Son Goku ran as fast as his legs could carry him with the 100 kg rock tied to his back. The 13 year old martial artist wished that Master Roshi hadn't banned him from using Kinto'un for the next three years. However, Goku had to admit that Master Roshi knew what he was talking about when he said it was good training. The monkey tailed boy could already feel his power growing and figured that he'd have to find a bigger boulder when he got home.
Goku stopped in his tracks when he thought of home. It had been over a year since he had left the mountain house he had lived in all his life before meeting Bulma. Life had been fun ever since he had met Bulma and he started going on his adventures. However, a part of Goku missed the old familiar mountains and valleys that he grew up in. Since he had three years before the next tournament, Goku figure it would be alright if he went back to Grandpa Gohan's house and train at home for a while. Goku had it all planned out, He'd spend a year at home just building up is abilities like Master Roshi had trained him and then the remaining two years would be spent gathering that 'life experience' stuff that he needed to get.
Just going back home was good training for Goku. Baba's palace was on the other side of the continent from his house so it was a long run home. Still, Goku thought he was making good time since it had only taken him a month to traverse the continent with the occasional stop to help someone out. He could already recognize his surroundings as the outermost area he had ventured away from home before meeting Bulma. A bigger smile than usual appeared on Goku's as he realized that home was only an hour away at most.
Forty minutes later, Goku came in sight of his old house. A small frown appeared on Goku's face when he saw all the weeds growing in his old vegetable garden and the vines clinging to the walls of the house. Seconds later Goku shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh well, I guess the plants grew even without me around. Might as well get started fixing this place up!" Goku became a whirlwind of activity as he started to take care of the neglect. The first thing he took care of was the garden by quickly removing all the weeds and watering the vegetables that had grown from the plants he had planted last year.
With the garden in order, Goku moved on to repairing the house. Many of the boards for the house needed to be replaced, but that wasn't much of a problem for Goku. All of that construction work came in real handy when it came to fixing everything up. He even got to practice his martial arts with chopping down trees and making new boards! Goku had his typical grin on as he hauled the planks of wood from the forest to rebuild his house.
Something caught Goku's eyes as he was putting the planks up on the west side of his house. He stopped what he was doing and started walking towards the object. As Goku neared the object, he realized that it was a book binding. Goku quickly grabbed the book and pulled it out of its cubby hole which happened to be near where Grandpa Gohan used to set up his futon.
This wasn't something that Goku was expecting to find. He thought that he had everything that his grandpa had left behind when he died. Goku folded his arms together and thought about it for a second and then decided that he must not have found the book since he hadn't needed to repair this section of the house before. With child-like curiosity, Goku sat down and began reading the book he had found.
It turned out the book was his grandpa's diary. Goku smiled as he read his grandpa's thoughts and he could practically hear his voice talking to him again. Most of the entries were brief with Grandpa talking about his daily meditation and training. Goku paid special attention to the training outlined in the diary so he could apply it to his own training. About a third of the way through the diary, Goku came across an unusually long passage:
'While meditating at my favorite waterfall today, I spotted a falling star land nearby in the valley on the other side of the mountain I look at while meditating. I've never seen an actual meteorite before and I decided to investigate this one. The crater of this meteorite is very large. I estimate it to be about 600 meters wide and a hundred meters deep. To my surprise, there wasn't a meteor in the crater. Instead, I found a metal sphere that was in the center of the crater. The sphere opened up as I approached it to reveal a little baby sleeping in a chair. It's quite remarkable, but the little lad actually has a tail like a monkey!'
'I don't know who the lad is, or why he was in what I can only assume is some kind of space ship. However, I'm not about to leave the little fella alone out here in the woods. Whoever put the boy in that thing should be ashamed of themselves for doing such a thing to a baby. Don't they realize that a predator could attack him? I don't know who the boy is or where he's from, but I can't leave him alone out here so I plan to raise him as my own. I think that Goku would be a good name for the lad.'
For the first time in his life, Goku felt like he had a heart attack. Grandpa always said that he had found him in the woods, but he had never mentioned anything about finding him in a spaceship! Goku might be naïve, but he wasn't stupid like some people thought. Bulma had mentioned offhandedly that her father was working on a new spaceship to get to the moon and it was the most advanced on the planet. That meant that he wasn't around here since his grandpa's diary if it was true that he was found in a spaceship.
Nervously and anxiously desiring answers, Goku hurriedly continued reading through Grandpa Gohan's diary growing more shocked and horrified with each entry. As far back as Goku could remember he and Grandpa had gotten along fabulously and always had fun. But, Grandpa's diary talked about him constantly attacking Grandpa. The viciousness which Grandpa described Goku's baby self made him sound like a wild animal. However, even during the entries where Goku was at his worse, Grandpa spoke about how he was sure Goku would one day be a good boy. Eventually, Goku reach the entry speaking about how he had fallen into a deep ravine and almost died.
Goku was thrilled when the entries afterward spoke about him being a good and kind boy. That sounded more like his times with Grandpa that he remembered. However, Goku's happiness came crashing down when he got to an entry that talked about a night when he had seen the full moon.
"No," Goku whispered hoarsely as he read about Grandpa Gohan watching him turn into a giant ape. "This can't be correct. It's got to be a lie!" There was no way that what he had just read was true. The book just couldn't really be his Grandpa's journal; it had to be a cruel joke of some sort. Maybe Krillin had somehow come here before him planted the book as a prank. Even Goku's mind found that idea rather unbelievable, but his heart didn't want to accept the truth revealed in Gohan's journal.
"This can't be true and I'm going to prove it." Goku's face became uncommonly serious as he jumped to his feet and started running towards the setting sun. It was all so simple to Goku: the book couldn't be true and the best way to prove it was to see that there was no spaceship. If there was no spaceship then he couldn't transform into a monster because Grandpa wouldn't lie and there not being a spaceship where Grandpa supposedly said there was one clearly was a lie. Ergo, the book was a joke because it was lying and whereas Grandpa never lied.
Goku knew which waterfall was being talked about in his supposed 'Grandpa's Diary'. Grandpa used to always take him to the waterfall to practice meditating even though he usually just played in the stream that flowed from the waterfall. The young monkey boy raced towards the mountain and stopped for a second when he neared the pass to go behind the mountain. Grandpa had left strict instructions to Goku that he was never to into that valley. Goku didn't want to disobey his Grandpa, but he headed down into the valley thinking that it was okay just this once to prove that someone was trying to hurt Grandpa's good name.
Storm clouds were forming on the horizon as Goku entered the valley cutting off the remaining sunlight. Goku paused for a second, grabbed a fallen tree branch, and used a tiny Kamahamaha wave to set the branch on fire. He quickly picked up his makeshift torch and continued on his journey. A few minutes later, the monkey tailed boy came across a large crater.
Grass was growing in the crater showing that it had been there for some time. But, the crater was still fairly new since it was easy to see the crater's shape. Goku nervously gulped and shivered in fear. "Maybe a falling star did land here and whoever put that book there's trying to hide their lies with some truth. Yah, that's it, this is that deception stuff Master Roshi was talking about in his tactics class. Well, I'm not going to fall for it!"
Regaining his courage, Goku jumped into the crater and ran towards its center. All he had to do was run in a strait line and leave the crater without finding a spaceship. That would prove that the book was lying once and for all. Because of the darkness, Goku couldn't run as fast as he normally could. However, that didn't stop him from reaching the center of the crater and stopping in his tracks when the fire light reflected off of the space pod.
"No," Goku quietly whispered as he looked at his damning spacepod. If the pod was real, then that book he had found wasn't lying. If the book wasn't lying that meant that it really was his grandfather's diary. If it was Grandpa Gohan's diary, than that meant that- "GRANPA! I'M SORRY!" Goku fell to his knees and started crying just as the rain began to fall. Through the tears Goku sobbed, "I'm so sorry Grandpa. How did you forgive me?"
Given the emotional roller coaster Goku had been put through, it wasn't a big surprise that he fell asleep by his space pod. However, fate wasn't done putting the teenage Saiyan through the ringer just yet. The sensors on Goku's spacepod had detected Goku's presence ever since he had entered the crater. Old subroutines in the ship's computer started to boot up again causing the spacepod to open.
Inside the spaceship on its seat was Goku's old incubator unit. The unit quickly tapped into the ship's sensors to double-check that Goku was asleep. Once this was verified, three slender cables snaked out of the pod and headed towards Goku's forehead. Ever so gently, the cables attached themselves to Goku's forehead.
Say what you will about the Saiyans, but one cannot deny their ability to plan ahead when it comes to anything related to battle. Sending babies like Kakarot to non-threatening planets like Earth was simply using the appropriate level of force for the situation at hand. A Saiyan's natural abilities and the very basic training Kakarot had implanted into his brain on the journey to Earth would insure that a baby Saiyan could survive against local animals. With the Oozaru transformation that the spacepod could trigger at any time, it was expected that Kakarot would be reasonably safe for his first initial years of growth before he was strong enough to start on his mission.
Of course, there was a problem with sending babies off into space to wipe out indigenous races. How do you make the brats civilized and responsible citizens, even if it's just by Saiyan standards? Even the most advanced technology in the galaxy couldn't allow someone to put everything a person needed to know into a baby's brain. Not even a Saiyan could handle that kind of mental strain.
Now, the Saiyans weren't about to waste a bunch of time and energy educating their kids when they could be doing more important things like fighting or eating. So to deal with this situation they developed a way to directly download the basic information any soldier needed into their field agents. All that needed to be done was waiting for the child in question to get old enough so that their brain could handle the strain.
Goku had forgotten the basic training that had been instilled into Kakarot before he left Vegeta. However, that didn't mean much to his incubator unit. It could pump the Saiyan's language and everything else Goku needed to know by Saiyan standards even if he didn't remember his mission. All through the night, Goku learned about Saiyan history, basic math which Bulma had just finished learning herself, several basic fighting/support techniques like how to fly, and finally how to operate/repair his field equipment. After all, it just wouldn't do to have an agent get himself killed because he didn't know how to operate a scouter or had to be picked up because his ship was damaged.
Goku pulled himself into a fetal position near his pod as soon as he woke up then next morning. Tears were threatening to fall from the young saiyan's eyes as he tried to come to grips with everything he had learned. This wasn't supposed to happen! All Goku wanted was to return home so he train for a bit. He didn't want to discover that he was an alien from a nasty and cruel race! The images that kept on appearing in his mind reminded the young teenager of the Red Ribbon Army only his people were like a thousand time worse.
Part of Goku was furious at the Saiyans. They wanted him to kill people! It wasn't that hard for him to figure out why he had been sent to Earth. The information download hadn't hidden his people's main export since it was a 'legitimate business'. How could the Saiyans want him to kill people like Bulma, or Krillin, or Launch? Why would anyone want to hurt someone? Sure, people got hurt fighting in tournaments and such, but no one died and it was all in good fun.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Goku forced himself to stand and his face filled with determination. He looked at the sky and screamed out at the top of his lungs. "DO YOU HEAR ME YOU MEANY SAIYANS? MY NAME'S SON GOKU AND I REFUSE TO DO WHATEVER NASTY THINGS YOU WERE HOPING I'D DO WHEN YOU SENT ME HERE!" Goku took a deep breath and made a fist with his right hand. "I swear on my Grandpa Gohon's memory that I'll protect everyone I can from nasty people like the Saiyans."
His mind made up, Goku walked towards his space pod. Goku folded the seat down revealing a set of armor in the same style of his father's armor that had been prepared for him. For a second, Goku considered leaving the armor in the pod as he really didn't want another connection to his race. But in the end Goku grabbed it since it might be useful in the future. Next, Goku pushed the chair back into its proper position and then he popped the seat of the chair up to reveal a small briefcase like box. A quick check of the box revealed that it had the scouter and the repair tools like it should.
With the armor and the supply box in his hands, Goku ran from the pod as fast as his legs could carry him. If he never saw that spacepod again it would be way too soon. The young Saiyan quickly crossed the distance between the accursed valley and his halfway rebuilt home. As soon as Goku got home he set his items on the floor and walked over to his grandfather's shrine.
Goku reverently knelt down in front of the shrine and began to pray for guidance. He wanted to protect people from bad guys, but how was he to do this without becoming a bad guy like the other Saiyans? Slowly, Goku's mind began to drift over his time facing off against the Red Ribbon Army. Many of the soldiers had been willing to be good guys after he beat them and only a few were determined to keep on harming people. Maybe that was the key? Yes! That's what Grandpa did with him and look at him now: he wasn't like those Saiyans that the pod had showed him. "Thank you for showing me what to do Grandpa."
Three years later…
Son Goku calmly walked down the streets of Papaya Town on Papaya Island where the Tenkaichi Budokai was going to be held shortly. He calmly ignored the stares that many of the people on the streets were sending him. Having the runner up from the last tournament walking to the stadium wasn't odd to both the town regulars and the sports enthusiasts. The fact that the runner up had been only 12 and nearly won the tournament was another thing entirely.
The fifteen year old Saiyan walked up to the registration office and gave the monk a friendly smile. "Hi there, can I sign up for the tournament now?"
The monk blinked his eyes for a second and glanced at Goku. A big smile appeared on the monk's face when he recognized Goku. "Good to see you again Son Goku! Are you here to try and win the tournament this time?"
A grin appeared on Goku's face, "Yep!" Once the attendant put Goku's name on the list, the young Saiyan walked a few feet away and sat down to meditate. Goku was trying to sense the ki signals of his friends like Grandpa mentioned in his journals. The problem for Goku wasn't sensing ki, it was trying to separate a single person's ki from the ki signal of everyone else. The scouter in Goku's storage capsule could lock onto his friends easily, but Goku didn't want to solely rely on it.
Goku's face scrunched up as he noticed a brighter and more distinct ki blob to his senses. Whoever it belonged to was definitely stronger than most of the martial artists here. Who could it be? Krillin and Yamcha were supposed to be training together and should likely arrive at the same time. Could it be Jackie Chun? Why did the blob seem to be moving closer to him?
An ecstatic cry of joy shocked Goku out of his meditation. "Oh Goku you're here!" Before Goku could even open his eyes he was tackled to the ground. The young Saiyan opened his eyes to see an ecstatic girl hugging him. The girl smiled at her captive and cheerfully chirped, "I knew I'd find you again if I joined the Tenkaichi Budokai, but I wasn't expecting to find you so soon! Still, I'm not about to complain about this bit of good luck."
A deep rumbling and yet joyful voice called out, "Give Goku a chance to collect his wits Chi-Chi!" People started scurrying away from the area as the feared Ox King walk towards the two teens. "If the poor boy received an even more joyful greeting from you he'd probably be put into a coma."
The Ox King's antics gave Goku enough time to gather his wits and remember both the Ox King and Princess Chi-Chi. Goku then gave out a yet to be patented Son grin. "Hi Chi-Chi, Ox King, are you two entering the tournament too?"
Chi-Chi had now gotten off of Goku and was now blushing slightly as she nodded her head. "Father is not entering, but I am. Father's been giving me some extra heavy training for the past two years so I could enter the tournament. According to him, my training has actually been tougher than what the Turtle Hermit put you through for the last tournament."
Suddenly another voice joined the conversation. "Well now, I suppose it's a good thing when the student surpasses the teacher. That must be doubly true if it's because the student became a teacher themselves." Goku, Chi-Chi, and the Ox King turned to see Master Roshi, Yamcha, Krillin, and the rest of the gang approaching. Everyone quickly exchanged greetings and stated chatting for a few minutes about the training they had undergone over the past few years. After Yamcha, Krillian, and secretly Roshi had signed up, Goku left to go get something to eat and Chi-Chi went with him.
The preliminaries were a breeze for Goku. In fact, the only person in his block that was a serious threat was King Chappa. After winning his spot in the main tournament, Goku looked around to see how his friends were doing. Chi-Chi had just finished her block, Jackie Chun was talking with the monks since he was the first to secure his block, and both Krillin and Yamcha were finishing their matches. Goku got off of the preliminary stage and looked to see who had won in the final three blocks. Tien Shinhan and Chiaotsu were both finishing up their matches. Goku couldn't wait to face off against them since he could feel that they were strong.
Goku's eyes narrowed as he sensed a dark presence in room. His budding ki senses caused Goku to stare at the final qualifying ring. "No way, he's supposed to be dead!" Defying everything that Goku had hoped for, Mercenary Tao was standing in the tournament ring having just ruthlessly dispatched his last opponent.
Mercenary Tao turned to look at Goku and gave the Saiyan a nasty grin. As soon as the referee announced his victory, the now cybernetic assassin hopped off the preliminary ring and walked towards Goku. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the annoying little monkey who had to blemish my perfect record." Tao leaned in closer to Goku and his voice dripped of viciousness. "You left me in a pathetic condition after our last fight and I nearly died because of you. I fully intend to repay you for that inconvenience. However, unlike me, you won't have the luck of having several billion zeni on hand to restore yourself."
To Tao's surprise, Goku returned his glare with equal ferocity. "I'll say this only once Tao: you've got one chance left. If you play by the tournament rules and fight with honor I won't hold your past against you. However, if you continue your previous ways I'll destroy you."
"Don't make me laugh Goku. It was only by pure luck that you were able to deflect that grenade back at me. Kami doesn't bestow such fortune on fools twice in their lifetimes!" With that said Tao walked away from Goku and approached his brother's students.
Roshi noticed the altercation between Tao and his student and he started walking over to Goku. "Is everything alright Goku?"
Goku turned around and faced his disguised master. The worry and seriousness vanished from Goku's face and he returned to the cheerful self he normally was. "Hi Jackie, I'm happy to see you again. I can't wait for us to have a rematch!"
Roshi grinned at the thought of facing his student in the ring again. He didn't doubt for a moment that it would be a fun and challenging match. Still, he didn't come over for idle chit chat. "I look forward to our match too if we meet in the ring Goku. However, you never answered my question. Is everything alright? Things looked very serious when that other fighter was talking to you."
To Roshi's surprise, Goku's face became serious and his voice lost its normal joyful tone. "Things aren't alright Jackie. That was Mercenary Tao and he's an assassin that was hired by the Red Ribbon Army a few years to kill me over something I had. I beat him after he killed a friend's father and I thought he had died by blowing himself up. It looks like he survived after all."
"What are you planning on doing about this Goku?"
Goku's face hardened even further as he voiced his resolve. "If I face him in the ring I'll treat him like any other competitor. The ring is no place to settle personal disputes and everyone, even him, deserves a second chance. However, if he tries to attack me or anyone else outside of a match I'll destroy him in order to stop him from hurting others."
Roshi nodded his head, gently placed his hand on Goku's shoulder, and gave his student a small smile. "That is a very wise and mature decision Goku. One of the hardest lessons any person, martial artist or not, can learn is how to use the power they have. You are correct in that mercy should be shown to all, but even then there are people who will not reform their ways. I'm sure your master will be pleased to see how you've grown."
There was a half hour break between the preliminaries and the main tournament in order to give the contestants a chance to rest. Goku used this time to break away from his friends for a moment claiming he had to use the bathroom. While this was true, Goku delayed his return so he could pull out his scouter to check on everyone.
First Goku checked out his friends to see how they had grown. Yamcha had a power level 140, Krillin had a power level of 160, Jackie Chun had a power level of 185, and Chi-Chi had a power level of 97. Once he knew his friends levels, Goku turned to check out Mercenary Tao and the two Crane School students. Tao had a power level of 166, Chiaotsu's power level was 158, and Tien had a power level of 200. Armed with this information, Goku quickly stored his scouter back in its storage capsule.
In terms of raw power generation, Goku was the strongest with a power level of 205. However, that wasn't saying a whole lot. Power levels that the scouter detected was only a person's constant ki generation output at the moment. Firsthand experience with the Kamehame Wave told Goku that those numbers could change with a variety of things. Besides, skill still played an important role in any battle. It was possible that Chi-Chi for example, could beat him even though he was twice as strong as her.
As Goku rejoined his friends, Tao was giving Chiaotsu some orders. "Listen runt, you are to arrange for me to fight Goku in our first match. I've waited three years for revenge and I'm not about to let it slip through my fingers on the off chance Goku loses his match. If I don't take out Goku in this tournament I'll take my frustrations out on you."
Chiaotsu gulped and nodded his head. "I understand sir."
Tien gave his master's brother a questioning glance and then turned to look at his little friend. "Hey Chiaotsu, would you mind setting things up so that I fight Yamcha in the first round?"
Chiaotsu nodded his head and smiled at Tien, "Sure thing Tien."
The announcer chose this time to walk into the waiting area. "Hello everyone, it's great to see some talented returning fighters and some new faces as well. Let's move on to the drawing of lots to see who each of you will be facing off against. We'll start the drawing with Jackie Chun since he's the returning champion and then we'll simply go in alphabetical order." Everyone quickly drew their numbers and the attendant wrote them on the board. The fights in the first round were: Yamcha vs Tien, Jackie verses Chi-Chi, Krillin verses Chiaotsu, and finally Goku verses Tao.
After looking at the board, the announcer smiled and said, "Alright then. Would Yamcha and Tien please follow me to the ring and would the rest of you just stay here to watch?" Everyone nodded their heads and the first fight's fighters followed the tournament announcer into the ring.
Krillin had a big grin on his face as the announcer started things off. "Man this is great; Yamcha's going to wipe the floor with that pompous triclops. Master Roshi had us both using 100 kg turtle shells during our training so we've both gotten far stronger than we used to be. Besides, Yamcha isn't fighting a martial arts master with experience that rivals our own master."
Goku nodded his head, but wasn't nearly as jovial as Krillin. "I hate to break it to you Krillin, but Yamcha winning this match will come down to his skill and not his strength."
Krillin blinked his eyes in shock. "Say what? Are you actually saying that Tien is stronger than Yamcha?"
Goku nodded his head. "Krillin, Tien is the second strongest fighter here in raw ability. I only have a slight edge on him in that regard. This whole tournament will be determined by skill more than anything. Still, I can't wait to see how this match goes!"