Dragon Ball Super Z Episode 4: "Walking on the Sun"

Dragon Ball Super Z
Episode Four
Walking On The Sun
Juuhachi-gou and Mirai Bulma

"It Ain't No Joke"

It ain't no joke I'd like to buy the world a toke
And teach the world to sing in perfect harmony
And teach the world to snuff the fires and the liars
Hey I know it's just a song but it's spice for the recipe

"Oooo, there goes a good one!"

Shiro nodded, watching the streaks of light cut across the night. "You having fun, Megumi?"

The little girl clapped her hands. "Hai, oniisan! It's so pretty. Thank you for talking otousan and okaasan into letting me stay up so late!"

"Well, it is summer vacation. If it was school time you'd probably still be in bed by now." Shifting a bit, Shiro balanced his little sister a bit more steadily on his shoulders and pointed. "Hey, look at that big one!"

"Uh-huh!" Megumi leaned forward. "It looks like it's coming right at us, doesn't it?"

Shiro nodded, privately hoping that the falling star wasn't doing just that. I mean, I've never heard of anyone getting hit by a meteorite, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen... and that one sure DOES look close--

The fiery ball streaked down, and just as Shiro realized that the object was both a lot smaller and a lot closer than he'd thought, it shot down behind the hills near the Kodansha house and vanished, followed immediately by a clap of thunder and a tremor under his feet. Shiro staggered, fighting to keep from falling, and only barely managed by grabbing a nearby tree.

"Megumi-chan! Shiro-kun!" a frightened female voice called out as the echoes of the thunder faded.

"Over here, okaasan!" Sliding Megumi down off his shoulders, Shiro waved. In a moment their parents appeared, flashlights bobbing in the night. "We're okay!"

"Okaasan! Otousan!" Megumi pounded towards the pair. "I saw it! A falling star! It landed right over there behind the hills! Please can we go see it, please? Maybe I can bring it home?" She started jumping up and down. "Please, pretty please?"

"Megumi-chan, stay here with your mother." Mr. Kodansha nodded to Shiro. "Come on, son. Let's go have a look."

"Be careful, Goro-san," Mrs. Kodansha said as she gathered up her daughter. "You and Shiro-kun both."

"Awwww I want to seeeeee!" Megumi wailed as she watched her father and brother head up the hills, their lights twinkling like stars themselves until they topped the rise and vanished past it.

"It probably landed miles away," Shiro said, looking around.

"Mm, probably," his father answered. "But I want to know where it is, if it didn't. Megumi might slip off and come looking for it, and whatever survived the trip down will be pretty hot. I don't want her burning herself."

"Hai, otousan."

"Good thing it rained today, the ground should still be wet enough to keep any fires from spreading." Goro sniffed the air lightly. "I do think I smell smoke though. Let's head the way the wind is blowing and see what we find."

After making their way through the woods for several minutes, having to backtrack and work around the undergrowth more than once, Shiro and his father came out in a clearing where one hadn't existed before that evening. Trees were leaning or knocked down in a ring around a crater about half again the size of their aircar. There was a definite smell of burning in the air, but not that of wood... more like... Shiro shook his head, not sure what it smelled like, just that it was familiar. "Otousan?"

"Stay here." Goro moved forward cautiously, easing towards the center of the impact, frowning a bit. It wasn't nearly as hot as he'd thought it would be, barely hot at all, but then he wasn't a scientist. Maybe different kids of meteors held heat differently. Reaching the edge of the crater he shone his light down and froze.

"Otousan?" Shiro tensed, imagining all sorts of horrible things. "What--" his voice shook and he had to swallow to get it under control. "What is it?"

Mr. Kodansha turned slowly, face pale. "Shiro, go and get your mother," he said. "This isn't a meteor... it's a man. And I think... I think he's alive."


Part One
"It Went Out But It's Back"

This is a love attack I know it went out but it's back
It's just like any fad it retracts before impact
And it's just like fashion it's a passion for the with it and hip
If ya got the goods they'll come and buy it just to stay in the clique

"Ara--I'm STUFFED!" Trunks got up from the picnic table, staggered away a few steps, and sat down on the grass, then laid back. "Anybody care if I just lie here for the next year or so?"

"I can't eat any more either," Goten moaned, looking mournfully at the still loaded table. "And it's all so goood!"

"Don't worry, Goten-kun, we can have the rest for snacks later," Gohan said, putting a hand on his younger brother's head and tousling his hair while the younger boy giggled. The slightest movement caught Gohan's eye and he looked over to see his father, elbows on the table, watching them both with deep fondness.

Gokou smiled as Gohan looked his way, then picked up a chicken leg and balanced it on one fingertip, studying it. "You know...?" he said thoughtfully. "I think I'm not hungry any more either!"

"Man, that's a first!" Kuririn turned to look back from his seat in front of the portable TV, where he was tuning in the National Sumo competitions. "You full, Gokou? Hey, that's like saying the sky's gonna fall!"

"It certainly seemed that way last night," Bulma said, starting to cover up the picnic dishes. "I've never seen such a meteor shower. There've even been reports of a few striking the ground further to the east."

"Un!" ChiChi, working on the other side of the table, nodded. "We were up last night watching it too. It was so pretty..." She clasped her hands. "I made a wish on the biggest one I saw!"

"Really, ChiChi? What'd you wish?"

"Maybe she wished Kakarott would get a brain," Vegeta muttered as he reached over for a beer.

ChiChi clasped her hands, eyes sparkling. "No, I wished for something wonderful!" she sighed. "I wished that Goten would grow up to be a doctor!"

"Demo, kaasan!" Goten protested as everyone else laughed. "I wanna be a fighter like tousan!"

"Now that's enough, young man," ChiChi scolded. "You need to get a real job! And you can't get ahead in the world unless you have a good education."

Gohan and Gokou exchanged glances again, smiling as ChiChi continued lecturing Goten. Just like me, ne, otousan? Gohan asked silently.

Hai, Gohan-kun, Gokou answered the same way. But it's okay. I bet Goten will turn out okay in spite of all the books!

"Darn thing! I can't get it to pick up the station!" Kuririn swatted the TV. "The antenna must be bad! And the news is almost over. The wrestling's supposed to start right after that."

"Oh here let me." Bulma knelt by the TV, fiddling with the antenna and controls. "Might be a bit of interference due to the meteorites, a little extra ionization today-- ah, there we go." She leaned back as the announcer's voice came in: "...final item tonight, the unexpected celestial events last night seem to've consisted of more than meteorites. Unbelievably there is a report that a young man was discovered in a meteor crater late last night, in the area near Frypan Mountain. The farmers that brought him to the hospital claimed he fell from the sky, but this is patently impossible, as a fall of that distance would have killed a normal human being.

"The young man is in serious condition and unable to inform authorities of his identity, since much of his clothing was badly burnt and no identification was found on him. Authorities are working on the case to determine exactly what happened; as yet there is no conclusive determination, although the possibility of some type of accident or assault has not been ruled out. We will keep you posted as events develop, including pictures when they are available, in the hopes that our viewing audience may be able to assist in locating his friends or family. That's our news for tonight... next, the National Sumo Wrestling Championship, hosted by the World Fighting Champion himself, Mr. Satan."

"All right, here we go," Kuririn said, settling back. "If we can just ignore the commentary--"

"Oh, Mr. Satan's not so bad," Bulma said, giving Kuririn a dig in the ribs and glancing meaningfully to one side, where Videl sat cooing to her and Gohan's newborn baby daughter.

"For an idiot," Vegeta added, walking over to stare down at the TV. "This isn't wrestling. Where are the pits of molten metal?"

"Maybe they ran out, " Gokou said helpfully, sitting on the grass. "Aaa, there's Yukinadare! I hear he's got good chances for winning this year."

"Don't suppose you'd make a bet on that," Yamucha said, also taking a seat to watch.

"Me? Bet? With what?"

Bulma shook her head and waved a hand, walking away. "Men, they're such children," she commented to no one in particular. "Juuhachi-gou, would you and ChiChi help me clear off the table? I think the assault's done for now."

"Can I help too?" Marron asked, jumping up from her seat. "Please, Bulma-san? Can I?"

"Of course you--"Bulma stopped as she heard a small querulous sound from her purse. "Drat." Scooping it up, she reached in, drew out her cel-phone, and flipped it open. "Moshi moshi. --Yes, this is Bulma, how can I help you?.... Who? Sergeant Koishi? Hai...what?" She gripped the phone a little tighter, eyes widening as she listened for a minute. "You're sure it's a Capsule Corporation jacket?.... Hai.... And what serial number on the capsules? Yes, those are the kind normally sold only to our employees... I'll come at once." She clicked off the phone, biting a nail.

"Is something wrong, Bulma?" Juuhachi-gou asked.

"Yes--well, no, I don't know. Did you hear that last news item, about the young man they found near Frypan? That was the police officer investigating the case. He says that the young man was wearing a Capsule Corporation jacket and carrying some Hoipoi capsules that are coded for employee sale only. He's wondering if perhaps the boy's one of my workers, or the son of one of my workers, and wants me to come try to identify him." Bulma put a hand to her forehead and moaned. "This is the last thing I need, another lawsuit. I just know they're going to try to blame it on a faulty capsule or something."

"Want me to come along with you, Bulma?" Yamucha said, standing. "It's not a problem, Puar and I will be glad to go."

"Would you? That'd be great. I really don't think I'd better drive."


"Now, he's right down here." Nurse Ichigo paused. "I have to tell you, he's been making remarkable progress. We were able to upgrade him from intensive care to a regular hospital bed, but he's still in serious condition. So please, understand he may look rough, but at this time his life's no longer in immediate danger."

"Thank you. I think we'll manage." Bulma steeled herself as the nurse swung open the door and led them in. The hum and beep of various monitors greeted her, along with the faintest smell of scorched cloth, overlaid with the sterile flavor all hospital rooms seemed to carry universally. She felt Yamucha's hand steal into hers and give it a quick squeeze before he let go, and she spared a moment to smile up at him gratefully. It'd been years since they were together, but he was still a wonderful friend.

Gently Nurse Ichigo drew aside the curtains and let them up close to the bed. "Do you recognize him, Bulma-san?"

Bulma looked at the prone figure in the bed, face still and pale against the pillow, and put a hand to her chest. Her heart seemed to freeze cold inside her, then leap up and hammer at the base of her throat. Trembling fingers stole out to brush back short bangs from the features that were scowling just a bit, even lost in unconsciousness. "Oh, Kami..." she choked, and would've collapsed to her knees if Yamucha hadn't steadied her. Though he didn't look much better himself; when Bulma looked up at him, his face was almost as pale as the bedsheets. Mustering her last bit of strength, she turned to the nurse. "H...hai. I know him...it's....it's my son. Trunks."

"Oh my," Ichigo said, then collected herself as well. "Gomen nasai, Bulma-san. I'm so sorry... this must be a terrible shock to you."

"Please... please let me see the charts. I know something about medicine myself."

"Well, it's not standard procedure--" Ichigo took another look at Bulma's expression and hastily handed her the chart. Bulma flipped through it, as much as to have something to do while she collected herself as to check the readings. Her mind was whirling. What in the name of Kami was Mirai Trunks doing here--and in such a state? Where was the time machine? And what news was he bringing with him? Welcome as he was, his appearance promised an end to their peaceful times. Then she made herself concentrate on the injuries.

Borderline first/second degree burns of undetermined origin over a few portions of his body, deep bruises and lacerations elsewhere, healing well; dehydration, exhaustion and evidence of some tremendous nervous shock or possibly concussion the primary diagnosis. He's been in a fight, she mused, recognizing the telltale signs. Aloud she said, "Could you tell me when he'll be released?"

The little nurse shook her head. "Not for several weeks, I'd think, though that's really more the doctor's call--" she gasped a bit as Bulma thrust the chart back into her hands and turned. "Bulma-san?"

Bulma never looked back. "We'll see about that. I'm taking him home."

It took quite a bit of talking and several phone calls, during which Bulma pointed out (very sharply) that Capsule Corporation was a major contributor to the hospital's finances in the form of large research grants, and that a little consideration goes a long way. To do him credit, the chief of medicine did his best to stand firm, but once Bulma got wound up he wilted shortly thereafter. With Yamucha's aid she loaded Mirai Trunks into a stretcher and got him into her van. "Yamucha, you drive," she said. "Puar and I will look after Trunks-kun."

"Sure thing." Yamucha threw a look over his shoulder as he started the aircar. "What do you think brought him here?"

"Just a visit-- I hope." Gently Bulma smoothed the sheets around her-- well, he was still her son, wasn't he? In some other time another Bulma had given birth to this young man and raised him in the midst of an apocalypse. Not for the first time she found herself wondering about that other woman, how she lived day to day, how much strength it'd taken to send her only child into the tides of time. I wonder if their past changed, she mused. Obviously their present didn't change that much. Trunks still exists. They didn't simply wipe out their world.

Even as she wondered, Mirai Trunks groaned and stirred under her hands. Instantly she leaned over him, trying to hold him still, and beside her Puar shifted into a rather larger version of her usual self and leaned on Trunks as well. It was funny in a way, as if the two of them could hope to hold down a delirious Saiyajin. But the young man subsided into quiet again, though there was a cloud of faint despair in his expression now, as if somewhere in the silence his injuries had forced on him he was struggling to--

To what?

It was going to be a very long trip back to Capsule Corporation, Bulma decided.


Hands wrapped around the bedrailing, Goten stared and stared, then finally turned to his best friend. "He looks JUST like you, Trunks-kun!"

"Told you so," Trunks said, folding his arms importantly. "Okaasan says he IS me, demo, just from another time."

"Trunks-kun? How can there be another time? Isn't there just one time?"

"Don't you know anything, Goten?! It has to do with parallel dimensions!"

"Ohhhh...." Goten nodded wisely, then tipped his head. "Trunks-kun?"

"Hai, Goten?"

"What are parallel dimensions?"

"D'oh!" Trunks slapped his forehead.

"Could the time machine have blown up, do you think, Bulma-san?" Gohan asked quietly as Trunks struggled to explain things to Goten. "That might account for his injuries and the fact the farmers said he fell out of the sky."

"I suppose it might've, Gohan-kun," Bulma answered. "But it's not very likely. I--um, she-- Mirai Bulma, I suppose we should call her-- built the time machine to withstand a lot of stress. Unless it was sabotaged somehow... or, I suppose, if it hadn't been maintained properly, and he had to use it in a hurry..." she trailed off, nibbling her thumbnail nervously. "He's the only one that knows what happened, and he can't tell us in this state."

"Perhaps he can." Vegeta walked up to the bed, reached out with two fingers, and laid them to the middle of Mirai Trunks' forehead, eyes narrowing in concentration. The Saiyajin telepathy was an uncertain thing, it worked best of all between blood kin and only rarely outside their own race, but sometimes, in great need or at times of high emotion...

And of course, he was Prince of the Saiyajin; he'd been trained, as no one else here had, not even that damned--

"Kakarott," Mirai Trunks whispered, finishing the thought. Abruptly his eyes jerked open, wide, confused, unfocussed, and his hand rose to grab Vegeta's wrist. "Pappa..... Pappa-- forgive-- couldn't stop him.. have to warn them, Gokou-san and Gohan-san... the Past Time..." he snarled, then, head whipping from side to side. "T'i khara, khara--"

Vegeta's head jerked and he hissed a quick breath, visibly startled. "Tahrrnkss," he said, giving Trunks' name an odd twist, "o h'na? Khara h'na!"

Mirai Trunks' gaze finally focussed on Vegeta. "Ryubarasu... Dragon Killer." The boy's face shifted then, looking terribly young and vulnerable. "Pappa, please, don't die again..." With a shiver he let go, falling back, passing out.

"What the heck was THAT?" Kuririn said in the silence that followed.

"Dragon Killer...." Gokou shook his head. "I dunno if I like the sound of that. --Hey, Vegeta, what was all that other stuff he said?"

Vegeta was silent.

"Otousan?" Trunks ventured, moving to look between the face of his older future self and Vegeta. "What did he say?"

"You heard him. Killer of Dragons." Vegeta's voice was flat, a sure sign of some inner disturbance. "In Saiya-go. The language of our race. But who taught it to him?"


"Maybe... his mother?" Bulma ventured. "I mean.. couldn't she have somehow learned..." She trailed off, looking at her husband's face. "I guess not."

"Well, hey!" Kuririn shouldered his way in. "Maybe it was just a lucky guess, huh? Or some weirdo kind of racial memory, you know stuff like that!"

"I don't think so." Gohan moved over to look down at Mirai Trunks also, remembering the last time this solemn young man had come to live with them. He'd seemed so driven, so desperate to keep the terror of his own world from happening. Very different from the little boy now peering over the edge of the bed, with Goten right beside him. "Bulma-san... do you suppose a senzou would help him any?"

"D'OH!" Bulma slapped her forehead. "Kami, Gohan, maybe I should retire and let YOU run Capsule Corporation. Why didn't I think of that?!"

Gokou scowled, then glanced out the window. "It's kinda early in the season, demo... Karin might have a few ready, the ones that ripened first. --Goten, Trunks, you two wanna go see?"

"Haaiiiiii!" the two boys chorused.

"Un." Going to the window, Gokou leaned out and whistled shrilly. Seconds later the Kintoen appeared, sliding to a stop beneath the sill. Trunks and Goten instantly leapt onto the golden surface. "Go straight there and back, ne? And don't cheat! Climb all the way up or Karin won't give you any senzou!"

"Hai, tousan, we'll be good," Goten promised. "Oi! Kintoen! Take us to Karin-san's Tower, kudasai!"

As they shot away Gohan moved to stand beside his father. "Otousan...I'm worried," he said softly.

Gokou glanced sideways. "Nanda, Gohan?"

"What or who is a Dragon Killer-- and more important, which dragons are getting killed?"

Gokou blinked, then took a sharp breath. "You think--"

"Maybe while Trunks and Goten are gone, the rest of us ought to go get the Dragon Balls. Just in case."

"Hai. Wakatta yo." Turning, Gokou held out a hand. "Bulma-san, you still got Dragon Radar?"

"Huh? --Oh! Not on me, Son-kun, but it's back at Capsule Corporation. In my lab."

"Sankyuu." Putting two fingers to his forehead, Gokou concentrated, locking in on Dr. Briefs' ki. "Gohan, see if you can find Piccolo and tell him what's going on. Kuririn, you and Yamucha see if Juuhachi-gou can come help too. More people we got looking for the Dragon Balls, the better."


Far to the east, in the shadows of the mountains, lay a stone palace built on the ruins of what had once been an even greater building.

That never failed to infuriate Pilaf. Looking out to see the remains of his former glory only made his desire for revenge on the unfortunate Son Gokou burn brighter. 'Unfortunate', because once he, Pilaf, had the Dragon Balls in his possession again, he would wish himself master of the world. Then let that irritating tailed fool try to stop him!

The years of searching had been full of other frustrations--until recently, no matter how he screamed and threatened, his followers Shuu and Mai had failed to recover even one of the precious orbs. It was almost as if they had vanished from the face of Chikyuu. But at last the idiots had managed to lock in on one of the Dragon Balls, and soon now, soon--


"At last...." Pilaf turned, holding out one hand as two figures entered his throne room. "Don't tell me you've failed me again!"

"No, Lord Pilaf." Mai knelt hastily, sweeping her hair from her face, as much from weariness as from respect. The climb up had tired her--she wasn't as young as she had been-- but Pilaf tolerated no excuses. In a trembling hand she held out a glowing golden orb, its perfect surface marked with a single red star. "Behold... the One Star."

"Ahhhh..." Pilaf took the Dragon Ball, his ugly little face twisting what passed for delight. "At last!" he scowled a little. "You're certain this is truly a Dragon Ball, Mai?"

"Yes, my Lord..."

"We're sure of it," Shuu added, trying to keep his ears from lying flat with worry that Pilaf wouldn't believe them.

"Yes," a new voice interjected. "It is a Dragon Ball. The last Dragon Ball."

"Nani?" Pilaf turned in the direction of the speaker, voice peevish. "Who are you that comes unannounced into the hall of the great Pilaf, rightful master of the world?"

"My name is unimportant." The cloaked stranger strode forward. "All that matters is that you give me the Dragon Ball."

"Are you mad?" snapped Pilaf, clutching the Ball to his chest. "No one dictates to me! I'm Pilaf!"

"So you've said. But I'm afraid I have to disagree." The figure raised a hand. "You WERE Pilaf, would-be master of the world."

The blast of energy cracked the stone walls wide and brought the roof crumbling down in places. Through the settling dust the stranger walked, picking his way, turning over slabs of rock here and there, until he found a certain one. Bending, he retrieved the Dragon Ball, wiping the dark red stains from its sides absently. "Thank you," he said to the silence around him. "I've been looking for this. It completes my set, you see. And I have my own ideas about what to do with the Holy Dragon when it appears."


Deep in meditation, Piccolo still felt the shockwave. His eyes opened and he scowled. "What the hell," he muttered, looking to the east. That hadn't felt like a familiar ki, but it was definitely a powerful one. He took off in that direction, spurred by a vague unease that sharpened as he drew closer to the source. Stopping in mid-air, he blinked. Below his gaze, the remnants of Pilaf's fortress lay crushed and abandoned. Dropping closer, he studied the area. Death was in the air, recent death, he could feel it. "So the little snert finally torked someone off enough to kill him," he said under his breath. "Small loss. Maybe I ought to find the guy responsible and thank him."

A second spike of energy--this one far more familiar--caught his attention and he whirled. In the near distance a sudden swirl of dark clouds had sprung up, lanced through with golden lightning that was taking the coiling shape of a long, serpentine form. "Shenlon," Piccolo snarled. He flew that way at top speed, knowing the Dragon would finish materializing before he arrived, but still hoping to interrupt the wish if necessary-- and he had a feeling it would be necessary; there was an unaccustomed cold knot in his stomach. Piccolo didn't like that one bit. The last time he'd had this same sense of doom had been with the coming of Majin Buu--and that'd been a bit too close to the end of the world for his taste. He might not be Kami any more, but dammit, this was still his planet.

Ahead of him, Shenlon's head dipped towards the ground and the tiny form of the one who'd summoned him from his slumbers. "I can grant any wish," he thundered, his voice shivering the stones. "Tell me your desire."

The small figure standing on the ground, looking up at Shenlon, never flinched. "A simple wish, Holy Dragon, and one easy for you to grant." He fitted a hand into an odd triangular-looking device that covered his whole fist and most of his lower arm, raised it to glitter in the setting sun. "I wish... for you to die."

For the first and last time in his eternal existence, Shenlon looked startled. "What?"

Then a dark beam of energy lanced up from the summoner's weapon, lancing through Shenlon's heart like a great spear of night. The Dragon roared, thrashing, as his body glowed golden again, then seemed to coil inward, drawn in along that connecting thread to flow back down into the man on the ground, who laughed wildly as the clouds exploded into wind and lightning. "MINE!" he roared, voice rising above the tempest. "THE SOUL OF THE HUNDREDTH DRAGON IS MINE!"


Part Two
"Some Just Fell Down"

Some were spellbound, some were hell-bound, some just fell down
And some got back up and fought back against the meltdown
And their kids are hippie chicks or hypocrites
Because the fashion is smashin' the true meaning of it

To the west, Bulma screamed as the floor shook under her feet and grabbed for a handhold, any handhold. Vegeta grabbed her, rising a foot or so into the air, snarling. "Nanda kuso?!"

"It's an earthquake!" Videl gasped, also rising and holding onto little Pan.

"It can't be!" Gohan shook his head. "There isn't one predicted!"

"That never stopped them before, Gohan-kun!"

Kuririn also took to the air, finding it steadier footing. "Maybe we better get out of here?"

"No way!" Bulma snapped. "Capsule Corporation is built stronger than that, it's not going to fall down in some little quake! Besides, if you think I'm going to leave Tr--" she stopped, then shrieked, "TRUNKS!"

Unnoticed by the rest of them, Mirai Trunks was awake, and more than awake-- he was dragging himself out of the bed, a very Vegeta-like snarl on his face. Half staggering, half swaying over the unsteady footing, he reached the sill and clung to it, throwing the window wide open, then shielded his eyes as the wind blasted in with hurricane's force, sending Kuririn tumbling into the back wall. "No!" he screamed. "No, no, no!" He brought one foot up, obviously about to fling himself out.

Tossing Bulma at Gohan (who hastily caught her), Vegeta rocketed forward and grabbed the young man's shoulders, yanking him back. "Yamero!" he ordered. "You're not going anyhere!"

Mirai Trunks twisted to look at him, still snarling; then the snarl dropped away, to be replaced by confusion, then a flicker of hope. He fisted a hand in Vegeta's shirtfront. "Vegeta-san?" he gasped. "It's you? This is the past?"

"Vegeta...san..?" Vegeta repeated, brows knit across.

Mirai Trunks looked around, eyes flicking from Videl to Gohan to Bulma to Kuririn and Juuhachi-gou, hope and despair mingling more and more in his features as he marked each figure. "It is, this is the past," he said, letting go of Vegeta. "I was.. I was on the outside of the time machine... How in Kami's name did I-- no. Never mind." He looked back around at Vegeta. "We have to get everyone together. Right now. He may still be vulnerable till he learns to wield the power. It's our only hope now."

"What..?" Bulma said, still dangling from Gohan's arms.

"The Dragon Killer!" Trunks shouted impatiently, then clapped a hand over his mouth. "Gomen, gomen ne, I didn't mean to shout. I'm sorry, Bulma-san."

"BULMA-san?!?" Bulma gaped, then scowled. "Oh, so I'm not good enough to be your mother any more?! That's a fine thank you for getting you out of the hospital! I had to practically crowbar the doctors out of the way, and all I get is a 'Bulma-san'?"

"I, ah, um, that is," Mirai Trunks stammered, then shook his head again helplessly. "Please can I apologize later? If we don't hurry, the whole world will be destroyed."

"Maybe you'd better tell us now, Trunks-san," Gohan said, drawing nearer. "It won't do any good to hurry if we don't know what's going on."

At that moment Gokou reappeared, holding the Dragon Radar in one hand. "I got it!" he crowed, then promptly fell over as the floor shuddered under his feet. "Oiiii! What's happening? Who put the building on roller skates?"

"It's not the building, Gokou-san," Mirai Trunks said. "It's Chikyu. It's rocking to its foundations. Shenlon, the Holy Dragon, the spirit of the Earth itself, is dead."

"Naaaaaaaaaaaaniiiiiiiii?" Gokou shot up into the air, jaw dropping. "You're kidding!"

"I only wish I was." Mirai Trunks looked around again. "... Anou... Chibi Trunks.. where is he..?"

"I sent him and Goten off to get you some senzou. You looking pretty good right now without it though."

"Arigato. --Who's Goten? -- Never mind, tell me later. I've got to make this quick. Can I explain while we head that way?"

"Which way?" Vegeta demanded.

Mirai Trunks reached out, took the Dragon Radar from Gokou, hastily adjusted it, then held it out. To one side of the crossgrid a huge point of light showed. "Here. To the east. He'll be there, Ryubarasu. I don't know any other name for him."

"This is just great," Kuririn groused as he rejoined them, a large knot on the top of his head. "We just got over someone trying to destroy the world, and now we're right back at it. Man, is this lame or what?"

Juuhachi-gou didn't answer--not Kuririn, at least. Instead, she turned to her daughter. "Marron, you'll stay here with Bulma. Don't be a problem to her."

"I'll stay too," Videl said, holding Pan a little closer. "We can let little Trunks and Goten know where you've gone. And I'm sure once the quake stops, the city's going to need at least one of the Great Saiyamen."

Gohan nodded and leaned in, kissing his young wife. "Be careful," he said softly.

"I will..." Videl touched Gohan's face. "You too?"

Gohan nodded, then followed the rest of the warriors out the window.

When they were gone, Bulma sat on the bed (which wasn't shaking quite so badly as the rest of the room) and crossed her arms, scowling. "Typical men, run out when things get interesting."

"H-hai," Videl said, a sweatdrop appearing on the side of her face.

"Now what the hell is this you've been puling about?" Vegeta said to Mirai Trunks as they all flew east.

"He came to our world only a few days ago, and came to Capsule Corporation, demanding our Dragon Balls. He said his name was Ryubarasu, and he needed the Dragon Balls desperately." Mirai Trunks drew a hand across his forehead, sweating. The effort of flying was taking more out of him than he liked, but every second counted. "We'd been warned about him, and when we told him he couldn't have them, he wasn't very happy."

"I thought Piccolo-san was dead in your time, " Gohan said quietly. "If that's so, he really couldn't get the Dragon Balls, could he?"

"There's a new Kami, he's recreated them, " Mirai Trunks answered. "Just recently. They're more like the original Nameksejin Dragon Balls-- they grant three wishes, not one."

"Ah, then you got a Dende too," Gokou observed.

Mirai Trunks looked surprised a moment, then nodded. "Yes, the new Kami's name is Dende. --I guess that means..."

"Hai. When old Kami and Piccolo merged--you remember, to fight Cell--the Nameksejin sent little Dende to take over."

"Looks like both times chose the same replacement then." Mirai Trunks smiled briefly, then became serious again. "Ryubarasu came back later and tried to take the Dragon Balls by force. We fought him off and he fled. I chased him. Mom was charging the time machine for me then-- I'd decided to try a trip back here to see how you were all doing, and to let you know things were much better for us now.... he stole the time machine. Thought it was a spaceship, maybe."

"And instead it brought him back here." Juuhachi-gou nodded. "Why is he so dangerous, this Dragon Killer?"

"He doesn't want the Dragon Balls to make a wish. He wants the Dragon. He has some kind of weapon that-- that takes your whole ki, your whole lifeforce, and draws it into the wielder. It's an ancient artifact, Dende says." Looking around, Mirai Trunks shook his head. "He's been stealing the souls of every Dragon he can find. When he takes the souls of one hundred dragons, he's supposed to be invincible. And our Shenlon was to be the hundredth. We stopped that-- but-- I think he must've taken the soul of your Shenlon instead... it's all my fault!" he burst out, fists clenching. "If only I'd stopped him before he took off in the time machine! But it was all I could do to hold on, I thought I'd be torn apart--"

"Na, shinpai shinai, Trunks-san," Gokou said. "It's nothing you can change now, we just gotta beat him, that's all!"

"If we can, Gokou-san, if we can."

The six of them flew on in silence for a few moments, Mirai Trunks stealing glances at Juuhachi-gou the whole time. Finally she leveled a cool gaze on him and asked, "Did I grow horns?"

"N-nani? --Oh, gomen..." the boy looked ahead, blushing a bit. "I was.. I was just wondering... whose little girl that was you were holding. Back in the hospital."

"Ours," Kuririn said proudly. "Her name's Marron."

"You and Juuhachi-gou-san are married?!"

"Well--sure, I mean, you don't think we had Marron BEFORE we--"

"No no no!" Mirai Trunks laughed hastily. "It's just... I wonder if... never mind."

"Yeah, it's been a pretty good few years over here." Kuririn sobered a bit. "How're things over where you're living? I mean... did we change anything..?"

Mirai Trunks shook his head. "No. Except that I did kill the other Jinzouningen, and Cell too. Our past didn't change."

"Geez... I'm sorry.... I mean, you came all that way--"

"It's all right, Kuririn-san." The young Saiyajin smiled. "Believe it or not, things are getting a lot better. We're rebuilding the cities, and it looks like the human race is going to survive after all."

"Oh okay! Good deal. Um.... how's... how's your mom?"

"Happier than she's ever been." Trunks took a long, long breath. "But that's a story for another time. After we've dealt with Ryubarasu."

"Look," Gohan broke in. "Look ahead of us there..."

All of the fighters looked up, then skidded to a halt. The air before them was filled with a wall of twisting clouds, a bruised blue-black in color, with lighting arcing restlessly from sky to ground and back again. The ground itself was shattered open, in some places bleeding streams of molten rock. And all of them could feel something creeping across their nerves, the sense of some immense power, coiling in the heart of the destruction, a serpent readying itself for a poison strike.

"Wait here," Gokou said quietly. "We're gonna need Chibi Trunks and Goten now." Putting two fingers to his forehead, he teleported away.

The others descended and found a place to wait, watching the roiling tempest. For his own part, Mirai Trunks was just as happy about taking a brief rest. Nothing was broken, but he wasn't fully healed, he could feel it. A grim little smile touched his lips and he sat, head hanging down, conserving his strength. The slightest sound near him made him glance up to see Vegeta watching him like a hawk. "Hai?" he said.

Choosing his words carefully, Vegeta said, "Are you able to fight?"

"Yes, I have enough strength left for that," Mirai Trunks answered, then scowled. "Wait a moment--"

"So you did understand." The next second Mirai Trunks found himself hauled to his feet and inches from Vegeta's face. "Who taught you our language, boy?"

"You did."

"Don't make a joke of it." A sharp little shake. "I may've taught you to fight, but I taught you nothing else. So answer me. Where did you learn Saiya-go?"

The young Saiyajin opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again as Gokou reappeared with the younger Trunks and Goten in tow. "Later," he promised Vegeta. "You know I'll keep my word."

"Hn." Vegeta let go, folding his arms. "If you want to keep breathing you will."

Meanwhile, Gohan had moved off a bit by himself and was watching the wall of fire and air, a troubled look on his face. Kuririn moved up beside him. "Something wrong, Gohan?"

"Piccolo." Gohan glanced at the other man, eyes worried. "I've been trying to find him, sense his ki, so he could join us. And I can't. I should be able to, he never hides from me. I'm just-- I'm afraid--" he gestured at the storm. "He meditates in the mountains, Kuririn-san. What if he was near there when all this happened?"

"That's a tough one to call, Gohan. We'll just hope he wasn't, or if he was, that he could and did take care of himself. Hey, Piccolo's a tough guy, he's smart, I'll bet he's waiting on us somewhere and keeping his ki masked so that this Ryubarasu character can't tell where he is."

"I hope you're right, Kuririn-san."

As the Warriors gathered, Mirai Trunks took the opportunity to move closer to Gokou. "Are you sure you want them here?" he asked quietly, nodding at his younger self and the dark-haired boy beside him. "I mean, it's obviously been a lot longer for you than for me-- I'm sure they've been trained well, but--"

"Hai," Gokou answered, eyes on the far horizon. "Might need Gotenks."


Gokou grinned and clapped the other Saiyajin on the back. "Been a lotta changes since you were here last!"

"So I see." Shaking his head, Mirai Trunks ran a hand through his bangs, the same two stubborn locks dropping right back into place. "The little boy--he's yours, Gokou-san? Or Gohan-san's?"

"Mine, sankyuu. That's Goten."

"He looks a lot like you. I hope he fights like you too."

"Hai, Goten's good boy." Turning, Gokou held open a palm, on which rested three senzou. "These are all were ready, Karin says. You go ahead, eat one. The way you're acting, we'll need all our strength. Might as well keep the rest, too, you got pockets put them in."

Mirai Trunks nodded and ate a senzou, feeling health flood back into him, then carefully tucked the others away. "He was bad enough with the strength of ninety-nine dragons in him," he answered. "I can't begin to imagine how much more powerful he is now. And with Shenlon dead, there's no hope of resurrection. I'm so sorry, Gokou-san. I never meant to bring this on you."

"Aa, quit that. You blame yourself too much."

Mirai Trunks laughed. "You sound just like--" he stopped.

"Nani? Sound like who?"

A small smile crept over Mirai Trunks' face. "A very good and wise man I know."

Meanwhile, Chibi Trunks had been staring at his future counterpart, and finally walked over to stand in front of him, arms folded as he scowled up at him. Mirai Trunks struggled to keep a smile off his face-- the boy's expression was so like Vegeta's... I might've been like this, if Pappa had lived. I do sense a great power in him. A lot more than I had at his age. I should know by now Gokou-san knows what he's doing. "Konnichi wa, Chibi Trunks-kun," he said quietly. "Mirai Trunks dai yo."

"You're really me?" Chibi Trunks said.

"That's right. Sort of, anyway. Where and when I come from... the other warriors died when I was a baby. We have that much difference, if nothing else." Mirai Trunks glanced briefly at Vegeta. "He's here to teach you, as my father wasn't."

Chibi Trunks' expression softened. "Gomen," he said, lowering his arms. "I guess... maybe it hurts to see me then. I'm kind of like..." His head lowered and he peered up at Mirai Trunks through bangs a bare shade lighter than the older Saiyajin's. "I'm kind of like everything you lost."

"No, little prince." Mirai Trunks crouched down, to be on eye-level with the boy. "The first time I came here, it was with hope of changing the past. Maybe I didn't change my own, but I helped save your world, your future, from becoming mine... and I learned about what kind of men my father and Gokou-san and all the other Warriors I never met must've been. That was a great gift. Everything I did and learned here prepared me to go back to my own time and make it better, too."

"Enough talking," Vegeta interrupted. "Where is this 'Dragon Killer' you've been saying is so strong? I don't sense anything."

"He's got to be near here..." Rising, Mirai Trunks swung the modified Dragon Radar around. "This says we're practically on top of him."

"Vegeta's right, though," Kuririn said, scanning the area warily. "I don't feel anything either--well, not anything really in one spot. If this guy's as powerful as you keep saying he is, he should stand out like a searchlight on a dark night!"

"Unless..." Gohan trailed off.

"Unless what?"

"Unless his power's so great it's all around us.... so that everywhere feels the same. If we're standing in his aura... surrounded by it... there'd be no way to tell any difference. It'd be like standing in a pool of water. You couldn't pick out one drop from another."

"Oh man," Kuririn groaned, "I don't like the sound of that!"

"Juuhachi-gou-san," Gokou said quietly. "You got other ways of feeling than sensing ki. What do you see?"

The Jinzouningen nodded once and took a few steps forward, china-blue eyes roving over the countryside. "A lot of electrical disturbance... magnetic too," she said eventually. "As if the poles had shifted. As if the energy of the world were being slowly pulled to this spot, rather than where it should be. It's only a little right now. But I can tell it's increasing."

"Otousan..." Goten pointed. "The storm's getting bigger too."

"And coming this way," Chibi Trunks chimed in.

"So's something else." Mirai Trunks shielded his eyes as a blast of wind kicked up some sand. "What's that, there, on the fringes of the clouds?"

"...PICCOLO-SAN!" Gohan rose up, shot forward. "Piccolo-san!"

"Gohan! Yamero! Matte!" Gokou put out a hand as if to hold his oldest son back, then let it drop as Gohan continued on. "Get ready, minna."

As Gohan got nearer, the smile of welcome dropped off his face. Piccolo wasn't flying; he was being driven before a howling gust of wind, which now slammed into Gohan, slowing him down. It took real effort to force through it and intercept the Nameksejin, hold him up. "Picc--" Gohan's eyes widened. "Iie! PICCOLO-SAN!"

What lay in Gohan's arms was only barely recognizable as his alien mentor. One arm was missing and his robes were tattered, seared and torn, their rents mirroring wounds in the Nameksejin's body. His eyes were shut, one swollen closed by a huge bruise. The other opened, weakly, looking at the young man. "Go...han..."

"Who? Who did this?!?!"

"I did." The voice rolled like thunder, and had even less humanity. Gohan looked up to see a man standing in the sky, restless arcs of energy twisting around him like flames. It was almost like the aura of a Saiyajin--but dark, a black that hurt the eyes to look at too long. One hand raised almost diffidently. "The Legendary Super Saiyajin, Son Gohan. The Great Saiyaman. Good words to write on your tombstone."

"GOHAAAAN!" Gokou screamed, taking to the air. The others followed him up as the Dragon Killer fired, arcs of black energy leaping out at Gohan and Piccolo. Gohan moved, but not quickly enough; part of the beam blistered over his back. He screamed, dropping from the air like a stone, only barely keeping a grasp on his friend. Mirai Trunks split off from the main group to steady him as the others forged in.

As he put his arm around Gohan, Mirai Trunks bit back a gasp. Where the beam had scored its mark, Gohan's skin was undamaged, but a deadly white. "Gohan-san... nani... doshite?!"

"T..Trunks...Trunks-k-kun..." Gohan's eyes lost focus, rolled back in his head as he went limp. Hastily Trunks locked both arms around him and Piccolo, lowering them to the earth, then looked back up, worried. Could that have been the weapon? The one Dende-sama warned us about? "Don't let the black blasts hit you!" he shouted, hoping they'd hear him above the rising winds. "Be careful!" Not knowing what else to do, he drew his jacket off, covered Gohan with it-- the other young Saiyajin seemed to be slipping into shock-- and made them both as comfortable as he could.

Above, the Warriors circled the Dragon Killer warily. He seemed to barely notice them. "A hundred," he mused aloud, studying his hands. "A hundred dragons. How they burn inside me. How it makes me thirst, this power. How long before this planet runs dry? 'Behold, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds'..." he laughed.

"Kono yogore!" Vegeta shouted, face twisting. "You think we'll lie down like dogs and let you do as you please?! Bakayarou! Ahondara!"

Ryubarasu raised his gaze to the angry Saiyajin. "Prince Vegeta. Prince of Vegetasei," he mused. "Let me give you a larger kingdom to rule. Two dead worlds instead of one." His hand raised again, the ebon energy already beginning to flicker around it. The blast careened out, but Vegeta was prepared, already letting gravity pull him down out of the black fire's way as it lanced the air he'd stood in only a second before. He still felt it pull at him, like a magnet attracting steel, drawing his ki away. In answer he howled, exploding with gold fire, and cupped his palms in front of him. "FINAL FLASH!"

Ryubarasu only lifted his hand yet again. The shadow didn't just deflect Vegeta's attack; it seemed to devour it, to completely cancel it out. But while he was dealing with one attack, Juuhachi-gou and Kuririn swept in from the sides and struck at him. He rocked forward, turning with a scowl to fire at them.

"Yeah!" Kuririn flipped out of the blast's way. "If we can hit 'im, we can hurt 'im! Let's go guys!"

"You have no idea," the Dragon Killer retorted, sending blast after blast after him as Kuririn dodged, ducked, dropped and just plain scooted. "Idiot, imbecile! I have the power of a hundred dragons! How long will your puny strength hold out?!"

"Long enough for this!" Rocketing in, Vegeta slammed a shoulder into Ryubarasu's back, then lashed punch after punch into the other man's spine and kidneys before finishing with a barrage of ki bursts that sent the Dragon Killer plummeting earthward. As he impacted, Vegeta flattened a palm. "BIG BANG ATTACK!"

On the ground, Mirai Trunks crossed his arms in front of him, shielding himself and the two with him as the concussion of Vegeta's assault rolled over them all. He blinked through the settling dust. S..Sugoi! Powerful-! How powerful he is! I had no idea-! All of the warriors here have gotten so much stronger since I was here last. Maybe... maybe they can win...

Above, Vegeta swooped down a bit, smirking. "So much for the power of a hundred dragons," he said.

"Vegeta, chui!" Gokou warned. "Don't get too close!"

"Shut up, Kakarott. I don't need a low-class warrior like you to tell me how to fight!" Vegeta dropped closer, wanting to savor the victory.

The black light darted up at him, catching him in the side. He screamed, feeling power run out of him like water, and instinctively threw himself to one side to break the contact. Disoriented, he tried to right himself, gain altitude, and instead wound up slamming into the ground. As he shook his head, fighting to clear it--his whole left side felt at once on fire and frozen solid-- the Dragon Killer advanced on him.

"Papa!!" Chibi Trunks flew in, hair spiking as he went Super Saiyajin, with Goten at his heels. "Don't you touch him! I won't let you!"

"You're gonna get your butt kicked good now!" Goten added. "We're gonna show you some real power!"

"Yamero! Trunks-kun! Goten!" Gokou clenched his fists, then drew them to one side. "Kuririn, Juuhachi-gou! All at once!" He fired a Kamehameha, blasting the earth in front of the Dragon Killer, cutting off his approach. At the same time Juuhachi-gou and Kuririn fired, trying to catch Ryubarasu in a cross fire.

With a final worried glance at Gohan and Piccolo, Mirai Trunks drew his sword and leapt to the air, charging in low. As Ryubarasu turned to deflect the other warriors' fire, he brought the blade up in a deadly cutting stroke, shearing off the Dragon Killer's arm clean at the shoulder, then tumbling to strike again at the opposite side's ribs, cutting the man in half.

"Yeah!" Kuririn yelled as Ryubarasu dropped. "You got 'im! Way to go, Trunks-san!"

"Yosh', Trunks-san!" Gokou echoed.

Mirai Trunks didn't answer. He was looking at his sword.

The bright blade of it.

The bright, unmarked, unblooded blade of it.

Behind him, Ryubarasu's body glowed a rich gold. In the bath of light his arm reformed, the wound closed and vanished. He stood, flexing the restored hand, nodding thoughtfully.

"Huh?" Kuririn blinked.

"Onore," Juuhachi-gou growled under her breath. "He heals."

With a slow smile Ryubarasu turned. "Well struck, young prince," he said. "If I had been mortal, I would be dead. But I have the souls of a hundred dragons within me. How many wishes can a hundred dragons grant?"

"WISHES?!?!" Kuririn all but dropped out of the sky from shock. "Oh jeeeez, don't tell me he can do that TOO! This is so way unfair. Hey, is it checkout time yet? I want out of this hotel!"

"Yes," Ryubarasu said, not looking. "It is, as you say, 'checkout time'." He spread his hands. Again the golden light filled him and he began to grow. And grow. Heartbeat by heartbeat his body enlarged till he towered over the ground, 100 feet or more. "Dodge me now, little men. Or fall to your knees and wait for me to take your lives."

"Get stuffed!" Kuririn flung up a hand. "KIENZAN!"

"ENERGY WAVE!" Juuhachi-gou fired too, drawing closer to her husband. The Dragon Killer simply held up a hand, letting the energy reflect itself off.

Meanwhile, Mirai Trunks was running over to where Goten and Chibi Trunks were struggling to help Vegeta to rise. Struggling, because Vegeta was half-shoving them away with his good arm. "Vegeta-san, don't," he said, trying to get an arm around the furious warrior. "We need to get out of h--" the breath whooshed out of him as Vegeta elbowed him sharply in the pit of the stomach.

"Kusottare," Vegeta snarled impatiently, "don't touch me! I don't need your help. You've forgotten who I am, obviously." He turned on the younger Trunks, pushing him away a trifle more gently. "Move, boy. You and Kakarott's brat are in my way."

"Papa, please," Chibi Trunks begged, then stopped, looking past Vegeta as a shadow fell over the four of them. Ryubarasu was moving towards them, a dark orb already growing in his palm.

"HIYAAAAHHHH!" Arcing down, Gokou slammed into the Dragon Killer's knees, making him stumble. As he did, Gokou moved back, took a deep breath, and screamed. Power crackled and seared the air around him as his hair went gold, then turned into a long mane that reached almost to his waist, brows lowering and body enlarging.

"S....S...Sugoi!" Mirai Trunks caught himself, aware he was stuttering, then shook his head, not believing what his senses were saying. "What is that?"

"Super Saiyajin Three," Goten said helpfully. "Otousan can do that!"

"Thuh... Thuh... THREE?!!"

"Uh huh! You wanna see me and Trunks do it too?"

Mirai Trunks almost heard the sound barrier break as his jaw dropped. "Yuh..you..?"

"Hai!" Turning, Goten nudged Chibi Trunks. "Oi! Let's do it!"

"Hai!" Chibi Trunks nodded, grinning ear to ear, and the two boys darted forward a few steps, stopped side by side, and struck a pose. "Fuuuuuu-sion! HAAAA!" A fiercely blinding light filled the air, and when it faded one stood where two had moved only seconds ago.

With a smirk, Gotenks pointed at the Dragon Killer. "Oi, OI! Now you're in trouble! You're facing Super Saiyajin Level Three GOTENKS!" He shot into the air, taking up a position at Gokou's side.

"S..sugoi," Mirai Trunks muttered, watching them. "Just like Gogeta..."

"Go who?" Kuririn scratched his head.

"I'll explain later, Kuririn-san."

"You know, I'm kinda getting tired of that 'explain later' stuff too."

"If we don't stop the Dragon Killer, it won't matter if I explain now or later-- it won't make any difference either way."

"Yeah, guess you're right. We might as well take a seat and watch. This ought to be short and sweet. Normally Gotenks is kinda bad about dorking around, but Gokou will keep him moving--see, the Fusion only lasts--"

"Thirty minutes," Trunks finished, watching as the two warriors moved into position.

"Hey, how'd you know?" As Mirai Trunks opened his mouth, Kuririn held up a hand. "Don't tell me, don't tell me-- you'll 'explain later'. Man, at this rate, you'll be talking till next year."

"Don't be too sure." Juuhachi-gou brushed back her hair and watched intently. "Gokou and Gotenks are very powerful. But so is Ryubarasu."

"He can't be more powerful than Majin Buu.... Can he?"

Juuhachi-gou only looked at her husband and said nothing.

Mirai Trunks swallowed, then turned to kneel beside Gohan and Piccolo, pausing to spare Vegeta a quick glance. Vegeta was standing a little off from the group, absently massaging his injured arm, apparently trying to work the life back into it for another round of fighting. There was a smoldering fire of anger in his gaze as he watched Gokou, anger.. and a bitter, grudging, yearning admiration. Then he swung his gaze to Trunks, and for a few seconds they stared at one another. He can't do that, Trunks realized. He hasn't reached that stage yet. And it's eating him alive to know Gokou can. If only I could tell him-- hastily he dropped his gaze, giving Vegeta a victory of sorts, then busied himself tending to the other injured. Breaking one of the remaining senzou in half, he carefully fed each warrior a piece. It wouldn't be as much help as a whole one, but it would get them on their feet, he hoped.

In a moment Gohan groaned and stirred, sitting up, one hand to his head, as Trunks retrieved his jacket. "Nnaanda.. --Piccolo-san!"

"Shut up, Gohan," the low growl came, "some of us are busy trying to regrow our limbs." The Nameksejin, teeth locked, snarled, voice rising to almost a roar of effort as his arm regenerated, shooting whole and complete from the seared stump. He flexed it, then nodded. "I'm getting damn tired of having to do that. First Raditz, now this fruitcake."

A crack of noise and flare of light made them all forget any other concern and look to the skies. Gokou and Gotenks were circling the Dragon Killer like wolves, one darting in and retreating when he struck, while the other took advantage of the opening to slam home a ki blast or a blow. Already Ryubarasu seemed to be growing winded; his motions were beginning to slow down.

"They seem to be winning," Juuhachi-gou said.

"Let's give'em some help then!" Kuririn ran a short distance forward, held up both hands, and flung twin Kienzan's, one at each of the Dragon Killer's legs. As they sliced through the calves, hamstringing the huge form, both Gokou and Gotenks arced around and in, ramming the Dragon Killer with all their might. At the same moment everyone else fired, a sound like the world tearing itself open.

Then, silence, except for the rolling echos of the blasts and a dim rumble of thunder from above.

"Did we... did we do it?" Gohan asked.

"Don't be an idiot. Nothing could've survived that," Vegeta snorted. "So much for the all-powerful Dragon Killer."

"Don't get cocky," Piccolo said, eyes narrowing as he tried to peer through the settling dust. "You thought that about Majin Buu, too."

"Shut up, green man, before I feed you your own feet. While they're still attached to your body."

Piccolo smirked. "You can try."

"Yatta! Yatta!" Gotenks thumbed his nose, then put his fists on his hips and turned his back, grinning down at the other Zed Warriors. "Gotenks saves the day again! Yaaaaa!" He thrust a small fist into the air, supremely pleased.

Nearby, Gokou didn't share his enthusiasm. He too was peering intently into the dust, every sense alert. He'd already grasped the implications of Ryubarasu's statement about 'wishes'... if even the slightest fragment of life or consciousness remained, then the Dragon Killer could simply use the stolen powers of the dragons to wish himself fully healed and even more powerful. In order to stop him, they had to hit him hard enough in one attack to kill him instantly. He couldn't feel anything stirring down there, but they hadn't been able to lock in on Ryubarasu before-- he tensed, suddenly, feeling a burst of energy emanating from the earth below, followed by a blur of motion. "GOTENKS!" he bellowed, already moving.

Gotenks, caught mid-boast, blinked, then turned, just in time to see a huge hand swatting down at him, as if he was a fly. "Shimattaaaaa..." he managed to get out, just as the hand connected. He rocketed downward and slammed into the earth so hard he cracked it open, bounced-- and split, the Fusion ending prematurely.

Whirling, Ryubarasu fired one of his dark bolts at Gokou. Gokou teleported out of its way with the Shukan Idou, reappearing beside Chibi Trunks and Goten and scooping them up. He barely dodged a second bolt, and a third, as he flew back towards the group, letting the boys' limp forms drop into waiting arms before turning and cupping his hands to one side. "Kaaaa...me... Haaaa... me... HAAAA!"

Ryubarasu, snarling, retaliated, dark blast meeting Gokou's. For a long moment, as the others scrambled out of the way, the two beams of energy, positive and negative, played back and forth, as Gokou fought to pour so much energy into it that Ryubarasu couldn't absorb it all, while the Dragon Killer struggled to handle the incoming power. Inch by inch the Kamehameha yielded up to the Dragon Killer's blast, until it was mere yards from Gokou himself.

"Gokou!" screamed Kuririn. "Let it go! Get out of there!"

"Otousan!" Gohan cradled Goten to him. "Hayaku! If he hits you--"

"This is crazy! He just keeps getting more powerful!" Kuririn clenched his fists. "How are we supposed to stop that!"

Ryubarasu flung back his head and laughed. "How, fools? The answer is simple. YOU CAN'T!" He slammed both hands forward and the black beam blew through the Kamehameha, headed straight at Gokou. It caught him full on and he screamed as it pulled more energy out of him, forcing him out of Super Saiyajin Three. He plummeted like a bird with broken wings and hit hard, not moving.

Dismissing him for the moment, Ryubarasu turned to the others. "Now. You have all been far more trouble than I thought. This time I eliminate you first." Bolts of midnight energy began to lance and crackle towards them all, driving them back. At the same time, the ground--perhaps overstrained by the titanic concussions it'd already received-- began to crack and fissure, making the footing doubly treacherous.

"Otousannnnn!" Gohan handed off Goten to Mirai Trunks and headed that way, diving and dodging frantically as he tried to reach his father. Piccolo, Kuririn, Vegeta and Juuhachi-gou set up a pattern of cover fire, hoping to distract the Dragon Killer. It worked, but not they way the might've wanted it to; he leveled an arm and fired on them, a normal blast this time, but powerful enough to send them all flying. Then his eyes locked on Mirai Trunks, Chibi Trunks, and Goten.

"No..." Mirai Trunks took a half-step back, mind racing. Take to the air, he'd make them all three a sitting target. Stay here, and they'd be almost as bad off. All he could do was try to draw the main attack-- Chibi Trunks and Goten were still too weak and dazed to stand any kind of battle-- and hope that the others would recover quick enough to get the hell out of here with the children. Never taking his eyes off Ryubarasu, he fished out the last senzou, pressed it into his younger self's hand. "Trunks-kun," he whispered, "crack that in half, and give Goten-kun part. Then I want you both to run for cover as fast as you can."

"Demo, Trunks-san--" Chibi Trunks started to protest.

"No, Trunks-kun. You're exhausted from the Fusion, so is Goten. We'll need your strength later. You've GOT to do as I say."

"Trunks-san..." Goten blinked up, eyes wide and worried. "You're not gonna die are you?"

"I wasn't planning on it, Goten-kun. Get ready." He maneuvered himself in front of the pair as Ryubarasu lifted both hands, black energy crackling around them. "Get ready--"

Something blurred through the air, too fast for Mirai Trunks to really see what it was before he felt himself lifted up. Instinctively he snatched up both Goten and Chibi Trunks, holding them tight as the whatever it was put on speed. In the same moment, he felt four familiar ki signatures wink into being--teleported there, or merely abandoning their masking to reveal themselves-- and gasped, realizing who it had to be, must be, holding him. "Juu-chan--!"

"Who did you expect, murasakige," Mirai Juuhachi-gou said, a half laugh in her voice, "the noodle vendor?"


Part Three
"Watch the World Get Bushwhacked"

So don't just sit back, kick back and watch the world get bushwhacked
News at ten: your neighborhood is under attack
So put away the crack before the crack puts you away
You need to be there when your baby's old enough to relate

Confused, Kuririn blinked up at the rapidly retreating forms, then to his left-- where Gohan was supporting Gokou as both of them ran to join the battle again-- then up, into the skies, where his senses told him the impossible. "This... I can't.. this isn't happening!" he shouted as the voices floated down in the quiet between thunderclaps:

"Kaaaaaa- meeeee--"


"Maaakanko SAA--"


The rest of the words were lost in a roar of energy that slammed the Dragon Killer in the back, toppling him forward to slam onto his face. With an angry shout he rolled, firing up at his attackers, but they simply winked out of existence, to reappear point-blank in his face and fire a second time. This time Ryubarasu's cry was one of pain as he clutched his eyes, momentarily blinded.

Then the air in front of Kuririn blurred and he felt himself grabbed up-- they were all grabbed, Piccolo, Vegeta, Juuhachi-gou, Gohan and Gokou-- and the world blinked around them.

The next thing Kuririn knew, he was being set gently on his feet on the floor of a crevasse somewhere. He whirled, taking a stance instinctively, then stopped, looking up at his rescuer. "Guh... Guh...." he stammered as a hand descended gently on the top of his head and the man in front of him smiled; wistful, a little sad and a little happy both at once.

"Ossu, Kuririn," Gokou said. "You looking pretty good. I like the hair. You should keep it."

"GOKOU?!?!" Immediately Kuririn backed up, tripped, sat down hard, and looked around. "But you're over-- you're over there!" He stopped, noticing that there were more than just two Gokous. There were two Piccolos, identically clothed, giving each other a wary once-over before relaxing; two Gohans, one more muscular than the other, each clad in the Son colors-- though, now that he looked closer, Kuririn saw, it wasn't quite the same; these newcomers' colors were darker, a midnight blue and red-orange. Two Juuhachi-gou's, one long-haired and curled into Mirai Trunks' side (MIRAI TRUNKS!?!?) and one not, exchanging what could only be described as the coldest stare this side of a Frigidaire. Two Vegetas, one wearing his Saiyajin armor like a mark of pride, sneering at the other Vegeta; and... two Gokous.

In the dumbfounded quiet, Mirai Trunks stood up and looked at Vegeta. "You wanted to know who taught me Saiya-go," he said, and walked over to stand by the other Vegeta, the one in the armor. "And I told you that you did. It was the truth. Vegeta-san... this is my father, from my time. And our Gokou-san, and Gohan-san, and Piccolo-san. The reason my mother is so happy these days is that.. we found a way to bring the four of them back." He smiled, a bit shamefacedly. "I admit, I was trying to keep it a secret so I could surprise you... but I guess the time for surprises is over."

"Subarashiiiiii!" Gokou dusted himself off and walked over to stare at the other him, eyes wide. "You look just like me!--Hm?" Squinting, he bent over to check the other Gokou's waist, then screamed: "AIAIAAAAAA! YOU GOT A TAAAAAAIL!"

"Tail?!" exploded Vegeta, fists snapping shut. "Nanda kuso?!?!"

"Saa, saa, Vegeta, don't have fits now," the second Gokou-- Mirai Gokou, Kuririn guessed they'd have to call him-- said, holding up his hands. "It's just the way we came back, you know? We decided to keep them."

"And what business it is of yours anyway, naked-butt, that we have our tails?" added Mirai Vegeta.

Vegeta's hands began to crackle with energy. "I'll make it my business if I please, you second-rate apology for me."

"That sounds like a challenge." Mirai Vegeta crouched, tail whipping up and tucking around his waist. A full fledged fight might've broken out, save for Mirai Trunks, who stepped in-between them. "Onegai," he said, "Pappa... Vegeta-san.. now is not the time, we have the Dragon Killer to worry about!"

"Hnn." Mirai Vegeta dropped his hands. "Later then, yamazaru."

"Mushikera," Vegeta muttered back, then stalked off a few feet, turning his back.

"How did all of you get here, anyway?" Juuhachi-gou said, abandoning her stareoff with her 'twin'. "I don't suppose you got off the crosstown bus."

"Bulma-san," Mirai Gohan said. "After the Dragon Killer stole the first time machine, she built another one. We made 2 or 3 short trips once we got back to the past-- aa, gomen, to the now-- till we felt Trunks-kun's ki."

"This is soooooo cooooooool," Chibi Trunks said, turning around and around to look at everyone.

"Hai!" Goten agreed, nodding. "It's like stereo everybody! --Anou...." he stopped counting all the people, then looked over to Mirai Gokou. "Anou... tousan-- um.. Mirai Gokou-san, where am I? Didn't I want to fight too?"

"Tousan...." Mirai Gokou looked over to Gokou. "He's yours?"

"Hai. Goten da."

Crouching, Mirai Gokou beckoned Goten over. "How old you're, Goten?"

"Ummm..." Goten hastily counted. "I'm almost 10!"

Again that wistful smile, and Mirai Gokou put a hand on Goten's head. "Iie, " he said quietly. "I don't have a Goten. In my time, I died before me and Chi Chi could have another little boy. We only came back from Tengoku year or two ago. Time for Mirai Goten to be born's already past; Gohan is my only son."

"Ohhhhh..." On impulse Goten flung his arms around Mirai Gokou's neck for a hug. "Gomen ne, I didn't mean to make you sad."

"How touching," Vegeta snapped. "But as someone just reminded us, we have other things to think about."

"Nice to see some things never change," Mirai Piccolo observed. "I see the Vegetable is as obnoxious over here as he is in our time."

"Yeah," Piccolo said, "great to be able to depend on some things, isn't it. Gives you a nice warm homey feeling."

"He won't wait on us to finish discussions." Mirai Gohan pointed up. "Look."

All fell silent as they followed the young man's gesture to see the sky above them in torment, red lines running through it like cracks as the clouds boiled.

"Maasaka," Gohan breathed. "It's like it's being torn apart..."

"I think it is," his future self said. "I think the whole world is being torn apart. It's being pulled into the DragonKiller, to fuel him. He's like a great black hole. And after Chikyu..."

"Everything in the whole universe," Gohan finished, swallowing hard. "Hai, I can see that. He wanted to be the most powerful thing in the universe, ne? So... if he has all the power IN the universe, he gets his wish."

With a nod Gokou closed both fists and screamed, forcing himself back up to Super Saiyajin Three, ki battering the others, who all instinctively shielded themselves... except for Mirai Gokou, who stood his ground, eyes wide in wonder. What.. what've they fought here! What could call for so much power!.... A new power.. another level..??! As if in a dream, he watched the transformation, a wild excitement overcoming surprise. Beyond the Super Saiyajin... could I learn do that too..?

Opening his eyes, Gokou looked around. "This is last chance," he said solemnly. "We stop him now, or never. We don't take him down this time, he'll be too strong next time to hurt at all. Trunks; Goten. You two go now. Leave here."

"But, tousan--" Goten started to protest.

"Don't," Gokou said simply. "You two, you're too tired from Fusion. You go get your kaasans and little Marron and take them to the Tengoku. Maybe Dende will know something to do if we don't make it. Kuririn... will you..?"

"Stay with 'em? Yeah, sure, Gokou." Kuririn put his hands in his pockets. "I'm pretty strong, I know, but this is one time I'm way over my head. --Well, it's not the first time, but.. it's okay. Don't worry. I'll make sure nothing happens to 'em. Good luck."

One by one the warriors lifted into the air, forming up their groups, Mirai Warriors on one side and the other Zed Warriors on the other, as Kuririn shepherded the children away. "From the back?" Mirai Gokou called over to his counterpart.

"Hai," Gokou answered. "And us from the front, all at the same time. With everything we got." He paused a moment. "You think you can manage Genki Dama?"

Mirai Gokou blinked a bit, closed his eyes, and put his palms to the sky. An utter calm filled his features, as if thoughts of DragonKillers and fighting and dying had never crossed his mind in all his life. "Minna," he whispered, gently, "lend me strength... from mountain and ocean and forest, from all the little precious lives need protecting..."

Almost at once motes of light began to gather in the air, a few at first, then more and more, streams of power drifting into him and setting his aura alight. Gokou watched, clearly fascinated. "Saa... you're quick," he said admiringly, watching the sphere of light already taking shape above his other self's hands. "Let me know when you're ready." He flew off to flank the DragonKiller in front, the others following.

"This is insane," muttered Mirai Vegeta. "If it's withstood one assault from... that..." he scowled at Gokou, clearly not happy to find that in any universe Gokou could achieve so much power, then shook his head, a bleak smile crossing his features. "Still. It'll make a good story, assuming anyone lives to tell it." With an impatient flick of his tail he beckoned Mirai Trunks over, putting the boy on his right, to the outside of their attack group... where, perhaps, he might escape the worst of a killing shot. Mirai Juuhachi-gou instantly joined him there. Mirai Gokou paused to watch that, then looked at his own son. Gohan..?

Iie, tousan. Mirai Gohan shook his head just a bit. IF we're going to die, then let's die together. Trunks and Juuhachi-gou, they deserve to have a long life together, ne?

So do you.

I'm not afraid, tousan. Not when you and Piccolo are here.

My son... Mirai Gokou smiled, then nodded once. "Yosh'. Let's do it." We're ready, he sent silently to the other Gokou, and drifted slightly to the back, continuing to call energy from the earth and add it to the Spirit Energy Bomb. It had to be enough this time. It had to be enough.

To the far left, Gokou heard and turned. "Gohan, you, me and Vegeta in the middle. Juuhachi-gou and Piccolo to either side. --Gohan, don't hesitate this time."

"He's right, Gohan," Piccolo added. "Use all the power you have, all the power old Kaioushin gave you. Yeah, you might split the earth, but right now it doesn't matter. It won't make any difference now to be careful."

"Hai, tousan, Piccolo-san, I understand." Gohan hunched his shoulders a little, nervous, then took a deep breath, reaching for something he hadn't dared do since the threat of Majin Buu.

Reaching for Super Saiyajin.

As the power exploded outwards, making the tortured Earth quiver to its foundations, Ryubarasu turned, eyes searching the sky. "Maasaka..." he gasped. "What--what IS this--"

"NOW!" Gokou pulled his hands to one side, Gohan mirroring the stance, as the others opened fire, circling the DragonKiller, distracting him and hopefully opening him up for the final strike. "Kaaa.. meeee..."

"Haaa... meee..." Gohan echoed.


"GENKI DAMAAAA!" Mirai Gokou screamed, launching the sphere.

The world exploded in light, the concussion making a kind of silence as its roar overtopped any and all other sounds, and tumbling all the fighters back helplessly head over heels in the air before it, grabbing at one another to try to hang on, not be separated, find some stability in the maelstrom. It seemed impossible for the world to stand such a blow; unthinkable for anything to exist in its path. Not even dust remained as the blast faded; only a great influx of air to fill the void at its passing.

"Whoa," Piccolo said, raising his head, then shook it, realizing the blast'd left him temporarily deafened. That wasn't much of an obstacle to overcome. Piccolo, he said silently.

What, his own voice-- well, that of Mirai Piccolo, anyway-- answered him. And don't yell so damn loud. My antennae hurt.

Poor baby. Want an ice pack?

Yeah. Pass it over, so I can show you where I want to shove it. --Do you see anything? Where the hell ARE you anyway? And where are the others?

I'm here... Piccolo-san... anou.. Piccolo-sans... Gohan pulled himself out of the rubble that had been a fair sized hill and shook off the dust, regretting the motion at once; his whole body ached. Tousan? Gokou-san? Trunks-san? Juuhachi-gou-sans? Um.. me?

Here... Mirai Trunks tried to stand, collapsed back to his knees and found himself kneeling on top of his father. Papa?!

Shut...up. Mirai Vegeta levered himself up, one hand to his ear, feeling the warmth trickling from it. Idiot boy. I'm deaf, not dead. Kakarott?

Nnn.... is this what.. happens when you drink too much sake..? Mirai Gokou pulled himself free and promptly tumbled down a ridge of shattered stone to fetch up at the feet of his past-time counterpart. Aa, here's other me too, we're here. Gohan? Gohan?!

I'm.. okay, tousan... Mirai Gohan stood, supporting Mirai Juuhachi-gou on one side and Juuhachi-gou on the other. I think... I think we all survived-!

Yes, a cold, bleak, black voice said in all their minds at once. We all DID survive.

"Oh, Kami, no," Mirai Trunks moaned, forgetting he couldn't hear his own voice, turning to see the giant's form looming over them all. "No."

Ryubarasu smiled down at him. He no longer looked quite human; inside the outline of his body, a vast darkness had begun to fill him, as if the mortal man he'd been once had become translucent and some essence of ultimate shadow had been poured into him, filling all the space inside, up to a few inches from the edges. "I grant you all your health again," he said softly, making a courteous gesture in the air. "For the few moments of life you have left, it's only right."

"That's it, we're dead," Piccolo said, dryly. "Game over."

"Man, and I didn't even pass 'Go' to collect my 200 zenni," Mirai Piccolo added.

"Is now a good time to retreat?" Gohan asked, eyes wide.

"Hai." Gokou said. "RUN AWAYYYY!" He grabbed everyone he could reach and teleported frantically back to the gorge they'd hidden in first. Seconds later Mirai Gokou appeared there too with the stragglers.

"NOW what?!" Vegeta raged. "Chikusho! I don't believe this! What does it take to put this yagishiri DOWN?!"

"You're asking ME?" Mirai Vegeta roared back. "Do I look like Kami? Don't prove yourself more of a fool than you are!"

"Keep that up and you won't have to wait on Ryubarasu," Vegeta snarled. "I'll send you to Hell MYSELF!"

"Tousan...?" Gohan said pleadingly, looking to his father. His heart sank at the look on Gokou's features. "It... it can't be over..?"

"That was all we had," Gokou said, almost to himself. "We'd need to be twice as powerful as that now, to even match him... that was all we had." He closed his eyes, one fist pounding the ground. "All we had!"

"..Chotto..." Mirai Gokou's brows knit. "Say that again."

"All we had?"

"Iie... the other part."

"Twice as powerful?"

"Still not hearing so good?" Mirai Piccolo chided his world's Gokou. Mirai Gokou didn't answer, not directly. "Twice as powerful..." he repeated. "Twice. TWO."

"Hai--" Gokou stopped, his head lifting, gaze locking on Mirai Gokou's. "You think--"

"What we got to lose?!"

"We can do worse than try! You're right!" Gokou leapt to his feet. "Ikkusho!"

Mirai Gokou also leapt to his feet. Whirling, he grabbed Mirai Vegeta's shoulders. "Vegeta, buy us some time," he said urgently. "Me and other Gokou. A few minutes. We need a few minutes."

"What the hell are you planning, Kakarott?"

"No time explain! Vegeta, just buy us time!!" Letting go, Mirai Gokou turned, nodded to Gokou, and as one the two men vanished.

In the moment after, Vegeta snorted. "And you claim to be a Prince of the Saiyajin," he sneered at his future self. "Letting a low born warrior like Kakarott order you around as if he had you by the root of your tender little baby's tail."

The next second, Vegeta found himself slammed back against the crater wall and his own features, blazing with rage, staring back at him. "I didn't survive ten years in Hell without a body to listen to your mouth," Mirai Vegeta said, voice low and cold. "We both know that Kakarott is a tactical genius...more than either of us will ever match. If you haven't seen that for yourself by now, you ARE a fool, or a liar. I don't care which. If he has an idea how to save this wretched mudball of yours, then SHUT UP, GET YOUR TAILLESS BUTT OUT THERE, AND BUY HIM THE TIME HE WANTS!!" Stepping away, Mirai Vegeta made an impatient gesture to the others. "What are you waiting on? Kaiousama to come hold your hands? We MOVE!" He shot straight up, hair flushing gold as he went Super Saiyajin, the other Mirai Warriors on his heels.

With a half-smirk--almost admiring--Vegeta powered up as well, looking at his companions. "You heard him," he said. "Do I have to kick your butts to get them moving?" He rocketed upwards, one palm extended flat as Ryubarasu turned to face him. "FINAL FLASH!"

The DragonKiller never moved, only held open a palm, accepting the attack like a gift and absorbing it. "Thank you, Your Highness," he said mockingly. "I see you hold me in high regard." With the other hand he fired, searing Vegeta and sending him caroming into the nearest mountainside.

"KUSOTTARE!" Mirai Vegeta charged, smashing his fists into the Killer's chest, then ramming home blow after blow, faster and faster till his punches looked like one great blur of motion. Ryubarasu only shifted a little backwards, then raised a hand, brought it down in the same slapping motion that'd felled Gotenks earlier.

Mirai Vegeta fared no better. He screamed as he crashed to earth, struggling to pull himself from the rock as Ryubarasu lifted a foot, obviously meaning to crush him.

"BURNING ATTACK!" Mirai Trunks roared, swooping to fire point-blank. Beside him, Mirai Juuhachi-gou also raised her slender hands. "ENERGY WAVE!" she screamed, pouring everything she had into the shot.

With a growl, Ryubarasu brought his hands together in front of him, in a monstrous clap whose shockwave tumbled the two fighters away through the air. "You don't even begin to accept what you are to me, do you?" he said, irritated and amused both. "All of you are so many gnats who hum and buzz in my ears. And like gnats, I'll crush you."

"Yeah, but you never saw gnats who had stings like ours," Piccolo retorted. Both he and his counterpart fired as one, the spiraling Makanko Sappou beams hitting the same spot. With a grunt, the DragonKiller turned to face and deal with them.

As the crack and flash of blasts filled the air, a mile away the two Gokous were standing side by side, both in Super Saiyajin. Gokou watched as his counterpart struggled for just a little more power. "Almost there," he said encouragingly.

"Hai..." Mirai Gokou flashed a quick grin, swiping the sweat out of his eyes with the back of one arm. "I guess I should've trained harder in Heaven."

"Nanimo... I think that's it. Close enough." Gokou paused. "You sure?"

"We got any other choice?"

"It's gonna be a big strain on you. Maybe too big."

"I know. It's no difference. Ready?"


And for a second time the world went white, though this time there was no roar of detonation; simply the lighting of a star on the face of the blasted earth and a surge of power that seemed to burn through the nerves of everyone on the planet who could even begin to feel such a thing. As one, hunter and hunted, the Warriors and the DragonKiller, stopped, frozen in place.

"N--Nanda...?" Gohan stammered, blinking furiously, eyes watering. He tried to peer through the light, had to turn away; the sheer force of--whatever-- was blinding to sight and mind alike. Beside him, Piccolo winced, baring his teeth. Not even Juuhachi-gou or her counterpart could look that way; not even the sophisticated lenses of their artificial eyes could handle the output.

Then the star began to move, passing slowly but surely over the ground that crackled and buckled and shot out bolts of lightning at its passage, though it rode the wind a good hundred feet or more above the land. As it neared, the whole group could hear something; not with their ears, but in their minds. A low roar, like the whispering crackle of a Super Saiyajin's aura, but magnified a thousand times--and yet distant, muffled, just as though something or someone was trying to protect them from a sound so loud that only the echo of it was bearable at all.

"What the hell..." Vegeta began, then stopped. "M..maa...maasaka..."

Now the light dimmed, somehow; not fading, but... changing, like the sun when the moon passes before it in an eclipse. In the heart of it now they could all make out a form, familiar and strange at the same time.


But did Gokou ever burn so bright, as though he were made of the light, as if power and not blood ran in his veins, as if energy was flesh and bone?

"S... sugoi," breathed Mirai Trunks, squinting and blinking, trying to see more. "He... it's a Fusion. They fused! Gokou-san and.. Gokou-san..."


Part Four
"Walking on the Sun"

So don't delay, act now--supplies are running out
Allow if you're still alive six to eight years to arrive
And if you follow, there may be a tomorrow
But if the offer's shunned, you might as well be walking on the sun

--Smashmouth, "Walking On The Sun"

"Bakarashii," snarled Vegeta. "And what are we supposed to call this miracle? Go-gou or Koukou?"

Neither, a voice said in all their minds. Distant, like the roar of energy; echoing and redoubled, like the voice of a Fusion; unmistakably Gokou's voice, and nothing at all like his voice. I am the one who will exist only once, because of the price that must be paid. I am the one born to destroy the darkness. I AM KOUGOU, THE HYPER SAIYAJIN. Kougou's head lifted from regarding the Zed and Mirai Zed Fighters, turning to regard Ryubarasu for the first time. And I am your finish.

Ryubarasu's face twisted in scorn. "You think so," he sneered. "You're nothing more than a moment's inconvenience to me, whatever you choose to call yourself. When I've done with you, I'll finish this world and move on my way." His right hand shot up and fired, the black beam lancing out at the burning white figure, who stood his ground at it struck--

And rebounded.

"N...Nanda?!" Ryubarasu's face paled, then reddened with anger as he fired, again, and again, and again. Each time the black ki beam simply seemed to bend away from Kougou, who never moved, only watched with a deadly calm patience as the DragonKiller raged and summoned ever more power, the ground rupturing under him and bleeding streams of lava at the stress, till they stood in the middle of a river of fire.

When the DragonKiller paused at last, gasping and trembling, Kougou tipped his head. Enough, now. I have no more time to play. With no apparent motion, he was suddenly in the DragonKiller's face, one fist already arcing in to hammer into the other being's chest with the sound of a mountain breaking in half. And a crack DID appear, as if Ryubarasu was made of crystal and the hammer had descended to shatter him open. Some bright spark shot up from that, expanding in the air to form a sinuous coiling shape--

Ossu, Shenlon. Kougou smiled at the Dragon. Wait a moment, onegai. I have to free your brothers too. The smile fading, he half crouched and rained blows on the Killer, fists blurred streaks of light that merged into one long outpouring, a flood, a hundred strikes in the space of a heartbeat, each one clefting Ryubarasu open in another place and another and another. From all of those places the sparks escaped, filling the air with a hundred forms, the Dragons Ryubarasu had stolen and imprisoned within himself. With their passage, he screamed in agony, dwindling, and still Kougou struck, till with one last thunderclap he sent Ryubarasu flying, a battered, broken thing, charred from the inside by his ambition and from the outside by the light.

Then there was quiet, except for the faintest twittering of a bird, somewhere, as the clouds began to break apart and drift off and let the sun back through.

"Yatta," Mirai Gohan said, fists clenched, face alight with joy. "He did it, he did it!!" Joyfully, he turned. "Piccolo-san, did you see--" he stopped. His mentor wasn't moving. Rather, he was staring at Kougou, face bleak. "Piccolo-san..?"

"What is it you desire of us?" a voice boomed in the air, drawing everyone's attention again. Shenlon had lowered his head, turning it curiously, almost respectfully, in front of his rescuer. "We must all grant the wish we were summoned for before we can rest. What is your desire?"

It's an easy one for you all to grant me. Kougou looked around at the Dragons. I wish that all of you would go back to the worlds you belong to and put them right, as if the DragonKiller had never come to destroy and to steal your spirits. Restore the lands, the lives, that he took, all of them, everywhere, in his search for your power, to the full reach of your powers. Then return to your eternal slumbers and sleep well.

A hundred heads shifted; then, as one, the other Eternal Dragons also bowed their heads. In a hundred different languages they spoke, and yet each of their words was clear to understand: Your Wish Is GRANTED!

One final crack of noise and light, and they were gone, without a trace.

Gohan/Mirai Gohan.

Mirai Gohan started, then stepped a little forward. "H-hai, Gok-- anou.. um. .Tousan..."

Kougou looked at him, an infinite tenderness in his eyes. Tell your kaasan I love her. And take some of that love for yourself too, my son. My only son... With a little sigh, Kougou closed his eyes and fell from the air.

One fell; two struck.

"TOUSAAAAN!" Gohan leapt forward, his future twin only a step behind him, and all the other Warriors crowding round in the next step. Both Gokous lay huddled on the ground, one breathing in great ragged gasps, obviously exhausted but able to offer a weak thumbs up as they approached.

But the other... the one with the tail... lay still, as still as the stones.

"Tousan--" Mirai Gohan caught up his father, turning him, searching the face so pale, so empty of its usual cheerfulness...so empty of anything at all. "OTOUSAAAAN!"

"The power of a god," Piccolo's voice broke in. "The power of a god, in a mortal form. It was more than they could stand. The 'price which must be paid'.... is a life. And Mirai Gokou's the weaker of the two.. so it burnt him up first. He gave the Fusion all the power he had, and when that was gone... looks like he offered up the energy of his soul."

Mirai Gohan choked, his sight blurring. "Iie... iie, tousan..." he shook his head. "You can't, you can't leave us again, you can't leave us forever--"

"Senzou," Vegeta said.

"None left," Mirai Trunks said, sweating. "I, I gave the last one to the boys...right before Juu-chan rescued us..."

Fighting back the tears, Mirai Gohan started to lower his father, then had the limp form snatched from his grip. "Nanda--" he started, and stopped, as Mirai Vegeta ripped off his gauntlets impatiently and slammed his hands flat to Mirai Gokou's chest, ki flaring. Long moments passed as neither man moved, though twice Mirai Vegeta shivered, and the sweat began to pour off him as his muscles tensed in the reflection of some great effort.

Then Mirai Gokou gasped, convulsing, and quieted, breathing halting at first but steadying as Mirai Vegeta drew back his hands and wiped a shaking hand over his brow. After a moment or two dark eyes opened, unfocussed at first, then clearing.

"Kakarott." Mirai Vegeta leaned in. "Do you know me?"

"H....hai, Vegeta..."

"Good." Abruptly Mirai Vegeta lifted a hand and cracked his time's Gokou a vicious backhand strike, enough to rack the other Saiyajin's head half round and split open his mouth. "Neboken-ja neyo!!" he roared. "What do you think you're doing?! Chikusho!" Leaning in, he fisted a hand in Mirai Gokou's gi and hauled him up. "Don't think you're going to escape your destiny that easily. Your life is in MY hands! I'm the one who will kill you, in the place and time of my choosing. You low-born idiot, has the half of your brain that works dribbled out your ears?! You live by MY will, and I'll end your miserable existence when it pleases me to! --Do you understand?!?!"

Mirai Gokou only looked at him a moment, then smiled, just a bit. Very very softly, he said, "Hai, wakatta... watashi na ojisama." Then he closed his eyes wearily. "I think...I gonna take little nap now."

"GHUH!" Piccolo's jaw dropped. "What the-- 'my PRINCE'?!" Rounding on his counterpart, he demanded, "Since when does Gokou call ANYONE by a respectful title?!"

"...Since now," Mirai Piccolo answered, equally shocked.

Neither of the two men being discussed seemed to hear, or pay any attention. Mirai Vegeta simply let his Gokou flop back to the ground, smirked, stood up... and promptly fell flat over on top of Mirai Gokou, unconscious before he landed.

"Papa! Gokou-san!" Mirai Trunks said, kneeling quickly to check both men. He sighed with relief, turned to the group. "They're just both passed out."

"What did he do?" Gohan wondered aloud, supporting his own father. "Tousan? What did Mirai Vegeta-san do?"

"I dunno," Gokou answered. "We gonna have to ask him that when he wakes up I guess."

Unseen by any of them, a tattered scarecrow shape rose up, hollow glare fixed on their backs. Using one hand to steady the other, Ryubarasu raised the negative ki generator. Maybe he didn't have the power of a hundred dragons any more, but if he could drain the energy of his tormentors, it would be enough to begin again, and satisfy his ache for revenge. No one was taking any notice of him; they were all too busy studying two of their fallen number who lay in a heap on the ground. Ryubarasu grinned and took careful aim at Gokou's broad back--

Without turning, without any change of stance or expression, without even looking around, Mirai Juuhachi-gou lifted her arm and fired behind her, once. Those around her looked up and around just in time to see the once-DragonKiller vaporized where he stood by the blue-white blast of energy.

There was a long, stunned silence, broken finally by the present Juuhachi-gou. "Nice shot," she said.

Mirai Juuhachi-gou simply smiled and nodded once in reply.

== END ==

Ossu! Ore Gokou! Next time on Dragon Ball Supaa Zed, we're home again--just in time for more weird stuffI Anou.. I know you... you're GOTEN! Not only that, but we get a visit from a relative of an old foe! Aisuzu? "Ice"? You mean, like frozen water?..LIKE FURIIZA?!?! Be here for "Freshmen", the fifth Supaa Zed story! Bai bai!