Ben 10: Alien Force in: The Power of Pestilence!
Gwen Tennyson bit her lip as Kevin's ride neared the abandoned factory.
"There's something fishy about this," she muttered, almost to herself.
"C'mon, babe, this one's a cinch," Kevin said, cocky as ever. "Maybe my tech picked up signs of radiation out here but my sources tell me there's no trace of Highbreed activity in the area, which means they're probably not involved. We got nothing to worry about."
Gwen crossed her arms and looked moodily out the window.
"Doesn't that make you wonder what it is we're looking for?"
Kevin shrugged. "Probably just some missing plutonium. Nothing we can't handle. Right, Ben?"
Kevin smacked Ben good-naturally on the back. The Omnitrix-wearer, clearly not paying attention, nearly choked on his chili fries.
"Womph?" Ben answered, his mouth full of fries.
Kevin sighed. "Never mind, we're here."
Kevin's muscle car came to a screeching halt before the building. The three got out, slamming the doors behind them.
"It's quiet," Kevin said to break the silence.
"Yeah," Gwen said, hand on her hips. "Too quiet."
"C'mon, the quicker we finish this the quicker we can go back and get more chili fries," Ben said, rushing past the other two.
"You mean you can," Kevin said, holding his nose and making a grossed-out face. Nervously, Gwen followed them.
The inside of the abandoned hydraulic factory looked just like the outside: namely, an abandoned hydraulic factory. Discarded rusty equipment littered the floor, and nearly all of the windows were shattered, letting light filter in. There didn't seem to be anyone there.
Kevin whipped out his tracking device and searched for a signal.
"It should just be up that way a little farther, straight ahead."
The three walked until they reached the opposite side of the building. There, against the back wall, was a rusty old chest.
"It's gotta be in there," Kevin said confidently.
"I don't know about this."
"Pipe down, red, or help me open this thing." Kevin grunted, trying to push the top off the chest. Finally, with a heave, it fell to the ground with a loud thud.
"What's in there?" Gwen asked him nervously.
"I dunno, some sort of
ball." Kevin reached in the chest and lifted out a spherical glowing object about the size of a volley ball. It emitted such an intense purple light the trio were practically blinded.
"Kevin, I have a bad feeling about this," Gwen said behind him as she blocked the light with a force beam.
"Ugh, I'm starting to feel
woozy," Kevin muttered. His eyes were blinking rapidly as if he were starting to fall asleep.
"Put it back now!" Gwen yelled but she was starting to feel tired herself. She tried to keep up the force beam to protect the trio but fell to the floor, unconscious, before she had the chance.
Ben, for his part, reached for the Omnitrix but collapsed like Gwen to the ground before he could even choose which alien to turn into if given the chance.
Kevin was the last to go. He stared blankly ahead, inwardly fighting the urge to sleep, hands gripping the strange sphere, before even he succumbed to its powers, toppling like a stone and dropping the sphere in his wake.
The shadowy figure stared down at the three unconscious bodies. The sphere rolled over to his feet and he reached down and picked it up with his metallic hands. The object sizzled in his grasp until the light burned out and he was holding no more than a fading ember. Finally it was no more than ash and he crushed it with his hands, and its gray remnants scattered the ground around him.
He walked over to the sleeping bodies until he was standing over Gwen Tennyson. Reaching down, he grabbed the girl by the wrist and lifted her up. Tossing her over his shoulder, he walked away, and back into the darkness
Kevin awoke with a groan, his head splitting from some low-frequency buzzing. It took him a minute to realize the noise wasn't coming from inside his head.
"Ugh, what's that buzzing sound?" he said as he lifted himself up.
Ben, too, was waking up, and as he did he saw something that troubled him.
"Hey, where's Gwen?"
"She's right here, my infernal little troglodytes!" a voice cackled through a loud speaker. Looking around, the two boys noticed a view screen lowering from the ceiling of the factory. On the view screen was a hulking cloaked figure and standing next to him was Gwen, with her hands tied up behind her.
"Gwen!" Kevin screamed.
"That is correct, Kevin Levin," the figure sneered. Now that the view screen had entirely lowered, Kevin got a better look at him. He wore a long purple cloak that seemed to cover a body completely covered in some sort of copper-colored metal, complete with a metal face mask that had etched on it a fiendish demon-like visage.
or what are you, other than ugly?" Kevin asked.
"I go by many names," the figure answered, "but you may call me Professor Pestilence."
Kevin and Ben stared at him for a minute while on the view screen Gwen rolled her eyes. Finally Ben and Kevin burst out laughing.
"Professor Pestilence? Really?" Ben managed to say between laughs.
"Silence!" Professor Pestilence shouted. "As I told you, I go by many names. That is just one of them. I figured it would go with you earthlings idea of
"'Earthlings?'" Kevin asked. "Then you're
Pestilence laughed. "Not in the slightest. I'm an independent operator, much like a mutual friend of ours, Vulkanus."
Kevin raised an eyebrow. "You're friends with Vulkanus? Then you're no friend of mine!"
He touched the stone floor of the factory to absorb its matter but nothing happened.
"Hey! What gives?"
"You will find the Orium you foolishly opened earlier has momentarily dissipated your powers as well as it knocked you out. It worked on the girl here too, that is why she has become so easily my prisoner."
"Ben, use the Omnitrix!" Kevin cried.
"Already on it," Ben said, activating the device. But other than a click, nothing happened.
"Oh man, that's not good," Ben muttered.
"You might be wondering why your little wristwatch is not functioning," Professor Pestilence sneered. "Have you noticed that annoying buzzing sound in the air? That is a specific frequency that makes it inoperable. It's a little invention of my own: I might go out and patent it once I am done here and you have outlived your usefulness."
"Tuning out the Omnitrix?" Kevin whispered to Ben. "Pretty impressive. Despite his looks, this guy's more than just some cartoon super villain."
"Alright, grill-face, I think you've made your point," Ben shouted at the view screen. "You could kill us at any time. So now the question is, why haven't you?"
Professor Pestilence chuckled. "I'm glad you finally asked. Allow me to show you."
The screen changed to a view of a constellation of stars, then a solar system neither of the boys recognized. It consisted of three planets circling a sun and as they looked the screen focused on one of the planets, which revealed itself to be purple in color.
"Momentarily I am going to send you to planet Mardalow in the Epsilon system, far from this puny planet you call Earth. There, you will find a temple, guarded by the Tera Fah. They are a savage race but they guard a most precious possession: Solarite, an element of almost infinite beauty and power. Retrieve the Solarite and bring it back here, to me."
As he was saying this the view screen showed the temple, then the Tera Fah, vast purple creatures with six tentacle-limbs apiece, and finally the Solarite, a gleaming object, so bright it was impossible to look at.
Kevin crossed his arms. "And if we refuse?"
Professor Pestilence smiled. "If you refuse I will kill the girl. She will remain here, as my hostage, until you return."
Kevin nodded sternly. "Alright, we'll do it."
"Kevin, wait!" Gwen exclaimed from the view screen. "Don't be a lunkhead, think about it! If this guy can reduce our powers so easily just think about what kind of energy must be in this Solarite to make it worth his while! Forget about me! The universe might be at stake!"
"Yes, think about it," Professor Pestilence said. He reached over to a console near him and picked up a handkerchief, which he folded and then tied over Gwen's mouth, gagging her. "We'll be waiting."
Kevin huddled with Ben,
"What do you think, Ben? Gwen's right but I don't know what other choice we have right now."
"I say we do what he says. He can't shut off our power forever and there must be a reason he can't go on this mission himself. Maybe when we're on this planet Marshmallow or whatever we'll find an answer."
"Alright," Kevin said to the view screen, "We'll do it."
"Mmmmphh!" Gwen protested. Pestilence merely smiled.
"Very well. You have one hour. After that I will bring you back, no matter whether you have retrieved the Solarite or not. But you better have, or else I'd hate to think what might happen to this creature here
" He took a strand of Gwen's red hair in his gloved hands. Gwen turned away in disgust.
"Alright!" Kevin yelled. "So send us to space, already!"
"You're wish," Pestilence said as he pushed a button on the console, "is my command."
A black cloud rose up from the vents in the factory's floors. Kevin and Ben coughed as the dark plumes surrounded them. Gagged, Gwen was unable to do anything but look on in horror as the disappeared in the dark smoke. Pestilence pushed another button on the console and the smoke was sucked up by the same vents as quickly as it had appeared. The smoke disappeared, and so had Ben and Kevin.
"Mmmphh!" Gwen cried out, astounded. She looked at Pestilence in horror.
"I wouldn't worry about your friends," Pestilence said. "They should be on Mardalow presently. Save your worries for when they return, and I have in my hands my Solarite. Save your worries for when the very universe itself falls to its knees with fear and perdition!"
Professor Pestilence let out a cackling laugh that would put most other super villain's to shame. Despite the melodramatics, Gwen quietly shuttered, and writhed in the knots binding her wrists.
On a barren plane near a blue-hued forest a black fog appeared from nowhere. Plumes of smoke rose into the air before finally disappearing in the atmosphere. Out of the smoke appeared two coughing figures.
"It's not exactly riding in style, but it got us here," Ben said between coughs.
"Yeah, and it's lucky we can breathe in this atmosphere," Kevin said before falling into a coughing fit.
"Well, almost breathe."
"Where are we?"
"I'm guessing on Mardalow, somewhere. Look, I think I can see that temple grill-face was talking about."
Sure enough, in the distance, in the dense alien forest, a towering temple of crystal rose from the weird trees.
"Yeah, and that's not the only thing I can see," Ben said, pointing in the opposite direction. Kevin turned around. Across the plain, a herd of the tentacled Tera Fah had spotted them, and they didn't seem happy about it. Despite there lack of legs, they were slithering toward the duo with alarming speed.
"Alright, Ben, this is it," Kevin said. He reached for a rock on the alien terrain and touched it, but nothing happened.
"Blast! I still don't have my powers back!"
"Maybe I do," Ben said. He activated the Omnitrix.
"HUMUNGOUSAUR!" Ben bellowed as he transformed into the giant dinosaur-like alien. As the Tera Fah neared him he leaped from the ground and landed near one. Ben punched the alien with all he had but instead of sending the creature on its back his fist merely entered the permeable membrane of the thing and remain stuck there.
"YUCK!" Ben said. "WHAT ARE THESE THINGS?"
"We've got no time for this," Kevin said, dodging the tentacles of another Tera Fah. "Change into something that will get us out of here and over to the temple!"
"HOLD ON- YUCK!" Ben said. He gave up trying to pull his fist out of the body of the Tera Fah and instead pushed it all the way in, and stretched the rubber-like skin until his hand reached the Omnitrix.
"Jetray!" Ben yelled, changing into the slithery creature. Using his tail he shocked the creature. The Tera Fah was unfazed but just stunned enough to lose hold of Ben. Ben quickly flew out of its reach and grabbed Kevin, who was by now completely surrounded by writhing tentacles, and yanked him into the air.
"Next stop, Marshmallow Temple!"
Meanwhile, Gwen Tennyson certainly wasn't enjoying herself. Professor Pestilence had moved her to a neighboring room to his lab and tied her feet together, which added to the frustration of having her mouth gagged and her hands tied behind her back. Presently she managed to wiggle herself to the wall, and use her bound hands to push herself up into a standing position.
Hopping seemed an impossible task, but after a couple of false starts she reached the door. She turned around and used her tied hands to pull it open. As she poked her head out, she could hear Pestilence talking to somebody in another room.
Her green eyes keenly spotted a knife left on the console table. Quickly, she hopped over and grabbed it with her bound hands. Slowly but steadily, she rubbed the blade back and forth on the ropes until her hands were free. She bend down and untied her legs.
"I'm sure most illustrious beings as yourself could find some use for Solarite," Gwen heard Pestilence say in the next room as she undid the gag from her mouth. "It is, after all, one of the most powerful elements in all the known universe."
"If it exists," came a booming voice from a speaker. "Frankly, we question the validity of your claim that it is in your possession."
Gwen shivered involuntarily. There was no question about it, the other voice was that of a Highbreed.
"You dare question me!" Pestilence bellowed. "Very well, if you are too arrogant and single-minded to see what I am offering you, I will find a different buyer! Good day!"
If Solarite indeed existed, and the Highbreed got a hold of it, there's no question what devastation could befall the universe.
"No time to worry about that, Gwen," Gwen muttered to herself. She studied the console. "I've got to figure out which knob Pestilence switched to screw up the Omnitrix."
With one hand on her hip, she stared at the various buttons and toggles. She let out a sigh.
"Kevin would be proud of me," she said as she began flipping switches at random.
One seemed to dim the noise but then another turned it higher.
"This has got to be it," Gwen said, losing her patience, as she turned one last knob. And she was right: the humming noise dissipated, then disappeared.
"What are you doing in here?" Pestilence screamed from the doorway. "How did you get untied?"
"Just checking out the merchandise," Gwen said, folding her arms. "Pretty nice setup, for an ordinary hoodlum."
"'Hoodlum?'" Pestilence thundered, incredulous. "'Hoodlum?' How dare you refer to me as a common thief!"
"I heard you talking to the Highbreed," Gwen said, her eyes slits. "You're a lackey, a hustler. Frankly, I'd expect better from somebody named Professor Pestilence!"
"Silence! I will not hear another word from you!" He angrily grabbed the rope from the ground and yanked her hands behind her.
Gwen snorted and rolled her eyes. "Big words from a glorified auctioneer. Professor Pestilence, puh-leeze."
"Enough!" Pestilence said. He wrapped the handkerchief over her mouth, effectively gagging her again.
As he pulled her roughly back into the other room, forcing her to sit while he lashed up her legs again, Gwen couldn't help but feel happy with herself: she'd been captured again, sure, but she'd managed to distract Pestilence from noticing the frequency had been turned off.
"You won't think I am so petty when you see what I have in store for your friends." Pestilence reached under his cloak, taking from a secret sleeve there yet another spherical object, only this one was clearly a bomb.
"Mmmphh!" Gwen moaned into her gag, her eyes wide in fright as she struggled with her bonds.
"Your insolence amuses me, my dear. It is a pity you will not be around for very much longer," Professor Pestilence cackled.
"You know, I think I read a comic book that was like this once," Ben said as they soared toward the temple.
"Marvelous Mob #5. Doctor Dreadful kidnapped Gypsy Girl and forced the others to go back in time to the Dark Ages to steal some treasure for him."
"How did they rescue her?" Kevin asked.
"Um, I don't remember," Ben answered. "I think my subscription ran out by that issue."
"Thanks, Ben, you're a fountain of knowledge," Kevin said, rolling his eyes.
The duo alit on the top tier of the temple. "There's some steps leading down this way, come on!" Kevin said, pointing to a flight of crystal stairs built in to one side of the temple.
With Ben flying above him, Kevin rushed down the stairs. They seemed to go on forever.
"If that Pestilence guy hurts Gwen in any way
" Kevin muttered.
"Hey, do you think this place has any," Ben started before being cut off by a spear whizzing within inches of his head. "Booby traps?"
The stairs disappeared beneath Kevin, rotated into a perfect but deadly slide. He landed on his back and slid further into the temple's heart, into darkness.
"Need a lift, big guy?" Ben said, grabbing Kevin by the arms. He flitted through the air, dodging spears as they shot from the walls on all sides.
"We don't have time for this," Kevin said angrily. "We've got to find the Solarite!"
Ben turned a corridor and entered a tunnel that went upward before ending in a long, wide room lit by torches.
"Look.," he cried to Kevin. "Could that be Solarite?"
On a pedestal in the center of the room was an ornate chest, decorated by strange runes and hieroglyphics.
"Only one way to find out," Kevin said.
Ben placed Kevin on the ground and turned back into his usual, human self.
"Should we just open it? I feel like I've seen a million movies where that's been a bad idea, and opening something without thinking about it is what got us here in the first place."
Kevin nodded. "Good thinking, Ben. You know, you're really starting to grow up."
Kevin picked up the chest without opening it. "We'll let that Pestilence guy open it for us. Let him do the heavy work for a change!"
There was a gurgling noise in the distance.
"Ben, is that you? I told you all those chili fries would give you indigestion."
"That's not me, that's
The gurgling noise grew louder as a steaming lava-like substance ascended up the tunnel.
"That!" Ben finished as he activated the Omnitrix.
"Big Chill!" he yelled, and immediately began shooting ice beams at the lava once transformed.
"I'm not stopping it," Ben said. The ice blasts were just being absorbed by the lava, which was moving now at a frightening speed.
"Great, we get the stupid thing and now we can't even get out of here! How much time before Pestilence zaps us out?"
"Uh, I dunno, how long were we lost in those tunnels?"
"Couldn't have been more than ten minutes."
The lava reached the pedestal, disintegrating it within seconds. Ben and Kevin rushed to the opposite wall.
"Can't even fly over it, it's too high," Ben said as he returned to his human form.
"Man, I did not see this coming when I woke up this morning," Kevin said.
Just then a smoke appeared from nowhere. It encircled the two figures until they were in coughing fits.
"It's about time," Kevin said.
The smoke engulfed the whole room until there was nothing to see but blackness.
Coughing, Ben and Kevin staggered out of the smoke and onto the floor of the factory.
"F-feel weak all of a sudden," Kevin said, dropping to the floor, his hands still grasping the chest.
"Another affect of my mercurial smoke is body weakness," a voice said from the doorway. It was Professor Pestilence, carrying the bound and gagged Gwen Tennyson over his shoulder.
"It is a most versatile device, patent pending." He dropped Gwen roughly on the ground. The girl let out a muffled groan.
"Gwen!" Kevin said, reaching out for her. Pestilence stepped on the boy's hand and grabbed the chest in the same motion.
"I'll take that, if you don't mind."
With fiendish glee, Pestilence opened the chest and looked inside.
"Ah Solarite, the perfect potent for what ails you." He closed the chest and turned back to his three captives.
"You have done well, my slaves. And your reward is thus: you may spend the last brief minutes of your lives together, before a magno-bomb I have hidden in this room wipes you out forever."
"Why, you-" Kevin began before collapsing again on the floor.
"You will find you are too weak to move for any long periods of time due to the smoke," Pestilence sneered. "I'm sorry, I thought that was obvious. At any rate, I will be in my lab investigating this present you've brought me until further notice. Do come and visit, should you survive."
And with that the villain left the room, leaving behind a demoralized Ben and Kevin, and Gwen still bound and gagged.
"Got any ideas, Kevin?" Ben asked weakly.
"Just that we've got to find that bomb, fast," Kevin said in a tired voice. "Maybe if you change into Echo Echo we could sniff it out."
"Can't," Ben said. "Pestilence's got that frequency jamming the Omnitrix, remember?"
"Mmmmphh," Gwen added to the conversation.
"Sorry to ignore you, Gwen, glad to see you're alright," Kevin said. "But none of us are going to be alright if we don't find the bomb soon."
"Mmmphh!!" Gwen answered him. Even though the handkerchief completely covered her mouth, there was obviously more than a tinge of frustration in her moaning.
"I think she's trying to say something," Ben offered.
"Yeah, well, she picked a lousy time to do it," Kevin said. "We're trying to find a bomb and she's got a gag in her mouth."
"Mmmph," Gwen said testily, giving him a nasty look.
"Sorry, red, once we find this bomb maybe we can untie you," Kevin said as he weakly rose to his feet.
"Until then, I don't think we've got the time." He staggered over to Ben and helped the boy up.
"Hmm, if I was a stereotypical mad scientist, where would I hide a mango-bomb
" Ben wondered, stroking his chin.
"I think it was magno-bomb, Ben. You know, like magnetism?"
"Mmmmphh!" Gwen moaned louder and thrashed about.
"It'd probably be somewhere obvious," Ben offered, "but not
"Like a desk drawer or something?"
"Yeah, or a
foot locker. Or refrigerator. Do you see any refrigerators around here?"
"Mmmmpphhh!" the redhead yelled loudly, becoming more exacerbated by the minute.
"What about s safe?" Kevin wondered. "Do you see any safes around?"
"Hey, I got an idea," Ben said. "Maybe Gwen will know."
Gwen stared at them blankly. Kevin went over and yanked the gag off her mouth.
"It's about time, guys," Gwen said.
"Where's the bomb, Gwen?" Kevin asked her.
"I don't know, I was tied up in the other room when Pestilence hid it."
"Then why've you been trying to get our attention this whole time if the Omnitrix doesn't work and you can't help us?"
"That's what I've been trying to tell you," Gwen answered. "The Omnitrix does work now. I turned off the signal jamming it!"
"The Omnitrix works?" Ben said with a grin. "Why didn't you say so?"
Gwen rolled her eyes as Ben activated the Omnitrix. "Echo Echo!" he cried.
Within seconds the room was swarming with clones.
"Got it!" One of them proclaimed proudly in a high-pitched voice.
"Well, get it out of here, Ben!" Gwen yelled.
"I've got a better idea," Ben said, throwing the bomb into the air. Using the combined power of the Echo Echo clones, Ben screamed at the bomb, overloading its magnetic machinery. Rendered harmless, it fell to the ground with a clang.
"Sorry about back there," Kevin said as he untied Gwen's wrists. "We didn't know what you were trying to say."
"That's okay," Gwen said. "It's good to see you two again." She untied the handkerchief from her neck and threw it on the ground.
if anything ever happened to you
"I wonder what this Solarite does," Ben said, returning to his human form. "Is it just like an even bigger bomb? Or something cooler?"
"I can't believe you guys gave that lunatic what he wanted," Gwen said crossly, folding her arms. "You know, he was going to sell it to the Highbreed!"
"What else were we gonna do?" Kevin said. His face was bright red and he scratched the back of his neck. "As long as he was holding you captive, we didn't have much of a choice!"
"Oh, Kevin, you're hopeless," Gwen said with a sigh. "Nevermind, let's go stop Pestilence. There's no telling what that creep's going to do with this Solarite thing."
It didn't take long for them to find Professor Pestilence. The madman was hunched over his console, holding the Solarite in his hands.
"That looks like-" Gwen said.
"It can't be," Kevin said.
"Cool," Ben added.
of sunglasses?" Pestilence roared. "I ran a million tests, I even tried them on, but all they are is a pair of
"But how'd they get in that temple?" Kevin wondered.
"Some time traveler must've dropped them on the planet, in the distant past," Gwen said, "or maybe they come from another dimension, and the natives assumed it was a gift of the gods, or something, and rumors spread to other planets about this mysterious device. Either that, or they're not sunglasses at all!"
"Oh, they're sunglasses, alright," Pestilence said, throwing the Solarite to the ground. "Tacky and completely useless!" He smashed them under his heel and they broke into a million pieces. "No wonder nobody else was after them, they must've known how useless Solarite was all along! The Highbreed was playing a cruel joke on me! Treating me as a fool! Strange, I never knew them to have any sense of humor."
"The jokes not over yet, Pestilence," Ben said. "Spidermonkey!"
With the Omnitrix, Ben transformed into the Arachnichimp and spun a web at Pestilence before the villain could react. The webs glued Pestilence to the floor, where he trashed around wildly.
"No! How did you get your powers back?" Pestilence screamed incredulous.
"And now, let's find out who he really is," Kevin said. He pulled the metal facemask off the stunned madman.
"No! No!" Pestilence screamed. Quickly his scream became a whine, and he seemed to shrink before their very eyes into his armor. Finally there was nothing left but a pile of empty metal and a purple cloak. But underneath it all was a crying baby.
"Ha!" Kevin laughed. "Now I know why you're friends with Vulckanus! Did you two meet at the same daycare?"
But all the baby Pestilence seemed to be able to do was whine and whine. Eventually Gwen picked him up and wrapped him up in the cloak.
"Ah, he's kind of cute in a way," Gwen said. "Well, in theory." She wrinkled her nose and held Pestilence at arm's length, as the miniature super villain had apparently soiled himself.
"I guess we should call the plumbers or something," Ben said, returning to human form.
"Hey, I think I can feel my powers returning," Kevin said, flexing his arms.
An hour later, the three were driving in Kevin's ride down the road. In the passenger's seat Ben slurped down more chili fries.
"It sounded like you were really worried about me back there," Gwen said coyly from the back seat.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that," Kevin said, looking at her through the rearview mirror. "Somebody's gotta keep this numbskull in line, and you're the best at it."
"Thanks, Kevin," Gwen said sweetly.
"Areph you guyphs talkiph abouph meph?" Ben said, his mouth full of fries.
"Go back to your fries, Ben," Kevin said, eyes still locked on Gwen in the backseat.
In the hydraulics factory, in Professor Pestilence's lair, three slithering creatures appeared from a pool of darkness. The Tera Fah slinked over to the broken sunglasses. One of them stretched out a gooey tentacle and picked the pieces of the Solarite up.
"So they suspect nothing?" he asked the others in their language.
"No," one answered in a gurgling voice. "The Solarite must remain with us until they understand."
"They will never understand," the first said. His tentacles surrounded the Solarite fragments and with some strange energy shaped them into a glowing amorphous mass, which the being digested through its skin into its body.
"They will never understand," the Tere Fah repeated, as they once again entered the pool of darkness.
"They will never understand until it is much too late."