I don't own Ben 10 or Star Wars/Disney (Obviously.)
One Week Later
The trek to the distant planet where Ben first found his stranded cousin was a long one, however; it was necessary for their plan to work. Ben had spent months upon months during his time on Pasaana trying to come up with a way to remove Gwen from the equation without killing her, he couldn't allow her to roam free now that she was actively working to hunt and murder force sensitive children. It was already dumbfounding that the Gwen he knew would order the deaths of innocent children; he just couldn't imagine having to take her life either, so he pulled every string he had, every string Ahsoka had, every debt, every favor, in search of a different method of beating Gwen. Even after Ben spent months doing calculations on where the precise coordinates for Earth would be, based on the interstellar maps he already had and the ones he made when he first arrived on Jakku, they still had no possible way of crossing said distance.
It wasn't until they met a 'pirate queen' by the name of Maz Kanata who was a genius mechanic and engineer as well as a collector of rare antiquities; she had the answer to all of their problems tucked away in her massive thousand year old castle.
As Ahsoka approached the planets surface using the same coordinates they used last time, she landed the Silver Angel in the same field where they first trained over half a decade ago; after locking down the ship and flipping a few switches leaving the engine to idle, she spun around in her pilot's seat facing Ben. He faced the door with his cloak flipped over his head as he opened the landing hatch where a platform lowered into the dirt, "Are you sure you want to go alone?" she asked without standing up.
Ahsoka couldn't see his face as he looked out, some of the trees he had chopped down in his last battle with Darth Vader were still there, sprouting from where they were sliced years ago; he looked over his shoulder at her but, didn't look her in the eyes, "I'll be fine, don't wait up for me," Ben strolled down the metallic walkway as his boots imprinted on the wet soil, it didn't much bother him though taking only a single glance at his muddy boots before continuing to walk. Ahsoka approached the doorway slowly holding her elbows, looking around as most of the area had been flooded since they were last there, likely from immense rainfall over the years, she couldn't imagine him finding it now that it had been abandoned for so long. Sighing loudly as she watched him vanish into the brush, she leaned on the door frame and muttered, "Good luck," as the platform retracted into the ship becoming the door that sealed its hull.
Ben followed the path he remembered as best he could, he'd used it for training and, at some point, he and Ahsoka would use the waterfall where Gwen first landed as a fresh-water spring. His cloak kept him relatively dry spite the grey skies sprinkling water across the jungle, he was lucky this planet never produced acid-rain.
He didn't really think he would ever actually willingly come back here, especially with these intentions in mind, as he could only reminisce on that night, where he found his cousin hiding from the bounty hunters who wanted her dead. He stepped through the mud and brushed his hand over a severed tree stump about shoulder height to him, he couldn't tell if it was his perfect memory or the force but, he knew for a fact he personally cut the trunk down himself that night. He didn't, at the time, know who he was saving but, he could feel the killing intent of the men after her and needed to act even if he didn't know why. Perhaps, if he had done nothing that night, Chachi, Wan, June, Lux, and everyone Gwen has hurt since then would still be alive? But, Gwen wouldn't, and he just couldn't shake how wrong that felt to him, every year of his life he shared Birthdays with her and now he felt responsible for her fall from greatness. She did come to this place looking for him, after all.
Something cracked as he stepped on it, unlike a branch, it made a sound that was distinct to the hardened marrow in dried bones; he looked down and sighed, one of the hunters he killed most likely. Ben took his boot off the dead man's skull and sighed audibly, looking around and simply continuing his way, he pulled on the edge of his cloak in exasperation. This was the last place in the Galaxy he wanted to be and yet, here he was, doing the last thing he pictured himself doing, to get to the one place he never really wanted to return to.
He reached the opposite end of a cliff, looking up where there once was a constant flow of water pouring into the ravine was now just a large pond and something had totally blocked off the falls; Ben closed his eyes focusing on the night Gwen handed him his watch.
Ben was taken aback, pulling down his hood and revealing his face in the pale moon-light, "Dweeb?" he held his hand out for her to grab, to help her up so, she hesitantly took it with her singed arm which he grabbed her forearm to avoid causing more pain, "Who did this to you?" he looked over the severe burns closely as she stood.
"I think I should be the one asking questions here," she noted as she brushed her bangs out of her eyes and reached into her bag, "But, before we say anything else, I brought you something…" she rummaged for a few seconds, pulling out the emerald-green wrist watch with silver trim, the Omnitrix.
He looked down at the glimmering device in her hand, almost in shock to see it again, taking it into his hands slowly as if it were fragile, he felt the sides of it and took slow blinks, likely reminiscing; but, suddenly without responding to the gesture, he chucked the watch over his shoulder and into the water, "If that's all you had to say…" he trailed off and passed her back toward his camp-sight, "You should follow me, your arm needs better treatment."
He turned around with his hand on his chin, he stroked his beard for a second before turning around to face the way he came from, looking down at his empty hand and turning his head over his shoulders, he tossed an imaginary object behind him but, he couldn't get a good fix on it even as he turned to see where it may have landed.
Ben looked at the mud, scanning for the perfect object, finally he grabbed a rock and tossed it a foot or two in the air, feeling out its weight. He turned around again and tossed it behind him, this time he heard the splash and watched as it sank to the bottom where darkness consumed it.
He had a pretty good idea of where it was now, given that nobody had interfered with it since he last got rid of it, probably not his smartest moment but, he was trying to make a point to his cousin at the time, as much good as that did him. He approached the shoreline that led into the waters and held his hand out, palm facing down over the waters, Ben closed is eyes and focused on the binding energy all around him. If there was anything that he'd learned in the last eight years, its that the force exists everywhere, from the darkest corners of a planet to the furthest reaches of the Universe.
The water began to stir as a small amount of bubbles surfaced, showing he was indeed gripping something down there and if his instincts were right, it was exactly what he was looking for; a few minutes go by and slowly, covered in moss and drenched in water, the pristine emerald wristwatch was completely intact without a scratch. It floated over the water and into his hands, "Azmuth sure knows how to make a watch," he looked over the paint as it hadn't faded in the slightest even after years of soaking in mud and water.
Ahsoka tapped her fingers on the holo-deck in the center of the ship, displaying an in depth map of the star-system, scrolling through different systems to find the one they knew was their next destination; one of the planets Ahsoka considered hiding out on after Order 66 was executed was the forest world of Takodana but, it was mere luck that she ended up on Jakku as otherwise she'd never have met the love of her life.
Now Takodana would be their next mission, visiting Maz Kanata's castle once again to see how the device Ben commissioned was coming along; she remembered the day they stumbled upon what they thought was entirely possible three years ago.
"When Ahsoka told me what you were looking for, I laughed for a very long time," Maz Kanata spoke as she hobbled through a corridor leading down to a larger room at the end of the hall, "But, after giving it much thought, I think it may be possible after all," she turned around and placed her four fingers on a scanner about three feet off the ground, meant clearly for her height, opening large silver vault doors that led into a garage of sorts.
Ben and Ahsoka followed behind her, hidden beneath cloaks and without their lightsabers, they looked around at the massive storage unit that held dozens of finished and unfinished devices; Maz led them to the back where two massive fixtures were draped in cloth and layered in dust stood identical to one another.
"These are prototype teleporter pads but, the transceivers need to be linked, otherwise you cant go anywhere," she explained pulling the cloaks off the pods, revealing them to be only seven feet by four, just enough room for two people to stand in.
Ahsoka looked over, "So, the only place we can teleport to is that pod right there," she pointed at the pad to the left, "That doesn't seem useful at all."
Maz chuckled, "Which is why I laugh in your face," she turned around and held out a tablet that showed them some data but, they definitely couldn't understand what it said, "Technically, you can go anywhere you want but, to come back is a different story."
"What do you mean?" Ben asked for the first time.
Maz looked over her tablet as she stepped over to the pod on her right, "If you know the exact coordinates of where you want to go, you can go but, there is no transceiver to bring you back to this one," she hobbled over and placed a hand on the left pod.
"What if you made portable transceivers? Like belts or watches or…"
Maz interrupted him, "Also possible but, distance is power and the further you go the less time the transceiver has before it short-circuits."
"What if we wanted to cross into a different Galaxy?" Ben asked abruptly again, as Ahsoka eyed him with a raised brow.
Maz looked down at the tablet, "Distance is power, to disassemble your molecular structure on the atomic level and reconstitute you safely at that distance plus the return trip would take immense levels of power."
"More than a kyber in a lightsaber?" Ahsoka asked as it was one of the most powerful energy sources she knew of.
Maz scoffed, "More than a thousand kyber crystals…"
Ben was silent as he stroked his beard in deep thought; "I don't think there's anything in this Galaxy with that much power," Ahsoka mentioned as she linked her arm with his, pulling him from his thoughts.
"I can think of one…" Ben noted as he recalled Ajan Kloss and the item he'd discarded there, he knew it wasn't connected to Primus but, it still had a power source that could wipe out the Universe if charged for just a few days, it was the only option he could think of, "The Omnitrix," he turned to Ahsoka and looked into her clear azure eyes, "I know I ditched it on another planet but, it could work."
Maz interrupted them promptly, "Only if you get the exact coordinates of where you want to go and on the chance that I can produce transceivers for both of you."
"Right…" Ben chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck, "How long do you think that would take?"
"Months, maybe years, if you put a deposit down I'll have it here when its finished whether you come back next year or in a hundred," Maz placed the tablet down on a work-bench and faced them, "I'm over a thousand years old, I've got nothing but time," she assured them.
"If you say so," Ben shrugged and nudged Ahsoka who was suddenly reminded of the small tablet she held with her, usually left on the ship but, they didn't have enough physical credits for an order like this so they needed to transfer the payment digitally.
"Right," Ahsoka tapped a few buttons on the blue screen which made a humming noise each time she tapped, after a minute or two of this, Maz's holographic tablet vibrated and sent out an alert.
Ben noticed on the wall to the far left was a line of wanted posters in Galactic-Basic which had everyone missing from Order 66 from Obi-Wan to Ahsoka and even himself plastered along with a dozen others, "You know who we are?"
She turned to face the wall he was staring at and chuckled, Maz grabbed the magnifying lens of her glasses and pulled them off revealing tiny, shriveled, pupils, "I received Obi-Wan Kenobi's final message after Order 66 and even arranged for a discreet transport to Tatooine for him; I have lived through wars before but," she looked down for a moment before returning her gaze to the married couple, "Now I have the ability to help, I provide sanctuary and assistance to Jedi of all kind."
Ahsoka interrupted, "We aren't Jedi, though."
Maz smiled, "Any enemy of the Empire is a friend of mine."
"I'll take care of everything, you just need to bring the power source to integrate," She announced as she grabbed her tablet and looked over her earnings before returning her gaze upwards to them both, "You two make a very cute couple, very cute," they both blushed as she hobbled off.
Ahsoka was snapped from her recollection when she heard something approaching from outside the ship; she could sense the flow of energy that closed in on her so, she opened the hatch willingly and with a smile.
Ben waited for the metallic platform to reach the ground before stepping onboard, "Did you find it?"
"Took almost an hour but, yea," he turned around and flashed her the watch which he'd cleaned the mud and grime off of in the ravine he found it in, "Still looks brand new."
Ahsoka took a few steps forward, looking the watch over she blinked a few times, he'd told so many stories about his adventures with this device, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
Ben looked down at it and clutched it tightly in his hand, "It's our only option; I'll do whatever it takes to stop her, Ahsoka. Whatever it takes."
Ben and Ahsoka landed the Silver Angel in a parking lane atop the castle they recognized, which hadn't changed a bit in over three years, two guards led them in as they were escorted to a cantina of sorts.
One of the armored guards holding spears turned to Ahsoka, looking her in the eyes, "Maz will be with you shortly, wait here."
Ahsoka nodded as Ben looked around at the people mingling in the bar around them, an alien with over five limbs multi-tasked behind the counter as a bartender cleaning glasses, pouring drinks and smoking a 'death-stick' which seemed to be a mix of chemicals that acted a lot like cigarettes around the shadier parts of the Galaxy.
"This place was empty last time we came…" he noted.
She folded her arms across her vest, "We gave her enough credits to build two castles, this bar must be a front for her less than legal activities… if the Imperial Empire knew she was assisting escaping Jedi, let alone us, this whole city would be torn asunder."
"True enough," Ben noted as he imagined the siege on Pasaana happening again on this planet because of their interference, "Hopefully we don't lead any Imperial agents to this location so long as we keep a low profile," He was frightened by the idea but, he shook the thought when he felt Ahsoka wrap her fingers intertwined with his.
He smiled as from below Maz approached the entrance to the bar, "I thought I might never see you two again, come now, everything should be ready," she hobbled quite slowly but it was to be expected from the orange-skinned ancient, she was likely older than even Master Yoda, "I finished the devices you requested with preprogrammed coordinates to take you to the second pod right here."
They walked into her garage which had been mostly cleared out but, still was littered with new projects and unfinished machinery; leading them to the pods, she gestured towards a work bench where two belts sat with a three hour time limit displayed brightly on a digital clock, "It looks more like a bomb."
"If you try to stay beyond the time limit, it might as well be," she tapped the digital screen and looked up at them with her large magnified eyes, "You two have three hours before these become very expensive clothing accessories," she looked back towards the pod and approached the singular screen between both the right and left teleporter, "Did you bring the coordinates, they need to be exact down to the thirty-second decimal."
Ben reached into his cloak pocket and grabbed a piece of paper which had the calculations on it, "We got as close as we could get, that should at least be Earth, I can take it from there."
Ahsoka pulled Ben to the side as he handed her the sheet and she started inputting coordinates; she looked around spotting her wanted sign on the wall adjacent to them again, "Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, going home? I was sure you'd never actually want to go through with this."
"I told you there's only one way I know I can take Gwen out of the picture without killing her and it's on Earth," Ben held her hands as he turned his head over his shoulder, "Maz, I can bring something back with me right? Like something that fits in my hand?"
Maz didn't look away from the screen, "Anything bigger than a bread-box will be warped into your DNA permanently bonding your atoms together."
"Perfect," Ben announced putting his hands on his hips.
Ahoska raised her brow, putting a hand on his shoulder she sighed, "Perfect? Ben, you still haven't told me what it is we're trying to get; how can it be small enough to fit in your hand but, enough to beat Gwen without killing her?"
Ben placed a hand on his own shoulder, over her scarred fingers, he gave her a warm smile, "Trust me, I don't want to go any more than you do but, we have to; we're going after a Null Void projector."
Ben chuckled a bit, "This is why I didn't mention it before, the Null Void is an alternate dimension that acts like a prison; to send her there I need a projector which is currently being held by my grandfather in his old rusty motor home."
"So, you intend to trap her there, stopping her from hurting people without killing her," Ahsoka put the pieces together as she pulled her hand back from his shoulder, nervously playing with her fingers, "And so you found a way home but, what if while you're there you… want to stay?"
He sighed and grabbed her hands in his, encompassing them with his palms, bringing her closer by pulling her palms up to his face, placing a kiss on their connected hands, "I don't care where in the Universe I end up, so long as it's with you; even if that means giving up a chance to go home."
A tear welled up in her eyes, she was certainly moved by his words but, she couldn't shake the feeling of nervousness, "What if we run into your family, what do we tell them about us?"
"Ahsoka Tano…" Ben announced pulling his hands back, "You've known me for the better part of a decade, have I ever been anything but transparent?"
She giggled with her hand covering her mouth, "I suppose you have."
Maz Kanata finished her calculations and stepped away from the screen; "Time for the power source, you said you had something specific in mind?"
Ben reached into his cloaked pocket and handed unveiled the Omnitrix, "Here," he said as he twisted the faceplate three or four times, it being deactivated and disconnected from primus for so long made the mechanics relatively easy to maneuver. He pulled the core out and laid the wristband on the table, handing Maz the Omnitrix core which sparked with emerald electricity.
She quickly hobbled over to her workbench, examining it under some light, "This is definitely some very powerful technology, this comes from that other Galaxy you talked about?"
"It's rare where I come from too, a one of a kind device," Ben said almost remembering his hero times fondly but, there was a much bigger mission to handle now and if that meant removing the Omnitrix from his life forever than so-be-it, "Will it work?"
"Oh," Maz turned around holding it up, "It will work alright but, using it to return will fry everything, my circuit boards, the teleporters, even this," she gestured to the Omnitrix core
Ben sighed looking at the piece of Galvan tech, he closed his eyes taking a deep breath, "That's fine, so long as it gets us safely there and back."
"Good," Maz returned to the screen between the teleporters and placed the core in the center of a fixture which tightened to hold the power source in place; the entire room shook as the two pods hummed to life and an emerald light lined the entire identical structures, "You can take your armor and lightsabers but, the amount of electronics should be limited if your bringing something back."
Ben and Ahsoka nodded unholstering their blasters from their belts, also leaving behind small communicators and the keys to her ship which she trusted to Maz who already got too much money and business from her to bother with the Silver Angel. They removed their cloaks leaving them in only a single layer of clothes with Ben's white repurposed stormtrooper armor and Ahsoka's blue sleeveless beskar vest and pants.
Maz handed them each their own belt with a simple strap-on design, as they fastened it tightly, she explained, "The timer will start as soon as you successfully jump and when it stops it will attempt a return jump," she tapped the screens now just above their pelvis, "Don't jostle them too much either, I suppose running is fine but, if it get's damaged you could be stuck for good."
"Great, that's reassuring," Ahsoka announced as she slid her fingers over the sliver trim of her belt, "Let's just get this over with…"
Ben and Ahsoka stood close together as Maz closed the pod from the outside; he noticed her playing nervously with her lekku when Ben reached to intertwine their fingers once again, something they'd learned to do when in stressful situations, just knowing she had someone to hold on to was comforting. "See you in three hours… hopefully," Maz didn't allow time for them to contest that last part as she flipped a switch that bathed them in green particles which whisked them away at unfathomable speeds, far beyond any hyperspace travel.
Earth; Downtown Bellwood; January 12th, 2019; 3:45PM
Ben and Ahsoka materialized in the middle of an open warehouse with large crates surrounding them, it took them only a few seconds to notice the men in gleaming silver armor pushing around said crates on high-tech floating carts. They were momentarily obscured by the crates around them, as they let go of each other's hands, Ahsoka stepped behind Ben as she was totally out of her element.
He glanced around noticing exactly who they were, "These guys are called Forever Knights, they steal alien technology and sell it to the highest bidder," he whispered as best he could as they backed into a corner where they couldn't be seen.
Ahsoka tugged on his arm as he leaned back to listen, "Ben, I can't sense a connection to the force, not at all."
"I thought that might be a problem…" Ben muttered to himself as one of the knights turned the corner, coming face to face with them.
"Halt!" He shouted once before Ben grabbed his helmeted head, slammed it over his knee, loosening it enough to remove it as the stunned man backed away, he was quickly knocked out with the bunt of his own helmet. The sound of his loud iron armor clanking on the ground echoed through the warehouse, alarming anyone who hadn't noticed them to their presence.
Ben grabbed Ahsoka's wrist and made his way to the exit, running along the walls looking for one as he still remembered basic human architecture, "There should be a door here somewhere… I told you we got the coordinates right!"
"Now is not the time for an 'I told you so,' Ben!" Ahsoka shouted as they finally found a bright sign with the title 'exit' in neon crimson, thankfully for them even criminals get inspections from fire-marshals. They were intercepted by what seemed to be the entirety of the group present in the warehouse, about ten men with their energy weapons pointed at them.
"Don't move!" one of them shouted as their weapons primed, humming to life with a red glow emanating from the barrel of their rifles, laser lances, Ben was familiar with them even after all this time so he knew there was nothing to worry about.
He slowly reached for his belt but, one of the trigger-happy knights fired his weapon forcing Ben to act quickly, igniting his bright amethyst blade which deflected the beam of crimson into the wall juxtaposed to them, sending a plume of smoke out and revealing sunlight over a bustling street of cars, luckily the sidewalk happened to be clear at the moment.
Ahsoka took a step out from behind Ben and activated her bright-blue lightsaber, holding the hilt with her reverse Jar'kai grip, narrowing her eyes at the knights. At first, she was a bit hesitant but, Ben didn't seem afraid of them in the slightest so, she tried to imitate his confidence even in a place she was totally unfamiliar with.
The bystanders didn't see what happened within but, they did notice an explosion take a chunk out of the wall and a man in silver armor flying out of the building colliding with the roof of a car, making a sizeable dent in it as he fell to his knees.
Through the smoke, one of the knights attempted to grab Ben from behind as he quickly reacted by breaking the man's wrist and tossing him overhead onto his back; he quickly dislocated his shoulder and ducked under a blast of energy that destroyed a wooden crate behind him. Ben did miss his super-powers, one way or another, but he didn't mind making due with what he had; another of the knights pulled the trigger on his weapon as fast as he could, firing off bolt after bolt of energy which Ben had no problem countering with his lightsaber. He walked through the attacks, casually deflecting anything that threatened him, until he was face to face with the him; the knight swung his laser lance as some sort of melee attack but, the weapon was cleaved through with little effort as two smoldering pieces of metal clattered on the ground.
The knight was quiet for a moment but, this was because he was waiting for the knight behind him to wrap a laser powered wire around Ben's neck, who wished he had his force sense to detect the intent of enemies. He settled for stabbing his saber into the man's armored leg, letting out a high-pitched scream, he didn't feel much for long as he was tossed overhead into the knight standing in front of him.
Meanwhile, two knights wielded crimson-energy swords, metallic blades layered in energy to enhance its striking force; Ahsoka carved right through their swords as if they were made of butter with her lightsaber, kicking the shocked knight in the chest so hard he flew back hitting the concrete wall leaving a petite boot-print in his armor. She was still super-human without the force, so she quickly back flipped ten feet into the air and over a knight who attempted to swing at her from behind. While he was distracted, she swung left horizontally attempting to cut the attacker in half but, was stopped by a purple blade crossing with hers.
They exchanged a short dialogue, "No killing here," Ben said quickly as he ducked under a knight's electrified mace and roundhoused him into the ground, "Please."
Ahsoka nodded dutifully with a short smile, understanding him immediately, the knight who tried attacking her had turned around as Ben retracted his blade and swung it towards his own fight which spilled outdoors. She was alone with the last knight wielding a sword as he swung left and right, continuing to miss her until she ducked under one of his swings and tripped him flat onto his face. He looked up once more from the ground before seeing Ahsoka standing above him as she kicked him across the face, knocking him unconscious.
Ben was outside having already knocked three knights out, he was left with only two more with swinging electrified mace's; the cars were abandoned as now the civilians had run from the scene, some still watching from afar and recording with their phones. One of the knights swung his mace down as Ben flipped through the air, severed the chain-link to his weapon, and landed behind them in one movement. The broken chain now dangling from the spiked mace embedded in the asphalt, the second man turned and swung left as Ben simply ducked and allowed him to hit his unarmed partner in the back, knocking him out.
The knight prepared to swing downward on Ben with the mace once again, not that it would have helped but, he was cut short as a blast of energy hit him in the torso, sending him back first into another car and knocking that vehicle off its four wheels onto its side, if not for his armor the man would be dead.
"Oops," Ahsoka chuckled looking over the laser lance, "I didn't think it was that strong."
"I told you no killing!" Ben shouted as his lightsaber retracted, he gazed around as Ahsoka approached him in the street, he saw three kids ducking behind a dumpster, aiming their phones at them which seemed far different than the last time he owned one, regardless it meant they were being recorded and the last thing he wanted was to make a spectacle.
"I'm sorry! He's not dead, he's fine!" she noted as Ben nearly facepalmed, "What do we do?" Ahsoka asked as she looked around at the tall buildings and cars, one of the fire hydrants next to the building had been struck by a mace and suddenly exploded, sending the metal cap flying and shooting water fifteen feet into the air.
Ben narrowed his eyes as a car alarm went off nearby and the sound of police sirens echoed from the distance, "Let's get out of sight, I know two places the projector will be, let's just hope it's the first," deactivating his saber, his wife followed his example as to draw less attention.
They distanced themselves from the crowd that was slowly growing, turning into an alleyway, they ran down to the end of it and effortlessly jumped over a large chain-fence; as they turned the corner leaving the scene out of sight, the authorities arrived.
Four police cruisers and a single pearl-white SUV with emerald trim pulled into the street as they closed it off to the public for investigation; two men stepped out of the SUV being one elderly man and one much younger, closer to Ben's age.
Dusting off his Hawaiian-print button up as he approached, the old-man scanned the area as his partner made his way inside, "Should I lock down the area for a full scan, sir?" one of the officers asked him as he looked around at the damage, something felt familiar to him.
"Yes, and remind Agent Levin that he shouldn't be contaminating a crime scene before its been scanned," he said it loud enough so as to project his voice at his younger partner that exited the vehicle with him.
Levin stood up from looking over the severed Forever Knight weapon before dropping it and dusting his hands off, "I was just examining evidence, Max, these Forever Knights had laser lances stockpiled in this warehouse."
"What's your point?"
Kevin stood up nearly a foot taller than Max as he approached one of the damaged cars and looked over the chain that was severed by Ben's saber, "Laser lances are level five technology, whatever diced up these weapons, had to be level eleven or higher."
"Notice something else," Max said as Kevin stood up to face the scene beside his partner, "All of these knights, beaten into the ground but, none of them are dead and CSI will do inventory but, I don't see anything stolen either."
Kevin rubbed his chin, now sporting a goatee, "So if not a murder spree or robbery, why were they hit? Do you we have any security footage?"
"I'm sure they coincidentally have it under maintenance whenever they're working on shipments like these," Max noted with his decades of experience with intergalactic and interplanetary weapons smugglers.
Earth; East-Bellwood; January 12th 2019; 4:30PM
Ben approached a small villa with a bright white picket fence and sign that read 'mobile home and recreational park' standing just outside its borders, "How do you know your grandfather still parks his vehicle in the same place after all of these years?"
"He's a creature of habit but, if he is there just… don't eat anything he offers you," Ben replied as they made their way through the mobile home park where different recreational vehicles were parked with tents and barbeques laid out all around, this was exactly how he remembered his grandfather.
"We only have a little less than two hours left so, I doubt we'll have time for anything like that anyways," Ahsoka noted looking down at her belt that sported the exact time they had left on this planet down to the second, "How far are we from it?"
"It should be just up this block to the left, he said he loved the shade of this really big oak tree and so he bought the lot instead of renting," they tried to walk as fast as they could as Ahsoka was sort of an eyesore in these parts, luckily she was cloaked but, passing a family that noticed her under her hood, a child pointed.
"Mommy, mommy; that girl has funny makeup and silly hair!"
Ahsoka looked down at her lekku, covering it up with her cloak as the mother quickly scooped up her child with a smile, "I'm so sorry, the Plumber's just started alien citizenship and Emily doesn't know better yet."
Ahsoka smiled and untensed, pulling back her hood, "It's alright, you have a beautiful child, ma'am," she hummed looking down at the child in her arms.
"Thank you so much," the mother replied rocking her child in her arms, Ben smiled as the mother was a very pleasant woman, "You have a nice day now, say "bye" Emily!" she pulled on her toddler daughter's arm, waving goodbye as the child giggled.
"Bye, Emily!" the toddler shouted with a playful giggle as Ahsoka took a few second to absorb the moment, these people of Earth were actually quite nice, she could imagine why it meant so much for Ben to protect them when he first arrived on Jakku.
They made their way around the corner where a large tan RV with brown trim and small scrapes and dents all around it, the back littered with stickers from the 'best summer vacation ever' as he and Gwen always put it. Ahsoka reached for the door handle but, was stopped by Ben grabbing her wrist before she could touch it, "That won't work, trust me, it may look old and rundown but, it's mostly alien technology."
"What would have happened if I touched it?"
"I'm guessing anyone without fingerprint authorization gets a little zap," he chuckled as he grabbed his lightsaber hilt and spun it between his fingers, igniting the blade and slowly pressing it into the door's lock which melted on contact. Purple sparks flew as he applied more pressure and dug through the door, pulling the door off its hinges by accident.
"It may be a little rundown," Ben noted as he holstered his saber and stepped into the vehicle followed by Ahsoka; the memories flooded his mind as he approached the dashboard, it was cleaner than he remembered and had far more dials and switches.
Ahsoka glanced around and found something hanging on the wall, "Hey, does this shirt mean anything to you?"
He turned around, walking towards the back where in a glass case was an ironed and pressed t-shirt with a single black stripe running through a solid white fabric; the shirt had a golden inscription with the words 'in loving memory of Ben Tennyson.'
Ben ran his fingers over the glass, tears welling in his eyes, "It was the shirt I was wearing the day I found the Omnitrix… I can't believe he kept it," as it streamed down his cheek, Ahsoka quickly wrapped an arm around his shoulder and wiped the tear away with her finger.
He shook his head, walking away and slapping his face a few times, "We're on the clock, no time to be sentimental," he turned and made his way back to the dashboard where he scanned the array of buttons. He flipped a red switch and pressed his thumb down on one of the buttons, if he remembered correctly, he should see the bottom of a cabinet open to reveal a hiding spot for the projector.
It worked as the projector was hidden behind two layers of metal shielding and held in a slot perfectly shaped for it, Ben chuckled, "Like I said, creature of-" as he reached for the gun, a blue bolt of energy struck the cabinet, blowing a chunk of it apart, "Habit?"
They turned with their hands up as Max Tennyson aimed his energy weapon at them, it was just him and a single pistol so, Ben could take him down with ease but, that wasn't what he wanted to do. He quickly glanced at Ahsoka's belt, noticing how much time they have left before looking back to Max, "Who are you two?" he asked.
"This is Ahsoka, she's a good friend of mine," Ben took a step forwards as Max pulled back the hammer of the gun ready to fire again.
"Whoever you are, you need to leave, both of you," he responded as his pistol hummed.
Ben put his hands on his hips, "Grandpa, we both know you're aim isn't what it used to be, and a nine-gauge plasma pistol adds recoil so firing twice in two minutes would probably dislocate your shoulder."
His eyes went wide at the sound of his title as a grandfather being noted to him for the first time in nearly a decade, along with distinct instructions he remembered giving, "How could you possibly know that…"
Ben took another step forwards, placing his hand on the barrel of the gun, slowly pointing it down, "Because you taught me how to use one on my eleventh birthday, you told me not to tell my mom because she'd be furious."
He blinked several times and lowered his weapon, rubbing his eyes out of disbelief, "B-Ben?"
"In the flesh-" he was cut off by Max embracing him, it was odd being taller than his Grandfather who always seemed to stand above him from how he remembered. Max pulled away as tears formed in his eyes, he grabbed Ben's face gently.
"You've grown so much, the handsome young man I knew you would be," He started as suddenly, every question he ever had came flooding in at once, "I can't believe it, I don't know where to start, w-where have you been? What happened to your cousin?" he looked over at Ahsoka, "Who is this, again?"
"I should start by saying I don't have a lot of time," he pointed down to the belt counting down nearly an hour from their mandatory departure, "Once this belt reaches zero, I have to leave again."
Max blinked and stared at the ground, "I see…" he rubbed his neck awkwardly as Ahsoka suddenly could tell where Ben picked up the habit, "Please, sit down, have some water or… I just made a squid-egged pie if you'd like a slice…"
The three of them sat down in a booth in the center of the room, "We're good, thanks Grandpa."
Max reached out and grabbed his grandson's hand, "Where did you go, son?" he looked over Ben's scarred face, his weary eyes, and the beard he'd grown was fully matured.
"It's a long story but, I was teleported across the Universe to another Galaxy, I landed on a planet without my Omnitrix and if it weren't for Ahsoka I would have died there," he motioned to her sitting beside him as Max glanced over at her, looking her up and down.
"I've never seen your species before, you must really be from across the Universe," Maxwell noted having been an intergalactic officer for the majority of his life, he had pretty good recollection of most common species amongst the Plumber data base.
"It's nice to meet you, sir, your grandson speaks very highly of you," still in shock, it took Max a few seconds to shake her hand even as she held it out, "It's okay, I understand this may be a lot to take in."
Ben leaned in closer, "I knew that if I was going to run into anyone, it needed to be you; you're the only one that understands this type of thing," Max smiled at this as he looked down at the table, it's nice that he was held in such a high regard by his Grandson.
"And I'm guessing there isn't a chance you're ever coming back?"
Ben was silent, sitting back in his seat, he looked up at the ceiling of the Rustbucket, "There's a good reason, we need to talk about Gwen."
Max sighed, thinking back nearly seven years, "Well she vanished about a year after you left, she spent all of her free time trying to locate you with her magic but, nothing had ever panned out," he reminisced on his the memories he had with his favorite granddaughter, "Then just like you, she disappeared one night."
"I know exactly where she is, Grandpa; I found her out there, she accidently opened a portal that dropped her as close to my location as she could get," Ben explained as he looked down at his fingers, tapping the table nervously, "I really don't have the time to explain in detail but, she's been infected… possessed by something evil and it's got her…" they didn't notice he was crying until the tears dripped down his chin onto the table, "It's got her really tight Grandpa, and I just don't… I don't know what else to do."
Ahsoka reached out and put a hand over his, wrapping her fingers tightly with his and comforting him; Grandpa Max saw this and immediately noticed their matching silver rings, deducing several things, "You came here to steal my Null Void projector to use it on Gwen?"
"I tried reasoning with her, I tried fighting her, I tried even tried trapping her but," he closed his eyes and grabbed his mentors hand with his free arm, "She's killing people, innocent children, she almost killed me several times and it's my fault she's like this!"
"Slow down, son, take a breath," Max stood up and made his way to the cabinet, grabbing the gun and placing it on the counter before opening the fridge and pouring a glass of water, handing it to him as he sat back down.
Ben read his own belt and still had about an hour left before he started chugging water, "Whatever Gwen is doing, she's still your cousin, there has to be some good left in her."
He shook his head, putting down the glass after a long gulp, "This is different, I can't get through to her, she had children massacred right in front of me…" he said with a tear rolling down his face again.
Max sighed with an exasperated tone, "This is a lot of information to process in thirty minutes, Ben."
"Well, I was going to just take it and go without being seen but… I guess this is probably better, to let you know that I'm okay," Ben smiled as did his Grandfather, Ahsoka simply sat in silence with a smile and watched the reunion.
"Are you going to introduce me to your wife?"
Ben nearly choked on his own spit, "I, uhm, what?"
Max folded his arms as Ahsoka chuckled, "I've been an officer for intergalactic law enforcement my entire life and you think I can't tell when my own Grandson is in love?"
"Ahsoka Tano," she said as she reintroduced herself, "I've been married to your grandson for about five years now, he told me his only regret that day was not having you there."
Ben's cheeks heated up but, he didn't hesitate to smile, "I brought this with me," he noted as he pulled from underneath his armor a holographic disc, "I have one in my ship but I made a copy or two so I wanted you to have it," he slid it across the table to him as Max activated it with a touch, displaying Ahsoka and Ben's wedding day, a two second looping clip of them kissing, it wasn't in great detail but, he accepted it anyways.
"Thank you, it's more than I could have asked for," Max looked over to Ahsoka, "And I have to say, you have amazing taste in alien women, you must get it from my side of the family."
Ahsoka giggled, covering her mouth with one hand, "He's told me about his alien heritage, I find it ironic myself."
"Now," Ben sighed with his eyes closed and leaned back to glance over towards the counter where sat the Null Void projector, "We should discuss the Gwen situation, we are on borrowed time here."
Max scratched his neck and gave a long sigh with as much stress as Ben's, "Look, I've been in the game long enough to know that the safety of the innocent has to come first, if what you say is true and Gwen is too far gone… I think you need to do whatever it takes to put her down," a tear welled up in one of his eyes as he said it, his voice almost cracking.
"Hopefully, it won't come to that, I mean the Null Void is a prison she can't ever escape from, right?" Ben asked.
Max cleared his throat, trying not to dwell on the thought of Gwen being trapped with the thousands of prisoners the Plumber's had trapped there over the decades, "Well, if you manage to get her in there, it should be an inescapable dimension."
Ben looked back down to his hands, playing with his fingers again, "I tried to steer her away from the darkness, I really did but, she just kept sinking deeper into it. There was nothing I could do."
"I don't blame you, son, the only person I can blame is myself; I saw she was becoming obsessed with finding you and I didn't say anything," Max looked back up at the ceiling of his RV, "Maybe if I was there for her more she wouldn't have done something so risky."
"Sir," Ahsoka spoke up, even against her better judgement, "I promise you we'll do everything in our power to turn her back to the light before we resort to using that weapon," she looked into his eyes with a fiery determination, "She killed a good friend of mine, and many people more than that but, I still believe there is good in everyone, no matter what Galaxy she's from."
Ben smiled putting a hand on her arm for comfort as Max gave them both a satisfying smile, "Thank you, Ahsoka, that means a great deal to me," he stood up and grabbed the projector off the counter and handed it to Ben as they both stood up, noticing their belts only had less than five minutes and counting.
Ben looked down at the weapon and gave a long exhale, "It's… uh… it's a bit heavier than I expected," he muttered metaphorically, feeling the weight of what he was going to use this weapon for.
"Remember, you can't let your judgement be clouded by your emotions, you need to do whats sensible and whats for the greater good," Max pulled Ben into an embrace as he reciprocated, holding him tightly, "I'm glad we had this talk before you head off on your adventure."
"Trust me, if we could stay, we would…" They separated as Ben gripped the handle of the projector and aimed it at the door, feeling out the weapons frame, "But, Gwen is my responsibility and I have to make sure she doesn't hurt anyone else."
"I understand, do you want me to tell your parents what happened?"
Ben lowered the gun and looked away, "Tell them that I'm safe, tell them that Gwen is safe, that she's with me and that we're safe. I don't want them to know what she became."
"I'll tell them," he responded with a nod as the last thirty seconds of on the timer ticked down towards zero, "Goodbye, son."
"Bye, Grandpa," he grabbed Ahsoka's hand with his free one and intertwined their fingers one last time as the energy cascaded down around them. The timer hit zero and an emerald light exploded, reminding Max of the days where Ben would transform from creature to creature. When the light dispersed, they were gone and Max was left alone, he sat for a moment to ponder what he'd just been told but, all he could do was cry.
Ben and Ahsoka were reassembled molecule by molecule in the left teleporter pod, they were relieved to be in one piece but, didn't have much time to celebrate as their belts simultaneously exploded in a cascade of sparks. They shouted and rushed out of the pod, removing them and tossing the belts across the room to burst into flames without hurting them; after a few seconds of glancing around to regain their equilibrium, Maz Kanata walked back into the room with a smile on her face, "I hope it was worth it!" she shouted as she hobbled at a rushed pace to grab the nearest fire-dampening blanket, tossing it over the belts to snuff out the flames.
Turning back towards the pods, they too sent bright sparks out from within its wiring, including from the socket holding the Omnitrix core; Ben took a step forwards as the sparks exploded in short bursts, becoming less frequent. He looked closely at the core without touching it, analyzing it and noticing it had become corroded through its circuitry; effectively frying it completely, "I guess it really was a one way trip..." he muttered.
"That's what I told you!" Maz shouted as she pulled the core out of its socket with a pair of relatively large tongs, dumping it in a trashshoot nearby, "I hope you got whatever you went looking for."
Ben pulled the Null Void projector gun from the back of his waistband, looking over it, there didn't seem to be any visible damage; he flipped off the safety and turned the weapon on as it hummed to life, the handle had a knob at the end that flashed yellow signifying it being operational, "Yup, now all we need is to find Gwen again."
Maz Kanata dusted off her hands and set down the iron tongs as Ahsoka turned to her and spoke up, "You wouldn't happen to have knowledge on Sith trade routes, would you?"
She scoffed, "I know a lot of things but, I can't work miracles, dear," she picked a box of spare parts off her work bench and hauled it to the corner as Ben looked down to his own arm, flexing his hand as blue sparks of electricity coursed through his veins, pumping his muscles with extra energy.
"What about Sith Lords using darkside magicks? Ben spoke up, feeling out his charged arm as he quickly dispersed his energy, simply missing the feeling of having an unlimited energy source at his disposal; Ahsoka watched as Maz stopped mid-walk, slowly striding to the nearest counter-top and putting down her box before turning back to them and lifting up her glasses.
She glanced between them two, narrowing her eyes at them as she looked over the scars on Ben's face and the long scar running down Ahsoka's hand, "You two have met her already, haven't you?"
"We're... responsible for what she became," Ahsoka glanced at her feet in shame.
"Just so we're clear, we're talking about-"
Maz interrupted him mid sentence, "Darth Anodyne," she muttered, tapping her stubby fingers together, "Very scary, very powerful; I've never met her but I once accepted a trade for technology in exchange for a large amount of spice, I sent my men ahead to make the deal for me," she took a step or two forwards, rummaging through a desk with a half dozens drawers filled to the brim with wires and spare parts, "I received a transmission from the meeting which took this recording," finally finding and pulling out a holographic disc, it played as they watched closely.
Ben and Ahsoka glanced at one another before watching it play; the deal seemed to be going off without a hitch until the camera, and likely their ship, shook and someone shouted "We're being borded!"
Static filled the screen for several seconds as the hull doors opened, at first Ben could swear it was Darth Vader himself standing between two lines of stormtroopers but, it soon became very clear that it was Gwen, layered head to toe in black armor and thick protective fabric; Maz looked away as she ignited her bleeding crimson lightsaber and impaled the first man, bolts from blaster rifles flew by her as she used the force to anticipate and redirect any attack that came at her. She dipped into the ground, as if pencil diving into a portal at her feet, and being ejected upwards behind one of her men, decapitating him with a single swing. The troopers open fired on the smugglers, killing everyone on board and seizing both the technology and the spice, before vanishing just as quickly, "Go back, rewind it..."
Maz tilted her head in confusion, rewinding the recording until Gwen dipped into a portal mid-battle, "There, pause that," freezing just as she was half-way through said opening in space, "What is she doing there?" Ben asked.
"Is it a Sith illusion?" Ahsoka questioned.
Maz shook her head and pulled the holographic projector away from them, "Not Sith, Dathomirian magicks, the only species in the Galaxy still using it are the Nightsisters of Dathomir and I assumed they were all dead."
"General Greivous raided and wiped out the Nightsisters, long before Gwen ever arrived here, who could have taught her?" Ahsoka looked back to Ben who didn't seem too confused.
He turned toward the exit, grabbing his belt and cloak, holstering his blaster and the Null Void projector as Ahsoka followed his example, he spoke as he got ready to leave, "Gwen is a quick study, a prodigy, if she learned special magic on Dathomir, there's a good chance that's where we find our next clue."
"You said you two aren't Jedi, why are you hunting this Sith Lord down then?"
Ben sighed as he passed Maz and approached the doorframe to the exit, looking out at the hallway before sighing down at his shoes, walking away as he did so; Ahsoka strapped her belt to her waist and thanked Maz for her help, "Thank you so much for the help, if we ever need your services again, we'll definitely be in touch!" quickly rushing to follow Ben out of the castle, she couldn't imagine how it must have felt to tell his Grandfather about Gwen, what he needed now was to put this behind him, and she guessed Dathomir was a good a place as any to start.
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