Points of origin
Paradox has crisscrossed the timelines countless times over, and from the very start, he's found that it's nearly impossible not to run into Ben, Gwen, and Kevin somehow. Whether they time travel or if some past event influences the life of one of them, somehow or another, they're almost always involved.
It's taken a while to sort it out, but he thinks he knows why. Well, at the very least, he knows why for now. He won't admit that he only thinks so, but he's a scientist, and he knows that he needs to keep his options open in case future developments disprove his theory. But this is what he knows so far:
Ben is capable of understanding time on the metaphysical level. While he generally has no clue what he's doing, he usually does well at things he doesn't explicitly have mastered in general. His understanding makes him resilient enough to navigate the chronal barrier at ten and vaguely retain memories of meeting his older self. In fact, his memories in alternate timelines are remarkably resilient. He also is incredibly stubborn and refuses to give up.
Gwen is somehow connected to the entropy of the universe. With her innate Anodyte abilities and her magic, she is able to influence the energies of the universe. Her power reserve gives her the ability to use complex spells far above her understanding—for good or ill. She also has a very caring nature and will do whatever it takes to help those who need it.
And as for Kevin, the funny thing is that he doesn't seem to have much of a connection to the timeline. In fact, as far as Paradox can tell, Kevin has no set destiny. Moreso than Gwen's connection to entropy and Ben's unknowing mastery of time/space, Kevin's removal from destiny makes him a wild card on the team. But there are always constants: He will always meet Ben and Gwen. He will always betray them, at least once. And he will always have that chance to make things right. The choice is up to the rest of them.
The Singularity Point, the Crux Point, and the Divergence Point. Their actions have affected Cross Time on a far greater level than even the timewalker himself.
Paradox has seen many different timelines and universes, but he has to admit that the one he meddles with now may be his favorite. The choices that influence the universe and time itself are not made by one person alone, but by three very headstrong and very goodhearted young people, and no matter what comes out of it, they do all they can to ensure that everything will be right. And Paradox thinks—well, as far as current observations go, though this theory doesn't seem to be in danger of being disproven any time soon—that maybe his real purpose in the universe is to make sure that all their hard work doesn't go to waste.
Several times, he's wished that he could be more direct with the young heroes, especially when they're too young to think completely outside the box. He's wanted to tell Kevin exactly what would happen to him at the Forge of Creation, and he's wanted to tell Ben that he would never ask him to kill anyone. Being unable to be direct with them is what led to Gwen creating an alternate timeline.
But he also knows that this is the only way they'll learn. He's a professor; he remembers enough of his life before the experiment to know that trying to tell any young person anything direct will lead to them going exactly against what he says because they're young and headstrong. While Ben, Gwen, and Kevin know to be more cautious in matters that pertain to the survival of the universe, they're also a little too eager to find an easy way out, out of the fears they won't admit that one little mistake will ruin everything. He has to let them have that fear, and he has to let them try. It's their mission, not his.
Sometimes, though, it's just a lot of fun to mess with them. Kevin is especially fun to annoy, and he can see why Ben does it so often. Azmuth is another favorite target; they may be on good terms, especially since they can easily converse on the metaphysics of space and time without losing one another in the discussion, but Azmuth's persistent pessimism and general lack of patience really can get irritating after a century or two.
Yes, Paradox is smug, but often it's because it's for the others' own good. They need to learn they're not as strong nor as brilliant as they think they are. And unfortunately, he frequently deals with people who don't learn any way but the hard way.
And maybe it's because Paradox has a good sense of schadenfreude.
Immortal time-travelers make mistakes too, sometimes, and Paradox is no exception. There's this particularly funny scenario from his earlier decades, when he accidentally influenced a fledgling race a little too much, and they formed a religion around him. He had to go back in time all over again to prevent it before anything could spiral out of control.
He does what he can to avoid them, but he has heard of what happened. They grew to be a powerful race and maintained their interest in time and space travel, as well as little quirks like not going by their real names. They're nigh extinct now, thanks to their own actions, but all in all, they didn't do too badly. Not bad for Paradox's first attempts at meddling.
He does wish, however, that they hadn't picked up that habit of wearing silly hats. He'd only meant it as a joke.
The past should give us hope
There are special people throughout the multiverse known as Singularity Points. They exist outside of time and are more or less immune to changes in the timeline. Should someone go back in time to try to kill them, they will still exist even with the interference, with no memory of having been erased.
Paradox isn't a Singularity Point in the strictest sense of the term; he's more or less managed to become one simply by studying the timeline for a hundred millennia. That sort of thing makes it easier to keep track of the changes. Only one other person has managed to do this simply through study, though he erased himself from existence in order to give his younger self a new future, passing the secrets on to him. Paradox had gotten to know this man well during their separate journeys through time, and though he disagreed with him on a great many things (ranging from "Why didn't you marry the girl first and save yourself this trouble?" to "Why are you putting your family—past and future—through so much pain?"), he still respected him a great deal. He hopes that the man's younger alternate will manage to prove himself just as good a man, in his own right.
Interestingly enough, this man was not Ben Tennyson, though there are similarities between the two. The worst similarity can be found in a timeline where Ben's future became completely derailed. Paradox had become too eager to train the boy, to teach him the secrets of time that he understood instinctively. But Paradox forgot one important thing: human minds—including Singularity Points'—were fragile. And time was a harsh mistress. Sometimes, Singularity Points broke. Losing their identities, they devoted themselves only to time and ensuring their existences—because existence was the only thing they had left.
It had happened to someone the other man had known, and the broken Singularity Point became his enemy, and the enemy of his family and his younger self. And so it had happened to this timeline's Ben, who took on the name Eon and became Paradox's enemy. And because they were Singularity Points and they were too far gone, there was no way to repair things to prevent it from happening.
Paradox met his friend after they both found themselves facing dangerous Singularity Points. Sakurai was silent, holding one of the cards from his transformation device as if it carried the weight of the world. And Paradox knew it did. Paradox didn't argue with him, simply letting him go off to doom himself because he knew it was the only thing he could do. In the meantime, he had to try again himself.
Sakurai recruited his younger self. Paradox started anew in Cross Time with a younger, still innocent Ben. Both knew that their protégés would have to battle against their enemies one day, and if they were successful, they'd supplant their future selves. And it was the greatest hope either Sakurai or Paradox could have, morbid as it was. Because the both of them knew that the only hope for the future did lie in the past and the only way to fix your mistakes was to simply try again.
To the children who inherit courage
Another Tennyson who Paradox has met in Cross Time is the original Ben 10,000's son, Ken. The boy is impressive—a bit impulsive, yes. A bit of a complainer, true. But he is always open to new ideas and is probably the most forgiving person in the universe.
Paradox wishes that he just weren't so eager to try to be like his father, though he's beginning to understand that there will be differences between them. Their mercy, for one. Ken's forgiveness closed the book on the past and redeemed Ben's sins. He's just not yet old enough to understand that it's his greatest strength.
In the hundred millennia Paradox has been crisscrossing time, he's come across many who were powerful, but fewer who were merciful. And it is those who he believes are the true heroes and those he praises.
And he hopes that one day, Ben will grow to be as fine a man as his son will be.
To be perfectly honest, Paradox is a lot more straightforward than some of his fellow timewalkers—or time riders, he should say. He's seen so many convoluted schemes to protect the flow of time that it could give him a headache. It's ranged from protecting the future by erasing all memory of it to outright (and admittedly, accidentally) creating a conquered present while trying to ensure someone's birth. And these are the schemes by those who try to protect time. He refuses to touch the messes caused by those who didn't care about the flow of time, so long as it resulted in one person surviving—one of the reasons he tried to talk Gwen out of her mad scheme.
There are rules that bind Paradox as well as these others, and he does all he can to abide by them. True, in moments of desperation, he does circumvent things a little bit, but there are lines he refuses to cross. It can be done a lot more cleanly and without having to attract more entropy in the universe to stabilize the timeline.
When Ben, Kevin, and Gwen complain that he's being too vague or that they'd like him to be more proactive in preserving time, sometimes he just wants to tell them how bad it could be.
Then again, knowing them? It would only make a bigger mess.
But your enemies closer
He hates to admit it, but there are times when he's had to work with their enemies.
It's because Albedo's discovered something that may save all of time. Or Vilgax needs to win in order to gain a strong foothold against another, much more powerful enemy. Or Hex knows just the right spell to save everything if he can be persuaded.
It's not that Paradox likes working with them. He hates it. He knows how destructive they are. But he also knows they care about their own self-interests enough that when they do have what he needs to save everything, it's not hard to convince them. Even if it means he has to let them have a few victories.
He could change them, of course. Rewrite their pasts. Alter their destinies. Circumvent every treaty he's ever made with the greatest beings of the universes. Be like a god.
But he wouldn't.
True, he knows he may one day grow tired of sanity and revert to insanity once more, but he was never fond of megalomania.
It's what separates him from them.
And it's how he can keep from feeling too guilty when he does have to work with them.
Somewhere, in the infinite universes, there is a world where Ken and Devlin will meet Ben and a reformed Kevin. The situation will be dire enough for Paradox to permit the interference between worlds and times, no matter the risk to the fabric of reality.
But he's pretty sure that reality was ripped a new one when Devlin broke the awkward tension between him and Kevin by quipping, "Dad, I quit school to become a pirate."
Paradox isn't sure whether to join the Tennysons' laughter or palm his face. Either way, it's proven that insanity really isn't worth it sometimes.
He's been to the beginning and end of the universe, and of time, and he still doesn't know what lesson he should take from it. It has left him with a drive to help the protectors of the universe, who care deeply about their fellow beings and wish to save everything at all costs. But at times, the futility of what he's doing, what everyone's doing, has hit him.
And yet, he keeps going. And so do they.
He doubts that's the lesson that he should learn from it—that's something they've all already known. After all, who was the man so gleeful in the face of danger, ready to tear apart space and time for the sake of science and calmly accept the possibility that he'd caused his own undoing with that fateful experiment?
Maybe there was never a lesson after all. Maybe it was just another thing he saw for the sake of seeing it, all while remaining unchanged, a fixed point in time watching it all go past others and leaving him untouched.
Maybe the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. There were always constants to the universe.
And he knew that he'd always be one of those constants.
He knew. His future self told him so.
What? You expected him not to cheat?
And all one hundred are finally complete. There are multiple references to Kamen Rider Den-O throughout this—kind of as a teaser to my upcoming crossover "Derailed." #5 is actually not part of that universe, but I had to do the crossover. The title of #6 comes from a song from the Digimon franchise. The joke at the end of #9 was kind of based off the movie Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger VS Uchuu Keiji Gavan, where it almost seems at one point like Marvelous, Gokai Red, could have been Space Sheriff Gavan's son who went off and became a space pirate.