I haven't written anything in ages, so I'm just going to free-form this and see how it goes.
Two large claws and a thumb almost tickled the console controlling the movement of the spacecraft. It was one of many, designed to explore a multitude of pocket dimensions. The prototype had been made on Ethra, by the best Ethravok scientists available, but once they got the prototype working, the plans and instructions were shipped off to Kryada to be built by humble Threans, only to be sent back when they were done. Most Ethravok didn't like sending factory work to the Threans, but they were just so good at building things. Most of the ships though were used for scientific exploration, exactly what the two lone occupants of this spacecraft were doing.
"I don't like the look of this..." Erik tutted as he peered into the navigational instruments on his console. "I don't like the look of this at all. There's nothing here."
His partner tutted. "There were some blips on the motion sensor. Honestly, I think we've come here for nothing. A false alarm. We'll land and make sure that this place is dead first though. Altric Ethra Laboratories will not be happy if we only do half the job."
"Whatever, Tenuk..." Erik frowned. Well, he didn't really frown. Ethravok lacked that ability. Their shield-plated, heavy jaws were only really good for two things, eating and biting things. Despite all their intellect, Ethravok weren't that powerful. While 4m tall was considered average height, their large, clawed hands and feet made small work needlessly fiddly. Their large eyes meant they had good eyesight, but not as good as the Threans, who could see in almost complete darkness. And their tails... For all their achievements in genetics, making many illnesses and viruses extinct, they'd never been able to grow the thick, beautiful, long tails that the Rethavok so admired. If it wasn't for the fact, like all Retha species, that Ethravok had telepathy, they'd have died out a long time ago.
The planet in question was coming into view on the navigation screen. Erik flicked a few switches which set up the automated landing sequence. There was a single large city within the desert-plains, surrounded by what looked like huge pieces of rock and debris. Oddly, the larger pieces of rock looked like body parts. Various limbs poking out of the ground. Tenuk was watching the navigation screen with interest, but Erik was shaking his head. He'd seen things like this before. Worlds where clueless natives have wasted the resources around them building statues to unknown deities. His thoughts were interrupted by an alarm, warning the pair to strap themselves in for landing.
"Look, another race that has destroyed itself..." Erik sighed.
Tenuk rolled his eyes as he did up his horizontal harness. "You don't know that. It might have been plague or a war. Or maybe it's something else entirely. There might be something alive down there and the sensors haven't picked it up yet."
"You're so optimistic..."
"That's why you love me, darling!" Tenuk joked.
The spacecraft came to a rather smooth landing, only about a kilometre away from the city. A short distance for an Ethravok to walk, what with their huge strides and long legs. The ground was rocky, with any sand being coarse and stony, vastly different from the soft, sandy Ethran beaches. The sky was swirling with colours, tinted pink from the leftover sand from a recent dust storm. The harsh breeze meant the footprints of other visitors would have faded away a long time ago.
It didn't take long to reach the city. It seemed vastly different on the ground. The main entrance, at least, that's what Tenuk thought it was, had once been defended by guard posts. Now those posts were just as empty as the city.
"Actually..." Erik inspected a claw-mark against the wall where huge gates once hung. "This is recent. No more than a couple of weeks."
"How do you know that?" Tenuk asked, peering down the dark main street. Even though it was daylight, the city just felt needlessly dark and bleak.
"There's traces of organic liquid here. Not blood. Something similar though. If this happened a long time ago, any organic traces would have faded away."
"That means there could be something alive here... Wait..." Tenuk froze. He'd obviously heard something, although he was unsure whether he'd heard it with his ears or his mind. After a few moments, he moved again, shrugging his shoulders.
Erik growled. "I hate it when you do that. You did that when we were tracking Raptors on Thanatia III and you scared the heck out of me. Raptors aren't even dangerous these days, what with them being much more civilized than those ###### Thanatians."
Tenuk didn't say anything. His eyes were scanning the shadows ahead. He had heard something and now he was sure he had seen something too. Erik was ranting on about how he was taking too many precautions and was generally just paranoid, but Tenuk wasn't paying attention. Something was watching them.
"You know, we should just get some samples, call it a day, then go home and hit a bar, possibly ending it all with a bit of..." Erik spun around as something leaped at him. He tipped his body to one side, sending whatever it was flying past, landing painfully on the floor. He reached for his belt, ready to fire, but Tenuk beat him to it, using his scaling slick-net to keep the creature down. Erik loved Ethran weaponry, what with most of it being able to shrink down and fit in their belts.
Tenuk calmly walked over to the creature, holding his telescopic spear. It was a strange creature. It wasn't too large, no more than 3m tall. Its whole body, including arms and legs were heavily armoured with what looked like silver and white metal, rather than the organic plastic that Ethravok were used to. It seemed partially mechanical, and a small light glowed within the creature's chest. The beast had a small tail, but it appeared that it had recently mutated, as the tail seemed to only match the organic parts. The creature's face was also very interesting, as if the creature had been wearing a mask that had fused and mutated to match a new, bestial face. One of its eyes remained permanently closed. It appeared that it used to be some sort of mechanical eye piece. It was quite possible that this being once stood tall and proud, much like those silly Sapiens.
The beast was relatively calm now that it had been pinned down. It wasn't showing any signs of struggle. It did appear to be trying to communicate though.
"Any idea what it's saying?" Erik asked.
"Give me a second, Erik. I'm calibrating our xenolexon so we can understand him now... But I don't know if he's speaking a language... Oh..."
"It sseemssss assss though you are lossssst..."
If anything, the creature's voice scared the Ethravok more than its failed attack did.
"Y-you can talk?" Tenuk gripped his spear tighter. "And you understand us?"
"Yesss. You Sssshould leave. I wisssh to leave too. It issss bad here. We are all... Hungry now..."
"We?" Erik glanced around. "... Oh... Tenuk... We have a problem..."
Around them were more of the creatures. But unlike the first one, they were all different colours. Their faces were also of different shapes. But they did not seem as interested in the Ethravok as they expected. One of the creatures, coated in red, orange and silver armour, decorated in flames, stepped forward.
"Kopakaaaa. You thought you could leave usss here?"
The trapped creature behind them whimpered. "No... No, Tahu... You know I would never..."
"DO NOT LIE! You have tried to leave before!"
"I wasss looking for... Food..."
'Tahu' growled and turned to face the Ethravok. "What are you beingsss? Asss if sssome Makuta made an unholy union between a Bohrok and the long-dead Rahkssshi..."
Erik grunted, unsure what to say. "Well... No. We're Ethravok. We're not from this world. And we're probably quite inedible."
"Did that thing mention Bohrok?" Tenuk whispered.
"We ssshall sssee about that..." Tahu spun on the spot and growled at some of his followers, who quickly leaped over and grabbed the two Ethravok, securing their arms and ordering them to follow Tahu. Another grabbed Kopaka, net and all, and dragged him along the ground.
The deeper they went into the city, the more horrific it became. The ground was covered with what looked like masks and tattered pieces of armour. Most of the buildings were derelict, if they were even standing at all. In some areas, what looked like blood still coated the walls.
But the worst part was the centre of the city, which was dominated by what looked like a temple. Along the long, steep path towards the top were more of the creatures. But not all of them were alive. Several were dead and decomposing, hanging off crudely-made y-shaped poles.
Tenuk glanced behind them. The creatures that were guarding the path were leading their posts and following them up towards the temple. There was little chance to inspect the inside of the temple, as the majority gathered around the centre of the room, while Tahu and the three others led the Ethravok and Kopaka into a single large cell and untied them, locking them in. Tahu growled at Kopaka, before the creatures left.
"So much for no life here..." Tenuk sighed as he got up and inspected the cell door.
"I never said the motion sensors were completely accurate..." Erik replied. "So, Kopaka, is that your name? Your friend Tahu doesn't seem very nice."
"He isss my brother..." Kopaka whimpered.
After having seen the other creatures, Erik noticed that Kopaka was a lot skinnier than the rest of its kind. As if it was malnourished and hadn't eaten in a long time.
"Care to explain a bit about all this... Nastiness?" Erik asked.
Kopaka didn't say anything at first.
"If we're going to be eaten, we'd at least like to know a bit about you."
"Fine..." Kopaka closed his eye as he started to explain. "We were... Happy. Teridax wasss evil and we beat him... But then... The Virussss..." He pointed to his face. "It turned uss all into Hoardika... Drove usss inssane. Made usss HUNGRY. Sso we ate. Ate everything. Even the Matoran we ssswore to protect... We lossst everything. Ssanity. Honour. Duty. Our masssks and powersss abandoned usss. Everything... We call ourselvesss Hoardikai now... Becaussse we are not Toa... We killed everything... Only other creaturessss left are mechanical onesss... Bohrok, Baterra... A few Rahi..."
"Bohrok? There's Bohrok here?..." Erik paused. "So, erm.... What about you and Tahu?"
"I... I tried to sssave sssome Matoran... Tahu found them... Made me kill them... Beat me and hurt me afterwardss... Not like Brother Pohatu though... Threw him into a pool of protodermisss... Killed him... I misssss Pohatu..."
Erik pulled the net off Kopaka. "I'm sorry. Thank you for..."
"It isss okay. I will die and be with Pohatu sssoon. As will you... What issss your friend do..."
Before Kopaka could finish his sentence, something clicked. Tenuk stood by the cell door, holding a lock in his hand. "Wow, your locks suck." He dropped the lock and slowly opened the door. It appeared that no one had heard them.
"How on Kolasi did you manage that?" Erik exclaimed.
"Spend ten years with only a Rethan, a Threan and a Trehan for company, and you learn to do stuff like picking locks..." Tenuk replied somewhat enigmatically. "Come on, let's go. You too, Kopaka."
"I... I cannot..."
Kopaka didn't have an answer, so he got up and followed.
Most of the Hoardikai were in the main room. The remains of hundreds of dead beings coated the walls, making it hard to tell what colour they originally were. In the centre stood Tahu, who was giving some kind of speech. There were not as many of them as the Ethravok had expected. No more than 40 of them. Still a large enough number though. Tahu appeared to be explaining some sort of plan, consisting of 'luring beings from the jungle lands to the city'.
Erik tiptoed in front, with Kopaka in the middle and Tenuk at the back. Erik had remembered the route best, so he was leading. "Quick, move before they see us... Oh ######..."
The Hoardikai looked round. One of the Hoardikai closest to Tahu had spotted them and quickly pointed it out. The monsters hesitated for a second, which the Ethravok used to their advantage to start running.
"MOVE! SCHNELL!" Tenuk roared as the horde suddenly made up their mind and started chasing the three of them. Small blasts of energy, the remains of the Hoardikai's elemental powers, exploded around them as they ran. Erik retaliated by dropping one of his trademarked Bag'a'Marbles, scattering small iron balls along the ground.
Several Hoardikai fell, tripping up a few others, but there were still plenty after them. Five green Hoardikai leaped from nearby rooftops, only to be spiked or thrown away by Tenuk's spear, which easily penetrated their metal armour. They were making good headway. The old city gates were in sight...
Tahu pounced on Kopaka and was now clawing at his back. Kopaka roared in agony, desperately trying to free himself from his brother's claws and teeth. He couldn't escape. There was nothing he could do but...
Suddenly, the clawing stopped. Tahu growled, Kopaka's blood coating his teeth and claws. "How DARE you deny me?"
Standing between Tahu and Kopaka were the two Ethravok. Tenuk grabbed Kopaka and threw him over his shoulder, while Erik covered them. Tahu charged forward, spitting blood and vile words. But with each charge, Erik would simply throw him back, into the ground, into the rubble around them.
"No one kills anyone's brother. Not while I'm here." Erik smiled triumphantly as he threw Tahu down one last time. The leader of the Hoardikai didn't get up, his body lay twitching on the darkened ground. The other Hoardikai, which had only just caught up, stopped in their tracks, staring at their fallen leader. None of the Hoardikai spoke.
"Come on, Erik. Let's go..." Tenuk sighed, still carrying the now unconscious Kopaka on his shoulders.
"What do we do with him?" Erik asked as they started walking, watching as the Hoardikai faded back into the shadows.
"Kopaka? I don't know... We can't bring him home though... Quarantine laws and all that..."
"Wait... I've got an idea..."
Kopaka blinked. Where was he? Everything was dark. But at least he wasn't in pain any more. He tried to roll over, but he couldn't. It appeared that he was wrapped up in a blanket.
"Please, do not move, Toa: Kopaka, State: Nuva and Hoardikai. You have suffered grave injuries, including: Severe Loss of Fluids and Broken Bone: Left Arm. You must rest."
Once again, Kopaka blinked, searching for the source of the robotic voice. It appeared to be coming from the Bohrok standing above him.
"Who... Who are you? Where am I?"
The Bohrok replied almost instantly, as it started loosening the blanket so Kopaka could move more. "You were brought here by Unknown Species: Tenuk and Erik. They left you in our care. We are currently working on a cure for Illness: Hoardikia. We have been informed of your ill-treatment by other Toa Hoardikai and are taking the proper steps to being you back to full health."
"I... I undersssstand..." Kopaka sat up, his eye finally adjusting to the light. His other eye also moved slightly, something that hadn't happened in a long time. "And who are you?"
"My name is Pahrak-Kal. You have nothing to fear, Toa..."
"You think they'll all fix themselves?" Tenuk asked as he fired up the engines to the spacecraft. "I mean, they were all such a mess. And it seemed like they hadn't even tried to cure themselves."
Erik grunted. "I don't know. I don't even know what to put in this report. And honestly, I feel really bad. They were probably a nice bunch before they got that virus thing."
"At least we saved Kopaka. Poor blighter." Tenuk tried to inject some optimism into the conversation.
"Good point. At least we did something... Good today..." Erik paused to groan, having made a third typo on his report. He was about to get rather annoyed when Tenuk put a hand on his shoulder.
"Tell you what, let's just go home. We can finish the report later..." Tenuk smiled. "Plus, I really fancy a drink right now..."