|The Paradox Problem|
|Series||Age of the Unitrix|
|Air Date|| 29/06/2016 (UK dating)|
06/29/2016 (US dating)
|Previous Episode||The Unitrix Earth|
|Next Episode||Centaur of Attention|
This story takes place in a universe where every child receives their own unitrix system on their sixteenth birthday, allowing them to transform into a single alien species. But when Ann finds out she is not limited to a single alien she suddenly becomes the centre of attention, for better or for worse. What dangers now await her in the abandoned Los Soledad?
Laid out before us we see an abandoned military base. It’s dark and mouldy colours darkened by the recent fall of night. The dark green walls of the encampments illuminated only by the dim moonlight. The concrete roads and paths are separated by patches of refreshing grass, exploiting the absence of human interaction for even the roads seem to have cracked beneath the green waves. What few concrete buildings still stand have been left to nature’s discord; their windows shattered and walls crumbling, coated in bloodstains of green as the environment reclaims its lost ground. The eerie surroundings sway gently in the night’s breeze, and permeating on that breeze can be heard the rapid sounds of a Kineceleran running.
Kenny (XLR8): “Ann? ANN? Where are you?” He shouts into the indifferent ruins, searching frantically for his lost friend. A familiar silhouette emerges from the inky night.
Kenny (XLR8): “Ann...”
The green unitrix symbol on his chest flashes red briefly before timing out, reverting Kenny to his human form. As it does, his knees give way to his exhaustion and he collapses to the ground.
Ann runs over to Kenny’s weary body. He had been running all day in search of Ann, first turning Bellwood upside down before speeding blindly towards Los Soledad.
Kenny: “Heh. I found you.”
Ann: “Jesus Christ, Kenny, you had me worried for a second there.”
Kenny: “Don’t you dare… tell me… that you… aren’t hard to find… again.”
Ann: “Sorry, but I just felt like I needed to run away. I just… couldn’t stop, y’know? I didn’t feel safe until I made it here. Like hell will those three find me here.”
Kenny: “Not… gonna be… a problem...” He pauses, and waits to regain his breath. “Brad and the other two managed to beat them.”
Ann: “Really? Huh. So I guess those guys are good for something after all...”
Kenny: “Out of anywhere you could have chosen… why Los Soledad?”
Ann: “Cos I remembered when we came here as children… Remember that? When we lied to our parents about the school camping trip?”
Kenny: “Oh man your dad was not pleased...” They both smile in memory of those days.
Ann: “Yeah, well I remembered how this place wasn’t on any maps. So where better to run?”
Kenny: “You’ve been gone for hours, what have you been doing all this time?”
Ann turns to Kenny with a look of excitement.
Kenny: “Am I going to regret asking that?”
Ann: “Right, so I have this unitrix with at least six different aliens in it.”
Kenny: “Six? I only remember seeing four...?”
Ann: “Yeah, I got a Galvanic Mechamorph in gym class, and ran here with a Kineceleran. Anyways; I think to myself ‘Hey, I wonder if there’s a limit or if I really do have every alien’. Well it turns out there is a limit. Ten. Probably. I’ve only had time to try out nine of them before the laws of random chance meant I started getting repeats.”
Kenny: “So do you think there’s anyway to choose?”
Ann: “Well… no. I guess my unitrix is pretty standard in that area. Since, y’know, you can’t choose on a normal unitrix...”
Kenny: “What are the other three then?”
Ann: “A Galvan, Lepidopterran, and Pyronite. I’ve also started naming them!”
Kenny: “Of course you did.”
Ann: “Well you can’t complain, Mr. XLR8.”
Kenny: “Well no I guess not--”
Kenny is cut off by the sound of one of the buildings behind him crumbling and collapsing into rubble. They both turn their attention to the ruins, now obscured by clouds of dust. They look back to each other before Ann begins walking cautiously forwards. She stops as a blue glow begins to emerge from the cloud. Suddenly, a tall creature with four skeletal tendrils and a skull like face charges out of the dust and towards Ann and Kenny.
Almost in sync, both Ann and Kenny slam down their unitrixes. Ann’s body turns a dark green as her flesh begins to turn into vines. Wide blade-like growths begin expanding out from her shoulders, before slamming shut like a clam around her head. Bulbous black growths also appear on her back, and her legs divide into four slender roots. Strange tooth-like structures begin appearing along the ridge of the growths enclosing her head, before it tears open to reveal her new face. She has only a single blue eye, and grass-like hair. The Unitrix symbol appears on her stomach. As the green flash ends, we also see that Kenny has assumed his kineceleran form once more.
Ann (Florauna): “And that makes ten!”
Kenny runs in between buildings surrounding them, but Ann stands steadfast in the face of this new threat.
Kenny (XLR8): “Ann! What are you doing?! RUN!” Kenny shouts from afar.
Ann (Florauna): “Don’t worry about it! This guy is no match!”
Kenny (XLR8): “Do you even know what that thing is?”
Ann takes a defensive stance as the creature gets close.
Ann (Florauna): “Not a clue!”
Ann grabs ahold of the creature, keeping it at a distance with her long vine-like arms. It pushes against her, before a horrid pain shoots through her. She winces and the strange beast edges closer. She looks up to see dust emanating from her hands where she is holding it. Her hands have turned a sickly brown and she lets go of the monster, screaming.
Suddenly she feels an abrupt blunt force to her side and she flies off before hitting the ground. The thing runs past where she had been standing. Ann gets up, hey dying hands now beginning to regenerate anew.
Ann (Florauna): “Thanks Kenny-celeran!”
XLR8 stands above the fallen Ann. She rights herself quickly and they both turn to see the bizarre creature now charging them again. Ann wraps her right arm around Kenny and stretches the other to the top of a nearby building. She pulls them both to the top of the building, and they look over the street where they had been previously. Kenny’s unitrix times out, it had been active all day after all.
Kenny: “Jesus, what happened down there?”
Ann (Florauna): “I don’t know. Those markings in the ground weren’t there before.”
The street is now scarred with deep black tracks burnt into the concrete and tarmac. Ann waves her hand in front of her face.
Ann (Florauna): “Y’know I’m sensing a real lack of depth perception here...”
Kenny: “Except both Ectonurites and Galvanic Mechamorphs are also cycloptic?”
Ann (Florauna): “Yeah but...”
She looks back down over the street below them, and she sees the alien creature pacing around the street searching for them. Ann taps the unitrix symbol on her chest and returns to her human form.
Ann: “Look. That thing’s following those tracks.”
Kenny: “Actually I think it’s the one making them...”
Ann stares intently at the glowing blue monster, before realising she’s dazed herself and blinking incessantly.
Ann: “You’re right. I need a closer look.”
She begins fiddling and manipulating her unitrix.
Kenny: “Uhh… that sounds like a bad idea...”
Ann: “Only if I time out while I’m down there.”
She slams her unitrix. As the familiar green glow consumes her, she turns a sickly grey. Her hands enlarge, and so do her eyes. Her pupils become straight horizontal lines as her sclera become a bright green. As if this form were wearing its own unitrix, the unitrix symbol appears on the back her left hand. Just as the transformation appears to halt, Ann shrinks to only a foot tall.
Ann (Galvan): “Ah yes, the Galvan form. I was hoping for Flytrap myself”
Ann (Galvan): “That is what I have taken to calling the Lepidopterran form. As for this body… I think I shall dub myself Big Brain!”
Kenny: “Big Brain? Really?”
Ann (Big Brain): “Quiet now Kenny. The Smart people are thinking...”
Ann carefully begins to study the monster as it paces and strolls about the street in which they had clashed.
An elderly man carefully studies a beaker of green slime. He has short, light grey hair and wears a lab coat which covers his body down to his thighs. Underneath he wears a black shirt and dark grey trousers. A Galvanic Mechamorph walks up to him, and he turns to acknowledge it. The Galvanic Mechamorph is a tall black creature with green circuitry running along his body, a green circle of which forms his face. He too wears a labcoat, and a unitrix symbol is visible inside the green circular face.
Mechamorph Scientist: “Dr. Albert--”
The old man interrupts him, holding the beaker aloft.
Dr. Albert: “Ah yes, just the man I was looking for! I have the results of our experiments, and can conclude that the Polymorph biomatter did not survive the stress. Now I suggest that if we were to apply an isometri--”
Mechamorph Scientist: “Forgive me for being so blunt, Doctor, but I have far more urgent news.”
Dr. Albert: “How urgent?”
Mechamorph Scientist: “The Forever King demands your immediate audience. Reports of a unitrix from Bellwood with… multiple alien forms.”
Albert paused in awe. “Clearly those mercenaries had failed.” he thought for a moment. The Galvanic Mechamorph looked at him with his expressionless face.
Dr. Albert: “Multiple forms you say?”
Mechamorph Scientist: “Impossible. I know. I said the same thing. But apparently it was distributed alongside regular unitrix systems. Oh, and Sir Cromwell and Godfather Abraham will be present.”
Dr. Albert: “Ah. This may cause some distrust among our ranks. I’m going to have to fabricate an airtight theory for how such a device could exist. When does he want to see me?”
Mechamorph Scientist: “The Forever King demands your immediate audience.”
Dr. Albert: “Oh. Shit.”
Mechamorph Scientist: “Should I accompany you, Doctor?”
Dr. Albert: “No… No... We might end up tripping over each other’s stories...”
Suddenly Albert remembers that he’s holding a flask, and hands it to the tall Galvanic Mechamorph as he prepares his escape.
Dr. Albert: “Here, give this to Isaac. Tell him it’s dead or something, I’ll explain it better when I get back.”
He rushes out the door, leaving the Mechamorph with the beaker.
Kenny: “Are you done thinking yet?”
Ann (Big Brain): “Well I’ve noticed one thing… those aren’t tracks. They’re erosion marks.”
Kenny: “What like you’d find at the base of a seaside cliff?”
Ann (Big Brain): “Hey Kenny do me a favour and throw something at one of those buildings over there for me.”
Confused as to why, Kenny complied. He found a small chunk of brick from the roof they were standing on, and lobbed it across the street. The brick smashed loudly through a window, catching the attention of the monster. It turned and charged alongside the building, his arms phasing through the stone wall as it ran past. Wherever it’s ghastly limbs had grazed the brick now turned to dust until the entire wall crumbled and collapsed.
Kenny: “At least now we know what happened to that other building earlier… Are you any closer to figuring out what it is?”
Ann (Big Brain): “It’s aging whatever it touches by several decades or even centuries. That must be why I couldn’t hold it as a Florauna earlier… Look at the way it echoes… what does it remind you of?”
Kenny: “Some kind of humanoid skeleton?”
Ann (Big Brain): “Not just any humanoid. It’s human. Or it was… We’re seeing every point of its existence all at once, as though we were observing it from outside the fourth dimension...”
Kenny: “It’s stuck outside of time?!”
???: “Well done, the pair of you! No, really! It took me years to figure out what that thing was, and you two solved it in a matter of minutes!”
Ann and Kenny turn in shock at the sound of another human being behind them. They see a tall man wearing a dirty white lab coat, with a pair of goggles hanging around his neck.
???: “No need to look so alarmed, I’m only here to help!”
Kenny: “Who the hell are you?”
???: “I’d tell you, but by the looks of it that ‘human’ just heard us.”
The pair turn their attention back to the creature. It had indeed heard them and was charging the building they were stood atop as it had the others. The mysterious man now appeared immediately behind Big Brain, who he picks up by her left arm.
Ann (Big Brain): “Hey! Put me down!”
The man taps Ann’s unitrix, and she immediately turns into a Lepidopterran. She is now a massive insectoid creature, with four spindly legs and two arms. She has four pedunculated eyes and two massive lace wings.
Ann (Flytrap): “Huh? Flytrap? How?--”
Ann turns to ask the man how he had changed her form like this, but he had disappeared before she had the chance. The roof shakes violently. Ann jumps into the air as it begins to collapse
Kenny: “Ann! Help!”
Ann grabs Kenny by his shoulders and rises up, hovering above the rubble upon which they had stood safely just moments ago. As the creature moves to and fro about the clouds of dust, visible only thanks to it’s blue glow, Ann flies away to seek refuge elsewhere.
Kenny: “We should be safe down there!”
Ann descends, dropping Kenny from a safe distance before landing herself. They now stand beside a large grey building. The door is aged off its hinges, and two tracks lead through it.
Kenny: “I think this must be the main building.”
Ann (Flytrap): “You think?”
Ann taps the unitrix on her forehead, and flashes back to normal. As they walk towards the doorway, Ann notices the tracks.
Ann: “I see why you’d think it’s safe here. That thing has already been here, in and out.”
Ann leads and Kenny follows. As they enter the building they arrive in a lobby area, exploring briefly they find a set of stairs leading down. Ann carefully climbs down the scorched stairwell, and at the bottom they find two rooms that appear to make up the remnants of a laboratory.
In the first room sits a number of desks, each covered in papers and clipboards. The two rooms are separated by a large wall, with two large windows and what used to be a door. In the second room are terminals and lamps, all twisted and taught into unnatural positions as though they were stretched towards a large crystal ring on the other side of the room.
Kenny: “My god this place is abandoned...”
Ann: “As opposed to everywhere else which has appeared so lively up until this point.”
Kenny: “No but… This place looks like it was abandoned yesterday...”
Ann: “That would be a fortunate turn of luck for us then wouldn’t it?”
Kenny observes the malformed objects in the second room as Ann dawdles around the tables in the first.
Kenny: “What happened here?”
Ann: “You keep asking me these questions as though I would have any goddamn clue.”
Kenny: “Well you could try reading some of those papers in front of you.”
Ann stares blankly at Kenny
Ann: “I’d come up with some witty retort, but I honestly never thought to try that.”
Ann picks up a clipboard that had been positioned as though someone had once needed to refer to it often.
Ann: “Los Soledad Research Facility. Project Paradox. Experiments into time travel technology.”
She looks up to Kenny, who is now stood listening eagerly to Ann.
Ann: “My first problem with this is that some stupid fuck thought it was a good idea to name a time travel project ‘Paradox’.”
Kenny: “To be fair, with what you said earlier ‘Paradox’ might be the most accurate explanation here. What else does it say?”
Ann: “Something something excitement in quartz, something something space-time continuum.”
Kenny: “here’s a thought: If they wanted to time travel, they could’ve just used a Chronosapien!”
Ann: “Oh come on! You really believe those stories?”
Ann adopts a mocking tone as she retells the legend of the Chronosapiens.
Ann: “They say the only man to ever meet a Chronosapien… was never born! And besides… Looking at the dates here, unitrix technology was pretty fresh when this facility was last in use.”
She places the clipboard back on the desk, and grabs another short stack of paper that had been stapled together. She quickly flipped through a few pages before stopping.
Ann: “Kenny I think you should come over here and see this...”
Ann: “Apparently this project was lead by a Professor Hartnell and his assistant Professor Troughton.”
Kenny takes the paper off of Ann, as she shows him the page she was looking at.
Kenny: “But that’s the man from earlier isn’t it?”
???: “I’m afraid it is, yes...”
The pair once again turn in shock.
Ann: “You’re Professor Hartnell? You haven’t aged a day in nearly a hundred years...”
Professor: “Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in far too long! Though given how long it has been since I’ve used it, I think a different moniker is in order...”
Kenny: “How do you keep sneaking up on us?”
Professor: “Does anyone else get a sense of deja vu here?”
Ann: “Why are you still so young?”
The Professor walks over to the distorted terminals and begins examining them
Professor: “Ahh! Memories!”
Ann: “Answer us dammit!”
Professor: “...Fine. I’ll tell you. But to do it properly, I’ll have to go back to the beginning!”
The Professor takes a fob watch out of his pocket. Holding at arm's length he presents it to Ann and Kenny, before a bright blue light consumes the three of them.
Now standing in a void of unending black, the three of them watch as a massive, chaotic, beautiful explosion consumes the entirety of their surroundings. Somehow they seem to be protected within a sort of bubble. Ann shouts over the deafening noise of the explosion, but Professor Hartnell talks calm and collectively.
Ann: “What is this?”
Professor: “Oh come now, Ann. Surely you’ve heard of the Big Bang!”
Ann: “Wait how do you know MY name?”
A silhouette becomes visible through the blinding plasma.
Kenny: “Holy shit! Is that a person?!”
Professor: “Please don’t swear whilst outside of the time stream. Actually let’s speed this up a bit, this light is giving me a headache.”
Time accelerates, and the plasma cools into gas, which in turn collects into planets and moons. As stars begin to ignite, the universe lights up once more. But the distant figure remains floating through the void. Now in the darkness Ann and Kenny could make out a faint blue field surrounding them, and that the distant man is also protected by his own blue shield.
Ann: “Oh my god! That man’s still out there!”
Kenny: “But there are stars now, hundreds of millions of years must have passed!”
Ann looks at Kenny, confused that Kenny would know that.
Kenny: “What? I have hobbies.”
They now turn their attention to the professor behind them.
Ann: “Who is that?”
Professor: “That would be me. The past me. I suppose now I should tell, and not just show. The oldest memories I have are waking up in front of the Big Bang, and waiting out eternity. I went insane for a very long time, which is probably how I lost the memories of myself before that. I stayed insane for a few billion years before I realised how boring and normal it felt, before going worryingly sane. I began to study the cosmos with my immortal memory to accompany my undying body. I discovered that I had become trapped outside of space, stuck in time, cursed to only watch. That was until I discovered the short cuts.”
Kenny: “Short cuts?”
Professor: “As wormholes are connections between two points in space, short cuts are connections between two points in time. Tiny slips in reality where the third and fourth dimensions meet. Ever wondered why some people go missing never to be found?“
Ann: “So where’d you come from? I mean, you can’t just have been born in the Big Bang could you?”
Professor: “That’s what I thought, until I found a man that looked identical to me in 1940’s America. I watched from the shadows as his life played out. His first kiss, his parent’s divorce, his final exams. At first it was comforting, until he took up a job at Los Soledad.
Their time bubble jumps to observe 1960’s Los Soledad. Inside the lab they see Professor Hartnell and Professor Troughton tampering with machinery.
Professor: “Suddenly it became clear that this man was me.”
The two turn to look at the professor within their bubble.
Ann: “so this is how you got thrown outside of time?”
Professor: “indeed it is. But one thing I learned here is that time is fleeting. Blink and you’ll miss it!”
Behind them, Ann and Kenny hear an explosion accompanied by a colossal tear. They turn to see the crystal structure now crackling with the same blue energy that surrounds their time bubble. The room distorts and collapses into the vortex of temporal energy, as Professor Hartnell loses his footing and falls into the event horizon within the Quartz ring.
Kenny: “wait where’d that Gourmand come from?!”
Professor Troughton has disappeared, but in the room is now a small green alien. It looks like a small fat goblin, and it clings desperately onto the side of one of the distorted terminals before losing its grip. Yelling and screaming can be heard from the observation room next door. Three long grotesque tongues extend out from the creature's mouth as it tries to latch back onto the terminal, but they miss and it too begins to fall, succumbing to the pull of the portal. As a blue flash obscures the room from view, the Professor returns them to present day.
They now stand once again in the ruined laboratory.
Ann: “I’m… not sure what to say...”
Kenny: “So if you became a time traveller by falling into the portal, is that creature outside Professor Troughton?”
Professor: “Y’know I’d never considered that...”
Ann: “Professor Paradox.”
Ann: “You said earlier you wanted a new name, given how long it had been since you used your last one. How about ‘Professor Paradox’?”
Professor: “A little insensitive… but I like it!”
Kenny: “So what is that creature outside? Besides, y’know, your assistant trapped outside of time.”
Professor: “It’s a living paradox. A creature that lives and acts in real time, yet is out of sync with our time. This causes everything it touches to age several thousand times faster than it should. Since it is stuck outside of time, it will never die. Which means that it is doomed to take out the rest of the world with it, aging all things to dust. What a depressing isolation he must be experiencing...”
The Professor is cut off as the entire building rumbles, upheaving dust that had not been disturbed in decades.
Ann: “That didn’t sound good...”
The three of them rush outside, and in the distance they see building after building collapsing.
Professor: “We’re running out of time… Alright you two. I know how to stop that creature, but in doing so I will inevitably attract it towards me.”
Ann: “You want us to save the world? Can do!”
Kenny: “So... how?”
Professor: “I’m going to send you both back to the moment everything went wrong! Don’t blink!”
The Professor pulls the fob watch back out of his pocket, and it once again consumes Ann and Kenny in a single blue flair. Suddenly, no more buildings collapse. Professor Paradox turns to look down the street, and he sees the time monster marching ominously towards him. He steps into the middle of the street to confront it, but hears a familiar noise behind him. Turning, he sees a second time monster charging towards him. Upon noticing each other, both time monsters stop and stare at each other briefly.
Professor: “TWO TIME MONSTERS?! Oh hell!”
The Forever King sits upon his golden throne, covered on both sides by armoured knights. Before him stand two other member of the Forever Organisation. One is a heavily decorated knight, with a short, thick, grey beard visible thanks to the missing faceplate on his helmet. The other is a slightly overweight, but nonetheless friendly, looking figure adorned in a black suit with a blue rose attached to his right lapel, and a purple handkerchief in the pocket on his left pectoral.
The large doors on the other end of the hall burst open, as an exhausted Dr. Albert steps through. He is soon accompanied by two Forever Knights, of which one of them speaks.
Forever Knight: “Presenting Dr. Albert, Forever Genius of the Science division of the Forever Organisation, as you ordered sir.”
The King speaks
Forever King: “Thank you, guards. As you were.”
Decorated Knight: “What took you so long, Albert? Or were you busy forging an excuse?”
Dr. Albert: “Back off Cromwell. It’s not everyday you hear that the limits of modern science have been shattered. Not since the Suits were founded anyways.”
Suit man: “Hey, I’ll do my job you do yours.”
Dr. Albert: “Ah! Godfather Abraham! I haven’t seen you in far too long! How’s the wife?”
Dr. Albert steps over to the man in the suit ready to shake his hand, but is interrupted by the King clearing his throat.
Forever King: “Dr. Albert whilst I’m sure you are ecstatic to meet Abraham again, I’m equally sure you can agree that we have far more pressing matters at hand.”
Dr. Albert: “Of course, King Reginald.”
Sir Cromwell: “Well then? What do you have to say for yourself?”
King Regi: “Sir Cromwell hold your tongue. I’m sure Dr. Albert has a perfectly valid explanation. Doctor, if you would?”
Dr. Albert: “Well… No. I said this years ago, and I’ll say it again. The Unitrix technology is incomplete, and requires further refinement before multiple forms would even be feasible.”
Sir Cromwell: “Feasible?! It’s happening right now Albert, open your eyes!”
Abraham: “Cromwell, if you’d let him finish speaking I’m sure you will be satisfied with what he has to say.”
Dr. Albert: “Well as we’re all aware, there are underground societies dedicated to figuring out the unitrix technology. Perhaps instead of refining the technology, they instead opted to go straight ahead and create a multi-form unitrix without properly analysing the risks.”
Sir Cromwell: “Don’t go blaming this on me!”
Dr. Albert: “I’m not. But what I am saying is that this unitrix will likely fail catastrophically very soon. In which case the device, or what remains of it’s wielder, may become more dangerous than ever before...”
Abraham: “...Therefore we must retrieve the device as soon as we can.”
Abraham turns to address the King directly.
Abraham: “King Reginald, if I may be allowed I shall send a unit of Suits to Bellwood immediately. They shall have this unitrix returned promptly.”
King Regi: “For me, go ahead. However I would like to know the good Doctor’s opinions on the matter first.”
Dr. Albert: “On the condition that the wielder be allowed to surrender peacefully first. Remember that this unitrix was distributed among normal unitrixes, and they would not have been aware this was going to happen to them.”
Godfather Abraham smiles.
Abraham: “That is standard procedure after all.” He turns to the King once again, “May I take my leave now?”
King Regi: “Dismissed Godfather.”
Abraham walks calmly and collectively out of the hall, through the doors Albert had entered from.
Sir Cromwell: “I say we find this unitrix, bring in it’s wielder, and throw them in the dungeons for crossing the Forever Organisation!”
The Forever King and Albert both stare at Cromwell with a look of immediate disgust.
King Regi: “You shall do no such thing Sir Cromwell. Dismissed.”
Sir Cromwell: “But Lord I--”
King Regi: “Dismissed.”
Cromwell storms defeated out of the hall.
King Regi: “I swear, had his promotion not been the last request of the previous Forever General he would not be here right now. Of all the things, this is the only time I’ve ever questioned Sir Vere’s judgement on anything.”
Dr. Albert: “Now if I may be allowed to return to--”
King Regi turned to the two guards either side of him.
King Regi: "If I may be allowed a moment of privacy?"
The two guards leave without a word.
King Regi: “Albert. You and I both know that you have many secret projects. Are you sure this unitrix is not the result of one of them?”
Dr. Albert: “Regi, I promise you that I have never seen such a device before.”
Dr. Albert lies through his teeth to his King, but they stare at each other like old friends. Albert had many dark and terrible secrets, and King Regi was the only person entrusted with their keeping. No one knew Dr. Albert as well as he did. In fact Regi knew him so well, that he knew that Albert was lying to him right now.
King Regi: “It is okay, Albert. I believe you.”
Dr. Albert: “Thank you.”
They both smiled, knowing the other was lying to protect Albert. They had been friends for longer than most realise, and did not hold these falsehoods against each other. Without the need for dismissal, Dr. Albert turned his back on the Forever King and made his exit. “They never needed to find out” he thought to himself. “How easy this could have been...”
The two time monsters stare at each other briefly, before charging towards each other, ignoring Professor Paradox in the middle.
Professor: “No no no! This is bad! VERY BAD!”
He immediately begins to remove his lab coat. As the two creatures approach him, he throws the coat over one of them, covering it. The creature struggles and stumbles. It runs off blindly, unable to age through the Professor’s timeless coat. The other creature collides with the Professor, knocking him back, before turning around for another attack. But this time Paradox is ready and he grapples with the creature, taking the force of the impact. The two push against each other as the Professor holds it back.
That same noise reappears behind him. The sound of time screaming. The sound of the Earth aging with it’s presence. The sound of Paradox’s past…
The other monster had shaken off his coat.
He was out of time.
???: “This better work. This little science experiment of yours has cost the US government a pretty penny.”
A man wearing a green suit, decorated with medals, stands in the observation room we had seen earlier. Men in suits stand at one of the windows, waiting with pen and paper in hand. At the other window stand a few lab coat-wearing scientists, standing at a control panel.
Hartnell: “Come now, general. I’m sure the levitation of untold human suffering across all of history is ample return for the price.”
General: “Yeah, it’ll also give those reds something to think about!” A young Professor Hartnell stands in the middle of the laboratory with the massive quartz ring behind him. He turns to his assistant, Professor Troughton, who is staring at a strange watch-like device on his wrist.
Hartnell: “Troughton, would you give that watch a rest already, there is real science to be done here.”
Troughton: “Sorry Professor, but it’s just so magical isn’t it? What science can do, I mean. With this unitrix I can turn into another creature with fantastical powers! I wonder what science will do next?”
Troughton’s unitrix is primitive and chunky in design compared to those wielded by Ann and Kenny. It’s dial slightly protrudes from the rest of the device permanently, with a ring guard around it.
Hartnell: “Whilst I always love seeing people inspired by the wonders of science, you are literally standing next to an untested time machine. So if you’d like to focus, maybe we can push the boundaries of science a little further?”
Troughton: “Right. Of course.”
Both Troughton and Hartnell take the goggles from around their necks and fasten them around their heads. Professor Hartnell turns to the General once more, and gives him the thumbs up. One of the scientists from the observation room pulls the heavy metal door shut, sealing off the two rooms. All of the men in the observation room apply their goggles, and one of the scientists pulls a lever at his control panel. Suddenly, the machines inside the lab whir into life. The terminal buttons ignite with colour, and the lamps all activate.
Hartnell: “July 5th. 1965. Paradox Project practical experiment number one. Troughton, if you will.”
Troughton begins to fiddle with the buttons on the terminal, and two tesla coil-like structures holding the crystal ring up begin to spark. A small vortex of energy spawns in the center of the quartz structure. Troughton begins shouting over the loud hum of machinery.
Troughton: “Professor! It’s working!”
Hartnell: “I can see that! But at this power level it will never hold. Apply more power, let’s see if we can get this portal to hold!”
Troughton pulls the lever slightly further. The portal grows drastically, to the size of a human. Bolts of energy emanate from the portal now, scaring the concrete walls as they strike. But suddenly a single bolt arc across the room. It bends around Professor Hartnell, and strikes the left wrist of Professor troughton. His unitrix begins fizzling and whirring. Hartnell turns to see if he is okay.
Hartnell: “That’s enough now! Terminate power--!”
Troughton is immediately transformed into a Gourmand, the goblin creature Ann and Kenny had seen before. He falls onto the terminal, accidentally pulling the lever as far as it will go. The vortex in the quartz ring now grows to a monstrous size, and Hartnell stares at it with horror. The lamps and terminals begin to distort and warp, being pulled into the portal without moving from where they are. The men in the observation room look on in horror as Professor Hartnell screams, powerless against the pull of the vortex, falling into the event horizon.
Two blue flashes appear briefly, as Ann materialises inside the lab and Kenny materialises inside the observation room. Troughton slips, losing his grip on the terminal and he begins to fall. But Ann slams down her unitrix, transforming once more into the vine-like Florauna!
Ann (Florauna): “Frenzyplant!”
Her right arm extends rapidly, grabbing Troughton in mid air. With her other arm she latches onto the warped terminal, and embeds her legs into the concrete floor to anchor herself. Eldritch energy crackles and snaps across the room, as the unstable portal consumes anything that falls into it’s maw.
Kenny rushes over to the control panel, barging the panicked scientist out of the way. He grabs onto a large red lever.
Kenny: “God I hope this works!”
He slams it down, and the humming stops. The lights in the laboratory cut, immediately casting it into darkness as the portal closes. The Pull of the vortex no longer carrying him, Ann drops Troughton to the ground. She stands up relaxedly, disembedding herself from the ground. She taps the white unitrix symbol on her stomach to return to her normal form, and runs over to Troughton. She taps the unitrix symbol on his chest and, with a flash, he also returns to his human form. He smiles at Ann before passing out. Kenny bursts into the laboratory and up to Ann, hugging her briefly, before they stand aimlessly next to each other.
Kenny: “We did it! We saved the world!”
Ann: “Hell yeah we did!”
Kenny: “So… uhh… What now?”
The General storms into the room.
General: “Who in God’s name are you and how the hell did you get in here?!”
Ann turns back to Kenny, seemingly ignoring the very angry man next to them.
Ann: “I suppose we either wait for Paradox to return us to present day or we wait to be court martialled.”
A faint blue glow begins to form around Ann and Kenny.
Ann: “Oh there we go.”
General: “What the F--”
He is cut off, as Ann and Kenny return to their proper time and place.
Paradox pushes the time monster away from him, but instead of running off like the creatures had been, it collapses. The blue glow that encompasses the creature fades, and it turns into a human. Shocked, Paradox turns to see the other one collapses and turn into a human as well. He runs over to help the fallen man, but he gets up before the Professor reaches him. Paradox stops, seeing another version of himself standing there. The second version stares in shock. The second version goes to say something, but fades out of existence before he gets the chance.
Paradox dashes over to the other human, who also stands up. This one turns out to be Professor Troughton.
Paradox: “Troughton! It’s been so long!”
Troughton collapses, but Professor Paradox catches him.
Paradox: “Don’t worry. I’ve got you.”
Troughton looks up at the Professor as time catches up with him. He ages several decades in a matter of seconds…
Troughton: “W-where am I?”
Paradox: “Welcome back to Los Soledad.”
Troughton: “What happened?”
Paradox: “Long story.”
Paradox stands upright, helping Troughton up as well. He leaves Troughton’s side for a moment, taking out the fob watch once more. It projects a blue aura, and from it appear Ann and Kenny.
Ann: “Guess who’s back!”
Kenny: “Back again!”
Paradox: “Excellent! I’d ask how things went, but judging by what happened present-time I’m not sure I’m going to be surprised by the answer...”
Ann: “So who’s the oldie?”
Paradox: “That would be my old colleague, Professor Troughton. I believe you’ve already met?”
Ann runs over to Troughton.
Ann: “Oh my god. What happened?”
Troughton: “Honestly I’d like to know as well.”
Paradox: “Time happened. It seems that when both me and him fell into the portal, it created the time monsters. Anomalies in the time stream caused by both of us falling into the event horizon. It seems that I, in my current state, was created when I alone fell. Which means that when you saved troughton he lived out the rest of his life up to this point. All eighty three years of it.”
Troughton: “Then why don’t I remember any of it?”
Paradox: “Hiccups in the time stream. You will remember soon enough. Time is just catching up with you is all.”
Troughton: “But… where do I live? Who do I know? How has technology progressed? Eighty three years is not an insignificant amount of time.”
Kenny: “Computers were not household objects when The Paradox Project was still a thing.”
Ann: “Yeah, and look how old that unitrix system is!”
Paradox: “Don’t worry Professor Troughton. I have eternity to live out, what kind of friend would I be to not spend at least some of that time helping you find a place?”
Troughton: “Thank you.”
Paradox turns to the two sixteen year olds.
Paradox: “If you two are okay making your own way home, I’ll take my leave and help show my old friend here around.”
Ann: “Well there was only one road into this place, it’s not exactly hard to get out of.”
Ann and Kenny stroll calmly along the cracked and ruined roads of Los Soledad.
Ann: “So… Should we head back to Bellwood now?”
Kenny looked up at the inky black night sky
Kenny: “Oh fuck that. I say we find the softest rocks we can and sleep here for the night.”
Ann: “Won’t your parents be worried?”
Kenny: “That wasn’t a concern to me when I ran here, it isn’t a concern now.”
Ann: “That’s kinda harsh.”
Kenny: “Maybe. But it’s not like my dad’ll notice, I haven’t seen him in weeks.”
Ann: “Hang on, what?”
Kenny: “Don’t ask.”
Ann: “C’mon Kenny I’m your best friend. You’re supposed to tell me these kind of things.”
Kenny: “Then as my best friend you’ll appreciate that I don’t want to talk about it.”
An empty silence falls over them as they continue walking, no longer towards the exit of Los Soledad but instead towards the buildings that still stand.
Kenny: “So, Ann. You’ve been naming all your aliens, what about your unitrix? It is pretty special after all.”
Ann: “You’re right. It is pretty special. In fact you could say it’s pretty… super.”
Kenny: “Oh tell me you didn’t.”
Ann: “And what if I did?”
Kenny: “Super Unitrix? Really? C’mon you’re better than that, give it a better name.”
Ann: “Well I was gonna call it ‘Super Ann’s Awesome Unitrix!’ But I guess just ‘Super Unitrix’ works better.”
- Professor Paradox makes his debut
- Ann and Kenny save Professor Troughton, preventing the Time Monsters from being created
- The Forever Organisation learns of the Super Unitrix
- Ann names the Super Unitrix, as well as all of her aliens.
Characters (and aliens used)
- Ann Declanson
- Kenny Tennyson
- XLR8 (x2)
- Professor Paradox (first appearance)
- Professor Hartnell (past only, first appearance)
- Professor Troughton (first appearance)
- Gourmand (past only, first appearance)
- Time Monsters (first appearance)
- Dr. Albert
- Unnamed Galvanic Mechamorph Scientist (first appearance)
- Forever King Regi (first appearance)
- Sir Cromwell (first appearance)
- Godfather Abraham (first appearance)
- General Groff (unnamed)
- Project Paradox Observers
- Unnamed Forever Knights
- This episode is heavily based on the canon Ben 10: Alien Force episode, Paradox.
- Professor Hartnell and Professor Troughton are named after the actors who played the first two incarantions of The Doctor in Doctor Who; William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively.
- Both of those characters were renamed from their canon versions for different reasons.
- Professor Paradox was renamed (at least before the incident) because no functioning human being would hire a man named 'Paradox' to work on a time machine and expect it not to go wrong.
- Hugo was renamed because a different character named Hugo had already appeared in the previous episode. Technically his name is still Hugo, even if he is never reffered to as such in this episode.
- Speaking of Doctor Who: Paradox's line "Don't blink!" is a reference to the very popular episode 'Blink', in which The Doctor warns the main character not to blink as the Weeping Angels can only move when unobserved.
- Alternate title: every major new character wears a goddamn lab coat
- This episode was originally intended to be the season 1 finale, but was moved to the second to better service the plot
- This episode was also moved to second to better serve as a set up for another episode that was planned to appear later in season 1, but has been moved to season 2 or later.
- Hardback was also planned to appear in this episode, with her shell being aged through by one of the time monsters to disastrous effect. This scene was removed because Ann has not properly learned how to use Hardback yet.
|Age of the Unitrix|