"Attention all Matoran of Gundaru Nui! Will the following Matoran please report to Turaga Norukan immediately!"
The voice over the city loudspeaker stopped every Matoran in his tracks. Whenever there was an announcement involving the Turaga, everyone paid close attention.
* * * *
The Po-Matoran looked up from the sculpture he was carving. It was unusual for individual Matoran to be summoned by the Turaga.
"Well," he said to himself with a grin, "this certainly doesn't happen every day."
* * * *
The Su-Matoran stood up and stretched the kinks out of her muscles. She had been tending to her garden all day, pruning flowers and pulling roots.
"What would Turaga Norukan possibly want with me?" she wondered aloud.
* * * *
Frustrated, the Ko-Matoran gave the loudspeaker a look that would scare a Muaka. Then she remembered that loudspeakers don't get intimidated by rude looks.
"I can't believe he has the nerve to summon me while I'm shopping!" she said to her friends.
* * * *
The Le-Matoran froze and stared at the loudspeaker. After about a minute, one of his buddies pushed him forward.
"Go on, you great kohlii-head! This could be the chance of a lifetime!"
"I know," he replied, a grin spreading across his dark green mask, "I'm letting the suspense build."
* * * *
The Vo-Matoran was so surprised he nearly fell over. He was excited about being called, but also worried. This was the second time this week his name had been heard over the city loudspeaker. But he was pretty sure he hadn't pulled any huge pranks in the last two days.
"I haven't done anything this time, so why am I being summoned?" he asked himself.
* * * *
The Matoran was surprised, but he didn't show it. He noticed a couple female Matoran staring at him. Being a De-Matoran, he had excellent hearing, and he knew they were whispering about him. He winked at them and they giggled, and he made sure to walk by them as he headed towards towards city hall.
"This will make the ladies love me even more!" he gloated to himself.
* * * *
The Ta-Matoran jumped in mid-stroke, accidentally ruining the tool he was crafting. Frustrated, he snapped it over his knee and tossed it into the scrap heap.
"Why do I always mess up?" he shouted to nobody in particular.
* * * *
The Fe-Matoran calmly stood up from his executive's desk. "Babura, you take care of things while I'm out, okay?"
"Yes, sir, I will!" his secretary replied.
"Good. I'm counting on you."
He left the building and walked towards city hall. He knew that this was important somehow, but he had no idea why. But he didn't need a reason. He wasn't going to let anything get in the way of this opportunity.
* * * *
The Ga-Matoran jumped out of the pool and didn't even bother to dry herself off as she sped towards city hall as fast as her legs could carry her.
"This is soooo exciting!" she said to herself as she rounded a corner.
* * * *
The Av-Matoran grinned and pumped his fist. He had always wanted to be summoned by the Turaga. He didn't care that everyone was staring at him as he leapt into his hovercar.
"What he wants me for?" he wondered aloud as he drove to city hall.
* * * *
Turaga Norukan sat in his office, reminiscing on old times, back when he had been a Toa of Magnetism, back when he had been Toa Norukan.
He sighed. He missed those times, fighting evil and driving off threats in order to protect Matoran. Those had been good times. But they had also been times of darkness and of hardship.
His thoughts wandered to the ten Matoran, who, even now, were on their way to this very room.
"I wonder," he thought aloud, "Are they truly ready for this?"
There was a knock on his office door, jarring him from his thoughts. "Come in!"
The door opened, and a Matoran strode through. "You summoned, me, Turaga?"
Turaga Norukan looked at each of the ten Matoran standing before him. Their masks wore a menagerie of expressions, from Jakorak's barely contained excitement to Verau's nervousness. They all looked like normal everyday Matoran, but Norukan knew better.
He took a deep breath, and then he spoke.
"I had hoped this day would never come," he said to the Matoran. "For millennia I have watched the skies, and it always warned about this, and still I hoped that it would never happen, that maybe the stars were wrong. Alas, I am afraid the time has come."
"For what, Turaga?" blurted Jakorak. Sasi quickly shushed him with a glare and a punch to the arm. "Ow!" he winced, rubbing his arm.
The Turaga ignored them. "A great danger shall soon fall upon our beautiful city," the elder said. "The legends and prophecies did not specify what it will be, but I believe that it is safe to say that it will be incredibly formidable."
"I don't mean to be rude, Turaga," Tanire interrupted, "but why call us here just to warn us of something we will probably be unable to stop?"
The other Matoran chimed in with their own questions and doubts. The Turaga sighed and raised his hand to silence them.
"You are correct, Tanire. You cannot stop this threat," replied the Turaga as he removed ten stones from his desk and handed one to each Matoran, "At least, not yet. I called on the ten of you for a special purpose. You must take these stones to the Suva temple at the center of Gundaru Nui. You will find answers there."
"Then what are we waiting for?" said Pronak, "Let's go to the temple! I'm ready to do whatever it takes to save Gundaru Nui."
Turaga Norukan watched them as they filed out of his office one by one. Once again, he wondered if they were really ready for what awaited them.
* * * *
As the ten Matoran rode the hovertram to the Suva temple, Buna examined the stone that the Turaga had given to him.
It was about the length of his hand. It was crystalline in form, with perfectly flat sides that tapered to a blunt point at one end. He turned it over in his hand and he saw the symbol of the three virtues – unity, duty, and destiny – etched into one side. He wondered what it was for, and how exactly it would help them save Gundaru Nui.
The Suva Temple
The hovertram came up to the Suva temple, slowed, and came to a stop. The doors opened, and ten Matoran stepped out.
"Well, here we are," announced Zakita, "Shall we go in?"
"Ladies first," offered Hedak flirtatiously. Something in the way he said it made Pronak decide that, no matter how cute he was, this guy wasn't her type.
"After you, then," Trelex said with a smirk.
"Oooh, BUUURRN!" Jakorak said, high-fiving Trelex.
"Shut it, you two," snapped Tanire, "Let's go. The sooner we …um," he paused for a second, thinking, "do whatever it is we need to do, the sooner we can help save Gundaru Nui."
The others nodded in agreement. They couldn't argue with that.
As they entered the temple, the stones in their hands started to glow brightly.
"WHOA!" exclaimed Jakorak as the ground shuddered and ten stone pedestals rose up out of the floor around the Suva shrine.
"I…I think we're supposed to put these stones on those pedestals," said Verau shakily, "don't ask me how I know, I just do."
"I'm getting the same feeling," Zakita agreed, walking up to one of the pedestals. The others followed suit.
They placed their stones on the pedestals and stepped back. For a brief moment, there was an unnatural silence that hung in the air.
All of a sudden, chaos broke loose in the room. The stones shot out bolts of energy that struck the Matoran, and they all found themselves being attacked with their own element.
Buna felt waves of boiling heat wash over his body, and he felt like his mechanical parts would melt and his organic parts would disintegrate into ash.
Aroda was being struck with stones of all sizes from all directions, and it hurt so much he couldn't even fall over.
Jakorak was surrounded by light so bright it blinded him even when he shut his eyes tight, and the heat was so great he thought he would be vaporized.
Sasi was flash-frozen in ice so cold she could hardly shiver or breathe, and she wondered if she would freeze to death or suffocate first.
Pronak was trapped in a sphere of water that relentlessly tossed her about inside it while she struggled to hold her breath.
Zakita felt like he was about to explode. He was caught in a massive cyclone that sucked the breath from his body as he was tossed around inside it.
Trelex was struck again and again by bright bursts of lightning coming from all directions, putting him into spasms on the floor of the temple.
Tanire felt like he was being cut in two by razor-sharp blades in a thousand different ways all at the same time, with pain so intense he could hardly scream.
Verau was entwined in massive vines. The long, thick, powerful plants constricted her like a hundred Rahi snakes.
Hedak was being assaulted by intense sound so loud that plugging his ears wasn't enough to dampen the noise, and even then he couldn't hear himself scream.
The whole ordeal only lasted a few seconds, but to the Matoran it felt like an eternity. They all felt amazing power surge through their bodies. None of them were even aware of anything else as they fell to the floor and passed out at the same instant.
Jakorak stirred and groaned. His eyes felt like they had melted out of their sockets. He rubbed them as he got up. As the spots gradually cleared from his vision, he could see Aroda struggling to stand.
"Well," Aroda said cheerfully, "That was more than a little painf…whoa. Since when are there Toa on Gundaru Nui?"
His vision still rather blurry, Jakorak looked over his shoulder to look for the Toa, but he couldn't see anyone.
"I'm talking about you, genius," Aroda said sarcastically.
Suddenly, Jakorak's vision cleared and he looked down at himself. He was shocked by what he saw.
In place of the short body of a Matoran that was familiar to him, there was a tall, muscular, stark white body clad in golden armor. Long, muscular arms sprouted from wide shoulders, resting atop a pair of powerful armored legs.
"Wow…wow," was all he could force out of his mouth. He looked up at Aroda. "Dude, you're a Toa too!" he exclaimed, pointing. Aroda's brown and black form had undergone similar changes.
One by one, the others struggled to their feet and marveled at the changes in their bodies. Buna was shocked to find that he now had four arms.
"Hey, no fair!" Aroda complained good-naturedly, "Why does he get an extra pair of arms?"
"Is white still my color?" asked Sasi self-consciously, "Please, tell me honestly."
Hedak turned and gaped at her. For the first time in his life, he was speechless. "Uhhh…" was the best he could manage.
Sasi smiled and winked at him. "Well, I'll take that as a yes!"
"White may work for you, but not for me," Jakorak said as his body changed color from white to black, and his armor color shifted to silver with lime green details. "Ahh, much better," he said with great satisfaction.
"Wow, how did you do that?" asked Pronak.
"Av-Matoran and Toa of Light can change color at will. Didn't you know that?"
"Yeah, I knew that, but I thought you were a Le-Matoran because you were green!"
"Sorry for the confusion," Jakorak shrugged, "I like green."
"Wait a minute," Zakita interrupted, "Why do I feel like we're missing something?"
As if in response, a huge chest rose out of the floor. Jakorak zipped over to it and hefted off the lid. A wide grin spread out on his mask as he looked inside.
"Toa tools!" he exclaimed as he reached in and grabbed a pair of razor sharp armblades, "This is sooo awesome!"
The others rushed to the chest to pick out their tools. Sasi quickly snatched up a long scythe that she swirled over her head. Hedak picked out a vibro-blade that matched his armor perfectly. Buna chose four identical protesteel swords and admired the craftsmanship of the blades. Tanire decided to take a massive, spiked double blade. Zakita claimed a huge orange shield and a triple-bladed staff. Pronak selected two long, curved daggers. Aroda settled on a pair of gauntlets. Zakita chose two gigantic shuriken. Verau took a pair of bright green battleaxes.
"All right!" said Jakorak, "We've got the powers, we've got the tools, let's save Gundaru Nui!"
"The danger Turaga Norukan told us about hasn't even come yet, Kohlii head," Sasi said.
"She's right," Verau chimed in, "Besides, we need to learn to use our powers before we can start saving anybody. We don't even know what our mask powers are yet."
"Hey I know a good place for us to train," piped Trelex excitedly, "It's an old factory in the abandoned area of the city. We don't have to worry about property damage since the building has been condemned for years, and we don't have to worry about endangering Matoran since nobody goes there anymore."
Most of the new Toa thought this was a great idea, but Tanire was reluctant to agree. "You said this place has been condemned for years, and that whole area of the city is abandoned. Don't you think that it might be dangerous?"
"Nah, I've been there like a thousand times, it'll be fine."
"All right then then, let's go!" said Pronak impatiently, "I don't know about you guys, but I wanna see what these new powers can do!"
"Yeah, me too!" Jakorak agreed, and Aroda and Trelex expressed similar intentions.
"Wait, don't we need a name for our new Toa team?" asked Zakita.
"How about the Toa Rukua?" suggested Verau, using the Matoran word for unknown. "You know, since we don't really know what exactly it is we're going to be fighting against?"
"I like it. What about you guys?" Tanire asked. When none of the others objected, he said, "Okay, then. The Toa Rukua it is."
"Whoa, hey, hold on, you can't just assume you're the leader," interjected Hedak.
"I'd be happy to back down if anyone else wants to take over," Tanire offered. When none of the other Toa stepped forward, Hedak held up his hands in surrender.
"Okay, whatever, you're the leader," he said.
The Toa Rukua left the temple walking side by side. Matoran stopped what they were doing to marvel at the new Toa in their midst. Some whispered and pointed, and others merely stared. All wondered what this meant for the future.
"Uhh, this is awkward," muttered Aroda.
The Toa Rukua were standing in the middle of the street in the industrial district of Gundaru Nui. An excited crowd of Matoran had them surrounded. Questions of all sorts came at them from everywhere at once.
"Why have you come here?"
"What's your mask power?"
"Can I have your autograph?"
"Excuse me, but are you single?"
“Are you on MaskBook?”
Hedak drank in the attention, his grin stretching all the way across his mask. He waved and posed for the crowd while Pronak looked on and rolled her eyes.
Verau glanced at Buna and she could tell that he was barely hanging on to his sanity. If this mob lasted any longer he would probably…
"ARRRRRGH! SHUT UP AND LET US PASS!" Buna roared, and the street cleared as the Matoran hurried off and returned to their jobs.
"Wow," Zakita said, "As cool as being a Toa is, I sure hope we don't have to put up with that every time we go out in public. That mob could've stopped a herd of Kikanalo."
"Hey, I don't mind having fans!" Hedak said happily, "I think I could get used to this whole Toa thing."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Trelex said, "Let's go. We're getting close to the old factory."
"Jeez, pushy much? Hold your Rahi, or I'll drench you," Pronak threatened jokingly.
"Ooh, feisty!" Hedak winked at the Toa of Water.
"Shut it, you," she snapped back.
"Hey, hey, cool it, you two," interrupted Tanire, "Save the fighting for our enemies."
Trelex stoped and held up a hand. "Hold up, we're here."
The Toa looked at the colossal structure standing in front of them. Huge smokestacks seemed to stab the sky, and the windows were almost opaque with old dust. Graffiti covered the walls with messages like, "Eritak was here," and, "Neru luvs Renia."
Trelex went to a rusted keypad and tapped in a passcode. The doors groaned and opened like a gigantic mouth. Jakorak peered inside. He could faintly make out the silhouettes of cobwebs, old machinery, and small, skittering Rahi. The darkness unsettled him. Stretching his hand out, he focused harder than he ever had before, and his hands glowed brightly.
"Well guys?" he asked with a grin, "Shall we enter?"
* * * *
The Toa followed Trelex through the old factory, the way lit by Jakorak's glowing hands. Occasionally, Sasi would walk smack into a cobweb and scream, "Get it off me, get it off me!" while the others rolled their eyes or tried not to laugh.
Eventually, they arrived at a huge room filled with old, broken machinery. Dim light shone through windows covered in several centuries' worth of dust and grime.
"This was the main production area," Trelex explained, "I think it will be perfect for us to train before this mysterious danger gets to Gundaru Nui. We've just got to clean it up a bit."
"I'm on it," interrupted Pronak as she sent a stream of water at the grubby windows, washing centuries of filth off of the glass. The windows, now sparkling clean, poured out bright sunlight.
"Not bad," Jakorak congratulated her as he dimmed his glowing hands, "I'm impressed."
"Thanks," Pronak blushed.
"Okay, guys, let's get to work," Tanire directed, "We don't know how long it will be until this mysterious danger falls upon the city. The sooner we start getting used to our new powers, the more likely we will be able to save Gundaru Nui."
Nobody argued with him this time.
* * * *
Over the next few weeks, Trelex, Hedak, Zakita, and Aroda were able to determine their mask powers. Trelex discovered his Mask of Friction when he increased the friction between his body and a wall in order to retrieve his staff after Sasi had accidently knocked it out of his hands onto a high shelf with her scythe. He spent the better part of the next hour decreasing the friction beneath the other Toa's feet, making them slip and fall, while he laughed his mask off. Hedak realized he wore a Mask of Muting when he created a sonic blast that he could barely hear but made the other Toa cover their ears. Zakita discovered his Mask of Density when, while he was practicing with his jetpack, he avoided crushing himself against two thick walls by passing harmlessly through one and smashing through the second. Aroda discovered that he wore a Mask of Foresight when, in a sparring match with Buna, he was able to block and dodge all four of the Fire Toa's sword-wielding arms without a scratch.
Hedak was beside himself with pride. "Hey, Pronak, what do you think of my mask power? Pretty cool, huh? You know, you and I should – OW!" Hedak was quickly silenced by Pronak's foot stamping down on his own.
"You leave me alone, or you will be the first Toa to drown on dry land, got it?" Pronak's tone was piercing, and everybody could tell she wasn't kidding around.
All of the Toa Rukua quickly progressed in their mastery over their powers, especially Sasi. At least twice a day she summoned a chilling blizzard that whipped through the room, making the rest of the Toa shiver under the biting cold.
During one of these snowstorms, Jakorak saw Pronak sitting with her knees hugged to her chest in a corner of the room. He could tell she was upset about something, but he didn't know what. He strode over and sat down next to her.
"Hey, you okay? You look a little dejected."
She sighed heavily in frustration. "I don't even know where to start," she complained, "I don't know my mask power, every time I spar with Sasi she freezes everything I throw at her and humiliates me, and she is so much prettier than me!" As she ranted about her problems, Jakorak couldn't help but notice that she was extremely cute.
"It's all just so frustrating!" she continued, "What am I supposed to do?"
"For a start, try calming down," Jakorak answered her, and before he could stop himself he had draped his arm over her shoulders. Pronak froze stock-still, and Jakorak was afraid she would clobber him like she had done with Hedak. Deciding he had nothing to lose, he added, "And, just between you and me, I think you're a lot prettier than Sasi."
He tensed; anticipating her fist in his face. To his surprise (and relief), she smiled, relaxed, and snuggled into his side, as if trying to hide from the chilling storm. Jakorak's mask turned bright red.
They were still sitting there long after Sasi's blizzard had ceased.
Buna was getting impatient. It had been almost a month since he and the others had been transformed into Toa. Their training since then was paying off, and, slowly but surely, they were all getting more in tune with their new abilities. He himself had been able to discover his mask power when he accidentally brought one of the old factory machines to life. After a bit of experimenting, he realized that he had a Mask of Animation. As pleased as he was about finding his mask power, one thing still bugged him; the mysterious threat to the city still hadn't shown its face. He was beginning to wonder if it would ever come at all.
The sound of footsteps behind him snapped him out of his thoughts. He whirled around, ready to yell at the intruder, but calmed down when he saw that it was Verau approaching him. Buna found the Toa of Plant Life to be much easier to talk to than the other Toa, though the way she seemed to read his thought sometimes annoyed him.
"You're not the only one with doubts, you know," she said in her quiet voice, "We're all getting anxious."
"Yeah," he replied, throwing his hands into the air, "But that doesn't change the fact that this unknown enemy is taking a darn long time."
"All the more chance for us to get used to our new powers. Aren't you glad that you've discovered your mask power? I know I am." Buna smiled as he recalled how Verau had discovered her Mask of Elasticity. One of her axes had been knocked out of her hand during a sparring match and her arm had stretched to three times its normal length in order to catch it. He was about to reply when he heard a strange, unfamiliar sound. He drew his swords, feeling their now-familiar weight in his hands. Verau heard the noise to, and her axes were out in an instant. They both scanned the room but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
"It was probably just another Brakas," Buna said uncertainly, "This place is practically swarming with them."
"Y-yeah," Verau stammered nervously, "Maybe we should…"
She was cut short by an earsplitting roar. The two of them looked up to see a white shape leap down from the girders in the ceiling. It landed in front of them with such force that the entire room seemed to shake with the impact.
"Okay," Buna said, eyes wide, "That is definitely not a Brakas!"
The creature was huge, easily several feet taller than the Toa. Its white body was covered in off-white armor. In one hand it clutched a massive double-ended spiky mace. Worst of all were the two heats perched between the monstrosity's shoulders. Each head sported a powerful jaw filled with huge teeth that looked like they could bite a Toa in half. Buna wasn't anxious to find that out.
"What the Karzahni is that thing?" Verau gasped.
The creature roared again and swung its mace at the two Toa. They leaped backwards, out of the weapon's reach, and it demolished a piece of machinery.
"Whatever it is," Buna answered her, "I don't think it's very friendly!"
Verau focused on her energies and summoned a thick, thorny vine from the ground. Thorns flew from the vine at the beast, but they just bounced harmlessly off its armor. Buna hurled fireballs, but those only served to make the thing even angrier. It bounded forward to bring its mace down on Verau, but Buna leapt in front of her and his swords met the mace in midair with a loud clang that echoed off the factory walls.
"Verau…" Buna grunted through clenched teeth, "I could… use a little help here… if you wouldn't mind."
"You got it," she replied as a tick tree trunk burst through the factory floor directly in front of Buna. It smashed into the creature and sent it flying backwards through the factory wall. For several long moments, all was still in the room.
"Hey, nice!" Buna complemented, "I think you beat that thing!"
"Thanks," Verau blushed, "I've been working really hard on that move."
"Well, I'd say that hard work really paid…" Buna's face fell, "Awww, really? How much pounding can that thing take?"
Verau looked at the hole In the wall that their had made. Her heart sank as she saw the thing stand up. It picked up its double mace and snapped it in two. Brandishing a mace in each hand, it roared and charged at the Toa.
Buna leapt toward the creature, ready to slash with his swords, but he was batted out of the air with a casual swipe of a mace. He landed quite a ways off in a dazed heap.
"Buna!" Verau cried, but she had no time to aid him as the monster swung a mace at her. She parried the blow with her axes and quickly ducked under a swipe from the other one.
"I don't know if I can fight alone against this thing for very long," she thought to herself She ducked under a mace swipe and used her mask power to stretch to avoid another. "Oh, Buna, please, please, please wake up!"
As if hearing her, Buna stirred. He quickly got to his feet and ran to help Verau. He was barely halfway to her when one o the monsters weapons connected with her side, sending her reeling.
Time seemed to slow down for Buna as he watched Verau fall. He feared that the monster had killed her. Almost instantaneously, his fear gave way to rage. He rushed at the monster, swords ablaze, his four arms swinging wildly as he fell upon the colossal beast.
"YOU… CAN… SMASH… ME… ALL… YOU… WANT…" he bellowed between blows, "BUT… DON'T… YOU… DARE… TOUCH… VERAU!!!"
With the last word, he unleashed a roaring jet of flame that made the creature stagger and roar in pain. Swords still wreathed in flame, Buna glared menacingly at the two hideous heads, ready to roast the thing alive. Instead of charging again, the creature retreated, smashing through the factory wall and into the open air.
Extinguishing and dropping his swords, Buna ran to Verau's side. She was pretty badly bruised, but otherwise she was okay. He helped her to her feet just as the rest of the Toa ran into the room weapons drawn.
"What happened in here?" asked Aroda breathlessly, "Looks like a friggin' war zone!"
"We came here as soon as we could," Tanire said, "It sounded like you guys were in trouble."
"It's here," Buna said grimly, "The danger Norukan warned us about is here."
"Say whaaa?" Jakorak had almost forgotten about the threat to the city that the Turaga had predicted. He had been so focused on getting used to his new powers for the last month that he hadn't really thought of much else.
"Are you sure about this?" asked Aroda shakily, "It could have just been some mutated Rahi."
"I know what I saw, Aroda," snapped Buna, "That was no Rahi."
"And there's going to be more where that came from," said Verau, "I seriously doubt that something that could threaten an entire city could be scared off by two novice Toa."
"Maybe it heard the rest of us coming," Trelex suggested.
"That's not possible. I silenced our group so that… that thing wouldn't hear us coming," said Hedak.
"But it couldn't've attacked already!" complained Sasi, "I don't even know what my mask power is yet!"
"You don't know your mask power?" Jakorak asked sarcastically, crossing his arms and raising an amused eyebrow. "What about the rest of us? Aren't we important?"
"Hey, I'm not the one who forgot why I was turned into a Toa in the first place!" she shot back.
"Shut up, Sasi," interjected Pronak, "You can't just worry about yourself. We're part of a team, remember?"
"If we're part of a team, then why are you two ganging up on me?" Sasi asked defensively.
"We're not ganging up on you!"
"Shut up, Pronak," said Sasi, "I'm tempted to freeze your mouth shut."
"You wanna go?" Pronak challenged, her head moving from side to side as she brandished her daggers.
"Catfight!" cheered Aroda and Trelex simultaneously.
"Cut it out, all of you!" ordered Tanire, "Gundaru Nui is in danger! This is no time for us to argue among ourselves! Now, right now that thing is out there wandering the city," said Tanire, "I say we return to the city and speak to the Turaga as soon as possible, before it has the opportunity to endanger any Matoran." He pointed to the Toa of Air, "Zakita, you keep a lookout from the air."
"You got it, bro!" Zakita beamed, happy for an excuse to use his jetpack.
They exited the factory through the hole the creature had made in the wall. The bright light of the sun blinded them for a moment before their eyes were able to adjust. Zakita activated his jetpack and rapidly rose several hundred feet. Suddenly he seemed to lose control, and Pronak and Verau screamed for him to get down.
"Calm down girls, he's just doing stunts," Trelex chuckled, "Besides, even if something was wrong, he's a Toa of Air. I think he could handle a little fall like that."
The Toa laughed so hard they didn't notice the pairs of icy blue eyes watching them from the shadows.
* * * *
When the Toa got to the more populated area of the city, Trelex took them to the entrance of some old maintenance tunnels that he knew of so as to avoid another crowd like when they had left the temple a month earlier. When they were about halfway to city hall, Sasi pulled Pronak and Verau a little ways behind the others.
"I don't really know how to say this," the Ice Toa said awkwardly. "Both of you seem to be getting along fine with your own guys, but I think Hedak is teasing me! One moment he'll be like gushing over me, the next it's like he's pretending I don't even exist! What am I supposed to do? I can't tell if he really likes me or not!"
Pronak stared dumbfounded at Sasi for a few seconds before shouting, "ARE YOU SERIOUS?! The fate of Gundaru Nui is in our hands, and you're asking us about your boy problems? We need to be focused on protecting the Matoran and the city! Just for once, think about somebody other than yourself, for Mata Nui's sake!" At that, she stormed off to Jakorak and Trelex, who were sharing a joke together nearby.
"Don't mind her," Verau said kindly, "although you have to admit, she does have a point. You need to concentrate on the task ahead of you. But don't worry, there'll be plenty of time for boys when this is over." She paused, and added, "And, by the way, you said I was getting along fine with my guy, right?"
"Yeah. What about it?"
"Buna and I aren't going out. We're… We're just friends."
Sasi smiled mischievously. "How did you know I was referring to you and Buna?"
"I don't know, I just kind of assumed."
"Oh, come on, you two totally like each other. It's, like, sooooo obvious. I can't believe he hasn't asked you out yet."
Verau's heart soared. Could it really be? Did Buna really like her back? She tried to keep her cool. "Really? I hadn't noticed."
"Admit it, Verau, you totally like him!" Sasi prodded.
Verau sighed. There was no hiding anything from this girl. "Okay fine. Yeah, I do like Buna."
"Ha! I knew it!" Sasi beamed. "It's practically a match made in Arthaka!"
Verau held up a hand. "Wait a second," she whispered, "where is everybody?"
Sasi stopped walking, and her heart sank as she heard the familiar sounds of a battle.
Jakorak was sure that if Aroda didn't have that Mask of Foresight, at least one of the Toa Rukua would have been dead by now. They had calmly been walking down the tunnels when Aroda had stopped.
"What's wrong?" Tanire had asked, "Do you sense something, Aroda?"
"Uhhh, I dunno, I think…" suddenly, he leapt into the air and struck at two strange creatures as they appeared out of nowhere. They were about the height of a Toa, with a head that Jakorak could only describe as weird. They had long arms with wicked-looking blades coming from the ends. As Aroda hit the ground, several more creatures like the first two appeared among them and attacked the Toa.
Which led up to where they were now: locked in combat with a bunch of creeps that could teleport.
"What are these things?" asked Pronak as she slashed at one of the creatures with her daggers, only to have it teleport a few inches out of her reach.
The creature retaliated with a blast of energy from its blades, which Pronak was barely able to dodge. It hissed, "We are the Ba'aru. You puny Toa have no hope of defeating us."
"Dang, these things can talk?" gawked Jakorak.
"We're not as stupid as we look, Toa! Eat this!" The Ba'aru Jakorak was fighting swung its bladed arm at him. Jakorak's blades met it inches from his mask, but instead of feeling a heavy impact, the creature went flying backwards, as if propelled by the force of its own blow. Jakorak had just discovered his mask power! But there would be time to celebrate later, the others needed help.
* * * *
Pronak didn't think she could fight this Ba'aru thing for much longer. She hoped Jakorak, or Aroda, or even Sasi might come help her. Heck, she'd take from just about anybody.
"Hey, me, need a little help?" Pronak stared as a blue figure wielding two daggers fell upon the Ba'aru she was fighting. As Pronak caught her breath, she thought her helper looked kind of familiar… no, more than that, it was a duplicate of her! Suddenly, she realized that she had discovered her mask power; she could duplicate herself!
"This is so awesome!" she said to herself.
"I know, right?" she answered with a grin.
* * * *
Tanire was cornered. He was backed up against a wall, with three Ba'aru advancing on him. Whenever he swung his blade at one, it would teleport out of his reach or knock him back with a blast of energy. He had already tried warping their mechanical parts using his elemental powers, but they seemed to be able to warp right back with ease.
"I just wish I could get in a blow, " he thought. Almost on cue, all three of his assailants seemed to freeze in place. Tanire didn't even stop to think as he swung his blade and knocked out two creatures while simultaneously summoning a column of steel from the wall, which struck the third Ba'aru, sending it flying backwards and crashing into the one that Trelex was fighting. Tanire that his mask had caused the Ba'aru to freeze, giving him ample time to defeat them.
The Ba'aru fled the chamber just as Sasi and Verau ran in.
"Wow, déjà vu," Buna commented.
"Why do I always miss the fun?" Sasi pouted as she put away her scythe.
"Don't worry, Sasi, I'm sure you'll get a good fight eventually," said Hedak with a wink.
"Buzz off, you jerk" Sasi said. Hedak stared at her wide-eyed, wondering just what had happened in her head. Pronak grinned.
"Hey, I had that one! I was handling him just fine!" Trelex complained to Tanire, but then he broke into a grin and held out his fist. "Just kidding. Thanks Tanire, I owe you one."
Tanire smiled as he met Trelex's fist. "Don't mention it. Now, let’s go talk to Turaga Norukan."
"Hey, Pronak!" Jakorak called as he ran up beside her, "Nice mask power, but having more than one of you around is kind of a scary thing to think about. Could you… send the other you away or something? Please?"
"Okay, fine," the real Pronak sighed as her duplicate faded out of existence. "I was starting to like her."
Nearby, Zakita and Aroda were congratulating Tanire on his discovery of his mask power.
"Dude, a Mask of Opportunity! That's so epic!" Zakita said.
"Yeah, and awesome," Aroda added, "It's like, awesome, and epic, but at the same time!"
Trelex was quite envious about Tanire's mask power. "You want to trade masks?" he asked at one point.
"What, and force you to give up making enemies slip and fall with your Mask of Friction?" Tanire replied with a smirk. Trelex had never seen Tanire smirk before.
Trelex grinned back. "Good point," and he promptly sent Hedak sprawling on the tunnel floor. "I think I'm happy with this mask. Besides, I think my mask is better looking than yours anyway."
Tanire stopped for a second and raised an eyebrow. For a moment, Trelex thought that the Toa of Metal would burst out laughing. Instead, he simply smiled, shook his head, and continued walking.
Trelex was pretty sure he heard chuckle, though.
* * * *
Meanwhile, Turaga Norukan already knew that the threat to the city had arrived. It wasn't because of a sudden large-scale invasion of fierce warriors from another land. It was not because of a gigantic monster attacking the city. He knew because, of all things, a building proposal. Well, actually, it was a little more than that. It was more of a building demand.
"You do realize what will happen if you deny the Brotherhood the privilege of building a fortress on Gundaru Nui, Turaga Norukan?" the hulking, shadowy character said threateningly.
"I completely understand the consequences, Makuta Vidaraz," Norukan replied, unmoving, "but could you please remind me, just to be sure? My memory is not what it used to be."
Vidaraz could tell Norukan was playing with him, but he didn't take the bait. "I will command my forces, which are at this moment mobilized on coast of this island, to attack the city and its inhabitants and force you to leave."
"Ah, but that will not happen," the Turaga said calmly, "My Toa shall stop you."
"Ooooh, Toa," Vidaraz cowered sarcastically, "I am so very intimidated. Your neophyte team of Toa is hardly a match for the Karudax, let alone myself."
"I wouldn't be so sure of myself if I were you, Vidaraz," Norukan said with a half-smile, "Or have you forgotten that certain team of Toa that defeated you all those millennia ago?"
"I remember, oh yes, I remember indeed," the Makuta replied with a sinister grin that sent a chill down Norukan's spine. "I recall a certain Toa of Magnetism almost killing me when he had the tremendously bright idea of shredding my armor. Oh, if you only knew how much I want to inflict upon you the pain you made me feel that day, Norukan."
"I don't care how you threaten me, Vidaraz, my answer still remains the same: no" the Turaga said flatly.
"Then the destruction of this city shall be on your head," Vidaraz replied as he teleported out of the office to Mata Nui knew where.
"I only hope I have made the right choice," Norukan said to himself.
The Toa Rukua were assembled in Turaga Norukan’s office. As soon as they got in, Sasi grilled the Turaga for not warning them that they were to become into Toa.
“Do you know how much the transformation process hurt?” She fumed, “I was frozen in a BLOCK OF ICE!! And everyone’s discovered their mask powers except me!” She continued to harangue Norukan for several minutes. The Turaga sat calmly through Sasi’s lecture while Jakorak, Buna, Zakita, and Trelex struggled to hide their laughter.
When she finished, Norukan stood up from his desk. “I apologize for not warning you about being turned into Toa, but none of you asked what the stones did. If you had, I would have been happy to tell you. At the present moment, however, we have much more important issues to discuss. The threat that I predicted would come to the city has arrived.”
“That’s why we returned from our training, Turaga,” Tanire explained. “We were going to warn you.”
“How do you already know about it?” Jakorak asked.
“I had a certain visitor a couple hours before you arrived. He is not one to be trifled with. He wants to take over the island for his masters to build a base on, and he is more than capable of doing so. You may have heard of him. He is called Makuta Vidaraz.”
“Hold on a second, Turaga,” interjected Jakorak, “Did you just say MAKUTA? So you’re telling me that on top of having a two-headed freak running lose in Gundaru Nui, now we have to deal with the Brotherhood of Makuta? Please tell me I heard you wrong.”
“I wish I could say you had, Jakorak, but sadly, you heard me correctly. The Brotherhood of Makuta wants to build a base on Gundaru Nui, so they sent Vidaraz here to request permission to build, and now that I have refused their demands, he will order his private army, the Karudax, to attack the city. And as for the ‘two-headed freak’ you mentioned, Jakorak; that is called a Dokabez. The Dokabez are part of Vidaraz’s army.”
Verau’s eyes widened in terror, “So you are saying that there is more than one of that thing? It took both me and Buna just to chase it off, how are we supposed to fight an army of them?”
“Hmph, I bet if I was there it would have been a cinch to fight it off,” huffed Hedak. “You don’t really expect to defeat a monster with salad, do you, Verau?” Verau gasped at his comment as he continued, “I mean seriously, something as big as that could crush you – URK!”
Hedak was unable to finish his taunt as a red hand suddenly closed around his neck and lifted him into the air. Buna’s eyes drilled into Hedak’s as he growled, “Don’t you ever talk to Verau like that again, d’you hear me?” Hedak tried to speak, but the only sound that came out was a squeak. The other Toa tried to intervene, but Buna pushed them away with his three free hands. He shook the Toa of Sonics and yelled, “Do you hear me?”
“Enough!” ordered Norukan, and Hedak was unceremoniously tossed to the floor. The Turaga was clearly angry. “How do you expect to save Gundaru Nui if you can’t even handle minor arguments among yourselves? Why do you think Unity is the first of the three virtues?”
“I apologize for our behavior, Turaga,” said Tanire.
“You will have far more than your behavior to apologize for if you lot don’t shape up soon,” Norukan said, glaring at the Toa. “Now, moving back to the issue of Makuta Vidaraz, there is some good news. Thousands of years ago, back when I was a Toa, my team and I fought against him and the Karudax. We were able to defeat him, but only because of his overconfidence. He underestimated our power. Unfortunately, He will not be likely to make the same mistake twice. He will most likely order the Karudax to attack you when you least expect it so he can avoid having to fight you personally. I think the best thing for you to do now is to find a new place for you to continue getting used to your powers.”
“Umm, excuse me?” said Trelex fearfully. He was looking out the huge window of Norukan’s office. “Not to be rude Turaga, but I don’t think there is gonna be much time for that. I think I see something out there, but I’m not totally sure.”
Sasi hurried to the window. She could definitely see something going on in the distance, but she couldn’t make out what it was. She squinted in an effort to see it better when suddenly…
WHIRRR! Pipipipiii! WHIRR!
Suddenly, the thing she was trying to see appeared to grow dramatically in size until it filled her entire field of vision. No, it wasn’t getting bigger; she was zooming in on it! It was her mask power!
Before she was able to celebrate, however, she realized what she was looking at. “Guys? We’ve got trouble. Big, ugly, two-headed trouble.”
A Public Performance
Matoran ran screaming hysterically as the three Dokabez advanced down the street. Hovercars lay smashed in their wake, brought down by the creature’s weapons. Matoran from the Gundaru Nui Police were doing their best to keep them at bay, but their energy blasters hardly made a dent in the creatures’ armor.
One of the Dokabez swung its mace at a hovercar. Its Onu-Matoran driver dove out of the vehicle moments before the weapon connected. It sailed through the air towards a group of fleeing Matoran. They screamed and prepared for impact.
“Hey, Rahi breath, why don’t you pick on somebody your own size!” Zakita yelled as he landed in on front of the frightened Matoran, directly in the path of the wrecked hovercar. He summoned a massive gust of wind, knocking the car from its course and sending it crashing into the side of a building.
Both of the Dokabez’s heads snarled at the Toa of Air.
“I don’t think that will ever get any less disturbing,” Zakita muttered with a shudder. He glanced behind him at the Matoran, who were staring at him. “Get out of here!” he shouted at them, “Get to safety!” The Matoran scurried away.
“Okay, Dokabez, looks like it’s just you and me,” Zakita said as he faced the creature and drew his shuriken.
“Got room for a few more?” came Trelex’s voice from behind him. A lightning bolt flashed and struck the Dokabez head(s) on. “WOOHOO!” the Toa of Electricity cheered.
“Hedak, Aroda, Trelex, you take that one over there,” Tanire shouted, indicating one of the Dokabez. “Pronak, Jakorak, Sasi, you go after that one. Verau, Buna, and I will help Zakita.”
“Will do!” acknowledged Jakorak as he leapt over a wrecked hovercar towards his Dokabez. The massive creature roared and swung its fist, but Jakorak activated his mask power and when the fist met his crossed blades, the Dokabez went flying back and smashed into a wall.
“Right back at you, big guy,” the Toa of Light grinned.
“Hey, whatever happened to ‘ladies first’?” asked Pronak playfully as she hurled a jet of water from her daggers at the Dokabez.
“My turn!” Sasi cried gleefully as the water now covering the dazed creature froze solid.
Her grin faded as the ice began to crack. “Uh oh,” said Jakorak, “This is not gonna be as easy as I thought.” As if in response, the ice covering the Dokabez shattered and flew in every direction. The creature stood up and roared at them.
* * * *
Hedak was, to say the very least, quite pleased with himself. He had been the first to his Dokabez, and he had distracted it by creating the sound of his voice behind it, giving Aroda time to create a few boulders and throw them at the creature’s back, knocking it to the ground.
As the Dokabez got to its feet, Trelex leapt forward and struck its left head with the butt end of his staff. He landed behind it and, using his mask to decrease the friction between him and the ground, he slid under the creature and knocked its legs out from under it with his shield. “Aroda!” he called, “Bury it! Quick, before it gets up!”
“Okay,” Aroda said as the street around the Dokabez gaped open and swallowed it. “How’s that?”
Suddenly the street seemed to collapse in on itself as the Dokabez smashed its way out of its makeshift tomb. It was really angry now, and it jumped forward and brought its mace down on Trelex, who was barely able to get his shield up in time. It struck him with its fist, sending him flying.
“Hey, ugly!” yelled Hedak as he ran at the Dokabez, “Take this!” He jumped and swung his vibro-blade at the creature’s heads. Before the blade made contact, however, the Dokabez turned its head and opened its mouth. It caught the weapon between its massive teeth. The Dokabez punched Hedak hard, knocking him unconscious. The now-unarmed Toa hit the ground hard. Spitting out the Toa tool, he two heads snarled as the Dokabez raised its mace to finish him off.
Before the creature could flatten Hedak with its mace, however, Aroda leapt in front of it and, deflecting the weapon to the side, gave the Dokabez a solid kick to the jaw. It roared in pain, and this time directed its mace at the Toa of Stone, but Aroda dodged the strike and summoned a column of stone out of the ground, which struck the creature in the gut. Aroda jumped up and slammed his fists down on both heads as hard as he could. The Dokabez swayed for a couple seconds, dropped its mace, and fell flat on its faces.
Trelex turned to look at Hedak. “Hey, Hedak, we beat it!” Hedak didn’t respond. “Hedak? Wake up, man!” The Toa of Sonics was completely still. Suddenly, Trelex remembered something from his first-aid class. He concentrated hard on his elemental powers and formed balls of crackling electricity in his hands. He raised his hands above his head and brought them down on Hedak’s chest. He smiled as his teammate’s eyes opened.
“Ow,” said Hedak, “That hurt.”
“Sorry, that was the only way I could wake you up.” Trelex responded.
“Yeah, you almost died,” Aroda added.
“By the way, where’s my…” Hedak trailed off as he noticed a broken sword on the ground a few feet away from the unconscious Dokabez.
When the Dokabez had all been defeated, Hedak showed Tanire his broken blade.
“Can you fix it?” Hedak asked hopefully.
“I think so, but I don’t want to risk ruining it,” Tanire answered.
“Please, just try.”Hedak pleaded.
“Okay, fine. Here, give me the pieces. I’ll see what I can do.”
Hedak gingerly handed the two halves of his vibro-blade to Tanire. The Toa of Metal brought them together and closed his eyes, concentrating hard on the metal in the blade.
He opened his eyes, but the blade was still broken. In fact, it didn’t appear to have changed at all.
“That’s odd,” Tanire said, “It should have at least warped a little.”
“Can I see one of the pieces?” Sasi asked.
“Sure, go ahead,” said Hedak.
Sasi took one of the pieces of the blade and examined it. She thought there was something strange along the break. She activated her mask, and the mechanical eye whirred loudly, and she zoomed in on the blade.
“Hedak, there’s some kind of gooey stuff on your blade. Do you know what it might be?”
Hedak thought, and then cringed as he said, “Ugh, I think that’s Dokabez spit.”
“Eww! Gross!” shrieked Sasi, dropping the blade.
Jakorak thought a bit and said, “Maybe Dokabez saliva is resistant to elemental energies.”
Zakita raised an eyebrow at Jakorak. “Dude, that has got to be your weirdest idea yet.”
“No, hear me out,” Jakorak said excitedly. “I remember that while fighting the Dokabez I fired a laser beam at one of its heads, but instead of hurting it, it looked like its teeth absorbed my power. I’d be willing to bet that it’s the saliva that does it! It neutralizes our elemental energies! That’s why you can’t fix Hedak’s weapon, Tanire!”
“Hmm, you could be on to something, Jakorak,” Tanire said thoughtfully as he scratched his chin.
“That’s wonderful,” said Hedak impatiently, “But that doesn’t change the fact that I lost my Toa tool! What am I supposed to do?”
“We could talk to Turaga Norukan,” suggested Pronak. “Maybe he can help us.”
“Yeah,” agreed Jakorak, “If anyone knows what to do, it’ll be Norukan. Let’s go back to city hall.”
“There is no need to, Jakorak,” came a voice from behind him. The Toa looked to see who it was, and there stood Norukan, flanked by his personal security guards. “What is this problem that requires my knowledge? Nothing drastic, I hope, we already have so much to worry about right now.”
Hedak sheepishly stepped forward and showed the Turaga the remains of his vibro-blade. Norukan thought for a second and said, “Hmm. That seems quite drastic indeed. Don’t worry, however, this should e an easy problem to fix, as we have a Toa of Metal on hand.” He gestured to Tanire.
“Actually, Turaga,” said Tanire, “I already tried that. It didn’t work.” He explained to Norukan what they had discovered about Dokabez saliva.
“That is quite unfortunate. If that won’t work, then I am afraid that it will be impossible to fix your blade, Hedak. However, we should be able to get you a new Toa tool. Do you remember where you selected your Toa tools at the Suva temple?” The Toa nodded. “Excellent. Well, you should be able to go back there and select a new one.”
“Great!” exclaimed Hedak, “So I just walk into the temple and pick out a new Toa tool?”
“Yes, but you must take care. The Karudax is rapidly gathering in ever-increasing numbers, and Vidaraz has probably ordered them to attack any Toa they see. They could be hiding anywhere. You should especially keep an eye out for Meheka. They are small beings, but they are vastly intelligent. You mustn’t underestimate them.”
“Turaga, look out!” Aroda yelled as he grabbed the Turaga and knocked him to the ground. A bolt of yellow energy whizzed past them and exploded where the Turaga had been standing just moments before.
“What the Karzahni was that?” asked Pronak, frantically looking for the source of the blast.
“Look! Up there!” Jakorak pointed at a small green shape that was moving swiftly through the air.
“Was that a Meheka?” asked Zakita.
“Yes, that was,” said Norukan grimly. “You had best get to the temple. Hurry, for there may not be very much time before the Karudax attacks again!”
Hedak hung back behind the other Toa as they walked to the Suva temple. He kicked at a stone on the street. He watched its trajectory and fired a small blast of sound at it, disintegrating the projectile.
He sighed in frustration. He had been so confident that a Dokabez would be no match for him, and yet the thing had knocked him aside as if he had been nothing but a minor nuisance! He felt like such an idiot for putting down Verau like he had in the Turaga's office. He had almost laughed when her eyes had filled with tears at his insult.
"Hey, Hedak, sorry about your Toa tool getting broken," said a quiet voice behind him. He turned around, and he was surprised to see Verau.
Hedak was unsure of what to say to her. He couldn't believe that she was still willing to talk to him after what he had said. "Um, yeah," he stammered, "don't worry about it. I'm getting a new one, right?"
"Yeah, that's true."
An awkward silence passed between them for what seemed to be an eternity.
"I'm sorry for what I said to you earlier. You know, about how you didn't stand a chance against the Dokabez? I didn't know what I was talking about."
Verau was silent for a few seconds, and then she smiled. "Thanks, Hedak. I really appreciate it." With that, she walked away to join the others.
"Wow," Hedak said to himself, "That's a load off my chest."
* * * *
Buna and Sasi stared at Verau in shock.
"Are you pulling my leg?" Buna asked Verau unbelievingly. "He actually APOLOGIZED to you?"
"Yeah, that just doesn't seem right," Sasi agreed. "That jerk, like, never apologizes for anything."
"Hey, cut him some slack," said Verau, "He's gone through a lot lately. It seemed like a real apology to me."
"Whatever you say," Buna said with a shrug. "I still have a hard time believing it."
* * * *
As the Toa neared the Suva temple, Jakorak noticed something unusual around the building.
"Hey guys, look at that!" he said, pointing to the temple. "There's a huge crowd around the Suva temple! I think there's a riot going on!"
"That's odd," Tanire said, scratching his chin, "I wonder what's going on over there. Sasi, could you take a look, please?
"All you had to do was ask," she smiled. Her mask whirred and as she zoomed in on the temple.
"What's going on?" asked Hedak as he ran up to join them.
"There's a riot or something going on at the temple!" Zakita told him.
"What do you see, Sasi?" asked Pronak.
"There’s, like, something really weird about them.” Sasi reported.
"Uhh, why?" asked Aroda.
"Hang on, I'm taking a closer look," Sasi said as she zoomed in further.
"Do you see anything else?" asked Trelex. "C'mon, the suspense is killing me!"
"Uh oh," said Sasi.
"What, what?" pushed Trelex.
"Those are, like, totally not Matoran. They're Meheka! At least fifty of them!"
"We should have expected this," said Tanire, "The one that shot at Turaga Norukan must have been spying on us, and when it left it told its companions. Now they're waiting for us."
"Well, this is just great!" Hedak said, throwing his hands in the air, "How am I supposed to get a new Toa tool with those little creeps around the temple?"
"Don't lose hope just yet," said Trelex, "I have a plan."
"We're doomed," groaned Pronak.
Return to the Temple
“I can’t believe we’re actually going through with this,” complained Sasi, “We’re going to get ourselves killed.” She, Zakita, and Jakorak were hidden in an alley, waiting for Tanire to give the signal to put Trelex’s plan into action.
“I think it might work,” Zakita said with a shrug.
“Shh!” Jakorak hushed them, “Do you want the Meheka to hear us?”
“Guys, get ready!” whispered Zakita, “Tanire just gave the signal!”
For what seemed like an eternity, nothing happened. Then, small puddles of water began forming around the feet of the Meheka. Gradually, the puddles grew bigger and bigger, until they began to merge with each other. Still they grew, until they were all joined into one mini-lake, about an inch deep.