|Ben 10: Road Trip|
|Season 1, Episode 1|
|Air Date||03/09/2018 (UK)|
Ben 10: Reboot Revolution
From The Ashes
Burning Bridges was the wiki's featured episode for October 2018.
Across a vast and dense universe stars die, and lives perish. A new age draws near. Not one of peace and prosperity, nor one of death and despair. It will be an age of uncertainty as an unseeable future approaches. Psychics go blind, time travellers lose their paths, and those from days yet to come vanish into oblivion.
In the darkest depths of a starship larger than the Earth, hidden beneath the last remaining societies of a once-mighty race, lies the shattered but functional remains of a once equally mighty threat. The few parts of him that had been brought back together sat on their pedestal in a sealed chamber far beneath the rest of his race. He saw this change, but he saw it for what it really was. He smiled, with what little strength he had, before returning to his immobile state with his now immortal grin.
Ben wanders the streets of Undertown, hidden beneath a brown cloak and not without aim. On any human street his attire would draw suspicious attention, but here among alien tastes his dress sense was of no one’s concern but his own. Despite this disconnect, his discretion would be immediately uncovered in either community -his face was a well known image of heroism and hope across this galaxy. This fact that ate away at him inside, especially after his last conversation with anyone he would have considered a friend.
Even if he had ruined the only friendships he cared about, he still had a duty to maintain. Ben was a hero, and heroes saved lives regardless of who was in danger. Today, he planned on saving the Plumbers. He thought back once again to his conversation with Timekiller, and the Lenopan creatures with mechanical implements bleeding out of their liquid bodies that he had been shown attacking the Plumber Base.
Timekiller: “ If they are what I think they are, someone in Undertown may be able to identify them.”
He thought back even further to the hooded figure he had seen Liam purchasing weapons from a few days prior. He had disappeared with a cyan-coloured teleportation at the first sign that Ben intended to subdue him. The weapon was a dark metal colour, but Ben remembered little else of its design. It’s not as though he’d have been able to tell which race might have designed it if he remembered more, though. The one thing Ben did remember, that he had paid little attention to at the time, was the piercing red eyes of the hooded figure. They were little more than two single red lines, but they stuck in the front of Ben’s mind. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d seen them somewhere before.
He arrives at the Gas House. Ben’s first visit to Undertown many months ago had brought him here, at least now Ben better knew how to deal with its patrons. Ben brought his Omnitrix to bear and slid through the aliens. Heatblast, Swampfire, Humungousaur, Lodestar, and finally his alien of choice. The black faceplate slid away to reveal the inner core, which Ben pressed down gently.
The large rotund alien entered the bar. Its sickly green skin hidden beneath the cloak, which the Omnitrix had attempted to wrap around him. He tore it off almost immediately and threw it aside, it was of little use in here and was only getting in his way. He coughed loudly, drawing the gazes of the occupants through the blue haze.
ImmoBile: “I’m looking for information. Anyone who knows this symbol should be aware that I’m not to be messed with.”
He points to the green hourglass symbol on his belt. A pair of glowing red eyes turn to meet him through the haze. Although Ben cannot make out the features of the silhouette attached to them, the voice sounds familiar.
???: “What a coincidence, me and my friends here have actually been looking for you.”
ImmoBile: “Ominous. What do you want from me?”
The figure steps forwards, and two other figures rise up behind it. Jets of steam fire out of the central figure, clearing the blue gas and revealing a brass-clad Piscciss Premann cyborg -one Ben had known for years. Besides him, a purple armoured Sotoraggian assassin and a red-clad Chimera Sui Generis with a large hammer on her back.
Kraab: “A little Anodite birdie offered to pay us in Taydenite to bring you into Plumber custody. You’ve made some enemies, Tennyson, but I can’t say you didn’t choose well.”
ImmoBile: “Kraab, Sixsix, and fresh blood. Honestly I thought I’d seen the last of you two, the Chimeran is new.”
She cocks her head in response to the title Ben had given her, as if to say “Damn that’s a cool name, I wish I’d named myself that.”
???: “The name’s Koraxx. The details are unimportant.”
ImmoBile: “Alright. So, Sixsix, where’s Sevenseven and Eighteight?”
The Sotoraggian responds in growls and snarls that the Omnitrix abandons hope of translating, not that it needed to anymore.
ImmoBile: “Time away from the family? I can sympathise with that.”
Kraab: “Exactly, we’re all friends here. So what’d’ya say we strike a deal?”
ImmoBile: “I’m not against not fighting, but I’m not optimistic that you really have my interests in mind.”
Kraab: “Well you’re looking for something, right? Whatever it is, the Plumbers want it too.”
Koraxx: “Or they don’t want you having it.”
Kraab: “Bingo. So how ‘bout we tell you if we know anything, then we go back and collect the bounty on you? Save your fighting energy for breaking free from the Plumbers.”
Ben paused for a moment. He considered taking them up on their offer, before realising the position he was in. He smiled an ugly grin through his Spheroid form.
ImmoBile: “Yeah, sure. You have a deal.”
The three mercenaries where suddenly overcome with a dumbfounded expression of shock.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “What’s the catch?”
ImmoBile: “No catch.”
Kraab: “Alright, let’s go. It’d look better if you put on these energy cuffs and--”
ImmoBile: “Oh, but hold on.”
Kraab paused from pulling a pair of metal rings out from his back.
ImmoBile: “If you take me to the Plumbers before helping me, you won’t get the opportunity to tell me what I need to know before the Plumbers can act against me.”
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “And there it is.”
Kraab: “Fine, what do you need to know?”
Koraxx: “You can’t be serious?”
ImmoBile: “I’m looking for someone, I know they’re in Undertown, that specialises in advanced alien tech. More specifically, powerful guns and/or cyborg Lenopans.”
Kraab: “If it’s tech you’re looking for- They have to be in Undertown?”
ImmoBile: “That is the only solid fact I have about whoever I’m looking for.”
Kraab: “Then you’re looking for either Pakmar--”
ImmoBile: “Absolutely not.”
Kraab: “Or the Blacksmith.”
ImmoBile: “That sounds more likely.”
Kraab: “You’ve probably met him before. I’ve had him touch up my suit once or twice.”
Kraab admires the craftsmanship of his brass body briefly before returning his attention to Ben.
Kraab: “So we’ve kept up with our half of the deal. You going to keep up with yours?”
ImmoBile: “Not a chance.”
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “The fact you actually fell for that speaks volume about why he keeps beating you.”
Kraab: “Hey he’s beaten you more than he’s beaten me.”
Koraxx: “And he’s yet to beat me!”
The Chimeran steps forwards, pulls the hammer from her back, and turns it on. It crackles with blue lightning. Only now did Ben realise that, in his current state, this hammer had him matched for size. One blow from that would be devastating.
Koraxx: “The bounty contract says dead or alive!”
She charges ImmoBile.
Koraxx: “FOR VILGAXIA!”
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “Like hell it did! Stop her!”
ImmoBile inflates rapidly. Koraxx swings down but Ben unleashes a blast of pressurised slime that launches her away just in time. She lands on a table, crushing it. The patrons once sat there flee, as the mucus-like slime begins to harden around the Chimeran. Sixsix stands over her.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “We need him alive!”
Koraxx: “I don’t care! I want him dead!”
ImmoBile: “What’s her problem?”
Kraab: “No idea. But I know what yours is: me!”
Kraab steps up to confront Ben.
ImmoBile: “Yeah alright.”
He expands once more, preparing another volley of slime. Kraab does not brace himself before being coated in ImmoBile’s attack. Kraab’s head is totally covered by goo, and Ben smiles at one less threat to deal with. That is, until the slime drips off of Kraab effortlessly. The cyborg glows slight blue around the parts of him covered in slime, and Ben sees that the slime had never even touched him in the first place. It was being held off of him by a thin energy shield around Kraab’s body.
Kraab: “Remember those upgrades I mentioned? Matterphobic Hardlight Plating. Specifically added to deal with Lepidopterran targets, but it works against Spheroids too.”
ImmoBile: “Congratulations. You found a specific exploit to beat one of my aliens. Acknowledging that, I’m no longer going to use this alien.”
Ben taps the Omnitrix dial on his belt, transforming instantly into Big Chill. The air immediately in front of his face crystallises with each of his freezing breaths.
Big Chill: “Step up, crab man.”
Big Chill’s living cloak opens out to reveal his wings, which phase through the ceiling and tables to expand his silhouette as fully as possible. Kraab raises his large left claw and fires a blast of red energy at Ben, but the attack does nothing.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “Heat-based attacks are useless against Neceofriggians!”
Kraab: “I knew that.”
Kraab raises his arm out again, this time spraying a yellow fluid at Big Chill. Big Chill fades slightly and retracts his wings back over his body, attempting to allow the liquid to pass through him but it catches him anyway and covers him. The fluid around his face freezes and he pulls it off, allowing him to see again.
Kraab: “Hyper-tangible Pseudofluid. I believe you’re familiar with it?”
Ben considers his next actions for a moment before a loud cracking gains the attention of Ben and the two unrestrained mercs. The sickly material holding down Koraxx is bubbling slightly while the more solid parts of it are being pulled apart by the struggling Chimeran. Sixsix steps back for a moment, confused, before raising his index finger as he realises what is wrong.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “Looks like Spheroid Slime doesn’t set right in this atmosphere.”
Koraxx breaks out of the restraining slime and immediately swings her arm for Sixsix, catching him by surprise and sending him flying over the bar into the glass drinks behind. He brings himself back to his feet, to meet the annoyed barkeep.
Barkeep: “Take it outside! I have to sell this stock!”
Four spindly metal tentacles extend out of Sixsix’s back, each with small red-tipped extremities attached to the end.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “I’m sure it’ll sell well when you’re dead and buried!”
Barkeep: “Y-You can keep it!”
The Barkeep flees through the back door. Koraxx strides towards Ben, before Kraab steps in between them.
Kraab: “What the hell is wrong with you?! Don’t you want to be paid?”
Koraxx: “Not at all.”
Kraab: “Then why did you join us?”
Koraxx: “To kill him!”
She points menacingly at Ben.
Big Chill: “Get in line.”
Kraab: “Well we need him alive to get paid, if that means I have to fight you I wi--”
Koraxx punches Kraab across the room with the back of her forearm. She advances on Ben.
Koraxx: “You killed Vilgax...”
Big Chill: “Yes I did.”
Koraxx: “And now I’m going to kill you!”
Big Chill: “I doubt that.”
She leans back with her hammer in both hands, preparing to swing. It crackles with visible electricity once more, but Big Chill is undeterred.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “Ben! Dodge!”
Big Chill: “Wait why--”
Koraxx swings the huge hammer around and slams into an unfaltering Ben, who very abruptly falters across the Gas House. He crashes and slides across a table before landing in the soft upholstery of a sofa attached to the far wall. He seizes in place, twitching from the electricity but unmoving because of the force of the attack. Ben had forgotten two very key facts of his situation, both of which led to that attack hitting all that much harder.
Kraab picks himself back up. A small red light on the side of his head illuminates.
He slowly regains control over his muscles and attempts to sit up, holding his chest tightly. He looks up, to see the Chimeran advancing on him again. At this rate, Ben realised, he was going to run out of Omnitrix power before the fight was over. He thinks on his feet, and taps the Omnitrix dial again.
Big Chill immediately shifts into the large grey tank that is NRG, his new body shoving the nearby furniture away with force as it comes into existence. He climbs to his feet.
NRG: “Enough games.”
Koraxx: “I agree.”
The Chineran runs at Ben, swinging the hammer down upon him from overhead. NRG catches the head of the hammer in his hand and the electricity dissipates into his dense insulating armour. NRG’s hand starts glowing red. Koraxx realises what he’s doing and tries to pull her weapon away but she cannot free it from her grip. The hammer starts to glow red as well and she releases it for fear of burning herself. It slowly melts into metal sludge in NRG’s hand.
Koraxx: “That weapon was a family heirloom!”
NRG: “Then you should’ve been more careful with it.”
Koraxx lunges at NRG, slamming her fists repeatedly into his armour with little effect. In response, NRG simply punches her in the gut before pulling back and sending her flying with a punch directly to the face. By comparison, NRG’s attacks were slow and sluggish but far more devastating. She does not get up.
Sixsix and Kraab stand in between Ben and Koraxx.
Kraab: “We don’t want to fight you, we just want the money.”
NRG: “You’ll get the fight and no money!”
Suddenly the Omnitrix’s alarm begins to sound as it times out, but this time instead of flashing red it flashes a dull grey. Ben reverts to his human form in shock. He is wearing a white shirt with a green outline in the shape of an hourglass running over it.
Ben: “No! I was so close!”
He immediately goes to select a new alien, in arrogant hope that it would work. Instead the selection ring shows up with an error symbol.
Omnitrix: “Function unavailable.”
Ben resets the Omnitrix to its default position and tries again.
Omnitrix: “Function unavailable. Database locked.”
Ben: “Omnitrix: hard reset!”
Omnitrix: “Function restricted.”
Kraab: “Looks like the Plumbers got my message.”
The red light on the side of his head turns off.
Kraab: “Don’t know how they turned off your watch, though.”
Ben stops for a moment to think.
Ben: “What was that about not wanting to fight again?”
Sixsix and Kraab advance on Ben, weapons drawn.
Gwen, Kevin, and Rook stand alone in the main control room of the Plumber orbital base. It was a rare sight to see the room so empty, an even rarer sight to see Rook out of uniform. He was wearing casual Earth clothing, blue jeans and a brown faux leather jacket, as recommended by Gwen. With a loud blaring alarm, the elevator in the centre of the space station approaches.
Gwen: “Are you sure we can trust him?”
Kevin: “He surrendered didn’t he?”
Rook: “Only after Azmuth shut off his Omnitrix.”
Gwen: “He what?!”
Kevin: “Relax. Kraab set up a video feed while you were off studying, we could see that he was safe. That’s why I told you to hire him, he actually follows the ‘wanted alive’ clause”
Gwen: “...And the other two?”
Rook: “Sixsix is known for taking orders as literally as he has to.”
Kevin: “And Koraxx was out cold.”
The elevator stops silently, and the doors open slowly. Ben, with his arms restrained behind his back, steps out first. He is followed shortly by the two fully-armoured mercenaries, Sixsix and Kraab, who both stop suddenly like deer in headlights as they see Kevin.
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “You’re not still mad about--”
Kevin holds up his hand dismissively.
Kevin: “You brought Ben back in good enough shape. We’re even. Well he’s slightly uglier than before- no, wait, he always looked like that.”
Ben: “With jokes like that, I’d almost guess I’d been forgiven?”
The elevator shaft closes, and the elevator descends further into the base.
Kevin: “I’ve forgiven you. I’ve done a LOT worse to you guys, it’d be wrong of me to hold you to higher standards, especially given the circumstances.”
Ben: “I mean, I was kinda a jerk.”
Kevin: “Yeah but nothing on the level of trying to murder your friends.”
Ben: “And what about you two?”
Gwen: “You don’t need to apologise, but I don’t think I’m going to forgive you yet.”
Ben: “That’s fair.”
Kraab coughs loudly.
Kraab: “This is touching and all, but I believe we were promised a payment?”
Rook picks up a duffle bag and tosses it across the room. Sixsix catches it, and Kraab watches as he opens it to check the contents.
Rook: “Three kilograms of pure Taydenite, as promised.”
Sixsix (in Sotoraggian): “You’re not gonna stop us on our way out are you?”
Kevin: “You didn’t see any guards on your way in did you?”
Ben: “Can you remove these cuffs before you go?”
A ring of blue energy surrounds both of Ben’s wrists, connected by a bar of grey metal. Kraab grabs the bar with his small left hand, and the energy cuffs dissipate. He turns to the elevator without a word, and presses the button to bring it back up. The pair of mercs wait.
Ben: “So if you didn’t bring me here to apologise why did you bring me here?”
Rook: “Because Azmuth wanted to speak to you.”
Ben: “About whether I’m worthy of wielding the Omnitrix or not?”
Rook: “I don’t know.”
The elevator returns, this time with little fanfare, and Azmuth emerges from it riding a small hover platform carrying a comparatively large metal pillar. At the top of the technological pillar sits a familiar pod. The two guns-for-hire slink last him into the elevator. The entire facility had been cleared out to make way for them and their catch, and they didn’t still want to be there when the rest of the Plumbers returned.
Azmuth: “Tennyson. Your watch.”
He holds his hand out beckoningly. Ben sloaches defeatedly. He complies, carefully removing the Omnitrix from his left wrist, and passing it down to Azmuth. He sets the device down behind himself, before touching a pad on the platform. The pod atop the pillar opens, and the black device inside bursts out and latches onto Ben’s now-empty wrist before he has chance to step back.
It settles into place after a few seconds, revealing its true appearance.
Seemingly without prompt, the dial in the center of the device pops out. Two silver spikes extend out of the now-exposed core, seemingly blocking its path back into the device. A green hologram displays a stout humanoid entity with bulbous growths on its arms and head.
Azmuth: “You have seven days to prove to me that you still deserve to be the wielder of the Omnitrix. The Type 2 Omnimatrix has ten aliens in it. Total. The Master Control will be active for the first six hours while you learn how to use them, I’m not heartless.”
Ben: “Wait only ten aliens?”
Azmuth: “You think you deserve more? If you have any questions ask SD-1. I’ll see you in seven days.”
He turns and picks the outdated Omnitrix back up.
Ben: “Wait, who’s…?”
Before Ben can finish, Azmuth disappears into a white light. Ben turns to the others.
Rook: “Honestly I did not think he was still going to give you that watch.”
Ben: “You knew?”
Rook: “It was supposed to be a surprise.”
Kevin whispers to Rook behind Gwen’s back.
Kevin: “We still doing the other part of this?”
Ben: “There’s another part?”
Rook sighs as the elevator returns up the shaft to the center of the room. He walks into it.
Rook: “Follow me.”
Gwen and Kevin follow shortly, but Ben turns back to his Omnitrix. He carefully presses the dial down, and the obstructing spikes slide back into the core as it does to allow its passage downwards.
Ben’s flesh turns a dry beige and begins to flake before cracking into a solid rocky substance up his arm and across his body. As his body shifts and warps most of the cracks are forced back together and fuse into a solid mass, but those that do not fill with bright orange magma which begins to bubble and merge into large pustules down his arms and upon his head. As the transformation nears completion, the pustules settle and relocate themselves into a neater arrangement. A single large growth of magma forms atop his head, another on each upper arm, and a final set on each forearm.
When the glow fades, Ben finds himself a foot shorter than he was before. His arms now stretch down almost past his knees. He inspects his new form with eager anticipation. It had been a few weeks since he had last unlocked a new form. Gwen and Kevin stop and turn before reaching the elevator. Ben looks up, quickly realising now was not the time.
Ben (???): “Sorry.”
He quickly flashes back to his human form and follows the rest into the elevator. They stand silently together as the doors close and it descends down into the lower levels of the space station. Ben is the first to break the silence.
Ben: “So… are we cool?”
Rook: “Are you asking me?”
Ben: “Yeah. You don’t seem so angry.”
Rook: “I’m sorry. I was angry at you for how you acted the other day but with all things considered I shouldn’t have been. I guess I was disappointed seeing the man who trained me to be a true Plumber acting so emotionally. But I’m over it. It helps no one to hold that against you. Azmuth is the one you’ll need to forgive you.”
Ben smiles. It was somewhere between forgiveness and a complement of how Rook saw him.
Ben: “Does Grandpa know?”
Gwen: “We couldn’t not tell him. He helped set this whole thing up.”
Kevin: “Said he wasn’t surprised, but was glad you didn’t hurt anyone.”
Ben: “What’s that supposed to mean? Where are we going, anyway?”
Rook: “Down to the hangar.”
The elevator crawls to a halt and the doors slide open into a large open room. On the far side is a blue-tinted force field, holding in the air from the dark vacuum outside. Distantly, the starship that Ben and the mercenaries had arrived in burns away into the stars.
I’m the centre of the nearly-empty hangar sits a lone vehicle. As large as Kevin’s own Rust Bucket 3, it was sleek and sharp with dark black paint accented with green. Three telescopic legs hold it off the ground, and a large rear door is angled down to allow access. Ben motions to Kevin.
Ben: “This your latest project? Looks good.”
Kevin: “Thanks, Me and Rook spent a few weeks making it for you.”
Ben: “Come again?”
Rook steps forwards.
Rook: “The Stardust! Made from the best tech we could get our hands on. Tetramand Engine Block, reinforced Mechamimic Plating, the beds are even made using Circadian design philosophy.”
Rook: “It is a fully functional home-on-the-go. You did say you wanted to go on a galactic road trip didn’t you?”
Ben: “Yeah but… But what’s the point? You can’t just ditch your position on Earth, and Gwen’s exams will be coming up soon. I don’t imagine Kevin would leave without her. I’d be on my own, a road trip for one.”
Rook: “Well it would be a great way to start looking for methods to prove your worth to Azmuth.”
Ben: “I suppose.”
Kevin: “Wait sorry did you say you were going to be alone?”
Ben: “Well I will be, won’t I?”
Kevin laughs cockily.
Kevin: “Nah, that’s the best part. Me and Rook? Thought of everything. Follow me.”
Kevin jogs up the ramp into the Stardust. Rook follows, walking casually. Ben turns to Gwen, hoping she would know what Kevin had meant, but she doesn’t have a clue either. The two walk together aboard Ben’s new ship.
The door atop the ramp opens into a wide metal room, itself leading to the other facilities of the vessel. Kevin and Rook were stood outside a double door directly opposite the entrance. Murmuring can be heard from within. When Rook sees that Gwen and Ben had joined them, he taps his hand onto the door and it slides open with a gentle woosh.
Inside was a wide cockpit area with two leather seats positioned either side a dividing metal bar. Four more seats were positioned behind these two at the back of the room, albeit out of reach of the controls. The two main seats where held up against a control panel covered in black computer screens and green buttons. Where the silver divide in the center of the cockpit reached the control panel a plain metal cylinder protrudes upwards projecting a blue holographic face in front of the middle of the almost panoramic forward window. It was talking to two small figures, one sat in each chair. They were the Galvan scientists Blukic and Driba.
Rook and Kevin enter quietly as Blukic and Driba talk endless technobabble into the apathetic computer.
Blukic: “And on a scale of one to ten, how much would you like to be offline right now?”
Driba: “Hmm that’s a little high. Could we aim for something like an eight?”
Computer: “Twelve. Please stop talking to me.”
The holographic face of the computer was a translucent blue rectangle. It has angular eyes and two fang-like points protruding from its upper lip. There is a handlebar-esque crest upon its forehead. It speaks with a tomboyish female voice. It looks over to Rook and Kevin, but does not acknowledge their presence as to keep them hidden from the Galvan.
Blukic: “Well there’s the hostility Azmuth mentioned.”
Computer: “Firstly I have been nothing but hostile to you for the last five minutes. Secondly he also told you both to stop trying to tinker with me.”
Driba: “You didn’t complain about the tinkering when we built you.”
Kevin and the computer both laugh. Blukic and Driba freeze as they suddenly become aware that they aren’t alone.
Computer: “You two didn’t build me, why do you think Azmuth was on Earth the other day?”
Driba: “W-well what happened to the mainframe we built?”
Computer: “It kept collapsing, dying, he deleted it.”
Rook: “And what happened to the order to evacuate the base with the rest of the Plumbers?”
The Galvan swivel around in their seat, now forced to acknowledge their company.
Blukic: “Well excuse us for trying to help.”
Rook: “Well you’re not helping. The ship is fine. Please leave.”
Driba: “How rude.”
Blukic and Driba jump off of their seats and march out of the spaceship.
Computer: “Oh thank you Rook. Hello Kevin, Gwen. And you must be Ben. It is nice to meet you at last.”
Rook: “Ben, this is SD-1, The Stardust’s computer.”
SD-1: “I am a next generation Pixi Artificial Intelligence Hologram made by Azmuth to accompany you on your journeys.”
Ben: “Cool. So you’re why Kevin laughed when I said I’d be alone on here?”
Gwen nudges Kevin with her elbow.
Gwen: “How long did you spend on this?”
Kevin: “On and off for a few months. Hey Ben, why don’t you give it a spin?”
Ben: “Hell yeah!”
Ben jumps into the forward left seat and grabs a pair of joysticks. He pulls them back slightly and they click out of place, the ships floats off the ground slowly as the hind ramp and landing gear close into place.
Gwen: “You can fly this thing?”
Ben: “Yeah the controls where based on the Proto-TRUK, right?”
Rook: “Of course. Stick with what you know, as they say.”
Gwen: “You’ve driven the Proto-TRUK? You don’t have a license!”
Ben: “Arrest me then.”
He tightens his grip, pulling in a trigger on one of the joysticks and the ship floats slowly forwards. It gently glides out through the airlock forcefield of the space station. Outside, many Plumber ships wait to return now that the deal had been made and the mercenaries had left. The Stardust begins to accelerate once it enters open space. Ben aims the ship across the Earth’s horizon. Gwen and Kevin remain stood up, the ride was smooth like an aeroplane, but Rook decided to sit down in one of the seats behind Ben.
Ben: “So, where we heading?”
Rook: “Max is waiting for us at the Bellwood base.”
Ben pulls back on the controls, the ship continues on its path but stops accelerating.
Ben: “We’re not going to the Bellwood Plumber Base.”
Rook: “Why not?”
Ben: “You guys might have forgiven me but I haven’t forgiven myself yet. I lashed out against you all. Max wasn’t even there, and I don’t want to know what he has to say until I can make it better again.”
Gwen: “You don’t need to make it better, I already said you don’t need to apologise. Why would you need to apologise to Grandpa?”
Ben: “Because what I did was wrong. I lapsed and let my emotions take over. I don’t want to know how much I’ve disappointed him.”
Kevin: “Alright then, what were you doing when the mercs found you?”
Ben: “I was looking for whoever was behind the Cyborg Sludgepuppies that attacked you guys the other day.”
Gwen: “How do you even know about those?”
Ben: “Timekiller showed me.”
Ben: “The Chronosapien that swapped me and Delta, and… And killed No Watch Ben.”
SD-1: “Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the villain who attacked you would be the same one that attacked the others?”
Ben: “He claims to have had nothing to do with them. He did tell me that someone in Undertown might know, though.”
Kevin: “Well how far did you get in finding whoever made them?”
Ben: “Kraab told me about some guy called ‘The Blacksmith’. Now that I have his name, all I need to do is find him.”
Gwen: “And then?”
Ben: “And then I beat him up.”
Kevin puts his hand on Ben’s shoulder.
Kevin: “And then we beat him up.”
Ben thinks of the fight ahead, which leads him to think of what alien he would use. He only knows of one of his aliens. The brown rock one. The one that looks like Ben does now. He panics and jumps out of his seat, tripping and falling and pulling the joysticks down with him. The ship falls to the left and begins to enter the atmosphere of the Earth at a harsh angle.
Rook: “Computer, stabilize us!”
SD-1: “On it!”
The joysticks begin to move on their own to restore the flightpath. An orange glow is visible through the windows.
Gwen: “Ben! Are you alright?”
Kevin: “Bad time for an alien, Ben!”
Ben (???): “Hey I didn’t do anything! I don’t know why I changed!”
SD-1: “Azmuth programmed me with a tonne of information about the T2 Omnimatrix, if you’d like to know?”
Ben (???): “It’d be appreciated.”
SD-1: “The Omnitrix is currently in a pseudo-Master Control mode, and will be for the next six hours. You can instantly change form and, save for cases where you take a hard hit, will never lose power. However, the scan function is disabled for the duration of the mode. The intention is for you to learn your current playlist of aliens before getting new ones.”
Ben (???): “So like an apprentice control?”
SD-1: “Hey, good name!”
Ben (???): “Thanks. Anything else I could do with knowing?”
SD-1: “Well it has an improved AI apparently, but it seems pretty docile. I’ve been trying to talk to it since you got here. No response. The scanning function is better now. The translation matrix now covers Sotoraggian. Don’t know why it didn’t before.”
Ben (???): “But I already speak Sotoraggian. It’s not a hard language to learn.”
SD-1: “Then it won’t translate Sotoraggian for you. It also translates Pictospeak, which other Pixi-type AIs will speak. Lastly it can now restrict certain transformations if using that form would be dangerous, such as trying to use a human form in an environment of Chlorine gas.”
Ben (???): “Cool… I think. So do you know what my aliens can do?”
SD-1: “I’d rather you learned yourself. More fun that way.”
Ben (???): “Alright then, that’s a job for later.”
He taps the Omnitrix dial on his chest, reverting to his human form before he sits back down in his seat.
Ben: “You take us down to the Edge-of-Bellwood Undertown entrance, I’ll be looking through my aliens so I’m not just stuck with using the one later. You know where that is, right?”
SD-1: “No, but I know where Bellwood is. I can find it from there.”
The filthy, standing water in the bottom of the enormous pipe splashes out of place for the first time in weeks as the Stardust’s engines unsettled it in its journey past. The tunnel opens out high over Undertown, beneath the roof of the surface world, and the ship glides gently overhead before descending into the docks on the far edge of the alien village.
The Stardust was not a massive ship by any means, but it still had to be careful as it hovered above the water to open the rear door over the boardwalk. Ben, Gwen, and Kevin jumped the short distance down to the wooden platform, but Rook stayed behind and watched them from the rear of the ship.
Ben: “You coming?”
Rook: “I can’t. I have work to do back at the Plumber base. I’ll meet up with you again before you leave, though!”
Rook disappears into the bowels of the ship as the door silently shuts and the Stardust glides up and away. Ben turns back to the other two. He thinks as he does; apparently he was going on a Galactic Road Trip, not that he’d made the choice himself.
Gwen: “So, do you have any leads?”
Ben snaps back to the situation at hand.
Ben: “Well I know he’s called the Blacksmith.”
Gwen: “That doesn’t help.”.”
Kevin: “On the contrary, names have power in the world of crime. We can do a lot now that we know who we’re looking for.”
Ben: “Kraab also said Pakmar may be able to help.”
Kevin frowns, stumped.
Kevin: “Why would Pakmar have anything to do with the attack on the Plumber base?”
Ben: “I think I met him once before, though. He sold a gun to Liam but got away before I could catch him.”
Gwen: “And why do you assume that this is the same guy?”
Ben: “Both are attacking from the shadows. Both clearly have something against the Plumbers. Both are in Undertown… Or were. I don’t know. Both deal in very powerful technology.”
Kevin: “That’s not a list of rare traits.”
Ben: “Do you have anything better to go on?”
There is suddenly a loud crash heard from within a nearby building. Gwen raises her hand.
Gwen: “I do.”
The trio rush across the street. Turning the corner, they see a blue, patchwork Techadon robot climbing out of a pile of rubble. There is a gaping red hole through its chest. Gwen assumes her Lucky Girl form, changing from a human appearance to that of a purple Anodite with flowing pink hair. Kevin touches the ground, absorbing the concrete into himself to increase his strength. Ben brings the Omnitrix to bear, and slams the dial down without looking at the dial.
Ben’s skin turns a pale white. His legs and body shrink as his head grows slightly, gaining a large pig-like snout and daft round ears. A large pool of red liquid forms atop his head, stretching all the way down his back.
A small voice echoes from within the building across from the rubble. There is a massive hole where the robot had presumably come from.
Voice: “When Pakmar says stay out, he means stay out!”
Techadon Robot: “Invalid request; payment required.”
Pakmar: “He gets no money! If he wanted money, she should not have sold me such a powerful gun!”
Pakmar shoots again, and a bright crimson beam pierces the robot’s shoulder causing it to stumble backwards over the rubble. Pakmar moves his aim to the left slightly, now gunning for the head. He fires the glowing gun again, but the attack merely bounces off of the automaton’s forehead accompanied by a loud bleep from the weapon; it was overheating.
Pakmar: “Bah! Why should I pay for gun that doesn’t work?!”
Ben (???): “It worked pretty well a second ago.”
Ben speaks in a deep, nasally voice.
Kevin: “Yeah just let it cool off for a minute, it’ll be fine.”
Pakmar immediately aims for Ben, who instinctively raises his hands.
Pakmar: “I recognise that symbol! Go away Tennyson! I don’t want you ruining my business again!”
Ben (???): “Well you were already doing such a fine job of that yourself, I thought I’d come and help out.”
Kevin steps away from Ben.
Kevin: “Don’t antagonise him Ben, even overheated that weapon could still melt you like an ice cube!”
Ben looks up and turns his palms inwards to inspect them. He sees a closed aperture in the centre of each palm.
Ben (???): “But can it do this?”
He points his hands straight towards Pakmar’s gun and the apertures open to unleash a torrent of hot red wax that covers the weapon. Pakmar yelps and drops it before the heat of the wax causes it to steam and crack apart.
Pakmar: “You broke my gun! You pay for it!”
Techadon Robot: “Payment must be made!”
Pakmar: “He pay! His gun now!”
The hole-filled robot turns to the trio as Pakmar flees back into his building.
Gwen: “Way to go Ben!”
Ben (???): “We were gonna have to fight this thing anyway, what’d I do wrong?”
Gwen: “A second ago we had a gun that helped out!”
Kevin: “I don’t think we’re going to need that gun.”
Techadon Robot: “Patience exceeded: payment failed. The debt must be collected!”
Ben (???): “Does that mean killing us or…?”
Techadon Robot: “Galvan Omnimatrix detected. This will suffice as payment.”
Ben (???): “Yeah I’m not giving you the Omnitrix.”
Techadon Robot: “The debt must be collected!”
The robot shifts into a bracing stance. Its chest panels split apart and slide out of the way, revealing an array of small missiles. A large pink shield forms in front of the three heroes courtesy of Gwen as the missiles begin firing. They collide with the shield and explode, each missile damaging the barrier just a little bit more. After a few short moments the barrier shatters, but the barrage ends as it does.
The robot moves back into a neutral position and its chest closes again. Before the smoke has a chance to clear, the concrete Kevin charges the automaton. He jumps, and slams a blade-like arm into the hole in the robot’s shoulder. He shape shifts his arm, growing many sharp protrusions that dig into the robot’s internal components. Kevin goes to unlodge his arm, but the Robot grabs him with its other arm and tosses him across the street into a building.
Gwen rushes over to make sure her boyfriend wasn’t hurt. The Techadon Robot’s gaze follows her across the street until a blast of hot wax grabs its attention. Ben snorts.
Ben (???): “It’s me you want!”
Techadon Robot: “Correct.”
The robot clunkily turns back to face Ben, who slams it again with a continuous stream of wax. The robot lifts both its un-covered arms out towards Ben. Panels on its forearms fold away, and two gatling guns rise out of them. Before they get the chance to fire, Ben quickly redirects his wax attack towards the weapons, but as he does he notices the still-molten wax from the robot’s chest following and moving to the attacker’s arms. The robot stumbles backwards. It struggles to remove the wax from itself, but loses concern with this when two pink discs slam into it. Gwen and Kevin stand ready to rejoin the fight.
Techadon Robot: “Threats assessed. Removing Complications.”
The machine turns back to Gwen and Kevin. Its chest opens once more and it stands braced. Gwen summons a second shield, but before it has a chance to fire a second volley Ben waves his arms frantically and invisibly commands the wax coating the robot to flow over the exposed missile silos.
The Techadon Robot annihilates itself nearly instantly. Only two of the missiles escape from the wax prison before the entire it seals itself, but they crash into Gwen’s shield with little consequence. The third smashes straight into the blood-red wax and detonates, beginning a chain reaction as every other missile in the chest is caught in the explosion of another missile and exploding in turn. The upright scrapyard collapses, its vital components now obliterated. Kevin and Gwen walk over to Ben’s side.
Gwen: “That was way too easy.”
Ben (???): “Yeah. It felt like a budget ‘bot. I mean, I beat it with a new alien? And this alien isn’t even that strong?”
Kevin: “Don’t take all the credit. Me and Gwen helped.”
Ben (???): “Yeah you were very helpful being thrown through a wall.”
Kevin: “Watch it Pig-face!”
Ben (???): “Oink? Pig-face?”
Kevin: “Is that what you’re gonna call it? It’s a fitting name.”
Ben (???): “What I call my aliens is none of your beeswax... Beeswax… Boarswax. Boarswax. That’s what I’m calling this alien!”
Gwen: “Not to be a buzzkill but we have more important things to worry about than naming Ben’s new forms.”
Boarswax: “Oh right yeah. Where’d Pakmar go again?”
Kevin points to the wrecked building nearby. Ben flashes back to his human form, and searches through his playlist of aliens for something threatening.
Ben: “Alright, let’s go make him talk!”
He slams the dial down. His flesh turns a sickly dull chrome and his head retreats into his body, shifting into a large dome with antennae-like ears. His forearms and knees become a rich orange, and head head follows suit. His eyes vanish, his mouth is replaced by a small dark grey bar. Ben towers over his two friends, and inspects his new form.
Ben (???): “Kzzzzcht!”
He looks up abruptly, placing a hand on his throat.
Ben (???): “ch-ch-ch-wrrr?”
Kevin walks past Ben, tapping him with his concrete hands. Gwen follows.
Kevin: “Let me do the talking.”
The two enter the building. Ben just barely fits through the hole, luckily the Techadon Robot matched his new form in size. The other side opens into a small shop filled with plants of various shapes, sizes, and planets of origin. Pakmar tends to them before he hears the trio enter, at which point he abruptly runs over to them.
Pakmar: “No! No no! Out! You three not welcome!”
Ben (???): “Chchch-chka!”
Kevin: “Relax, shortstuff. We just want to ask a few questions.”
Pakmar: “Pakmar no talk! Go away! Shop closed!”
Gwen: “We just need to know who sold you that gun!”
Pakmar: “Find them yourself!”
Ben (???): “Bzzzz.”
Ben raises one of his arms and fires a bolt of powerful electricity that instantly reduces one of Pakmar’s plants to a blackened smoulder.
Pakmar: “Hey! Stop destroying my stock! Go away!”
Ben responds by aiming his other arm and blasting another once-green plant.
Pakmar: “This criminal! Destroying my livelihood!”
He aims both hands at Pakmar.
Ben (???): “Zzzzz-kcha. Speak.”
Pakmar: “Alright! Alright! I’ll talk. I buy gun from Blacksmith. He live in Ectocrypts.”
Gwen: “Thank you, that’s all we needed to know.”
Pakmar: “I tell Plumbers about this!”
Kevin: “Do it. You’ve been buying illegal weapons from an unregistered vendor, we’ll see which one of us gets arrested.”
Ben, Gwen, and Kevin follow the paths bordering the subterranean lake, leading into the darker sub levels of Undertown. They pass through one of the boat-sized pipes and into the neighborhood known as the Ectocrypts. Ben was certain that this area was just where the Anur species could keep to themselves, away from the prying eyes of the creatures they thought of as monsters. But if they felt this way, Ben thought, why come to Earth in the first place?
Kevin had been to many places during his rebellious teenage years, but the architecture of the Anur races was something totally alien to him. If anyone asked that would be his excuse for being uncomfortable, in reality however he was scared. Ghostfreak had always been Kevin’s least favourite of Ben’s aliens, and now they walked among dozens of them. Gwen, on the other hand, was undeterred. She studied magic. She was used to gothic designs and ancient buildings. Everything here felt like it had been built by the Tudors.
After asking around for far longer than they had hoped, the trio is eventually lead by two kind Ormerowons to a fenced-off scrapyard. For once in Ben’s time in Undertown, he had found a place that felt human. And that scared him more than the locals. The walls were made of rusty, corrugated iron panels and chain link steel fences supported by bent metal poles. Deeper within the scrapyard lay a small shed, made with a similar lack of care.
Ben walks up to the fence and inspects the padlocked chain holding two of the chain link panels together. What can only be described as a camera on a stick suddenly rises up from the ground.
Camera: “Confirm identity.”
Ben: “I’m loo--”
Camera: “Identity confirmed. Access denied.”
Gwen: “Seems the Blacksmith recognises you.”
Ben quickly brings up his Omnitrix and, seeing the rather imposing figure it shows him, immediately slams the dial down. He disintegrates instantly, but the ashes quickly rebuild into a tall and sharp brown figure of rock. Beige insects swarm him, busying about their lives as they climb into and out of his body. His head lacks any features, appearing as a large shard of rock. The Omnitrix, shattered and broken in appearance, sits embedded in his chest.
Ben (???): “He’ll do more than recognise us in a second!”
Ben grabs the chain, his digit-less hands growing fingers as he does. His fingers then bleed into the gaps in the chain and the lock, changing shape and size as if fluid, and he pulls it apart with ease. His voice is not alone. Whenever he talks, multiple voices can be heard. Some masculine, some feminine, some human, others distinctly alien.
Ben (???): “Us? We said us. We? No. Us. M. E. Us.”
He pauses, confused at his newfound inability to refer to himself as a singular entity.
Ben (???): “It feels like a hive mind. We are a hive mind. We are Hivemind!”
Kevin: “That’s great. Meanwhile, the Blacksmith now knows we’re here, and it probably running. So we should be too.”
Ben glows green, and shifts back to his human form. Kevin absorbs some of the metal fence and rushes in, followed by Gwen as she assumes her Anodite form once more, and lastly followed by Ben. The path to the shed is mostly clear, with the scrap having been pushed against the sides of the property. A loud, but slightly distorted, voice suddenly fills the scrapyard.
Blacksmith: “Ben Tennyson. You destroyed my only functioning automaton and now you have arrived to ruin my life once more?”
Ben recognises the voice immediately, and does not stop moving towards the shed.
Ben: “Inspector 13. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear you behind all this.”
Blacksmith: “That name. They took that name away from me because of you! I used to be the 13th highest ranking Techadon Weapon Master, but because of you they exiled me. Now I’m just the Blacksmith.”
Ben: “Hey, it’s not my fault your technology is no match for my Omnitrix.”
Blacksmith: “But even when I stopped chasing you, still you sought out my robots and destroyed them! Now look at me! I’m making weapons from scraps!”
Ben: “I’d love to have a look at you, I’ve just got to get past this door fi--”
Ben reaches for the door handle of the large shed, only for it to be launched off of its hinges sending Ben flying backwards. He is caught by one of Gwen’s mana platforms and quickly jumps back to his feet. An unbroken cyan beam pierces the walls of the shed around the doorway, cutting out a chunk of metal before it topples to the ground. The Blacksmith emerges, an almost skeletal Techadon robot stands behind him.
Blacksmith: “What do you people want from me?!”
Gwen: “We just need answers.”
Blacksmith: “I’ve played this game long enough to know what that means, and I won’t let you take me to the Plumbers!”
He raises a weapon, totally unlike the previous two. This one was a small pistol-shaped device with spinning rings around the nozzle. Gwen and Kevin raise their hands, with no idea how powerful that gun was. One thing was for sure, it would cleave through Kevin’s metal body with ease. Ben, on the other hand, reaches for his Omnitrix once more- slamming it down without looking. He becomes a short black-skinned creature with a large triangular head and piercing green eyes. His head and arms are lined with small holes.
Ben (???): “I’m not afraid of you!”
The Blacksmith regards Ben with a look of curious horror, before an idea strikes him.
Blacksmith: “No! That form. It’s not possible!”
He takes two steps back, now being inches away from his mechanical bodyguard. Ben, assuming he has the upperhand, strides confidently past Gwen and Kevin.
Blacksmith: “Wait, you’re not going to power up before you fight me?”
Ben (???): “Power up? Heh. Don’t mind if I do!”
Trying to figure out what this meant, Ben first attempts what would -to a human- feel like inhaling. He is rewarded with a rush of energy.
Ben (???): “Oh this alien’s going to be powerful!”
He ‘inhales’ again, gaining yet more strength.
Gwen: “Ben, don’t...”
Gwen’s voice is weak, and Ben doesn’t hear her. The Blacksmith turns and runs for the exit to the scrapyard, leaving the trio to fight his poorly-made robot. Ben continues to power himself up, only pausing when he hears Gwen collapse behind him. He turns to see what was happening.
Kevin: “Ben! Stop!”
Kevin attacks him, forming his hand into a large hammer and striking Ben across the head. He lands in a nearby pile of scrap and immediately picks himself back up before rushing to his cousin’s aide. Kevin converts his steel body back to flesh and blood, and turns Gwen onto her back.
Ben (???): “Gwen! What happened?”
Kevin: “You happened Ben! You were killing her!”
Ben (???): “I- What? I didn’t know--”
Ben turns to see the Blacksmith nearing the exit. He looks down at Gwen, she was still breathing.
Ben (???): “Look, I’m sorry but if I don’t stop him who knows how many people could get hurt.”
Ben instantly transforms back into the tall robotic alien and slams his right forearm into the makeshift Techadon Robot. He grabs the robot in both arms and, with help from a powerful electric shock, pulls it in half with little resistance. This would surely have been an achievement, if the robot had seemed to be anything more than a statue. He reverts back to his human form and darts for the gates that the Blacksmith had now escaped through.
The Blacksmith barges his way through the streets of the Ectocrypt, forcing anyone and everyone out of his way and using his gun to persuade those he couldn’t physically move. Ben weaves past the bystanders with ease, closing the distance between him and his target.
Ben: “I just need to talk!”
Blacksmith: “You’ll have to kill me first!”
The Blacksmith turns into a back alley, and suddenly finds himself without civilians to use as cover. He turns and fires his tiny firearm at Ben, but misses horribly. Without consulting his watch, Ben transforms with a flash into Boarswax.
The former Weapon Master lines up a second shot, but Boarswax directs his streams of wax downwards and launch’s himself a few feet into the air. Outwards the stunt appeared pathetic, he hadn’t gone very high at all. However it was still enough for the second shot to miss.
Finally, Boarswax projects his red-hot wax at the Blacksmith himself, but waves it through the air such that it cooled as soon as it hit its target and froze. The Blacksmith fell backwards, his arms and legs locked in place.
Boarswax: “Willing to talk now?”
Boarswax: “Lenopan cyborgs. What do you know about them?”
Blacksmith: “Lenopan… Cyborgs? Impossible.”
Boarswax: “Not just possible, but very real.”
Ben suddenly hears the familiar sound of mana being spawned, and returns to his human form. Behind him, Gwen and Kevin entered the alleyway.
Ben: “Gwen, I—“
Gwen: “We’ll talk later. What has he said?”
Ben: “Not much.”
Blacksmith: “The Technology was lost! If someone has reinvented it I would know about it!”
Ben: “Lost when?”
Blacksmith: “I don’t have to tell you!”
Kevin: “You kinda do. Or, y’know, the Plumbers could find out about your little operation.”
Blacksmith: “...Lost during the Great War. During our last stand.”
Gwen: “Which Great War?”
Blacksmith: “THE Great War! The war to end all wars! The Heaven Wars!”
Ben: “The Heaven Wars? So the technology is forbidden?”
Blacksmith: “Forbidden, and also lost. We couldn’t remake it if we wanted to!”
Kevin: “And the technology is called?”
Blacksmith: “Techadon Degradations. Monsters of flesh and metal. In the darkest days of the Techadon, we had armies of thousands. Hundreds of different races were used. Lenopan, Pyronite, Tetramand, among others. Send the. Down to a planet and within hours there wouldn’t be anything left to fight us.”
Ben: “But they were destroyed?”
Blacksmith: “That’s what we thought. The records say we were preparing to defend against a full invasion. All units recalled to the homeworld. But before the Monoliths arrived the Degradations vanished.”
Kevin: “Ramiel Monoliths, I assume. How’d they vanish?”
Blacksmith: “Unknown. They disappeared without trace.”
Ben: “Could a Chronosapien have taken them?”
Blacksmith: “It’s possible, but they’d long since abandoned the war by that point.”
Ben: “So either Timekiller lied or there’s more than one Chronosapien after me now. Alright, that’s all we needed to know.”
Kevin touches the cobblestone floor, changing himself to match it before striking the Blacksmith’s was cocoon and shattering it.
Ben: “We’ll keep our end of the deal, as long as you don’t go around causing trouble.”
The Blacksmith regards them with silent hate as they leave the way they came. He retreats to the shadows, from which he will now have to start from scratch once more. The locals watch the trio carefully. The humans were not welcome here, but the aliens knew better than to enforce that fact. Ben was trailing behind the other two, before he runs up and grabs Gwen’s arm.
Ben: “Gwen, what happened? What did I do?”
Kevin: “How do you not know what you did?”
Ben: “Because I’ve never had an alien like that before! But 13 knew what I was, and he used me against you.”
Gwen: “That alien drained me. Like it was eating away at my being.”
Ben: “So it eats mana?”
Gwen: “I… I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s just because mana is an exaggerated form of life force, and I was the biggest source of it around. I’ve had my mana drained before, and I’ve had my life force drained. That felt far too much like the latter.”
Ben kept to himself after that. He now had an alien that’s main purpose was to kill. Sure, he had predatory aliens before, but this one only had the power to kill. Too weak to fight its own battles, this alien must drain its victims to even the playing field before finishing off its foes. Could he really justify using an alien like that?
The Stardust descends over the underground lake as the trio exits from the pipes back to Undertown. The rear hangar door opens, and Gwen produces a pink staircase up to it.
Rook: “Find anything?”
Ben: “Weapon Master 13 calls himself ‘The Blacksmith’ now. He won’t be a problem. The Mud Puppy Cyborgs were Techadon technology, but they haven’t existed in a long time. So whoever owned them was probably a time traveller, which is how they bypassed the base security.”
Rook: “And you’re sure this Timekiller was not the one behind them?”
Ben: “I don’t see why he’d lie to me about them and then tell me exactly how to find out what they actually are.”
Rook: “Fair point. To change the subject, are you absolutely sure you do not want to say goodbye to your grandfather?”
Ben: “Dude stop asking.”
Rook: “Sorry. I have an idea for something you can do to make it up to Azmuth.”
Rook: “You can take Sella back home.”
Ben: “And that’ll prove I’m worthy of the Omnitrix how?”
Rook: “It’s a start. And it’ll give you a good chance to make sure Pyros is doing well now that their leader is dead.”
Ben: “I see your point. Alright, let’s do it.”
Rook: “I’ll let them know.”
Sella and Fistina sit quietly on a mouldy and worn out red sofa. The room, although tidy, was in no better condition. The once-white walls were dark with mold and moss. The furniture that adorned the small living room was all reclaimed, a symptom of living in a secluded underground village. Luckily for Sella, the sofa was made of asbestos and did not burn.
Fistina: “Are you sure you’re ready to go back?”
Sella: “Not really.”
Fistina: “Then why did you say you would?”
Sella is on the verge of crying.
Sella: “Because I promised Mama I would make the world a better place.”
Fistina: “Oh Sella, honey.”
Fistina shuffles closer to Sella and puts her arm around her. Magma tears begin to stream down the Pyronite’s face.
Fistina: “Apollo is gone now. You’ve already made your world a better place.”
Sella: “Thanks, but I’m not a child. Apollo was the leader, not the empire. I need to know if everything’s better now. If anything’s better now...”
They sit silently for a moment. Sella shudders, and Fistina held her tighter. They had only known each other for a week, but neither of them was ready to see the other for the last time so soon. There is a knock on the door.
Fistina: “It’s open.”
Ben enters with a creak, followed by Rook.
Ben: “Hi Sella, Fistina. I’m sorry about the way I--”
Fistina: “I don’t care.”
Ben: “Oh, alright.”
Sella stands up, and Fistina follows. The Pyronite turns to her friend and hugs her closely.
Fistina: “Goodbye Sella.”
Sella smiles, a tear welling in her eyes.
Sella: “Goodbye Fistina. I’ll never forget you.”
Fistina: “Aww. I’ll come visit Pyros when I become a Plumber.”
Sella: “I look forward to it!”
Ben leaves with Sella closely behind. They climb into the Stardust.
Sella looks around, confused.
Sella: “Where are your friends, aren’t they joining us? Where’s Rook?”
Ben: “They won’t be joining us. They have other things they need to do. It’s not that we’re still on bad terms it’s just-”
Sella: “I get it… So it’s just us two?”
Ben: “Us two and SD-1.”
Ben points at the computer terminal in the control panel, and the blue hologram materialises above it. Sella flinches slightly.
SD-1: “Greetings. I am SD-1, a next generation Pixi Artificial Intelligence Hologram created to occupy and maintain this vessel. What’s your name?”
Sella: “Uhh… I’m Sella.”
There are no robots or holograms on Pyros. SD-1 was both. Sella was having trouble trying to not let this show.
SD-1: “Nice to meet you Sella! So, where to Captain?”
The hologram turns to face Ben, who is distracted with his phone. He pauses and looks up, speaking slowly.
Ben: “Oh, me? We’re going to Pyros.”
The Stardust raises up from the ground with a sudden jolt.
SD-1: “Excellent! I’ll set off immediately.”
Ben: “Give me a second, I have to send a text.”
He hesitates before hitting send.
Ben: “Okay. I’m ready.”
He reaches over his left shoulder and pulls over the seat belt, fastening himself in. The Stardust rises over the slums of Undertown. It glides effortlessly into one of the tunnels lining the underground lake, before zooming into the darkness. On the other end it shoots out and upwards, cutting its way through the atmosphere.
The Stardust crosses high over the South American continent as it rises into a low orbit and aligns its path towards the distant star of Pyros. Far below, in a run-down village built among upon the side of a mountain in the wilderness of Brazil, a game of basketball reaches its conclusion. The small group of young, shirtless children cheer, they’d beaten their opponents fair and square. The opposition was a team of rather less excited children, and a teenage girl who stuck out like a sore thumb. She wore expensive boots and rather fashionable brown shorts along with a red shirt., to mention nothing of her race. She had travelled far to get here.
The girl tosses the basketball back over to one of the older children, who runs off with the others back to their parents. She sits down in front of a shaded tea house, where her bags and father were waiting for her. He leans over and passes the girl a drink.
Wes Green: “Your phone went off while you were playing. A text message, I think.”
Kai Green: “Who’s it from?”
Wes: “Don’t know, didn’t look.”
Kai: “Well that’d be a first.”
Wes: “Ha. Teenagers need their privacy, I respect that.”
Kai: “I’ve been saying that for years.”
Her father chuckles dismissively. She looks down at her phone.
1 New Text Message
She slides her thumb across the screen.
Hey Kai. I have to disappear for awhile, fix some things. I’m sorry.
I’ll find you as soon as I get back.
Her phone buzzes again, and a second message pops up beneath the first.
I love you.
To Be Continued in From The Ashes
- Ben receives the T2 Omnitrix from Azmuth.
- Ben makes up with his friends.
- Ben receives the Stardust from Kevin and Rook.
- Five new aliens make their debuts
- Ben learns of the Techadon Degredations, yet another long-lost relic from the Heaven Wars.
- Ben Tennyson
- Gwen Tennyson
- Kevin Levin
- Rook Blonko
- SD-1 (debut)
- Kai Green
- Wes Green
- Timekiller (flashback)
- Lenopan Degradations (flashback)
- Liam (flashback)
- Koraxx (debut)
- Techadon Robots (x2)
- The Blacksmith
- Geothermite (x2, debut)
- Boarswax (x2, debut)
- Powerhouse (x2, debut)
- Hivemind (debut)
- Triedge (debut)
- The Gas House is a location from The More Things Change: Part 2
- The aliens that appear on the selection dial when Ben first uses the T1 Omnitrix are references to the first aliens used in each of the four main series, with ImmoBile representing the first “new” alien in the Earth-1010 series.
- Kraab's Hyper-tangible Pseudofluid is a callback to the fluid he sprayed Ghostfreak with in the OS episode Hunted.