Chapter 1: Opening Ceremony
There the alien hero stood on that cloudless late August morning, before the opening ceremony to the world's largest school, Sphinx Academy. A boarding school that was the size of a city, it actually being the city of San Francisco before Sphinx Corp. evacuated the citizens out in order to build the school in its place.
It literally became one of the world's great monuments with its completion a month earlier. This school having every class from Pre-K to College, businesses, restaurants, housing, a hospital, police stations, many other types of locations, and not to mention holding over four hundred thousand students ranging from all ages, genders and races; making it not only the largest school in the world, but also the most self sufficient school anywhere on the planet.
And these weren't just any day students that got in with the greasing of palms or parents being first in like to sign their child up. They were all put through countless tests from health to IQ. Every student that was within the school's towering white stone walls was the smartest with the most potential from all over the world.
So how did Ben get into this school? He might have been getting better grades but was still way out of most of these students' league; remembering the conversation he had at least a good three months ago.
Flown by private jet to their nation's capital, where many of the world's decisions were made and their president lived, Washington D.C. They were planning on visiting this place anyway on their Summer Vacation with their grandfather, last years kind of cut a bit short from the Tennyson's unexpected trip to galactic summer school. Yet they didn't seem to have a choice when they found out who sent them the request for their presences; the noble House of Tempus.
They knew it was only a matter of time before they were going to hear from them; with what Pharaoh stating that they were the Earth Embassy for Alien affairs they were a little surprised it took them this long to get into contact with them; half expecting them to be dragged off in the middle of the night and never heard from again.
But instead were traveling first class in one of the House of Tempus private jets; already so much better then the old Rustbucket: seven-hundred crystal clear channels on the Flat Screen Plasma HD television compared to the three, or four if you got the antenna in the right place; well stocked fridge and cabinets compared to the squeaky shelves and insect related meals; one would think a vehicle full of Plummer gear would be more 'up-to-code.' If they had a choice they would ask their grandpa if they could travel in this around the world instead of his motor home across the states. At least wishful thinking was still free to do in this day and age.
Landing in the same airport that the Air force One was kept; they traveled by stretch limousine the rest of the way; these teens feeling like they could get use to this kind of treatment on a daily bases.
Stopping within the entrance to the House of Tempus; all three of them were completely stricken in awe at the sheer size of this beautiful white mansion; not to mention feeling like it has been a half-an-hour since they went through the main gate just to get here.
Counting at least a good five stories tall; they had wondered why the President wasn't residing here; making them question if this family has more pull in the government then the President of the United States himself.
However, just asking a lot of questions wasn't going to get anything answered; letting themselves be led into the house by one of the family's servants. If there was something that struck these teens to be a bit off about this family was all their servants wore what looked to be silver limb guards on their forearms and legs over their black butler style uniforms, but a strange plain white plate over their face; not even a set of holes for their eyes but it seemed like they could see perfectly well.
Stopping before two large white solid oak doors, the House of Tempus' servant opened the door, bowing as the three teens made their way.
The door quickly closed behind them they were suddenly stricken with awe once again. This dinning room large enough it looked to be able to fit over two hundred people with large white granite table long enough to seat them all. A large crystal chandelier hanging high in the middle of the room, the three guessing it was as tall as the cousins on each other's shoulders and the width of all three of them standing together.
The walls lined with portraits of people; guessing from how they all have those solid ocean blue eyes and snow white skin that they were the other members of the House of Tempus; seeing that that appearance of theirs has nothing to do with Pharaoh's Bucerusian DNA and just a trait the Creator's must have given them.
Feeling like an exercise in itself just to make it to the other end of the table; they took their seats just as a young teenager girl walked in with a servant that looked to be around their age. Gwen could easily tell who this young girl in a single breathless white dress was, from the picture Alex showed her that one day at lunch; it was his none other than his little sister.
The young girl's long silver hair flowed behind her, walking over to taking her seat directly across from the other teens; her servant pulled out her seat before she sat down. "Thank you, Spec," she said to her servant in a voice that could have been mistaken of that of an angel; such a sweet heavenly tone it was even for something as simple as addressing her servant.
"No thanks is needed my Lady," he bowed to her with his right arm over his chest; his voice filled with nothing but respect towards the one he served, "just to serve you is all the thanks I need."
He then turned towards the three teens as the daughter to the House of Tempus opened her eyes; revealing to the heroes the most breathtaking solid ocean blues eyes they had ever seen; which Ren was able to see only pure joy and innocence through them, not even a single hint of any malice or ill content; a quality rare to any species.
"I'm glad we can finally meet face-to-face, Gwendolyn, Benjamin, and Miss. Ren," giving off a gentle smile to the three, turning this baron uneasy environment into a calm and warm place, "my name is Karen Tempus and I'm sorry it has taken this long for us to have contact you; the Family has had its hands full with trying to deal with Sphinx Corp., and with the CEO's mysterious disappearance after your meeting with him we had to be sure you weren't in contact with him of any kind."
"In other… words," Ren spoke up in her emotionless tone; her overall appearance maturing to that of a young woman of her age, and letting her sapphire colored hair grow to reach the tip of her shoulders, "your family was… making sure we weren't… working for him."
She nodded to the alien's accusation, but Ren could see that the young teen in white was depressed from it as well; her emotions were so strong that even she herself started to feel a bit chilly now. "On behalf of the House of Tempus I would like to formally apologize if that has upset you in anyway; it was only a formality that needed to be done."
Over this past year it wasn't only Ben's body that had matured into one suited for a soon-to-be fifteen year old, but his personality as well. He wouldn't just shout out accusations or let his emotions get the best of him, even thinking of strategies compared to his usual head-on fighting style. In some ways he knew he had Pharaoh to thank for that. "It's no problem, we understand completely," replying calmly and maturely, a way he knew he wouldn't react just a few years ago, "Pharaoh is highly intelligent and an extremely tricky villain; it was just something that needed to be done."
"But is everything that he told us the truth?" Gwen probably the one that had changed the most over the past year: letting her hair grow down to her back, her hair not its bright orange color, easily mistaken as brown, never thinks of herself as flat-chested anymore and has practically lost the use of her sharp tongue; something her cousin was glad of yet at the same time missed to a degree, a very small degree, "like how the human race are the basic form of Blanks, this Family part of the beginning of our species, or how I am an evolved Blank?"
Karen nodded once again. "Yes, my brother might be many things but he isn't one to lie," she stated without even the slightest hint of pain or anger; almost like she was still praising him like any sister would do for her older brother. "You are some of a very few people on this planet that know that secret outside of the Family; in-fact if it wasn't for this family's decision to allow the Galactic Enforcers Academy to start accepting Earthlings at that time there is a high probability that you all wouldn't have been subjugated to any of this. If you wish to get out of this, this House will not hold it against you."
"No way," Ben quickly replied; still having some of that enthusiastic energy he had a few years ago. Looking down at his alien tech, now modified to look more like a regular earthling wristwatch, "there hasn't been a day that's gone by I have regretted putting on the Omnitrix. I've been to places I've never knew even existed, got to kick a lot of bad guy butt, and if I never got this…"
Feeling his face now becoming a bit flustered to what he was stating, and what felt like a knob now forming in his throat. "I would have n-never met… Ren."
The young alien teen now also felt that warm sensation increasing in her stone-like face; rubbing one of her hands over the other. "S-So why a-are… we h-here?" this time not stuttering because of her harden throat.
"It is because we, the House of Tempus, wish to acquire your assistance to once and for all, halt Pharaoh," her angelic voice now strictly serious; not wanting to beat around the bush for them.
The teens nearly jumping from shock. "You mean you know where Pharaoh is?" Gwen was first to speak up; trying to keep her emotions under control. Having been looking herself after their fight with Eon but it looked to be as every trace was wiped clean.
For this question though, Lady Karen shook her head. "I'm sorry but we have lost track of him ever since he left your city; yet we do have an idea to where we can find out where he is hiding," signaling Spec, who pulled out a small remote control; pressing a button to see the top of the table slide away and the virtual projection of a giant city appear before them, "Sphinx Corp. has created this city sized school called Sphinx Academy; where the city of San Francisco used to be."
"Yeah we've been hearing about it, something that big is pretty hard to miss," Ben explained, remembering how since its construction six months ago the news stations haven't once shut up about it; with everyday talking about the progress so far.
"The Family believes how he was able to build this school was from the money that was missing from the Adult Industries that were attacked prior to its construction," the lady in white explained; with the story quickly coming back to the teens on the other side of the table.
If memory served this nearly fifteen year old boy correctly; countless Adult Industries all over the world were attack and destroyed, with everyone within mindlessly slaughtered to the point where the images weren't allowed to be broadcasted. But not only that, a virus which has yet to be caught has deleted all of the adult entertainment material on the internet, in personal computers and even on DVD's and VHS'; not to mention the money that went towards it mysteriously disappeared without a trace; estimated to being a heart-stopping one point two trillion dollars altogether. Because of the violent nature of the attack and the virus still out there, too many people are afraid and porn has ceased to exist in this day and age.
"Not only did the money help, but because so many states were on the brink of going into a recession without the funding the Adult Entertainment Industries gave them they had to sign up with Sphinx Corp. to be saved; letting Pharaoh get away with evacuating a whole city. The Family believes that if Pharaoh is going to be anywhere, he is going to be watching the progress of the students to that school in the front line."
"So what you are trying to say is… you want us to go to this school and try to find out where Pharaoh is from the inside?" Gwen asked, knowing it won't be a problem now that she is a black belt in karate and mastered her powers to the point she doesn't even need to recite chants to activating them… just like Alex predicted.
"Not only that Gwendolyn, but we have come into evidence that Pharaoh has been creating new improved FREAKS; having a strong belief it was them that attacked those Industries to test their destructive capabilities. However, because we know he is very precautious, the Family believes he has probably only made five; and look just like their human selves so much they can blend into the public without causing alarm."
"Therefore, we go in, kick some FREAK butt, find out where Pharaoh is and stop what ever he is planning to cause that World War of his," Ben gloated, cracking his knuckles when he did; a habit of his he seemed to be unaware of, "sounds easy enough; those FREAKS last time were no sweat."
"Because those FREAKS that attacked your city were merely his prototypes; we have evidence that with the information he got from Miss. Ren's Omnitrix he can now make FREAKS that are stronger, more stable, and can even be produced off an assembly line if he wants. But to what they will be used for his plan we are still unsure."
Yet during this discussion of the FREAKS Gwen started to wonder; how would they have any evidence or proof of these new, more advance, FREAKS; since she has been following Sphinx Corp.'s actions pretty closely ever since those incidences in her city. Through all the possibilities of how, one came to her. "Your Family has hacked into Naxos, haven't they?" the only place she could never get into.
Almost unable to control her emotion of utter shock, with how she was trained her emotions are a lot stronger then those of normal humans; never would have guessed that they knew anything about Naxos. "After months of hacking we were able to get a few files before nearly having our systems crash; that being one of the file, along with how…," her gentle eyes diverting from the teens, "they were being created."
The teen's eyes went wide from that stutter; there was only one thing her reaction could mean. "Don't tell me you created some FREAKS of your own!" Ben shouted.
"It was a director order from the Head of the Family," Spec spoke up on his master's behalf; seeing as they were accusing her like this was done for Lady Karen's own amusement, "Pharaoh had his new FREAKS specially designed that they can take out an entire fully equipped platoon single-handily if need be. So the best way to have a fighting chance against them was to create FREAKS of own. Where I am proud to say I volunteered to be the first test subject."
"That is enough, Spec," Karen stated politely and gently, not even raising her voice a single degree towards any form of anger, "they are our guest after all."
Where from when she spoke her angelic words, Spec turned to face her, got down on one knee and bowed with his right arm across his chest. "I'm sorry for speaking out of term, my Lady," calming down the instant she said those few simple words.
She only nodded with a sweet kind smile gracing her snow-like face; standing back up to face their guests as she continued. "Our FREAKS will be attending Sphinx Academy along with you three; but for security measures I can't reveal their identities to you until you are all safely inside. They know who you three are and will approach you when the time is right."
Even with all they knew now that was going on behind the scenes they still felt like they were completely in the dark. Wondering if there was something else they knew that they weren't telling them. However, at the moment the three teens knew they needed to trust the House of Tempus, for now anyway. "I'm glad for the extra back-up and all; but how much stronger can these new FREAKS be compared to the prototypes?" Ben asked, feeling with how much he has grown stronger over the year, not to mention the extra aliens he has in his arsenal, if this was all really needed: especially with Ren and Gwen by his side.
With that question however, Spec then turned to the one he served unquestionably; bowing with his right arm across his chest. "If I may speak, my Lady."
"You may speak, Spec," she replied to the black-haired teen that served only her.
"If I may I would like to personally demonstrate physically how strong the new FREAKS are capable of being to Sir Benjamin. I believe he will understand the gravity of the situation through a hands-on means better then a basic description." The teenage butler explained to the next in-line for the Head of the Family; only wishing to serve her and the Family the best he could.
Karen took a few seconds, considering the thought before asking. "Benjamin, would you mind having a sparing match with Spec; he can personally give you a proper demonstration of what the new FREAKS are capable of first hand."
It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what his answer would be; taking their meeting to the backyard; which these teens would call more like its own state then a backyard for its vineyard. But the part they were in was near the house, covered in flowers of all different colors and varieties stretched as far as the eyes could see, especially on a sunny day like this, where they were on the plane of grass; Gwen, Ren and Lady Karen sat at the table under an umbrella while the boys readied for their fight; the next Head of the Family offering the girls next to her a cup white tea which they graciously accepted.
Ben cracked his knuckles while he watched Spec stretch his legs. From what he could see this looked to be a one sided fight; but if his fight against Pharaoh taught him anything, looks could be very deceiving. "This is only a simple demonstration Sir Benjamin," Spec called out to the teen across from him, tapping the tip of his black polished shoes on the ground one after the other, "so please do not get too into the fight."
"Don't worry about it!" the Alien Hero shouted back, "just make sure you can hold your own."
Gwen could only shake her head from the sidelines, even though she admits Ben has matured greatly over the year; he would always be a knucklehead of a cousin to her.
Where another one of their servants, if it wasn't for the mask he wore the teens would guess he was in his late-twenties, raised his white gloved hand into the air. "The duel between Spec Masters and Benjamin Tennyson will commence; ready and…" quickly dropping his arm back down to his side, "begin!"
However the instant the man dropped his arm, the servant before Ben vanished without a trace. Yet he could feel something in the wind and out of reflexes changed into his new dinosaur type alien he dubbed Humongousaur, using his arms blocking his head; those intense training from grandpa now coming in handy as Spec appeared before him, launching a powerful roundhouse kick right at his arms.
Ben instantly realized that for a guy with the same body structure as his human form, that kick was powerful; it not only made a tank like himself slide a few inches back, but he hasn't felt his arms shake like that since his fight with Vilgax.
Not only that, but now this guy was flying in front of him; what the heck did this FREAK project do? "Ok, what's going on?" backing up and changing into a bat-like human with green eyes all over his body, but yet none on his head. He wasn't going to loose sight of Spec this time.
"The new FREAK project now inputs the ability of one of the aliens inside our body; I was given the abilities of an Ectonurite," Ben now knowing that meant his Ghostfreak, his cousin making sure he started studying the basic handbook that was given to them from GEA, "but for some reason it also seems to increase the strength, stamina and endurance for us Blanks as well."
Well that's all Ben needed to hear… well feel to get the gist of everything, changing back into regular Ben where Spec landed back on both feet. However, when the alien teen looked back at the mansion; in the window on the top floor, he could see someone watching them; an older woman glaring down at them from behind the white curtains before she moved away. "Hey Spec," the teen asked Lady Karen's personal servant, pointing at the room in question, "who is in that room, I swear I saw someone watching us."
Looking in the direction their guest was pointing, he clearly explained. "That would be the Head of the Family's office; my Lady's mother must have been watching our little demonstration."
Even from the distance, Ben could make out that cold icy stare when she was watching them. With all the control the House of Tempus had throughout the universe, it was pretty hard to really trust something like that right off the back.
And that's what happened; now he and the girls were smack dab in the middle of enemy territory called Sphinx Academy. Anyone of these four-hundred thousand students, not to mention the teacher and staff, could either be their allies or their enemies while Pharaoh was probably watching them at that exact moment in time. Yeah, this was going to be a piece of cake.
But right now they had to make it to the center of the city sized school, known as City Hall, where the Chancellor aka Mayor of this school will be making an announcement to her citizens. From what they could get for information from the House of Tempus, the teachers and staff were highly classified; another dark alley they get to walk down.
Making there way to the center of the city, where out of the blue a teen with short, just got out of bed, brown hair was hanging upside-down with his feet holding onto a pole, smiling at the teens before him. "Ah just looking at such lovely cuties has turned my world upside-down," having to be one of the lamest pick up lines they have ever heard, "it's always good to see so many cuties with high IQs."
Flipping down onto his feet, his white school uniform looked like he woke up with it already on, wondering how he could do that since they just got them today; quickly brushing off a bit before Gwen asked. "Excuse me, but who are you?"
Giving an energetic smile to the lovely cuties before him; he replied to the young teenage witch. "My name is Michael Barak: hopeless flirt extrordinar," stating like it was something to be proud of, quickly approaching the exquisite blue haired alien, "and I must say that is a very lovely smile; a very alluring weapon it can be in the wrong hands."
One couldn't see it on Ren's face but she was a bit surprised, she felt like her face would be smiling right now if it could move; was he able to see her expression somehow? "Dude what are you talking about," a younger teen approached the group, rubbing his spiky short black hair, "she isn't smiling at all Michael, she looks more like she is petrified from your presences," a joke this teen couldn't help but chuckle to.
"What are you talking about Little Buddy, how can you not see it," turning back to face Ren, giving off a shocked expression, "huh, I wonder where it went. I must have seen it when I looked into this cutie's lovely eyes; it has been stated that one's eyes are the windows to their souls. And from hers I should say hers is heart-skipping."
Where then this flirt-happy teen turned his attention to the girl with long brown hair. "But would you like to go somewhere after this speech cutie, I heard there is a great little coffee shop a short walking distance from City Hall."
However, this time the younger teen that walked up to them, was now pulling Michael away. "Jeez we come all this way and you can't even last two seconds without flirting," turning his attention back at the Heroes, "sorry about this; we will be on our way."
"Come on Little Buddy, you could have at least waited till the cutie gave her answer?" where they were quickly lost within the sea of people heading towards the center of the school.
"Huh," Ben couldn't help but say after all that just happened, a bit different then the serious hardworking students he thought were the students in this school, "that was… strange."
There they stood in the middle of empty area in front of City Hall, having another two minutes before the speech was about to start so the audience was filled with mindless chatter.
Where these three teens kept their eyes open, looking around this ocean of people where anyone of them could be working for Sphinx Corp. Four-hundred thousand already sounded like a big number but seeing it firsthand was huge; even though Ben's cousin stated that this wasn't even one percent of their planet's overall population. He wasn't agreeing with Pharaoh but believed the population did need to stop growing so fast.
"Come on Jamie," the voice of a young women caught the attention of the teens, turning to see the teenage girl helping along a young teenage boy by her side; brushing her hand through her long golden blonde hair while her shy, they were guessing younger brother, seemed to be frozen where he stood, "I know your not use to large crowds but there is nothing to be scared of."
However, their attention was now turned towards the podium at City Hall; with the clock striking ten the chatter instantly silenced, watching a mid-twenties African American woman made her way to the center stage. The three instantly recognized the one before them; it was none other then Pharaoh's personal assistant, Miss. Neith.
She coughed twice to clear her throat before she made her speech. "Welcome all to the grand opening of the city sized school, Sphinx Academy. My name is Chancellor Neith and I will be the Mayor of this city. Everyone that stands here today are students with the most potential for this world of ours."
"The CEO of Sphinx Corp. personally looked over each and every one of your profiles; hoping that with this school's top-of-the-line education system will help you achieve these goals. But there is another reason besides book work the CEO created this school; he believes that with this school he can at least help cease such idiotic actions like prejudice and narrow minded bigotry."
Small conversations could easily be heard between the students from this statement; wondering how this school would stop prejudice. Neith quickly answered those questions. "The CEO believes the stem of where prejudice comes from is the lack of knowledge from other cultures. Like how some people believe all Americans are nothing but corrupt money hungry people, or how some people believe everyone from the Middle East are Terrorist. As you can already look around you we have people from all over the world at this school and you all have the same goal, to further your knowledge to help for a better future for us all. So any student here believing they are better then the person you stand next to for any reason reaching from skin color to being born to a rich family, this school has no use for you."
To the three teens, it almost made them feel like they were the bad guys for wanting to stop a man that is trying to bring the people of this world together; that was if they didn't already know the extremes he was capable of for doing so. "Not only that, but from the homes you will be staying in to the city itself is mixed with cultures from all over the world; the CEO has spared no expense, hopping this will at least be a start for a better understanding and put a dent in prejudice."
"Now there are rules in school which you will need to follow but there are also separate rules to follow while in the city. You will have a complete list of the rules in the homes you have been assigned to but there are a few I will like to put a great emphasis on. To even abolish the prejudice of the oldest battle with boys vs. girls, these homes will be co-ed," hearing some of the students' faint cheers in the crowd, "and because of that; any intimate act before marriage will have you immediately expelled without question."
All of those faint cheers instantly silenced with the Tennysons knowing how dead serious Sphinx Corp. was on this; knowing those 'accidental' deaths in their city were caused by that company. However, they could hear a dark voice behind them, whisper to himself. "What a disgusting thing to do anyway."
They couldn't help but turn their heads to see the teen behind them; a dark scowl on his face while a freezing glare protruded from his eyes. Very unique eyes as well: his right being ice blue where his right was fire red.
But he noticed they were looking at him; looking down with that freezing glare of his unchanging; the cousins could swear their insides were turning to ice as he spoke in that chilling tone. "What?"
Although when Ren looked directly into this teen's eyes; horrifying images flashed into her mind. She couldn't make out most of them, her powers for this field of emotion reading was just coming out and were pretty weak, but the ones she could make out were filled with screams and what looked to be blood everywhere. So paralyzed from the images she saw she couldn't even feel the tears that were moving down her cheeks.
"Ren, Ren what's wrong?" Ben's concerned voice while gently shaking her broke Ren's eye contact with the teen behind them; feeling his warm soothing hand caress her white cheek, "why are you crying?"
The blue hair alien girl touched her other cheek as well; the warm liquid she now rubbed between her fingers. Whatever she saw must have been very powerful; it was nothing like she has ever experienced before. "I-I don't… k-know."
The teen behind them looking away from them, Ben guessed that they have already just met one of Pharaoh's new FREAKS; holding the young women he held dearest to him in his arms; knowing for now this was all he could do.
Focusing back on Neith's speech, missing a little but with their chat with Pharaoh they could already guess what the other rules might be. "The school itself will not start until next week Monday. So for now use this time to get unpacked, settled in, and find your classes and jobs, this school is not only for book experience but the real world as well. Thus all I can say to finish up this welcoming speech is, have fun at your stay in Sphinx Academy!"
To Be Continued
In the middle of enemy territory, not knowing who is friend or foe while having the constant feeling like they are being watched by Pharaoh at this very moment. How will this all turn out? Read and Review. Without enough reviews I will take this story down by the next week this was published.