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Wisps of Memory

G1 Metru Nui Tamaru Macku Vahki

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#1 Offline ArchAngelleofJustice

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Posted Aug 12 2018 - 11:28 PM

Summary: 

 

Makuta has taken over. As the Vahki enter production and the Matoran of Metru Nui try to adapt to their new lives, Tamaru and his companions seek to find new ways to resist the brutal dictatorship. But with the Toa being unheard from in weeks, does Tamaru really stand a chance at making a difference - or is The Resistance a quick way for the Matoran to find themselves on the wrong end of a Vahki stun staff? A companion piece to Fight for Freedom. Background Macku/Hewkii.

 

Notes: 

 

Wisps of Memory is set after Chapter 3 and up to Chapter 6 of Fight for Freedom. You can read them in any order and a small handful of scenes are shown from different points of view. You can read Wisps of Memory without having read Fight for Freedom.

This short story deals with trauma, centered around police brutality. The police in this story are all fantasy robots that don't have feelings. Nonetheless, if you find these topics triggering, you may want to wait until you're someplace that makes you feel safe to read.

Concrit appreciated, especially for SPAG and continuity errors.

 

Prologue

1,000 Years Ago...

Tamaru finally pulled himself away from his store for the afternoon, and headed down through the streets. An enormous telescreen plastered to a building displayed live footage of Turaga Dume. "You are required to gather at the Coliseum. Rejoice! For today will be a momentous…"

Tamaru snorted. The entire city had gone on hold for the Akilini tournament yesterday, and now Dume was asking for it to go on hold today as well. Meanwhile, enormous vines ate away at the city, as Toa disappeared one by one. Tamaru had no proof, but he was certain that Dume was behind this. Why else would the Toa Mangai be disappearing on 'simple' missions, instead of banding together and fighting the dark plantlife that slowly consumed the city?

He ducked into a side alley, stopping at the doorway of a building. Its shutters were closed, its windows locked up. Over the closed entryway sat a dusty sign with paint that had faded away. If he squinted through the dust, Tamaru could make out the words on the sign. Kemirii's Airship Tours. Kemirii had packed up and left long ago. Airspeeders became commonplace decades ago, and no Matoran wanted to pay money for a view of the city they could see any day of the week.

Tamaru rapped on the shutter once, then paused. He rapped five times, then another five. Moments later, the shutter rose. Tamaru stepped inside.

"Hello stranger," said a Ko-Matoran at the shutter controls. "Nice of you to decide to finally show up."

Tamaru followed the Matoran through the dusty old room toward a workshop in the back. "Ever-sorry, Pakastaa," he panted. "Customer at shop had to test-drive every airspeeder before he could sure-decide the right one."

"How much did you get?"

"Nothing. Couldn't pick one he wanted and quick-sprinted off to Coliseum."

Pakastaa rolled his eyes as he opened the door to the workshop. "Anyway, did you see the Toa in the Coliseum yesterday?"

The final member of their group, Sewitta, was already hard at work inside. "Ah yes, the great Toa," Sewitta cut in. "Ruined a fantastic Akilini match with their shenanigans. How long do you think they'll last?"

"Three clumsy Toa captured by Dume," mused Tamaru. "By nightfall, three more Toa will quiet-vanish. And none left to protect us."

"Not your usual optimistic self today?" said Sewitta, mounting a bracket on a machine. "You didn't think that Toa of Air looked pretty swift? I think he might get out alright. His chutespeak isn't as bad as yours, either! You could try taking speaking lessons from him."

"Oh, drop it if you're going to be like that," scolded Pakastaa. "I shouldn't have brought it up, I knew you'd start poking fun at that Toa." He walked over to where the three machines Sewitta worked on lay. "We're nearing completion on these. Tamaru, when can you get us those power cells?

"Already have two at shop. For third, hope to find a seller tomorrow."

"Can you bring the two you have tomorrow?"

Tamaru thought for a moment. "If given a hand to carry one, yes. May need third help-friend if a cell I buy."

"Don't worry, I'll give you a ride."

Tamaru looked up at the mechs that would finally give the Matoran the power to fight back against the threats that plagued this city. These bipedal beasts were tough, rigid, and heavily armored. Most importantly, they featured a shielded canopy that would protect a Matoran from any mental attacks - like, for example, the beam from a Vahki's staff weapon. "We must quick-finish new machines to fight Vahki-enforcers and dark tree-vine. No Toa to save us from power-hungry Turaga, only we will protect city we love."

"Hey, I don't have any deep, passionate love for this city like you do," answered Sewitta. "I'm just not going to let Dume order me around like a tame Ussal Crab."

"Oh, so you don't deep-love Onu-Matoran always visiting your home?" Tamaru teased. "What his name was again? Medak?"

"Midak, and no, I don't love him," Sewitta snapped. "As far as I'm concerned - love is a cannon." He gently stroked the enormous arm-mounted blaster.

Pakastaa sat down and began carving one of the last footrests. "Just be careful where you point that blaster."

A rhythmic pounding came from the shutters.

"Ugh, who would be knocking at this hour?" asked Pakastaa, who was still working on the mechs. "They don't even know the password. Tamaru, go see who it is."

Tamaru sighed, heading into the front room and closing the door behind him. Whoever was coming didn't need to know about the mechs they were working on. The pounding grew more persistent. Before he could close the door to their workshop, a foot kicked through the metal shutter. Two staffs ripped into the metal door, tearing it apart.

"Vahki!" Tamaru shouted at the top of his voice. "Scatter!"

Tamaru ran for the staircase leading to the higher levels of the tower, getting a glimpse of Pakastaa madly looking for a hiding place. His feet pounded up the stairs. The Vahki in Le-Metru carried staff weapons that could mess with a Matoran's mind, causing them to temporarily lose their higher mental functions for an easy arrest. How had they found them? The only Matoran who knew about the mechs were right here in the building. Cries of terror rose from the lower floors. Suddenly, everything went quiet - save for the bounding thuds of Vahki footsteps coming up the staircase. Had Pakastaa and Sewitta been captured?

He smashed open the door to the balcony, dashing through. The constant, cold wind the seemed to permeate constantly this high off the ground sent a chill through Tamaru. Pakastaa kept an airspeeder parked out here, just in case they ever needed to make a quick getaway. Tamaru clambered into the cockpit, looking nervously at the controls. He had to start the ignition, fire the thrusters, and fly away. Easy - he had tested vehicles he was repairing hundreds of times.

He just hadn't ever done it so high off the ground before.

Three Vahki rushed through the door. Tamaru flicked the ignition, moving his shaking fingers over to the throttle. The Vahki were getting closer, aiming their staffs. In moments, it would be too late. It would take him seconds, a loss of stability as he shot through the air, and then he could return to solid ground.

A glance over the edge sent shivers down his spine as he saw how high they were. The building was an unusually short four-stories high, but to Tamaru, it felt like a hundred. It was ridiculous, but at this moment the thought of flying was more frightening than the idea of giving himself over to the Vahki. Besides, they had captured his friends already, and Sewitta would give up his name before long. What was he going to do, find a new mask, a new home, and a new job? Tamaru splayed his arms out over the dash, defeated. Out of the corner of his eye, he could make out the Vahki firing their staffs at him.

A moment later, he didn't remember anything at all.

***

When Tamaru came to, he was being herded into the Coliseum, surrounded by hundreds of other Matoran. He struggled against his memory, trying to remember how he had gotten here. He looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of a familiar face. Where were Pakastaa and Sewitta?

Dume's voice sounded through speakers throughout the chamber. "It is important that you cooperate with the Vahki Enforcers. They will protect you, and guide you in this joyous time."

Matoran of all colors looked around nervously, but cooperated nonetheless. At the end of the chamber, the Vahki were pushing Matoran into spheres roughly as tall them. Each orb was a metallic grey, with a small opening at the top. It was impossible to tell what was happening inside those orbs, as once they were sealed, no sound came out. With these numbers, the Vahki couldn't possibly capture them all if they ran. But no-one looked to make a move against them. If only the mechs were finished, then they would - what, exactly? What did they hope to achieve with three combat suits against hordes of Vahki?

"For your safety, heed the commands of the Vahki enforcers. They are here to protect and serve you."

He soon approached the front of the line. Spheres with Matoran were being loaded up into Vahki patrol vehicles. Where could the Vahki be taking them? The spheres must be for their safety while they were being transported. But why bother loading them into spheres at all?

It was Tamaru's turn to enter one of the strange devices. When he hesitated, a Vahki pushed him into the sphere, closing the entrance behind him. Where would he find himself when he was taken out of this casing? Surely this wouldn't be a permanent arrangement. Dume must need the Matoran somewhere else. But why would he not simply tell the Matoran where they were going?

At least the mechs were safe. In a few days, they'd be able to complete them - they would become the protectors of the Matoran. 'Surrender or run' would no longer be the phrase Matoran used when discussing the Vahki. They would soon learn to fight, to overthrow Dume before his mad power grab went any further.

Tamaru felt his cocoon rock as something picked it up. But he didn't feel any pain as something struck the casing of the sphere. Soon, the fears and worries he had washed away, leaving a sense of safety, and a feeling of sleepiness.

Yes, everything would be alright. The little Matoran closed his eyes, gently drifting away into a deep slumber.

When he finally awoke on the sandy shores of an island he had never seen before, all memory of his friends, his home, and the ruthless Vahki had vanished.


Edited by ArchAngelleofJustice, Sep 19 2018 - 10:54 PM.

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Stories I wrote

 

Parts of a Whole Series: An Alternate Ending

Part 1: Fight for Freedom                        Wisps of Memory

Part 2: Army of One (In Progress)


Short Stories:
The Great Takara          
Tale of the Toa Stones          Masks


#2 Offline ArchAngelleofJustice

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Posted Aug 14 2018 - 05:47 PM

Now

"So," said Kotu. "Shall we vote?" Even though she was chairing this meeting, she sat on the metal floor of the forge, like the others.

"Explain what exactly we're voting on," replied Hafu, tapping mindlessly against a nearby bench.

"Weren't you listening?!"

"I was, but there's been so much discussion it's gotten confusing. So if we're going to vote, you should state it clearly."

"Right," Kotu took a moment, her yellow eyes dropping to the ground as she mentally recited her speech. "Each of us will seek ways to hinder the building of new Vahki, or damage their structural integrity. We will coordinate with sympathetic Matoran in our home Metru to conduct this. All those in favor?"

Ten hands went up.

"It's passed unanimously," Kotu announced. "Good, we can wrap up this meeting."

Kopeke sat in the corner, furiously carving the results of the vote onto his stone tablet. The new Chronicler said little in these meetings, but contributed by recording important information in a shorthand code he had developed.

"One last thing," Onepu cut in, holding his hand up. "Tamaru has told me of a warehouse in Le-Metru that's holding numerous Vahki parts. He's scouted it out, and it looks undefended. Tamaru, Macku and I will raze the warehouse tomorrow night."

"'Raze the warehouse?' Don't you think that you're acting rashly?" asked Kotu, mopping her mask. "That seems like a good way to attract the attention of the Vahki."

"We have a chance to strike, and we must take it! Casting brittle Vahki parts and sabotaging the protodermis purification systems won't allow us to end Makuta's rule!"

Kotu looked around the room. "Does anyone else have anything to add to this discussion?"

No hands went up.

"Should we at least vote on this?" asked Kotu.

"I didn't bring this up to debate the benefits of striking at the warehouse," said Onepu. "I will conduct this attack, regardless of what you say."

Tamaru smiled inwardly. This was the Onepu he knew. Brash, brave, unwilling to let others take command. When he set his mind to something, he did it, and he expected others to follow. It was a good thing he was such a capable leader.

"Well then, this meeting is adjourned," Kotu said, a touch of bitterness in her voice.

Tamaru stretched his legs, pulling himself up from the floor. Forge 77 - where he and the rest of The Resistance conducted their meetings - had only one proper stool. Hafu had offered to provide more, but Onepu had shot it down. Too many stools in Kapura's forge would look suspicious. Not that they expected the Vahki to raid the building - they tended to only patrol the streets, at least at this point - but it was better to be safe than to cause someone to ask unwanted questions.

Macku walked up to Kotu. "You did great chairing the meeting tonight! Good job!"

"Thanks, Macku," said Kotu, but she didn't sound thankful. "Do you really have to make this attack tomorrow? I don't want to hear that you found yourself on the wrong end of a Vahki stun staff."

Macku and Kotu were already heading down the stairs, but Tamaru helped Kapura clean up his workplace.

"Glad ever-slow meeting over," said Tamaru. "Long-talk about one topic all agree on, unending until decision finally made."

Kapura was putting away his tablets, carved with plans for Vahki parts. Chassis lay everywhere, ready to be shipped out in the morning. "Meetings are slow, but productive. Good work cannot be rushed, and it is important to ensure our actions are properly planned out."

Tamaru sighed. "Could be stopping Vahki tonight, instead came here."

"And now you have a plan to do that with Onepu and Macku." Kapura locked up the cupboard, and shut off the light. "We are doing good here. We find new ways to fight the Makuta."

"Wish finding ways to battle-flight not involve ever-talking," Tamaru muttered.

Finally, Tamaru and Kapura walked down the stairs, and out into the cold, evening air. Kapura trailed behind - a little slower than Tamaru would like. But Kapura's home was on the way to the chute station that led into Le-Metru, and it was best that a Le-Matoran not be seen walking the streets of Ta-Metru alone.

They were barely out of the shadow of Forge 77 when a Ga-Matoran came running up. Her armor almost glowed, as if she were a sparkling sapphire. But her eyes looked empty, like there was a void in her life.

"Excuse me," she asked. "Can you direct me to the nearest chute station?"

"Of course, watermaiden!" replied Tamaru, excitement creeping into his voice. "I head to Le-Metru myself. Chutestation you need on our way. Now, quick-follow!"

The Ga-Matoran looked frustrated for a moment, as so many strangers did when he spoke. But if Tamaru's thick dialect bothered her, she hid it quickly behind her mask. "Thank you, friend," she said, following Tamaru. "By the way, my name is Gavla. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

***

"I can't stop thinking about the Toa," said Macku, as she gently pushed the airspeeder through the Le-Metru streets. She purposely flew low to the ground, a concession to Tamaru. "Do you think they escaped unharmed?"

"I am certain the Toa will return, Macku," said Onepu. "And Hewkii will most definitely be among them. You have nothing to fear!"

"Matoro left, and never came back. What if this time it's Hewkii?" A silence fell over the trio for a moment. "Oh, what will I do if he doesn't return?"

"Know not what Toa face, but united are strong," said Tamaru. "Never would Gali allow Makuta-beasts to harm Hewkii."

"He left without me before," Macku exclaimed. "I should have been there, Tamaru! I would have gone to Voya Nui with him! All he had to do was ask. And now Hewkii is out there again, doing who-knows-what! I should be a Toa as well! I should be at his side! Why didn't Jaller come to me when he asked Hahli to go to Mahri Nui?" She sobbed for a moment. "Why didn't Hewkii ask me to go?"

The vehicle rounded a corner, and Warehouse 469 stood before them. "You may not be a Toa, Macku," said Onepu. "But you are a great warrior, and a hero to all Matoran."

Macku said nothing for a moment, seemingly focusing on guiding the vehicle to their destination. "I don't want to be a hero. I want to keep Hewkii safe." A moment later, she brought the vehicle to a standstill, parking it just outside their target. Two nights ago, Kekao had mentioned that this warehouse was being used to store vast numbers of Vahki parts before they were shipped out to Po-Metru for assembly.

Each Matoran grabbed a Level 8 Weakening Disk. Macku had been lucky to find a cache of powerful Kanoka Disks abandoned in Ga-Metru, stored before Mata Nui fell asleep 1,000 years ago. Fortunately, they hadn't seen any Vahki on patrol tonight - only dozens had been produced so far, and they couldn't be everywhere. If they didn't do something, that would all change soon.

"Alright. Let's do this," said Macku, wiping her eyes and regaining her composure. The three Matoran jumped out of the airspeeder, each walking to a different corner of the warehouse.

"Three! Two! One! Throw!" shouted Onepu, and the three Matoran threw their weakening disks at the building's supports. Tamaru sprinted back toward their airspeeder.

The building groaned for a moment, and began to collapse under its own weight. Onepu ran after Tamaru - Macku was already ahead of them.

"Hurry up!" Macku shouted.

As Tamaru reached the open door of the hovering vehicle, he hesitated. He glanced over his shoulder - a trio of scuttling Vahki rounded a corner, looking for the source of the commotion.

Onepu shouldered Tamaru into their getaway vehicle. "Retreat!"

The Vahki were on them now, there was no more time. Macku pumped the throttle, and the airspeeder rose into the night sky.

"Haha!" cried Macku, adrenaline overriding her common sense. She quickly weaved around buildings and under chutes. Tamaru glanced behind them - the Vahki had already switched to their flight mode and were in close pursuit.

Tamaru looked out the side window, catching sight of Matoran looking like ants. They were way too high for his comfort, and Macku flew like a maniac. Tamaru had never known a Le-Matoran to be this extreme in the air - who had taught her to fly like this? Although he was an excellent vinesman, true flight still made his belly feel queasy.

A squad of flying Vahki appeared in the front viewport, and Macku banked to evade them. "We're being herded away from Ta-Metru!" she called.

A disk flew past, and Macku began flying even more erratically to evade. Tamaru tried to close his eyes, putting his head in his hands. "Want to be ground-bound again, away from quick-soaring fright-machine!" he wailed.

"We must find a place to hide!" shouted Onepu.

"Tamaru, you know this Metru best," said Macku. "Do you have any ideas?"

Tamaru tried to think, but it was hard with the airspeeder bouncing and lurching, reminding him how high he was. He wished he could go back to vineswinging, instead of flying in these horrid vehicles. The airspeeder swerved, and at the same time, a vision slipped into his mind.

"Airship homes!" he cried. "Room for us, and airspeeder! Quick-turn left!"

"Alright," said Macku, banking too hard - again! Soon they were hurtling toward the industrial district.

"Empty warehouse coming up!" said Tamaru, holding back the urge to hide behind his hands. "No Le-Matoran opened since return to Metru Nui, will be empty. There!" he pointed.

Macku dived and hovered. "Get those doors open!"

Onepu opened the hatch and jumped to the ground. "Come on! Those Vahki won't be far behind!"

Tamaru ran over. A large hole had been ripped in the shutters, and he carefully climbed through it before smacking a switch on the wall. The shutters slowly rose. Rush-hurry, he willed.

Finally, the gap was wide enough for the airspeeder to pass through. The vehicle nudged forward, into the safety of the warehouse. A moment later, Tamaru hit the shutter again, relief flooding through him. "Need help to cover slice-hole," he called to Onepu, looking for something to patch the shutter with. Onepu dragged a bench over to cover it up.

Finally, they could breathe easily again.

"What is this place?" asked Onepu, looking around the warehouse. Dust covered comfortable-looking seats in one corner of the room, but the rest of the warehouse lay bare. Two doors remained closed on the far wall. A sign lay on the bench. Kemirii's Airship Tours.

Macku climbed out of her vehicle.

"Ancient airship-house, I think," answered Tamaru. "When Matoran returned to Metru Nui quick-looked around some. Useful items lying around, some engineers use parts for old ships. Planned to clean eventually but Rahkshi attack made us change-plan."

Tamaru glanced around. A closed door called out to him, as if it were a part of some long-forgotten memory. He reached out and opened it. The room he found himself in looked like a workshop - metal parts lay everywhere, tools left forgotten on benches or dropped on the ground. Most impressively, three enormous mechs lined the far wall.

"What are these for?" asked Macku.

"To fight Makuta's forces, maybe?" suggested Onepu, already climbing into one. "Oh, lovely! It's quite comfortable!"

"Maybe built by Matoran before Mata Nui's ever-slumber?" said Tamaru. "Try powering on!"

Onepu played with the controls. "No, nothing. It won't respond at all."

Tamaru walked around and inspected the machines. "No power-heart, only empty-hole in back."

Onepu climbed down. "The faceplates look like they'd be able to stop most energy attacks. I'd say they were designed to stop Vahki stun blasts. Maybe if we can acquire a power cell, we could power one up." He paused, thinking for a moment. "I should be able to liberate one from the archives. Any ideas for where we might find more?"

"Airspeeder power-heart would work," said Tamaru. "I can sneak-steal one from vehicle fix-shop, then take another from Macku's speeder."

***

The next night, after Tamaru finished work, he headed toward one of the old airship hangers. No-one had come in today with an airspeeder, and instead of going to Kemirii's he decided to come visit an old friend. After entering the hanger, he walked into the office and opened a hidden shaft beneath the baseboards. He had to pull out a Lightstone to see down, the shaft was so dark. He climbed down the ladder into the hidden basement.

He had to walk deeper again to find who he was looking for. At the far end of the room, another door lay - invisible in the darkness. Tamaru opened the door - Lightstones shone in every corner of the room, giving the room a deep glow. It reminded Tamaru of Onu-Koro. A being sat in the corner of the room.

"Hello, Turaga Matau!" said Tamaru, trying to inject some cheer into his voice.

"Good evening," said Matau, putting down one of the many entertainment carvings Tamaru had brought him over the last weeks. "It is good to see you again! I thought you had ever-forgotten about me, I had not seen you in weeks!" It had only been days, but Matau had recently taken to dramatics to try and keep himself from going mad down here. "Do you bring outside-news?"

"Indeed! Vahki back, Matoran rebel group working to quick-wreck parts to stop dread-machines being built quickly."

"I see. I thought that Ahkmou might make such a hard-effort to control the city. You are doing good to resist him, but be careful. It would deep-pain me if I heard you were captured." Matau gestured to a table with a circular wooden gameboard on it. "Play a game with me, Tamaru. I'm ever-bored of challenging myself."

"But you always win, Turaga. No small-chance I have of beating you!"

"Then you had better practice!" Matau was already sitting down, getting the numerous carvings of various birds in place. "Come, sit! I already have the smart-pieces ready for you."

Tamaru sat down, letting his reluctance show. He wouldn't dream of letting down his Turaga, but he certainly wasn't going to give him the idea that he might enjoy playing Gukkoja. He looked at his pieces, then back up at Matau. "You sneak-stole my Kewa! Here, take back your Taku."

Matau couldn't stop himself from chuckling. "See, Tamaru? You are learning the game already!"

Tamaru had the dark pieces, so he moved first. "More news I bring also. Matoran attacked storage-house full of Vahki parts. While wind-soaring away, found ancient protector armor. Onepu and I working to find new power-hearts to fix!"

"Protector-armor?" Matau asked, moving his own piece. "Why would that be in Metru Nui? Still, it is good you have found it. When it is proper-fixed, you should keep hold of them in case of an emergency. When the Toa return, they may need your help. Speaking of which..."

Tamaru shook his head. "No word from Toa."

"I suppose that means they are probably ever-safe." Matau frowned, but took one of Tamaru's Kahu. "And the other Turaga?"

"Hafu sneak-said he knew where Turaga Onewa was hidden. No word from others, though."

"Quick-finish those mechs. I am certain that the time will come when they come in handy. And… take this." He pulled out a strange device, like a sort of blaster. "You may remember this from Mata Nui. The Volo Lutu launcher… only one was ever built. It far-travelled all around the island in the hands of brave Matoran, used to escape from the clutches of Makuta-beasts. Now, it is your turn to continue that tradition."

"Thank you, Turaga," answered Tamaru, moving a piece out of the zone threatened by Matau's Rama.

Matau moved his Rama forward, taking the Gukko. "I win! Now, quick-reset the board. I will show you how to use the Volo Lutu if you can beat me!"

***

Morning soon came. Tamaru trudged through the cold streets, heading toward the moto-hub. A stone statue of Makuta's old form looked down upon him, one of the first of many new pieces of 'artwork' installed on Turuga Ahkmou's order. The angry eyes of the Mask of Shadows felt as if they bored into his soul, and a Vahki patrol glanced at him as he passed. Tamaru rushed onward, eager to meet his fellow workers in the safety of the warehouse. Two Toa walked through the streets - Toa Norik and Toa Iruini, laughing and talking without a care in the world. But Tamaru paid them no mind - the Toa Hagah had seemingly gone mad around the time Makuta took over the Universe.

Tamaru was almost running by the time he reached the moto-hub, and he rushed through the open doors. He signed in early, nodding to Boreas, before heading over to his station. An enormous airship was already waiting for his attention. Maintaining the airships was tedious work, and no longer satisfying like it used to be. He quickly got to refueling and re-oiling the heavy freight craft. Despite its size, the airship did not carry the power cell that he needed, instead relying on manipulation of Kanoka disks to ascend or descend, and pressurized protodermis to achieve forward thrust.

After many hours of routine maintenance on airships, a hover speeder finally came in. Tamaru eyed the new craft greedily. This would be perfect - the power cell on a speeder would be both small and resilient enough for the task.

The owner of the hover speeder was a Po-Matoran who transported carving pieces and tools for assembly."Can I get someone to hurry up and take a look at this one?" he demanded, agitation making his voice sharp. "I've got a lot of deliveries to make, and I don't want the Vahki knocking on my door because I've fallen behind again!"

Tamaru dropped the oiling tube where it was, and rushed over. "Happy to quick-fix speeder for you. What flight-worry you have with speeder?"

A look of relief came across the Po-Matoran's eyes. "It's dipping down to the left if you put any more than a little weight on it. Normally I'd ignore it, but it's getting to the point where some deliveries are getting dangerous to make. When do you think it can be done by?"

"May need to swap repulsor, will look at power. Late now, make no promise about fix today. Come look in bright-dawn."

The Po-Matoran soon left, and Tamaru got to work. His first call had been right, the left repulsor was badly clogged up. It was good it was brought in now - much longer and it could have caused an accident. Without question, Tamaru replaced the repulsor with a spare. They would dismantle the damaged one for spare parts. Now for the tricky bit. Tamaru hoped his colleagues weren't paying too close attention. He went to unbolt the power cell from the chassis, quickly twisting the bolts out. He had undone three of the bolts and prepared to work on the forth, when he clumsily dropped his tool. The crash echoed through the motohub.

"Tamaru, are you alright?" called his colleague, Kekao.

Tamaru froze. "All singsong happy-cheer down here. Powercell crash-damaged, will quick-replace!" Oh no. His treespeak always got thicker when he was nervous. He tried to calm himself, gently picking up the wrench.

"You need a hand?" asked Kekao.

Tamaru ripped the power cell from the chassis. "No, no, got this myself. Will run power-tests, then see." Please, quick-leave to your busy-work, he added silently.

"Fine, come find me if you have hard-luck with it." Kekao stepped away. When Tamaru peered around the airspeeder, he was heading back to his own workbench. Tamaru breathed a sigh of relief, taking the cell back to his station. Tomorrow, he would replace the Power Cell with one of the new ones Boreas kept in the backroom, and say he broke this one down for scrap. Tonight, he would have to sneak this out and take it to the warehouse across the Metru - hopefully, no-one would question a Le-Matoran carrying a vehicle component.

***

If anyone noticed, no-one said anything. Tamaru was soon back at Kemirii's, bolting the power cell into the back of the mech. He was getting ready to connect the power cables when he heard a voice.

"Is someone back there?"

Tamaru almost dropped his wrench for the second time that day. He peered around the enormous machine...

"Ah, it's only you," Onepu said, visibly relaxing. "Did you retrieve the power cell?"

"Yes," said Tamaru, a glint of pride in his voice. "Plugging in power-heart now! Give me a moment, we will activate oak-machine tonight!" Returning to the mech, he connected the cables. Nothing changed. Somehow, he had been expecting it to light up and come to life, but perhaps that was unrealistic. "Onepu, time to test! If you wish to have honor, climb into machine now!"

"Already?" replied Onepu. "You have done well to repair it so quickly. Very well, I shall climb aboard!" A moment later, he was sitting in the belly of the mech, closing the brackets around his legs. They had already modified the machine to better accommodate their forms, and as Onepu clutched the controls in the arm of the mech, it began to seal him inside. The face-shield lowered, although he was still clearly visible through the clear dial. Light flashed up on the face-shield, although Tamaru could only guess what they might represent.

Onepu took a step forward. Thump. It sounded like an ash bear leaping upon her prey! Onepu took another step. Tamaru was relieved they were so deep in the warehouse - if they were in the front room, someone might hear from outside.

"Oh yes, this is a great weapon!" Onepu lifted up his right arm, feeling the weight of the heavy cannon. "It feels like nothing at all, Tamaru! Why, I bet I could wrestle a Kane-Ra in this!"

"What about Vahki-swarm?" asked Tamaru, making sure to keep away from where Onepu was pointing the cannon.

Onepu swung the electro-sword in the mechs left arm through the air, stabbing and thrusting against an invisible foe. "With ease, Tamaru! A squad of Vahki should shake in fear at the sight of one of these!"

Tamaru could hardly wait to test it out for himself. But that could wait a moment. "You also brought power-heart back tonight? We must quick-repair two more mechs!"

"I suppose you are right," Onepu replied, powering down the machine. "Let us work quickly tonight, so we can give the others the news at tomorrow's meeting! I suppose we will need a name for them..."

Tamaru thought for a moment. A force to shield the Matoran of Metru Nui, revived at long last after a thousand years of slumber? There was only one name that would do. "Mangai," he said. Protector.


Edited by ArchAngelleofJustice, Aug 18 2018 - 06:18 PM.

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Stories I wrote

 

Parts of a Whole Series: An Alternate Ending

Part 1: Fight for Freedom                        Wisps of Memory

Part 2: Army of One (In Progress)


Short Stories:
The Great Takara          
Tale of the Toa Stones          Masks


#3 Offline ArchAngelleofJustice

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Posted Aug 18 2018 - 06:19 PM

Onepu had called another meeting for The Resistance, eager to discuss his plans for the Mangai mechs.

Tamaru went to the chute station as soon as he finished work. Dozens of Matoran, their armor various shades of green, were walking in and out of various chutes, eager to get home after the days' work. Tamaru jumped into the express line to Ta-Metru - a quiet line, at this time of day. The magnetized protodermis took hold of him, pushing him through the chute. He was soon traveling at high speeds toward his destination.

Only months ago, something like this would have been a distant dream. When the Matoran returned to their home of Metru Nui, they quickly set to work, cleaning up the debris of the ancient city. With the guidance of Turaga Matau and Nuju, the Le-Koronans soon learned to rebuild the chute system. One by one, they restored a line to the heart of each district. The work would have taken months, if not years to complete - had the Matoran not woken up one day to discover that their home had apparently rebuilt itself.

They later heard from Gali that Toa Nuva had found the Staff of Artahka. With its power, the damage caused to the city was undone, making the efforts of the Matoran seem pointless. At least they learned a lot about how to maintain the ancient city, they told themselves.

In the span of a few weeks, the fast method of travel through the city became downright commonplace. Even Tamaru had gotten used to the idea of traveling by chute. It was an awkward feeling, to go so long without a solid tree branch beneath his feet. But if he closed his eyes, he couldn't see the vast heights he was flying at, and if he let his imagination run wild, it was almost tolerable.

Today, he found his thoughts going to the Matoran he and Kapura had met the other day. Gavla, he thought her name was. Her build was different to the other Matoran from the Island of Mata Nui, and her name sounded a little strange. She hadn't mentioned it, but he suspected she was a Matoran from another land. Perhaps the Southern Continent?

Tamaru peeked his eyes open for a moment. Ah, his stop was coming up. The flow of magnetized protodermis slowed down, and he jiggled himself over toward the edge of the flow. As he reached the stop, he pushed himself out through the magnetic shield, relieved to feel solid ground beneath his feet.

A dozen telescreens at the chute station showed feeds of Turaga Ahkmou. "...A busy Matoran is a happy Matoran. So if you see workers letting down their team, be sure to report it to the Vahki enforcers…"

Tamaru shivered, and hurried down the street, passing by dark forges, their lights switched off and their machinery shut down. Store-owners closed their doors and trailed home for the night.

Minutes later, Tamaru was trudging back up the stairs to Forge 77. Most of the others were already here. Onepu, Hafu, Kapura, Macku, Kotu, and the ever-quiet Kopeke - each a trusted hand of one of the Turaga. A few non-core members had come tonight as well. Tamaru recognized Maglya, from Ta-Metru - Kapura had brought him along once before, as well.

"Tamaru!" came Hafu's shout. "Onepu was just telling us about the mechs you found. Amazing that they've remained hidden for so long!"

Tamaru sat down next to Hafu. "Yes, had bright-luck to find such a treasure!"

"It sounds to me like you had more than just luck on your side," Hafu said. "Perhaps it is the will of Mata Nui himself."

"Regardless," cut in Onepu, "We have the first three ready, and we can consider them prototypes. From there, we can manufacture more and more, until we have a powerful force to challenge our enemy!"

"And then what?" asked Kotu. "Will Matoran join our cause? Will we wage war in the streets? Even if we succeed, Ahkmou will just demand more Vahki be built. Your proposal is far too aggressive, Onepu."

Onepu climbed to his feet, clutching one fist in the other. "When we defeat the Vahki, we will retake our city! We will have both the means to protect ourselves, and to defend our home!"

"Until the Makuta sends his Rahkshi against us again," said Kotu. "The Toa could protect us before - will they even return to protect us again?"

"The Toa will again-return!" cried Tamaru. "Never would Kongu and Lewa dream such shadow-thoughts!"

"We don't even know they're safe!" replied Kotu. "Why haven't we heard from them these last weeks? I fear something has happened to them, and they will not return to us. Once again we are left to defend ourselves from the Makuta."

Everyone turned to look at Macku. The Ga-Matoran sniffed, and her eyes grew dull for a moment before she hid them behind her hands.

Kotu crawled over, and placed a gentle hand on her back. "I mean - I am sure the Toa are safe, they will definitely return, we just don't know when."

Macku brushed Kotu's hand away, as she tried to hold back her sobs.

"You're wrong, Kotu." Onepu's voice broke the awkward atmosphere. "The Toa are strong. Their strength comes from Unity, as does ours. Armed, one Matoran may not be able to compare to the power of a Toa. But if we can gather our forces and strike back as a united force, we can defeat anything. With our Boxors, we repelled the Gahlok from our home."

"United with ground-walkers, we repelled scary-bad Lehvak from Le-Koro!" cried Tamaru. "Entire village gone, taken by Bohrok. Smart-thought and unity brought them back!"

Kotu prepared to say something, but gave up. A moment later, an awful crash sounded from below. The room remained silent. Tamaru nervously eyed everyone in the room. No-one dared to make a sound.

A heavy footstep rose from below.

"RUN!"

Matoran scattered. Maglya acrobatically slid down a staircase, Macku and Kotu ran for the windows. Tamaru made for the staircase, ready to climb to the higher levels, but something inside him warned against it. The footsteps were getting close, a sound that somehow felt all too familiar. Tamaru glanced back. There was an access railing on the other side of the pit, but he didn't see a way across.

The Volo Lutu launcher! He grabbed the device Matau had given him. If there was a time to try it out, this certainly wasn't it. But there was no way the Vahki would find him if he made it to the other side of the fire pits. Aiming the device across the gap, he tried not to look at the firepits below. Just like vine-swinging in Le-Koro. Tamaru fired, and flicked the switch on the side of the device - a moment later, he was sent hurtling across the gap. As he released the switch, he fell to the railing and rolled into the wall - but he was mostly unharmed. The Volo Lutu returned to the launcher, as he scrambled toward the door, swung it open, and ran inside.

Tamaru found himself in another forge, and on the other side, another staircase led to the ground floor. A shout came from behind him - Kapura? No time to turn back now. He ran toward the stairwell, ready to head downstairs and confuse the Vahki. Hopefully, even if they caught him, he could feign ignorance and hopefully escape any punishment.

Tamaru pulled the door open. Fear coursed through him as he looked up at the Vahki that was lying in wait for him. The little Matoran could swear the heartless enforcer was leering at him, as it raised its staff. Tamaru's heartlight flashed twice before the Vahki swung its staff down. Tamaru was smashed against the metal floor, and keeled over in agony. He tried to pull himself back up, but the enforcer's foot stamped down upon him, once, twice, thrice.

Nearby, he could hear the shouts of one of his comrades, crying in pain. Or was that himself? Tamaru clutched his body, willing the agonizing torture to be over.

Finally, the Vahki pointed its stun staff at him.

***

Slowly, Tamaru began to come around. They were in a temple - the Great Temple, perhaps? Still surrounded by Vahki. Ahkmou stood at the Suva. But he was taller now - he had the body of a Toa. When had that transformation happened? A Matoran knelt before him - not just any Matoran. Gavla.

Had she betrayed them? Of course not. She must be suffering the mental effects of the Vahki herself. She was a victim, just like he was. The Vahki of Ga-Metru carried staffs that would fill their targets with a desire for order. Gavla wouldn't be the first Matoran of that district to betray her friends after coming into contact with the Vahki.

Tamaru looked to his side. Kapura stood behind him, looking as if he was shaking off the mental effects of the Vahki stun staffs as well. A squad of Vahki lined up, blocking their escape.

How will we ever-flee from this fear-dread? he thought. He had no idea of what Ahkmou might have planned for them, but it couldn't be good. He would make an example out of the two of them, one way or another.

A bright light shone from the Suva, Gavla began to change shape. Her body grew larger, her arms and legs longer. The light faded, and she tried to look at herself. She was now a Toa.

"What have you done?" cried Gavla, as she turned to Ahkmou. "This is the opposite of what I asked! I'm a Toa of Light, not a being of Shadow!"

That did not sound like a victim of Vahki mind control should sound. Even Ahkmou's Mask of Illusion wouldn't make her say something like that.

"Just have a little patience, Gavla." Ahkmou pulled out a strange mask from his satchel, placing it on his face.

Tamaru felt Kapura's hand clutch his. Kapura must have been coming around to his senses as well. Whatever they would face, at least they would be together.

Ahkmou looked even more intimidating with his new mask on. "Makuta arranged to have a few of these transported here from Destral - along with some other curiosities."

"A Mask of Hunger," Gavla whispered, a hint of desire and awe in her voice.

A Mask of Hunger? Tamaru had heard about one of these from Toa Lewa - it had the power to suck the light out of a being, leaving them as nothing but a being of shadow. They'd give up everything - themselves, their friends, their very being, to serve the forces of darkness.

The mask began to glow an ominous shade of deep purple as Ahkmou activated its power. Gavla had a look of glee in her eyes. "Yes!" she shouted, falling to her knees as though she was in worship. "Thank you, Turaga!"

When Ahkmou finished, she didn't look any different. Nonetheless, Tamaru thought an air of menace had begun to surround her.

It will be me next, thought Tamaru. Once he had the light drained from him, he'd eagerly give up his friends. Onepu and Macku would soon be dragged away by the Vahki. The Mangai would fall into Ahkmou's hands. Even Turaga Matau would be captured - likely to face a public execution, as a warning to all others who dared to oppose Makuta.

Kapura slowly shuffled away from Ahkmou. Kapura tries to hang to each second before the dark-time comes. It won't do any good with these Vahki dread-enforcers hard-blocking our escape. He tugged on Tamaru's hand, slowly pulling him away. Tamaru shuffled closer to Kapura. At least they would be together when darkness came for them.

A moment later, everything seemed to change. Was Ahkmou moving slower? Were they moving faster? Tamaru couldn't quite explain it. Seconds passed - or was it weeks? Suddenly, the two Matoran had traveled far, far away, to Ta-Metru.

"I finally mastered it!" shouted Kapura.

"What?" asked Tamaru. "How did we quick-escape those dread-enforcers?"

"I practiced, and I learned to move quickly. I practiced more, and now I know how to bring others with me too."

Kapura had been talking about the secret art of traveling quickly by moving slowly for some time, but Tamaru never quite understood what he had meant, nor believed it was possible. But somehow, Kapura had used his power to save them. Tamaru turned to his friend. "Let us quick-travel to Le-Metru. Must stealth-hide from Vahki before we are found!"


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Stories I wrote

 

Parts of a Whole Series: An Alternate Ending

Part 1: Fight for Freedom                        Wisps of Memory

Part 2: Army of One (In Progress)


Short Stories:
The Great Takara          
Tale of the Toa Stones          Masks


#4 Offline ArchAngelleofJustice

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Posted Aug 19 2018 - 08:08 PM

Days passed. It was no longer safe for Kapura or Tamaru to roam the streets, and so they remained at Kemirii's abandoned warehouse. Macku regularly brought them news when she could, and Onepu encouraged training in the mechs. Kapura kept busy by practicing moving quickly from one end of the warehouse to the other.

Tamaru sat in his mech, the electro-sword left powered down as he slowly ran through a set of slashes Onepu had shown him. Up, right, thrust. Down, left, parry. Attacks using the Mangai would be powerful and devastating, regardless of technique. But Tamaru had little else to do these days, and spent most of his time either tinkering with the mechs or training.

Each strike cut smoothly through the air. Tamaru was good at this part. His technique was powerful and poised. Never over-committed, always ready to back up and start anew. To block and deflect blows that came his way. To dodge and weave. He gracefully moved his blade over his head, spinning to strike behind him in a single movement.

When the sequence ended, he immediately repeated it, faster this time. Each slash cut through the air, each parry deflecting an imaginary weapon. The image of the leering Vahki that rained its foot down upon him danced in his mind. He struck harder, more ferociously. The imaginary Vahki was ripped in two.

It wasn't enough. He needed to be better. To never allow himself nor his friends to be captured. The Vahki captured him once with ease. That would never happen again, not if he could help it.

An image of Gavla appeared, offering a hand out to him in a gesture of friendship. Tamaru slashed off her treasonous wings, crippling her. She would beg for forgiveness. He sliced off her head. Her body fell to the ground.

Behind Tamaru, a shadow taunted him. "I will lead Turaga Ahkmou to your friends. To the Resistance members. All will be captured and tortured. And then, I will slice-kill Turaga Matau myself."

Tamaru gripped the control of his mech in anger, feeling as though he could crush the handle if he used any more force. Turning, he struck at his shadow. His opponent dived out of the way, thrusting out with his own blade. Tamaru knew his every move. He slashed at his opponent. His shadow slipped to the right. Tamaru stabbed. The shadow deflected. They dodged and thrust, parried and sliced.

He couldn't beat the imaginary foe through skill or speed, but he had power - the power of the Mangai. He brought his sword over his head. A moment passed. Tamaru slashed, slashed, and slashed. He forgot all technique. The shadow was unable to defend himself, his blade dropped. He fell to the ground. He begged for forgiveness. Tamaru stabbed with all his might.

His blade struck through the workbench, sending tools clattering to the ground. His head pounding, Tamaru found himself alone in the workshop. There was no Vahki. No Gavla. No evil, shadow clones of himself. The only sounds were his own hurried panting, and of Kapura's pacing in the next room.

He stripped out of the mech and prepared to clean up the mess he had made. The bench was split in two, ruined. He knelt over to test a sander. It turned on and didn't look out of alignment. He was just glad he had unplugged the power to the electro-sword before training - each power tool would be completely fried had it discharged through the bench.

Onepu would give him a lecture in technique if he caught Tamaru training like that. He'd probably get a lecture from Macku for damaging useful equipment, anyway.

 

Some days later, all four of them - Kapura, Onepu, Macku, and Tamaru - sat together in the waiting room. It was rare for them to find time to spend together like this. Any time Onepu and Macku were in the same room, Onepu would insist on training the three of them in Mangai sword routines before encouraging them to work on target practice in their own time.

Tamaru skimmed over a news-carving Macku had brought in. The front page congratulated the Po-Metru team on winning a Kohlii match, while criticizing the Ko-Metru for poor goalkeeping. It seemed unimportant now. Tamaru flipped over the carving, finding a much more interesting article to read.

Any information that leads to the capture of the following beings will be rewarded.

Turaga Vakama: 2,000 widgets

Turaga Nokama: 1,000 widgets

Turaga Whenua: 1,000 widgets...

The list went on. Tamaru's name was listed below the Turaga, the reward a measly 200 widgets. Even Kapura's name was listed for 300! Tamaru tossed the carving aside in disgust. "Macku, what news on Turaga Nokama?"

"You know I couldn't answer that even if I did know where she was!" she answered, absorbing the energy from a fish she had caught earlier. Strictly speaking, there was no reason for her to be eating at all - she could recharge at any time in the charging stations. But Macku said she enjoyed the taste, and a lucrative market for fish and berries caught or grown in Ga-Metru had developed since the Matoran returned to Metru Nui.

Tamaru chose not to voice his thoughts on eating the remains of a once-living being. "How is work?" he asked awkwardly.

Macku glanced up. "Much the same. More and more Ga-Matoran are being pulled into the protodermis purification labs. I suspect we are sending it to Ta-Metru so that more Vahki parts can be forged." She sighed for a moment, looking toward the shutters. "Oh, but the last of the Rahkshi have left the city! That's something to be cheerful about!"

"Matoran singsong for Rahkshi leaving," Tamaru agreed. "But Vahki presence lingers. Vahki smart-cunning, Matoran will be fearful. Makuta's tight-grip on Metru Nui increases as Matoran accept this way of life."

"We're not down yet," said Onepu. "Hafu has a friend who still sabotages assemblies of Vahki. And if what I've heard is true, more and more Ta-Matoran are intentionally forging components that shatter easily."

"Kotu and I are working in the protodermis purification plants as well," said Macku, absorbing the last of the energy from her fish. "Whenever we hear that another order of Vahki parts goes through, we make sure that Ta-Metru gets a lower grade of protodermis!"

Kapura looked to each of them. "You do well to resist the Makuta. But I still hope the Toa will return to deliver us -"

A faraway rumble stopped him mid-sentence, and a distant whining sound could be heard outside.

Onepu was already sliding the shutters open, peering outside. Light flashed outside like lightning - but with no thunder. After a moment, Tamaru decided to look as well.

"See anything?" Tamaru asked.

"Nothing yet," replied Onepu, scanning for signs of an attack.

Matoran in the streets scrambled this way and that, some trying to get a better view, others to escape whatever danger might have entered the city. Moments passed, until finally, in the distance, Tamaru caught sight of a red object flying in the distance. He wasn't sure, but it looked almost like the Axalara.

"If there's a time for those mechs, this is it," said Onepu. "Let's get mounted up."

It took them only moments to enter the workshop. Kapura opened the hanger doors to allow the heavy mechs to exit, and Tamaru opened the workshop doors wide. Onepu was already climbing into the cockpit of the central mech.

Tamaru took a moment to remove the gripped the sides of his cockpit, pulling himself inside and closing the protective faceplate. Macku climbed into the third, and final, mech. Like he had done a dozen times before, Tamaru strapped himself in and gripped the controls. The heavy armor came to life, responding to Tamaru's own movements, standing proud and tall. Onepu was already leading his mech out the workshop door, and Tamaru and Macku soon followed behind.

Kapura brought up the rear. "I will find Hafu and Kopeke and bring them here. We will need all those we can gather."

"Find Kotu, too!" said Macku.

Tamaru turned to face the Ta-Matoran, but he had already vanished.

Onepu skillfully covered the exit of the warehouse with his heavy arm-mounted cannon, as the trio led the mechs into the daylight for the first time. Lumbering down the city streets towards the Southern shores, Tamaru soon caught sight of the Axalara again. This time, he could make out the silhouette of a green-armored pilot. "Kongu! It's Kongu!" he shouted with a mix of excitement and relief.

"Do you think Hewkii is here as well?" Macku squeaked.

"Of course he is!" affirmed Onepu, but Tamaru knew he couldn't be sure.

Bursts of light shone from the edge of the city, now mixing with the sound of metal striking metal. "Keep up the pace!" Onepu shouted, leading the trio to the beach.

Fleeing Matoran looked up in awe at the huge mechs lumbering through the city. "Tamaru!" one Le-Matoran shouted, recognizing him. "And Macku!" Matoran murmured among themselves as they recognized the Matoran as veterans of the Makuta Wars on Mata Nui.

Before they rounded a corner, a squad of Vahki appeared before them. Tamaru felt his heartlight flash faster. Despite all the training, were they really ready for this? Was he ready? They were outnumbered eight to three.

The Vahki aimed their staffs at the Mangai, firing their mind-altering blasts. Tamaru flinched, even as the blast dispersed harmlessly across the mech's faceplate. Standing in shock for a moment, he suddenly felt invincible. He lifted his arm up, aiming his cannon. The Vahki began summoning their disks, trying out a new tactic. Tamaru opened fire. A moment later, the cannons on the other two Mangai blasted as well. Tamaru fired three more blasts in quick succession. The dust cleared, and the Vahki were nothing more than scrap metal.

Matoran peeked out behind corners and out of buildings.

Onepu climbed on top of the wreckage, facing the onlookers. "We must fight as one! Grab your weapons, your disks! If you have no weapon, make one!" He kicked the corpse of a Vahki, sending its stun staff flying. "United, we outnumber them! It is our duty to take up arms against the tools of our invaders! Together, let us achieve our destiny, and retake our home!" Onepu began marching toward the shores. "Metru Nui belongs to the Matoran!"

Macku and Tamaru began to echo his statement. "Metru Nui belongs to the Matoran! Metru Nui belongs to the Matoran!" The onlookers began to join in the chant, and a growing group fell into step behind the Mangai. Some carried disk launchers, more held disks to throw. Some carried spears carved from wood, or axes brought from their homes. A handful wielded scrapped Vahki limbs and staffs.

"Metru Nui belongs to the Matoran!"

Soon, the force reached the edge of Le-Metru. Ahead of them, row upon row of Vahki lined up in formation, firing stunning beams at their opponents. Near the perimeter wall, over two dozen Toa gathered, hurling elemental powers at the never-ending mass of Vahki. A blue-and-gold armored Toa kept to the back, shouting orders and watching for any signs of mental disorientation among her comrades.

A Ko-Matoran with a Southern build nimbly ducked between the Vahki, dismembering them one by one with his enormous blade. Two vehicles flew by overhead, scattering squads of Vahki with the blasts from their Skyblasters.

"Hewkii! Hewkii!" squeaked Macku, pointing toward the yellow-and-black armored Toa, who thrust his fist to the ground. Seemingly in response, Vahki found themselves hovering uncontrollably in the air, easy targets for Hewkii's precise shots with his blaster.

Onepu didn't stop to stare. "Stay as a group!" he ordered. "Open fire!" Onepu shouted, and the three mechs blasted their cannons into the undefended backsides of Vahki. Kanoka disks flew overhead, striking their targets. Some Vahki shattered, others froze.

"Charge!" ordered Onepu, startling Tamaru with the sudden change of tactics.

Regardless, he rushed in, electro-blade poised to strike. He crushed damaged Vahki components beneath the heel of the heavy mech, stabbing a Vahki through the back. He grinned as the discharge overloaded its circuits. Kicking the Vahki back, he pulled the blade out and spun to slice the head off a second.

The Vahki screamed in their unintelligible language, opening fire at their attackers. One blast hit Tamaru's mech. It didn't matter. Vahki stun blasts were useless against a Mangai. But Tamaru brought his blade into an uppercut, punishing the Vahki for daring to try and control his mind.

To his left, Tamaru caught sight of more Vahki stun blasts. No more! He blasted them to smithereens.

More Vahki rushed in, ready to fill the gaps in their line that their fallen brethren had left. Tamaru would destroy them all. He was practically invincible! With each swing of his blade, a Vahki was sliced, crushed, or overloaded with electricity. Every single one of the enforcers was complicit in harming Matoran. In attacking his friends. In hurting him.

"Tamaru, get back here!"

Tamaru pushed further into Vahki lines, and soon he was surrounded by the enforcers. Good - more for him to destroy. Two fell against his blade. Something struck against the back of the mech, but Tamaru could barely feel it. He aimlessly slashed at another Vahki. The Vahki sidestepped the attack and countered with its staff, smashing between the plates on Tamaru's arm. Tamaru cried out in a mixture of pain and shock.

Vahki staffs, smashing him into the wall.

A moment later, Tamaru felt a strike from behind. It was ineffective against his heavily armored Mangai, but he was caught fighting two Vahki at once. Tamaru brought the mech's arms up, trying to shield himself with his blade and cannon. But two attackers turned to three, then four. Metal weapons struck him on all sides.

Vahki feet, stomping him into the ground.

Another Mangai rushed passed, accurately piercing two of Tamaru's attackers. "Fight back, Tamaru!" a shout came.

But Tamaru couldn't bring himself to move, and simply covered his shielded face with his arms. The sounds of metal striking metal continued, but the onslaught of staffs striking his mech ceased.

"You are safe now!" came Onepu's voice. It sounded so far away. "Join our defense!" Tamaru peered between the arms of the mech, watching the battle raging.

A hundred bodies of scrapped Vahki lay scattered around the battlefield. Nearby, a Matoran was struck by a stun blast. He began aimlessly shambling around the battlefield, unaware of his surroundings. Vahki approached the squad. But, seemingly out of nowhere, Macku dived in, using the bulk of her mech to shield the Matoran. A slash of her blade crushed another Vahki, giving Hafu time to pull the confused Matoran down and get him away from the line of fire. Macku continued fighting, keeping an eye out for Vahki who were getting too close to unarmored Matoran. Her strikes were weak, her blasts inaccurate, but Macku charged nimbly around the battlefield, ensuring no Vahki would get past her.

Mangai arms grabbed Tamaru's waist, dragging him away from the fighting. He could have fought back if he found the willpower. He should get back into the fight. Protect his friends. Onepu was saying something, trying to calm him down, but Tamaru couldn't make sense of the words.

Someone grabbed his arms, pulling them down.

Macku couldn't be everywhere. A Matoran Tamaru didn't recognize was struck by a Vahki staff, her mask went flying, and she panicked. The Vahki beat her again, kicking her into the pavement, and Tamaru couldn't bring himself to look away.

The mech's faceplate was unsealed and lifted up. Arms removed the brackets, pulling him out of his mech.

A Vahki smashed its weapon into a Matoran, and the Matoran began shrieking and wailing on the ground, even as his face was struck. His mask went flying, lost somewhere in the piles of broken machinery, maybe never to be found again.

Gentle hands pulled Tamaru out of the mech. He looked at his rescuer. Kapura looked back, trying to tell him something. The words were lost against the screams and blasts around him.

"No," Tamaru said. "I keep battle-fighting." He tried to pull away, back into the fight, but Kapura pushed him back.

"Tamaru, it is time to go. You are not well, you are not able to help them now."

Tamaru's mech steadily headed back into the battle - had someone else climbed into it? The Mangai jumped in front of a group of Matoran wielding disk launchers, blocking a stun blast. Was that Hafu in the pilot seat? Tamaru couldn't be sure.

Kapura held Tamaru, pulling him away from the battle inch by inch.

The Mangai was struck by a staff but quickly sliced the offending Vahki in two.

The world changed pace, and a moment - or an eternity - later, Tamaru was somewhere far away. The gentle sound of waterfalls crashed in the distance.

 

***

Author's Notes

Thank you for reading! I intended to post this a week ago, but between a week-long writer's block, and this one-shot growing much larger than I intended, I took a bit longer.

When I wrote Fight for Freedom, I intended the sort of underground rebellion to build up among the Matoran. But, as I wrote it, I realized that focusing on Metru Nui was taking away from the main characters, the Toa Nuva. A lot of the ideas I wanted to show in Fight for Freedom were cut. So, I decided to write Wisps of Memory! I had a lot of fun writing Tamaru in Fight for Freedom, so I decided to use him as my main character... I apologize if the excessive tree-speak was annoying! Onepu was going to appear in Tales of the Toa Stones, but didn't quite make it. And Macku was going to be a 'Matoran side-kick' for the Toa in Fight for Freedom, but she soon ran out of things to do, so she was cut. All of those characters with cut roles ended up being important characters here instead!

I actually expected this fic to be around 6,000 words. I was amazed when I popped one of the later drafts into wordcounter and realized I had written 8,000 words. And now, it's over 10,000 words long! That length is on par with most of the story serials from canon - given that this fic is a 'side story' to the main one told in Fight for Freedom, I think that is fitting.

I created two minor background characters for this story.

One of Tamaru's colleagues in the Moto-hub is 'Kekao'. His name is a modified version of 'Ke Kako'o' which means 'Macadamia' in Hawaiian according to Google Translate.

The abandoned warehouse is 'Kemirii's Airship Tours'. 'Kemiri' apparently means 'Hazlenut' in Indonesian.

Hazlenut and Macadamia are the names of my pet birds, and I thought it would be fitting to include them as background characters from the Air district.

 

Tamaru, Macku and Onepu will all return in a future fic set after Fight for Freedom. I'm planning on using Macku as my next protagonist - her voice is far easier to capture than Tamaru's! This series so far has had bittersweet-at-best endings, but I do promise that the series will end on a positive note.


Edited by ArchAngelleofJustice, Sep 19 2018 - 10:37 PM.

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Stories I wrote

 

Parts of a Whole Series: An Alternate Ending

Part 1: Fight for Freedom                        Wisps of Memory

Part 2: Army of One (In Progress)


Short Stories:
The Great Takara          
Tale of the Toa Stones          Masks





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