Disclaimer:
All DBZ characters belongs to Akira Toriyama.

ERASE AND REWIND

Chapter One: Train Of Thoughts




Purple thunders were passing before his eyes as his ship was flying through the temporal tunnel that would bring him back to his time. After the first minutes - or were they hours? - Trunks had began to get used again to the strange look of the scenery around him.

No! He shook his head to chase that last thought. One could not get used to such a place. You could just learn to fear it less.

Trunks thought that perhaps after a dozen more similar travels through the time continuum, he'd get this feeling of habit, linked to the routine and monotony. But, in theory, this would be one of his last travels. Two more after this one, and he wouldn't have any acceptable reason left to use the time-machine again.

He wondered again what would be the consequences of such travels on his organism. He had discovered a long time ago that the time couldn't be measured during such travels. He had tried to make a sensory estimation, but he had made the bitter discovery that his body internal clock seemed to follow rules that were totally alien to him. It was therefore impossible for him to know how much time was flowing.

The duration of the travel could have been some minutes, some hours... but also some days or even years... In that place out of time, his body wasn't undergoing any of the usual agin signs, even tiny, such as hair growth, or feeling like hunger or thirst. Even if he was able to breath and move, his body clock seemed to be stopped. In a place like this one, would he live even centuries, none of his cells would age of one second, and he would never be obliged to feed or drink to ensure his survival...

Like a cyborg...

That thought brought him back to the mission he had just finished honorably in the Past. Honorably and not brilliantly, as his interference in the Past - initially made in order to prevent exterminator cyborgs to destroy almost completely the human kind - had provoked the emerging of new violences and the arrival of a new type of organic cyborg named Cell. The fights that had followed could have thrown the humanity to the global annihilation, fate even worse than what he had faced in the Future, where humans managed more or less to survive, as long as they were remaining hidden from the cyborgs.

But hopefully, the ally forces had adapted themselves, wonderful humanity able to organize itself in case of crisis to show unsuspected resources in order to prevent the total annihilation. Sacrifices couldn't have been avoided, but new powers had appeared. From now on, Gohan would be far stronger than in his own future. And the young Trunks would have a father taking care of his education...

His father...

Trunks allowed himself to a moment of nostalgia, remembering his first meeting with the Saiya-jins prince. How the latter had act with cruelty in the first times, until his son had proved his worth in the Room of Spirit and Time. And even there, Vegeta has acted with harshness. Only Trunks, who had lived with his father a whole year, was able to decipher the gentle tones and the fatherly tenderness in the usual public insults. Only one time, Vegeta had displayed his love for his son, when the latter had been killed by Cell.

Trunks remembered that moment with a strange precision. The lightning ball, coming towards him. Part of his mind had apparently understood what was about to happen, while the other was still under the shock of realizing that Cell had survived the explosion. He was sure he could have avoided the laser... And in the same time, it's the eventuality to reach such a speed that had scared and immobilized him.

He remembered of the strange pain at the moment when the laser had pierced through him. He had flew backwards and hit the ground. But already at that moment, he was realizing the extent of damages, with as conclusion that he would not survive. How had he been able to think so coldly about himself in that moment? Perhaps was it one of the strangely analytical behaviors the brain could adopt independently of the emotion; and as the body was dying, the brain was continuing the analyze of the situation as coldly as a...

Computer...

Trunks shook his head. He didn't like the direction his train of thoughts was taking. He came back to the instant of his death. As his body was struggling against the death with convulsive movements, his brain had faced all the possibilities, trying to focus the blood flows by still intact vessels and veins so that the blood would still irrigate the heart and the brain. But, considering the important damage he had undergone, rapidly all the alternative had gathered towards the same conclusion: if there were not very soon an external help, he would die. He had slowed down his vital functions and managed to remain alive about twenty minutes, but the medical help hadn't arrived. He had nevertheless sunk into unconsciousness with a certainty. I'll be back.

And then the absolute darkness. The silence.

During perhaps a fraction of a second...

Then he had come back to consciousness and had opened his eyes on a black sky. During a short moment, he wondered if he had really opened his eyes, but had gained the strange certainty that his body was functional again and that his wounds had disappeared. He had raised on his elbow and had noticed that his skin, visible through the whole in his armor, was intact. Raising his head, he had seen his friends, and behind them, the huge dragon. He had understood; he had suspected it at his death moment: the others would resurrect him.

Trunks passed unconsciously a hand at the level of his former wound. The smooth skin, covering the firm muscles, was betraying nothing of his former death. He thought about it a moment, and judged preferable not to reveal at once this little detail to his mother.

His mother...

He wondered again how the days had flown since his departure. He was hoping that the cyborgs hadn't found the Base...

And then a memory came back to his mind, suddenly... The same memory as when they were in the plane, leading Goku to a safe place, and that Gohan had asked him about his life in the Future.

Trunks had looked at him for awhile, still making the parallelism between this Gohan and his Gohan, than had sighed. Afterall, if the events were to repeat, Gohan had better to be prepared to what was going to be. Perhaps would it be enough to save his life in the future. Perhaps that it was precisely why he had been sent in the Past. He had risen on his feet and had approached the window before starting his story. His friends knew already the big lines of the life in the future; therefore Trunks decided to focus on the events that had preceded his departure.

He could see it as if it had happened yesterday...

His mother, giving him The Mission. She had summoned him as he was coming back from a mission with a part of his troops. They had found food cans in a factory underground; a mission somehow routine, if it wasn't for the new horrors he and his men had faced: at lower levels than the one where they had found the food reserves were laying the corpses of several dozens of civilians burned alive and in state of advanced decomposition. They easily pieced together what had occurred: classical scenario, while giving the false impression of attacking randomly, the cyborgs had hunted down the humans following a specific pattern in order to oblige them to take refuge at the same place. And when all the preys had been stuck in the undergrounds, the cyborgs had come and had set the whole level in fire.

That sight had undermined the moral of the troops which had discovered it, and that was also part of the cyborgs' purposes. The men who should have returned to the camp, victorious with the provisions discovery, had returned silent, and demoralized. As soon as he was arrived, Trunks had been summoned in his mother's laboratory, and she had announced him that the chronoporting was ready and that he had to leave to the past right away.

Trunks had tried to protest, but his mother had made him understand that even if the rebellion seemed to stay afloat, the numbers were clearly showing that they were loosing more and more against the cyborgs. They had no other choice.

Trunks had walked in the base among the survivors and had considered his "army". Young and old people, who were fighting with the energy born from despair against an enemy too strong. The thought about all those soldiers who had fought by his side during all those years, and who had been massacred by the machines, was turning him crazy. This world wasn't beautiful. Neither good.

Trunks desired fervently the end of this war to start building a New World and correct the mistakes of the past. His dream was to form an honest government where the secret actions would be forbidden, the leaders directly accessible by the citizens and ready to account for their actions, the territoriality mastered and controlled. But even if this dream could be reached, Trunks knew he would never be able to have a normal life. No one else would. After the horrors of these latest twenty years, the scars over the human kind and over the Earth were too deep. A whole life would be necessary to heal them, so that the ghost of tortured souls could find peace, and so that people could at least start to appreciate their dream of peace. That dream seemed so inaccessible, moving always back towards the horizon whatever the distance covered to reach it.

Trunks considered again his men. Curiously, they were all wearing a type of cloth similar to his, as if - by respect to the leader - it had become the official uniform of this new army, risen from the ashes of the first wave of attack, when Trunks had appeared suddenly in front of the cyborgs and had managed to take them away from a village threatened of destruction. Those who had seen him coming back alive afterwards, and who had witnessed a part of the fight, had instinctively chose him as leader. And even if Trunks hadn't exactely appreciated the idea at the beginning, he had understood that humans needed a human-looking leader to get their courage back and stop playing the designated preys for genocidor-cyborgs. Most of the soldiers had chosen the sword as weapon, having understood for a long time that guns and other similar weapons had no effect on the cyborgs. Some of them had learned how to manipulate laser weapons, but they were still very few able to use them, not to mention that the making of such engines needed time and materials from Bulma; and she rarely had both in the same time...

No, Bulma was right, they had reach a situation showing that they had been loosing little by little for a few months; and even if it wasn't official yet, the rumor would spread like fire; and at that very moment, the demoralization would make even more damage than the cyborgs, turning human fighters into victims awaiting theirs executioners.

Trunks started a calm walk in the alley in the middle of the underground ruins where the resistants were hiding. A crack in the ceiling allowed to see the sky that was taking an orange tint announcing the coming-soon sunset. Trunks was trying to keep a calm pace not to display the fear and despair that were inside him. If the experiment was a failure, he would die, simply; and in a near future, the rest of humanity would follow. If the experiment was a success, and that he was coming back with the knowledge of the cyborgs' weak points - or even better, Goku himself brought back from the past - that could mean the end of the nightmare for everybody... But Trunks had been through so many disillusions that he didn't want to be too much carried by such hopes... before they would be revealed true...

He was caught from his train of thoughts by a happy babble and turned his head to the left, stopping his walk. Alia, a little girl with green hair and brown eyes was playing with her doll, sit on her mother's knees. The doll, its plastic blackened and melt by the fire of the place where it had stayed was a wretched toy for a kid. Though, for Alia, kid of the doom, that doll was probably the most beautiful doll in the world. Alia made a wide smile to Trunks who almost replied it when at that moment, her mother Sihaya who had remained head down and silent until now, started sobbing and hugging her daughter against her. Alia stopped looking at Trunks to cast a sad look to her mother. Trunks clenched his teeth and looked away. Idaho, Alia's father, had been killed with his battalion this afternoon in the B52 zone. Even if he was just human, he had proved his worth for many years as leader and strategic organizer, and Trunks knew one could count on him. They could have become friends if the war hadn't reduce the bonds between people to pure survival bonds.

Trunks brought his attention back to the alley that was disappearing at its extremity in the shadows of the hill to which the underground was leading. He started walking again and before he could realize it, he was running. His thoughts were pure rage fits as well as a long flash-back on the past-years events that were succeeding one another with a frightening precision. He ended by making out the door leading to the outside of the base, hill side.
At less than 5 meters away from the door, he slowed down. At that moment, the door opened with din, revealing the two cyborgs. Trunks stopped instantly, so much the scene - in the revelation of his ultimate fear: the cyborgs finding the Base - seemed unreal. Cyborg17 raised his gun in his direction and fired.


Trunks startled in his seat, and looked around him. He was in the temporal tunnel. He gasped, his heart beating fast, still under the surprise effect.

Did I fall asleep? He wondered with surprise. He never thought he could relax to that level in a place like here. Yet, he was sure he had a well-sleeping night - the first in many years - at the Capsule Corportation, the night before his departure from the past.

The night before? Perhaps his drowsing was a proof that time was flowing in some way in this strange place...

He thought again about his dream with an awful deja-vu feeling... It was the same vision than the one he had in the plane when past-Gohan has asked him to explain the events of the future. At that moment, he had also react by startling violently. His reflection in the porthole had shown someone surprised, frowning...

But, when did that situation happened? Or, was all this just part of a new dream?

For, when a dream can look so real, the reality itself is perhaps nothing but a dream... Or else...

Trunks relaxed a little in his seat.

Perhaps all that situation was an old dream he had once made... A dream so real that it had finally taken place in his memories. Trunks sighed with relief, happy to have found a logical explanation to that vision. But in the next moment, he tensed again. If one of his memories was just a dream looking real, what about his other memories? Which of his memories were true and which were not?

He was tackling the question with quite nervousness when the veil of time tore in an intense light,

Trunks stiffened, dreading now the reality of what he was about to discover on the other side.

[To be continued: CHAPITRE 2: MIRAI NO CHAOS ]