Dragon Ball: Altered Fates

DISCLAIMER: I don't own DBZ or Elfen Lied.

CHAPTER 15: Welcome Home, Goku

Last time, on DBAF, an unwelcome surprise awaited the Z Warriors, as it turned out that Frieza had survived, and was on his way to the Earth to take revenge on our heroes. However, a surprise ally appeared, a strange youth who claimed to be a Super Saiyan. Effortlessly dispatching the feared tyrant, the young Saiyan proceeded to do the same with Frieza's father, King Cold. For a while, it appeared that our heroes might have to contend with an even greater evil, but even more shocks were in store for our heroes, as the boy informed them that Goku would be landing in two hours — meanwhile, off in space, the events on Earth were being observed with great interest. Who is this mysterious species, and what connection do they have to Frieza and his father? Find out, today, on Dragon Ball: Altered Fates!

For the Z Warriors, the two hours could not have passed more slowly — Gohan, alit with curiosity, approached the spot where the lavender-haired boy was sitting, Kaede trailing a few feet behind him. The young Saiyan looked up.

"Um, excuse me, mister, but there's something I've been wondering," Gohan said.

"Is there something you wanna ask me?" the older Saiyan said, getting straight to the point.

"Yeah," Gohan admitted, scratching his head. "It's just... well, Frieza was one of the strongest fighters in the universe. He could blow up entire planets with just his finger. And, well... you killed him using nothing but a sword."

"Yeah, sure did," the older boy said.

"But then, how is that even possible?" Gohan asked plaintively. "I mean, if Frieza could destroy worlds, then logically, his body should be tough enough to withstand a few cuts from a sword like all of us are. Is there something special about your sword?"

The stranger laughed.

"Well, you could definitely say that," the other Saiyan said. "You see, my sword was made using a revolutionary forging technique that sharpened the edges to unbelievably precise levels so the blade is exactly one molecule in length. But that's not all. The sword was forged with a rare metal which acts as a natural receptor to many kinds of energy, including ki, so all I have to do is charge the sword whenever I wanna use it, and, as you just witnessed, it becomes tough enough to slice through someone as powerful as Frieza."

"That's so neat!" Gohan said happily. "Can you teach me how to make a sword like that?"

"Maybe someday," the stranger said vaguely, glancing off to the side.

Gohan followed his gaze and found that he was staring at Vegeta. Gohan looked between the two for a while, curious to why the stranger seemed so intent on Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince, however, was growing very irritated.

"What are you looking at?" he snarled. "What, do you like what you see?"

And the kid looked away, blushing in deep embarrassment.

"Yeah, that's right, eyes to yourself," Vegeta said. "I don't swing that way. I'm a real man."

Meanwhile, Chiaotzu was busy slurping on a soda while Tien sat nearby, arms folded.

"I'm bored," Chiaotzu complained.

"We only have to wait two hours, Chiaotzu," Tien reminded him. "We'll say hello to Goku, and then we'll go home."

"Well, I suppose I can wait a few more hours," Chiaotzu sighed, then he brightened. "Can we get McDonald's?"

"Chiaotzu, you know perfectly well we can't go back, ever since Launch held up that one McDonald's outside West City four years ago," Tien said.

"Oh yeah," the Jiangxi said, looking embarrassed. "Well, how about Burger King?"

Tien shuddered. "No. God, no."

Back with the stranger, it seemed he couldn't help glancing sideways at Vegeta, who growled in obvious annoyance.

"Would you stop doing that?" Vegeta all but spat at the young man.

"Oh, sorry, it's just that I, uh... like your shirt?" he said, more of a question than a statement.

"Well, I've already told you before, I don't swing that way, so unless you want to start something, quit staring," Vegeta snapped.

Meanwhile, Gohan and Kaede were sharing a heart-to-heart.

"How are you doing, Kaede?" Gohan asked her.

"Okay, I suppose," she said. "But this is all so weird... it's hard to follow at times."

"I hear you," Gohan said sympathetically. "But you just gotta hang tough and stick with it."

Kaede nodded. Gohan noticed her distracted look and laid a warm hand on her shoulder.

"Something the matter?" he asked kindly.

Kaede shivered at the touch. "Well, it's nothing, but... y-you know how I hear voices? Well... there's a new one now."

"I see," Gohan said. "What is this voice saying to you?"

"It just told me that I should confront Frieza, because I shouldn't miss the opportunity for a good fight," she confessed.

"Hm, it sounds a bit like Vegeta," Gohan stated thoughtfully. "Or any other Saiyan. Maybe this new voice represents your desire to fight people, but you don't want to kill, which is the reason it manifests as a voice in your head."

"That could be," Kaede admitted. "I'm... I'm just so amazed, sometimes, that you wanna be friends with me, Gohan, even after all I've told you, and all that Kami told us. You're really a nice boy and, well... I'm glad to have you watching out for me."

She gave Gohan a pretty smile, which he returned easily. At the same time, Bulma moved closer to Krillin and whispered something to him.

"Hey, now check this out," she said. "Is it me, or do those two kind of look alike?"

Piccolo, who had been listening in, shifted position so he was staring at Vegeta and the Super Saiyan youth.

"Well, now that you mention it... I do kinda see a resemblance," Krillin admitted. "Well, I mean, just in looks, of course — that other guy seems pretty nice to me, but Vegeta has the personality of a wooden stump."

"Well, he's a prince," Bulma said, as if that explained everything.

Apparently, Krillin didn't get it. "So what?"

She leaned down and spoke right into his hear.

"Princes have to act horrible," Bulma elaborated. "Like the world's not good enough for them."

Krillin looked at Vegeta, as if analyzing him in this new light, then quickly dismissed it.

"Vegeta seems more agitated than bored," Krillin said. "Like he's got a bad case of hemorrhoids or something.

Piccolo turned back to his rock-gazing, now furiously pondering what he'd just heard.

A resemblance to Vegeta, Capsule Corp insignia, familiarity with us, Super Saiyan... And then his eyes shot open, and he turned to face the youth, now floored by the new theory which had popped into his head. No, it can't be! Can it? But it's the only explanation which fits all the available facts.

"What is it?" Nail asked. "What have you discovered, Piccolo?"

Piccolo sighed. Since he fused with Nail on Planet Namek there had been periods where he had heard Nail's voice, and Piccolo was convinced that it was Nail, underneath his subconscious, although he wisely left Piccolo to himself most of the time.

I'll tell you my suspicions in time, Piccolo thought back to him. Until then, it's only speculation.

Nail said nothing in return, leaving Piccolo to his silent contemplation.

"Uh, hey, Piccolo, do you mind if I ask you about something?" a tentative voice asked behind him.

Piccolo moved his head slightly so that he was staring at Gohan out of his peripherals. Kaede hung nearby, curious but still too shy to get closer.

"What's that?" he asked, adopting the reserved, quiet tone he always shared only with Gohan, as his gruff baritone became almost... gentle. Fatherly.

"Well, I never got a chance to ask you this when we fought Garlic Jr., but, I was wondering..." he began. "Um... well, when Dende and the other Nameks left to resettle on New Namek you could have gone with them all, and I was just curious why you chose to stay here with us. They're your people."

"Well, I might join them there someday," Piccolo said, his tone coming off now as a wise mentor figure. "But for now, I feel like my mission is here on Earth." He turned his head to glance back at Gohan, a small smile forming on his face. "You see, Gohan, sometimes connections between people run a lot deeper than what planet they come from or what color skin they have."

Kaede moved forward, head tilted to the side, now thoroughly intrigued by Piccolo. "Do you really mean that, Mr. Piccolo?"

"Yeah, I do," he said. "It's probably not been your experience, but it's something I've learned from Gohan, and I'm sure you can too."

Kaede just stared at him for a few minutes before a hopeful smile lit up her face, and Gohan just chuckled embarrassedly.

Meanwhile...

"Why do you keep looking over here?!" Vegeta yelled furiously, now having completely lost his cool as he stood up, as though in confrontation. "Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before? If you like it that much you can have it," he added rather sarcastically.

The young man looked away quickly. "No, thank you. Sorry, I-I didn't mean to upset you."

"Then knock it off, kid," Vegeta growled, sitting back down on the rock.

Back with Tien and Chiaotzu, the three-eyed warrior was reviewing all that they'd seen today.

"Maybe Goku met this guy somewhere out in space, Chiaotzu," he theorized. "He has been gone a while.

"But he told Gohan that he hasn't met Goku," the small emperor pointed out.

"But how can he know the exact spot that Goku is going to land in two hours before he arrives?" Tien said, frustrating making his voice extra harsh.

"Maybe he's wrong!" Yamcha added. "Maybe Goku's not coming!"

Everyone glanced up into space wistfully, wondering whether their beloved friend really would return at the time the stranger said he would.

"Well, the only way to find out is to wait two hours, right?" Bulma offered reasonably.

"Yeah," Yamcha said grudgingly.

"Well, how long has it been?" Bulma pressed him.

"One hour," the ex-bandit sighed wearily.

"Well then... JUST CHILL OUT FOR ONE MORE HOUR!" the blue-haired genius shouted.

"Well, you can find another ride home!" Yamcha snapped.

"FINE!"

The intercom buzzed. Director Shiwagami turned to glance at it. Truth be told, he was looking for a distraction. Poring over all the statistical data that his researchers had gathered and deciding which was important enough to bring to that month's meeting of the Global Directorate was quite frustrating and time-consuming, and anything to take his mind off of equations which were just barely at his level of understanding was a welcome respite.

He pushed the button. "Yes?" he demanded.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, sir, but there is a Dr. Raze here to see you," his secretary informed him.

"No, it's no trouble at all," Shiwagami said. "Please, show him in."

The door to his office opened and in stepped a man with dark black hair framing his face, a scar across one cheek, and very plain, unremarkable blue eyes. He wore a standard lab coat over his shirt and trousers, but his pupils gleamed with cold, methodical intelligence. The man, Dr. Raze, walked up till he was standing right in front of Director Shiwagami's desk, and he bowed.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, Director, but we've made some new progress in our research," Dr. Raze said professionally.

"Of course," Director Shiwagami said, somewhat strained. "All you people ever want to discuss with me is ki — nobody ever comes to ask me how my day is or what's going on in my personal life. It's always the job first, isn't it?"

"Isn't that the purpose of a ki research facility, sir?" Dr. Raze said, confused.

Director Shiwagami sighed, turning to face the large windows behind his desk. Maybe I should put in a request to transfer to one of the new facilities designed to contain and study horned babies. My talents are wasted here.

"Sir?" Dr. Raze said probingly.

"Tell me what you've discovered," Shiwagami said.

"From what we've learned, ki seems to be made up of various different components," Dr. Raze explained. "There is a specific energy wavelength present in the body of every human that seems to act as the reserves for ki users. This wavelength is keyed to the body's chemical and cellular structure in a kind of bio-matrix system. As far as we are able to tell, this serves as a bottomless well of power that one can draw upon to harness greater levels of ki depending on the user's physical strength. This bio-matrix ties into the second component of ki, the psionic waves and neural patterns that make up our brains. Our minds appear to function as a regulator on the amount of ki one can call on, and the wavelength seems to be programmed to respond to specific changes in the makeup of the brain which processes thought waves and other mental commands."

"Hmmm..." Shiwagami said, as he turned back to face him, feeling now as though his brain were about to explode. "The Grand Director will be pleased to hear your results, I'm certain. This will aid Dr. Gero's cybernetic project greatly."

"But wait, sir, there's even more!" Dr. Raze piped up.

"Yes, and you can send it to Dr. Kakuzawa's facility, but for now, you, Dr. Raze, are dismissed," Director Shiwagami said. "Leave me."

"Sir, is that wise...?" Dr. Raze began tentatively.

"I said you are dismissed!" Shiwagami roared. "Don't make me repeat that order twice!"

And Dr. Raze hastened out of the chamber as quick as he could walk.

Shiwagami turned to once again face his expanse of clear window with a sigh. Yes, I definitely need a transfer.

The remaining hour passed in relative boredom — Gohan spent some time with Kaede, talking more about her problems and to try and see her through it; Krillin and Bulma talked, Yamcha stood there, skeptically, Piccolo stared out at the barren wasteland of Idiot Rock, Tien sat there, contemplative, and Vegeta was Vegeta, of course. Just then, there was a very loud clanking as something metallic clattered across the deserted stretch of land.

Vegeta shot a glare at Krillin, who had been moving the soda can with his foot.

"Oops!" Krillin said. "Uh, sorry."

Vegeta looked away, seemingly rather irritated.

Just then, the mysterious boy stood up.

"Hey, uh, that's it," he informed them all. "Two hours have passed. Goku should be arriving any second now."

"Huh?" Krillin said.

"Really?" Bulma asked, overjoyed.

"Oookay..." Gohan said slowly.

Kaede simply sat there, pondering over what was going to happen next. I can't believe this is really happening, that I'm going to meet Gohan's father. Oh, what if he doesn't like me? What if he thinks I'm no good for his boy?

"Of course he will!" the voice said rather haughtily. "No living being cares for our kind, not even a space monkey."

"Oh shut up!" the second voice interrupted. "He's a strong warrior and he will learn to care for us. If not, then we'll just have to MAKE him."

Kaede ignored these two voices, doing the best to quell the beating of her frightened heart... and then she shot up instantly, eyes wide, as she turned her head to the heavens high above her. Something had suddenly caught her senses, had caught the senses of ALL of the Z Warriors.

"Oh goodness, Tien!" Chiaotzu chirped.

"I know, I know!" Tien said, sounding overwhelmed. "I feel it now too."

"He's coming!" Krillin said as he jumped up and down happily.

"Man, that guy was right after all," Yamcha muttered.

"You're all nuts," Bulma said, shading her eyes to get a better view. "My woman's intuition can't sense anything at all."

Kaede glanced at her. "Well, I'm a girl, and I can sense him, Bulma."

"She's right, Dad's really on his way here!" Gohan shouted. And without warning, a dot appeared in the midday skies. "Look up there! DAD!"

Gohan's happiness was so infectious that Kaede found herself giggling, happy to see him so cheerful.

Suddenly, a circular, pod-shaped spaceship shot right past them, making contact with the nearby stretch of desert a couple hundred meters away in a fiery explosion of rock shards and sandy debris... and in a flash, all of the Z Warriors were flying over there, desperate to see their friend again, running, flying, and generally hurrying to get there as quick as they possibly could.

"Wow, look at that!" Gohan said as they stared down at the crater which had formed from Goku's ship. "What a crater!"

"Yeah, no kidding! Boom! What a landing!" Krillin laughed. "I hope he has some airbags in that baby."

"Why, to protect the ship from Goku's head?" Yamcha retorted smugly.

Gohan laughed. "That's a good point. Daddy is very hard-headed."

And then the ship's hatch slowly lowered itself to the ground as a blast of oxygen-fresh air spilled from the ship. A hand suddenly grabbed the frame of the ship as a shadowy figure pulled itself out of the tiny pod... and just when Gohan couldn't think he could take it anymore the well-known shape of his beloved daddy, Son Goku, emerged from the ship as Goku glanced around and saw them all standing there.

"Oh, hey guys!" he said cheerfully. "I didn't think you'd find me here!"

"Yay, you did it!" Bulma shouted as she leaped around like a cheerleader.

"You made it, man!" Tien said as he waved eagerly to the spiky-haired man.

"What took you so long, Daddy?" Gohan yelled as tears formed within his eyes.

"Oh wow, shoot!" Goku said. "How did you guys know I was coming?"

At long last, after more than two years in the depths of space, it seems Goku has finally been reunited with his friends and family, but how did this mysterious young Super Saiyan know the exact time and place of his arrival? Will Goku accept Kaede or not, and what of the strange secret organization meant to contain and study the Diclonii? What will their role be as the future unfolds, and what dangerous secrets will be revealed as time goes on? The answer to all of these questions will be answered with the next thrilling chapter of DBAF!