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Mata Nui, once a prosperous world of his own, was now reduced to nothing more than an empty shell sprawled out on a dry, barren landscape. The eyes that used to shine green have long ago been burrowed out, leaving his empty sockets staring off into the horizon. The very foundation that held his body together for so many decades was now rusting and withering away. Relics of a lost civilization littered the corpse, and the smell of death lingered in every corner of the once-Great Spirit. Smoke still billowed from the large cavity in his chest ripped open by an apocalyptic disaster. The sole survivor, a Turaga, pushed aside burning rubble to see what he has done to his own world, before collapsing to the ground as his heartstone faded to black.



Chapter 1


     “Warning. Meltdown in Reactor Core #12 on level six. Evacuate to the Onu-Metru Archives immediately,” the old speakers shouted in the cold, narrow hallways of the Metru Nui Power Plant. Rusting pipes slowly hissed at the hordes of passing Nu-Matoran, Matoran of Radiation. Red lights pulsed and sirens echoed through the maze of underground tunnels. Even though everyone’s life was at stake, no one panicked. Almost every Matoran in the Plant had gone through this before, and for some, this had become routine. 


     Ralis swiped his ID card as he clicked on his respirator. Two large, heavy doors slid open, and Ralis felt a large wave of radiation hit him like a warm gust of wind. As he walked in, he saw other Meltdown Managers, or the MM’s, run to and from Core #12 like a swarm of angry Nui-Rama, struggling to get it stable. It was hard to hear anything over the loud hissing of steam, melting metal, and the shouts of Nu-Matoran ordering one another around in the large cave.


     Ralis immediately went to work with several other Matoran attempting to remove the radioactive protodermis isotope powering the Core. Radioactive protodermis was unlike any other form of protodermis. Instead of being silver and smooth, Pr-135 was sluggish, green, and very corrosive. One drop of it could easily burn through most armor.


     Pour. Cap. Move. Pour. Cap. Move. Ralis repeated these steps with perfect precision. If he made one little mistake, and even a drop of Pr-135 got out, it would burn through the floor as if it were butter, and might even strike another Matoran. Although it had happened in the past, Ralis didn’t let a single drop get out of line, until the pipe began to overheat. Ralis watched as the pipe he had been using began to warp, and glow a dull red.


     After warning the people below him, he left his station behind and rushed to get a bucket of water. Once he got back, he noticed that the Pr-135 had already melted through the pipe and burnt a small hole in the thin, metal floor. Ralis slowly doused the pipe in water, being careful not to use too much water at once. If he had drenched the pipe in all the water in the bucket at once, the pipe would have become extremely brittle, and might have broken off.


     Emptying the last of his water on the burning pipe, he tried filling another barrel. Ralis quickly retracted his hand in pain as he touched the still burning hot handle. He had once been given gloves, but they had been rendered useless long ago. Determined to do his job, he took out a pair of pliers strapped to his waist and locked it around the handle. Pulling on the pliers, he opened the pipe and got back into his routine.


     The only Turaga of Radiation still alive held up his hands in the Core’s direction, doing his best to keep the radiation to a minimum. All the other MM’s were busy fitting the entire Core into a thick, protosteel shell, and filling it up with water. Metal screeched and water boiled as the cool water touched the searing hot Core. Ralis wiped the steam out of his eyes as he capped the last barrel of Pr-135, and the Core went inactive.


     The Core had been unstable for too long, and was deemed too radioactive to reuse. Large tracks and pulley systems slowly moved the massive core from its usual place over to “the chasm”. The chasm was a large, seemingly bottomless pit into which all radioactive waste was disposed, very close to the core reactors. Many Matoran watched as the large, heavy ball of metal was dropped into the darkness of the abyss, never hearing it strike the bottom.


     No one had ever been to the bottom of the chasm, but everyone agreed that it would be the worst place to be in Metru Nui. Nu-Matoran had been disposing toxic materials into the chasm for thousands of years, with no sign of stopping. Stories told of large, mutated Rahi waiting to feast on any “careless” Nu-Matoran who wander too far down. Ralis and his team pushed carts of barrels over to the chasm and poured out the radioactive sludge, finishing the clean-up job.


     The MM’s dispersed as the usual workers flooded back into their living quarters. The halls were once again filled with the black and yellow armor of Nu-Matoran. Many of the workers grumbled to themselves, since the Onu-Matoran they had met outside ridiculed them for “being lazy” and not going back into the Plant. Anytime a Nu-Matoran found himself in the Archives, he was sure to be mocked at by a passing Archivist for doing such filthy and demeaning labor. For this, Ralis was grateful he never had to leave the plant during emergencies. Ralis clicked off his respirator as he went back to his living quarters, eager to go back to the dream which Core #12 had interrupted. He dreamt of what it would be like if he was an outsider.



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Chapter 2


            Turaga Dume, leader of Metru Nui, looked out his balcony over his glorious city. In every direction, Matoran were hard at work, making his city more perfect.


            Unwillingly, he also remembered the nuclear power plant far beneath the city, and the strange Matoran that worked in it. There were two classes of Matoran in his community. The first was the respectable surface-dwellers, the makers hard at work in the Ta-Metru forges, the thinkers contemplating the Great Thoughts in the Ko-Metru Knowledge Towers, and the teachers spreading wisdom and understanding in the schools of Ga-Metru.


            The other type was a race of mysterious outcasts. The Matoran of Radiation, the laborers who sent forth from their subterranean pit the nuclear energy that kept everything running. But they weren’t like other Matoran, Dume thought. The Nu-Matoran were sullen, eccentric types. They only came up during meltdowns for safety, and occasionally for only the most important citywide events. There had to be something wrong with a race that technically ranked the Onu-Matoran with “surface-dwellers.”


            The Turaga of Fire remembered that, even though he himself had rarely interacted with the strange beings, the ire of the island city’s other races made it obvious the Nu-Matoran were not to be trusted. When Dume first became a Turaga and Metru Nui’s leader, many Matoran warned him of the nature of the underground ones.


            The Le-Matoran argued that the Nu-Matoran were too committed to work and depressing to be around. Initially, Dume shrugged off their concerns as typical Le-Matoran hyperactivity. However, the Ta-Matoran claimed the Nu-Matoran were antisocial and lofty. When the Ko-Matoran agreed, Dume suspected they were right.


            Dume walked to the other side of his office, admiring the map of his city on the wall, as he recalled he had already ruled for several weeks when the first Nu-Matoran representative came to welcome his new leader. To Dume’s surprise, the Nu-Matoran was just as critical of the others as they were of him. Speaking on behalf of all his people, he complained that the Po-Matoran’s statues were frivolous, decadent pursuits that contributed nothing. He said that the Ga-Matoran were an arrogant elite, holding that their knowledge made them better than everyone. Dume’s patient broke when he claimed the Ta-Matoran to be perfectionists.


            Dume sent the representative on his way, and the Nu-Matoran himself had seemed relieved to be able to return to his home, and that was the precedent for Dume’s dealings with the Matoran of Radiation.


            As he turned around, the elevator doors opened up, and Turaga Piercur, leader of the Nu-Matoran, stepped in.


            “Welcome,” Dume said blandly. “I presume the meltdown has been dealt with.”


            “Indeed,” Piercur replied, “but that’s not the only reason I have come.”


            Dume looked puzzled when he asked, “What other issue could there be?”


            Piercur responded, “Many reactors are at risk. The truth of the matter is we are in desperate need of more supplies. The protosteel encasings have become worn. My workers need more safety supplies, like visors for their masks.”


            “That’s what you’re asking for?” Dume asked, disinterested. “Aren’t you Radiation types invincible to that?”


            “No, not exactly,” Piercur explained. “My people are more resistant to the detriments of radioactivity than other types, but working and living in the Plant for so long has taken its toll nonetheless.”


            “I sympathize with you, Piercur, but there’s not much I can do right now,” Dume said. “There are other ways my citizens would like our resources to be allocated. I hope I’m not breaching protocol, but the general consensus is that your kind is most helpful down in your lab.”


            “That’s another thing,” Piercur interrupted, raising his voice. “The Nu-Matoran have been treated as second-class citizens as long as I can remember. We contribute just as the others do. I have tried to be diplomatic with you, but the fact remains that my people are denied many of the rights guaranteed to them in the Metru Nui Constitution. We cannot travel freely to other islands or metru, our healthcare is inferior, our economic mobility is restricted by archaic –”


            “The Constitution applies only to the Matoran of Metru Nui, not your petty workers,” Dume snapped. “The Metru Nui Power Plant bears this city’s name, but I hope all your isolation has not deluded you to the fact that you are a separate entity, with no entitlements to the rights of full citizens. And what do your people care of what Metru Nui thinks of them? They seem to think little of us.”


            “Remaining strong-faced in the presence of the other Matoran is part of a Nu-Matoran’s manners. To show excessive emotion is impolite to us,” Piercur said, returning his voice to its previous volume. “But my people are hurt by how they are treated. The Nu-Matoran want only to be friends and equals, nothing more.”


            Unmoving, Dume simply said, “My concern is only with the Matoran of Metru Nui, which, I reiterate, the Nu-Matoran are not. You will not be receiving new supplies until the time our contract has agreed to prior. I’m sure it will be no time at all.” He turned and gestured to one of the Vahki Vorzakh standing behind his desk. While the speech of a Vahki was usually ultrasonic and incomprehensible, the electromagnetic field within the room slowed it down to an intelligible level.


            “The next shipment of supplies for the Metru Nui Power Plant is due in 748 days,” the Vorzakh recounted.


            “See? I’m certain your current supplies will hold until then,” Dume reassured.


            “But Dume, the shipments are never the quantity nor the quality we –”


            “Farewell now. I don’t wish you keep you,” Dume interrupted once more. “Would you like a Vahki escort?”


            The two Vorzakh standing by the elevator stood at attention as its doors slid open.


            “No, thank you, Dume, I’ll be quite fine,” Piercur replied, walking into it dejectedly.


            The doors slid shut and Dume heard the elevator shoot down the Coliseum, carrying the Turaga of Radiation back to his home. The Turaga of Fire shuddered as he thought of how he’d maintain the illusion of equality in their next meeting.



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Chapter 3


     Aruden wheezed heavily through his respirator, struggling to keep his eyes open. He felt weak, as if every muscle in his body had been taken out, and he was just an empty skeleton. Even though his vision was blurred, he could still make out one figure looking back at him.


     “You’re going to be fine,” Ralis said solemnly,  “Others have recovered.” 


     “That was in the old days,” Aruden whispered, “Those days are gone.”


     “But there is still a chance,” Ralis quickly replied, “the next shipment of supplies is coming soon, you just have to hold on until then.”


     Aruden shook his head in reply, too weak to speak. Ralis knew what he was trying to say, but did his best to ignore it. The next shipment of supplies was meant to arrive 35 days ago, but it never did. The entire Plant has been waiting in anticipation, but nothing ever came. The shipment was most likely cancelled somewhere along the way, but Ralis remained hopeful.


     Ralis remembered the days when necrosis was not a very big issue in the Plant. Hardly anyone had been exposed to the hazardous chemicals for very long, and all the supplies to treat it were plentiful. Eventually, the equipment began to wither away from time, and the Plant became less and less safe.


     “Look around you,” Aruden wheezed, "we live with the constant fear of death, if you call what we have now life."


     Ralis looked around the ward, and saw what seemed like fifty Nu-Matoran sprawled out on cheap beds, suffering from either necrosis or radiation burns. The chances of any of them recovering were slim.


     “We can’t go on like this,” Aruden continued, “this was not what was supposed to happen.”


     Ralis heard a new tone in his friends’ voice, as if someone else was talking, and he was just the speaker. Ralis listened on, fearing the moment he would stop.


     “The outsiders have forgotten us, leaving us down hear to rot.”


     “Well, what are we supposed to do about it?” Ralis asked.


     “Make them remember us.”


     “I will.”



     Aruden’s body, along with several other Nu-Matoran, was sealed inside a large, protosteel box hanging directly above the chasm. Nu-Matoran had a strange tradition when it came to the death of a worker. Even though the Nu-Matoran thought it would be chaos if someone went into the chasm, many believed that they would receive everlasting peace if their body was dropped in it. The chasm was a symbol of never-ending, since the bottom was nowhere in sight. Many Nu-Matoran claimed it was “never-ending Karz for the living and never-ending peace for the dead”.


     The group of Matoran stood motionless as the coffin descended, wondering how long it would be until they were the ones inside the large, oblong box. Although many of the Matoran felt grief and sorrow, those feelings have been numbed out a long time ago. After casualties became a more common occurrence in the Plant, mourning came to feel more like a chore.  


     Ralis watched as the box carrying his friend was lowered into the darkness that constantly occupied the chasm. After the box faded from sight and the chain was cut, Ralis remembered what Aruden had told him to do. For the first time in years, Ralis could feel dread and loss, but it was also accompanied by rage and fury. After the ceremony was over, he stormed back into his workshop.


    When Ralis wasn't working, he was inventing new ways to reuse old and defective materials. Using nothing but the scrap metal in front of him, he began working on his next contraption.


     Sparks flew as Ralis welded the last piece of protosteel to his invention. He had successfully turned a pile of discarded metal into a new, unrecognizable device. He dipped the front end of it into a barrel of Pr-135. When he recalled it back to the surface, the tool carried within it a sphere of the corrosive substance. Ralis turned to the wall of his workplace and fired. The sphere flew through the air and immediately began eating through the wall once it hit. Ralis smiled in satisfaction at his new invention.




     Deep within the archives, two thick metal doors marked the entrance of the Metru Nui Power Plant. Two Vahki stood on guard outside, regulating any traffic that might go through. Both Vahki turned their mechanical heads to see the large doors sliding open, only to reveal total darkness within. Naturally, they went in to investigate who had done this without permission. Upon entering, two spheres of Pr-135 were quickly embedded into each Vahki unit, melting the machinery. The Vahki were destroyed, and a horde of Nu-Matoran charged out of the doors, each carrying a Pr-135 launcher.


     Every Vahki in Metru-Nui was instantly alerted when the first two Vahki went missing from the Security Net. Cameras whizzed to life around the Archives, revealing a mob of angry Nu-Matoran storming up from below. Any Rorzakh that got in the way were destroyed.


     Once the mob met a crowd of Onu-Matoran, all Karzahni broke loose. Surprised at the Nu-Matoran’s sudden outburst of rage, the Onu-Matoran responded with even more rage. The two groups tossed insults at each other left and right, spawning more and more anger and hatred. The groups began to threaten each other when the Zadakh arrived. Using their Staffs of Suggestion, each Vahki fired into the angry crowd, hoping that the Onu-Matoran could persuade them to stop.


     “You don’t have the gears to shoot us!” one confident Onu-Matoran shouted at the crowd.


     “You nukies probably aren’t even smart enough to know how to use your own guns,” another Matoran mockingly added.


     “Just try and shoot us!” the first Matoran yelled.


     Aided by the Zadakhs’ Staffs of Suggestion and fueled by rage, the Nu-Matoran did just that. Pr-135 was soon flying through the air in all directions, and Onu-Matoran howled in pain as the chemical burnt through their bodies. Shouts and screams echoed throughout the large caverns of the Onu-Metru Archives. The Vahki began firing their disks at the crowd, striking down several Nu-Matoran. The ground was soon covered in a large, slimy green puddle mixed with melted Vahki and Matoran parts. The fighting continued for several minutes until the Earth below them began to rumble.


     The chaos quickly came to a stop when Toa Whenua summoned a wall of Earth to rise between the two groups of Matoran. Using his control over Earth, he pulled the ground out from underneath the angry mob, and trapped the Nu-Matoran in a ditch. The sounds of breaking legs could be heard as the Matoran struck the bottom, and Whenua smiled in satisfaction of a job well done.


     “They were savages!” one Onu-Matoran complained to Whenua, “It was a massacre!”


     Deep in the pit, one Nu-Matoran whispered to himself.


     “It has just begun.”



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Chapter 4


            On telescreens across Metru Nui, the somber face of Turaga Lhikan took form.


            “Matoran of Metru Nui, a needless tragedy has befallen our noble city,” the Turaga of Fire reported grimly. “A brutal uprising of traitors attacked from the Metru Nui Power Plant. In their rage, 27 brave Onu-Matoran lost their lives. If not for the courageous intervention of Toa Whenua, only Mata Nui knows how many more would be dead now.


            Worry not, for Turaga Dume and I are working ardently to prevent future tragedies, and the guilty have already been detained. Unfortunately, the power from the Plant has been shut off for the time being. We are working to find alternative sources of energy until the rebellious Nu-Matoran have been dealt with.”




            At the bottom of the elevator to the Plant, the doors slid open. Dume and Lhikan exited, walking down the corridor to the gate where the Toa Metru waited.


            “How goes guard duty, Toa of Metru Nui?” Lhikan asked.


            “Boring,” Toa Onewa blurted, before Toa Vakama could give his report.


            “Uneventful,” Vakama corrected, glaring at the Toa of Stone. “They have made no visible efforts to contact us or escape.”


            “Is there any possibility of us breaching their barricade?” Dume asked.


            “That’s what I’ve been saying all along,” Onewa groaned. “Bust in, teach those traitors a lesson, get back to the surface. This place creeps me out.”


            Toa Whenua, crouched next to the gate with his hand on the edge, rose and said, “I can’t find any weaknesses in it. I don’t think we’ll be getting in uninvited.”


            “And I don’t think we’d fare to well against those launchers they’ve built,” Toa Nuju added.


            “In any case, there must be a better alternative than more violence,” Toa Nokama suggested.


            “The Toa of Water’s idealism is truly rather quaint, but in reality, I fear we can’t mound a counterattack anyway,” Dume replied. Nokama sighed, her voice once again silenced. Dume continued, “A battle on their terms would be too dangerous, to both sides. A blast to a nuclear reactor and the fight would be over for everyone.”


            “Unless we can get them out here,” Nuju said.


            “Which, again, would involve us breaking this barrier, which we can’t do,” Whenua reminded.


            “Have we gotten any information out of the prisoners?” Vakama asked.


            Lhikan shook his head. “They’ve been . . . uncooperative. Even Vahki stun staffs only make them irritable.”


            “I still can’t believe we’re trying to make deals with them. I don’t like negotiating with terrorists,” Dume said.


            “In practice, it seems our only option is to wait for the Nu-Matoran to make their next move, and hope we’re ready when they do,” Vakama said.




            Everywhere else in Metru Nui, the Nu-Matoran uprising was all any Matoran could think about.


            “What do you make of the Archives Massacre?” Nuhrii asked his fellow mask maker, Jaller. On any other subject, Jaller would just advise Nuhrii to keep working.


            “It’s insane,” Jaller replied. “Our city cooperated with them in good faith. We protected them, and provided for them, and this is how they repay us.”


            “What do you think we should do?” Nuhrii asked.


            “Retaliate,” Jaller responded bluntly. “Devastate them like they deserve to be.”




            The Vahki Nuurakh screeched once more into Ralis’ face. The Nu-Matoran leader tried to ignore the ear-splitting sound, struggling from the stone slab he was strapped to. The Nuurakh fired another bolt of energy from one of its Staffs of Command.


            Tell us what we want to know.


            Tehutti, the Onu-Matoran interrogator, asked again, “Where are the escaped Nu-Matoran hiding?”


            “I’ll never tell you,” Ralis replied. “You’ll just have to kill me. I will lead my people as a martyr, stronger than ever.”


            Tehutti sighed and signaled for the Nuurakh to not fire another energy bolt as it was preparing to. “As an archivist, I spent a lot of time closer to your people than I was comfortable with. I lost a lot of friends in your rebellion.”


            “If you kill me, fine, but at least spare me your life story,” Ralis snapped.


            Tehutti shouted unintelligibly in frustration. “Don’t you realize you’ve only hurt everyone, even the people you’re trying to help? Innocent Matoran are dead now, thanks to you!”


            “I ask nothing of my followers I wouldn’t do myself. When all is said and done, there will be a new era. You non-Radiations will be out of power. All will be fair and just, as it should have been from the start.”



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Chapter 5


Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us. Tell us.



     Ralis struggled to keep his knowledge shielded from the Vahki, but he was getting restless. The same two words repeated in his thoughts over and over again, tempting him to obey. He knew that if he said a single word about their plan, their efforts would be wasted.


     He remembered how they had planned to retreat back into the Plant through secret entrances dug out by the Nu-Matoran miners. There were several hidden passageways scattered throughout the Archives marked by empty stasis tubes, just out of sight of any security cameras. He just hoped none of the other captured Nu-Matoran told of their locations yet.


     He also remembered of their plans to dig more secret tunnels to the surface in order to gather materials for their next attack. Many Nu-Matoran already nicknamed this plan the “Underground Chute System”. It was a brilliant strategy, but getting captured wasn’t a part of it.


     “I’m sorry everything didn’t go as planned,” Tehutti said, “but thanks to you, we can quickly end this little rebellion.”


     Ralis looked up at the Matoran, confused at what he said.


     “Well, you did just tell us everything we needed to know. You seemed to underestimate the power of the Vahki’s Staff of Command. You should have seen yourself, you were blabbering on like there was no tomorrow!”


     Just to rub it in, Tehutti ordered the Vahki to replay the recording of everything Ralis had said. To his horror, every little thought that came into his mind was spilled out in that one recording.


     Tehutti and the Vahki left the room to show Dume the recording, leaving Ralis alone. Guilt and anger pulsed through him as he thought how he had ruined the future of the Nu-Matoran.


     About one hour later, Ralis heard the familiar noise of a pick striking rock within the wall opposite to him. Back in the Plant, the majority of Nu-Matoran worked as miners, digging out the radioactive mineral essential for the entire city. Ralis had been with these miners on several occasions, since he had designed several different tools to help them in their quest.


     As Ralis had hoped, a pick soon burst out of the stone wall, which was soon followed by an unfamiliar Nu-Matoran.


     “Are you okay?” the Nu-Matoran quickly asked.


     “No, I told them everything. I wasn’t strong enough,” Ralis said gloomily.


     “You’re not the only one,” the Matoran said reassuringly, “Some of the other ones that were captured also gave in, so we came up with a backup plan. Instead of going for another attack, we will hijack an airship in Le-Metru and unite with the Nu-Matoran in the Karda Nui Power Plant. With that many Nu-Matoran on our side, we will be unstoppable!”


     As soon as all the chains were cut, the two Matoran ran back into the hole in the wall, and destroyed the tunnel as they went along. On their way back to the Plant, they planned how they would take control of the airship and what they would do in Karda Nui.


     “I didn’t catch your name,” Ralis said to his rescuer.


     “Akten,” the Matoran eagerly replied. “It’s an honor to be talking to the leader of the rebellion. Your name has become famous below and aboveground overnight!”


     “It could all be for nothing if our plan fails,” Ralis replied.


     “Have faith,” Akten said. “Mata Nui is on our side.”


     Ralis immediately remembered what Aruden had said to him a while back, although he didn’t know why. The words “make them remember us” echoed through his mind once more, before he turned his focus to maneuvering himself through the tunnel.


     Once the two Matoran had worked their way around a maze of thin tunnels, Ralis and Akten were greeted by a large group of Nu-Matoran which quickly bombarded him with questions. But all noises from the crowd ceased when the Turaga of Radiation entered the room.


     There was a moment of silence as Turaga Piercur looked at Ralis judgmentally. His face was void of all happiness when he locked eyes with Ralis, and every Matoran could feel the silent wrath of the ancient Turaga as he walked up to him.


     “There were other ways,” the Turaga said in a raspy voice. “No one deserved the punishment that you put them through.”


     Ralis was about to interject, but something about the Turaga’s demeanor told him to stay quiet.


     “No matter what happens next, everyone loses. Matoran are dead, and you can never undo that. They couldn’t even be given a proper burial, thanks to you. You have lost the trust from everyone on the surface, and they will never treat us the same. They have confirmed their poor opinions of us based on your actions, and they will do whatever it takes to push us down lower than we already are. The only thing we can do now is hope that Mata Nui is merciful, and helps relieve us from the consequences you have brought upon us.”



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Chapter 6

A Ta-Matoran ran through the corridor to the Coliseum’s central arena. Turaga Dume was already giving his speech. He turned the corner and waded through the crowd until he found an empty seat in the Ta-Metru section.


“Takua, I was wondering if you’d remember to show up at all,” the Ta-Matoran in the seat next to him commented. “I thought you’d at least be on time for a matter of national security.”


“Sorry, Jaller,” the first Ta-Matoran said as he took his seat. “Punctuality isn’t one of the Three Virtues, you know. I care about this, I really do. No one wants to see those nukies get what they deserve more than me.”


“At least we can agree on that,” Jaller said. Both Ta-Matoran quieted as Turaga Dume completed his speech:


“As you all know, the insurgents are using Pr-135 as a weapon. Only one known form of solid protodermis is capable of withstanding its corrosive properties: protosteel. Onu-Metru’s finest engineer has developed a new version of Vahki with protosteel armor, along with many more improvements to bring a quicker end to this rebellion.”


The Turaga of Fire bowed, and the arena erupted in applause. In the center of the arena, the Onu-Matoran Nuparu walked into view, followed by six Vahki, one of each model.


“To you all, these Vahki appear no different to the countless ones already patrolling this city,” Nuparu called. “But, to the trained eye of the technologically-versed, these six units are the answers to Metru Nui’s Nu-Matoran problem.”


Nuparu unlimbered a Kanoka Disk Launcher and produced for it a disk. He loaded it, raised his weapon to the sky, and fired it. The disk soared high into the air as the six robots trained their eyes on it, and then fired a barrage of energy from their weapons at it.


In the instant before they struck their target, the audience was confused. Vahki stun staffs only had psychological effects, so a hypothetical rogue Vahki wouldn’t be able to kill a Matoran or cause excessive damage. The blasts aren’t supposed to have any effect on inanimate objects.


Their concerns were answered as the blasts struck the Kanoka in unison. When the protodust dispersed, the audience was shocked to find that nothing of the disk remained. It had been completely destroyed.


The audience cheered. Nuparu smiled and held out his arms, taking in their approval.


“And that is not the only improvement that has been made to our enforcers,” he teased. Without saying anything, he turned to the upgraded Nuurakh and gestured to the Vorzakh. The Ta-Metru Vahki nodded and unleashed its destructive power on its green counterpart.


The blast sent the Vorzakh skidding across the ground until it struck the wall of Coliseum, reduced to a steaming pile of metal components. The audience gasped when the parts continued to stir, stacking themselves upon one another. Its arms and legs creaked about, and the very dents on its cranial shell seemed to straighten themselves. In a few moments, the Vorzakh stood again, obviously battered but clearly undefeated.


“Yes, my fellow Matoran, these new models are being produced and sent off into action even as I speak. Aided by our new helpers, this rebellion will be but an insignificant smudge on Metru Nui’s shining history.”


The audience cheered once more, and, after some closing words by Turaga Lhikan, the Matoran were dismissed.


“Amazing!” Jaller said to Takua as they were walking out. “I only wish to be there as the first Nu-Matoran rebel sees one of those charging at him, and witness the terror in his eyes as it unleashes its new power.”


“I bet it would really be something,” Takua agreed as they exited the hallway back outside.


“Jaller!” another Matoran’s voice called.


“Hey, Hahli! What do you think of these new Vahki?” Jaller asked. “Just what we need, right?”


Hahli stopped abruptly. “Well, not exactly,” she said. “Don’t you think, maybe, these modifications might be a little dangerous?”


Jaller scoffed. “No more dangerous than those renegades running through our cities, brandishing those blasters of theirs.”


“But I mean, what about the principle of that Vahki shouldn’t hurt Matoran?” Hahli continued. “I mean, don’t you remember the original reason we didn’t give Vahki lethal capabilities? In case they ever tried to hurt one of us?”


“Times are changing,” Jaller said dismissively. “There’s a price for freedom. This is it.”


“If you say so,” Hahli replied.




The Turaga’s box raced to the top of the Coliseum, carrying Dume and Lhikan. They could already see the Brotherhood of Makuta aircraft floating next to the top of the tower.


“It seems the Brotherhood has arrived,” Dume commented.


“I always wondered why they use those ships if they can just teleport everywhere,” Lhikan mused.


“As to not rub it in, I presume,” Dume answered.


As they reached the top, they went into their office to find the Brotherhood representative awaiting them. He had a round, stout torso, but his thin legs and arms made him tall regardless. His armor was yellow with red and silver spikes.


“Greetings, Turaga,” the Makuta said, bowing. “I am Makuta Bitil. Now, it is my understanding that you wish to procure the services of the Brotherhood in putting down a rebellion?”


“Indeed,” Dume said.


“We both remember the success of the Toa Metru-Makuta alliance in crushing the Dark Hunters,” Bitil responded. “I would be happy to suggest to my leaders we revive the union between our factions.”


“Indeed, if your people are up to the task,” Lhikan teased. “We’re dealing with a rebellion of our Nu-Matoran population.”


“Shame. The Brotherhood has had its own history with renegades, I will admit. That mad fool Spiriah was the cause, him and his crazy views of a Skakdi army,” Bitil reminisced. “Our successful record of the island’s quarantine should be proof enough of our competence.”


Lhikan looked uneasily at Dume. He knew it wouldn’t be polite – or safe – to mention it at that moment, but he was an advocate of theory that Spiriah began the ill-fated Skakdi experiment prior to his defection, under Brotherhood orders.


“It indeed inspired confidence,” Dume agreed, not noticing Lhikan’s expression.


“Are we to pacify these terrorists, or exterminate them?” Bitil asked as if he was requesting a beverage.


“Our attempts to find a replacement source of energy are promising, but nothing can be said for certain,” Dume responded. “I like to think a few well-placed executions will scare the others back in line, but be ready to purge them all if I give the word.”


“Very good, Turaga,” Bitil said.


The yellow Makuta bowed and walked back into his ship, which soared off back to Destral, wherever the island might be.


“Do you think it will really come to that?” Lhikan asked.


“I hope not,” Dume replied, “but only by a short margin.”



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Edited by Toa Of Virtues


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Chapter 7


     A large group of Nu-Matoran watched in horror as they saw a bright, red laser slowly cut through the barrier that separated the Plant from the Archives. Sparks flew as the updated Vahki used their newfound powers to break in.


     “Everyone!” Ralis shouted into the crowd, “Escape to the surface, we must start our second attack now!”


     The crowd mumbled nervously, questioning their leader’s advice.


     “But we aren’t ready!” one Nu-Matoran shouted back, “We hardly have any supplies, and these new Vahki will annihilate us as soon as we show our masks!”


     “We have faced so many things in our lives,” Ralis said. “We survived through things that the outsiders have only seen in their nightmares. We have suffered so much; the Great Beings would weep in pity. But we have stayed strong throughout the years, and here we stand today. For the first time in centuries, the outsiders are noticing us. And although they despise us more, our story is louder than ever. Our battles will soon echo across the world, and ring through the darkest corners of Mata Nui’s kingdom. Even if we fail today, our story will be immortalized in the heartlights of Nu-Matoran everywhere. Today, we lead a revolution!”


     With that, hordes of Nu-Matoran crawled through their tunnels to the surface, each with a Pr-135 launcher in hand. Dozens of Nu-Matoran flooded into each metru, vandalizing and destroying anything they could. Riots formed all over the city, and countless Matoran on both sides found their deaths. Buildings were being burnt to the ground, and radioactive sludge was flowing through the streets. The Archives Massacre was mere pebble in comparison to the boulder of a battle that was taking place.


     After several minutes of fighting, the new Vahki rushed out of the Archives to put a quick end to the riots. The Nu-Matoran attempted to fight back, but the new mechanical wizardry that the Vahki held crushed any hope of resistance. Low on supplies, the Nu-Matoran could not resist the Vahki’s lethal forces for long, and every Nu-Matoran was either handcuffed or dead within the next two hours.


     Each Vahki held a handcuffed Nu-Matoran, and marched back into the Archives. Other Matoran shouted and spat at the passing Nu-Matoran as they were dragged back into Onu-Metru. In an orderly fashion, the Vahki forced the Nu-Matoran back into the Plant, and sealed them in. The Vahki blocked any opening to the outside, and the entire Vahki army stood guard around the Archives, waiting for their next command.


     Injured and defeated, Ralis looked up at the line of massive Cores in the Plant. Although they have stopped generating power weeks ago, they still steamed and creaked as they always did, holding back the gallons of Pr-135 they contained.


     Ralis watched as a slender, black and yellow figure materialized at the top of Core #13 with a twisted grin on its face. The being then held up a small vile, and emptied its contents on top of the Core. The being then looked at the Nu-Matoran and waved “goodbye” as it disappeared as strangely as it came.


     Nothing happened immediately, but every Nu-Matoran became silent when they heard a loud, screeching noise come from the Core. Metal groaned and thin streams of Pr-135 trickled down its protosteel hull. Large holes appeared at the top of the Core as the strange substance from the vile ate away at the metal. Pipes withered away, and the pillars that held up the subterranean world started dissolving.


     Nu-Matoran ran away from the Core, knowing what would happen next. The Core began to bulge, and finally gave in to the pressure of the toxic material it contained. Green sludge burst out of the Core like a tidal wave, dissolving anything in its path. This was soon followed by the other Cores.


     The workers of the Plant screamed as the chemical mutated their bodies beyond recognition, and then slowly disintegrated their new, grotesque forms. The fumes from the chemical were so strong, Nu-Matoran choked as their lungs burnt from the inside. The ceiling cracked, and large chunks of stone rained down on the large cave.


     Ralis watched around him as he saw hundreds of Nu-Matoran mutate and die. He could feel the pain of his brothers as he watched their bodies twist and change, before they were submerged in the rising pool of green fluid. The earth trembled below his feet as he felt the entire Plant begin to cave-in. Ralis closed his eyes, and waited for the end.


     Instead of feeling excruciating pain as the chemical touched his skin, it felt almost soothing. The toxin surrounded his body, but didn’t cause any harm. He felt what seemed like a bolt of electricity, and he was soon wrapped in a cocoon of energy created by the radioactive substance. Pr-135 boiled as Ralis transformed into something much more powerful. Ralis’ body jerked and twisted as he felt energy pulse through his body. By the time it had stopped, Ralis felt stronger than ever.


     With the motion of his hand, the radioactive protodermis swept away from him, revealing his new form. Ralis looked around, and stumbled back as he saw the world through new eyes. After a moment of shock, he soon realized what he had become, and what he had to do.


     Ralis stood up, and sensed a tickle of warmth at the back of his neck. He turned around, and saw another tidal wave of radioactive protodermis rush at him. Out of terrified instinct, Ralis picked up a mining tool off of the ground to protect himself. Sparks jumped from his hand to the pick as the tool quickly morphed into a long, jagged blade. Ralis raised the weapon above his head, and slammed it back down as the corrosive tidal wave approached him. Amazingly, the wave split in two just before it struck him, and Ralis watched as two giant walls of the green liquid rush past him on both sides.


     Kneeling down, Ralis placed both of his hands in the radioactive sludge, and began absorbing it into his body. Ralis felt the soothing power of Radiation run through his body, giving him more and more strength. As soon as he was filled to the brim with Elemental energy, he ran up to the protosteel door that lead to the Archives, and unleashed a concentrated stream of Pr-135. The thick door tore itself out of the wall, and tackled several Vahki standing outside.


     Several more Vahki aimed their weapons at the unknown being, charging their staffs. Before they could fire, Ralis grabbed the jagged, protosteel sword from his back, and pointed it in their direction. He then used his surplus of radioactive energy to melt the Vahki into a pool of molten, radioactive metal.


     He then rushed to the surface, easily destroying any Vahki that got in his way. He found his way to the nearest airship, and went to its supervisor. Pointing his Pr-135 launcher at him, Ralis forced the Onu-Matoran to give him the key card to fly the airship.


     “What are you?” the trembling Matoran of Earth said as he handed the key card over to Ralis.


     “I am Ralis, Toa of Radiation, and you will remember me.”



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Edited by TuragaOfVirtues


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Chapter 8



     In the Coliseum, the six Toa Metru and two Turaga waited for the arrival of the ninth member of their conference. In a release of dark energy, their guest appeared. Clad in crimson armor with a jagged Kanohi, he stood with sinister cordiality. Everyone immediately knew it was the infamously polite aura of Makuta Antroz.


            “Thank you for this kind invitation to your capital, Turaga Dume, and you, Turaga Lhikan,” he said, nodding to each Turaga of Fire as he spoke his name.


            “Thank you for your impeccable punctuality, Makuta,” Dume returned. “We’d like to report on Makuta Bitil’s handling of our Nu-Matoran problem.”


            Antroz smiled, as though he completely understood everyone’s feelings. “I know my colleague isn’t as professional as I am, but from what I have heard, he solved your issue nonetheless.”


            “With all due respect, we were hoping he’d show a little more restraint,” Toa Vakama commented.


            Antroz seemed genuinely surprised. “Restraint? Toward Matoran? We are Makuta, why would we degrade ourselves to deal with their kind in any way less than the most efficient and economic?”


            “That’s not what he means,” Dume interrupted. “Simply, the damage to the facility was devastating, and we were hoping to repurpose it after this had all blown over.”


            It became clear to Lhikan that Dume didn’t catch Antroz’s slip of tongue – he seemed to utterly distain Matoran, not Nu-Matoran. He was about to correct the Makuta, and claim that just being a Makuta didn’t make him any better than a Matoran, when the hypocrisy of the idea dawned on him, as if an Infected Kanohi Mask had been knocked off his face – that, and of course the unspoken rule about not correcting Makuta.


            “That, I will admit, was an unforeseen disadvantage of Bitil’s chosen method. The Brotherhood will gladly reimburse you generously. Far be it from a Makuta to show such barbarism to his allies.”


            Lhikan heard the statement through unbiased ears, letting him truly hear it while his fellow Turaga and the six Toa Metru only heard superfluous negotiation. Lhikan heard him admit that the destruction of a room, repairable by a few hundred thousand widgets, would be barbaric, while mindless, systematic slaughter of a people – just business.


            He looked to Dume, expecting his fellow Turaga to realize how horrible they’d been and speak up.


            “Thank you, when can we expect the payment by?”


            Lhikan couldn’t be hearing this. The philosophical paradox was clear as purified protodermis; how could Dume miss it? Lhikan turned to the Toa Metru, scanning each individual face for a sign of the disgust he was feeling. None. Not even Nokama.


            “I’m not one to put faith in rumors, but what about that alleged Toa of Radiation who fled the city after the purge?” Toa Nuju asked.


            “Right you would be to not trust in rumors, for they dull the mind,” Antroz replied. “There cannot be a Toa of Radiation, no more than there could be a Toa of Light. It’s simply unnatural.”


            The discussion ended soon after, with Antroz vanishing into molecules, inevitably reassembling wherever Destral happened to be. He had promised to return later, with the due widgets.


            The Toa Metru exited then as well, to patrol the city as usual. Only Lhikan and Dume remained.


            “Dume,” Lhikan began, “have you ever considered, perhaps, we jumped to conclusions about the Nu-Matoran?”


            Dume looked with concern at Lhikan. “No, have you?” he replied slowly.


            “It’s just that, would it have been okay to purge the Ga-Matoran? Or the Ko-Matoran?”


            “The Ga-Matoran, of course not; the Ko-Matoran, however, I wouldn’t miss,” Dume responded with a laugh.


            “I’m serious!” Lhikan snapped, slamming his firestaff on the floor. “What if perfectly innocent Matoran are dead now?”


            “Would perfectly innocent Matoran take arms against their brothers and sisters? Storm our cities, ravage us, and leave you and me with no choice but to take the most drastic of measures?”


            “I know there were offenders, but I don’t believe every single Nu-Matoran was malicious.”


            Dume narrowed his gaze as Lhikan with heavy disapproval. “They coexisted alongside the other races for thousands of years, Lhikan. Isolated from the world, as the Great Beings intended. They forgot the natural order, and tried to take more than they were due. Such Matoran are dangers to decent society. We rescued Metru Nui.”


            There was an uncomfortable silence, and then Dume concluded with, “I hope you remember this,” as the two Vahki at the door chattered in their hypersonic language, “for your own sake.”




            Once, it was called “the chasm.” The Nu-Matoran spoke of it with fearful reverence as “Karz for the living but peace for the dead.”


            But, underneath all the nuclear waste and lifeless corpses, there existed something neither alive nor dead. Hundreds upon hundreds of somethings.


            One stirred. Were it in ideal state, it would have thought to itself Clean it all. But, for years, unstable nuclear waste and the corpses of the innocent had piled over it. Perhaps the corrosive radiation had eroded its mental capacities, or maybe the burning resentment of the dead had scorched its way into the thing. Now, its thought was an incomprehensible disarray of hatred.


            A single Bohrok was now awake, and as the old mantra goes: wake one, you wake them all.



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Edited by TuragaOfVirtues


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Chapter 9



     Ralis struggled with the controls of the small airship as it was tossed around in the massive storm. Rain poured in from the shattered windows while Ralis tried to see through the thick clouds surrounding the ship. Lightning cracked as he attempted to use one of his new powers to navigate himself through the storm. Taking a deep breath, Ralis closed his eyes and focused.


     Ralis could see patterns of light that were undetectable by anyone else. Light that could pass through nearly anything, including a few thick clouds. Ralis opened his eyes, and looked down. Like a beacon shining through a thick fog, Ralis saw pockets of Pr-135 buried deep within the ground glowing brightly, blurred by the ocean above it. He darted his eyes in every direction, and spotted three long towers out in the distance radiating the light only Ralis could see.


     Just as Ralis was turning the airship in the towers’ direction, a bolt of lightning struck his airship, rendering one of the Kanoka disks of levitation useless. The craft spiraled down into the ocean and plunged itself below the surface, before bobbing up again. Liquid protodermis poured in from the broken windows as he escaped the sinking ship.


     The novice Toa gasped for air while he fought against the monstrous sea. Ralis choked on liquid protodermis while struggling to keep his head above the liquid. Eventually his body ran out of stamina, and Ralis felt himself slip underneath the sea as everything went black.




     Ralis woke up sometime later on a hard cement floor with a large, green and blue figure looking down on him.


     “Well, well, well. What do we have here?”


     Ralis’ eyes focused on the being, and he quickly noticed how his mask looked stitched together, as if some lazy Ta-Matoran had made it in a hurry.


     “Who are you? Where am I?” Ralis asked, still coughing up liquid protodermis.


     “Karzahni, to answer both of your questions,” the large being said as he grabbed Ralis by the arm, and yanked his body onto a chair.


     “Am I dead?” Ralis asked as he noticed the lines of skeletal-looking Matoran hammering away at forges in the large, dome shaped room.


     “Far from it. But the real question is: Who are you, and why are you wearing a piece of my equipment?” Karzahni said as he violently ripped off Ralis’ mask.


     “I don’t know what you are talking about,” Ralis said sternly as he felt his power drain from his body.


     “This mask has one of my respirators on it, the kind that go to the Metru Nui Power Plant. But you seem to be a bit tall to be a Nu-Matoran, and you definitely are not the Turaga, so tell me. Who are you?”


     “Ralis, Toa of Radiation.”


     “Impossible,” whispered Karzahni, “there is no such thing as a Toa of Radiation.”


     “Well, there is no such thing as Karzahni,” Ralis declared, “so consider us even.”


     Karzahni growled in response, and then turned to grab a passing Matoran. He raised the Matoran with one hand, and removed his mask with his other. The Matoran did not struggle as his thin form was tossed aside.


     “If you are a Toa like you say you are, then put on this mask and prove it.” Karzahni said while raising the dark grey mask to Ralis’ face.


     Ralis looked out of the black, glass-like eyepieces of the new mask, and felt tired. Ralis fought through the weariness to stand up, but vertigo quickly consumed Ralis’ mind as he looked down, forcing him to sit.


     “What is this?” Ralis asked behind his new mask.


     “A little experiment of mine,” Karzahni said, “but it will take some time, so I hope you didn’t have any plans of leaving.”


     Karzahni called on several of his mindless Matoran, and ordered them to confine Ralis to a room in one of the three cooling towers of his factory. The cooling towers were very radioactive, and no Matoran could survive there for very long. The room there was built to “punish” misbehaving Matoran that refused to work. Now, the room would harbor its first Toa.


     Karzahni laughed behind his respirator as he shut the barred doors on Ralis.


     “See you in a few days, or weeks, or years. It depends what mood I’m in when I next spare you a thought,” Karzahni said as he left the cooling tower.


     While Ralis was tired and groggy, he knew that if he removed the mask he would be left vulnerable to his own element. He attempted to use his elemental powers to melt the bars, but he could not focus hard enough. Unable to escape, Ralis sat in the corner of his cell, and waited.


     Later that night, Ralis heard footsteps coming up the spiral staircase that lead to his room. He waited in fear as he prepared himself for whatever strange experiment Karzahni wanted to put him through. He was surprised when he only saw one of the strange Matoran workers approach his cell, instead of the strange green and blue being.


     “There are whispers,” the Matoran said in a monotone voice.


     “Whispers of what? Why did you come here?” Ralis asked the seemingly mindless Matoran.


     “The one who can see the unseen light will see the suffering, and end it,” the Matoran blankly said as he pulled out Ralis’ Kiril from a pouch on his back, and handed it to Ralis through the bars.


     “He will know what I have done,” the Matoran said, “and he will punish me. I have given you your way out, now it is time to take my way out.”


     The Matoran stepped back to the edge of the staircase, spread out his arms, and fell down the center of the cooling tower. Ralis shouted as the Matoran fell into the nuclear furnace burning at the bottom of the tower. Overwhelmed with rage, Ralis melted the bars confining him to his room and ran down the spiral staircase.


     Ralis ran up and down the lines of forges that occupied the factory. Ralis saw many recognizable objects being made, such as respirators, mining tools, protosteel pipes, and other goods the Metru Nui Power Plant acquired with each shipment of supplies.


     Finally, Ralis found what he was searching for. At the end of a hall, Ralis saw Karzahni hunched over a large forge, holding a firestaff. Hearing Ralis approach, the being turned his head to see Ralis pull out his sword, and walk towards him.


     “You seem to be a bit early,” Karzahni casually said, “no matter, I’ll just dispose of you, and wait for another Toa to wash up on shore.”


     Ralis charged at Karzahni with his blade, but was stopped when Karzahni held out a clawed hand, and gave Ralis a vision.



     Ralis forgot where he was for a moment, and looked around. Everywhere he looked, he saw cheering Nu-Matoran. All of them looked up at a large telescreen showing Turaga Lhikan and Turaga Dume holding up a piece of paper.


     Of course! Ralis thought. How could I forget?


     The two leaders of Metru Nui had just signed the first amendment to the Metru Nui Constitution, declaring Nu-Matoran as equal citizens. The Archives Massacre had worked, and convinced the leaders to listen to the demands of the Nu-Matoran. After several long meetings deciding the future of the Nu-Matoran, the two Turaga had agreed to sign the amendment.


     Years later, the Nu-Matoran became fully integrated with the other Matoran, and even gained a small village on the surface. Ralis looked around, and felt happy for what had become of his kind, but still felt incomplete. He had expected more resistance, more battles, and more bloodshed. He then thought about the Nu-Matoran in Karda Nui, and how they were still trapped in their power plant, slaving away for everyone else.


     I wouldn’t have left them, Ralis thought to himself. I would have gone and saved them.


     As soon as Ralis spoke those words in his head, he realized that this whole world was impossible, and the illusion soon broke down. He awoke from his vision staring Karzahni in the face. Before Karzahni could realize that Ralis had broken the illusion, Ralis plunged his sword into the tyrant’s chest.



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Chapter 10


Toa Matau soared down and landed on the Toa Metru’s barge.


            “Well?” Toa Vakama asked impatiently.


            “We have clearance to dock-land at Artakha,” the Toa of Air reported. “They’re not happy-smiles about it, though.”


            “I assumed as much,” Vakama replied as he watched Matau jump to the helm and reclaim the wheel from Onewa. “The Nu-Matoran there are pretty cozy with Artakha himself.”


            Toa Nokama, staring out to the ocean, turned and said, “I thought there were only power plants in Metru Nui and Karda Nui.”


            “There are, but some lucky nukies were good enough to work at Artakha,” Nuju informed. “By some means, they’re pretty popular.”


            “Popular enough that relations with Metru Nui have been … strained,” Vakama added.


            “That’s putting it soft-lightly,” Matau commented as he scanned the horizon for the outline of Artakha. “They practically laser-shot me out of the sky.”


            “What I’m worried about is Metru Nui,” Toa Whenua said as he stared back to his home. “Do you think sending all six of us was a wise move on the Turaga’s part?”


            Onewa threw his head back and laughed. “Don’t worry about it, brother, the Vahki-Kal have everything under control.”


            Nokama looked longingly back toward Metru Nui as well and whispered, “Sometimes, those mechanical monsters are what I worry about.”


            “What was that?” Vakama snapped to the Toa of Water. He hadn’t heard her words, but he recognized her tone as … seditious.


            “Nothing, brother,” Nokama quickly replied, looking toward him and straightening her back. She considered mentioning her doubts as to if the Toa of Radiation even existed. But better to not anger Vakama. Though she knew the other four Toa shared her doubt to varying degrees, Vakama was resolute in his belief of the “greatest threat to Metru Nui since the Dark Hunters.” So, as usual, she remained silent.




            Four Toa, their armor colors less clear-cut than the Toa Metru’s, sat around a campfire. As night approached, the winds threatened to extinguish the flames. One of the Toa held out a palm and a small blast of plasma lanced out from it, reigniting the fire anew.


            “Okay, I’ll say what we’re all thinking – is this Toa terrorist even real?” the female Toa sitting to his right said.


            No point in arguing with a Toa of Psionics, the Plasma Toa told himself. “You’re right, Desula.”


            The other two Toa, Jehka of Sonics and Belhiru of Iron, nodded in agreement.


            Desula continued, “So, remind me, why are we going around the universe hunting him down?”


            The Toa of Plasma, Toa Arkko, replied, “Because the Brotherhood requested it of us.” The leader of a normal Toa team would have said something self-righteous, like “Because that’s what heroes do,” or “Because if we don’t, nobody will.” But the Toa Narai were no normal Toa team. Their unorthodox nature could be traced back to their very first meeting, when their exploits as independent bounty hunters had brought them together at Artidax chasing a rogue Dark Hunter with four different bounties.


            “If we’re teaming up, we’ll need a name,” Jehka had said.


            “Toa … Narai,” was Belhiru’s confident reply.


            “Narai,” Desula repeated, “how’d you think of that?”


            The Toa of Iron had shrugged. “It sounds cool.”


            Arkko’s mind came back to the present when he heard footsteps approaching behind him. He turned and saw six clean-armored Toa with looks of determination and heroism burned into their faces.


            “Greetings, brothers and sister,” the Toa of Fire said. His spotless armor and Kanohi Huna made him immediately recognizable as Vakama, famed leader of Metru Nui’s Toa Metru.


            “Greetings to you, brother,” Arkko said as he stood up and bowed slightly. He hated Metru Nui. No Matoran of a secondary element could go there to a warm welcome. The Nu-Matoran got it worst of all, but any minority Matoran there couldn’t be surprised to have their mask ripped from their faces and smashed by hateful primary Matoran. He’d even heard tell of an Onu-Matoran, with purple accents on his armor, who was demasked as such by bullies who took him for a Ba-Matoran.


            Whenua said, “We’re investigating rumors of a Toa of Radiation who instigated a rebellion in Metru Nui. Have any of you heard anything?”


            “No, we haven’t. So you’re sure this alleged Toa is real?” Arkko asked.


            Nuju said, “We have strong reason to suspect.”


            Arkko glanced at Belhiru, whom was staring at the fire. The lights of the flames gleamed off of his Kanohi Mask of Persuasion. Only because Arkko was looking for it did he notice the peculiar shine the mask had, the shine a mask only had when it was in use.


            “Don’t let rumors get too inside your head,” Desula said, pulling Arkko’s attention back to the Metru. They looked rather disoriented now.


            “But, um, we’re pretty sure he exists,” Whenua was saying, scratching his head. “We were positive.”


            Nokama quietly added, “Maybe we were a little hysterical,” and looked, with a bit of fear, at Vakama. Arkko was only leader in the sense that his element was plasma, which was kind of like fire. But he knew no Toa should follow a leader out of fear, but out of respect and trust.


            Then, Vakama said, “A little hysteria, I suppose.” He seemed to be surprised, as though he heard the words from someone else. Erratically, he said, “Thank you, brothers and sister, but we’ll be going now.”


            “Good luck,” Arkko replied, a little confused himself.


            “Have a safe trip,” Jehka called as the Toa Metru turned and walked away.


            “Bye,” Belhiru said dismissively.


            Desula waved and smiled, but didn’t say anything. After the Toa were in their boat and floating away, she fell back into the sand and started breathing very quickly.


            “What’s going on?” Arkko asked.


            “Telling … them … there is … no Toa … of Radiation,” Desula exasperated, her chest rising and falling rapidly. “Even with … Belhiru’s help … I’ve never had to do … to six Toa at once.”


            Arkko stepped over to her and helped her up. “Are you okay? Jehka, give her some water.”


            The Toa of Sonics nodded and handed Desula his canteen, looking at her with concern. Desula, obviously struggling to raise her arms, grabbed it and quaffed down the water. Arkko, in a moment of silence, realized the only leading he’d done through that ordeal was get her some water.


            “So, if they came here, the Toa’s probably not on Metru Nui,” Jehka analyzed.


            “So where do we look now?” Belhiru asked.


            Arkko stood and looked toward the Southern Continent. “If I was a Toa of Radiation, I’d head to the plant at the Core. And the Toa Narai would be waiting for me.”




            From a bush, Turaga Lhikan watched the six Toa Metru board their craft and set off. For a moment, he thought, maybe, that the prophecy that he had followed in creating them was wrong. Maybe six other Matoran, more thoughtful, open-minded ones, were meant to be the real heroes of Metru Nui.


            Lhikan pushed those thoughts from his mind. The past was unchangeable; all he could do was focus on his present and future. Stowing away on their craft was a good start. Dume’s increasing authoritarianism had worried Lhikan, but all his attempts to talk sense into the elder Turaga were rebuffed. Eventually, Lhikan realized the city wasn’t safe for him anymore. But he couldn’t leave publicly – Dume had banned everyone but the Toa Metru from emigration. Hitching a ride with the Toa Metru was the only way. He had hoped, prayed to the Great Spirit, that maybe, with Dume not watching them, the Metru would come to their senses, and he could reveal himself and they would work to restore freedom to Metru Nui. But, like many of his recent hopes, they were in vain. Metru Nui would only become a worse place to be, he just knew it.




            Nokama struggled to keep the boat still in the waters around Metru Nui. As the Toa Metru had neared it, it became clear that something was not right. After they got over the shock that half of the Coliseum was gone, they realized there was a swarm of something flying over the island. Something that screeched loudly enough to be heard from the distance the Toa were at, and fired laser bolts.


            When Matau took form over the horizon, he was flying back to the boat faster than he had ever moved before. His feet slammed on the deck as he landed so hard that water almost came in as it rocked.


            He looked absolutely devastated as he said, “The city is in level-ruins … it’s overrun … the Vahki-Kal are trying to halt-stop them … but they’re making it battle-worse … it looks like they’re fighting … some sort of mutant Bohrok!”



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Chapter 11


     Ralis was stuck. He had searched the entire island, but could not find a ship of any kind. He wondered how the island of Karzahni could be a functional factory, if it had no means of shipping their goods. Just before he was going to give up on his search and build his own raft, he noticed a large, black, streamlined airship quietly descending onto the island. Ralis quickly hid inside one of the buildings not too far away, and listened carefully as two beings emerged from the ship.


     “It was only a matter of time,” Makuta Icarax said to the other Makuta. “One of the workers must have had a little bit of free will left.”


     “At least dispose of the body this time, the Brotherhood wasn’t too happy with what you did with Spiriah’s body,” the other Makuta said.


     “I did that as a warning for the Skakdi,” Icarax snapped in response. “I don’t think the beings here will need any warnings.”


     Ralis quietly followed the two Makuta into the room where he had killed Karzahni. He had seen what Makuta could do and knew that there would be no point in trying to attack them, so he remained hidden.


     Icarax activated his Mask of Scavenging, and drained the residual life force out of Karzahni’s body. After removing his mask and armor, Icarax placed his hands on the former ruler and obliterated his remains. What was once a malicious tyrant who ruled over hundreds of mindless Matoran for over 50,000 years was now reduced to nothing more than a pile of ashes on a filthy floor.


     Although Ralis knew that these two beings were probably the most dangerous creatures he had ever encountered, he realized that they could be his only ticket off the island. While the two Makuta were gathering any valuables they could find, Ralis sneaked off to the black airship that the Makuta had traveled in.


     Believing that the Makuta were too occupied in their search for valuables, Ralis attempted to start the ship. As soon as Ralis punched in the key card, the ship slowly ascended back into the sky.


     After about five minutes of flying, Ralis believed that he was in the clear, and began to relax. The island was just barely over the horizon, and there was no evidence that the Makuta were following him. Just then, Ralis heard a short hissing noise behind him. When he turned around to investigate, he was greeted with a large fist, and then the floor.


     Ralis looked up, and was astonished and confused at the sight of the two Makuta looking over him.


     How did they get in here? Ralis thought to himself.


     “Teleportation,” Icarax said, answering his thought, “and you are in a lot of trouble right now.”


     Just as Icarax was preparing to kick Ralis in the side, Ralis reached out and grabbed his other leg, and poured a large dose of radiation into it. Icarax cried out in pain, giving Ralis enough time to get to his feet. The other Makuta charged at Ralis with a large hooked blade, which Ralis then ducked under, tackling the Makuta. By then, Icarax had gotten over his small wound, and struck Ralis with a bolt of lightning. Ralis was catapulted to the side of the ship, striking a thick pane of glass.


     Dazed, Ralis held out his hands and made all the metal in front of him extremely radioactive. The Makuta fell to their knees as their armor slowly melted away and scorched their bodies. However, they quickly got up after they each called upon their power of heat resistance. Both approached Ralis, but were stopped when the airship gave a large jolt.


     When Ralis had melted all the metal in front of him, he unintentionally destroyed the control panel flying the ship, shutting it down in mid-flight. The airship was now crashing into a new, ring-shaped island. Seeing as there was no chance of survival staying inside the ship, the two Makuta vanished in a wisp of shadow energy. As the ship began to nose-dive, Ralis jumped out.


     Clouds whizzed past Ralis as the reality of the situation hit him. Doing his best to control his descent, Ralis spread out his arms and did his best to aim himself at the large body of water in the center of the island. He could hear the roar of the airship falling just behind him. As soon as he was close enough, Ralis held his arms up and aimed his feet at the water. He then closed his eyes, held his breath, and thought to himself If I really have a destiny, Mata Nui will help me survive this.


     The lake quickly consumed his body as Ralis dove into the water. He felt the pressure of the water push in on his body, and the currents push his figure around as if he were a leaf in a tornado. Ralis flailed his arms every which way in a futile attempt to orient himself while his lungs began to starve themselves. Soon after, he heard the airship plunge into the water somewhere nearby. In a brief moment of peace in the sea of insanity, Ralis remembered his powers, and quickly put them to use.


     In a burst of radiation, Ralis boiled the water surrounding him. Within an instant, Ralis had surrounded himself in a pocket of steam, helping him push his way to the surface. After of what seemed like an eternity of swimming, Ralis broke the surface and gasped for air. After taking a moment to catch his breath and thank Mata Nui for his survival, he worked his way to the shore.


     Ralis walked across the quiet beach, and realized something was off. Everything seemed unnaturally… still. Ralis continued walking until he saw a figure lying in the sand. As he ran closer, he noticed that the being had a row of spikes run down the middle of his back. Ralis turned the being over, and was taken by surprise by his grotesque features. His face was consumed with boils, and the stench of decay filled the air. Ralis quickly switched on his respirator as he ran deeper into the island to find help. Instead, he found several more corpses, rotting out in the open. Eventually, Ralis ran into a clearing and was shocked at what he found. In what looked like a battlefield, hundreds of those creatures littered the area.


     “It’s a sad sight, isn’t it?”


     Startled, Ralis quickly turned around to face the being. The figure stood hunched over, holding a cane. His blue and grey body was wrapped tightly in old pieces of fabric, and his face was hidden behind several layers of cloth.


     “Who are you?” Ralis demanded, holding his sword at the ready.


     “The winner. And this is my reward,” the stranger said in a rough voice, gesturing to the field of broken bodies.


     “I don’t understand,” Ralis said.


     “Did the Brotherhood send you to finish us off?” the stranger questioned.


     “No, I’m just passing through. Why would the Brotherhood send me? And where am I?”


     “This island, Zakaz, was once peaceful and prosperous, but we were tampered with,” the old figure said, beginning to walk towards a small shack in the distance. Ralis followed close behind.


     “We were given power, and power lead to greed, and greed lead to war. For years, war raged on this island as everyone struggled for more and more glory. But all those years of war was nothing when compared to what was about to come. We got smart. We taught ourselves new ways to kill each other, and we eventually found one that was more effective than anything else we have encountered before: disease. Now, even the smallest scratch could mean infection and death, but we underestimated its power.”


     The stranger paused and looked back at Ralis, whose mind seemed to be somewhere else. After Ralis noticed that he had stopped talking, he urged the stranger to continue.


     “Although we created vaccines for every virus we made, one strain went haywire. It mutated, and sprouted hundreds of new strains, and each of those would do the same. We could not keep up. As soon as we created one vaccine, it would mutate and find a way around it. The Brotherhood quarantined the island, and waited for us to die. They would have sent a Toa of Fire here long ago to sterilize the island with one big nova blast, but no one dares risking infection.”


     “One big nova blast? What is that?” Ralis asked, interested in this new ability.


     “You must be a new Toa, then. A nova blast is a large release of elemental energy, and could level this island,” the stranger explained. “That is why I thought the Brotherhood sent you, but it seems that you are just a wanderer. The only reason I survived was simply a matter of chance. I was infected long ago.”


     The stranger unwound the cloth covering his face, and revealed the blisters and boils that were latched onto his skin.


     “The strain that infected me is taking a long time, much longer than anyone else on this island. I could die any day now; I am living on borrowed time.”


     Ralis looked around the small shelter, but could not find anyone else.


     “Are there any other survivors?” Ralis asked.


     “I am the only one left. I’m sorry, but I can’t risk you spreading the virus to the world after I die. I am warlord Nektann, and the war ends with me!”


     Nektann raised a dagger above his head, and lunged at Ralis. Ralis dodged to the side, so the dagger only scraped his arm. He then pulled out his Pr-135 launcher, and struck Nektann in the shoulder with the corrosive material.


     As Nektann lay injured in the corner of the shelter, Ralis spoke to him.


     “I have a duty and a destiny, but this is not it. Don’t worry about me spreading the virus; I can sterilize myself with a small burst of radiation. The virus will kill you soon, and it will die off shortly after. I didn’t want to attack you, but the Matoran in Karda Nui need me alive.”


     Nektann shook his head in response as Ralis walked out of the shed.


     “I'm not a part of your war, but I am starting my own.”



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Chapter 12


           The body of Toa Belhiru came to sudden stop as it slammed into a rock wall. He shrugged it off, only taking a moment to readjust his Kanohi Ahkiban.


            “So you want to play? I’ll play.”


            The eight-armed beast bellowed in reply, spewing from its jaws acidic fog. Belhiru cried with rage as he raised his axe and charged at the Rahi a second time.


            From the cliff at the top of the rock wall, the other three Toa Narai watched the fight unfold. Their journey to Karda Nui had brought them to the Northern Continent, where they learned of an ancient chute leading to the Core. The entrance was below the ditch. Unfortunately, the Rahi had made its nest just above it.


            “Should we help him?” Desula asked.


            Arkko watched them for a few more seconds as Belhiru propped his axe inside the beast’s mouth.


            “No, he knows what he’s doing.” After the words were uttered, the Rahi closed its mouth and snapped the axe in two, the bladed end knocking Belhiru to the ground. Arkko grimaced and added, “Okay, fine.” He turned and nodded to Jehka. The Toa of Sonics nodded back before aiming his Scream Staff. He triggered the spiked tool and the energy of a horrified scream laced out at the Rahi. Though the monster was too simple to understand the psychological terror of such a tool, the force of the blast threw it backward nonetheless and sent it crashing into the other side of the canyon. Belhiru, back on his feet by now, summoned bars of iron from the wall and the ground that met in front of the Rahi, trapping it.


            The Toa of Iron looked at his comrades. “I had it under control.”


            “Clearly,” Arkko replied. He looked at Jehka and told him, “Translation: Thank you.”


            Jehka shouted to Belhiru, “You’re welcome.”


            The other three Toa jumped inside the ditch. Arkko looked at the centuries-old hatch in the very center.


            “Belhiru, can you open this?”


            The Toa of Iron stared at the hatch and raised his hands. Cracks formed along the edges, but then Belhiru lowered his arms, breathing heavily.


            “In time. I need to recharge my powers.”


            The four Toa sat down around the edge, all looking at the gateway to the Core.


            “What do you think is down there?” Desula asked.


            “A power plant,” Jehka replied bluntly.


            Desula sighed. “I know, but what kind of power plant?”


            Belhiru grunted. “What do you mean, ‘What kind’?”


            As if speaking to a Matoran, she replied, “I mean, what if the Karda Nui Plant isn’t as bad as the one in Metru Nui?”


            Before any of Desula’s brother Toa could answer, they noticed a great shadow fall over them. They all turned to see a cape was casting the darkness, and their eyes followed it to the neck of Toa Ralis.




            Everything had gone to Karzahni. The Vahki-Kal and transformed Bohrok brought down anything taller than a Fire Drone as they fought across the city.


            Among the frantic engineer Matoran in the streets trying to deactivate the Vahki, hoping to solve at least half the problem, was a very rueful Nuparu.


            “Disarm! Disarm! I command you to disarm!” he shouted to the mechanical enforcers as they flew overhead. But the Onu-Matoran’s pleads went unheard.


            The almost-destroyed carcass of a Bohrok soared over Nuparu’s head, coming to a crash a few yards away from him. The machine spat out a very angry but garbled mechanical cry. Nuparu looked to the direction it came from and saw a Rorzakh-Kal charging his way.


            “Disarm! I made you! I order you –” But Nuparu’s order was never heard.



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    Chapter 13



      The Karda Nui Power Plant was arranged in a way unlike anything else in the universe. In contrast to the Metru Nui Power Plant, it was suspended aboveground, and branched out into the corners of the enormous cavern at the center of the universe. Large, white core reactors hung in the middle of the cave, and were connected to dozens of cylindrical glass tunnels. These white tendrils stretched and twisted through each other, leading to other smaller reactors spread throughout. Thousands of Nu-Matoran could be seen passing through these long hallways, maintaining the entire structure. Open, clear-windowed rooms with smoothed corners seemed to hang in the air as if gravity didn’t exist.


     Far below, Vo-Matoran regulated the output of power from the plant to the rest of the universe. Large wires draped the bottom of the cavern and drilled into the walls, feeding the world with energy. When viewed from far away, the entire power plant looked like an overcomplicated spider web. This enormous structure was waiting for Ralis and the other four Toa on the opposite side of a large, iron door.


     A few days earlier, Ralis was trapped on a contaminated island with a dying Skakdi. But by repairing the airship he had crashed in, Ralis managed to escape the quarantined island and traveled to the Southern Continent. There, he found a tunnel leading straight to Karda Nui, and began to follow it in the hopes of liberating the Nu-Matoran from their power plant. This, however, led him directly to the four Toa hunting him.


     Before Ralis could speak, Arkko pinned his plasma sword to his neck. Reacting quickly, Ralis aimed his launcher at Arkko’s chest and fired. Although the chemical burned only his armor, the force of the blast threw him backwards. Ralis then began summoning a pool of radioactive protodermis below the four Toa. However, he was interrupted by an overwhelming screech, flooding his mind with fear and panic.


     Jehka’s scream staff granted Desula the time she needed to look into the mind of Ralis. She looked deep into his psyche, and confirmed his identity. As Ralis lay on the ground covering his ears, Desula looked into his past and hit a wall. She saw his journey to Karda Nui, and even saw some of his time as a Matoran. She could even feel a burning passion to get to the Karda-Nui Power Plant, but could not tell why. She pushed harder into his mind, only to find herself forced out. Desula was shocked; she had never been pushed out of someone’s mind before. She had seen mental blocks in some Makuta, but this was new.


     While Ralis was recovering from the effects of Jehka’s scream staff, he heard another deadly noise. The eight armed Rahi the Toa had trapped earlier roared and clawed at the iron bars that held it back. Arkko used his Kanohi Karsus to put the beast in a state of frenzy, making it thrash violently in its cage. Once the creature ripped open the bars, it charged for Ralis. With a bloodcurdling roar, the beast slammed Ralis into a wall and went for the other Toa. The Rahi swept its spiked tail across the room, knocking the four Toa down. It continued to stampede around the tunnel, knocking down several support beams. Arkko eventually had to summon a large ball of plasma to scare it away.


     The ceiling rumbled. After centuries of wear and tear, the structure of the tunnel was very unstable. The loss of even one support bean would have been enough to collapse it. Large chunks of stone rained down, and all five Toa hurried to find shelter from the cave-in. After the large slabs of stone had settled in their new positions, Ralis found himself trapped between the debris from the cave-in, and a large iron door.



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Chapter 14



            Ralis had finally managed to melt through enough debris to stand up. He noticed the bodies of the four Toa who had attacked him still pinned under a toppled support beam.


            He held out his hand, contemplating a final blast of Radiation that would keep them from interfering ever again. But he smiled and returned his arm to his side. They’d awake in time and undoubtedly free themselves. They would be a useful exercise for his Nu-Matoran army before they struck Metru Nui.


            Ralis turned his attention to the door on the opposite side of the tunnel. A lock in the center advised anyone who wished to enter to place their hand upon a glowing pad. Ralis’ first impulse was to radiate the door to slag, but he remembered it was created to allow Matoran of Radiation to pass. He placed his hand on the pad, heard a scanning sound, and then the door slid open. He stepped in and was greeting by a sight he’d been longing to see: other Nu-Matoran. A twinge of guilt came as he remembered the horrifying deaths of his first batch of followers, the Nu-Matoran of Metru Nui. The sacrifices of those brave martyrs would be avenged, he told himself.


            “Matoran of Karda Nui!” he bellowed. His strong voice echoed throughout the cavernous structure. A thousand Matoran stopped their labors to look to him. He continued: “The time has come for us to free ourselves from the Primary-element oligarchy that oppresses us!”


            Though they were too far away for Ralis to tell, the Matoran’s expressions were not relived smiles of salvation, but puzzled gazes of confusion. Their uncertainty gave way to terror when an explosion sent the Toa of Radiation flying over the railing and landing hard on the metal floor several bio below.


            The four Toa Narai stepped through the gaping hole, Belhiru in the lead with his smoking axe.


            No, they’re too early! Ralis thought in horror. He couldn’t help but stop to think of the images of the last Nu-Matoran massacre he had witnessed. This time, the Nu-Matoran would strike first. In one swift motion, he unlimbered, loaded, and fired a shot from his Pr-135 launcher.


            Three of the Toa jumped just out of the blast range as the ball struck and coated the doorway in radioactive protodermis. Ralis smiled, content with the knowledge that he’d just solved one-fourth of his biggest problem at the moment.


            He didn’t hear the quarter-of-a-problem materialize behind him, but he did feel her hooked weapon wrap around his neck.




            Toa Desula smiled under her Mask of Quick Travel. The Toa Narai had agreed in advance that whoever actually killed Ralis got a bigger part of the reward.


            Her psychic powers told her too late that Ralis wasn’t her only enemy. Three of the Nu-Matoran workers charged at her and tackled her to the ground, forcing her to drop her tool. By reflex, she briefly looked into all three of their minds. She found the same thing: Fear. Confusion. Panic. They had no idea what was going on, so were going to help the tall Matoran who looked most like them.


            Maybe they’re not as different from the Primaries as that Toa would like to think, Desula thought as she mentally flung the Matoran off of her. Belhiru and Jehka were preoccupied with other Matoran, but she noticed Arkko priming up his Plasma Sword for a blast and filled Ralis’ mind with mental noise, hoping to distract him.


            “Toa, look out!” one of the Matoran frantically shouted. Ralis turned just as Arkko fired a stream of plasma. The Toa of Radiation leapt out of the way, twisting his body to narrowly avoid another blast from the Scream Staff. The Matoran trying to keep Jehka from activating it were not so lucky.


            Ralis soared away from the Toa and slammed into the glass floor. His eyes briefly locked with one of the Matoran of Lightning working below the main chamber. Many of the Nu-Matoran had already flocked to help him, what were these ones waiting for?


            He pulled himself up and told himself he’d free them later. He turned and saw the brown-and-gray Toa with his axe to the neck of one of his followers. The blade was close enough that it nudged the Nu-Matoran’s mask ever so slightly off-center from his face.


            But the Toa moved his axe back to his side before turning for Ralis.


            The Toa of Radiation, almost in disbelief, said, “You spared him.”


            Belhiru aimed his tool at Ralis and replied, “You won’t be so lucky.”


            “Wait, wait,” Ralis said, “Do you hate Nu-Matoran?”


            Arkko stepped next to Belhiru and interjected, “Don’t try to talk your way out of this. We’re taking you to the Brotherhood of Makuta and claiming our bounty if we have to take you in pieces.”


            Ralis knew he would have to tread carefully. These Toa weren’t like the Toa Metru; instead of the Metru’s self-righteous sense of honor, these four had personality. “The Brotherhood? Those shadow-lovers are the ones giving you your orders?”


            Ralis could tell he’d hit Arkko where it hurt: his pride.


            “You could be so much more,” Ralis said. “The way you fight … all of you … I offer you this, Toa: forsake your loyalties to the Brotherhood and anyone else. You are of Secondary elements, like me. Join my army as generals and you can fulfill your hunger for battle and victory. The only difference is that you will be part of the most powerful empire in history.”


            Arkko looked to his teammates, Desula first. She telepathically confirmed his own sentiment: Let’s do it. Arkko looked around at all the Nu-Matoran. Sure, they were annoying as Matoran, but if even a few of them become Toa like this one, they would indeed be unstoppable.


            “What do you need, boss?” Arkko asked.



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Chapter 15

Entry 1

     Every civilization has its flaws, and no civilization is perfect. These are rules I have learned over the past year working in the Great Nuclear Empire, formerly known as Karda Nui. We thought we had ourselves figured out, and we thought nothing could ever go wrong. Obviously, we were mistaken.

     About three years ago, Toa Ralis came to our city and told us of the struggle and the ultimate demise of the Nu-Matoran in Metru Nui. He claimed that the same would soon happen here, if we didn’t act first. Hearing this, our Turaga let Ralis rule alongside him, and later proclaimed him as the Supreme Chancellor of Karda Nui.

     Our Turaga is not known to make poor decisions, which leads me to believe that he had little choice in the matter. When Toa Ralis came to Karda Nui, he also brought a group of powerful Toa who supported every move he made. After a while, these Toa faded into the background, and were never officially heard from again. I suspect that they have gone behind the scenes, putting pressure on powerful political figures and silencing any form of resistance that pops up. I am sure that I am not the only one that thinks this, but no one is willing to speak up.

     Ralis rules through fear and vengeance. He claimed to avenge the death of his fellow workers, and fight for the freedom of secondary elements, but his actions tell a different story. He rules with an iron fist, and has no tolerance for anything detracting from his plan. We have heard the story of how evil and cruel all the Matoran of Metru Nui are so many times, it has become permanently engraved in our memories. He preaches the belief that they deserve a punishment worse than death, while he repeats the same story he tells. I can’t help but notice the similarity between the Nu-Matoran of the Metru Nui Power Plant, and the Vo-Matoran of Karda Nui.

     Soon after Ralis came to power, a monstrous disaster befell the entire world, as massive bioquakes shook apart the very foundation of our city. The large nuclear reactor at the core of our city crumbled in on itself, tearing down the numerous catwalks and rooms it used to suspend, and crushed the Vo-Matoran below. The sky itself seemed to rip open, revealing the vastness that lies beyond the walls of our world. Many Nu-Matoran and Vo-Matoran died, but the cataclysm did not discriminate only towards secondary Matoran. Even the city of Metru-Nui felt the wrath of the disaster, just as they finished cleaning up their Bohrok problem. However, we were not without warning.

     For the past two years, the stars in the night sky have been simmering out. It seemed obvious what was happening, and we all know what was causing it. With the Metru Nui Power Plant no longer functional and Ralis cutting off the power from Karda Nui, Mata Nui fell at our hands. Moments before the disaster struck, every being in the universe felt a gut-wrenching sensation that was undoubtedly caused by one thing; the death of the Great Spirit. Ralis blamed Metru Nui for the Fall, but everyone knew that we were all partially to blame. Although, what would you expect after declaring war on the rest of the world?

     While many saw this as a tragedy, Ralis saw an opportunity. Working on the remains of Karda Nui, Ralis rebuilt the city with only one thing in mind: war. He was determined to strike Metru Nui while it was down, and beat them into submission. He planned on doing this using a new piece of technology that could store large amounts of nuclear energy inside a long-ranged projectile. These weapons would be aimed through the rip in the sky, and at Metru Nui.

     It seemed like our entire city was repurposed into a war machine overnight. Every Nu-Matoran had a new role to play in this grand scheme, and no one would dare challenge this new order. Ralis even renamed the city the “Great Nuclear Empire”, marking the death of Karda Nui.

     At the very center of our new city stood a giant launch pad, tilted on a slight angle to face the hole in the sky. Our living quarters and workshops were embedded in the walls surrounding the massive cave, and looked as if they were trying to burrow themselves away from the launch site. This reflected the fear that every Nu-Matoran held close: the fear of our own weapons.

     Since this was relatively new technology, no one knew just how dangerous producing nuclear weapons could be. For all we knew, these explosives could have a hair-trigger, and could destroy the entire city at any moment. Even Ralis disappeared for a while when the first few missiles were being manufactured. The entire city seemed to hold its breath in suspense during production, which luckily ended in nothing once the first wave of missiles was completed.

     Everyone lost sight of our original goal, and focused only on surviving. Revolts became less common, as the vast majority began to follow Ralis blindly. People began to see him as a savior for pulling a powerful empire out of the rubble of an old city, and for doing it so quickly. He presented black and white morals that people could easily follow in times of hardship, and he acted as a symbol that people could rally behind. However, the threat of death lingered over any of us who would dare challenge him.

     It seemed that less and less Matoran worried if we were doing the right thing, while more and more Matoran worried if they were working hard enough for the glory of the Empire. Everyone is guilty of this without exception, including me. I fear death, and I am too much of a coward to face it. The most I can do is confess my crimes to a journal that nobody will read.

     My name is Dasel, and I am a Nu-Matoran of the Great Nuclear Empire. I am a nuclear engineer specializing in highly energetic nuclear explosives. My team and I are scheduled to launch and deploy a nuclear missile on Metru Nui tomorrow.



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Chapter 16



            For a millennia-long golden age, Metru Nui was the shining capital of Matoran civilization. That age was now over. The island city’s six elemental districts were completely abandoned, taken over by Rahi, the Vahki-Kal, and any mutant Bohrok that were still operating. The survivors of the brutal conflict were living barricaded in the Coliseum, under the ever-watchful eye of Turaga Dume.


            On their own, most of the city’s Matoran would have realized the error of their ways. They would have reflected on the death and devastation and understood the truth: hatred by anyone, toward anyone bred suffering for all. No civilization could prosper in the long-term under a culture of bigotry. But accepting that would mean accepting part of the blame.


            From his private chambers, Turaga Dume realized that such an awakening would splinter the already-struggling remnants of his people. No, for now, the important thing was to stay united and resolute. The few telescreens still in operation continually displayed a montage of the destruction, overlaid by images of the Nu-Matoran and Toa Ralis, with the flashing text “THEY DID THIS.” Of particular use to the campaign was Turaga Lhikan, whom had been missing for weeks. Dume had no choice but to assume his tragic death, with the undeniable involvement of Ralis and his misguided crusade.


            At the outskirts of the Coliseum, Matoran were hard at work perpetually strengthening their fortifications. Despite Dume’s best efforts to maintain a semblance of morale, the prevailing wisdom was that the worst days of the conflict had yet to be seen.




            In the land of Odina, Toa Arkko and Jehka stalked the empty streets. In the footnotes of history, Odina was noted as the base of operations of a short-lived band of ruffians who called themselves the Dark Hunters. However, this obscure trivia point had been forgotten by all but the most dedicated historic circles. To most, Odina was simply known as another territory of the Great Nuclear Empire.


            “There’s nothing more boring than curfew watch, huh, brother?” Arkko asked his partner.


            Jehka wasn’t listening. He was too busy scanning the alleyways for the fleeting glance of a Matoran trying to avoid being spotted. If he did, he probably wouldn’t get any more than a moment of eye contact, but that was all the Toa of Sonics needed. His Kanohi Nimmin, the Great Mask of Recall, would automatically bring any previous memory Jehka’ subconscious might hold to the forefront of his mind, even if he had spotted the face only once before in a crowd of thousands.


            Arkko, meanwhile, was busy using his Mask of Frenzy to drive nearby acid flies into dot-sized death matches. Each victorious fly celebrated by devouring his dead opponent’s shell, allowing the corrosive insides of the loser to drip to the ground with an audible sizzle.


            They noticed, from a distance, their two partners Desula and Belhiru. Floating behind them by Desula’s psychic power was a Matoran captive. The team met up in the middle of the road.


            “You guys find anything?” Belhiru asked.


            Arkko shook his head no. “I see you did.”


           Desula, lost in concentration, was holding a Vo-Matoran in the air behind her with her Psionics, the female Matoran’s limbs bound by unseen energy. She flung the Matoran to the ground and said, “Found her sneaking around the coast, probably trying to escape. Says she was alone.”


            Arkko smiled and raised his Plasma Sword over his head. Before he could bring it down, Jehka put his hand on the Toa of Plasma’s shoulder.


            “You heard Ralis, public executions will better keep them in line.”


            “But that does run the risk of creating a martyr,” Desula added.


            Without regarding the Matoran, Arkko slowly put his sword back to his side. “We’ll imprison her until sunrise. Best to not test the boss’ patience for us. You know that to him, we’re just a means to an end.”


          Ralis would be pleased the curfew watch had put a stop to late-night fraternization among the Matoran. There was something about it that made him uncomfortable, like they were planning treason. He couldn’t verbalize it, but luckily, his four Toa enforcers needed little justification. The Toa of Radiation was always grateful that they understood why he did what he did. He was freeing and protecting his people, nothing more.



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Chapter 17



Entry 2


     I liked it.


     I dreamed about doing this for months, but I never expected this.


     I actually liked it.


     I did not go though with the plan everyone had set up. I did not deploy a missile on Metru Nui. I did not do it in the name of the Great Nuclear Empire, nor did I do it for anyone in Metru Nui. I did it for myself.


     And I liked it.


     What exactly did I do? I chose what I saw as the lesser of two evils. There was only so much I could control in the operation, without bringing attention to myself. I made it look like an accident, but the ruse will only last for so long.


     The entire city came to life. Every Matoran in the city did what they could to make sure everything went as planned, except for me. While everyone was preparing for the launch, I blindly followed my own morals. I remember looking up at the giant, silver missile and thinking how only I knew of its true destination, and how foolish everyone else was for trusting me with so much power. Steam billowed from its engines as it waited our commands. The moment was coming, the moment that would reveal me for what I truly am.


     As the missile was launched, I felt a strange sense of surrealism. It felt like none of this was actually happening, and I had been caught in the illusion of one of my own dreams. No matter what I did, I could not convince myself that I was actually following though with my plan.


     While the missile was soaring beyond the walls of our city and on its way to Metru Nui, it suddenly failed. The rocket stopped using its fuel, and shut down mid-flight. It dove onto the edge of the Northern Continent.


     I couldn’t make it fail above the ocean, because our signal can only extend so far out. If it were any closer, we would still be in the blast radius. It had to be there.


     The bomb fell, and it did what it was built for. It killed thousands. No. I killed thousands.


     Although I was not there, I could feel it. Thoughts flooded through my mind as I tried to make sense of what exactly I was feeling. I tried to justify my actions to myself by saying it saved more lives than it took, but I couldn’t.


     Because I liked it.


     The damage I have caused might even be greater than if I had simply followed orders, since we brought a whole other continent into this war. Against all logic, I still can not be sad about what I did.


     There is a new voice inside of me that I’ve never heard from before. It gets louder and louder with every passing minute. Every time I look back on what I did, I do not feel regret or remorse. Instead, I feel nostalgia and satisfaction. I recall the video feed from the missile as it dove in on its new target, and once the signal disappeared, I remember feeling only pure bliss.


     What I originally did in the name of peace, ended in the name of bloodlust. If I am not caught, I will carry out many more atrocities, and I will follow orders without a second thought. It doesn’t matter who dies now, since everyone is already destined to fail. I tried to delay the inevitable, but I unintentionally accelerated us towards the end. Since there is nothing anyone can do about it, I might as well enjoy the ride.


     I don’t even remember all the names of the islands and cities that were destroyed. I suppose I should, but I don’t see the point in it now. In fact, I’m not even sure why I should feel any remorse for them. If anything, I spared them a slow and painful death. I used to think a savior was someone who saves lives, but I was wrong. A savior is someone who spares pain. A savior is someone who can see where people suffer, and have the courage to end it.


     Although I am ill right now, I will continue my mission. Once I get well, I will help spare the rest of the world of its suffering. By doing this, I will save people from the torture they inflict upon themselves. If I even hesitate to do what must be done, the rest of the world will be begging for the end. I can’t allow us to get to that point.


     My name is Dasel, and I will save the world.


     And I will love it.



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Chapter 18


     Curi’s eyes slowly began to glow once more as consciousness returned to her. The first thing that came into her mind was getting home. Her heart started to race as her last emotion, dread, returned. It was past curfew, and if any of those Toa found her out –


     Curi then realized she was lying on her back. She sat up and looked around her prison cell. That answered a few of her questions. Next to her were two Vo-Matoran she had seen in passing a few times, Dehvix and Hesa. They were looking over her with concern.


     “We’re glad you’re okay. We didn’t know if you were alive,” Dehvix said.


     “Are we under arrest? What happened?” Curi asked, looking around the dank environment.


     The two other girls exchanged pained looks. They realized that Curi had been captured before the disaster.


     “You must not have gotten back in time last week,” Dehvix said, trying to stall. “After that…”


     “The Metru Nui rocket didn’t reach its namesake,” Hesa bluntly muttered. She realized a moment later that her wording made it sound like it wasn’t launched. “It landed on the coast of the Northern Continent. Nobody knows what happened. I’m guessing they’re investigating the maintenance workers first… in other words, us.”




     Outside the chamber, Desula and Belhiru sat in silence across from each other, Desula’s back to the chamber wall.


     “Hear anything?” Belhiru asked.


     Desula shook her head no. “As I expected, they don’t have anything to do with this. Just like the rest of the Vo-Matoran I’ve read.”


     Belhiru scoffed knowingly.


     “You were right,” Desula admitted with a sigh. All of the Toa Narai recognized the Tahtorak in the room. Only a Nu-Matoran could have had the authority and opportunity to sabotage the rocket. Nobody was going to mention that to Ralis, though. Jehka had summarized the overall sentiment of the team best: “Might just be personal preference, but I like having my head on my shoulders and not mounted on the wall.”


     Upon the rocket’s failure, Ralis went into a rage. Every single Vo-Matoran who had anything to do with the rocket was arrested and transferred to specific areas for interrogation. Though Desula’s telepathy hadn’t found a trace of guilt in any of them – fear and despair, but no guilt – Ralis had only released very few of them, and probably just to divert suspicion of his heavy-handed “investigation.”




     The walls of the prison saw light for the briefest of moments as unseen figures tossed a Matoran-sized body unceremoniously in through the ceiling entrance. They then resealed the opening with the stone barrier.


     The three Vo-Matoran gathered around, perplexed. This new prisoner wasn’t a Vo-Matoran; the armor was red, not blue, and as he stood, they realized he wasn’t a Matoran at all. He was a Turaga. Though none of them had ever been to Metru Nui, they immediately knew by his Noble Hau and fatherly gaze that he was Lhikan, co-ruler of Metru Nui. At least, last they had heard.



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Chapter 19


Entry 3
     This may be the last time I can write with a clear head. Finally, I am burdened with the death of the ones I have killed. When I did it, by mind was not clear. There was a voice urging me forward, pressuring me to do its bidding. It has gotten louder and louder, blinding me from my own actions. Even looking back on my last entry, it feels like it was someone else writing. Only recently have I figured out where this madness has come from.

     I’m sick.

     My illness started out purely mental, making my actions more violent and rash. But just after committing the largest act of violence in history, it has shown itself. Boils soon covered my body, making everything painful to the touch. After what I have done, I deserve much worse. Others soon followed, turning my personal trauma into an outbreak. About five Nu-Matoran are in quarantine now, including me. We are constantly being tested like lab animals, and it hurts. Everything hurts.

     Just as I'd predicted, the Northern Continent has entered the war against us, and Metru Nui has begun its counterattack. Hordes of Vahki-Kal have swarmed us, starting the death toll on our side. Our response was another missile attack, and this one did not fail. While it did kill many, I suspect that the majority of the population had fled underground after they found out about the power of the “failed” missile. Although I hate to admit it, my actions might have actually saved more lives than they took.

     This is not an excuse for what I did. Nothing could take back what I did. To even think for a moment that what I did was the right thing deserves a punishment worse than death. Even my illness is too merciful to be appropriate punishment. I’m not asking for forgiveness, the only thing I want is for people to learn from me, in the hope that history will not repeat itself. Once I am done writing, I will turn myself in.

     I don’t know what good it will do now, but it’s the most I can do. I don’t know when I’m sane, so the decision of killing me now versus keeping me alive as a lab stone rat should be in the hands of someone with a more capable mind. Either way, I am doomed to the same fate.

     Breathing is hard. I never appreciated how easy it was until now. I have to struggle to gulp down even a breath of air, and force it back out. The air stings my swollen throat, and anywhere I put my weight burns as if the floor is made of hot needles. Even when my fingers touch, it shoots a bolt of pain up my arm. Writing this is the most painful and difficult thing of them all, but there is one thing I must do.

     Tren Krom Peninsula

     Vultow Bay

     Nidok Islets

     City of Terow

     Village of Maki

     Village of Krama

     And the many other villages terrorized by my cruel actions.

     I will remember you all.



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Chapter 20



             “After that, I set out to find the Toa Metru, to see if maybe I could reach any of them,” Lhikan said, continuing his story. “But Ralis’ security forces found me before I could, and so I must fight my battle from within here.”


            “From within this cell?” Hesa replied with a scoff. The prison was Metru Nui-style, with the only way in or out located on the ceiling. “Good luck.”

“Turaga Lhikan,” Dehvix asked, “is there anything we can do now?”


            The Turaga of Fire took a breath. “We can wait for the Great Spirit to show us a way.”


             Curi sighed and looked around the cell. She wished she could share in the Turaga’s optimism, but she started to wonder, was Mata Nui watching over them anymore? What kind of benevolent Great Spirit would let something like this happen? She didn’t like where these thoughts were leading her, but in the dank cell, there was little else to occupy her mind.




            Turaga Dume looked over the orderly rows of assembled Matoran. They would have made a formidable battalion, but as the only Matoran of Metru Nui still alive, they were a pitiful sight. Their creativity and resourcefulness had made for some useful additions to their miniature army: salvaged Vahki-Kal and reprogrammed Fire Drones stood on either side of the assembly, and there were enough Vahki Transports to move the entire group safely to the coast.


            The time had come to destroy the Great Nuclear Empire at its core. The small band would attack Karda Nui, and they would kill Ralis, no matter how many Matoran had to die with him.




            After a long, silent wait, the slab on the roof of the prison began to rumble. None of the Vo-Matoran noticed Lhikan repositioning his firestaff. When the slab was moved aside, Lhikan unleashed a small blast of fire at the brown-and-gray Toa moving it. If Belhiru had seen the attack coming, he would have shrugged it off quickly, but the shock of the blast left him stumbling for a few vital moments. Lhikan dropped his staff and ran to the center of the cell, positioned his hands, and called upon every bit of his fire powers to blast himself out.


            The Vo-Matoran ran to the center as well, looking up at the Turaga in awe. He disappeared from view for a moment, then returned and threw down a ladder. The Matoran quickly climbed out as Lhikan shoved the disoriented Toa of Iron down into the cell.


            The group then noticed three more figures: two Nu-Matoran in shackles, one of them swaying awkwardly as though he had trouble standing, and another Turaga shackled behind them.


            “Who are you?” Curi asked.


            “I am Marcur, and this is Naaru. Ralis thought we might have been behind the rocket failure, so we were arrested. The Toa was just transferring us to containment,” the not-swaying Nu-Matoran explained. “Naaru has some kind of sickness. He hasn’t been able to speak for a few days.”


            Curi glanced at Dehvix. The latter had been the main source of morale for the trio before Lhikan arrived, but Curi still couldn’t help but notice her friend’s voice and stance had grown unsteady in the last few days.


            “I am Turaga Piercur,” the third figure said. His voice carried a stress of tribulation that aged him past than even Lhikan. “I tried to intervene when I saw them being hauled here, but I guess I’d forgotten how my power has diminished.”


            The group quickly freed the prisoners, and began moving through the corridor.


            “Where are we going?” Curi asked.


            “As far as we can get,” Piercur replied. “It won’t be far, I’m sorry to say, but whoever we meet will go farther.”



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Chapter 21



     Ralis cowered into a corner.


     It seemed like only yesterday he was working in the Plant alongside his fellow workers. Since then, the world changed. His world. He saw everything through new eyes, as if he had lived in the dark his whole life.


     He did not see himself as a tyrannical dictator; he simply did what he thought as right. He had convinced himself that he was leading the world towards a brighter future, but the reality of the true world was beginning to crumble around him.


     The floor beneath him shook.


     He thought back to his old friend in the Plant. Aruden gave his dying breath to tell Ralis what to do, but did he succeed? Did the surfacers really remember the workers of the Plant, or has nothing actually changed? Right now, Ralis could not decide.


     The oncoming wall of Vahki was drawing closer. Ralis could hear hundreds of mechanical, high-pitched chirps and whirs grow louder and louder. It was a matter of minutes.


     He thought back to his Turaga, Piercur. After the Archives Massacre, he scolded Ralis for wrongfully leading innocent people to their deaths. Is that really what happened? Was there any chance that it could have worked peacefully?


     A large chunk of the ceiling caved in. Ralis hurriedly activated his mask power, and repaired the damaged building. Although it was a futile effort, it slightly prolonged his inevitable fate.


     Even if, by some miracle, they managed to defeat the horde of Vahki, they would still have to face a more invisible opponent. Lately, a sickness had started to spread through the Great Nuclear Empire. It was taking more and more each day, every time in greater numbers. As soon as Ralis saw the boils on the first victim, he knew where it was from.


     When he was traveling to Karda Nui years ago, he had come across a desolate island with a bloody past, and only one survivor. The beings of the island fought with viruses, and one went out of control. The sickness had spread to everyone on the island until only one remained. Somehow, he thought, he had contracted the virus and spread it to Karda Nui. He was undoubtedly to blame.


     The world was burning because of him. In his quest, he singlehandedly killed the Great Spirit, and plunged the world into darkness. This fact was slowly becoming clear to him, although he did his best to resist it. Ralis did everything in his power to do the right thing, but it only made matters worse. What was he supposed to do? He was just another Toa following his destiny.


     Ralis thought back on his travels, specifically his visit to the demented island of Karzahni. He remembered the strange Matoran that helped him escape, and what he said moments before his death.


     “The one who can see the unseen light will see the suffering, and end it,”


     Ralis had thought that this referred to the Nu-Matoran in Karda Nui, but they weren’t suffering. Even Ralis could see that life became worse when he took control. It was because of him that there was suffering.


     There is no going back on the terror he has caused. Even if he surrendered the war now, the disease would quickly consume the entire population ensuring a slow and merciless death for the entire world.


     It was his destiny to end the suffering in the world. He knew it was too late to redeem himself, but perhaps he could be merciful. Perhaps he could save everyone from the pain he inflicted on them. Slowly, Ralis began to summon the ambient radiation from hundreds of kios away.


     His body seemed to overflow with elemental energy as he pulled more and more radiation into his body. The surrounding air heated up and the floor began to melt away as Ralis prepared for the moment. Ralis had learned of this ability on Zakaz; the Nova Blast. Not only would the blast obliterate Karda Nui, but it would set off a chain reaction with the numerous nuclear missiles contained within the city. The explosion would be so massive; nothing in the known universe would be able to survive it. Finally, the world would be at peace.


     The Vahki finally arrived at the doors of his bunker, but it was too late. Before any of the Vahki could react, the bunker was flooded with intense light and radiation. The Vahki were vaporized in the blink of an eye, and the entire city followed close after. Just as Ralis predicted, the explosion triggered all of the other missiles to detonate, sending a shockwave of lethal radiation across the entire Matoran Universe.


     At the eye of the storm, Ralis knew he had completed his destiny. He had seen the suffering in the world, and he had brought it to an end. Giving up his Toa Power, he collapsed into the smoldering remains of the universe.


Mata Nui, once a prosperous world of his own, was now reduced to nothing more than an empty shell sprawled out on a dry, barren landscape. The eyes that used to shine green have long ago been burrowed out, leaving his empty sockets staring off into the horizon. The very foundation that held his body together for so many decades was now rusting and withering away. Relics of a lost civilization littered the corpse, and the smell of death lingered in every corner of the once Great Spirit. Smoke still bellowed from the large cavity in his chest ripped open by an apocalyptic disaster. A sole survivor, a Turaga, pushed aside burning rubble to see what he has done to his own world, before collapsing to the ground as his heartstone faded to black.




Edited by Toa Of Virtues


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