~ Lady Eldaelen ~
This is what happens when I actually act on a scribble written off-handedly in the margin of a musing journal. Also, I need a new musing journal.
I'm not a huge fan of italicizing huge swaths of flashback, so let's just agree to take the line breaks as either flashback or point of view changes. Time, also, is more of a guideline, so don't expect an exact following of Dragonball history. Nomenclature, too, is thrown in from both worlds, just go with it. We're all fans here, yeah? Good.
- Start -
The Command Center was always the first area to ramp up traffic once Rift Activity had been detected. Techs were already bustling along the aisles, distributing data pads with updated reports, rewiring connections to configure the computers for the predicted battle, passing out coffee and rations to cover for the first Mess Call of the day being hours away yet. At the bank of windows that overlooked the Staging Hangar stood the unassuming overseer of the Jaeger Base's activities. He was young, but he was brilliant. Respected both in tactical command, while piloting a Jaeger, and defending hand-to-hand, Son Gohan was all humanity could have asked for in a leader, and for its sake, he did a damn fine job at it.
"Krillin, what is the projection?" Gohan asked quietly, as was his way. He didn't even turn, preferring to oversee the preparations going on in the Staging Hangar. Just behind him to the right at a large console desk, the battle analyst called up the report in question with a few flicks of his wrist.
"Science Pool expects a Cat-4, probability of a terran adept is at 70%."
Gohan nodded once, but a minute later he followed up with, "And what does Bulma expect?"
Krillin called up an encrypted message sent directly to him. "Two Cat-3s, one 95% probability terran, one 89% probability water-terran hybrid."
"Better make sure everyone's awake."
"Sure thing, boss."
"Hey, Gohan, Bulma also added a personal note: 'Krillin, tell Gohan to suck it up and request another budget review with the Council. I'm still waiting for a new assistant since my last one went and got himself named the de facto leader of this whole operation. Oh, and the likelihood of an airworthy Jaeger getting manufactured before encountering an airworthy Catagory-anything is quickly dropping to zero, so we need more funding for that side project as well, preferably before we all get shit on by a flying Kaiju. Love, Bulma.' "
"She could have come down here and said all that to my face."
"She hasn't left that lab in a week. Trust me, not even Vegeta has been able to pry her away."
"I really didn't want to hear that."
"Neither did I, kid."
Forty years ago a baby was sent to Earth, with the intention that the baby would one day grow up and rid the planet of life. The baby was born from an elite fighting race, know for their raw strength and ruthlessness. Planet clearing was their trade, and they were renown across galaxies. Forty years ago a baby arrived on Earth, hit his head and lost his memories. He never cleared the planet and instead learned the local martial arts, married a one-time princess, had a son. When the son was four years old, a rift was discovered opening deep in the northern ocean. Scientist were flummoxed by its appearance and cause. People didn't know whether to worship the Rift and its mysteries or add their names to the waiting list of Capsule Corporation's newly revealed family-sized space ships.
The warriors of Earth, led by the now young man who'd lost his memories, waited together on the closest island to the Rift, knowing the power emanating from the Rift was anything but benevolent. They were there when the Rift sent out a blast of charged plasma, they were there when the being that had ridden the shockwave up and out finally surfaced.
He claimed to be an alien. He claimed to be the brother of the young leader. He claimed supreme disappointment at the prolific amount of life still teeming on the planet. He didn't claim too much more, not after they defeated him, but with his last breaths he warned them of the future. The technology he'd used to travel there was new, and it would get better in time. More would follow. They would not stop until Earth was theirs.
At the sound of the buzzing alarm, Trunks jumped out of his bunk and landed solidly on the frigid metal floor, adrenaline already keeping his bare feet from negatively registering the temperature. He slammed a palm against the buzzing comm alarm and hit the lights, fully awake even though the room's clock only read a couple hours past midnight.
"Rift activity. Launch in ten."
"Rumor has it your dads are betting on your position in the lineup."
"When do they not bet on something?"
"And I'll copy that. Better get Goten going, it's closer to launch in nine now."
Trunks flicked off the comm and turned his attention to the still sleeping form of his best friend. There wasn't time to waste so Trunks simply gathered the edge of the bottom bunk's mattress with both hands and pulled, sending his copilot, pillow and blanket rolling to the floor.
Bulma Briefs had always done what she wanted. Stubborn and self-absorbed, with the family prestige and brains to actually pull off most of her ideas, there really wasn't a reason not to in her mind. It was no different when she saw the aftereffects of the Rift's first alien encounter. Her friends beaten and left for dead, the landscape decimated and unusable for decades, the future threats. She'd heard the alien's warnings. She heeded them.
It only took four months to design a fighting machine. During that time the warriors had trained as well, and she spent what little free time she had traveling around the world to their training grounds. It reminded her of her teenage years for all the wrong reasons, but she soldiered on and incorporated as much as she could glean from the warriors' recounts. When Piccolo mentioned his pupil's giant ape transformation, she worried she'd thought too small.
Back to the drawing board. Her first prototype that she estimated could take on an Oozaru nearly killed the test pilot. Later analysis showed that his somewhat alien physiology was all that had saved him and proved indisputably that whatever didn't actually kill him would indeed make him stronger. He dogheadedly returned to pilot, repeatedly, until he stopped passing out and seizing, until he could command the machine to do as he wished, until he could channel his ki to direct energy attacks through the machine itself.
When the Rift next showed signs of activity, they were ready. The warriors gathered on the same island, along with Bulma's newly christened Jaeger spooled up and ready for a fight. At the last minute, however, Goku abandoned the Jaeger and met the two intruders alone. The first alien was taken out by his partner, who in turn, very nearly took out Goku. But not before throwing out a false star mimicking the moon's power. Not before transforming into the very thing Bulma's invention could have stopped. By then, though, it was too late. In such a weakened state, there was no way Goku could have stood any chance of piloting the Jaeger.
In that final moment of hopelessness, the forgotten Jaeger started moving. Alone and untrained, Son Gohan had made a snap decision to step in his father's machine. Two minutes later, the final alien was a moment away from death. So was Gohan. Still also Goku.
All three survived. Vegeta, now-marooned prince of an empty race, demanded Bulma and her father build him his own Jaeger. Goku assured her that it would be okay to do, encouraged her even, to keep building more. And Gohan realized the potential in a two-pilot configuration.
The Rift stayed open, but the work didn't stop.
"Status report. How's the board looking?" Gohan asked, turning the comm on throughout the Command Center. Around him, everyone started settling down, preparing for the long-haul of whatever the Rift was going to throw at them.
"Dragon Prime, ready," the sound of Gohan's father filled the Command Center.
"Royal Renegade, ready. These names are ridiculous."
"Duly noted, Vegeta," Gohan replied.
"Emerald Tornado, ready."
Soft chuckles sounded over the Dragon line. "Sorry, Vegeta, I bet it's all Goten's fault."
"Certainly doubt it was Trunks."
"Guess he inherited my sleeping habits along with my hair."
"Hope Four, ready," a breathless Goten finally replied. "Did we miss anything?"
"Not this time," Gohan responded. He turned around to Krillin's desk, studying the maps and data flowing on the various screens. "Alright, science pool predicts a Cat-4 terran. Bulma predicts a Cat-3 terran and a Cat-3 water-terran. We're going to split the difference. Tornado, cover the land route. Dragon and Renegade, you two take the sea. Hope, hold the line. We launch as soon as the Rift pops."
"Copy," came four replies.
In the days following the encounter with Vegeta, Gohan pondered his time spent in his father's Jaeger. He knew a two-pilot design would be infinitely more adaptable in a fight, even the few minutes he'd spent piloting were enough to see how much mental energy was being wasted just to get the machine to move. There were just too many roadblocks standing in the way of implementing the idea. For starters, it was immediately recognized that the two chosen to pilot should be as close as possible in power and complimentary in temperament. Vegeta and Goku were out, one because Vegeta refused to share headspace with his nemesis and two because Goku confidentially noted that Vegeta wasn't up to his level yet.
"Give it some time, then maybe we'd be ready to try," he'd said in the lab one day.
"Well, what about me and Vegeta?" Gohan had hesitantly offered. The haughty prince scared him more than he liked to admit, but if it was for the greater good of the entire world…
"Oh, that's even more of a power difference," Goku had replied cheerfully. At Gohan's crestfallen look, he'd even laughed.
"You've got it backwards, son," he'd crouched to Gohan's eye level, hands firmly reassuring on Gohan's shoulders. "Don't you know you're the strongest one? I'd have suggested the two of us in a heartbeat if I thought I could keep up."
And then Goku had left to train and eat lunch, one final encouragement to keep at it, things will work out eventually.
Things had worked out, just not until enough time had passed for them to nearly lose all hope.
Goku had been lost to the Rift in the last encounter. Bulma was left cobbling together the remains of the Dragon they'd recovered into a machine Gohan could use solo and keep Vegeta from defending alone. The first official test run had left Gohan comatose, an unfortunate side effect they had all expected.
The Kami approached Bulma at Gohan's bedside.
"We offer our services," the Kami had announced in greeting, Piccolo nodding in agreement behind him. "We are already one mind, in a sense. And in two months, our remaining kindred will arrive. There is another who is willing to aid in your mission."
And he continued with a neat and logical reasoning, something Bulma could have copied and reproduced in bullet-points for her father's investors. The Kami had split from Piccolo years ago. The events since the Rift's opening had weighed heavily on them both. The Kami had offered to fuse, to become one again, but Piccolo had turned him down. He'd been there the day Gohan had piloted the Dragon. He'd been as curious as he'd been dumbfounded at his student's abilities. And they both had been following the two-pilot Jaeger progress, or lack thereof.
They continued to talk about the practicalities of the guardian of Earth joining the Jaeger program until Gohan woke up. Bulma barely had time to thank the Kami standing beside her that his faculties were still intact and still unarguably Gohan when his first question was on a completely different train of thought.
"But what about your position?" Gohan had blurted out, struggling to keep the hysteria out of his voice. Chi Chi had tried to cajole him to lay back down, but he resisted the hand on his chest and instead moved to sit up further. The Kami had smiled as though he'd expected the boy to say just that. So had the boy's mentor.
"It could be argued, possibly even convincingly, that this does indeed fall under my position's description."
"But we're not hedging that bet, kid," Piccolo added. The boy had listed slightly as his equilibrium failed to keep up with his sudden bout of activity.
"Listen to your mother. You still need to rest." And that was all it took to get him to ease back down without further protest.
The Kami continued, "When a Rift opened on our own home world, our kin did not fare as well as we have here. They did manage to neutralize the first threat, but not without heavy losses. Between the Kaiju attacks and other meteorological events, the planet is nearly uninhabitable. That's why they are traveling here. I've been conversing with their Elder, who was the one to reach out and seek asylum. During the last encounter, when we lost Goku, many of my kin were watching. The elders, the remaining warriors, a few others. One, in particular, followed you throughout the day, Gohan. He's become very attached to this place, mostly because of what he saw through you. The Elder and I believe the young one may be willing to step into my position."
And so they spent another two months redoubling the efforts on a two-pilot system. Kami and Piccolo proved to be the breakthrough they had been waiting for in mapping the intricacies of a shared neural system. As Gohan had predicted, two pilots eased the physical and mental load on each pilot, but it was still too much stress for humans, even the warriors. But the Nameks' constitution and natural regenerative abilities boosted their progress, allowing them to recover quick enough to be a positive use to the test program. By the time the remnant arrived, the other Namekian warrior had not been able to persuade any of his fellows to join in, though he still volunteered. Undeterred, the Kami had assured Bulma that adding a third pilot for their arrangement would work. They were still early enough in building the Namekian Jaeger to accommodate the change, and above all odds, the addition of a third pilot had worked.
The summer Gohan turned ten brought the rollout of the Emerald Tornado. It also marked the vast uptick in Rift activity. By fall they had barely enough time between encounters to fix the damaged Jaegers and recover physically.
"They remind me of Ice-jin evolutionary rejects," Vegeta commented after one tussle. The flayed remains of a vaguely reptilian monstrosity lay across the battle site. "They really do mean to take this place as its own."
Gohan had given him a curious look.
"Mindless drones," he'd elaborated, "for planet clearing. Similar to what Saiyans do -did. These must be the Oozaru equivalent to a megalomaniac lizard."
Then he'd Final Flashed the remains into oblivion.
The Rift opened again the very next day, an unfortunate event since Vegeta's Jaeger was halfway through a hydraulic overhaul and the Namekian Jaeger was still missing an arm. There wasn't time to prep Gohan's Jaeger, not when he'd been supporting both rebuilds and still had cracked ribs from his last time piloting. They mustered on Zero Island, all of them, Jaeger pilots and human warriors alike, and braced themselves for whatever would surface.
It was huge, easily the largest creature ever to ride the plasma stream up.
"We really need to start categorizing these things," Bulma had whispered from her spot between Gohan and Vegeta.
And then the thing had opened its mouth and let loose a stream of ki so great, Gohan didn't even bother trying to stop it. He simply powered up and grabbed Bulma and calculated the fastest way to get out of the blast zone. The others, too, had scattered, but only Vegeta had flown away backwards, still facing the creature. He alone witnessed a figure shimmer into the blast's path, solidify into a definite humanoid shape, and bat away the blast like an irritating bug. The figure made quick work of the creature and its constituent bits were ash by the time Gohan rejoined Vegeta, Bulma still in his arms.
"Dad?" he'd breathed out, and Vegeta had stiffened in disbelief. The figure who'd saved them all was bathed in a golden glow.
"That's a ridiculous idea, they'd never go for it," Trunks spoke unconsciously as tethers were fitted on the Hope Four. Goten grunted dismissively and followed up with, "Yeah, well, of course he cares."
"Your comm is on, guys."
"Oh, sorry, Gohan."
The two boys kept their mouths shut but started an intricate expression war as they waited for the Rift to pop. In the Command Center, their vitals skyrocket as their internally shared conversation continued.
"Write up a script to send their files to my desk, would you, Krillin?" Gohan asked, peering over his shoulder.
"Sure thing, boss."
"I know it's their way of sorting out their headspace but I can't believe what their brains do when they drift."
"It's exhausting to watch," Krillin agreed, "I'm glad I not that compatible with anyone."
"Hmmm," was all Gohan responded with.
Goku had been home for a month. Since his return there hadn't been a single Rift activity. Goku had gladly jumped back into his Jaeger, but Bulma was already designing improvements to handle the advanced transformation he'd obtained while he was away. Vegeta had called it Super, a level of legendary power very few of their people had reached. Just a couple days earlier, armed with observations from a handful of demonstrations from his father and a history lesson from Vegeta, Gohan had ventured into the mountains and ascended as well.
There was no doubt in Bulma's mind that Vegeta would reach the same, eventually.
Capsule Corporation had always been the main funder of the Jaeger program and the Briefs' family house their unofficial headquarters. Even with the month's worth of peace, they still weren't standing down, though most of the world was already moving on. They had gathered there that afternoon, the pilots and the Briefs, Chi Chi and Krillin, discussing, as usual, the future. Conversation had been that of finding more pilots when it reached a lull and Gohan, who for all his genius still had the tact of a child, proclaimed in all seriousness, "You just need to have more kids."
For a long moment, no one reacted, save for Bulma's next breath catching somewhere in her chest. Gohan had been addressing his father and Vegeta, but he had no way of knowing that not two hours earlier, Bulma had cornered Vegeta and told him she was pregnant.
And then Krillin had started laughing. He gasped as some inner well of humor and mirth erupted and nearly sent him into convulsions.
Vegeta left. Took to the stars in one of the Briefs' riffs on a Namekian space ship. He had disabled the comm system before he was out of the solar system.
Goku didn't go after him, not after Bulma told him her news.
By the time Vegeta returned, Trunks had been born and Chi Chi was pregnant. They'd broken ground on the Base, an intentional step to separate Capsule Corporation from the Jaeger program as the idea started falling out of fashion with shareholders and world leaders. The Med Center had been set up just in time for Goten's birth; Chi Chi labored alone, as the rest of her family had been fighting the first Cat-3 based off Bulma's new classification system.
The Rift popped, just as the last Jaeger rolled out of the Staging Hangar and tethered up.
"Like we had this thing all planned out," Krillin muttered.
Dragon and Renegade were launched first, overshooting the midpoint to their area which would hopefully put them in line perfectly to the emerging Kaiju. The plasma wave died down and the sensors picked up separate energy signatures.
"Two Cat-3s, just like Bulma said. You guys and your brains sometimes. Scary."
Tornado was maneuvered into its position and Hope trolled the shores by the Command Center, the last stand for the inhabitants there and just beyond the beach.
"Emerald's tether is released. May three suns shine on you always, sirs."
"Call them back!" Bulma's voice shrieked throughout the Command Center.
"Bulma, wha-" Gohan started, but was cut off as Bulma's emergency override kicked on. Her face appeared on a vid screen at Krillin's desk. She was running down the halls towards them.
"So help me, Son Gohan, you call them all back right now."
"Bulma, they've all been dropped. What's wrong?"
"It's a trap!" she yelled, face lined with fear. "They're playing us like fools!"
Gohan let out a sigh, like he'd been holding it in for too long. "Krillin, go secure to the pilots."
"Copy… and you're through."
"Now patch Bulma in and shut down all other external comms."
"Done and done."
"Okay, Bulma, start explaining."
"My algorithms have predicted the last few encounters with increasing accuracy. Everything has been going so well, I thought we were just reaching optimization."
"So you haven't?" Goku asked.
"No, well, probably, but not because we got better. Because they wanted us to think we did."
"How are you so sure?" Nail asked over Tornado's comm.
"Because I'm married to Vegeta. Because I befriended Goku at sixteen. Because I live on Earth and NOTHING EVER GOES THIS WELL."
Bulma burst throughout the Command Center doors. She dropped her vid screen on Krillin's desk, for one dizzying rotation creating a fractaled kaleidoscope as it caught its own image back on itself a hundredfold until Krillin switched off both screens.
"She's right," Gohan agreed, locking eyes with Bulma for one terrifying moment. "She's right, or pretty close to it. Something's been off for a while now and I haven't been able to put my finger on it."
"So what should we expect here?" Goku asked.
"I'm not sure exactly."
"Bulma, go with your instincts," Gohan urged. "Say what's on your mind, no matter how unusual."
"I'd expect their power levels to be higher than a normal Cat-3. Probably faster and smarter, too."
"All indicators point to average Cat-3s, Bulma."
"You all suppress your power levels, don't you?"
Gohan made his way to the cabinet in the corner. "Bulma, you're in charge here. Krillin, back her up."
He pulled off his jacket and dress shirt and donned a set of vest armor. An old scouter repurposed for its comm went on next. He strapped on his broadsword last. "Krillin, restore comms to the Center, but keep all open airs encrypted."
"Copy and done."
"All hands, all hands, we are going to Red Alert. Repeat, Red Alert. Secure all entrances and lockdown in five minutes." He powered up partially, enough to give off a light glow. "Tell Mom not to worry." And he was gone.
Bulma watched as he flew out through the Staging Hangar narrowly making it through the already closing doors to the docks.
"Okay, new plan," Gohan's voice sounded through his scouter and into the Command Center. "Head for land, all of you. Hope, head for the dock. Stay in a defensive position to guard the Base. Do not engage elsewhere. Tornado, keep to your battlefield. Try to minimize damage to Gingertown. Dragon, Renegade, just keep backing up until you reach shore. I'm headed your way. Everyone, if you think it best to go hand-to-hand, do it."
The two bogeys which had been tracking predictably along their trajectories suddenly sped up. Bulma called out the new velocities, but the one headed towards Goku and Vegeta kept accelerating.
"Careful Vegeta, this thing is holding back."
"I can tell, Kakaro-" the sound of screeching metal cut off the rest of Vegeta's reply. The Command Center erupted in a frenzy as the right side of Royal Renegade's stats flatlined.
"Vegeta!" Goku yelled. Dragon's stats lit up next as Goku jumped into an advanced Kaouken. Krillin felt Bulma's hands grip his shoulders as she kept her eyes fixed on the still-beating vital of Vegeta's heart rate. Krillin brought up the long view and tiny profiles outlined the battle taking place still in fifty feet of water on the coast.
A tiny blip of light representing Gohan's lone flight came into view as he neared. His scouter picked up sounds of the battle between the bogey and Goku. Vegeta's Jaeger remained agonizingly still.
"Almost there, Dad. Be ready in three, two, one." Gohan's light stopped over the bogey and the sounds of his own fight took over. He worked with his father to draw the bogey away from Vegeta and in a reverse move Dragon Prime blinked out of position to appear at Renegade's side. Just as the bogey turned towards them, both blinked out of view and Gohan fought to keep its attention. It obliged.
A startled surprise rose up in the Base as two Jaegers appeared in the sealed Staging Hangar. Both were still running and the noise from one functional Jaeger and one struggling was enough to send all ground personnel scrambling. Backdraft from engines blew dirt and debris everywhere. Before the receiving crew could get close, Dragon once again disappeared.
"Dad?" Goten and Trunks responded as Dragon appeared on the docks outside.
"Not now, boys. Keep to the plan." And then the stats showed Goku had started emergency shutdown on the Dragon.
When Gohan turned fifteen, he'd been summoned to the Lookout. That in itself wasn't new, since the arrival of the last Nameks, Gohan had become close friends with the new Guardian, Dende, and had been a frequent visitor. But this time, his parents had been asked to join him. The Sons had left Goten with the Briefs and the three made the journey up to the Lookout. They arrived to find the four Earth Nameks as well as a stout blue alien with sunglasses, a slim purple alien with a mohawk, and a larger pink alien who looked entirely out of place and rather grumpy about being there.
Their proposal would have been unbelievable if those present hadn't lived the lives they had.
"But… I'm not dead," was Gohan's first response.
"The living are allowed to travel in the Otherworld -we are alive, as are some beings who dwell there, few though they are," the purple one had answered.
"It's mortals who are restricted," his pink companion had growled.
"Which is why we received special compensation for you."
"But all that you said, how long will it take to accomplish?"
"Weeks, months, years. It depends on you."
"Years?! I can't afford to be gone for years!"
"Gohan," his father interjected softly, "we may not be able to afford it if you don't go."
And he'd looked at his parents fully. Both had tears in their eyes.
"So I take this path-"
"Snake Way," the Kami had clarified.
"-And I follow it to a planet where I'll train-"
"We'll work on your humor, too, boy," the blue alien assured, sunglasses glinting in the ever-present sun.
"-And then I'll go to another planet to train some more."
"We're still working on the specifics," the purple one said. "It'll depend on the timeframe."
"The timeframe that I'll set."
"When does all this start?"
"Today, if you're ready."
"Heh, happy birthday," Dende had offered.
"Hn, I've had worse," Gohan had mused. "Do you have some paper and a pen?"
The Kami procured a pad of Lookout stationary for him. Gohan spent a few minutes writing out equations and proofs and diagrams. Once finished he folded the papers in half and handed them to his mother. "Those are for Bulma, she'll know what to do with them."
He hugged her and his father in turn, then presented himself to the rest of the gathered group.
"Let's get this started."
The shutdown had barely cleared danger levels when all of Goku's vitals flatlined. A figure -his figure- appeared on the top of the Renegade at the opening made where the right side had been ripped and flattened.
"Contact with the Tornado bogey in thirty seconds," Krillin announced grimly, keeping tabs on the other areas still in play. Bulma barely registered his response, eyes fixed on the hole Goku had jumped into. Every heartbeat took a small lifetime until he emerged with Vegeta, arms slung around shoulders for support. He looked straight at her and nodded once. Vegeta was okay.
Goku passed him off to a medic and popped into the Command Center. He headed straight for the cabinet Gohan had gone for, pulling out another scouter and vest.
"You saved us, B," he acknowledged, shucking off the bulkier articles of his flight suit for the simpler armor. "How's Gohan doing?"
"Holding his own."
Goku turned a scouter on and listened to the two battles raging on either side of the ocean. There was a brief hesitation as he decided on which way to go before Gohan's voice, strained with exertion urged his father elsewhere. "Go to Tornado, they don't know what they're up against. I'll be fine."
"Like hell you are," Piccolo's gruff voice interrupted. "We're on land. Have you even made it to shore yet?"
A hearty splash and the thunderous noise of churning water answered for him. Goku sought out his son and the thing fighting him, and disappeared from the Command Center once more.
Gohan returned to the Lookout after eleven months and two weeks. He'd barely spotted Dende at the other end of the platform when a flying ball of much-missed familiar energy latched itself to his side.
"GOHAN!" his brother yelled in his ear. And he'd turned around to see his parents behind him and he had never felt so happy to be home.
They didn't stay at the Lookout long before Goku brought them all back to where they had been when he'd felt his son return. Goten orbited in oblong rings around Gohan's head, peppering him with an endless stream of questions he didn't bother waiting for answers.
"Did you walk all the way there? What did you eat? Was it cold? Why didn't you bring a jacket? Where did you get these clothes? Can I try out your sword?"
"Goten," Chi Chi said with unending patience, "what do we say about flying circles around people?"
"It usually disorients them and should only be done in an emergency or while training." He landed but proceeded to take long hovering jumps to keep up with the rest of the family and still make it to Gohan's eye level more often than not.
"He doesn't tire out yet?" Gohan whispered to his mother.
"Not really, no," she whispered back with a grin.
"Where are we?"
"Bunker below Capsule Corporation." Goku answered. "There's been some, ah… developments while you were away."
They neared the end of the long hall just as an entire section slid open. The Briefs were waiting. Trunks, in similar Goten fashion, flew towards him, but stopped just short of a hug. Gohan snagged him anyway and he didn't resist.
"You look more and more like your dad, kid," Bulma added as she waited to greet him.
"So what developments happened? Anything good?"
"Androids," Bulma said grimly.
Goku appeared to watch the creature lash a surprisingly prehensile tail into the water and emerge with Gohan wrapped up at the end. Before he could help, the shnnk of a blade cut through the air and the tip of the tail fell away from the rest of the beast and Gohan emerged, sword in hand. A few more deft swings and the rest of the tail and two legs were severed. Goku followed with a Kamehameha. It didn't take the thing down completely, and it ended up getting one lucky swing at Gohan that sent him into the water once more.
Over the scouters Tornado called for the one minute countdown to release a Special Beam Cannon. Goku and Gohan spent a few more minutes past the release of the cannon finishing their own cleanup.
"How many pieces did it end up in?"
"Six. I got all of the tail and the left leg."
"I got the other arm and the rest of the body."
"That's it then."
"We should check to see if Tornado needs backup."
"Not quite, no," the Kami's voice replied over the comm. "But you are going to want to see this anyway. Bulma, too."
- End -
Notes: This is the first chapter of the most writing in the least amount of time I have pumped out, ever. Even better, some semblance of a plot finally emerged, which rarely happens for me. The whole thing started with how cool it would be to see the various fusion pairs piloting Jaegers, and indeed, the first paragraphs of Trunks and Goten were the first written. Gohan, however, took over. As usual. I don't fight it anymore. Seriously, though, I'm super excited about this one, yes indeedy.
Happy Cell Games Day!
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