by Aoi Kami Sarah
This alternate universe Dragonball fanfiction is based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga and anime.
Imagine that destiny is a garden with many paths. If you take one path, certain things will affect you along the way that will not affect people on other paths. Imagine Goku and Piccolo coming to a fork in the road. Instead of taking the right fork (which leads to a strong Radditz and Goku's death and continues along the path of Toriyama-san's story) they take the left fork. Gohan, Piccolo and Goku are able to defeat Radditz and all three good-guys live. The Z Warriors, having taken a different path into their futures, created a separate dimension.
Welcome to Dragonball Alternate Dimension.
This story picks up when Gohan is 18 years old. He never went to Orange Star High School, never met Videl or became the Great Saiyaman. He agreed to be home-taught so that Chi-chi would let him go away for "college"...
Atsuko had been waiting for this day all her life. It was her 18th birthday. The matron called her name over the PA. The other girls cast spiteful glances in her direction. Some even dared to stare directly at her. This would be the last time they would ever see her, so they felt brave enough to be rude. Atsuko finished combing her long, blue hair and put her rough, cloth head-band back on over the purple star-shaped mark on her forehead.
Most of the girls were staring directly at this feature with utter contempt. They were natives to the planet, and all had wavy, silvery hair and pale complexions. There were three other aliens in the ward with them, but none who either stood out as much, or was as graceful and beautiful as Atsuko.
"Birthday," she snorted. "That's a laugh."
She tied the band on tightly, picked up her small back-pack and walked out of the girls' ward. She held her head high and met none of the other girls' eyes. Just as she was about to walk out the door a shoe hit her in the back of the head. Atsuko spun around and caught a tell-tale follow through as the girl's arm retracted. Atsuko's legs spread slightly as she took a fighting stance.
"So. Cynnthia. I take it you want a goin' away present, eh?" Wiggling her index finger, she taunted the shoe-thrower.
Cynnthia looked a little frightened but set her jaw and stood up. She couldn't have been more than fifteen and was thin as a rake. Her grey hair was pulled up into two pig tails which reached the middle of her back. She assumed a similar stance and nodded her head. "I couldn't let you leave us without saying good-bye properly, Atsuko!" Cynnthia charged at her.
The other natives cheered Cynnthia on. The three alien girls sat on their beds and watched silently. Cynnthia and Atsuko exchanged a series of punches, all of which met with blocks. The PA called Atsuko's name again, this time more emphatically and broke her concentration. 'What am I doin', messin' with this stupid girl, I'm outta here!'In the moment she was distracted, Cynnthia landed a solid hit to her cheekbone. The natives went wild.
"All right, that's it. I'm done playin' with you." She jumped and spun, connecting a roundhouse kick with the side of Cynnthia's head, then followed through with a right hook that sent the girl flying. She landed in a heap in front of her fan club before they could stop cheering. The sudden upset left them speechless. All the girls stared at the now unconscious Cynnthia. Atsuko put her hands on her hips and bowed to them.
"Love to stick around and see how much pain she's in when she wakes up, but I gotta run. Seems it's my day to get out of this lousy orphanage, so, ta-ta!" She shot them a cheesy grin and held her fingers up in the victory sign. The three alien girls applauded. Atsuko bowed a few more times to them and blew kisses to no one in particular until the applause was stifled in a collective gasp.
Atsuko looked to the three alien girls and followed their eyes to what made them stop their adoration. Standing in the doorway was the matron. She seemed to take up the entire space provided for the door. She did not look pleased.
"Atsuko Aoi?" she didn't part her teeth as she spoke. "Come with me."
The matron stepped aside to let her pass. Atsuko adjusted her bag, shrugged her shoulders, smiled, waved to the alien girls and walked out the door.
The matron literally kicked her out of the orphanage. She went flying out the door and bounced three times down the stairs, once on her head. Atsuko landed on her butt on the street. She stood up, rubbed her head and brushed off her red, loose fitting pants.
"Ya coulda kicked my ass in the hallway, you.. you.. battle axe!" She shook her fist at the now empty doorway. Pain rippled through her arm and made her wince. "I coulda been seriously hurt," Atsuko complained until the image of Cynnthia flying across the room popped back into her head and made her smile from ear to ear.
"Heh. I have been waiting so long to do that! Ooh, that felt gooood." She hooked her thumbs in the straps of her back pack and walked away from the place where she had lived for as long as she could remember.
Night came to the planet Cymm after the setting of the second and closer sun. The stars began to pop out one by one and the temperature dropped considerably. Atsuko finished eating her cheap noodles and threw the container away in a nearby trash receptacle. She rubbed her arms and shivered. 'I'd better get a place to sleep soon.' Reaching into her pack, she pulled out the money the orphanage had given her. There weren't even enough credits left to buy her next meal. Atsuko stared at the change, dumbfounded. 'If they wanted to kill me, why didn't they do it years ago! Woulda saved them the trouble of..'
Her thoughts trailed off as the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Early evening in the streets of Acathi was just as dangerous as the wee hours. She knew that much from eavesdropping on the attendants at the orphanage discussiong this or that person they knew who was attacked the night before. Atsuko guessed there were three sets of footsteps, but one had a limp. She caught a glimpse of them as she began to walk away and her suspicions were confirmed. She walked at the same pace for two blocks and discovered much to her chagrin that she had been heading down a blind alley.
"Shit," she muttered. "Pay the hell attention, Suko." She turned to face her pursuers.
They were obviously surprised to see her turn so slowly toward them with such an unaffected look on her face. They were all big men, probably in their mid-twenties, and all Cymmlings. One slowly and repeatedly slapped his palm with a club. Although usually used for playing the national sport, the club had of late been a favorite of roving thugs not permitted by law to carry guns. The other two menaced her with their fists and evil grins. The club-wielder sneered and addressed her.
"Allo allo allo. What have we here?" He took two more steps towards her.
"Um, a lone girl?" Atsuko couldn't help but use sarcasm, the guy practically begged her to with a line like that! She bent her knees and stood her ground.
"Funny. Lets see how much you laugh after we're done witcha, alien bitch." He motioned to his buddies. "Get'er."
The unarmed men came at her from the left and right, stupidly charging directly at her. She jumped up and spread her legs in midair. Both of her feet (and the weighted training shoes she mopped floors for months to save up for) found a jaw and created a lovely, dull, double-thud. She landed gracefully just inches from Club. His buddies landed where she had been standing.
"Ha. Ha," she practically spat the words at him.
He growled and swung the club as if a ball were headed for him. She calculated the swing and dodged it easily but neglected to take into account just how long the other two would stay down. As she jumped to avoid the club, Right reached up and grabbed her foot. He yanked her down as the club swung by. It connected with her shoulder. Atsuko cried out briefly before Left got up and held her arms in one hand and her mouth in the other.
"Good job, gentlemen," Club commended his partners. He approached Atsuko and pulled a gun out of his pocket. "Let her go."
"But, boss. You could get nicked for that!" Right hesitated.
"'Boss'. Hmm, yeah, that's me, isn't it? Do what I damn well say!"
The men released her and she shook them off. Atsuko glared at the boss.
"I hate how we do it. I wanna be alone for once. And if I wanna be alone with a woman I'll do it! Understand!?" he screamed at his henchmen and they backed off.
Atsuko was visibly shaken. She stared at the barrel of the gun and began to panic. She wasn't used to being in this situation. She could take on any of the children at the orphanage, boy or girl, but face to face with a weapon of this kind of destruction, her thoughts became clouded with fear. She couldn't think of a move to make. All she could see in her mind's eye was the laser that would fire out of the gun and pierce her. As the boss approached her she became angry at herself for panicking. 'I can think of a plan. So what if I get a little fried? I gotta do something! Come on! THINK!!!'
Her frustration met her fear and boiled over. She squeezed her eyes shut, thrust her arms out in front of her and screamed. She felt a wave of energy course through her bones. It seemed to come from her feet, or the ground below, and rush up her spine and down her arms. Atsuko opened her eyes in time to see what looked like pure electricity shoot out of her fingertips and consume the boss. Her scream mingled with his until he exploded. His buddies looked on in horror as bits of their boss flew away from Atsuko. The blast was short and ended before the last pieces of flesh hit the ground.
"Oh snap!" cried Left. Right was too busy soiling himself to be bothered with expletives. Left grabbed Right and began creeping around the stunned Atsuko. She stood with her back to them, facing the mouth of the alley. Atsuko stared back and forth between the mess in front of her and her fingertips. They sneaked around, sidling up against a wall to avoid stepping in the boss. Half way around it, Left stopped to throw up. Atsuko noticed them finally and weakly tried to get them to stick around.
"Hey.." In a daze, Atsuko lifted her hand up and tried to beg them to stay with her. They saw this motion, shrieked in terror and bolted from the scene. She looked back down at the blood and bits before her and began to hyper-ventilate.
"Ok," she huffed, "what the hell just happened?" Atsuko turned her hands over and stared at her palms and fingertips. 'Not a mark on them.' She slowly came to her senses. "I gotta get the hell out of here!" She inched her way around the glop as Left and Right had done and jogged away from the scene.
Atsuko stood on the corner she had counted her change on only a quarter of an hour before and hugged herself in the cool, evening air. "But where'm I gonna go?"