Dragon Ball Yugure Z by Son Goharotto

Welcome to Dragon Ball Yugure Z, my personal pet project. This is what I like to call a "multi-generational alternaverse epic." Expect a complex story spanning several volumes that are littered with cliff-hangers and titanic battles. The series is currently undergoing its second revision. Nothing major, I just felt the need to take out all that sloppy 'otaku japanese'. I disliked having to look up words after re-reading my own stories, so it should now be that much easier to follow.

DISCLAIMER: As much as I might wish it otherwise, DBZ does not belong to me. It's the property of Akira Toriyama, TOEI, FUNimation, et cetera ad nauseam. I'm not trying to make any money off of this and it's just a way for me to show my love of all things Dragon Ball. Well, except maybe GT. Bleah. I is teh poor, so don't sue me.

WARNINGS: As a whole, this series contains mature language, graphic violence, brutality, mature situations (non-lemon), and a touch of angst.

"Spoken Dialogue"

"'Layered Voice, a la Fusion'"

/Foreign Language/

Thoughts, Memories, and Telepathy

Volume I – The Nagareboshi Saga

Episode 01 – The Haunting Nightmare! An Unlikely Trio!

Silence. Nothing but silence.

It's always the same.

"FaaatthhHEEERRRRR!"

No...

Silence.

NO!

Again, it comes. The images. A grave of thousands. The tournament grounds lay in ruins. Mangled, charred corpses litter the stands; the innocent struck down where they stood. And then...

There, in the middle of the arena, a smoking crater. He lies motionless. Lifeless. Clothes tattered and blood-stained, body beaten and bleeding. His right arm is twisted grotesquely, broken in several places. Breathing comes in labored gasps, his lungs caged in by broken ribs. His young, boyish face bruised and swollen.

But his eyes. Eyes that stare wide into the night sky. Even with the glaze of unconsciousness, the emotion behind those two midnight orbs speaks volumes. An ambiguous tale, joy and accomplishment side by side with sorrow and loss. And in the end, oblivion.

"I'm sorry, father... I failed..."

Silence.

The beast. A hideous monster filled with an unquenchable greed for power. The boy is defenseless as the beast claims yet another victim. It is over in a moment, the boy gone, his body and soul consumed by the beast. It turns its grimace to the sky and sees me.

"GOHAN! ...You monster... chk, chkg... Gohan... nooo...hn, ch-chkk UWAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

A flash of light and the world is on fire, lightning tears apart the ground as Earth itself trembles. Flashes of energy swallowed up by an unnatural prominence. Everything fades to black and the light is submerged in darkness.

Silence.

It's always the same...

-----

A man laid in bed, covered in a cold sweat. He gasped for breath, his thoughts are a jumble of emotions. Fear. Sadness. Anger. All are familiar to him. But, none of them mattered anymore. Nothing does.

"Damn, not again," he croaked. His voice is hoarse and unfamiliar to him. He speaks aloud very little these days. Tired of havin' the same nightmare over and over. Haven't had a good night's sleep since...

He stared at the ceiling, struggling to find a happy memory, anything that can ease the racing of his heart. None came, his mind plagued with restlessness. Instead, he thinks--something, he admitted to himself, that he's never been known to do that much of.

The ceiling, he mused. He'd lived under this ceiling as a child, but that was a lifetime ago. He never thought he'd be living here again. When he first came back, he was mildly surprised to find that it was still standing. It was of sturdy, traditional construction, but still very old, something his grandfather built.

Restless, he tossed aside the sheets, damp with sweat. Standing up, his left knee creaked audibly. He went through a brief exercise, his movements mechanical by force of habit. When activity didn't stifle his unease, the man sat down by the low table in the middle of the one room house and drank deeply from a gourd of water.

On the edge of the table, a faded photo lied forgotten in its splintering frame. He picked it up to look at it. The glass was cracked and smudged, but his Saiyan eyes could still make out the faces. I was so young then, he would have said, but didn't; age meant little to his race. In the photo, his jet black hair was sticking out wildly, as opposed to now, which was more along the lines of unkempt. In the photo, his arm was slung around the small shoulders of his son in a rough embrace. All his friends were there, the old man, his wife, even Piccolo and Vegeta were present.

Looking at the people he called family, he could feel his throat tighten. He set the photo aside, face down.

With a heavy sigh, he got up and walked across the single room. On the far wall was a teak-wood case with a glass door. Inside hung a small orange gi with the kanji kame, "turtle", on its back. A sudden shift in the cloud cover revealed the faint starlight, making the glass door reflective.

For the first time in years, the man who called himself Son Goku saw his own face.

He was older now, no doubt about that. Forty-five or so, he couldn't remember. He never was good with numbers. The few wrinkles he did have around his eyes spoke more of sleepless nights than actual age. Other than a few aches and pains from constant battles, he was still healthy. He ran a hand through his hair, noting how it seemed to be graying in the moonlight. But what attracted Goku's attention was the feature that split his face.

What was considered by some to be a handsome face was marred by a long scar. Running from chin to hairline, the scar broke only just below and above the left eye. A constant reminder of his most crushing defeat.

Disgusted at the memory, the broken warrior walked outside, pulling tattered blue shirt over a torso nicked with scars. The night sky was clear and the stars shone brightly. The sky was beautiful and looking out into space provoked a feeling of insecurity and insignificance, emotions that were, at one time, entirely foreign to the aging warrior.

He began to wonder where 'It' came from. In the vast immensity that is space, which star system, planet or moon, did 'It' call home? Goku thumped his forehead with the heel of his hand, silently berating himself for such foolish thoughts. Yet he continued to wonder...

A sudden feeling of fatigue washing over him, Goku sat down in the dew-wet grass, paying no heed as the moisture soaked into his billowy pants. Leaning back onto his elbows, he just sat. He didn't know how long he had been there, but he was suddenly aware of the sun rising ahead of him in the east.

He watched as the sun cast a golden hue across the sky. The trees, the grass, the towering mountains and rolling hills of Paozu illuminated by the new-day sun. Earth was his home and his mother, a world he had once sworn he would protect, with his life if need be. A world that now bore scars worse than his own.

Claiming a headache to himself, Goku pulled himself to his feet and stumbled groggily into the small house. Dropping into bed, he fell into a restless doze, troubled by the pain of his past.

It's always the same.

-----

A young man stalked angrily from the small shop. He couldn't believe the exuberant prices these store owners were charging! The bags of food he carried weren't worth half of what he was charged!

"Again?" a young man asked and Goten turned to face the voice. His best friend Trunks stared at him with icy blue eyes through a curtain of lavender hair. "With inflation like this, I'm surprised the Capsule Corp coffers have lasted this long."

"Yeah, I'd like to thank your mother," Goten noted.

"..."

Goten winced and jokingly rapped his knuckles against his head. "Ah, my bad."

"Forget it. We're in the same boat, right?. C'mon, let's go home." Taking a couple of bags from Goten, Trunks turned and lifted off into the air, ignoring the gasps from passersby. Following suit, Goten shot up and followed just behind the lavender-haired Saiyan.

As they flew, Goten's eyes wandered across the city below them. From high up, it seemed desolate. However, the trained eye could spot people scuttling across the streets, going about their business while doing the utmost to avoid being visible from above. They were frightened, as if the very clouds would rain down acid. Even then, sometimes one could spot a reckless child, playing out in the open with the easy ignorance of youth, heedless of the fears that haunt their parents. Goten liked watching these kids, because it proved hope still existed. To be young... Ha, what'm I talking about, not like fifteen is old.

Finally, they neared the overgrown golden domes of Capsule Corporation. Even up close, it seemed abandoned. The main compound and many other secondary buildings were completely demolished; no evident attempts of repair could be seen. But if one were to travel to the back, one would find some few intact structures. Numbering no more than three, they included a small laboratory, what appeared to be a derelict spaceship, and the living quarters where Trunks and Goten were headed.

The two touched down and entered the apartments through a side door into the kitchenette. "We're home!" Trunks called, setting down his bags next to Goten's. Having recieved no response, "Papa!"

"I'll look for him," Goten offered. He jogged back outside and took to the air, quickly scanning the area. Seeing a soft rudy glow emanating from the windows of the spaceship, he zipped around to the entrance.

The spaceship, looking quiet neglected from the exterior, was actually well-maintained as a training room for its gravity manipulator. Dirty, cracked walls were merely a camoflague hiding the sturdy, reinforced walls that had protected it from destruction. As oft occupied as the kitchen, Goten and Trunks had spent many years inside its thick walls, honing skills for a battle they didn't quite understand.

Landing on a support beam, Goten peeked inside one of the circular windows. Within, Vegeta–by far the eldest of the group–was furiously sparring with his shadow, a look of rage on his face. Deciding that disturbing the warrior would be suicide, Goten quietly slinked away. For reasons unknown to the teen, Vegeta sometimes had moments of intense pique that were always best avoided by his young charges.

Back inside the kitchen, Trunks was busy organizing the groceries. Fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator, bread and rice in the cuboards. Obviously the work of the obsessive compulsive. Vegeta may be the alpha male of their little pack, but Trunks is king in the kitchen. Whistling a little tune as he worked, he glided around the kitchen like a pro, preparing the evening meal. Using an arm to sweep some empty candy wrappers--one of his father's many vices--into the trash, he pauses at an unexpected clatter. Reaching into the trash, Trunks pulled out one of his mother's last creations: a Scouter.

Many years ago, she had worked hard to recreate such advanced technology to help in a past battle. Trunks vaguely recalled seeing his mother from his crib, tirelessly working on such projects. One day, Vegeta had been using the Scouter and Trunks was curious enough inquire of its purpose. Instead of harsh remark or barked command to resume training, Vegeta was quiet, as if saddened. Calmly explaining it could see things they could not, Vegeta almost avoided mentioning that Bulma had fashioned it. In fact, Trunks mused, the few times his father did speak of his mate, the Saiyan spoke only insults, cursing her for ugliness, or stupidity, or any number of things the two boys suspected to be quite the opposite.

Returning to the present, Trunks slipped it into his pocket and walked outside, heading towards the lab. Turning a corner, he jumped back, suddenly faced with the carcas of a giant saurian, sans head. Vegeta's contribution to dinner, no doubt. With civilization pushed back by the apocalypse, the great beasts of nature retook much of their former territory and the three Saiyans were never wanting for a feast. Trunks contemplated what to do with it as he circled the dead beast and entered the laboratory.

The interior was dark and would have been pitch black if not for the faint glow of the few machines they did know how to use. Automatically reaching for the switch, Trunks flicked on the master lights, instantly illuminating the room in a bath of white florescent light. Several bulbs were missing and more than a few flickered uncertainly. He crossed the room to the work bench, passing the regeneration tank and a rack of fighting jackets; more of his mother's inventions. After removing the device from his pocket, he set it down on the table, not immediately noticing the photograph that fell to the floor.

Bending over to retrieve it, Trunks held it gently with a faraway look on his face. It was a couple, and not one he was unfamiliar with. In the photo, a man with long spiked locks had a young blue-haired woman in a bear hug, giving the surprised girl a predatory grin that Trunks suspected had little to do with eating. Well, not food anyway. A personal moment to be sure, but it was also the only image of his mother that Trunks possessed. Needless to say, it was quite precious to him.

A head of wild black hair poked through the doorway, and Goten smiled. "Found 'em."

"Training?" Trunks asked, tucking the photo back into his pocket.

"Yeah, but if he's as hungry as I am, he'll be finishing up soon," Goten grinned.

"Roger that. Do me a favor: fillet that damn beast out back and stick as much as you can in cold storage, I don't want it exposed to the weather like that."

"Sure thing," Goten hurried away.

Crossing back to the entrance, Trunks gave the room one last nostalgic sigh and flicked off the lights.

-----

At dinner, no one spoke. As the fashion of their culture, the three Saiyans ate quickly and excessively. It wasn't unusual for plates and bowls to be emptied in seconds. But tonight, Goten seemed without appetite. The young half-Saiyan poked idly at the food on his plate, lost in thought. Finally, Goten broke the silence. "Who were my parents?"

Vegeta continued to eat.

"Uncle–"

"I heard you."

"Soooo... who were they?" Goten said, trying to act nonchalant.

Vegeta looked up, staring into Goten's eyes. For a brief moment, the Prince of the Saiyans looked almost pained. "A...a low class warrior and his human mate," came the reply.

"That's all?" Goten pressed anxiously.

Vegeta said nothing, his obsidian-black eyes staring into Goten's own, boring into the back of his mind. Surprisingly, the prince looked away first, turning again to his meal.

No one said anything for the rest of the night. After dinner, Vegeta and Trunks went to bed, though the former would be up much sooner. Goten, however, stayed up late, watching the stars.