SOS Chapter 4
Disclaimer: Not mine!
If anyone has read the book West of Eden I love you guys! I don't usually plan on having quotes from actual books in this story, but this one really wanted to be here. I think you can guess why. ;)
Insert standard apology for late update.
Thank you so much to the people who reviewed. I'm glad you're liking the story so far and I hope no one will be too bothered by the dark tone it's going to take now.
Also, before anyone yells at me, I am trying to update Loving You Behind Closed Doors. Unfortunately, this chapter his giving me a lot of trouble, and Shades of Self was just sitting there begging to be updated. So…I'm sorry, and I'll try to update LYBCD soon.
In the mean time, please enjoy Ben's continuing sordid saga.
This was written to Three Days Grace and 3 Doors Down, and also some Owl City, if you like listening to music while you read.
"Kerrick's posture of acceptance was as false as the pleasure of all the rest in the chamber was true. He reached out slowly with his toe and rolled it over the length of the lead where it lay on the floor, already thinking of possible ways to sever it."
- (page 119) West of Eden by Harry Harrison
"Never Surrender, for when you surrender you are dead."
- Aassk motto
Four Years Ago
He had tried everything, and he couldn't get it off.
Ben looked at the cuff on his wrist with loathing, and perhaps a little respect. It was tight to his skin, and he couldn't get his fingers inside it without going through the flesh of his wrist, which he wasn't willing to do unless his situation got a whole lot more desperate. He had tried to pry it open, but had failed to even find the seams in the metal where it attached. He had beaten it against the wall and the floor to no avail, and he had even tried picking at various places on it with a paper clip he had found in his pocket in the hopes of finding a keyhole. Nothing.
What was with Vilgax and threatening the people he loved anyway? Did he read the tip out of some villain manual? 'For best results, try kidnapping a close relative…'
Discouraged, Ben sat back against the wall again and let his eyes rove around the cell. It was gray and Spartan and rather uninspiring. Not that he'd expected Vilgax to provide his prisoner with video games or famous works of art, but it was still a little dull.
He looked down at the cuff again. It wasn't even scratched. He probably wouldn't be able to get it off by himself. He would just have to wait until Vilgax or one of his subordinates came to get him and see what he could do then.
What was taking Vilgax so long anyway?
Vilgax was watching Ben.
Through the micro camera in the boy's cell, Vilgax watched his prisoner silently. He allowed his tentacles to ripple slightly in amusement at Ben's continued attempts to free himself from his shackle. Persistence had always been one of the human's most frustrating, and admirable, qualities.
Finally the boy slumped down against one wall as though defeated, but Vilgax could tell that Ben wasn't truly beaten, just as he hadn't truly been beaten earlier when he had surrendered. He was likely still thinking of possible ways to escape. It didn't matter in the end. The boy was already his, and he would learn it soon enough.
Vilgax turned away from the view screen. Perhaps he was putting the moment off because of the pain he knew it would cause. Vilgax was not a being who enjoyed inflicting unnecessary suffering to any creature, still less a child, barely hatched it seemed, particularly after spending so long watching and fighting him. Still, he had always been willing to do what was necessary, and this, sadly, was.
As the lock on his cell door clicked open, Ben got nervously to his feet. He hadn't yet been able to think of a way out of this, and it looked like his time was running short. He glanced again at the stupid cuff stopping him from breaking out, or even just phasing through the walls. He was so used to the omnitrix now that being without it felt like losing a hand. It made him feel incredibly vulnerable.
The door slid open to reveal more of the bipedal robots and behind them, looming in doorway, Vilgax.
Because apparently he couldn't get even one lucky break today.
Ben stayed standing in the middle of the room. He had nothing to use as a weapon, and he couldn't go alien, so waiting for an opportunity was still his best option. Hopefully Vilgax would need to remove the cuff in order to get the omnitrix off, unless he just opted to try to cut Ben's arm off again. (Cutting out the middle-man, as it were.)
The robots clearly knew exactly what to do. They crossed to Ben without hesitation and seized his arms again in that familiar uncompromising grip. Ben had been meaning to keep his mouth shut for now, but he couldn't help blurting out:
"Do you mind? I'm kind of attached to those arms." There was no response. Not that Ben had really expected one.
Vilgax strode into the cell like the master of all he surveyed. Though the room was large for a cell, it looked small by comparison. The alien was so tall that his head nearly touched the high ceiling. Ben fought the urge to pull away from his robots. It wasn't going to do any good at the moment and he knew it, but he was having trouble convincing his body of the fact.
Vilgax was now standing directly in front of Ben. Suddenly, he crouched down. Even with the alien at less than half his height, Ben was forced to look up at his captor.
"Don't move," Vilgax growled.
Ben responded by ditching his previous plan, and promptly lurching backward as far as he could.
"Hold him," Vilgax ordered emotionlessly. One of Ben's robots seized him by the hair of all things and held his head in place.
"Hey!" Ben yelped, wincing at the pain. He watched Vilgax nervously. At least he wasn't holding a giant glowing sword.
Vilgax reached down towards Ben. He paused for a moment, almost as though he were hesitant, and then he reached nimbly down and touched something on Ben's cuff, which obligingly clicked open and fell with clatter to the floor.
Instantly, Ben yanked on his left hand as hard and as swiftly as possible, trying to free it from the robot's grip. He felt the skin of his arm sliding between metal fingers for only an instant, and then the hand tightened abruptly, and his arm stopped sliding. He couldn't help yelping; that had pinched!
"Still you are defiant." It was impossible to tell whether Vilgax's observation expressed annoyance, indifference or amusement, or indeed any of them. Ben inhaled deeply. There didn't seem to be the need for a reply. He kept watching Vilgax nervously.
Another robot approached, and held out a large, metal box, which Vilgax took carefully, as though it was very small and fragile, which actually seemed to be the case for him. The alien opened the box, and withdrew something that looked like a flexible, metal ribbon. It was thin and black, and it looked very small in Vilgax's hand, just like everything else, but the alien handled it with almost unbelievable gentleness. His red eyes, however, had not once left Ben's face. Now he leaned forward swiftly. Ben instinctively tried to lurch backward and couldn't. Vilgax was impossibly close to him; the alien's slick tentacles seemed mere inches from his face. The robot behind him tightened its grip on his hair, and Ben's eyes smarted from the pain. And then he felt the cold touch of metal at his throat.
"What are you…" he started, but before he could finish speaking, there was a soft 'click', at his throat that he felt more than heard, and then Vilgax moved away from him and rose again to his impressive height.
"Don't move," Vilgax said again, and at the same time, the robots released Ben. Ben stood silently. The omnitrix was uncovered, but he didn't grab for it to change into one of his aliens, and he didn't try to run, to put some distance between himself and his captors. He stood there, not because he wanted to, but because for the moment he had no choice.
It wasn't that he tried to move and couldn't, it was simply that moving had suddenly become impossible. When he thought about moving, it was as though he was imagining what it would be like to fly through the sky while he was still human. He could entertain the thought, but there was no reality of it happening, and he knew it.
He stared at Vilgax, aghast. What did you do to me? he wanted to ask, to demand, but his lips and vocals were as frozen as an arctic night.
Talking counted as moving.
It didn't occur to him at the moment, but in retrospect it seemed strange to him that his heart continued to beat, his lounges to expand and contract.
Vilgax stood watching him for a moment, as he stood there, shallow, panicked breaths making his ribcage tremble as though shaken by the wind, and then the alien spoke again.
"You will not use the omnitrix, you will not leave this room, and you will not harm it, or anyone on this ship in any way." He paused for a moment, perhaps taking in the effect of his words in Ben's clear, yellow-green irises, than he turned and strode towards the open door. At the threshold he turned for a moment, and met his captive's eyes for one last indecipherable look. "You may move," he rasped, and then he swept out the door, and the robots went with him.
Even as Ben opened his mouth to speak the door slid shut like a curtain pulled across his eyes, and Ben was alone, staring rigidly at a door he could not open, whether or not it was locked.
Hey guys, hope you're not too disturbed. Yet. Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laaaaaaaugh! (Don't suppose anyone's seen the new Muppet movie?)
Yes, Vilgax isn't one for long explanations. Some light will likely be shed on the situation next chapter when you see some things from his point of view. There will still be some mysteries of course. Otherwise it wouldn't be as much fun. I'm also not crazy about Vilgax's POV scene in this chapter. I think I'll come back to fix it, but for now I really need to get this up.
Unfortunately, it only gets darker from here, so you should be warned that the next part of Ben's story is not going to be pleasant.
Thanks for reading guys. I'm sorry it's so late, and I really don't have a good excuse, except for being busy.
As always, if you want to review, I love reading them.
Thanks for reading, and see you all next time!