Core Universe: Dragon Ball
Reality: B0E4FF
Year: Approx. 785 Tori

Trunks had done it: the Androids who had terrorized the planet for almost two decades were destroyed at long last. And yet, with the thrill of victory, Trunks also felt regret that he could not share this moment with his mentor Gohan, his hero Goku, or his father Vegeta. As he stared at the smoldering remains of Seventeen and Seventeen, Trunks was at the same time glad that the ordeal was over and angry at himself for not being strong enough to stand up to the Androids earlier.

When Trunks went to visit Goku’s and Gohan’s graves, he was shocked to discover a new headstone next to Goku’s. The headstone had no name on it, but Trunks knew that it could belong to none other than Chi-Chi. He ran his hand over the rough stone that marked where Chi-Chi was buried, still too shocked to think anything.

A sudden sound behind him caused him to turn, putting a hand to his sword and dropping into a defensive stance. The woman who had stepped into the clearing drew back a bit when she saw him, her gray eyes peering at him. Trunks could not feel the woman’s ki, which could only mean one thing.

“Androids,” Trunks growled, drawing his sword. He swung at her

The sword stopped in midair and dropped to the ground with a clatter as Trunks recognized the expression on the woman’s face. It was the same look of terror that seemed to be etched on everyone’s faces after the arrival of the Androids.

My God! I’ve become a monster! Trunks stared at his hands. I was going to kill her just because I jumped to conclusions!

“I-I’m sorry,” he stammered, returning his sword to its sheath on his back. “I’ve been a little jumpy lately.” The woman said nothing. “Are you lost? Do you live around here?”

The woman calmed a bit. “No, I’m not lost.”


Core Universe: Dragon Ball
Reality: B0E4FF
Year: Approx. 788 Tori

Samui suppressed a flinch as Bulma dabbed antiseptic on the long gash running above her eyebrow.

“I still saw you need some stitches for this,” Bulma advised, wiping away the excess fluid.

Samui shrugged. “I’ll heal.”

Bulma sighed. “Samui, you may heal faster than most people, but that won’t help if your wound gets infect” Bulma stopped herself and gave Samui a sheepish look. “Sorry.”

Trunks, his left arm still in a cast from his last trans-dimensional exploration trip, walked into the living room. “Hey, Mom? I need an ac/dc converter.” He gave Samui a worried look. “What happened to you?”

“Had a disagreement with a steel beam,” Samui answered. “I’ll give you three guesses on who won, and the first two don’t count.”

Trunks grimaced. “Ouch.”

Samui smiled. “You took the words right out of my mouth. By the way, I think there’s an ac/dc converter under the workbench.”

“Yeah, it’s probably next to the kitchen sink and the small-sized black hole,” Bulma added.

“Thanks,” Trunks grinned. He was about to head to Bulma’s workshop when a colored portal manifested itself.

Samui rose to her feet and stood in front of Bulma. Despite Samui’s relaxed stance and calm composure, Trunks knew that she was in actuality ready to leap into action at any moment. He made a mental note to ask her sometime how she could do that.

The tension in the room relaxed as everyone recognized the woman that stepped out of the portal as Shelly McLaughlin, the STRA agent who considered Capsule Corporation her second home.

“Hey, Shelly,” Bulma greeted, giving Shelly a hug. “What brings you out here?”

Shelly handed Samui a small plastic card. “Miss Namida Samui, you have been recognized by the STRA as a valid inter-dimensional traveler. Congratulations.”

“So hell finally froze over,” Bulma half-joked as Samui accepted the card.

Shelly laughed. “You could say that.”

“Thank you,” Samui said, putting the card away. “So what’s your other reason for coming here?”

Shelly smiled. “Can’t fool you, can I?” She took a deep breath. “I was asked to invite you to join the STRA. Some people upstairs read my report about you and they were really impressed.” Shelly waited for a response from Samui, and getting none, continued: “You don’t have to decide right away, just think about it, okay?” With that, Shelly left.


Core Universe: STRA Military Academy
Reality: NEXUS
Year: Not Applicable

As Samui walked through the gates and took in the sight of the countless other recruits, she began to doubt her decision.

Can I really do this? she wondered. She thought back to when she had gone to see Shelly about her decision. It was then that Shelly had told Samui that the STRA had been keeping close watch on her ever since her birth. While Samui couldn’t understand why the STRA chose not to act until their interests were threatened, it would be stupid of her to harbor resentment towards the STRA for something that couldn’t be changed. On top of that, while Bulma never mentioned the economic state of the Capsule Corporation, Samui knew that not even the riches woman in the world would be able to finance the rebuilding of an entire planet by herself. While the starting salary of an STRA employee wasn’t very high, Samui wanted to contribute every bit she could, and there was no way Samui would be able to find a job in her own world.

Taking a deep breath, Samui steeled herself and made her way towards the dormitories.

***

Caitlin Graves, STRA Military Academy’s toughest drill sergeant, looked at the new recruits with disdain the way she did every year. In actuality, she hoped that all of the recruits would be able to make it through the entire training, but she had learned through experience that intimidation was a much better motivator than kindness.

“Now, your next few years here are going to be the hardest ever, physically, mentally, and academically. If you can’t handle it, there’s the door. Understand?”

There was a general mumble.

Caitlin slammed her hand on her desk, causing all of the recruits to jump. “Lesson one! You will always address your commanding officer as ‘sir’ and answer any questions directed to you, ending your answer with
another ‘sir’! Got that?”

“Sir, yes, sir,” the recruits answered, though not at the same time.

“I can’t hear you!”

“Sir, yes, sir!” The recruits shouted, this time more or less in unison.

“Much better,” Caitlin smiled, but with little mirth. “Dismissed!”

After the recruits had left, Caitlin returned to her office, and was surprised to find one of her old students waiting for her there along with another young woman.

“Shelly McLaughlin! What are you doing here?”

Shelly put a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “This is Namida Samui, and I’m recommending that you place her in one of the higher classes.”

“I’ll have to see what she can do first,” Caitlin replied. She turned to Samui, who looked as thin and pale as a reed, and no doubt just as fragile. “Are you aware of the demands that training will be putting on you?”

“Yes.” Samui’s voice was quiet and calm, but Caitlin could hear the strength and determination behind those words. On the inside, Caitlin was grinning like the Cheshire cat, but on the outside, she maintained her stern stance.

“Then let’s see you do five push-ups, Miss Namida.” Caitlin figured that five was probably all Samui could do. After all, Caitlin wasn’t out to humiliate anybody; at least, not on their first day to the Academy.

“Go ahead, Samui,” Shelly said when Samui gave her a questioning glance. “It’s all right to show off a bit.”

Samui nodded and got down on the floor. Putting her right hand square under her chest and pushing her self to her toes, Samui hovered there for a few moments, as if gathering her strength. Then, with a twisting motion, Samui pushed herself up until her arm was extended, then let herself back down. She repeated this four more times, then returned to her feet.

The little voice inside Caitlin’s head was now a full chorus of angels singing in rapturous glory.

“I can personally guarantee that Samui will be one of your best students,” Caitlin was aware of Shelly saying.

Caitlin mumbled something in reply, and shook Samui’s hand. When she was able to think coherently again, Caitlin could just say one word.

“Wow.”

***

The next day began at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of the trumpeters call.

This is insane, Samui thought as she fought back the cobwebs that clouded her brain. Not even the sun is up at this hour!

Instead of joining the other new recruits at the row of tables where their various abilities would be recorded for future reference, Samui jogged her way to the track where the older cadets had gathered.

“Hey, little miss, you seem to be lost,” one of the cadets sneered at her. “The first-year students are supposed to be meeting at the other side of the track.”

Samui had a feeling that this was going to be a very long day.


Core Universe: Tenchi Muyo: Ryo Ohki!
Reality: D59393
Year: A.D. 1997

[OOC Note: Lots of spoilers and personal speculation on the Tenchi cast follow. Tread with care.]

(excerpted from Scientist, Mother, Woman, Goddess by Hakubi Washuu)

I thought that by distracting myself with the constant chaos surrounding Tenchi, I could block out the presence of my other selves.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You look confused. I’m sorry, perhaps I should explain myself a bit more clearly…

In every moment of our lives, we are inundated with choices that either we make or are made for us. Since the Universe is a completely random entity, it’s equally possible that all of the choices will be made. Thus, when something actually happens, “alternate” universes are immediately spawned to explore the consequences of all of the other possibilities. Fortunately, most people are not aware of these worlds, nor are they aware of their “else-world” counterparts.

I’m not one of them.

Even after entering this human body of mine, the thoughts, feelings, and memories of my alternate selves always lurked within my subconscious. At times, these thoughts, feelings, and memories would surface, and I would find myself living in other worlds.

Not exactly the most exhilarating experience. And living under the same roof as Tsunami has made it even worse.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, Tsunami hasn’t “take over” Sasami’s body, nor will she ever; they’ve been a single entity from the day that Tsunami melded with Sasami to save the little girl’s life. However, just as my self-imposed “demotion” to the human realm didn’t completely erase my identity
as a Goddess, neither did Tsunami’s “demotion” completely erase hers. But I digress. The point is, the fact that a fellow Goddess is so close makes my awareness even clearer and harder to ignore.

(…)

One of the universes which exemplifies the uglier side of “science” would probably be the one I call “The Arms Race From Hell”. In that one, “I” (the me that existed in that universe) worked in one of the major weapons manufacturers which fought for control over the Earth. While “I” was not a
Goddess in that world, “I” was still quite a genius. I’m not just exaggerating here; my alternate self discovered how to program AI’s that could have easily trounced Deep Blue in terms of processing power. “I” also discovered how to program independent thought.

It was quite easy, actually. “I” simply realized that, instead of writing commands the way classical programmers did, “I” only had to develop some sort of learning algorithm. Each AI would then start as a “tabula rasa”, just like a human baby would, save a few instincts that would more or less ensure their survival.

The concept was a work of art.

And it was implemented in a system that could have produced the world’s most dangerous living weapons.

What makes it even worse is that “I” knew that, but “I” chose to develop that technology anyway. Just because “I” could, and “I” would be noticed by the higher-ups.

Not that this me is that much better, of course. I’ve lost count of how many times I wished I could go back and change what I did. But I never do. I’m much too aware of the consequences of that.