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Chapter Two

Timeline B

Uknowingly mimicking Trunks' movements from the night before, Bulma began to pace the room, her expression troubled.

"I knew we should have destroyed that thing," she muttered.

"We were afraid that something else might come up," he said. "And...I think it was a way to bridge a past that we wish we were still in."

"What about the baby, Trunks?" Bulma said, voicing his own concerns.

"She's only eight weeks along. They won't be able to sense the baby and Pan can mask her if she has to."

"You really want to go through with this?"

"Before Pan came along, every day was a struggle in trying not to give in to the temptation to go back," he confessed. "But now, with the baby, I think we need to make another trip. I'd do it for her because she needs this. She needs to know her family before she starts her own."

"Yes, I know," Bulma said tiredly. "Alright, Trunks. I'll prep the time machine. It should be ready in a few days."

He stood and kissed the top of her head. "Thank you, Mom."

She waved him away and moved to the back of the room where the time machine stood. Surprisingly, it wasn't covered with dust like the other objects around it. That immediately made Bulma pause. She frowned, wondering if Pan or Trunks had used the machine without her knowing. She reached out and touched the hull, her mind whirling with the possibilities.

Who would use the time machine? Who knows about it?

"Trunks!" she screamed. "Get in here!"

She heard a blast of air and Trunks flew in, his eyes wide with fear.

"What is it, Mom?"

"Have you used the time machine?" she demanded, trembling.

"No," he replied, frowning. "Why?"

"Has Pan?"

"I don't know...what's going on, Mom?"

"Are you sure?" she said, putting her hands on his shoulders. "Are you absolutely sure?"

"Pan," Trunks called out, not taking his eyes off his mother. "Can you come in here for a second?"

Pan entered, a bowl of chips in her hands. "What is it?"

"Have you used the time machine?" Bulma asked.

Pan shook her head.

"Are you..."

"Mom, neither of us took the machine," Trunks said, losing his patience.

He pulled free of Bulma's grip and went to where the time machine stood. His sharp eyes immediately noticed what his mother had.

"It has no dust on it," he exclaimed. "Absolutely none! It's like I just used it yesterday...which I didn't."

"I didn't use it," Pan said. "I wouldn't know the first thing about piloting that thing."

Bulma sat down on a stool, a hand pressed to her chest. Pan rushed to her side.

"Are you alright?" she asked, concerned. "Do you feel a pain in your chest?"

"No," Bulma replied, patting the younger woman's hand. "I just need to...Dende save us if someone has gone back."

Trunks circled the time machine and his eyes widened.

"This isn't our time machine," he breathed.

"What?" Pan and Bulma cried in unison.

Trunks put his hand on the machine's hull, where he knew something was missing. He couldn't remember how many times he'd looked to this spot to remind himself why he doing what he was doing.

"Hope," he said hoarsely. "There's no Hope."

Bulma's hand fluttered upward to cover her mouth. "Oh, no."

"We have to find whoever took the original machine," Trunks said, popping the hatch and climbing in. He powered it up enough to turn the control panel on.

"Wait!" Bulma cried, getting to her feet. "We have to make sure it's safe. If it's broken, you might end up in the middle of a star."

Trunks didn't respond. Pan put the bowl of chips down and peeked into the capsule. She found him staring at the control panel, bewildered.

"What is it?" she asked, taking a look, but not understanding what she was seeing.

"These numbers...I don't understand them."

Pan stepped out of the way as Bulma went to take a look. Trunks got out so that she could take a seat. He and Pan exchanged worried glances. Bulma stared at the readouts, not believing that it really was possible.

"They changed this somehow," she muttered. "Maybe an extra servo in the main energy cell or maybe another..."

"They did it, didn't they, Mom?" Trunks said.


"What did they do?" Pan demanded.

Bulma pulled her into the time machine and pointed at different parts of the control panel as she spoke.

"This is the date from which they departed and this is the date they want to get to."

"It's the same date," Pan said, frowning. "What's the third readout."

"A frequency," Bulma replied gravely. "You know that alternate universes exist. Each universe has a particular frequency with which it vibrates. This readout is the frequency in which our universe vibrates. In the original time machine, I had to program this universe's frequency into the computer so that Trunks would come back to the right place."

"What does this mean?" Pan said, beginning to understand why Trunks and Bulma were so deathly pale.

"Not only can these travelers voyage through time, they can travel to different dimensions," Trunks said. "That's why the date they came from and went to is the same."

"Oh, no," Pan breathed, unconsciously putting a hand on her belly. "We have to find...hey, how do you know there is more than one traveler?"

"The original time machine only had enough room for one person," Bulma said. She gestured behind her. "This one has an added bucket seat."

"Alright," Pan said, a frown marring her delicate features. "We're dealing with two travelers and I think we can all agree that they've got to be Saiyans."

"Or half," Trunks said.

"They'll be a pain to deal with," Pan said. "How can we find out where they went?"

Bulma was still sitting in the machine. "Can you get me a piece of paper and a pencil?"

Trunks went to the worktable and grabbed what she asked for. He handed it to her and she immediately began to scribble.

"There are countless universes," Trunks said, deep in thought. "Every time you're faced with a choice, whatever choice you make creates other universes in which you made a different choice."

Pan sighed. He went to put his arms around her.

"Is there a log or something that we can look at?" Trunks asked Bulma.

"No, but I have something better," Bulma said, coming out. She waved the piece of paper she'd written on in the air. "I know where they're going. The frequency on the control panel isn't for our universe. I knew it looked strange."

"Run the diagnostics," Trunks said. "Something must have gone wrong and they had to make a pitstop."

"That's what I'm guessing," Bulma agreed, powering up the time machine.

They waited with baited breath as the time machine puttered, and hissed. Bulma winced as it let out a nasty sounding thump. She quickly turned it off.

"Sounds like a busted exchange valve," Trunks suggested.

"I think you're right," Bulma agreed. "I have a spare though."

"We're going then?"

Bulma and Trunks exchanged a look. Pan caught it and glared at them.

"I am going," she said with a tone that booked no argument.

"But it'll be dangerous," Trunks said gently. "It's not just you that we have to think about now."

A muscle in her jaw jumped. "I'm going with you, Trunks. If something happens to you, I don't us want to be without you. I don't want my child to grow up like I did."

"Let her go," Bulma said, understanding in an instant where Pan was coming from. "She needs to go."

Trunks kissed his wife's forehead and put a hand on her rounding belly. "Alright. But you have to do what I tell you, okay? No arguments."

"No arguments," she repeated.

"And we can't tell them that we're married," he said. "If there is another Pan and Trunks in that timeline, we shouldn't interfere with the flow of things anymore than we already have."

"What if they're married?" Pan asked.

"I guess we can tell them then," he said, shrugging.

"Let's do this then," Bulma said, gathering her tools.

Pan pulled on a pair of comfortable navy blue pants and a gray sweater. In the other side of the room, Trunks was standing with his hands on his hips. She watched him silently as she pulled her hair back into a neat bun. He was already dressed in what he had nicknamed his 'battle gear'; black tanktop, blue Capsule Corp. jacket, and a pair of gray-green cargo pants.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Just thinking," he replied. He smiled weakly. "When I went back the first time, I wasn't afraid, but now I am."

She went to him and took his hand in hers. "I know. I am, too."

"Then, stay here," he tried one last time.

Shaking her head resolutely, her dark eyes remained stubborn. "No, Trunks. I can't let you go alone."

He sighed and squeezed her hand. "Can't blame a guy for trying."

"No." He glanced at the small duffel bag on the bed. "Did you bring some baggy clothes? It's a good thing you're not showing that much yet, but we can't take any risks."

"All I brought were baggy clothes," she said.

"Alright. Let's go then."

They left their room and went outside where Bulma was prepping the time machine. Her forehead wrinkled as she went over a checklist to make sure she missed nothing. Trunks put a hand on her shoulders and when she looked at him, he could see the unshed tears in her eyes.

"We'll be back, Mom," he said.

"Please," she said brokenly, throwing her arms around them both. "You're my only family. I can't stand to lose you too."

"You can come," Pan suggested.

Bulma shook her head. "I can't. I can't see them...knowing I can't stay..."

"We'll be back before you know it, Mom," Trunks said, kissing her cheek.

"Good luck. And take care of yourself, Pan," Bulma reminded gently.

"I will."

They got into the egg-shaped vehicle, Trunks in the pilot seat and Pan behind him. They waved at Bulma as it rose in the air.

"Ready?" Trunks asked.

"As ready as I'll ever be," Pan replied breathlessly.

To Chapter Three