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  3. That wouldn't be D'Anda's fault, at least not directly; in the comic credits, he was always the line artist and had a separate colourist. Colour errors would come from the colourist in question misinterpreting D'Anda and Elliot's lines, which happened fairly often over the comic's run. Though in this case, I wonder if the two red torsos might have been deliberately chosen to make Akamai appear more symmetrical? While the blue may have been mistaken by the colourist as being part of Gali who - if I rememeber rightly - was in the foreground of that shot.
  4. It's nearly time for one of the biggest LEGO conventions in the USA to take place again! BrickFair Virginia starts on Wednesday, July 28th for registered exhibitors and Saturday, July 31st from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, August 1st from 10 AM to 4 PM for ticket holders. While we're not doing a big fancy dinner out of an abundance of caution (the pandemic isn't over yet) we will be hosting a Constraction Combo Build, Constraction Draft, and a Scavenger Hunt for exhibitors during the week. Whether you're there for a day or a week it should be a great time. I know I'm looking forward to hanging out with BZPower members and AFOL friends later this week and can't wait to see many of you there! View the full article
  5. After rightfully taking the weekend off, Kamila from the LEGO Ideas team is back with another 10k Club interview! Head on over to the blog to learn about the LEGO Bookends by Maren Wilker and how this AFOL didn't begin her LEGO journey until her thirties. It's never too late to get into bricks, as Maren shows as she explains her awesome build and the two tries it took to get the required ten thousand votes. Go give the interview a read to see for yourself! View the full article
  6. Honestly, this was one (of many) problems I had with the Hordika back in the day. (The main one being that the sets looked ugly, and the story saying that they're supposed to look ugly didn't help anything.) To me, the Hordika did not have any clear animals they were based on. They were essentially recolored builds with different tools and masks, but the masks did not appear to be any particular animal. Yes, I always got rhino vibes from Nuju and reptilian vibes from Nokama and Matau, but it was all just a little too vague for my tastes. And that's not to say Lego couldn't have done better, because in later years THEY DID. The Barraki were not direct animal replicas, but they had enough design features that it was clearly apparent that Carapar was a crab, Kalmah was a squid, Takadox was a mantis, ext. Of course, in 2005 they hadn't got past the clone builds, but then you could look to the third wave of Hero Factory heroes with the animal motifs. The basic designs of each didn't change, but they had styled weapons that sorta matched their animals, and then they had very details helmets immediately made it clear what animal they were based on. The Hordika could've benefited from either of these routes. I'm sure it was a case that the sets were designed long before the story, so maybe that's where the biggest disconnect is. (Saying they're based on animals when the original designs were just sort of nonspecific "mutations"). But they gave us lackluster sets and kind of an annoying theme to explain them. 2005 was a lousy year. (Although as much as I dislike Web of Shadows, I do have to admit that the animation had finally improved on the third movie.) Obviously, these are my opinions, which are mine, and I know plenty of people would disagree with that, but whatevs.
  7. Yesterday
  8. Sorry for the confusion, there is no mask. That was a copy and paste error.
  9. Hello! Time to downsize the collection a little. I have the following for sale: Sets: 2001: Toa Mata: Fairly good condition, no canister or Instructions, $10 apiece OBO Tahu Kopaka Lewa Pohatu Gali Turaga: No Instruction or box, $7 apiece OBO Nuju Whenua Matau 2003: No canister or instructions, $8 OBO Onua Nuva Lewa Nuva but with mismatched head and regular Miru, not Nuva—$4 Kopaka Nuva— missing half of his blade weapon Rahkshi: Mostly Incomplete, missing a few pieces here or there, no Kraata sorry. See picture. $7 OBO White/Kurahk/weird combo of colors with blue Black/Vohrahk Brown/ Panrahk Green/Lehrahk— largely incomplete, I’ll take whatever offers are out there. 2004: Vahki: No canister or instructions or disk on most of these. (Brown) Zadakh, no disk, canister or instructions (White) Keerakh, no disk, canister or instructions. A few white pieces instead of grey (see picture) (Red) Nuurahk with Disk of Time, in Canister— $10 OBO Masks: Prices are OBO Great Kaukau— 25 cents apiece Peanut butter Kakama— $1 each Kakama Nuva $1 Each Pakari Nuva $1 each 2003 Mask of Shadows— $5 Silver Mask of Light from Makuta Set or from 2010 Takanuva (2)— $3 Each Sparkly Mask of Light from 03— Best offer PIECES Bohrok Shields/Parts— 20 cents apiece 03 Matoran Arms— 20 cents apiece Random Parts: If you want, I’ll scoop a handful of pieces from the pictured bin for two dollars per small sandwich baggie Books: 03 Find the Power Live the Legend book: $3 obo Imgur Link for you to see everything: https://imgur.com/a/Zx7qnnG If possible I'd like to sell the bags of pieces in bulk. Thanks and hopefully you guys want something from this!
  10. I think Exo-Force is the same as Bionicle G2. The series did get off to a great start but my guess is that the theme dragged the Golden City plot for too long and sales plummeted fast. That's why it got dropped.
  11. https://youtu.be/8XElUAMXy0M A small preview of things to come...
  12. number 5: makuta of the melding has my vote. it's just so cool.
  13. It's not. There were loads of serials released that were prequels to certain events. Reading them in release order would be like watching The Clone Wars by their episode number.
  14. It's time to help us pick the winner of the Official BBC Contest #78: The Good 20-20! Head on over to the poll to pick your favorite among the fantastic entries. Which one captures the last twenty years of Bionicle and the BZPower community for you? You have until July 28th at 11:59 PM Eastern to decide, so don't delay. Best of luck to all the great builds - I can't wait to see the results! View the full article
  15. I just recently starting re-reading the comics/books right around when this contest started had some inspiration to create a revamped version of infected Lewa so here's my take. BBC#78 Voting Infected Lewa Revamped Brickshelf Gallery I was a bit limited on pieces as much of my collection is in storage so I made due with what was easily accessible at the time. Might consider updating down the line but pretty happy with how it turned out. Thanks for checking it out and hope you like it enough to vote for it.
  16. 10 - Vohtarak and 5 - Makuta of the Melding look pretty cool, but I think I have to vote for 3 - Le-Koro Platform for the sheer nostalgia.
  17. Final Poll! BBC Contest #78: The Good 20-20! This is it... it's the final round of voting for BBC Contest #78: The Good 20-20! Final Voting begins July 24th and ends July 28th at 11:59 P.M. EST. The contest winner and final voting results will be posted in a separate thread on July 28th. --------------------------------------------------------- BZP Rules and Guidelines --------------------------------------------------------- 1. >>> Harbinger of Floods 2. >>> Infected Lewa Revamped 3. >>> Le-Koro Platform 4. >>> Birth of a Dark Hunter 5. >>> Makuta of the Melding 6. >>> Matoro Inika Rebuild 2.0 7. >>> Dark709 Homage 8. >>> BZTower 9. >>> Pohatu encounters Chirox (bbc 78) 10. >>> Vohtarak 11. >>> Kyro the Refined
  18. Last week
  19. Exactly. It's same for the mouth on Onua's Pakari mask. and the ridges on the yellow Hau. I think it was part of a smoke silhouette scene. However the fact that he made two of Akamai's torso's red and the lowest piece blue is really strange. One of his arms is also light gray which is easily mistaken for a part of Wairuha's shield arm.
  20. I think you need to rethink that. I added a side by side image of onewa and nuju who is more likely to be a rhino with a scope lens.
  21. Happy 20th anniversary, BZPower! I am watching BZP since 2007 and than became a member in 2009 because I love Bionicle, and it’s very nice to share our interests. I hope people in this website stay being Bionicle fans, despite Bionicle and Hero Factory not being there (but I hope they will be if Bionicle wins the vote in Lego Ideas’ Lego 90th anniversary project in 2022).
  22. Thanks to the admins who always made the site safe for children. Thanks to the awesome staff’s blog that made me laugh until I cried. That was that one summer when I nearly died. Your entries brought be so much joy in those sleepless nights. Thanks to the -friend- who so kindly fixed my countless failures of image embedding. Thanks to the one who told stories from across the lawn. Thanks for the monthly name change contests, my bro’ and I thought those were the best. And thanks for letting me stay a while in your field and read the words you wrote on your paper flowers. Thanks for giving me a way to put my admittedly cringe-worthy childhood art on display. Thanks to all the games and fun, when in reality I had no energy to play or run. Thanks, BZP, for all the nights you became my babysitter. I can never express my gratitude for you all. So, Instead I tried to draw the possible BZPgram mascot? Mascat? Scan (Pencil, mechanical pencil on 9x12 watercolor paper. Sorry it’s rough, was rushed after seeing this post and my wrist wasn’t having it. XD ) Thanks again!
  23. Chapter 56: Tension ---- Hertz lay unmoving in his hospital bed. To his left lay elite agent Rotor; the pilot had bandages covering much of his face but still had enough strength and mental capacity to turn the pages of A Tale of Two Cities. To his right lay Cabin. Mrs. Bishop's attack had proved to be especially brutal on the bystander, and the elite agent lay unmoving beside her heart monitor. She had a white cast covering her entire face and her eye were closed beneath the narrow slits. The doctors assured him that Cabin would live and make a full recovery, but she would bear the scars for most of her life. Both had suffered concussions, but the brain damage would prove to be minimal. Pierce had done a spectacular job repairing Cabin's skull fractures, but her nose would always be crooked. Hertz sighed. What had the Dino Attack become when violent brawls happened on a daily basis? These fights only divided the team further and led to greater distress. People like Trigger and Sarah Bishop needed to be held responsible and be punished, but it seemed that, with the war already on multiple fronts, there was no one to do the job. ***** Solomon watched the fight between Zelda and Nazareno with considerable interest. He had already inquired if the space ninja carried any extra swords, but sadly Nazareno only possessed his two. This led the philosopher to the Dino Attack armory. Although it held a plethora of strange and unusual weapons, including muskets, bananas, and pointy sticks, the katana were far below Solomon's standards. He had a strong knowledge of swordsmanship from his time as a Sentinel. During that time, he had undergone rigorous training as a Samurai before converting to Shinobi during his time with XERRD. Although he respected Nazerano's skill, he considered his fighting style slightly uncivilized compared to his more elegant schooling as a Samurai. He resolved to challenge the ninja to a friendly spar once he had located a suitable weapon. Solomon left the armory empty-handed, aside from a Luger P08 that he hid beneath his robe. The doctor checked his watch. Fifteen minutes until he promised to confront Trigger. He smiled; the mercenary would make an optimal example of the lengths he would go to prove his loyalty. ---- Exactly what happened then, Schiess could hardly remember as it all happened so quick, but the next thing he knew he was out of the building running for the car. Quickly, he opened the passenger side door, stepped inside, and put down the briefcase before looking Montoya in the eye. "GET OUT OF HERE!" Schiess shouted. "What?" gasped Montoya. "What about the others?" "I'll tell you later, just go!" Without thinking, Montoya hit the ignition and got out of his parking spot before he started driving away as fast as he could. Schiess held his breath, until their car was so far away from Dacta Corporation that he could not even see the building in the rear view window. Sweat drenched his forehead, and he desperately hoped that she was not a biker girl who would pursue them in a climatic car chase. Upon realizing that motorcycles were far too loud for her style, Schiess allowed himself to relax a little. "Mind telling me what's going on?!" shouted Montoya, who kept his eyes locked on the road ahead of them. Unfortunately, it nearly midnight on a stormy night, and he could only see the next few feet of highway ahead of him that were illuminated by the car's headlights. He had a lit cigarette in his mouth and hadn't the time to put it out when Schiess showed up. "It's her," Schiess said with a shudder. "That 4+ Figure double-crossed us! We should have known better than to trust her!" Montoya paled. Since their team of mercenaries consisted of seven men and one woman, Schiess did not need to name her in order for Montoya to figure out what he meant. "And the others? She didn't..." Schiess nodded grimly. "Oh my Builder," whispered Montoya. "But at least we got away, right?" Schiess looked down at the briefcase in his lap. "And we've got the blueprints. Mission accomplished." He pulled out his cellphone and called the president of Mindstorms, Inc. "Mr. Uærlig Sindstorme? This is Schiess. I've got the documents you requested, but Silencia Venomosa-" Then, Schiess caught sight of perhaps the most disturbing thing he had ever seen in his life. In the rear-view mirror, he saw a dark shape clinging onto the passenger side of the car. He caught a glint of light as it reflected off a knife raised in the air. "-is on our car!" he screamed to Montoya. "What?" gasped Montoya. "She must've hitched a ride before we pulled out! Grabbed onto our trunk or climbed onto our roof or something!" "Where is she?" "Passenger side!" Schiess pointed out the window. "Well, what do you want me to do?" "Knock her off! Drive into the guardrails!" "But-" "Just do it!" snapped Schiess. Montoya complied, and their car swerved to the right. It grinded against the right highway guardrail, sending sparks flying into the air and creating a horrible noise of metal scratching metal. "Did I get her?" asked Montoya, whose eyes were locked dead forward. Schiess looked past Montoya and saw the dark shape now on the driver's side of the car. Shaking his head vigorously, Schiess pointed and shouted, "No! Driver's side, now!" "Oh, MegaBloks!" gasped Montoya as he dared to quickly glance to his left and saw the dark shape that had to be her. Quickly, he turned the wheel and slammed the car into the left guardrail. As Montoya did so, Schiess glanced up at the sunroof and saw the dark shape pass overhead. Thinking quickly, he pulled out his gun and shot at the roof of the car. Even as he shouted, "Passenger side!", Schiess dared to roll down his window, poke his head and weapon out, and fire at the dark shape clinging to the car. But as Montoya tried to swerve the car to the right again, the dark shape disappeared behind the car and popped out again on the driver's side. "Driver's side!" The car swerved to the left, then to the right, then to the left again, as Montoya desperately tried to shake off the dark shape and Schiess fired his gun whenever and wherever he could. This process could not have possibly lasted more than a minute, but it felt like an eternity of terror to Schiess and Montoya. "Where is she now?" cried Montoya. Schiess looked out his window and saw the dark shape just below him. This time, in addition to seeing the glint of light reflecting off a knife, he could make out her facial features and her long dark hair blowing in the wind. Schiess fired his pistol at her and, as she darted to the side, grabbed the cigarette out of Montoya's mouth and threw it at her. The burning cinder forced her to maneuver awkwardly, and in the process, she let go. To Schiess's surprise, this did the trick. The dark shape vanished, and as he looked in the rear-view mirror, he was relieved to see her body rolling on the wet road behind them. Sighing in relief, Schiess leaned back in his chair. "It's over. We got her." Montoya, who was now just as sweat-drenched as Schiess, grinned. "I can't believe it!" he said as he laughed nervously. He reached down, grabbed another cigarette, and lit it to celebrate their victory. "We're going to make it! We're..." His smile disappeared. "What's that noise?" Schiess's eyes widened as he heard a most terrible series of sounds... the sounds of popping tires. Too late, he realized what she had been doing on their car. "She slashed our tires!" he cried, but it was too late. Without tires, the car's wheels skidded across the wet road, sending sparks in the air. Montoya gripped onto the wheel and slammed on the brakes with terror, but that did nothing to stop their car as it swerved left and right, slammed into another car, crashed through a guardrail, and landed upside-down in a ditch. Battered and bruised, dizzy and nauseous, Schiess struggled to stay conscious. He shook Montoya, and to his relief, his partner was still alive. But as he looked out the windshield at the highway on which they were driving, what he saw filled him with the most undiluted form of terror imaginable. There she was. Silencia Venomosa. Although she was cloaked in shadow, it was undoubtedly her. Her long, dark hair billowed in the harsh storm wind, as did her longcoat. In one hand, she still gripped onto that terrible knife, seeming to glow as light reflected off its shining surface. Her cold eyes pierced through the night, looking directly at Schiess. And still, with an eerie silence so unnatural that it could not possibly be of this world, she walked slowly but steadily towards their car with the terrifying poise and air of a serpent about to strike. And as Schiess beheld this horror, the car caught on fire. ---- "I really don't want to talk about Dust," Saran said calmly. "You're welcome to ask a question about myself, but I don't want to talk about other people." "I want to hear what you think about the Egyptian," Lutsky said stubbornly. "Why does it matter to you?" asked Saran. The doctor was growing concerned. He walked a narrow space between helping Lutsky open up and becoming the one being interviewed. The Hannibal Lector gambit was always a risk in psychology. If Saran refused to talk about himself, the subject would become uncomfortable and lose trust; on the other hand, if he lost control of the interview, Saran might find himself at the mercy of a sociopath. He kept his composure and continued to keep the conversational area about the talk. "Why does it matter to you what I think about Mr. Thutmose?" repeated Saran. "Because he's a madman!" yelled Lutsky. "And I need to know whether or not he's manipulating you!" This was a surprising answer for the psychologist. "Mr. Lutsky, I never met Mr. Thutmose in my life," said Saran. "Prove it," demanded the ex-commander. "Prove the son of a 4+ Figure is not in your head." Saran sighed, "Mr. Lutsky, you know very well I can't prove that to you. You just need to trust me." "Bah," spat Lutsky. "Trust." "Do you have a problem with trust, Carl?" asked Dr. Saran, intrigued. "No," he responded. "But when there are people like him running around, you can never be too careful." "Mr. Lutsky," Dr. Saran said slowly. "You do know that Dust is dead right?" "Yes, I killed the man," said Carl Lutsky. "But that does not make him less dangerous. He's still playing tricks; he's still trying to destroy everything I worked for." "Everything you worked for?" the psychologist asked as he raised an eyebrow. "I mean we," said the ex-commander, backtracking. "He's still in our heads, trying to destroy us, the Dino Attack Team." "But how can he do that when he's dead?" Lutsky suddenly laughed hysterically. "Because he's still alive!" ***** Minerva closed her eyes as Zach finished his tale yet again. "Really?" she said in an almost exasperated tone. "Yeah." "So now you can shoot lightning and fireballs composed of the Maelstrom, right?" she asked. "I'm only limited by my own energy. So I think I'll limit the use of the Maelstrom to a 'last resort' type situation." Minerva nodded. "It's probably for the best." She turned her head. "Oh, they're fighting again." Zelda and Nazareno clashed swords violently. Nazareno moved swiftly and quickly as he struck repeated blows against Zelda. Whenever she managed to get a chance to go on the offense, Zelda was just as quick, though not nearly as graceful as the space ninja. "I'm curious," Nazareno said casually as his parried a swing from Zelda. "Have you trained with a sword prior to this meeting?" "A lot," Zelda said, jumping up from a swing to her ankles. "A hobby I never really dropped after leaving Pirates Forbidden Island." Nazareno's eyes widened substantially. "Pirates Forbidden Island? Were you formerly a pirate?" Zach easily noticed that Nazareno's voice had become colder, more irritated. "No," Zelda said quickly. She could feel the hostility as well. "My parents were. My dad sent me to World City when the Skeleton Pirate War took my mother's life. He died in that war not long afterwards." "Hmm," Nazareno murmured, smashing his sword against Zelda's more aggressively than before. The crowd could hear the swords crack roughly. "Rather interesting you should now be training under a ninja." Zach could see where Nazareno was coming from. There was a well-known rivalry between Pirates and Ninjas, both on the LEGO Planet and elsewhere. Captain Brickbeard had started a rivalry between his pirate crew and the ninjas of this planet in the previous year and often had clashed. Elsewhere, he was aware of conflicts between Ninjas and Pirates in the Nimbus System. It was clear from Nazareno's change of tone and aggressiveness that he did not hold pirates very highly. "Yeah," Zelda said softly, quickly swinging up her sword to block a blow to her chest. "I don't think you should hold my upbringing against me though. I dropped any dream of being a pirate long ago." Nazareno blinked once. "Of course. My apologies." He bowed his head once before striking against Zelda again. "I had a rather... unfortunate meeting with several pirates once. Despite my training, I have not quite learned to let go just yet." He swung his sword upward, knocking Zelda's back. He then swung his foot out, clipping her knees. Zelda swore softly as she fell to the ground. "You really take any opening you get," she mused as she quickly climbed back to her feet and blocked Nazareno's sword again. "Even if you have to make one." "A certain evolution I was forced to undergo," Nazareno said calmly, but Zach could see the fire return to his eyes. "I once preferred a more civilized, perhaps honorable fighting style. However, I was forced to change style after nearly being killed." "By who?" Zelda asked curiously as she tapped the flat side of her blade on Nazareno's wrist. He grunted and quickly tossed his sword into his other hand and continued the fight. "A nasty individual named Matthew Vherestorm. An extremely feared assassin and terrorist throughout the LEGO Universe. He was less known here, but he still completed a job here once or twice. He was cold, arrogant, and you definitely didn't want to get on his wrong side. He worked with a wide collection of scoundrels, from small-time thugs in the back alleys of Sector 6 to dangerous work with high-class individuals such as Silencia Venomosa herself. His only redeeming feature was that he was exceptionally polite, no matter what he was doing." "So, I assume you know him well?" Zelda said, her eyes widened at this lengthy description. Nazareno nodded solemnly and kicked Zelda in the stomach, knocking her back. "I became tasked with taking him down. You could say it grew into an obsession between the both of us. He toyed with me, I toyed with him. He'd intentionally lead me places just so we could talk. Almost always ended with fighting with no victor. He, I would say, was my most fearsome and worthy opponent. "And so Vherestorm was pulling off a hijacking stunt against an Explorien operation on Mondo II. I confronted him and, to say the least, it was fierce. A battle that took us through the facility that was slowly and surely running out of oxygen thanks to Vherestorm. I was critically wounded by him after he used an underhanded tactic to defeat. He escaped and left me to die in a near-empty oxygenless building. If I had not been found by the Space Police a few moments later, I would have perished." The crowd was dead silent at this point. Zelda and Nazareno's fight continued despite this. "Realizing I could not allow such an incident to happen again, I adjusted my style to better deal with Vherestorm and cowardly thugs who dared to challenge me." "Did you ever catch this... Matthew Vherestorm?" Zelda asked. "Unfortunately, no. He disappeared abruptly in 2007, and not a word has been heard from him since. I've checked out other incidents, thinking he may be using a different alias. Nothing. Every lead I had did not resemble Vherestorm in the slightest and if they had, their fighting skills were nothing compared to Vherestorm's skill with a katana." Zach watched as Nazareno smashed his sword upon Zelda's, destroying his own. It was interesting. He had never even thought about Nazareno's backstory. It sounded fascinating, to say the least. Vherestorm… I've heard that name from somewhere. Probably in the news. He continued to muse on Nazareno's recently-revealed background as he watched the ninja in question go against a sword-wielding Zelda without a weapon of his own. ***** It hadn't changed at all, physically. The injection needle, the one Andrew was positive had been used on Claw so many months ago, had sat in his closet gathering dust and a bit of ash ever since he came back from LEGO Island and found it. He had been led to it by those dreams, those strange dreams which seemed to spring up irregularly and vaguely about past, present, future, and a whole bunch of things he couldn't begin to understand. Andrew held it in his hand, having stopped by his room to finally do something with it. It was weird, how things had gone since he had last touched it. First, there was the bring-up of the DNA Device, that thing that had been connected to Reptile's history that had seemed to be related to his own goals but had turned out not so. In retrospect, Andrew couldn't really understand how he could've envisioned somehow finding a way to work it, though he supposed if things had worked out differently, an opportunity would've opened somehow. Fate had a way of doing that with Dino Attack. Then, there was the factor of the Maelstrom. A curious thing, that was. Andrew had gotten the idea it could've been used to power the DNA Device or some other form of transfiguration, but after some time and fantasy dreaming, it had hit him during the fortress "infiltration" of the gravity of the situation. Trying to use the Maelstrom for one's own desires was pretty much how the Mutant Dino war started, and it was clear to him then that if he continued on his path, he'd likely end up in a position far, far, far from his desired one. And then came a strike of irony and an opening through the looking glass. One of his comrades, a fellow LEGO Islander, no less, gets ensnared by the Maelstrom and becomes a highly notable figure in the then-emerging new enemy force. The image of his plain, spectacle-wearing, red-headed face getting tainted by red eyes, purple hair, and an arm fused to a gun was like a gross mockery of what Andrew had wanted to do... and what he might've become. That alone was plenty of motivation to join Minerva in saving him. The moment where that other Stromling Zach had been with (What was his name? Alma? Omaha?) tried to take his mind had been a little enlightening, though also a little confusing. He supposed the important thing that had come out of that was that he had finally convinced himself (and his "consciousness" or whatever) of the importance of not getting distracted by desire and focusing on the task at hand. And that he might want to look a bit more into this after the war if he wanted to understand these freaky "desires" better. And that he might be involved with some weird interests in his future. And now came one last factor. Pterisa, the Minifig/Mutant Pterosaur Hybrid who showed up out of nowhere at the Maelstrom temple. First hiding her identity under the veil and helmet of a strong lightning-shooting samurai, her reveal had shown not only her form, but her concerns with being accepted among standard Minifigs, displayed dramatically by her nervous breakdown. Andrew had never really thought about how, if he had managed to acquire physical changes, he would go about trying to return to her daily life. Thinking about it more did bring about both many practical concerns about his living arrangements and social concerns about how others might take it. True, it was silly in this day and age to think scientists would drag you into a dark room to be dissected, but there were legitimate concerns to be had about how others might treat you, based on whatever fears or prejudices they might have. He supposed now that helping Pterisa now with her semi-formal entry into Dino Attack as an ally to the cause was a reflection of his desire to ensure the best acceptance she could get into the team. The more he could do to help her ease into the normal environment of Dino Attack, and the more he could ensure others wouldn't be treating her with hostility or extreme refusal, the more he could put those concerns about non-Minifig acceptance to rest. So what did all this have to do with the needle? Simple. The needle he was holding represented who he had been before Adventurers' Island. What his goals were and how he was planning things. It was quite similar, yet quite different from who he was now. And now it was time to take care of that. After one last look, Andrew looked at the trash bin in his room and tossed the needle in there. It clanged on the interior side and landed on some papers he had tossed a while back when he first arrived. Technically not the best disposal method, Andrew thought, but it serves well for symbolism purposes. And with that, Andrew left the room and headed for the recreation room. He had told Laxus and Pterisa he would meet them there after handling his business in here, and he was anxious to get down there. He had something in mind, and it involved the Dino Cop box set some agent had left in the rec room recently. ***** "I don't see it," said Crusher. "You sure about this?" "I don't know," replied Pierce. "All I know is what Medic mentioned. I was hoping maybe we could figure out the tools, but at this point, I can't make heads or tails of his brain." Pierce started to put aside his scalpel and stepped down from the table as Wade lowered Medic's body. "What's going on in here?" said a voice from behind them. Pierce looked up to see a strange man in a fedora. "My name's Bogart. Private Detective. I'm here to investigate the murders that have been taking place. You are-" "Alan Pierce," replied Pierce. "I take it your friend here was one of the victims," said Bogart. "More or less," said Pierce. "Any idea who did it?" "That's what we were trying to work out," replied Pierce. "The man here, Luzwheit, talked about some process by which he could project the last things a victim saw. I was hoping to figure it out, but we couldn't." "Do you have anything that could be useful?" asked Bogart. "We do have one thing," said Pierce. "There was recording of his last few minutes. I don't know how much use it will be to you, but I can play it anyway." "Alright," said Bogart. "Let's give it a listen." They played the tape once more for Bogart. As Dietrich Luzwheit spoke on the recording, Bogart motioned towards Medic's body and asked, "That's him?" Pierce nodded. After the tape came to sudden stop, Bogart said, "Interesting." He removed a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. "You mind if I smoke?" "Yes, actually," Pierce replied sternly. "This is a hospital." Bogart sighed and put the cigarettes back in his pocket. "He said, 'Nein, it couldn't be,'" Bogart said. "From that shocked reaction, it would be logical to assume that whoever did this was someone he knew well, someone who would be the last person we'd suspect of committing the murder." "That explains a lot," Crusher sarcastically commented. "There is one other piece of evidence," continued Bogart. He produced the bloodied knife from his pocket. "One of your teammates found this lodged into the back of one of the murder victims. Do any of you recognize it?" Pierce took the knife and looked it over before handing it back to Bogart. "Never seen it before." "This knife must have belonged to someone, someone who knew how to stab a man in the back. Now tell me something, if you knew anyone on this team could be the mole, who would be the last person you'd expect?" Pierce and the other doctors took a moment to think about it. "I don't know," replied Pierce. "I mean, isn't that the point of being the last person I'd expect?" ---- Schiess could not get the car door open. Sweating profusely, he unbuckled his seatbelt and repeatedly kicked the windshield with all his strength. At last, his boot broke through the glass. He wasted no time climbing out of the burning car, hardly even noticing as Montoya also made it out. The two mercenaries were forced to run off on foot, putting as much distance between themselves and their pursuer as they could. Unable to help himself, Montoya stole a glance backward. He could see Silencia Venomosa standing at the edge of the highway. She was completely motionless for a few moments, staring at the fiery wreckage of their car. Then, finally, she turned around and walked away. Montoya let out a long sigh of relief, realizing that she must have believed they perished in the fire. What had stopped her from getting any closer to investigate and confirm their deaths? He did not know, but he was not about to deny this good fortune. Schiess and Montoya walked a certain distance in the rain before finally finding a small motel that was still open, and one which conveniently still had a double room. It was only a moment as a soaked Montoya placed a key in the slot in the door before he opened it and stepped inside, followed by Schiess. "I can't believe it," Schiess muttered. "That MegaBloking 4+ Figure set us up." "I tried to tell you," replied Montoya. "I knew there was something wrong about her." Schiess took a moment to remove his jacket. "So everybody's dead?" Montoya asked. "I know Verbal, Deniro, and Keaton are dead," replied Schiess. "I don't know what happened to Scorsese or Orange." "You think there's a chance they're still alive?" wondered Montoya. "Not with Venomosa running around," said Schiess. "What about the blueprints?" "Znap it," Schiess muttered, facepalming in frustration. "I left them in the car." "What's the plan, then?" Montoya asked. Schiess sighed. "Tomorrow morning, I tell our employer what happened, we get our money if possible, and then we get out of town, lay low for a while. I don't know about you, but I don't like double-crossers. That's why, when she's not expecting it, when for her this is 'just Tuesday', I'll be there to put a bullet in her MegaBloking head. I think it would do us all a great favor." Montoya smiled as he sat down on one of the beds. "In the meantime, I'd suggest you and your girlfriend get out of town soon," Schiess said. "If Silencia finds her and she learns you're still alive, she will find you, she will hunt you, and she will kill you." Montoya knew that Schiess was right. Silencia Venomosa was out there. She couldn't be bargained with; she couldn't be reasoned with. She didn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And she absolutely would not stop, ever, until he was dead. Reluctantly, Montoya reached for the phone and dialed a number before putting it to his ear. "Hello," he said. "Hey Debbie, it's me. Listen, baby, I need you to pack a bag. Look, I can't explain right now, I'll tell you later, just pack a bag and wait for me, I'll come get you tomorrow morning." ---- Trigger quickly closed the phone book and turned the dial on the ridiculously outdated payphone the team had installed into the wall outside the cafeteria. "Hello," he said. "Antarctic affairs. Yes, I need you to pass a message to a friend of mine. His name's Montoya. Tell him it's from a friend of his, named Schiess. I want you to simply tell him, I found her, see if you can get him in contact as well." As Trigger finished his phone call, Shiller muttered, "Ya think that counts as funny business?" "I dunno," Wright replied quietly. "I think we can let that slide unless this Montoya guy actually shows up in person for a killing spree." They followed a short distance behind Trigger as he stalked away from the telephone, hanging back far enough to grant the mercenary his personal space, but, true to their word, never letting him out of their sight. He shot them glares occasionally, which Shiller answered with a sarcastic salute, or a smile and wave. Wright snickered and sharply jabbed Shiller in the ribs with her elbow. "Stop it, you'll just make him madder," she whispered. "I don't think that's possible," Shiller whispered back, punching her shoulder. ***** Loop crept through the halls of the Dino Attack Headquarters, expertly avoiding most attention. Sneaking about, however, would attract the attention of any security cameras, so he was forced to appear nonchalant. His third eye was beginning to itch. Not for the first time, he cursed the superfluous visual organ -- an accidental development, but one that Cane had decided to keep for the menacing appearance it provided, or so the explanation had gone -- and resisted the compulsion to pull off the strip of cloth he'd tied around his forehead to conceal it. He got a few odd looks from passing agents, but this owed mostly to his torn and ragged black uniform, which was fortunately in enough disarray that none of the passersby realized at a glance that it was not the uniform of the DINO team. Even more fortunate was the fact that he did not run across anyone who would have recognized him. He was also able to quickly ascertain the dire situation which now engulfed almost the entire headquarters. Loop grinned slightly -- this could be advantageous... He soon reached the barracks and located an empty room, moving quickly to one of the closets. Time for a wardrobe change. ***** Hotwire was familiar enough with Shiller's tenacity to be certain that the man would follow Trigger like they were chained together, and from the impression he'd gotten of Wright, he felt pretty certain he could say the same of her. He chuckled slightly. Those two are too perfect together. So... no worries on that front. The only other matter of concern at the moment was the Second Headquarters Squad, and the identity of the killer who was hunting them down. After finally retrieving his crutch from the mess hall, he asked around, concerning the location of the various remaining members of the squad, and then headed in the direction of the so-called "safe room". As he approached, he saw Amanda, Greybeard, Frozeen, and Vinyaya rushing toward the broken doorway... out of which was billowing thick, black smoke. Vinyaya coughed as smoke began to clear out. She had been searching for Specs when she heard panicked screams coming from this hallway. More agents arrived after hearing the screams. Even as the smoke drifted into the hallway, Vinyaya could clearly see a body laying outside of the room. Vinyaya slowly approached the facedown body and flipped it over. It was agent Scout with several stab wounds in his chest. She frowned as she raised her head. Hotwire hurried over and joined the group. "Any idea what happened here?" he asked the Space Police officer. Vinyaya gave him a grim look. "Nothing good, that's all I can tell." Amanda led the way into the room, and a shocking scene met the eyes of the agents present. ***** "Excuse me? I think I might know who the mole is." Bogart and Pierce both turned at the new voice. A Dino Attack agent stood behind them, having somehow entered without them or any of the other doctors and medics noticing. The agent wore a grey bandanna on his head, pulled all the way down to his eyebrows. "Who are you?" the detective demanded. "Standard Agent Spiral," the minifig said, with only a moment's hesitation. "Talk," said Bogart. "I need a lead, and I'll take any help I can get." ***** Though his face didn't betray it, Mort was engulfed by inner conflict. The man who'd been his best friend for years was back from the dead... as the very thing they both had once sworn to destroy. He stared at the drone through the two-way mirror of the interrogation room; his identity had indeed been determined. It was, of course, completely impossible for Swerve's face to betray any emotion at all, but he'd begun to feel that same conflict himself as his memories returned, as well as many of the same puzzling questions that had occurred to Mort immediately. How can I remember any of this? That's just not how Ogel Drones work. Swerve glanced over at the mirror on the wall and, for the first time, experienced a wave of revulsion at his own appearance. He tore off the black cap affixed to his head and tossed it away in disgust, covering his face with his skeletal hands. I hope the Dino Attack uniforms include masks or hoods or something. ***** Katerina entered the mess hall. She sent Wolfgang to fetch some food while she sat down at a table, with Rainer on her left, and lay her ShadowTech uniform's jacket across the seat to her right. She looked up and noticed a man in a dark suit, beige trenchcoat, and fedora walking quickly towards her table. "May I help you?" she said evenly as he sat down across from her. "Katerina Schattenberg?" the man said, flashing a badge at her. "The name's Bogart. I'd like a word with you. I'm told you may know quite a bit about the strange deaths that have been occurring this morning..." Katerina's attention drifted over to an agent who'd entered behind Bogart, and now stood in the doorway watching her. He looked familiar... impossibly familiar. It cannot be, she thought. He fell on Adventurers' Island. Still... that grey bandanna concealed his entire forehead, and you never knew what could be underneath.... The agent noticed her watching and gave her a grin and a wink. And then she noticed that Bogart was looking at her impatiently. "Excuse me?" she said. The detective sighed. "I said, what do you know about the strange deaths that have been happening? I've been informed you may have... extra knowledge on this matter, so choose your words carefully." ***** Vinyaya started walking into the room and, despite years of dealing with incidents such as this, she was still gasped. Three people laid most certainly laid dead in this room. Agents Heavy and Soldier were obvious to pick out with bullet and knife wounds on their bodies. The headless man wearing a suit was harder to identify, but she figured he was the agent called Spy who was also a member of the Second Headquarters Squad. Elite Agent Rex also lay on the floor, away from his wheelchair. Agent Claw pushed past Vinyaya and ran to Rex's side. A few seconds later, Claw turned to the rest of the group. "He's still alive. He's just unconscious." She sounded extremely relieved. "Then he may know who this infiltrator is," Vinyaya said with a hint of triumphant. "Get him to the hospital wing. Right now, he's our best chance finding this killer." Claw, with the help of Greybeard, got Rex back into his wheelchair and she started pushing him out of the room. As she watched him leave, a sudden thought occurred to Vinyaya that Rex could have possibly been the one who killed the members of the Second Headquarters Squad. It was unlikely, but why would the mole kill everyone else and leave Rex alive? "I've got a bad feeling about this," Vinyaya muttered. She turned back to the group of agents. "Someone go with Claw and Rex and keep guard. This mole may try to tie up some loose end." At this, Alpha Team agent Frozeen nodded to Vinyaya before turning and leaving the room as well. Vinyaya walked through the bodies and approached the headless corpse of Jim Covalent. Curious. While the rest of the victims' deaths were as clean as you could get being stabbed or shot, Spy's head was blown up. She wasn't sure how this factored into anything, but she kept the thought in the back of her head. "How many be left o' th' Second Headquarters Squad?" Greybeard asked. "Engineer was the first one killed. I believe Medic was killed shortly afterwards while trying to perform an autopsy," Vinyaya said. "So Pyro and Demoman are the only ones left," Hotwire finished. "Definitely a sad sight to see," Vinyaya mused. "The nine of them took back Gold City with no casualties on their side at all. Such a cruel fate to come back to celebrate their astounding victory only to be picked off one by one by an infiltrator." Hotwire nodded in agreement. Vinyaya turned to two other agents in the background. "Go to the hospital wing and get some stretchers. We need to take these bodies to there for further analysis." Wordlessly, the two agents nodded and departed the room as well. ***** Commander Pharisee was built like an ox. He stood 6'9" and muscle covered every inch of his body. He was the image of peak physical shape and saw himself as a prophet of the law. Pharisee prided himself in his lack of empathy. Empathy leads to weakness, and weakness was unacceptable when fighting his sacred battle against injustice in the organization he had pledge to serve and defend. As the head of D.I.N.O. internal affairs, it was his job to stop and punish troublemakers and traitors within the unit. With the thousands of agents currently working in the Dino Attack, it was no surprise that many were crooked and came from questionable amoral backgrounds. Pharisee believed that dangerous men on the inside were the biggest danger to the success of the mission and the safety of the planet. It was under his own piety that he dedicated his mission. The feelings and emotions that drove the men he hunted mattered nothing to Pharisee. He had developed immunity to sob stories of his foes. Their reasons mattered nothing in the face of his code. One of the problems with his line of work was mystery surrounding the agents he investigated. Instead of performing the work himself, Digger had handed off the task of investigating Amanda Claw and Trigger to Pharisee. Standard agents Claw and Remous each had files at the headquarters. Together, they provided a relatively extensive history of Amanda Remous, the woman now known as Claw, dating back to her childhood in LEGO Town. It told of a pair of siblings, Amanda and Roger, who were kidnapped by a mob boss by the name of Don Bricassius. Bricassius had tortured the children until they told him how to access the family fortune. The criminal killed their parents and the butler before stealing everything they had. As a result, Amanda became a selective mute. It was here that all history of Amanda disappeared. While Remous's file continued to thoroughly document the life of Roger, Claw's own file was scant. The woman seemed to have the vanished from the world for the next decade and she did not reappear until the Dino attack in 2010. This concerned Pharisee. People don't just disappear, and usually evidence can be found unless someone is actively hiding it. It was unclear whether it was agent Claw or another shady individual keeping the secrets, or even if the late agent Remous had withheld information on his younger sister to protect her, but Pharisee intended to find out. Digger had instructed him to research the terrorist named Silencia Venomosa and a quick LEGOOGLE search revealed that the woman had been behind a number of acts of violence, including a hospital fire and a gruesome incident at Mindstorms. Checking the time frame of Venomosa's activity, Pharisee was surprised to find they correlated with Amanda's absence. This was hardly a coincidence; during Venomosa's career, Don Bricassius had also been murdered in his home. Pharisee suspected the woman might have taken her newfound infamy to get close to the kingpin and take revenge. Of course, this was all circumstance. Pharisee would need more evidence if he hoped to make an arrest. He placed Claw's file aside and opened the next report on his desk. Standard agent Snake was a criminal who had already assaulted another member of the team. The man had a short fuse and appeared to only be involved with the Dino Attack for his own personal reasons. Pharisee did not approve of a convict on the team, particularly an unrepentant one. His tolerance of men like Snake was nonexistent, and their disregard for society and the code of conduct was unwelcome. The elite agent did not care about Snake's reasons for robbing that bank. He would not care if it were to buy medicine for his dying mother. There needed to be retribution paid, and under no circumstances would he consider the Dino Attack as a "get out a jail" free-for-all. This was not an attempt to atone for his crimes and help the world. It was an act of cowardice to escape the punishment he deserved. He would not allow men like Snake to attack Dino Attack agents and get away with it. In addition, there was the man known only as Trigger. His real name was unknown, but based on what research Pharisee could recover, he had also used the alias Schiess. Trigger had had dealings with Venomosa in the past and left a trail of bodies in his wake. He had already attacked agent Claw once and reports had it that he threatened to kill her as well. In addition, there was a great amount of mystery around Trigger's past. The commander hated secrets, especially those being kept by the lowest levels of society like him. Trigger was undoubtedly dangerous and a rogue. Without respect for the unit and the law as a whole, there could be no peace. Trigger was a disgrace, and Pharisee vowed to make an example of him and Snake. After the two convicts were locked in the cell, there could be order. He would then move on to Sarah Bishop. True, she may have had a bone to pick with Rotor, but her motivation was irrelevant. Mrs. Bishop was only a rookie member of the Dino Attack, but that did not take her out of elite agent Pharisee's personal jurisdiction. She would need to repent for her acts of dissidence. Pharisee's methods were to pay violence unto violence. If they chose to not go willingly, he would pay unto them a reckoning beyond their wildest comprehension. Pharisee would turn the chaos that thrived within the souls of these men into order. And there would be peace. As head of internal affairs, he would make these agents work together and respect the book. Only then could they succeed. Commander Pharisee was a righteous man, and this was his sacred mission. His will be done. ---- With five of the mercenaries dispatched by her knife and the remaining two undoubtedly having perished in that flaming wreckage on the side of the road, Silencia Venomosa immediately returned to Mindstorms, Inc. Her first goal was to slip into the security office, slit the throats of whoever was unlucky enough to be there at the time, and disable the security cameras. This was accomplished quickly and silently. Once that was out of the way, she was free to finish the job. Along the way, she sneaked up on security guards and cut their throats while making her way to the elevators. As she approached the metal doors, they slid open, and she ducked to the side to avoid being seen as a grizzled elderly man in a long coat, a young redhead in a nice suit, a scientist with messy hair and spectacles, and a tall, stern man with a nasty burn scar stepped out of the elevator. As soon as they passed, she darted inside the elevator. Just before the elevator doors shut, a voice called: "Hey, you! Stop!" A line of security guards rushed towards the elevator, brandishing their guns. Silencia Venomosa frowned. Even if she preferred to use her knife due to its effective and deadly silence, she carried around a gun of her own, which, while not nearly as silent as she would like, was custom designed to greatly reduce the sound of the gunshot. She turned around, drew her gun, and fired at the security guards. She took down three of them before the doors shut. But even before the elevator began to rise, she heard someone shout: "Cut the power!" The lights in the elevator shut off, encasing Venomosa in darkness. As the security guards rushed towards the elevator doors and tried to open them, she knew that she had to act quickly. Leaving behind a little "surprise" for the guards once they entered the elevator, she opened the emergency exit in the elevator's ceiling and hoisted herself out into the elevator shaft. Then, gripping onto the elevator's cable as a rope, she started climbing up the elevator shaft. It was a tedious process, but Venomosa was patient and determined. Silencia Venomosa was satisfied to hear, far below her, as the security guards finally barged into the elevator, were shocked to discover that it was empty... and fell to the floor as they inhaled the deadly toxins that she left for them. ***** The sun was just starting to come up when Schiess made a phone call of his own. "Hello," he said. "Sindstorme?" "Yes," replied the familiar voice. "This is Schiess." "Ah, Schiess. How'd the heist go? Did you get the blueprints?" "We did," replied Schiess. "But we lost them." "Lost them?" Sindstorme asked. "How'd you do that?" "They burned up when our car crashed." "Was that you?" remarked Sindstorme. "I've just been hearing about it on the news." Schiess picked up a remote and turned on the television in his room. Sure enough, there was a news broadcast. A young, attractive newswoman was going on about the car falling into a ditch with no bodies. "Witnesses to the incident claimed to have seen a woman climbing around the car, but there has been no evidence of such activity, though the police do report that the tires were damaged prior to the accident. In the process they also came close to derailing a large truck which was carrying a dinosaur from Adventurers' Island for research. They did not want to comment on the nature of the project-" At that point, Schiess turned his attention back to the phone. "We were set up," he explained. "Set up?" Sindstorme asked. "Yeah," replied Schiess. "Silencia. Apparently, she was working for Dacta. She killed Verbal, Keaton and Deniro, and probably Scorsese and Orange. Montoya and I were the only ones who got out safely." Suddenly the line went dead. All that he could hear was a simple dial tone. Quickly realizing that something was wrong, he hung up and shook Montoya awake. "What is it?" Montoya asked sleepily as he woke. "We got to get out of here," replied Schiess. "We'll swing by your place, pick up your MegaBloking girlfriend, and then we're getting out of town, you understand?" ---- Helm walked through the corridors in a daze, eventually reaching the rec room. Larson was sprawled in a chair, draining a coffee mug and flipping through the news broadcasts from Antarctica on the television. He glanced over as Helm walked in. "Morning. You found Jason yet?" Helm fought to keep his voice steady. "He's -- I'd... rather not talk about it now." He sat down heavily on another chair, off in the corner, staring at the floor. "Oh... I'm sorry..." Larson responded awkwardly. The pilot glanced down at his empty coffee cup, then got up and walked out of the room, nodding as Andrew entered. Stepping into the recreation room, Andrew immediately spotted Pterisa and Laxus (they weren't hard to miss, admittedly) near the pool table. Laxus was apparently teaching the Hybrid a thing or two about the game, and he was helping her to hold the stick right to hit the white ball. After a few seconds, he moved his arms away and let her take a shot. She awkwardly thrust the stick through her fingers and hit the ball strong enough to make it nearly bounce off the table as it hit the triangle of various other balls. The black 8-ball ended up immediately flying into the hole opposite of where Pterisa was standing, and she smiled with a sense of accomplishment. "Ouch, tough luck," said an observing agent. "Wasn't that what I was supposed to be doing, though?" she asked. "Hit the one ball to send the others into the holes?" "Everyone except the 8-ball. I know with seeing it everywhere, you might think that's a good thing, like it would get you a nice bonus or something, but actually it's what costs you points and such." "Oh." She looked a little annoyed with herself now. "Hey, don't worry about it," Laxus reassured her. "You're just a beginner. You'll get all the rules eventually, just like with any other sport or game." "Yeah, and besides," Andrew said as he walked up, "all that matters really is enjoying yourself. And you were enjoying yourself a moment ago, right?" "Well, yes, I was." "Then that's all that matters. Now actually, I was wondering if you two were interested in doing something else. Ever hear of movie riffing?" Pterisa, unsurprisingly, shook her head, and Laxus thought for a moment before shaking as well. "Well," Andrew continued, "it's a little something you can do with a bad movie, some friends, and a good sense of humor. C'mon." Andrew gestured towards the TV, where an agent was tinkering a bit with the TV settings. The odd trio walked over to the TV, and Andrew said to the agent: "Hey Joike, that thing looking alright?" The agent turned towards them, showing his high-top haircut and somewhat sleepy look in his face. "Sure, just doing what I can to improve the picture and sound. Apparently, all the constant viewing is starting to wear the thing out." "Well, I'm thinking of maybe killing some time by riffing the Dino Cop films. You still have the box set down here?" Joike smiled and crouched down by the storage cabinets. He opened one and produced a box with a T-Rex in a cop hat on the side. "Alright!" said Andrew. "Now the fun can really start." Joike handed him the box, which had a surprising bit of weight to it. "You can put a movie in. I just want to go get some popcorn and pizza from the mess hall." "Oh, maybe get some soda packs too!" added Laxus. "All that food could make us thirsty sooner or later." "Good point. I'll be right back." Joike then headed out the room. Andrew pulled the DVDs out the box and quickly located the first film in the series. "Joike's a pretty fun average Joe," Andrew said as he took the DVD out and turned on the DVD player. "Really likes his movies. He was working at some institute as just another face in a jumpsuit, doing a good job cleaning up the place, but his bosses didn't like him so they had him shot into space onto a satellite they ran to continue janitor duties there. Allegedly, he occupied himself up there for a few years with watching bad movies and riffing on them with the help of some robot friends. He has some pretty interesting stories to tell." "I can believe that," said Laxus. "You need any help getting the TV to DVD mode?" "Yeah, I might," Andrew said as he closed the DVD case, the movie now inside. "Check the remote box. Use the black one to change the video source to 'DVD Mode,' the silver one to 'SA-CD/DC'; and the RCX-branded one to 'Objective 4'." "That sounds... rather complicated just to watch a movie," Pterisa observed with a confused look. "That's how DVD watching evolved over the years," Andrew said with a shrug as Laxus worked the remotes. "I know what you mean. Back during the VHS years, all you had to do was switch to channel 4 and hit the On button on the machine. Now it's like operating a security system." "Nice comparison," said Laxus, "I know of a few places on the Aero Tube system back on Mars that operate like that." With one final push of a button, the TV finally displayed the main menu for Dino Cop, the theme music playing through the speakers. "Alright everyone, we've got everything for movie sign!" said Joike, who now arrived carrying a bowl of popcorn and two boxes of Brickolinis' in one hand, and a twelve-pack box of cola in the other. "Ooh, c'est magnifique!" said Laxus as Joike piled everything onto a table in front of the TV. "So..." Pterisa said as Andrew and Laxus sat in the couch, and Joike in a nearby chair, "what exactly do you do when you 'riff' a film?" "Oh, it's simple," said Joike, cracking open a can of cola. "Just watch the movie, and when you see something that you can come up with a witty remark, comedic misunderstanding, pun, joke, or pop-culture reference, just say it out loud. Beats having to just sit there and take the badness of the film in. Push the button, Laxus?" "Sure," said Laxus hitting the play button. Finally taking a set besides Andrew on the couch, Pterisa reached for a slice of pizza as the movie began. LEGO STUDIOS PRESENTS, the film began with a deep rumbling of drums and horns. "A magnum opus of drama and epic storytell-," Joike said as the text quickly changed to display the title DINO COP. "Oh never mind, wrong movie." "It sounds like something Barney would call himself if he did an episode on the police," Laxus remarked. Andrew did his best to contain his snickers so as to not disturb the joke-making process, but did end up grinning quite a wide grin. Glancing over to Pterisa, he could see she was grinning slightly as well, though it didn't quite look like she got the Barney joke. This looked like it would be a fun hour and a half. The group crowding around the television hadn't managed to notice Helm, and that was just fine with him. After a few minutes of watching them applying situational wit to Dino Cop, he finally got up and walked out of the rec room. ***** Greybeard, Hotwire, and Vinyaya had spent several minutes trying to make sense of the grisly scene in the safe room before the other two agents returned with stretchers. As they prepared to begin loading the corpses, however, the sound of someone clearing their throat came from the shattered doorway, and agent Mort limped in. "You might benefit from leaving those where they are for the time being. I may be able to glean some details concerning what happened here." The two agents, both rookies by the look of it, nodded and pulled the stretchers back. Mort glanced around the room briefly, and then knelt and began examining each of the bodies more closely. After about a minute of working silently, save for some very quiet muttering, he spoke up again. "Agent Hotwire. I see that whatever deity is in charge of legs has been less kind to you than to me. You have my condolences. Did you find your friend?" Hotwire was so taken aback by the first remark -- unable to figure out if it was sympathy or condescension -- that the question barely registered in his mind. He struggled for a response. "I -- yes, we did. We -- thanks for your help back then, by the way -- we found her. But... things have changed..." Mort waved dismissively in response to Hotwire's gratitude, and when the latter stopped speaking, he responded with: "Interesting. A striking parallel to my own recent experiences." He then fell silent. The five Dino Attack agents waited expectantly, but he did not speak again. Greybeard leaned towards Hotwire and muttered, "I take it ye be acquainted wi' this odd fellow?" Hotwire nodded. "He helped B and me pick up Kat's trail after Agent Cane showed up again and captured her." It seemed so long ago; he could hardly believe it had only been about two months. Eventually Mort stood. "Of those who were in this room, Spy died first, then Scout, then Soldier, and lastly Heavy. Two things are out of place. First, Soldier was knocked about quite a bit before he was killed, which would make more sense had he been the final casualty. Second, assuming that your mole is responsible for all this, I don't think Spy was killed by the same individual who killed the others. Weapons powerful enough to explode a man's skull are usually not the preferred fare of infiltrators and assassins. Perhaps Spy was killed by whoever beat Soldier to a pulp; clearly, they relish a bit of violence." "Perhaps they were fighting amongst themselves," Vinyaya suggested. Hotwire nodded in agreement. "That has been becoming dangerously commonplace over the past weeks, and today especially." Mort frowned. Such lack of discipline wouldn't be tolerated for even a moment in Alpha Team. Aloud, he said, "Was anyone else present at the time of these killings?" "Aye, thar be one," Greybeard responded. "Elite Agent Rex. He be alive yet, an' they've taken him t' th' infirmary." "Good. Hopefully, if he was conscious at the time, he will be able to tell us how all this happened." "Unless, of course, he is the one responsible." Vinyaya said. "Doubtful," said Mort. "Scout was stabbed to death, and Heavy had his throat cut. I understand Scout was known for his speed and agility, so the most likely explanation for his death is that he was taken by surprise. Conversely, it would have taken someone of incredible speed and agility to get close enough to Heavy to slit his throat, given that it appears he was preparing to fire his machine gun when he died. It does not strike me as likely that a cripple would be able to sneak up on someone, nor perform a veritable feat of quickness and athleticism." "That still doesn't explain why Rex was left alive," Vinyaya countered. "The killer may have heard you coming, or perhaps they are taunting us," Mort theorized. "Still, I agree that it is somewhat suspicious." He turned to the two Rookie Agents standing by the door with the stretchers. "Go ahead and take them to the mortuary. The autopsies might provide us with more clues." And inwardly, he added, And you can bet your bricks I'll be right there. A distraction like this is exactly what I need. ***** Nazareno scowled slightly. He allowed himself to become distracted and now he was without a weapon. Zelda pointed her sword at him. If he could see under her bandana, he knew she would be smirking. "Confident you can defeat me?" Nazareno asked as they circled each other. Zelda didn't say anything, only raising an eyebrow. He nodded curtly before running at her. Zelda flinched before charging at him, swinging her sword. Nazareno grinned coldly. As he ran, he pushed up with his feet and flew into the air. He landed carefully on Zelda's head with one foot. As soon as his foot touched her hair, he jumped again, landing behind her. Zelda turned sharply on her heel and stared at Nazareno in surprise. Nazareno ran at her again. Changing her strategy, Zelda stayed where she was, sword raised. Nazareno smirked as he jumped again. He kicked the sword out of Zelda's hand, sending it flying behind her. He tried doing a backflip when someone tugged on his leg, causing him to fall on to the floor. Nazareno's eyes widened in surprise as Zelda stood over him. He aimed a sharp kick at her stomach. She recoiled, but caught the foot in her stomach with her hands. She twisted his foot sharply, causing a popping noise to emit from his ankle. Nazareno blinked back tears of pain and kicked Zelda with his other foot. This time, she stumbled back. Nazareno climbed to his feet sourly. He looked at Zelda, who had picked up her sword again. She knew she had weakened him, so she ran at him. As she swung the sword down, Nazareno swung his hand into the flat side of the blade as hard as he could. The wooden sword shattered easily. Zelda ran into him abruptly, unprepared for her blade to break. She backed away from him. "Okay, you wouldn't be able to do that if we were using actual swords." Nazareno prepared to respond when Zelda suddenly punched him in the stomach. Unprepared and the wind knocked out of him, Nazareno doubled over, allowing Zelda to shove his head into the ground. He attempted to rise when Zelda placed her foot neatly on his head. "I win," she said triumphantly. Zach, hugging a laptop underneath his arms, returned to Minerva panting. Minerva smiled at him as he sat down. "You just missed Zelda beating Nazareno." "What?" He looked into the ring. Zelda stood over Nazareno, her foot on his head. "Really?" "You wanted the laptop," Minerva pointed out. He scowled at her. "I want to see what I've missed," he shot back as he flipped open the laptop and opened the Dino Attack Team database. "I would've waited if Zelda was finally going to beat him." "Sucks to be you!" Minerva said, grinning. She punched his arm affectionately, causing him to flinch. He didn't bother punching back. "How are you so sure it's already updated?" "Trust me," Zach said. "There has to be at least one person on this team who makes sure this thing is updated to the minute." He clicked the search bar to activate it and began typing. ***** "What's going on in here?" said a voice from behind as Vinyaya, Hotwire, Greybeard, Mort, and the others turned to see a man in a suit with a fedora. "Who are you?" Vinyaya asked. "My name's Bogart," replied the man. "I'm a Private Detective. I understand this is the scene of the crime." "You would be correct," Vinyaya said. She gestured to Mort. "He's already given us a good idea of what he thinks happened. If you wish, feel free to give your own examination and see if you can figure out anything new." Bogart took a moment to look around at the bodies lying on the floor. "Most people would normally have gotten rid of these by now," he said, as crouched next to the body of one large, bald man who had a machine gun next to him. "His throat's been cut. Were all of these people killed by a knife?" "All except for that guy," replied Vinyaya, motioning towards one corpse, whose head had exploded, staining his suit in blood. Bogart walked over towards the body and looked at it. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. "One of your fellow agents found this in the body of one of the victims. Angel Eyes, I think he called himself. I don't suppose anyone recognizes it. And what's this?" Bogart knelt and picked something off the floor from where Rex had been found. "Looks like a cigarette butt to me," muttered Hotwire. "When are these Dino Attack agents ever going to learn that there is a strict no-smoking policy in Dino Attack Headquarters? It's unhealthy, it's certainly not 'cool', it kills you..." "And the last thing we need right now is HQ burning down because someone dropped a lit cigarette," added Vinyaya. "You say that this was where Rex was found," mused Bogart. "Was Rex a smoker?" Greybeard shook his head. "Nay. I be workin' wi' th' young rascal fer a few months now, an' me deadlights ne'er seen th' likes o' him so much as take out a lighter." "I believe agent Spy may have been a smoker, though," pointed out Mort. "He used to be in the Alpha Team, and although I never worked closely with him, I know that he and Frozeen worked together during a rescue mission and infiltration of Ogel's Mountain Fortress at one point in 2008. Maybe he can confirm it for you." "Does anyone know where I can find this Frozeen?" Bogart queried as he stood. "He went to the hospital wing with Rex and Amanda," reported Vinyaya. "I can lead ye thar," volunteered Greybeard. When the private detective nodded, the old pirate made for the exit and beckoned for Bogart to follow. Outside, Greybeard was greeted by Mary Rose, who was waiting with King Joseph Race. "Oh, Grandpa!" she ran towards the old pirate. "Is she yours?" inquired Bogart, raising his eyebrows. Although Greybeard replied with "Aye," he shook his head ever-so-slightly with a grim expression to let Bogart know that he was not telling the truth in front of her. "What's going on in there, Grandpa?" Mary timidly asked. Greybeard glanced back to the formerly-safe room, where there now were two dead bodies and a headless corpse. With a shudder, he murmured, "Nothin' ye e'er want t' see. Trust me." ***** "Did you just say that Gahiji Thutmose is still alive?" asked Dr. Saran. "Because you said earlier that you killed him." Carl Lutsky started to rock back and forth. At the beginning of the session, Saran had hopes that Mr. Lutsky's mental disorder could be nothing more than a slight obsession. However, if he could simultaneously accept two contradictory ideas in his head, Saran was more apt to compare it to Orwellian doublethink. "How is Dust still alive?" asked Dr. Saran. "I see him," said Lutsky. "He talks to me. He says I can't get away." "Can you get away?" inquired Saran. "No," he responded. "I can't stop thinking about him. That's how he gets in my head." "I just need to clarify this, Mr. Lutsky," Doctor Saran began as he withdrew his tape recorder. "When you see Mr. Thutmose, is he real?" "Dust says he's a… a… figment of my imagination," stammered the ex-commander. Lutsky swayed back and forth and he ran his hands through his hair. Saran was surprised by the drastic transition between the calm man he spoke to earlier and the fidgety shadow of a man he spoke to now. "But my imagination is real," continued Lutsky. "And that makes him real. Dust says he fake, but maybe he's lying. If he's lying, then he's real. If he's real, why does no one else see him? That makes him fake. That means I'm imagining things. But my imagination is real. Dust is real, but he says he's imaginary…" Dr. Saran was thankful he had his tape recorder running, otherwise he would never be able to follow Lutsky's logic. "I want to know what Dust says to you, Carl," said Saran. "Commander," corrected the ex-commander. "And what he says does not matter." 'Why not?" asked the psychologist. "Because it's all fake," said Lutsky. "What he says is a lie, it's imaginary, so none of it means anything!" "Let's just pretend it's not. I want you to describe everything about him," said Saran. The psychologist sensed that what this revealed would be important. Since the apparition of Dust was a creation of Lutsky's own mind, it would provide valuable insight into the man's psyche. "He is dressed in a black suit," said Lutsky. The man did not make eye contact and instead focused on Saran's peg-leg. "He's dressed all in black. He wears black gloves, black shirt, black tie, and black suit. Everything is black." "Go on," said Saran. "When I saw him, he was holding an apple," continued Lutsky. "And he had a deck of cards. They were all black." "Did he do anything with these items?" asked Saran. "Did he offer you the apple? Did he eat it?" "Yes," said Lutsky. "But I refused. I did not trust it. I would never eat anything that he offered me." "Did he eat it?" "Yes." "What things did he tell you?" asked the doctor. "Dust said he was angry I killed him, and that now he was stronger," said Lutsky. "He said that now he would always be able to control me, and that I would never be able to get him out of my head. He smiled the whole time, as if it was just another conversation." "Have you seen him since that first meeting?" "Sometimes I see him in the hall," said Lutsky. "Just standing there and staring at me. Sometimes I see him in the window looking at me." Doctor Saran took a breath. This was a spectacular amount of information that he would need to sleep on. The two had talked for almost two hours, but it was evident that Lutsky was becoming uncomfortable. He did not want to stress the man; it would compromise the information given him and possible lead him down the wrong path. Lutsky certainly had levels of paranoia and cognitive dissonance. The psychologist planned to continue the interview tomorrow once both had a clear mind. The doctor rose from his seat and offered his hand through the bars. "I was very nice talking with you with you, Commander. I believe we should continue our conversation tomorrow evening. Is there anything you need?" Lutsky considered for a moment before answering. "Cover the window." ***** Zach scrolled through pages on the database rapidly. From his skimming, he discovered how success was achieved at Gold City and Fort Legoredo by the Second Headquarters Squad and the victory at Castle Cove. He smirked as he read of the Brickster's exploits on Dinosaur Island. Perhaps he will learn that he can blow up stuff and not get in trouble with the law. He let that idea run in his head a few times. Yeah, fat chance. He spent most of his time reading about the outcome of the Adventurers' Island mission, primarily because he was a Stromling for half of the campaign. The only thing he wasn't really aware of was of some trial that an Elite Agent named Rotor tried to hold. It was rather ridiculous matter, involving a T-1 Typhoon crew that didn't want to destroy XERRD's fortress because there will still agents inside. The trial was eventually seized with the intervention of a gunslinger named Clint Wayne. Clint Wayne. Wayne. Wayne. Wayne. Ah. The gunslinger who fought me with Vinyaya and Nazareno. The one who shot me. Ouch, that stung. He wondered if the man was still alive and how he would react to seeing him. Nazareno accepted me. Vinyaya was a little cold at first, but I think she's catching on. I don't know about this Wayne character though. Zach shrugged. He didn't particularly care a whole lot. He grimaced and quickly scrolled past the ambush in the camp. Don't need a recap. A good dozen agents, including Raider and some Elite Agent named Fletcher, died and an even larger number were injured. Despite his scrolling, one sentence managed to catch his eye. He learned that the ambush, coupled with multiple other injuries, had left Elite Agent Zenna in a barely alive-comatose state that forced her off the island and to Antarctica. Zach swallowed hard. Yep. Didn't need to read that. He continued past the ambush and move to Outpost 4, as he already had a good understanding of what happened there thanks to Ghost and Zelda. Fast forwarding to the battle at the Temple of Hotep III. It acknowledged that Zach became a Minifig again, but other than that, the area was still rather bare concerning what happened to the group of agents that entered the temple to take out the Maelstrom Temple. However, there was a report (perhaps a rumor, Zach wasn't sure) that Gahiji Thutmose had been killed in the temple by Carl Lutsky. Zach reflected on Dust for a brief moment. Provided this report was true, Dust had finally reached his oh-so-sacred temple and had been killed barely moment later by Lutsky. He knew Lutsky hadn't like Dust, but apparently it had extended to murderous hatred. Zach himself wasn't extremely fond of Dust due to his manipulative nature in trying to use the team to reach his temple. But he couldn't ignore the fact that they had become some level of fire-forged friends as he save Dust's life from the TumTum natives, ran through the jungle as they were pursued by said natives, and spent hours dangling in a net over a cliff. Rest in peace, Dust, Zach thought. Moving on. Now to the actual battle in the Temple of Creation. He was surprised to learn that XERRD's second-in-command, Dr. Rex's number two, was a mole for the Dino Attack Team the entire time. The one moment he had met "Wallace Bishop" had turned out to be an encounter with Frank Einstein. Doesn't changed the fact he sent a bunch of guards to capture or kill me while infiltrating the fortress, but I suppose he had an image to upkeep then. The death of Zed Provhezor, the hoverchair scientist he saw in the fortress, describes him being pulled into the Maelstrom vortex. Eugh. Not a happy ending at all. "What about that Breen person?" Minerva asked. She glanced over his shoulder and noticed him reading the death of Provhezor. Zach knew that Minerva hoped Breen was dead, especially after playing a role in converting Oswald Fabello. "Shot by Frank Einstein for trying to use Kate Bishop as a Minifig shield to escape." "Coward," Minerva said, turning back to Nazareno and Zelda's fight. Indeed, Zach silently agreed. After that, things managed to fall into place. Baron Typhonus appeared after Greybeard, Frozeen, and Sam Sinister entered the chamber with the Maelstrom Crystal. Ah. Greybeard and Frozeen. I can only hope they forgot about me. As a Stromling, he might had been willing to face them alone. As a Minifig, not so much. Typhonus attempted to convince Sinister to join him, which failed. Cue the battle for the crystal and Zach and Minerva's arrival into the battle. While he battled Provencal and Glados, apparently the Darkitect had spawned the Dino Attack agents' worst fears in the form of illusions. He knew that he faced the thought of being a Stromling in reality instead of an illusion, but he was curious as to what others faced, as he wasn't paying attention to them at all. "Hey Minerva," Zach said. "You said every faced their fear or something in the Maelstrom Temple, right?" "Yeah?" "What did you face?" Then, he added. "If you're comfortable sharing, of course." Minerva's entire mood seemed to change. Her relaxed, happy persona faded into cold sadness. "I suppose I can tell you. There's going to be a long story behind it, though." "After giving you two long stories, I'm interested in hearing from you." Minerva smiled sadly and nodded. She opened her mouth and began to speak. ***** Trigger walked away from the phonebooths and bumped into the imposing form of Solomon Koplowitz. "Are you here to beat me to pulp?" the mercenary asked sarcastically. "Because that won't go well for you." Solomon smiled and casually pulled aside his robe to reveal the Luger pistol tucked in his belt. "I have no intention of starting a confrontation now, my friend. However, I can't say the same for the two agents following you." The scientist motioned to Wright and Shiller standing behind him. They smiled and waved. "I'm sure you've come to the conclusion you're not well-liked right now. I don't like you very much myself. Now, I advise you to end whatever malicious activity you're up to and come clean." "Well, aren't you the boy scout," said Trigger. "I bet you were a hall monitor too." "Who were you just calling, Trigger?" asked Solomon, ignoring the comment. "Considering your reputation, I doubt it was your mother." Trigger chucked coldly and shook a finger at the older man. "I don't see why I should have to tell you. You're XERRD, a traitor to your own kind. I'm in no way compelled to answer your questions. And in case you have not noticed…" He placed a hand on his hip. "I have a gun too. And it's bigger." "Do you boys want me to get a ruler?" called Shiller. "I heard you mention the name Venomosa at the crime scene," said Solomon. "I know a few things about the woman myself. We crossed paths once at Ogel's Island. I would know she's agent Claw." Trigger chucked. The mercenary was surprised to find that Solomon actually agreed with him. "So you know that Venomosa did this," said Trigger. "That would explain why Rex was the only one was not killed." "No, I believe she did not kill them," responded Solomon. "But that's really not my point. For someone who claims to only be interested in money, you seem to have a lot riding on agent Claw. Why even get involved? If you kill a respected agent, what incentive would they have for paying you?" Trigger's face was hard to read, but the philosopher had the impression that the mercenary never thought of this. "So when are you going to drag me to the cooler?" asked Trigger. Solomon shrugged. "I've had a chance to reconsider and I came to another conclusion. I determined that a few days locked up would mean nothing to you. For a worse punishment waits: if you continue to be an agent of chaos, you will be exiled from this unit. You won't be paid, and you will die poor and alone in those cold streets." "I can get money elsewhere," said Trigger. "There are plenty of people who would kill for my services." "You can keep telling yourself that," responded Solomon. "But this world is changing. People don't care about money anymore. If it's not the mutants, it's the Maelstrom. Men like you are disappearing, so you will have to evolve. I recommend you start acting like a member of this team before you become lost in the wind." Trigger just rolled his eyes. "I should not have to deal with this." The mercenary started to walk away but Solomon grabbed him by the shoulder. Trigger swatted the hand away and spun around at the scientist with fiery eyes. "Don't go thinking we're even," said Solomon coldly. "I still don't like you. Just know that if I'm willing to forget you, someone more pious than me will probably not. You're on thin ice, Trigger. I implore you to watch where you step." ---- Silencia Venomosa approached the door to Uærlig Sindstorme's office. She could hear Sindstorme inside, who sounded quite exasperated. "... just been hearing about it on the news." As she swung upon his doorway, she saw that Sindstorme was on the phone and, with an incredulous expression, stammered, "Set up?" Then, Uærlig Sindstorme saw her. "Oh, MegaBloks!" he gasped. He hung up the phone and pressed a large red button on his desk. Instantly, a number of large Mindstorms robots that were on display in his office came to life. Gears turned and motors groaned as the Mindstorms robotics inventions stepped off their pedestals and marched towards Silencia Venomosa. "Ms. Venomosa," Sindstorme spoke sternly, "I advise that you put down your knife and your gun immediately." Silencia Venomosa knew that these hulking scraps of metal could easily crush her. While her speed and agility could allow her to dodge their attacks, she was not a fool, and she could see that she was outnumbered and overpowered. So, Venomosa nodded grimly, and slowly laid her knife and her gun down upon the floor. The robots glared down upon her with large, watchful eyes. "Now see here, Ms. Venomosa," said Sindstorme. "You can't just barge in here with..." As the president of Mindstorms, Inc. rambled in a typical hammy fashion, Silencia Venomosa reached into her pocket. The robots observed this action, but did not react when she pulled out a mobile phone rather than a weapon. She dialed a number, but before she finished, Sindstorme noticed what she was doing. "Put down the phone, Ms. Venomosa," Sindstorme said, narrowing his eyes. "Not that I can possibly imagine who you would be calling." Silencia Venomosa nodded, and she laid the mobile phone on the floor beside her gun and her knife, but before she let go, she pressed the "call" button. There came a series of loud rumbling noises, as though a giant was marching through a thunderstorm. As the noises grew louder and louder, Sindstorme's room began to shake. Uærlig Sindstorme himself was rather confused about the source of the noise. At last, the rumbling stopped just outside the door. And then, there was a brief moment of silence before the storm broke. Silencia Venomosa ducked down quickly, just as a huge, metallic fist slammed through the doorway. Uærlig Sindstorme gasped in horror and cowered behind his desk while Venomosa grabbed her weapons and darted out of the way. The metallic fist was followed by a second fist, shattering the door into splinters. Then, a robot that was even taller and more intimidating than those activated by Sindstorme marched into the CEO's office. The latest prototype of the Mindstorms NXT project. Before getting involved with Schiess's gang, Silencia Venomosa's job was officially to investigate the secretive NXT project that Mindstorms had been developing. In comparison to Mindstorms' earlier robots, which were yellow-and-black and already looking primitive in design in comparison, the Mindstorms NXT was sleek, silver, and futuristic. Its programming was far advanced beyond that of its predecessors, and it could and would do far more than any previous iteration. Most people believed that Silencia Venomosa worked alone, but this was not actually the case. In truth, she occasionally relied on a small circle of hackers, who called themselves the Codebreakers, to assist her during select missions. These were some of the most brilliant computer experts in the world, which made up for her own shortcomings with the rapidly evolving technology. She had sent them the data on the NXT, and the Codebreakers were able to hack it with ease. And just before the attempted heist, the Codebreakers secretly reprogrammed this prototype to activate when it received Venomosa's phone call. From the shadows, Silencia Venomosa watched as the NXT tore through Sindstorme's robotic bodyguards. They tried to do their job, but their primitive designs did not stand a chance against the advanced next-generation capabilities of the NXT. Even if it was merely a prototype, it was all that Sindstorme and Venomosa hoped it would be... much to the regret of the former and the pleasure of the latter. It was over quickly. The Mindstorms robots that Sindstorme had activated lay in pieces at the feet of the NXT. The NXT turned its attention to Uærlig Sindstorme, who was desperately typing in commands into his computer. The NXT marched towards Sindstorme and reached for him, just as Sindstorme pressed the "Enter" key. Despite the Codebreakers' reprogramming, the prototype NXT could still be powered down via Mindstorms computers. The NXT's eyes dimmed as the robot shut down. Silence fell over the office. Uærlig Sindstorme regained his composure and slowly stood, brushed the dirt and debris off his suit jacket. He looked with disdain over the ruined Mindstorms robots that littered the floor, then laid eyes upon Silencia Venomosa. "Well, then, Ms. Venomosa," he muttered. "I have tried to be reasonable and civil with you, but I'm afraid you leave me with no choice." Then, quick as a flash, the CEO of Mindstorms, Inc. strapped a gas mask over his face and pushed another button. The vents opened and began to pour out toxic fumes. Silencia Venomosa raised an eyebrow, but calmly stood there, staring right at Sindstorme. For about a minute, they stood off against one another as the toxic gases filled the room. As Sindstorme became increasingly confused, Venomosa became increasingly amused. "You have got to be kidding me," murmured Uærlig Sindstorme. But she was not kidding him. Over the past few years, Silencia Venomosa had trained herself to build up a resistance to the certain toxins that she used in her jobs. It just so happened that one of these toxins was in the last-resort poisonous gas defenses of Sindstorme's office. Sighing in defeat, Uærlig Sindstorme closed the air vents and opened a window, letting the toxic gases flow out of the room. When the air became safe for him to breathe, he removed the gas mask and stared at Silencia Venomosa. "What do you want?" he whispered. Silencia Venomosa walked up to Sindstorme's desk. She pocketed her mobile phone and her gun, but as a demonstration, she showed him her hand, laid her knife against her palm, and drew. Since she was wearing gloves and did the motion lightly, she did not leave a cut, but she wanted to ensure that Sindstorme understood her message. Then, Venomosa pocketed her knife and pulled out two new knives. She laid them upon Sindstorme's desk, but rested a hand on each one to ensure that he did not try to grab one for himself. One knife was twisted and blackened, almost appearing to be forged from volcanic rock. The other knife was a bright golden color, shining brilliantly as it reflected light off its surface. She looked at Sindstorme, glanced down at the knives, and finally locked eyes with Sindstorme once more. Uærlig Sindstorme was silent for a moment. He realized what Venomosa wanted from him, and it was a cruel choice. He knew of her reputation well enough to know that, either way, she was going to kill him. But the manner in which he died was in his hands. He had to choose the knife with which she would cut his hand. But which knife was better? Which knife would show mercy? He stared at the black knife. With its twisted edge, it looked painful just to behold, and its dark color brought forth to mind images of the world's blackest hearts from the depths of MegaBlokland. No doubt, that knife would bring a terrible death. Then, he turned his attention to the gold knife. Gold was pure, such as a black heart versus a heart of gold. That had to be the right choice. He could not imagine any way it could be otherwise. Finally, Uærlig Sindstorme worked up the courage to point his finger at the gold knife. Silencia Venomosa nodded. She pocketed the black knife, took Sindstorme's hand, laid the blade of the gold knife upon his palm, and drew. Sindstorme winced as the knife left a cut and drew blood, but otherwise seemed painless. As Venomosa pocketed the gold knife, Sindstorme stared at her as though he was asking, "What happens now?" Silencia Venomosa smiled darkly. Then, Uærlig Sindstorme became aware of a burning sensation that took hold of his entire body. He doubled over in pain and screamed. It felt like he was on fire and burning from the inside out. He fell onto the floor and writhed in agony, his horrid scream piercing the air. And then, Uærlig Sindstorme was silent. As she approached the office's now-open window, her escape route, Silencia Venomosa continued to smile with sadistic pleasure. Uærlig Sindstorme was a gullible fool. He thought that the knives represented hearts, just as she thought he would, but hearts were not Venomosa's style. The knives represented snakes, and to quote D.H. Lawrence's Snake: "For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous." ---- When Rex regained consciousness, he was back in the hospital wing. Initially, his first thought was an annoyed, Darn, why is it that I always wake up in the hospital wing? Then, he recalled the events that transpired just before he fell into unconsciousness. The shock of that revelation startled him awake. He bolted upright, gasping for air. "Oh, thank the First Builders you're alright," sighed Amanda. Now that Rex was awake, he saw that Amanda, Frozeen, and Greybeard were all gathered around his bed. Amanda was kneeling beside him, while Frozeen and Greybeard stood. They appeared relieved to see that Rex was alright, but at the same time still very anxious and concerned. There were two others that Rex did not recognize: a tall man in a suit and fedora, and a little girl hugging Greybeard's leg. "The name's Bogart," the man in the suit introduced himself, extending a hand towards Rex. "Private Detective. If you don't mind, I would like to ask you a few questions." "Uh, yeah," said Rex, still trying to get his bearings. "Sure. Of course." "We found ye lyin' in that room," explained Greybeard, "with th' corpses o' Spy an' Heavy an' Soldier. We also found Scout lyin' in th' hallway, also dead. It be a relief ye be still alive." "We also found this," added Bogart, who held up a cigarette butt. "Do you recognize this at all?" Frozeen leaned in close. "From the looks of it," he murmured, "it's no ordinary cigarette… it's one of Spy's false cigarettes. Smokescreens he used to cover his escapes. Given the fact that Spy was also found in the room without a head, it's probably not him…" "If not Spy, then whom?" Rex startled, and the others turned around to see Specs approaching the bed. Rex wanted to jump out of his hospital bed, point an accusing finger at Specs, and declare, "There's the traitor!" However, he knew that could not afford to do so… yet. He needed to explain to Amanda, Frozeen, Greybeard, and others whom he could trust about what he saw, or else his accusation would seem insane. He could not do so in front of Specs, either… or, at least, not out loud. Rex gritted his teeth, feeling his face grow hot as Specs approached his bed. Bogart, Frozeen, and Greybeard stepped back, and Amanda promptly stood. The little girl hid behind Greybeard, peeking out nervously to look at Specs. "I received word that the mole was the one responsible for killing off most of the members of Second Headquarters Squad," declared Specs. "You are our only witness to one of these murders. If you know anything about this traitor, please say so." Rex was silent, trying to think of what to say. If only there was some secret-agent code he could use to communicate with Frozeen, or pirate phrases that Greybeard could catch… Specs sighed. "Elite Agent Rex, I ask this as a favor. But, given the dire times and the importance of such knowledge, I ask again, and this time as an order: What do you know about XERRD's mole and the murders of agents Scout, Spy, Soldier, and Heavy?" Rex locked eyes with Amanda. He knew no spy talk or pirate accent, but he remembered the first reason he ever felt a bond with Amanda… she could communicate through body language alone, and he could understand her easily due to his dinosaur instincts. He prayed that she could understand what message he wished to convey. Shifting his eyes quickly towards Specs, Rex reported, "Scout, Soldier, and Heavy were already in the room with me when Spy entered. Fearing that Spy was the mole, Soldier killed him. I sent Scout for you, but he never returned. Then, the infiltrator came in and murdered Soldier and Heavy." "Did you see who the traitor was?" inquired Specs. Rex looked back at Amanda, bit his lip, furrowed his brow, and quickly shifted his eyes back to Specs again. "I, uh, cannot recall," he lied. "When he came in, he lit a cigarette and created a smokescreen that masked his true form. I could not make out his identity." While Frozeen showed Specs the cigarette to confirm Rex's words, Rex once again glanced at Amanda and shifted his eyes towards Specs. Amanda raised her eyebrows ever-so-slightly. "That's a shame," said Specs, narrowing his eyes. "We are so close to tracking down this traitor, and you, our only living witness, do not know who it might be. Frozeen." The Alpha Team agent stiffened at the mention of his name. "Yes, sir?" "I need you," ordered Specs, "to figure out a way to track the whereabouts of every Dino Attack agent in this building at the times of these murders. We need every possible scrap of information to help us determine what cowardly scum is responsible for killing my men. Now come with me." "Trust no one," Amanda said quietly to Frozeen. The Alpha Team agent nodded in comprehension, then departed with Specs. "One thing be fer certain," muttered Greybeard. "We needs t' git ye out o' bed… if th' traitor returns fer ye, th' hospital bed might be yer death bed." "Right," sighed Rex. "My wheelchair, please?" Amanda pushed the wheelchair to Rex's bedside, and with some assistance from Amanda and Greybeard, Rex climbed into the chair. Then, Amanda proceeded to push Rex out of the hospital wing. Just before they exited, they were stopped by Bogart. "Excuse me, agent Rex, but are you sure that is all that you saw?" Rex nodded grimly. "As I said, the attacker's appearance was masked." "But you referred to your attacker using male pronouns," Bogart pointed out. "If you could not see this person, how could you be sure of 'his' gender?" Rex bit his lip. "I'm… fairly certain that he was male." "But given that 'his' appearance was, as you say, masked," continued Bogart, "you admit that there is a possibility, however slim, that you are mistaken?" Unsure how to respond without giving anything away, Rex slowly nodded. "Do you have a weapon of choice, agent Rex?" inquired Bogart. "Yes. I prefer to use a Sonic Screamer." "And you?" Bogart turned towards Amanda. "Agent Claw, what's your weapon of choice?" When Amanda did not respond right away, Bogart smiled and murmured, "Come now, don't be shy." Rex nodded to Amanda. He thought it was in their better interest if she remained completely open and honest with the private detective. With Rex's support, Amanda admitted quietly: "A knife." Bogart raised his eyebrows slightly as he nodded. "Do you normally carry a knife on you?" "Yes." "May I see it?" "Of…" Amanda trailed off as she reached for her knife. Her face betrayed surprise as her trusty weapon was not in its sheath as she expected it to be. In disbelief, she began patting herself down in a vain attempt to locate her knife. "Would this be your knife?" Rex blinked in surprise and Amanda's eyes widened as Bogart held out a knife. Upon finding her voice, Amanda quietly murmured, "Err, yes." As she reached out and took the knife from Bogart, she dared to inquire: "Where did you find this?" "I didn't find it." Bogart shook his head. "You can thank Angel Eyes and Maria, for they were the ones who found it…" "Thank you," said Amanda, nodding. "… in Sniper's back." Rex stared at Amanda as she paled, color leaving her face. Bogart's features hardened, on the other hand. At last, Amanda slowly sheathed her knife, nervously stepped away from Bogart, and whispered in a wavering voice: "Thank you for your time, detective Bogart." Bogart tipped his hat as he narrowed his eyes. "If I need to ask you two anything else," he said, "or if you two find any information that you need to tell me… we'll find each other." ---- Link to review topic: http://www.bzpower.com/board/topic/29406-review-dino-attack-rpg/
  24. For another twelve days, you can pick up some of LEGO videogames at a deep discount for Xbox. Some of the best deals I spotted were LEGO Worlds for $5.99, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for $4.99, LEGO Jurassic World for $4.99, and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Deluxe Edition for $5.24. If you'd like to see the full list, head on over to Major Nelson's blog to see all the LEGO and other game deals! View the full article
  25. Happy birthday! Thanks for working so hard to keep BZP awesome! 

    1. Eyru


      Thanks for the kind message, Mushy! 

  26. Oh my goodness, it’s an absolute dream! Treehouse heaven! I cannot even comprehend how you created something so large and intricate. Such craftsmanship! Love it! P.S. Also wanted to add that the peacock MOC in your signature is absolutely scrumptious!
  27. Hooray for trying again, may they flourish! That’s actually really cool that some of the originals came back from the dead!
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