Posted Jan 13 2012 - 03:45 PM
With the imminent release of The Mask of Light, I was hoping the Spirit of Evil would be too busy preparing for the showdown with his new nemesis to bother with small fry like me. Alas, my supernatural stalker did return again in an attempt to lure me to the dark side. But this time he won’t be back, because I stumbled onto what turned out to be his deepest fear.
Makuta’s Last Try
I rolled the cart out of the grocery store, humming to myself as I approached my truck. I pulled the keys out of my bag and pushed the ‘unlock’ button on the remote. The locks clicked, and I reached for the door handle. Suddenly I heard heavy footsteps. I turned around to see the Spirit of Evil looming over me.
“Darling! Fancy meeting you here.”
“I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence,” I groaned, looking at him warily. “What do you want, Makuta?”
“I just want some company,” he smiled.
“Then go hang out with the Rahkshi, and leave me alone.”
“The Rahkshi are busy, my sweet. They are defending themselves against the Toa. I only hope the strength I gave them is enough to resist those violent creatures that insist on calling themselves heroes.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not stupid, Makuta. I know what the Rahkshi are doing. They’re terrorizing the island. I read the comics, you know.” When I turned around to load my groceries, I noticed Makuta’s car parked next to mine.
He stepped between me and my truck. “Come for a drive with me, GaliGee. I just want someone to talk to.”
“You drove two thousand miles just to find someone to talk to? That’s definitely a sign you need to be nicer to the people around you.”
Makuta sighed. “Time and distance are of no consequence to me. Just come along.”
“And if I say ‘no’?”
“Then you’ll come anyway,” he replied, picking me up. He lifted me over the door of his Coupe de Ville convertible and set me in the seat. My instinct was to jump back out and run, but experience told me this would be futile, and possibly dangerous. “What about my groceries?” I asked as he buckled my seat belt.
Makuta picked up the grocery cart and dumped the contents into the back seat. I watched with annoyance as the bread was crushed under the potatoes. “But, my ice cream--”
“Don’t worry about your ice cream,” he grinned, waving his hand. The entire pile of food was instantly encased in a large block of ice. He gave the empty basket a push, and it zoomed across the pavement and crashed into a Mercedes. I frowned and slid lower in the seat. Smiling, Makuta got in on the driver’s side. I locked my truck with the remote as he revved the engine and screeched out of the parking lot.
“Did you get the Makuta set I sent you?” he asked.
“Yes, I did, thanks. It looks almost as menacing as the real you, except that it’s not eight feet tall.”
Makuta laughed. “LEGO did do a good job with my set, I think. Did you figure out it was from me?”
“Well, obviously. Even before I read your note, the return address of ‘Mangaia’ was a dead giveaway. That, and the musty smell of the air in the box.”
Soon we were driving down a wide road, the wind in our faces. The sunlight glinted off all the brightly polished chrome on the Cadillac. “Before the boys went off to battle, they did a really good job of detailing my car,” Makuta remarked proudly.
“Well, it’s good they know how to do something constructive,” I muttered. “So, what’s on your mind, Makuta?”
“I just wanted to spend a little time with you before the war begins in earnest, my love,” he said solemnly. “I won’t get to see you for a while, once things start getting intense on Mata Nui. Now that the Matorans have their little mask and are getting closer to finding you-know-who, it’s going to be hard to get away and travel.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“Of course it is! I’ll miss you terribly. Won’t you miss me?”
I sighed and looked at the scenery.
“Anyway, it’s not too late to come with me. I could really use your help in zeroing in on the Toa’s weaknesses. I’m like any father. I’m so worried for my children.”
“Then why did you send them against the Toa? Why not encourage your Rahkshi to live in peace on Mata Nui?”
“Because the Toa think it’s their destiny to wake up that no-good brother of mine. I can’t have that happening.” Makuta steered with his knee as he opened a jewel case and slid an Etta James CD into the player in the dashboard.
“Well, I’m not going to help you. As if I could even make any difference. You’re far more powerful than I am, anyway. Would you please take me back to the grocery store?”
“Power is not what I’m looking for. It’s information. And what I need is inside your little transparent yellow brain, my beloved.”
I studied Makuta’s face for a moment. “You’re afraid, aren’t you?” I said boldly. “You know LEGO is never going to let the bad guy win. You’ve finally realized you’re going to lose, and now you’re getting scared!”
“Me, scared?” Makuta roared with laughter. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten, my lovely, that fear is my stock-in-trade. I’m afraid of nothing.”
“Not even of Takanu--” I stopped when I saw his blue eyes turn red and begin to blaze with rage. He reached across the seat and grabbed my throat.
“Now, I know I’ve warned you about that before,” he growled. He removed his hand from my neck.
“Yes,” I coughed, “you have. Sorry.”
We rode for a few miles in silence. Then Makuta spoke again. “I’m not afraid of him, darling. He’s merely a Toa, and I’m so much more.”
“So go fight him, then, and leave me out of it,” I suggested.
“Oh, I don’t need your help with him. It’s my boys that need your help. I’ve heard a horrible rumor that the Toa want to take them apart, and build some kind of vehicle with their pieces. It’s the worst thing a parent can hear, believe me.”
“I’m sure it is. Except that the Rahkshi armor is not really alive.”
“How dare you say that! After all the affection they showed you when you were in my lair.” He fixed his eyes grimly on the road ahead. “You know, we are all simply shells for our spirits, anyway. Even you. I’m just lucky because I can choose which shell to inhabit.”
I shuddered as I remembered my creepy experiences with the Rahkshi. “Since I’m not going to help you anyway,” I ventured timidly, “will you please take me back to the store now?”
“No. I’m going to take you home with me to Mangaia. That way your fate will be tied to mine. After I win, you’ll be there to celebrate with me and my sons, and to stand by my side while I rule Mata Nui. Oh, that reminds me. I have to think of a new name for the island. Do you have any ideas?”
“This is LEGO, Makuta. You’re not going to win.”
“Then you’ll die with me,” he said with a sinister grin.
“That’s not fair!” I protested. “You got yourself into this. It has nothing to do with me. Besides, you’re immortal, and I’m not. After you get defeated, you can just come back!”
“Then you’ll have to do your very best to help me succeed, won’t you?” he smirked, turning onto the highway.
“You’re despicable,” I muttered. This was terrifying. Every other time Makuta had tried to recruit me to the dark side, he had always accepted a ‘no’ answer and eventually let me go, albeit with various injuries. Now he clearly intended to keep me prisoner.
The Spirit of Evil set the cruise control and took his foot off the accelerator. “But actually, cupcake, I’m not so sure I’ll be able to come back. What if LEGO doesn’t renew my contract? We’re still in negotiations, you see.”
“Oh,” I replied. “But can’t you just get another job?”
“That’s easier said than done, precious. The job market is really tight for villains these days. And besides, LEGO is the best place to work, by far. Just ask Ogel. They gave him that awesome undersea base, a bunch of cool vehicles, and all those skeleton drones. And all he has to do is show up in the LEGO Magazine comic once in a while, and pose for some online game graphics.”
I suppressed a laugh as I pictured Makuta and Ogel swapping stories at a dark corner table in a smoky café. Makuta continued his tirade, the brow of his Kraahkan furrowed with worry. “And it would really chap my hide if my low-life brother was still working for LEGO, while I was sending my résumé to the likes of Mega Bloks. You just don’t understand how humiliating that would be.”
“So it comes down to jealousy again.” I shook my head. “Why can’t you just learn to be happy for your brother’s success? Maybe he would share some of it with you if you stopped tormenting his people.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you knew my brother,” he groaned. “LEGO makes him sound like a great guy. But really, he’s a conceited j erk. He’s never shared anything in his life. Besides, I think I’ve burned too many bridges with him already. If he ever wakes up, he’s going to be hopping mad.”
“You can’t blame him for that. You’ve done some really awful things to the Matorans.”
“It’s their own fault, my dove. If they would just bow to me, I wouldn’t have to frighten them anymore.”
A man was standing by the side of the road next to his car, which was up on a jack with one wheel removed. He was reaching into the trunk for the spare tire. Makuta swerved toward the man and laughed as the poor fellow scrambled behind his vehicle.
“Haven’t you figured out by now that terror will never make them worship you? And it will never make me love you, either.”
Makuta sighed. “If you weren’t so lovely, I would have lost patience with you long ago, and crushed you to dust.” He stretched his arm across the back of the seat.
The miles rolled by. I glanced behind me. Inexplicably, the groceries were still frozen solid.
“So, sweetheart, you might as well start telling me the Toa’s secrets, so we can get to work right away as soon as we get home. Why don’t you begin with Tahu?”
I considered my options. Outright refusal could be perilous, but I was determined not to reveal anything that might be useful to this monster and his evil spawn. It occurred to me that flattery had great potential to distract him, given his considerable ego. “Well, Makuta, you’ve read my epic about him. That’s all I really know. And as cunning a villain as you are, you’ve probably picked up on things about him that I would never have noticed.”
“I don’t believe that for a second,” said Makuta, giving me a sideways glance. “You little sneak. You’re trying to distract me with flattery, aren’t you?”
I swallowed hard. “Maybe just a little… but it’s true. I don’t like what you do, but you’re definitely good at it. The best in the business, in my opinion. I hope LEGO does give you a new contract.”
“Why, thank you,” Makuta laughed. “But if you aren’t going to entertain me with talk about the Toa, my kitten, perhaps I should just freeze you until we get home, like the groceries. Besides, I don’t have the Rahkshi here this time to keep an eye on you when I go inside to pay for gas and so on.”
“All right, I’ll talk about Tahu,” I agreed reluctantly. My mind raced. What could I say to appease Makuta, without putting the Toa in danger? “Well,” I began slowly, “he does have a bit of a temper.”
“Yeah. I’ve read his bio on bionicle.com. Got any real information for me?”
“And he’s rather afraid of being wrong. That’s one reason he doesn’t get along well with Kopaka, who is usually the one to point out his errors.”
“And he has a fondness for danger, a strange attraction to it,” I continued.
“Now we’re getting somewhere. We could use that to lure him to his downfall. Tell me more.”
I cringed as I imagined Tahu being caught in some kind of evil trap because of my big mouth. Fearful of saying too much, I stopped talking all together.
“Oh, now, darling, don’t be shy. This little discussion might just save your life, you know.”
“But then my life wouldn’t be worth living, anyway,” I mumbled, mostly to myself.
“You poor dear. You feel like you’re betraying your friends.” He patted me on the head. “The thing you need to remember is that they aren’t really your friends at all. They just like your beautiful yellow eyes, because they look like Gali’s.”
This got my attention. “Yes, they are my friends, Makuta. Much more than you are. And I’m not going to talk about them any more. You can’t make me inform against them.” I crossed my arms.
“Oh, but I can, my sweet. You, like everyone else, have a pain threshold beyond which you will turn into a babbling fool.”
I remained silent. Now I was really scared. But I was still resolved not to yield. Makuta smiled at me. “But I do so hope it won’t come down to that. I would hate to see your pretty face all twisted with agony.”
He reached over and took my chin in his hand. “I can take you places, show you things, and bestow gifts upon you that no one else can. To think that you have the most powerful being on Mata Nui wrapped around your little blue finger, and yet you refuse to take advantage of that. All I want is a little information.” He let go of my chin and shook his head.
“Wrapped around my finger? I doubt it!” I scoffed. “Besides, I don’t want to work for someone who enjoys torturing people.”
“Torture is so crude, darling,” he remarked. “I do it only when I have to.”
“Look, Makuta, I don’t know why you’re wasting your time with me. I don’t know anything that you could really use. If you bring me to Mangaia again and keep me there, everyone will soon find out. After all, Ta--I mean, the Toa of Light is going to illuminate the inside of your lair, whether you win or not. And if I disappear, it won’t take long for the people who read ‘Road Trip with Makuta’ to figure out what’s happened.”
Makuta shrugged. “So perhaps you don’t know anything very helpful. But you will still be useful to me. Since you are a Toa prototype, I can learn how the Toa were constructed, and where they are vulnerable to attack, just by taking you apart and rebuilding you.” He looked at me and grinned. “And so what if everyone knows I have you? Most of your readers voted for my ending to your story, anyway--the one where you find happiness in my arms.”
Makuta seemed to have an answer to everything. I was beginning to feel very desperate. Was I really doomed to remain in his evil clutches? I shivered at the thought that he was planning to take me apart and use my anatomy to plot against my friends.
Then I remembered something. Makuta’s greatest fear.
I cleared my throat and spoke slowly. “But, Makuta, when LEGO finds out you’ve brought in an unauthorized extra character, they definitely won’t renew your contract.”
Makuta hit the brakes, hard. The convertible skidded on the pavement with an ear-splitting screech. Then it spun out of control and slid all over the road. The car lurched to a stop in the ditch in the center of the grassy median, facing sideways. The air bag exploded into my face, knocking off my mask. An instant later I felt a heavy blow to the back of my head, and everything went black.
When I returned to consciousness, Makuta was saying. “Thank you so much, beloved! I was about to jeopardize my whole career!” He put my mask back on my face, ripped the airbags from the dashboard, and threw them out of the car. I sat up, groggy. There were skid marks all over the road and deep gouges in the turf from the wheels. The block of frozen groceries was lying on the ground, smashed into pieces. “That must be what hit me,” I moaned, rubbing the back of my head. But as bad as I felt, I said a silent prayer of thanks that Makuta had stopped.
At least one of the motorists who had been behind us had lost control as well, and now there was a multiple-vehicle pileup. I cringed as I watched a semi slam into the growing tangle of wrecked cars.
Makuta put the car in reverse and gunned the motor. The wheels spun, spraying mud everywhere. Then he shifted into first gear and drove out of the median. He slammed the transmission into ‘Drive’ and pulled onto the road again, heading back toward the city. As we reached cruising speed, the thumping sounds of the mud chunks hitting the fenders finally died down.
Makuta was talking excitedly. “Oh, sweetheart, I really do need to learn some patience. You’re so right. If I bring you to Mangaia now, I could ruin my chances to be in the 2004 storyline and beyond.” He reached across the seat and squeezed my hand. “After I win, and LEGO signs the new contract, then I’ll come fetch you.”
Thank goodness Takanuva is going to defeat him, I thought. I didn’t understand why he planned to come back for me if he was so confident he would prevail against the Toa, but I decided I didn’t want to know.
The traffic in the opposite direction had slowed to a crawl because of the enormous accident Makuta had just caused. In the distance, a highway patrol car and a fire truck were racing along the shoulder toward the scene.
“But it’s too bad I won’t get to take you apart. I was rather looking forward to that,” he said regretfully, scanning me with his eyes.
“Makuta, look out!” I warned. He swerved sharply to avoid the car in front of him. At twice the speed limit, he was weaving in and out of the other vehicles on the highway as if they were standing still.
“Now you see why I need you by my side. Your cool thinking will lend balance to my impulsiveness. And taking over Mata Nui is just the beginning of my scheme.”
Behind us, I could hear sirens. I twisted around in my seat and saw flashing lights. “Makuta, I think they’re after you.”
He grinned. “Yes, it seems they are. This is going to be fun.” He waved his hand, and the pavement behind us erupted into jagged chunks of asphalt. Two of the police vehicles lost control and slid off the road. But soon more were in pursuit.
An electronic beeping sound came from the glove compartment. “Dearest, would you please hand me the phone?” asked Makuta. I complied, and he flipped it open. “Hello? Oh, hi, Turahk. Yes, I have her here, but there’s been a slight change of plan. Are you boys behaving yourselves?”
Makuta chatted gaily as he dodged a gravel hauler. He saw me looking nervously at the road ahead and covered the mouthpiece. “I know, princess, I should get a hands-free kit. I ordered one online, but I just haven’t had time to install it yet.” He resumed the conversation with his minion. “Well, she pointed out to me that LEGO might not renew my contract if they discovered her at our place. So I’m going to leave her here until after we defeat the Toa.”
I could hear hissing sounds, and Makuta leaned toward me. “They’re really disappointed you’re not coming, but they understand that it’s for the best.”
“Right, Makuta. I think you’re just making that up.”
The sirens seemed to get louder. I saw another police car waiting for us on the median. As it pulled out onto the road, Makuta swerved toward it, and I watched it drive back off the pavement into the ditch.
“Son, I’m going to put GaliGee on the line. Use that ‘text message’ feature on your phone, and type to her.” He studied the telephone for a second and then handed it to me. “Talk to him yourself, angel.”
I took the phone, glad that Makuta was paying attention to the road again. I looked at the display. It read, “HI GALIGEE WE MISS U!”
“Go ahead, say something,” urged the Spirit of Evil. “They can understand speech.”
I looked at him warily. “Hello, um, Turahk,” I said hesitantly into the phone.
The response came back. “R U HAVING A NICE DRIVE?”
Conversing with a disembodied piece of Makuta—this was too creepy for words. “Uh, yes, thanks. Except for all the police cars chasing us,” I replied.
More text appeared. “DAD WILL KEEP U SAFE.”
Now, this sounded like something Makuta would want his offspring to say. I looked over at him. He was wearing a half-smile as he maneuvered the car around a flatbed truck loaded with quarried stone blocks. Was he using some kind of telekinesis or mind control trick?
“So, I’ve been wondering about something. How do you six expect to defeat the Toa, when entire swarms of Bohrok failed?” I asked.
“WE USE BOHROK AS KOLHII BALLS.”
I had to chuckle at this. But I flinched when I remembered what kind of damage the Rahkshi were capable of doing, even while just amusing themselves. “I enjoyed the tour of the island you gave me when I was there,” I continued. “But why did you torment those poor Matorans?”
“BECAUSE WE CAN,” read the display. “AND ITS FUN. BESIDES IF WE DIDN’T, DAD WOULD KILL US.”
I glanced at Makuta again. He grabbed the phone, read the text, and scowled. Then he yelled into the mouthpiece. “You rotten little brat! I can make another one just like you, you know!” He snapped the phone closed and handed it back to me, narrowly avoiding a school bus. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Of course he didn’t really mean that.”
“Why are you acting surprised, Makuta? Aren’t the Rahkshi under your control, anyway? Because--” I stopped talking when I saw the police roadblock in front of us. Several cars with flashing lights were waiting next to a double row of yellow and black striped barricades.
Makuta put his hand on my head and pushed me down onto the seat. I heard a loud crash as we sailed through the roadblock. Splintered boards, orange highway cones, and the front grille of a police cruiser flew overhead. I sat up again and knocked off a piece of wood that was hanging from the rear view mirror.
“Sort of. The process of separating the kraata from myself interfered with our communication considerably.” Makuta grimaced. “Not enough to keep me from feeling the anguish as all those kraata were captured, though. You can’t blame me for having an axe to grind with the Turaga.”
“So you can’t see through the Rahkshi’s eyes, or anything like that?”
“No. But I don’t need to, anyway. I have very good eyesight, my pet. I even have eyes in the back of my head.” His head swiveled around, and two more blue eyes were looking at me out of the back of his mask, which vaguely resembled the Mask of Light. Then he spun his head the rest of the way around and glanced at my bag. “You have a green and black ball point pen that says ‘Horizon Bank’ on it, and twenty-seven dollars and eighty-two cents in your wallet.”
I fished inside my bag and found the pen, exactly as he had described. Then I opened my wallet and counted my money. He was correct. I had a hard time imagining how Makuta could get any creepier. But at least he was taking me home--if I survived the ride.
As we approached the city again, more patrol cars joined the chase. Makuta ran a red light, veering between a gasoline tanker truck and a pickup pulling a trailer full of landscaping equipment. I pressed myself back into the seat and gripped the door handle tightly.
The Spirit of Evil glanced over at me. “Darling, relax! You’re safe with me.” He put his arm around my shoulders. Somehow I didn’t feel any safer.
Steering with one hand, he cut off a cement truck that was pulling into the next lane, and then he drove onto the sidewalk to get around the cars waiting for a red light. Honking horns joined the cacophony of sirens. I looked up to see a police helicopter. Some distance behind it was another one with the logo of the local television station. Makuta looked up and waved his hand again, and a vortex of swirling air sent the helicopters spinning thousands of feet higher into the atmosphere.
“So, here we are at the grocery store,” he smiled. “It pains me to let you go, dearest, but I’ll see you again soon. I’ve made you invisible to the police for a few minutes, so they won’t follow you. After all, it’s me they really want.” He careened into the parking lot on two wheels, snaking between shopping carts and terrified pedestrians, and screeched to a stop in front of the automatic doors.
I jumped out of the car with great relief. “Thanks for bringing me back, Makuta,” I sighed. “I hope you get your new contract. But please don’t come back for me. I’m happy living right here where--”
“Wait, my lovely,” he said, stepping out of the convertible. “I don’t want you to forget me.” He took my head between his hands. I felt a strange rushing sensation. My vision went black for an instant, and I lost my balance. I opened my eyes again, and Makuta was holding me in his arms. “Now, GaliGee, whenever you look in the mirror, you’ll think of me,” he grinned, kissing my forehead. “Farewell, my angel!”
Dazed, I stumbled backwards toward the store. Police cruisers poured into the parking lot with sirens wailing. Makuta leaped onto the seat of his car, shook his fist, and yelled, “You’ll never catch me, coppers!” Then he sat down, put the car in gear, and floored it. As he zigzagged between the patrol cars into the street, I could hear his maniacal laughter over the roar of the engine and the squealing tires.
“I guess I need to get some more groceries,” I mumbled to myself. But first, I ducked into the restroom to glance in the mirror. Sure enough, I looked different. Staring back at me out of my mask was a pair of blue eyes. I took off my Kaukau Nuva, blinked, and rubbed my eyes, but they were still blue, as was the back of my head. I replaced my Kanohi, left the bathroom, and headed toward the pharmacy aisle for some aspirin.
As if I could ever forget Makuta.
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Edited by GaliGee, Jan 13 2012 - 03:46 PM.
* New chapter September 24 * Part II: Peacetime Thanks, Huriko!
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