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Hi, guys! Hope you're enjoying Fanon Con so far! I'll be deciding the winner of both writing contests. There are three contestants; Brandon, Primal and Aaron (the former two tied in the Normal Writing Contest). Here are the results:

Third Place

Primal's Entry
*Note: This is set in the Ultimate Marvel universe, so character's personalities are slightly different.

Red clothed fingers clung to the exterior of the drily painted blue house, shuffling at the same pace as the rest of the lanky boy's body. The lanky person was barely holding onto the siding, facing his backyard as he craned his masked red face so he could gain a sideways view through a closed window, of a room covered in yellow - from the tidily done yellow bedsheets to the walls.

"Aunt May's asleep. The coast's clear," he said quietly to himself, his mask muffling his voice. "I've always wanted to say that!"

The masked boy rolled over on the blue wall that he was sticking onto, now facing the familiar baby blue siding. He crawled away from the window and went to the top one, where he saw a room opposite of his aunt's; lunch from earlier today was sitting on the desk of his computer, isolated from the numerous gadgets he had made that were lying on the floor, all which were in blue. He was obsessed with the color blue.

His fingers slipped underneath the lift of the window, sliding it open. The room was kept exactly the same since he had left home hours ago to patrol New York City. He was done for the night though. He sat on the edge of his bed, his mask with large bug eyes slipped off of his face, revealing underneath it a Caucasian boy with brown hair that rested on his forehead, and it was starting to cover his eyes during patrols. He needed to get his hair cut speaking of...

"And what do you think you're doing at midnight?" his aunt's voice said with a harsh tone that decreased. "Peter..."

His hazel eyes widened as he realized he hadn't changed out of his Spider-Man costume. He threw on a blanket which covered most of his costume, making it appear like he was in his pajamas. "Uh... Yes? I called you before curfew!" He hoped his aunt didn't see his costume and questioned it. "You said to call before eleven, and I did."

"What are you wearing?" Aunt May spat out. "Is that a Spider-Man shirt?"

"Uh... Yes, I bought it last week. He's a pretty cool dude," Peter said.

"Get out."

So his aunt did see his costume... And didn't like it much.

"Huh?" Peter said confused. "What's wrong?"

"Don't play dumb, Peter," Aunt May spoke with venom that matched Venom's. "I know you're Spider-Man. I've never bought you a Spider-Man shirt and you've never bought one either. I also saw you climbing out of your window."

Oh. This was bad for Peter, and he knew that there was no way of avoiding the topic or convincing her that he was not, in fact, Spider-Man - even though he was.

"Um..." Peter said, trying to think of something. "I was with Mary Jane, studying."

Aunt May's face softened, tears welling near the corner of her eyes. "I thought I raised you better than that," her voice rose. "I called Mary, and she said the last time she saw you was during school!" Aunt May started to cry. "How long have you been lying to me?"

"I ha -," Peter was cut off.

"I asked how long have you been lying to me?" Aunt May shouted.

Peter looked down at the ground, giving an exasperated sigh. "Before Uncle Ben died."

"Peter... Is that what this is? About Uncle Ben? Is this why you're sneaking out and punching people's faces?" Aunt May asked, cocking her head and squinting as if he was fibbing. "I know better than that, Peter."

"No, you don't," Peter said. "Okay, I am Spider-Man but you have to listen to me first."

Aunt May crossed her arms.

"It started about two years ago," Peter looked up, noticing the astonished look on Aunt May's face. "Remember the field trip to Oscorp and how I got bit by that spider? Yeah, it was a genetically altered spider and I ended up getting these powers."

"Oscorp... Norman Osborn said that you'd be fine!" Aunt May said. "That bastard..."

"I got the powers and was a bit reckless, I ended up doing some stuff at a wrestling tournament so I could help chip in and pay the bills," Peter continued.

Aunt May's eyes widened, her expression softening. "You just wanted to help?"

"We all know Uncle Ben was great at a lot of things, but when it came to finances..." Peter let out a laugh along with Aunt May. "But then I ended up getting into that fight with Flash and broke his arm, and I kept the money from the tournament all to myself. And then..."

He choked up. "I killed Uncle Ben."

"Peter... It's not your fault," Aunt May said.

"Yes! Yes it is! That day, when I was at Kong's party..." Peter let out a cry. "He told me that my father's motto used to be 'With great power, comes great responsibility'... I don't know why, I just felt so overwhelmed, so I shouted at him that he wasn't my father and then ran."

"Is... Is that all?" Aunt May asked.

"No. When I ran away, there was a burglary at some shop. I could've stopped it. I had the power, but I ignored my responsibilities that day." Peter looked like a wreck, sobbing in between the occasional inhale from his runny nose. "Uncle Ben... I was so selfish, and he paid the price."

"Peter. Have you been carrying this on your shoulders this entire time?" Aunt May asked, earning a nod. "Is this why you're doing this? Because it's your responsibility?"

"Y - yes. Uncle Ben told me 'With great power, comes great responsibility', and I've used these powers to help people," Peter answered.

"How did you use these powers responsibly today?"

Peter looked bemused but answered regardless. "There was this little girl, she was lost from her parents at Central Park..."

"Central Park? We live in Queens. That's in Manhattan."

"Superpowers. Anyways, I just stopped these muggers earlier and found this little girl that was lost. Her parents were somewhere in the area, so she could've found them on her own, but she looked really terrified so I decided to help her find her parents."

Aunt May smiled. "How did the parents react?"

Peter gave a sheepish laugh, scratching his head. "Well, they said they loved seeing me on the news and that they were really glad about me helping their daughter out, and when I left I could hear the daughter gushing about me."

"She probably had a crush on you," Aunt May said with a laugh.

"She was five!"

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Peter..." Aunt May trailed off. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize about... What had happened with you and Uncle Ben. I think it's great that you're motivated by his words, and you're bringing hope to the world today."

"Huh, really?"

"Who doesn't love a wise-cracking smartass? You help out people even in the smallest ways, you take the time out of your day to do the right thing without wanting anything in return. All you want is to make the world a more positive place for everyone. You're a good kid Peter, and a better person."

I get what Primal was going for, but the entry didn't really stay true to the theme. Also, certain parts were unnecessarily detailed. Yes, I know CaT said the exact same things, but they're good points and I agree with him.

Second Place

Brandon's Entry
'Tis the Season is a holiday special for the series, Ben 10: Hero Recall.

Plot

The episode begins with a swirl of snow blowing through the air, as the view moves forward through the grey and misty sky. The mist then starts to clear as a city can be seen below; its lights beaming through the night.

Narration: On a day that felt like any other, in a city with a special history, there was a young boy with a destiny to be a hero. He didn't see it now but he was on a path for greatness however, with recent events unfolding, the young boy had plenty to deal with and felt his role as the hero of Earth was nothing but a burden. This is the story of a boy named Benjamin.

Within the city below, a Mr. Smoothies restaurant can be seen with a humanoid figure seated a bench close to a lamp post, wearing something green. Another figure walks along the side of the empty restaurant, wearing a blue jacket with white indents. The figure stops before the bench before the person, who can now be seen wearing a green coat with black and white indents. He looks up from his smoothie, revealing himself to be, none other than, Ben Tennyson. His expression shows that he isn't particularly surprised or concerned.

Ben: What are you doing here, Gwen?

Gwen removes the hood off her head, revealing her face. Her hair is short but stylish. Cold air visibly leaves from her mouth when she sighs.

Gwen: Good to see you too, cous'.

Ben: I told the team I didn't want to be contacted.

Gwen: You may have told the team that but I'm not just a member on your team, Ben. (pauses) I'm your family.

Ben doesn't respond. He looks off into the distance instead. Gwen's face tenses slightly.

Gwen: Are you just trying to agitate me or are you really being a dweeb right now?

Ben's eyes shift as he turns his head to glare at her.

Ben: Just get out of here, alright? It's over. Don't you get that?

Gwen: No. I don't. That's why I wanted to talk to you about it.

Ben: There's nothing to talk about, Gwen. Vilgax destroyed our only chance of tracking him. With the remaining pieces of Maltruant and access to any place in time and space- he can make himself unstoppable. After all that he's done to us, to this planet, it's not even going to be as bad as his next attempt to destroy the Earth. And it's all on me. (scoffs) How am I supposed to be the great hero that Professor Paradox and all those prophecies said I could be if I can't even be one in the present?

Gwen: Look, Ben, I know that was hard on you but that's why you have a team. You don't always have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Ben: You're wrong, Gwen. Everything that happened was because I didn't make the right calls, because I trusted the wrong people, and because I couldn't do what needed to be done. If I'm going to be the hero the world needs to be, then I need to focus on getting better- being better. So that when Vilgax ever shows his ugly face again- I'll be ready to finish this feud between us once and for all.

Gwen: At what cost?

Ben: The cost of billions of lives, Gwen.

Gwen: But what about yours? We don't know when he'll return and if he even does, taking him on your own won't do the world any favors. We need you, Ben. Everyone needs you. I need you.

Ben looks at her grimly.

Ben: Is that all you came here for? Some pep talk to get me to do what exactly? Focus on not saving the world? No thanks.

Gwen: Actually, I just came by to invite you to our holiday party. A lot of people are going to be there and- well- I just thought it wouldn't the same without you. But y'know, since you want to be a jerk and all, I guess I was wrong.

Ben mutters to himself and turns away from her. Gwen looks at him, her expression transitions from her looking upset to concerned. She turns from Ben, starting to walk away but then stops. She sniffles away a tear and turns her head slightly, to look back at him.

Gwen: Take care of yourself, Ben.

Gwen then turns forwards and continues walking away. Ben turns his head to look at her leave. He scoffs once again and returns to his smoothie, grabbing it and attempting to slurp down whatever remains. However, he finds himself unable to. He pulls open the lid of the cup and looks inside to see that the contents inside have frozen over. Clearly angered, he grabs the cup and throws it at the garbage can, knocking it over as its contents spill out over the outdoor eating area. A cold mist escapes from Ben's mouth as he breaths in deeply. He then stuffs his hands into his coat pockets and walks forwards, still upset. As he steps away, the Mr. Smoothie cup he had thrown can be seen laying against the ground until it is crushed underneath Ben's foot as he continues walking away. The lamp post can now be seen, beaming its light over the street, as Ben can be seen leaving underneath it. Once he does, its light flickers slightly as an electrical surge pulses through it. The scene then transitions over to Ben's house, where he can be seen entering. Inside the house, specifically his room, Ben is now seen making his way to his bed, now only is his black shirt, brown pants and socks, before plopping down onto the bed, exhausted. He turns slightly then winces as he reacts to something in his pocket. He removes a strange, small and cylinder piece of what appears to be alien technology and looks at it- barely capable of keeping his eyes open.

Ben, to the tech: I remember you. That extra piece from Paradox's watch when the team tried to reconstruct it. You're supposed to be a gift, to represent hope or something but the truth is you're useless, you don't have a purpose. So what's the point of even having you around? 

Ben tosses the piece and leans back onto his bed. The piece of technology finds itself onto the floor, before Ben's bed.

Ben, yawning: I'll deal with you... in the morning. Or maybe some other time.

His last word trails off as he begins to fall asleep. Once he does, the piece of technology begins to spark up. The electrical surges emitting off of the device begins to grow more and more powerful than a blinding white light overcomes the view. Once the light passes over, a darkness now possesses the view until a dazed light breaches through, as if someone opening their eyes. Ben's yawn can be heard as he opens his groggy eyes.

Ben, his voice more higher pitched than usual: Man, how long was I asleep for?

He then turns over and, unexpectedly, falls from his bed, causing him to yell out. He then hits the floor soon after with a loud thump sound followed by a groan from Ben. From his own perspective, he can be seen pushing himself up from the floor and noticing his arms. He looks at them, seeing how they are slimmer and smaller than usual. He then looks at his left arm and notices that the Omnitrix has been restored and placed on his wrist.

Ben: Wha- The Omnitrix? It's- different. Like how it used to be. Wait a minute-

He looks around, now realizing that he is inside of Grandpa Max's RV.

Ben: I'm in the RV again. What is going on?

He then gets up and runs to the door, opening it and stepping outside. As Ben's feet touch onto the ground, the view moves upwards, showing a ten-year old Ben emerging from the RV, surprised and confused.

Grandpa Max, unseen: Something up, sport?

Ben turns his head and sees Grandpa Max and a ten-year old Gwen seated by a picnic table.

Gwen: Probably just his brain leaking again, Grandpa.

Ben: The old Omnitrix, the RV, a younger Grandpa and Gwen? I must have gotten sent back in time or something.

Grandpa Max: How are you feeling today? A bit better, I hope.

Ben, playing along: Yeah, Grandpa, I'm fine...

Grandpa Max: Now are you sure? You seem a little confused?

Gwen: Please, when isn't he confused? I bet he forgot how to brush his teeth again.

Ben, getting agitated: I didn't forget, Gwen.

Gwen: Oh yeah, that's right. You don't brush your teeth in the first place.

Ben: Why can't you just leave me alone? Maybe if you didn't show up yesterday, none of this would been happening.

Gwen: What are you even talking about, dweeb?

Grandpa Max walks over and puts himself between the two cousins.

Grandpa Max: Now easy, Ben. I understand that you might still be upset after not being able to get that Sumo Slammers toy you wanted so much but Gwen and I had nothing to do with that.

Ben: (scoffs) A toy, really? That's the biggest issue around here? What about Vilgax?

Grandpa Max: What about him?

Ben: Well, shouldn't we be worried about whether he's going to come back or not? Someone has to protect the universe- let alone the Earth.

Grandpa Max: Calm down, Ben. You and Gwen took care of Vilgax a few months ago. I don't think he'll be showing his ugly mug anytime soon. And besides, it seems the Earth doesn't need much protecting right now. And even if it did, that would still be enough responsibility on your plate. I'm sure there are forces out there like the Plumbers or even those uh- Galactic Whatsits to protect the rest of the universe. Now, if it's not too much trouble, I made my famous dung beetle soup and I've got a bowl calling your name.

Max walks back to the table as Ben turns, approaching the back end of the RV.

Ben, to himself: This can't be happening? I have to find a way to get back to the present... somehow.

The booming sound of thunder is heard from above, causing Ben to look up as a shadow overcomes him and the RV. As the shadow overcomes Max and Gwen, they look up as well.

Gwen: Aw man, please tell me it's not about to rain again.

Max, in a more serious tone: Something tells me this isn't just your everyday storm.

The view then shows a a massive cloud blanketing over the entire city of Bellwood. The cloud has a purple-grey shade to it with flashes of lightning echoing within its many layers. A red, circular light can be seen emitting from within the cloud as well. It then emerges from the cloud, now revealing itself as a hovering platform which appears to be built out of various familiar alien and Human technologies including but not limited to: Vilgax's drones, a cannon resembling Dr. Animo's Mutant Ray, S.A.M, Zombozo's Psyclown, and the Forever Knight's dream-inducing device. Standing on top of the platform, controlling it as well, is Enoch.

Enoch: People of Bellwood! I... am Enoch, your new king.

Ben: Enoch? I thought he perished with the rest of the Forever Knights. Oh right, I'm in the past. Okay, no problem. I take care of this loser and I'm back to the future in no time.

Ben activates the Omnitrix and scrolls through the available transformations.

Ben: I haven't used some of these transformations in so long. Ah ha- Way Big, perfect.

Ben smacks down the face plate of the Omnitrix and transforms into Heatblast.

Heatblast, looking at himself: Heatblast? No, no- I wanted a towering colossus, not a taper candle. (sigh) Why can't this stupid watch get me want I actually want for once.

Heatblast then blasts a fiery streak of flames from his hands which project him upwards through the sky. Max and Gwen run up to the back end of the RV where Ben once was.

Grandpa Max: Ben, wait!

Heatblast is already soaring through the skies, surfing on a platform of fire as he approaches Enoch's cloud. Enoch looks over the city then turns his head, noticing the approaching hero.

Enoch: That menace. Time to initiate my masterful plan.

Enoch slams his fist against a button which activates the platform's cannon. It then fires out a beam which shoots past Heatblast who dodges it, easily.

Heatblast, looking ahead: Nice try, Enoch. But you can't stop me that easily.

Enoch: If you expected me to defeat you simply by attacking you, then you are clearly mistaken.

Heatblast looks back as he continues approaching the cloud's platform and sees that the beam has impacted with the center of the city, spreading a wave of energy throughout it. The citizens of Bellwood either run or stand there in shock as the wave of energy overcomes them and everything around them. The color then slowly vanishes from Bellwood, making it an eerie and drained city with now depressed and weakened people. The wave of energy then hits the area where the RV is stationed, draining the many greens and browns of the forest as well as the colors of the RV and the energy from both Gwen and Grandpa Max.

Heatblast, surprised: Grandpa! Gwen! (looks back at Enoch) You're going to be real sorry you did that!

Enoch: So the young lad does care after all. Too bad your efforts to save them will be pointless.

Heatblast: It's scum like you that don't deserve to walk this planet. I'm going to do to you what I should have done to Vilgax.

Heatblast attempts to strike the platform with a ball of flames but a force field deflects the attack back at him, sending him spiraling through the air.

Enoch: (laughs) Foolish child, you can not defeat me. Not anymore. First, I will use my draining device to use Bellwood's life force energy to make me all-powerful then I will move on to the rest of the world then the rest of the universe. Everyone will soon know that there is no force that can stop Enoch, the new Forever King!

Heatblast's body then crashes down to the ground, creating a crater. A red flash of light emits from within the crater. Soon, Ben emerges from within it, holding his arm. His eyes then widen as he sees the RV ahead of him.

Ben: Grandpa! Gwen!

He runs over, heading towards the RV. He turns around the corner and sees them standing there, motionless and looking drained of color and life. Ben goes over to Grandpa Max and tries pulling his arm, but he does not have the strength to pull him.

Ben: Come on... please!

Ben then lets go and looks at him; he appears catatonic. He then goes over to Gwen, shaking her by her shoulders, she too is in a similar state.

Ben: Please, Gwen. Just- snap out of it.

She doesn't respond with words, just a soft and desolated groan. Ben then stops shaking her and holds her closely, a tear running down his face.

Ben: I should have listened to you when I had the chance. All of this- it's actually my fault. If I wasn't such a jerk and been there for you guys, I could have avoided this. (sniffs) You were always the smart one, Gwen. You would know what to do.

Ben lets her go and looks her in the eyes, she appears to be looking at something now. Ben then follows her gaze and sees the inside of the RV. He then goes inside and looks around. He opens up a cabinet and sees a green gift box with a card. He reads the card.

Gwen, voice over: "Dear Ben, I know you've been taking this whole hero thing to the next level but just don't let it get to your head. You might still be my geeky, smelly, dofus cousin but you're still Ben and we both know what you could be if you put the whole 'going hero' thing before Grandpa and I. Anyways, just thought this would cheer you up. Don't make me regret it. Happy Holidays, Ben."

Ben opens the gift which reveals a Sumo Slammers toy.

Ben: The Sumo Slammers toy that I wanted as a kid. (smiles) Thanks, Gwen. This really did cheer me up. (realizing) Wait a minute, that's it! Enoch's machine must have mutated them into some sort of drained lifeless zombie. If I can get some cheer into them, maybe they can get their life force back. But it's the end of December, what could I possibly do get their spirits up?

Ben then looks down at the gift box. Stroking his chin, he then snaps his fingers at the thought of something.

Ben: I think I figured it out.

The Omnitrix then chimes as it flashes green once again.

Ben: Perfect timing. Looks like it's time to be the cheer back into Bellwood.

Ben then activates the Omnitrix and smacks it down, overcoming the view with a green light. The scene then shows a sleigh being displayed out in the open. The leashes attached to it are then taken by a blurred figure moving ahead quickly. A festive theme is played over the ongoing montage as Wildmutt can be seen dragging the sleigh behind him.

It started when an strange device did what did 

Another green flash is seen as it transitions to the next scene which now shows Four Arms, carrying a festive tree in each of his arms.

It sucked up all the life and now the darkness he needs to rid

Yet another green flash appears, now showing Grey Matter adjusting some wiring for several Christmas lights as he holds two large, compared to his miniature size, wires in each of his hands.

Now he's back in time, as a rad gift-giving kid

With another green flash, XLR8 can now be seen speeding through several shops, carrying as many wrapped gifts as he can.

He's Ben 10

In a flash, Upgrade possesses a crane and upgrades it into an advanced piece of machinery capable of lifting up a large tree and securing it with several technical chords.

So if you see him, you might be in, for a nice surprise

Another flash appears, with Diamondhead now stepping forward and firing several crystalline projectiles at the tree. He then uses his crystallokinesis to form the projectiles into round ornaments which hang on the tree nicely.

He'll give you an awesome gift in his alien disguise

Within a flash, Ripjaws can now be seen carrying quite a plentiful amount of wrapped food products in his mouth. He then releases them from his jaw's grasp as he starts gasping. He then grabs a carton and pours egg nog on himself, helping him breath better.

He's festive, cheery, kind and fond; his heart grew ten times its size

After the flash overcomes the screen, Stinkfly is seen carrying several drained citizens into the city's center.

He's Ben 10

In another green flash, Cannonbolt rolls off the top of a building, carrying the lights and garland on his shell and rolling around the tree, wrapping the two onto the tree as he rolls around it.

Armed with powers, he's on the case

Spreading happiness for these holidays

He'll never stop 'till you feel the cheer

Cause he's the coolest kid during this part of the year

Ben 10!

A short moment later, Ben can be seen walking through the dark and dim city center, with the various lifeless people that he had collected earlier.

Ben: Why aren't their spirits back yet? I've tried everything I can think of to get them back in a cheery mood?

Ben then looks up at the large Christmas tree at he had set up in the city's center. He notices the diamond star at the top. He then gives off an expression, as if he has an idea. Back on his cloudy platform, Enoch is charging himself with the life force that has been collected by the machine he is standing on.

Enoch: Yes... YES! Soon, I shall become the most powerful being in the universe.

Heatblast, unseen: And I thought I was hot-headed.

Enoch turns his head and sees Heatblast flying back up towards the cloud on his fiery platform.

Enoch: Gah! You should've been a miserable goon but you insist on being a miserable brat instead.

Heatblast: The only miserable person around here is you, Knight-Light.

Enoch: Do try to stop me. I look forward to seeing you get harmed by your own attacks once more.

Heatblast: If you think I'm going to attack you, you're the one who's mistaken, Enoch.

Enoch: What are you babbling on about, child?

Heatblast: You're never going to truly be the most powerful person in your universe as long as I'm still around. And you and the rest of the Forever Knights know just how powerful I am with the Omnitrix. I mean, I did kick your butts like a thousand times already. Maybe, I'll unlock a form more powerful than your lame-o hover board.

Enoch: You make a fair point. No matter, another draining beam should be more than enough to make you my mindless slave forever.

Heatblast, in a mocking tone: Oh no, don't hit me with your ray. (regular toned) Seriously? You think you can catch me? Well, guess again, Forever Freak.

Heatblast then soars off on a wave on flames. Enoch then slams his fist against the control panel and readjusts the cannon's aim. Heatblast surfs downwards towards the city's center once again.

Heatblast: Come on, come on... please let this work.

Enoch: Time to say good night, Benjamin.

Enoch punches the button which activates the cannon once again. It fires a draining beam which approaches Heatblast at a quick pace. Heatblast then throws his arms downwards and blasts flames from his hands, shooting him upwards and out of the way of the beam. Instead, the beam collides directly with the diamond star on top of the tree, causing it to reflect back into the sky and hit Enoch's platform.

Enoch: NO!

The platform then explodes sending a wave of colorful energy through the sky as the cloud finally disperses. Heatblast then lands close to the tree. The Omnitrix then bleeps several times as it flashes red before a red flash overcomes Heatblast as he transforms back into Ben. Ben then looks up at the sky, seeing the energy spread over the city. The sky then turns darker, causing Ben to gain a worried expression. But before he knows it, snow starts to fall gently from the sky. The built up energy in the star then causes the tree to light up and spread color throughout the town once again. The festive feelings then start to affect the people of Bellwood as they slowly regain their life force essence once more, now feeling happy and cheerful.

Ben, looking around, smiling: Hey, it worked! Everyone's back to normal. Everyone including-?

Ben turns around and sees both Grandpa Max and Gwen standing there.

Ben: Grandpa Max! Gwen! You guys are alright!

Grandpa Max: All thanks to you, Ben.

Ben: How would you know? You guys were out of it all day.

Grandpa Max: Let's just say after all of our time together, I think I would know when you would be up to saving the Earth again.

Ben smiles at Max then looks over at Gwen.

Gwen: Well, I guess you did it after all. Whatever it is you did.

Ben: I couldn't have done it without you. Just being there was enough to get me back into a cheery mode.

Gwen: I... have no clue what you're talking about.

Ben: Oh right- you were out of it. Uh probably for the best, I guess. But still, I'm just glad you two are alright.

Ben then runs up and hugs Gwen tightly.

Gwen: Hey!

Ben does not let go. Gwen, noticing this, then hugs him back.

Gwen: I'm just glad you're back to normal.

Max then interrupts by hugging the two of them himself.

Both Ben and Gwen: Grandpa! (chuckles)

Grandpa Max: What? Call me sentimental but for our first actual holiday together, this is probably the best one yet.

Gwen: So... who wants to throw some snowballs and drink hot cocoa?

Grandpa Max: Now that sounds very holly.

Ben smiles at the two of them then his eyes shift to something behind them, causing him to look surprised. In the short distance is Professor Paradox, standing there with his hands in his lab coat's pockets.

Gwen: Hey dweeb, you comin'?

Ben: Uh yeah. I'll join you guys in a sec. And don't worry, I'll make it up to you.

Gwen: Make what up?

Ben: You'll see.

Gwen: O...kay. Whatever. Come on, Grandpa!

Gwen races ahead of him.

Grandpa Max, following after her: Whoa now- hang on! I'm not as spry as I used to be.

Ben walks forwards through the falling snow and approaches Paradox.

Professor Paradox: Lovely, isn't it? Out of all the moments in time and space, there's quite nothing like the holidays. A time for warmth, cheer and most of all, being with your loved ones.

Ben: Professor Paradox... is- is that really you?

Professor Paradox: Somewhat. I suppose it's a matter of causality.

Ben: I thought you were dead.

Professor Paradox: Now that's not a very festive thought.

Ben: Paradox, please. I'm serious.

Professor Paradox: I know, young Benjamin. Or rather- should I say- Benjamin in his prime.

Ben: You know, how-?

Professor Paradox: Please, I'm a time traveler. You would think that I've had a millennium of experience in this sort of thing already.

Ben: So you can fix this then. Return me back to the present again.

Professor Paradox: Or course. But let me ask you something first, Benjamin. Why do you feel like it is your responsibility to protect the Earth?

Ben: Because I have to. The people of Earth need someone to look out for them, to save them from threats they can't handle. They need a hero- and I want to be that hero. You should understand why, you've seen my future. You even told me when I thought you were- gone... that I need to be the hero that I'm destined to be.

Professor Paradox: I only told you that so that you would do heroic things- things that would help you strive to become the person I once met. But instead you obsessed over becoming that person, pushing the people close to you away and straying off onto a path leading to, well, nowhere good, I'm afraid. But the thing about destiny is that it always tries to lead you to a possible future, a future where there's potential for yourself, for those around you and the world that you are so sworn on protecting. Destiny brought you here.

Ben: But why?

Professor Paradox: Isn't it obvious? When you were younger, you were arrogant and harmful to those around you. By changing your ways in the past, you may have just created a better future. Not only that but just look at how hopeful, how optimistic, how full of joy and cheer that young hero is.

Ben turns his head, seeing his ten-year old self re-joining Gwen and Grandpa Max. They all look like they're having fun and a wonderful time together. Ben looks at himself, now noticing that he is his regular self again but not entirely there, like a spirit. The world around them then fades as the two of them now stand in a dark void outside of time and space.

Professor Paradox: His optimistic attitude and love for others is what made him trust a misguided Kevin Levin, convinced the Highbreed to give up their evil ways, helped a fellow hero from another world, conquer the urge for the Diagon's power, restored a lost alien and even create the very universe you're destined to save. That cheerful boy right there is what lead you to being who you are now. And yes, there will be times where it seems all is lost but you have fought through those times before. I have seen it. And you can easily do it again.

Ben: But how?! How can I be the hero I'm destined to be, Paradox?!

He drops down to his knees, and looks down. His eyes watering.

Ben, softly: What do I have to do?

Professor Paradox: All you have to do is simply have good faith, Benjamin. And be sure to spread of cheer to those around you.

Ben looks up at him from the floor.

Professor Paradox: I believe that you will become the hero that many prophecies have stated because you already are that hero. You just need to believe it.

Paradox then glows in a bright blue light and vanishes. Ben then gets up from the floor and looks around.

Ben: Professor Paradox!

His voice echoes throughout the void. Ben then sighs and closes his eyes, wiping away the forming tears with his coat's sleeve.

Ben: Thank you...

Ben then lowers his arm and opens his eyes, now seeing himself in his bedroom. He looks around then smiles.

Ben: I'm back... I'm actually back. YES!

Ben goes to the window and pulls open the curtains, seeing snow falling down outside during the day. Ben then dashes out of his room. His parents can be seen in the sitting room.

Ben: Hey Mom, Hey Dad!

Carl: Well hey there, son.

Sandra: Merry Christmas, Ben. Come join us, we're thinking about doing one of those family traditional things.

Ben: Of course, there's just something I really need to do first.

The scene then cuts to a door. A hand reaches out and knocks on it.

Muffled Voice, behind the door: I swear if those are you carolers again. I told you we're not-

The door opens to show Gwen as the one who is opening it. Her expression turns from upset to surprise as Ben can be seen standing before her, holding something behind his back.

Gwen: You- You came.

Ben: Yeah, I didn't want to be a Scourge or anything.

Gwen: I thought you weren't interested in being with the team.

Ben: I know, that's what I said and I just wanted to apologize. Especially to you, Gwen. I mean, I've been thinking about a lot of things recently and I realize now that I don't need to worry about being this hero that the prophecies say I'm going to be because I'm already a hero for helping out the people during the now and I should focus on the wins instead of the loses.

Gwen: And what does that have to do with any of us?

Ben: Because I wouldn't be here without you or Kevin or Rook or even Grandpa Max. You guys have been there for me through the tough times so being there during what's supposed to be the best time of the year is the least I can do.

Gwen: Alright, come on in. Wouldn't want you to catch a cold or something.

Gwen steps aside and Ben enters the house. Inside, plenty of familiar faces are present, as they're all interacting with one another, having a good time together while the actual house has tons of festive decorations as well as some holiday tunes playing in the background.

Kevin: Yo, yo, yo. Look what the cat dragged in.

Rook: Cats? I do not see any cats. All I see is Ben. A pleasant surprise, I might add.

Kevin gives Rook a glaring look. Ben turns his head and sees Cooper sitting with both Manny and Helen.

Cooper: Ben, hey! Been a while.

Ben: Cooper, how's it going?

Cooper: Pretty good actually. Just got back from a Plumber's mission in Hawaii. Something about Vaxasaurians, y'know.

Helen: Nice seeing you, Ben.

Manny: Yeah, yeah. How come no one's glad to see me?

Helen: I'm always glad to see you, Manny.

Manny: Always?

Helen: Maybe just a little.

Ben chuckles and turns, seeing Lt. Steel arm wrestling Ester, the Galactic Enforcers chatting by the stereo and Gluto breaking it down on the dance floor with Jimmy Jones.

Ben: Wow, you really invited everyone.

Gwen: I don't wanna brag but- I really outdid myself this year. I guess I was mainly inspired by you. I mean our first actual holiday together with Grandpa Max. It was a special moment for me and him.

Ben: Same here. That reminds me. I got you something that make up for all those years of not getting you something for the holidays.

Ben reveals that he was holding a big gift box behind his back and hands it to Gwen.

Ben: Happy Holidays, Gwen.

Gwen: I'm flattered, Ben.

Ben: Go on, open it.

Gwen opens the box and removes a new Lucky Girl uniform.

Gwen: Ben, wha- this is incredible.

Ben: Consider it a gift, an apology and an invitation to be back on the team again.

Gwen: Thanks, cous. You have no idea what this means to me. Come on, we all chipped in and got you something.

Ben: But you didn't know that I was coming.

Gwen: No... but we had faith that you would.

Gwen then goes to the tree, leaving Ben where he was. He smiles, a small tear running down his face as he looks around, seeing his friends and family all together to celebrate the good times, with plenty of cheer.

Ben: (chuckles) Happy Holidays, guys!

Everyone: Happy Holidays, Ben!

Ben then turns to you, the viewer.

Ben: And a Happy Holidays to all of you at home. Be sure to spread the cheer and have a very awesome time with those you care about so that way you can be your own holiday hero.

The End

This entry started off good and stayed true to the theme, but it got awkward about halfway through. The plot just didn't make much sense to me, and it felt like I missed something at the beginning since there was this whole thing about Ben shutting himself off from his team and all that. Kind of a shame it was never fleshed out, as I was interested in knowing more about that.

First Place

Aaron's Entry
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TV-14

LV
This content contains material that may be unsuitable for children age 14 and below.



[Your grandparents have been gone for a while now, visiting the solar markets a few systems over while they’re open, and they promise to be a few hours more. You decide to go rummaging through their stuff. Dusty clothes, trinkets from that one time they visited Khoros, irreplaceable photo albums of you when you were a baby, and other such trash that you toss aside without much care. Near the bottom of the pile is a holodeck VR recording labelled simply ‘CRANVIUS’ in rather scruffy permanent marker. To you, Cranvius is a strange little planet you once read about in history class. It was a place where, during the Heaven Wars of old, the dead would be dumped as to save time burying them wherever people might actually object to stumbling upon half-buried bodies. Always a sucker for that old shit, you head over to your Grandfather’s rickety old holodeck and insert the disk before stepping inside.]

[The walls are a bright white as the playback begins. The logo of the Betelgeuse Broadcasting Corporation fades onto screen, the letters each being cut outs that show different clips from their previous productions. A pack of Polar Manzardills building themselves a bridge across an artic river using their breath, a Crabdozer emerging from its crater, and some Earth cows walking across a field of blue grass are among the clips you manage to make out. A deep but soothing voice booms throughout the small room as the walls turn a deep black. A dark, ugly looking planet appears below you, giving the impression that you are now standing high above this alien world.]

“The graveyard world of Cranvius. Outwardly dead in appearance, the planet harbours many secrets invisible to outsiders. Although many would simply prefer to believe that Cranvius is a dumping ground for the deceased, here the dead have become the basis of a vast ecosystem that covers the majority of this dwarf planet. Thanks to the very latest in observation technology, we’ve sent a drone down to the surface in order to capture the previously little-known creatures of Cranvius on tape for the very first time.”

[The view of the holodeck falls rapidly down to the surface of Cranvius. The sky is grey in every direction, and every scrap of ground is covered in bone -stripped bare of any meat they may have once supported.]

“Our search for life on this planet, outside of simply recording a Bone Wraith, has taken months of detailed observation, peer-reviewed study, and incredible luck. The first creature we observed is, alone, perhaps not the most impressive.”

[You look around, desperately searching for something to ease your boredom. Suddenly a small instectoid creature about the size of your hand crawls out from a rock near your feet. The holodeck’s view changes abruptly, throwing you off balance for a second. Looking back up you see the drone whose view you had previously shared. Now, you were seeing things from the perspective of a camera at the end of one of its probing arms. Turning back, the insect is now almost as tall as you are. It has a very deep red exoskeleton covering its two equally sized body segments. It has a single huge compound eye covering most of the front half of its body, under which sit two impressive crushing mandibles. It has ten spindly legs.]

“The Cartilage Crawlers. Scavenging pests first discovered as stowaways feeding on food scraps in a ship of passing mourners. This one, a male, is relatively weak. He spends most of his time asleep and only comes out of his hole on one of two occasions: He smells fresh food, or it’s mating season.”

[You hear a loud screech overhead. The camera’s view switches back to that of the drone itself. High above you, gracefully sweeping across the sky, is a strange, black, almost snake-like creature.]

“A Bone Wraith. A single Cartilage Crawler is not enough food to warrant hunting down, so this Wraith must have seen something far more appetising. The Crawler follows. A meal or a mate, it’s worth finding.”

[The tiny creature begins to crawl over a tall hill of bones, the drone following closely behind as you float over the ghastly environment. The disadvantage of holodecks is how disorientating a jump-cut would be. So, despite doing just that earlier to switch your view down to worm level, the editors decided it was in the best interest of the viewer to sit through the insect’s entire 500 metre journey. It wasn't.]

“The Bone Wraith circles overhead, having found its next meal. A horde of Cartilage Crawlers preparing to start, and end, mating season.”

[Over the last hill is a huge ocean of Cartilage Crawlers, all scurrying over each other in search of something to procreate with. If there's one thing to be glad for, it’s that this holodeck is too old to incorporate smell. The Crawler the drone had been following disappears into the crowd, yet somehow the drone still manages to keep track of it. The Crawlers stops for a second in front of a titanic counterpart to itself.]

“The females of this species tower over the males, measuring at an average size of three feet long and one foot tall.”

[The narrator’s description begins to align with what you are seeing as the camera switches back to the view on the end of the drone’s appendage.]

“Being so small, dominating a mate is not an option. In such a massive gathering, impressing them isn't much use either. Instead, securing a mate means beating the competition.”

[The following was information, and images, you would rather not have gained today.]

“The Crawler approaches his chosen female. The male must attach himself to the female’s vulnerable underside in order to fertilise her eggs, but being late to the party means he must crash someone else’s. Several other males have already attached themselves to this female and there is no more room for anyone else.”

[The small male begins pulling off other males, the details of which are best left undescribed. Eventually he succeeds.]

“Success! A chance to pass on his genes means that this small insectoid’s life has achieved its purpose. As a result, his organs will begin to shut down over the next few days and, once the female has found shelter, his body will be used as a nursery for the next generation of Cartilage Crawlers. But the future of his genes is not secure yet.”

[The holodeck’s view is returned to the main body of the camera drone, just as the Bone Wraith swoops down from above and grabs a distant female from the gathering with its mouth, hauling it into the air. A lone, fortunate male falls from the female’s underside to the ground.]

“A single male survives the attack, but having already dispensed his seed he shall not survive for long. He will become a meal for whatever finds him next.”

[Okay, not so lucky then after all. The Wraith comes in for another meal. It hovers effortlessly over the crowd briefly, spitting out the now empty carcass of its last meal and picks up another female using two of its four long spindly tendrils protruding from its neck. The holodeck’s view narrows into a small field, and you turn to face it. Inside the narrow field of view is the Bone Wraith, now rising high into the sky once more. The view zooms in, giving a closer, but 2-dimensional, view of the Wraith as it pulls apart the female Crawler with its two free tendrils and feeds the meat directly into its mouth before discarding the rest.]

“Bone Wraiths are this planet’s most well-known inhabitant, and with good reason. They are incredibly intelligent hunters with no care for how well-armoured their prey are. Notorious for attacking tourists and natives alike, we advise staying far away from Cranvius purely due to the presence of the Wraiths.”

[The view of the drone returns to normal. A lone figure is standing on a nearby hill of skulls.]

“However they are not the most intelligent species on this planet. That title belongs to this species, captured here for the first time on holotape. The Cranvius Sapience. Here to pick off the leftovers from the Cartilage Crawler mating season.”

[The figure bends over and picks up a few bones. It begins stacking them up next to itself as the drone approaches it slowly.]

“They have a remarkable natural talent seldom seen in other sentient races. They are born artists with an unmatched sense of balance and creative vision. This Sapient is busy making his latest piece; a perfect replica of himself made entirely of bone. Perhaps not perfect enough to fool you or I, but more than enough to fool the local troublemaker.”

[The Wraith overhead screeches again as the Sapient disappears into the skeletons beneath itself. The Wraith swoops in for the kill, obliterating the statue and flying off with a chunk of disowned bone in its mouth. Disappointed it's the outcome, it spits the bone back out.]

“A resounding success. The Bone Wraith took the bait. It takes a lot of energy to fly and there is very little food to go around. This Wraith will not be attempting to feed on this Sapient again for fear of getting another mouth full of nothing valuable.”

[The Sapient, clearly pleased with itself, emerges from its hiding spot. It picks up what appears to be an alien wishbone from the ground and inspects it closely.]

“The Cranvius Sapience are a truly bizarre species, fitting of their totally unique environment. Their sweat is a mild adhesive, perfect for sticking to bone. They can use it to aide in their constructive efforts or, in this case…”

[The Sapient attaches the wishbone to the exposed flesh beneath its neck.]

“They can attach the bone to themselves as an added layer of protection. A wishbone won't do much other than look nice, so the best he can hope for is that it will get stuck in the throat of any predator that catches him.”

[The Cranvius Sapience looks upwards and sees the drone. It pauses for a moment, before walking slowly forwards.]

“This is a unique opportunity. This is perhaps the first time a Sapient has ever interacted with an alien intelligence. A mark in history for their race, should they have societies within which to record such information. This brilliant event, however, will be short-lived.”

[The Sapient double-takes to the side, and panickedly retreats back underground. You turn around, to see the Bone Wraith from before only a few feet in front of your face. It’s massive teeth clamp onto the drone around you, lifting it high above the surface. Its teeth crunch down and error messages pop up across the holodeck before the view switches back to the end of its tentacles, giving a disproportionate impression of the size of the creature. With each crunch, the visuals become more and more distorted as the drone’s ability to transmit footage is slowly inhibited.]

“It appears we were mistaken, and this Wraith has indeed tried for the Sapient again.”

[The door to the holodeck swings open, and you step out. Getting jumpscared by an alien apex predator was perhaps not what you had planned for today. After stopping for a second to catch your breath, you close the door to the holodeck to drown out the continuing narration. Sitting down on the sofa you decide to turn on the extranet television for some good-old 2D entertainment. This lasts for all of 30 seconds before the following message appears:]

“This is a breaking newscast to all extranet receivers in the sector. Hostile Atasian ships have entered the Morra System. Repeat: Hostile Atasian ships have entered the Morra System. This is a warning for all civilians to find shelter. All combat-trained personnel report to your nearest military installation for service.”

[You stare blankly at the television for a brief moment, before a single thought crosses your mind.]

“Oh shit.”

I like that the story is told in second-person. While it's kind of an unconventional way to write, Aaron pulled it off nicely. That is, on top of everything else he did well, like the documentary spoofing and the expansion of his own lore. All in all, a well-deserved winner.


That's it for this blog! Congratulations to our winners, and enjoy the rest of the convention!

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