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Second To None

Makuta Earth Crossover

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Aderia

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Posted Oct 18 2011 - 06:57 PM

Second to NoneStory Topic

Disclaimer: I do not own Bionicle, and OC's are mine.

_|/_|/_|/_Introduction: The Art of Hiding in Plain Sight

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Makuta Regius sat up, shaking his aching head. He looked around. He was in the middle of a vast, empty desert. There were tall rock formations, or maybe cliffs to his back, with caves inside, he guessed. They would serve as a place to stay, until he figured out exactly what had gone wrong in his experiment, and why he'd ended up here. He'd been experimenting with a Kanohi Kualsi, and a Kanohi Olmak, and some teleportation disks and a couple of Xian products. Long story short, it hadn't ended up well. Was he in the desert of Zakaz? Or was he somewhere on the Southern Continent? He would figure that out later.It was the middle of the night. But the light from the stars and moon and the clear, clean air made it possible for him to see everything around him. What he saw, well, he could have screamed. It looked like the better part of his laboratory was scattered in the soft sand around him. It was so disorganized! He went running around, salvaging any supplies he could.Hours later, when day was just breaking, Makuta Regius could be found in the highest cave in the desert cliffs, taking inventory of his supplies that he had scavenged from the sands and muttering to himself."Visorak Venom… Mutagen… vials of Energized Protodermis…Antidermis… Mask of Regeneration…Shadow Leeches…uh…Mask of Fusion…Toa Stone? How'd that get in there? Lightstones… heatstones…Memory Crystals, good good… Kanohi Rau…Disk Launcher. No discs… Wonderful. "After taking inventory, Regius sighed at his pitiful stock of supplies. Who knows. He thought, sitting down heavily. Maybe something good will come out of this.

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(Hundreds of Years Later...)"Thank you, and pleasure doing business with you, Ma'am." A very tall, dark haired man said, smiling winningly, and shaking her hand courteously. He walked back down her lengthy, sophisticated looking driveway with long, sure strides. He hopped into his crimson Ford Mustang and sped away with a friendly wave out the window.Linda shook her head, wondering what just happened, as she ambled across her luxurious front yard to replace the 'For Sale' sign, with the 'Sold' one. She and her family had been looking to move from their home in Pennsylvania to somewhere with a more flat landscape, like South Dakota. Some people would ask why they were selling a perfectly grand home in the shadow of the Appalachians for a home somewhere in the wilder west. Sometimes Linda asked herself the same thing. But the man she'd sold her home to had been very honest and forthcoming.She had to laugh, because she remembered the red Mustang, pulling into her driveway, and the sharply dressed, handsome looking man asking a few questions about the house and the 'For Sale' sign. And after a tour of the house, he'd just very simply pulled a checkbook out of his pocket, and written out the check for the entire house, and handed it to her, all smiles."Umm… Are you sure that's legal, sir? Isn't there paperwork and banking and insurance matters you need to take care of?" She'd asked, still staring at the number on the check. $1,500,000 stared right back up at her. This man must be extremely wealthy, for him to throw around a million and a half dollars around like grocery store money. "Are you sure your check here is correct? I mean, you can always make a down payment, and pay the rest off over time.""Ma'am, I assure you, I've taken care of matters." The man had said, in an assuring, gentle tone which also carried the slightly threatening question, 'Are you doubting me?'Linda hadn't asked any more questions. Her buyer had made a few inquires about the local school district and the town and some other, trivial things, and then left. And now, Linda whipped out her cell phone and speed dialed her husband to tell him the good news.

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The driver of the car smiled to himself, very pleased with his purchase. It was a very nice house, very spacious and impressive, much to his taste. He drove into Harrisburg, the capitol of the state he was currently in, and parked the car at exactly the same parking meter he had found it. He glanced over his parking job."Perfect. Exactly how I found it." He said, clapping his hands together, and sauntering off like any other pedestrian. "Oh." He remembered, suddenly, and turned quickly back for the car. He opened the driver's door, jabbed the button that locked all the doors, and closed the door again. "That's better." He nodded, walking off again.To anyone he met during the day, he was Mr. Regius Grant, an accomplished businessman, whose beautiful wife, Trista, had tragically perished in a train crash four years ago this month. But in truth, he was a scientist, lost and stranded, and far away from his real home. Back home, he was Makuta Regius, leading researcher, scientist, and trusted right hand man to Makuta Miserex, leader of the Brotherhood. All Regius remembered from how he got here, was himself, working on one of his many experiments, a big boom, and then waking up in the middle of the Sahara Desert. He found it very impossible to get back to his own universe. So, giving up, he decided to take advantage of his unfortunate situation, and make it a learning experience.He'd quickly learned that the dominant species, or any species of living thing for that matter, was completely organic. They weren't accustomed to a nine foot, crimson and black armored titan wielding a heavy double headed spear and Kanohi Turbulis, or Mask of Incomprehension. But the good thing was, Makuta were shape shifters. With some extensive studying and experimenting, Regius had eventually been able to shape shift, limitedly, into more organic things from this world he was on. Example: his human form. He wasn't one hundred percent organic, still. The armor and other mechanical parts that were too hard to get rid of were molded into a human skeleton as he changed his shape. So he was a lot heavier than a normal human male of his appropriate size and build.Regius lived completely off the grid. Some of his own technology could easily fool human devices. Where his inventions failed, his natural abilities and powers as a Makuta never did. The most useful ability of his was his sway over Psionics, which was proving overly useful. Human minds were very easy to bamboozle, actually. Their computers and other electronic machines were even easier to fool. Right now, Regius was headed overseas to pick up a small order of car parts from a company in Japan that he might need to repair his spear, in case it ever needed patching up. Some of the metals in the car parts were very similar to the metallic protodermis making up his weapon.He took the empty elevator in the nearest skyscraper to the rooftop. He checked the area, and saw that it was empty. Before he stepped out of the elevator, he shut his eyes briefly, and concentrated. To an onlooker, it would look like the very air around Regius was beginning to be vacuumed up by something. And then, with a whomph-ing sound, a sphere of shadow appeared to engulf Regius. When the sphere faded as quickly as it had materialized, Makuta Regius stood there, complete with his Kanohi Mask and crimson armor. The Makuta glanced around for any security cameras that might be hiding nearby. He did find one just inside the elevator. Reaching up and placing a hand over the lens, and grasping the power cord coming out of the back of it, he sent a small coded electrical code through the camera into the database, and erased any footage they might have caught of him. He jabbed a couple of buttons on the elevator, and sent it back down empty. Satisfied, he turned and shifted again.This time, there was nothing to see when the black sphere dispersed. Regius had shifted into a very sentient Rahi species known as Avokah. Literally as fast as lightning, there was nothing for the eye to follow.

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The Mask of Incomprehension was designed to scramble the target's spoken and written language. Most considered it an immoral Mask of Power. But Regius had used the Mask of Fusion from his old lab to fuse together his own Kanohi Turbulis and the Kanohi Rau, Mask of Translation. Even while Regius was in his human shape, he could activate his Kanohi. He didn't know why, or how, but he was grateful that he could. It allowed him to speak and understand other languages in this world. The only language he'd actually taken time to learn was English, because the English-speaking cultures were the ones that he dealt 'business' with most often.Regius the sophisticated American businessman walked out of the Toyota Car Dealership with his shipment of car parts tucked away in his briefcase. Now that he'd bought the house, he could move his small laboratory from the isolated Rocky Mountains to deep inside the Appalachian Mountains, where his new house sat. He had been, and still was, busy creating more and more of the substances he already had, back from his old lab on Destral. Right now, he was just breaking through on replicating an exact copy of Visorak Venom. But he'd need big boxes and shipment vehicles to ship everything from his old place to his new one. All of his equipment and supplies he'd stockpiled for over two hundred years was definitely too much for him to move on his own. He was also busy crafting armor and such, as a pastime.In a dark alley way, Regius quickly shape shifted into the form of a dragon Rahi known as a Phase Dragon, that were also very fast. Clutching his briefcase in his claws, he took off as quickly and silently as he could. If his sources were correct, there was a shipping company in New York City that would help him with his move.If anyone had the nerve to ask Regius about his border hopping, he'd just pull out his 'passport', or ask someone to pull up his 'flight number' and the 'airline' he'd flown on. He'd been illegally jumping countries for years, and never been caught. Being a Makuta had its advantages, certainly.Regius walked a few crowded blocks, before he got to his destination. Very eager to get business finished, he almost tripped over a baby carrier, complete with a baby, that was sitting on the steps, off to the side. He shrugged, guessing that someone had marked 'take your kid to work day' wrong on their calendar. And, half an hour later, when he was exiting the business, he nearly stepped on the same baby carrier and the same sleeping baby. Frowning and generally annoyed, he popped his head inside."Hey, you know you have a kid out here? Like someone left a baby for you." He called."Oh, that's probably another lady hoping we'd drop her kid off at the orphanage for her." Was the answer. What, did mothers drop their kids off willy-nilly on random street corners? What kind of crazy city was this? The receptionist said, "Drop the child off at the orphanage around the corner for me, and I'll give you a discount on your shipment price.""Discount? How much of a discount?" Regius asked, liking the sound of that. But still, did this clerk even care that a child had been dumped on his doorstep?"Ten percent." The clerk replied."Twenty." Regius countered."Fifteen." He shot back."Done." Regius said."Done." The receptionist repeated."Thank you, pleasure doing business with you, sir." Regius said, backing out of the shop again, and he stooped down to inspect the still sleeping child.It was a girl. It had to be. She must have been only four or five months old. The Makuta in disguise marveled at how soundly the baby was sleeping. Regius wondered what in the world could have tuckered the little thing out so much, because she was very very fast asleep. Curious, Regius shifted through the many blankets wrapped around the baby, hoping maybe to find a nametag or a note or something. He found nothing of the sort. But what he did find made him, a hardened Makuta warrior and scientist flinch back in repulsion.Right there, in plain sight was a horrendous burn mark. Regius thought he could see charred bone. Right on the little child's arm, on the inside of her elbow. The rest of the arm below that was dead and most likely infected, from the smell of it. Cursing under his breath, the Makuta asked himself what could have the heart to do this to such an innocent infant. Or who could have let something like that happen. Regius quickly figured out that the child wasn't drifting off into sleep. She was drifting off into death.Thinking fast, Regius snatched up the battered baby carrier, and rushed down the couple of steps. He'd be doing a good thing, if he saved this child's life. He would also be doing a selfish thing, he supposed. But truth be told, it could never be too late to get a lab assistant. But raising the child as a lab assistant was actually starting to sound like something else completely to Regius. Something called 'parenthood'.

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(Three Months Later)Regius was very pleased with his handiwork. In order to save the infant's life that he had found only months ago, he'd had to postpone his move. But he decided that postponing the move had been worth it. He had what was comparable to a top notch operation room set up around him. He stepped back, regarding the now nine month old child, who was in a deep medically induced slumber.The Makuta had worked practically nonstop to halt the infection from her wounded arm from spreading. To make a long story shorter, he'd had to amputate the dead, burnt limb above the elbow, and replaced it with a healthy, biomechanical one, similar to his own. The artificial limb was as much a part of the child as any real one. It would grow and function, and work with her brain and the rest of her body. During the past two weeks, he could do nothing but wait, as the infant's nervous system took in the artificial arm and how it worked. All the while Regius had buried himself in a heap of all the parenting books he could find. Was he scared to death, worried that he might have or would eventually ruin this child's life? Of course. But he assured himself that he'd be fine. Better than fine. He was a Makuta, naturally successful at anything he tried.At least, that's what he told himself.He'd already figured out the name for the child. Lorena, from the Latin word for the Laurel flower, a symbol of both ambition and glory. And Dhalia, a flower that symbolized elegance and dignity. And the surname, Grant, was a form of 'great'. Regius smiled to himself. He'd picked out the perfect name. The child would proclaim the Makuta's glory with elegance and dignity. He jabbed a few buttons, opened her deep brown eyes for the first time in months, Regius whispered, "The world welcomes you, Lorena Dhalia Grant."

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Edited by Aderia: Toa of Ducklings, Nov 25 2011 - 10:09 AM.

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The Whip Hand


#2 Offline Aderia

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Posted Oct 20 2011 - 02:42 PM

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Part 1: Ramblings of a Teenage GirlHave you ever felt that you were destined for greatness? Have you ever been so sure that one morning, when you opened your eyes up, you'd know exactly where you were going to take your life, and how you were going to get there? Have you ever been one hundred and fifty percent sure that every day would just keep getting better?Well, welcome to my world. That is my father's mindset. He continues to retain full confidence in himself, and remains exceedingly optimistic to a fault and an embarrassing annoyance, borderline obsessive about his work, but exaggeratedly and sincerely concerned about me and how my life is. Yeah, I can get fed up with the various aspects of my dad, and his habits. But he's my dad, and that's the way he rolls, and I've grown to love him just as he is.After a minute of nothing, I frown, and stop typing. I had no clue where I was going with those few sentences. And as soon as I realized that, the words stopped coming. I shake my head in annoyance. I wasn't a writer, and I don't plan to be. I save the Microsoft Word Document anyways, and then shut off my laptop."Hey, Oscar? Is KJ here yet to take my shift?" I call. I'm sitting in the back rooms at the local library, where I work a volunteer job. Oscar is my boss. Short, fat, huge nose, almost seventy two. KJ, or Kasey Jane, is a sophomore from my school that volunteers here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's my job to update the online library database, and keep track of new shipments of books, and all the techy-stuff. I probably shouldn't have been messing around on my laptop, but it was a lazy Wednesday afternoon with next to no business. It's not like I was hurting anyone."You can go, Rena. I think that's KJ that just pulled in." Oscar replied, as I pack up my stuff. He's funny. He throws deathglares at us workers all the time, if we talk so much above a whisper when there are other people in the library. But when it's empty, like now, he has no problem shouting across the room."Okay, thanks. I'll see you two tomorrow, then." I say, adjusting my glove, and waving to Oscar and his quiet wife who also works here. I'm getting into my car as KJ is getting out of hers. "Hi KJ." I say, also sparing a little wave to her dad, dropping her off."Hey." She bobs a smiley nod at me."So, that one dinosaur computer in the back is frozen again. Can you see if you can get it unstuck?" I ask, opening the door to my car.KJ laughs a little, and says, "Sure. I'll see what I can do.""Thanks." Is all I say, as I hop into my car.

_|/_|/_|/_

As I'm driving down a back road, trying desperately to find a radio station not playing a stupid rap song, or laden with furniture or Oxyclean commercials, I let out a small yelp as my pocket comes alive. I whip my phone out of there with practiced efficiency, so I'm just driving with my biomechanical arm, jab a few buttons, and a text message is displayed on the screen."Heyyyy gurlie! Been missin u! we re finally out of tha mountains, and i hav service again. txt me bak, once ur done ur shift at oscar's place"I smiled. It was my sister, Cara Mallard. But everyone calls her Duckie, for obvious reasons. She was programmed into my contacts list as 'Duckie'. Well, not literally my sister, but you know what I mean. She'd been hiking some mountains out west, and hadn't had cell reception at all, so I'd been all alone the past month.I pull to a stop at a deserted three-way turn, and text her back, "in the car, driving. call me"Normally I wouldn't be all alone in the last four weeks of summer, but Duckie's away, and Lucas is back at Lacrosse camp, but this time as a counselor for like, fourth graders. I sighed, feeling like a complete social failure, as I'm waiting in the middle of nowhere for a phone call from my bestie, and missing my boyfriend. The only two people in the world, besides my dad, that I felt comfortable hanging with outside of school weren't here.I pulled ahead , taking the right hand road that would take me home, not even bothering to put on my turn signal, because there probably wasn't another car within a three mile radius from here. I had to grin to myself, remembering when Lucas had moved here in the eighth grade. He was short, skinny to a flaw, and had wiry glasses that were too small for his head. Duckie and I had thought he was the cutest little thing, because we had mistaken him for a lost sixth grader. We showed him around the middle school. But then he told us that we were showing him the wrong classrooms, and that he was in eighth grade like us. Duckie and I still think it's hilarious.He wasn't too popular at first, but once everyone found out he was a superfast, well rounded Lacrosse player, that changed. I think it was in the middle of freshman year he really hit his growth spurt. Seriously, by the end of the year, he was four inches taller than me, which made him about five-eleven. No one knew who he was, when he came back for sophomore year. He'd been at Lacrosse camp half the summer, the same one he was at right now, and apparently hitting the gym the other half. His voice had dropped like an octave and a half, let his hair grow out some, and broken his nose. He wasn't like a body builder, or even totally ripped or anything . But he looked like he could take down the football team anyways. We didn't start going out until the beginning of Junior year, but that's when I decided I was a sucker for brown hair and gray eyes.Finally, though, Duckie calls. I hit the speakerphone button. Her voice poured out of the device, polluting the air."Rena, you there?" She asked, wanting to make sure it was me before she spilled some major secret."I'm here Duckie. What's up?""We need to get together, like tomorrow! I have this aaaahhhh-mazing tan from the beach, and my hair is like, bleach blonde! And I got another earring too. It's supercute. You have to see it." She bubbled."Beach? I thought you went hiking." I said, confused."I did. There was this huge lake we stopped at, and it was just like the real beach.""Oh, okay. Why don't we go out to the outlets tomorrow before practice?" I suggested."Aww… Can we go to the movies? Maybe double with Justin and Luc?" She pleaded."Luc's not around, but sure. What do you wanna go see?""I don't know. I haven't been around to see what's playing. We can let Justin decide. He's got good taste." We both laughed at that. Inside joke. "And we can go after practice. Let's get a late night showing, because I want to have time to get back and shower.""Okay, sounds great. I'll text you later, Duckie. But I'm home now, and I gotta go." I told her." 'Kay, see ya, Rena." She said, as we both snap our phones shut at the same time, probably. We practiced that before.

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"Dad? Dad, you left the toaster oven on too long again!" I call, as I slam the garage door shut. I'm immediately bombarded by the smell of burnt toast. I take off my black leather glove that hides my biomechanical arm, or my techy-arm, as I call it. The kids I've been going to school with had gotten used to me and my glove that I never took off. Rumors died down, when they realized that it wasn't a big deal, and it should never become one, if they knew what was good for them. Home, even as grand and sophisticated it may be, is still my home, and it's the only place I can really ever be myself. "Dad?"No answer."Dad!" He was probably down in his lab again. I roll my eyes in that fond sort of manner, and go to rescue the piece of toast. I head for the basement door. There's another door in the basement that leads to the lab. But I pass the mirror in the hallway, and frown. Now Lucas's younger brother, Sid, can make blonde jokes about me, even though I wasn't technically blonde. Some people are dirty blonde, which I define as a mixture of more blonde than brunette. I call myself dirty brunette, which is a mixture of more brunette than blonde. But this summer's sun has really lightened my hair, and I'm not sure if I like it, because, depending on what outfit I wear, my lighter hair makes my dark blue eyes clash with either the outfit or the hair.I shake my head, and move on with life.Dad's not overly fond of my friends. That, meaning exactly what it says. He doesn't love them, but he doesn't treat them like trash either. He speaks to them, which is mostly Duckie and Lucas, as he would to a business acquaintance. But he did grill Lucas for about two hours when we first started going out. Poor guy. That's why we usually hang at his place, or go out somewhere.I rounded the corner, and find myself in our lab. It's a large room, as in you could probably squeeze a football field in here. There are sturdy, bleach white tables and shelves lining the walls. Things my dad's told me about sit on the shelves. Things like a few Kanohi Masks, Visorak Venom, Lightstones, Mutagen, Antidermis, and so on. One of his biggest breakthroughs was when he was "able to replicate the molecular build up of a bunch of the substances, vastly expanding the quantity of materials at our disposal", or something along those lines. And, by far, the most prominent figure in the room was my father himself."Hi sweetie. How was your day?" He turned to me, smiling.I'm forced to laugh. Not everyone has a nine-foot, crimson and black armored titan turn to them and ask them how their day was. He knows I find this funny. Even so, I can't bring myself to call him 'dad', as he towers over me and smiles genuinely through his Kanohi mask.I remember, to make a long story short, when I found out what he really was. A Makuta, I mean. I'd been playing outside, playing around some tree or another, and I must have only been two or three. I disturbed a huge softball-sized hornet's nest. My first bee sting. Or make that, my first four or five. I ran inside bawling my head off, and the next thing I know, my dad was storming outside and incinerating the nest with fireballs. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen! You can guess what happened next.I was like, "Whoa, daddy! How'd ya do that!"And he was like, "Lorena, honey, there's something I need to show you."So he showed me his lab for the first time, and explained what things were. Then he shape-shifted for me, and I found myself staring up at a Makuta warrior. Later on, he told me that he was scared that he'd scarred me for life. But we're all good now."Regius," I said, "You left the toaster running.""Did I now?" He asked, as though not remembering. He was brilliant, most of the time, just not when it came to mundane things, like toaster ovens, washing machines, and refrigerators. But I nodded."Sorry." He apologized. "But Rena, I have good news!""Do I want to hear it?" I questioned. His 'good news' could simply mean that he went grocery shopping, or reorganized the shelves again."Of course you do." He churred, reminding strangely of a cat asking if it's owner wanted to see what it had caught."Then shoot.""Look what I found." He produced a Kanohi Mask. One that I'd never seen before. It was big, almost the size of my forearm."What is it?" I wanted to know."It's called a Kanohi Kualsi, Mask of Quick Travel." He said, as though it was the most important thing in the world. I jutted my chin out at him, inviting him to elaborate. "Now that I have this, and that," he pointed to the Kanohi Olmak he kept locked in a glass case on a shelf, "I have everything I need to start making my way home.""Home?" I question, suspicious. "This is home.""No, no. I mean home home." He said. "Destral."

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Edited by Aderia: Toa of Ducklings, Nov 25 2011 - 10:11 AM.

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(Irene Adler)

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The Whip Hand


#3 Offline Aderia

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Posted Oct 22 2011 - 08:31 AM

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Part 2: Accidents Happen"Wait a minute. Destral?" I demanded, incredulous. The generally cheerful atmosphere in the room caved in on itself, and kept folding into something like a black hole, sucking any cheer down with it, as the words faded into thin air.My father nodded, and the expression on his mask made me wonder if he was about to smile at me or look away. He closed his eyes, and I took an involuntary step backwards as a sphere of shadow erupted around him with that distinct 'whomph' sound that reminded me of someone putting their hand over the long tube leading from the vacuum cleaner, if you know what I mean. As the shadows faded, my father stood, looking everything like a normal human being, dressed as if for a conference meeting in the city. I saw that my dad was having a hard time keeping my eye."Yes." He said, his voice uncharacteristically shaky. "Destral. Back to my brothers and sisters. I know it's an unearthly kind of selfish of me. But Lorena, you know that this world is no place for someone like me. I would be failing my duty, as part of the Brotherhood, not trying to return. Do you understand, honey? Do you know how I feel?""No, I don't know. How could I?" I asked. I wasn't planning to major in psychology. And I needed to know, "What about me, dad? Are you leaving me behind? Are you taking me with you? What about me?"Now, my dad did turn away from me. He took a deep breath, and held it for a while, and I saw his shoulders tense up, and I was afraid he was trying to kill himself. But then, he finally spoke."Lorena. This is one of the most difficult things I will ever say to you. You're my daughter, and there's nothing you can do to make me love you any less, and my love for you grew as you did, and continues still. Please, please, keep that in mind, my child."I nodded. "Anything, dad." Did I want to know what he was going to say? I brace myself for whatever he might say, ready to run, and cling to him like I was little again, or storm out of the house and drive away in a fury, like the independant young adult I was."As your first, and most loyal friend, Lorena, there is nothing I want more than for you to come with me. As your guardian, I'm begging you to stay here, in this world, where it is safe. And, as your father… I am asking you to make the choice yourself."If you were me, you'd be speechless and dumbstruck too. Don't even try to tell me different.Regius took my silence the wrong way. He turned his face half towards me, so he could look at me over his shoulder, offering me his profile, and a weak half-smile. "I fear to say more, in case of influencing your decision."I stood there, probably sputtering and trying to speak, looking like a moron. "Dad! H-how can you expect me to decide something like that!" I managed, finally. I felt like a kindergartener again, like I'd make all the wrong choices on my own, and I needed my daddy there to help me make the right ones.My father turned his back to me again. Even though I suspect he was trying to hide the fact that he was fighting his emotions, and trying to hold his tears in, and everything, that one gesture cut deeper than he could have known.Couldn't he see that he wasn't the only one trying not to keep his feelings reigned in here? Even though I was more capable of making my own choices now, and even though I wasn't in kindergarten anymore, I still felt like one simple hug and a kiss on the forehead from my dad would make everything better. But instead, I turned my back to him, as he had to me, feeling like a dog trying to catch her tail, as I tried in vain to pin down and hammer out the plummeting ache in my chest."Give me some time to think it over." My voice sounded like a strangers, as it echoed in and out of my ears.

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I find myself taking the ten minute drive from my house to the school, and the five minute drive past the school to Duckie's house. I park in the driveway, and take a deep, deep breath, trying to find some solid ground inside of me to stand on, so I wouldn't break down or stumble.After knocking, followed by a three or four second wait on the front porch, Mr. Mallard opened the door."Lorena?" he asked, surprised."Hi, Mr. Mallard." I said, resisting the urge to crane my neck side to side to look past him for Duckie. "I'm sorry to come barging over, so soon after you've gotten back from your trip. I mean, I would have called, but this was kind of short notice. Is Cara here?""Of course, of course. Come in. Is your father with you?" Mr. Mallard inquired, casting about for any sign of Regius. While my father didn't mind my friends, their parents were a whole different story. If you ask me, I'd say Mr. Mallard was dead scared of my dad."No, I'm alone. Thanks." I told him, as he held the door open for me."Cara is up in her room, I think. Tell her to unpack her suitcase, if she hasn't already.""Will do!" I smile, taking the stairs two at a time, giving Mr. Mallard a half wave, half salute.On my way to Duckie's room, at the end of the hallway, she surprised me, charging out of the bathroom, yelling, "Dad! Did I hear the door? Is- oof!" She exclaimed, as she falls over backwards, knocking me off balance in the process. "Lorena!" She squealed, as I helped her up, and she immediately wraps me in a huge sister-sister hug. "I haven't seen you in sooooo long!""Yeah, tell me about it. Listen, we have a lot to catch up on." I told her, leading the way to her room.She followed, me, crashing on her bed, while I take the supercomfy beanbag chair.But when I don't strike up a bubbly conversation, or start with 'So Lucas called me yesterday' or something, Duckie looks at me worriedly."Rena, are you okay? You look kinda bummed." She observed."I-" I began. But then I stop. What am I going to tell her? Do I even want to tell her? I should be asking her about her trip, for crying out loud! Why don't I want to? "Nevermind. How was your trip?""No, no." She said. "What's wrong?"This girl knew me too well. I think on it for a second, then answer. "My dad is moving. He wants me to decide whether or not I want to go with him.""What! When did this happen? Where! How far away!" Duckie's voice went from a high pitched exclamation to a disheartened grumble. "Why does no one tell me these things?""He just told me today.""Oh… Have you decided yet?" I could tell that she wanted to take the question back, as soon as it slipped out.But I answered, "Of course I have. My dad wants to move to practically another world. Um… Korea, I think?" I invented. "I'll be in college by the time he gets everything settled, hopefully, so I'm staying here."

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I ended up spending the night at the Mallard's. We crashed in the rec room, which was actually Duckie's older brother's old room. I was late to the library, but finished my six hour shift by three, and had two hours to burn before heading over to the school for the first official Field Hockey practice of the season. I was sharing joint captain-ship over the team this year with two other seniors, so naturally, I was excited.I had to run home to pick up my gear. I gritted my teeth, and hoped that my dad was out running errands. The last thing I wanted to do right now was tell him that I was planning on staying here, while he goes home, back across dimensions .As I entered through the garage door, I saw something sitting on the counter. That itself was odd, because my father kept everything clear and pristine. I shut the door, and went over to take a look, taking off my glove habitually. It turned out to be a note and an object wrapped loosely in tin foil.The note read,Lorena,Out on business, again. I really had hoped to be here when you returned, but I didn't know when that would be, so I left this just to be sure. I also hoped that I'd be able to give you this in person, but as things are, it is better that you take it now, just in case.RegiusThe note was typed out, as always. Even thought he would never admit it, I knew that my dad couldn't write very well in English. At all. The letters hardly looked like letters, no lie. But there was a crude arrow drawn in the corner of the paper, pointing to the lump of tin foil. I stripped off the foil, and another note fluttered to the ground, but this one written on an index card. But the object beneath the foil captured my interest most.It was a necklace, kind of. It consisted simply of a thin silver chain, and a carving of a Kanohi Mask that I, again, didn't recognize, but carved cleverly out of the other side, was my dad's mask. If the masks had bodies to go with them, it would be like two figures standing back to back, trying to see which of them was taller. It was about half the size of a computer mouse, if that, and carved with exquisite detail, seemingly out of an extinguished light stone, dull grayish yellow, almost translucent, but not. I picked it up, hefting the pendant. It was about as heavy as half a computer mouse. I picked up the index card-note in my biomechanical hand, and frowned. It was written in my dad's native hand writing. A bunch of circles with lines and dots inside. It was like a code, and I knew how to crack it, which wasn't hard.The mask that you probably don't recognize is a replica of a Kanohi Faxon, Mask of Kindred. Just remember, however you choose, that we may not be related by blood, but we are still kin. I placed the note on the counter, trying to decide if I wanted to break down and cry or dash the carving to pieces on the tiled floor. If he'd expected me to stay here all along, why didn't he just say so?I tossed the stone carving to my techy hand, trying to work out my feelings. But I was interrupted as I saw the dead lightstone the carving appeared to made of suddenly became undead. In fact, now the whole object glowed like three lightstones. A bit startled, I let the masks clatter to the countertop, and they made a sound like hard plastic as they struck and didn't break. I furrowed my brow in a mix of curiosity and wonderment, and reached out to place my biomechanical hand on the stone masks again. It was like a light bulb, and my touch was the switch on and off. I tried touching it with my normal hand, my human hand, but no light greeted me."Interesting..." I muttered.

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I found myself in the middle of town, waiting at a red light, sweaty and irritated after practice. I'd thought that this field hockey season would be a good one for us. But there were a handful of cliquey sophomores, and it was like they couldn't be on the same half of the field together. The two coaches were pretty oblivious.When an annoying country song about some redneck and how his girlfriend left him, and his hound got hit by a truck, and he was locked out of his own house started blaring out of my radio, I jabbed the 'off' button, and listened to the silence of the inside of my car. The setting sun was right in my eyes. I flipped down that mirror/visor thingy, and ran the rest of the night through my head.I'd go home, shower, see if dad was home, and try to avoid him. Maybe call Lucas, and what not. A bright blue pickup truck pulls up next to me in the other lane, making me and my lovely black Kia Rio5 look puny. This is the longest freakin' red light-My train of thought is literally cut in half as the terrible screech of tires and scream of a car horn pierces the air.

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The car carrier driver cursed and cursed as his vehicle, loaded with other vehicles, spun out of his control. The blasted sun had caught him in the eye at the wrong moment. He didn't see the 'no left turn on red' sign until it was too late. He tried to break, but his half full waterbottle had rolled under his break pedal.He screamed along with his horn, as he managed to free the break pedal, and jammed on the breaks as hard as he could.But he was too late.It was all he could do to close his eyes and pray like crazy as his vehicle spun wildly into lanes of already moving traffic. Even though it was like he'd gone deaf and blind in shock, he felt the impacts of at least two other cars, and clutched the wheel like his only friend as he felt his car carrier tip over, and come to a horrific, crushing stop.More in a daze than shock, he clambered out of his vehicle, not even noticing the funny way his arm bent, or how much his ribcage hurt. All he could see was the nightmarish mess he'd caused. A minivan and a sportscar of some kind had both swerved to avoid him, and had a head on collision. But the worst accident he could see was the remains of a black car made by Kia motors, sandwhiched between the tail end of his car carrier and a heavily dented blue pickup."Oh, God... What have I done?" He breathed, as his broken leg collapsed beneath him, and he let unconsciousness take him.

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Edited by Aderia: Toa of Ducklings, Nov 05 2011 - 10:59 AM.

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#4 Offline Aderia

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Posted Oct 26 2011 - 05:42 PM

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Part 3: Obstacle CourseRegius first noticed something was wrong when the sun had gone down, and Lorena still wasn't home. His first thought was that maybe she had gone to the Mallard's after practice. He'd even made an awkward phone call to their house."Hello?""Is this the Mallard residence?""Yes, yes it is.""This is Regius Grant. Is Lorena at your house, by any chance?""Oh, my! Mr. Grant! … No, I'm sorry, Cara says she hasn't seen Lorena since practice.""Well, if you hear from her, tell her to call me.""Of course, of course.""Thank you, Mr. Mallard."Then, after that, he had tried to reach her cell phone. There was no answer. Regius had grown continually worried. Lorena was a good hearted child, and he couldn't fathom why she would be this elusive of him. Maybe there was simply bad traffic, and she'd gone and run a few errands she had gone to run. Regius decided to sit down and wait, because what else could he do?He sat down on the couch, grabbing the remote, to see if anything was on the news. He pushed the 'power' button on the remote, only to have the ceiling fan above turn on. Wrong remote. He turned the fan off a bit irritably, and found the right remote. He flipped to channel twenty seven news. There was a news reporter on an alpaca farm. Regius sighed, about to flip to the next news station, but then the newscaster came on."After the break, Dale Wilson comes on to give us tonight's traffic report."Good. Regius thought. Traffic report. If traffic's bad, I can cut Lorena some slack.After the cheesy commercials about allergy medicine, Midol, a struggling lawn care business, how to win a cruise for your family to the Caribbean finished their loop, the same newscaster came back on."We have Dale Wilson on the other end tonight, with the traffic digest this evening, and a rather unique story. Dale?"The screen switched to a balding man with thick glasses and a bushy salt and pepper moustache."Thank you Lisa." Dale Wilson, the traffic reporter spoke into a microphone with the channel 27 news logo on it."Tonight, if you're planning to be out and about, I would suggest that you take a back road, to avoid coming through town. As you can see behind me, road crews are still cleaning up after a horrific car accident that occurred earlier this evening. Apparently, an out of control car carrier ran a red light, and tipped over in the middle of a busy intersection. Victims names have been released to the public. Driver of the car carrier, Tim Goodwin, has been hospitalized, as well as Mark Murani, who suffered a head on collision during the confusion of the crash. And a third victim has also been taken to the hospital, and we hear that she is being held in critical condition. We do not know this victim's name at the moment, for lack of valid information. But if anyone recognizes this girl , you are asked to call the police department, or the Holy Spirit Hospital."The screen switched again, and Regius leapt to his feet with a yell. On a pasty blue background, almost as if in a slide show, a picture of his daughter was displayed on the screen. It was the picture she carried in her wallet, of her and Lucas both peeking out from behind a tree. Except they'd darkened the whole picture, except Lorena's smiling face, as if a spotlight was being shown on it.By the time Dale Wilson had come back on the screen, he was talking into the Grant's empty living room.

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All seventeen people in the waiting room of Holy Spirit Hospital were equally surprised when the doors burst open, and a tall, dark haired, and rather scary looking man in a business suit came striding in, straight to the receptionist's desk. He didn't bother to keep his voice down."Where is she?" the man demanded, eyes wild."Sir?" The poor confused, and not to mention scared receptionist asked."The girl, the girl! On the news! From the car crash! The one without any information! She was brought here, was she not?""I'm sorry, sir, but that information is confidential. We do not know the patient's name, address, or relatives. No information was found at the scene of the crash.""She's my daughter! I need to see her.""I'm sorry, but I cannot allow that, sir. You have no way to validate that, do you? The drivers license and license plate found at the scene were both fakes.""You don't understand! Her name is Lorena! Lorena Dahlia Grant! She has a biomechanical left arm, from the elbow down. She's going to be eighteen years old next March third. I'm her father, and I need to see her!" He slammed a fist onto the counter, pointing with the other hand to the surgical rooms."Sir, if you could sit down and wait, I will see what I can do for you, but you're creating a disturbance.""Sit down? Wait?" He sputtered. "My daughter could be dying back there, and you won't let me through because she doesn't have any paperwork!" He didn't give the receptionist a chance to reply, before he was storming back out the automatic doors, muttering something about 'this messed up world I live in these days'.

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But the Hospital hadn't seen the last of Makuta Regius. But the world had seen the last of the Grants. It was as though they had disappeared off the face of the planet. The day after Lorena had been hospitalized, the following newspaper article had been slapped under the main story on the front page:Local Girl Gone MissingFrom the close friends of the missing girl, Lucas Bradley (17) and Cara Mallard( 18). We have been informed that Lorena Dahlia Grant has been reported missing. Grant was last confirmed to be in Holy Spirit Hospital after a reported car crash on Route 76. No valid information was found concerning Grant. If anyone see's her (pictured above), they are asked to inform police right away.For more information, see GIRLon page A5.No one saw Regius at the grocery store, and his car sat in the drive way through rain and shine, because there was no one there to open the garage door for it. Nothing had changed in the Grant's house for days on end. Even when police and investigators entered the premises, they moved nothing. They even brought Lucas Bradley and Cara Mallard into the house, asking them questions about what they remembered about the mysterious missing Grants.Nothing seemed out of place. Lorena's room was the same. Regius' room was the same. The living room was the same. Everything was the same. But Cara and Lucas did miss one thing, which they didn't notice was amiss. There was a solid wall in the basement, where a secret door used to be.

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Deep in the heart of the Appalachians, hidden away where no human device, sniffer dog or eye could find, Makuta Regius stood, at home in his laboratory. But this day, he was not working on a lab project, or some experiment. He was working to save a life.He thought, I have saved you before, with the sciences of my world. I can do it again.

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Edited by Aderia: Toa of Ducklings, Oct 26 2011 - 05:45 PM.

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#5 Offline Aderia

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Posted Nov 05 2011 - 10:57 AM

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Part 4: After Rebirthing A sudden clang in the distance, like wood on metal, startles me, and I instinctively drop to all fours, lashing my tail in anxiety. I crawled along the abandoned rollercoaster track, in the bowels of the boardwalk I'm sneaking about. I can hear the murmur of the ocean, just a quarter mile down the beach. The air is clear and cool, and it smells like the turning of fall to winter. I snag my claws around the rungs on the track, and begin a winding ascent back towards the apex of the rollercoaster. I'm moving in the opposite direction of the way the cars run. It's a good thing the boardwalk is abandoned, this late at night, otherwise, I'd probably be run over. As I reach the top of the hill, I straighten up, balancing myself with a swish of my tail, and look out over the desolate, darkened boardwalk. Some might find it spooky, with no lights, leering shapes and all. But I know that there's nothing to fear. Then I turn to the open ocean, and feel like I'm literally on top of the world, maybe how the king of the jungle feels. I can feel the sultry wind flying past me, whistling in my ears, and smell the wisps of the waves as they crash against the shoreline.Looking down on the world around me, a sense of individuality and authority wells up inside me, and it's like I'm second to nothing, nobody, second to none. Then I turn to the village on the bay in the distance. There's one light, other than the lighthouse light, on the outskirts of the town. Who knows, it could be a high school girl up late finishing a project. And like I'm struck by lightning, my blood starts to boil, and my heartlight flashes faster and faster.That could be me, in there, writing the last paragraph to a report, putting the last touches on a project, or up secretly texting my boyfriend while I was supposed to be doing homework under my parent's noses! Do girls my age know how lucky, how insanely normal they are? With a snarl of frustration and another lash of my tail, I crouch down, leap up, off the coaster track, and feel myself falling through the wind. I snap open my wings, the same time I snap open my eyes. I can't fly with these pathetic things. Maybe someday. But for now I simply glide down, and make an awkward crashing land in the sand. I look up, at the rollercoaster I was just standing atop of, and then look down at how far I've fallen. I've fallen a long, long ways. A bitter growl escapes my throat, and I'm angry because this mocking rollercoaster is a sour metaphor of my life. And my eyes find that one light in the town again, what could have been, and could be, my life. Then I glare down my back, as I wrathfully rustle my metallic wings into place again, and am overwhelmed by helplessness. With a howl that wasn't of this world, I made a headlong dash for the lighthouse.

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Hordika. That one word hangs in my mind.Oh, how I've grown to hate it. Do you know who I am? Neither do I. But let me tell you this. As far as the world was concerned, the girl named Lorena Dahlia Grant was dead. Her best friend had moved on to an Ivy League college with a major in physiology, and her boyfriend had moved on to a state college with an undeclared major. And Lorena remained cold and dead. But here's the kicker.She was reborn. She was reborn in secret. And she is me. Now, it's almost two months I've been wandering, and learning to live with myself. The only reason I hadn't committed suicide yet is because it's harder to kill a half biomechanical creature than you'd think, especially when the Hordika inside you won't let you. Apparently, my father had worked endlessly to keep me alive, after the car crash. Hordika Venom, Mutagen, whatever he could get his hands on to help, he'd take it. Navy blue and silver armor covered me now. A maskless, animalistic face not even a ghoul could love, killer aches and pains, and a shattered life was what l woke up with. It was my welcome back to reality.

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I hate being stalked. The animal inside me hates being stalked even more than I do. I've been heading inland for a week or so, and in broad daylight, I'm walking through a dense mountain forest trail, being followed by a troop of boyscouts. I can hear them, maybe a half mile behind me. They think that they're trailing a stag. Well, a stag wouldn't leave three inch deep gouge marks in a tree trunk, would it? I'm frustrated at myself. Why did I ever walk out on Regius? I needed his help, as much as he'd needed mine. Why couldn't I have known that before I found myself halfway down the east coast? And families stick together. At first, I thought I could run away, and find help, maybe from a government lab, or some elite surgeon to help me. No normal teenage girl would want to spend the rest of her life like I do. But the more I dwelt on it, the more I came to realize that getting help wasn't the answer. As much as I wish and hope and pine for my old life, there's obviously no way to go back. What's done is done, and I am what I am.… I scrambled up the nearest tree, lying in wait for my brave hunters. It's not long before I see them. Two little ones, maybe in fourth grade, not more than ten or eleven. They were bickering like eighty year old twin brothers. "Are you sure we can get back to our troop from here? I don't think it was a good idea to run off without them." "Sure I'm sure. We just follow our own trail back where we came from! You worry too much.""Well, I don't see any more tracks. Maybe we should go back now. I'm hungry." "Here, I have an extra granola bar." The boy turns around, trying to reach the zipper on his backpack. But then he sees the slashes my talons left in the tree trunk as I'd climbed up. His jaw drops comically, and he starts tapping his friend's shoulder, never taking his eyes off the claw marks. "What?" I drop from the tree and land heavily in front of them. "Go back where you came from." I tell them, even though my voice is rusty, reminding me of a bird with a sore throat. I'm not entirely sure if they can make out what I'm saying. They stared and stared, and they'd probably have started drooling. But the one boy, who was hungry suppressed his stupor enough to ask, "Do you know Optimus Prime?"What a freak. Out of all the things you could say if a savage mutant robot drops down in front of you, he chose that. "No." I say, scowling. "I said scram!" I emphasized my point with a violent whipping of my wings and thumping my obnoxious tail on the ground. They both snapped out of their shock and stumbled over each other, yelling indistinctly as they ran back the way they came. Oh, yeah. I'm a hard core monster. I think to myself. Scaring children, stealing food, what next? The kid would probably grow up to be one of those crazy Loch Ness Monster hunters.

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I remember, the first thing I saw when I woke up as a monster, was my father. I was sore and achy beyond belief. He was wearing the Kanohi Olmak he'd kept in his lab. I'd asked him where is Kanohi Turbulis was. He didn't answer.Instead, he'd helped me to sit up, and showed me what had happened to me. His exact words were, "I saved a life, two years ago, after the car accident. But in doing so, I also ruined a life that wasn't mine to ruin. I ask no gratitude from you, Lorena." Then he'd explained to me what I'd become, as calmly as he could. For me, it was all part of my dreaming. He took my bleary, confused nods and questioning glances as stunned acceptance, and said he'd leave me alone to think about things. For three days, he wallowed in guilt and anger at himself, and during that time, I slept. When I woke up again, and I was still a biomechanical mess, I freaked. I just remember seeing a hazy red, and I'm sure I trashed half the lab as I made my blind, furious escape.I'd thought if I ran fast and hard and long enough, I'd be able to outrun this waking nightmare. Apparently not. In two months, I'd traveled on foot from central southern Pennsylvania, to the coast of Virginia. Time could only keep moving. I didn't want to sit and wallow in self pity as it slipped by. It was time for me to head home.

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Edited by Flygon: Desert Spirit, Feb 17 2012 - 10:11 AM.

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Posted May 24 2012 - 09:42 PM

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