Alright, here's chapter 2. Enjoy.
Chapter 2: Welcome to Omega
Ben Tennyson sighed as he glanced once more around his surroundings, knowing that his day had just gone from bad to worse.
After the whole incident with Sunder and Ssserpent, he had finally gotten a smoothie and had gone to enjoy it in his car, listening to some music on the radio as thought about what to do for the day.
Then, a bright flash of light later, he was lying on the ground in some dark corridor which smelled terrible and gave off a sense of dread. He had picked upself up, dusted himself off, and complained that he didn't get to finish his smoothie. Then, as if things couldn't get any worse, a group of five aliens, each with four eyes, approached and attempted to mug him at gunpoint, demanding "his credits, his omni-tool, and that stupid watch".
Ben didn't know what an "omni-tool" was, but he was familiar with credits (of which he had none), and there was no way he was giving them the Omnitrix. So, after a rumble with Rath, the four-eyed aliens were subdued and Ben was left to wander this weird place, making him wonder if he was on an alien world.
Of course, that train of thought went out the window when he saw that he was in space, leading him to logically assume he was on some massive life-supporting space station.
So, he found the nearest being he could, which was a strange, bird-like alien with mandibles and dark eyes, and asked where he was.
The alien had looked at him like he was crazy and replied with "You're on Omega, kid. You hit a little too much of the red sand?"
Ben didn't know what "red sand" was, but he thanked the alien and went on his way. He then attempted to use the Omnitrix to access Plumber communication channels and find someone who could help him. All he got was static.
So, Plan B: Find a spaceport.
Easier said than done, however, as Ben wandered the place with no idea where to go and no directory to give him help.
Of course, this was where Ben noticed something was wrong.
First, he only saw a handful of different aliens. Normally, on space stations (at least in his experience), you see all kinds of lifeforms. Galvanic Mechomorph here, Pyronite there, maybe a Galval complaining at the poor quality of a product he had purchased. But here, all Ben saw were less than a dozen different species.
The four-eyed aliens, which all appeared to give him a look of contempt whenever he passed by. The bird-like aliens with their frills and mandibles, weird skinny aliens with large black eyes and three fingers, large elephant-looking aliens that walked on their forearms like gorilla, small rotund ones that were contained in suits, human-shaped ones also in suits with a visor revealing glowing eyes, blue and purple-skinned feminine ones with tentacles on their heads, large dinosaur-looking ones with plates on their heads and unpleasant expressions on their faces, and hostile ones with sharp teeth and strange, almost mangled-looking skin.
But what really confused him was the sight of humans on this station. Something which shouldn't be possible, as humans were practically oblivious of aliens back on Earth. And none of them appeared to be Plumbers, as they all looked mostly thuggish or vagrant-like.
Knowing that he needed answers, Ben turned to desperate measures and used Upgrade to hack a nearby electronic computer-like device (later identified as a terminal) and find out all he could.
What he learned chilled him to the core.
The year was 2185. Humans had found a Prothean (apparently a highly advanced alien species that vanished over 50,000 years ago) data cache on Mars in the year 2148, allowing them to take to the stars and almost start a war with another species, the Turians (the bird-like species with the mandibles Ben had seen). The galaxy was run by a Council of chosen species, and Omega was where the scum of the galaxy went to live and make a living. Species achieved faster-than-light travel through things called mass relays, and some species, upon exposure to something called element zero, gained the power to manipulate dark energy, and were termed "biotics". Thanks to Upgrade's advanced systems, Ben learned a great deal in a short amount of time, and his photographic memory allowed him to retain every last bit of info he came across.
Ben also learned the names of all the current species in the galaxy; Batarians (the four-eyed ones who tried to mug him), Asari (the tentacle-headed aliens), Salarians (ones with the large eyes and skinny bodies), Elcor (the large gorilla-elephant ones), Krogan (the dinosaur-like ones), Vorcha (the sharp-toothed ones), Volus (the aliens that were short and round in the suits), Quarians (the other suited race that lived on a "Migrant Fleet"), plus some he hadn't seen yet, such as Hanar (jellyfish-looking aliens that floated), Drell (fish-like and almost extinct), and Geth (a hostile machine race drove the quarians from their planet).
There was no mention of any of the alien species Ben had come to know over the years, such as Tetramands or Vulpimancers.
So, what did that mean?
Well, all he could think was that he was in an alternate future, sent here for a reason he wasn't sure of, and he was almost positive Professor Paradox was to blame. No one else could send him through time like this.
And while that explanation would seem insane to anyone else, to Ben Tennyson, it was just another weird adventure to chalk up on his long and illustrious career.
So now, Ben was currently going over his options when another batarian strolled up behind him with what appeared to be a high-tech assault rifle in his hands.
"Aria would like to speak to you, kid," he said gruffly, sounding like he would rather be doing anything than retrieving some teenager for his boss.
"Who?" Ben asked, having never heard the name before.
The batarian chuckled. "Oh, you're definitely a new arrival. Just follow me. Disobeying Aria would be hazardous to your health and mine."
With that, the four-eyed alien turned and began walking away, allowing Ben to follow him. Why not, right? If something bad happens, Humongousaur gets to smack a few heads. And if things went right, he could finally get some decent answers.
After a while of walking past more aliens and humans, all of which watched him wearily, apparently noticing that he was with an employee of Aria (whoever that was), and thought it wise to keep their distance.
Eventually, they walked into a more open area, allowing Ben to see many buildings and flying vehicles in the distance. And then, there was the establishment directly ahead, its neon lights showing flames, and large purple letters spelling out "AFTERLIFE".
The batarian walked past the long line and the elcor bouncer, Ben hot on his heels, managing to hear a guy attempt to bribe his way past the bouncer before being rebuked.
The wielder of the Omnitrix now stood in a well-lit entrance hallway, neon flames dancing along the walls, and he could hear faint techno-dance music through the walls. At the end of the hallway was another door, and the batarian was now tapping his foot impatiently, waiting for Ben to hurry up. The teen jogged to catch up, and the door opened.
"Welcome to Afterlife, junior," the batarian said as Ben took in his new surroundings.
In the middle of the circular room was a large, round holographic cylinder filled with neon light and flashing images of dancing asari in skimpy outfits. Around the neon cylinder was a ring-shaped platform suspended from the ceiling, with poles on it, allowing actual live asari dancers to show off their moves, causing Ben to blush slightly, something his batarian escort found humorous. To the right was a bar with quite a number of patrons drinking down strange-colored liquids, no doubt very alcoholic in nature. To the left was a cluster of tables and a door to a separate room. At the back was yet another dr, this one much larger. On either side of the back wall was a staircase with an armed guard on each side, both stairs leading up to a balcony that overlooked the club.
The batarian pointed to the staircase on the right side, giving the silent order right before heading for the bar, his rifle slung over his shoulder. Shrugging, Ben walked over and past the turian guard, who eyed him suspiciously as he ascended the staircase. When Ben reached the top, he looked to his left and saw an asari standing at the edge of the balcony, though he only saw her back, he recognized the tentacles that made up the back of her head. On her white jacket was a symbol he did not recognize. Ben also took notice of the half-dozen turian and batarian guards that had their weapons at the ready in case he decided to do something foolish regarding their boss.
Ben took a deep breath and walked toward the asari, whom he assumed was Aria. When he got within a few feet...
"That's close enough," she said quietly, though loud enough for her point to be heard. A turian and batarian lunged forward and aimed their pistols at Ben's head, pausing him in his tracks.
He watched as Aria twitched her head slightly to the left, which caused the turian and batarian to lower their weapons and back away.
"I'm guessing you're Aria?" Ben asked, though he had a sneaking suspicion he was correct.
The asari turned around, showing off quite an attractive face and curvy body. But what Ben took special notice of was the lethal look in her eyes. A look he had seen many times before, most especially in the eyes of his archenemy, Vilgax.
The eyes of a ruthless, unstoppable warlord.
"You guess correctly," she said, her voice silky smooth and sultry, though possessing an undercurrent of danger. "You're quite an interesting young man, aren't you?"
Unfortunately, Ben couldn't keep his trap shut as he smirked. "I think you're the first woman to ever say that to me."
However, to Ben's surrise, Aria gave the tiniest hint of a smile, though it disappeared as fast as it came.
"Cute. But I didn't invite you up here for your looks or wit," she said.
"Then what did you call me here for?"
Aria looked over at the turian guard closest to Ben and gave a slight nod. The turian pulled out a datapad from his waist and held it out for Ben to take, which he did. On the screen was a picture of him as Rath, grabbing one of the batarians that had tried to mug him before and slamming him into a wall. The image then shifted to a picture of a green flash, then Ben himself standing where the tiger-like alien once stood.
"Huh. The camera really does add ten pounds..." Ben muttered under his breath, attempting to subdue his panic with humor. What did this woman want?
"But it doesn't add three feet in height. Or fur. Or claws," Aria replied, crossing her arms over her chest.
"True," Ben conceded as he returned the datapad to the turian. "Since you have cameras everywhere, and such a large security force, I'm guessing you run Omega?"
Aria let out a laugh, though it was devoid of humor. It was more condescending and slightly haughty.
She turned around and spread her arms out, as if to indicate everything within view.
"I am Omega."
Quite a flair for the dramatic, Ben thought sardonically. Then again, he still called out the names of his aliens four years after he put the Omnitrix back on. Who was he to judge?
The asari turned back around and narrowed her eyes. "I'm the boss, CEO. Queen, if you're feeling dramatic. But that's beside the point. I want to know how you turned into that creature. And I always get what I want."
"All hail the Queen," Ben said, starting to feel a slight dislike for this woman.
Aria smirked. "Exactly. And on Omega, there's only one rule..."
With that, she sat down on the couch that wrapped around the perimeter of the balcony.
"Don't fuck with Aria." Her lips curled into a cruel smile at her words.
Ben didn't really like foul language, but he shook it off. "Alright. I can remember that."
"And if you forget, someone will remind you," she responded, gesturing toward the batarian to Ben's left.
"And I toss your ass out the nearest airlock," he threatened with a malicious grin.
Aria then gestured to the couch on her right, allowing Ben to take a seat and lean back. This couch was comfortable!
"So, about your little transformation..." she began, her voice almost sweet, though still carrying the threat of death or torture if he disobeyed her.
"Well..." Ben began, though he was interrupted by the turian guard, who was currently looking over the balcony and at the floor below. "Boss, Commander Shepard just walked in with some friends."
"Hm. What an interesting day. A shapeshifting kid and a dead Spectre. These are strange times we're living in," Aria noted to herself, sounding amused by the prospect of it all. The wielder of the Omnitrix had read about Spectres in the terminal. Apparently they were the best agents in the galaxy, sent to do the toughest and most covert missions. And he had also read about the late Commander Shepard. But there was something else that had to be said.
Ben frowned. "The kid's name is Ben Tennyson."
The asari waved her hand in dismissal. "Alright, Ben Tennyson, hold your answer while I deal with this little interruption."
Ben just shrugged and remained leaned back in his seat, waiting about a minute before three individuals turned the corner and aproached Aria.
The one that caught Ben's attention immediately was a beautiful raven-haired woman in a skin-tight black and white catsuit, showing off her curvy body that surpassed even Aria's. Beside her was a dark-skinned man in a tight black outfit that showed off his muscular body.
Standing in front of them was a man wearing grey armor with the characters "N7" on the left breastplate. On the right shoulder and arm was a red stripe going down to his hand. The man possessed chiseled features and a shaved head, showing him to be a soldier, and judging by the look in his eyes, a dangerous one at that. He had a cluster of scars on his face that glowed with an eerie light. If Shepard had truly died, then maybe he was bought back with advanced cybernetics. Or this man was a cyborg imposter.
"Aria?" he asked in a deep voice. "One of your turian lackeys said you wanted to see me."
She smirked in response. "Just wanted to see what brings a dead Spectre to Omega. Speaking of which, you need to be scanned."
Shepard then frowned in response. "Anyone who tries it will be scanning the inside of their colon."
Ben's eyes widened in shock, while Aria let out a humored laugh. "I'd almost pay to see that. Unfortunately, it's not optional. You want to talk, you get scanned."
Ben looked over at Aria as the batarian that threatened to throw Ben out the airlock began scanning Shepard with one of the omni-tools he had read about. "You didn't bother scanning me," he noted.
Shepard glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. "Who's the kid?"
The dark-skinned man snorted. "Probably one of Aria's new stooges going through an initiation."
The wielder of the Omnitrix narrowed his eyes, though he said nothing.
"Oh, where are my manners?" Aria said in a fake shocked voice. "Shepard, this is my new friend, Ben Tennyson. Ben, you're probably already familiar with the legendary Commander Shepard."
Shepard's eyes widened as he looked at the nineteen-year-old once more.
"You're Ben Tennyson?" he asked, surprise in his voice.
"It can't be," said the raven-haired woman, a hint of contempt in her voice. "The Illusive Man wouldn't send us after a child."
Ben blinked. "Wait, how do you know me?"
"Yes, I'd like to know that as well," Aria added, leaning forward, intrigued by this new turn of events.
The Commander looked back and forth between the two of them before speaking again. "I'm on a dangerous mission, and I was given dossiers of the most capable people in the galaxy to recruit. One of them was Ben Tennyson," he narrowed his eyes as he added "possible shapeshifter."
Ben was stunned. Someone had a dossier on him? In this alternate reality? How could that be?
Regardless, he had found the reason he was sent here. Obviously he was meant to meet Shepard, though whether or not he joined the Commander had yet to be seen.
"Well, that's actually why I invited the young man up here," Aria explained, turning to gaze at the teenager. "To see this supposed shapeshifting power for myself."
Now everyone was staring at him, as if waiting for something to happen.
Sighing, Ben saw he was between a rock and a hard place. He cracked his neck and stood up, lifting his left wrist and activating the Omnitrix. Everyone's eyes diverted toward it as Ben spun the dial, attempting to find an appropriate alien to show off his power.
Making his choice, he slammed his hand down on the dial, feeling the familiar transformation as his skin became rock-hard and his height increased.
The green flash died down, and Ben called out his name.
Now there stood a seven-foot-tall Petrosapien, with a dark indigo body and green crystal arms, along with green spikes coming from his back.
Once Ben looked up again, he saw that practically everyone had a weapon drawn on him now. The two individuals that had accompanied Shepard now glowed with dark energy. Looks like they're both biotics.
Shepard and Aria were the only ones who didn't react negatively, Aria grinning with dark interest and Shepard looking like he had hit the jackpot.
"But there's more," Shepard said, ending the silence and causing Aria's shocked guards to jump out of surprise. "I'm looking for information on Mordin Solus and Archangel."
Aria looked at him, then back at Ben.
"Alright. And I assume you'll wanna take the boy with you?" she asked, pointing over at the tall diamond-like creature.
Diamondhead blinked. Had he just been handed over like a hunk of meat?
"Tennyson goes with you, then. But, when the time comes, you're both gonna owe me a big favor. Sound good?" Aria asked dangerously.
Shepard nodded in agreement, as did Ben.
Five minutes later, Ben was back to normal and standing outside Afterlife with Commander Shepard and his allies, whom he had introduced as Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson.
"Welcome to the team, Ben Tennyson," Shepard said, holding out his hand, which Ben shook.
"Hey, I'm just glad I can help. So what's this mission we're gonna be doing, anyway?" the wielder of the Omnitrix asked.
Shepard's face darkened. "Ever heard of the Collectors?"
Ben shook his head.
Miranda spoke up. "Our organization has discovered that the Collectors are harvesting human colonies out in the Terminus systems. Hundreds of thousands have disappeared already. More will follow if we don't stop them."
Ben stiffened. People, being abducted by malevolent aliens? This wasn't gonna continue. He wouldn't allow it.
"And what organization is that?" he asked, curious.
Cerberus? Why did that sound familiar? But that wasn't important at the moment.
"Okay, so what do we do now?" Ben asked.
Shepard explained. "We're putting together a special team of the best in the galaxy, like I said. Three of them were located here, including you. Now we have to find the other two, and Aria just gave us that information."
Ben nodded, having been there when the queen of Omega explained who and where each individual was.
"Since our time is short, we should split up. Ben, Lawson, you go find Mordin Solus," the Spectre ordered.
The Cerberus operative's eyes widened. "Commander, we can't just split up! And furthermore, you cannot assign me this boy as back-up!"
Ben felt a twinge of annoyance. "Hey, I'm nineteen, and I've been kicking butt and taking names since I was ten! Trust me, I can handle myself!"
"See, Miranda?" Shepard teased. "Ben's got the right spirit. You need any armor or weapons?"
Ben shook his head, holding up his wrist that held the Omnitrix for emphasis. Shepard nodded his understanding.
"Come on Jacob. Let's go sign up for that Archangel hunt," the commander said, walking away with Jacob right behind him.
Miranda sighed, annoyed, and turned around to look Ben dead in the eye. "If the commander has assigned me to you, then I suppose I have no choice. But remember, I have no patience for incompetence, or recklessness, or heroes. I'm in charge, and you will follow my commands, understand?"
Ben rolled his eyes. "Fine, fine, whatever. Let's just get going, already."
Lawson threw him one last glare as she turned and began to storm off, Ben right behind her.
Of course, the trickiest part of walking behind Miranda Lawson was trying to keep your eyes from journeying too low, lest you suffer the consequences. That was a lesson Ben was learning now, as he was attempting to not stare at her very generous backside, which was further shown off by her tight catsuit.
Seriously, she was going into battle in that thing?!
Wow, finished a chapter in a single day. Hasn't happened to me in forever...
Anyway, next mission is Ben and Miranda teaming up to fix Omega's plague problem, featuring special guest Mordin Solus! We'll see how they fight together, their differences in how they handle a situation, what he thinks of her organization's methods, and, of course, some good old Ben 10 alien action! If you want a specific alien to appear, let me know. Maybe I can make it happen!
Final vote for Shepard was 6 for male, 5 for female, so it looks like this story's gonna have a MShep (in case you haven't figured that out already).
I was also surprised at how fast this story got favorites and followers. It makes me happy to know that my story caught on so quickly. So thank you, you guys really inspire me to write this.
Again, reviews always appreciated. And remember to go to my profile and vote for Ben's love interest. I'm not guaranteeing the poll will truly decide who he romances, but it'll be interesting to see what you guys pick.