Welcome, one and all, to the first day of the Ultimate Fanon Con! I'm your host, CaT, bringing you the results for the Writing Contest! Let's see how our contestants did!
|It was a beautiful sunny morning, the sunshine blasted it’s rays onto a luxurious mansion on a hill, making it seem like it was sparkling. Inside the house, was a dark room with the blinds drawn allowing no sunshine to get inside and disturb the lump that could be seen in bed. The lump rolled over and checked their phone. She decided that 1pm was a good of time as any to get up for the day. Upon rising from the bed, the lump turned out to be a girl with black hair, purple bangs, and a nose piercing. She yawned as she put on her glasses, blinking a few times to adjust her sight.|
She got up going into the bathroom for sometime, when she exited she was now cleaned up with her hair brushed into two pigtails and freshly painted black nails. She was wearing purple shoes, ripped light gray jeans, a black skull shirt with shoulder holes, a purple choker, and a spiked bracelet on each wrist. She yawned as she left her room heading down the grand spiral staircase of her house.
The writing here isn't bad, but it does have some distracting grammatical errors. That aside, reading this without any context was a trip; the demon aspect kind of comes in out of nowhere and the brother becoming Darkstar at the end is also kind of strange.
I think if there was more context given for this sequence of events, I think it would read a lot better, but as it stands, it feels a little disjointed.
The Chronosapien race has an aversion to travelling forwards in time. It is unspoken among them and unobservable from the outside, but they seldom dare travel into the future. They will only ever travel backwards along the timestream, and if they ever travel ahead it is only to return to the present they had left.
This is not instinctual, nor is it without reason.
Chronosapien legend tells us of Retrival's Sanctuary.
Retrival was born over 30'000 Earth Years ago (two-and-a-half Chronosapien Millenia ago) into the Temporus House of the Brassworkers. This was from a time long before his race called themselves Chronosapiens.
For the first few centuries of his life worked as a prospector for his family's forges and mining industry. His job was to find a planet with a high brass content and ensure that the world would never become home to a race dependant on the brass for their evolution or industrial development. The job was easy and extremely well-respected, but left Retrival totally unfulfilled.
For all his future travel he never got to see anything worth his time. His focus was only to the planets he was observing. Dangerous, sometimes, but never interesting. His ability to travel forwards and backwards at will made any dangers null.
So one day, he just left. Though disappearances are common in a race of time travellers, an operation as well run as the House of Brassworkers knows when someone is missing and keeps a good eye on its workers. After a week, a search party was formed. They set about across all of time, using Sotobro detectors to tell them when they crossed the same time zone as Retrival.
And eventually he was found. On a dark, blackened world of dust and rock, Tiberius- Forge-Father of Retrival- found the lost youth catatonic. His half-melted face cast a sunken gaze unto the starless sky. Try as he might, Tiberius could neither break his son's gaze nor garner a response from him.
Tiberius brought Retrival back to the then-present era, and sought help for his broken child among the Steel Towers in the Glistening Hills by the ocean. Whatever had scorched him had fused some of his internal gears, but this was not enough to cause paralysis. The doctors were left confused and unable to help. With no other options, they turned to outside help to find a Mind Speaker to reach Retrival and bring him back.
The Mind Speaker Zarados was sought out and brought to the Moon of Providence. Here, Retrival's mind was opened and from it spilled the dark truths that he had learned.
Visions of the Dead
From these virgin fires were born the first races- entities of great power and will. These creatures- gods as they were- could bend space and time in its malleable state to create as they desired. These beings were known in legend as the To'Sensai, a name that all cosmic entities know of instinctively. Their reign lasted for only 100 years, and in this time they- across all of creation- began to work the universe into their image. They made a playground that would forever be able to harbour life in their more focused form, but they knew that their own time was finite. They took the last of their energy and placed it inside nebulae, to incubate into their successor race.
And before even the first nebula could hatch, progeny of the newly formed galaxies began to rise. The Ironites of the Attracia Pull were a vast imperial race billions of years prior to Retrival's native time, a race he had never heard of before. They were creatures of iron oxide, golems of rock animated by the energy that flowed through their conductive veins. They marched across the earliest semblance of the Sagittarius and Messier Galaxies, and beneath them extinguished the sparks of life on over a thousand worlds. Their reign was unchallengable, but death is a promise to all who live. The march ended as the Ironites turned to stone, their own life simply fading out. The Ironites of the Attracia Pull became unable to move and were buried under thousands of years of geological movement over a million different planets.
Over billions of years Retrival watched the evolution of species across a million billion worlds. So many of them faded to time, finding and smashing into a thousand different great filters. Some planets would grow life, but fail to evolve multi-cellular life. Many would never pass the sapience barrier. Countless species drove themselves to extinction. But more common than any cause was that life was simply not fast enough to save itself, as cruel and random acts of nature left the planets sterile or drove life back to a far more primitive state. One in a million would see their creatures grow into mighty space-faring civilisations. One such world was Teslavorr Prime, the homeworld of a primitive race of quadrupedal leeches known at the time as the Lampiri. They were a dangerous race of blooddrinkers who fed off of the life energy of their prey. But Teslavorr Prime was a violent world of lightning storms, and more often than not these storms would be the death of the Lampiri. For this, they evolved a new source of life energy and became a strong empire of lightning-drinkers.
Pain of the Present
There was someone he could share his pain with now, though. A strange Hominid creature, far more intelligent than the rest of his kind, had wondered beyond the grasps of continuity to join Retrival in the space without time. The alien called himself a scholar of a university Retrival didn't recognise on a world he had never heard of. Apparently the alien had fallen to the same fate as him, except through a hole he himself punched in time. He had outlived eternity and so too would Retrival. The alien told him to look for the good in all things, because history was not kind and Retrival could not see the good then he would be driven to madness in the terror he would come to face.
The Hell Yet to Pass
But this paled in comparison to what came after. Even seeing all of time play out before him, Retrival missed the first strike. He looked across Sagittarius and saw fire everywhere. All races with the power to fight had begun to. When Retrival would meet the Hominid again, he would come to learn that these were the Heaven Wars. He watched in horror as a nameless race from a backwater planet set fire to the Hydrogen Reefs. Across the Galaxy another stole ancient technology and forged it into a Perpetuum Blade, evolved themselves into mighty pillars of light and took the name of the Ascendant Armies. With their new power they marched into the realms of the Trembling Worlds never to return.
He saw the resolve of the desperate and the ingenuity of those with nothing left to lose. The Shianusapiens needed soldiers and deployed Sapience Bombs across the galaxy to create them. Pattersonea, Vulpin, Flors Verdance, Corus Prime, and so many others suddenly found themselves either sprouting with life, or with that life gaining new intellect. But the Shianusapiens were never able to claim their new warriors, taming them proved too draining on resources and the plans were abandoned. The Techadons created evil cyborgs from the prisoners they captured. The Vladats evolved into existence and crushed the Anur System beneath their might before the other races rose up to meet them, and sent them to oblivion. The Faratin were nearly driven to extinction. Even the Celestialsapiens were forced into combat.
Through all he saw, Retrival's attention was still firmly set on his own kind. Now metal-clad, they dived head-first into the fight. He could only watch on in terror as they echoed the efforts of the Techadons and created their own Time Breakers. They built mighty Crucibles to burn across the galaxy, and Time Bombs to erase their opponents from existence. Retrival could only spectate as they wiped themselves out and fled in the one remaining Crucible. For once he felt like he could move, and he followed them into the Prime Dimension.
As he was told to, Retrival waited and looked. And he found the good in the universe. A young Hominid, clearly the same species as the scholar, and a skilled shapeshifter. The child was unique among his kind and wore the faces of other races, and with this ability he saved so many lives. For all the hatred Retrival had seen, this heroism lit the spark of hope left deep in his heart.
The Infinite End of the Universe
The Empire of Man fractured and divided simply because there was no longer enough resources to hold it together. Entire sectors of the galaxies fled to single outposts and hid awaiting the end of forever.
Stars died. Planets froze. Cities starved. All people suffered. Heat Death approached. There was no longer anything left in the universe to bring joy or happiness. All things now awaited the end. And so too did Retrival. He fell out of his prison through one of the holes in time that had trapped him in the first place. And he stood waiting for the end. He didn't even realise he was free until Tiberius had found him.
The solution to this was to make sure that they would need no more brass ever. By turning themselves into their own time machines, they would remove to need for mining entirely.
With horror, Retrival realised the nightmare he had lived through would come to be true.
He took his own life in the basement of his family's manor.
Characters and Species
Now this is a brick and a half of worldbuilding. It's written pretty nicely and does the aforementioned wordbuilding fairly well. The only real issue I have with it is that the ending feels sort of half-baked. The resolution is there but it feels underwhelming with what the beginning implied it was building up to.
Still, the rest of this entry is pretty solid, and I had a hard time deciding who I'd put in first place. I'll admit it ultimately came down to personal preference, and in that regard, I chose the first place to be:
Max had always lived with them. It had always been that way. When Ben was just a baby, his father had suffered a life-ending stroke and Max had immediately taken his place. Like the father Ben never had, Max lived in the house, helped with his plumbing job and even took him and his cousin out on occasion. Ben told him everything, and it was like Max told him everything too. Even when he found the capsule hidden in his room, and even when it attached itself to Ben's wrist permanently, Max wasn't mad. Max helped him learn to use it and helped him to control his abilities.
It was always Max, not as often Ben's mom, who he spent his time with. Even this summer, he was set to go on a road trip with him and his cousin. It would be the trip of the year.
So he waited at the school gate, waited for his Grandpa to pick him up like he did every day.
Half an hour, nobody came.
An hour, nobody came.
90 minutes after school ended, two police officers walked through the school gates instead.
The summer, so far, had been uneventful. After the funeral, Ben hadn't left his room. How could he, when Max wouldn't be there to greet him? He hadn't seen his grandfather in so long - sometimes he even wondered where he was, which foolishly led to tears each time. He wished he could forget. He wished he could have seen him again. He lay on his bed with each passing day and wished. He wished that he was there.
And then he heard footsteps. He turned, and saw Max walk into his room; smile.
Ben stood up and smiled back. He ran towards him and went to wrap his arms around his grandpa.
His arms tore through sharp, empty air.
As if something as stupid as wishing could bring him back.
Sandra poked Ben, bringing him out of the Sumo-Slammers-Season-Finale induced trance and causing him to turn, realising that she was sitting next to him.
She smiled at him. "That show any good?"
"Yeah." Ben smiled back. "Kenko trapped Ishiyami underground!" He grabbed the remote and paused the show - showing a bulky samurai eating a centipede. "He's had to eat bugs as he digs his way out!"
"Very interesting, I bet your Grandpa would love that." Sandra beamed.
"Yeah! I recorded this scene for him, when he comes back from plumbing we'll rewatch it together."
Sandra's demeanour changed slightly. She looked worried, suddenly, and her smile faded.
"What is it?" Ben cocked his head to the side, "Don't you like Sumo Slammers?"
She slowly smiled - now forced - and shook her head. "It's nothing, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself." She stood up and returned to the kitchen, silent.
Ben didn't know what had happened until later.
School resumed. The daily chores of homework, exams, and avoiding bullies added to Ben's stress.
He had considered skipping out on class a few times, but his grandpa's voice always appeared in his head. His past scolding for sneaking in to steal a Sumo Slammers, and his warnings not to use the watch for personal gain.
An especially dreary Physics lesson made Ben realise that Grandpa wasn't there to tell him off. He slid under his desk and selected Ghostfreak, and a second later he was in the gym room. All of those footballs, basketballs, and goals were his. No kids to queue, and no boring lessons to sit through. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all.
"Hey loser, watch it!"
Ben fell to the ground as Cash shoved him aside. A penalty was declared as he picked himself up, but Cash pushed him again as he regained balance.
"Why don't you just stay down? It's not like anyone's watching your game." J.T. was absent this time - though recently that was even worse.
"Shut up, dweeb!" Ben spat back. Cash was right, though. Turning to the sidelines, nobody was there to see Ben's game. His mom had to take another job after the income was halved, so she was busy and although she promised that Jamie's mom would show her the recording, it wasn't the same.
"I'm right, aren't I? Your family doesn't care about you!" Cash laughed and Ben shoved him back. A warning whistle came from the coach.
"They do too! It's not my fault that..." Anger boiled hotter and hotter inside of him.
"That what? That you're broke? That your mommy doesn't care about you?" Cash sneered. The fury grew even more.
"She does care! She just had to take another job, okay?!" Ben shouted, and Cash seemed to relent.
"It's a shame." He whispered, "That you didn't drop dead instead of your old man. Maybe if you bit the dust too, you could show his ghost how bad you are at socc-"
Everything happened too fast. It was already over before Ben realised anything had been done. Cash lay on the floor, clutching his bleeding nose and screaming as the blood dripped onto his shirt and stained it. Ben's fist was outstretched - some of Cash's blood painting it as well.
Far off, the couch ran over, suspended him, but Ben didn't hear it. He couldn't reach the world that was helping Cash up, that was screaming at him to get off the pitch. All the could hear was Cash's words. All he could hear was mocking. But he couldn't hear his grandpa's words. He couldn't hear them ever again, no matter how much he tried.
On top of his suspension, Ben was grounded.
Not that it mattered to him.
He leaned against the fountain, playing the upcoming Sumo Slammers game on his handheld. The game wasn't released for another few weeks, and nor was his device, but stealing with Ghostfreak or Grey Matter was a common hobby for Ben. After all, who was there to stop him? It wasn't that wrong; it was only one copy of millions, and nobody would miss it. It made him happy and it didn't make anyone else unhappy.
He'd used his aliens to get revenge on Cash and J.T. too. In exchange for getting him suspended, Stinkfly stunk up their houses. Once he was back at school, maybe he could show them who he was; make sure they'd be too scared to bully anyone. That wasn't so wrong, people would be happy. He could make everyone happy with his watch.
A Tennyson Christmas was never a large affair. Without much money, they had a small tree and a few gifts and celebrated through Gwen, Ken, Sunny and Clyde coming around. A couple of party games and crackers accompanied them, but the best part of Christmas was always Max's stories.
He had wild tales every year; once he spoke of a whole other dimension, a prison for aliens. Another time he talked about how the world they lived in wasn't real and was being made for entertainment. It was always a good time with him, it made Christmas worth it.
This year, the guests arrived as usual, they had dinner as usual (Sunny telling a nonsense story of how she was on an alien planet with her grandmother), and they opened their presents as usual - Ben getting a too-big hoodie. Everything was the same (of course it would be) until it was the usual time for Grandpa Max to tell his yearly story.
Ben tried to continue fiddling with his Sumo Slammers' game, Clyde talked to Ken and Gwen grabbed a book; all pretending that the storytime didn't exist.
"Wait, where's Max?" Sunny looked around at the group. "He hasn't been here all day."
Everyone had frozen. Had Sunny missed the news? Ben couldn't remember if she was at the funeral. Nobody spoke; nobody wanted to say it. To say that...
"Max is dead." Ben looked her in the eyes. "That's it." The rest of the family looked at him in shock, and tears welled up in Sunny's eyes. She knew he wasn't lying. And so did Ben. He'd finally said it, out loud, and he knew that it wasn't a lie. Ben could finally accept that. Max wasn't coming to Christmas, Max wasn't coming back.
That night, he had the worst nightmares since the day.
Ever since Christmas, the nightmares got worse. Ben imagined the reported car crash - only that he was driving the car that hit the Rust Bucket, that he had been the one to kill Max. It happened over and over again; Ben trying to grab hold of the wheel - move the car, save him, hit someone, anyone else. They always hit in the same way. No matter what Ben did, Max always died.
After a while, he gave up trying to stop it. Better to accept the death then believe he could be saved, he supposed. He let the car smash into the Rust Bucket headfirst each time. But - then - Ben felt it was almost like he was choosing to kill. Choosing to let him die. He always saw Max's face as the cars collided; betrayal and fear. He knew it was Ben.
Ben just stopped sleeping.
The expulsion happened halfway through the month. Ben had fallen asleep over and over again in classes, and half of them he didn't even attend. His teachers just didn't understand; he was doing hero work, he didn't have time for school. His grandpa would understand.
It was the same daily schedule more-or-less, go out and patrol the streets, then mess around for a while. His mom got on his case for being expelled, but what did she know? She barely knew how to take care of him. She fed him and grounded him but rarely did she spend any time with him. Ever since the incident, all she mostly did was stare into space, she never even mentioned Max, if he was brought up she'd just stare.
It was pathetic, to Ben. But he could take care of things himself.
Ben realised that he wasn't going home after a few weeks. He'd patrol the streets, fight crime, and sometimes fall asleep while looking around but he'd never break that schedule. It was better this way, anyway, wasn't it? Max would want him to fight crime, Max wanted him to use the watch. Right?
Regardless, he'd met people just like him. There was a kid living on the streets who had powers called Kevin, and they'd hit it off from the first encounter. His absorption and Ben's aliens were an unstoppable combination. They fought off crime together and Ben even got a warmer place to sleep under Kevin's bridge. Now he could be a hero 24/7, just like Max would've wanted.
The nightmares finally stopped in April. He no longer dreamed of Max; of the incident. His dreams instead filled with Kevin, that kid who was now his partner in action. Ben dreamt of their antics, of stopping criminals with him, of playing Sumo Slammers with him. He dreamt sometimes of doing something bigger - something that would be remembered, although he couldn't remember the specifics of it each time.
That big event came sooner than expected. One day, in the middle of stopping a robbery, Kevin took Ben aside and grinned. "Hey, these robberies give us a little cash, but how'd you like to get tons of it?" Ben nodded, and Kevin led him away from the robbers (someone else would catch them, anyway), soon arriving at underground train tracks.
"A money train loaded with cash comes down this track, so when it crashes into the oncoming passenger train, boom! Instant jackpot." He grinned larger than Ben had ever seen him before. "You turn into that XLR8 guy and we're out of here!" It was genius. Ben turned into Four Arms and switched the tracks, and they watched. Waited.
The train appeared on the horizon. Ben smiled.
Closer. Ben readied the watch, on XLR8's symbol.
The other train appeared, on the same tracks. And time seemed to slow down. Was this the right thing to do? To injure all those people, for money? It was as if Max was beside Ben, as the trains slowly moved towards each other, telling him that it wasn't okay. But Max didn't understand. He'd use this money to save more people, wouldn't he? The gain was greater than the loss. He was helping people - and most importantly he was having fun. He was the one with the power; the one with the watch; the one who nobody could touch, as long as he had it. He didn't need anyone else's advice. He was the hero.
He didn't need Max.
The trains smashed together, and in the flames, the screams, the iron screeching, XLR8 grabbed the money, grabbed Kevin and ran. Smiling under the visor.
Ghostfreak entered the bank silently. Rising through the floor, he carefully moved into the main room. Dropping Kevin next to him, the 12-year-old put his hand to the pin and the door silently swung open. The two snuck into the room - filled with money. Tons and tonnes of bags of money. More than the robbers they infiltrated even brought out. Even more than the train had yielded. And it'd all be theirs.
The all-too-familiar whine of the watch was followed by the vermillion glow that meant Ben was at his limit. As Ben dropped to the ground, the whine resumed louder, and the vermillion glow surrounded the room. The alarms had gone off. Kevin twisted around and spat something at Ben, but the blaring alarms were too loud for Ben to hear anything. Ben spun and ran into a security guard, while Kevin kept his hand on the vault, pushing on it. What was he thinking? He couldn't move it on his own.
The guard grabbed Ben by the collar and begun to drag him away when something ran forward and slammed a golden fist into his head, dropping him. Kevin stood, clad in what seemed like the metal from the vault. He said something else, but Ben still couldn't hear him. The alarm was too loud. He slammed on the watch - thankfully recharged - and XLR8 carried the cash away. When he stopped, placing Kevin back in their hideout, he noticed the golden coat was gone.
"How did you do that, dude?" Ben asked, and Kevin shrugged.
"It's just something I can do now. It'll let us hit up a ton more places." Kevin pointed to the map they had drawn out earlier. Where the banks were. Ben had to make money somehow, right? He was still a hero, and he knew it.
Ben realised that his life was very different than it was a year ago. He never went home, he did what he wanted in the streets with Kevin, and he rarely stopped crime anymore. But was that really so wrong, now that he understood why crime was happening? Criminals were desperate, sometimes. Crime was all they had. Or, crime was easier than the alternative - and who could blame them for taking the easy route? For some of them, it was just fun. And you couldn't fault fun.
The real worst people were without a doubt those who struck those down just trying to defend themselves. The police and the like, all of them thinking they get it when they don't. Ben had grown to hate them. He couldn't believe that he used to believe in that, used to blindly attack people who were, in reality, doing nothing wrong. Calling those who just wanted to help themselves evil. Ben had learnt by now that evil was relative. And he knew that he was on the right side now.
Kevin beckoned him over, and the two prepared to leave to hit another bank. Max would be proud. He knew it. Ben pulled his watch up, and the mint glow washed over him once again.
Very well-done backstory for a character whose premise was left somewhat vague in-canon. The whole thing reads well, and the one word that clues you into the twist at the end is just hella Gucci in its execution.
Hannah and Aaron wrote fairly different stories, and which one ultimately comes out on top might be debatable, but I personally feel that Hannah did a better job nailing the landing. Of course, feel free to express your disagreements if you want.
Congratulations to Hannah for winning, and thanks to everyone for participating! That's it for the first day of Ultimate Fanon Con, folks! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for when we announce the results of the Ultimate Alien Design Contest! Have a great day, and I hope you enjoy the rest of Fanon Con!