"So where's this Kal-El guy I keep hearing about?"

Goku (or Son-Goku) is the simple yet determined main character in the various Dragon Ball series. He has elements in his backstory of both the classic superhero Superman and Sun-Wukong (Hanuman to some), the legendary Asian trickster deity known as The Monkey King, from A Journey To The West, a work which is as well known in Asia as the stories of King Arthur are in Europe. His growth in skill and power reflect both Monkey King, who gained back from every last obstacle, and the Silver Age incarnation of Superman, whose powers were godlike and immeasurable. (So much so a later reboot was forced to tone them down - a path creator Akira Toriyama has never followed with Goku).


Goku was a member of the Saiyan race, scheduled to be sent to conquer Earth because of his supposedly low power levels. He was sent away mere moments before the cosmic tyrant Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta, killing most of the species, including Goku's father Bardock. According to some sources, the healthy lungs of the crying infant Goku annoyed to no end a fellow Saiyan infant of far greater power named Broly, who retained the memory of this and still hated Goku for no other reason even as adults. According to these same sources, whose reliability varies, the pod carrying the infant Goku was spotted by Frieza's brother Cooler, who chose to ignore it, an action he later regretted as he did few others.

On Earth, he was found by a kindly old man, Son-Gohan, who raised him as his grandson. At first, Goku (Kakarotto as a Saiyan) was as vicious and bloodthirsty as any of his race. But a blow to the head wiped the baby's memories, and he became the easy-going, sometimes frustratingly simple person he would more or less remain for the rest of his life. While a world-class martial artist and likely the best student of Mutenroshi (Master Roshi), Granpa Gohan sadly met his end when Goku transformed into an Oozaru great ape under the light of a full moon, a fact Goku did not learn for almost twenty years. It seems that Granpa Gohan knew of this possibility, and always tried to bring Goku in early on the nights of the full moon, euphemistically and guardedly telling him only that a monster would emerge on those nights. Knowing nothing of the world outside, young Goku maintained the simple existence his Granpa taught him, living at the cabin in the woods, and holding on to his Granpa's only keepsake, a shiny orange crystal ball with four stars on it.

Early Dragon Ball adventuresEdit

One day, a pretty and very ambitious woman named Bulma Brief's appeared, having used a specialized radar of her own invention to track down Granpa Gohan's orange crystal ball, which turned out to be part of a set of seven such orbs. At first merely content to con and trick the incredibly naive Goku into giving up his ball, she recognized his strength and determination and decided he would be good protection while on her quest for the seven orbs, which she called Dragon Balls. Goku then and there began a life long process of converting those who would harm or use him into strong lifelong friends through his simple, pure, straightforward motives and personality. Together, they began their quest for the seven dragon balls, which according to Bulma, would summon the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, capable of granting any wish the gatherer might imagine. During this formative period, Goku met many of his closest friends, at first no more pure in motive than Bulma had been, including the shapeshifting, greedy pig Oolong, Yamcha The Bandit, and his own shapeshifter, a cat named Puar. Their quarrels and misadventures (some of which involved latent romance between Bulma and Yamcha) were put aside in the face of two threats : the villainous 'Emperor' Pilaf and Goku himself, who transformed into Great Ape for the first time since Gohan's loss while they were all jailed by Pilaf, freeing but also nearly killing them. His friends, making the connection to the death of Goku's grandfather, found they could not bear to tell him the truth and simply removed his tail. With Pilaf thwarted (by a somewhat ecchi wish from Oolong to the summoned Eternal Dragon), these new friends briefly parted ways, with Goku seeking out his Granpa's master, Mutenroshi the Turtle Hermit, to further his own training, also starting a pronounced trend in his life.

If Oolong was something of a pervert, Master Roshi made him look positively monkish, and in fact, Goku gained a rival who was a monk who was perfectly willing to provide the old coot with some dirty magazines as his entrance exam. This was Kirillin, and no friend would ever be closer to Goku, like unto a brother, no matter how far their power levels spiralled apart in later times. After they both played a part in gaining Roshi a 'girlfriend', their training began in earnest. At first, Roshi's methods seemed insane : dragging around boulders the size of small mountains that only got larger; weighted swimming in shark-infested waters and a capture-the-flag game right out of a Road Runner cartoon. Yet by the time of their first tournament, even the comparitively weaker Kirillin was able to mop the floor with opponents that once terrorized him. After this, Goku reunited with Bulma and Yamcha, with Kirillin joining them in the search for the now-dispersed Dragonballs. While Pilaf and his 'army' of two would play a part in opposing them once again, the group found their greater threat coming from the deep-pocketed and highly inventive Red Ribbon Army. Notably, the only person from Goku's early group of friends to never really become one of the mainstays was the literally bipolar Launch, who as a sweet girl, was targeted by the perverted Roshi, and as a psycho, targeted everyone else with an Uzi.

Goku would also have recurring meetings during these earliest days with the Ox-King, his Grandpa's fellow student and 'brother' under Roshi, and the King's daughter, Chi-Chi,a girl who fell head over heels for the clueless Goku, who liked her back but again, didn't quite get what everything meant, including 'marriage', which he thought was a food of some kind. Being Goku, he was more interested in how strong she was - as well as a non-hormonal curiosity about their physical 'differences'. Chi-Chi was one of a few people capable of riding with Goku on his mystic cloud, the Flying Nimbus, which Roshi's decidedly impure nature had long disaqualified him from.

The Red Ribbon ArmyEdit

In the past, Goku had (and would in the future) specialize in making friends out of rivals and enemies. Even in the case of Pilaf and his minions, Goku had enjoyed an enemy as effective and often as incompetent as Pokemon's Team Rocket, a fight in which opposition did not always mean viciousness. But in the Red Ribbon Army, he found almost exclusively foes of cunning and ruthlessness, perfectly willing to use innocents as Human shields and slave labor. Their weapons and minions seemed inexhaustible, and their attitudes towards their own was just as cutthroat when they failed. While Goku did gain new friends during his efforts to keep the Dragonballs out of their clutches, for the most part, they did not come from the minions of the Red Ribbon Army. It was during this time that Goku, seeking to restore the life of a friend's father killed by the loathsome Mercenary Tao, was also directed to a place in the clouds called Korin's Tower. There, a deity in the form of a House-cat showed him a path to more skill and power, though as with Roshi (also once Korin's student), this path involved as much trickery and simple repetition of massive tasks as it did truly new learning.

Their ultimate defeat came about from a combination of Goku dropping the hammer on their home base and the realization by the Army's second-in-command that his CO wanted the balls for an utterly ridiculous wish, causing a coup that weakened the villains still further. Unknown to anyone, the man who had developed their weapons and tech escaped, taking Goku's defeat of his forces personally. This man was Doctor Gero, and his later attempts to revenge himself on Goku would endanger the planet itself.

While fighting a vicious Red Ribbon operative, Goku had an encounter with a man named Doctor Slump and the young android he created, a girl named Arale, in a bizarre place called the Penguin Village. Arale was every bit as strong as Goku ( in fact her strength seems more like that of more fanciful characters like Popeye and Mighty Mouse ), which he acknowledged when he asked her to dispose of the obnoxious General Blue for him. (These were characters from a prior manga created by Akira Toriyama)

One of the few allies Goku gained from his enemies was the entity called Android Number 8, or 'Eighter' as Goku called him. While he resembled movie depictions of Frankenstein's Monster, he was life-loving and gentle towards those who treated him with kindness. He and Arale would not be the last Androids to touch Goku's life.

Later training with RoshiEdit

Master Roshi had a two-edged fear regarding Goku's remarkably rapid evolution in skill and power. On the one hand, he feared Goku slacking off as fewer and fewer real challenges emerged from his training. On the other, he feared Goku becoming an arrogant bully, begging to be brought down and then giving up when the easy wins stopped. To this end, Roshi himself participated in two of the World Martial Arts Tournaments that Goku also engaged in. This began a trend by which Goku, the world's strongest warrior (and later on beyond Earth as well), actually won only one or two formal tournaments. Disguising himself as Roshi's cousin Jackie Chun (a play on the name of legend Jackie Chan, whose slapstick ways were a huge inspiration for DB), the old master was still barely able to beat his best student, but the pain was worth it - Goku never once in his life settled for the level he was at, a mark of why he always triumphed. Another challenging tournament came from the minions of Fortune Teller Baba, when the group could not pay her exorbitant prices for a needed service. This in turn led to Goku facing down a fighter who knew all his moves - because he was the one who taught them to him. Goku had a joyful reunion with the spirit of his Granpa Gohan, who was proud of how far his charge had come.

But now it was Roshi's own past which came back to threaten everyone they knew, and in two very different ways. The first such threat came in the form of Crane Master Shen and his obedient students, Tien'shinhan and Chiaotsu. Shen and Roshi had once been as brothers under their master Muitato, till the loss of their master while he sealed away a great evil made Shen question the worth of all his moral lessons, ultimately abandoning them. His students proved a very crafty and powerful foil for Roshi's group, which now included Yamcha by extension. But the determination of Goku to make new friends plus Roshi's determination to save Shen's students from his now corrupt ways finally broke the pair away, and Roshi beat Shen in combat. Goku once had the chance to visit the two back in time when they were still young students, facing down - and losing - to their master. As always, Goku was about the challenge, not the victory.

King PiccoloEdit

But now the great evil that had cost the old master his life and divided Shen and Roshi returned, and he would strike hard at Goku's very heart. The Demon King who had very nearly destroyed the world, Piccolo, was free and wasted no time in restoring his power by various means. He made his presence known first by having one of his self-spawned minions ambush Kirillin after the tournament involving Shen, Tien and Chiaotsu. Goku found his dearest friend's dead body, and knew true rage for perhaps the first time in his life. His vow to punish King Piccolo would not be an easy one to fulfill, and the struggle would grow costly in the extreme.

Goku spends months on the run from King Piccolo's minions. Chiaotsu dies trying to stop the demon from getting a wish to restore his youth, the Eternal Dragon itself is killed, and Roshi dies in a failed attempt to re-seal King Piccolo. King Piccolo takes over the world, and seems set to depopulate it as he had centuries before. Only Goku's risk-laden choice to drink from a powerful fountain places him back in the game, ultimately killing King Piccolo, who respawns in an incarnation that would prove as different to him as it was the same.

Piccolo JuniorEdit

The new Piccolo was different in two important ways. One, he was a new baby beginning a new life, at first unaware of his power or past. Two, he would relish a challenge almost as much as victory, making him more of a match for Goku's similar fixation.

For a time, almost no one knew of Piccolo's survival. Goku's only concern was somehow restoring the Dragon Balls and The Eternal Dragon so that his friends could be restored to life. To this end, he was directed to go even further above Korin's Tower and seek Kami, the guardian spirit of the Earth. Once at the lookout, as far above the Earth as was possible for a physical place to be, Goku was stopped cold in his quest to see Kami by the surprisingly powerful and learned Mister Popo, who seemed like a caricature or parody, but who turned back Goku's very best attacks without even showing an effort. Goku's own effortless learning days were over, as Mister Popo began to teach the natural warrior and fighting savant about focus and discipline, things in which repetition and observation were far less useful than insight and introspection. In the three years he spent under Mister Popo, Goku's progress was slow, halting, and even frustrating for someone who had until that time learned like a house afire. One small bit of progress was rewarded by finally meeting Kami. To Goku's shock, Kami was the identical twin of King Piccolo. It turned out the late Demon King had in fact been created when the man Kami had once been expelled all evil from his soul in order to become worthy of his new position as Guardian. Kami also knew that his own continued life meant that Piccolo had somehow survived Goku's attack, since the two entities were forever linked.

While he certainly had brutal and even murderous moments, for some reason, Piccolo Junior was never the cosmically genocidal monster his 'father' had been, and again, chiefly sought to become ever stronger, in part to best and kill Goku, but in part to satisfy his own curiosity as to just what his upper limits really were. By the time Goku's training at the lookout was all done with, Junior was nearly as powerful as King had been, and was arguably a better warrior overall.

The 23rd World Martial Arts TournamentEdit

The events surrounding this tournament would prove the definitive end of Goku's childhood and the start of the man he was to become. At least three fighters signed on with disguised agendas. One was Piccolo Junior under the guise Majunior (A play on the word 'Majin' or Demon), who, for various reasons, was not picked up on as being the reincarnation of his father. Another was the now-grown and quite beautiful Chi-Chi, who was infuriated when Goku did not recognize her (In the usually clueless Goku's defense, she did look quite different).

Sensing something odd about the third disguised fighter, a seeming everyman nebbish named Hero, Master Roshi elected to forego using his guise as Jackie Chun. The greatest change however, came by way of Goku himself. Now almost fully grown, he had again had his tail removed, this time so it would not grow back, so that Kami could restore the moon, though Goku still did not know the connection. The series never makes clear whether Goku's tail ceases to regrow because he has reached maturity, or by way of some mystical/medicinal effort on Kami's part. Later in Goku's adventures, other mature Saiyans who lost their tails also did not regenerate naturally.

As a result of his time with Mister Popo, Goku had learned invaluable skills, including the later-on pivotal ability to sense another fighter by their life energy alone. The tournament began in earnest, with Goku, Piccolo Junior and Hero cutting through their opponents with ease. In the midst of this, Goku met Chi-Chi's challenge and carefully defeated her in combat, earning the right to hear her name, and why she had come - to make him fulfill his childhood promise to marry her. To her disappointment (and very little surprise from those who knew Goku), the entire 'proposal' was based on a mistaken assumption of Goku's that she was talking about some kind of meal, when she spoke of brides and marriage. But Goku once again turned this around by now knowingly proposing to Chi-Chi, which she delightedly accepted. As in all things, Goku obeyed his heart, and even though life with the fractious Chi-Chi would prove challenging, he himself never once regretted his choice.

Hero proved to be an ordinary man possessed directly by Kami, seeking to destroy his evil half once and for all. As Piccolo Junior went wild in the stadium, finally being recognized as his father's heir, an effort by Kami to destroy him backfired, and made the Guardian his evil half's prisoner and hostage instead. Goku fought, held back, and waited patiently until Piccolo's assumption of a giant form enabled Goku to enter his opponent's body and rescue Kami. Not permitting the Guardian to commit suicide, he instead decisively beat Piccolo and won his one and only major tournament. Astonishingly, he permitted the younger Piccolo to live, feeling he was not truly evil like his father, and was a worthy opponent he wished to face again. While Piccolo mocked this as he departed, it also seemed he relished a fight more than mere destruction.

Events at the Ox-King's Fire Mountain briefly put the marriage of his daughter and Goku on hold as a great furnace within the Earth hyper-activated, forcing the couple to confront both its female guardian spirit and her new consort - none other than Granpa Gohan. With this reunion once again done, and the newlyweds planning their lives together, Fortuneteller Baba peeked in her own crystal sphere and saw that the future held even more adventures for the heroes.

Five Years Of PeaceEdit

In a house built by the Ox-King next to his 'brother' Gohan's hut, Goku and Chi-Chi enjoyed early married life and soon celebrated the conception and birth of their first son. Due to a liking the baby boy took to 'Granpa's' four-star Dragon Ball and to the sound of the old man's name, his family chose to name him Gohan. An early incident demonstrated that the newborn already had tremendous strength. But Chi-Chi, perhaps tired of fighting and perhaps irked by the lack of recognition her heroic husband receieved for all his trouble, did her level best to shelter him from all things, leading the young titan to instead become a fearful, nerve-racked crybaby. On one lucky note, the family were supremely early risers, and therefore early-to-bed as well, since Gohan was born with a Saiyan's tail, and few to none of Goku's friends knew about his existence or that he had a tail; therefore they could not warn of what would happen to the boy, the first time he saw the full moon (Presumbably, his early rising may have afforded young Gohan bare glimpses of the full moon, but only as it receded. Possibly, daylight sightings were too obscured for him to notice it). To be fair, Gohan may not have even realized he was the son of two of the world's best fighters, since the gigantic fish his father caught were easily handled by his mother. Never having known other children, Gohan would have likely assumed that their lives were the same as his own.

But somewhere in space, a figure of murderous intent was approaching, and the revelations he brought would shape the lives of everyone Goku knew for the next century.and a half.

Dragon Ball ZEdit

The Raditz SagaEdit

Goku, having been invited to a reunion of his oldest friends at Master Roschi's Kame House, decided to take the sheltered Gohan with him. While he did this, a spaceship landed containing a powerful and casually violent being who looked like a cross between a Human and a Primate. An advanced form of energy sensing headwear he called a scouter sensed what he thought he was looking for, someone named Kakarotto. By mistake, the device led him to Piccolo, but even the powerful son of the demon king could only hold his own against the newcomer, who he briefly mistook for his old rival Goku. Deciding that no one could be allowed to bring Goku down besides himself, Piccolo pursued the intruder, who now used his scouter-device to head straight for Kame Island.

At the island reunion, happy memories and fun reintroductions saw a couple of dampers. The first was when the attending Kirillin, Roschi and Bulma all stood shocked at the sight of Gohan's tail, knowing full well what would occur if the boy ever saw the full moon, though Goku still didn't know this harsh truth. In the midst of what would otherwise be a fairly standard reunion for anyone (absent superpowers and ultra high-tech), Goku and the others begin to feel something, and wonder if it might be Piccolo. In fact, it is the alien visitor, who approaches Goku while floating and demands to know why 'Kakarotto' has not fulfilled his mission. When it becomes clear that Goku has no idea who the newcomer is, the intruder reveals that he is Goku's older brother Raditz, and that Goku, like himself, is of an alien mercenary race called the Saiyans. Kakarotto is Goku's birth name, and he was sent as an infant to clear Humans off the planet and leave the Earth as a saleable commodity to their employer. To everyone's shock (though Kirillin had once speculated on Goku being an alien when they were both children), Master Roshi confirms much of Raditz's account.

It seems that the man Goku came to call Granpa Gohan was the one who found the space pod carrying the infant Saiyan Kakarotto, who was at first vicious and uncontrollable, seemingly fully aware of his mission and out to implement it. During his struggles to contain the young brute without hurting him, the elder Gohan saw the baby strike his head hard against a rock. Total amnesia resulted from this, and the boy Gohan came to call Son-Goku was now a happy and sweet-natured child. It is never determined whether the infant suffered actual brain damage or if simply being raised in a loving environment more or less permanently put aside the mission and its associated memories.

Utterly confused and enraged that his younger brother was not only not performing his mission but also living among the planet's natives, Raditz also was shocked to learn Goku no longer had his tail, claiming that he had lost a significant portion of his power as a result. The vicious Saiyan's power proved more than the assembled fighters could stand against. Raditz saw that Gohan was obviously half-Saiyan, and kidnapped him with two threats. One was, that under a strict time limit, Goku must slaughter a large number of Humans and present their bodies to Raditz as proof that he was still a Saiyan. The second and connected threat was that, should Goku fail to do this, either Raditz would kill Gohan or take him away to be raised as a killer. Earth's fate seemed sealed in any event. Beaten and unable to fly at the pace his monstrous sibling could do, Goku was at a loss as how to even approach this threat. His friends felt equally lost, but now an enemy approached with a possible solution.

Piccolo appeared above the island, and his terms were blunt and stark. Raditz was a threat to the entire world, and most specifically, a threat to Piccolo's vow that he alone could kill Goku. While he made it clear that neither Gohan nor the rest of the world mattered to him, he proposed working together to bring down the other threat, with the promise that Goku would then give him his promised rematch. Despite massive objections from his friends, Goku agreed, trusting in Piccolo's resolve to have that final fight between them. But even this unexpected alliance found obtaining any advantage over their new common foe extremely elusive.

The two trained and checked their power levels as best they could, even doing minor things like shedding their weighted training gear in order to increase their combat power. Ignoring Raditz's deadline, the two began their attack early and found that Raditz had imprisoned the loudly crying Gohan in a space pod to get away from his noise. While even the titanic teaming of Goku and Piccolo seemed hard-pressed to even dent Raditz's armor, their real goal was achieved when Goku grabbed Raditz's tail, remembering his own childhood weakness. While Piccolo readied a power he had meant to use against Goku, Raditz managed to trick his gullible brother with false promises of reform, and thereby break his grip. With the pair again on the ropes, it was young Gohan saved the day. Seeing his father in mortal peril, the boy erupted with a power beyond description and managed to force a break in Raditz's armor. As Raditz tried to execute Gohan as a threat, Goku again gripped him from behind, and Piccolo again readied his power. This time, Goku held firm against threats and pleas, including Raditz's assertion that they would both die. Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon struck true against the hole Gohan had made in Raditz's armor, piercing through not only Raditz but Goku as well, killing them both. In a fashion, Piccolo had fulfilled the destiny his 'father' had given him and started a new path.

Sadly, this path included taunting the dying Raditz on Goku's behalf, which ended up revealing the existence of Earth's Dragon Balls to his listening Saiyan allies, who Raditz described as being immensely more powerful than he, and who would arrive at Earth in one year's time. Goku's direction after death was interdicted by Kami, who guided his spirit (in the form of a body he could still train with) to see King Yama in the afterlife, there to follow a path called Snake Way to seek a master named King Kaio, who would prepare him to face his fellow Saiyans before the others returned him to life. As Goku began this unusual journey, on Earth, the task of telling Chi-Chi she was a widow (if only temporarily) fell to Kirillin, a task complicated by Piccolo's decision to take and train Gohan himself, so to prepare for the coming of the more powerful Saiyans.

The Saiyans SagaEdit

As Gohan underwent a harsh but thorough tasking by the unrelenting Piccolo, and as his friends, including the returned Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotsu, were tasked by Mister Popo, Goku sprinted down Snake Way to try and make his time for training. By some accounts, he had at least two distractions that took away from his ever-diminishing timeframe as he traveled.

In one instance, Goku fell off Snake Way and fell straight into a realm that was either Hell or HFIL - the Home For Infinite Losers. Either way, unworthy souls spend their eternity there, and Goku was very nearly forced to as well, till he outwitted and beat the two main ogres in charge of security. In his own repeated pattern, Goku not only increased his strength by enduring their trials, but made friends with the ogres, who, years later, were actually happy to see him when two of Goku's more powerful foes were unruly new residents of the dark place. Using an exit whose knowledge he won in combat, Goku was flabergasted to learn he was back at King Yama/Enma's and had to start the path all over again.

In another instance, Goku encountered what seemed to be a rest stop whose personnel were charming snake-ladies who were torn between their desire for him and their desire to eat him. Desiring to neither be a meal nor to betray Chi-Chi, Goku departed this place with all haste, though as with many denizens of this world, the ladies were more disappointed than vengeful, and later recognized Goku's speed wake when he passed by them on the return journey. In many instances, so long as they are not some manner of 'supreme' evil, many of the DB-verse residents who might seem demonic or monstrous are mainly transactional and try not to bear a grudge, which suits Goku just fine. Whether these two distractions were real or embellishments the Saiyan warrior added on in the retellings, Goku at last arrived at the end of Snake Way with a minimum of time in which to complete his vital training. A mighty leap at the end of the path barely got him onto King Kaio's planetoid, where to his shock, gravity was so amped up, he could barely walk.

To say that King Kaio was nothing like Goku expected would be a huge understatement.The being seemed more interested in humor than fighting, keeping to himself how enormously impressed with Goku's unspoken feats, such as simply making it to the end of Snake Way, moving around on his planet at all, and besting his two servants in tests of speed, even before agreeing to show him his more advanced and obvious fighting techniques. Both major techniques would play a role in Goku's life, but the so-called Genki-Dama or Spirit Bomb would be a pivotal one. At the time, the strength-and-speed boosting KaioKen seemed the more important, but it would be eclipsed within a fairly short order. It could be said though that Goku also carried the lessons of Kaio's humor with him, since his use of trading quips and talking down an opponent as a deliberate tactic went up radically after his time in this place. But any time Goku had to polish up his new lessons went away fast as the Saiyans were now to arrive well ahead of the one-year timeframe Raditz had given. As his friends wished him back to life with the Dragonballs, Goku poured on the speed to reach the start of Snake Way and make it back to Kami's Lookout on Earth. Rewarding him with a new uniform, Kaio sent his greatest student on his way, holding the conceit that he was still far funnier than the warrior. Goku was only delayed in getting back by a handful of hours before joining the fight, but this delay was to prove devastating to his friends and allies.

While Goku made his way to them, the Saiyans cut a bloody path until met by the Earth fighters, who used every trick in the book to coax or persuade the aliens to delay until Goku arrived. Once they realized Goku was their fellow Saiyan Kakarotto, they gave various delays, though each tick of the clock was a costly one. Yamcha was killed by the suicidal goblin-like servants of the Saiyans, called Saibamen. Tien fought like a tiger but lost first an arm and then his life in the struggle against the bulkier but lower-ranked of the two Saiyans, Nappa. Chiaotsu tried to enact a kamikaze attack on Nappa, but even his self-vaporization explosion did nothing but kill the young hero. Nappa easily slammed Kirillin, Piccolo and Gohan about with ease, though at first Piccolo was spared the worst, owing to his connection to the Dragonballs. Piccolo and therefore Kami were also at this time revealed to be of another alien species, the Namekians. Most frightening of all, Nappa took orders without hesitation from the much smaller and slimmer Vegeta, indicating that he even more powerful than the monstrous Nappa. After his first real taste of the field of battle caused Gohan to hesitate, he was so helpless that ultimately, Piccolo, now having grown fond of the boy, sacrificed himself to stop Nappa from killing him. Nappa was well prepared to try again when Goku finally arrived, and rescued his son and best friend. Now, Nappa was in Goku's sights, a battle to be watched over by Nappa's ever-grinning superior, Vegeta.

While Goku was briefly taken aback by the sheer ferocity and viciousness of the larger Saiyan, he quickly began to dominate and even make light of Nappa's abilities. When Nappa renewed his attacks on Goku's remaining friends, including Gohan, and also boasted of how the others had died, Goku stopped playing around and slammed Nappa relentlessly while never letting him get so much as a blow in--except once, and this was a powerful blow that Goku nonetheless shrugged off. Goku finally succeeded in breaking Nappa in spirit and body, vengefully mentioning his fallen friends as he broke Nappa's back, if not his spine. To everyone's shock, not only did Vegeta not rush in to aid his comrade, he brutally and casually executed him for incompetence and weakness. This told Goku all he needed to know about the coming titanic battle.

Battling With VegetaEdit

If Nappa was a thug, easily overwhelmed by Goku's new strength and speed, then Vegeta was a true if cruel warrior, and a match for Goku's genius in combat. Moreover, his strength and speed were obviously the superior of Goku, while his pride of place and arrogance fueled him to not accept anything resembling defeat. The best Goku could do was briefly surprise and annoy the Saiyan prince, forcing him to bring out the Kaio-Ken attack booster. This still only equalized the battle, forcing Goku to first double and then unthinkably triple the Kaio-Ken, endangering his body. Yet this did the trick, and Vegeta very nearly met his end at the edge of a massive Kamehameha from Goku. Returning, Vegeta was alternately amused at having an actual challenge and yet also enraged at how close he had come to meeting his end, especially at the hands of one he viewed as of the peasant class and a fundamentally weaker warrior. To this end, Vegeta used an artificial moon to replace Earth's satellite (destroyed by Piccolo while training Gohan when it unleashed his Great Ape, or Oozaru, transformation) and became a Great Ape himself, though fully in control of his mind and body, whose power had grown immeasurably. As Goku dodged and tried his best to remain alive, a dread realization hit him, and he realized that it was he, however innocently, who had killed his Granpa Gohan, and he begged the old man's spirit forgiveness. In his grief, he seemed to have forgotten that he had twice met with the elder Gohan's spirit, and neither time had the old man wished his grandson anything but well.

Vegeta's attack speed and power were beyond belief, so Goku attempted to start the Genki-Dama attack, which proved next to impossible under Vegeta's relentless attack. Even as he completed the sphere at enough power, Goku was crunched by Vegeta and proved largely unable to fight. Even with the aid of the recovering Kirillin and Gohan, all they could do was wound the giant's eye. The last-second intervention of one of their cruder, more selfish allies, Yajirobe, cost Vegeta his tail and therefore his giant form. With King Kaio's aid, Goku and Kiriillin managed to recover the assembled Genki-Dama. But while Kirillin was able to truly complete the spirit bomb, Yajirobe seemed determined to negate the value of his earlier aid and shouted out impatiently when Kiriilin waited on a signal from Goku to launch it. This alerted Vegeta just in time to avoid it, though an exhausted Gohan caught it again and this time it hit true. But as the opportunisitic Yajirobe found when he went to claim the fallen Vegeta's head, the Saiyan prince was still alive--and kicking. Noting that Gohan had a tail, Vegeta went to kill him, but was distracted by the desperate efforts of Kirillin and to some extent, the crippled Goku. By the time he once more thought of Gohan, telepathic contact between Gohan and Goku had caused the boy to stare at the artificial moon Vegeta had created, unleashing his Oozaru form. But the scared, beaten boy became an uncontrollable monster who had to be directed to attack Vegeta instead of everything in sight. While Vegeta managed to cut the boy-monster's tail off, the still-massive Ape fell on Vegeta even as Gohan reverted to normal.

Finally beaten too soundly to fight on, Vegeta's retreat to his space pod was nearly cut off by a vengeful Kirillin, who wanted to kill their enemy. A characterisitic plea from Goku stopped this, but for Vegeta, there were no taunts and threats, only confusion and injuries that were very close to killing him. Bulma, Chi-Chi and their friends arrived soon after to tend the wounded and honor the fallen. While Chi-Chi had a predictable outburst against her husband for her son's condition, secretly she was glad to have the both of them back. All the survivors were taken to the hospital, with Goku bandaged from head to toe. Also, all realized, the death of Piccolo and Kami meant there were no Dragonballs to wish anyone back. At least not on Earth.

The Namek SagaEdit

In the hospital, the allies agreed that the only way to bring their friends back was to seek out the planet Namek, original home of the alien being who split apart to become Kami and Piccolo, in the hopes that this world too had Dragon Balls. To this end, Bulma, Kirillin and Gohan (despite massive apprehension by Chi-Chi) left for Namek, using the very spaceship that the Kami/Piccolo being had been brought to Earth in as a child. While they were in transit, facing some delays (according to certain accounts) similar to Goku's along Snake Way, Goku consulted with Bulma's father, Doctor Briefs, and had his own original spaceship (found accidentally by Piccolo and Gohan when it forcibly activated his Oozaru form for the first time) rebuilt and upgraded. A visit from Yajirobe brought Korin's mystical Senzu beans, bringing about Goku's instantaneous healing from all wounds, injuries, and exhaustion. Goku immediately made for Namek, which would ironically take him less time than it would for his earlier-departed friends. He used this time to fully expand on the lessons of King Kaio's planet, training under enhanced gravity that kept right on increasing until it reached the insane level of one hundred G's. Though he did not realize it at the time, Goku was in the process of breaching his greatest barrier to date, as the obvious increase strength and speed also began to tap into something even more powerful.

On Namek itself, Gohan and the others were glad to hear of Goku's imminent arrival. The situation started badly and fell apart rapidly as not only Vegeta, but the forces of his vicious former employer, the cosmic tyrant Frieza, also sought out the Dragon Balls, leading to a virtual slaughter of all Namekians, both the peaceful ones and their powerful warriors. It was all the Earth visitors could do to keep the last Dragon Ball out of the hands of each camp as they attacked and stole from one another, with Vegeta settling scores along the way. They also protected what Namekians they could, including the child Dende. Incredibly, Frieza and his forces proved so powerful and relentless, the Saiyan Prince and the Earth warriors formed an untrusting alliance, especially as Frieza's top elite, the Ginyu Force, arrived to ensure Frieza his chance at the Dragon's wish. Despite seeming like stylish foppish idiots, they were in fact very powerful and cunning opponents, and the first attacker, Guldo, nearly finished both Kirillin and Gohan before Vegeta interfered, settling yet another score with the ranks of those who once mocked him openly. But even all three warriors were helpless before the massive Recoomb. Gohan's usual sudden bursts of power were only enough to surprise, not hurt, the big man, and he recieved a pounding that only stopped when his father finally arrived.

Goku casually moved about Recoomb, with the giant unable to lay so much as a glove on him, with his best attacks turned back by the now wise-cracking, openly confident Saiyan. When the speedy Berter fared no better, Ginyu Force member Jayce fled the fight and went to seek Captain Ginyu. To Vegeta's annoyance, Goku kept right on offering the Ginyus a chance to leave Namek in peace, and refused to execute the members he had beaten, something Vegeta took unto himself. Vegeta also took advantage of Goku's gullibility when they both faced Ginyu and Jayce, abandoning him to fight the pair alone. Later, Vegeta would corner the weakened Jayce while Goku and Ginyu fought it out, and execute him as well. In the meantime, Ginyu himself continued to be overwhelmed by the new depths of Goku's power, and so used his special ability to switch bodies. Since a Ginyu in control of Goku's power was a threat, Vegeta joined with Kiriillin and Gohan in fighting to change them back before Ginyu found himself in tune with Goku's body. Trapping the body-snatcher, the uneasy allies undertook to heal Goku from the wounds they had given him while Ginyu possessed him, since Frieza himself was still on the planet. Goku was placed in a healing chamber that, according to Vegeta, fed him artificial Saiyan DNA to restore him. This immersion (the scene was very similar to one with Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back) may have been a further part of a series of catalysts that drove Goku to his greatest power yet, a legendary power that Vegeta began to suspect was coming true in Goku.

The Earth fighters attempted to circumvent the untrustworthy Vegeta by summoning the Namekian Eternal Dragon themselves, only for the Eldest Namekian, essentially the Kami of his world, to succumb to old age and despair over the slaughtered Namekians, all of whom were his children, as he and Kami/Piccolo were the only survivors of the planet's last apocalypse. When he died, the dragon and balls became inert and useless. Worse, the storm of his summoning pulled an enraged Frieza right to their position. But help was on the way : Goku would soon heal, and the first two of three wishes on the Namekian Eternal Dragon Porunga made before the Elder's death were used to restore to life and summon to Namek Piccolo. Piccolo's afterlife training at King Kaio's plus merging with another fallen Namekian made him truly a warrior to be reckoned with, even against Frieza. As a bonus, Piccolo's restoration was also Kami's, further restoring Earth's Dragon Balls. As the battle was joined, Goku, who needed every last minute of healing time, raged inside the chamber that he could not yet be part of the fight. The instant this changed, Goku sought out a situation that, once again, had fallen apart in his absence.

Battling FriezaEdit

Not long before Goku arrived, the enhanced power all the other fighters had exhibited had forced Frieza to utilize ever-more powerful forms, till he reached his ultimate form and began to toss them all about like they were nothing, taking special care to taunt and humiliate Vegeta, who he saw as a traitor. Even Goku's new power was less than ready to handle all Frieza could dish out, but still he held his own. The battle was ferocious, even by the standards of Goku's prior fights. In almost casual displays of his power, Frieza disabled Piccolo, and killed Vegeta and the Namekian child Dende, who had been healing the Earth warriors as they fought. Vegeta's spirit reached out to Goku, revealing that while he probably would never have been a hero, the monster he became was a result of Frieza's tutelage. He also told Goku that it was Frieza who had all but wiped out their race, the Saiyans. Watching from the afterlife at King Kaio's, Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotsu asked why Goku had yet to use the Kaio-Ken against Frieza, only for King Kaio to reveal Goku had been using it all along. Worse still, despite being in his ultimate form, Frieza was shown to have been using mere fractions of his vast power, and it came to seem like Goku's every attempt to up his own power and every trick and technique did nothing more than pique Frieza's mockingly expressed interest.

As the possibly-reptilian Frieza spewed racist jibes against the Saiyans, Goku determined that the only way to possibly end Frieza's threat was to assemble the energy for a Genki-Dama. The efforts of Piccolo, Kirillin and Gohan bought him precious time to try and draw as much energy as he could from a planet that no longer had as much life on it as it did prior to Frieza's arrival. With Frieza foolishly focused on punishing his opponents, he only occasionally saw Goku standing still with his arms upraised, and almost began to discount him, till the reflection of the giant energy sphere caught his eye, forcing Goku to unleash it before feeling ready. At first, it seemed as though Frieza might repulse even this attack, but he was finally overwhelmed and caught in the full force of its explosion. The heroes' muted celebration proved to be premature, as Frieza survived, though not unscathed, and certainly fuming. Turning his attention to Kirillin, he seized the dimunitive fighter with his mind and raised him to a great height before exploding him. The sight of his best friend dying once again, not to mention so gruesomely, was the last trigger in Goku's greatest transformation. As rage filled his soul, his power spiked beyond belief, evidenced by his bursting energy, larger musculature, and hair that now seemed to glow golden. Goku was now a Super Saiyan, a creature of legend in recent history. Ironically for Frieza, it had been fear of the emergence of a Super Saiyan that had prompted him to eradicate the species, yet it was events his orders generated that arguably created the one he now faced.

The shoe was now firmly on the other foot, and it was Frieza who found himself dominated by the one he still tried desperately to mock. Even Goku's battle-lust driven foolish decision to let Frieza achieve his absolute full power did not substansially change things. Goku himself seemed greatly grimmer, and many times more serious; barely a quip or a humorous taunt emerged from his lips. His warning to Gohan to take the wounded Piccolo away and find Bulma involved as much yelling as Gohan likely saw from his father during the rest of their lives together. Also forced to take what had once been his battle to lose seriously, Frieza grew increasingly desperate, till he resolved to destroy Namek itself with a powerball aimed at its core. While the planet held on for much longer than anyone could have reasonably imagined, its impending doom was assured. Frieza felt he now had the last laugh, since he could survive in space where none of his enemies could. Goku struck upon a scheme he telepathically transmitted to Gohan. King Kaio contacted Kami, who had Mister Popo assemble Earth's restored Dragon Balls, and then ask Shenron to revive everyone killed by Frieza's forces, save for evil ones, on Namek. Masses of Namekians and Vegeta arose from the dead, including the Eldest Namek, whose life was still fading due to his age. But since he was alive again, also revived was the Nameks' Eternal Dragon, Porunga, whose last wish was used (despite the best efforts of immortality seekers Frieza and Vegeta) to wish everyone on Namek to Earth, save Goku and Frieza. Goku wanted to finish the fight and also felt that only a thorough defeat would put Frieza off from attacking Earth anyway. Despite objections from nearly all his friends, loved ones and allies, Goku's desire was kept to, and he moved to face Frieza in a final fight with no distractions save Namek's impending final destruction.

Before vanishing to Earth, Piccolo had described the two combatants as 'monsters, one good, one evil', and this assessment proved not to be far off the mark, as each strained to the point it was possible their very bodies were in danger. If Goku still dominated the battle, it was still a near thing, and Frieza would never be a mere pushover. After endless volleys of blows and blasts traded, Goku was tired and Frieza was reaching his limit, with Goku still in basic control of the enormous, wide-ranging fight. Goku, satisfied that Frieza was now defeated even without being broken, attempted to withdraw, only to have an enraged Frieza unleash a mountain-cutting variant of Kirillin's Destructo Disc. Goku dodged this with ease, even when Frieza had as many as five of these operating simultaneously. Even though Frieza at first also dodged Goku's efforts to turn his own attack back on him, in the end, he had too many in operation to account for all their movements and was cut to pieces. Bereft an arm and his entire lower body, Frieza begged not to be left to die in this way. Goku mocked his pleas against the pain and misery Frieza had brought everywhere and to everyone he met, especially Kirillin. Goku's better nature prevailed, and he gave his foe just enough energy to clear off the dying planet and flee. Like the scorpion in the old Earth fable, Frieza could not ignore his true nature and lashed out at Goku, who once more dodged the attack and this time, angered that his charity had been so spurned and abused, moved to finish Frieza entirely with one more blast at Super Saiyan level. Finally, though, the endless delays in getting off the planet ran headlong into its ticking doomsday clock, and it seemed that, after the spaceship he arrived in was destroyed, so was Goku when Namek met its final fate in one last vaporizing explosion. Even King Kaio firmly believed that Goku had failed to make it off-planet in time.

A Year Comes And GoesEdit

On Earth, another period of possible mourning was leavened by several factors.While the Eldest Namekian's renewed life expired once again, this time he was able to appoint his successor and die amidst his living children (at that point, all Namekians save Piccolo/Kami were his children or descendants, he the sole survivor of an apocalyptic event) instead of mourning their loss. The new Eldest Namekian re-forged their world's Dragon Balls, which required only 180 Earth days to recharge and which at each turn granted three wishes capable of restoring life even to those already brought back by Earth's Dragon Balls, and this as many times as they wanted. In gratitude, the Namekians allowed the Earth people to use their Dragon Balls as well, while they scouted a new world to call home.

By this method, Yamcha, Tien, and even prior revivals Chiaotsu and Kirillin were brought back. The attempt to revive Goku brought the news that he was not dead, and for the moment, did not wish to return to Earth till a new skill had been perfected. Hearing that his rival yet lived, Vegeta chose to remain on Earth, seeking both a rematch and knowledge of how Goku had ascended to become a Super Saiyan. Like Piccolo in times past, he would find that seeking revenge on Goku often had to be put aside in the face of greater threats, and several were coming. Eventually, the Namekians left to seek the new world their wishes and King Kaio had located, but Earth and New Namek were not done with each other just yet.

By one account, while Goku was still off in space, and while Vegeta fruitlessly pursued him, Gohan, Piccolo and Kirillin had to fend off an enemy named Garlic Junior, son of one of Kami's ancient foes. The canonicity of this adventure is highly in doubt, since it involved an earlier non-canon adventure and included flawed scenes like one where Chi-Chi seemed to activate the Kaio-Ken. If she even possessed Ki-based energy abilities, she had never chosen to access them before or since. If it did occur, the heroes were still victorious, and one thing remains dead certain : Chi-Chi made Gohan catch up on as much of his schoolwork as he could, and she pushed him hard. Although on occasion her words for her absent husband were harsh, one account has an abrasive tutor learn the hard way not to speak of him that way in front of Chi-Chi. As usual, before anything could truly settle down for more than a few weeks, an unexpected event came in the form of a mysterious young man landing and seeking the fighters in an odd craft. This young man had a message : Goku was returning soon, and so was Frieza, and he knew exactly where they would both show up. While all had their doubts, they followed the mystery figure to a spot where the fleet of a rebuilt cyborg Frieza and his father, King Cold, landed, also awaiting Goku's return. This and the shocking identity of the mysterious youth would shape not one but several possible futures.

The Coming Of The AndroidsEdit

While even Vegeta feared the power of Frieza and his father, who casually debated the fate of Earth while waiting for Goku to arrive, the mysterious youth stepped forward to challenge them and all their armies. At first, he was laughed off, especially when scouters showed him with a low power level. But apparently Frieza had not learned his lesson about power levels that could be hidden, for the young man tore through all the alien attackers with ease, then turned his attention to the two rulers, who, psychotically, seemed almost bored by the fate of their men. One seeming impossibility piled upon another; first, the young interloper claimed to know all about both Goku and Frieza without having met either. Second, he shocked all by accessing his next level of power - as a Super Saiyan, a form legendary until recent months, with only the absent Goku having achieved it. Third, he met and turned back the panicked Frieza's frenzied attempt to destroy his personal nightmare by doing to Earth what he did to Namek. Finally, he ensured that, short of the Dragon Balls, Frieza would never return again, and with contemptuous ease, utterly destroyed the being that once taxed all the Z-Fighters to their limit. King Cold lived up to his name, brushing off his son's death and even proposing an alliance with the youth that he saw through, playing with the elder tyrant just long enough to show that he was as helpless as Frieza before the new Super Saiyan's might. It seems that, in an alternate timeline, Goku had been forced to return to Earth more quickly, forced to deal with the attackers himself. But in the events that emerged, Goku's pod maintained its pace, with him perhaps sensing that the threat had abated, and emerged where the stranger said he would, wearing odd clothing and ready to tell the tale of how he survived and escaped the destruction of Namek. Needless to say, the mysterious youth had a story to tell as well--but only to Goku, in private.

Back on the exploding Namek, Goku found one of the pods used by the Ginyu Force, and set off just in time. The pod apparently followed a pre-set course that would have been the Ginyus next destination, inhabited by a peaceful, helpful people who aided Goku in several ways. The biggest aid they gave him was teaching a technique that surpassed all speed and actually allowed him to teleport between locations known (or somehow made known) to him, a method he called Instant Transmission. Taken aside and in private (except for Piccolo's powerful ears), Goku heard the young Super Saiyan's astonishing story. His name was Trunks, and he was a traveler from a future time where killer androids created by the Red Ribbon Army's Doctor Gero dominated the Earth, slaughtering all the Z-Fighters, with Goku taken out of the fight by a lethal heart disease Trunks now provided the cure for. These androids would emerge exactly three years from that day, and so the heroes must prepare in the meantime. Even more shocking than this warning was Trunks' heritage - he was taught how to fight, and partly even how to become a Super Saiyan, by none other than Goku's own son, Gohan, one of a handful of survivors of the slaughter, till he himself fell years later - a thought that disturbed Goku more than talk of his own death. Trunks himself was the result of an unlikely pairing, that of Goku's rival Vegeta and his oldest friend, Bulma. Trunks was explicit and redundant in warning Goku not to breathe a word about his parentage, lest it cause Bulma and Vegeta not to get together. By extension, the listening Piccolo agreed to this as well. With his warning given, and a mock-spar between him and Goku done with, Trunks returned to his pod, which was actually a time machine developed by his mother Bulma, another survivor of the androids' genocidal rampage. Goku and an impatient Piccolo gave the basics of Trunks' warning, with all the fighters vowing to train and become as strong as they can. Vegeta, however, has an ulterior but predictable motive, and at some point demands from Goku every step in his path to becoming a Super Saiyan. All would train for the next three years like madmen, but in Vegeta's case, his very life was put at risk, causing Bulma to care for him, and pushing away the skirt-chasing Yamcha as she did. At some point while Goku trained with his son, Vegeta and Bulma's son - named Trunks - was born. But the predictions of Future Trunks were not to emerge on a straight and clear path. Several possible futures, all of them deadly and dangerous, awaited the Z-Fighters.

The Androids SagaEdit

Despite objections from Chi-Chi over Goku's intense training of Gohan (and, to one account, the brief distraction of Goku and Piccolo's comical attempts to get their driver's licenses) by the time the three years were up, Goku felt they were as ready as they could be. When the day, time and place of Trunks' prediction came to pass, only Vegeta was mysteriously not present. But then, neither were the dreaded androids. Reminded that sensing the androids (also known, more accurately in some cases, as Artificial Humans) by their energy would be impossible, the Earth warriors set out to find them, presumably by the destruction they were set to cause. By chance or by the enemy plan, Yamcha, perhaps the worst prepared of the lot, was the first to encounter them. The pair looked like an old man in an odd hat and a fat foppish boy who looked a bit like a clown. Not only was Yamcha overwhelmed by their sheer power, but they showed the vampiric ability to drain an opponent's energy, the combination of which left him near death till his friends arrived. Goku surprised the old man android by knowing who they were, yet all were equally surprised that the enemies knew full well who Goku was, and were there to destroy him. To make matters worse, Goku's standard plea that the fight be taken to an unpopulated area lead instead to the androids destroying the city around them, leaving it now 'unpopulated'.

As the fight began, Goku himself fought the fat android. Despite his unfit appearance and soft buzzing voice, after a brief period on the ropes, he quickly began to whittle down Goku's power by draining it, even when he was at Super Saiyan level. Worse still, the heart virus Trunks had predicted kicked in just then and finally took Goku out of the fight. It was then Vegeta finally stepped in as the fat Android was preparing to finish Goku, a prospect Vegeta wanted to keep as his own. Vegeta also revealed that he had at last become a Super Saiyan, and toyed with the fat Android, called #19 by the old man, who was called Android #20. Knowing what Goku did not, Vegeta disarmed #19-literally-so he could drain no more power, and then destroyed him a little at a time, mocking #20's hypocritical calls for the mercy neither of them showed. Watching from her ship, Bulma recognized #20 as being none other than Doctor Gero himself, once an associate of her father's. She also told them of a cave in the mountains once said to be Gero's. While the heroes pursued Gero before he got back to his lair, Bulma aided the fallen Goku in getting back to his home and wife. A final punctuation to this spiraling chaos came when Future Trunks (or Trunks Mirai) returned, only to tell his present-day allies that neither Android #20 nor the destroyed 19 were the androids that had devastated his future. He also found out that, since Goku had never experienced any prior problems with his heart, he had never taken Trunks' medicine. The medicine could still save Goku, but it would be touch and go with no guarantees save Goku's will to live.

As Goku lay in a sick bed fighting for his life, events continued to unfold. The chase to Doctor Gero's lab resulted in his energy-drainer being disabled by Piccolo. Vegeta, however, reveling in his new power, chose to prevent his allies from stopping Gero as he unleashed from stasis Androids 17 and 18, who Trunks identified as being the androids he and Adult Gohan had fought and lost so often to. Gero, who had been disobeyed by these androids in the past, warned them that he possessed a self-destruct remote control for them, and that they were not to unleash a prototype, called Android 16. In Mirai-Trunks future, Gero had been destroyed by his own creations upon first awakening, and now they did the same in the present to the rebuilt Doctor Gero, as well as moving to awaken #16, once more with Vegeta's connivance as he sought out opponents he felt worthy of him. 16 proved to be very different from the trash-talking, arrogant young man and young woman, as he was fully artificial and not a cyborg, seemingly emotionless at first, and fully committed to one goal : Killing Goku. 16, 17 and 18 also had internal power sources that were effectively infinite, and one and all, they pushed aside the Z-fighters with contemptuous ease, even to the two Super Saiyans. Surprisingly, there seemed to be a spark between the beautiful Android 18 and Kirillin, but this light moment only reenforced that perhaps not even Goku at full health could handle these monsters. Thankfully, their rampage as they began searching for Goku was actually quite limited and tactical, not (or perhaps not yet) the mindless blood-letting that M-Trunks saw in his future. In fact, so much began to occur that was well outside M-Trunks predictions, he finally was forced to admit that, once he travelled back, he had effectively stopped their world from becoming his, but that now the future was unfolding in ways he could no longer predict. His real goals had always been either to bring back some of his present-day allies to fight the Androids, or to become strong enough himself to finally beat them. If he could help save the past timeline while doing so, all the better.

While the comatose Goku fought a battle as mental as it was physical just to stay alive, the future began to split even further. One momentous decision was reached when Piccolo did the unthinkable and actually asked Kami to merge with him once more, to become the being they could have been, and thereby gain the power to face down the Androids. Kami seemed firm in his refusal to do this, citing leaving the Earth without a guardian and the vanishing of the Dragon Balls, all to oppose a threat he believed to be dangerous but manageable. It was realized that, due to Doctor Gero's scans, the location of Goku's home might be known to the Androids, and in fact the outwardly gentle Android 16 was programmed with this information, only revealed to his impatient comrades in passing as they searched. This led to the potentially dangerous transfer of Goku to Master Roshi's island, seemingly just as he began to shake off the effects of the heart virus (though he was still very weak and vulnerable). Yet again, events involving time travel called even this mixed bag of news into question. Bulma, scanning for an odd energy source, found what appeared to be M-Trunks' Time Pod, which he still had on him in capsule form. This Pod was identical, and also caused Bulma to fully realize M-Trunks identity (which she and Vegeta had begun to suspect anyway). But the duplicate pod was overgrown with rust and vegetation, indicating it had been there long before M-Trunks made his first time journey. Bulma's discovery of what looked like a bizarre egg coincided with initial news reports of whole towns being emptied of people, leaving behind only their clothes. Kami immediately summoned Piccolo as they both sensed a new, far greater threat than the Androids, and told him that he would agree to the reunification of their being.

The Imperfect Cell SagaEdit

Despite a despondent Mister Popo's worries, while Piccolo remained dominant after the merger, Kami's influence was also evident, and the power of this Super Namekian was as great as had been foretold. With this in mind, 'Super Piccolo' went forth to one of the emptied towns, and there encountered the entity that had caused Kami to change his mind. The threat it posed was not overestimated.

Piccolo saw this insectoid/reptilian-looking creature that called itself Cell as no match for his power, but was repulsed by its feeding methods - using its tail to cut into and then reduce a living being to pulp, leaving only their clothes behind. He was also shocked when this monster performed Goku's very-nearly trademarked Kamehameha attack and performed it exactly as he would have. Further attacks showed that the monster inexplicably had moves from allies and enemies alike, some of them dead. Even more startling was Cell's origin and reason for existing. For Cell, too, was an Artificial Being, also created by Doctor Gero, but wholly unlike the others.

Goku awoke fully but, unlike past traumas, did not fight to get up immediately, recognizing the immense strain he had been through. Even as he rested further, he sensed the threat and the relative power levels of himself and all his friends. His nightmares while comatose had been directed, he realized, as his mind worked out a solution to the many problems his world faced. The solution, much like Goku himself, would be stunningly simple yet as hard to reach as Kami's lookout on a bicycle.

Finding his powerful adversary as talkative as any of their recent enemies, a seemingly wounded Piccolo got Cell to reveal his origins : He could use the attacks of Goku, Piccolo himself, Vegeta, Frieza and many others because, in essence, he was all those fighters combined--via samples of their DNA, both literal and scannned in by mosquito-sized robots Gero had sent out for years as he plotted his revenge.But the bizarre creature had an even greater surprise : he too was from an alternate future. In this one, M-Trunks had returned from the present-day having defeated Androids 17 and 18, and then went on to destroy them in his as well. This left Cell, who awoke some time after 17 and 18 were unleashed, in a quandary. Perhaps as punishment for their one-time defiance, Gero had programmed Cell to absorb and use 17 and 18 as components in his path to 'perfection'. Desperate, Cell shadowed that version of Trunks, and then killed him when he attempted to use his time machine once more. Cell traveled further back, the laws of these events shunting him into the main DB timeline, about three to four years prior to M-Trunks arrival and initial warning. Forced to revert to larval form, Cell eventually hatched once more, feeding his way back to strength and awaiting the unleashing of 17 and 18. The battle-savvy Cell was quick to realize Piccolo had tricked him, but was himself thrown off by a very much alive Future Trunks and talk of Goku having survived his heart illness. Fleeing a column of Z-fighters, he went out while Goku at last arose from his bed, still weak but now very much focused on what he had to do. He stated that even a Super Saiyan couldn't stop Cell, especially if he achieved his goals. So the only solution was to find a level beyond Super Saiyan. Piccolo, blunt and direct as ever, had another idea : Find and destroy 17 and 18 before Cell could, and he now felt he had the power to do just that. While all this was going on, M-Trunks and Kirillin sought out the secret chambers of Doctor Gero's destroyed lab and eliminated the Cell of the present-timeline, still growing in the lab and therefore easily killed. An account of varying reliability placed more gestating androids in yet another secret lab, but these did not come into play during the events with Cell.

In the midst of all this, Earth regained its Dragon Balls when the Namekian child Dende was recruited to replace the vanished Kami as Guardian.

Semi-Perfect CellEdit

Piccolo's power level was enough to defeat Android 17, but he was harder pressed when 18 aided him, and pleas from the other Z-fighters about Cell coming for them only elicited either dismissal or curiousity from the pair, while Android 16 believed but was locked on his quest to kill Goku. Goku himself made a slightly differing plea to Piccolo - delay or destroy the Androids, but at minimum buy enough time for Vegeta and M-Trunks to enter the Hyperbolic Time Chamber on Kami's Lookout, where a day within would yield a year's worth of training. Goku then planned to enter the chamber himself with Gohan, but figured the enhanced Saiyans would stop all their enemies cold, again long enough for Goku and Gohan to emerge, if needed. Since Piccolo's plans all along were focused on simply destroying the androids, it was all the same to him, and the battle between himself and 17 grew ferocious, to the point 18 questioned if 17 was holding back. 16 confirmed that he was not, but this ruckus did not go unnoticed. While Cell was not able to scan the androids' energy, he oddly sensed Piccolo going all out, and quickly realized the lack of a sensed opponent meant that he was fighting the androids. Goku sensed Cell's approach to the battle, but felt compelled to keep himself and Gohan out of the fight till they could train further.

As Goku (somewhat uncharacteristically impatiently) waited for Vegeta and M-Trunks to finish training, Cell found the androids and Piccolo. While it seemed at first as though the Super Namekian would turn the intruder away, Cell had drained ever more lives and gained more power. While a ray of hope appeared in the form of a Bulma-crafted detonator for the androids that she passed into Kiriilin's hands, Cell made short work of Piccolo and played with the astonished 17 before finally absorbing him, beginning the first stage of his final evolution.

The Z-Fighters now did everything in their power to keep this version of Cell from completing himself by absorbing Android 18. A revived Piccolo joined with Android 16 and even Tien to give her a chance to get away. But while Goku waited with Gohan for M-Trunks and Vegeta to leave the Time Chamber, two mistakes born of very different motivations would make things worse. One was that Kirillin, feeling sympathy and perhaps having a crush on 18, cannot bring himself to destroy her and instead tries to aid her flight from Cell, to little avail. The second is the emergence of Vegeta and M-Trunks from the Time Chamber, not long after Goku risks instant transmission in order to save the exhausted Tien and Piccolo from Cell, promising the monster the fight of his life in just one day's time.

At first, when Vegeta takes up the fight, his training leaves Cell at a huge disadvantage, something that Cell, who possesses the combined egos of 17, Frieza, and Vegeta himself, cannot tolerate. Vegeta's own ego comes into play when Cell promises him a far better challenge if only he is permitted to absorb Android 18. Vegeta not only permits Cell's pursuit but aids him in it, fighting against his allies and his son to permit Cell to complete his transformation. Even from inside the Time Chamber, Goku senses the world tremble as Cell at last becomes, by his own description, perfect.

Gohan & The Time ChamberEdit

Inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Goku readies his inherently gentle son for the fight of his life, if not the ages. Gohan is made aware that he must join his father, Vegeta and M-Trunks and become a Super Saiyan. This is a difficult time for father and son, as Goku must run between being the supportive loving dad he has always been and the tough as nails sensei who has no choice but to push Gohan ever further in an unforgiving and random environment that many times seems on the verge of breaking the young boy, with many a false start on his way to becoming a true Super Saiyan. After teaching him that the power rises according to a need, Gohan is able to focus on all he loves and all he might lose at the hands of Cell, and makes the transition to his ancestors' legendary mode, though his father has one more effort in mind--after they relax and eat, of course--this is still Goku.

With even the now-enraged Vegeta and M-Trunks unable to defeat Cell, and with none of the other Z-Fighters able to even touch him, the bored Cell revives the old idea of a World Martial Arts Tournament, and cries out his challenge across the globe, saying that he will take on all comers, in the hopes of encountering someone who could truly challenge him. Announcing the time and place of this global life-or-death struggle, he begins to build his arena as Goku and Gohan emerge from the time-chamber. Goku has them both maintaining Super Saiyan mode, in order to redirect their other energies towards the great battle itself. Goku tells his son to relax, while Vegeta and M-Trunks take their option for another day in the chamber. Goku then shocks everyone when he seems to laugh off a power reading made by Korin that predicts he cannot take Cell. Goku states he still has a plan, but no one at all can figure it. After an awkward clash with Chi-Chi over Gohan fighting again and a reunion with an old sensei from his own childhood which saves people from an apocalyptic scam artist, Gohan and Goku relax with Kirillin as the days and hours tick down.

The Cell GamesEdit

The Z-Fighters would hardly be the only fighters to show up and challenge Cell, though by the standards of the power of Cell's real competitors, many of these would have to be considered jokes. The most prominent of these groups were mostly show-fighters led by retired tournament champion Mister Satan (Known as both Hercule and Hercule Satan, depending on the dub). It would later be revealed that Mister Satan held Goku in some contempt for not participating in tournaments since his one and only title against Piccolo. Despite vast evidence already before him and more to come soon, Mister Satan abruptly declared all the immense powers of the Z-Warriors and their foes to be the result of FX tricks, illusions and showmanship. Refusing to believe in either the power or the stakes involved, the former champ and his crew (who ironically would, in a non-Ki-attack-based world, be considered insanely strong) were all very bad jokes indeed before the power of Cell. Other unaffiliated fighters fared no better, and in fact the whole thing bored Cell so much, he all but demanded to face Goku then and there. Goku, stepping lightly on the toes of his friends and their pride, also asked that he alone face Cell, but with the provision that he could withdraw from the fight and appoint another in his place as Earth's champion. Cell saw this as a throwaway provision, feeling himself absolutely superior to every other fighter there, even Goku, though he did not take him lightly. In fact, Cell had stepped into Goku's best laid trap.

While Goku would face and best more powerful opponents, this could reasonably and honestly be said to be the fight of his life. A lifetime of skill, strategy and cunning was met by Goku holding absolutely nothing back. After a brief opener set testing each other's measure, the battle was joined in earnest, and Cell seemed pleased that he finally had an opponent he thought worth his time. At one point, simply to keep the battle from being ended by a mere ring-out, Cell destroyed the stadium arena, and at times, even Piccolo and Vegeta could not see the duo for how fast they were moving---but Gohan could. As they were batted about and the broadcast equipment was continually degraded, Mister Satan and his troupe kept right on making incredulous disbelieving statements about what was going on right before their very eyes. Goku was keeping pace with Cell every step of the way, lending hope to all but the savviest of his allies, for he was never able to get so much as a step ahead of Cell. He culminated with the threat of a massive Kamehameha from a great height. Cell thought the maneuver a bluff, as Goku's attack would destroy the very planet and people he fought to defend. But Goku never diminished the charge on the building beam, causing all to think he'd gone mad, and not worrying Cell, who, having Frieza's DNA, could survive in space. At the last possible second, Goku teleported and unleashed his attack right in Cell's face, where his foe had no hope of blocking or dodging. Cell was reduced to nothing more than his feet and lower legs, yet this proved to be enough for him to regenerate from, and Goku was now drained. Cell at first gloated as Goku withdrew from the fight, thinking his action a surrender. But Goku now sprang a trap he had been developing since he first realized his strength was not enough to take Cell down for good. He reminded Cell that he had the right to appoint his successor in the fight, and to the shock of all, that substitute was Gohan.

Gohan Vs. CellEdit

Gohan remained true to the ideals he had embraced throughout his lifetime, and attempted to warn Cell that an all-out battle might unleash the hidden levels of power he had unleashed against Nappa, Vegeta, the forces of Frieza, and Frieza himself, often to devastating effect. This outreach included reminding Cell that his power and skill was now far greater than at anytime in his young life. While Vegeta fumed and the other Z-Fighters doubted the wisdom of Goku's choice, Goku seemed to realize that the DNA from the Saiyans and Frieza would make Cell only want to see Gohan's unleashed power all the more. The fight commenced, and Gohan seemed to hold his own at times and be overwhelmed at others. Boring quickly, Cell became determined to unleash Gohan's hidden power.

To this end, he generated (possibly via Piccolo's power to produce 'offspring') a group of tiny but powerful versions of himself, maniacally giggling creatures he called 'Cell Juniors'. But these were not used to attack Gohan - rather, Cell gambled that the Juniors attacking Gohan's friends and father would push him into letting go of his inhibitions against using his true power. The creatures were as relentless as their 'parent', and even Goku, Vegeta and Piccolo were nearly helpless against their onslaught, their enormous strength aided by the speed their small forms gave them, also making targeting nearly impossible. As his entreaties to Cell were rejected and mocked, Gohan reached his limit. In a relative heartbeat, he hunted down and destroyed every last one of the grinning goblins, then began to fight Cell in earnest. Unfortunately for Cell, like the Saiyans and Frieza whose lust for battle he had inherited, the new battle was a case of biting off far more than he could chew. Gohan dominated what followed, to the point of owning both the fight and his opponent. But Goku learned to his chagrin that his son really was made in his image, as he continually passed up chances to end the fight and permanently put his enemy down in favor of enjoying the fight and testing his limits. Goku himself became the pleader asking that Gohan make the kill, a role reversal he was ill prepared for. The battle seemed done when, in a display of power that shocked everyone, Gohan slammed Cell so hard, he regurgitated Android 18, changing him back to Imperfect Cell and lessening his vast power. But just as Gohan seemed finally ready to end the fight, Cell gathered up his still-vast energy and inflated himself like a balloon, making himself a bomb with which to destroy the Earth and all who lived there. The detonation was inevitable, and any attack would only hasten it. Goku acted, calmly telling his friends and son goodbye while teleporting Cell to King Kaio's realm in the afterlife. While Kaio, Bubbles and Gregory panicked and Kaio admonished Goku's choice of location, Cell finally exploded, killing them all. Of course, since they were already in the afterlife, they stayed put. It would later be claimed that the destruction of King Kaio's world let loose an ancient evil warrior named Bojack, who Goku played a part in beating, despite his death. But if Goku was dead, Cell was not. He began to regenerate, again as Perfect Cell, and this time with added powers taken from Goku, including instant transmission. With this, he teleported back to Earth, more powerful than ever, as a Gohan shaken by the guilt over his cocky actions left himself wide open, allowing Cell to break his arm. When Trunks-Mirai was easily killed as well, all seemed lost.

Realizing in the afterlife that Cell had tricked him, Goku managed to talk Gohan into trying a one-armed Kamehameha, persuading his son to let go of his guilt and his worries. Even doing his utmost, the exhausted Gohan seemed at least evenly matched by the renewed Cell, and their Ki-Energy Duel lit up the heavens across the planet. A last minute attack by the remaining Z-Fighters, including a Vegeta infuriated by his son's death, did nothing to Cell per se, but the distraction allowed Gohan to clear his head and finally obliterate Cell entirely. As the real warriors left the scene, the opportunistic Mister Satan told the world that he, in fact, had beaten Cell. Ever mellow, Goku showed admiration for the man's ability to put on a show.

With the Dragon Balls reviving those lost to Cell, both the consumed and the fallen warriors, an idea arose to use the Namekian Dragon Balls to revive him, since Earth's new Dragon Balls created by Dende still had the same restriction on resurrecting someone more than once. But Goku's spirit asked that he not be brought back, fearing that he had become a target for vengeful people with powerful agendas. Things began to calm down immediately as the fighters adjusted to this decision. Kiriilin began a relationship with the revived Android 18. Trunks-Mirai returned to his future, reunited with his mother and ended up using his heightened power to completely destroy all the androids (who in his timeline had never shown any humanity) and the unevolved form of Cell, preventing him from repeating the alternate history where he killed Trunks and stole his time machine. Some accounts of the following ten years had Trunks-Mirai returning for visits. Back in the main timeline, one of the biggest surprises came when Chi-Chi discovered she was again pregnant by Goku, and gave birth to a second son, whom she named Goten. From the start, the boy was the spitting image of younger Goku. Gohan returned to his studies with a vengeance.

Goku in the Other RealmEdit

With his realm destroyed, King Kaio took Goku and his companions to see a being he called The Grand Kai. As King Kaio had always explained, he was the Kaio of the Northern part of the Galaxy; at the Grand Kai's realm, he would meet with his counterparts (siblings?) from the East, West, and South, who, in a mix of snark and jealousy, decided to 'celebrate' North Kaio's recent death, being the first of their group to do so. Grand Kai acceded to this request as the junior Kaios under him traded light insults and nearly drooled over his classic automobile. The Grand Kai seemed to resemble none other than Mutenroschi, though this was never remarked upon. The Funimation dub depicted his voice as that of a beatnik, and generally, he seemed interested in keeping things lively, which meant he took an instant liking to Goku, who bypassed some of the more bothersome niceties the Grand Kai found himself burdened with.

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