Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have decided to write this. I have nothing else to do, and Bigby the Big Bad Wolf wanted to see someone do it. So, here we go. Reviews appreciated.
Chapter 1: Illusive Paradox
The star seemed to be doing battle with itself, cool blue facing down blazing red, each vying for dominance in the empty blackness of space. Such a shame it was unknown, and therefore nameless.
The man in the suit, seated in his custom-made chair and cradling a cigarette between two fingers of his right hand, was rapidly reading and analyzing reports from all over his organization. Occasionally he would give a pleased smile or a disappointed scowl, the results of experiments or the outcome of his agents' missions each bringing forth their own reaction in him.
This man possessed no name, only a moniker.
The Illusive Man, leader of Cerberus, an organization whose primary goal was the advancement of the human race in a galaxy controlled by turians, asari, salarians, and other extraterrestrial species who looked down on mankind for their perceived aggression and headstrong nature.
He had once been known as Jack Harper, a mercenary who fought during the First Contact War, and the first man to ever set foot on Palaven. He had met the now-deceased Saren Arterius and his deranged brother.
And now, he was dead-set on saving humanity from the greatest threat the galaxy has ever known.
The Reapers, a race of hyper-advanced machines that possessed incredible firepower and the ability to corrupt and mind-control organics; a process known as indoctrination, something that Saren had suffered from before his death via Commander Shepard.
That was two years ago, and now, large amounts of human colonies were just disappearing without a trace; abducted by some dangerous, unseen force. The Illusive Man had a hunch on who or what was responsible, but he possessed no solid evidence. His only option at the moment was to wait for the most expensive project in Cerberus history to finally finish. Then they could take the fight to the Reapers.
After a few moments, the Man noticed something strange. He had been expecting his second-in-command, Miranda Lawson, to arrive one minute and thirty-eight seconds ago. Miranda Lawson was never late; she was practically a machine, always on time and always doing her damnedest to be perfect in everything she did.
Then he noticed something else.
The star that made up his entire view had stopped its activity. No more tendrils of solar energy flailing around in space. No blue and red engaging in war to conquer the surface. No movement whatsoever.
Then the Man's screens of information, currently displaying the progress of the Lazarus Project, flickered before going dark and disappearing. But the Illusive Man did not distress. Instead, he lifted his cigarette to his mouth, took a long, contemplative draw, and began wondering about the strange presence in the room that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
"Quite an impressive view," came a male voice, carrying what sounded like a British accent. "Pity it's reserved for a madman such as you, Mr. Harper."
The Illusive Man did not react, simply waiting for his uninvited guest to reveal himself.
The sound of footsteps echoed throughout the silent room as the person drew closer, before revealing himself on the Man's left side.
The intruder possessed slick-back black hair and wore a lab coat over what appeared to be clothes reminiscent of Earth in the 1960s. He wore a pair of goggles around his neck, and held a slight frown on his face as he walked past the Man, never looking at him.
When the strange man stood directly in front of the Illusive Man, he turned around and locked eyes with him. And the Illusive Man understood one thing from his haunting gaze; this person, whoever he was, could completely destroy him. No hesitation, no remorse. Maybe he was human, maybe he was something beyond comprehension. But he was extremely dangerous.
"I hope you don't mind that I temporarily shifted us into a faster realm of time. Wouldn't want someone such as Miss Lawson walking in while we conduct our business," the man continued, never breaking his gaze.
The Illusive Man breathed out smoke as he spoke. "And who exactly am I conducting business with?"
The stranger's expression went from stoic to cheerful in an instant. "Well, you see, I've forgotten what my name is. Been a long time since anyone's referred to me as such. So just call me Professor Paradox."
The Illusive Man didn't blink or react in any way. "Well, 'Professor', might I ask what sort of being is capable of shifting time on a whim like you have just done?"
Paradox simply smirked as he took two steps toward the seated Man. "I am a human, much like yourself."
Before the man formerly known as Jack Harper could think of any particular inquiry, the time-manipulating stranger continued speaking. "But that is a story for another time. I'm here to talk about these dossiers you are creating for Commander Shepard's upcoming mission."
The Illusive Man leaned forward slightly, his interest further piqued.
"I know you have many individuals in mind for this particular endeavor. However, I am here to add one more, if you'll consider him."
Paradox's smile grew slightly as the Illusive Man blinked and answered. "When a man who can control one of the fundamental forces of reality appears and offers assistance, refusing would be a foolish notion. Are you offering your own services, or forwarding a recommendation?"
The professor simply walked forward and produced a datapad seemingly out of nowhere, holding it out for the Illusive Man, who took it and immediately began browsing through its contents as Paradox turned and continued gazing at the frozen star
After a few moments, the Man spoke. "Benjamin Tennyson... And he's only nineteen, you say?"
"Don't let his age fool you, Mr. Harper. Ben Tennyson is more than a match for any being in the galaxy, including Commander Shepard."
"But is he a match for the Reapers?" the Illusive Man questioned quietly, his eyes lingering on one word in particular. "What is this 'Omnitrix' the dossier speaks of?"
Paradox turned, smiling once more as he explained. "The Omnitrix is a highly advanced piece of technology that allows Ben to transform into extraterrestrial species at a whim."
The Illusive Man paused. "So he could transform into a krogan or asari if he wished?"
"He's have to unlock their DNA first, but yes, that is entirely plausible. You see, Ben, and myself, are from a parallel reality to yours. A parallel past, as a matter of fact. We have many more alien species in our universe than yours, and he has access to more than seventy of them, all very formidable. He's used the device many times to protect not only Earth, but the entire universe."
The Illusive Man leaned back in his chair, calmly thinking over everything he had just heard and digesting this new information.
"Some of the abilities he possesses with his aliens include, but are not limited to, superhuman strength, super speed, flight, energy absorption and projection, gravikinesis, super intelligence, enhanced senses, underwater breathing, regeneration, size manipulation, and self-replication. And that's just the beginning," Paradox explained, feeling quite pleased as he noticed the Illusive Man become more and more intrigued.
"But I know your kind, Mr. Harper. You require facts and evidence of a person's potential before you would place them on a mission as crucial as this one. So, would you like to see Ben Tennyson and the Omnitrix in action?"
The leader of Cerberus looked up sharply. "That sounds most intriguing, Professor."
With that, the man stood up and walked over to stand next to Paradox.
"Very well," Paradox said jovially. "Let us be off."
A bright flash of light later, and they were gone.
All Ben had wanted was a smoothie. It was just that simple. Drive to Mr. Smoothie's, get one of his favorite flavors, sit down, and enjoy a day of not going hero and dealing with bank robbers or terrorists or alien conquerers.
Ever since Gwen had gone off to college, Kevin going with her and now working at a mechanic's, things had been rather boring for Ben Tennyson. He had no luck in the girl department, he had no reason to get a job (selling off Diamondhead shards online made him quite a nice profit), and he lived alone in his own apartment now, having moved out of his folks' place a year ago. The bad guys just seemed to show up less and less. As if they were finally learning their lesson.
Except for days when he finally could relax, apparently. Go to the beach? Angry mutated crab attacks from the ocean. Go to amusement park? Zombozo's old goon trio tries to rob the joint, which, naturally, did not end well.
Go to Mr. Smoothie's, and guess who's waiting for him?
The lamest team-up ever, apparently.
"Aw, come on guys!" Ben cried as he stepped out of his car. "Can't we do this later? I desperately want a smoothie!"
The alien bounty hunter known as Sunder merely laughed from atop his glider. "I've come for your Omnitrix, Ben Tennyson! And this time, I have help!"
"No more will you interfere in my busssinessss, boy," Ssserpent growled as he bared his fangs, his forked tongue flailing about in what was supposed to be a threatening manner. Honestly, what was Ssserpent's thing? Sunder wanted the Omnitrix, Rojo wanted money, Animo wanted world domination. But what did the mutated snake guy want? Honestly, sometimes it felt like his only purpose was to just get a beatdown from the wielder of the Omnitrix.
Ben frowned as he adjusted his jacket. "I'm gonna give you guys one chance to walk away. Otherwise, things aren't gonna end well for you."
In response, Sunder fired up his energy axe and charged forward, Ssserpent following close behind.
Ben sighed as he activated the Omnitrix and slammed down on one of his newest aliens.
A flash of green light later, and Ben Tennyson was now someone else. A creature with a dark blue body, a white stripe going down his chest, plug-like attachments on his hands and the two antenna on his head, and a single green eye in the middle of his face.
"FEEDBACK!" he cried, grinning as he flexed his fingers. "Oh, yeah! You guys are in for it now!"
From a rooftop across the street, Professor Paradox and the Illusive Man watched as Ben began his fight against the bounty hunter and the snake-man.
"So that is the power of the Omnitrix," the Illusive Man muttered to himself as he pulled out another cigarette, lighting it and taking in a large amount of smoke.
"Yes, and that is simply one of many forms Ben has unlocked over the years. This one, Feedback, was just unlocked little more than a month ago. His powers are quite impressive."
As if on cue, the alien on the glider swung his axe and fired an energy blast at the being known as Feedback, who simply grinned before lifting his fingers and his antennae toward the blast.
The Illusive Man felt his eyes widen as he watched the transformed young man absorb the energy through the plug-like attachments on his body. Once all the energy was consumed, Feedback cracked his neck before aiming his hands at both Ssserpent and Sunder. Suddenly, large blue blasts of electricity emerged from the finger-plugs and roared towards Ben's foes.
While Sunder leaped off his glider, allowing it to be destroyed by the blast, Ssserpent bore the full brunt of the attack, being blown into the air and crashing onto a car nearby. He didn't get up.
"One down, one to go!" Feedback cheered. "Let's mix things up a little with an old favorite."
With that, Ben tapped the Omnitrix dial on his chest and transformed into a hulking alien with four arms, red skin, black pants, golden braces on his arms, and fingerless gloves on his hands.
"Impressive. I'm guessing this form is used solely for its brute strength?" the Illusive Man guessed.
"Correct, Mr. Harper. Fourarms is one of Ben's first aliens, and a fan-favorite," Paradox said cheerfully.
Down below, the teen-transformed-Tetramand was swinging madly, Sunder doing his best to dodge every punch coming his way.
Deciding that going on the offensive was a better option, Sunder leaped into the air and swung his axe towards Ben's head, attempting an instant killing blow. Fourarms simply grabbed it and yanked Sunder toward him, smacking him with a powerful headbutt and knocking him out. The Tetramand calmly snapped the ax over his knee before transforming back to his human form.
"Very impressive. He'll make an invaluable addition to Shepard's team," the head of Cerberus muttered.
"Told you so," Paradox responded as he pulled out a pocketwatch. "Well, Mr. Harper, we must get going. I have a schedule to keep."
And with that, they were gone, having never been noticed by Ben Tennyson, who was now attempting to get the smoothie he so craved.
The moment they returned to Cerberus's headquarters, Paradox could see the gears spinning in the Illusive Man's head, and he frowned. "But rest assured Mr. Harper, Ben would never join Cerberus. Under any circumstances. He does not believe in one species standing above another, and he most assuredly would abhor partaking in your inhumane experiments."
The Illusive Man picked up a strong undercurrent of disapproval in Paradox's tone, but he pushed it aside. Alternate dimensions? Shapeshifting technology? A man who can control time itself? The universe had just been expanded beyond belief.
"But that is his choice, not yours, Professor," came his smooth reply.
"True," Paradox conceded. "But what makes Ben Tennyson special isn't the Omnitrix, but his character. He possesses a charisma matching that of Commander Shepard's, and a pure heart that always causes him to do the right thing. Joining up with an organization that poisons innocent turian colonies and experiments on children wouldn't be considered 'doing the right thing' in his eyes. Or in the eyes of any rational person, really."
The Illusive Man took another draw from his cigarette before standing up and exhaling more smoke, walking to stand next to Paradox in looking out the window.
"If you think so little of Cerberus, then why don't you accelerate that star into a black hole, or prevent my birth, or commit any number of actions that could stop this organization from existing?"
Paradox smiled grimly, knowing the Illusive Man already had an idea in mind.
"It's simple. For all your power and knowledge over time itself, you still have to follow certain rules, just like a normal human. Just like the Alliance."
The Man turned to stare into Paradox's eyes.
"That's what makes Cerberus different. We follow no one else's rules. Not the Alliance's, not the Council's. We're willing to go anywhere and do anything for the good of humanity. That's why we experiment with biotics. That's why we try and create advanced cybernetics. And that's why we're willing to cheat death itself to bring back mankind's hero. And in the end, history will vindicate us."
"I sincerely doubt that," the professor retorted. "I hold much respect for you, Mr. Harper. You have great intelligence and powerful vision, but it's ruined by your foolish belief in human dominance instead of equality."
Paradox's face became stoic as he paused, slipping his hands back inside his pockets.
"We will speak again soon. I have business to attend to, and you have a meeting with Miss Lawson that should provide some good news."
Paradox began walking away, but paused after four steps and turned back to the Illusive Man.
"Rest assured, Mr. Harper, Ben Tennyson will save the galaxy. And, perhaps, he will save you too."
And in a flash of light, he was gone.
The Illusive Man took another draw on his cigarette, his mind in deep thought.
Things had just gotten a lot more interesting.
Yeah, I know, this chapter is short as hell, but I just couldn't find a way to expande it without making it boring.
Anyway, I started this story in ME2 since ME1 is just frustrating to write about. It's a great game, just slightly less interesting. Also, Fourarms in this story is based more off his design in Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United. I just like that look better.
And honestly, I truly despise the look and atmosphere of Omniverse. Ben 10 has really gone downhill, if you ask me. But I will admit, I do like some of the aliens (especially Gravattack), so a few (like Feedback, of course) will appear in this story, but not all (seriously, what exactly is the point of aliens like Ball Weevil and The Worst? They were thrown in for comic relief, nothing more!).
Enough complaining. Next chapter should be up soon, with Ben waking up on the wonderful space station known as Omega. What could go wrong?
One last thing: You'll notice I haven't put in if Shepard is male or female. That's for YOU to decide. I have a poll up on my profile page, so, if you want this story to go one way or the other, let your voice be heard and your vote counted. After that poll is closes, I'll put up another one where the readers can decide Ben's love interest in the story.
Reviews appreciated, both praise and criticism taken to heart.