"You have to take it off, Ben," Max Tennyson insisted once he'd heard the full story. Ben shook his head.

"No way, Grandpa."

"It's not worth risking your life!" Max insisted. "Think about it, Ben....someone else can take the omnitrix. You don't have to always be a hero. You could just take it easy for a while, go back to a normal life."

Ben smiled. "I tried that once, remember? And yeah, it was great, but the whole time I knew that I could do something to help, make a difference....all because I had the omnitrix where I could put it back on again at any time. If someone else gets it, they have to start over, and what if the world can't wait for them? The omnitrix is my responsibility. I'm going to do what I need to to keep the world safe."

Max sighed, and ruffled his grandson's hair. "How did you wind up so stubborn? You're always so willing to be a hero..."

"Weren't you supposed to have retired from the Plumbers several years ago?" Ben challenged. Max laughed.

"All right, you've got me there, Ben," Max looked pensive a moment, then continued. "But you've grown up to be a fine adult, and I trust your decisions. How do you want to do this?"

"Gwen already called Grandma....we're hoping she may be able to train me...Albedo unlocked the rest of my alien forms, including the Anodite form."

"I just hope she can help......"

"Sorry, can't do anything for you, kiddo," Verdona said.

"What? But...Grandma...he's going to explode if he doesn't learn how to use it!" Gwen tried.

"Yes, that happens quite often with Anodite males..."

"And you're okay with this?" Kevin asked, raising an eyebrow. "You're just going to let your grandson blow up?"

"I said I can't help him. I didn't say he was beyond help."

"...What do you mean?" Ben asked, wary of what his grandmother might answer.

"Simple. Go to Anodyne."

"If this is another trick to get Gwen to go," Kevin said, threateningly.

"Cool your jets, sonny...this isn't about that. And I thought Gwen dumped you..."

Kevin glared at the energy being, but said nothing else.

"Relationship issues aside," Ben said, "What do you mean? You wanted Gwen to go there with you to learn how to use her powers...is that what you're saying I should do?"

Verdona laughed. "Oh of course not. You don't have the spark...no way you could learn the way a typical Anodyne does....and since it takes us over seventy years to master our powers, and from what I understand, you only have a few months. Correct?"

"Yes, but I don't understand....what on Anodyne will allow me to use it?"

"Well, it may not exist," Verdona admitted.

"What do you mean?" Max asked.

"It's an old fairy tale on Anodyne...A long time ago, the males were fine. They mastered their powers just as easily as the women of our planet. One day that changed. No one knows why. But the males of Anodyne were all dying. The legend says that Lura, a powerful Anodite, created a source of energy. It's hidden somewhere on Anodyne. Supposedly, any male to pass over it will be able to master his powers."

"Do you think it's true?" Ben asked.

"Sounds like a load to me," Verdona admitted, "But what other choice have you got?"

"I guess we're going to Anodyne," Gwen said, resigned to the idea.

"Ooh, wonderful. You'll like it there, Gwendolyn," Verdona insisted, "Make sure you use your powers in front of the other Anodites so that they recognize you as an energy being. Not too fond of other life forms there..."

"Wait...you're not going?" Kevin asked.

"Well, someone has to cover for you three while you go!" Verdona said, smirking.

"You. You're...You're gonna be a Plumber?" Ben asked.

"Not a fully deputized d one," Verdona explained, "But I can help out."

"Sorry, Ben," Max said, "But with you and the omnitrix gone, we need Verdona's help. You, Kevin and Gwen will have to figure it out on your own."

"But how do we even find the energy source? We don't even know what to look for!" Ben insisted.

"It will react to yours and Gwen's Anodite blood. You'll find it," Verdona explained. "Just make sure you turn into an Anodite when you're over it. If you're human then, it will permanently destroy your body. The brightside is it will realize your powers enough to help you form an energy being's body."

"Some brightside," Ben smacked a hand to his forehead, "Now the options are being blown up for good, turning into an Anodite form with my normal body destroyed for good or giving up the omnitrix..."

"Wow," Kevin noted, "Rough week..."

"Let's just go get Ship," Ben said simply, "The sooner we get to Anodine, the sooner we'll figure everything out..."

Author's note: this story needed love because it was being neglected.