Trunks stared intently at the clock as the seconds hand ticked away. Moving the minute hand ever closer to the top. Any second now, he would be freed from his weekly prison and be free to do whatever he wanted. Every second was torture as his social studies teacher droned in the background, talking about something to do with some ancient civilization that had little to no bearing on his immediate future.
Even the other kids in his class, who didn't already know this stuff backwards and forwards like he did, looked bored out of their minds. He glanced around and saw a few were either already asleep or yawning. It wasn't long until Trunks was unconsciously letting a few slip out of his mouth. A couple other kids, were writing notes and passing them back and forth down the row of seats, giggling at whatever gossip had been written on them. One particular kid, in the row behind Trunks, had found a way to amuse himself by making spit wads of paper and shooting them at his back. Trunks could feel the disgusting little projectiles on his shirt, and clenched his fist each time he felt a new one. He was ready to kick that guy headlong out the window.
Well...It was a nice thing to imagine anyway.
The past couple of times he had tried to stand up for himself, he had broken several of his foolhardy victims' bones and had almost been expelled from the school. Trunks would have liked nothing more than to be home schooled again, but his mother had been adamant that he continue to attend public school and behave under threat of being grounded for life. He would have to think of another way to get back at his latest bully. Maybe he could convince grandpa to lend him some equipment and chemicals to make an extra potent stink bomb. Again, something that could only be done once he got home.
As if answering his prayer, the school bell rang out and all his fellow students simultaneously jumped from their seats. Trunks pushed past a pack of giggling girls but made sure to brush off the wet wads of paper before exiting the room.
"Remember to read pages 256 to 299 in your text books, and have your essays on my desk next period!" the teacher shouted, hoping to catch students before they darted out of the room. Trunks could have cared less about the homework. All he had to do now was get home, grab a few tools from grandpa for later, then give Goten a call and see what he was up to. He wondered if those weird aliens were still there. If they were, maybe he could learn more about them. Well, maybe not so much about that odd kid that had poked at him like he was a science project.
He went to his locker and put away his school shoes, overhearing a bunch of other boys chatting about the latest video game and making plans to go out and play baseball. Trunks rolled his eyes as he tied his shoes. Part of the reason his mom had insisted for him to go to public school was not so much for the education, but socialization. She had told him story after story about her school experiences and how much fun it had all been.
As exciting as re-living her school experience through him was, back in her day she had nothing to hide. Sure, she was probably smarter than everyone in her class like he was but she wasn't part alien. Or had to go to great lengths every day to make sure her unique talents weren't discovered. What was the point of trying to know normal people anyway? Sure Gohan had lucked out with Videl, but most normal people would pee themselves the second they saw what people like him could do. Friends were supposed to be people you could share everything with, even your deepest, darkest secrets. No chance of that with someone like him. Most kids, save the wanna be tough guys, pretty much avoided him away. In all honesty, Trunks wanted to keep it that way. Goten was his real friend. He was the only kid on the planet Trunks could be honest with and even relate to. Even if he was a bit of a dope.
Trunks waited till he was down the street and out of sight before he risked flying home, which was all the way on the other side of the city. His altitude was high enough that folks on the ground would mistake him for a bird. At top speed, he was able to cut a two hour commute to three minutes. He let out an exhausted sigh as he landed on the front lawn and entered the Briefs' estate. He dumped his school bag by the front door before kicking off his shoes and dragging his feet to the kitchen. The cold air from the refrigerator felt good in the pre-fall heat wave. Grabbing a soda he cracked it open and took several gulps of the sugary sweet liquid. The fizzy bubbles tingled his throat on the way down but it quenched his thirst nonetheless. Satisfied, he went to the living room to put up his feet on the couch. He had the rest of the afternoon to call Goten and his Grandpa didn't like being disturbed before he finished work at 5 pm. That was plenty of time to chill, and catch up on his TV time.
He turned on the tube and was invested in the reality show, "Danger Zone" for about ten minutes. He rolled his eyes as the various teams on the show devolved into screaming matches, saying the other team member wasn't pulling their weight. Trunks couldn't understand why so many kids in his class talked about this show. It was so lame. He had seen stuff vastly more dangerous than anything this show could think up when he was eight years old. Hell, even his parent's arguments were more convincing than the two morons who were obviously acting. He began toss the controller back and forth between his hands.
It had been a lot quieter in the house without his dad. Goku had told Trunks and his mother not to worry, but Trunks knew better. His dad hadn't been scared per se but he had clearly been nervous. There was something about the aliens they had met that he knew about, something that worried even him.
Had he met them a long time ago? Why had he wanted Trunks and Goku not to let the aliens find out they were Saiyans? Why hadn't he come home yet?
All these questions and more had made the day difficult for Trunks to get through, especially with that lame test he was forced to retake today. Even harder when he saw his mother trying to stay upbeat when she was more worried than he was. Maybe, if he got a chance to talk to those aliens more, he could get to the bottom of this. He was about to reach for the phone to call Goten's house but saw the phone was missing from its receiver. Trunks moaned as he heard the drone of his mother coming down the stairs doing her favorite pastime, yelling.
"Look your just going to have to stall! I humored you the other day by being at the grand opening, but a line has to be drawn somewhere." She paused, "I'm sorry, what part of MATERNAL LEAVE do you not understand? No! She is too young for a babysitter! You guys are gonna be on your own for the next few months, DEAL WITH IT!" Another pause. "If it's that bad, send me the documents and I'll at least look them over. That should keep them on their toes until we are good and ready for the merger. Alright then. And by the way Matt, when I do come back to work, you and I are going to have a LONG conversation about your future career, or lack thereof if you DARE think you can pull me away from my children!" With that she practically slammed the phone back into the receiver and let out a sigh.
"Can't do a thing without you can they?" Trunks asked.
"Its like trying to herd cats." she moaned as she took a seat on the couch next to him. "But I think I made my point."
"Will I be able to yell at people like that when I take over the company?"
"Only when you've earned it. You still got a long way to go before your ready for that responsibility kiddo." She put her hand on his head and playfully mussed his hair. "But you'll get there. Then you can yell at anyone you want."
"If I still want to by then." Trunks grumbled, still not very big on the whole 'responsibility' part of this deal.
"Trunks, we've talked about this." she said in that 'why do I have to lecture you again' tone. "You've been able to grow up without wanting for anything but I won't be able to take care of you forever. It's important for you to learn how to take care of yourself in the real world."
"The real world sucks." Trunks said looking away.
"And why is that?"
"Because its boring! I'm not allowed to use my powers in public, not allowed to use the SPACESHIP we have sitting right outside on our lawn, and you keep me so busy with such lame stuff like school and preparing me for responsibility that I haven't had a chance to see Goten in ages! And when something FINALLY does happen, like I don't know, aliens showing up! You still send me to school to take some stupid test?!"
"That's because I'm not gonna to let my one and only son run straight into another big fight. Even if those aliens are friendly, I'm not letting you treat a situation like this like a game."
"I know it's not a game!" Trunks protested. "But I want to know what its like in outer space. And since dad and everyone else has been so tight-lipped about it, this is my only chance to find out."
"It's not as glamorous as it's cracked up to be, trust me on that." his mom said putting her hand on his shoulder. But Trunks shoved it away.
"That's all you ever say."
"Because this is your home Trunks. You need to know how to survive here, before you even think about exploring outer space." She paused. "Maybe, just maybe, if you're good I can talk to your dad about taking you to see the rest of our solar system." Trunks turned to his mother, daring not to hope.
"You serious?" he asked wide eye-ed.
"Pretty darn. But you have to promise me that you're gonna behave yourself and be the man of the house while your dad is away. Deal?"
"Deal!" Trunks nodded. His mother smiled before she looked away, blue eyes looking like they were about to tear up. Trunks had seen that look before. "Where do you think he went?" he asked.
"I have no idea." she said sadly. "There is plenty of things your father does that I've never been able to truly understand. But I do know this." she paused, stroking Trunk's hair. She hadn't done that since he was a baby. "No matter how far away he goes, I know he'll come back. He always does."
"Yeah." Trunks nodded. Whatever his dad was up to, he would come back stronger than ever. And kick the crap out of those aliens that had been stupid enough to land on their planet to cause trouble. Trunks clenched his fists. He may have slacked off in his training over the past few years, but he still wanted to be ready if his dad ever needed him.
A shrill cry came from upstairs as Trunk's new little sister demanded attention. Trunks was still not used to being an older brother. Sure, having to look after Goten had given him some practice, but at least he could relate to Goten, being a guy. Learning how to deal with a little sister was going to be hell if her ear-drum shattering screams were anything to go by. The few times he had gotten a chance to hold her, she had done nothing but pull his hair, something he now went through great lengths to try to avoid.
It didn't take his mother long to hear the screaming and dash out of the room, her loud footsteps echoing on the stairs. Sharing attention with the blue haired demon child wasn't too awesome either. He was happy that his dad hadn't bothered to force him to train or that his mother was nagging him less, but still it was almost like they barely had time for him anymore. Mom was practically with her 24/7, save the days were she offered to drive him to school. Dad, when he was able to get away from baby duties, went straight for the gravity room and locked himself in for the rest of the day. So any quality time would have to include getting his ass kicked, which had lost its appeal over the years.
Trunks turned the TV off before deciding to head up to his room and prepare his desk for constructing that stink bomb. He had only gone up three stairs when he heard a knock at the door. Followed closely by the door bell.
"Trunks, could you get that!" he heard his mother yell from the baby's room.
"Okay!" he called back as he went to the door. He could hear some muffled arguing on the other side of the door but he couldn't understand what they were saying. The doorbell rang again, again and again.
"Alright alright I'm coming!" he shouted, hoping the jerk on the other side of the door could hear him. He opened the door and leaned against it. "If your here to see the President, she's said she's on maternal leave so make an appointment with-" he stopped when he bothered to look at his guests.
"Hey Trunks." Goten said with smile. Standing in the shadow of three aliens he had met yesterday.
"Hello sweetie." Calla said leaning in and pinching his cheeks. "It's great to see your cute little face again." Trunks winced as he pulled away, rubbing the redness off his face. Part of him felt great that this pretty alien lady liked him but most of him was terrified that she acted a bit like his grandma.
"I hope we are not bothering you young man, but Goku informed us that your family has a personal spacecraft. Is it alright if we take look at it?" Azera said.
"Yeah, dad said that your mom would be okay in letting them use it!" Goten nodded. Trunks took a few minutes to process that the aliens he had wanted to speak to were standing right on his front lawn...in viewing range of anyone passing by.
"Goten, what were you thinking?!" he said in a panic. "Why didn't you go to the back door?"
"I wasn't sure if you were home or not. And Mom yells at me about not using the front door." Trunks sighed before stepping out of the way of the door.
"Alright fine. Come in before someone sees you!" he said in a loud whisper. The group walked inside and Trunks took one last look to make sure the streets were clear before closing the door.
"Man, this place almost looks bigger on the inside." Forcytha mused as he looked around from the landing. He and Calla looked eager to explore but Trunks put his hands up.
"Just...stay there for a minute." he said as he went up a few stairs. "Mom! We have visitors who want to see you!"
"What kind of visitors?!" She called back.
"The extraterrestrial kind!" From the sound of things his sister had quieted down a bit so his mother was free to leave her room. She came to the top of the stairs and looked over the Yousari soldiers raising and eyebrow when all three of them bowed as she came down the stairs.
"So you're the ones who made my son miss his exam the other day." She said. Her arms crossed and she didn't look at all pleased to see them. Trunks just hoped she wouldn't say something stupid.
"For that you have our most sincere apologies my lady." Forcytha said, looking up from his bow and looking her over. He gave a small smile as he stood up and took her hand, kissing it. Trunks mouth gaped open at the guy's smugness, hoping that it was just a weird alien polite gesture and not hitting on his Mom. His mom however didn't seem that concerned. She smirked but her eyes still had that holier than thou look that said, 'sorry, I'm off the market.'
"I doubt you came all this way just to apologize. What do you want?" she asked.
"They said they wanted to look at grandpa's space ship." Trunks answered.
"Yeah, my dad said since you guys weren't using it that they could take it to meet up with their friends." Goten added.
"Of course he did." His mom sighed. Looking over the aliens again. Something about this situation was clearly bugging her but she just smiled and shrugged it off. "Oh what the hell. If Goku trusts you enough to tell you that, then you can't be all bad. Follow me."
She took them out the back door to where the giant circular ship stood on its landing pad, practically collecting dust. From what his mother had dared to tell him, Dad had used this ship to travel into space several times since when Trunks was a baby. He had stopped using it when the Cell games were over and only started training again when Trunks' grandpa had constructed the gravity room as part of the house. The tech that went into this ship looked a touch dated now, Trunks wondered if it even still worked.
"Hmm, not a bad design." Azera put his hand on the metal hull and began to walk around the ship.
"Thanks. Wish I could say I had a hand in making this one but it was all my dad. The last one got totaled thanks to my husband."
"Bad landing?" Forcytha asked.
"Not exactly, but anyway, this was the one my dad made to replace it. I haven't run a systems diagnostic on it in a while but it should still work fine." The door of the space ship opened and the group made their way inside. Trunks had never stepped into this spaceship before but from the inside it looked familiar. Almost identical to the gravity room. Granted, this was a lot smaller and actually had enough room for a few beds and even a small kitchen. Trunks smirked when he realized why his mother hadn't added anything like this to the gravity room. His dad would never want to leave. Calla and Goten oohed and ahhed poking various features of the ship. Forcytha examined what looked like the gravity controls, raising his eyebrow before looking around the ships walls. Trunk's mom showed Azera to the main console and turned on the main systems. Her fingers flew on the keyboard as the monitor came to life and began to list various functions, engine status, pressurization, gravity, navigation, supplies etc.
"Looks like age isn't doing the big girl any favors." Bulma said moaned. "The engine is functioning but even if I tune it up it won't be able to take you very far."
"How far will it take us?" Azera asked leaning on of the passenger chairs.
"I'd say to the edge of our solar system at most." she sighed. "I should have given this baby a better inspection after its last trip."
"Don't worry. That will be far enough for us to meet up with the rest of our fleet." He walked over to the microphone at the side of the control panel. "Tell me, what is the range of the built-in communication device here?" Bulma leaned over to look.
"Pretty far. It was designed as a direct line of communication to earth from anywhere in the galaxy. Well, at least that's what we wanted to test but I can guarantee at least as far a distance as from here to Namek...where it used to be anyway."
"Very good. Then do I have your permission to make some modifications of my own?"
"Knock yourself out big guy." she said looking back to everyone else.
Trunks had done his best to explain the gravity training machine to Forcytha and at the same time, keep Calla and Goten from touching things they weren't supposed to.
"Sorrel's going to flip when he finds out this ship has one of those human kitchens. You think we can get enough earth food to experiment with?"
"I don't see why not. Mom always gets so much when she goes to the store. You can come with next time we go." Goten replied.
"An Earthling market huh? Is the food on display free or do you have to have a special amount of credits to buy it?" The two kept chatting as Forcytha finished his inspection of the ship, looking more than a little disappointed.
"I guess this should suffice but I have to say, did it have to be so small? Its about as cramped as a Saiyan space pod."
"Funny you should mention, that's exactly what this ship was designed from." Trunk's mother answered, much to her son's horror.
"Ch, figures. Never understood Frieza's fascination on those cramped little things. Sure they are fast but they lack maneuverability and not a single weapon to use in an emergency. In all honesty, I'd rather die than travel in a replica of one of those barbarian's ships." He said walking down the ramp.
"Hey watch your mouth! That's my-" she was about to say when Trunk's finally got her attention. Crossing his arms and shaking his head. She looked confused but decided to change the subject anyway. "-my dad put a lot of hard work into make this ship and its the most advanced spacecraft earth has ever seen. The least you can do is be polite to the person who is giving you a ride home."
"Forgive me, but if you really want to make a more efficient spacecraft you should consider our race's star ships. Sleeker design and more importantly, enough firepower to scorch half of a planet." The fact that he could say something like that so easily made Trunks more than a little nervous. What kind of stuff had this alien done before coming to earth?
"Well if your that upset about the ship Forcytha, maybe we could just leave you here." Calla joked.
"Fine by me. I've only scratched the surface of this planet's female population anyway." he said, taking he comment seriously, annoying his comrades.
"Despite Forcytha's lack of manners, this is a marvel of engineering Lady Bulma. At the very least we can make contact with our fellows and let them know where we are." Azera said as he tinkered with the ship's communications, attaching his own device to it.
"No problem, I'm just glad someone's putting this ship to good use."
"Just a need to put this wire in place and...got it." Azera beamed as the little device lit up. "Forcytha, could you give me the ID number of Gladolous' flag ship?"
"8495-398." Azera dialed the numbers and the sound of static came from the ship's speakers. The group gathered round as Azera took the microphone and took a deep breath.
"This is Azera Iverous, second in command of the ASTF. Does anyone copy?"
"Calling the Rose dreadnought under the command of General Gladolous, do you read me?"
"Maybe they all went home." Forcytha joked, getting him a jab in the side from Calla.
"This is ridiculous! I've done everything right. Why do they not respond?"
"Maybe they're out of range?" Bulma suggested.
"It is possible, this planet is a good distance from the fleet's last location. But still, we gave Gladolous our ship's trajectory when we gave chase."
"And how many planets are between where we were and where we are now? Use your head Azera!" Forcytha said crossing his arms. "You know how thorough that guy is. Knowing him, he's checking every possible planet that we could have ended up on when we lost contact. Given that the life of the Queen is on the line I'd bet the search is going to take even longer."
"He's got a point." Calla said looking down at the ground. "It may be at least another month before they're in range." Azera shook his head as he began typing in new instructions to the device.
"Then I suppose all we can do now is wait. Hopefully the coded distress signal with our ship's ID will travel far enough to get their attention. In the meantime, I will need to look over the ship's engines and make them ready for travel. The closer we close the gap, the better."
"Give me the specs you're gonna need and I'll pass them on to my dad. Repairs shouldn't take more than a day or two."
"Much appreciated. Calla, report back to her majesty as soon as you can. Forcytha, you'll stay here with me and help me get this working. I don't care if we have to contact every single ship ID in the fleet, we are going to make contact."
"Aye aye sir." Forcytha said sarcastically.
"Might as well see how the camp is coming along." Calla said putting her hands behind her head, her eyes scanning the horizon. "But it doesn't feel like everyone's at the same place." Goten came up from behind her.
"They must have moved. It feels like not too far from home." he said.
"Well what are we waiting for? Lets get go-ouff" Calla ran right into the guy who had just walked up behind her. Trunks smiled when he recognized the man's scarred face.
"Oops, I'm sorry miss. Are you okay?" Yamacha asked helping Calla up. His face went red when a confused Calla made eye contact.
"Guess that's what I get for not looking where I'm going." Calla smiled. "Sorry about that sir."
"Oh uh...its Yamcha! I mean, you can call me Yamcha." he said stumbling over his words.
"Okay, Yamcha it is. Are you a friend of lady Bulma?"
"Uh yeah, something like that," he said with a laugh. Trunks could see his mother rolling her eyes. "Um, if you don't mind my asking, who are you?"
"Calla, from the planet Alastromeria. My friends and I kinda crashed on your planet while we were trying to end the war with the Cold Empire, but your friends have been nice enough to let us stay and even give us a ship to get home." She said in what sounded almost like a single sentence. Trunks chuckled when Yamcha's flushed face went pale when he heard the words 'planet' and 'Alastromeria', like the white and green skin hadn't tipped him off. "Forgive me, but I need to get going. Maybe I'll talk to you later. Bye!" the alien girl said without missing a beat before flying off.
"Wait up Calla!" Goten said flying after her. Trunks, not wanting to be left out began to pursue them. He increased his speed before he couldn't hear his mother calling for him. He knew she was going to punish him big time for this but, in hindsight, he didn't care. His dad had clearly recognized the alien queen that these guys served and had been missing ever since. Something about this entire situation stank big time and Trunks was going to get to the bottom of it. Even at the cost of being grounded for life.