Disclaimer: I don't own Ben 10.
Chapter 25 – God of Fire
Omnitrix City; South Dakota; December 27th, 2017; 8:41PM
Gwendolyn quickly rushed Ben through the portal she had manifested to escape the villains grasp, not taking the time to listen to his maniacal rant. They entered directly into the medical bay where several nurses were already waiting and treating other patients as well. As she pulled Ben's bloodied and beaten body out onto the white porcelain floors, a single nurse of oriental ethnicity and short black hair approached first.
"I'm the head nurse practitioner, what happened to him?" she asked as she started by checking his pulse before slowly looking over the many open wounds and severe split bones across his body.
Gwendolyn had tears in her eyes as she took a step back, "I-I don't know, he went after a serial killer and-and," her lip quivered as everything around her started to dull. She lit her hands a blaze with blue metaphysical fire, applying her aura to his entire body, but the wounds and lacerations were practically glowing a vibrant red energy. "Summa Sura!" she shouted through her tears as his mangled arm and bruised abdomen showed instant recovery with a glow of teal light, however; this left the rest of his body in shambles. The lacerations, the cracked spine, the dislocated shoulder… "W-Why isn't it working!" she shouted hysterically through her tears as the Asian medic pulled her away from him.
"My name is Julie Yamamoto, Ben hired us because we're the most skilled team of medical professionals on the continent," she reached out and placed her white sleeved hand on Gwen's shoulder to comfort her, "I assure you, he's in the best care he can get. Being… who you are, you're welcome to stay with him while we treat him," Julie couldn't get her attention, she was staring passed the nurse at Ben's body where blood pooled around it.
Gwen watched as the team deployed a sort of advanced gurney that projected a hard light surface beneath his body, effortlessly picking him up without risking any injuries during transfer to his own personal ICU within Tennyson Tower. The two followed the team until they laid his body out on an operating table in a large white sterilized room where highly advanced scanners deployed from the ceiling sending an array of different devices, scanning his body simultaneously. Gwendolyn couldn't stop the tears from slipping down her cheeks, this was exactly what she was afraid would happen, it was the exact reason she was angry with him in the first place but, had she not left… if she hadn't made him doubt them, maybe he would have called her before running off on his own.
Julie rounded the table attaching clamps and nodes to his body to regulate his vitals, which were terrible, his heartbeat was erratic until it slowed down as the nurse shouted medical jargon to her assistants, injecting him with different chemicals as the scanners gave them vivid images of the damage done to him. Gwendolyn felt as though the world around her had just slowed down and dulled as every voice echoed, and all she could see was him. Her doofus, staring up at the ceiling in unimaginable pain, with a vacant stare that showed he was hardly conscious at all by this point.
Suddenly, the heart monitor stopped its slow beeping replaced with a single flat lined sound, ignoring the nurses and their procedure, Gwendolyn shouted at the top of her lungs, "NO!" telekinetically sending every person in the room to the walls, pinning them there as she rushed over to his side.
Julie tried to cry out to her, incapable of pulling her hands free of the grip that kept her pinned to the wall, "Ms. Tennyson, w-wait!"
Gwen didn't listen, using the Charm of Electrokinesis to quickly form a powerful charge of static energy between her palms, growing in voltage as she clenched them into a fist, "Don't you dare-" she slammed her fists down onto the center of his chest, his body convulsing but, giving no response, "Think you can leave me-" she summoned another charge through wild tears as it still hadn't been successful, "Alone without you!" her final pounding down on his chest sent a surge mystical electricity straight into his heart, jump starting it as he flew upright, his eyes widening with a long gasp of desperately needed air.
"Ben!" Gwendolyn's tears became streams of joy, a relieved smile quickly replacing the terrified expression she held, as she rushed to hug him however before she could his eyes fluttered shut and he passed out back onto the operation table. Gwendolyn released everyone from her light telekinetic grip, allowing them to walk towards the patient and continue their business. His heart monitor began beeping rhythmically again without faulter. She stared down at him, truly never having seen him so vulnerable in her life… the tears kept coming without being able to hold them back.
Julie approached and stood next to Gwendolyn, placing a hand on her shoulder, still taking deep breaths to catch her second wind after restarting his heart, grazing her hand up and down his healed arm, "We have machines for that, you know…" she mentioned referring to the way she revived him.
"I know, I-I'm sorry, something just snapped, I guess," she knelt down as her hand led down his arm to his limp hand, intertwining their fingers and closing her eyes, sobbing onto the side of the hospital bed.
One Month Later
Bellwood; New York; January 27th, 2018; 1:41PM
High above the city, a thousand feet into the air among the blue sky and clouds, a flash of light vibrated through the atmosphere and space itself with a white flash of energy beaming through a tear in reality. A figure was slowly ejected from the light, dropping her through the air, sending her hurtling towards the ground under the pull of Earth's gravity. Flailing uncontrollably for several seconds, she didn't start screaming as though she'd been in situations like this before. "Okay, Omnitrix, please cooperate!" she lifted her dainty forearm and looked over her thick bright-blue wrist band with a pink genetic energy flowing from its hourglass faceplate design. Popping the dial up, she twisted it until she found one she thought could help her; only a few hundred feet from the ground, she slapped the dial down exploding in a rose shaded flash of light.
Instead of an alien with the ability of flight, she transformed into a six-foot teal-diamond creature, her suit was reminiscent of Ben's when he was ten only, it was split down the middle with white and blue color schemes. Without time to address her malfunctioning watch, she hit the side of a building, taking a chunk of it with her bringing a stone decorative statue down, as she flailed through the air uncontrollably once again hitting the asphalt in the center of the street. Barely missing the mid-day traffic as cars skidded to a stop before veering off into the massive pothole she'd made with her impacts, landing in the last of three craters she put in the street. Standing up slowly, the cars on either side shouted at her from out their windows, some of them getting out of their cars to look for a fight to watch, "What the hell are you doing!"
One of the men got out of his truck and looked down into the ten-foot-deep crater, stepping closer to the edge to see through the smoke, "Hey! It's Ben Ten Thousand!" he shouted at the other drivers behind him, all of which soon began to surround her, some even sliding down into the crater with the female Petrosapien. Wishing she could fly away from this situation, she looked down at the pink hourglass symbol embedded on her right pectoral, "I picked Butterfly, not Sapphire, why do you even have a dial?…" she muttered down at it under her breath, glancing around at the crowded streets, she was clearly in her hometown but, something was different about it… in what way she couldn't tell just yet. The buildings were taller than her Bellwood and, there were a few aliens living out in the open with no disguise.
She recognized the street she was on but, felt completely out of place either way; she quickly slapped the symbol on her chest prompting a bright pink flash that engulfed her body, transforming her again into a female Kineceleran with a lighter blue pigmented skin, glowing hot-pink shaded eyes, and a splash of freckles over her cheeks. "Sorry… uh, everyone… gotta go!" Velocity slid down her visor and dashed out of the crowd at the speed of sound, leaving a blue and white blur in her trail.
She dashed up the side of a building onto a rooftop six blocks away, far enough from other people to safely slap the faceplate on her chest, transforming in another flash of pinkish light which returned her to her human form. She was about five-foot-five and looked to be around sixteen or seventeen years old, sporting a long-sleeved baby-blue shirt with a navy-blue jean jacket donned over it, the shirt had a familiar cat insignia silhouetted onto the center of the torso as well. Her most prominent and distinguishing quality was her fiery orange undercut hairstyle, partially shaved on the left-side of her head, leaving the rest of her curly bangs to fall down below her jawline, combed to the right. Taking deep breaths, she slowly limped over towards an air conditioning unit which she leaned on, holding her side as she slowly pulled her palm into her unfocused vision. A small amount of blood was trickling from a wound on her surprisingly fit abdomen, looking far more battle hardened.
She had clearly seen better days, having tears running through her white denim jeans with only barely healed wounds hiding beneath, slits in her long sleeves with cuts still fresh beneath them. Gwen was at a loss for words, one moment she was in a heated battle with the most powerful and skilled enemy she'd ever faced before, and the next second she was dropped from cloud level without warning. Landing in a city that was only vaguely similar to the one she had just been defending, and they all somehow recognized her as a hero spite never having lost her secret identity.
Gwen spun on her heels looking out at the buildings around her, taller and more renovated than the ones in the Bellwood she just left, they even seemed more advanced. "Don't tell me I ended up in the future again… I hate time travel," she expressed as she limped over and leaned against the ledge that looked down on the city street below. Pulling out her phone, she wasn't sure what she was expecting, no service what-so-ever and she was never one for mobile games so, all she could do was scroll through pictures on her gallery.
There were photos of her Ben, a version of Kevin that actually smiled, and even Grandpa Max was in a few of them, "Wonder how long it'll take me to get out of this one…" she had clearly been through similar situations before but, she'd come to be incredibly surprised that this was a whole new ballpark.
As she pocketed her phone and stared over the ledge, she watched as a black tank-like van pulled up beside what appeared to be a bank of some sort, getting out and opening the back, readying alien weaponry and ammunition before making their way toward the entrance with masks, "Well, just because I'm in the future doesn't mean I can't go down there and kick butt, that way when future me shows up, I can show her how good I've gotten with the Omnitrix," popping the activation button on the band, she twisted the dial until she found the outline of the alien she wanted, "Bingo."
She slapped the dial with a pink neon flash and leapt off the building simultaneously, firing a massive wave of ice at her reptilian feet, feeling the wind against her arctic fins pultruding from her back as she created a slide that curved allowing her version of Artiguana to intercept their attempt to break in. She slid to a halt in front of them, as frost drifted from her lips slowly, she chuckled, "I'd say freeze but…" she quipped.
They glanced at each other briefly, "Is that Ben Ten Thousand? Why is he, uh… pink?" One of the masked men shouted in confusion, not totally recognizing the color scheme of her Omnitrix, taking a step or two back apprehensively with their weapons still primed.
"Who gives a shit what color it is, kill it!"
Blissard raised a brow, both her dial and eyes were luminescent with rose-shaded pink energy distinguishing herself from the heroes otherwise identical transformations. Hearing it now for the second time, she took her time to appropriately address the correction she figured they were looking for, "It's Gwen… Gwen Ten Thousand… though I usually don't add the thousand at the end there," she didn't hesitate to fire a beam of ice from between her sharp-fanged jaws, legs pinning them in place by their ankles.
They each readied their individual rifle-like energy weapons, obviously acquired through Prometheus' gang distribution networks, utilizing the same type of energy as his twisted version of an Omnitrix. Not that Gwen knew any of that, simply using her amphibious nature to counter by leaping out of the way of the crimson beams that struck the ground where she had been standing on all fours, landing behind them with her incredible agility, where they were helpless to turn around. Immediately getting blasted by a flurry of ice from behind locked them in a block of ice, freezing them completely solid, "That'll help you guys cool off," she quipped again.
Omnitrix City; South Dakota; January 27th, 2018; 1:30PM
After finally stabilizing him and treating him for over a month, Ben was ready to get back on his feet though, he wasn't sure how long it would be before he could fight again. He received four cracked ribs, a severely broken right arm, a myriad of lacerations across his body, an acute strike to his lower back rupturing his spine, and just a hint of internal bleeding to go with it. Normally this would be a non-factor as Gwendolyn's mystical healing had become more than just effective, it had become nearly infallible… nearly being the operative word. Whatever energy that Prometheus uses to power his watch, his strength, and all of his other abilities, it conflicts directly with her magic. Like trying to push together the same sides of two different magnets, the effects simply repel from the wounds but, only the ones dealt by his mutated alien forms.
Just a few of his broken ribs and most of his arm were able to make a full recovery within a night, but had Ben not been enhanced with super-human attributes, he wouldn't have survived the encounter at all. His enhanced healing being the only thing allowing him to walk just two weeks after being nearly paralyzed. Ben was sitting up in the hospital bed he'd been bound to for the last month since he woke up from the beating he received, he swung his legs over the side of the bed, feeling the cool metallic floor against his toes.
"You know you aren't supposed to be getting up," a female voice announced from the doorway behind him, giving a half smile at the sound of it, he only barely chuckled as she approached and set a tray of food down beside his hospital bed.
Ben looked up at the oriental physician that he had hired along with the majority of his medical staff, apparently he had dated her once in middle school but, never really remembered her. Not even when they met face to face for her job interview, it was only when she told him her name did he realize who he was talking to, Julie Yamamoto was his middle school girlfriend and an academic prodigy.
She graduated from high-school at fourteen, spent seven years at med-school in the Ivy League no less, and is now one of the youngest successful and well-respected doctors in medical science. Though, with new hospitals opening their doors to extra-terrestrials, she still had a long road ahead of her before her career would peak, "I was just trying to stretch my legs a bit, that's all," Ben responded with a melancholy tone, clearly still disturbed by how he lost to this new villain.
Folding her white sleeved arms over her opened lab-coat, with just a black blouse and jeans underneath, she scoffed at him, "Well, you should be lucky to be moving them at all," Julie approached a white ceramic countertop with a highly advanced touchscreen embedded in it, tapping a few commands, and swiping a digital file or two. "Anybody else would never have walked again."
Ben scratched his head nervously, trying to keep as optimistic of an attitude as possible in this situation, "How long until I'm fully healed?" he asked, almost muttering it under his breath.
Julie sighed at the sound of his sorrow, he seemed so distraught after having the opportunity to bring justice to his friend's killer, getting so close but, failing all the same. Projecting up from the screen on the countertop, a holographic image of an x-ray for the spinal damage he took the night of the attack appeared in front of him, "The MRI I took of your spine on the night of the incident showed a complete dislocation of the T-12 to L-1 interspace of the thorough lumbar junction but, the scan I took this morning has a ninety-eight-point-four percent recovery rate, you're almost fully healed," she pointed out the before and after images of his x-rays, still not seeing any hope in his reaction, she took a seat next to him, "I know we haven't known each other in ten years, or even spoken really but, after I heard what you said on TV after the invasion…" she stopped to clutch the clipboard she was holding against her chest, "It inspired me to move to this city, so I could start making a change for equality like you, even if I'm not some super genius or magical-whatever," she tried to get him to smile and he did only, she could tell it was just a fake smile to put her at ease. "You can still come back from this and-"
His deep pensive stare was a thousand-yards long, staring out the window at the city he owned, but seeing nothing but the flashes of the absolute thrashing he took at Prometheus' hands. Every single strike reverberated through his memory like a mental shockwave, it was obviously the post traumatic stress reminding him of his failure. Shaking his head slowly at her, "I've lost before, I've nearly died before, each time it was for a good reason and I would have been more than glad to give it up but, now," Ben looked down to his right-hand which was bandaged all around the wrist, leading up wrapped tightly around his entire right-arm, "I have Gwendolyn, Cooper, Kevin, a whole city that I've committed to… for the first time since I became a hero… I have something to lose." He sighed and planted his elbows on his knees, huffing exasperatedly into his hands. He pulled his hands back after a second or two and looked Julie in the eyes with a somber expression of uncertainty, "First Grandpa, then Kai, and now she's leaving me too." He paused before explaining as Julie wasn't sure she understood what he meant, "I told Gwendolyn that it was only a matter of time before she would be going to my funeral too."
Having always been a good listener, and having practiced as a nurse for some years, she knew how to sympathize when a patient that needed emotional support as well as physical, "How'd she respond?" Julie asked with a timid voice.
Ben closed his eyes and turned away, running his fingers over his bandaged arm nervously, "She said she couldn't have a future with someone who doesn't think they have one of their own, and she's right about that." Julie glanced her brown eyes at him without turning, "The way she said it, it's obviously been bothering her for a while." This thought led to him recalling how it made him feel when he watched Gwendolyn's regeneration from the explosion Prometheus set up, watching her flesh reform as she was so close to death. "And how could I possibly blame her?" he sighed again as he paused, looking around behind him at the empty room, "I was… I was gonna propose to her, I haven't figured out when or the where yet but, I've got the ring and everything. For this to all be happening now…" he sighed exasperatedly.
Spreading a wide grin across her face, "For you, buying the ring is the easy part," Julie giggled as she pointed out prompting a light chuckle from him, "Do you really think that your hero career can only end in your death, has Greymatter run the numbers or whatever?" she gestured as Ben hadn't thought of that but, it wasn't the point she was trying to make so she didn't give him an opportunity to respond, "You are, without a doubt, the most powerful man on the planet. Wouldn't you think the safest place for your loved ones to be is as close to you as possible?" she may not have been a technopath with a two-hundred IQ but, she made more sense than any of the advice he'd been given on the situation till this point.
Ben ran his fingers through his mess of brunette hair, "I'm no good for them, I'll only end up getting them killed… I'm brash and irresponsible, plus I'm super impulsive and…"
Julie giggled again interrupting him, glancing back out at the window as construction workers began their shifts across the city on high rises built by the man standing next to her, "You've changed a lot, Ben Tennyson, more than you care to admit. You led a team of people who didn't even like each other into a war and won and now you're building an entire city to promote intergalactic peace…" she tilted her head in confusion, raising a brow, "Is there something I'm missing here?"
"I appreciate that, you saying I've changed but, if I'm becoming the hero I'm supposed to be then… why do people keep leaving me?" Ben looked down at her, locking eyes as a sympathetic expression crossed her face, longing for any answer that would quell the void in his heart.
Julie unwrapped her arms from around her clipboard, holding it in one hand and using the other to place a gentle comforting grip on Ben's shoulder, "That's the thing about change, right? You hope you're doing the right thing by becoming a better person," she paused to smile up at him optimistically, "But, you're also becoming a different person, and some people just react badly to that." She took her hand away and turned around, glancing back up at the scans of his injuries, smiling at his progress, "Since you're standing again," Julie scolded, "You should probably go find Gwendolyn and have that talk that you've been avoiding, from what I can tell, you two really love each other."
As Julie minimized the projections of his x-rays back onto the holopad, Ben stepped over and leaned onto the counter next to her, he raised a brow grabbing his trademarked black sleeveless with a white stripe down the middle, "So, us being together doesn't… freak you out? Or gross you out or anything?" He asked out of pure curiosity.
Julie shrugged without turning around, "If I found that strange I'd be quite the hypocrite for having no problem with a shapeshifting superhero ex-boyfriend as a patient and boss who owns his own city… and is frankly paying me way more than I'm worth," muttering that last part in a whisper as he turned his head at her comment, raising his brow, "Nothing!" she snickered once he walked away, knowing full well that Gwendolyn hadn't even asked him to hire her specifically, let alone discussed her payment.
Ben made his way through his tower, down to the lower-level mission room that held the Danger Alert system, as the doors slid open for him he was met immediately with Cooper sitting at the holodeck analyzing some data that flew by at impossible speeds on a multitude of holoscreens surrounding him, not impossible for him at least. "Ben! You have to come check this out!" he shouted immediately before the changeling could even take three steps in the room.
Ben's expression became a tad stoic, sarcastically replying, "Hi Cooper, how are you, I'm alive and well, thank you!" He chided sarcastically still approaching the data on the holodeck as Cooper did set something up for him to see.
The blonde technopath waved his hands with a scoff in Ben's direction, "You're fine, I have access to all your medical files…" skimming over that before Ben could question him about it, Cooper brought up a holographic map of the globe where three locations were pinpointed across it, "These three colored markers represent users with an Omnitrix core," the one in Omnitrix City was a bright green while the one up towards Italy was crimson red, leaving an unknown pink signature sitting in Bellwood, New York. "There's you and Albedo obviously but, a few minutes ago this new one popped up out of nowhere, the watch signal is identical to yours… not even Albedo's copy is this good," glancing up to see his reaction.
Ben reached up to run his fingers across the thin beard he was growing as he stared at the pink dot on the holographic projection, "It's in Bellwood too, maybe its Prometheus?"
"No, whatever energy he uses to power his watch, it's unlike anything I've ever seen, it even negates mysticism…" Coop turned and pointed at the pink dot directly, "This, is an exact duplicate of the signature you give off when you transform, this anomaly could be some sort of weapon and I suggest you get to it first before Prometheus does."
Ben turned around, stretching his arm, and cracking his neck at the same time as he walked away, huffing as he prepared to do his duty, "Send me the coordinates, I'll give it a look-see," Cooper reached for his holographic keyboard but hesitated with narrowed eyes.
"Shouldn't you get Gwendolyn?" He knew he had to have a conversation with her eventually but, he was particularly good at procrastinating.
He turned around quickly with a confident smile, "C'mon, it's just a recon mission, and you said it yourself that it can't be him so… coordinates… please," he pleaded with his old friend.
He reluctantly complied, he was Ben Ten Thousand after all, he couldn't lose all faith just because he lost one fight, sending the coordinates straight to his Omnitrix as the explosion of light blinded him for a moment.
Bellwood; New York; January 27th, 2018; 1:42PM
Three police cruisers and two Plumber trucks pulled into the bank parking lot where the thieves were all trapped in ice making them easy pickings for the officers as they arrived, Blissard looked around and noticed the differences in the trucks design and the Plumber insignia was green instead of… what was going on exactly? Exploding in a flash of pink light that blinded the officers approaching her, she dashed from the scene as Velocity who zipped through the streets at hundreds of miles an hour.
It was unusual running through her own hometown and yet finding so many unrecognizable things, her first thought was to go home but, who knew if her home was even still where she remembered it? Suddenly, a black and white rush of speed easily caught up to and matched her, equalizing their perspectives as she noticed it was another Kineceleran running beside her. Out of startled fear, Velocity took a sharp left turn, "Eeek!" and took off far beyond hypersonic, shaking cars as she ran passed them and out of the city. She was forced to come to a stop when a force of incomprehensible speed intercepted and blitzed around her creating a massive cyclone of dirt and dust fifty-feet high, lifting Velocity right off her wheels.
XLR8 came to a controlled stop, folding his arms in a bit of disappointment, which ceased the funnel of air and allowed the younger speedster to fall twenty feet onto her back, he didn't wait to use his visor to scan her thoroughly but not finding anything significant. That is until she stood up and turned to him where an Omnitrix symbol was embedded in her chest, albeit in bright pink, "What the hell man!?" Velocity shouted at him, flipping her own visor up, "I get it, your faster than me, good for you…" she whipped her tail behind her as she trailed off noticing the symbol on his chest as well.
"Where did you get that!?" they shouted at each other simultaneously, pointing down at one another's chest, "Don't copy me!" they once again spoke in unison on accident. Finding themselves falling back into a familiar routine they went by when they were ten.
XLR8 took a few steps forwards, getting closer to her, and looking down on her with an intimidating glare, "Who gave you that watch? Was it Prometheus?" he reached out for her wrist with his claw but, recoiled when she dashed back ten feet in a blur.
"Don't touch me, and what do you know about Prometheus?!" Velocity shouted at him, backing away still even knowing she couldn't get away from him in this scenario, "I'm the one that should be asking the questions here!" she insisted.
XLR8 scoffed, folding his arms over his chest, "Please, wherever you got that watch, you clearly don't know how to use it very well, otherwise you'd have it locked so people cant do this-" he quickly zipped passed her, tapping the hourglass on her chest resulting in another pink explosion of light, "Now lets see who I'm really dealing… with…" as he caught sight of Gwen who was looking over her human form, he shuffled backwards in the dirt.
She looked over herself in confusion, never having seen anyone do that to her before, she balled up her fists in frustration, "Happy now? Gwen Tennyson, nice to meet ya, freak," If it weren't for her hair, she would be a spitting image identical copy of Gwendolyn save five or six years younger, folding her arms in frustration as she turned to face him again. "If you have the Omnitrix now, does that make you future me?"
XLR8's mouth went dry, not because he was surprised by how good she looked with that hair style or why she was wearing such a unique outfit but, because there was no way he could make heads or tails on what was happening. "I don't know how to tell you this… whoever you are… but," he slapped his faceplate and allowed his own emerald explosion to shift his forms back into human, "I have no idea what's going on here either," he slapped his thighs with no idea on how this could have happened.
Gwen was taken aback as she stared up at her taller, older cousin who had most definitely been working out, though; this didn't feel like time travel at all, "B-Ben?" she managed to stutter, taking him in as he was clearly not her cousin.
He quickly crossed the short distance between them, grabbing her arm, and pulling it up to eye level prompting her to shout, "Hey!" he looked over it and it was most definitely an Omnitrix made exactly like his… exactly the way it was before it bonded with him. Gwen tried pulling away from him but, his enhanced strength didn't allow for to do that as she placed her feet against his chest for leverage pulling away from him, "Let go, doofus!" with that he finally released his grip allowing her to fall back first into the dirt.
"What the hell is happening?!" She shouted up at the sky as she stood up slowly, dusting herself off before suddenly wincing in pain as she pulled back her jacket where a bandaged wound was bleeding through her blouse, "Agh…" she groaned involuntarily. Though before Ben could take notice, something interrupted them.
A flash of white light suddenly exploded between them as a figure emerged from it, stepping out of the light in a lab coat and safety goggles, "I believe I can be of assistance with your interdimensional dilemma," he removed the goggles so they could hang around his neck, revealing a familiar face.
"Who the heck are you?" Gwen asked immediately whilst folding her arms with a skeptical glare, not enjoying being left out of the loop.
Ben approached with a handout, ready to shake as he greeted the man for the first time since the invasion, "Nice to see you again, Paradox… you haven't aged a day," He joked.
Paradox shook his outstretched hand as his attention turned to the younger Gwendolyn doppelganger staring up at him with a fierce expression, "You must be Gwen Ten, is that right?" while not exactly a child, she was in fact by far the shortest of the three. Prompting their slightly patronizing approach.
Ben raised his brow as Gwen seemed to understand, lowering her arms to her side as she decided to listen instead of start an argument, "I'm unsure as to how but, Gwen was hurtled out of her own reality and into this one; much like this Universe, there are an infinite number of other realms nearly indistinguishable from our own," Paradox pulled out his pocket watch, clicking it open as it projected a massive hologram of blue light that created a wide-space with an array of worlds across it, "Imagine the Multiverse as a single layer of reality, each Universe and thusly, each Earth, virtually occupy the exact same space." The hologram mashed all of the spherical models of the Earth into one single perfect sphere, "However, each one of these different realities vibrate fundamentally at a different dimensional frequency, keeping them from perceiving one another." Paradox closed his pocket watch, shutting off the projection as their attention returned to the man standing in front of them.
"So, I'm from a world where I got the Omnitrix instead of Gwen?"
Paradox chuckled at the irony, "On the contrary, she is the only Gwen Tennyson to ever recover and keep her Omnitrix," they both turned to look at her as she was turning the dial on the watch, trying to get it to recharge faster.
"Well," Gwen muttered as she gave up on trying to reactivate her Omnitrix and huffed at them, only barely paying attention to his explanation in the first place, "I guess that makes me the most unique hero in the Multiverse then," trying not to take offence to the fact that there were so few watch wielding heroines.
Paradox cleared his throat, "Debatable still, however; I must be off, much to do," he turned but, before blipping away in a flash, Ben caught his arm as he turned to speak with him.
"Wait, why did you show up now? Why did you show up during the invasion? What does any of this have to do with you?" Ben asked the most obvious questions he could think of when it came to the mysterious time-walker. He asked them as quickly as he could in fear that he would blink, and the man would vanish.
Paradox pulled Ben by the shoulder a few feet away from Gwen, getting close enough to speak without her hearing only a few yards away, "I go where or when I'm needed," looking up from his emerald eyes, he glanced back at Gwen before turning his head back to him, "Cherish this one, Benjamin, while you can." Without warning, Paradox vanished instantly from where he was standing in a flash of light, leaving Ben standing on his own.
"Alright, I have no idea what that was about but, at least now we know how you got here-" Ben turned to find Gwen holding her side as her wound was beginning to bleed through its bandage and her shirt now. "First, let's get you some help with that… then we'll try to figure out what's going on here, can you transform into XLR8 again?" Ben looked over the wound she had bandaged but, figured it would be easier to take her to get treated elsewhere.
"It's Velocity," Gwen showed him her Omnitrix as the pink symbol was now flashing bright red, "And it needs to recharge, does yours not?" she asked in an almost jealous tone but, still in severe pain.
Ben chuckled, stretching his neck, and grabbing her hand, pulling her in closely, "I'll tell you all about it," he exploded with just a thought as XLR8 dashed from the vail of light with his girlfriend's counterpart in his arms.
Omnitrix City; South Dakota; January 27th, 2018; 2:17PM
Having Tennyson Tower was always a great base of operations, and it definitely could serve as a place for Ben and Gwendolyn to live comfortably, however; the latter insisted on something more modest in the city, a small three-bedroom condo to share. In an attempt to keep their hero and personal lives separate and Ben knew there was nowhere else she'd want to go. It was only a few miles from his tower as he approached the ten-story complex at super speeds, to which Ben and Gwen shared their tenth-floor suite.
XLR8 stopped at the front door on the tenth-floor outdoor corridor leading to a view of a large lake with a fountain spraying upwards; transforming back into his human form, Ben rang the doorbell as Gwen was let down to her feet. "I thought you said you lived here?" she leaned her back against the wall as they waited for a response.
"And I thought you'd be quieter but, we're both disappointed…" Ben felt the same irritating energy he used to feel for his cousin when they were ten years old, it felt nothing like it did with his Gwendolyn, "I do live here but, my girlfriend kind of kicked me out…" he rubbed the back of his neck as he explained himself.
"Hah! Nice one, doofus, though I feel bad for whichever lady had to sleep next to you every night, dweeb," Gwen snickered as Ben's smirk became more confident than she cared to admit. They heard footsteps approaching the door as someone looked through the peephole from the other side of the door.
"Oh, yea? You don't say?" Gwen waited as the door opened slowly revealing the fabled girlfriend, wearing a navy-blue long-sleeved blouse and denim blue jeans, the Petrosapien crystal earrings Ben had gifted her, and the Keystone of Bezel on a necklace hanging over her chest.
Gwendolyn had allowed her hair to grow just down the nape of her neck in length over the last month, though she had the slack hanging in a linear plait braid with her bangs still hanging down in front of her eyes, "Ben, I told you not to come back until… until…" she turned her attention to the guest he brought with him, both of which stared at each other in awe, looking each other up and down.
Gwendolyn stepped out of her apartment and looked Gwen in the eyes, both of them stepping around one another in a circle, almost mimicking each other's movements, "Gwendolyn…" Ben muttered nervously, tapping his fingers together, "Meet Gwendolyn…"
"It's just Gwen actually…" the doppelganger chimed in as she gave out a hoarse cough into her hand, finding blood in her palm as she stared down at it and groaned louder.
"What the hell is this, Ben?" Gwendolyn turned to him with a gesturing hand out referring to her twin, as Gwen took offence to that she raised her left hand with a pointed finger flashing her Omnitrix.
"Hey, I cant talk to me like that!" she shouted still clutching her side, but Gwendolyn only gained a more serious expression, grabbing her arm and pulling her in through the doorway, "Why do people keep doing that?" she announced in protest as she pointed inside for Ben to follow after them with a shameful expression. Shutting the door behind them as they all stood together in a small group in front of Gwendolyn.
"Summa Cura," Gwendolyn's right palm was engulfed in blue flames as a glittering blue aura shrouded over her counterpart's entire body with a single gesture, healing the wounds that had been dealt to her instantly. Feeling out the gash on her side, she ripped the bandage off and found her skin totally untouched, without even any scar tissue to speak of. Most of her lacerations were sealed as well, healed just as perfectly.
Gwendolyn quickly yanked Ben back by the white stripped collar of his shirt huddling with him for a moment while Gwen lingered around their shared apartment, looking at the interior décor of their home, "I know you're still mad at me and said you didn't want to talk until I had an apology, and I really did expect to come here today to do that but, then I was responding to this weird energy signature and-" he stopped when she put a single finger over his lips, the smell of her fruity hand lotion overwhelmed his senses for half a second, hushing him from his nervous babbling.
"We can talk about that after we at least settle who, why, and how?" Gwendolyn walked away from him, leaving him speechless as they turned their attention to Gwen who was holding a picture frame in her hand. Like all the others, they were of Ben and Gwendolyn in different places, all across the planet clearly using their powers to spice up their lives.
The picture she was holding was of Ben and Gwendolyn together, in a fancy suit a stunning teal dress attending some dinner party in what looked to be France or Italy, his arm around her waist and her head leaned into his shoulder, and the picture looked professionally taken too. "So, I'm the girlfriend that kicked you out?" she muttered in total confusion, staring down at the picture of them together, they looked so happy with each other, but it was wrong. It was so wrong. "This must be the reality where everyone has lost their damn minds!" Gwen took several steps forwards, screaming like their parents did the day they moved out together on their eighteenth birthday, "You two are cousins, family! You aren't supposed to… you can't just…" they waited for her to finish her statement but, instead she just popped the dial on her watch and slapped the faceplate down emerging as her Necrofrigian transformation dubbed Tundra as she floated up and phasing out of the building in frustration leaving the room with a gust of frost.
Ben and Gwendolyn were left with a chilled breeze and a deafening silence, the latter turned her attention to her boyfriend who was still in the doghouse to begin with, "Any explanation on what the fuck just happened here?" she tried to say as calmly as possible, not even understanding the scientific possibility of what she was seeing.
Ben chuckled, trying to make light of the situation a bit, "Y-You're wearing the earrings I made you…" he pointed out the crystals he formed as a gift for her years ago, gleaming in the light from the window nearby, "They look great-"
"Don't change the subject, Ben, I'm serious," Folding her arms over her chest and turning around to face away from him, a disappointed look in her eyes.
Ben nervously chuckled, a sound that was obviously meant to start a difficult conversation, "Look, like I said she's from another Universe where things are almost the same except you get the Omnitrix instead of me, and obviously they haven't started integrating extraterrestrial stuff into their Earth…" he explained as best he could, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly once again, "I didn't think she'd react so… poorly to, us… I brought her here because you're the smartest person I know and… I really wanted to talk to you," she knew he was lying as he knew several people far smarter than herself but, was flattered either way.
Gwendolyn took this all in, giving a long exhale as she leaned on one leg and folded her arms again, closing her eyes with a stoic expression, "I'm listening."
"You were right."
Her eyes immediately snapped open, he'd rarely admitted his own fault in their personal arguments, so it surprised her that it was his first move, "I'm sorry that I thought handling things alone would keep you safe as if you couldn't take care of yourself, I'm sorry for lying about going hero without you, and I'm sorry for trying to take down Prometheus alone. I do want to have a future, and I want it to be with you…" he grabbed her forearm pulling her arms out from their folded posture, running his fingers down her arms until their hands met, "It's you and me, always and forever, babe."
Gwendolyn involuntarily wept, finally looking up into his eyes, tears lining her pupils as she listened until she finally jumped into his arms, "Damn, I hate being mad at you. I love you so much," her arms wrapped around his torso quickly, squeezing him so tightly she thought she'd never let go.
"I love you too," he responded with a smile, pulling her closer as his hand rested on her lower back, "We'll handle Prometheus together, we'll fight the good fight together, and we'll do whatever it takes to avenge Kai's death… together," Ben muttered into her ear as he stroked the top of her head, running his hand down her neatly tied braid, pulling back only to lock his lips with hers, savoring the sweet strawberry taste that he'd missed so much. Finding that the longer they were apart, the more they craved to extend this moment of passion, feeling the textures of their tongues tangled and hidden within their mouths, Ben ended the kiss by gently biting her bottom lip, giving her goosebumps as they broke apart only for air, putting their foreheads together, leaning on one another as they relished in the moment, having missed the other more than either of them anticipated. They quickly refocused their priorities, pulling back as Gwendolyn wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, "Should we go after… uh, her?" she referenced her own copy that just flew through the ceiling moments ago, out into a world she only vaguely recognizes.
Ben pulled back and took his phone from his pocket, "I'll call Cooper, he'll upload a tracking algorithm to my Omnitrix that'll pinpoint hers…" he was about to dial the number when Gwendolyn telekinetically and involuntarily pushed him back slamming him back first into a bookshelf that shattered on impact. He fell as the shelves and books toppled over him, briefly pinning him to the ground while he caught his second wind.
Her eyes flushed bright blue glowing upwards as the energy even spewed from her mouth, she shouted in pain for a brief few seconds clutching her head in pain, "AGH!" the spasm sent shockwaves that short circuited all the lights in the room, the bulbs exploding and raining glass down around her. It subsided after a few more seconds and her eyes returned to normal, forcing her to her knees as she took deep breaths of exhausted terror.
Ben sprung from the debris of the wooden shelves, rushing to her aid as she held a hand over her head, trying to see through the vision she was experiencing, he approached and placed a hand gently on her back, "What the hell was that?!" he asked with concern.
"It was Charmcaster, she was calling to me for help, like something awful was happening… something that sent ripples of terror through the mana field," Gwendolyn looked up at Ben with an extremely concerned glare, tears beginning to rush down her cheeks once again feeling Hope's raw emotions flooding her empathic abilities, "This is really bad," she whimpered.
Ledger Domain; Unknown; Unknown; Unknown.
Charmcaster was laid out on the stone path that weaved through the pink space glittering in the sky, her stomach was bleeding out as she had been struck with unbelievable force that sent her flying out of the fight. Above her was another trail of stone that shook with the force of two titans battling upon it, she thought they'd be evenly matched but, they were very wrong. Living here was supposed to be peaceful as Bezel hardly ever enforced his rules on his domain anymore, leaving the couple to build a life there over the years.
Albedo was transformed into Negative Humungousaur and already had taken significant damage, swinging his fist into his opponents face but, only knocking him back a step spite exuding an extensive shockwave. "Terrorsaurus isn't as vulnerable as you're pathetic incomplete copies," Prometheus announced within the mutated Vaxasaurian form he took on, instead of brown he wore grey skin across his body with a white and silver armored shell strapped to his back. Each of his fists were wrapped in brass knuckles with sharpened ends, his tail was also tipped with glowing crimson energy just like his watch exuded.
Negative Humungousaur charged forwards, using a right-left combo to strike Terrorsaurus in the face, though he didn't even flinch from the force, grabbing the shorter opponent by his arms and pulling him into a chest shattering knee strike. Quickly recovering and throwing a right straight which he narrowly dodged to the left to avoid, jabbing Albedo in the back leaving puncture wounds in his midsection that began to bleed out. Humungousaur turned and swung a left backhand which Terrorsaurus caught and countered immediately with an uppercut that left him stunned. Stunned long enough for Prometheus to grab the back of his neck and uppercut him in the face, sending the Vaxasaurian off his feet, hitting the ground on his back.
"Eradiko!" Charmcaster shouted through bloodied teeth, aiming her open palm upwards where a bolt of hot-pink lightning zipped through the air striking Terrorsaurus directly in the chest but, her magic simply repelled off his form, just like his attack did to her shield, which is how she ended up in this state in the first place. Feeling out her abdomen, she glanced down at her palm slicked with far too much blood for her liking, scoffing, and using her last resort to send a message out to Gwendolyn. Using the immense pain to shout her emotions across dimensions, through the mana field to another mage who could sense it.
Terrorsaurus glanced down the few hundred feet she had fallen after being back handed by him, "I'm not after you, witch, but continue to interfere and I wont hesitate to finish you off," he pointed his glowing neon crimson sharpened energy tail down at her as a threat before turning his attention to Negative Humungousaur who was bleeding out on the ground, face bruised, bones broken, facing the pink sky where the concussions almost made it seem rather beautiful. Terrorsaurus reached down and twisted the dial on Albedo's Omnitrix, finding the core fused to the watch itself, "Your tampering has made it impossible to salvage the core without taking your life, unexpected but, not unrectifiable."
Charmcaster watched as he transformed back into his armored human form, ominously strutting around the Vaxasaurian to where he could reach out and slap his faceplate, transforming him back into Albedo, who was still beaten and broken, hardly breathing at all. "In this unique situation, this actually isn't personal," he finished off as he quickly drew his katana and swung in the same motion, slicing Albedo's hand off at the forearm.
"AHGHH!" Charmcaster could hear his cries of agony as he couldn't even move to see the wound bleeding out from his stumped limb. Convulsing from the pain, feeling several bones pultruding out of his skin, this was definitely the last thing he would ever see. Looking back on the last five years with Hope, he wouldn't have changed a thing.
Charmcaster forced herself up, in the process of calling out to Gwendolyn through the mana field, she watched as Prometheus stepped over him and plunged his blade straight through Albedo's heart, even feeling his life force vanish, she shouted at the top of her lungs, "NO!" her scream cracked with a whimpering set of tears running down her cheeks, her blackened mascara running now as he pulled his blade out slicked with his blood.
Right as Prometheus turned around, a Bezelian portal spun into existence with golden light forming a symbol that opened a gateway through from their apartment into this dimension. Ben and Gwendolyn rushed out from the portal just in time to watch as the serial-killer scooped up Albedo's severed forearm and sheathed his katana, pulling a small device from his belt with his free hand, "That would be my que to leave."
Ben looked down at Albedo's corpse still bleeding out and staring vacantly up at the sky, never a nice guy but, not one that deserved to die like this, "You want me?!" Ben shouted catching Prometheus' attention, "I'm right here!" he opened his arms with a hugging gesture to give Prometheus an open shot at him, with whatever weapon he would choose.
He only shook his hooded mask in disappointment, the crimson energy flooding his eyes as Ben's own hubris only enraged him further, "Oh, but this is about so much more than just you. Remember, Benjamin, I'm always ten steps ahead…" he didn't hesitate to click down on the trigger in his hands, vibrating his body rapidly as a white light cut through reality sending him presumably into another dimension.
Gwendolyn floated down, landing near Charmcaster, and using her magic to heal the majority of her wounds but, the most extensive of them wouldn't seal, just like with Ben's injuries from a month ago. Though, Charmcaster couldn't help but continue crying, once she was able to fully sit up again, she even sobbed into Gwendolyn's shoulder having felt Albedo's spirit leave this plane of existence.
Ben stomped his foot in an aggravated huff, glancing down over the edge of the trail they were on, he hopped off dropping forty feet without fail, cracking the stone with his landing with little need to brace himself. His eyes were gleaming bright green as he approached the scene with a solemn expression. "We should get her to Tennyson Tower, if she got hit by one of his alien forms, she'll need real medical treatment," he mentioned as the crying continued, Gwendolyn used one hand to summon a portal that spun with golden sparks a few feet away.
"C'mon, Hope, let's get you taken care of," Gwen got her to her feet as they limped her through the portal into the medical bay of the tower. Gwendolyn stepped through, turning only for a moment to watch as Ben turned around.
"Wait a sec," Ben announced trying his best to put the pieces together on what exactly was happening, "Didn't you take his katana last time, when you rescued me?" he questioned to which she shrugged and nodded. Doing his best detective work, he figured it could be a clue that would lead them to finding Prometheus. Getting the jump on him without being lured into a trap.
"Yea, I think so," she continued helping out Charmcaster as Ben turned his attention to the stone trail above him, cracks running through it from the battle that ensued not long ago. Ben transformed into Big Chill and slowly floated up, phasing through the bottom of the structure, and appearing next to the corpse where the blade still stuck out from his chest. Albedo didn't deserve this but, the sword was still a clue, so he pulled it from the body, he shook his moth-like head in a shameful waste of potential before also scooping up the corpse floating down and through the portal with him.
Anti-Earth; Omni-Grid City; January 27th, 2028; 4:17PM
Prometheus warped into the open throne room of his darkened castle, lit only by crimson bulbs and torches that lined the stone walls towards the ceiling, he strolled forwards with Albedo's severed arm still in hand and dripping, looking down on the corrupted inferior copy of the Omnimatrix, inferior but, still especially useful. He lifted his watch to eye level and, tapping a single time on the dial, summoned what seemed like a drone from the shadows, however; it was far more twisted than that. From the left came Kai Green's counterpart, only she wasn't herself anymore, wrapped in a tight silver silicone suit wrapped firmly from neck to toe. Dressed atop her forehead was placed a silver control chip of obvious corrupted Galvan design. This chip rewired the neural circuits connected to conscious self-control, flipping the prefrontal cortex on and off in her brain like a light switch at his command. Her expression was blank, it didn't seem like she could think at all whilst in this state, let alone be aware of the situation, or how long she'd been this way.
Kai approached as her hair swung in a neatly tied ponytail gently with her robotic sway towards him, almost maid-like, "Yes, Master?" she asked with the same monotone stoic that came with her facial expression and inhibited thoughts.
He turned his head over his shoulder without looking directly at her but, addressing her none-the-less not bothering to look into her mindless eyes again as he'd long since gotten bored with making slaves out of old crushes and friends, he instead handed her Albedo's wrist as it plopped into her welcoming arms held out, not even bothered by the blood that splattered her suit, "Take this to the Technician, integrate its residual power into my Antitrix," Prometheus turned finally to look back at the throne that sat at the far end of the massive castle hall, two bright torches on either side of it.
The light illuminated a shrine, a wall of Omnitrix cores that were either destroyed, splattered with blood, or dulled as though drained. Each were engraved into the stone wall above the throne as a reminder of the dozens of watch users he'd slaughtered on his mission across the Multiverse. "Just like all the others…" he muttered under his breath as he basked at his shrine of over two dozen dead Tennysons who failed their Earth.
"Yes, Master, should I also ask him to track down the Gwendolyn that escaped her Earth?" Kai waited only a moment as Prometheus grumbled through his mask, feeling foolish for allowing her to escape in the first place.
"She is still serving a purpose, whether she knows it or not," He turned and grazed his hand over Kai's expressionless face, dragging a gloved thumb still slick with Albedo's blood across her lips, not even receiving a reaction, "I don't need my control chips to predict everything they're going to do…" he couldn't help but smile beneath the mask he wore, remembering how off-standish Kai had been since he met her and, now she was a mindless servant to an all-powerful emperor.
Kai nodded, practically bowing to him, "As you command," walking away without another word, back into the shadows towards presumably Prometheus' mechanic, as she left the room he turned around to face the glass view of the world outside of his estate. He had it constructed right in the middle of Washington D.C where the White House still burned from within in the distance, every single army that could have opposed him were eradicated by a single shot from his twisted To'kustar transformation, the remaining population knelt down to him and pledged their loyalties without hesitation after only a few displays of unstoppable power.
Prometheus hated everything Ben Tennyson stood for, not just one version of him but, all of him; Prometheus from the classic Greek mythology challenged the Omnipotence of the Gods by introducing fire to humanity, taking away the God's power. He was thusly named the God of Fire as well as the ultimate trickster for deceiving Zeus himself. And so, just like that, Prometheus would go through every Universe, every reality, every Dimension, and timeline in existence, until every single Ben Tennyson is powerless or dead, usually both. He knew the Multiverse was infinite, that this mission wouldn't, or rather couldn't, ever end but, he didn't much care in fact he relished in the nature of his goal.
He would spend the rest of conceptual time eliminating versions of Ben Tennyson if he had to, after all, who could he possibly hate more than himself?
Woah. Shits. Going. Down.
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