodies of his latest victims. Nappa is shocked, but chooses not to argue. (For more information, see In Defense of Nappa.) Only four Saiyans remain. Or five. Or... six.
Okay, a small number of Saiyans that is forever fluctuating depending upon which movie you're watching have survived.
The Planet Earth, 24 years ago...
Son Gohan comes upon a crying child in his mountain home, Paozu.
He is a spirited boy with a tail. Gohan decides to raise him as his grandson.
But what to call him?
But of course! Goku! Son Goku!
"Goku! You're going to grow up strong!"