Edited by Hahli Husky, Jul 26 2012 - 12:50 PM.
L S O 2012 - Team Extempore
Posted Jul 08 2012 - 05:11 PM
Posted Jul 09 2012 - 06:53 PM
Edited by Emissary to the Void, Jul 13 2012 - 07:48 AM.
"One day, I'll send you out on a routine inquiry and it'll turn out to be just that."
Posted Jul 09 2012 - 10:00 PM
Posted Jul 10 2012 - 09:31 PM
Chapter 3Normally, Kopaka would be outside New Atero, a solitary spirit, seeking for a measure of privacy. Today, that wasn’t the case. He was sitting, waiting for Nuparu in the waiting room of the New Atero Secret Service. He had been asked to help. What they wanted him for, he had no idea. He was halfway through fleshing out his best theory when Nuparu came out of his workshop. “Kopaka!” he exclaimed with a smile. “It’s good to see you.”The older Toa, personality as frigid as the element he had mastery over, merely nodded. “I’m testing a new form of microphone today,” Nuparu said. “I’m hoping it’ll be smaller, lighter and more accurate than what our spies are using today, but it is using a rather volatile power source. And if anything explodes it would be nice to have a Toa of Ice around.”Knowing Nuparu, that seems likely, Kopaka thought, logical and cold as ever. “Very well,” he said. “Let’s go.”As they were walking into the dark workshop, a Matoran guard rushed in to the building.“Toa Nuparu!” He called, short of breath. “There’s a situation at hand. Toa Jaller requests your presence immediately. And bring your tools.”Then, as if noticing Kopaka for the first time, his eyes grew wide. “You’d better come too, Toa Kopaka.”Something bad has happened. Kopaka thought. Something very bad indeed. Nuparu rushed around the workshop, grabbing all manner of equipment and packing them neatly into a case. It took him only a few moments, but then he was ready to go. “Alright then. I’m ready now. Let’s go.”
* * *Toa Jaller was surprised to see Kopaka. He hadn’t expected that Nuparu and Kopaka would be together, and now he supposed the second messenger he had sent to find the Toa Nuva of Ice had been sent on a wild gukko chase. “Kopaka! Nuparu!” he called across the room, from where he had been examining Onua’s desk. “It’s good that you are here. I’m afraid I have some bad news for you both.“Toa Onua is dead.”“No!” Nuparu burst out. Kopaka stayed silent. “Yes,” Jaller replied. “He was assassinated by Gresh -- or by something possessing him. We aren’t sure yet.” Nuparu was still in shock as he turned to Kopaka.“Then it’s just you and Lewa left,” he murmured. All the other Nuva were dead: Gali in a massive avalanche in the White Quartz mountains, Pohatu presumed dead after leading a scouting expedition into the southern regions of Bara Magna, and Tahu killed in battle against a rogue creation -- the perfect killer of Toa -- of the Great Beings.“How did Gresh kill him?” Kopaka asked, ignoring Nuparu. Onua was a Toa Nuva. He was powerful and, additionally, he was wise. He knew how to use his power. “With this,” Jaller produced a small fireworks revolver. It was a handheld device capable of launching miniature explosives. “I wanted Nuparu to examine it, to see if he could find anything for us to work with.” He handed it to the Toa of Earth, who promptly summoned an Akaku from his Suva and began scanning the revolver. Nuparu looked up, eyes wide. “Kopaka, you need to see this.” He handed the revolver to the Toa Nuva. “Look under the casing in the barrel.”Kopaka, Toa Nuva of Ice and one of the last Toa on Bara Magna, activated his Akaku Nuva, sharing the enhanced vision with the other two Toa. Right where Nuparu had indicated were five words, engraved into the metallic protodermis of the barrel. Five words that would change the universe. "Death to the Toa Nuva."
Posted Jul 11 2012 - 12:27 PM
Chapter FourKopaka's voice broke the short silence. "Get Lewa here. Now.""But, Kopaka," Jaller began, "Commander Lewa's out of the city. On an important mission-""Then send for him," Kopaka said tightly. "You have a Suletu, do you not?"He looked Jaller in the eye. "A Toa Nuva has been killed, and presumably more murders are planned. Lewa Nuva must be brought here as quickly as possible. Call him - now."Technically, Kopaka held no authority over Captain Jaller. He was perhaps the only Toa in the kingdom without any official position, having repeatedly refused any title other than his first - "Toa".Nevertheless, Jaller found himself obeying. It seemed all his millenia as a Toa and a commander had failed to erase his deep-seated awe of the Nuva.Or perhaps it was simply the ice in Kopaka's voice and eyes, as he stood over the body of his murdered brother.Concentrating, he summoned his Suletu. It had been a gift from Toa Krakua, when he had become a Turaga. Almost all Toa's extra Kanohi came from like sources.Lewa, he called. Commander Lewa of the Special Forces, this is Captain Jaller of the Royal Guard. Can you hear me?Almost immediately, he heard a familiar reply."Jaller!" Lewa answered - a lot older, a lot more experienced, and a little graver than he used to sound, but still with a laugh in his voice. "Good to thought-hear you, Captain. Something wrong in the city?"Jaller drew a deep breath. Should he tell him now?He decided that this news should be broken face to face. "I'm afraid so. I can't explain now, but... I have some bad news. You need to come back here immediately.""My squad's in the middle of their scout-sneak, Jaller," the Commander said warily. "Why do I have to leave them? Onua's orders?"Jaller glanced over his shoulder at the corpse behind him. He noticed Nuparu was now kneeling by it, in silent grief.It had hit him hard, Jaller realized - Onua had been "his" Toa, back in the island days. He must have been feeling the way Jaller did when Tahu fell...He pushed the memories away. "No," he replied to Lewa. The body on the ground would be doing no more ordering. "Kopaka's."There was a pause from Lewa. Jaller could sense his surprise, and fear - it was not Kopaka's habit to send summons for his brothers. If the Toa of Ice had bad news..."Trust me," Jaller told him. "It is urgent. Come as fast as you can - I'm sure your elites can take care of themselves."He broke contact before hearing Lewa's indignant reply, wondering why espionage seemed to be so much the property of air types. Not only did Lewa command the Special Forces, the North's most highly skilled scouts and fighters, but a Le-Matoran, Defilak, headed the Secret Service - although Nuparu helped on their engineering end, of course, when not busy with the "Mechanry".(An interesting side effect of this association, by the way, had been the establishment of certain treespeak terms as stealth-op slang. "Scout-sneak," for instance, was actually a specific kind of reconnaissance.)"He's coming," Jaller reported, switching back to his normal Arthron."Good," Kopaka said. "Nuparu," he added sharply.Nuparu looked up, startled from his mourning."Get back to analyzing that gun," the Toa of Ice ordered. "We need to know how that 'fireworks revolver' was able to kill a Toa Nuva.""Yes, sir," Nuparu said obediently. He left the room, taking the weapon with him."Excuse me," Jaller said hesitantly. "We... have a problem.""Really?" Kopaka said dryly. "Thank you for pointing that out, Jaller. I hadn't realized that a disturbed Toa-murderer in the city qualified as a problem.""Not that, sir," Jaller said evenly."Oh?""The Northern Hemisphere was originally ruled by King Tahu. Prime Minister Onua became the head of state after his death, as no new king could be found. Now the Prime Minister is dead as well." Jaller paused. "We have no leader now."We need a new king."I know you've refused before," he urged on, " but there's no one else left. You and Commander Lewa are the most experienced Toa I know of. You are qualified, and you have no other positions to tie you up. Why won't you take over?"Kopaka looked at him for a moment. Then he shook his head."My apologies, Jaller, but even if I agreed that I was a suitable choice, I'm afraid I have other plans at present." He turned away.Will they never understand? he wondered. I am not a ruler, or an administrator. I want no part of this kingdom the other Toa have built. I only ask to be left alone.But solitude, he knew, would be a luxury he could not afford in the coming days. For he had plans, as he had said. He had a task to accomplish."You'd better be getting back to your post, Captain," he suggested, coldly. "When Lewa arrives, send him-"He broke off, hearing familiar footsteps coming down the hall. Lewa appeared in the doorway."Used my Kakama," he said, tapping his mask. "What's the - oh!"He had seen the body."Onua!"
Edited by Excelsior, Jul 15 2012 - 10:07 PM.
Posted Jul 12 2012 - 04:19 PM
Chapter 5About three hours later, Kopaka, Lewa and Jaller found themselves standing inside Nuparu’s office, awaiting the engineer’s conclusions on the assassination weapon, not to mention Onua’s postmortem, and Gresh’s psychological profile.Slowly, with the look of a man whose entire world had been torn apart, the Toa of Earth walked in, followed by a younger water Agori, named Berix. The Agori hadn’t been working with the Royal Guard for long, but he had quickly shown himself to be an intuitive and resourceful engineer and medic, and was soon appointed as the head coroner of the police force, among other duties.“So,” Jaller spoke up, careful not to sound too forceful with Nuparu, “Found anything?”Nuparu shrugged miserably, “I...I’m not sure about the murder weapon. The barrel and the rest of the metallic components are made out of protodermis, nothing special there.”He took the weapon out of his pocket, “However, the handle, it’s made out of wood. And a very specific type of wood, coming from the Brakan tree, in Bota Magna. Not the rarest tree ever, but not exactly as common as, say, grass.”It was a weak joke, but at least he’s trying, Jaller thought."Oh, the Trekon tree," Lewa interrupted quickly, "I remember it. Poison black berries, thick vines, and a long red stripe of bark quick-running around the trunk, right?""Exactly," the engineer replied, “And, before you ask, no, there aren’t any discernible fingerprints, other than Gresh’s. Sorry.”Kopaka nodded, “What about chemical or neurological properties in the two bodies? Anything unusual?”“Nothing to report, unfortunately,” Berix said, his voice grimmer than ever before, “Both Onua’s and Gresh’s bodies are free of any poisons, venoms or other foreign substances. No detectable neurological agents, no suspicious cybernetic implants. Sorry to say, but they’re both as clean as Jaller’s criminal record.”The Captain of the Guard ignored the joke, “So, no foul play beyond the obvious with the Prime Minister. What about Gresh? Do you have any ideas about why he would kill Onua?”“If you’re talking about a motive,” Nuparu said, visibly trying to keep his voice even, “Then no, we don’t have one. However, if you’re talking about possible manipulation, blackmail or even, Mata Nui-forbid, mind-control, I might have something for you.”The inventor cleared his throat, “As Berix said, we haven’t found neurological agents or implants. Gresh also passed the classic Rode test. As far as he’s aware, he entered Tajun, and then woke up in Onua’s office, with you, Jaller, arresting him.”This time, it was Kopaka who spoke, “Toa Nuparu, all due respect, but what are you getting at?”Nuparu furrowed his brow in frustration, but replied, “What I’m saying is, either Gresh managed to wipe his memory of several exact events in the two minutes between killing Onua and Jaller arriving, or he was being controlled the old-fashioned way, with telepathy.”“But telepathy would require the controller to be in ever-close range to Gresh...” Lewa pondered aloud, “Which means...”No one in the room really wanted to have finish that thought. It seemed like the final declaration that their world was coming apart around them. Unfortunately, someone had to, no matter how soul-crushing it was. Finally, Berix said the words.“We have a double-agent here.”-Void
"One day, I'll send you out on a routine inquiry and it'll turn out to be just that."
Posted Jul 12 2012 - 11:52 PM
Chapter 6Later that evening, Jaller was confined to his office, going over paperwork. The city was already abuzz over the news of Onua’s death. The guards had been doubled around the capital building, and both Kopaka and Lewa had been given bodyguards. Kopaka especially disliked the situation, since he was very solitary, but Jaller had insisted. If attempts were being made against the Toa Nuva, they couldn’t take any chances.Nuparu’s discovery of the Brakan tree wood was a potential lead. The largest grove of Brakan trees was within the borders of a powerful tribe of Skakdi in the south, who were known to oppose the Northern Hemisphere. After the recent declaration of war from the south, this connection was more than just a mere coincidence.Jaller wanted to lead a mission to the south right away and discover what the Skakdi were up to. Unfortunately, his duties as the Captain of the Guard forced him to remain in New Atero. However, he still had forces at his command. Earlier, he had summoned Gelu, an ice Glatorian. Gelu was a skilled tracker, and since the world had come back together, he had traveled to all the far corners of Spherus Magna. He sometimes knew the land better than the natives, and he had made more than one voyage into the jungles of Bota Magna.Jaller had sent Gelu on a mission to investigate the Braken tree grove, and report back on any of his findings within the Skakdi colony. It was a move that Prime Minister Onua would have disapproved of. But Gelu was a capable Glatorian, and he would do best on a solo mission. And, since there was the likelihood of a spy within their ranks, Jaller told no one else about Gelu’s mission.That was the other problem Jaller was attempting to tackle. According to Nuparu’s hypothesis, Gresh had been controlled via telepathy, which meant the true assassin must’ve been close to the Capital Building. Jaller had quickly taken steps to track down any telepathic users. All discs and Kanohi that involved telepathy had been confiscated and locked away; Jaller had even given up his own Suletu for the cause.But there were plenty of other beings who had natural telepathic capabilities that didn’t rely on mask powers, so Jaller had to take them into account too. He was currently pouring over lists and lists of beings from both Spherus Magna and the Mata Nui Robot, and making note of all the ones who showed skills with telepathy. Luckily, many of the beings with psionics powers were deceased, including such beings as Tren Krom, the Dark Hunter Dweller, and the Makuta. Still, Jaller had to take into account all of them, and figure out how they might have controlled Gresh.Furthermore, Jaller pondered about how their telepathy could be blocked. The defunct Order of Mata Nui used to train its member on how to shield their minds from mental attacks. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Order had long since passed away, and Jaller had no record of how they had been able to block their minds off from telepathy.It was all very troubling for the Toa of Fire. He had encountered many situations in his time as a Guard and as a Toa. But now he could hardly trust anybody, and perhaps even his own mind was at risk.He turned back to his records. There was an account of a Toa under the control of a Makuta from the days of Metru Nui. Makuta had taken control of the Toa and turned him on his own people. It was a useless story, since there were no Makuta left in this world. Besides, Jaller had witnessed Makuta’s control of others firsthand. He remembered the infected masks that had stolen the minds of Rahi and even Matoran at times.Jaller paused in mid thought. Infected masks were not a traditional form of telepathy, but they did force the users to act against their will. Lewa should know that better than anybody else; he had once been under the control of an infected mask.Jaller’s mind raced. What if telepathy wasn’t the answer after all? He thought back on his own experiences, trying to recall other circumstances where someone’s will had been controlled by another. There were sonic attacks that could make one suggestible, like those used in the old Vahki models. But they would’ve left a recordable energy discharge in Gresh that Nuparu hadn’t detected. There had also been the one time an implant had taken control of a Steltan and caused him to wreck havoc. But no evidence of such a device had been found on Gresh either.Then Jaller remembered the krana. They were parasites who could latch onto a Matoran’s face and take complete control over them. And they could easily be removed or switch hosts.Perhaps that was the answer. Some sort of parasite had attached to Gresh and controlled his actions. But after killing Onua, it had detached and fled. It could have done so in the few minutes it took for Jaller to respond to the explosion. It might have even detached right after Jaller blasted Gresh, and escaped into the darkness. Jaller had been so focused on Gresh and Onua that he wouldn’t have noticed a small parasite flee from the room.Still, the krana were rather immobile when not attached to a host, so one couldn’t have been responsible. But krana still existed in the world, and if somebody had studied or mutated one and created one that could move on its own…Jaller stood up, and the paperwork on his desk went flying. He had to inform Kopaka and Lewa of this new insight. If he still had his Suleta, he would’ve informed them right away. Instead, he had to take the traditional approach and find them in person.Before Jaller could leave, his door burst opened, and Toa Nuparu entered the room. Nuparu looked out of breath, and quickly slammed the door shut behind him.“Nuparu?” Jaller asked with concern in his voice. “What’s wrong? Did you discover something.”Nuparu steadied himself, and looked Jaller straight in the eye. To Jaller’s surprise, a slight grin formed on the edge of his mask.“You trust me, Jaller,” he asked. “Don’t you?”
Edited by xccj, Jul 12 2012 - 11:54 PM.
Posted Jul 14 2012 - 11:30 AM
Chapter 7“You trust me, Jaller,” Nuparu said. “Don’t you?”For Jaller, there was no other response but the obvious. “Of course, Nuparu!” He exclaimed, clasping his hands behind his back. “Why wouldn’t I?”Nuparu’s grin grew wider. “Well then,” Nuparu continued, gaze still intensely focused on the Captain of the Guard and Deputy Prime Minister. “I’m glad for that. You have no idea how...nice that is to hear."Nuparu twisted and, with a extension of his will, raised enough earth to barricade the door behind him. He turned back to his leader, the Toa who commanded him. "This is an emergency Jaller.“It’s been a long time Jaller. Too long since we last spoke.”“Nuparu...” Jaller offered hesitantly. “We spoke just a few hours ago.” Nuparu’s grin vanished. “I’m telling you, it’s been too long! It’s been years and years since we last spoke! What, do you not trust me? It’s me, Jaller! It’s Nuparu! I’ve been locked away for years now, and someone has taken my place!”Jaller swallowed. “I believe you, Nuparu. We’ve shared experiences and battles, and I believe you. But I grew Captain of the Guard. I’m naturally suspicious. So please, don’t be offended, but I want you to prove that you’re fully Nuparu. Not under any form of control.“Take off your mask.”Nuparu took a deep breath. “Fine. Fine. I can do that.” he submitted, reaching up and pulling off his mask. A Toa’s face is no thing of beauty; it’s meant to be constantly hidden away under the Great Kanohi that all the Toa wore like badges of office. And it to say that it was a rare occasion for anyone to see a Toa’s bare face is an understatement. But today, to Jaller, Nuparu’s bare was the most beautiful thing in the universe. No krana, no kraata, no infected mask, nothing at all. Just his face. Nuparu wasn’t being possessed.Right then, Jaller thought. But let me double check.“So, Nuparu,” he started. “One simple question. The night we six left Metru Nui to travel up to Voya Nui, what did I say?”Nuparu smiled, the memories coming back to him. “You told us that we didn’t have to be Toa to be heroes.”In hindsight, the irony of that statement -- for those six matoran had become Toa -- seemed hilarious to Jaller, and he burst out laughing. Nuparu gave a nervous smile before he, too, joined in the laughter. “Ok, that’s enough of that.” Nuparu stopped abruptly, pulling out the fireworks revolver Gresh had used and pointing it at Jaller. “Hands on your head, you old fool.” Jaller froze, mind racing. Was Nuparu the double agent all along? No, he couldn’t have been: he doesn’t have telepathic abilities. But he could have used a Suletu or Komau. I wouldn’t put it past him to have developed a way to use an Iden for this very purpose. Who knows what goes on in that workshop of his? But no! I have the records -- he hasn’t got any of those masks! And none of them have been stolen recently. But yes! He could have forged one! “So have you always been a double agent, Nuparu?” he asked casually as he brought his hands up to his head. The other Toa tossed his head back and laughed. “You and Onua. Both of you must be getting old if you can’t recognize me.” he taunted. “It’s me! It’s me! It’s really me! Aren’t you glad to see me?” He took a few steps over to Jaller’s desk and, with a chuckle, scanned the scattered documents. “Really?” he asked. “Telepathy? You think this is telepathy? Come on, just pause for a moment and think. What happened to the Jaller I knew? What happened to that brave and resourceful man?“You know, I think after all this time of peace, you’ve all gotten soft. You, Onua, Lewa, and the rest. All soft and fat and lazy and arrogant. Nothing can touch you, that’s what you all think. But then you put your trust in the wrong people! And it comes back to knock your mask off, leave you in a daze wondering what happened!” Nuparu’s voice had gradually risen, until we he was yelling furiously in Jaller’s face. “Please,” Jaller said. “Please. You’re going to kill me anyways. Just tell me what you are.”Nuparu’s grin grew even wider. Slowly, strangely, he began to laugh. Louder and louder he laughed, until laughter -- horrible, terrible laughter -- filled the room. It seemed to last for days and days, but was over in seconds, echoes fading. And then Nuparu took a step back, raised the fireworks revolver, and just before he pulled the trigger, he told Jaller the truth. And as he pulled the trigger, Jaller unleashed his power, power he had been building up the instant Nuparu pulled out the revolver. Fire and firework met with a heavy booming sound, shockwaves filling the room. Jaller and Nuparu was were tossed away from each other, Nuparu’s armor becoming scorched and blacker than it already was. Jaller was thrown in the wall right behind him, where he sank to the ground and lay fallen, all traces of consciousness gone. In the smoke and flames, when no one was watching, Nuparu’s body flickered, just for an instant. He vanished and then reappeared, within that short moment in time. If anyone had been watching, they would have ignored it, brushed it away, lest they call themselves insane, save for one thing. When Nuparu’s body reappeared, he was no longer standing conscious. When the Matoran fire fighters finally broke through the door, Jaller had regained consciousness. He was sitting with his back to the wall, facing the door. When they finally got through, he looked up at them with forlorn eyes. He looked like he had been utterly destroyed. "Who am I?" He asked them. "Where is this? Who are you?"
Posted Jul 15 2012 - 09:40 PM
Chapter 8Chief Defilak looked up from his desk. Beside him, rhythmically scraping his shredder claws together, sat his friend and trusted operative, Agent Piruk.“Yes, Commander Lewa – Toa Kopaka?” he greeted the two veterans.Kopaka gave him a cold stare. “Do you have any more information on the attacks, Chief?”“Very little,” he responded grimly. “Whatever this is, it can do more than just possess-control minds – it can destroy them.“Captain Jaller has been stripped bare – memories, thought-knowledge, everything. Certainly, he won't be a help to us." Defilak paused. "His mind is broken, I much-fear.""And Toa Nuparu?" Lewa interjected. "Has he woken up yet?""No, but he should any minute," the chief replied. "Turaga Onewa's about to interrogate him now. Would you care to join us?"Kopaka nodded. "I believe we would."Turaga Onewa was already in the closely-guarded hospital cell when they arrived. He stood at the sight of the Nuva."Kopaka - Lewa," he began. "I was so grieved to hear of your loss. Onua was a great Toa.""Yeah," Lewa cut him off. "We knew that. Isn't there some sort of interrogation scheduled here?""We thank you for your sympathy, Turaga," Kopaka amended. "However, perhaps we should continue with the questioning."Onewa nodded understandingly - remembering, perhaps, the deaths of his own brothers. "Of course."He moved to the bedside. "Nuparu," he said, "are you awake?"Nuparu's eyes opened. "I...guess so," he said, groaning slightly. "What, was I in a lab accident?"He looked at the Turaga. "Wait a second. You're here." He sighed. "So was this one of my top-secret, super-classified lab accidents? Those are the worst ones..."Turaga Onewa gave a momentary smile. "I'm afraid it's worse than that."He showed Nuparu the fireworks revolver. "What do you remember about this?"Nuparu gave a gasp, eyes wide. "That's what I was working on! Then...then..." he paused uncertainly, "...what happened next? Did - did I..."He trailed off, looking around. When he noticed the Toa Nuva both there, he gave a sigh of relief."Thank Mata Nui!" he said. "You're still alive.""Yes," Kopaka said, a bit grimly. "We're still alive."Nuparu turned to Onewa again. "But that is what happened, isn't it? The murderer - it must have taken me, while I was looking at its gun?""Frankly," Onewa told him, "we're not quite sure ourselves. Tell me everything you remember."Nuparu's brow furrowed as he tried to think back."The last I remember," he began, "I was in my lab, just sort of holding the gun. I'd given it a thorough exam already, of course. But I was just wishing there was something else I could do - some other way to help find the Prime Minister's killer." His voice trembled for a moment."And then?" the Turaga prompted, as Nuparu paused."That's the last thing I remember clearly," the Toa of Earth said slowly. "But there was more - like a dream, or something. I have an impression of something big happening, something urgent - something I had to tell Jaller about right away. Then running, I think, to his office...then it's allpretty blank...and then I was awake again, but not really.""And what exactly was happening then?" the Turaga asked patiently."Jaller was there, and he'd just asked me what it was he told us when we were leaving for Voya Nui. I seemed awake then, because I heard him and understood him perfectly, but it didn't occur to me to wonder why he was asking me that. Or where I was, for that matter, or what we were doing there.""And what did you do?""Answered the question, just like I would have normally," Nuparu said, shrugging. "He'd said -" he paused "-you don't have to be a Toa to be a hero."When I told him that, he started laughing - it was pretty ironic, when you think about it. I must have been waking up a little more by then, because I was kind of confused, but I was laughing too. Then -" he shook his head helplessly "- everything went blank. I remember absolutely nothing else until waking up, just now.""Thank you, Nuparu," Turaga Onewa said. "This may prove helpful. It's certainly more information than we have on the last incident, although it's not very much to go on."Nuparu looked confused. "But, Turaga, didn't Jaller tell you his side? I was talking to him, wasn't... I...?"Realization hitting him, his voice trailed off. He looked appealingly from one face to another."Is Jaller alive?""He is alive," Onewa said gently. "But - I'm sorry, Nuparu. His mind has been broken."He quickly told him the little they knew. Nuparu listened, eyes filled with grief and horror."But I didn't do that," he stammered. "I wouldn't do that to Jaller - I wouldn't!"It was Kopaka who answered. "Of course you wouldn't," he said, in what was, for him, an unusually gentle voice. "Any more than Gresh would kill Onua. But someone attacked them, and that someone used you, both."I don't know why, if the killer is truly after the Nuva, it would attack Jaller. I can only assume that one or both of you had discovered something of importance, and it took this means of silencing you - getting into your mind to block your memories, trying, perhaps, to kill Jaller, and, in any case, attacking him mentally, to ensure he would not tell whatever he knew."But in that case," he continued reflectively, "what was it you knew?"He turned to Onewa. "Turaga, are his memories of the incident erased or merely blocked? Can you tell?"The Turaga shut his eyes. His Komau, which had been in use, to a small degree, throughout the interview was now probing Nuparu's mind. After a few minutes, he opened his eyes."Near the beginning," he said slowly, "I believe there are blocked - perhaps recoverable - memories. The later memories, on the other hand, seem increasingly blurry and faint, until there is literally nothing there. Certainly there is nothing between his last speech with Jaller and his awakening here.""Turaga," Chief Defilak said, "it looks like you should get to work on those. Unblock his memories. Seek-find what he knows. Oh, and I'll give you both a guard, 36/7. We know the killer want-needs these memories blocked, badly.""Might I suggest a different approach?" Kopaka said abruptly.Defilak turned to him. "Yes, Toa Nuva?""As you say," the Toa began, "the killer - whoever and whatever it is - badly wants Nuparu's memories to stay blocked. In fact, that desire already seems to have cost one innocent being his sanity. If there is a chance of his memories being recovered, I suggest that the only outcome would be injury - to Nuparu, to Turaga Onewa, and possibly to others.""So what are you suggesting, Kopaka?" Defilak said suspiciously."I am suggesting," Kopaka said, looking him in the eye, "that you drop the case.""What?" Lewa cried. "Are you out of your mind, Kopaka? That - that slime-spawn - killed Onua!""Silence, Toa of Air," Kopaka said, his voice deadly cold. "Let me finish."If we are to go by the gun," he continued, in a room suddenly stilled, "he is aiming for two victims and two only, as long as others stay out of his way: Lewa, Commander of the Special Forces - important, but not irreplaceable; and myself, a lone Toa with no positions or duties to give up. There is a chance" - although he considered it a slight one, Kopaka didn't say so - "that, if he manages to kill us, he will trouble you no more. In the long run, it could be much less costly than you fighting him.""So - I'm supposed to just give up?" Nuparu said, voice raw. "This thing killed my old Toa, my hero. He crippled my brother and team leader! And we're doing nothing?""You are doing nothing," Kopaka corrected him. "I am sorry about Jaller - believe me. But this is a matter for the Nuva.""Don't think I'm disagreeing about that, frosty," Lewa put in, "but couldn't it be equally a matter for the Mahri? One of ours is dead, and I'm not resting till I find his killer - poor payment for all the times Onua's saved me, but the best I can do." His voice shook. He steadied it. "But one of theirs has been hurt - badly. Another was used by the killer. They've got Jaller to avenge, as much as we do Onua."Kopaka shook his head. "I don't think this is just about Onua, brother."Everyone in this room saw the battle against Marendar - the one where Tahu died," he continued. "Did anyone else notice something strange? In Tahu's last moments - with the thing almost on top of him - he was petrified. He was as still as if I had frozen him. He saw the last blow coming - there's no doubt of that - and he did nothing. No Hau, nothing. Is that natural? Especially for Tahu, is that natural? He had his weaknesses" - Kopaka almost smiled for a moment - "but undue hesitation was not among them."Or Gali. I was not there, but - an avalanche? I have never truly believed my sister could have been killed by such a thing. I have heard she had ample time to escape, but that - again - she froze."She could have shielded herself with her Hau Nuva. Or batted the rocks aside with her Pakari Nuva - as she actually did, once in the past. Or escaped with her Kakama or even Miru. And she did nothing."Would not a similar hesitation," he continued quietly, "have been necessary to kill my brother of Earth? It is inconceivable that he could not have escaped the shot somehow, if he was not afflicted by a mental paralysis - and this is an enemy we already know to be endowed with mental powers."He stopped."You know," Lewa said slowly, "looking back, I think you're right. Onua wasn't this person's first victim."We've got our whole team to avenge."Lewa paused for a few moments. Then he straightened up. "Ever-sorry to be leaving, guys, but we'll be busy. See you later, probably. Tell Tamaru to take care of our Elites for me, Defilak. And Nuparu - next time you see Kongu, tell him that last week I beat his record fast-flight by three seconds - and I wasn't using any Kanohi." He paused, just long enough to go to Nuparu's bedside and clank fists with him."Don't worry," he said softly. "We'll pay him back for Jaller." He grinned again. "Tell Kongu that too, if you want.""Stop!" Turaga Onewa cried, getting to his feet."You know you cannot go. Two Toa cannot rush off on their own after a major threat just to settle a private score. This is too important for such treatment, and I am sure Chief Defilak agrees with me.""I do," stated the Chief of the Secret Service. "I'm sorry, but I won't allow you to leave this city."Lewa cocked an eyebrow at Kopaka questioningly. Kopaka gave him a brief nod, and a moment later, Lewa felt his signal - the familiar power of one of the Ice Toa's Kanohi Nuva, rushing through his body.He grinned at the old Turaga. "Sorry, Referee, but trust us - we'll be ever-fine," he said. "Oh - I'm afraid we'll need that too." He dashed forward, grabbed the gun from Nuparu's hand -And then there was nothing to be seen but a white and a green blur, which sped through the walls and disappeared. They left a silence in the hospital room, for there seemed nothing to say.The silence was broken, however - by Toa Nuparu, who looked strangely uneasy."I'm not sure they should have taken the revolver," he said, slowly.The Turaga looked at him as though he had been possessed again. "That's all you can find to worry about?""It's just... I think your probing might have started to bring my memories back," he said."And?""I think...right before things started going faint...I saw the gun. I think I saw it..."...flicker."
Edited by Excelsior, Jul 15 2012 - 10:05 PM.
Posted Jul 17 2012 - 01:37 PM
Chapter 9The Turaga raised an eyebrow, “Flicker? What do you mean?”Nuparu shrugged nervously, “I’m... I’m not entirely sure. It was like... one moment the gun was there, the next it was gone, and after that it was back again.”He looked at Onewa pleadingly, “Please don’t ask me to explain Turaga. I can’t.”The Turaga shook his head, “It’s fine, Nuparu. Don’t worry about it.”“But I am worrying about it! I almost killed my friend! What-”The Toa of Earth’s rantings were interrupted by a white and blue armoured Glatorian entering the room, out of breath and haggard-looking.“Gelu!” Defilak shouted in surprise, “What are you doing here?!”Gelu took a few shallow breaths, before making his way over to the bench Nuparu was sitting on, rudely pushing the Toa over to sit down.“Gelu,” Onewa said, “What has happened? What is going on?”A few deep breaths later, the Glatorian replied, “I need...to speak...with Captain...Jaller. Now!”The silence in the room was palpable. If the Glatorian scout couldn’t figure out Jaller’s condition from that, Nuparu would soon make it crystal clear.“Jaller’s... incapacitated at the moment,” the inventor said, trying his hardest not to break down.Gelu’s eyes widened in shock, “Impossible! How?”“The details are not important,” Defilak quickly said, deflecting the question, “What happened to you, Gelu? You can tell us, it’s okay. The Captain would understand.”The scout paused for a moment, as if considering if he should open his mouth or not.“Jaller... he sent me on a scouting mission,” he said finally, “To a Skakdi colony in Bota Magna. He wanted me to investigate a grove of Brakan trees there.”Piruk chuckled, “ That’s Jaller. Still solving mysteries, no matter what.”The venomous looks he got from around the room were enough to make him shut up.“Anyway,” Gelu continued, “I found it alright. Not a very big colony, to be honest, but one of the more developed ones I’ve seen. I checked around some of the villages, to see if I could find anything...”“Wait,” Onewa interrupted, “You actually entered a Jungle Empire colony?! Do you know-”Defilak raised his hand, “Wise one, with all due respect, in this period of political unrest, I think one scout, investigating one Jungle Empire colony can be excused.”Gelu sighed with resignation. He was really getting tired of being interrupted during his reports.“As I was saying,” he said, casting a sharp glance at the Turaga, “I checked out the villages, and I found that they had a small number of gunsmiths there.”“One such gunsmith, had been given an order for a fireworks revolver, by an anonymous source. He or she had offered to pay fifteen thousand widgets, with only one demand; that the anonymous source would provide the metal used for the revolver’s construction.”“Now, I asked around, and found that this particular gunsmith was known for having a very loose tongue, and had lost no time in telling the entire village about this event. It’s lucky he did too, because he also described the metal supplied by the client. Apparently, it looked to have originally been gold, but was partially worn away with age. It was also minutely damaged with a couple of hairline cracks on it.”“So, that’s what we’ve got,” Onewa said incredulously, “A Skakdi gunsmith with a mysterious order?! That still doesn’t explain why everyone who touches it has been possessed!”Gelu snarled, before leaping to his feet, “Will you let me finish this report?! If so, please, SHUT UP!”The Turaga immediately backed down. He had heard about what this Glatorian could do to people who annoyed him, and it generally wasn’t pretty.“Now, there was one last peculiar thing about the metal,” the scout continued yet again, “I couldn’t quite understand it, but hopefully you Matoran will. The gunsmith said that the metal supplied to him, was, at least originally, some sort of Kanohi, though he couldn’t figure what kind.”He glanced around the room, “Any idea?”For a long while, the occupants of the room just stared at each other in confusion. A gun forged from a damaged Kanohi?Nuparu’s mind buzzed with thought. If they could figure out what kind of Kanohi it was, they might be able to determine where it had come from, or why so many people were being possessed while around it.“The Nuva really shouldn’t have taken the gun,” was the Toa’s flippant response.“Well, it’s too late for that now,” Onewa said, “We need to determine what Kanohi that gun was forged from. Defilak, check the Kanohi registries for any missing masks that fit this description.”The Le-Matoran tilted his head, “So...Gold?”“Yes, gold. Find me some gold Kanohi!”, the Turaga groaned, before turning to Gelu, “Gelu, head back to the Skakdi colony, see if that gunsmith can tell you anything else, and, if possible, bring him for questioning.”“Sorry sir,” the scout said quickly, obviously uncomfortable, “I can’t.”“Why?”“The colony is gone.”
"One day, I'll send you out on a routine inquiry and it'll turn out to be just that."
Posted Jul 18 2012 - 12:19 AM
Chapter 10“What do you mean the colony is gone?” Defilak demanded. “It didn’t just walk away.”“It wasn’t,” the ice Glatorian said. “It was wiped out completely.”“Explain, please,” Onewa said.“This was the reason for my expedient return,” Gelu said. “Shortly after I arrived, forces from the southern army charged into the town, and they destroyed everything. I don’t even know if all the Skakdi survived or not; they weren’t taking prisoners. I barely managed to escape myself.”“Why would the south attack a Skakdi colony?” Defilak wondered. “The Skakdi are an insane race, but the south relies on their fighting abilities and weapons.”“It’s possible that the raid was meant for the Braken trees,” Gelu said with a shrug.“Then maybe they’re also after our supposed killer!” Nuparu exclaimed.“There is no evidence of that,” Gelu said. “Just speculation.”“Either way, we have our work cut out for us,” Defilak said. “We have two Toa Nuva who are missing, and they might have an enemy in their grasp. I will rally the Special Forces and we can begin assessing the situation and…”Defilak was interrupted as the door to the small room burst opened yet again. It was an Agori guard, and his face was contorted by fear. The Chief held his breath for a moment, worried that their mysterious killer had struck again.“What is the matter?” Onewa asked the Agori.“It’s an urgent message from Governor Kiina of Tajun,” the Agori said. “The town is under attack by the Southern Army! She’s requested immediate aid.”*****Kopaka and Lewa came to a halt on the hillside. In the distance, they could see the glow of New Atero, but they were far enough away that nobody would be able to see them.“That was a speed-fast retreat we made, brother,” Lewa said. “But where to now? Do we not have a plan?”“The immediate plan is to get this outside of the city,” Kopaka said, taking the fireworks revolver from the Toa of Air. “This seems to be attracting the villain, and as such we must lure him away, so nobody else can get in his way.”“And when we face him, then what?” Lewa asked.“We have three of our fallen brothers to avenge,” Kopaka said. “Use your imagination.”“Three?” Lewa questioned. “Kopaka, I always thought you were quick-good at math. But four of the Nuva have fallen. Not three.”“One thing I have learned is to never presume the enemy is dead unless you see his body,” Kopaka said. “The same can be said of our friends.”Lewa blinked, still confused, so Kopaka continued. “We know that Tahu, Gali, and now Onua have perished.”“But… that was not the rest of us,” Lewa said slowly. “Pohatu also disappeared. But perhaps he was taken too, and we just never found the body.”“I have searched for Pohatu for years,” Kopaka said. “Even if there had been foul play, I should’ve found something. But Pohatu’s trail never ran cold; I just never caught up to him.”“What do you mean?” Lewa asked.“Pohatu is not dead,” Kopaka clarified. “I have found traces of him in the years since his ‘death,’ even if I have not yet found the Toa himself. Pohatu is still on the move across the Southern portion of the planet. I don’t know what he is doing, or why he has never tried to contact us, but I do know that he must still be alive.”“And Pohatu’s disappearance came only shortly after Tahu and Gali’s death,” Lewa said. “Do you think that the killer was after him too, and he knew it?”“The thought has crossed my mind,” Kopaka said. “But I cannot say for sure. All I know is this; something is after the remaining Toa Nuva, and we should gather our brother to make sure we stand a chance against it.”“So we search for Pohatu?” Lewa asked.“Yes, we search for Pohatu,” Kopaka confirmed.
Posted Jul 19 2012 - 09:27 PM
Chapter 11Kiina ducked under a boulder hurtling over the outer walls of Tajun. “Incoming!” She called back to the defenders assembled in the courtyard. The agori and matoran dove out of the way, leaving the boulder ample room to thud relatively safely to the ground. And then, before their eyes, the boulder grew a head and four icy limbs. With a roar, it swung an arm at a group of assembled agori. Kiina winced as they flew across the courtyard. Straightening up over the battlements, she spotted a pair of Skakdi standing on their own. One wore brown armor and the other wore white. Gotcha, she thought to herself. She quickly grabbed the bow and arrow from the quiver hanging on her back, took aim, and fired. The Skakdi in white dropped like a stone, an arrow sticking out of his midsection. Behind Kiina, the icy rock monster crumbled to the ground, the Skakdian elemental hold over it banished. Kiina wasted no time as she pulled another arrow from her quiver, took aim at vorox soldier in the small army currently attempting to breach Tajun, and fired. In the time it took for the arrow to reach its target, two Toa appeared at her side. “Hello, Kiina,” Lewa said, pulling out a fireworks revolver and handed it to her. “I can see you’re in a battle-fight now. But what do you think-know of the Brakan tree?”Kiina pulled the two Toa down behind the battlements and sat between them. “Commander Lewa, Toa Kopaka,” she began, “What are you doing here?”“Something is attacking us in New Atero,” Kopaka said. “Both times this entity attacked us, it used that. The first time it struck, Prime Minister Onua ended up dead. The second time it attacked, the Captain of the Guard, Toa Jaller, lost all of his memories and is now a spluttering, insane, wreck.”Kiina’s shock at hearing the news of Onua’s assassination was enough that she was still dumbstruck. “We need to seek-find this being ever-quickly,” Lewa said. “So tell us what you think-know of the Brakan tree.”Kiina sighed and ran a hand over her face, wiping away the sweat that had accumulated. “I’m sort of in middle of something.” She said, gesturing the screaming army outside. “See that hut?” She asked, pointing to a building in the middle of the small trading outpost. “The Chronicler will be there. He knows all about the Brakan. He can tell you what you need to know.”Before Kiina’s eyes, the two Toa vanished in a white and green blur. “Kanohi masks,” she muttered to herself. “By the Great Beings, they’re useful.”
* * *“Brakan trees...Brakan trees...” Kopeke muttered. He had been working on his latest record when they phased past the gaurd and through the door, and his awe at seeing the two Toa Nuva, asking for his help, magnified his eyes to almost comic results. “Yeah, I know them. The last time I was down south, I wasn’t really looking for Brakan wood, but I definitely noticed them at the time. I’m fairly certain I marked them down on my maps and records, would you like me to go get them for you?”Kopaka nodded. “They would prove to be invaluable.” He said. “Go fetch them. Lewa, go with him.” Lewa nodded and followed Kopeke out the door. “So, what’s this about, anyways?” Kopaka heard Berix ask. “Why specifically Brakan?”He grimaced, not even daring to hope that Lewa would be wise enough to maintain the low profile nature of the situation. No matter, he thought. On to other things.For he hadn’t sent Lewa away for no reason. With a bit of will, Kopaka Nuva reached out to the suva he had kept hidden from Jaller, Onua, and the rest, and summoned his Suletu. He turned his back to the door and activating the mask of telepathy, extending his mind far and wide, until he found the presence he searched for. What news, brother? He sent out. Have you found anything new? Not since the last time we spoke, Pohatu, Toa Nuva of Stone responded. What’s your status?We’ve lost Onua. Whatever is doing this decided to posses Gresh, the master of Ice began. And Jaller’s mind is completely destroyed. That time, it possessed Nuparu. Our best lead is a fireworks revolver made from Brakan Wood. Lewa and I are following up on that now.Does he know? Pohatu asked.Yes. Kopaka confirmed. But just that you're alive, not that we're in contact. And I had to point out the possibility to Nuparu, Defilak, and Turaga Onewa.I don’t know if that was wise, old friend. Pohatu worried. Nothing will come of it. He reassured Pohatu. [b]I trust them.Just then, Kiina stepped inside. [b]Someone’s here. Kopaka said in farewell, quickly shifting back into his natural Akaku. “Toa Kopaka!” Kiina exclaimed. “I just wanted to -- ”She froze, for a single moment, but it was enough for Kopaka to discreetly activate his Akaku and turn to face her. “Oh, I do love these Glatorian, don’t you?” Kiina asked. “And do you trust me?”Author's Note: Edited to avoid a potential discrepancy, changing the role of Berix to that of the chronicler Kopeke.
Edited by Zaxvo, Jul 19 2012 - 11:36 PM.
Posted Jul 21 2012 - 09:11 PM
Edited by Excelsior, Jul 21 2012 - 10:50 PM.
Posted Jul 22 2012 - 08:04 PM
Chapter 13“Defilak,” Onewa began quietly, barely hiding the quiet rage that was bubbling inside of him, “Is this some kind of joke?”The Le-Matoran shook his head grimly, “I wish it was, sir. But that list has been double-checked, cross-referenced and re-analyzed. Everything on it is true.”“But, if that’s so...” the Turaga said, eyes wide with apprehension, “Then... that’s impossible...”The Turaga and the Matoran stood in silence for a long moment, trying to digest what was going on, as if by thinking about it over and over, it might change reality. But it didn’t. No matter what they did, the list stayed the same.It was a brief list. So brief, in fact, that there was only one word on it. One word, both insignificant and terrifying at the same time.One word, that changed everything.One word.Vahi.
~~~“Brother, why do I have a very bad feeling about this?”Ironically, it would be Lewa who was saying those words to Kopaka, as the two Toa Nuva stood, side-by-side in the blazing and endless dunes of the Southern Barrens, a vast expanse of desert, mostly inhabited by exiles and outlaws. A truly dangerous place, where it seemed as if the very world was trying to kill you, as well as the natives.Kopaka didn’t turn to face the Toa of Air. Instead he kept walking forward, hardly seeming to notice the burning sands battering him, or the harsh rays of the sun slicing into him, “Because if this plan doesn’t work, we’re both going to be in a very bad position. And, if the plan does work, then I believe we have just condemned many beings to death.”Lewa rolled his eyes, “Oh yeah, that.”The two warriors stopped abruptly at the peak of a tall dune, overlooking a vast sea of sand, exactly identical to the one they had just trekked through.The Toa of Ice glanced over at his companion, giving him a quick nod. Lewa returned the motion, before waving his hand, sending a sudden and powerful burst of wind hurtling across the desert, washing the away the top layer of sand. Revealed by this action, was a veritable swarm of Vorox and Zesk, as well as a number of Skrall, Skakdi and Matoran, all of whom looked just as worn and cruel as the last one. They all spotted the pair of Toa quickly, baring their weapons (or in some cases, just their teeth), before slowly circling the brothers.“Kopaka,” the Toa of Air muttered, “It’s time.”His brother nodded, before donning a Great Suletu, and with a silent prayer to Mata Nui, the Great Beings, or anyone for that matter, activated it.Transmitting his thoughts to anyone in the area, Kopaka remained stoic, not displaying any fear at the encroaching mob.Listen to me, he announced mentally, I mean you no ill.The mental probing quickly frightened away some of the less intelligent or the more suspicious, sending them scampering back to their dens and burrows. The bravest and toughest of them, remained though, still not completely convinced by the Toa’s words.I realize many of you fear me and my allies. That fear has most likely manifested itself in hatred, rage or bloodlust, he continued, However, I come today to help you.The exiles, having heard many an empty promise like this, remained poised to attack, gathering closer and closer to the two Toa.I have been in contact with a being claiming to be a Toa you may all know. He says that he is on some sort of mission, and that secrecy is essential to his progress. This mission, in my belief, is to topple the entire government of Spherus Magna.This statement got exactly the kind of reception Kopaka was expecting: subdued joy, and mild paranoia.One such exile, a massive Skrall by the name of Tuma, dared to come closer to the Toa, “Why do you tell us this, Toa? Do you believe we hold any sympathy towards those who condemned us to these lands, and this life? Why should we care if your precious government crumbles?”The Toa of Ice didn’t flinch from the former warlord, not even as the Skrall’s rancid breath brutally assaulted his olfactory senses, Because, the only reason someone would do this, is if they to claim the throne for themselves.Tuma let loose a bark of laughter, “So? I, for one, welcome a change to this world, and its leaders!”What makes you think these would-be conquerors would be any more hospitable to you than us?This question made the Skrall, and the other exiles, pause for a moment, as they rolled the idea around in their minds. Take a chance, and allow this new rule to come about? Or fight for the status quo, and hope for change?If you fight with us, Kopaka continued, I promise you, that you will all receive due compensation.A snort of derision, “I believe we’ve all heard that before. An empty promise, until you can give us proof that you will stand true to your word.”Both Toa glanced at each other in worry. This was not going as expected. Quickly, they resumed their auras of confidence, desperately trying to think of a way out of this mess.Should you agree to fight for us... Then you are all free to take my comrade hostage, as a bartering chip.Lewa glanced over at his brother, a horrified expression on his face, “Brother...”Tuma grinned, “Is that a promise?”...Indeed...Vicious smiles passed over the lips of all of the exiles, as gruesome thoughts of all the things they could do with a Toa Nuva, their sworn enemy, at their mercy.The massive Skrall leaned in closer on the two Toa, “Before I truly agree, perhaps I may know exactly who the leader of this little rebellion is?”Kopaka’s face betrayed just a moment of emotion, before returning to his usual stony visage.Another Toa, someone well known throughout this world, and a being who was, until recently, believed to be dead.Giving the briefest of pauses to allow the realization to sink in, the Toa finished.Toa Nuva Pohatu.All sound stopped. The Toa froze, waiting to see how the exiles were going to respond. Pohatu was a legend amongst the desert folk, seen as both a hero, and a monster, depending on who you asked. To know that not only was he alive, but staging a coup against the society that had shunned them, was almost too much to comprehend.After a long while, none of the exiles moved. Then, slowly, Tuma opened his mouth to say something... only to send a spray of blood splashing onto the two Toa Nuva in front of him.Reeling backwards, Lewa instinctively activated his Hau Nuva, shielding himself and his brother. Just in time, too, as several other exiles soon fell, collapsing to the ground, with arrows embedded in their backs. The survivors, still reeling from their discovery about Pohatu, were powerless to resist, as barrages of arrows, spears, and other projectile weapons rained down on them, decimating their numbers. Some of the warriors tried to escape, but were too slow for their mysterious assailants, and were mowed down quickly. Others fired back, but their shots were futile against an invisible enemy. Slowly but surely, the exiled forces were destroyed, leaving a sea of corpses for the vultures to pick at.The only survivors were two Toa, sheltered under the shielding of a Hau Nuva, still watching the horizon for more attacks.None came, though that gave the brothers little comfort. They had seen enough battles to understand that quiet and peace were more ominous than war and bloodshed.With shaky breathing, Lewa and Kopaka got back to their full height, surveying the carnage below them with shell-shocked eyes, only to be greeted by an even stranger sight.A black rift, ringed with purple lightning, began to take shape amongst the bodies, as if the universe was being ripped apart by some strange force. A dark void took shape in the air, growing into an enormous disc, contrasting sharply with the dull, light-coloured dunes surrounding it.The two brothers, their shields still up, brought their hands over to their weapons, eyes locked on the rift. Its shadowy interior was impenetrably dark, as if it was composed from pure blackness.Which made it all the more shocking when a dark shape emerged from it. In all logic, seeing that, or anything in that rift, should’ve been impossible, and yet, here it was. It was a humanoid shape, a tall, broad one at that. A silhouette of a massive sword hung from the shape’s hand, and it walked with a stiff gait towards the pair of Toa. As it emerged from the portal, and as more light was shed upon it, Lewa and Kopaka began to see what they were up against.An absolutely massive brute, covered in cracked gold and blue armour, as well as muscles that bulged almost unnaturally against the being’s form. Spikes and fins covered its body, and it was enshrouded in a sickly green glow, that seemed so alien, yet so familiar at the same time.For what seemed like an eternity, the three beings stopped and waited in a standoff. None seemed to want to strike first.The brute spoke first, using two voices to convey the same message. The first voice, that of the light-hearted Pohatu, was transmitted mentally to the two Toa. The other was spoken, the deep, grating voice of a being whose name had transformed into myth, which had transcended reality.“Hello again, brothers,” spoke Pohatu and Brutaka, simultaneously. -Void
"One day, I'll send you out on a routine inquiry and it'll turn out to be just that."
Posted Jul 23 2012 - 04:12 AM
Chapter 14Kopaka remained silent as he assessed the situation. He recognized the being before him: Brutaka. He had been in the Order of Mata Nui during the Makuta Wars, but as society flourished on Spherus Magna, he had vanished and was presumed dead. It was now obvious to see that this was not the case.Still, the being was not entirely Brutaka. Parts of him were different, and Kopaka recognized the styling of the armor. It was Pohatu’s. The monstrosity appeared to be a combination of the two old heroes, and perhaps even of others too. Kopaka knew many tales of beings who combined permanently, and this might be another example.Lewa, on the other hand, did not remain silent like his icy brother. “You just killed them all!” he cried out. “Why?”The being spoke, using both Brutaka and Pohatu’s voices. “You accused me of turning on them, but see how quick they were to betray me. I do not need solders of such disloyalty, and as such they must be eliminated.”Kopaka narrowed his eyes. “So you are responsible for all of this.”“Quick-wait, all of what?” Lewa asked.“The murders, the looming war, everything,” Kopaka said.“You were always a sharp one, Kopaka Nuva,” Brutaka said. “I always intended to save you for last.”“Then you are the one!” Lewa shouted. “You’ve been killing the Nuva.”Brutaka grinned a toothy grin. “Tahu was easy. He was in the midst of a battle, and had no time to oppose my will. I was also to catch Gali unprepared.” “But not Pohatu,” Kopaka mused. “At least, not at first.”“Pohatu escaped from me the first time,” Brutaka admitted. “For years, he ran, hoping to find a way to bring me down on his own. But eventually, I caught up to him. Only, instead of slaying him, I allowed him to join with me. And that’s when my plans changed.”“Changed how?” Lewa asked.“I realized I couldn’t destroy the Nuva before they fulfilled their destiny,” Brutaka said. “At least not with my current methods. Pohatu escaped, and I couldn’t risk another trying to do the same. So I reformed my plans. I contacted Kopaka in an effort to stall him, and meanwhile gathered the necessary materials needed to build that fireworks revolver. And when I began to proceed with my new plans, I managed to catch Onua Nuva by surprise in a different way.” His eyes flashed. “But you could not sit by and wait for your end. You had to search for me. If that is the case, then I will finish you off here.”“You are responsible for the armies gathering in the south,” Kopaka said. It wasn’t a question; it was a statement. “They have been at war with each other for years, but you found a way to bring them together as one.” Kopaka paused, and finally asked, “Why start a war? If it is the Nuva you want, why put all of the Northern Hemisphere at risk?”Brutaka laughed. “You think my purpose is to eliminate the Nuva? Yes, you were an important team, but the universe does not revolve around you. Rather, you were an obstacle that I must remove before continuing.”“Then why quick-start a war?” Lewa asked.“To weaken the Matoran, Agori, and their allies,” Brutaka said. “They will be too distracted to get in my way. Already, my forces besiege Tajun. New Atero will send reinforcements, but they will be unaware of a second army marching for the capital. My solders will lay the city to waste, and any remnants of your government will crumble in the oncoming war.”“Much-lovely plan,” Lewa said sarcastically. “Next time you quick-need a distraction, just say, ‘There-look’ and people will turn their heads away. Much easier than wide-world conflict.”“What are you planning?” Kopaka asked. It was a gamble, because he hardly expected the monstrosity to explain his whole plot to them on the brink of a standoff. But to Kopaka’s surprise, Brutaka’s grin widened and he answered.“I will fulfill Mata Nui’s destiny,” he said.“Quick-pause!” Lewa said. “Mata Nui already fulfilled his destiny. He brought the planet back together and spread life. He made this world livable again.”“I know Mata Nui’s purpose better than any,” Brutaka said. “He was sent to observe other civilizations, and learn of ways to allow them to live in peace. But the people of this world still clash in terrible wars, and have nullified all that he worked towards. As such, all must be cleansed so it can start again.”“Cleansed?” Lewa repeated. “That’s Bohrok-talk!”“So you’re going to clean this world,” Kopaka said. “I don’t buy it. Brutaka was part of the Order, and they would never stand for this.”“The Order was dedicated to fulfilling Mata Nui’s will, and now I am the last left to complete it,” Brutaka said. “Brutaka has been through so much. Abandonment. Mutation. Revelation. When Mata Nui restored this planet, the Order attempted to utilize his knowledge. They knew peace was not yet achieved, and he might hold the answers. They experimented on him, and resorted to measures that even the Makuta would’ve found questionable.”Brutaka paused. “I process Brutaka’s mind and body, but I am no longer him. Now I see clearly what I must do to bring this cruel world to an end. I have spent years toiling to achieve this end, and I have either killed or absorbed all who stood in my way.”Next, the being who had Brutaka’s body lifted his giant sword, and said, “Now that I have explained myself, I must rid the world of the last two Toa Nuva. Mata Nui thanks you for your service, but you are now standing in the way of his ultimate destiny. Of this, you must trust me on.”Kopaka didn’t wait for him to take another step. He pointed his sword and unleashed a blast of ice. Emotions were bubbling up inside him, threatening to weaken his state of mind. This being claimed to have killed all of his friends in the name of Mata Nui, and Kopaka would have none of that. He unleashed his elemental powers in a way that he hadn’t done since the Makuta wars.Brutaka swung his sword, knocking the bulk of the icy blast aside even as icicles built up on his armor. In a few moments, he would have crushed the Toa of Ice, but then the air around him began to swirl. A whirlwind surrounded the golden warrior, and the winds send the icicles flying towards him with deadly speed.Kopaka nodded to Lewa. “Very good, brother. Now let us finish this.”However, Kopaka was surprised by Lewa’s response. “No.”Before Kopaka could question his brother’s answer, Lewa explained. “This monster killed our brothers, and he is capable of much more. The whole world is at risk, Kopaka, and you need to save it.”“What are you saying?” Kopaka asked.“You have a knack for understanding this plot,” Lewa said. “He intends to quick-destroy the planet, and only a Nuva can stop him. And of the two of us, you are the better one to that.”“But…” Kopaka said, for once at a loss for words. He suddenly realized what Lewa’s intention was.“I will off-hold him for as long as possible!” Lewa said. “Now fast-run!”Kopaka didn’t want to do it, but logic told him that the Toa of Air was right. “Farewell, then, brother,” Kopaka said, as he activated his Kakama mask. “And thanks.”As the Toa of Ice disappeared in a white blur, the whirlwind came to a halt and Brutaka stepped out from the center. Lewa clutched his Air Katanas and prepared for the upcoming fight.“You wish to oppose me alone?” Brutaka asked, and laughed as if the Toa had told a witty joke.“I am Commander Lewa of the Northern Special Forces,” Lewa said. “I am a Toa Nuva and a protector of Mata Nui’s people. You killed my brothers and sister, and you threaten my world. But you will not defeat me easily.”
Posted Jul 24 2012 - 12:24 AM
Chapter 15This is much better, Lewa thought to himself. None of that cloud-sneaking around investigating. Just a straight quick-fight.“There-Look!” He yelled, pointing over Brutaka’s shoulder. To his surprise, the giant actually turned and looked. “See, I told you it would work,” he exclaimed as he sliced his twin katana. Brutaka merely smiled as his thick armor stopped the twin katana short, vibrations ringing up the blades and through Lewa. The monstrosity that used to be Brutaka then snarled and swung his sword in a quick diagonal slice. Lewa leaned back, dodging the blow, but before he could counterattack, the hulking monstrosity in front of him swung his massive sword again. Lewa Nuva brought up his two Katana to block the blow, and while he did succeed in deflecting the strike, Brutaka’s might shattered his two Katana and threw him to the ground. “Oh great,” Lewa muttered, spitting out sand. “Not again.”Brutaka thrust his sword downwards. Lewa managed to roll out of the way......and right into Brutaka’s free hand, which picked the Toa Nuva up by the throat and lifted him into the air, legs kicking wildly but having no effect.
* * *Far away, Kopaka stopped running in front of a cave embedded in the Southern mountain range. Very few beings knew this cave existed, and most of those who did merely thought it was the new home for the remaining Manas. But they were wrong. The manas inside were tame. Kopaka pulled out the fireworks revolver and looked at it. It had caused so much trouble, this ugly, terrible, weapon, but now, it was finally going to help him. He stepped into the cave.The being that lived inside this cave was even more hostile than those foul creatures she now commanded, especially to anyone in the vicinity. And she would be able to help.“Toa Helryx!” He called, careful to use the honorific. You could never tell what mood she would be in. “I need your mask!”
* * *Lewa had been strangled many times before, but never had the person doing the strangling been quite so strong. Or quite so insane. But regardless, Lewa knew how to deal with strangulation. Moving quickly, he activated his Kakama and ripped his attacker’s mask off, hurling it behind him and weakening Brutaka momentarily. As he did so, he switched to his Pakari and slammed to punches to Brutaka’s face, then curled he his legs up to Brutaka's chest and kicked out, still using his Pakari. Brutaka flew backwards and as he was falling to the ground when Lewa Nuva used his native Kanohi to catch the giant in midair. “You killed my brothers,” he spat out, punching the creature in the face.“You killed my sister,” he snarled again, throwing a second punch.“But you will NOT. KILL. ME.” He put all of his energy into the third and final punch, this time uppercutting the beastial combination of beings and using his hold over Air to throw Brutaka high. With a loud whistle, he fell past Lewa to ground, unconscious. He face, now bare, was battered and injured, and although his armor had been able to stop Lewa’s katana slices, nothing could stop the sheer force of Pakari-enhanced blows. Especially when the Pakari in question was one of the few Pakari Nuva, and the being giving the blows was a very angry Lewa Nuva. Lewa dropped the ground, grabbed the Olmak from where he had discarded it, and put it on.
* * *The ancient Toa of Water had a Great Komau, so Kopaka kept the recent event at the forefront of his mind. Best give her quick access to the important information. As he walked into the cave, he activated is Akaku and looked around, noting the trip wires, pools of what appeared to be acid, and low, wide tunnels for Helryx’s Manas pets. Some time after they had arrived on Bara Magna, the Order of Mata Nui had unlocked the secrets behind the Makuta’s infected masks, and now they used similar technology to control the surviving Manas. “Toa Helryx!” He called again. “We need your help.”He kept walking through the cave, taking care not to disturb anything. Behind him, ripples appeared in one of the pools and out rose a strange figure. It was vaguely humanoid, but big and bulky and loud. As soon as it stepped out of the pool, Kopaka heard it and spun around, only to see his mask reveal Helryx’s face under the thick, heavy armor. Piece by piece, the first Toa ever created removed her acid armor and piled to one side. She was already wearing her Komau, having summoned it from her Suva the instant Kopaka stepped into her cave. “Give it to me.” She commanded. “Let me see the weapon.”She took the fireworks launcher from the Toa of Ice and activated her mask. She only had take a few glances at the history of the weapon before she deactivated her mask, tore it off her face, and handed it to Kopaka. “Quickly,” she ordered. “Put it on. You should see it.”Kopaka took the mask and put it on, activating it. He saw Brutaka and Voporak locked in battle until Brutaka used a dimensional gate to trick the Dark Hunter into touching himself and locking himself in time.Victorious, Brutaka claimed the Vahi as his own.He saw Brutaka ordering the Firework Launcher with the Vahi built in. He saw Mata Nui’s old form, now where New Atero was located. In a hidden chamber, somewhere in the city, the Bohrok nests had survived intact. And in that chamber where the Bohrok resided he saw Brutaka building a machine with no controls, no screens, no buttons or gauges or levers, save for two.The first was a hollow that was molded, exactly, for the the firework launcher. And the second was a countdown. It was active.And it had less than 24 hours left.
Edited by Zaxvo, Jul 24 2012 - 12:32 AM.
Posted Jul 25 2012 - 01:09 PM
Edited by Excelsior, Jul 25 2012 - 09:13 PM.
Posted Jul 26 2012 - 02:50 AM
Edited by Hahli Husky, Aug 06 2012 - 02:56 AM.
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