Chapter 1: The Suburban Boy

            The proud warrior stood unflinching before the creature of unspeakable evil.  After they stood staring for what seemed like an eternity, the warrior summoned all of his strength and attacked.

            Robbie Barnes watched unblinking as his hero battled to the limit against his age-old nemesis.  Suddenly, Robbie cried out in horror as disaster struck.

            "Hey Mike, move it!  I can't see the TV!"

            "Chill out!  You know Vegeta's going to get his ass kicked anyway."  Mike said.

            "That's not going to happen this time!"

            "Vegeta's a loser, you know that, and Toriyama's never gonna change that!"

            "You bastard, take that back!"

            "You know it's true.  Vegeta'll get pounded, then Goku'll come in and save his ass.  LikeAlways."

            "DIEEEEE!!!!"  After screaming this, he launched himself off the couch and tackled his friend.  Such skirmishes had been common for the last few weeks as he and his friends watched the newest episodes of the Namek Saga of Dragonball Z.  Robbie remembered the exact moment he heard the news.  He was watching another old( but no less exciting) episode of DBZ when a commercial came on announcing that a new batch of episodes was being released by Funimation, Inc.  No sooner had he heard this, he was on the phone with all of his friends, all of which were die-hard DBZ fans, and inviting them over to his house to watch them.  He hadn't exactly asked his mother for permission but knew that as soon as he spoke the words "I'll take responsibility for them," she would be like putty in his hands and let him do whatever he wanted (she had a soft spot for the word "responsibility." 

            "Hey you two, cut it out.  Other people are trying to watch this you know.  And could we please save the swearing for school hallways and the streets?  Yes Robbie, I'm talking to you too."  Robbie and Mike both looked up to see Dr. Malcolm Barnes, Robbie's father, looking at them sternly.  Dr' Barnes was a tall, lean man of forty-two, but looked to be in his only his early thirties.  Beneath these youthful looks, however, was a strong and ordered mind, which had already created many great things, and thought of many great ideas.  Also, with his neatly trimmed beard and mustache, bushy eyebrows, and closely-cropped hair, he looked every bit a scientist.

            "Sorry, sir."  The two boys cried out in unison.  Dr. Barnes had been present for all the new DBZ episodes.  When asked why, he simply stated "it pertains to a certain experiment I've been working on" and that was all.  He didn't just watch the shows either.  He would occasionally take out his notepad to jot some notes, and could often be heard mumbling to himself.  Needless to say,  Robbie and his father sat alone on the couch.  To Robbie, it seemed like his father was almost studying the episodes.  For what was anyone's guess.

            However, studying was  what his father did best.  Dr. Barnes was a well-paid, high-ranking physicist working for a private lab in Las Angeles called FutureTech Inc.  It was a small firm but was involved in several top-secret contracts for the U.S. government.  Dr. Barnes had always assured Catherine that he wasn't working on weapons or anything military, but never went farther than that in describing his work.  However, Robbie wandered down into his father's basement study occasionally and took a peek at his books and notes.  Most recently Dr. Barnes had been reading up on something called quantum physics, but Robbie didn't have a clue what that was.  The books were no help either, since they contained only long words and even longer equations that made no sense to a teenager like Robbie.

The episode was over, and all of Robbie's friends cleared out.  This was his dad's time to watch the six o'clock news.  Catherine came in and sat while Robbie went upstairs to read the latest manga from Gundam Wing.  Robbie breathed, ate, and slept anime.

"You know honey," Catherine said as he started up the stairs," you should watch the news once in a while instead of looking at cartoons and comic books.  You are a very intelligent boy and you should expand your mind."

"Okay Mom" Robbie said.  He added under his breath 'when Vegeta confesses his undying love for Bulma, then turns around and tells Trunks what a great boy he is.' That said, it was time for Gundam Wing.  Robbie flopped on his bed and absorbed himself for almost two hours.