- a Dragon Ball Z FanFiction -
Chapter One: Divergence
Disclaimer: Dragon Ball, the glorious franchise it is, is not in any way a property I control. I can only wish to supplement its mystique with stories such as the one herein. The same is in regards to related characters, symbols, plot elements, etc.
With that said, I hope you enjoy the story!
A path of life, in all its glory, need not be predetermined …
Sparks of lightning filled the air as the two strongest warriors on Earth dueled to their maximum.
Mr. Satan stared with a dumbfounded look on his face, amazed at the strength of the boy who was fighting the monster responsible for the Cell Games.
The tyrannical android growled with fury in his fruitless attempts to defeat the Saiyan whom he had pushed over the emotional edge.
"How can this possibly be happening?" Cell asked aloud, with a bitter rage that echoed throughout the vicinity. "I am perfect! I am the perfect being!"
The noble warrior, with his golden hair pointing straight upward and bolts of energy cascading about his shimmering aura, had blocked each punch and kick that his opponent had released in their most recent clash of abilities. The android suddenly moved backward many meters, in an attempt to refocus his energy and acquire an advantage.
The Saiyan briefly looked first toward his friends and then to his father, whose own blue eyes gazed upon his son with the brightest of admiration.
He then shifted his gaze toward the malevolent fighter, whose anger was seething through his efforts to raise his power.
"Cell, you monster, I will not let you harm anyone else!" Gohan trumpeted as the glowing tinges of his aura flickered in the sunlight. "You will pay for what you have done!"
Gohan then moved directly in front of the android and sent a searing fist of wrath into the gut of his foe, who couldn't block the attack in time and was now clenching his stomach in redoubled pain.
"Gohan! Keep it up!" Goku shouted, as he continued to watch the battle from his position atop a nearby rock formation.
"It's amazing how fast he's become," Piccolo said. "Goku, did you know that Gohan would have this much speed as a result of his training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber?"
"I sensed that Gohan would be able to reach a level that Vegeta, Trunks and I were farther from attaining," Goku said, as his son kicked Cell right in the face. "His speed is awesome, Piccolo. I knew he'd be fast, but this is way beyond my expectations."
"His new transformation is absolutely amazing," Trunks said, as he briefly looked toward his father, whose face revealed his frustration that it had not been he whom had reached the newfound level first. "I was having so much trouble catching up with Cell the last time I fought him. Gohan's speed now outshines Cell's with ease!"
Krillin looked on as his friends commented on the battle, his fists clenching out of a particular disheartening truth. Even though Eighteen was gone, as she had been absorbed by that freak, he reassured himself that she would be avenged by the son of his best friend, a boy who through their adventures on Namek and in defeating other villains had also become a close friend.
Cell had never thought he would experience the degree of panic he was enduring now.
If he was truly as perfect as he believed himself to be, he knew this situation would be inconceivable. But he was, in fact, a perfect being … wasn't he …?
As Gohan walked toward him steadily, in the bold and courageous manner of a glorious champion, the nervousness and sweating that Cell was trying so hard to conceal were becoming increasingly apparent to all who could see him.
Cell clenched his fists, infuriated that his fervent quest to achieve ultimate superiority was becoming demolished by an upstart Saiyan.
"Boy, I shall kill you and everyone else on this miserable planet if it's the last thing I do!" Cell shouted with even greater rage, as the golden specks of his own aura danced about him.
He charged with all his might toward the boy, jumped up quickly into the air, and began to gather energy at the fronts of his palms.
Then, in the blink of an eye, the transcendent Super Saiyan moved forward and punched Cell with all his might on the top of the android's head.
And that's when it happened.
Gohan followed up the punch by kicking the android up toward the sky.
After a few moments, Cell's body rocketed downward, smashing into the Earth and creating a whirlwind of dust.
Cell was lying motionless in the crater, his eyes closed and his breathing short.
Gohan landed near the crash site, took a moment of pause, and then started to walk in Cell's direction.
As Gohan approached, Cell opened his eyes, with the world all around him seeming somewhat hazy and somewhat fresh.
His vision restored itself to its proper workings at the moment Gohan came within five meters of him, all the while staring coldly into the android's eyes.
Cell was feeling a strange way that he had never quite felt before. As he perched to one knee, images and memories flashed before him. The way his emotions caressed and interacted with these visions seemed quite alien to him.
But the exact thing that was new about all this was a thing he knew had purposely been kept dormant within him. Cell knew that Dr. Gero had done everything he could to suppress certain personality traits during Cell's development, and that to serve his purposes, the scientist had crafted Cell with the hatred of Frieza, the megalomania of King Cold, and the stubborn motivation of Vegeta. Of course, these three traits did not make up the entirety of Cell's intended personality, but these three dominated that intended personality nonetheless.
Now, there was a difference.
And it wasn't just a small one.
'That move from Gohan, the one that struck me right on the head, what else could be responsible for this sudden change?' Cell thought to himself. 'I've heard of this before, people getting hit in the head and then changing dramatically. It is certainly sad, any case in which one loses his or her memories, but I should be fortunate that mine are still intact. But what of these feelings? These feelings are quite different, and yet … I welcome them! How did I live before? How did I feel ease in cherishing the horror and pain that I loved so dearly, or the darkness I spread with joy? But now …'
"Cell!" Gohan yelled, interrupting the android in the midst of his thoughts. "It's time for this to end! I'm tired of your games! I'm going to finish you once and for all!"
"Wait one moment, Gohan! Let me, … well, let me explain!" Cell said in panic, truly fearful but for so many different reasons, and with a nervous stuttering indicative of true apprehension.
"Can it!" the Saiyan shouted as he kicked the android, who streamed across the wasteland's floor and became a jumbled mess some distance away.
If Vegeta had closely seen Cell's face after the android fell yet again to the ground, he would have laughed arrogantly because of the tears that were streaming down it. The android was feeling the anguish of an indescribable remorse that comes with a great awakening which few, if any, have ever experienced at the magnitude he was enduring.
Gohan fired a round of energy blasts at Cell, and the android became even more decimated than he had been before, with even more physical pain added to the emotional.
Goku couldn't help but sense that there were very different vibes emanating from the situation as a whole. He didn't know exactly what had changed, or if his senses were merely playing tricks on him.
Cell watched as Gohan came even closer to him, just three meters away now. Cell saw that Gohan's face had the determined expression characteristic of Saiyans whose rage kindles strongly in their hearts.
Gohan was, at first, quite shocked at the fact Cell was crying. This was a most unexpected development. Cell's eyes were barely open, and so Gohan did not think Cell would have necessarily noticed the temporary, but barely recognizable, change in his scowl at the shock of seeing the android's tears.
But what shocked Gohan even more, what also shocked all who were watching the fight with keen interest, was that when Gohan raised his fists, Cell closed his eyes and moved his arms in front of his face, in a purely defensive fashion, but a sloppy one that was quite uncharacteristic of his normal tactics. Cell also began to shake, whether out of nervousness or other factors Gohan could not readily discern.
Gohan thought Cell was either merely scared of his power or that Cell was playing another trick.
"So, are you going to fight me or not?" Gohan asked him.
Cell continued to shake, and now Goku could hear the much more audible sounds of crying.
"Um, ... Goku?" Piccolo asked with a flicker of bafflement in his voice.
"Yeah, Piccolo?" Goku responded in a similarly uncertain tone.
"What is going on with Cell?" he asked.
"I'm not sure Piccolo, but look at him," Goku said. "It's not just the crying that I'm finding to be really strange. There's just something that's … that's so different about him."
"Different, Goku?" Tien asked.
"What do you mean, 'different'?" Yamcha chimed in.
"Well, what I mean to say is, first of all, it's completely unlike Cell to be so outwardly showing … well, fear," Goku said. "What he's doing right now, it's … it's just so unlike him. I think you'd all agree with me that it looks like he's crying, as strange as that is. And on top of that, and I can't quite put my finger on this one, he just seems so … I used the term before but I can't think of a better one, … 'different.' I don't really know how to explain it."
"Maybe Cell has finally gone off the deep end out of the fear that his so-called 'perfection' is no match for the power of your kid, Kakarot," he said.
"I really don't know, Vegeta," Goku said.
All of the Z-fighters then turned their attention again toward Gohan and Cell, waiting to see what would happen next.
Gohan's impatience became even more apparent than it had been before.
"Well Cell, are you going to fight me or not?" he asked, with his anger causing a few rocks to rise from the ground and become crushed in midair.
Cell, who had finally mustered enough courage within himself to speak more clearly, then made a comment that bedazzled Gohan.
"Gohan, stop! I don't want to fight you anymore!" he yelled aloud, for all to hear.
Gohan could have sworn that Cell's plea sounded as though it had been made with a tone marked by both concern and regret. This was, however, too implausible for Gohan to consider as truly genuine, although there was no denying that something felt amiss.
"Excuse me?" Gohan asked, as his eyes began to reflect the boy's overall quizzical attitude at this juncture. "You don't want to fight anymore? How could you say that?"
The other Z-Fighters were pondering these questions as well, trying to discern exactly what was transpiring.
"That coward!" Vegeta said. "Even though he's down for the count and throwing the white flag, he's probably just trying to take advantage of Gohan and trick him! Cell probably wants Gohan to turn around and begin to back off so that he can make a last-ditch effort!"
Goku continued to look at the scene, still unsure of what would happen, or of what to do next.
Gohan's seemingly added complacency from being puzzled at Cell's most recent statements then shifted to forcefulness, and he began to scream at Cell while powering up.
"You've hurt too many people, Cell!" Gohan said. "I will not let you live, not for all the innocent lives you've taken!"
"Gohan, you don't know what I'm going through right now!" Cell said, as new tears formed in his eyes.
"I don't know what you're going through? How dare you!" Gohan said, right before landing an especially powerful punch directly into Cell's stomach.
Cell gasped in pain, with blood coming forth from his mouth as he hacked in agony.
"You're a monster, Cell!" Gohan said. "You've tried to kill my friends and family, and you have killed without remorse! So many innocent people have died because of you, and their blood is on your hands!"
"I know, Gohan," Cell said not with pride, but with a tone of sadness that made Goku wonder whether he was really seeing and hearing what he thought he was. "I have been a horrible, wretched monster. I am a disgrace for what I've done. I am so sorry."
"Sorry?" Gohan asked, repeating the word in a surprised fashion. "Do you honestly believe that saying you're sorry can enable you to be forgiven for all the lives you've destroyed? Do you truly expect me to offer you my sympathy and compassion after all the times you laughed as children died? Being sorry doesn't bring innocent people back from the dead!"
Cell maintained a solemn expression, then looked down at the ground, feeling that his own death at the Saiyan's hands would come soon, and that it might just be for the best.
Gohan powered up again, shaking the ground with the physical manifestation of his fury.
"Do you consider me to be a fool?" Gohan asked, screaming at the top of his lungs.
"No, Gohan. No, I don't," Cell said, with a greater inflection of sadness in his voice. "You're not a fool. You are a defender of life and peace. You did everything you could to become stronger so you could defeat me and save the world. How could you possibly be a fool?"
Gohan stopped powering up. He was awed by the awkwardness of Cell's most recent comment, and stunned by the implications of what Cell had just said.
"That cretin is trying to play tricks on you to make you soft and forgiving! Don't let him beat you, boy!" Vegeta said as Gohan briefly looked toward him. "Don't let down your Saiyan ancestors. Finish off this scum and glorify our race in battle. He would kill you for defending what you stand for, and he is a traitor to everyone else who was born on your planet. Kill him while you have the chance!"
"I don't normally agree with Vegeta, but he's right, you know," Gohan said to Cell, whose attention he had fully given to the Saiyan boy. "I don't trust you. You'd kill me if you had the chance. You were so eager to kill me and everyone else when you were stronger than us. Now, your abilities are nothing compared to mine, and I can make you pay for your crimes. So, without further ado ..."
Gohan brought his wrists together and deepened his stance, beginning the steps for the Kamehameha wave.
"Gohan, please, listen to me!" Cell said, while standing up again. "I beg you to listen to me! I'm sorry! I'll somehow make it up to all of you! Please don't do this!"
"I will not listen to your lies anymore, Cell!" Gohan said. "I shall avenge all who have suffered because of you!
Cell felt the horror swell within. However, he realized that Gohan and the others would continue to defend the Earth even if he, himself did not live to see it.
How said it was, to have finally gained feelings of true compassion, feelings that he had intentionally been denied, and to not have the chance to truly live those feelings out.
If he had to die, then he had to die, if that would help enable this noble Saiyan warrior to become even stronger and to continue to defend the Earth.
But did he have to die? Was there something truly worth living for when he knew he would live forever with the pain of having killed so many? Was there anything he could do to truly make sure that he would be able to act on his newfound feelings in a positive way?
He came to a sudden realization, and he now knew that there might just be a way...
"Don't do this!" Cell yelled in fright. "I don't want to be evil anymore!"
While Gohan commenced with the last phase, Cell maintained his ground without flinching.
Goku knew what would come next would either be a good deed or an unforgivable mistake.
As the beam erupted from Gohan's hands, Goku disappeared from where he had been standing and reappeared between Gohan and Cell, with the blinding light of the attack he had learned so long ago now only seconds from impact.
While Gohan became fraught with terror, Goku quickly placed his right hand on Cell, and the two disappeared from Gohan's view. The blast collided with a mountainside many meters behind where Cell had been, and it obliterated most of the earthen protrusion. As the dust cleared and Gohan formed tears of his own, he saw his father and the villain his father had for some inexplicable reason risked his life to save both looking at him as they reappeared.
No one moved a muscle for many moments. The shock and confusion in the air, with the rage many felt over the events that had transpired, all had led to such an utter silence that the one sound anyone in the vicinity heard for many moments was the sound of sands rustling with the wind.
Vegeta then broke the silence.
"You imbecile! What have you done?" he asked. "Are you mad? Did you just help out a raging lunatic that wants to kill us all and would do anything to do so? This is the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen!"
"Dad, Vegeta's right. This is beyond ridiculous," Gohan said, with vibrant disgust becoming all the more apparent in his voice. "Why in the world, after all the people he's killed, did you decide to save him?"
"Gohan, … I can explain," Goku said.
"What do you mean you can explain? You almost got yourself killed, Dad! Think of all the people he's killed! Think of how many more people we need to protect from him!"
Goku looked at his son in the eyes, the person who he knew would have the most difficult time understanding the reason for his father's actions, and perceived an angst of unforgiving resentment growing within him.
Cell was absolutely bewildered at the entire chain of events that had transpired, and was completely uncertain of what would happen next.
"Gohan, you need to listen to me ..."
"There is nothing to listen to, Dad!" Gohan yelled with rage. "You must be out of your mind to save that monster after what he's done!"
"Gohan, haven't you been paying attention to what he's been saying?" Goku asked. "I know it sounds strange, but you're going to have to trust me on this one. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think he really means it when he says he wants to stop his evil ways."
"How could you possibly believe that?" a furious Gohan asked, unsure of how this horrible predicament could be happening.
"Listen, we've always given those who have threatened us, our loved ones, the Earth or other planets a chance to change for the better and to promise to never hurt anyone again," Goku said. "Unfortunately, with the hopeful exception of Vegeta, no one has yet taken us up on this offer. There's something about the way that Cell has been expressing himself which leads me to believe that he's earnest about wanting to change. I think Cell just might be telling the truth about this."
Gohan was angered to an extremity.
"I can't believe you, Dad," Gohan said in a tone of ultimate frustration. "You actually believed all of that nonsense this freak was spewing out! Whatever happened to your common sense; where is your judgment? Let me end what I was about to finish!"
Goku was growing increasingly concerned about his son's surmounting belligerence.
"Gohan, I've been facing you this entire time with little worry that Cell would attack me from behind or try to run away. I think he might really be sincere …"
"Sincere! Oh please, give me a break!" Gohan said. "How stupid could you be, Dad? You let your naivety get in the way of common sense all too often. This maniac, even if he somehow convinced himself at the last second that he's being sincere, could lift the veil of this facade at any moment and choose to try and kill us. You've gone too far this time, Dad."
"But Gohan …"
"But nothing! Leave me alone!"
With that, Gohan flew off to join the rest of the Z-fighters, many of whom were emotionally broken at the current state of affairs.
Piccolo saw Gohan, still in his transcendent Super Saiyan form, land right in front of him and look him in the eyes. In Gohan's eyes, Piccolo saw a tormented spirit who wanted to remove indecisiveness from his life once and for all.
Goku, with his back still to Cell, looked down and clenched a fist. After his face showed signs that he was visibly struggling with his decision, he stopped clenching his teeth, lowered his arms, closed his eyes, and relaxed his face.
'That was one of the hardest decisions you've ever made,' Goku thought to himself. 'The repercussions will be felt for a long time. A lot of Gohan's anger might be because of the rage which comes with his transformation, but so much would have occurred even if his mind was totally clear.'
Goku then turned his head slightly to the left, looked at Cell from the corner of his eye, and then looked straight toward the rest of the Z-fighters.
'I will defend this world and my family no matter what,' Goku thought.
Then, after loosening his fists, adjusting his posture and standing more firmly straight, Goku began to speak, while still looking ahead.
"Cell, I risked an awful lot in making that decision," Goku said. "You said you wanted to do something good for this world. I don't know if you truly meant it. You may have, but I could be completely wrong. You know Gohan could have killed you right there and allowed you to become consumed by the dust. But you've been given another chance at life here, Cell. You actually have the chance to make good on your word, if your word has any value to you at all. I'm tired of risking my life for people who don't care about others, and I'm especially tired of people who don't care if other people live or die. I expect you to change, Cell, whether you truly meant all that crap you just said or not. I am confident that I will be much stronger after fully recovering from today's battles, and it's quite possible that I'll become stronger than you. Trust me, Cell, because I do keep true to my word, if you even as much attempt to hurt a member of my family, or anyone else on this planet, I will hunt you down and kill you."
Goku began to walk forward, unsure of how he would associate with the rest of the Z-fighters after this ordeal, and what the next step toward helping the world would be. The Dragon Balls, perhaps? But maybe it was best to wait ...
Cell looked ahead, pondering all that had transpired today.
He understood so much now that he had not understood before. And he had come to know a fundamental truth that encouraged a slight smirk to appear on his face.
'There is no way I could have possibly been perfect before,' he thought to himself. 'The dark path I lived on was so flawed that even if my body was so proficient, which it was not, I still, even in my wildest dreams, would never have been spiritually perfect.'
Cell also knew that he wanted to do all he could to make sure these blessed feelings wouldn't disappear.
But what was there to do? How could he make these feelings last forever? Could the Dragon Balls possibly help him? There was no time to wait to find out.
Cell took his first step forward.
Thanks so much for reading the first chapter, and I hope you enjoyed it!
Dragon Ball Z: Honor Trip continues next, in Chapter Two!
Also, if you've written any fanfics you'd like me to take a look at, let me know and I'd be happy to do so! I'm always eager to read the works of folks who have taken an interest in reading mine.
In fun and fanfiction,
Chapter One: (Completed 12/27/2008); (Revised 7/22/2009); (Revision II: 10/19/2009); (Revision III: 12/23/2010); Fourth Edition (11/11/2011)
[Note: All updates to Honor Trip Chapters One to Thirty-Two made from November 1, 2011 to November 1, 2012 are Fourth Edition updates.]
Author's note from 1/22/11: I've decided that each of Honor Trip's seasons shall have a "season theme song." This means that I'm going to retroactively add a theme song to Honor Trip's first and second seasons, (which will be indicated in each of their first chapters), and that seasons three and forward will introduce the theme song in the first chapter of their release.
Why have a theme song for each season? For the additional fun of it! And in the ending chapter of each season, I'm going to reproduce the lyrics of that season's theme song in a special author's note at the end of the chapter, signifying why I thought this was an appropriate theme song for the season by analyzing how the song's lyrics symbolically portray many of the themes and events of that season. For Season Two and forward, I've been planning out the basic plot structure of the events and themes I've wanted to cover in the season before beginning to write that particular season, and so Season Three's theme song will be released with the season's first chapter as a symbolic herald of what is to come throughout the season.
And now, I'm proud to announce that the symbolic theme song for Season One is "Eagleheart," by Stratovarius. You can listen to this song by typing "Eagleheart" into the search feature of a standard Internet browser and finding the related music video.
This song, while extremely awesome, (and hence why I chose it as a theme song for this season), is not in any way a property I control. Please keep in mind to support the song's official release. Stratovarius is awesome, and I feel the group's music compliments the awesomeness of the Dragon Ball universe.
For those of you reading Honor Trip for the first time, I hope you're excited for Season One's second chapter, up next!
In fun and fanfiction,