Disclaimer: I don't own Ben 10 or Star Wars/Disney
Changed the title to "The Eternal Twins," recently and I just want to distance myself from the story involving the Old Republic "Eternal Twins," that go by the same name and are featured in very popular cinematics from the Star Wars: Old Republic video games/ this story does not correlate with that one at all.
Jakku; 17 BBY
Twin suns pierced the veil of peaceful slumber that he dwelled deeply within, an odd sleep where he felt like he wasn't anywhere for a brief time, until the light startled the young teenage Ben Tennyson from his unconscious state, sitting up and holding his head, he sighed as this had become par for the course in the last year since putting the Omnitrix back on. He stood up, dusting off his jeans as he looked around and noticed he was in middle of absolutely nowhere, dunes of drifting sand in every directions with heat so blazing that mirages formed in the distance, he immediately noticed the intense heat ravaging him from above, more than even the hottest summers, darting his head up at the sky to investigate.
"Last I checked Earth only had one sun… so I guess I'm on another planet," he placed a hand over his brow to cover his eyes for shade as he squinted looking for any sign of civilization as he turned in any direction, "I don't know how I got here but, this should be no sweat for Jetray, I'll just dip into hyper-space and…" he pulled the green sleeve of his trademarked jacket back only to realize his watch was missing from his wrist.
"The Omnitrix?!" he gasped and dropped to his knees without hesitation, shifting and digging vigorously through the sand where he woke up, clawing at piles of sand for a minute or two before looking back towards the blaring heat up above which would soon roast him alive, "It's not here… and if I stay in this heat any longer I think I'll pass out..." he thought of all the survival tips Grandpa Max and day-time television had taught him about being stranded in a desert, which wasn't much to go on.
He removed his trademarked emerald jacket and held it over his head for shade, he turned in a circle, picked a random direction, and started walking as any guess would have the same odds of succession with his lack of intel on the planet he was currently on. He painstakingly walked for hours in the blistering heat, he felt like his sneakers might belt in the sand but, it wasn't something he could risk taking off. The only notable life he saw were some alien creatures flying toward him from the direction he was headed, that was a good sign of food or water in his path, or so he remembered from a documentary he once watched. He continued to walk, occasionally removing his sneakers to empty them of sand, he felt like he was on a treadmill with a moving background, going nowhere and making no progress until both suns had set, what he didn't realize was how the temperature would drop; he was lucky that the lack of light pollution from civilization gave him plenty of star-light to work with. He quickly found shelter near a small cave, hardly the size of a large van but, good enough for one person to rest; he didn't want to think of who or what created a solid rock structure in the middle of dozens of miles of sand, so he focused his attention on the sky, he couldn't find any familiar patterns or constellations that he recognized from his Solar System. He laid the jacket over his lap for warmth and emptied his pockets; he managed to fall asleep with three dollars and some loose change, two paper clips, a rubber band, and his plumber badge in his pockets, the badge being in his jacket as it toppled into the sand along with clumps of lint.
Ben smiled with a bit of luck on his side, "Having the Omnitrix on me all the time almost had me forget I owned one of these," he grabbed it and looked over it for a second, dusting the sand from it as he tapped the faceplate to activate it, as it hummed to life and illuminated the cave bright green at his touch, "Contacting any nearby plumbers, this is Ben Tennyson sending an S.O.S, can anyone hear me?" He received nothing but static, which was curious as there were usually Plumber outposts every few hundred lightyears throughout the Galaxy, it should pick up the signal; he opened the galactic positioning system but only received an error code, "This can't be right… if the locater can't pinpoint where I am, I must be outside of my own Galaxy! Only someone like Vilgax or Albedo could be behind this, but why drop me in the middle of nowhere, why not just kill me?" he pondered for a moment until he realized nobody was around to answer.
He quickly realized he was talking to himself far too much, although; it was therapeutic when forced into such isolation on a foreign planet. He couldn't start a fire as there was nothing to spark but sand for miles, he tried to stay warm with his jacket and shelter but, only barely managed to do so until the sun came up only four hours later, with twice the number of suns, the length of days clearly shortened compared to Earth.
He wasn't one to panic in times like these; he'd been in situations with much higher stakes than getting lost in an alien desert, which he had done, and he'd adjusted to more dangerous terrain before but, he had the Omnitrix almost every one of those times but, he knew wherever he was in the Universe, someone would eventually find him. It's not like he'd be stuck out here forever, there was a Sumo Slammers episode on tomorrow night that he couldn't miss. He wandered almost aimlessly for so many hours he was wondering when Ship would come blasting in from space to rescue him but, as the sun went down again after another long unbelievably hot day, it never happened; he thought maybe Gwen would appear and use a spell to teleport him away and to safety, back to his bed and his pillow but, that never happened either. He was just beginning to lose hope he'd ever see anything other than sand ever again, figuring he'd pass out from exhaustion in the next day if he didnt find some source of water or food somewhere, he didnt have the energy to avoid tripping and toppling down most dunes of sand once crossing them, only to find a nigh-infinite set of dunes to lay before him.
He continued his trek through the desert at first light after the sun had gone down once more, it was cool for the first hour or two but, as the suns rose to the middle of the sky, much quicker than on Earth, so did the temperature rise with it. Becoming a scorching wasteland once again, not even a stray cactus to cut for liquids, he'd all but wrapped his head in his jacket to conserve moisture; another hours and he had lost all energy, collapsing to his knees, and crawling through the sand towards the top of the next dune, which he feared just might be his last.. He was shocked when he poked his head up to find a small town made of huts and shacks, the population couldn't have been more than a hundred but, it was more than he'd seen since he'd arrived; there were town folk walking around, mingling among each other. The first sign of civilization in days was truly a sight to behold, he tried his best to get over the dune but tumbled down the sand, tripping and collapsing into a heap at the bottom. He stood and shook it off as quickly as possible, taking deep breaths as he was malnourished and parched, he noticed two warthog-like alien creatures drinking from a large pale and nearly threw up in his mouth, however; the thirst consumed him entirely and rushed him over dunking his head into the mucky water.
He immediately came up for air and looked around at the alien towns folk who looked for a minute or two before moving on, he turned suddenly and vomited the contents of his stomach, but as he looked back at the floating water, he couldn't resist dunking his head one last time, the bubbles floated up as he took gulps and felt like throwing up again, "Oh, wow, I never thought I'd be so happy to be drinking pig-water…" he wiped his face as well as possible when his stomach rumbled for the tenth time.
"Excuse me?" He tried asking one octopus-like alien that walked on tentacles but, he simply ignored the human as walked right by; "I was just wondering if," another beady-eyed reptilians creature kept walking without even looking at him, "Guess I'm on my own after all..." putting his hands on his hips and adjusting his back, he glanced around at the town with a sigh. Most of the natives didn't seem to mind him, they went about their business only taking notice for a few seconds at a time, a mix of aliens and humanoids lived relatively harmoniously or at least that's the way it seemed at first. He knew he wasn't anywhere near Earth as he didn't recognize even a single species out of the common shop goers of the small bazaar, and he'd studied dozens if not hundreds of different species at one point or another.
Something caught his attention when he turned around to face a scene taking place by an old shack, "Get moving, I won't tell you a second time!" Three men clad in white and black armor held rifle-like blasters up toward a child, seemingly an infant, with their fingers on the trigger as she raised her doll up in front of her face, "Lord Vader wants all force sensitives captured or executed, which do you prefer?" another announced through his helmet.
"I just want my mommy!" the young girl shouted and clutched her toy-doll close to her chest, closing her eyes and turning away with tears in her eyes.
Ben looked around and still not a single person took notice, the ones that did averted their eyes, he wasn't necessarily at full health but, he could still do something; there was only one person watching that cared at all to intervene, and she was sitting hidden beneath a cloak behind them both; keeping her eyes on the scene. He looked around and grabbed a wooden broom lying against the pale of water, snapping the sweeper off its end and spinning the now wooden-staff in his hands.
"Hey!" Ben shouted as they turned at the sound of his announcement, "pick on someone your own… size?" as they turned and aimed their rifles up at his chest, he realized they were all nearly a foot taller than him, buffer than him, and all equally so actually.
"Step away or we will open fire!" One of them announced taking aim through the scope of the blaster as Ben didn't seem worried about their threats in the slightest.
Ben scoffed with a cocky grin, hands gripping the staff tighter, "Your funeral…"
"That's it, ope-" he was cut off as Ben didn't give him the chance to finish his sentence before he slipped under their sight-line faster than they could react, using the broomstick to literally sweep two of them off their feet and onto their backs, turning upwards to quickly smack the blaster out of the third troopers hands with the pole, turning gracefully to smack him across the helmet. Ben reached for the discarded blaster but, one of the knocked over soldiers grabbed his ankle and pulled him down to the ground, as he tried to kick himself free, the one still standing punted him in the stomach with his booted foot for good measure before retrieving his rifle from the ground, aiming it down at them.
Ben slowly got to his knees again, this time between them and the child with his body protecting her, "Sorry, but if you want the kid you go through me," they all aimed their weapons at him without hesitations as their weapons hummed to life, a crimson light illuminating the inside of their rifles, "Please don't go through me…" the cloaked figure noticed something in him, something worth saving, she wasn't sure why she acted to save him but, she did regardless of the risk.
She stepped from behind, tapping one of them on the shoulder as she spoke, her facial details hidden by the cloak, "Excuse me," she said with a soothing voice, one of them turned and trained his weapon on her but, she didn't fear it in the slightest.
"This is none of your business, move along!" He shouted at her with a rude and enraged tone.
She lifted her hand upwards, her skin was a reddish-tint from what Ben could tell from his point of view, as her fingers waves through the air, she spoke monotonously, "These two have done nothing wrong," she stated it as though it were fact as they lowered their weapons slowly.
"These two have done nothing wrong…" they were suddenly convinced she was right, all three lowering their weapons completely to their side.
"This was a waste of time; you should move on," she insisted, her lips glistened beneath the cloak, a maroon shade that Ben couldn't take his eyes off of as he felt whatever she was doing to them in waves, it could me magic like Gwen and Charmcaster's...
What appeared to be the commanding officer scoffed and pushed one of his subordinates in the shoulder, "I told you this was a waste of time, let's move on," he announced as they turned away, walking towards another house as with that she lowered her hand back hidden beneath the cloak, everyone forgetting the altercation altogether aside from Ben.
She turned around to walk away but, Ben followed after her, reaching out and grabbing her arm lightly as he was completely out of breath using the last of his energy to fight the three soldiers on his own, "Hey, wait, how did you do that!?" he practically shouted allowing her to tug her arm from his grip.
"You were being noble, so I did the same; just forget this happened and continue your journey…" she said with a gesture of her hand and turned away but, was surprised when he didn't even seem effected by her force touch in his mind, not even bothered by it.
He followed behind her for a bit, "That's just it, I have no idea where I am… the map I have isn't even from this galaxy! I need help," Ben sighed exasperatedly before gaining the energy to slowly circle her until he was face to face with her as she pulled her hood down to cover her features, "If you want to hide your appearance that's okay, I just need directions..." his stomach audibly growled in front of them both, "And maybe some food."
She felt an overwhelming urge to trust him, like there was a powerful light erupting inside of him, waiting to be set free and she could only see the tip of the iceberg, something was special about him and she just felt it so, she let go of her hood to show him her face. Her entire body matched the complexion he'd seen on her skin earlier only, her face had white tribal markings, spreading down her forehead and over her eye brows individually with matching patterns on either of her cheeks; her head was covered by white and blue tendrils which looked a lot like hair but, more organic as they hung passed her chest, either way she was quite beautiful in his eyes at least, he'd seen a lot of aliens-species in his time as a hero and he'd never seen one quite as plainly attractive as her, "My name is Ben Tennyson, maybe you've heard of me?" he expected at least the name to be recognized.
"I haven't," she didn't shake his hand and attempted to pass him but, he politely stepped in her way, trying to keep the one person who would talk to him here until he could get some sort of answers.
"I stopped the Highbreed invasion, saved the Galaxy a few times...?"
"Oh, wow! that was you?" She asked with an excited smile for a second, not actually showing much enthusiasm though as he nodded vigoursly, her expression returned to a more stoic approach as she responded, "I'm kidding, I still haven't a clue who you are, I must be on my way," She glanced over at the troopers who were wandering the town square.
"Man, I really must be far from home," he put his hands out to stop her, rubbing the back of his neck, "I'm stranded on this planet by myself, do you have a space ship or maybe you can point me in the direction of some alien air-port?" he gave her his best smile covered in the dirt and sand of the last forty-eight hours of walking, "Maybe somewhere to lay down, at least?"
She looked him up and down, noticing his foreign clothes and odd messy brown hair, pulling her hood down around her neck revealed her features more prominently, her piercing blue eyes practically stared through his emerald jeweled eyes as she scanned him visually before closing her eyes, taking a step closer with a hand out, "You have an oddly strong connection to the force… are you... former Jedi?" She whispered the last part to ensure the other towns-folk wouldn't hear her.
Ben blinked a few times, scratching the back of his neck nervously, "Connection to the what? I can barely get interstellar connection… and I have no clue what a jed-ai is…"
The woman folded her arms in disbelief, noting his ability to fight off three clones, even if briefly, "You must be joking? I saw you handle those clones… and you weren't effected by my- never mind..."
Ben shrugged and responded to her question as well as he could, "I've been taking self-defense classes since I was eleven, and I don't like bullies," he patted his jeans down from the sand and dirt that still pretty much covered him before looking up at her, the sun-light glistening off of crystal-blue and emerald-green eyes looking into one another for the first but, likely not the last time.
As she took a few seconds to stare, their eye contact was broken by Ben's stomach growling again loudly, "Have I mentioned I haven't had anything to eat in over twenty-four hours?" he scratched the back of his head, recalling the last thing he ate was a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich before bed two nights ago; she rolled her eyes and glanced around, "Alright..."
"Follow me, I can give you a place to sleep and a hot meal," she passed him, following a path away from the town, taking her time at a casual pace towards the outskirts of the tiny village where a small ship was docked with had a layer of sand and dust across it, signifying that it had been stationary for quite some time. Sprouting from the ship was a large tented area, several pouches for catching rain, a large carpet across the ground kept the sand from being too much of a nuisance.
She used bricks to form a circular fire-pit where she could contain the blaze in the center of the rug, it was surrounded by empty crates covered in junk and old broken parts for her ship, noting that she was somewhat of a mechanic as he moved large wrenches and bolt-cutters off one of the crates to use as a seat of his own; She sat down and grabbed an old lighter from her pouch, "Hey, at least I recognize something around here!" She flicked the red switch on the silver hand-held 'lighter' igniting a yellow plasma blade, around the size of a butter-knife, "By the expression on your face I'm guessing you were mistaken," she lowered it to the pit after pouring in a good amount of lighter fluid with a smile, igniting the fire-pit for warmth and shutting it off as the blaze immediately settled the cooling desert air.
"So, not from this star system, huh?" She asked as she pulled a burlap sack from behind her, pulling out dead chicken-like animals and piercing them with sharp-ended sticks to roast over the fire.
Ben gave a long sigh and looked up at the visible stars in the sky, totally foreign constellations and moons, "I don't even think I'm from this Galaxy," he turned his attention down at his tattered sneakers, "I have a map of where my home planet should be and none of the constellations match up," he patted his jacket and reached for his badge but, ended up patting himself down as he no longer had it on his person, "Awe, man, I must have dropped it when I was fighting those goons! I have to go back for it…" before he got up, she spoke up.
"Don't bother, its been almost half-an-hour, its definitely been scavenged by now…" she skewered another one of the bird-creatures as she bit into her own, roasting the second one as she but off a chunk of meat, chewing slowly as she stared at the fires stoically.
"Already?!" Ben was shocked but, she didn't surprised at all.
"It was shiny and bright green, trust me, it's gone…" She swallowed the meat and took another bite, waiting as the second one roasted, and chewing vigorously on her meat. She was intrigued by him, he certainly wasn't like any boy she'd ever met before, and she wasn't totally sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
Ben slapped his knees out of frustration, looking back up at the stars for a moment, "You saw it and just let me leave it? Why didn't you say anything?" He held his hands out in total wonder while she stood for a second, leaning over to hand him the roasted bird as food with a calm smile, as he looked it over for a moment it reminded him of his Grandfather's cooking.
"The little girl you defended? She picked it up, with something like that she could afford three maybe even five rations, plus, if it was so important, you wouldn't have forgotten it," as he took a bite, it wasn't half bad although he did need to pick a feather from his teeth causing him to shutter at first but, hunger consumed him as he took another bite... Ben's expression softened.
Huffing, he closed his eyes as he chewed, swallowing with a sigh, "There goes my life line; you wouldn't happen to know about the Plumbers, would you?" he asked with a raised brow but, she only gave him an even more confused expression than he gave her.
She raised her brow, lowering the meat from her mouth as she gave him an odd glance, "Galactic communicators are incredibly common but, I must be mistaken, are you talking about restrooms?" She almost laughed a bit but, controlled herself and her composition.
He sighed and chuckled, realizing that's the expected response, "No, that settles it, I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore, or the Milky Way..." he stared up at the sky until he had finished three of the birds with a satisfied pat of his abdomen, looking back at his companion whom strung up the alien meat to be cooked around the fire, the flames emanated a dancing shadow across her face, "I'm sorry… what was your name again, I think I forgot?" he asked slowly as he couldn't help but be infatuated with her.
She hesitated for only a moment, curving a confident smile, "That's because I never gave it to you; you may call me Ashla," she turned her attention back to the meat, taking one of the skewers to chew on and allowing him to notice she had a very dull set of fangs that were short but, it seemed cute on such an innocent looking woman.
"Okay," he responded, catching her a bit off guard, "Ashla… or whatever your real name is, I appreciate everything you've done for me so far..." Ben knew he was given an alias but, if that was what she was comfortable with, who was he to question it; maybe in some time, he'd get her real name but, for now they both stared up at the stars, watching them glisten and twinkle in the dark sky.
His eyes met hers once again across the fire, this time it was the dancing fire that cascaded light across their two uniquely bold eye colors; she saw a fire in his eyes, a determination of sorts... it was confidence but, well placed enough to intrigue her, "You look exhausted," she noted calmly referring to his tattered clothing and exhausted expression, he'd only spent the last days awake and walking, "I can help you review some star-charts I have of the outer rim of the Galaxy, perhaps we can find a route to get you home."
Ben finally let the exhaustion hit him, getting as close to the fire as possible to warm up, "Hey, so whats a Jedi? And the… uh... force?" Ben's eyes were staring into the open flame for some time before glancing back up at Ashla, who only gave him a reassuring smile in response.
"The force is a galaxy-spanning energy field… its existed since time immemorial and nobody knows how it came to be," she demonstrated her abilities by lifting one of the metal-pokers through the air and into her hand telekinetically, using it to poke at the fire as the wood crackled in the red-hot flames, "The Jedi became the protectors of peace and order… or at least that's how they started, I was a Jedi Knight myself once before…" she cut herself off, she couldn't even speak as she choked on her own words.
"What?" Ben looked up into her eyes and saw the look of pain, suffering, and betrayal as he watched her see memories in her own head, the night that everything changed, her dual with Mual... he warned her and she didn't listen but, it was all to much so she calmed herself.
Regaining her composure, she brushed a hand down her Lekku and stared away at the sand, "All you really need to know is that there's a Galactic Empire ruled by the most sinister and cruel people in the Universe," she continued by grabbing a stick of meat for herself, taking another bite out of it, "Anyone who crosses them, dies," she said trying her best not to think about it.
"Lord Vader, is he like the boss-battle?" Ben chided trying to cheer her up a bit noticing how hard it must be to talk about whatever had happened, he could tell it wasn't easy.
"His name is Darth Vader, and this conversation is over; I'll help you with your maps in the morning," Ashla narrowed her eyes, standing up as her crate turned over behind her, she quickly approached the ship as getting on board retracted the platform into the door closing it behind her; he was left in the cold as the temperatures dropped, he sat as closely to the fire as he could/
"Good talk!" he grabbed another alien meat-stick and took a chunk out of it with his teeth, looking down and trying to ignore the cold gusts of wind, "Ignoring the scales, this isn't half bad…"
Her ship had windows which she could see Ben from, curling up as close to the fire as possible after finishing his meal; she narrowed her eyes again only this time, with a concerned expression, he was so innocent and strong willed, and she hadn't felt a connection as strong to the force since her late master, this couldn't possibly be a coincidence but, she couldn't get involved, she wouldn't…
The next morning, Ashla's ship waited until an hour or two after dawn before opening up, the show platform descending into the sand allowing her to step out; she walked into the tarped area and found Ben still by the fire only, it had gone out long ago, and he was reading her Jedi-texts which she kept hidden in a port below her ship.
"How did you find those?!" Ashla announced with authority rushing over to him as he jumped at the sound of her voice
Ben was obviously startled by her sudden outburst shouting from behind, so absorbed into trying to read the texts that he didn't even hear her approach until she announced herself as he dropped the book and scattered loose papers written in alien languages on thousand year old paper across the carpet, "Sorry, sorry!" he knelt as she rushed over, kneeling down in front of him picking up the scattered texts, he gathered the obviously very old papers gently as to not tear them, Ashla got to eye level with him and helped collect what he dropped, "I just kind of… felt it, I thought they were your 'star-charts' but, I don't see any sort of coordinates anywhere in here…" she looked up into his eyes and again she felt a strange connection when bright-blue met bright-green eyes once again, there was something she couldn't explain attracting her to him, however; she didnt let it break her composure.
Once they'd collected the papers all back into its ancient binder, they realized how close their faces were causing Ben to immediately back away, only because he didn't want her to get the wrong idea and when he saw her skin from up close he noticed how flawless it was which caused the heat to rise to his cheeks, she backed away as well only she kept her composure far better than he did; staying totally calm as he cleared his throat, she only raised her brow not sure of what he was doing in the slightest.
"These are… ancient Jedi texts," she forget the interaction and glossed her hand over the hardcover with a reminiscent smile, recollecting the secrets held between the covers taught to her by the masters of the temple as she was growing up, "The same ones I was taught by many years ago…" remembering her time as a Padawan under Yoda and... Ben interrupted her thoughts when he perked up a bit, catching her talking about her past.
"So, you are a Jedi then? You talked about it in past tense earlier… I figured maybe you retired or something?" Ben leaned against the stone tablet that he was looking at the scrolls on earlier, waiting for an answer as she bit her lower lip just thinking of the that night.
Ashla gave a long sigh and with it let out all her negative emotions including the tension that was clouding her judgement, "I did… but I spoke in past tense because the Jedi order no longer exists," she grabbed the textbooks from his hands and made her way back to her ship as Ben trailed behind her, walking towards the compartment where he'd gotten the scrolls.
"Something bad happened… didn't it?" Ben asked as he picked up on the context clues pretty quickly, her tone of voice had shifted and she avoided eye contact when she said something about it, "You don't have to tell me... I wont pry."
She looked over her shoulder at him, giving a half smile, as she placed the books back where he'd gotten them and pulled out a long scroll half her height shutting the panel quickly and turning around to face and approach him, "I have the map here," she took a breath as she gestured for him to move, force pushing him lightly off the stone tablet he was leaning against.
Dusting off the large stone adjacent to her camp sight, she unraveled and laid out the sheet which was painted blue and noted all of the populated sectors of space through out the know Galaxy, thousands of different Star Systems with intelligent life, "Here we are," she flipped through a few sheets that basically zoomed in on the planet they were on, pointing down to the chart and turned to him and when she did she noticed their shoulders were touching after he'd gotten up and settled himself, Ashla rolled her eyes and took a step to the right to avoid it.
To clear the tense air Ben quickly responded, looking over the charts extensively for several minutes, "I don't recognize any of these planets, I don't see any sign of Plumber outposts either… my badge couldn't even pinpoint a star-system," he brushed his chin trying to think, looking through a different set of charts as Ashla raised a brow.
"You used that word again, what does toilet maintenance have anything to do with-" she was interuptted when Ben chuckled and turned to her
"My bad, I should totally have realized the confusion; where I come from we have an intergalactic police force that monitors alien activity on at least six thousand planets with sentient life; from what you say they acted kind of like your Jed-ai guys… keepers of peace and all that," he looked back to the maps as she narrowed her eyes at him, he flattened the map a bit and looked over different constellations.
"You said that device you lost was your badge?" Ashla asked.
He turned his gaze to her, raising a brow as if he'd forgotten about it already, "Hm? Yea, I guess it was, why?" Ben never really needed to use the badge as he could show any Plumber his wrist and they would know him on sight and his clearence.
"You were a part of a police force?" She questioned as if astounded, taking a step forward and looking him from the ground up, "But, you're so… so…"
"Handsome? I get that all the time…" He chided with a wink.
She gave a coy half-smile, not letting him break her composure in the slightest, "I was going to say young, how long have you been in service...?"
Ben chuckled again, rubbing the back of his neck, "I guess since I was ten years old, went on a sabbatical for about five years, now I'm back in action," he looked out at the twin suns slowly rising into the sky above him, the temperature quickly increasing, "Or I was at least..."
Ashla folded her arms in disbelief, raising her brow at him, "I mean I was the biggest hero of them all, I aced all of my exams even though I really didn't train too hard, I stopped invasions and saved people from villains," he started listing things off from memory almost forgetting the most crucial part of any of his stories, "I even had this device, it would allow me to change shape into different alien species… but when I arrived here in this Galaxy... it was gone," he held his wrist up and she noticed his tan line clearly lining a thin wrist-watch now missing.
"So, this magical device transformed your body into different aliens? How does that work?" Ashla chuckled in disbelief, going along with his insane story.
Ben slapped the star-chat with one palm and pointed another finger to the air, "I have absolutely no idea," he lowered his arms and turned to face her, "But, I do know it's not magic, it's science, really advanced science," he wasn't even close to someone who could give a rundown on how the a complex device like the Omnitrix worked.
Ashla put a hand on his shoulder, taking a step forwards and biting down on her lower lip before speaking, "How did you say you found my texts again?" she asked randomly.
Ben looked away as her proximity caused heat to rise up into his face, "Y-You mean the old books? I don't know, I woke up before the sun… suns were out and I just-" he tried his best to explain it but, it wasn't a thought or a consideration that he took before opening the panel, "I just..."
"Felt it calling to you?" Ashla finished with a slight smile, looking back at where she'd locked away the texts, before looking back to him staring deeply into his eyes.
He raised his brow and took a step back, his face turning even more red than it had before, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You're reminding me of someone I once knew," Ashla referred to her former master but, shook her head trying her best not to think of the tragedy that surrounded that story.
Ben sighed as he glanced back down to the star-charts that heeded no viable results, "Well, I don't see any way of getting home from here, but I have to keep trying," he placed both hands on the stone, taking his eyes off of Ashla and looking down at the charts, his determination and the fire in his eyes was remarkable to say the least.
She gave a small smile before grabbing a cloak from a hook and throwing it over her head, it draped over her montrals and disguised her Lekku as well, "Stay here, work on getting home, I'll go for food and water and be back in a few hours," she noted as she grabbed two metal sticks, silver eleven-inch, uniquely designed sticks that she strapped to her belt but, Ben pretended not to notice.
"Okay," he called out as he watched her walk away, she was almost off the grounds when Ben spoke up, calling out to her, "Hey… Ashla!"
She turned to him and raised a brow expecting him to need something else but, instead he simply gave her a goofy grin and waved, "Thanks for all the help!" For the first time since they'd met, she felt heat rise to her cheeks and run across the bridge of his nose, as even though he was a stranger he was very endearing and quite charming at times, she turned around with the cloak to cover her face and just gave him a thumbs up as she kept walking, keeping her nonchalant attitude as she sauntered off into the wasteland.
Ben spent two hours scouring through a dozen different charts of the outer-rim of the Galaxy they were currently on and found nothing familiar, being so far out of range that there wasn't a single Plumber out-post in sight, he didn't expect this situation to be so dire and so he took a break, sitting down he leaned against the stone platform and wiped the sweat from his brow, noticing the incredible heat only increasing as the day went on, "I miss air conditioning…" He stood up and moved toward the fire pit, taking a small pouch from the side which had limited water, he was instructed to be very frugal with their amount of water as it costs a lot of money on a planet like this.
He tipped the canteen to his lips and took a small sip or two of cool, refreshing water; it was blasted out of his hands suddenly, splattering it all across the rug, on instinct, Ben ducked under another blast he assumed would attempt to be a head-shot, rolling to a sprawl behind the stone tablet as they blasted top shredding the charts into flames, another shot took a chunk out of the stone he used as cover. He grabbed a rock and tossed it out into the open watching as it was blown to pieces immediately, "Okay, at least one of them and shooting on sight, wonderful. Where's the Omnitrix when you need it…?" he spoke to himself trying his best to formulate a plan.
Ben considered his options carefully for a moment and decided on throwing several rocks in the opposite direction of the ship he was adjacent to, giving him a distraction, which would allow for a safe dive for cover behind the ship. He quickly acted without thinking, initiating his plan and tossing the rocks in the opposing direction, and they were fired at but as Ben dove for cover he was still blasted in the abdomen, severely injuring his side as blood started soaking the ground at his feet.
He crawled for cover, placing his back against the ship as he heard not just one but two or even three sets of footsteps approaching him from both sides, they were probably all armed and he had no weapons or abilities, no Omnitrix, no magic... he was all alone, "Not how I planned to die but, then again I guess whatever happens... happens," he stared up at the twin suns above him, glimmering in a bright blue sky that had stars just barely visible behind them and a planet that seemed huge from his perspective but, was likely a great distance away. Four alien men approached in strange armor aiming their weapons at him, yelling in an alien language he couldn't understand, they weren't the clones from earlier but, an individual party that was interested in him for some reason; it didn't matter he closed his eyes and faced the sky where he felt the heat of the sun on his skin.
Ben wasn't expecting her to return so soon but, he heard screaming as two thundering steps landed after using the ship behind him as a spring board, he kept his eyes closed as he lost blood at a rate he wasn't sure he could keep count of, he listened for the sound of a buzzing energy, humming and swinging through the air as the men shouted and blasted at her, he heard small ricochet explosions in the dirt around him, he peeked one eye open as his vision blurred, he noticed one of the men had been cut down by Ashla wielding two glowing blue energy blades, like some form of laser-sword.
The alien thief screeched and fired his smaller side-arm weapon as she effortlessly deflected each of the three blasts he managed to get off harmlessly into the sand, gracefully dicing apart his weapon as she ducked under a desperate swing and side-kicked him with a powerful kick that sent him skating through the dirt on his back, thirty feet away.
She force pulled him off his feet, raising him up by the neck as she questioned him, dropping him at her feet so he could breathe but, not hesitating to aim her buzzing blue energy blade at his throat, "Why have you come here?" she asked in a demanding tone, narrowing her eyes down at him.
He answered in his own tongue, an alien language that Ben couldn't recognize nor care about but, Ashla seemed to understand it totally and utterly loath whatever he said, she did not what he had to say but still, she deactivated her weapon as they vanished into small handheld hilts which she strapped to her belt, recognizing them from earlier, "Get out of here," she said as she simultaneously ripped the rifle from his the hands of a one of his already dead companions and aimed it at him, "Go!" she demanded firing his own weapon at his feet, blowing a hole in the ground, scaring him into running off into the desert.
"That was amazing, Ashla, but I think I might... i think I-I might…" Ben, who had forced himself to stand, fell onto his side leaving a trail of blood across the back of her ship as he slid down, she tossed the gun aside without looking and quickly came to his aid, looking over his wound and seeing it would obviously be fatal; she knew there was only one option she could think of, she closed her eyes and held her hands over the wound, focusing her energy on his life force in him and surrounding her, an ancient technique know only as force healing, his body recovered quickly as he gasped a breath of air.
"You are full of surprises, Ashla," Ben noted as he looked over the bloody hole in his shirt, but feeling his flesh had totally restored itself after being blasted apart, what an incredible ability to heal; he noticed though that it took quite a bit out of her, clearly exhausting most of her energy to pull the technique off successfully.
Ashla thought about what the bounty-hunter had said before running away, "Well, so are you apparently," she stood and held her hand out, letting him grab hold and stand himself up, stretching his newly healed shoulder, "That wasn't just any mercenary, it was a bounty-hunter hired by someone in the Empire, he said something about your latent potential, ring any bells?" she asked as Ben shook his head.
Ben sighed and looked down to his empty wrist, the tan line was slowly starting to set with his skin color and soon it'll be like he never had it on in the first place, "Nope, there's absolutely nothing special about me now," he looked around for a moment and folded his arms, thinking about what he'd learned about his family in the last year, "Well, come to think of it I am technically like a quarter Anodite."
"A what?" Ashla questioned as she led them to the entrance to the ship, Ben keeping his eyes off of two corpses of the attackers that she couldn't manage to set free before they tried to kill her.
Ben sighed and tried to explain his family lineage, "My Grandfather was a human but, he married my grandmother who was an energy being known as an Anodite, although, my cousin is the one who really had the 'spark' or whatever, so I never inherited any powers," he tried to explain as best he could but, he'd only met his grandmother less than a year ago and this was all incredibly new to him even still, "I'm still not totally sure how any of it works..."
Ashla giggled a bit at his comment, clearing her throat, "You think maybe being part of this energy alien is why they're after you?" they approached the fire-pit as they continued their conversation.
Ben put a finger to his chin, thinking deeply only for a few seconds, "You said you sensed a strong connection to that force stuff you were talking about," he turned and looked at the sand in his shoes, he reached down and grabbed them taking them off one by one to empty them, "Maybe I didn't get Anodite abilities where I come from but, maybe being part alien makes me special here somehow…I dunno," he seemed more annoyed at all of the sand and his ruined clothes than anything else.
"Does this not alarm you, like, at all?" Ashla watched him empty his shoes for a moment as he shrugged back at her, putting them back on for warmth considering it was getting dark again soon.
"Nah, I've faced way worse… one time I had to eat a dwarf star and then blew up a mountain with it," he recalled his fight with the Negative Ten but, remained completely serious the entire time spite how crazy it sounded, "There's obviously a larger story there but, you get it," Ben waved her off and put both shoes back on
"I really don't," Ashla took a step forwards and grabbed his shirt pulling him up to eye level with her to focus his attention, "If I send you out there on your own, you'll be dead in a week… you have no way home, and I have nothing but hiding to do," she proposed an alliance of sorts as Ben half-smiled, noticing that they were exceptionally close once again as she watched the heat grow across the bridge of his nose.
"What? Why are you turning red?" Ashla kept his collar clutched while feeling his forehead, "You don't seem to have a fever...?"
Ben chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck, "Nothing, I guess I'm just... blushing," she dropped him as her eyes widened for a moment, having not realized at all his intentions.
"Why?" Ashla asked with a raised brow as he got to his feet, dusting himself off again.
Ben chuckled with a genuine smile, "Of all the aliens I've met, in several Galaxies, you're the most attractive one... that I've met..." he tried averting his gaze from her as for the first time, her own cheeks heated up spreading over the bridge of her nose as well, clearing her throat and shaking her head quickly, she continued her point, "Oh... well, you have a strong connection to the force, since we seem to be of similar goals... perhaps we could travel together?"
"Well, I do eventually have to find a way home but, for now I'll take any help you can offer," Ben nervously rubbed the back of his neck, happy to take her up on her offer, as generous as it was, it still left something unexplained, "Wait, what does traveling together have to do with my latent potential or whatever..." he put invisible quotation marks around the words as he still wasn't sure what it meant for him.
"What if I told you that I could train you to use this weird gift you've been given, I could help you harness the force," Ashla placed a hand firmly on his shoulder, steadying him as she gestured to the stars, "The Galaxy is a dangerous place pretty much no matter where you go, so I could teach you to defend yourself," she rubbed her arm a bit as she wasn't sure why she wanted to help this lone cute boy so badly.
He smiled in return, grinning as he placed a hand on hers on his shoulder, "Of course… so how do we get started?" he noted as she yanked back her hand quickly, trying not to show him her blush.
She turned back towards her tented hut and removed her cloak, tossing it on a large stone, "First? You get in the ship and take a shower… I can smell you from here."
He sniffed his own armpits and shrugged, "Fair," he walked toward the ship and saw it opening for him for the first time, it was small and run-down, it had one bunk with a thin mattress, if it could even be called that, a bathroom including a small shower; he felt like he was in a very small motel with a cockpit up front.
"And after I smell tolerable?"
She sighed, "Story time, if I'm going to train you there are a few things you should know," she walked out of sight and allowed the ship to close behind her, he could cut the tension in the air with a butter knife.
He washed nearly two days of sweat, sand, and blood off his body, but their water was limited so, it only lasted five or ten minutes; when he exited the shower with a towel draped around his waist, he found a set of dark green robes waiting for him but, it wasn't exactly his style. He used his black t-shirt and jeans and threw the robes over them to help with the temperature drop; he exited the pod and stepped out where he noticed Ashla had started the fire and was sitting beside it.
Instead of sitting across from her, he decided to sit on the same large stone as her, only a few feet apart, "So…"
"Story time…" she responded by telekinetically pulling a wooden stick from a bundle she'd collected, she gripped it and poked at the fire, "Like I said, the Jedi were once an order of peace keepers through out the galaxy but, there's more to it than that. The force is incredibly powerful and it has two halves, one of light and one of darkness," she took a breath and faced him, tossing the stick into the fire, "Those who embrace the dark side of the force are known as Sith, and very recently they staged an all out war, conducted a coordinated attack on the Galactic Republic, and took political control turning it into a Galactic Empire…"
"Wow," Ben said after nearly a minute or two of silence, "Well, what happened to all of the other Jedi's?"
She paused, staring into the fire as if recalling traumatic memories, "They were all hunted down and murdered… the attack started by using brainwashed troops to turn on their comrades but, then he appeared…" she could hear the sound of his ominous respirator, "Darth Vader."
"Dark…" Ben muttered, "I'm guessing this guy is the one who handled any survivors…"
Tears formed in her eyes but, he couldn't possibly know how to handle the situation, she pulled a small orb from her belt, it was a hologram which played a clip of a young-man, in his early twenties, wielding a blue saber much like Ashla's, deflecting blasters and fighting off an army of droids, "I was taught by one of the bravest, most powerful Jedi Knight in the order, the chosen one meant to balance the force, or so it was foretold, I guess."
"He looks amazing," Ben watched the footage and then turned back to Ashla, "I guess it didn't end well…"
She looked back up at him, "I heard rumors that he was the last one standing in the Jedi Temple when Vader cut him down with a dozen younglings…"
She was startled almost by his placing a hand on her shoulder, he didn't say anything, he just held her, something he didn't realize would be as helpful as it was, she smiled and wiped a single tear from her cheek, "The worse news is that if the Empire has already tried to assassinate you, they'll try again only harder…"
"What do we do?" he retracted his hand and looked back toward the fire, "I'm pretty sure we're sitting ducks here."
"Very true, which is why we'll be leaving Jakku first thing in the morning."
"Man, my sleep cycle is way off… I've only ever lived on one planet before so," he chuckled and looked away, "So, if this Vader guy finds us… can you beat him?"
"I don't want to find out," she responded as she stood up once again, "Besides, I'm going to take you on as my apprentice, I've gotten pretty good at hiding from the government in the last few years so, we should have plenty of time," she sauntered back to her ship and opened the platform.
"Ash, why are you helping me?"
She stopped, looking off to the twin setting suns, "I believe in the force and I believe it has put you in my path for a reason, you are special, in how many ways is yet to be seen," she gave him a slight wink and started boarding her ship, "Oh, and my real name is Ashoka… Ashoka Tano."
"Nice to finally meet you, Ashoka," he gave her a smile as she disappeared within the small ship.
"Any chance I could join yo-"
"Nope." The platform slid closed like a door slamming in his face.
"Worth a shot," he muttered.