The Last Diary Entry of Bulma Briefs
A/N: This one-shot takes place in the alternate timeline where Trunks was killed by Cell before Cell took his Time Machine to go back into the past. If I remember correctly Porunga has the same restrictions about reviving people that have died (in terms of timeline) as Shenron. That is, if it has been over a year since someone has died then they cannot be wished back. Look for a possible prequel-ish fic later. Also, if it isn't already apparent, this fic is written from Bulma's POV given the fact that this is from her diary.
This will be my last entry.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Trunks' death. It has been a death that has challenged every last bit of my sanity and motivation to live. By far, it has been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. Even now I still think about that night, how I went inside after Trunks had told me he was going back in time to tell everyone that he had successfully defeated the androids. I had been utterly exhausted that day, so instead of seeing him off I gave him a hug and a kiss and headed back inside to go to bed. It was soon afterwards that I heard some shouting, shortly followed by the sound of the Time Machine taking off. 'Something isn't right' I remember thinking. Even just before I heard the shouting (none of which I could make out) I had an immediate gut feeling that something was wrong. When I ran out outside to investigate I was greeted by my worst nightmare. On the ground lay my son, dead. I ran to him and shouted his name, hoping to get some response, but I already knew; he was gone. That night I held him in my arms for what seemed like hours, screaming up at the heavens, begging for his spirit to return to me. No amount of pain could match what I was feeling at that moment. I continued to sob, rocking back and forth with his body as my neighbors gathered around me, awoken by my piercing cries. After a sufficient crowd had gathered around me, gasping at what they saw, I somehow found enough strength through my tears to ask them who did this. As it turned out nobody saw anything. I wailed further and began to curse the unknown assailant. In my peak moment of hysteria, I vowed revenge for what they had done. Of course it didn't take me long to figure out how foolish I had been. Not only would I be helpless against them, given that they killed Trunks (as powerful as he was) in less than two minutes, but I also recalled the sound of the Time Machine taking off. Whoever, or whatever, did this was long gone to a place that was impossible to follow.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months as I continued to grieve over Trunks. He was the only family I had left. He was my everything. Before he died, almost everyone else I had known had been killed by the Androids. The Androids… those two horrific monsters created by the evil Dr. Gero, a remnant from the Red Ribbon Army. According to the Androids themselves, Goku had made an enemy of Dr. Gero when he toppled that wicked organization. Angered by what Goku had done, Dr. Gero set out on creating a machine that would destroy him. After many experiments he ended up creating the ultimate killing machines, referred to themselves as 17 and 18, human cyborgs. I guess he must have given them too much power because they eventually turned on him and were let loose upon the world. It was on that terrible day of their first appearance that I lost Vegeta… as well as my many friends. In a single battle, all of the Earth's best fighters were killed. All of them except for one; Son Gohan. Somehow he managed to survive, of course he later told me that Krillin and Tien had ended up saving him. I don't remember the exact details but apparently when everyone else had been killed, Tien and Krillin devised some sort of plan to protect Gohan and sacrificed themselves to save his life, knowing that he would be the only one who would be able to stand up against the Androids after that day. And they were right. Shortly after that battled ended, and the Androids went some other place to wreck and destroy, Gohan (upon see the body of his deceased mentor and all his friends) transformed into a Super Saiyan. It was this moment that would keep the rest of us alive and gave Earth a fighting chance. At the same time this is when the terror seemed most real because while Gohan healed from his wounds of that battle, the Earth remained defenseless against those monsters. They had soon figured out Goku was no longer around and, with their main objective of killing him no longer relevant, they turned their sights to the rest of civilization.
We knew we had little time to bury the dead, let alone mourn them, yet we still managed to have a proper burial for everyone who died that horrific day. I don't remember crying at first because it all seemed so unreal. Goku died of a heart virus 6 months ago and now I was burying Vegeta, the father of my child. The two strongest men I knew, the men I relied on, were gone. Perhaps my biggest wake up call that this was really happening was when the Androids attacked West City that same day not even 48 hours after their appearance. During the attacks, Capsule Corporation was heavily damaged. It was only after Gohan, who was already injured, led them away that I realized the attacks had killed both of my parents. That was when I finally broke down and cried. Chi-Chi was next to me crying as well, worried for her son. We both felt as if the world was literally falling apart and we were helpless against preventing any more damage from being done. The only absolving aspect of that day was when Gohan came back several hours later, alive… but even more wounded than before.
Cold reality set in when we realized, that with Piccolo gone that meant the Dragon Balls were gone, which meant that we had no way of resurrecting anybody. I had planned on going to the new Namek but we only vaguely knew where it was. In addition, Capsule Corporation was a wreck, the constant attacks by the Androids severely limited the world resources, and my father, who had been the key restorer of the ship Krillin, Gohan, and I use to go to Namek with (and the sole constructor of the ship Goku had gone to Namek with), was dead. Like Shenron, Porunga can only bring back those that have died within a year. However, all of this didn't deter me from trying. By the time that year was up, I had managed to only be 1/10th complete with the project. I had failed. Of course with all of this taken into consideration I knew it would only be a matter of time before Trunks would start training to join Gohan's side. For years Gohan would rely on blitz style attacks and cat and mouse games to divert the Androids attention away from a city, long enough for the inhabitants to flee or hide in deep underground bunkers. Even with his powers he could never do any severe damage to them and was almost always injured himself. Everyone knew that if he was to defeat the Androids he needed someone with him, and the only person who could take that place was Trunks. While I initially protested at the mere thought of Trunks getting involved in fighting those monsters I soon began to realize there was nothing I could do to stop him. By 13 he was already jumping out of the car anytime he heard news on the radio of a recent android attack. He was the son of Vegeta. This path for him was already decided long ago. I was able to calm my nerves down further when Gohan promised me he would do everything in his power to protect Trunks. It made me feel secure because I knew I could trust him. I knew Gohan would give his life for Trunks. Little did I know how right I was.
When Gohan saved Trunks' life but lost his arm as a result I started to worry again. I have always worried but this time I went back to full-on panic mode. Of course I can only imagine what Chi-Chi was feeling at this time. But I knew that Gohan and Trunks only stood a chance against the Androids if both where at their top performance. Even Trunks didn't have to tell me that with the loss of his arm, Gohan's power was not what it used to be. Gohan knew this as well but refused to acknowledge it in my presence. I think as soon as that incident happened he knew what he had to do.
It wasn't until that rainy day that I realized it too. Everything started off fine enough. The two went off training and I continued to work on various projects to keep me busy. It wasn't until I heard on the radio that the Androids were on the attack again. I cursed them for what seemed like the millionth time until it dawned on me that Trunks and Gohan were training right near there. I stopped everything and listened intently at the radio hoping and praying that they would stay away. I kept listening until the channel eventually went dead. If the radio didn't have it then the TV certainly wouldn't but I checked anyway. It helped to busy myself for even a few seconds, but when I saw there was nothing there as well - I started to panic. One of the worst feelings I ever felt was sitting there waiting, knowing I literally had no other option. While I listened to the rain patter down on the roof I paced. I must have paced the floor 1000 times followed by drinking copious amounts of alcohol, all to try to stifle my anxiety but nothing helped. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore I heard the front door open. Rushing down with speed that would impress any martial artist I eventually came to an immediate halt. In the doorway stood my son, drench in rain and blood, holding the limp body of his mentor.
Shortly after he lost his arm, I remember Gohan telling me in confidence that it would be Trunks who would one day defeat the androids. He motioned down to his injury and said, "I no longer have a chance against them. Someday, Trunks will have to battle against the both of them… but only when he is ready." He then stared straight into my eyes and with the most serious tone I had ever heard from him he told me, "You must make sure he is ready Bulma." At the time, his speech confused me but I never got to clarify with him what he meant. It was only after his death that I realized he was giving me direction, and ultimately saying goodbye. It turns out that Gohan had made the same decision Krillin and Tien had made many years ago. When he and Trunks saw the attacks in the city near where they were training, he knocked out Trunks before going to the battlefield alone. He knew in their current state that they had a minimal chance of survival so he decided to go in alone, knowing full well he would die. But he also knew the result would be Trunks' ascension to Super Saiyan form. Like Krillin and Tien before him, he sacrificed himself so that the younger generation could live and have a chance. At first Trunks couldn't see this. He was upset with what Gohan had done and grieved terribly for him for quite some time afterwards. He felt that his mentor had taken the cowards way out and put the burden of defending the earth solely on him. It was only after I told him what Gohan had told me that he realized what had been done for him. We spent the rest of the night crying together; him for his lost friend and me for that reason as well, but additionally because I knew that my son's life was about to get 100 times harder from the Hell it already was.
We buried Gohan next to his father on Mount Paozu. We didn't have the privilege of burying the others out there due to our limitations at the time, but if we had to choose one person to rest in peace there, I'm glad it was Gohan. I don't have much to say about the funeral other than it was a difficult one to get through. Chi-Chi was completely distraught throughout the entire thing. I tried to comfort her to the best of my ability but I learned there wasn't much you could say or do to help a widowed woman who had just lost her only child. I think Chi-Chi learned the same thing last year when our roles were reversed. At the end of the funeral service, I place a flower on Gohan's grave and whispered a word of thanks to him for protecting Trunks. When I turned back around I saw Ox-King and through his tears he managed to utter a sentiment that I think we all felt… "He no longer has to fight… he can finally rest." He then looked up at the sky "Take care of him Goku."
While Trunks continued to have a rough time dealing with Gohan's death, Chi-Chi struggled though it the hardest. Whereas Trunks had training to serve as an outlet for the pain he was feeling, Chi-Chi had nothing. I got a call from Ox-King the day after the funeral, asking if I could come by. As horribly depressed as he sounded he mentioned that Chi-Chi had not eaten or even gotten out of bed since yesterday. It was a tough decision but I ended up leaving Trunks in the care of Master Roshi, Oolong, and Puar while I rushed over to see Chi-Chi. Trunks had formed a close relationship between all three and I knew they would be able to take care of him and be there for him until I arrived back home. To be honest, when I first saw Chi-Chi that evening, I thought she was dead. She was lying in her bed with the same clothes on her that she had the day before and her eyes were completely glazed over. When I knelt down beside her she didn't even acknowledge my presence, instead she just continued to stare off into space. I tried nudging her but still got no response. It was a very long process but after a few hours Ox-King and I eventually got her to sit up and eat a small amount. Once she had eaten she lied back in her bed and closed her eyes to go to sleep. This pattern was repeated for a few days and little by little we were able to make progress with her. It wasn't until a week had gone by that she even started to talk and it was another month until she finally stepped outside. That was the day that Trunks had come with me to see her. He was still grieving but had managed to focus a majority of that grief into determination towards his training and defeating the Androids. Therefore, when he requested to join me I felt that, if anything, he could provide some help. A few minutes after we arrived and had seen Chi-Chi, Trunks asked if he could speak to her alone. Once again I obliged and Ox-King and I gave them their peace. While they talked, Ox-King and I had our own chat. I continued to help him with the healing process as well and, as time dragged on, even prepared dinner for the four of us. It was around noon time when Trunks had asked to speak to Chi-Chi alone, and the sun was starting to set by the time they had finished their talk. While I may never know everything that was said during that time, I can say that when Chi-Chi walked out of that room on her own, she seemed like a completely different person. Her face was covered in dried tears, as was Trunks', but she had a radiance about her that she had not had since before Gohan died. One look at her now and I knew, somehow, everything was going to be all right. Before I could get Trunks alone to ask him what they had talked about, Chi-Chi motioned for all of us to follow her outside to watch the sunset. For the first time in a month we witnessed her walk outside and breathe in fresh air. As we all watched the sunset I found her doing something else she had not done since Gohan's death; she was smiling. I looked over to Trunks who remained fixated on the sunset. A tear slide down his cheek, but he was smiling too. I would learn later from him that during those several hours he simply talked to Chi-Chi about Gohan. He shared memories with her and talked generally about the kind of person his mentor was. Most importantly he shared with her what Gohan had meant to him and what he had done for him. Everything from the training to Gohan's final sacrifice, Trunks discussed, not to upset Chi-Chi, but to make her proud. To make her realize that her son lived his life and died doing what came most natural to him; protecting the ones he loved. He told Chi-Chi that she should hold the same pride in him and that even if he was gone, his legacy wasn't. In the end he promised her that Gohan's death would not be in vain. He would one day get justice by destroying the Androids and thus bring peace back upon the Earth. As we watched the sun disappear into the horizon I realized then that Trunks was no longer a little boy. He was a warrior, a protector of peace. The torch had been passed.
The thought of working on the spaceship again had crossed my mind during this time. I wanted so desperately to be able to wish Gohan back with the Namekian Dragon Balls, but with less that 20% of the resources available since my last attempt, which only got me 1/10th of the way done, I decided to not even try. I didn't want to get everyone's hopes up just to have them come crashing down. However, I wasn't just going to sit there and do nothing. Inspiration hit one evening when I was looking through an old photo album. There were pictures of Goku and I from when we first met, pictures from the gang at the various Tenkaichi Budokais we went to, and even pictures of Goku with everyone right before he got sick. I remember thinking to myself how miraculous he had been. He had been so carefree yet at the same time possessed incredible determination. Through his life he faced foe after foe and, even if he lost a battle, he always won the war. Goku was Earth's hero who died just when we needed him the most. If only… If only he hadn't contracted that heart virus and died. Somewhere in my mind the wheels of ingenuity began to turn. There wasn't much I could do about the present… but what about the past? While Trunks trained, my mind continued to expand on that idea. My focus became not space, but time itself. After finally formulating an idea as to how I would go about making a time machine, I told Trunks my plans. He rolled his eyes at me and said I was crazy. Of course that only made me more determined. But there must have been some part of him that believed, because he never tried to talk me out of my 'silly project' or even tell me it was impossible. While I didn't have a plan as to what to exactly do with this invention, I soon formulated one. I would make a time machine for Trunks to use to go back into time when Frieza and Goku arrived on Earth. He would give Goku the cure for the heart virus that Goku would contract in three years time, as well as warn everybody about the Androids. It was possible that it wouldn't help much for this timeline, but I thought maybe a new timeline could be created, one with hope!
It took me a full year to come up with the plans for the Time Machine. I poured countless hours of research into the design and functionality to make sure that it not only worked but that it could also be built. With resources continuing to drop I knew I had no room for luxury. I went through several blueprint drafts before I came up with an end result that met my all of my strict criteria. As soon as the plans were done I took no breaks; construction started right away. Two years had passed before I had managed to build one of my greatest inventions. During those two years I utilized everything at my disposal for this machine. Several other contraptions that both my father and I had made previously, were broken down to contribute to it. Nothing was spared for this cause. It was a risk, and I knew it, but the thing that kept me going was knowing I might be giving the past a chance it never had.
Perhaps one of the scariest moments of my life happened just a few weeks before the Time Machine's completion. During the last few months, Trunks had become increasingly short with me. We fought constantly and he actually started to seriously question me for the first time about traveling back to the past. I think he was just more perturbed about not being able to battle the Androids. He felt as if he was ready, I did not. And he was beginning to have serious qualms about asking people from the past for their help. On one particular day we were arguing when we were interrupted by the radio I had set out to listen to while I worked. A news bulletin came up announcing that the Androids were attacking a nearby city. Without hesitation Trunks ran off to fight them. I called after him but it was in vain. He was already in the air, and out of sight before I could reason with him. I blamed myself at that moment. Had I not been arguing with him it was possible that he wouldn't have taken off. With fear that he was going to be killed I followed after him in my much slower airship. By the time I had arrived the Androids were gone… and so was the city. However, amongst the rubble I knew Trunks was down there, alive. I can't explain how, but I felt his presence. I landed the ship as darkness approached. The sun had just set so I knew I didn't have much time left before it would be totally dark and my hopes of finding Trunks would be minimal at best. Fortunately, the gods were kind enough to let me find him before that happened. After stumbling through rubble for 30 minutes and calling out his name, I came across his mangled body. Under normal circumstance I probably would have been too much of a wreck to go care for him but these weren't normal circumstances. Being the only one around for miles his life depended on me now. Quickly, I made my way back to Capsule Corp with him and, with the help of local doctors, began treating his injuries. It would be three days before he woke up from his unconscious state and I made sure I was there by his side when he did. Near death experiences must be really sobering because he immediately apologized for making such a stupid decision. While I wanted to be angry with him for doing so, I couldn't. He was alive and that was all I simply cared about. In addition to his apology he expressed interest in the Time Machine, requesting to use it as soon as possible. I had to actually tell him to slow down and focus on getting better. He was in a terrible state and recovery would take weeks. It was during this time that I finally had a chance to talk with him about all of our friends he would see in the past. For the first time we discussed the subject seriously and I began to coach him on what to say and what not to say so as to not disrupt anything that could prove harmful, such as his birth. Of course he was mostly interested in hearing about his father, which made me worry some about as to how well he would follow my directions. In the end, though, I knew he was going to be just fine. One night, after one of our lengthy discussions and Trunks was asleep, I went to Vegeta's gravesite. For a while I just stood there, not saying anything. Gazing at the stars, I wondered if he was looking down on us. Finally I mustered up the courage to speak. I started off by asking him how he was doing and that I hoped he could hear me, wherever he was. I told him all about the near completion of the Time Machine as well as Trunks' run-in with the Androids. I guess there was no downplaying that part but I emphasized that he was OK, it's just that recovery would take a some time. "I think you would be proud of him though." And then I laughed to myself. "He's even a bit like you in some ways." Sighing, I ended that night by telling him something that I almost never said before "I love you Vegeta."
With the completion of the Time Machine I thought it would be the beginning of the end of the Androids. I was right, but what I never considered was that it would be the beginning of the end of Trunks. Despite everything he had been through, despite how powerful he was, he was killed by some unknown assailant for that machine. Last year I understood what Chi-Chi went through after Gohan died. I was in constant pain over the grief and nothing seemed to make it better. The worst part of it was the continual questions of who this murderer was, where had they gone, and (most excruciating of all) had I brought about Trunks' end by creating the Time Machine. Now that I am in my right mind I know the answer to the last question is 'no'. For a long time I blamed myself, but Chi-Chi and the others helped me see past my self-accusations. There was no way for me to know this would happen. The original intention of the Time Machine was to serve as hope for the past. Its primary goal was to create a new future for Goku and the others and it did that. As Master Roshi told me "Someone killed Trunks, and to turn that crime any bit of that away from the murderer would be blasphemous in Trunks' name."
Before I end this I must pay tribute to those we still have with us. I don't think I will ever be able to repay Chi-Chi for all she has done. Shortly after Trunks' death she (along with Ox-King) moved into Capsule Corp to take care of me during what I consider to be the absolute lowest point in my life. I honestly do not know if I would have survived without her help and I'm glad she finally agreed to move in. Truth be told, I was not surprised by her decision. Since Gohan's death she had kept busy visiting our remaining friends and doing her part to protect citizens from the Androids in any way she could. As the years have dragged on she has spent less and less time at Mount Paozu. Her moving away from her home had been a long time coming. The Son residence simply held to many memories for her and, because it was so isolated, she realized that she was not able to move on while being there. She told me that the next time she wanted to go back was for when she was to be buried, next to her husband and son.
As I wrap up this entry I am witnessing the reconstruction of major parts of West City. For the first time in almost two decades the human race no longer has anything to fear. At the same time those of us aware of the Dragon Balls know there is no wishing anyone back or even wishing a quick restoration of our cities. No, we must do that ourselves. But maybe that is a good thing. During the Androids reign I actually managed to see the best in humanity. Complete strangers would come together, just as they are now, to help those in need. This all brings me to the reason this will be my last entry. I started this diary during the summer I first discovered a Dragon Ball in my basement. My school had asked that we chronicle our summer journeys but I continued it far past that time limit until it eventually became a hobby. After all, the adventures of the Dragon Balls and times spent with Son Goku didn't end that summer. Rather, they continued until all the way up to today, where it finally ends. This day marks the day that Trunks can no longer be wished back to life. My attempt to continue the work on the spaceship was futile, once again due to extremely limited resources. Therefore that is why I am no longer going to write in this diary. There are no more Dragon Balls. There are no more Saiyans, or even half-saiyans. There are no more magical adventures. The only adventures that exist now belongs to us humans as we rebuild from this saga. It may take some time but I know we will eventually get there. Because if I've learned anything from this incredible journey that started so many years ago it's that you must have one thing in order to persevere… HOPE ! !
- Bulma Briefs