|WARNING: PROFANITY FOLLOWS|
|The following content contains profanity that may not be suitable for readers of all ages. Please proceed with caution.|
|Season 1, Chapter 1|
All Systems Set: Part 2
All Systems Set: Part 1 is the first episode of Duplex Tribulatio.
It all began in the vastness of the blue space where everything from the smallest of rocks to the largest of galaxies didn’t exist. Instead there were large blue cubes with various kind of symbols and drawings upon them, floating freely into the endless abyss. Those were the most important parts in that ocean of emptiness, yet, they were also the emptiest ones. They existed, yet they didn’t. Pieces that would one day become whole universes, dimensions, timelines, but for now, they were but parts of this never-ending void.
An eternal hell.
Explosion after explosion hit the blue cubes, the attacks left to scratches on them but managed to do much more to its true target. Tens of strange triangular creatures made of a matter that looked just like glass were trying relentlessly to repel the assault. They, the indestructible ones whom even the mightiest couldn’t defeat fell and shattered by a single hit.
A huge, muscular creature cloaked by some sort of organic and moving shadow, landed onto one of the cubes and took a moment to glance around its surroundings. The beast had a humanoid form with a long neck, large horns, razor sharp claws and gigantic wings covered by thorns. It had two glowing yellow lines going down its chest that seemed to be some kind of organic feature with the light coming from some sort of liquid inside the body. Then there was a small orb in the center of the chest, between the lines. The creature had similar markings on its head as well, along with two sinister yellow eyes.
With the attacked finally getting within their range of fire the triangular guardians fired everything they had. Blast after blast pierced the unmoving creature’s body, seared the skin as it stood still and took all of the damage like a great wall. The wounds healed faster that the guardians could make them, adding an extra amount of durability to make it even harder to kill.
After a while, the beast got bored of that, its chest morphed and opened with sharp green jaws coming from the inside. The guardians weren’t given even a moment to react as a huge beam of light barreled straight at them. The triangles were overtaken by the ray, their bodies disintegrate and the remains were evaporated, leaving not a single trace of the once great army.
The mouth on the creature’s chest closed and its wings slowly retraced into its back as the monster wouldn’t need them for some time. The guardians were supposed to pose a challenge, a danger, yet after it had absorbed so much power that now they were like insects in comparison.
Before the beast were three very small crystals that floated over the center of the cube it was standing on. They were all similar in their diamond shape and what distinguished then from one another was just their color. The one at the right was crimson red, the left was a bright shade of green and the one in the middle was blue.
“Another three to be made mine.” The creature said with a deep voice as it moved toward the three crystals. “Once both the angel and the devil are within me, there won’t be a power in the multiverse that could hope to rival mine.”
The creature processed to stretch out its claws and grab its prize – the destroyers of Space and Time.
“Snap out of your delusions, bitch!”
A new voice echoed through the void, causing the beast’s gaze to sharpen as it tried to grab the crystals as fast as possible. In response to that, the blue crystal suddenly turned into a sphere that store the other two inside of itself and moved away from the monster’s gasp. A black glove appeared out of thin air and the sphere began to hover over it as slowly, the body of a human formed behind it. The one who appeared was a male with spiky blue hair that wore a dark robe and an iron mask that hide his entire face, except his yellow eyes.
“Ah, this never gets old.” The man said to himself as he snickered.
“Why is it always you who gets in my way, Tray?” The beast growled, narrowing its eyes.
“Do we need to bring up our names at the beginning of every conversation we have, Xyoz?” Tray retorted, crossing his hands.
“I’m starting to get surprised of how whenever you show up it’s just on time to foil my plan.”
“It must be a freaking coincidence, really! I mean, how else could a God who exists to watch over time figure out when someone is trying to mess with his shit? Has turning into this ugly thing damaged your brain cells that much? Tch, Tch. It seems that evolution doesn’t always improve the head as well, huh?”
“Don’t try to mock me, bastard!” Xyoz growled again and regrow its wings. “Do you really think that you can stop me!? I know that you Gods aren’t allowed to interfere in our dimensions! The only thing you can do is sit tight and watch as I became the ‘One Supreme Being’!”
“Actually, you should realize that right now we are in my own dimension. Here the rules that stop me from affecting reality do not apply.”
“Even then there is nothing you can do to stop me!” Xyoz pointed at the orb on his chest. “Or did you forget that with the Arc-System on my chest, every sort of reality alternating power that would harm me becomes null.”
Tray shrugged in response, not even the littlest bit worried that all of his powers were completely and absolutely useless against this beast. Instead of fear Xyoz found only amusement in his nemesis’ eyes. Tray took a moment before composing himself as if he was going to respond.
And indeed he did.
“Goodbye then.” Tray waved.
“No you don’t!” Xyoz roared.
The titan raised one of his arms, his skin morphing into blaster morphed, he shot a glowing yellow beam that hit Tray just before the God could make his escape, causing the bullet to disappear along with its target. A moment later the giant cubes and everything around Xyoz began to disappear. Even through Tray was unable to affect him because of the Arc-System, the God still found a way to get him out of that reality by moving to another location in the multiverse.
All that remained was Xyoz and the unending darkness. He wanted to curse Tray, but knew that it was pointless in the vacuum of space, so he turned around and flew off to find his next target.
In another Dimension there was a planet called Earth and a once great city named Omnitrix City. A few centuries ago known as the city of operation of the Universe’s greatest hero, Ben 10,000 it was now reduced to just a little bit more than a complex of lights with the law enforcers shrugging every day and night in their fight against the increasing number of criminals and vandals.
The moonlight was shining over the city. The sky was clear from clouds tonight with stars decorating the firmament. Such peaceful nights were rare for a city like this one, they were perfect for night walks, going to the disco with friends.
Or in the case of a certain sixteen years old boy; the perfect time to graffitied the statue of an aforementioned hero.
“That should do it.”
The figure took a step back and threw the spray he was holding to the side, not carrying if the cops finds it since he was wearing gloves. He wore the fur lined, cat eared hood of his jacket up, hiding his face from the cameras as his black clothes made it hard for the passers-by to detect him while he hides in the blind spots of the city lights. This was the city’s self-proclaimed criminal mastermind, Alexander Lowell.
Suddenly the familiar sound of police sirens caused the figure to turn around just in time to see the distant glow of blue and red lights. The sound was getting louder and louder as they were approaching.
Alex narrowed his eyes, the cops weren’t supposed to get there so fast. If he did make a move soon, the police would arrive and take him for questioning as to why he stood next to a vandalized statue, surrounded by bottles of spray. Since he was still underage and the crime wasn’t severe, the most they could do to him would be to put him behind bars for a day or so. Still, what criminal mastermind would let himself be caught by the cops like that? Definitely not him.
Alex looked around and sprinted away before the cops could get to him, taking a hard left he made his way through a gasp between two builds. He began to walk at a normal pace to not caught any unwanted attention and get out of the mess as easy as possible. Luckily, he was the type of person that expect anything to happen, so he had made a few preparations in case the cops found him. Alex took a small screen from his pocket and pressed a green button. The device glowed for a moment, indicating that it worked properly.
Now that everything was in place Alex could go without a worry even if the cops found him, which they would sure do with all the cameras and patrol drones that were added to help the police deal more effectively with criminals like him.
Alex abruptly came to a stop and glanced up at the wall of the building to his left. It was white and rectangular, lacking any outside features to suggest about alien designs being incorporated into the construction of it. That was good because there were window frames and other metal parts that were sticking out just enough to make a suitable handhold. Alex took a few steps back from the wall, ran forward and jumped, performing a wall run he grabbed the frame and began to climb.
Once Alex made it to the rooftop, he was less that surprised to find Avice, his partner in crime - a fourteen years old girl wearing gloves, short jacket and shorts all of which were white with green accents -standing in the middle and waiting. She held her hood down, which made her short brown hair and dark blue eyes visible for anyone to see, while she put all of her concentration onto playing some sort of game on a white tablet she held into her arms.
Avice put the device down and raised her head slightly to look at Alex. Of course she was there because he took her with himself and told her to wait for him from a rooftop where she could keep an eye in case an intruder appeared.
Now that Avice had found him and the two were together Alex pulled out the tracking device from his pocket and pressed a red button to turn it off. He walked up to the shorter girl and put a hand on her head, messing her hair a little bit.
“The cameras must have got a clear shot of you climbing up the building.” Avice said and crossed her eyes.
“Of course they have.” Alex groaned and his shoulders dropped.
“One criminal mastermind you are.”
“Hey now, there are no cameras on the rooftops. If you have taken care of the security around the subways like I told you to, the cops won’t even realize when we got away.”
“Ah yes, because if I fry the drones no one is going to come and investigate.”
“Why didn’t you just shut them down?”
“I’m not an Electromaster!” Avice objected. “I turn electrons into solid objects! That has nothing to do with hacking in electronic devices!”
“Maybe you should put that as a note on the fridge back home.” Alex advised and walked past the girl.
Avice rolled her eyes and turned to follow after Alex. The two of them were best friends for six years now, and in those years of existing together both of them learned to know each other better than they knew themselves. Personality, usual behavior in given situation, they even knew the other’s powers and how they work just as good as they knew their own. So when Alex said he didn’t know that Avice’s powers couldn’t hack electronics, the girl knew that he was acting.
The two walked through the rooftops side by side, ignoring the police sirens that rang below, they kept on going. After a while Avice sighed and put on the hood of her own jacket. Just like Alex’s it was animal themed, but unlike the small cat ears that his adored, hers had a pair of big plushy rabbit ears. Put by the two kids themselves, those strange features weren’t just for the look, but acted as build in headphones and could even be used as walkie-talkies.
“Boy, I got so hungry waiting for you to finish drawing on that statue.” Avice mentioned, taking out her tablet.
“Will I make it up to you if I treat you something later?” Alex asked and turned to look at her.
“Depends. What do you have in mind?”
“Whatever we have at home.”
“Ah how romantic. We could also Netflix and chill after that, couldn’t we?” Avice asked with a playful grin and leaned on Alex’s shoulder.
“No.” Alex tapped her on the head. “And if you tell me who taught you those words now, I promise to only beat the ever-loving hell out of them.”
“R-rated games. Brought by you. Explained to the most creepily specific detail by you. Your fault.”
“Sometimes I forget how horrible I’m at taking care of others.”
“Or dealing with living beings in general.”
“Yeah, that too.”
The duo suddenly stopped walking and waited a few moments then smirked and turned toward the edge of the roof. A black troopship arose above them and turned its lights toward the criminals. Avice’s eyes widened in excitement from the new arrival, which they both have expected to show up sooner rather than later. A huge grin played across the girl’s features, she put a hand over Alex’s shoulder and the two turned their backs to the police to look into the camera that she held with her other hand.
“Cheese!” The two shouted in unison.
A picture of the two with the police’s ship in the background appeared on the screen of Avice’s tabled, she put it back into her pocket and looked at her partner, giving a nod of approval.
“Done.” She said cheerfully. “I think we should run now!”
“The last to get to the subways is an Omnivoracious’ legs!” Alex gave a salute and ran ahead.
Avice sighed softly and ran after Alex. No matter if they were running from the cops or dealing with the dullness of school, every day that they spent together was filled with adventures and fun for her and that alone was enough to follow him.
The troopship followed shortly behind them, careful to not get to close to the buildings and rooftops, it slowly managed to get right over the heads of the teens. Looking ahead, the pursued found the gap between the current rooftop and the next one to be far too large for them to come even close to jumping across, and even if they did, there was no escape from the troopship. With no other options in front of them, it looked to Alex and Avice that this was ending just one way.
What followed next, left the pilot of the troopship shocked and speechless. The moment they reached the edge of the rooftop, Alex and Avice both jumped as fast as they could. Of course that wasn’t enough and they fell down. Alex managed to grab onto a window’s frame and kicked off the wall, landed on a terrace then jumped with a backflip and grabbed a sticking out pipe which he used to drop down. Avice instead used an easier pathway and slide down using a rain gutter
The two looked up to the troopship which wasn’t able to follow them because of its size. But that wasn’t a long-term solution, the police officers would drop from the ship any moment and that meant that things would get messy if Alex and Avice remained there. But on a positive note the subway was at just outside the alley. The two sprinted out of back street, taking a hard left they jumped into the entrance and disappeared into the darkness.
“Next stop, the sofa!” Avice cheered as she pusher her fist up.
“You mean the bed.” Alex crossed his hands.
“Are you for real?” Avice grumbled. “You had me covering you vandalizing a statue, got me in trouble with the cops and now you won’t let stay up late!?”
Alex took a few moments to think about it. There was no school tomorrow and he knew how persistent Avice could be if she wanted something to happen, so there was no point in starting an argument if he is going to drop it after two minutes.
Alex and Avice swiveled to see five men and aliens in white armors aiming their blasters at them. Those were the Plumbers, an intergalactic law-enforcement organization who protected the planets from various threats. So with that kind of job description, the last thing anyone would expect to see those elite cops come against would be two kids wanted for vandalizing a statue. But here they were, aiming their guns at unarmed vandals.
“Maybe we will have to trade the sofa for a cell.” Alex muttered.
“I won’t mind if the view is good.” Avice whispered back.
“I doubt that it would be any better than the face of an Atrocian.”
After a brief moment of silence Avice clicked her tongue and glanced at the Plumbers.
“I guess that this relationship won’t work out boys.”
Avice’s eyes shifted to a green color, two balls of energy appeared above her head and shot toward the Plumbers, hitting the ceiling. Debris fell on the Plumbers, they jumped to the side dodging and raised their blasters to fire. At that moment Alex took a step forward and raised his hand, a purple sphere appeared in his palm and his eyes began to glow red. He squeezed the ominous looking energy, the sound of a breaking glass echoed through the tunnel, followed by the reality between him and the Plumbers falling apart, like the shards of a broken window, until all that remained was a black void.
“That should do it.” Alex laughed.
The black void that he had created was a crack in reality, there was no matter, no gravity, no motion, no time in it. The ultimate state of non-existing, though just temporally. Such cracks were like small cuts and healed fast, in less than a few minutes. Still, a few minutes was all that he and Avice needed to escape.
“This was sort of underwhelming.” Avice noted.
“You have to wonder which brainless space monkey let them graduate the Plumber Academy.” Alex commented. “Let’s go.”
“Hey, is the thingy you create supposed to do the thingy?”
“Look at the goddamn portal you half-wit!”
Avice pointed back to the black void that Alex had created. There was a blue light coming out of it and getting brighter with every passed moment. Alex’s eyes widened in surprise and he took a step back. Nothing was supposed to be able to exist inside the void and even if there was they shouldn’t be seeing it because the light inside was unable to move.
“Holy spaghetti…” Alex muttered.
The light didn’t gave way to the logic, instead it continued to glow brighter and brighter. It quickly crawled closer to the exit from its eternal prison. Alex realized what was going to happen once the light reached them. He grabbed Avice by the arm and jumped on the ground with her on the bottom. The duo closed their eyes and put both hands over their faces, bracing for the upcoming impact.
The source of the strange light came in contact with the border between the void and matter, causing a massive explosion of light that blew everyone away. In the chaos one red and one green crystal managed to hit Alex and Avice whom the explosion managed to throw back a few feet and knock them down. When everything subsided, a crater was pushed in the ground where the space crack once was with a masked man standing in the middle of it all a little dazed.
“Ow seriously.” Tray groaned. “Who put those random cracks in the fabric of reality? No wonder everyone is so sassy about phenomenons. Those cracks fuck up everyone who tries to travel between dimensions and-! Oh?”
Tray paused and looked around his surroundings, noticing the seven humans and aliens that were lying around him and groaning in pain. He kneeled down and took the blue crystal which fell from his grip. Tray’s eyes raised up to look at Alex and Avice which lied next to one another. Each of them had a gauntlet on one of their hands that matched the color of their outfit.
The teens noticed the masked man’s gaze on them and them facepalmed, knowing fully well who he was. And if that man was there that logically meant that trouble wasn’t far behind. Amusement returned to Tray’s eyes, he bounced the blue crystal in his hand and chuckled through the mask that covered his face.
“Hey, what do we have here?” Tray chuckled.
“And if it isn’t Nightmare on legs again.” Alex narrowed his eyes.
“Aw, why must you hurt me with those cruel, cruel words?” Tray asked and put a hand over his chest. “I know that our last family reunion wasn’t all that great, but don’t worry, nothing bad is going to happen this time.”
Then a mechanical tail with glowing yellow lines pierced through the masked man’s chest and raised his body above the ground. Both Alex and Avice’s eyes widened at the sight and they crawled back. Tray looked down at the blade coming out from his body and sighed.
“Me and my big mouth.”
The tail began to swirl, increasing the size of the wound as the creature to which it belonged came to view. The skin, gray as ash with yellow lines running through it, was covered in spines that made it hard to approach, let alone try to hit it. The strange energy that flew though it skin had merged with the claws and its canines were coming out of its mouth with four on its upper jaw and two on the lower.
Its face was concave with a single yellow orb floating in the middle. The beast quadrupedal with longer hind legs which were meant to increase its agility, it became clear that the beast was created for hunting.
The Plumbers quickly got on their feet and began to shot at the beast, but to little effect, its skin was too hard for the blasters to damage it. Tray’s eyes narrowed behind the mask, he clenched his fist around the blue crystal to feel it pressing against his skin then threw it toward the teens.
Alex and Avice had just managed to stand back up, when the simple-looking artifact rolled before their feet and unleashed a bright light that went through their bodies, scanning their build, bone structure, nervous system and everything else that it would need.
The teens yelped in surprise and brought their hands up to cover the eyes from any harm the artifact could bring. Fortunately, after fixing its scan the crystal bounced to the side, carving into the wall. The artifact began to glow and grow as it drilled its way to through the wall to the ceiling, before launching itself toward the beast at the speed of bullet.
The blue blur pierced the tail that held Tray’s body and smashed the beast’s head into the ground. The power of the impact created a shockwave that sent everyone flying backwards. The creature lied in the crater created by the hit, with most of the spines that covered its back were broken, it couldn’t do more than take the hits of its attacker.
The blue crystal had turned into a form that resembled a human but with pitch black limbs, the right part of her body was covered in blue circuits while the left in pink. Her body was a very well developed and curvaceous with long blue and pink hair that reached her hips.
“My apologies for the awkward introduction, but Chaser is going to take care of this now.”
Alex and Avice felt a chill run down their spines as Tray suddenly appeared between them and put his hands on their shoulders. His clothes and everything else was like when he showed up, there was no trace of the wound that he had suffered a few moments, like it had never happened. Alex and Avice turned around to glare at Tray and crossed their hands.
“I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong!” Tray put his hands in front of his face, protectively.
“Really?” Alex raised an eyebrow. “Because we think that you got yourself in another Multiversal crisis and came here to hide until the elders clear the mess that you made.”
“Actually, it wasn’t my fault this time.” Tray defended himself. “In fact, I’m here to give you… Um… Gifts! Yes, that’s right! I got you those shiny new gauntlets you never called for, a humanoid war machine you also never called for and that scary dog that…”
Tray paused for a moment to look back as the dog and Chaser were rolling on the ground fighting each other for dear life.
“Ok, the dog wasn’t a gift, it just bite my ass on the way here. Oh, also, I have to tell you that I will be keeping a close eye on you two from now on!”
“What the heck are you talking about?” Avice asked.
“Arc-Systems: the gauntlets on your arms.” Tray pointed at the devices. “Their names are Diablo and Lofty. Since they choose you as their wielders I will have to take you back to my dimension where you will spent the rest of your lives. Take it as an early Christmas gift from me! Or as kidnapping, I don’t know.”
“Well, that’s ok with us.” Alex shrugged and Avice nodded.
“Wait… really?” Tray scratched the back of his head confused. “You took that better that I expected.”
“Tray, we have known each other for how long? Six years? Have you taken a look around?”
Tray raised his head a bit. The beast had wrapped the remains of its tail around Chaser’s neck and slammed her into the wall and floor while the Plumbers were shooting at it. The creature turned around and threw Chaser at Alex and Avice.
“Get down!” Avice shouted.
Tray and the teens ducked in time and Chaser flew past them, crashing on the hard floor a few feet behind them with a groan. The beast roared and leaped overhead and landed in front of the Plumbers, slapping them to the side with its tail.
“You kids don’t seem shocked or scared by any of this.” Tray noticed.
“Eh, this is like the usual Friday night for us.” Avice shrugged, completely ignoring the screams for help in the background.
“I accidentally opened a Black Hole during class.” Alex added.
“Only because you said it while a killer dog is on a rampage doesn’t mean that I have stopped paying attention to your words!” Tray shouted back.
“I will take care of this!” Chaser suddenly shouted.
Chaser raised back on her feet and pushed her arms in front of her body. The circuits began to glow and the hands turned into giant black claws which then opened and two cannons came out. The pink pupils inside her blue orbs rotated in place to adjust and recalibrate. The beast was too focused on the Plumbers to notice the girl’s arsenal and Chaser didn’t let that opportunity go to waste. She fired a beam of blue energy at the beast, sending it flying backward a few feet.
“I personally wouldn’t want to enrage a four-legged murder with the durability of a spaceship, but it’s our funeral I guess.” Alex sighed.
“We must first protect the civilians from the Crawler!” Chaser insisted and ran to help the Plumbers.
“Is there a way to turn off her moral?” Alex turned toward Tray who shrugged, not knowing the answer of that question. “Just great.”
There was a moment of silence after which they both stepped aside as the Crawler threw Chaser’s body and sent her flying past them.
“I was actually going to give her to you two as a Christmas present.” Tray admitted, indifferent of the girl’s well-being.
“Didn’t the Crabdozer rampage from last year taught you to stop sending living beings as Christmas present?!” Alex snapped.
“Eh, I don’t think she classifies as a living being...” Tray answered, though he wasn’t sure about it either.
“The ugly pooch is coming at us again.” Avice pointed at the beast.
Indeed, the beast lunged at the four and Chaser had to move in to protect the others as a human shield (or as whatever she was). The beast leaped into the air and outstretched its claws, a single good slash was everything that it would take to kill the teens. Chaser drew her right claw back and clenched it into a fist, snapping it straight toward the beast’s face. Alex and Avice had realized the danger of the beast’s attack, with a space rift already calculated and three electron beams aimed for the creature’s head, they were ready to repel its assault.
“I should probably get them the fuck out of here while there is anything left.” Tray muttered and clicked his fingers.
Later that night many Plumbers scratched their heads over the report of squad Epsilon which mentioned a masked man along with three strange kids and their dog drawing graffiti on the statue of Ben Ten Thousand followed by an attack on the subways and then disappearing from a flash of white fairy light.
The Crawler barely had time to screech as it took a fist with the size of a car in the face followed by three laser and a space explosion, all of which sent it twenty feet in the air. The beast waved its front paws in a desperate attempt to keep itself in the air, but without a success and fell down a waterfall.
Chaser’s claws transformed back to hands as she breathed out in relief. Avice fell on her knees, sweet dropping from her forehead, while Alex leaned forward and used the back of his jacket’s sleeve to wipe off the blood that trickled from his nose. Using their natural abilities two times within twenty four hours was enough to put a strain on their bodies and this time they did it in less than fifteen minutes.
“Ah, that was a quick finish, just the way I like it.” Tray congratulated the kids.
Avice and Alex in turn shoot him a nasty look.
“Don’t give me those scary faces. You won the first round!” Tray clapped his hands cheerfully. “Or at least postponed your demise with, between fifteen and twenty minutes.”
“Why did you wait before teleporting us!?” Avice shouted.
“I didn’t have much of a choice there.” Tray shrugged. “As much as I would like to just leave the scary pooch, there is going to be far more paperwork for me to fill if I let it do any more damage. It would be hard enough for me to keep the fact that I transported you from another dimension hard enough without the elders sniffling at my back.”
“That last part reminds me, you have a lot of stuff to explain!” Avice crossed her hands.
“Where exactly are we? What was that dog thing? What are these Arc-Systems? And who is this attractive but strangely familiar girl?”
Avice shouted the last part loud enough for everyone to hear and gestured toward Chaser. Now that they weren’t fighting for their lives the teens had a chance to take a better look at the living crystal. Her skin was mostly black with a white face and blue and pink circuit patterns that covered her, otherwise naked body.
Thankfully, the ‘girl’ lacked any of the private parts that a female body had. Of course there was also something familiar in her face, but neither Alex nor Avice could put a finger on what exactly it was, but her face reminded them of a person that they knew.
“Are you perhaps talking about me?” Chaser asked, tilting her head to the side. “If so, I just used the data about both of your bodies that I obtained through scanning to create this form. That’s why I might look familiar to you.”
“Wait, then that means…” Avice narrowed her eyes.
Chaser said that she used the data of two people’s biology to form that body, but her form was completely matured unlike Avice who was still developing. Therefor the answer in that anomaly would lie in…
The little girl turned her head slightly and looked at Alex. The boy raised an eyebrow and waved with a hand.
“Return to the serious part of the topic!” He ordered her.
Avice pouted and crossed her arms. She turned her back to the others with the rabbit ears of her hood hanging over her eyes. Alex sighed and took of his own hood, showing his face for the first time this night. His hair was completely white, combed to the right with a red tie holding a small ponytail at the back of his head. The eyes were grey, but the most striking feature was the scar on the right side of his face. It stared from his forehead and reached all the way down to his chin.
“As my little friend there said,” Alex began, gesturing toward Avice who was flipping the bird to him from behind his back. “You should explain everything before we-? Hey!”
Tray suddenly leaned on Alex’s shoulder and began to turn looked at his face from different angles while tapping his own chin in thought.
“It’s been so long! Is my little boy starting to look handsome or did I get stabbed too hard?” Tray asked excitedly. “I bet you are pretty popular around the girls with that badass scar of yo-!”
“Get off me!” Alex snapped.
Tray barely had time to register the boy’s words before a knee was jammed into his guts. He gasped as all of the wind was knocked out of him and a moment later a fist slammed into his mask. Chaser put a hand over her mouth in shock and watched with Alex as Tray staggered back, with his hands wrapped around the stomach and a crack on his mask.
“That was uncalled for!” Tray squealed and fell on his knees.
“Get your act together, you donkey.” Alex grumbled and grabbed him by the collar. “Now, explain.”
Alex turned around to face the voice and met Tray who stood behind him with crossed hands and the crack on his mask completely fixed. The boy glanced at his hand which held the masked man by the collar and found that it was empty. Despite the mask covering his face, just by looking at his eyes anyone could say that Tray was amused.
“Let’s start from the beginning.” He clapped his hands. “Arc-System is a network of devices whose purpose is to fix abnormalities in the space-time continuum. There is that annoying and ugly fellow who wanted to rule over the universe or something and I had to stop him. I didn’t have the power to fight him, so I went to find someone who could do it for me, but that big shit sent one of his, so called, Crawlers – the dog you fought - after me and the rest is history.”
“And here is?” Alex asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Planet’s name is Enormeta, Dimension Twenty-five!” Tray threw his hands to the sides. “I have never taken you here so get a look.”
Alex and Avice looked around, seeing that they were on some sort of mountain. They were unable to make out most of the things that surrounded them, mostly because it was night, but the strange tree-sized plants were helping in that department with glowing green bulbs. The same plants covered and the ground below, though as already mentioned, other than them there was nothing much to see.
“Though chemical elements here are different from the ones you know I managed to find a planet whose atmosphere is close to Earth’s. Just keep in mind that there is no oxygen so there may be some side effects like headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, eyes enlargement and twenty more until your bodies get used.”
“How are we breathing if there is no oxygen here?” Alex raised an eyebrow.
“Well, some of the gases that make the atmosphere of this planet have properties close to the ones your body needs. I’m not a chemical or biological teacher so don’t ask me about how that works.”
Tray finished explaining and took a step back.
“So, if that’s all I think it’s time I leave you do your thing.” Tray said as white circle began to form around him. “By the way, that Crawler is going to climb back up after around fifteen minutes, so you better run.”
“Wait!” Avice raised a hand. “I have one last question!”
“I was fearing that.” Tray sighed and turned toward the girl. “Yes?”
“You still didn’t explain what that other girl’s role is in all of this.”
The white circle disappeared and Tray performed a facepalm so strong that it caused the mask he wore to crack again. He wondered which answer to give them. The true one, or the one that would satisfy the little girl.
“She is a present for you?” He shrugged.
“A present, like, a slave?” Avice asked with puppy eyes.
“Awww~! I love you so much uncle Tray!”
Chaser opened her mouth to protest, but before she had the chance to say a word, Tray teleported a few feet away from the group and waved at them.
“Make me a favor and try not to not get too much attention on yourselves, ‘kay?” Tray waved and his body began to disappear. “You kids are the only representatives of the human species in this Dimension. For now, if you catch my drift. Eh? Eh?”
Avice nodded with a grin while Alex shook his head in disapproval.
“Hehe, ok. I will kick myself out then. Bye, bye!”
Tray waved and his body disappeared completely. Alex sights and reached for his hood, putting it back on to cover his hair. He turned toward Avice who nodded, understanding what he meant without any of them saying a word. The two then glanced toward Chaser who stood at the side with her hands behind her back. She noticed the two pairs of eyes that stared at her and titled her head to the side in confusion. Alex began to talk.
“Ah, one last thing!”
Or he was going to talk if Tray hadn’t teleported behind the two teens and interrupt before he could say a single syllable.
“I shouldn’t be giving spoilers or such, but I would suggest you go north from here. Believe me, it’s an opportunity that you shouldn’t miss. Bye now!”
Tray said to them and teleported away.
“Ok then…” Alex scratched the back of his head. “As I was going to say-”
“Oh, last thing, I swear.”
Tray’s head popped from a space crack and chuckled.
“If you shithead open a space rift and screw me again, I’m going to bitch slap you so hard that-”
Tray was cut short by a laser beam in the face.
Alex, Avice and Chaser were walking through the forest where they were teleported. The robot used her claws to tear apart the flora that stood in their way. Unlike what they were used to, here the plants were pretty durable little shits which had various dangerous effects on living beings’ bodies upon touch. It was only natural that they would sent the only non-biological member of their little crew to go in front and destroy everything dangerous.
“So if you are an Arc-System or whatever, why are you a humanoid while those are gauntlets?” Avice asked, pointing at her own device.
“Every one of us is born with a different purpose and functions in a different way.” Chaser began to explain. “There aren’t two codes that have the same properties. No matter how insignificant it may be, there is always a difference.”
“Sounds hard to create so many different devices while keeping the same basic idea.” Avice replied.
Suddenly the gauntlet glow and zapped Avice with electricity. She yelped and jumped back, startled by the sudden assault. Avice looked down at her gauntlet which was glowing and making strange noises. Chaser turned her head a bit to look back and narrowed her eyes.
“We aren’t machines to be created, so better don’t use that word while talking about us.” She advised.
“…I will keep that in mind.”
Avice looked at her gauntlet and tapped it a few times, but nothing happened. She raised her head again and asked Chaser.
“And how exactly do I use it?”
“Lofty and Diablo connect to the user’s mind. You must control them through your thoughts.”
“So… they are unusable then.”
Chaser stopped cutting down the plants before her and turned around, to look Avice in the eyes.
“I wonder, how do you two know one of the creators?”
“Tray?” Avice tilted her head to the side. “I don’t know. He just popped out one day and became our Guardian without explaining anything. But hey, as long as I get food and a comfortable bed to sleep in, I’m ok with that.”
“A god is your guardian?”
“Oh my, you give him too much credits! The only god-like thing about Tray is his mouth because it somehow hasn’t fallen off from overuse.”
Chaser sighed, and returned to slashing down the trees before her. She had to give Avice that this at least was a pretty accurate take on what Tray was like.
Alex looked carefully at the forest. It was hard for someone to notice unless they paid very close attention to their entire surrounding, but there were other living beings all around the place. Some looked ethereal, disembodied like ghosts and others were just shadows that flew around, hiding behind the large plants. This world and its species were like nothing that he had seen before and weirdly enough that made him feel like home.
“Do you feel something strange about this forest?” Alex suddenly asked.
“Dunno, I just want to go to sleep soon.” Avice yawned.
“Didn’t you tell me previously that you didn’t want to go to bed?”
“Strangely, but I remember you being snarkier that this.”
“Don’t worry child, I haven’t lost my jerk-senses, I just don’t want to waste my time and breath on them.”
“Then you can shut up and… carry me… I’m too… tired…” Avice said, her voice becoming softer and her steps weaker with each passing moment.
Avice leaned her head against Alex’s hand and closed her eyes. Chaser stopped and turned to face them.
“Nope.” Alex shook his head. “Her body is too weak to withstand the usage of her ability twice per day. She should be fine after some rest though, or if…”
“We haven’t tested it on practice, but I believe that her body is able to absorb energy.”
“Do you have a way to prove that it won’t fry her?”
“I don’t know, but…”
Suddenly a horrible howl echoed through the forest causing every living being in the vicinity to dig a hole and hide inside of it. Chaser stood up and activated her claws while Alex held Avice in his hands and looked back at the path they came from.
“…We will find out if we survive this.” He finished.
“Do you think that was the Crawler?” Chaser asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. How many creatures are there that could cause everyone to shit in their pants with a single roar?”
“Two hundred twenty seven species. In this star system alone.”
“That didn’t exactly narrow it down… Also, what the fuck?”
“Don’t worry, I will come up with a plan!”
“I... Well… We… could… uh…” Chaser scratched the back of her head, it was hard to come up with a battle plan when she wasn’t combat oriented. “I’m open for suggestions.”
“Then how about you go there and hit it?”
“And what are you going to do?”
“Make my sweet little escape while you are getting your ass bitten off, cannon folder.”
“Did you just call me a cannon folder?”
Before Alex could respond, a grey blur leap from the top of the huge plants and landed in front of the group, roaring onto Chaser’s face. The Clawer lowered its front and the remains of its tail smashed Chaser’s face, sending her flying back.
Sensing that he was in danger, and unable to use his abilities properly while holding Avice, Alex started running to the direction in which Chaser’s body was launched. The grey skinned alien snarled menacingly and leaped into the air with outstretched claws. The claw shot down and slashed at Alex’s back.
Alex fell on his knees then he collapsed face first on the ground with Avice’s body squeezed below his. Most of the black jacket’s back was torn off along with the shirt underneath and blood was spilling from the three cuts on his back. The Crawler raised its head and howled with pride.
“Get over here!”
The Crawler turned its head toward the voice, just in time to be met with a black fist the size of a car striking straight onto its head. A pathetic whimpered left the beast’s mouth as it went through several crystallized plants and rolled on the ground.
Chaser morphed her claws back into arms and kneeled down to cheek the teens. She rolled Alex to the side, his eyes were half open and he was breathing heavily, trying to recover from the shock and pain that ran through his body. Avice opened her eyes slightly and looked at the two before pressing her head against his chest.
“Can you move?” Chaser asked.
“I just saved your life so you could show some gratitude.”
“Fuck you twice.”
“Ok, we aren’t making any progress here.”
Out of the three, Chaser was the only one in shape to fight the Crawler. Despite her lack of knowledge of experience in combat she knew what had to be done. Chaser patted Alex on the shoulder and nodded then stood up and activated her claws again, calibrating them for long range.
The Crawler lunged at Chaser who fired a shot, but missed due to the high speed at which her target was moving. The beast jumped on a crystallized tree and kicked off with its back legs, launching itself toward her with open jaws. Chaser recalibrated her claws for close combat and smashed the Crawler on the head, slamming it face first onto the ground before her legs. Its tail wrapped around her legs and threw her into the air. The Crawler jumped and stuck its jaws deep into her body. The beast landed on all four and started shaking her around as hard as it can.
Chaser grabbed the Crawler’s head with both claws and used her raw strength to force its mouth open. Her body fell on the ground, she rolled away and stood up as swiftly as she could, slapping the beast’s head with both of her arms. The Crawler took a step back and snarled as it shook its head.
Alex and Avice used the distraction that Chaser provided them to stand up and drag themselves as far away from their hunter as possible. Alex had wrapped his hand around her shoulders to support her, though she was about to collide from exhaustion again and he couldn’t carry her anymore.
“That pooch surely made short work of you.” Avice laughed weakly.
“Is now really the time for this?” Alex asked her.
“You do understand that I should kick you in the crotch for getting us in all of this shit, right?”
“And I appreciate that you haven’t done that.”
Alex and Avice instinctively ducked and Chaser flew above them, crashing headfirst on the ground with a groan, she let her body go limp as she was unable to fight any more. The teens turned toward the Crawler that was coming on all four.
“I hate dogs.” Alex groaned.
Just moments before colliding with the Crawler he pushed Avice out of the way. The beast slapped its large body against his, knocking him on the ground with a yelp. Alex opened his left hand and began to calculate another space rift inside the creature’s head. The Crawler, however, didn’t give him a chance and slammed its claw onto his hand, getting the boy’s mind of the calculation and canceling it.
Avice watched from the side and gritted her teeth. She tried to reach out with her hand and fire another electron blast, but her body gave up and she collapsed again.
The Crawler pinned Alex down and glared down at him. Its mouth was opened just enough for drool to slip through the gasp. The Crawler’s face opened slightly and its eye opened, a single cable of what could be described as small bones with yellow lines came out of the opening and aimed for the space between his eyes.
Alex raised his right hand and grabbed the blade before it could make contact, holding it away from his skin. The Crawler snarled in annoyance and lowered its head to push the blade into his head. Alex responded with a grunt, his hold was getting weaker and he felt that soon the thing was going to slip off from his hand.
“You know what?” Alex hissed. “You are really starting to piss me off, strange-looking killer whatever you are!”
His eyes changed their color from grey to red and the Arc-System began to pulsate in time with his words.
“So I’m just going to…”
He twisted the bone structure upward as the Crawler howled in pain from that.
“Tear you piece by piece!”
Electricity burst out of the gauntlet and ten red holographic cards circled around it as Alex’s body was concealed by a bright light.
The Crawler cried out, yellow liquid spilling from its head as the bone blade was torn off its face. The large green and purple alien that lied underneath it, split open its lower jaw and hissed. The new lifeform pulled its hand back and then snapped it forward, carving a rather impressive hole through the beast’s neck. Alex then stretched his arm, raising the Crawler eight feet off the ground and then stood up. The two tails on his back wrapped themselves around the towering plants and pulled them back, bending them into a makeshift sling. Alex then let go of the Crawler and the plants which snapped back up, hitting the beast and launching it in the air.
Alex turned to glare at Chaser, who had spoken, and stretched one of his tails, wrapping it tightly around her neck. The machine was too weak to resist or fight back, her body was raised off the ground and then smashed into it, the force of the impact causing her ‘neck’ to snap. Alex then raised his tail again and pulled its victim closer.
Alex ignored her question and turned his head toward Avice, who lied seemingly unconscious. He grabbed the back of her jacket with one hand and pulled her body up so that they were on an eye level. At that moment, Chaser realized in horror, that the reason he stopped attacking her was just because she had no fresh and therefore there was nothing for him to eat, Avice on the other hand…
“Listen, you don’t want to do this.” Chaser began, she tried to reach out and stop Alex from hurting Avice. “The form is taking over you mind. You don’t want to hurt the female!”
“Let him do… it.” Avice muttered softly, her eyes turned to glance at Alex. “He... can’t…”
Chaser could only wonder why she said that as Avice raised her hand and reached for Alex’s face. Unlike the species which he was right now, the green alien didn’t lash out at her and just let the hand to press against his cheek, feeling the soft skin caressing his stiff green armor.
Slowly, the Crawler landed behind the the group for a rematch. Its body bruised, with yellow blood dripping from the hole in its neck and the damaged eye, it also now had large green wings which, once it touched the ground, merged with its skin. As a simple designed creature with only one purpose in mind the beast couldn’t comprehend that by coming back it was sealing its own fate.
Alex felt the beast’s presence and turned to face it. He hissed at the Crawler as the Predatroseras’ hunting instinct took over his mind again. Alex released both Avice and Chaser from his hold, dropping them on the ground.
The two monsters sized up their opponent, then lunged at each other. The Crawler leaped overhead and slammed Alex in the chest, knocking him on his back, then snapped its jaws on its neck causing purple blood to flow freely from the wound. Alex then slammed his tails onto the Crawler’s sides, piercing thought its skin and causing yellow blood to flow outward. The beast screeched in agony and Alex took advantage of that, grabbing its head and bashed it against the ground, dazing it.
While the two deadly beast fought each other, at the side, Chaser slowly raised on her knees and shambled toward Avice. She moved over the girl and inspected the wound. Despite the amount of blood, she wasn’t mortally wounded.
“A-Alex…” Avice muttered and raised her hand.
Chaser shook her head and caught Avice’s hand, trying to hold the girl from hurting herself.
“It wasn’t him. Arc-Systems with the function to transform don’t have a failsafe to stop the form’s personality from taking over the wielder’s mind.”
Avice shook her head. That was just half the truth, she knew that he was still in control.
“He… meant to…”
“No.” Chaser shook her head, then closed her eyes to try and connect with Diablo. “I have to force Diablo to turn him back into his original form.”
“I have… a better idea.” Avice muttered softly and forced herself to sit up.
Chaser tilted her head to the side in confusion. Predatroseras – the species in which Alex had transformed – were merciless killing machines who exist solely to hunt. She had no idea what Avice was planning to do, but if his mind was overtaken by one such aggressive beast, to try and talk him out of it would be insane, suicidal and impossible. Despite that she nodded and reached to help the younger girl get up.
Instead Chaser got blinded by a bright green light.
Alex’s body slammed against a crystalized plant with a cracking sound. He howled and fired four more electron beams, but this time the Crawler leaped over all of them and brought its claws down, slashing through the alien’s chest. Alex hissed and outstretched its tails to whip the beast. The Crawler in turn lowered its front body and swung its own tail, cutting off the others and then slapped its head against Alex’s stomach.
Alex kicked the Crawler back and fell on his knees, its rabbit ears opening up with huge claws coming out of them and lashing out at the enemy to buy him time to recover. The creature however, didn’t intend to give its prey a moment rest. Its claws grew longer and it made a backflip, digging though the ground. Alex titled his head to the side confused then quickly rolled away as the ground where he stood just a moment ago burst open and the Crawler jumped out of it, howling.
Alex stumbled back and put a hand over the slash on his chest. Even with all of the advantages and hunting instinct that his new form came with, he was still unable to defeat the wounded and half-blind Crawler. The beast lunged at Alex for the kill when a stream of bubbles covered it. The creature stumbled back and shook its head in visible pain from the bubbles that got in its eye. A fairy creature with glowing white skin, pink hair and wearing a one piece white and green suit flew beside Alex with a smirk on its face.
“What ya think, don’t I look cute like this?”
Alex just narrowed his eyes and kept his guard up. Chaser soon came along and stopped between the two aliens in case Alex try to attack again.
“Oi! You tried to kill me, you asshole! Me! Avice! Your soulmate! The least you could do to make up for that would be to compliment me.”
Avice puffed her cheeks and crossed her arms. Alex scratched the back of his head and growled in a low tone to show that he was trying to apologize.
“Wow, you actually did it!” Chaser said amazed. “But how?”
“Simple. That is Alex. My Alex. No matter what form he takes, nor how much pain he cause me, he would never kill me unless I say the word. That’s a promise we made long ago.”
“What kind of insane promise is that?”
“A promise between two equally insane people it seems.”
Alex’s rabbit ears raised in alert and he turned around with a low growl. The bubble wall dispersed and the Crawler stared at its prey from a few meters distance. The beast’s body was in horrible condition with yellow blood flowing from every part of its body, at this point the best they could do for the poor creature would be to put it down. Alex sent his ear-jaws forward, aiming for a quick finish by biting off the creature’s head. Unfortunately, despite its condition, the Crawler still had its agility and speed so it easily moved through the attack without a scratch.
“How is it still able to do this!?” Avice yelled.
“This is an artificial created being.” Chaser explained. “We don’t know how its body works nor if it’s able to feel pain.”
“Does it poop?” Avice aske curious.
“What does that have to do with anything?!” Chaser snapped.
“Well, that could explain why it’s so aggressive. Could you imagine how bad the poor thing must feel being unable to do such a simple thing. I would absolutely go crazy if something so bad happened to me. Poor doggy. I-I want to cry… I… Oh no!" Avice flew back and began to hit her head with both hands. "My mind is starting to get reduced to sparks and ponies!”
Avice looked down at her hands and blinked a few times. She remember that she actually had no idea what the fairy alien could do nor how to use its abilities.
“Oi, what’s this form actually supposed to be doing!?” Avice snapped at Chaser.
“The species is called ‘Voya' Feida’.” Chaser explained. “They are a species that lives on this planet that mostly serves as prey for every predator that has even come across one.”
“Amazing!” Avice exclaimed sarcastically. “I always wanted to turn into dog food!”
“In defense to the species, they had managed to find several ways to adapt to those conditions. Underwater breathing and bubbles creation are the abilities they have adopted in order to survive.”
“Creating bubbles? That’s all? I already figured out how to do that and… Wait… Alex, do you think the same thing that I do?”
Alex growled and hissed something, the fairy next to him nodded her head as he did so.
“Ah, yes, yes. Great minds truly think alike, don’t they?” Avice nodded to agree with the sounds the plant alien was making. “…I have no idea what you just said though.”
Alex growled wearily and facepalmed.
“Just follow me!” Avice groaned.
The Crawler stood back up and charged toward the kids again, but this time Avice did the same and flew straight toward it. The two came closer and closer to one another and there was no way for Avice to turn now, if she tried to turn to the sides, up, or back, with its current speed, the Crawler would catch her no problem. Just seconds away from colliding with each other, Avice opened her mouth and fired a stream of bubbles right into the beast’s eye as her body raised over it’s at the last moment, avoiding a collision.
The Crawler shook its head wildly and jumped out of the cloud of bubbles, ready to turn around and lash at the girl. Unfortunately, the beast never got the chance to do that as Alex’s claws tore through its eye and came out from the back of its head. The beast’s body twitched for about three seconds or so before going limp. Alex roared and raised the corpse then threw its remains to the side.
“Geez that was overkill.” Avice put a hand on his shoulder. “I believe that you own me a kiss for saving you ass.”
Alex narrowed his eyes and in a flash of red light turned back to his human form.
“You were just for support-! Ow!”
Alex yelped, as the wounds that he had acquired in his human form kindly reminded him about their existence, and fell on his knee. Thanks to the body-restoring function of the Arc-System the damage was partially fixed, but not completely and his left hand was still hurting from when the beast stepped on it.
“I guess we are going back now.” Avice sighed.
Her body glowed green as she returned to her normal size and form. A few sparks of electricity flew out of the Arc-System and the light was absorbed by Avice’s body instead of the device. Chaser walked up to them and looked down at the two.
“We should treat those wounds before they get infected.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know that.” Alex groaned as he stood back up. “Do you have a first aid kit by any chance?”
“Not per say, but those plants could have healing properties and…”
“I will rather go with being a crazy predatory plant for the time being.”
“Then suit yourself, the form is currently unavailable due to the amount of damage it sustained during the transformation.”
“How much time does that thing need?”
“With the fact that Diablo and Lofty can bring you back from the dead, I believe the time out is justified.”
“Now that’s an overpowered ability to have.” Alex noted.
“If today’s results are anything to go by I would say that this is the one power that you two will be the most experienced in using.”
“That’s rather optimistic.” Alex put his hood back on and looked ahead. “Though I have to say, so far this dimension seems pretty interesting.”
Chaser smiled and looked up. The sky was like a sea of dark blue, three moons shining through the darkness surrounded by thousands of small stars that seemed like pinpricks of silver in the infinity cosmos that surrounded them. She opened her mouth and spoke softly:
“You still almost got killed on the first hour here.”
“DON’T RUIN THIS FOR ME!”
After Alex, Avice and Chaser walked off, the various small creatures that were hiding in holes came out to look at the damage caused by the fight. Many of the plants that once served as their homes and food were either damaged beyond recovering or right out destroyed. All that remained was an opening.
The bleeding remains of the Crawler lied on the cold ground in a yellow puddle of its own blood. Even death the beast still looked as frightening and dangerous as when it was moving. Only one of the small creatures as either brave or foolish enough to approach the motionless hunter and looked through the hole carved in its face. The curious little being moved closer to inspect the wound, but it was soon overtaken by dread when a small yellow orb glowed from within the corpse’ head.
The petite creature’s scream was short-lived.
- Alexander Lowell, Avice Fry, Proxy, Tray, and Xyoz make their debuts.
- Bubblewing and Salvage make their debuts.
- Alex and Avice are transported to Dimension 25.
- Alex and Avice recieve the Arc-System Code.
- Code: Chaser's AI is activated.
- Alex experiences the side effect of transforming and temporarily lost control over Salvage.
- Bubblewing (Debut)
- Salvage (Debut)
- The characters aren't divided in the categories of "Protagonists" and "Antagonists" because there weren't any moral conflicts between them. The only conflicts were with a hungry beast that just wanted to eat and Xyoz bitching on Tray.