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Chapter 1: The Journey Begins


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"It's all beginning again, Mr. Popo."  Dende, the green-skinned namekian guardian of Earth said with a certain mix of nostalgia, and sadness to his voice.
 

"Of course it is, Dende, these worthless humans never learn."   The Black Genie replied with a certain cynicism.   "The truth was obscured, but someone still managed to learn of it.  I guess a dragon made by a child has certain limitations after all."
 

Dende, the Guardian of Earth, sighed.   He had been a child when he restored Shenron, the great dragon deity that lived within the Dragonballs.   He knew plenty, but he'd had to make some changes.   Now, they'd all pay for his weakness.
 

"They only have the one, and no one truly knows the significance."   "But they will, when they gather them all, and Shenron speaks.   What are you going to do?"
 

Ostensibly, Popo was the servant of the world's guardian, but he'd never acted that way with Dende.   At best he was a crotchety cynical mentor.   
 

"I need you to gather some worthy champions.  We have to stop this, or at the very least, ensure the dragonballs do not fall in the wrong hands."   Dende said with a quiet surety.
 

"What makes you think any of those upity monkeys are worthy Dende?"  Popo asked pointedly.
 

"They're not all bad.  And some even are descended from old friends."  Dende thought back of course to his best friend, Son Gohan, and Bulma, who'd married the asshole Vegeta.   "It is perhaps time to renew some old accquaintances."
 

"Save that you never met these people.  You've just watched them and others from afar like some sort of voyeur."  Popo came back with a slight smile.
"Isn't it my job, to watch those with potential to change the world?"  Dende asked.
 

Popo said nothing, but mentally called for his carpet.   
 

"Gather them, and bring them here, I will explain what I need to them all, and send them on their way."
 

Popo nodded, and Suddenly there five copies of the Genie, and his carpet.   "Get to it then."   the five Popo Copies smiled an nodded, and then they and the carpets vanished.   
 

"Five souls just do gather champions."   Dende said, looking somewhat disgusted.
 

"Ten.   There and back, but who's really counting, I've got at least Billions more Dende.  Besides, none of these worthless maggots are worth actually meeting me as they are.  Let them actually accomplish something, then, maybe, I'll grace them with MY presence."
 

With that, the Genie himself vanished, leaving Earth's guardian to wait for the champions to be gathered.
 

  Here we go everyone.   Each of you may choose where you wish to start, but it must be somewhere on Earth, doing as you like.   A Mr.Popo copy will appear on his carpet, and with a deadpan voice explain that the Guardian of Earth wishes to speak with you about a matter of great importance  While none of you know who this is, there is a small part of your mind telling you that you really need to go along with this.  When you step on his carpet, It will immediately teleport you back to the Lookout where you will see the others appear in the order you post.  Dende will not actually show himself until everyone is there.  Once you've all posted, I'll move us along.



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Ginka knew full well that she needed more sleep. All the power naps and meditation in the world couldn't make up for the hours she shorted herself in an effort to milk an extra hour or three of productivity from the day. Her focus suffered. Her nerves got more on edge. And when she got really deep into a working binge, her dreams filled with fliting nightmares of being at work and choosing the wrong treatment that got someone she was treating killed in a stupid, stupid mistake. Her average Saiyan patient was too busy cursing her out and demanding to be released to notice the difference, but she could, eventually anyway, and when working along side another healer, found herself sabotaged for her own good, a half-hour nap turned into an hour by virtue of a disabled alarm.

 

Ginka tried not to be too mad if no one died from the trickery. It beat her running her already ridiculous stimulant tolerance up any further.  

 

Still that made her scant conscious downtime all the more guarded. A little reading. Actual cooking as opposed to a rehydrated ration. And most importantly, her daily grooming routine. Wash off the sweat and let the heat from the Wilo'Bak's scalding-hot water shower soak into muscles sore from whatever training she had slotted into her schedule that day. And most important, lavish some TLC on her tail. A Saiyan who needed to lop off their pride in order to function wasn't worthy of the title in her not-so-private opinion, and when the Need to Do Something was at low ebb, nothing  beat letting her tail lash back and forth as she curled up in the cozy security of her ship, on the verge of sleep. Outside there was a city of Earthlings to question concerning the green-haired woman, but that was future Ginka's problem. But that wasn't here and that wasn't now. Or so she forced herself to remember with a huff of her nostrils.

 

The sudden arrival of a ebon-skinned humanoid in the interior of her ship shattered all that serenity, the lazy lash of her tail snapping to a tight coil about her waist  as she flipped to her feet, "Ack!"

 

The figure, stocky and sitting on a levitating carpet, didn't react to the brunette-Saiyan's sudden agitation, tracking her movement before rumbling, "The Guardian of Earth wishes to speak with you about a matter of great importance."

 

Confusion danced with fear on her face as she processed this statement, arms up to guard against a potential attack and not wanting to wreck the interior of her ship. A wordless voice told her it would be a very, very good idea to comply, the same sort of feeling of ineffable importance that was given off by the green-haired stranger she had come to Earth to find. She frowned, seething in frustration. Saiyans did not jump when others called. Still... "One second," she answered, grabbing her Go Bag, slipping on a pair of shoes, and forcing down her misgivings, "...Okay."

 

Ginka reached out one hand to the ebon figure, and found herself abruptly in daylight on a small platform high in the air, alone. Looked temple-ish and well-maintained. Golden eyes narrowed and clad in sweatpants and a comfy red-and-white t-shirt, she kept alert for any more surprises. If they were jerking around her around expecting an easy kill...

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Earth Saiyans were nothing like real Saiyans, and it made Datura homesick all the time. They looked and acted enough like Saiyans to fool her brain for a moment; then one of them would do or say something so Earther that she remembered where she was.

 

And then she remembered why she was, and it just made her sick. Not “righteous anger” sick, but “sad sick”, and then it made her mad anyway. She tried to use it to fuel her sparring and fighting abilities, but it had this horrible tendency to morph back into sorrow without warning. She’d learned the hard way that if she didn’t want to appear weak in front of the others, then she needed to be alone when this pain came over her.

 

The best place to be alone was out away from the city. It was a real Saiyan city, populated by her people, stuck well away from human settlements so as not to cause harm to the humans living there. Alone, out in the wilderness of Earth, Datura could be herself. She didn’t have to worry about being “Saiyan enough” to those who knew her history. She didn’t have to pretend that she wasn’t sad. 

 

Leaning back in the crook of the branch she’d chosen to relax on, Datura stared into the green distance and sighed. She rather enjoyed being alone, and sometimes, she thought about just going and living in the wild. She’d be totally alone, and she wasn’t sure if she could live without occasional contact. She’d always been around people, or known that by bedtime, she’d be around people again. Plus, who would she spar with if she cut all the ties with the Earth Saiyans?

 

A man with jet-black skin on a carpet appeared in front of her suddenly. Starting, Datura rolled out of the tree, grabbing for the carpet. “The Guardian of Earth--” she heard it say as she used that grip to flip to the back of the rug.

 

“--needs to talk with you on--” the strange being continued as Datura continued her arc, twisting in midair like a cat to land behind it on the carpet.

 

“What are you?” she hissed just as it finished, “--a matter of great importance.”

 

Then the carpet, the being, and the forest were gone, and she stood on a tiled floor in front of a well-kept house. The floor dropped off not far from her, and beyond she couldn’t see ground, only the sky. Another Saiyan woman stood in front of her, looking ready for a fight.

 

With a snarl, Datura asked, “Who are you then?”

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The brunette medic's eyes flicked down to Datura's waist for a second before she answered, shifting her Go Bag to a more secure perch on her shoulder.as she realized what she was facing. She'd managed to not run afoul of Earth's Saiyan's so far, but looked like her streak ended here. Wherever here was. Earth seemed too soft to have a Saiyan as a Guardian, but she could be wrong. First off, find out whoever the hell this was and what she had to the do with the ebony being who brought her up(?) here.

 

"Healer Ginka of Planet Vegeta," she shot back brusquely, golden eyes giving no ground and not looking away even as she strained for the slightest warning of ambush, "State your Name and Group, warrior. Is this your outpost?"

 

 

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Datura gave the other Saiyan as good a once-over as she was given. Faced with one of those who had exiled her because they couldn't handle her, she scowled harder -- a true feat. The more rational part of her guessed that the Saiyan had been brought here the same way that Datura was, but it didn't quite register that this was a potential ally. Plus Saiyans had to go through an adjustment period when running into each other unexpectedly, rather like cats did.

 

"This is Earth," Datura snapped. "They don't do 'groups'." Her anger at facing a "real" Saiyan put a nasty twist on the last word. Her tail lashed behind her as she added, "I am Datura, and I was--" She clearly started one word and shifted to another, "brought here against my will. Why are you so far from Vegeta? Have you been lost?"

 

 

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Meanwhile...

 

Egypt - Catacombs under the Temple of Hibis

North of Kharga

 

Stone grated over stone as the walls slid apart again in the passage ahead of Shayuri and the three men who'd dared come this far with her. Locals, all of them, swarthy and swathed in desert clothes and scarves. They were rough customers, but Shayuri had looked for over week in more reputable quarters for local help and come up dry. The fact was that this expedition under the Temple wasn't sanctioned and was therefore either dangerous or futile or both...and regardless was illegal. That limited one's options. They were steady though at least. The other one had taken off running after the first trap had nearly killed them.

 

This one was the fifth.

 

"That's good news," said Shayuri as she pulled the now-crushed staff that she'd used to trigger the trap at a distance back. She had her hood up and a cloth mask protected her mouth and nose from dust and fumes. As such she looked almost normal, save the strange yellow-amber of her eyes. "Traps mean we're on the right path."

 

The three men glanced at each other, and one said, "It also means it's more dangerous. More danger...more money."

 

Shayuri grinned under her mask. "You want money, earn it. You and you, go to the carvings on the wall. The crocodile on the left, and the heron on the right. There should be release switches hidden in them. Hold those down until the rest of us are through, then I'll disarm it on the far end and you can join us."

 

With a wordless glance at each other and her, the two moved to heed her instructions; the carvings were just short of the trigger plate for the crushing mechanism and though they put a brave face on, sweat beaded on their foreheads despite the subterranean cool. The demonstration of that trap had been visceral. It was all too easy to imagine one's body between the stone plates.

 

Minutes later though they were all through, and there was just one obstacle to go...a deep chasm, across which was a wall of sandstone bricks, with an archway lined by hieroglyphs that led further in, with a chamber visible beyond. The anchor points for a bridge were visible, but the actual bridge had long since collapsed, leaving only a good twenty foot gap.

 

The three henchmen swore quietly and started looking through their backpacks. "Do you have rope left?" "...no, I used it to pull that wheel thing..." "...what if we get the boards from the passage that led down here from the..."

 

"Gentlemen," Shayuri interrupted. She held out her hands. "Come here please. We're too close to be stopped now. Take my hands."

 

They hesitated, but when one of them stepped forward to take hold, the others followed suit.

 

She started speaking in an unearthly language none of them recognized. Not English, not Arabic or anything else. The syllables were gutteral, alien. One of them yanked his hands free and barked, "No! Stop! What are you doing?!"

 

There was a sound like a whipcrack then, or a peal of thunder. Glowing lines traced out geometric patterns that bent and twisted, and something like letters that no human hand had ever written. Dust and something like steam plumed up around Shayuri for a moment...and when it had passed, they were gone. On the far side of the gorge they appeared in similar fashion.

 

The other two quickly let go and backed away, eyes wide. Shayuri looked back at the one left behind and called, "Don't worry. We'll be back shortly. Stay if you like, or head back."

 

With a motion of her head, she added, "Come on, you two."

 

They moved further in and entered a large open chamber with a high ceiling covered in frescoes who's colors had faded with age, but could still be made out. Stones were arranged in semicircular rows around a central altar; a raised platform with some kind of shrine atop it. And in the shrine...

 

A stone. Almost like an absurdedly large pearl or opal perhaps...the size of a grown man's fist and perfectly round. Its surface shimmered with colors seen and unseen when light struck its surface.

 

"That's it," Shayuri said hungrily. "The eye of Hibis...it was here all along. They just had to go deeper..." She took a breath. "All right, from what I've read, it's not meant to come out of that, so we'll have to break the altar open. You still have your crowbars, yes? We'll..."

 

She paused and looked back. The metallic clicking sound, it turned out, was what it had sounded like. The actions on automatic pistols. Her henchmen smirked.

 

"No. We have done enough. You break it open, then we will take the eye from here."

 

Shayuri rolled her eyes and planted her fists on her hips. "Really?" she demanded. "And how are you planning to get back across the gap back there? If you were going to make your move, this wasn't the right time, guys! You should have waited until you were back with that other guy...and were back across...so you had your full force, and weren't dependent on me for anything. Ugh." She buried her face in her hand for a second and shook her head.

 

"All right. Well you should know that I've spent a very long time looking for this, and I'm not letting ANYTHING get in my way," she warned then.

 

"Hi."

 

The voice was something new, belonging to none of them. Shay spun around, startled, and spotted a short, rotund man in weirdly stereotypical Persian attire...colorful vest and baggy pants...with skin that was so dark it looked actually black, like the night sky. Round, white eyes were fixed on her unerringly.

 

"The Guardian of Earth wishes to speak with you about a matter of great importance," he explained nonsensically, in a deadpan voice that betrayed nothing.

 

Shayuri looked from him back to her traitorous minions...who both had bug-eyed shocked expressions...then back to the...the genie? He was even standing on a carpet. As much as she was tempted to simply ignore him, some instinct caused her to at least act like she was taking him seriously.

 

"Can...it wait just a moment?" she asked. "I'm kind of in the middle of something h..."

 

"...No," was the immediate response, and the genie reached out to touch her without any fanfare or hesitation.

 

...

 

And suddenly the subterranean gloom was a riot of light and color! Shayuri yelped in surprise and covered her sensitive eyes, stumbling away from the bizarre creature that had...what had he done?!

 

"Who ARE you?!" she demanded, squinting between her fingers as she looked wildly around. "Where have you taken me?! Take me back at once! You have no IDEA what you've done!"

 

Then Shayuri realized she wasn't alone here. Two others were looking at her quizzically. She did her best to regain some dignity, straightening up and squaring her shoulder. Still clad in a tan tunic and breeches, with a darker brown hooded cloak, worn leather gloves, and a white mask over the lower half of her face there was relatively little of her that could be seen other than that she was fairly tall and slim.

 

She cleared her throat.

 

"Are either of you responsible for me being here?" Shayuri asked, doing her best to sound polite despite her growing impatience. "If so, I'd be happy to talk in a minute or two if you could send me back briefly. I...was just doing something incredibly important."

 

 

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"I'm sure you were," Ginka snarked flatly without breaking her gaze from Datura, smirking as she gave one purposeful flick of her tail before returning it to it's belt-like coil. Her gaze seethed. Perfect. A renegade Saiyan. Those tended to heroes or madmen and were twice the pain in her ass, and just as much her implicit responsibility to keep alive.

 

She relaxed from the edge of outright violence, the universe falling into mental boxes piece by piece to her relief, "I am on walkabout, Warrior Datura, and am looking for someone from this rock. Hadn't found them yet when my rest was interrupted by a stout, ebony creature about *this* tall riding a floating carpet. Ended up here shortly before you and her."

 

The brunette turned her head just enough to look at the newest arrival sidelong, assessing her, "Sound like anyone either of you know about?"

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The arrival of the newcomer caused Datura to shift her stance so that she could defend if either attacked her. Ginka's story sounded horribly familiar, and Datura felt her nails dig into her palms. If others were being kidnapped, this was not a personal attack but something much further-reaching and sinister. Datura didn't do other people's plans.  "I am not playing this game," she said coldly, marching to the edge of the tiled area. Without hesitation, she walked off the edge--

 

And landed where she'd appeared moments before. She wasn't sure that it would work, but the failure of it still angered her. She dealt with forces she didn't understand and it pissed her off. With a growl, she spun in place and yelled, "Very well, show yourself!"

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Meanwhile...

 

Capsule Corp Special Experimental Lab

"Calvin's Mad Science Emporium"

 

The nickname had originated from someone on the employee roster, had spread like a virus, and stuck like Super-Glue despite Calvin's protests. After a bit, Calvin let it go in good humor, even though it was totally unfair. There wasn't any mad science here. Just free-form experimental research and projects befitting Calvin's multidisciplinary interests. All obeying the proper rules of the scientific method and safety requirements. Yes, there were explosions now and then, but they were completely contained!

 

"Computer, begin notation." Calvin said, making some last checks. "Testing Zero-Point Energy Generator, sub-type heat bath method. Iteration 23. I'm pretty sure it'll be able to properly handle the quantum fluctuations now." He paused, remembering the last time the head of Accounting had yelled at him. "Reasonably sure. All safety measures are active." His finger poised to activate...

 

"It's going to blow up. Again."

 

The voice came from behind him, and Calvin turned around slowly, knowing no one else was in his personal playground laboratory. There shouldn't have been, but nonetheless, there was an ebony-skinned humanoid sitting on a floating carpet. "Hey. You wouldn't mind introducing yourself and explaining the basis for your critique?"

 

The ebony pointy-eared man smiled. There was something unnerving about it. "I'm Mr. Popo." Immediately, Calvin swore he could hear his ancestors screaming in horror. "Your reservoir squeezing parameters are off, and besides, the Guardian of Earth wants to speak with you. It's very important." Calvin immediately mustered his memory for the name and terms, but found nothing, even as a voice in the back of his head said this was someone very important and he really should comply.

 

Calvin sighed and then nodded. "Fine. I can re-review the numbers later."

 

Mr. Popo nodded. "Excellent. Step on the carpet, please." Calvin did so, before vanishing and finding himself appearing on an outdoor platform. Temple-style buildings. Definitely in the mid-atmosphere. And three women. Two Saiyans, one human, from the looks of things. What they saw was a good-looking young man with a lab coat over shirts and shorts, and sneakers.

 

If they knew their celebrity news... "Hello ladies. I'm guessing this Guardian wants to talk to you as well?"

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Within moments of Calvin's arrival came the last of the small group.  It was another adult man, Though thanks to the obvious Saiyan heritage, he could be twenty two or fifty two.  His own black furred tail was coiled around his waist, and he had a sword on his back.  He had on black pants and a tanktop, with a brown leather jacket emblazoned with the Capsule Corps logo on it.  

"Whoa, holy crap it's Calvin Briefs."   He said with abit of surprise.     "I never expected to get to meet you.   Those new medical examination tables your company just put out are something else you know.  I heard you had a had in designing them."

It was then that he noticed the trio of females, two of which were also Saiyan, the other well she wasn't human fully, he could tell from reading her ki, and he smiled.  

"It's nice to meet all of you too.  I'm guessing you were all brought here to meet the guardian too?"

He was interrupted by the sound of a wooden walking stick, and the steps of an old man.  "That they were, young man."   Dende spoke, even as he appeared seemingly from nowhere.  "I am the Guardian of this world, Dende."

"But you're a Namekian..."  The thus far unnamed male saiyan answered.  

"And none of the five of you is fully human.  Two of you have ancestors not even of this universe.   That matters little.   I am this world's guardian.  I have need of your services to keep this world safe.  Perhaps though, a round of introductions are in order."

He looked to the young Saiyan, and he nodded.  "I'm Goren.   like the guardian said, part of my family is from another universe,  Universe 6, to be precise.   I was born here though.  Like at least two of you, I'm Saiyan, though I do have some human blood too."

In turn, Each member of the party gave a quick introduction, and finally Dende nodded.  "Good, now we all know a little about each other.   To the matter at hand.   There is a certain faction on this world that has discovered an ancient power that was best forgotten.  They seek to amass the keys to this power, and then use it to take over and control the world.   This cannot be allowed to happen."

He sighed.  "Over a hundred and fifty years ago, all knowledge of this power was removed from the world, both to protect the world, and its people.   If it becomes known that the power still exists, then this world will become a target for powerful forces that could easily destroy the world, or use this unique power to do unspeakable things."

"This power have a name?"   Asked Goren.

"They're called the Dragonballs, there are seven of them, and they'll grant you almost any wish you can ask for."

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A Namekian Guardian for Earth? Eh. Given the oddball mix of humanoids on this rock she wasn't too surprised.

 

Ginka knew her people and the ones they tended to pick fights with well-enough that even the rumor of something like the Dragonballs would draw the attention of many with less than the best intentions. It would be an Interesting Challenge even if it wasn't true. 'Almost any wish you can ask for'? There were more than a few things she'd ask for given the chance, the amount of lives she could save given another leg up over a hostile universe, let alone these other universes this guardian mentioned...

 

She pressed her lips to thin bloodless lines, tip of her tail flicking once twice thrice as she thought. That train of thought translated into a grunt of irritation as she asked questions she was certain she wasn't going to like the answer to. "...O-kay. Questions then, Guardian. What is this faction and where are they? Who is backing them? Have  you retained one of these 'Dragonballs' so that we can launch it into your star and break this lock before your planet ends up on fire?"

 

If she had been called out of a perfectly restful doze to throw out someone else's dangerous garbage, so help her...

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"This new faction is the Neo Red Ribbon Army.   They were a problem in the past for another generation of heroes, and were exterminated.   It is unknown how they survived, or at the moment, if they're just using the name or not.   They have tremendous material backing, and since it isn't capsule corps, It has to be someone else.  What I can tell you is that they DO have one of the Dragonballs, and are actively searching out the others."

He sighed. "The Dragonballs cannot be destroyed without destroying this world.   They are Intrinsically linked, both to the planet, and to myself.  You see, I made this version of them, centuries ago.  Since their last use they've remained hidden, safe, not even known about, or so it was thought.  But sometimes Destiny has other ideas."

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"I'm in." The belligerent Saiyan's tail flicked when everyone looked at her. "This sounds far more interesting than anything else I have to do right now, so why would I miss this opportunity?" she added with a grunt. Her golden eyes shone with excitement as she added, "What other challenge will show itself on this planet? A fighting tournament?" She scoffed. "Why would I prostitute the beauty of my combat to a crowd of strangers when I can share with the most intimate of intimates? An enemy."

 

Silence fell over the group, broken only by Calvin's soft, "Uhhhh..."

 

Datura looked from one to the other. "What?" she asked impatiently.

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Shayuri watched skeptically, her mouth curved into a disapproving frown.

 

"I don't know who you are," she began, "but I am going to need more to go on than your word for this. I sincerely doubt there are powerful artifacts called 'dragonballs' out there in the world. If there were, I'd have heard of them."

 

With a touch of drama, she flung back her hood and swept her cloak out to the sides away from her. She had long, pointed ears with gold piercings, a pair of short, sharp horns sweeping up from her head out of her long red braided hair, and a spattering of red scales along each cheekbone. A pair of small reptilian wings poked out from under the cloak as she moved it out of the way. She was clad in furs draped over some kind of armor crafted from overlapping burnished copper-red scales.

 

"I am Shayuri, the Dragon-Sage. I have traveled the wide world for years now, seeking every scrap of lore, every lost writing and artifact, about the ancient and noble dragons."

 

Her gleaming gold eyes fixed on Dende suspiciously. "...and never once have I heard even a whisper of 'dragonballs.' If these things are real, as you claim, then I will of course join an expedition to recover them."

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Calvin sighed at Shayuri's pompous air. "Did you miss the part where he said all knowledge about the Dragonballs were removed from the world?" Admittedly, it did sound a little sketchy, but... "Question. When you say nearly any wish, that does include resurrecting the dead?" Dende smirked knowingly. "Yes." Calvin nodded, "I figured." He gestured expansively to the others. "Remember, descendant of Bulma and Vegeta Briefs. The family records from their era kept referring to Son Goku and company repeatedly dying and then coming back to life, but all indications how were mysteriously absent."

 

His mind still working, Calvin turned his gaze back the the Namekian proclaimed Guardian of Earth. "Our archives also have references to a past group called the Red Ribbon Army." His five-times great grandmother and Son Goku had first met fighting against the Red Ribbon Army, or around that time. "Judging by the fact they're already have one Dragonball but are looking for more, would I be correct in deducing you need all seven to unlock their wish-granting powers?"

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Ginka tiredly rolled her eyes at Datura's oh-so-Saiyan statement, but couldn't quite *entirely* suppress a flicker of a smile with that statement. At the core of their mission, Saiyan healers labored so thanklessly so that other Saiyans could live, refine, and practice their skills another day. And this planet was full of Saiyans that this Guardian had endangered by weaving the life of this planet and these Dragonballs together. She frowned, gnawing on an idea as the others talked, cementing into place as Calvin mentioned his ancestor's resurective hijinks.

 

Planet Vegetta had been destroyed by the Tyrant Frieza and returned from death many years later. No reason was ever found, and they had looked.

 

Here was a power that could grant 'almost any wish'. One that sounded like it was active around the same time as her race's return. Oh Hell. If she was right...

 

"I'm in. Someone needs to keep you all in the land of the living despite yourselves," she finally added, rummaging in her Go Bag for a white lily she fixed in her hair with an air of weary familiarity, "A quick question. Why call them Dragonballs? I've seen dragons on this planet, and they seem nothing more than clever animals."   

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Goren sighed at Datura's comments about the tournaments.  Yeah they were for glory seekers and such, but they were actually pretty fun.   He'd won a a number of them across the galaxy, and was hoping to be scouted to the Universal Team For the Omni-King's Games.  They do serve a valid purpose, even if not everyone sees it that way.  The tournaments are part of the reason The Universes still exist."

Dende nodded.  "Well said,Goren."


The Guardian looked to Shayuri, and nodded.  "The dragons of this world are nothing like your father.   The Dragons of this Earth are more akin to large generally dumb reptiles.  Dangerous in their way to normal people, but I cannot imagine them being a danger to any of you.   The Eternal Dragon, Shenron, is another type.   As has been said, he is something all-together different."   He waved his hand, and before them what looked like a Window appeared, something they could all see regardless of where they stood.   "This is my memory of the first time they summoned my Shenron."  

On the window, a scene began to play like a movie. 

 

The Seven  dragonballs, golden crystal orbs, each with from one to seven red stars on them,  began to glow, and there was a brilliant flash of light as a seemingly endless giant oriental dragon with emerald and gold scales streamed forth, coiling against black clouds darker than pitch. brilliant Ruby red eyes peered down, and a booming voice with eternal bass spoke. "I am the Eternal Dragon, I will grant a wish to those who summon me, now state it, that I may grant it."

 

The wish was made, though they didn't hear it, and its eyes shown with scintillating light. "Your Wish is Granted."

Afterwards, he smiled at them.  "He is not the only Eternal Dragon, but for now, he is the one we are most concerned with."  He smiled to Ginka.  "I trust you understand their name now? And yes, Calvin, you need all seven to summon Shenron, but having them does grant small boons, each one is different depending on which of the balls you possess."


 

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Shayuri opened her mouth to argue, but paused to watch the image Dende conjured up. Her brows furrowed slightly as she took it in... Then she shook her head.

 

"That's...interesting. But no, I know the situation with dragons. However, there is substantial evidence to indicate they may be devolved from visitors from other universes, a long time ago. Several ancient civilizations independently describe...in somewhat fanciful terms...highly advanced, highly intelligence dragon-like beings with incredible powers that visited them. Sometimes even more than once. They left behind myths, and legends, and...in some cases either left artifacts or inspired native humans to create artifacts in their honor. Or...sometimes out of fear."

 

She held up a finger, then pointed at the image in the air. "But that is also very interesting. I would love to discuss this with you more sometime. It could go a long way to resolving some long-standing questions..."

 

Abruptly realizing that everyone was waiting on her, she quickly cleared her throat and straightened her shoulders.

 

"Having said that, artifact recovery is something of a specialty of mine. I'll help find and retrieve these dragonballs in exchange for an opportunity to talk about this 'eternal dragon' with you once we return with them."

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With everyone agreed, Dende smiled.  "Excellent.  I had a good feeling about all of you.   I will of course send more help, should the need arise, and i am able, but for now, it will just be you."

He reached within his robes and held a small glass orb.  "This is abit of energy that is the same as the Dragonballs you'll be seeking.  I cannot hold it long, so memorize how it feels."   Goren looked at it, and after about ten seconds, the energy dissipated, giving everyone a chance to memorize how it felt. 

 

 

If you have Supersense: Ki  you may make a mind check DC 15 to memorize how it feels and thus be able to find the dragonballs. 


 

Goren smiled at the others.  "Okay strange question but all of you can fly right?   I mean I can probably Instant Transmission us all there, but it's a draining technique, and I'd rather not waste any energy to start off."

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Ginka rummaged through her bag and popped a scouter over her left ear, the green lens obscuring the gold of her pupil, fiddling with the settings while the light of eldritch energy danced in Dende's hand. She frowned. The energy was certainly distinct, something she'd recognize in a heartbeat now that she'd fed the pattern into her device. But enough to call up the kind of power implied..?

 

She eyed Goren with a scoff of distain, "Who the hell do I think I am? Of course, I can. And once we secure at least one of these keys, we can take a detour to my ship to make sure I have somewhere clean and secure to treat you. I don't suppose any of you know where we can pick up one of these NRR grunts for information? I doubt they have the resilience to recruit all elites, and any insight will be... helpful."

 

Her tail rippled once in irritation at flying blind on anything. Exciting as it was deep down in her heart of hearts, this kind of situation was was had gotten her nearly killed. More than once.

 

Spoiler

1st dieroll of the game...

# 16

Details:[2d6+10 (3 3)]

Success!

 

  

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"My ability to fly is a little limited," Shayuri admits, "but I've picked up a number of useful tricks. For example...if you have a good map and can mark where we are, and where we're going, I may be able to just teleport us there."

 

"Or...or your ship! Even better! We can go straight there, then all ride in your ship!"

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Datura's tail bristled at the male's impudent question. Could she, a member of the powerful Saiyan race, one selected by the Guardian of Earth to find the Earth's Greatest Treasure, fly? He might as well asked if she could breathe, or walk, or even punch! Could she fly?

 

"Yes," she said in a tone cold enough to freeze every being on the Lookout, "I can fly. Unassisted, even." She glanced at Shayuri for a moment, then added in a more magnanimous tone, "I could probably even carry another being and keep up with the group. I offer that as an option for travel." Her tail twitched once before she stilled it.

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Unlike Ginka, Calvin needed no sensor to evaluate the energy, and it's very curious feel. But Calvin had no issue assessing and ingraining it. Was this how Bulma felt 200 years ago? "Cool down the posturing, Saiyans. We all can fly, to some extent. The question is," he went on, "is the ship generally faster? If so, then let's use it. If not, fly and carry. Right now we don't have any solid information on locations for Shayuri's teleporting method."

 

"And no, I doubt we can simply ambush the Neo Red Ribbon Army, for no other reason that this is the first any of us are hearing of this, and if anyone should know about this, I would. The best bet is to track down some of these Dragonballs first. Odds are, we'll encounter the NRR in the process, and get the opportunity to gather intel there."

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Ginka scoffed at Calvin's little moderation effort, fiddling with her scouter with the deft assurance of long practice. Hmmm. Hmmmm. Uh huh. And that would be... There. Another few button presses sent out the signal that would wake up her ship and send it to her location. Assuming it could reach. Given that no one had mentioned a ridiculously high temple belonging to any sort of Earthly Guardian, the medic wasn't exactly sure where here was or what kind of protections it packed. hmmmph.

 

"I'm picking up something that way," she pronounced, pointing southwest down at the clouds below, "Assuming our host isn't blocking the signal, my ship is already on her way to me right now. She'll meet up with us in a few hours at most, the best Saiyan medical transport to make the Cooler run in less than five parsecs."

 

The ghost of a smile slipped across her expression as she mentioned her baby, sanctum sanctorum, and unliving companion through lonely months of space travel.   

 

 

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"A few Hours?  That's gonna be abit of a wait."  Goren shook his head and looked at Datura.  "I don't think standing around waiting's the best idea."

He shrugged, and Dende spoke up.  "There's probably a faster way.   I can send you all there, and you can have your ship wait for you here.   You will have to climb up the normal way at least once on the return trip."

Goren nodded.  "Sounds good."  

Dende nodded, and the five of them found themselves in a grassy field, far removed from where the tower.    There seemed to be nothing but wild animals around, and they could all faintly feel the pulse of the Dragonball.   

It took them about twenty minutes to locate it, down in a small crevasse, and Goren handed it up as he climbed out.  It had seven red stars on it.   "One down..."

No sooner had he spoke, than they all heard the whirring clanking of machinery, and the roar of turbines.   Looking up, descending about 200m off, there were six aircraft, four of which disgorged ten armed and armored troopers each.   The last two, which looked more heavily armed, transformed into humanoid robots.   Clearly, they were aware they weren't alone.  

It was Calvin who realized it  "Their sensors can sense the movement of the ball, that's how they know."

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