Author: Yes, the character Ali Mystic is based upon myself the author. I couldnít resist. So Iím going with the overdone plot and put myself in the story. But in a way not usually done.



Chapter 3

 

 

10.19.## continued . . .

Our cover wasnít blown quite yet. As long as I didnít talk too much and as long as the kids thought it okay to keep me a secret, we were safe. But with such a fragile situation and mounting tension amongst ourselves, how long could it last?

Not long.

With Dr. Aleks giving me such a large work load and Mr. Yondeiru complaining all the time, I couldnít stand to be in that ship with them. So I went to find better company. I didnít think it could hurt to strike up a friendship with the kids. Dr. Aleks was even quite willing to let me go, saying she wanted me to get more information we canít get by watching. I was beginning to think she was hiding something from me.

But when she first found out about my little rescue, Dr. Aleks was madder than a hornet . . .

 

 

"What were you thinking?! Youíve blown our whole cover! How are we supposed to study them if they know about us?!" ranted Dr. Aleks as she paced back and forth in the lab.

Mystic stood calmly before her, taking the rant with growing annoyance. Mr. Yondeiru sat off to the side, becoming rather nervous at the thought of those strange people knowing of their existence.

Losing her patience, Mystic yelled back. "I was thinking that I didnít want a little girl to die. And besides, our cover wasnít blown. They donít know of you or this lab."

"That still doesnít excuse what you did. Do you forget we are in the past here? Saving that girlís life could have serious repercussions on the timeline. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe she was meant to die?"

Mystic shifted her feet as she turned her eyes away. She had had that thought, along with many others, but instead of giving them further scrutiny, she had pushed them away. She had saved Lidalís life and was not going to regret it, no matter what.

"Now," began Dr. Aleks, calming a bit. "I want you to be extra careful from now on and you are to have no further interaction with those children."

"Oh, come on. The kids are really nice. And they expect to see me again. I donít see what harm it could do; the main damage has already been done. Besides, Iíve been at this for weeks and could use some off time."

Dr. Aleks raised an eyebrow. "And who would assist me?"

"You could take over more of the spying and Mr. Yondeiru could stand to do some more work around here," suggested Mystic.

The man in question sat up indignant. "Iím no scientist."

"Neither am I. I just work for one," Mystic retorted.

Dr. Aleks rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Well maybe we can use your friendship with them to our advantage. Tomorrow afternoon those two teens, Trunks and Goten isnít it ?, will be taking the children on an excursion to the wilderness past Mt. Paozu to show them a family of pterodactyls they know. (Itís amazing what animals are alive in this time!) I want you to film and take readings of the twins training with their parents and in the afternoon get yourself invited along and take photos of the animals you encounter. Maybe see if you can get them talking about what they can do. Make sure not to let the adults see you."

Mystic blinked in surprise at the doctorís instructions. "But Trunks and Goten are much older than the other children. They might become suspicious of me. Are you sure it would be a good idea to do this?"

Dr. Aleks waved away her assistantís concerns and turned back to her computer, her mind already on other things. "As you said, the damage has already been done. At least something useful came from it."

Strangely unsettled by the remark, Mystic turned to the darkroom to ready both cameras for tomorrow. As she passed by Mr. Yondeiru, she heard him mutter, "This whole thing is getting out hand. We should just return home. We donít belong here."

For the first time since sheíd met him, Mystic agreed with Mr. Yondeiru. She had a bad feeling about tomorrow. There was something funny about the way Dr. Aleks didnít want her around the lab during the day. Dr. Aleks was up to something. She could feel it.

 

Many secrets are being kept

But they will not stay secret long

As others seek them out

And the first blood is shed.

 

It was a beautiful day as the sun shone brightly down from above. It was early in the afternoon and lunchtime had ended for most people. In the Mysterious Woods two blurs could be seen streaking through the trees. It was Pendril and Lidal, leaping from tree to tree as they raced to Chichiís house, where they agreed to meet Trunks, Goten, Marron, Pan, and Bra, before heading out.

Within moments they came upon the clearing, hitting the ground running as they burst from the trees. Their friends were waiting for them in the shade of an old tree in the yard.

"There you guys are!" greeted Trunks, tousling Pendrilís hair and tugging on one of Lidalís braids.

"Now we can get going," said Goten, impatient to leave before Chichi came out to fuss some more.

"Lead the way," said Marron stepping closer to him. Goten was the one who usually carried her on such outings.

Suddenly they were all startled as a voice from above their heads said, "Mind if I tag along?"

There was rustling from the tree above them and the group looked up as a figure swung into view. It was a rather familiar-looking young woman hanging upside down from a branch.

"Ali!" cried Bra in glee.

"Ali?" questioned Trunks.

"Hello Mystic," greeted Marron. Lidal and Pendril just smiled warmly up at her. The woman they had renamed as Ali Mystic smiled back.

"What are you doing up there?" asked Pan.

Ali shrugged as best she could in her upside down position. "Just hanging around. Maybe hoping to see you guys again."

"Ali? Mystic? Just what is your name?" asked a confused Goten.

"How about starting with just who are you anyway?" suggested Trunks, becoming stern.

"We met her yesterday, while we were playing in the woods," explained Marron. She gave the others a look that clearly stated not to breathe a word of Lidalís near-fatal drowning.

"Why didnít you tell anybody about her?" asked Trunks.

Before any of the kids could answer, Ali did for them. "Because I asked them not to."

Relaxing her legs, Ali dropped from her branch and flipped to land on her feet before them. "Iím a bit of a hermit and prefer not to be known by many people."

Trunks stepped back in surprise from her little stunt, trying to keep his stern expression. He was still slightly suspicious, although Goten seemed to have accepted her explanation. "Well, you let yourself be known to us."

Ali glanced down at Pendril and Lidal who had come to stand beside her and the twins glanced back up at her. "Letís just say that when I came across these guys yesterday they were determined not to let me go without becoming friends first. And as Lidal said, friends visit each other, right?"

"Right," agreed Lidal, hugging Aliís legs. She was glad Ali had decided to be their friend.

"Right, okay then." Trunks shifted uncomfortably. There was some sort of bond between this strange woman and his young friends. Of what sort or how it came about, he could not tell. But she was their friend, so he would let the questioning go for now.

"My nameís Trunks and this is Goten," announced the teen, jerking his thumb at his companion.

"Iím called Mystic but these guys," and Ali patted first the twins and then Bra and Pan, who all giggled, on the head, "insisted on renaming me Ali Mystic."

Trunks raised an eyebrow at that but decided not to ask. Feeling that she had been accepted, Ali relaxed a bit but stayed guarded. "So is it alright if I tag along to wherever youíre going?"

"Weíre going to meet some pterodactyls," replied Pendril. He turned to the ones in charge. "Ali can come along, canít she?"

"Sure. Trunks can carry her," said Goten.

Ali adjusted her glasses. "Carry me?"

"Weíre flying, of course. Itís too far to walk," replied Goten.

"Goten! Weíre not supposed to let too many people know about what we can do!" cried Trunks. Goten managed to look a little shamefaced.

"Itís okay. Ali saw us flying yesterday," said Pan. She clapped a hand over her mouth as she realized what she said. Trunks looked about ready to blow his top while Marron and Ali were on the verge of bursting into laughter.

"Besides, all she had to do was look at Pendril and Lidal to notice something off about us," remarked Bra. She was right. With green skin, antennae on their foreheads, and blood-red tattoos set between the antennae, Pendril and Lidal did stand out a bit.

So after some minutes of arguing and laughter and confusion, their little expedition went underway. Bra, Pan, Lidal, and Pendril flew on their own while Goten carried Marron and Trunks carried Ali.



Meanwhile . . .



Piccolo landed silently upon the white tiles of the Lookout, then began walking quietly towards the rooms Dende and Mr. Popo stayed in. On his heels followed an equally quiet and serious Gohan. When the small guardian failed to appear, Piccolo grew irritated.

"Dende! Show yourself! You called us up here, now you better explain why!"

A medium-sized green figure appeared from the building, a small black shadow of a man following behind. "It isnít like you to be so impatient, Piccolo."

Piccolo glared, not bothering to answer. Gohan cleared his throat nervously. "Piccoloís just in a bad mood today. Why did you call us up here, Dende?"

"For the past few weeks the Earth has been feeling uneasy. But she hasnít been telling why."

"I know," interrupted Piccolo. "Kya has been trying to get her to talk. Today she outright rebutted her daughter and became silent. Kya has been upset. Fortunately, the children went out today."

Dende nodded. That explained Piccoloís mood. "The Earth did admit one thing to me. She is uneasy because she senses something. Something sheís only sensed a few times before at certain events."

"What events?" asked Gohan.

"The last few times she sensed something like this was when Mirai Trunks came to warn Goku about the Androids and then when Mirai Lidal came to stop Xahra."

Piccolo frowned. This wasnít what he expected to hear at all. "You think someone might have gone back in time to here? To do what?"

"I donítí know," replied Dende. "I called you up here because someone is collecting the Dragonballs. I can feel it."

"You fear it might be these time travelers, if there are time travelers, and that they might be up to no good?" asked Gohan.

Dende nodded. Piccoloís frown became deeper and he crossed his arms. "We need more to go on then just a feeling of uneasiness or vague sensings of something unusual." He paused. "Dende, can you ask the Earth if she can pinpoint what she is sensing?"

Dende sighed. "I can try. But I am tired from trying earlier and she hasnít exactly been willing."

"Iíll ask Kya to come up here and help you." Piccolo turned and walked a few steps away to have some privacy as he used the bond with his wife to call her.

Gohan turned to Dende and Mr. Popo while they waited. "Itís not just the Earth whoís been feeling uneasy. Iíve been feeling that too. Sometimes I think someone is watching me but I can't see or sense anyone."

"Kya will be here as soon as she can," announced Piccolo, rejoining the group. "Did you say you think someone is watching you?"

"Yeah," said Gohan, nodding. "Videl has been feeling it too. Now that I think about it, Bulma and Trunks have said something similar. Even Gotenís noticed something. I think Vegeta feels the same thing but heís not the type to talk about it."

"Kya and I have noticed the same thing," remarked Piccolo. "And I believe the twins are starting to pick up on the uneasiness as well."

"I donít believe it could all be in your minds," said Mr. Popo. "But who would watch you? And why?"

That, none of them knew how to answer.



Far down below the Lookout, on Earth . . .



He was not a tall man, nor was he a short man. His black hair and small oval eyes revealed his Asian background. His clothes indicated possession of a small wealth. All in all, he was not the type of person one would see slinking around thorny bushes, trying to remain unnoticed. But there he was, on Capsule Corp. grounds, heading towards the gravity machine.

The usual occupant of the gravity machine had vacated for reasons unknown and the good scientist, who was safely perched in a tree a few yards away, had ordered him, Yondeiru Shiroi, to go check it out. The purpose? To see if the Saiyan who trained in there had bled in there recently and to collect a sample of the blood if he could.

When he had complained that he was an executive assistant and not a scientist, her reply was "Oh, shut up and get a move on. You want to be done and out of there before he gets back, donít you?"

So there he was facing the door of a machine he did not fully understand and what he did understand about it was that it was dangerous. Suppressing his anxiety, Mr. Yondeiru pressed the panel and the door slid open. Stepping inside, the room lit up and what appeared to be a control tier began to beep strangely.

Before he could even begin to glance around for blood, Mr. Yondeiru was startled out of his wits by a mechanical voice demanding, "Identify yourself."

Frightened, unsure of what was going on, he answered, "I am Yondeiru Shiroi."

There were a few more beeps and then the mechanical voice replied. "You are not registered as a user of this room. You have ten seconds to leave before you are fired upon."

"Wha-what?!" stammered Mr. Yondeiru disbelievingly. Hesitatingly he stepped back and then turned to run. But it was too late. There was a blast of laser fire, a loud thud and then total silence. There was no movement except for the slow spread of bleeding blood across the floor of the gravity room.



Miles away elsewhere . . .



"Theyíre magnificent," breathed Ali Mystic in awe, as she gazed upwards. Raising her camera, she took another picture of the gargantuan female pterodactyl called Dona that flew guardedly over their area. Turning, she snapped some more quick shots of Bra, Pan, Marron, Lidal, and Pendril playing with the little ones in the nest. She didnít know baby pterodactyls could be so cute. She walked slowly around the nest, taking pictures.

Click. Goten chattering happily away at the immense male pterodactyl perched protectively on the edge of the nest. The pterodactyl, who was called Toby, nodded as if he understood.

Click. Marron crying out in protest as a babyís wing got caught in one of her blonde pigtails.

Click. Trunks laughing at the antics of the babies wrestling with the kids in the nest.

Click, click. Babies and kids together pull Trunks into the nest and tackle him.

Click. Goten laughing at Trunksí plight.

Laughing softly, Ali turned her camera back to Dona soaring in the skies. She yelped as the camera was suddenly taken from her hands by a smirking Trunks. "Youíve done nothing but take pictures since we got here. I think its time you got acquainted with the babies."

"Bu-but," Ali protested. It did no good. Trunks turned her around and gave her a good shove, causing her to tumble into the nest. Looking up, she saw the babies had turned their gazes upon her, curious. Ali straightened, slightly afraid of what the little pterodactyls would do to her.

"Donít be afraid of them, Ali," said Marron, scooting over, two babies attached to her. "They wouldnít hurt anyone."

"Yeah! Theyíre too little. All they want to do is play," remarked Pan, tousling with the largest baby, who had tackled her. Bra nodded in agreement from her spot, where she was tickling another one.

"Here," announced Lidal. She grabbed the smallest one and plopped it directly on Ali Mysticís lap. "This is the runt. Heís shy too."

Off to the side, Ali could hear the clicking of her camera, which meant Trunks was using it. But at the moment she was too preoccupied to worry about the consequences of that. Her brown eyes were locked with the innocent and curious gaze of the little dinosaur in her lap.

"They like to have their wings scratched, like this," explained Pendril from beside her. Reaching out, he demonstrated by gently scratching the little guyís right wing. Following Pendrilís instructions, Ali Mystic soon had the little pterodactyl cooing appreciatively as she tentatively scratched the smooth, leathery skin of itís underdeveloped wings. Her face softened and she let her guard down as she smiled in wonder. Pendril couldnít help but return the smile. He had to admit Ali Mystic was rather plain looking but when she smiled, her whole face lit up with a beauty he couldnít understand. He wanted to though.

From behind the camera, Trunks had captured Ali Mysticís smile and had also noticed the look on Pendrilís face. Lookís like someone has just got their first crush, he thought to himself with a smile.

Because of all the fun everyone was having, no one noticed that in their roughhouse play, Pan and her pterodactyl friend had tumbled out of the nest and were now teetering near the edge of the cliff the nest was placed upon. Ali Mystic glanced up just as the two pitched over the edge.

"Paaaaaaaan!!"

Her scream startled everyone, causing Toby to squawk quite loudly and the babies to squeak in fright. Leaping up, Ali threw the baby she was holding to Pendril and ran to the edge. "Ali! Wha-?" but Pendril was cut off as Ali leapt over the edge.

What she saw and they didnít was that it wasnít really a cliff but a sharp incline. Barely on her feet and in control, Ali slid down the side on her boots. Up ahead she could see Pan and the baby pterodactyl tumbling down at a great pace, too scared and going too fast to stop. Once she was close enough, Ali gritted her teeth and jumped, grabbing them both and becoming part of the roll. Taking control, she steered them into a bush where they crashed to a stop. Glancing up she saw they had come to a halt about five yards away from the ground below the nest, which was covered in sharp, jagged rocks.

Up above on the cliff, Trunks and Goten, who had been about to go after them, breathed a sigh of relief as Bra, Marron, Lidal, and Pendril cheered. Below them, Ali turned to her attention to her precious cargo. "Are you both alright?"

Pan coughed from the dust they had raised around them. "Yeah. I think so." The baby pterodactyl squeaked a reply as well.

Without warning, they heard a roar and something sprang from the other side of the bush. Pan screamed and Ali hurried to roll out of its way. She cried out as she felt a sharp pain in her right arm and was unable to hold onto the pterodactyl as she rolled away, dropping him.

Springing to her feet, Ali placed Pan behind her, yelling, "What the hell is that?"

"Itís a saber-tooth lion," Pan shouted back. Indeed it was, with golden fur, sharp claws, and the biggest canine teeth Ali Mystic had ever seen. Searching she saw the baby pterodactyl was screeching in terror, trying to get away on weak legs and wings from the predator that was slowly approaching it.

Glancing at her arm, Ali saw it was bleeding profusely from where the lion had gotten a lucky shot as they rolled. Forcing herself to ignore it, Ali ran forward, despite Panís protests. Half-sliding and crouching, Ali snatched the baby before the lion could pounce and hopped back as it took a swipe at her, just barely missing. Before it could strike again, a pair of strong arms swept Ali and her cargo into the air. It was Trunks. Beside them was Goten with Pan. They were safe. Hearing some rather loud shrieks and roars, she glanced down to see Toby and Dona on the attack, driving the saber-tooth lion away.

Within moments they were back on the cliff next to the nest. Bra, Marron, Lidal, and Pendril hugged Pan and Ali Mystic in relief to see they were safe. There was a great whoosh of air and Ali Mystic found herself being nuzzled by the two immense beaks of Toby and Dona.

"What are they doing?" asked Ali, feeling uncertain as well as sore from her ordeal.

"Theyíre just grateful," explained Goten. "You saved their baby."

"Well, . . youíre welcome," said Ali. Carefully she set the baby back in the nest with its siblings. The adults turned their attention to the nestlings to calm them, who were quite agitated from all the excitement.

"Looks like they had enough excitement for today," remarked Marron, thinking they should probably go.

"I think Iíve had my fill of excitement for today as well," announced Ali, wincing as she straightened, placing a hand to her side. Briefly she wondered where her glasses had gotten to.

"Youíre hurt," cried Bra, pointing to her arm where the lion clawed her.

"Iíll be okay. Itís not bleeding too badly," reassured Ali. Trunks noticed she didnít say anything about the pain.

"Youíre a hero, Ali," said Lidal. Again added Pendril silently.

"Thatís right! You saved my life," cried Pan.

Ali Mystic shook her head, trying to deny their claims. "Lidalís right," said Trunks, silencing her. "Youíre a hero, Ali Mystic, to go through all that to save Pan and a baby pterodactyl. Especially when you could have gotten away unharmed if you had left the pterodactyl to the lion but you didnít."

Ali Mystic stared hard at Trunks. "I wouldnít be able to live with myself if I did that."

Trunks grinned. "My point exactly. Youíre the hero type. Trust me, I know."

Ali Mystic shook her head, unwilling to accept what he said. She was beginning to feel a little light-headed. She glanced up as Marron began to speak. "I have a feeling that Ali will have saved all our lives at least once before we die just because she was determined to at the moment."

"It is her way. And it will happen," whispered Lidal. Only Pendril heard her and he wondered at her remark.

Ali Mystic turned away from the group, unable to handle the praise they were lavishing upon her. She hissed in pain, catching their attention.

"Are you okay Ali?" asked Marron, stepping towards her. Ali drew her hand from her side and pushed aside her long vest, revealing her shirt was soaked in blood from a second wound in her side. Marron gasped. The lionís claws had connected with flesh after all.

"I donít think so," whispered Ali weakly, letting the pain wash over her full force. She fell to her knees but Trunks grabbed her before she fully collapsed onto the ground. The others rushed forward to her side, concern etched on their features. Trunks tried to rouse her but Ali had lost complete consciousness. Goten examined the wound carefully with gentle fingers. "It looks pretty bad. Should we take her to Dende?"

"I donít know," replied Trunks. "We should probably take her to a hospital."

"Look at her wound! They wonít be able to help her!" cried Marron.

"We have to take her to Dende! She saved my life!" begged Pan.

"She saved my life too," added Lidal.

"What?!" yelled Trunks and Goten together.

"Lidal drowned but Ali Mystic performed CPR on her. Thatís how we met. Please. We have to save her too," pleaded Pendril.

Trunks stood, his mouth set in a stern line as he held Ali Mystic carefully in his arms. "Weíre going to Dendeís. And afterwards, youíre all going to tell the truth about yesterday to your parents."

His voice brook no argument. Taking off, he sped at top speed to the Lookout. The others followed closely, their thoughts focused on the injured woman in Trunksí arms.

 

 

And so without asking me first, which they couldnít do anyway since I was unconscious, they took me to a place I knew about but had never seen in reality. My new friends feared for my life but if I had been awake, I would have feared the people they were bringing me to. Nothing good would come of such a meeting. Little did I know of what was happening elsewhere. A situation was developing that would soon spin out of control in a way I never imagined . . .



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