Ben 10 Primix, chapter 29: below the trench
Summary: Ben almost failed in creating his planet, until the strange earth species helps him recover. He finally wakes up, keeping his success a secret from Primus. He believes the aliens to be good, still clueless about the treats they sent towards his family.
Dad stopped his stroking motion on my back. My mind had finally calmed down. Gwen and Silvaros had run off somewhere in between. Should I try to convince my father to trust the aliens that helped me, although I never met them either? I was strangely trusting towards them. We both sat in silence, my dad giving me a warm and protective hug. I felt a bit ashamed of my break down. It was completely logical for the small Vladat that saw it all, but for my age it felt shameful. I gritted my teeth. "Sorry, you had to see that dad. My memories from the past just rushed up after f…." I couldn't even speak the word without feeling my tears again. Okay, maybe it wasn't such a smart idea to connect failing to losing my former planet. These emotions are pretty intense, yet dad didn't seem to care at all. He grinned softly. "It has been a long time since I saw my son showing his vulnerable side. Always showing off, bantering and treating danger like a joke. Every time I saw you get hurt on television and you laughing it off like nothing happened were horrible. You can't just joke and forget things that are trauma inducing dangers Ben. Thankfully I was here this time, but I'm pleading here. Don't hide it away! It will hurt you so badly so just talk to me. Can you promise me that Ben? Can you at least try to confide in your dad? Instead of bottling up and shove it away?"
Dad's word felt like a hammer. This was not the direction I wanted to steer our conversation in. Dad's eyes showed so much worry and hurt. How did he watch my battles? Was he cheering me on like my fans or getting worried sick every time I got smashed against a building? It almost made me sick just thinking about it. Grandpa always knew, just like Gwen. They supported it and helped. They didn't mind the few scrapes and bruises, but how would dad feel about this. Seeing his own son getting smashed and pummeled on the news every day. Was this why he was so happy when my heroic days started to lessen? Did he remind me to let the plumbers work more, because of his worry? Guilt and shame started eating at my resolve to just lock this conversation away. He was right. I was his son, he even followed me on this trip to protect me. He knew of the dangers but still followed along to protect me from any harm and here I was intending to ignore his worry and just brush it off. It made my guilt flared up even more. "Dad…I'll try." In fact this was the perfect moment to tell him what I really felt about the unknown aliens. "Dad, the aliens… we should trust them for now. They don't feel like they want to harm me. If it wasn't for them… I felt so lost, it hurt, it hurt so bad! The core was slipping through my fingers like sand. I could see it drip away no matter how I tried. I never realized that failing would be so awful. My body felt like it was torn apart. I was starting to lose it, I almost gave up. If it wasn't for that humming, the soft voice that was telling me to calm down I would have been lost."
I was almost crying again. I guess it really was very traumatic when I talked about it. I had almost lost myself in the information rushing through my head. It had come scarily close to killing me off. The feeling of almost erasing yourself was terrifying. It made me thing about all those times I had almost or definitely killed myself. How would dad have reacted if he saw me dying like that? Would he blame himself? Would mom blame herself? Just thinking about the guilt and grief they would have to face was horrible. Dad just ruffled my hair with a pained smile. "If you trust them even when unconsciousness, than I guess we can try to accept. But you need to know a few things before making that decision. First of all, they did anything but respect us as your family. In fact they threatened to kill the whole ship and take you away." I stared at him in disbelief. The soft and loving voice had what? "Gwen and Kevin tried to contact them a few days ago and almost died. The dimidium sapien was crushing their vehicle and had no intentions of listening to our pleading, until Eunice mentioned the Ark. If Gwen hadn't taken the hostile being to you, we would have been killed, drowned and crushed. We are in fact surrounded and kept under shot by a stronger being than the dimidium sapien." Now that dad mentions it. I had identified that power surrounding us as the warm protective layer that kept my mind at ease. For them it was more likely an enormous pressure warning them. Dad clenched my hand. "And now that you're awake, we have to comply with their order: Which is to bring you to them."
A bit of anger slipped into my emotions. The Vladat me was pissed at the creature that had almost killed my family. It would never allow anything to take my family away. Not after witnessing such slaughter. I should teach them a lesson. I must teach them a lesson for endangering dad! It was Silvaros entering, that I broke out of those thoughts. He held another blood bag and after crying I didn't mind it a single bit. With a flick of my wrist the blood bag was near my mouth and I drank it in large gulps. Gwen had returned to the room as well. The third blood bag was now emptied. I felt satisfied and the blood vessels in Gwen's neck were now gone. Her blood was a lot tastier than dads. Still this pure mana less blood was far tastier. If humans had stepped on Anur Vladias during our decline, we would have devoured humanity. Luckily they had been far away from us. Still, I better not take any humans to my creation. I'm not sure how the new population of Vladats would view invaders. They were still slowly returning, not fast like the former planets. Every Vladat was personally linked to the core, before coming into existence. It made them part of the great balance.
While I sat up, I glanced at my father and uncle. My father's energy wasn't flawed, neither was Silvaros body. They weren't flawed since Primus hadn't created them. So how are the other Menedites flawed, when the perfect sample stood before me? I gently wrapped my hand around dad's and Silvaros hands. Yes, their beings weren't flawed, neither was Gwen. Their energy wasn't flawed either, causing a small hitch in reaching their full potential. The core that Primus had made was full of these flaws. I gave their hands a soft squeeze. "Don't try to use your full energy yet, it would cause irreversible damage." Since you would fill your body with…cheap energy. Silvaros blue eyes contorted. "How do you know that?" I stared into his eyes, allowing the energy inside the crystal on my head to glow. It pulled his attention. "It's my inherited gift as a Vladat. I can sense the balance of your body and I noticed an irregularity between you both and your energy." Dad raised his brows, probably not so happy about the sudden conversation skip. Silvaros had his brow raised as well. "Go on then?" I grinned, showing them my possible sharp fangs. It distracted dad in the least. "Trying to force the energy in your body could damage it in return." Gwen whispered an incantation and her eyes glowed purple for a little while. She gasped. "He's right. The energy you receive and your own energy don't fully match, causing a bit of a lag of sorts. It could stem from living without it for so long."
Sigh, how wrong she was. This was cause by Primus, but why? Gwen glanced at me and winced. "Ben, how are your memories? I've experienced only a few, but they were very intense…" I gave her a half smile, since I had cried for around three hours. "Hmm, nothing's wrong with them. It's basically my past life, courtesy of alien X and also related to my current one." I noticed the frown on Silvaros face. A yes, he was unfamiliar with the names I had given my former aliens. "Also known as the Celestial sapiens." This clarified a lot according to his expression. Gwen stared at me. "Past life? Please explain it in more than three words?" I groaned. "They basically cloned my soul, send it to Anur Vladius before it collapsed, let me get born there and lose everything. After turning into a full Vladat, I regained those memories. I've lost my parents back then, but is shall treasure them currently." It was utterly silent in the room. Gwen's eyes were wide in disbelief. A mechanical voice echoed in the room. I almost missed it, not. "Benjamin, confirm that the error of memories was caused by the Celestial sapiens. This is not part of the correct process and thus the cause of your failure." I bit my lips at her lack of care for my loss. No sympathy as expected. "I confirm their actions and the loss of Anur Vladias. The core was too far gone, causing mayor power spikes. I assume you've witnessed those?" They all nodded and dad grasped my hand stronger. "I could only further my understanding of my own species, giving me insight about myself. Failing to create…." I pretended for my throat to make a choked sound. "It damaged my body, so please allow me to recover a bit; it should be fine when we arrive near the Dimidium sapiens."
Gwen's eyes showed a bit of disbelief, I never was a great actor. She opened her mouth to ask, but I shook my head, indicating silence while harmlessly looking down at the symbol. "Could you still create it with my memories?" Just like three hours ago Primus resolutely told me I had screwed up and Anur Vladias was my failure. I had now lost all hope that Primus was operating for a 'good' cause. A 'good' cause wouldn't sneak around changing the complete DNA of a Menedite or bring its user harm. Primus ideas sounded lofty and selfless, yet it hid so many flaws? The Menedites and the Khufos both had strange flaws, unnecessary genes, since both had been present during the creation. Before I ever trust it again, it would have to explain why it created such terrible flaws as a 'perfect' system. Sadly I can't tell the others my doubts since Primus will overhear me. It could shut me down whenever it wished after all. Gwen pulled my attention. "I'll tell the other to start diving down. We all heard its demand. We need to start diving, since you woke up. Its presence is around us after all, we can't fake it. Ben, ready yourself. I don't think we'll win easily this time." She turned around with her lips pursed. She was thinking all right, hopefully about the strange hints I had been dropping.
Dad cleaned my face with a towel. It felt great on my dry skin. My head felt so much lighter now that the Vladat part of me could voice his despair. I noticed dad and Silvaros worried eyes. I hated not being able to tell them what was truly going on. The real reason I had cried in front of them, the despair I had for not being able to live. I was forced to hid, hunger and weaken. Forced to fear and fight against the self-righteous council who attacked us in cold blood. Fight…yes, I could use a nice fight about now. The silly alien fights I had caused so many time, because of my ego or obsessions. I started to miss their simplicity. Fight, win and triumph. Not this dragged out war of annihilation! The worst part, no one knew what we were truly up against. How could the council massacre planets with ease? How did they attack a planet like Anur Vladias or Medite? Where did they need planets cores for? Who were the true faces behind it? What was the true race behind the council? Would we ever find the answers or would this battle continue for centuries? I'd rather fight Dagon or Vilgax for the rest of my life.
After stepping out of my room, I kept my silence. I kept away from the others and kept up the act of my self-blaming. Kevin snorted at seeing my silent appearance. "So, he finally screwed it up because of his ego. Doesn't surprise me at all! So why do you all find it so difficult to believe? He thought he was smart enough, tried and utterly failed. Not the first time he thrashed our plans?" Gwen gave him a painful jab in his solar plexus. Kevin held her hand and doubled over for a bit while almost retching. "So what? This is like the alien invasion all over again. We'll figure out the next step and it will turn out okay. No use in beating yourself up… Although I do like you being quiet more." That earned him another glare from both Gwen and Eunice. I was almost in shock at his behavior. If I wasn't acting, I would have agreed with him. It did sound like something I would do. It wasn't my first screw up. I've screwed things up because of my ego to many times to count. Gwen, Kevin and grandpa would then come to bust my ass out. How many times hadn't I lost my sanity because of lofty praise or popularity? Always thinking I was right and they were wrong. I bit my lips. Okay, maybe I didn't like being so clear about my 'human' behaviorism as much as I thought. Analyzing it pretty much made me look like an ass… most of the time. I had my moments..eugh and ruined most of them. It still wonders me that Azmuth even allowed me to keep the omnitrix. I was and still am so inexperienced in the ways of the universe. Just look at the council. I gave up the only weapon that could protect Earth to the beings who want to utterly massacre it. I gave them a weapon to use against us. And then there was Primus. Did either Azmuth or Primus tamper with the procuring of the DNA samples and why? Was it free will… or did Azmuth receive instructions from… who knows? What if it's the damn council again? That would be really bad.
In the meantime our ship sank lower and lower. We never hit a stop or barrier. We could sink entirely towards the bottom of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. As for our view: I honestly could do without it. Those fishes were as ugly as the night. Grotesque little monster. No other explanation necessary. Kevin and Eunice were debating about the pressure and depth. Their faces of complete disbelief did not help my worries. We almost hit the bottom, our kidnappers nowhere in sight, until the ship suddenly lost its position. The sudden lack of water caused our ship to drop like a brick against silver white sand. We fell from probably 20 meters high. My instinct had told me to jump up, just like Verdona, dad, Silvaros and Gwen. We floated when the ship crashed against the floor. Kevin and Eunice made a painful smack. Kevin had fused his hands against the ship to remain in position and Eunice lay on the ground in her objects form. Only Kevin showed visible injuries. His arms were red and he winced when Gwen touched them. This sudden drop was a rather nasty surprise. I was starting to doubt their peaceful intentions. Yet why had the presence around us eased the drop? Kevin would have at least broken his arms with the shock from the landing alone. A beautiful view disrupted my thoughts. I wasn't the only one. I had to blink several times because of the sudden source of light. It wasn't as bright as the sun, but it was a major difference with the complete darkness from before. The seven of us stared at the city before us. No way, the legend was real? Our ship had landed just before a large aquamarine arch. Two large and heavily decorated pillars kept the arch up. It was full of alien like creatures and those disgusting fishes we saw on the way down. One large word was chiseled out of the arch.
Instead of trees and grasses the city was decorated with corals, anemones, kelp and algae. All kinds of ugly and colorful fishes swam around, giving it a strange charm. The houses were white with green and decorated with said plants. A three meter wide road of cobblestones led further into the city. The water was so clear that you could barely notice it at all. Was there even water? Eunice was the first to screech in excitement. "Look at all these new species. And just check the data, water with the same oxygen density as air. This should be impossible. It's basically breathing air under water. How intriguing. We should take a sample with us, just the things we coul…" Gwen pinched her tight. "Eunice focus, we are still hostile and under their 'protection' at the moment. Is it safe to open the hangar door? Can we leave the ship without protective suits?" Eunice snapped out of her excitement and actually did her job. "I think we can try, but having them on would be the safer option. What if that other being can rapidly change the oxygen density back into actual water? We don't know anything about our current enemies." They all put their protective suits on except me. They wanted me alive, so if I didn't wear the suit, they wouldn't be able to 'change' this strange water or the pressure that we should be feeling. The hangar doors opened, causing the sand beneath it to slightly float up, before slowly sinking again. It was just like in real water. I stood before the large protective barrier that was erected to keep possible water out. What will happen if I step out?
Authors note: Sorry for the long wait. I'll probably post another chapter next week to make up for the last month. Thanks again for all the great comments and reviews and enjoy!