|Notice: The following is a modified version of part 2 of the tenth episode of Back in Action: Alien Universe, Missing Link for appearance only in the Winter Fanon Con 2012 (but the unmodified version was posted on Monday, December 24th). Take the time to read this part, then read the series from the beginning with the first episode, Infernosphere.|
[We open the next morning at the Tennyson domain. One Plumber ship cruises through the skies. Immediately after it's out of view, several much smaller Plumber cruisers speed through the air after the ship. At this point, our focus is moved to the Tennysons' front door. Ben emerges, dressed in his usual garbs. He swings his keys around his fingers as he heads to his car. He gets inside and listens to the purr of the starting engine. He watches the sky for a bit while the car gets ready, admiring the contrails left by something that just passed. Unbeknownst to him, these clouds were left by Plumbers on a mission. The car is ready, and at this point, his attention is drawn to the dashboard. It begins to beep and play music. Its ringtone is a Sumo Slammers theme song.]
DX Mark 10: Call from Karin Frikton.
Ben: I seriously need to find out how to change this car's number. He pushes down on the pedals as he begins his journey to school. He then taps a screen on the dashboard that shows video of the caller, Karin, who sits in her Plumber outfit inside a Plumber ship.
Karin (intercom): Ben, we have some bad news.
Karin (intercom): It appears Chili truly passed away this morning. It's no longer possible for a transplant to be done.
Ben (abruptly stopping in the middle of the road, fortunately out of traffic's way): Oh, no.
Karin (intercom): Yeah...And I heard you called for assistance last night. That transport ship you hailed was mine.
Ben: Yeah, sorry it's always ending up yours.
Karin (intercom): It's nothing. We couldn't transplant Cyanne's Cyogen, though. We made it to the infirmary, and it appeared that he was far too low on the amount of Cyogen in his body to donate. We've handed him over to proper care so he can deal with his current ailment.
Ben: Ailment? What's he got?
Karin (intercom): We believe it to be a sometimes fatal Necrofriggian disease called Cyogen Detriment Disease which used to be more common amongst Khoruans, but what it essentially means for him is that, he's losing Cyogen at an alarming rate and we don't know why.
Ben (begins to drive again): Hope he gets better then. I bet it'd be painful for a mom to lose two kids that quickly.
Karin (intercom): I heard you should be one to be able to feel that pain; you have a few Necrofriggian kids yourself.
Ben: Hey, I never got a chance to even meet them. Chances are I'll never even see 'em again.
Karin (intercom): Who knows, Ben.
Ben: Yeah...alright. I'm heading to school. Tell Cyanne to get better; I'll visit him later.
Karin (intercom): Sure thing.
The call ends, and Ben continues on his route to school, uneasy after hearing the news about Cyanne and Chili.
[Our focus is shifted to the front of an abandoned warehouse. The previous 3 Plumber cruisers fly through the skies for a few miles before disbanding from their formation, all heading in different directions. In front of the abandoned warehouse, the original Plumber's ship appears, just having exited from incognito mode. Its landing stairs slowly descends to touch the ground. Kineceleran Karin Frikton in all but her Plumber's helmet, a disguise taken on by one of the Commander's group, emerges, walking down the landing. Standing on the ground, she faces the interior of the ship, and just before motioning her crew mates, an unfamiliar voice speaks from behind her.]
Voice: Hands in the air.
[We see behind Karin a human Plumber with a Ulam pistol in-hand held right behind Karin's back. The Plumber presses a button near their head that shields them with a helmet, making their identity unknown. Karin slowly raises her hands above her head, and the Plumber continues to speak.]
Karin: What's yours?
Plumber: I asked first. Plus, I've got a weapon.
Karin: Alright. Magister Karin Frikton of the Plumbers; I promise you I'm just here on a mission. Now, what's your name?
Plumber: That's on a need-to-know basis. Karin Frikton, the Plumbers have suspected that you're behind a bigger plot.
Karin: Why would they think that?
Plumber: I don't know. He pulls a Plumber's badge out from his back pocket and taps the hourglass symbol on top. A feed begins to play.
Feed (through Plumber's badge, Karin's voice): "Ben, we have some bad news." Karin's eyes widen as she's forced to recall a past conversation. There's some crackling sounds, then more speaking. "It appears Chili truly passed away this morning. It's no longer possible for a transplant to be done." There is more crackling. "It's nothing. We couldn't transplant Cyanne's Cyogen, though. We made it to the infirmary, and it appeared that he was far too low on the amount of Cyogen in his body to donate. We've handed him over to proper care so he can deal with his current ailment." Louder crackling that lasts longer than before. "We believe it to be a sometimes fatal Necrofriggian disease called Cyogen Detriment Disease which used to be more common amongst Khoruans, but what it essentially means for him is that, he's losing Cyogen at an alarming rate and we don't know why." Crackling, then the Plumber taps the hourglass symbol once more and puts away his badge.
Karin: Where'd you get that?
Plumber: Need-to-know basis. You were talking to Ben Tennyson, and you fed him the lie that a currently-hospitalized Necrofriggian known as "Chili" is dead.
Karin: I thought he was dead. When I visited--
Plumber: By the way, when did you visit? There is no record of any past visit to the infirmary from you, Karin, especially not since last night.
Karin: Uhh...well you see...
Plumber: Come with me, Ms. Frikton.
Ulam pistol held to Karin's back, he shoves her forward into her ship. After moving only inches up the landing, the ear-piercing sound of gunfire goes off. Karin's eyes close at this point as she takes in the shot, but after moments without pain, she opens her eyes. Ahead of her, she sees Elena with gun in-hand, aimed at Karin. Karin turns around to find the Plumber's body on his back, a gun wound straight through his stomach. Karin lays the Plumber's left arm over the wound and pulls the body by its legs into the ship. She lays it in a dark corner and removes her ID Mask, revealing herself to be Thep Khufan Commander yet again. He turns to Scarogus who sits comfortably in the pilot's seat.
Thep Khufan Commander: Scarogus, have you another ID Mask I can use to disguise this body?
Scarogus: Yours was the only one, Commander. Took me a while to get that one alone; they've been taken off anywhere but the black market since the Atasian Wars.
Thep Khufan Commander: Fine. I assume this ship is safe anyhow, and if it isn't, we'll deal with any other intruders. Elena, Albedo, where is the Necrofriggian?
Albedo suddenly becomes visible in the room as Negative Ghostfreak, holding human Cyanne by holding his hands and covering his mouth. Elena rushes over to Cyanne and holds him by his hands. Negative Ghostfreak floats backwards then transforms into Negative Anos, whose skin is maroon in place of purple and hair red in place of magenta. He snaps his finger.
Negative Anos: Step aside, Elena. It is revealed that he had tied Cyanne's hands with his red mana and covered his mouth with a red mana band that wraps around from his mouth to the back of his head. Cyanne struggles to speak, only managing mumbles past the tape. Thep Khufan Commander motions Negative Anos to allow him to speak, and with the snap of a finger, the mana band is torn and disappears.Speak.
Cyanne (breathing quickly): You people are insane! And that Plumber, he said my brother is alive! You lied to me.
Negative Anos: Yeah, when you've got a greater cause, you tend to do that.
Cyanne: What's your greater cause? To kill my innocent brother?
Thep Khufan Commander: That's a side effect, happening only because of what has to be done to you.
Cyanne: And what's that?
Thep Khufan Commander: We're getting rid of you. You know too much, and we can't have the mission compromised. And we can't allow for anymore slip-ups that may compromise us any further. Scarogus, make sure all communications to and from this ship are encrypted. Also make sure we can't be tracked.
Scarogus: Yes, Commander. He turns around in his chair and begins to pull up several GUIs over his control panel.
Cyanne: Can't you guys wipe my memory or do something else to me? Why kill me?
Thep Khufan Commander: Because we can't trust you not to rat us out, because there is no means of wiping memory without the memory being retrievable, and because we *want* to get rid of you. You're taking up extra space in our cells that doesn't need to be occupied. We're throwing away a lot of risk by ridding ourselves of every last prisoner on our ship, no matter whose lives are going to be torn. The mission's come too far, and we edge ever closer. Now, Elena, Albedo, mute him, and bring him inside.
Negative Anos and Elena (in unison): Yes, Commander. Negative Anos snaps his fingers once more, and immediately before Cyanne gets the chance to speak, his mouth is covered once more, and his legs are also bonded. He and Elena wrap their arms around either of Cyanne's and bring him in front of the warehouse.
Negative Anos: Hold him on your own for a sec.
Elena nods in response, stepping behind Cyanne to have full control of him. Negative Anos reverts to Ghostfreak and by touching the warehouse's large garage door, makes it entirely intangible. Negative Ghostfreak nods to Elena, and she walks through the door with Cyanne. After completely phasing through the door, Ghostfreak himself phases through, leaving it tangible once more. From inside the Plumber's ship, we observe through Thep Khufan Commander's eyes searching through a window, just how long Elena and Albedo spend inside the warehouse. After five minutes, they emerge, both in their Plumber garbs, wiping their hands to commemorate an easy job well done. They step inside the ship.
Thep Khufan Commander: Is everything set up?
Elena and Albedo (in unison): Yes, sir.
Thep Khufan Commander: Good. Scarogus, send the signal.
Scarogus (pressing a single blue button on his control panel): Done.
Thep Khufan Commander: Then phase 2 is complete. Elena, you know what comes next.
Elena: Yes, Commander.
Thep Khufan Commander: We return in a matter of hours, then. Scarogus, retract the landing. For now, we're done here.
[From the exterior of the ship, we see the landing retract into the ship once more. The ship begins to rise up from the ground, and as the ship blasts away, it enters incognito mode once more. Our view is shifted from here to the interior of Ben's school, in the empty hallways. The bell for the end of class rings, and the halls flood with students in all sorts of clothing, all bearing backpacks as well books in hand. As everyone heads in every direction, the final door to open in this section of the hallways is one belonging to Dr. Menzio. Students file out of the classroom and join the crowd, and at the end of the line is Ben, arguing with his teacher.]
Ben: But Dr. Menzio--
Dr. Menzio: No buts, Mr. Tennyson. Your work as a "superhero" is dully noted, but there is absolutely no way that in your weeks of break, you were constantly caught up with heroics. All jobs present leisure at some point, and to say you didn't have an ounce of it would warrant my calling your parents. They'll be the judge of whether you had time or not.
Ben: Well, we don't have to go that far, do we?
Dr. Menzio: No, we don't, if you head to your next class and stop arguing this with me. You will have time to study and complete your missing assignments when you come in on Saturday.
Ben: SATURDAY?! That's my relaxing time!
Dr. Menzio: Aha!
Dr. Menzio: Now, go to your next class, Mr. Tennyson. As opposed to you in your current state, I am not afraid to speak to your parents right now.
Ben: Alright, Dr. Menzio. See you on Saturday.
Dr. Menzio: Mhm.
He shuts his door as Ben walks into the hallway. Ben is seen with a rather thin backpack with two books in hand, one thick green hardcover and another thin orange paperback. Just in front of his next class where a few kids are in line to get inside on time, his Omnitrix begins to beep at a fairly low tone. His raises his hand to his face, and upon his wrist, the Omnitrix is blinking, a green glow turning off and turning on in a loop. He taps the hourglass without popping the tower, and his eyes widen as he skims the holographically projected alien symbols. He rushes around the corner to his locker. Lacking time to get through the lock, he transforms into Streak after checking for teachers in the area, backpack and books still in hand. He puts his luggage on the floor and opens a portal and tosses everything inside. He closes the portal and reverts to human.
[Our attention moves to inside a nearly-full class with blue desks and walls. A rather rotund teacher in a dark green shirt and sweat pants with graying hair stands at a podium at the front of the room. As the bell goes off, he begins reading off his list of students for attendance. After getting through nearly everybody, he comes across one name and repeats it several times when there is no response.]
Teacher: Ben Tennyson? After moments of refusing to raise his head, he finally does so, and sees the missing Ben Tennyson, as well as the crowding of a few students at his window. Everybody, be seated now. What is the commotion?
The students refuse to be seated, and the teacher trudges over to the window. Outside, Ben is seen running out onto the grassy fields.
Teacher: Ben Tennyson!
Ben barely gives any attention to the teacher as he smacks down on the Omnitrix, transforming into Jetray and flying away.
Teacher: In all my years, I have no idea how to respond to a student with the ability to transform into *aliens*. He turns to see the students still standing at the window, expecting to find Ben fly past the window. Any student that doesn't wish to stay here on Sunday for three hours cleaning my blackboards better get seated within the next five seconds.
[As every student rushes to their seats, the teacher puts on a devilish grin in accepting that his threat was successful. He steps back to his podium, and our attention soars into the skies at Jetray talking to himself.]
Jetray: Oh man, oh man, oh man. I have to speed up. He boosts forward, flying through the air at over mach 25 speeds. In mere seconds, he arrives at his destination: the warehouse. He descends to the ground, unfortunately being unable to descend fast from his faster-than-re-entry speed. To avoid heating up and painfully crashing down to the ground, he transforms into Heatblast to cool the crash. Shoveling a 10-mile deep hole into the ground with his head, Heatblast arrives at the ground. He is quick to emerge from the ground, not even caring for the amount of pain just induced. At the warehouse, he burns a circle around the area he'd like to jump in through. He transforms into Four Arms, not even caring for the fact that he tried for Humungousaur, and bashes the hole in the door that Heatblast had outlined for him. He jumps inside the door and transforms into Humungousaur.
Humungousaur: Alright, where is she? With the sound of a girl screaming, Humungousaur's jaw drops and eyes widen. In attempt to follow the sound of the scream, he transforms into Wildmutt, beginning to run around the interior of the room he is in, a fairly small rectangular room with absolutely no contents other than a tall blue wall and a small door. He opens the door and walks inside the next room. He is on the other side of a trap. A large section of the middle of the room is a pit in which spikes dress the floor. Across the room, there is another platform on which Julie sits in a wooden chair, tied to it by her ankles and hands tied behind her back, attempting to scream through paper taped over her mouth. Wildmutt roars at the sight. He transforms into Ultimate Wildmutt.
Ultimate Wildmutt: I don't know who did this to you, Julie, but I'm here to help, and soon I'll be going after whoever's behind this. He jumps onto the side wall and begins to run along it to the other side of the room. As part of the trap, the wall begins to lean inward, pushing Ultimate Wildmutt closer to the spiked floor. Going to need some wings for this job. Transforms into Jetray and flies out of the trap towards Julie. He arrives on the other side of the platform. Standing right in front of Julie, yet another trap is set off. A sticky substance is spat out on Jetray, and the floor below him opens up, dropping him underground. Unable to fly due to the substance sticking his wings in one state, he transforms once more into Spidermonkey. He climbs out of the tube-shaped trap leading to a pit of lava. Outside of the tube, he shoots a web that sticks to the ceiling and hangs upside down on it to avoid further tricks. He unties Julie's legs, hands, and gently rips the paper off of her lips.
Spidermonkey: Julie, are you okay? She doesn't speak. You're speechless; you're traumatized. We have to get you to a--She suddenly fades into nothing. JULIE! He drops onto the chair and looks around for her. In front of him, Julie appears. Spidermonkey exhales a great sigh of relief. Oh, good. Julie, we need to get out of here. Julie merely stands before him. Julie, I'm going to pick you up now. He gets up out of the chair and stands before Julie. As he attempts to take her, she hits him, knocking him to the other side of the platform they're on, nearly into the spike pit. She transforms into Elena. Elena...
Elena: Hello, Ben. A Galvanic Mechamorph suit grows over her body, and she races over to Ben using Kineceleran speed. She picks up Spidermonkey by the neck, who kicks as he attempts to escape captivity. And goodbye. She punches the Omnitrix, reverting him to human and timing out the Omnitrix. Ben's human neck is now held by her one hand. She waves at him with her other hand, which begins to glow green as a ball of energy appears in it. She blasts him with it.
[From Ben's point of view, we watch the blast arrive in slow motion, dealing a blow to his stomach. Everything turns white, then black, as he goes unconscious.]
[THANKS FOR READING.]
Once again, feel free to check out Infernosphere (or simply finish reading Missing Link; remember this is part 2 of that) and the rest of Back in Action: Alien Universe, because things are just starting to get good.