What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? This epic tells the story of a different universe, one where those we know as Matoran took their place.
The forges and furnaces of Ta-Metru were a dangerous place. Matoran from other Metru imagined the risk might be falling into molten protodermis, but Ta-Matoran worried more about toxic gases and residue, operation errors in automated machinery, Rahi infestations, proto conduit leakage, and lately, their little... weed problem.
No one Matoran had to shoulder the duty of managing all these dangers alone, but there was one Matoran who liked to think he did. His name was Jaller, and he sat with heroic dignity in the watchtower by Furnace 03, eyes sweeping the video screens, ears keen for the first shout of alarm from the communicator.
But today, the first omen of disaster was not a cry for help, but the heavy clang of armored feet landing on the watchtower behind Jaller. He spun his chair around to see none other than the Toa of Metru Nui himself, his Great Mask of Flight still glowing.
"Toa Jovan!" Jaller sprang up to a salute so quickly he almost knocked off his own mask.
"No need for ceremony, Overseer." Those who knew Jovan better might have recognized that his smile was forced. "I only came to ask if you knew where Balta might be."
Jaller's eyes narrowed, then bulged. "Balta?! The... junk tinkerer?" Many Ta-Matoran tolerated his unusual habit of crafting ornaments and useful devices from scrap metal. Jaller did not. Balta's forages in the scrapyard were flagrant violations of security protocol. Jaller wished the Vahki would arrest him and be done with it, but by some bureaucratic loophole it counted as work.
Jovan nodded sharply.
"Give me a moment." Turning to his screens, Jaller checked the gate records for the scrapyard under his jurisdiction. They noted a Matoran without security clearance entering an hour ago, with no mention of his departure. There was no other Matoran it could be.
"Right down there, Toa." Jaller pointed in the direction of the yard.
Jovan leapt from the watchtower and soared out of sight.
A pair of yellow eyes flickered open. They glanced over a massive insectoid body, equipped with six limbs, a spiked abdomen and a pair of mighty mandibles, all clad in orange carapace and, at the moment, enough soot and metal scrap to crush a Matoran. Well, Krona mused, at least she was still in one piece. With a mighty shout, she flipped herself right-side up, scattering protodermis waste across the derelict forge.
Then she heard coughing from the mound of debris. With a huge forelimb, she scraped it aside to reveal a two-legged being much smaller than she, and deceptively frail in appearance. The small being coughed once more, then glared up at her. "I see you have a hidden talent: botching a perfectly laid ambush."
"Excuse me? I didn't see you landing any attacks."
"Well, that's not easy when my knives are all magnetized to my hands! You told me you knew what tactics he would use!"
"Evidently he's been improvising." Krona spat a ball of searing plasma at the floor. It made a red-hot streak among the black soot. "In case you've forgotten, I can't read minds... anymore."
"Oh, quit whining." The small being was now digging through the rubble for a set of throwing knives. "I'd like to see you go from being the slave of a gang of Skakdi females--"
"--To being their leader in just six days, yeah, we've all heard the story. Pity you let them all die before you enlisted, though, so they can't confirm it."
Suddenly a knife was at the side of Krona's head, where her armor was weakest. "What are you implying, you plague-ridden Hoto bug? Maybe YOU have some secrets you'd like to spill, huh? Like how you're collaborating with Jovan?"
Krona roared in rage and unfurled her wings, beating them to produce a gust that forced back her partner and allowed her to rear up on her hind legs and abdomen. Her head nearly brushed the mangled overhead beams. "How DARE you! Your very breath taints my honor! Jovan is no brother of mine!"
"Dark Hunters don't have honor," replied Lariska in a low voice.
Edited by Akavakaku, Mar 30 2015 - 09:15 PM.