You must login to rate the chapter
"...I want to let everyone know what's happened. My parents will be worried and want to know, and I don't want to leave Grandpa Max in the dark on this," Wren said softly.
Kevin nodded in approval. Gwen frowned. "You sure? If we go after the Garlvinite..."
"Then we run the risk of it doing the same thing to you three," Wren said, shaking her head. "That thing's technology hacked the Omnitrix, affecting even my most powerful aliens. We can't take the change of losing anyone else to it."
"Makes perfect sense to me," Azmuth said. "Rook, go fetch that technology. Gwen, Kevin, contact Max and get him over here. We'll start with him."
Rook nodded, turning to head outside. Before he left, Wren grabbed his hand, smiling. "Rook... Thank you again for... ah... 'helping' me back there..."
Rook smiled warmly. "It was my pleasure."
Wren grinned wickedly. She couldn't resist. "Well, I should hope so, considering what we were doing," she teased.
Rook blushed, getting her meaning, and quickly excused herself. Wren chuckled, sighing wearily and sitting down on a nearby chair. Azmuth gave her a sympathetic look and began preparing his laboratory for anaylizing the Garlvinite tech. After a moment, he said, "Wren. Before you leave, I'd like to take a look at the Omnitrix, make sure it's still working right."
Wren frowned. "It's been working fine. No glitches, timeouts, or random aliens since we stopped letting those idiots Blukic and Driba working on it. About the only thing wrong is that my aliens are all now girls. Even the ones that shouldn't have a gender," she said, looking over the changed faces in the watch's readout.
Azmuth nodded. "Indeed. But I want to be sure, just in case. Simple stuff, making sure the Ultimates function I restored to it is still active, that sort of thing."
Wren smiled. "Thank you..." she said softly. She'd figured out the real reason Azmuth wanted to do this, to give her some assurance that there were no more surprises in her tech. She held out her wrist, Azmuth taking the Omnitrix and doing a quick onceover of it. By the time Rook returned, Azmuth had verified that the Omnitrix was indeed working properly and returned it to Wren.
"Okay..." Azmuth said, looking over the technology, trying not to be intimidated by the fact that it looked so much more advanced than anything he'd ever seen before. "I'm going to start seeing if I can reverse engineer something out of this nonsense." He glanced over to see Gwen and Kevin coming back in, and turned to Wren. "Right now, you just relax until Max shows up."
Max tried not to let his anxiety show as he drove to Azmuth's lab as fast as he could without attracting police attention. The last he had heard from Ben is that he and his team had gone after Doctor Animo. And now Gwen had contacted him telling him that something had happened to Ben because of Animo. She had been distressingly vague, assuring him that Ben was all right, but he needed to see him right now.
"If Animo's hurt him, I swear I'll..." Max said, taking a deep breath and forcing himself to calm down. He'd do Ben no good if he panicked.
Driving up to the lab, he encountered Kevin waiting outside, a somber look on the young man's face. Max got out of the car and ran up to him. "Where's Ben? Is he all right? Did Animo hurt him?" he said, almost shouting.
"Inside, sort of, and yes," Kevin said, motioning for Max to follow.
"'Sort of?' Kevin, you'll understand if I'm not reassured by this," Max said.
Kevin sighed. "Ben's alive and Animo's in custody," he said. "But stuff's happened that you'd never believe if we just told you. It's best you see it first before we start explaining."
Max frowned, but nodded. Kevin led him into the main lab, and gestured to Wren, who was standing in the middle of the room, staring nervously at him.
Max blinked, frowning in confusion. "...I don't understand. Who...?"
"H-Hi Grandpa..." Wren said, grinning nervously and biting her lip.
Max's eyes widened. Why did she call me Grandpa? Max thought. He looked her over, her hair, her clothes, her eyes, the watch..
The watch. The Omnitrix. The unique, one-of-a-kind superweapon that only one person in the universe had.
Oh God... "Ben?" Max asked softly.
Wren, starting to tear up, nodded. Her heart was racing, fear of being rejected filling her.
Max slumped over a little. "Oh Ben... What's the universe done to you this time?" he said softly, holding out his arms. Wren ran to him, hugging him tightly and crying.
Once both had calmed down, Max had been sat down and had everything explained to him. He clenched his fists tightly as he looked at the containment orb Animo was held in, and shook his head. "All right. First things first, we're going to have to get your Plumber security clearance updated Be... Wren," he said. "Easy enough to take care of. Afterwards, we're definitely going to have to talk to your parents about this. We going to have to be very careful from now on. Since you've been changed, your rather large Rogues Gallery is going to try and exploit you while you're still adjusting to this."
Wren snorted. "I'll just beat them like I always do," she said, rolling her eyes.
Max frowned. "Wren, this is serious. You're putting on a brave front, which is admirable, but I can tell that you're still not fully comfortable in your own skin. And not all your enemies have respect for women," he said. "Darkstar, for example, tends to favor pretty young women as his victims. And... I know it sounds extremely awkward to hear it from me, but you make a very pretty girl, Be... Wren."
Wren grimaced. "You're right. It does sound awkward..." she said.
"It is true, though. You are quite lovely," Rook said. "By what I understand of human standards, at any rate."
Wren blushed, grinning. Rook blushed and turned away, realizing what he just said.
Kevin looked thoughtful for a moment. "Really, about the only bad guy I could think of that'd be less threatening would be Albedo," he said.
Everyone stared at him. Kevin shrugged. "What? Albedo's still a guy. He can't disguise as Ben anymore, 'cause Ben's Wren now," he said.
"Hm, true..." Azmuth said. "He's so obsessed with getting his Galvan form back permanently he's not likely to alter himself any more than necessary."
Max nodded. "Once that's done, you're going to want to talk to your parents, correct?" he asked. Wren nodded. Max continued, saying, "After that, once Azmuth manages to puzzle out protections for the Plumbers against Garlvinite transformative tech, we're going to plan an immediate expedition to the Anur system. I agree that the M.O. behind this is looking a lot like Zs'Skayr's work."
Rook nodded. "If the original Ghostfreak is behind this, then I look forward to our retaliation against him," he said.
Max smiled a little. "Rook... I want to thank you again for being such a good partner to Ben all this time," he said. "And for... for helping with her earlier needs..."
Rook blushed brightly, nodding. Wren smiled at him, and then lay back, sighing. "Is there any way to keep Princess Attea and Princess Looma from finding out about this? The last thing I need right now is a pair of psycho wanna-be girlfriends pestering me..."
Max chuckled. "I'm afraid that they'll find out eventually, Wren. We just have to be ready for them when they do."
Or add your own