I hope all of you are all back with me in the sequel here! It's time for the ball to get rolling, or some proverb like that. I really like how my writing is improving- especially my ability to transition from scene to scene, er, better. Not the greatest yet.
A word of caution- there is going to be some mathematical, scientific mumbo-jumbo, completely made up by me, and therefore, not going to make any true sense. I tried to make the formula as realistic as possible, but you'll soon see why I found that difficult.
Since Fanficition does not support sub and superscripts, I had to write the formula out manually. Here is a little guide, if you really want to try and make sense of my creation:
^ = to the power of/superscript. The Pythagorean Theorum would be written as a^2 + b^2 = c^2
_ = subscript. The formula for water would be written as H_2 O
Anyways, please enjoy reading.
Gohan was not positive why he left the room- he was more driven by an urge to do so by part of himself. Of course, this urge also came with a corresponding thought from the other half that proclaimed his cowardice for running from such a meaningless statement. He should not care that Vegeta was being so cruel to him. He should be, in fact, welcoming the change from the extra-sensitivity that he was being suffocated with. He should be.
Problem was, he wasn't.
So, in accordance to his taciturn actions, he left the room without a word and without a second look to anyone else in an extremely hasty break for the exterior door. The door was left open behind him as it swung side to side from the outside air currents with a slightly audible squeaking noise. His indecisive mind raced to find an appropriate location to go towards, and was immediately drawn to the closest uninhabited, dark building he could find- the temporarily abandoned laboratory workshop that Bulma found to be a home-away-from-home. The Saiyan quickly strode up to its gloomy door, and tested the handle to confirm his suspicions of it being left unlocked. Bulma was pitifully trusting of those who came to the Capsule Corporation.
He soundlessly slipped through the door, not opening it up any more than he had to, and entered into the partial darkness with no idea with what he was even doing. He only needed a second to pull the answer from his mind.
I am here to not be there.
Simple enough. His eyes adjusted to the dimmer lighting of his surroundings, and calmly drew in the sight of massive heaps of papers, mechanical parts, and tools that piled up in the outwardly large workspace. To a stranger, the sight would have been shocking at the immensity and intensity of the work, but Gohan knew well enough that this was a normal workload for the world of Bulma Briefs. He had visited her numerous times in his life, and each time she had started taking on more and more ambitious tasks. A strum of curiosity echoed in his mind, as his overly-studied brain began to dream up ideas at what the new mother could possibly be working on now. By the way she had lost track of the day and- reportedly- month, the project must have been demanding. He gave in a little to this rare interest, and began to subtly look about the papers and read their contents as well as context.
At first glance, the calculations on the papers seemed to simply being testing the properties of certain objects, for there were piles of formulas that were determining the malleability, density, aerodynamic value, mass, and similar things about numerous substances ranging from high-grade steel to pure gold to household cotton. Directly adjacent to these piles of papers were samples of each material in question with small, identical notches carved out of each one for testing. It appeared that all of the substances had been crossed off at one point in testing or another, depending on what criteria it failed to meet, sometimes with a hasty point scribbled next to it, ranging from 'too dense' to 'not enough ductility'. It was obvious she was looking for a medium that could meet all of her specifications for whatever it was she was trying to make, with little success.
Turning his attention to another of the work benches that lined the room, Gohan saw strange formulas that were obviously of Bulma's own invention, for he had never seen the strange arrangements of certain variables before, and many of them made little sense.
Why would you use the velocity of an object travelling at a… a negative speed in relation to its magnification through a diverging lens to determine its mass? Why would you want to know that? Bulma must be slightly over her head here- she keeps coming up with a mass of zero. Then… she's using the measure of angles formed in… something… to determine a… negative square root? She must be really bemused…
He continued looking at the equations, each with crazier situations and even crazier answers, sometimes using symbols and properties that Gohan was positive were not public knowledge- Bulma had perhaps discovered some new ones of her own. Looking over to another wall where a periodic table hung crookedly, he saw that in striking red pen, there were corrections made to the universally known chart, as well as some areas where the scientific genius had even added in completely new elements. "Impossible" did not seem to have any connotation to Bulma.
The intelligent half-Saiyan continued to flip through the papers, attempting to find the last piece of information that would complete the puzzle, and he would be able to establish what exactly Bulma was trying to make. He eventually came across that last crucial piece, but did not even notice it at first glance because it was the only formula that actually seemed reasonable and he knew to be true:
He flipped by it without even thinking what its context was, for his mind was turning and thinking at such a rapid pace that it took several moments before the sight of the legendary formula logged into his mind. His eyes drew wide as he flipped back numerous pages to the half-ripped sheet of paper, as he realised what Bulma was trying to do. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared: the simple statement had no context on its own, but the lines below it did.
E/m = c^2
√ (E/m) = c
√ (E/m)^t = c^t
t_o log √ (E/m) = t log c
(log√[E/m]) / (log c) = t / t_o
That new addition to the formula was unmistakeable- t. Time. Bulma was trying to recreate what her future counterpart had already accomplished. She was going to make a machine that could alter the flow of time for a specific object or- more practically- for a specific person. She was making a time machine.
Gohan's eyes darted across the page. The calculations all lined up perfectly. If the speed of light was amplified in relation to the time elapsed, than the flow of time would be sped up by an equal amount. To accomplish this, the energy produced in relation to the mass of the substance must also be exponentially large. That was what Bulma was trying to do with all of the other eccentric formulae and properties of substances- finding a way to increase the energy output for an object, and finding a material that was suitable for doing such a thing. But there could be no material that she found to meet everything that she needed- Gohan remembered seeing each of the options crossed off while he was looking through the pile of papers. Nevertheless, he was only glancing through those- maybe she had found one that was suitable.
Silently, he returned to the pages filled with elemental symbols and other slightly random equations. He flipped through them, looking to find one that was not scarred with the large red pen mark that slashed through it to declare it unusable. He was nearing the bottom of the massive stack, and his slightly lifted hopes were deflating much more quickly than it took to raise them. His search was brought to an abrupt halt, though, when a slight vibration met his eardrums- the sound of a far-off person calling out to him.
"Gohan!" Came the woman's voice, despite her yelling it from across the yard, but since it was closer to a park than a yard, the voice seemed nearly a whisper. But with that, he could hear that the voice was drawing closer with short steps against the stone walkway, only one logical destination for the person to be heading towards: the building he was in.
Impulse drove the demi-Saiyan to hide from view, so he immediately dove beneath the nearest desk, not realizing that he was adding to the mess of the building by knocking further papers across the already littered floor. He held his breath as he heard the door open and not one, but two pairs of footsteps enter the darkened room.
"What's this Bulma?" The first female voice stated, immediately recognized by the young teen as his mother.
"This is my workshop. Sorry it's kind of messy- neatness isn't my priority when I'm working." Bulma apologized. Gohan heard the rustling of paper above of him, with a few extra pages falling off the desk, several of them landing in his wake and on top of him. He was careful not to budge, because he knew that the sheets would rustle if there was the slightest movement.
"I was meaning what you were working on Bulma, for you to be wrapped up in your work so much as to lose track of time," Chi-chi added. Bulma did not say anything, but the half-Saiyan could almost hear her nod her head in response. There was an obnoxious sound of clicking heels across the floor as the blue-haired scientist drew to the far side of the large room. There was the obvious sound of the jangle of keys, along with a large metallic creak of a door. Gohan was slightly surprised- he never knew Bulma to lock anything.
She must be putting a lot of money into this project. It's either that, or she was able to get the machine working enough that she thinks someone will use it by mistake...
"This is what I'm working on..." Bulma explained, almost undoubtedly handing something to the other mother. Her voice was almost tentative, as if she was ashamed of her hidden work. There was a long period of silence, which Gohan was blaming on his mother's lack of mechanical knowledge. He had seen her struggle to understand some of the simplest machines that he had studied when he was younger. She gave it one look, attempted to comprehend her son's long-winded explanation, and then shook her head, stating, 'I'll leave it to you.'
"Wow Bulma... it looks like you put a lot of work into... whatever it is." Chi-chi did not help the opinion that the half-Saiyan had of her. Bulma attempted to explain what it was, starting off with the 'simple' description of the properties of light and passage of time. Gohan was nearly shaking his head in pity of the scene that was playing out above him. He had begun to wonder where in his family he inherited his seemingly effortless ability to understand things. It certainly did not come from his mother's side: neither she nor her giant of a father possessed the ability to learn quickly; they had difficulty to learn anything at all. His mind wandered slightly, and came to question whether or not anything from his Saiyan side could have been the origin of the intelligence.
Bad decision- he was immediately brought to the thoughts of his father, his happy-go-lucky, innocent personality that seemed to fit so well with his childish lack of knowledge. A ricochet of emotional pain rang through his body, his head consequentially snapping upwards and knocking against the underside of the desk. While this action caused him enough head trauma as to prevent the normal progression of mental torture that usually followed, it also caused a sound that would not go unnoticed by the two Earthling women in the room.
"What was that?"
Gohan heard the clunk of something on the wooden desk and the sound of feet moving across the floor, and more papers were showering around him. One page in particular fell directly on his face so he was forced to hastily pull it off so he could come up with a plan on how to escape the capture. But when he saw the red pen on this page, he realized that this time it was not used to cross off anything, but instead circled two letters:
"Is that you Gohan?"
The demi-Saiyan already had a plan to put into action. He pushed himself up along the desk's back and slowly inched himself to the opposite direction that Chi-chi and Bulma were heading in. Sneaking around the corner just as Chi-chi and Bulma bent down to an empty floor, Gohan slowly extended his knees to peer onto the top of the table, where he saw a small device that held a high resemblance to a watch. He snatched it quickly, and looped it onto his right wrist without even thinking. After a hasty return to the floor, looked at the tiny machine and saw the rounded, blood red equivalent of the 'dial' bend slightly with his touch. It was painfully cold to the touch- well below freezing point- but nevertheless it seemed to almost be a liquid. This confirmed his suspicions that the machine was made out of mercury. A small hole along the edge of the dial immediately grasped his attention, but he had little time to think through his actions before he saw two pairs of legs before him.
Before they had a chance to kneel down, he raised his left hand to the device, bringing a small amount of energy to the tip of his index finger. He attempted to concentrate it to a smaller amount, because at the moment, the yellow glow had enough energy to completely disintegrate the machine, but knew he had no time. But that was what he needed- time. A different time. Any time was better than now.
"Gohan!" Chi-chi and Bulma's faces came into view, but not alone. Gohan- just before releasing the energy- saw that Bulma was also holding her son. Innocent blue eyes, untainted with the horrors of battle, peered through short lilac hairs. Gohan let his attention falter slightly, and as the miniscule energy left his fingers, it managed to contort its hue to the same flickering blue that peered up at him.
The minute azure ball seamlessly slipped into the tiny opening in the watch-like machine, and vanished for no less than a second before the mercury turned to a blistering hot temperature. It immediately lost what little solidness it possessed, and melted across the young Saiyan's wrist. Gohan winced as he felt its toxic corrosiveness gnaw away at his skin, but he saw a blessing in the agony.
The three faces that were frozen in time ahead of him began to rotate clockwise, slowly at first but gaining momentum until the entire view became an obscure blur that spiralled away from existence. The acidic sensation writhed up his arm, across his shoulders, until the searing pain was all his body could comprehend. He was sure this feeling was causing his vision to blur in and out of focus, but he was not able to tell in the black void that was undoubtedly churning around him. Suddenly, he was able to sense a familiar power level and reached out with his less charred left arm in the vacuity to grab onto the signal, letting his hand grasp something solid. With the feeling of something in his hand, the mass of blackness stopped the swirling and the Capsule Corporation workshop focused ahead of him.
He kneeled exactly where he had before, except there was no sign of the people that used to occupy it. Instead, his hand clenched onto the bridge of a pointed nose, right below two extremely baffled blue eyes- the same blue eyes that he had seen only moments before, but lacking of their innocence. These eyes were filled with the memories of the battles and wars that they had witnessed, fit for someone far older than the face that Gohan now looked upon. He anxiously withdrew his hand from their pincer-clutch on the tanned nose as he timidly concealed his arms behind his back. The lavender haired teenager opened his mouth to say something, but the words he searched for seemed to evade him.
"Uh... hello Trunks. H-how are you?"
Bulma and Chi-chi were staring at nothing. They looked at the tiled floor, but no Gohan was there, only a small puddle of the acidic mercury compound. The younger Trunks tugged at his mother's hair and pointed at the emptiness, also unable to find words so he settled for making noises of confusion. Chi-chi raised a shaking hand and briefly touched the fluid on the ground, but immediately flinched away as she sampled its acerbic ability to sting her hand. She slowly turned her head to face Bulma, complete shock woven onto her already wrinkled face. Bulma gave a fake laugh out of discomfort.
"Well, hah ha. What do you know? It works! Hah ha hah." She looked down at what remained of her project and pressed her face into a small frown. She did not think before she spoke again, though she severely regretted doing so, "Too bad it's only a one-way trip."
A small thud filled the silent room as Chi-chi's fainted form hit the floor.
"Gohan." Trunks said, not in a question as was normally expected, but in a simple statement, "What are you doing here?"
Trunks extended his arm to the other half-Saiyan, and helped him upright so that they were standing face-to-face. Immediately, the future version of Vegeta's son noticed how much Gohan had changed since he had last seen him. He looked almost the same physically: same build, same hairstyle, even the same lip-biting habit he had seen demonstrated only on the rare occasion that he was apprehensive about saying something.
'Why is he nervous about telling me why he's here...?'
Otherwise, Gohan was completely different. He had grown nearly half a foot since Trunks had last seen him- it was overpoweringly obvious now, when they were facing each other like this. Gohan only had to tilt his head up slightly in order to meet his gaze, although now he was avoiding doing so. Another thing that was shockingly different was what Trunks failed to find- that smile that Gohan used to wear so naturally. His face was completely deprived of it, replaced by the synthetic smile that was as transparent as a window, with the far too realistic frown shining through the falseness. There was something else too, something less obvious, but present nonetheless. Trunks didn't know how to describe it. Since from the day he first met this younger version of his mentor, he knew that he did not possess the usual innocence that someone of his age was supposed to have- his own version of Gohan was the same way. But now, there was something added to that aura of corrupted childhood. It was not clear to him what it was, but he had a feeling that it would reveal itself to him in time.
"Well… um… Trunks… it's kind of like…" Gohan was not doing a very good job at hiding his trepidation of why he so suddenly arrived in another occasion and timeline. He stalled, choosing his words carefully, before continuing, "Bulma was trying to create a time machine of her own, and well- I tried it out for her. It works, but… um… it doesn't look like it's a round trip. Heh heh heh."
It wasn't a complete lie, at least.
Trunks did not believe a word of it. Trunks knew Gohan was a terrible liar- but this was a nearly believable lie. For him to improve so much in the art of deceit would take much trial and error, as well as a substantial amount of practise.
'Why would he lie to me? What could he have to lie about? What else would he lie about? How he's changed…'
Argh… I doubt he is going buy that… I hesitated far too obviously. Why did I do that? I normally am able to pass off a lie without a second thought, why not now?
Neither seemed to realize that they were simply looking at each other, deep in thought and both bringing up no response to the other's statement. They both knew that the lies were said, and both knew that the other was aware of it as well, but neither came to verbally acknowledge it. Both became two separate clouds of contemplation, wordlessly mulling over the situation at hand and speculating what the other was going to say next, and deciding actions based on their theories. Gohan was attempting to think out ways to not get on the subject of his anxiety at home, while Trunks was trying to come up with a plan to make the younger reveal more. What neither of them counted on, though, was that they both would await the other to speak first.
Several slow moments of wary and falsely warm glances between the two ensued, which would have continued for an uncertain amount of time if it were not for a loud clattering that echoed painfully through the hollow room. Two hybrids turned in unison, watching in slight shock of the odd thing that danced from side to side in the opening of the door. It took a moment until they realized what the steel and paper pile was- or rather, who it was.
"Mom!" Trunks stepped forwards first, grabbing a portion of the steel parts that filled her invisible hands, several pages lined with tiny printed numbers falling in the process. It afterwards occurred to Gohan that he should do so as well, as he grabbed a portion of the load from the aging woman. With her arms lightened, she breathed a sigh of relief and shook her head to remove the scrap of paper that stuck in her hair. She was just beginning her thanks to the boys when her eyes met the sight of someone she did not expect to see. Her words reflected on this, as for a moment her throat only made a small knotted noise of disbelief. She turned to Trunks, almost as if she questioned Gohan's existence and thought it safer to ask someone she was positive existed.
"Trunks, is that...?" She pointed loutishly at the blinking teen. Trunks was tempted to do the same, but instead replied with barely a sentence.
She gave him a look that was no less surprised, as she had absolutely no idea how the long dead Gohan could be alive, and several years younger at that. Piccolo was dead, and therefore Kami as well, so there was no way that he could have been wished back to life. If they had a new guardian, though, the Dragon Balls could be brought back into existence. But the only thing capable of being a guardian was a Namekian, and all of Earth's usable ships had long since been destroyed, and it was never necessary to rebuild them since the Androids arrived. Did Trunks build a spaceship while she wasn't around? No, even if he did, he couldn't have gone to Namek and back in a day. Or had it been only a day? She took a quick glance at her watch- it had definitely been only one day since she had seen him last. Maybe Trunks had perfected Goku's old technique of travelling from one place to another in a split second- instant transmission. That would make sense.
Bulma pounded a fist in the palm of her other hand. "Aha! Trunks, you must've mastered the instantaneous transmission technique!"
Trunks and Gohan looked at each other with equal bafflement.
"What are you talking about, mom?"
"Well how else would you get to Namek and back in such a short amount of time?" She responded as if the answer was obvious.
"Namek? Gohan wasn't on Namek," Trunks couldn't help but state. Bulma nearly shook her head in disappointment.
"Of course he wasn't, you went to Namek to get another guardian so that we could get another set of Dragon Balls, so that you could wish Gohan back!" She glanced back to the noiresque Saiyan, tilting her head slightly, "...and, uh, I guess you made him young...er."
Trunks proceeded to question what Bulma was even talking about, with the scientist attempting to show her assumption-based reasoning. Gohan was not listening, thoughts instead on his situation.
They... they don't know. They don't have to know. I can go out alone- I can do things without anybody asking questions. I can do anything. I can avoid the mistakes that I made before. Things could get better- if Trunks and Bulma don't find out, I can do the things that I wasn't able to do in the present...
Gohan heard a random comment from Trunks, "This is why you are a scientist, not a philosopher."
Bulma did not respond, silently accepting a small defeat. For no apparent reason, Gohan felt his throat tighten at this- not in fear of talking, though. He forgot what it was his body wanted to do, so he could not comply with its demand. Instead, the thoughts continued with a renewed optimism.
...or I guess it is the past now. I can't go back there now... I`ll never be free again then. But then it only remains that I have to come up with a reason as to why I can't go back... wait a second, what am I thinking? I already have one.
Trunks had somehow just finished explaining to Bulma that this was the same Gohan that he had met on his journey to the past, but just a little older, obviously because time passed in his timeline as well.
"...all that remains as a question, then, is how you got here- er- now in the first place," Bulma stepped up to Gohan and prodded at him slightly in curiosity. Gohan had to resist the urge to slap her hand away- he knew that it was a far from friendly action. Nevertheless, that knowledge did not prevent the temptation from staying with him. The bright blue hair of the woman continued to wiggle as her prodding turned to a full-on inspection, face now serious and voice matching, "How old are you?"
"Uh, I'm thirteen... er, twelve. Whichever, I guess."
Bulma stopped her prodding for a moment to raise an eyebrow at the half-Saiyan. Trunks took it upon himself to explain the situation.
"It's because of the room that we went into to train for the Androids. We spend a year in it, but only a day passes by in the real world. I am seventeen, eighteen if you count the year in the time chamber."
Bulma nodded- not happily but in satisfaction of the response- and continued to inspect the Saiyan for no apparent reason. She asked him several questions- some of which personal, others extremely simplistic and with no actual pretention to him, such as "spell 'village', forwards and backwards", or "what is twelve minus eleven plus one?"
After much interrogation, she finished and seemed to be satisfied, and sighed.
"Now that's good. You seem to be in okay health- not the best, but decent."
Gohan glanced up at the other half-Saiyan, who was apparently lost just as much as his younger counterpart.
"Time travel is not a perfected art. Our bodies and minds are not built for traveling between different times. I wanted to make sure that you didn't need any immediate hospitalization or anything. Looks I even outdo myself sometimes," Bulma smirked with pride, admiring herself perhaps a bit too much for Trunks' taste.
"Right then, so are we done pestering Gohan?"
Gohan sure hoped so.
"Hmm... well, if you wouldn't mind, I'd still like to do some more tests on you. There might be some other things that I missed. I'm not much of a doctor out of the examination room."
Apprehension shot through Gohan. He knew that a full-body examination would reveal more than he cared to put on the table. But it wasn't as if he could refuse- what would that suggest? The situations never seemed to work in his favour. But the only chance he could have was to play it as it went.
"Alright Bulma," his voice was sullen as they took long strides out of the warehouse-like workshop.
Suddenly, a stroke of genius hit Gohan abruptly.
Not all hope is lost.
Wherever it was that he got his intelligence, he sure was glad that he had it.
"Hey Gohan, are you alright?" Trunks shook the boy's arm, a wince of pain of more than one sort filling his body. With several blinks and roll of his neck, the younger Saiyan nodded.
"Yeah. I think I'm going to be okay."
I was going to end it with Chi-chi fainting, but then saw my word count and thought that's far too short.
Speaking of thoughts, Trunks thoughts are surrounded by apostophes in order to distinguish from Gohan's thoughts. I hope that this serves as enough of a key for you.
I must warn you not to take any part of my time-travel formula as being true- aside from the theory of relativity, of course. Don't go and think "Yay! I get to see me ten years from now!" or anything silly like that. Seriously. Don't go and make a thesis on it, or a rocketship, or something of the like.
Now, before I go, I've got to ask you a question that you can answer in addition to your always welcome comments- what was your first thoughts when you saw Future (Mirai) Trunks in this story? Let's be honest. I'm intrigued.
Remember: 'It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.'