This chapter was brought to you by AlphaShenron! Hope you enjoy!
"So Gohan, any idea when we can leave?" Trunks asked inquisitively as he stood next to his fellow hybrid. Both saiyans were on the edge of the Lookout, looking out into the world as the sun rose. Trunks had missed Earth dearly and it was good to see its natural beauty once more, most civilized planets he had visited had learned the lesson of taking care of their environment too late. This was the main reason Frieza had such a thriving planet trade business as the planets that had once supported a civilization were often on the verge of collapse. And as is the case with anything that has a limited supply and a high demand, it cost quite a lot, usually in the form of natural resources or physical indulgences. And in the wake of the Cold regime's defeat chaos had reigned, previously high ranking officers became warlords and the vast empire had been divided up into many small sectors, each rife with brutality and squalor.
Upon learning of what had happened Vegeta had started a secondary mission among his children and Goten. Eventually Pan was included on this after she contacted them via the ship's communicator. She left Earth when Oxri died, the big man having died childless. The mission was to look for any information on saiyan survivors and beat up some despots at the same time. Most of the new warlords still had access to Frieza's old archives so it was impossible to avoid diplomatic meltdown. Unfortunately the name saiyan no longer carried the weight that it once had so the younger and more ignorant warlords were usually the uncooperative ones. One even had the audacity to try and claim Pan as one of his own personal concubines; it took both Vegeta and Trunks to restrain Goten and stop him from destroying the planet in a fit of anger. The others were angered as well by that one but they also didn't have the familial bond that the uncle and niece shared.
Fortunately they had hit a literal jackpot when they stumbled upon one of Frieza's old warships on one of his old personal planets, sitting derelict in a forgotten hanger. Once they powered it up it was filled with data that dated to before Frieza's destruction of planet Vegeta. They found all of the mission data for the saiyan race from the beginning to the end. And whoever Frieza had document these missions was kind enough to install a progress indicator that showed whether the mission was complete or not. They found many, and Goten had been surprised to see Earth on that list of uncompleted. It was nerve wracking to think that all it would take is one inquisitive grunt early on and the entire universe would be completely different from what they knew. It would probably have been destroyed with Majin Buu running around rampant since nobody would've been able to stop him.
They simply downloaded the data and went galavanting around the galaxy, checking off planets and names as they went. Five went up to six, then up to seven. They kept recruiting until to the point they are now at with a current number of thirty-seven.
"I'm thinking that we will leave in a couple of hours. There is something I have to do first." Gohan replied. At their age it didn't matter who was older, Gohan was only a little over five percent older than Trunks. Trunks referred to Gohan though out of respect, Gohan had established superiority when he had knocked sense into Tatsoi and then powered up. While Trunks knew that if he fused with Goten they would be able to defeat Gohan, but by himself he would have no chance. Thus leadership was defined by power and everything that came with it, knowledge, and experience.
"Whatcha gotta do, if you don't mind me asking of course," Trunks said, looking over at Gohan as he did so.
Gohan turned to Trunks and looked at him. Then past him a moment later. As Trunks looked at him confusedly then started to open his mouth to talk, Gohan spoke.
"We brought Shenron back and found out about my father. Shenron allowed us to have Dragonballs as long as we saw to their purification personally," Gohan said, reaching up and starting to take his shirt off. "Shenron decided that due to my family's connection to the four star ball, that I would carry it. In my chest." With his shirt off and his chest exposed to the air, Gohan showed his friend Shenron's gift.
Trunks's eyes widened and he stared slack-jawed at the ball in his friend's chest. Slowly the gears in his head turned and Trunks noticed a hole in Gohan's story. The last time he had seen the Dragonballs was also the last time he had seen Shenron, when Goku had left after destroying Omega Shenron. He had left with the others long before any of them had realized that the Dragonballs had returned. None of them knew that Gohan only found the four star ball because it had hit him on the top of the head when he was meditating at Piccolo's old waterfall. That was about ten years after Oxri had died and Pan had left. Gohan had immediately recognized it for what it was and had given it to Majuub for safe keeping. The pain had been too raw for him to look at it, he had never known that Majuub had gone to his childhood home and placed it in his mother's room until Majuub had told him about the plan to bring Shenron back.
"How is your dad doing?" Trunks asked, "Is everything okay?" As soon as the words left his mouth Trunks immediately knew that that wasn't the case.
"He was absorbed into the Dragonballs; his body couldn't handle their power. I don't think any mortal vessel will ever be able to. Shenron thought I would be able to handle one ball though. And thanks to it I now know everything that my father ever knew." Gohan looked down at the ground. Nobody knew that Gohan felt wrong about using his father's memories. It felt as if he had stolen his father's identity, down to the very last detail. He pressed on though, and told the truth. "It has made training much easier to be honest."
Trunks was speechless. Of all the outcomes for Goku to go out with, being absorbed by the Dragonballs was so low it wasn't even on the list. Everyone had always assumed that Goku would go out with a galaxy sized bang of them all, with maybe the exception of his own father, but to go out with a whimper seemed almost insulting. The next immediate thing that popped into his mind was that Goten and Pan would be devastated when they found out. Everyone had been looking forward to seeing him in the afterlife and finally being able to spend quality family time and now it seemed that it wouldn't come to fruition.
"And how do you feel about that?" Trunks asked tentatively.
Gohan looked over at his friend before drawing in a deep breath and slowly letting it out. Gohan had long buried this particular ghost, but to have Trunks here and experiencing the pain with him once more exhumed this issue.
"It sucks. My father who we all thought to be indestructible is gone forever and we will never see him again. It's even worse for my mother. She had been looking so forward to seeing him again in Otherworld and now she will never get the chance. All she has of him are memories, and I this rock in the middle of my chest."
Gohan walked over and peered down the edge of the Lookout. It was a sheer drop to the ground with nothing in between the platform and the ground. And even though they were far up into the upper atmosphere and countless layers of clouds lay in between Gohan could see everything on the ground in perfect detail. The small indian village was still there, Korin now lived alone and still produced the magical Senzu beans. The forest wasn't as big as it used to be as urbanization took Gohan looked closely enough he could see where the forest's edge used to be and he was slightly disappointed to see that it was miles from where it now was. Capsule houses lay haphazardly across the plains and farmland out beyond the forest. Humanity was once again growing, and it was only a matter of time before Korin's tower became more than a myth to the world at large. Gohan smirked, the tribe would have to get a good lawyer in order to keep people off their lands and to protect the tower from tourists and would-be scientists. Seeing his world from up high shot a thrill through his body just like it always did with two sources. One from his heart, the other from the Dragonball in his chest.
"A part of him lives on though. Periodically I will feel a whisper of emotion not my own. An echo of what could and should be. My father still lives on in the Dragonballs, fractured. I feel that if one were to ever fully absorb the Dragonballs then my father could be free, but that day is a long ways away."
"I can think of no one better to do so than you Gohan. You have done so much for this world and the universe. If anyone deserves to have their father come back, it is you."
Gohan smiled, "Thanks Trunks, that means a lot. Who knows, maybe one day I will get strong enough to do so. But I don't think I will live that long."
Seeing Trunks start to open his mouth to protest Gohan raised a hand and interrupted him.
"We both know that what you want me to do is a longshot at best. Vegeta has had all these years to train and is a Super Saiyan Four. I've only reached the third level. I'm not seeing a way to win this without some casualties. I am probably going to be one of those casualties."
Trunks's punch completely caught Gohan off guard. It was a light punch, any harder and some environmental damage might have occurred, but it was hard enough to get Gohan's attention. Staring at Trunks at shock, he was astonished to see a look of fury on the man's face.
"I never would have thought that you of all people would act like this Gohan. You're giving up without a fight. You haven't even seen the planet or fought any of those saiyans for fucks sake! Nobody is dying, not on my watch."
And with that, the prince of an almost extinct race turned and walked away, the first hybrid of said species looking at and past him as he went. Gohan already had a contingency plan in place and was about to tell Trunks of his plan. Too bad Trunks had gotten mad, otherwise the man probably would've said the plan was brilliant.
Oh well, I guess it'll just be a surprise then. Gohan thought to himself as he turned around. Homing in on Dende's ki signature, Gohan let his legs carry him to his destination as he thought over the exact wording he would need to use. Sensing Tatsoi was in the room in between Dende and himself, Gohan started to vibrate his body at super high speeds. Phasing through the wall that separated the two rooms, Gohan kept going and phased through the second wall. Tatsoi never even noticed him as she lay stretched out on the bed, blankly staring up at the ceiling. She wouldn't have seen him anyway, Gohan made sure that he was going too fast for her to see him even if she was looking directly at him.
Spotting Dende looking down at a pot of water, Gohan walked over and stood next to him. Looking over to his left, Gohan noticed a dais with several golden spheres on it, Dragonballs. Gohan looked over Dende's right shoulder down into the pot and saw the world beneath them changing at a rapid rate. Dende stared down into the pot, his gaze never wavering until a pillar of golden light caught both attendee's attentions. Zooming down to the lights base, Gohan saw that it belonged to a Dragonball. Movement caught his eye and Gohan saw that it was Dende. The namekian had lifted a hand and was reaching down into the water, towards the lone Dragonball. Dende deftly scooped it up and drew it back out of the water. Gohan's eyebrows rose up in surprise, each day that he lived up here was a day full of new surprises and discoveries. Gohan rarely saw Dende use his guardian gifts for anything other than weather control and small nudges at the consciousness of troubled emotional people. To see him take control of the entire planet in such a way was awe inspiring.
"And that makes the last of them, Gohan would you be so kind as to remove the ball in your chest so we can get to work." Dende said as he straightened up and looked at Gohan.
Gohan nodded and dug his hand into the folds of clothing to his skin. Gohan lightly pushed against it and it sunk deeper into his chest before tapping against his spine and bouncing back out, passing in and out of his sternum like it wasn't there. The four star ball was only moveable when surrounded by the other six Dragonballs, otherwise probing fingers just glanced off it unable to get a grip.
Setting it down next to others, Dende and Gohan looked at eachother then nodded. Dende tapped his staff against the floor twice before the world spun around them and they left the Lookout, the Dragonballs with them.
"So when did Goten's brother say we were leaving?" Tatsoi asked Trunks. Trunks was currently pacing back and forth on the tiles in front of their ship, obviously impatient and eager to get the show on the road.
"He said in a couple of hours... a couple of hours ago," Trunks replied.
"Ugh, I was hoping he wouldn't be like Goten. That man can never give you a straight answer."
"Gohan isn't like Goten, Goten is like Gohan," Trunks said and laughed. It was good to laugh, pretty soon he was sure that they wouldn't be laughing for a while.
"What difference does it make, they are both insanely powerful. Any other things are just annoyances."
"You don't seem to put a lot of stock into having fun, do you Tatsoi?" Trunks said as he looked over at the woman.
"Having fun is pointless. The only thing that matters is strength. Nothing else matters."
"So you're saying I don't matter is that it?" Trunks questioned. He knew that she was fractured. She had proven that countless times on the ship and arriving on Earth. Most of the dents in the ship weren't just from enemies or wayward debris. She would throw temper tantrums over the smallest things, and her anger would boil over at the slightest inconvenience. One time when she had put her foot through the floor he had been worried that she might puncture the hull and decompress the whole ship in the cold vacuum of space.
"No you do matter, you're strong and you saved my life. I swore a blood oath to serve and protect you and I intend to keep that promise."
"So because I'm strong I matter? So a baby doesn't matter? All babies are weak by our standards so they don't matter."
"I couldn't care less about babies Trunks!" Tatsoi practically screamed at him.
Trunks wisely shut up. He was playing with fire and he knew it. He may have been many times stronger than her but she was still a woman, and thus dangerous. His mother and sister had proven that the many times they had manipulated or threatened himself or his father in order for them to get their way.
Luckily fate intervened and both Dende and Gohan suddenly appeared in front of them. Gohan was sweating and breathing heavily while Dende was fine. Dende's staff tapped against the floor as he walked up to Trunks and spoke.
"I apologize for the inconvenience but I'm afraid that you won't be able to leave just yet. Piccolo has just contacted me and there is an urgent matter that Gohan needs to see to. I need to take Gohan to King Yemma's check in station. Hopefully it won't take much longer."
"Why not send Majuub? That way Gohan would be free and we can just leave now." Trunks said. To be frank he was slightly annoyed, he desperately wanted to go and start the mission to rescue his father and they kept running into delays. It was high time that something went his way for once.
"Can't. Piccolo explicitly said that Gohan was needed. I have no more information than that, I'm sorry."
"This is stupid, your friend is dead. Gohan is alive, we need him and the dead don't. It's that simple green man, I suggest you listen to me," Tatsoi threatened.
Dende merely glanced at her, as he did so his eyes glowed for a second and Tatsoi immediately slumped down to the ground, asleep. Trunks looked at both her and Dende in surprise before he started laughing. He bent over double and clutched at his stomach as his laughter increased in intensity.
"I can't believe that you of all people would do that Dende! Oh my god that is so funny, the peaceful guardian taking down the big bad saiyan in a flash. Oh Goten isn't going to believe this! Go on Gohan, I'm sure it'll be over soon. Kinda gotta wait for her to wake up anyway now."
"Good to see that you understand Trunks. We'll leave now." Dende said as he walked over to Gohan and reached up to touch the shoulder not covered by his mantle.
Gohan waved goodbye at Trunks as they disappeared from sight, Dende's magic taking them to Otherworld.
King Yemma was busy stamping death certificates on his desk when Dende and Gohan arrived in front of him, with Dende off to the side of the ever present line of dead and Gohan directly on top of three spirits. Luckily the spiritual clouds compressed easily and floated out from under the soles of his shoes, squeaking in anger. Hearing the commotion, King Yemma looked down and was surprised to see Gohan at the forefront of the line. Not noticing the lack of a halo, Yemma opened up a drawer on his desk and brought out Gohan's file. Opening it up to the tabbed section, Yemma skimmed over the events of his life until he got to the fight with Buu.
"Hmm lets see here. Says here you died several hundred years ago for the first time when Buu blew up the planet you were on. Brought back and lived through the Dragonball fiasco and the Akira virus. And it says that your status is currently living with one and two sevenths of a soul. Okay I'll say it, you're officially worse than your father was, at least when he dropped in unannounced he wouldn't be carrying extra baggage. So why are you here?" Yemma asked the two terrans.
"Piccolo contacted me and said there was a situation in Hell that required Gohan's help. He wouldn't give me any information other than that. That is why we are here sir." Dende said with the utmost respect.
"There is nothing going on in Hell, if there was I would know about it." King Yemma retorted with.
Right at that moment an aide came running in from a door on the left and called urgently up to Yemma. "Sir! There is a situation in Hell. The saiyans are going crazy down there, we've heard reports of there being a plan for them to try and break out. It is bad sir."
King Yemma turned and looked directly at Gohan, seeing the man's confusion he yelled at him, "Well what are you waiting for? A written invitation? Go down there now and sort this out!"
"Um yes sir right away sir!" Gohan stammered out as he followed the aide to the left hallway and down a series of stairs. They entered a room which was cut in half, on one half of the room was them, the other, a sheer drop. The aide prodded Gohan in the back and gestured to the chasm in front of them.
"There's the entrance to Hell. Now go down there and we'll send someone down to check up on you in a couple of hours. If you don't make it we'll see you in the main room. Bye!" And with that the aide promptly turned tail and fled, leaving Gohan alone and staring literally down into the bowels of Hell. Looking around to see if anyone was near, Gohan shrugged his shoulders and jumped.
"So any idea when he's gonna show up?" Nappa asked his long haired partner. Raditz shrugged to show his indifference, when his nephew showed up was his business. He was only here because Kodai needed to talk to him. And since Raditz and Nappa were the only sane saiyans that Gohan had encountered in his life, they were the ones picked to be the welcoming party. Turles was another option but since he didn't associate with the other saiyans he wasn't an option. To be honest, Raditz was afraid of how his nephew would react at seeing him. The last time they had seen each other was when he had kidnapped the boy at the age of four, not exactly the best first impression to make on family. Also it was widely known that it was Gohan who had been the one to kill Cell, who was a terror all by himself, at the ripe tender age of eleven.
"You think he would be here by now, didn't your father tell the namekian to contact him?"
"Yes Nappa he did. I still don't see why we needed the namek's help. We would've been able to send out a message just fine by ourselves." Raditz retorted. Ever since his death Raditz had held a strong contempt for all namekians. Luckily for the nameks, there were very few that made it to Hell.
"Yeah but I'm not too fond of the idea of selling my soul to one of those wizards. Those little bugs give me the creeps." Nappa shivered, after his service with Frieza the idea of servitude to another was revolting.
"Oh quit your bellyaching, I think I see him up above."
"Are you sure its him? Or is it just another bird?" Nappa asked. He already knew the answer though. This was a game the two of them had come up with to pass time decades ago. It worked when they worked for Frieza, and it worked for them in Hell. And sides, it was so much fun to mess with Raditz. After all, what exactly is there to do in Hell?
"For the last time Nappa, there aren't any birds down here. There are no animals either. It's him trust me." Raditz knew the game Nappa was playing, and he wouldn't fall for it. Both of them were veterans of this form of killing time and Raditz knew a bait when he saw it. He'd play it out for now, and when Nappa dropped his guard, then the fun would start.
"If you say so, I think its funny how we were both much stronger than him and yet he survived fighting us both. And now he's so old, much older than I was when I died."
"And what if I don't want to?"
"Then I'll shut you up personally."
To the observer it would seem that these two saiyans were ready to engage in an all out battle to the death as they both glared at each other. Raditz looking slightly up and Nappa looking slightly down. This actually wasn't a rare occurrence and all the time, with the two comrades in arms often breaking down into a good old slug fest. It was a good way to blow off steam and it got both of them stronger. Both were much closer to each other in death than they had in life, without the constant overbearing posturing of Frieza's goons they were able to relax and become friends.
The sound of someone landing distracted Nappa enough that Raditz took the opportunity to plant his fist into the giant's stomach. Completely caught off guard Nappa bent over and sunk down to his knees, clutching his stomach the entire time. As Nappa went down, Raditz turned to the newcomer and spoke.
"Welcome to Hell nephew."
Hell eh? *shivers* Leave us a review and let us know what you think!