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  1. Voltex

    OBLIVION: Review

    For forty years, Spherus-Magna has lived in relative peace following an event known as the 'Reformation'. However, darkness always rises - and four Matoran find themselves hired to stop its shadow from spreading across the planet forevermore. Gathered together by a Mad Great Being, they find themselves in a deadly race to find the Mask of Life... all the while hunting down a mysterious and deadly foe before they succeed in their dark plan to end the newly reformed world. CHAPTERS "THE MAD GREAT BEING" "MEET THE TEAM" "KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE..." "AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER" "SHARE YOUR STORY" (From the Files of a Stranger) "IT'S ALL A GAME" "SPINE EATER" "BY THE FIRESIDE" MEET THE TEAM ARAINA - "The Mad Great Being" BRONZE - "The Living Mask" SIRIEN - "The Snarker" SMOKE MONSTER - "The Mask Maker" MARAKO - "The Mayor" SVENTOLA - "The Agori" OTHER CHARACTERS - Voltex - Xaeraz - RG - Dina - The Artisan - Makua - Kuan - Dallior - Dai - Phrase - - VELIKA - - Iaredios Paerkenon - Driken - Lord of Ice Picks - Pilgrim Shadow - Jalicax - Aerixx - Maltik - - Shadow Ignited - Well, everything appears to be in order! What do you think so far? My apologies about the lack of, well, really anybody except for Araina and Voltex in the prologue; the latter plays next to no role later in the story, but his freeing of the so-called "Mad Great Being" is what ultimately sets the events of this story in motion. Chapter 1 will release on January 16th.
  2. A BZPOWER STORY PROLOGUE: “THE MAD GREAT BEING” ---Sixteen Years Ago--- ---24 AR [After Reformation]--- He crept through the trees, keeping a wary eye on the slowly setting sun as it drifted down the sky. It would not do to be caught in the dark of night without shelter; he could already feel the creatures of the night beginning to stir; they would soon wake up. In the fading light, he could make out an ancient building, crumbling and covered with vines. A quick mental signal enhanced his visual perception, clearing the image and brightening it so that he could make out more of what was clearly some sort of ancient fortress. The sandy-brown stones were out of place amongst the layered greens of the jungle, and would have been better suited in a desert. As he approached the fortress, he was able to make out ancient carvings, from a dialect so old even his translator systems could not determine their origins. This fortress was from a time long since past. As he came close enough to reach out and touch the building, he stopped, turned, and then began to walk around it, circling it once to examine all four of the massive walls. Even in his decrepit state, the various systems in his body allowed him to accomplish the task within a few short minutes; a task that would have taken most others hours. Nonetheless, by the time he was finished, the sun was almost gone, and like clockwork, the jungle behind him was coming to life. His only shelter for the night would be inside the fortress itself. Returning to the side of the fortress where he had discovered what once was an ornate entrance, he confidently stepped inside, somewhat surprised to find the halls within lit by torches. He had not seen any evidence of anyone other than himself being outside, and yet the torches, if his scanners were to be trusted, had been blazing for less than an hour. This information did not trouble him; he had dealt with far more dangerous - far more sinister - things than this. It would take more than mysterious torches to bother him. So he continued on, working his way through the labyrinth-like halls towards the center of the fortress, where he felt a strange compulsion to be, as though someone were calling him. He would have considered that strange, except that whoever was summoning him had made second-guessing the decision impossible. When he found himself entering a room with a solitary jail cell and a massive stone slab slid into place, blocking the way he had come - and inconveniently, the only exit - he did indeed find it strange. Despite this, it was not half as strange as the being sitting cross-legged upon the floor of the cell. They were tall - taller even than him - with emerald green armor, and they wore an ornate helmet. Their head was bowed, and their eyes shut. He took a tentative step towards them, only to freeze in place when they raised a single hand, palm facing him. “...hello?” he asked. His voice was ragged from disuse, mechanical against his will. The being frowned, opening their eyes and tilting their head up to look at him. Then their eyes widened slightly and they nodded, as though he had somehow answered an unspoken question. “Interesting,” they murmured. Their voice was like a thousand lines of silk, all sliding across each other. “A Matoran, when I first created you. Now a robot, long past your time.” He frowned. “You… know who I am?” They nodded, but tilted their head to the side, re-examining him. “Curious… you are not him. So I did create you, but somewhere else. You are not from here. You’ve come a long way.” “Look,” he started, stepping forward, clenching his fists. “I don’t know who you are, but you’re gonna start answering some questions right now. Who are you? Why are you here? How do you know me?” The being was silent for a long moment before asking, “where is your staff?” The question threw him off and he involuntarily stepped back into his original position, his frown deepening as he realized that his staff was no longer in his hands. He twisted, intending to go look for it, but found himself rooted in place; his legs would no longer move. He wrestled with them for several seconds before giving up the task and turning back towards the mysterious being, his eyes narrowing into a glare at the sight of his staff hovering at their side. “Once, long ago, I helped to create you, or rather, another me did.” The being said, seeming to speak as much to themselves as they were to him. “You were a Matoran of Gravity; my first contribution to the Matoran race. I named you.” “I don’t go by that name anymore,” he snapped, scowling. “It’s meaningless to me - the name of a murderer, and so much worse.” The being laughed - a rich, intoxicating sound, addicting in its pure and unadulterated pleasure. “No, no, you are mistaken. You bear the name now, as you should; you have gone by it for many years now, although nowhere near as long as I would have preferred. You go by Voltex, yes? That is what I called you.” His scowl turned back into a frown and he shook his head, unable to understand. “I… I don’t….” “I touched the Mask of Life, and it cursed me,” the being told him, their eyes shining. “Everything I touch comes to life. Isn’t that interesting? But it was a curse, for I made a mistake, and oh, the other Great Beings, they never tolerated mistakes.” “You’re insane,” he decided. “You have to be.” “If assuming that will help you to keep your own insanity then certainly,” the being replied, their voice full of mirth. “The ‘Mad Great Being’ they called me, until they locked me in here and forgot about me forever. What a quaint little title. I admire it; perhaps I am insane. I would not know; you are the first I have spoken to in many millennia.” He wanted to move, wanted to leave. His head was beginning to spin. The Mad Great Being appeared to both know this and take immense pleasure in the knowledge. “I had rivals, you see. Enemies. Some of them thought me foolish, as though I were some little child. Thought that they could turn my own creations against me, modify them for their own purposes without my knowing…” here, their gaze locked with his own, and if his robotic body could have felt chills, Voltex would have shuddered. “They changed you. Tried to wipe away your programming and replace it with their own, with a portion of themselves, and very nearly succeeded, yes. But I am very clever, for here you are; for unknown to them, you were always still in there, simply waiting to be let back out. Their plans were their own undoing, for they played right into mine.” He shook his head. “I don’t understand where you’re going with this. What is this supposed to mean?” The Mad Great Being shrugged. “Alone out of the Great Beings, I have always had the gift and curse of foresight. I have foreseen it all, and here, in this universe, you are my salvation. For only a Great Being can tear down the bars of my cell and the walls of this fortress. Only at the hands of a Great Being can I become free… and you have a part of one locked away inside of you.” The Mad Great Being shook their head, studying him more closely. “No, that is not correct… ooh, he is clever indeed. You have… two? Really?” “Two of what?” Voltex asked, eyes narrowed. “White One.” He sighed. “You’re something else, aren’t you?” “Well, I am a Great Being,” they replied, their voice light and cheerful, “and besides, as you so succinctly put it, I am insane. Although if we’re both honest with ourselves - and I do believe we should be - you are as well. We both know you should be dead, not locked away inside a Maxilos unit! Gone and turned yourself into even more of an artificial intelligence than you were before!” “Before?” he asked, at this point completely lost. “Well, yes. You Matoran were all mostly mechanical. And besides, you can’t just make souls and personalities. You were just highly specialized AIs - and you, specifically, have managed to break your programming rather spectacularly. But then, if I had been called something as silly as ‘White One’, maybe I would to. Velika was always so awful with naming things…” the Mad Great Being trailed off, lost in their ramblings. Voltex had just opened his mouth to speak when they suddenly turned back to him. “How long has it been? Since the Reformation?” “...about twenty-four years,” he answered. “Interesting,” they murmured, looking away once again. He coughed. “You… said something about a Great Being inside of me?” They shrugged, waving the issue away. “Oh, yes, Velika. That nutter. Really, if any of the Great Beings deserved to be called ‘mad’, it’d be him, not me. He managed to override your coding by essentially inserting a small portion of his own soul into you. Made you stop being Voltex and start being him. And then when you broke through, came here and stopped the other you, and the other you found a way to transfer his thoughts into you as memories to preserve himself, because both of you are too clever for your own goods. Unfortunate, isn’t it darling? You’re a ticking time bomb.” “Thanks,” he muttered. “I’m really feeling your appreciation.” The near-blinding grin he received in response suggested that the Great Being seated in the cell with his staff had long since lost the ability to perceive sarcasm. “Thank you! I do appreciate you! That’s why I brought you here, of course. Because you’re you, and that means you’re lugging him around too. Or, you know, a part of him. It works!” “What works?!” he cried. “Why did you call me here?!” “To let me out, of course,” the Mad Great Being said, sounding confused. “Did I not explain it already? You have a bit of Velika inside of you. Just grab the bars, picture whichever version of those different White Ones inside of you that you want, and they’ll be deleted in exchange for freeing me!” “That sounds… overly complicated,” he muttered. The Mad Great Being shrugged cheerfully. “I don’t make the rules, dear.” Resisting the urge to groan, Voltex took a deep breath before slowly nodding. “Okay. So I grab the bars, lose some memories that were never mine to begin with, this whole place comes down, you get freed, and I get to walk away?” “Yep!” “Awesome. The answer is no.” “Great! Let’s just - wait, no?” “No.” The Mad Great Being frowned, seeming perplexed by his refusal. “No, you see, you have to say yes. Because I foresaw myself being freed. So… it’s happening. You can’t stop it.” Voltex shrugged, trying to ignore the gears that fell loose and clattered to a floor as a result of the action. “I think I can. Even if you won’t let me move, I’ll just stay here as long as it takes. I can induce a permanent sleep-state in myself, you know. One of the perks of this body, despite its state. Maybe somebody else will come along and free you, but it won’t be me.” “I specifically saw you freeing me. Robot body and everything,” the Mad Great Being replied, sounding frustrated before beginning to mutter to themselves. “Hmmph. What did I do wrong? Did I miss something? What if… no, no, that wouldn’t work. But then… no. Maybe…? Oh! Yes! I will give you a reward!” “A reward,” Voltex replied. “Yes!” the Mad Great Being exclaimed, holding out for what appeared to be some sort of data stick. “Free me and you get this! A map to all of the other Great Beings still on Spherus-Magna!” “Why would I want that?” he asked. “Because I know one, he was always friendlier than the rest,” the being said, sounding excited. “Never wanted me locked up, liked you all a lot. His name was Angonce. He can fit you with a fancy new upgraded body and everything! Better than that piece of junk you’re stuck inside right now, at least.” “I-” “Come on, we both know you can’t refuse it! You were practically programmed to survive before you became a robot! Now it’s like… you just have to! Right? You can’t refuse something that’ll help you survive!” “...you seem to know a lot more about me than I know about myself,” Voltex replied, more wary than before. The Mad Great Being tapped their head. “Foresight, remember? You’ll discover it for yourself and share the information someday. And then you’ll die.” “And then I’ll - wait, what? Why would you tell me that?!” “Because you deserve to know!” the Mad Great Being responded, still annoyingly cheerful. “So, are you going to bust me out of here or what? Quickly, too. It’s almost nap time!” “Nap… what? I don’t even… I don’t even understand.” “You don’t need to! Just break the bars! Forget one of those White One fellows and break me out, darling.” He shook his head. “I still don’t trust you.” “Oh, you don’t need to trust me; you just need to free me! Come on now, dear Tex. I might as well be your mother, of a sort. Would you really leave your own mother to rot inside of a jail cell for all of eternity?” “...I don’t even know what a mother is,” he muttered, shaking his head before snapping, “and don’t call me Tex! What a stupid nickname! My real name isn’t that long.” “Oh please, you know you love it,” the Mad Great Being replied, waving their hand dismissively. “As for what a mother is, well, I can give you the answer to that along with the map to the other Great Beings! How does that sound, Tex?” “Stop calling me Tex and you have a deal,” Voltex replied, scowling. “You have got to be the single most irritating person I have ever had the misfortune of meeting.” The Mad Great Being clapped their hands together, giggling gleefully. “Excellent! Very well then, darling Voltex! Grab the bars, and shatter them with your robotic might! Forget one of those ugly White Ones inside of your head! Free me!” With a great deal of reluctance, Voltex did just that. The dilapidated Maxilos unit he was inhabiting sputtered and sparked, his footsteps clanking upon the stone floor as he approached the jail cell and grabbed onto the bars, forcing down the feeling of trepidation that he felt. He shut his eyes and concentrated on the memories that did not belong to him - and just as quickly as he had pictured them they began to vanish, as the bars to the cell shimmered out of existence until he was clutching thin air. He opened his eyes, barely managing to keep his balance as he nearly toppled over. The Mad Great Being chuckled, pressing his staff back into his hands as he stared at them, dumbfounded. “Here you are, darling,” they said, handing him the data stick. “A map to the Great Beings, starting with Angonce, as well as a dictionary and a few other miscellaneous pieces of information. Should it ever be necessary, I do hope that they will help you to integrate with the cultures of the locals with more success than the rest of the Matoran are having.” “I… okay,” he muttered, his gaze falling to the stick in his hand. “Um… cool. So now what?” “You need to get going into the jungle, I expect,” the Great Being responded, patting him on the shoulder lightly. “It’s almost nap time for you, darling. You’ll understand what I mean when the time comes! As for me… I do believe I shall travel the world!” They laughed at the confused expression on the face of the Maxilos unit as she walked away. Upon reaching the now-open exit, they briefly turned back to face him. “Good luck Tex, darling,” they said, giving him a small smile. “Do try to take care of yourself.” Speechless, Voltex was only able to nod; it was only after the Mad Great Being had vanished that he realized they had continued to call him ‘Tex’, causing him to curse with frustration. ---Present Day--- ---40 AR [After Reformation]--- The tall, lithe being shifted her weight from one foot to the other, pulling the hood of her dirty brown cloak up so that it hid the ornate helmet that she wore; what little of her emerald green armor could be seen gleamed in the sunlight. She rested one black gloved hand upon the pommel of her sword, the other shielding her eyes from the sun as she took in the sight of the city before her. Sixteen years of wandering had led her back to civilization at last. At her side, a small bronze Matoran of Fire was jittery, hopping from one foot to the other, the Kanohi Kakama on his face practically vibrating with excitement. “New Atero,” he whispered, his excitement flowing out of his mouth alongside his voice. “Is this really it, Lady Araina?” The gloved hand that had been shielding her eyes was lowered to rest upon the excitable Ta-Matoran’s head, gently freezing him in place; she laughed lightly when he glanced up at her, his expression worried; at the sound, his face shifted back into its excited expression. “Yes it is, my dear Bronze,” she replied. “This is where we shall find the rest of our team.” TO BE CONTINUED! In CHAPTER ONE, we will officially meet the rest of the team - as well as getting some interesting backstory for Bronze! And perhaps a few other appearances as well? REVIEW TOPIC
  3. A tall, thin Toa of Water with jagged armor pitted and scarred from a thousand battles walked through the stark white halls, her feet clicking upon the floor with every step that she took. Every so often she would pass by gaps - entrances blocked by shimmering barriers of otherwise invisible energy impervious to harm. There were no signs, no directions; anyone who was supposed to be there knew how to get where they needed to be, and those that did not belong (on the rare occasion that it occurred) would be quickly dealt with. She did not slow her pace as the hallway narrowed and various scanners extended from the walls and the ceiling. They scanned over her mind, her mask, her eyes, her weapons, her posture, everything. Double, triple, quadruple checking every single little piece of her, verifying her identity. At the far end of the hallway, the only doorway inside the narrow section flashed green before the field blocking access to it vanished; behind her, a new field shimmered into place, blocking anyone else from following (not that any would have dared to do so). “Give me a status update,” she ordered, striding into the room. “No… you give one to me.” The Toa of Water paused, her head turning to the side as her gaze narrowed on the Matoran of Shadow who had spoken. The bonds that had been holding him to the operating table (one of many present in the room, most of them filled) were gone, torn to shreds. Both of the operatives that she had assigned to look over the bodies were slumped against each other on the floor, blood oozing out of their necks. “You play a dangerous game, Shadowhawk, and you play it callously,” she warned, stepping closer. “I do not take the deaths of my operatives likely.” “Yeah?” the Shadow Matoran responded, his voice a guttural snarl. “Well I don’t take kindly to being some idiot Toa’s lab experiment. So we’re even. Who the Karz are you?” “Do you truly wish to know?” she asked, her head tilting to the side as she stared at the Matoran. “For if I tell you… you shall be sworn to secrecy, or else killed.” Shadowhawk barked out a harsh laugh. “You can try, lady. Nobody seems to be having much luck.” “I have my methods.” He shrugged, tapping the blade of a knife strapped to his thigh - it shifted, glinting in the light. Her eyes hardened into a glare. “I am Helryx, the oldest Toa in the universe,” she said. “I lead an organization - the Order of Mata-Nui. We operate deep within the shadows - so deeply that none outside of our organization except White One have learned of our true nature.” “True nature? What a bunch of baloney,” Shadowhawk muttered. “You’re just like Control - thinking you’re oh-so-special with all of your fancy gadgets.” In the blink of an eye, Helryx lunged forward; she easily disarmed the Shadow Matoran, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him up against the wall. He struggled in her grip for a second before relaxing - whether due to resignation or some other sinister plan, the Toa could not tell (not that it mattered). “Let me make one thing clear, Matoran,” she whispered, her voice cold and as sharp as a blade’s edge. “We are far more dangerous than Control. They were weak, sloppy, and short-minded.” “Oh yeah?” Shadowhawk croaked. “Well they seemed to know… what was going on… in Metru-Nui. But… you don’t.” “We know enough,” she said. Helryx tossed the Shadow Matoran aside; he bounced across the floor before slamming into the wall and sliding back down. He remained in that position as he spoke again, sounding both exhausted and furious. “What do you want from me?” “A service,” she said, turning to face him. “No,” he spat. “Kill me now, Toa, before I do it myself - I’m done doing jobs. Everything I had… everything I built… I’ve lost it all. Those Matoran…” He trailed off, raising a shaking hand and pointing at the corpse of a Ta-Matoran sprawled across the operating table nearest to him - JiMing. There was undisguised hatred in the Shadow Matoran’s eyes. “...they took everything from me. And it didn’t matter what I did, or who I turned to, they always. WON!” He slammed his fist into the floor for emphasis; a loud crack was heard as both his wrist and the floor fractured from the impact, but Shadowhawk ignored it as he shoved himself to his feet, fury blazing in his eyes as he stalked over to stand beside JiMing, staring at Helryx. “You are angry,” she said, speaking calmly. “I am merely suggesting that you focus it.” “On what?!” he snarled. “Thirty Matoran escaped the Coliseum,” she said, gesturing towards JiMing. “All of them allies with him. Working for the Matoran you all call ‘Voltex’, although he is an enigma we shall discuss later. They have travelled far away, through dimensions - I want you to hunt them down.” “And kill them,” he said, starting to calm down. “Do whatever it takes,” she said. “I want some of them - any of them - brought back alive for questioning. But it is your mission, should you choose to accept it.” “Then I accept,” the Shadow Matoran whispered. “I’ll hunt them all.” Helryx allowed a small smile to appear on her face. “Good,” she said. “Then come with me… and let’s get started.” The pieces were slowly falling into place. It was time for the endgame to begin. WELCOME TO THE DISTORTION ANTHOLOGY. New Releases Every Week. REVIEW TOPIC
  4. The Distortion Anthology is a collection of stories set in the Uprising universe by multiple authors. THE AUTHORS - Voltex - Blade - fishers64 - Xaeraz - Sumiki - Pahrak - - Quisoves - Ehks - Burnmad - Jed - Daronus - INSTALLMENTS Voltex - Prologue --- FURTHER READING If you're interested in the Uprising universe as a whole, consider reading the original trilogy: Isolation - The short and sweet first epic that started it all. Extraction - The middle child of the trilogy, that greatly expands upon the history of the world. I only recommend reading this if you are looking to complete the entire trilogy. Extermination - The standalone grand finale; it can be read on its own or after reading the other two. --- NEW INSTALLMENTS IN DISTORTION RELEASED WEEKLY. Whose writings will be released next week?
  5. I wrote this short story as my secret santa gift to Dina Saruyama; in it, a Matoran character (named after but not necessarily based upon her, except the love for dinosaurs) runs into a strange robot in the jungle of Bota-Magna. The robot is in a state of disrepair, and the two discuss the holidays and a few other things. --- BY THE FIRESIDE It’s the holidays again. Just like every year. She’ll be spending them alone. Just like every year. Everyone spends the rest of the year as normal, perfectly content to be alone, perfectly content to be horrible to each other, perfectly content to pretend as if they haven’t already started walking back down the exact same path that they had managed to stray from. But then it’s two weeks before the Reformation anniversary, and suddenly it’s not okay to be alone, it’s not okay to be horrible to each other, it’s not okay to pretend as if they haven’t already started walking back down the exact same path that they had managed to stray from, even though they’re supposedly celebrating the fact that they strayed at all. Forgetting that they should have found new path to walk along instead. It doesn’t matter to her very much anyway; she’s become something of a non-presence ever since the reformation. Well, since before the Reformation if she’s honest with herself, but at least back then everybody was too busy fighting one war after another to even care about who was who. Nowadays with the peace and society long ago back to normal in the twenty-five years it has been, there’s plenty of room and plenty of time for people like her to become outcasts. She hasn’t done anything wrong per se. But her views don’t align neatly with the mindless, shambling horde that most of the former Great Spirit Robot inhabitants have become. On most matters, she disagrees even more with the planet’s natives. Despite Mata-Nui’s best efforts and final wishes, the divide between Spherus-Magnans and her own kind is clear, and it grows by the day. They might be in a time of peace, but it is a messy one. Flimsy, and liable to snap at any moment. She can feel another war looming on the horizon, despite any and all attempts to pretend as if it isn’t so. It’s part of why, when the holidays come, she does not celebrate with everyone else. For them, it is designed to be a time of joy, a time of companionship. They partake in what they claim to be ‘remembering’, but it would be more accurately labelled as ‘forgetting’, what with their grand tales of triumph, and the few quiet moments during the wars in which they felt happy. For her, it is a time of frustration and loneliness. She remembers, more than anyone, what it was like before the Reformation. She can share tales of loss and devastation. Her quiet moments during the wars involve sitting by the side of friends as they died. So when the holidays roll around and the rest of the society jumps up to party with smiles and laughter, she instead withdraws into herself, travelling alone. She tried remaining in the city for the first few years, but found it to be immensely challenging. It is far easier to take on the holidays alone. Every year, she journeys to the Bota-Magna forests and sets up camp in the trees, and studies. She studies the fauna, she studies the insects, she studies the animals, and she studies everything else. Her focus this year (and every year before, and it will be every year to follow) is the dinosaurs. They are gargantuan, many of them the largest land creatures that Spherus-Magna has to offer. Some of them feed only on plants; others only on meat; others still on metal. She hates the metal eaters. They aren’t natural; no living organic creature has ever or will ever require metal to sustain itself unless tampered with. And make no mistake, the dinosaurs she studies – all of them, every single one of them – has been tampered with. It took place long, long ago, millennia upon millennia before the reformation, back before even the shattering, when the once-mythical Great Beings still roamed the planet, experimenting everything they knew and creating everything they saw. The Great Beings modified the dinosaurs. She has not found a single dinosaur across her years of studying them that does not have armored plating growing on top of its skin. Certain dinosaurs have other enhancements, although all of the additions are rather obsolete compared to the Great Beings’ later work. She is thankful for this small blessing; it will make it easier for her to remove the so-called enhancements and return the dinosaurs to their natural state. Still, one small blessing does not stop her from hating the beings that were so self-absorbed and narcissistic to believe themselves as ‘great’. Shaking her head to clear it, she returns to her work, and her studies. --- For two full days, she has fleshed out her studies, venturing further and further into the Bota-Magna forest. She walks among the dinosaurs – the more peaceful plant-eaters, at least – and they are unbothered by her scent, by now familiar with it after all of these years. As she does each year, she ventures forth where she has not ever gone before, slowly crossing the great expanse of trees, taking notes and studying her new surroundings, leaving markers so that she will not lose her way (although if she did, she would not be worried). The afternoon is slowly fading away into evening as the sun sets and the sky is swathed in shades of pink and orange when she makes a new discovery. One of the dinosaurs pokes at a heap of metal with one leg before huffing and stomping away; curiosity gets the better of her and, rather than follow the dinosaur, she instead slips through the trees towards the heap of metal. When she is finally standing over it, she realizes that it is not merely some pile of junk, but rather a humanoid robot; albeit it in great disrepair. It is clad in armor of gunmetal gray, highlighted by bright red. Its mask is the vibrant red, although the eyes are dark and lifeless, and there is a scar running through its left eye. As her eyes trail across the rest of the robot, she takes in the damage. Its left arm hangs loosely, there is a small crater in its chest, and armor is clearly missing from every other limb. The shredded pieces of what she can only guess to be some sort of projectile launcher are embedded in its right shoulder, the attachment for the missing launcher sparking ever few seconds. Wires are visible all over the body, and rust eats at the edges of every armor piece. She recognizes this robotic body; the name flickers in the back of her mind. Maxilos. Yes, that is its name. She remembers tyrants using many of them as personal guards when they ruled in the Coliseum of Metru-Nui, and later the Order of Mata-Nui using legions of the mindless robots to enforce their own rule across the universe before the Destiny War. She remembers fighting against them, destroying them. She remembers being assigned to re-program them during the Destiny War, and succeeding; how the robots had helped to tip the scales in favor of those fighting for freedom, and how they had held the last lines of defence so that they could emerge victorious during the Reformation War. She also remembers every single one of them later being melted down, having been declared unreliable. So what is one doing all the way out here, fifty-seven years later? --- She drags what is left of the robot to her campsite and sits it up against a tree across the campfire from her tent. She leaves it be as she builds up the fire, adding logs to keep the flames going as night falls and the air grows chilly. She has just finished building a very rough spit to cook her evening meal and sat down to rest when the robot shudders, activating on its own and turning to look at her, bright blue eyes gleaming in the night. In a flash, she has her disk launcher loaded with a fragmentation disk and aimed directly at the Maxilos unit; it does not react. The fire crackles. They stare at each other for a full minute before the robot’s mouth opens and it speaks, its mechanical voice sounding far more human – and far more tired – than it should. “Where are we?” She glares at it suspiciously, but answers its question nonetheless, her voice sharp and cutting. “Bota-Magna.” The Maxilos unit slowly nods, turning to gaze into the fire, sighing (she ignores this; it must be her imagination, for robots do not sigh). After a long moment, it speaks again. “…what year is it?” She ignores how weak and tired it sounds, but once again gives it the answer it is looking for. “Twenty-five years since the Reformation.” It nods again. “Good… at least I know that system is functioning,” it says, sounding, for all intents and purposes, like a Matoran itself. “You may lower your weapon… rest assured that I will not harm you. Even if I wished to do so, well, I think my current state speaks for itself.” She lowers the disk launcher, but keeps a wary eye on the Maxilos unit as she does so. “You don’t sound like a Maxilos unit.” “I should hope not,” the robot replies, chuckling softly. “I thought they were all melted down,” she continues. The robot glances up at her before responding, “they were; all of the others have been gone for… what did you say? Twenty-five years, give or take. I am the only one left.” “You’re autonomous. You shouldn’t be.” “You’re right,” the robot says, nodding along before looking at her expectantly. “What might that mean?” “Either you’ve somehow become self-aware, or you’re not a Maxilos.” The robot chuckles again. “Believe it or not, both are correct. This Maxilos unit did become self-aware; about fifty-seven years ago for you, thanks to the influence of a Ba-Matoran named Quisoves. Of course, its AI is long gone now; the body remains, but the AI reached its natural point of decay nearly two centuries ago.” “Two centuries ago? I thought you said it became self-aware only fifty-seven years ago.” “Fifty-seven years for you,” the robot corrects. “For me, that date was nearly four hundred years ago, give or take. It becomes hard to keep track of time when you travel through dimensions as I have.” “You’re not making any sense,” she says, scowling. “I do not expect you to understand,” the robot says, sounding regretful. “But to finish answering the question you have not asked… yes, I am not a Maxilos. Once, I was a Matoran rather like you; a Ba-Matoran, actually, although not the one that made this unit self-aware. I was dying, but… well, I am rather smart. I found a way to insert my ‘soul’, so to speak, inside this machine instead; and in here I have remained, ever since.” “You cheated death.” “Yes.” “Was it worth it?” The robot shrugs. “Is anything worth it? The moment you begin living, each step you take is one step closer to dying. At the end of the day, one begins to wonder whether there is a point to anything at all.” “You’re avoiding the question,” she notes. “I am,” the Maxilos replies, tilting its head in acknowledgement. “Perhaps it was worth it. Who knows? The mission I took part in may have failed if I had not transferred my soul into this machine. So maybe it was worth it, in a way. But to me… I would wager that it was not worth it, no. Most days that I am awake and aware, I find myself regretting more than accepting.” “Why did you do it?” she asks. “Why not just allow yourself to pass on?” “I was afraid,” the robot says, so quietly that she struggles to hear it. “Afraid of death, of the blankness and the void that would follow. I may regret many things, but if there is one thing I do know, it is how to survive. How to avoid death, to forestall it and delay it. I still fear it, to be truthful with you; but I have come to accept that I cannot flee from it for much longer.” Silence falls between them for several minutes as she ponders the robot’s words and the robot stares blankly into the fire. She wraps some dough around a bit of meat and sticks it onto the spit, slowly turning it over the flames. The edges slowly begin to darken as it cooks; she sprinkles a few spices over top of it, and the smell wafts into the air. Once it is finished, she grabs a pair of tongs and pries her meal off of the spit, touching it to her palm and absorbing all of the nutrients until all that remains is a husk. She shakes the tongs and the husk vanishes into dust that blows away with the breeze. Setting two more logs upon the fire, she turns her gaze upon the robot again to find it watching her with something akin to curiosity in its eyes. “What?” she asks. “I was simply wondering why you might be all the way out in the forests of Bota-Magna at this time of year, all alone,” it replies. “It is the holidays, is it not? The anniversary of the Reformation?” She cannot stop the frown from appearing on her face. “It is.” “You do not celebrate it like everyone else?” The frown turns into a scowl. “Do you?” The Maxilos unit shakes it head, looking away into the darkness outside of the campsite. “No. I remember what the Reformation War was like, and the Destiny War, and even the Uprising War before that, as well as my experiences travelling outside of this universe. The celebrations… they merely remind me that society is once again blind to its faults. They refuse to see, acknowledge, or accept that they have set themselves back upon the same path that led to those wars in the first place.” She nods mutely, some of the robot’s words ringing ominously in her ears. “Besides all of that,” the robot continues, sagging slightly, “my friends and I were too weary to play much of a role in those latter two wars. We played our part in the Uprising War, but nobody remembers that.” I do, she thinks, but she does not share it out loud. “Who are you?” she asks instead, hoping to turn the conversation away from the wars. “Someone far beyond their years,” the robot replies, waving the question away. “Who are you?” “Someone alone,” she answers, “who recognizes the faults of society and is powerless to help it.” The Maxilos unit nods as if in understanding; perhaps, she reasons, it does. “So you avoid the celebrations. What do you do instead?” “I study the dinosaurs,” she says, her mood growing bitter again. “I want to fix them.” “Fix them?” “The Great Beings ruined them. They’re unnatural now; armor plating where they should have feathers, some feeding on machines and energy instead of meat and plantlife,” she snaps. “I want to fix them someday, turn them back to how they should be.” The robot nods again. “Your quest is admirable.” She cannot help but gaze at the robot with disbelief; the robot chuckles. “It is true,” it says. “You have clearly dedicated yourself to what many would call a hopeless and insurmountable task. You seek to return something to how it should be, rather than obliviously leave it be, and I respect that. In fact… if you would allow me to, I believe I might be able to help you.” “I… don’t understand,” she replies, shaking her head. “You… agree with me? Most people don’t.” “I am not most people,” the robot responds, sighing forlornly. “More than most, I understand what it means - what it is like - to be alone. I know that it is freeing. I know that it is also a burden, one not often willingly undertaken.” “Perhaps I want to be alone,” she says. The fire pops and crackles. “Do you?” the robot asks. “It is the holidays, after all. A time meant for gathering with friends and others close to you. You spend them alone every single year, or so it would seem. Is it because you want to, or because you have to?” The silence stretches for a long moment before she finally answers, “a little bit of both.” “If it helps… I do have information - and some leads - that might help to speed up the pace of your project. Allow for progress you might not otherwise make,” the robot continues, holding out its hand. “Look at this.” She watches as a blue hologram flickers into view, hovering a few inches above the robot’s palm. It is a sphere, one she recognizes as Spherus-Magna. A red dot blinks somewhere in the northern hemisphere of the planet; as she watches, the hologram zooms in towards the marked location. “During my travels, I came across a Great Being, one who was turned insane after coming into contact with the Mask of Life,” the robot says, its voice barely a whisper. “He was imprisoned, and wished to escape his bonds; I helped him to do so, and in return he offered me this. A map of the entire planet, one that would help me to track down others.” “Others?” “Other Great Beings,” the Maxilos unit clarified. “He claimed that most had fled the planet long ago, or simply died; but there is one who grew to hate what they had become and what they had done. A Great Being that might be sympathetic to your cause, and be… persuaded to help you.” “I will not deal with Great Beings,” she snaps. “And how exactly do you plan to return the dinosaurs of Bota-Magna to their proper, natural state without them?” She frowns. “I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’ll find a way.” “I’m saying that you don’t need to, not necessarily,” the robot replies. “If we can find this Great Being, and he agrees to help us, your task might be completed sooner than you had imagined. But I am sure that, should you decide against accepting his help, he would value that decision.” She scowls at the fire. “And maybe I simply don’t want to fix the problem. Each year, it gives me something to do, an excuse to escape the celebrations of a war that would be better off forgotten entirely rather than half-remembered. If I solve the problem, what am I supposed to do then?” “Find another problem, of course,” the robot says quietly. “It is what I do. It’s what all of my friends do as well, or so I hear. There are many projects of the Great Beings active on this planet, some more harmful than they are good; they could keep you busy for many years.” The fire crackles. She closes her eyes and sighs. “Fine. Let’s find this Great Being. But I reserve the right to refuse any help he offers… as well as the right to kick him for every wrong he has done to this planet.” “Of course.” “One more thing, then, before I retire for the evening,” she says. “If I am going to be travelling with you, I want to know your name.” The Maxilos unit turns its gaze to her. The hologram in its palm flickers away; somehow, its bright blue eyes look lost and alone. “You can call me Tex.” She holds out her hand; the robot shakes it. “Well, Tex, it is nice to meet you. You can call me Dina.” If it was possible for a Maxilos unit to smile, the robot was now doing just that. “It is nice to meet you as well, Dina. I look forward to the adventure that awaits us.” The robot sits back against the tree, closing its eyes. It becomes still and silent, shifting into some sort of sleep mode. She remains by the fireside, gazing into the flickering flames. The crackling of the fire is calming, and soothing; she waits until it has burned out and the night is dark and silent before retiring to her tent. She sleeps soundly for the first time in years, and it is good. End.
  6. by voltex & tbk Back in April of 2014, I had just finished writing an epic called Isolation, and was in the process of writing its sequel, Extraction. There were a number of new characters being introduced in the sequel, and I had an idea for a story starring them that would take place during the events of the first book as a "bridge" of sorts between the two epics. Busy as I was writing the epic, however, I did not want to delay it further by writing what I had titled Project Mayhem. So I got into contact with TBK, and asked if he would be willing to help me turn Project Mayhem into a comic instead. He enthusiastically agreed, and so we got to work. I do not know if the comic will stand up well on its own; it wasn't until Extermination where I started actively trying to make sure every entry in the series was also standalone so that newcomers could understand everything that was happening. Complicating this matter further is that Project Mayhem remains unfinished; out of what was planned to be a 6 or 7 part series, we only completed 4 before TBK vanished from BZPower last November. After more than a year, I figured that I would release what we did complete; while I do not think the writing is really up to par, I do think that TBK's art in Parts 3 and 4 deserves to be shown off. I will release each part over the next few days. --- CHARACTERS Pictured here are the various BZPower members depicted in the comic; they were all members who had signed up to be characters in Extraction. Links to their profiles are below. Vinylstep - Canis - MT - Valendale - Tyler - Hero Two other characters also appear in the comic: Kante (a police officer working alongside Canis) and Elittra (a member of Project Mayhem). --- COMICS Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four SCRIPTS Part Five & Part Six --- Every bit of art is thanks to TBK; I was responsible for the writing and such. C&C is appreciated, as this is the first time I did anything with a comic; I enjoyed it a lot and would love to do so again in the future, so feedback would be helpful. And I do apologize if nothing makes sense story-wise, but do encourage you all to check out Parts 3 and 4 when I release them, because TBK switched to a hand-drawn style and it looks really cool. I will post Part 2 tomorrow.
  7. ASK ME ANYTHING!! PREMISE A small group of Matoran survived the isolation of a terrorist attack one year ago. After fighting their way out of the trap, they battled those who wished to see them dead and achieved extraction. Several of the survivors launched a rebellion - an uprising - against the White Council, who lead the city of Metru-Nui. They have been at war for nearly a year... but now they find themselves vanishing, one by one. Hunted down by a mysterious figure known as the "Shadow"... it is extermination. CHAPTERS Prologue - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - Epilogue Files: Voltex - Burnmad - Portalfig Other: Deleted Scene Bonus: True Survivor THE MAIN CAST Returning Members - Luroka - Ehks - JiMing - Portalfig - Shadowhawk - Zakaro - Pulse - Chro - Blade - Kayn - TBK - Voxumo - Voltex - Unit - Taka Nuvia - Burnmad - Xaeraz - RG - - Fishers/Agent 64 - Vinylstep - Valendale - Fighty - Brand New Members - Quisoves - Underscore - Shadow Ignited - ToaD - Cyrix - Chambliss - Smoke Monster - Tekulo - Aiwendil - Rider of Kikinalo - Letagi - JMJ - Pohatu - Ghidora - Aeron - The Shadow - OPTIONAL READING Extermination is officially the third (and final) main installment of the Uprising trilogy - however, it has also been designed as a standalone story. As such, reading the below material is entirely optional; the prologue to Extermination covers the major events that have already taken place. Prelude - Book 1: Isolation - All Hail the King - Book 2: Extraction - Doubt (by Taka Nuvia) - Operation Rainfall (by Portalfig) - Imprecision (by fishers64) And check out the comedy parody by Ghidora! Textermination: Lives at Steak So... share your thoughts below! Who are your guesses for the other seven narrators? Who shall be the first to die? E: As of Chapter 1, four out of eight narrators are revealed! Who could the last four be?
  8. Voltex

    EXTERMINATION

    PROLOGUE A Matoran with sleek black and silver armor sat at a wooden desk, staring at the lit computer screen. Checking behind him to make sure that the door was shut, he let out a small sigh and turned back to the screen, tapping the microphone perched beside the keyboard to make sure that it was functional. Satisfied, he opened his mouth and began to speak. “Journal entry one-zero-one,” he said. “Let’s recap.” “About twelve years ago, a group of thirteen beings referring to themselves as the ‘White Council’ silently took over Metru-Nui. While one of them would later be exiled, having come to see that the group was nothing but a bunch of tyrants, the others remained firm in their standing and beliefs. A resistance group was formed to combat their corrupt regime, led by four Matoran; their names were Burnmad, Xaeraz, Fighty, and Agni. For six years, the Resistance fought a guerilla war against the White Council - however, while on a mission gone terribly wrong, Xaeraz was captured. “They tortured him for an entire year, driving him absolutely mad with help from a Makuta known as Luroka. With help from insiders within the Resistance, the White Council engineered Xaeraz’s rescue; upon reaching the Resistance headquarters, Xaeraz slew both Fighty and Agni, although Burnmad managed to escape with his life intact and his role still a secret from the White Council. It was at this time that White Thirteen was exiled, and returned to his original name: Xaron. “For the next couple years, the White Council reigned supreme with little challenge; two years later, Xaeraz resurfaced, committing several acts of terrorism against the White Council. At the same time, several ‘fight clubs’ began popping up in the various Metrus, launching a long-term campaign known as ‘Operation Rainfall’. Thanks to an Onu-Matoran called Portalfig, Operation Rainfall would eventually fail; unfortunately, this meant that the White Council continued to operate unimpeded. “One year later, six Matoran were hired by the White Council to operate as a covert task force, intended to infiltrate their enemies and bring them down from the inside. Among this group were Burnmad and myself - Burnmad with the intention of striking the White Council at an opportune moment, while I had been unwittingly manipulated into joining by White One, the leader of the White Council. Shortly before I arrested a high profile ally of Xaeraz, the White Council hired me onto a secret project known as ‘Scenario Alpha’. It was a plan designed to lure every single enemy the White Council had, with the intent of eliminating them all at once. “Six months after I made the arrest and was assigned to Scenario Alpha, the White Council announced a conference to be held on BZ-Koro. To my shock, I was invited; as were several Matoran that I considered close friends. The conference was Scenario Alpha - and the White Council had branded me a foe. At the conference, Xaeraz struck with the help of several other Matoran, killing almost all of the over two hundred Matoran in attendance. I was among only twenty-three survivors. Trapped inside the building by the powers of Luroka, whom we believed to be a Matoran, we were killed off one by one, both by Xaeraz’s allies, led by Sumiki, and by popular vote. For several days, I worked alongside Ehks - who I would later learn was Xaron, the former White Thirteen - and a Su-Matoran called Pulse to bring down Xaeraz’s allies. It all culminated in a final showdown with Sumiki and Luroka, who struck me down with an attack designed to drive me mad before he and Sumiki vanished. Thanks to some very quick thinking on the part of Ehks, I survived - barely. But the damage had been done.” The Matoran paused the recording, rubbing at his eyes tiredly and glancing at the time on the computer. It was late - very late. Yet he could not wait until the morning. This recording had to be completed now; for if he was to fall, he needed to know that whoever replaced him would be brought up to speed on everything that had happened. Everything that he - and others - had experienced. With a sigh, he began to speak once more. “Less than ten of us escaped that conference - in addition to myself, there was Ehks, Pulse, Lhikevikk, Portalfig, TBK, Locke, and Kayn. While Sumiki and Luroka had also survived, we did not know their whereabouts. When we left the conference hall and stepped outside at last, an extraction team was waiting for us. Burnmad had heard about the situation and lead three other Matoran to BZ-Koro to save us; unfortunately, he was already too late. “Our rides off of the island exploded, leaving us stranded - and then Matoran loyal to the White Council began to pick us off one by one. Locke was the first to fall, a deadly poison causing him to drown in his own blood. I fought against a mysterious Pyro and Cryo alongside a De-Matoran named Canis, and was handed control of BZ-Koro when its mayor was assassinated. While Burnmad and Ehks managed the rest of the group, I led a team across the city, hoping to get information from a Ko-Matoran named Valendale currently imprisoned in the BZ-Koro jail. Half of my team was killed on the way, and the rest were forced to return back to base, injured. I alone reached Valendale, and I alone entered the main headquarters of a group known as Project Mayhem. “There I met with Xaeraz, and joined forces with Project Mayhem. We created an army - the forces of Project Mayhem and BZ-Koro combined. As a team, we trekked back to base, where the rest of the survivors of the conference waited; there, Ehks was slain by the treacherous Squishy, and a servant of the White Council only known as ‘Agent 64’ attempted to slay me, although the intervention of an Av-Matoran known as MT saved my life at the last second. Before we could determine the identities of the other traitors in our group, several airships of soldiers led by White Ten arrived, with the intent of either apprehending or killing us. During the battle, Xaeraz’s tortured conditioning caused him to turn traitor, and he was killed by Burnmad; while the rest fought the soldiers, I fought White Ten in the sky, eventually slaying him. “After the battle, I had Burnmad lead almost all of the others back to Metru-Nui, to organise those who disliked the White Council and build us an army. I remained behind on BZ-Koro with Valendale and a De-Matoran known as Vinylstep to try out an invention of Ehks’s designed to revive the dead. While it was unsuccessful, we did find two Matoran in the conference hall - Shadowhawk and JiMing - actually still barely alive, and awoke them. It was then that Fighty revealed himself to me, and helped me to understand many things. “The Fighty I spoke to explained that he was from a different dimension, where the White Council had achieved victory and taken control of the entire universe. He had managed to travel to our dimension and found his counterpart, planting the idea of the Resistance. Unfortunately, when his counterpart was killed, the Fighty I spoke to was forced to disappear, or risk being captured by the White Council. However, he told me that the time had come to take the battle to the White Council once and for all, before they could complete the construction of their ultimate weapon. Together with Fighty and Burnmad, I led our forces in a strike on BZ-Metru, seizing it as our base of operations in Metru-Nui. “That was eleven months ago - and for almost a year now, we have been at war. We have lost many allies along the way, lost several close friends; since the battle with White Ten, Canis was assassinated by Agent 64. Baltarc was ripped apart by three Matoran that our forces - and the White Council - have dubbed as the ‘Triplets’. MT was taken prisoner and publicly executed by White Four; his body has been displayed within the Coliseum ever since as a ‘lesson’ to those who wish to disobey the Council. Valendale fell while duelling with White Five personally; unfortunately, White Five managed to escape alive. And… perhaps what hit both Portalfig and I the hardest… Lhikevikk died at the hands of a new series of Vahki. Officially, they are the ‘Vahki 2.0’ series; however, they have come to be known as the ‘Dread’. Advanced over the originals in every way and designed specifically for war, the Dread are terrifying to meet on the battlefield. Portalfig, Lhikevikk and I had managed to stick together and survive everything since the conference; and it took only seconds for a Dread to spear Lhikevikk through his heartlight. “Despite these losses, we have made some significant ground as well; in addition to our acquisitions of BZ-Koro and BZ-Metru, we have managed to take control of both Ta-Metru and Ga-Metru as well. Ta-Metru has always been at the bottom of the barrel to the White Council, and it was easy for us to take; Ga-Metru was easily won over after the White Council bombed the Great Temple. We have also made significant headway into Le-Metru, although thanks to the Dread we have recently been meeting significant resistance. And, as much as I am loathe to admit it, our numbers are beginning to fall. Recruitment is down, and the White Council is beginning to pull in their allies from other regions. If we cannot strike them down now, it may soon be too late. “In a few hours, I leave to lead a small team of only three Matoran, including myself, to try and infiltrate the Coliseum. If we are successful, we may be able to win this war within the week. If we are not… well, I doubt I shall survive to see another sunrise. “This is Voltex Oblige, signing off.” To Be Continued. REVIEW TOPIC > Who will the other seven narrators be?
  9. Bionicle Mafia Uprising: Prelude The Matoran held his disk launcher in his hands tightly as he crept through the pitch black hallway. His steps were agonizingly slow – even a single sound could leave him dead on the floor. He did not even dare to risk activating the flashlight that had been installed onto his wrist for the mission. His target was far too smart for that. He was clad mostly in black armor, and what little of it was purple was shielded from view entirely by the black cloak he wore, with the hood drawn up around his mask. If one were to meet him on the streets in daylight, he might seem like your everyday Matoran of Gravity. Once upon a time I was, he recalled. Not anymore. There was a dull thud behind him and the Ba-Matoran whirled around silently in the darkness, a disk of weakness ready in his launcher as he aimed it at the disturbance. He remained like that for several seconds before slowly relaxing as much as he dared and continuing on his journey. Theoretically, if his sources were anything to go by, his target’s office was at the end of the hall. This is too easy, he thought. It’s Kaiser Manducus, quite possibly the richest Matoran in Metru-Nui... there should be more security. There was only one reason why Manducus would not need more security. The Ba-Matoran tried not to think about that too much. Nor did he try to think about the thud that he had heard only a few brief moments before. And he definitely did not start making the connection in his brain. After what felt like a decade, he reached the door. Although he could not see it in the darkness, he knew it was usually ominous and imposing – rather like Kaiser Manducus himself. Manducus had been open about funding one of Metru-Nui’s most notorious criminals for six months now via his company RomeTech (one of the only supplies of chute fluid, among other things), and the White Council had been attempting to capture the famous business Matoran for five of those. He had been chosen to infiltrate the company a month before and had managed to work his way into the CEO’s good graces. All so that he could detain the criminal before Manducus had a chance to slip out of the White Council’s grasp again. Fighting down the nervousness that was pounding in his chest, the Matoran of Gravity took a slow, deep breath before twisting the knob of the door and swinging it open silently before shutting it behind him with a click. He flicked the light on and dodged to the side to avoid an attack that did not come; crouching in the corner, he blinked his eyes as they adjusted and found Manducus standing by the window that took up an entire wall, overlooking BZ-Metru. He aimed his disk launcher warily as he stood to his feet. “You’ve betrayed me,” the CEO, a Fe-Matoran, said. “You’re under arrest by order of the White Council,” the Ba-Matoran said, ignoring the Iron Matoran’s words. “Of what crimes?” “Openly conspiring against the leaders of Metru-Nui with a known terrorist and criminal mastermind, and for fleeing capture in seven different circumstances,” the Ba-Matoran said. “I could list more, but I think we both realize that is both unnecessary and a waste of my time.” Manducus sighed, still not looking at him. “I suppose I should come quietly this time.” The Ba-Matoran did not wait for the Fe-Matoran to make his move; he fired the weakening disk and hit Manducus directly in the back. His legs suddenly unable to support him, the CEO gave a startled cry as he collapsed, the throwing knife in his hand clattering to the floor. Discarding the disk launcher, the Gravity Matoran grabbed the cuffs off of his waist and crouched beside the Iron Matoran, linking the cuffs into place around the CEO’s wrists before activating them. “I am going to find you,” Manducus snarled quietly, struggling feebly as the weakening field of the cuffs took effect. “And when I do, I will kill you.” The Ba-Matoran stood to his feet, staring down at the disgraced Fe-Matoran and shrugging. “Good luck with that where you’re going.” He froze at the sound of the door clicking shut again behind him, fighting the instinct to cringe or flinch away at the sound of the chuckle that followed. He knew that laugh. His suspicions had been correct. He wished they had not been. “Don’t move Voltex,” a voice drawled. “We wouldn’t want you to put up a fight, would we?” Voltex did not reply, waiting for the newcomer to continue. After a brief second he realized his mistake and in one smooth motion whirled around to face the newcomer while drawing the pistol from its holster at his hip. His eyes widened in surprise as he found the new Matoran already upon him – with one hand he jabbed the gun into the enemy’s stomach, while with the other he grabbed the opposing Matoran’s wrist, holding it in place just as the tip of the knife brushed his body. The other Matoran, who was of Iron and looked as though he had been cobbled together from the wrecked pieces of metal at a trash site, laughed. “You’ve still got the moves, Voltex. I admit that I’m impressed.” Voltex swallowed the fear rising in his throat and responded, “it’s a shame the same can’t be said for you, Xaeraz.” Xaeraz’s eyes widened a little in curiosity as he regarded the Ba-Matoran. “And here I thought you were frightened of meeting me. Such a silly assumption.” “Not an assumption,” Voltex said grimly. “I’m scared out of my wits right now, Xaeraz. You’re the most terrifying Matoran I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting.” “Oh, but of course...” Xaeraz trailed off, nodding in understanding. “You were in the Bionifight tournaments. You’re one of those silly fools that responds to fear by directly creating conflict with it.” Voltex frowned at the criminal’s ability to read him so easily – but then, there had to be a reason why Xaeraz was considered a mastermind. “The White Council will be sending reinforcements soon,” he said. “I know,” Xaeraz said casually. “How about this – I promise to step back and not stab you for a few minutes if you promise not to shoot me.” The Gravity Matoran considered it for a moment before relenting. Both Matoran warily released the pressure, with Xaeraz taking several steps back to sit on top of Manducus’s wooden desk. “You do realize that you can’t kill me here, right?” Voltex asked. “I won’t,” Xaeraz corrected. Voltex frowned. “You won’t?” “I won’t,” Xaeraz repeated, nodding and twirling his knife in his hands idly. “Why not?” “Because I don’t want to,” the Fe-Matoran said simply. The Ba-Matoran’s frown deepened as he considered the statement. He was so lost in his thoughts that he did not notice that Xaeraz had disappeared until the Fe-Matoran coughed loudly to grab his attention, as the criminal poked his head back into the room from the air vent in the ceiling he had climbed inside. “We both know you can’t stop me because I’ll just kill you in retaliation,” the Iron Matoran said brightly. “I’ll let you take Manducus as a consolation prize.” “He’s the main prize,” Voltex said. “I came here tonight to arrest him, not you.” “So you did,” Xaeraz acknowledged, “but it’s me that you really want. Consider yourself lucky.” “Why?” “Because he hired me as tonight’s security specifically to kill you,” Xaeraz said, “but now isn’t the right time for that. I have big plans for you, Voltex. Just remember that. I won’t visit you in the middle of the night – if I was going to you’d be dead already – but when I put my plans into action, you’ll be right at the center of it all, drowning in blood.” “You like blood a lot,” Voltex noted, choosing to ignore the ominous words being sent his way. Xaeraz shrugged. “So I do. I find it helps me to remain calm.” “Is that why you senselessly murder civilians?” “It is!” Xaeraz said brightly. “Thank you for noticing, pal. We’re gonna have a lot of fun later – but for now, good bye!” The most wanted criminal in Metru-Nui vanished then without a trace, before Voltex could come to his senses and just shoot him down. When the two backup Toa arrived, Voltex was still standing in that same spot, pondering Xaeraz’s words. He ignored the questions the Toa asked, handing Manducus over to them silently and turning away from the numerous curses being spouted from the disgraced CEO’s mouth. When I put my plans into action, you’ll be right at the center of it all, drowning in blood. Voltex shivered as he stepped out of the building with those words echoing in his head – and it was not because of the cold. Shaking his head, he starting walking away, formulating the report that he would have to hand into Burnmad the next morning. What could Xaeraz possibly be planning that was worth keeping him alive and allowing the capture of his greatest ally? Voltex was not sure he wanted to know. This was written as a oneshot prelude to Bionicle Mafia Uprising: Book 1 - Isolation, which releases later this week. C&C as is your wont. E: Fixed a bit.
  10. ---[Present Day]--- ---[Agent 64]--- Her midnight blue cloak fluttered behind her as she stalked through the hallway, ignoring the whispered conversations emanating from the slightly open doorways. Her armor, once sleek and white, had long ago been modified into an equally sleek but now midnight blue set to match the cloak, enabling a level of stealth usually not possible during the night. Her eyes glinted dangerously from behind her Kanohi Kualsi as she took in the world around her, analyzing her surroundings and storing the information away for later use. Halting before a plain white door with a plaque upon it, labelled with the number six, she knocked twice; pressing her thumb to the keypad on the side when a voice called “come in”. The door slid open with a faint hiss and gently clicking shut behind her once she was inside. The room she had entered was round, unlike most rooms inside the Coliseum. Everything in the room was also round; the desk, the chairs, and even the single diagram on the stark white wall. It all adhered to the tastes of the figure sitting at the desk, clad in a pure white cape and a set of matching armor. He beckoned her into the chair opposite him and she complied, studying him – despite his reputation as a Turaga, he seemed too... youthful in appearance to be one. They all appeared too young in appearances - especially compared to the likes of the other Turaga she had encountered in her various travels. She filed that particular train of thought away for later as he spoke: “You’re early.” “I was... in the vicinity when I received your summons,” she explained. “I figured the task I was performing could be delayed for our discussion.” “You thought correctly,” he said, nodding in approval. “I have heard rumors that you are working on another contract right now.” Alarm bells rang in her mind. She forced them down. “I was offered another contract and accepted it. It does not conflict with our current... agreements, or I would not have accepted.” “What can you tell me of this contract?” “I was paid to keep quiet about the details,” she said quietly, shrugging. “What did they pay you?” the White Turaga asked, sighing. “Two million.” “I shall plug three million into your account to override your agreement, then,” he said with a small smile. “I must admit, while it is useful, it is also quite a shame that your loyalties can be bought so... swiftly.” She shrugged again. “I’m a bounty hunter. I’m loyal to whoever pays best, and for awhile, that has been you.” “You would do well to keep that in mind,” he said, as a holographic display opened between them. Swiping through several screens, he input several commands and then nodded in satisfaction as the display vanished. “The three million has been added – please, enlighten me.” “I was hired by the Shadowed One,” she said, not caring in the slightest that she had just spoiled an extremely covert operation. “He is attempting to locate one of his Dark Hunters that has gone AWOL.” “Why does he need you?” the Turaga asked. “Surely his own Dark Hunters could be of more use?” “He doesn’t trust them to succeed,” she said. “The Dark Hunter in question is a De-Matoran codenamed ‘Vinylstep’; apparently his morals conflicted with those of the Dark Hunters and recently an argument with the Shadowed One escalated. He’s been missing ever since.” “I know of the Matoran,” the Turaga said absently. “Please continue. You have not explained why the Shadowed One would require an outside source.” “He described Vinylstep as his best agent,” she explained. “Despite his attempts to stop it, Vinylstep managed to learn the identities of every Dark Hunter barring the Shadowed One himself. He knew how every single one of his colleagues worked and was the most effective of them in every assignment. The Shadowed One told me that Vinylstep knew precisely how the organization worked, sometimes better than the Shadowed One himself. He attempted to have Vinylstep trailed, but the Matoran killed every Dark Hunter sent his way and has since vanished entirely. He believes that it would be impossible to capture Vinylstep with any of the Dark Hunters... hence me. He believes an outside source will be more effective.” The Turaga nodded, opening another display and inputting a couple commands; the display vanished and then flashed up on the wall, revealing a detailed file on the De-Matoran Vinylstep. “As you can see, Vinylstep has been upon our watch list for... quite some time,” the Turaga said. “You were in Ta-Metru?” “Yes,” she said, keeping her worry hidden. “He has not been there in months,” the Turaga said dismissively. “He is hiding in BZ-Koro.” “How do you know?” “We are the White Council,” the Turaga reminded her. “How we know something is of no importance to you. You must simply be able to realize that we do know.” “Yes sir.” “As such, your new contract does go against our... what did you call it?” the Turaga asked, pausing to think. “Ah yes, our agreement... I’m sure that you will not deny that this is an issue.” “Yes sir.” She said stiffly. “I do agree.” “You are lucky that it was I who summoned you,” the Turaga warned. “I am far more forgiving than some of my peers. Had it been, say, Turaga White One or Turaga White Ten, you would not be leaving this room. Disloyalty, even unintentionally, is not tolerated.” “Yes sir.” “I am overriding your contract with the Shadowed One,” the Turaga said. “You will receive fifteen million for each of the tasks I am going to have you complete.” “The Shadowed One will hunt me down,” she pointed out. “I will contact him – compensate him and promise him Vinylstep once we are finished with him,” the Turaga said, waving the issue away. “Both tasks are located on BZ-Koro. The first, of course, is to locate Vinylstep and deliver him to us – alive if possible, although I would be perfectly willing to see him dead.” “Of course, sir. The second?” The Turaga leaned forward. “Are you aware of the conference that was recently held on the island?” “I am,” she admitted. “Rumors have been... circulating about what is going on.” “We are lying to the public to avoid a catastrophic panic,” the Turaga said quietly. “The terrorist Xaeraz has, by design, overtaken the conference hall for the past three days. He killed nearly all of the two hundred-plus Matoran present; at our last count, there were twenty-three survivors that he has held hostage in some sort of twisted game of murder. One Matoran managed to escape the conference – a Su-Matoran by the name of RG.” “RG? Isn’t he that reporter for the Metru-Nui news network that blew up a chute on his first assignment?” she asked. The Turaga nodded. “Yes... we have held him in custody for the past several days as a... safety precaution. However, before we had him detained, he sought out the Ta-Matoran Burnmad.” “Is that an issue?” “It is. Burnmad disappeared from the public eye several years ago after we hired him as the leader of a covert force of law. Recently, we have had trouble with the entire group; Burnmad himself has disobeyed several orders in recent weeks, we had to execute a member for spilling our secrets to a dangerously powerful Matoran, three other members were killed in a skirmish with members of a group calling themselves ‘Project Mayhem’, and the final member, Voltex, had to be removed from play... although I fear our attempt was unsuccessful.” “You believe they are attempting a conspiracy against you?” “It is very possible,” the Turaga said gravely. “Xaeraz is living proof of it, and we have reason to believe that Burnmad may have been involved with him before... but that is none of your concern. What does concern you is your second target.” He waved his arm towards the display on the wall, which distorted before clearing again, this time revealing a face that she recognized immediately. “And what am I to do with this one?” she asked. “I want him dead,” the Turaga said coldly. “Give him no mercy.” “Yes sir.” Opening his mouth to speak again, the Turaga was interrupted as the door behind her hissed open. She whirled around in her seat to see another one of the Turaga, appearing exactly the same as the one seated at the desk minus the mask, skidding to a halt. “Hey Six, I-” the Turaga stopped short as he spotted her. “Greetings, Turaga White Four,” the Turaga at the desk said, stressing the second two words. “What do you need?” “I apologize, White Six, Agent 64” White Four said, bowing slightly. “I was unaware that your meeting had begun.” “It is of no matter, we were merely ironing out the final details of the new contract,” White Six responded tiredly, waving the issue away. “What did you need?” “Turaga White One has called each of us for a meeting,” White Four said. “The shadows have fallen away at Scenario Alpha.” White Six was on his feet to a flash, stalking over to White Four and placing a hand on the other Turaga’s shoulder, gripping it tightly. They both seemed to have forgotten that she was even still present in the room. “Where is Burnmad?” White Six asked, his tone urgent. “Where is he?” White Four shook his head. “He’s already gone – the tails we placed on him are dead.” Turaga White Six closed his eyes, stepping away with a defeated sigh. “That is most unfortunate. What about RG, and the other Matoran we had under watch?” “Burnmad collected them all,” White Four said grimly. “They’re going to extract the survivors.” “Agent 64, you are dismissed,” White Six said, turning to her. “I will have a pilot waiting for you down below with a helicopter. You are to leave for BZ-Koro immediately.” “Yes sir,” she said, standing to her feet. “Is there anything else I should know?” “Nothing that matters,” White Six said, pushing her out into the hallway lightly. “You are free to go.” Nodding, she stepped out into the hall, walking away without glancing back and going over everything that she had heard from the two Turaga. Something big was happening... something out of the control of the White Council. She had a feeling that Vinylstep would be the easier of the two targets she had been given. Considering his skills, that was a problem. She shook her head as she entered the elevator that would take her down to the grid, where her ride would be waiting. There was work to do. PROLOGUE ---[11 Years Ago]--- ---[burnmad]--- He double checked and triple checked his bright red and scarlet armor, his head pounding with anticipation. He could hear the roar of the crowd out in the stands, and not for the first time he wondered in the prep rooms were as sound-proof as Fighty claimed they were. Pre-fight jitters were the worst, he decided; especially the ones you got right before the final match of the season. The championship match, where the final two fighters battled it out to become the latest champion of Bionifight and become showered in fame and praise by the media and the fans... and even sponsors, sometimes. Although it was only the fourth season of Bionifight, it was easily the biggest method of entertainment in Metru-Nui, and ranked fifth overall in the universe, having rapidly expanded its viewership to islands such as Xia and Stelt. The effects of Bionifight had been profound; as a Matoran-only league of combatants beating the snot out of each other and having to recover quickly in order to keep up, medicine had been advancing rapidly. Matoran all over the known universe were being treated with more respect of all races as Bionifight showed what they were capable of – Toa were no longer forced to act as protectors of the Matoran, and could move onto other occupations with a higher survival rate. Burnmad, for his part, had been a member of the league right from the very beginning. He knew that he was one of the most popular fighters out there – as well as one of the most hated (mostly by his rivals and their fans). Those things came along for the ride with success... and he knew success. Out of four championship matches (if the one he was about to fight was counted), Burnmad had fought in three of them. The first match he had fought was in the second tournament; he had lost to Windrider, one of the older fighters with a unique style that no other fighter seemed able – or willing – to replicate. During the third tournament, he had analyzed Windrider’s style and modified his own style to work well against it. His gambit had paid off and he had beaten Windrider, becoming the new champion. Now, he was battling for the championship again at the end of the fourth tournament – but this time against a fighter with no name. The media, the fans, and even the other fighters had taken to calling his opponent “Orange”, after his pure orange armor. Nobody knew where his opponent came from, or what he was doing in Metru-Nui. All anyone knew for certain was that Orange would be retiring from Bionifight at the end of the season. On the bright side, at least if he lost, Burnmad would not have to spend another six months training himself against another combat style. A year ago I was facing off against Windrider, he thought, silently chuckling. How far things have come in a year.... Shaking his head, Burnmad tried to toss those thoughts away – while Bionifight had certainly exploded in a very good way, there were other rumored changes in Metru-Nui that he was not entirely sure that he approved of. Best not to think about it – he could not afford to be distracted. Not during this fight. He glanced up as his trainer-and-manager, poked her head into the room, calling: “Hey Burnmad, you’ve got five more minutes!” Managing a brief smile, he nodded to let her know that he had heard. Once she was gone, the door clicking shut behind her, Burnmad stood from where he had been seated at the bench, stretching both of his arms and his legs slowly as he made his way over to the wall, where his weapons were propped up. Five minutes until show time, he thought. It’s a championship match, so the arena is in default mode. No obstacles, no modifications. Just an open, flat surface of sand underneath my feet and an orange Matoran to beat down. He strapped his health gauge onto his wrist, pressing a button to magnetize it so that it would not fall off during the fight and then pressing another button to activate it. The device currently read “100%”, with a fully green bar on its small screen. During the match, two large screens at either end would display the information on the health gauge of himself and his opponent to the audience. Next up was the armor – the week before each championship match, both fighters met to discuss and decide upon which equipment and weapons would be legal. Orange had wanted them to use nothing more than body armor and shoulder platers – Burnmad had agreed on the condition that they could use their regular weapons. With his armor in place, he grabbed his weapon – a rather nondescript red sword that, at first glance, was perfectly ordinary. By this point, everyone and their brother knew that was not the case; Burnmad needed to focus only a little for the sword to burst into flames, and it would remain on fire until he doused it in water. The sword had saved him in a tight situation many times – although the other fighters knew that it could burst into flames, in the heat of a duel it would often shock them just long enough for Burnmad to recover his wits first and take the advantage. Placing his sword into its fireproof sheathe and tying said sheathe around his waist, Burnmad turned to the mirror on the opposite wall that stretched from ceiling to floor and examined himself as his trainer entered the room again. “Are you ready?” she asked. “As ready as I’ll ever be,” he said, flashing a nervous smile. “You’ll be fine,” she said, walking up and straightening one of his shoulder pads. “I like to think that I’ve done a good job if you’re the first Bionifighter to reach the championship match three times; and if you lose, then the fans will be all over on your side next season for a little ‘return to glory’ scenario.” “I guess you’re right,” Burnmad agreed, placing a hand on the pommel of his sword. “Should we go?” “Are you fighting today?” “...well, yeah.” “Then yes, we should go.” Rolling his eyes, Burnmad followed her out into the hall, where they took an immediate right, walking down a straight hallway towards the entrance into the arena, which was guarded by two Ko-Matoran armed with Kanoka launchers. “Good luck Burnmad,” said the guard on the right, giving him a little nod. “Thanks,” he managed, tightening his grip on his sword as they paused before the closed door. “Remember that losing isn’t the end of the world,” his trainer said softly, “but... if you do lose, I will take away your dessert privileges for a week.” “That’s not fair,” Burnmad muttered. “Life’s not fair,” she said brightly, opening the door to the blindingly bright arena. “Now go on out there and kick that Matoran around the block.” The door was swiftly shut and locked behind him as he entered the arena. The roaring in the stands grew louder as the first members of the audience spotted him and he took a deep breath, smiling and striding forward confidently for the camera into the center of the arena, where Orange was already waiting. “Sorry I’m late,” Burnmad said. Orange shrugged, as if to say ‘no big deal’ as a Matoran clad in silver armor descended from the stands on a floating platform powered by levitation disks, coming to a stop in between both fighters and glancing first to Orange, and then to Burnmad, with a questioning look in his gaze. Burnmad nodded imperceptibly and the Matoran – Fighty, creator of Bionifight – looked away. “Matoran of Metru-Nui; audiences of the universe!” Fighty yelled, his voice echoing around the arena and being broadcast to audiences across the universe. “I welcome you to the final battle of the fourth Bionifight tournament, between returning champion Burnmad, and a mysterious newcomer, whose name we do not even know – but he has taken up the title of ‘Orange’!” Burnmad stared at Orange, who stared back at him, neither of them reacting to whatever Fighty was spewing from his mouth. It was all for the audience. “Are you ready?” Fighty asked, not waiting for an answer as his platform slowly rose into the air again. “The fight begins in five... four... three... two... one!” The crowds grew silent as the fight began – or rather, as they waited for it to begin. Burnmad gripped the hilt of his sword with his left hand, and Orange reached back with his right arm for his battleaxe. The two slowly circled each other as the audience waited with bated breath. “Go ahead,” Burnmad said. “You first.” Orange shook his head, nodding back at him, and Burnmad let loose a sigh. Orange rarely made the first move in any battle, and it often cost his opponents the fight. Burnmad was determined not to let that happen to him too. So he shrugged, and said: “Have it your way. I can wait all day for you.” His opponent seemed to consider his words for a moment – and then the attack came, so fast that Burnmad almost failed to react, managing to dodge the swing of the battleaxe at the last second, drawing his sword to parry another blow less than a second later. The crowd started to scream out in support and jeers for both fighters and Burnmad automatically tuned them out, focusing only on his opponent as he matched another swing. His arms were vibrating from the blows, and Burnmad knew that he would have to disarm Orange before he lost control. He yelled and lunged forward, pressing the attack and swinging his sword rapidly, forcing Orange to play defense as Burnmad struck him with blow after blow, slowly starting to deplete Orange’s health gauge. Orange kicked at his leg and Burnmad jumped back to avoid it, both of them backing away and panting for breath. It was almost like it happened in slow-motion; he became hyper-aware as Orange lunged forward, stabbing at him with his battleaxe. He raised his sword to defend, realizing too late that Orange had counted upon him doing that – the battleaxe twisted, ripping his sword from his grasp before slamming into him. As he tumbled back, Burnmad kicked the battleaxe out of his opponent’s hand before collapsing. The health gauge still had him near full health, and he shrugged the blow off, standing back to his feet and looking for his sword. “Looking for this?” It was the first time he had heard Orange speak – and when he glanced over, he saw his own sword in his opponent’s hands. Burnmad slowly grabbed the battleaxe, which felt heavy and awkward in his hands. Not good. Orange leaped forward again, and now it was Burnmad forced on the defensive, trying to parry a multitude of lightning fast blows that he could not keep up with. His own sword slashed at his arms and legs again and again as he failed to master the new weapon in his hands. Knowing he was rapidly losing the fight, Burnmad made one last desperate move – he threw the axe. His opponent sliced upwards and deflected it with ease. Burnmad watched as the sword burst into flames and Orange stepped forward, thrusting the sword towards him. Burnmad felt the burning blade pierce his armor and cut through his side with a hiss, and he groaned in pain as Orange pulled it out again, stabbing the sword into the sand. Burnmad was vaguely aware of his health gauge beeping to announce his defeat as he sank to his knees and medical personnel rushed onto the arena. “Good fight,” Orange said, crouching beside him. “Good fight...” Burnmad mumbled, as the darkness over took his vision. --- He woke up a couple hours later, as something was shaking. He could feel it through the darkness the surrounded him – a great shuddering of the earth. Or perhaps it was him.... He could hear something – or someone – talking, although it was muffled, as though he were underwater. He focused on the sound and it slowly became clearer the longer he listened. “...need to wake up now, or we’ll be late,” the voice was saying. “You said you had that super important business meeting, right?” Forcing his eyes to open, Burnmad blinked at the harsh lights the shone down upon him, twisting his head to glare at the Matoran of Plantlife seated beside his bed in the medical bay. “What’re you doing here, Squishy?” Burnmad asked, his voice scratchy. “Trying to wake you up,” the other Matoran said. “You have that meeting at the bar in Ta-Metru in... thirty minutes, I think.” That was enough to wake him – the Ta-Matoran was sitting up in a flash, his legs swinging off the bed. Ignoring Squishy’s sound of protest, Burnmad hopped off the bed and landed on the floor, reaching out to grip Squishy’s shoulder when his legs almost gave out beneath him. “Help me out,” Burnmad said. “I can’t miss this meeting.” “Of course not,” Squishy grumbled. “Will you go by chute, or...?” “Chute,” Burnmad affirmed. “Nothing else is fast enough.” “The station is about five minutes away.” “Not a problem.” They limped along in silence, as the strength slowly trickled back into Burnmad’s limbs. As they reached the chute station, he finally spoke: “What happened after I passed out?” “Orange helped the medical team carry you out of the arena,” Squishy said. “He refused the victory speech and the trophy – just vanished out of there without a trace. I don’t think he plans on coming back.” “He spoke to me,” Burnmad muttered, flashing back to the scene in his mind. “Only a little, but he did speak....” “Well, I guess we can be sure he’s not mute,” Squishy said with a smile as they came to a stop before the chute. “Technically we’re supposed to wait here until the station opens officially, but....” “I don’t have time for that,” Burnmad said, turning to the Bo-Matoran. “Stay safe on the streets there, pal. We should catch up over coffee or something.” “Sounds like a plan.” “I’ll message you,” Burnmad said, walking towards the chute. “See ya!” Without waiting for a response from Squishy, Burnmad dove into the chute and was immediately sucked to the left, quickly speeding around a bend towards Ta-Metru. The particular chute he was riding in was faster than most, designed specifically for the staff and fighters in Bionifight in case of more serious medical emergencies, as BZ-Metru had no hospitals staffed well-enough to deal with the situations Bionifight created. While most chutes would have taken a full hour to travel the distance this chute covered, it would take Burnmad only fifteen minutes – leaving him plenty of time to make it to his meeting. If he was honest with himself, he was worried and, maybe, a little scared. He was meeting with three other Matoran to discuss an issue that could, possibly, end with all four of them being imprisoned. Or killed. Nearing the Ta-Metru station, Burnmad shook the thoughts away as he leaned to the side, skimming the surface of the chute before pushing through and somersaulting through the air to land on his feet, stumbling forward as he gained his balance. Ignoring the glances from the other Matoran nearby, he set his gaze on the White Wolf Pub & Inn across the street and made his way towards it. The White Wolf was older than most of the buildings around it, still constructed out of a dark, oaken wood rather than the protodermis that was so common nowadays. Burnmad pushed on the door and a bell hanging above jingled lightly as it opened, although it was nearly impossible to hear above the roaring of the Matoran crowded around every table in the pub. Not a single seat open, Burnmad thought, noting that there seemed to be entire groups forced to stand. It’s rather busy today... although I can’t say I’ve ever seen it empty. “How may I help you today, sir?” a voice asked from beside him. Turning, Burnmad saw the owner of the pub standing beside him with a dishrag in his hands. He was idly wiping down a mug, though his attention seemed occupied everywhere else. “I’m looking for a table reserved for, uh... ‘FAX’,” Burnmad said. “Follow me, then,” the owner said, turning away. “They’re in the back.” ‘FAX’ was a stupid acronym, representing the names of three Matoran (Burnmad still was not sure why they could not add a ‘B’ for ‘Burnmad’ into it) – the three Matoran that he was meeting with tonight. “Here you are,” the White Wolf owner said, stopping beside a door. “Let me know when you lot are done with it.” “I will,” Burnmad promised. The owner nodded, satisfied, and returned to the main pub – Burnmad, meanwhile, stepped into the room and shut the door behind him, making sure to lock it. “You made it,” said a Matoran who looked as though he had been cobbled together from a junkyard. “We were beginning to think that you’d be out cold all evening!” “Not a chance, Xaeraz,” Burnmad chuckled, grabbing the final seat at the small table in the center of the room. “Hey Fighty, hey Agni.” “’Sup,” said Agni, a Ta-Matoran like himself. “Heard you got beat down pretty bad.” “Maybe I did,” Burnmad said, before deciding to deflect the conversation. “Xaeraz, what happened to you?” “Don’t ask,” the Fe-Matoran muttered. Alright. New topic. “So I’m going to assume all four of us know why we’re here?” “We do,” Xaeraz confirmed. “Fighty?” The silver-clad owner of Bionifight leaned forwards. “Rumors are abound all over the city that a... transfer of power has taken place without the population being made aware. Black Six has not been sighted since early last week; Tufi and Dimensioneer both missed the opening of a new museum in Ga-Metru just yesterday.” “A hostile takeover, then?” Burnmad asked. “I’m not sure,” Fighty admitted. “My sources are telling me that it is hostile – that this new group plans to subvert the entire city to their will, and eventually extend that control to the known universe. My plan is to stop them before they can accomplish any of that.” “We might be too late already,” Xaeraz growled. “If they’ve taken over Metru-Nui and kicked the rightful rulers out, that means they have the law enforcement on their side.” “You’re right,” Fighty said, sighing. “So we need to scout around a little bit. Gather some followers, get a group going. And once we fight back...” “You sound like you assume that this new group is going to be some team of villains,” Burnmad muttered. “Maybe they are,” Agni guessed. “Who else takes over a city without telling anybody?” Burnmad decided to concede it to him. “You have a point.” “It’ll be a guerilla war,” Fighty warned them. “Lots of attrition. Low on any supplies we gather. And we’ll need total secrecy – nobody can know that we’re in charge of this thing. If they do, it could reach this new group, and, well... I’m not too eager to find out what happened to Black Six.” “Do we know when this group struck exactly?” Burnmad asked. “It’s tough to say,” Fighty said. “Black Six disappeared last week, but Tufi and Dimensioneer didn’t vanish for a few days afterward. We know that Matoran stopped seeing Zatth out in public days ago, and we all thought the retirement of Janus a few weeks ago was more than a little suspicious... but then, Deevee, Sumiki and Takuma are all still active.” “Does Sumiki even count?” Burnmad asked. “I mean, he’s the CEO of Hat Enterprises. The only connection he has is that he’s an official funder of city projects.” “That still leaves Deevee and Takuma active though,” Agni pointed out. “If the others are dropping from the public eye, why aren’t they?” “I know that Takuma was visiting Stelt last week,” Xaeraz said. “And Deevee has been overseeing that ambassador project in Xia. They might have been deemed too risky to target at this time.” “There are a few others still active,” Fighty said, “but it’s hard to say if any of them realize that something is wrong. I know that Windrider approached me yesterday, and he didn’t say much, but... it was enough.” “Should we try and get to them before this mystery group does?” Burnmad asked. “Would that be possible?” “I’m not so sure,” Fighty said, sighing again. “I mean, Takuma... maybe we could get to him. But Deevee? He’ll be on Xia for another few months yet, assuming he doesn’t disappear – and the likes of Sumiki and Windrider are too risky to put into hiding.” “So we get the general public,” Burnmad decided. “We form a resistance, and we make sure everyone knows that Metru-Nui will not be overtaken without a fight.” “Sounds like a plan,” Xaeraz agreed. “All in favor?” “Aye,” the other three said in unison. “Then it’s decided,” Xaeraz said with a grin, a glint in his eye. “Let’s get started.” REVIEW TOPIC
  11. ALL HAIL THE KING [TRANSMISSION FROM CONTROL] [MESSAGE FROM WHITE FOUR TO AGENT 64] [NEW MISSION: ASSASSINATE KING OF ILIAS. PARTNER WITH AGENT 19 FOR MISSION. MAINTAIN STEALTH AT ALL COSTS. MAKE CONTACT WITH BA-MATORAN DRAXAS, CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD. PAYMENT WILL BE THE USUAL.] She deactivated the holographic display of her communicator and re-attached it to her belt, frowning slightly as she stood from her crouching position. Her midnight blue cloak fluttered lightly in the breeze as she gazed across the landscape of Odina, and the Dark Hunter fortress in the distance. It appeared that her current bounty would have to wait – orders from Control were so secret that she had never breathed a word of them to any other employer... mostly because they paid more than all of her other employers combined. Never had she wondered where they received all of those funds from – not that she would have cared about the methods if she found out. It was all business; nothing more. With a small sigh, she pulled a small device from her cloak and pressed a button, activating it and dropping it to the ground at her feet with a thud. Electricity crackled around the device before rapidly expanding and swallowing her form whole – and then she was gone. --- Stepping out of the electrical energy field and narrowing her eyes behind her Kualsi, she made her way briskly out of the chamber, ignoring the surprised stammering of the Onu-Matoran on transport duty. If she knew Control, he would be silenced by the morning. As she approached the mission control center, she pulled out her communicator and rapidly tapped in a message to her partner and sending it. [MESSAGE FROM AGENT 64 TO AGENT 19] [MEET ME IN MISSION CONTROL CENTER IMMEDIATELY. NEW MISSION ASSIGNED FROM WHITE COUNCIL.] “I’m here, tell me what’s going on,” she ordered as she entered the control center. “Hold up,” a voice said from behind her as a Matoran of Plantlife staggered into the room, gasping for breath. “You can’t just start without me! I’m your partner for the mission.” “I don’t need you here to complete the mission, Nineteen, or even to know what is going on,” she said. “Always such a pleasure to work with,” Agent 19 grumbled, turning to a Ta-Matoran leaning on a table in the center of the room. “So what are we working with?” Agent 64 stalked forwards as the Ta-Matoran spoke: “Your mission is to go to the island of Ilias. It’s a smaller island, probably about half the size of Ta-Metru in both size and population. But they all serve a king – Turaga Rone.” “What’s the mission?” asked Agent 19, his forest green armor clinking as he shifted. “To assassinate Turaga Rone,” Agent 64 said curtly, before the attendant could answer. “We’re to establish contact with Draxas, the Captain of the Guard, and work our way into the castle to kill him.” “And what’s the reason this time?” “He officially declared the island of Ilias hostile towards the White Council last week,” the Ta-Attendant explained. “Control received the transmission this morning.” “Why did I only receive it now, then?” Agent 64 asked, leaning over the Ta-Attendant, who cowered slightly. “I... I think Control was debating whether to give the mission to you,” the Attendant stammered. “The White Council hasn’t requested specific agents before... it’s unprecedented.” “Obviously Control deemed it fine,” Agent 64 muttered, not bothering to contain her irritation. “It was still a waste of time, though.” “Did Control deem it fine?” Agent 19 asked. “Or was it something else?” “Like what?” The Bo-Matoran’s eyes flicked to the Attendant and around the room before he shook his head and sighed. “Never mind – I’ll fill you in later.” Rolling her eyes behind her mask, Agent 64 turned back to the Attendant – only to find him having carefully placed himself on the opposite side of the table. Casually she flicked out her knife before slamming her fist on the table, blade sticking in the air and lighting on fire. “Finish explaining so that I can do my job,” she ordered. The Ta-Matoran gulped, but flicked a switch on the side of the table, upon which a hologram of a small crescent shaped island rose up. It displayed the image of a large castle dominating the center of the island, with a town and a few small farms spreading outwards from the castle. “As I said, Turaga Rone declared Ilias hostile to the White Council last week,” the Attendant said. “The two parties have been exchanging the typical passive-aggressive political talk ever since, but it’s becoming clear that Rone is standing firm in his decision. All the White Council told Control was that they were tired of his insolence, but it’s obvious that they need Ilias to remain at least neutral towards them.” “Otherwise nothing’s stopping other powers from turning on the White Council too,” Agent 19 said. “That’s probably correct,” the Attendant said, before zooming in towards the castle on the hologram. “Over here, the eastern wing – that’s where you’ll enter the castle. Commander Draxas is supposedly housed in the southeastern section of the castle, so you shouldn’t have too far to go. After that... well, there weren’t really any specific instructions beyond what was in the transmission. The White Council doesn’t seem to have any other results in mind for this mission.” “What a relief,” Agent 19 said drily. “Such a blessing.” “Shut up and have more respect for our employers,” Agent 64 snapped, returning her knife back to its place within her cloak and stalking to the door. “Let’s go – weapons bay might have some tools we’re lacking... although I doubt it.” --- In a burst of light, both agents appeared on the shoreline of Ilias, having been teleported directly from Control. Presumably, their quick entrance would aid with maintaining the secrecy of the mission. “Don’t you feel like Control is doing it wrong?” Agent 19 asked, breaking the silence immediately. “Doing what wrong?” Agent 64 asked. “All of this,” Agent 19 said, waving his arms to indicate the expanse of land in front of them. “We’ve been sent here to assassinate a king and put another party into power, one that supports what is admittedly a group of tyrants. This is work for the Dark Hunters - Control has never stooped so low before. We’re supposed to be a vigilante justice group.” “Our job is to follow the orders that Control gives us,” Agent 64 said curtly. “If you are unable to follow those orders….” “I’m perfectly able,” Agent 19 snapped. “But I’m also perfectly able to refuse those orders. I can take them back to Control and lodge a complaint - at worst, it’ll delay the mission a few weeks.” “That sounds an awful lot like directly disobeying orders,” Agent 64 said quietly. “You risk the wrath of the White Council and Control… and worst of all, you risk bringing me down with you. I cannot allow that.” Before Agent 19 could react, she was already moving; whipping an electrical rod from her hip, she activated it and clubbed her partner in the neck, shocking Agent 19 and blasting him to the ground on his knees. She pulled out her communicator. “What are you doing?” Agent 19 asked, attempting to stand. She kicked him back to the ground, touching the rod to his neck again. “Getting permission.” [MESSAGE FROM AGENT 64 TO CONTROL] [REQUEST PERMISSION TO ELIMINATE AGENT 19. BREACH OF SECURITY PROTOCOL AND CONTRACT WITH WHITE COUNCIL.] The reply came less than a minute later, as Agent 19 woozily began to shake his head. [TRANSMISSION FROM CONTROL] [REQUEST GRANTED.] Wordlessly, she deactivated the electrical rod and attached it back to her hip, pulling out a customized Nynrah Blaster and firing once. The specialized projectile handed control of Agent 19’s body over to her, and her partner quickly stood before walking into the ocean. He ducked into the water, and did not reappear. Agent 64 left without glancing back. --- “I was expecting there to be two of you,” Draxas said as he let her in at the gates. “Where is your partner?” The Captain’s armor was a midnight blue, the exact same shade as Agent 64’s cloak; it was a stark contrast to her shining white armor. Draxas’s Kanohi Hau gave an appearance of one who would defend the virtues of honor and integrity until death came to take him… although that obviously was not the case. “His contract expired,” she said. “Where is your King? I want this done now.” “He is currently situated in the court; many Matoran are present.” “I need a vantage point to snipe him from afar.” The Captain of the Guard looked as if he were going to argue before changing his mind and nodding along, pointing up at one of the towers. “That one will give you your vantage point. How long do you need?” “Five seconds to get up, fifteen to set myself up, five to find the king and end his life,” Agent 64 listed. “After that I’ll vanish and you won’t ever see me again.” “As you wish,” Draxas said. The Captain stepped back into the shadows, his eyes glinting in the darkness before he vanished completely. Agent 64 remained where she was for a brief moment longer before pulling out an oddly shaped blaster and firing a small disk up into the tower; a second later she vanished from where she had been standing and reappeared in position. Once she arrived, she pulled out what at first glance was merely a tube of metal - however, with the push of a button pieces began to slide out and click into place, until she was holding a sniper rifle in her arms. Here goes, she thought. Zooming in, she swept the crosshairs across the King’s court, smiling grimly when she found Turaga Rone standing five feet away from his throne. Before circumstance could ruin her shot, she fired; the crack echoed into the sky and down below Matoran began to scream as Turaga Rone collapsed, his mask shattering and his head a bloody mess. Agent 64 clicked the button again, causing the sniper rifle to collapse back into the tube from before as she threw down a metal pad on the floor and spoke into her communicator. “This is Agent 64. Mission complete, requesting evac.” She could hear guards racing up the stairs towards her. The teleporter pad began to glow with a white light and she stepped onto it, vanishing in a flash of light and reappearing back at base, where the Attendant was waiting. “Where’s Agent 19?” the Attendant asked. “Dead,” she said. “Expired contracts tend to be fatal.” The Attendant scurried off, leaving her with a moment to send off a message. [MESSAGE FROM AGENT 64 TO CONTROL] [MISSION COMPLETE. TURAGA RONE DEAD. AGENT 19 CONSIDERED OFFICIAL CASUALTY.] She had only just sent the message when she received another transmission: [TRANSMISSION FROM WHITE COUNCIL] [MESSAGE FROM WHITE FOUR TO AGENT 64] [THE WHITE COUNCIL IS PLEASED WITH YOUR EFFORTS THUS FAR. REQUEST A PRIVATE MEETING IN ONU-METRU IN SIX DAYS TIME. WE HAVE A VARIETY OF JOB OFFERS TO MAKE YOU. DO NOT INFORM CONTROL.] The Ko-Matoran narrowed her eyes, reading the message over twice before allowing it to sink in. Once it had, she smirked and continued on her way, sending one final message: [MESSAGE FROM AGENT 64 TO WHITE FOUR] [YOU CAN COUNT ON MY ARRIVAL.] It was time to move up in the world. End. As a whole, I'm not entirely certain that I like this piece; nonetheless, this short story is a part of the Bionicle Mafia epic series that I have been writing, All Hail the King serves as a companion to the upcoming Bionicle Mafia: Book 2 - Extraction, where Agent 64 will be one of the points of view. "Agent 64" is the representation of fishers64 in-universe, although this is one where I took a little more artistic liberties than usual with the character's lifestyle. Despite any differences, fishers/"Agent 64" has so far been one of my favorite characters in the series to write for; compared to most characters her true morals, thoughts and opinions are often either unsure or conflicting, and that makes it interesting as an author. She plays a very important role in the upcoming epic, though I won't spoil what it is. Three out of six(?) points of view revealed! As for the other characters in this short story (Agent 19, Draxas, the Attendant, and sort of Turaga Rone), don't worry about seeing them again. You probably won't. Anyway that's enough out of me. I need to get back to writing that epic.
  12. Welcome, readers, to the land of Balfe Nui! Follow the amazing journey of a Toa team... but not an ordinary type of team you know. The Toa look like the Toa Nuva - except for their colors, which are all swapped. They have next to no memory of their past when they first awake at a strange, new land... This comic was made in 2012 and the dialogues/text boxes were rewritten in 2014. Is is the first installment in a comic trilogy, which follows the character's development in both skill, mind and their armor styles. Just click on the links below to read each page! Prolog: Awakening Chapter 1: Evidence Chapter 2: Nightfall Chapter 3: Formation Chapter 4: Conquest Chapter 5: Discovery Chapter 6: Destiny (Part 1) Chapter 6: Destiny (Part 2) Epilog: Departure I hope you enjoy! Made using: Sanyo Xacti S4 (camera), Comic Life 2, Gimp 2.8 and iPhoto
  13. You all signed up, so here it is! In this review topic is the character list and the chapters. Each character has a little bio that may or may not end up being fully relevant to the story (some are more relevant than others). The Premise: This story is based upon the Mafia games played frequently in the G&T Forum. While attending a conference on the island of BZ-Koro, 23 Matoran find themselves trapped in the building after a terrorist strike, and they must fight to earn the right to survive. The Chapters Prelude - A very important arrest is made. Prologue - Voltex tries to prepare for the fate that is speeding towards him. Chapter 1 - The first Matoran falls victim to the Traitors, and Voltex makes a shocking discovery. Chapter 2 - An old enemy confronts Voltex, and the first execution dooms four Matoran. Chapter 3 - Contact is made, and Ehks becomes enemy number one. Chapter 4 - Sumiki plays his enemies for fools. Chapter 5 - Pulse witnesses the murder of two Matoran. Chapter 6 - A brutal execution precedes the reappearance of Xaeraz. Chapter 7 - With five more dead, Voltex prepares to hunt down the final traitor. Chapter 8 - At the end of the game, Sumiki reveals his master plan. Epilogue - One in hiding; One going mad; One giving in; and One with dark secrets. Interlude - A heist goes exactly as planned. The Characters GO TO THIS POST TO SEE THE ROLES 1 – Makuta Luroka - Fa-Matoran; From the Tren Krom Peninsula area; origins unknown. 2 – Ehks - Fa-Matoran; From far down south, and a former Bionifighter. 3 – JiMing - Ta-Matoran; Once a huge fan of Voltex, after he retired JiMing entered the Bionifight league himself and has since become one of the most popular fighters in the league. 4 – Portalfig - Onu-Matoran; A close friend of Voltex's and one of the managers of the Day Run races. 5 – Sumiki - Fe-Matoran; The CEO of Hats Enterprises and an official business partner of the White Council. 6 – Lhikevikk - Ta-Matoran; A stand-up comedian that just finished a tour in Xia. 7 – Scanty Demon - Ce-Matoran; A refugee who managed to escape the mass killings of Ce-Matoran down south. 8 – Shadowhawk - Shadow Matoran; One of the most popular Bionifighters, and the one who ended Voltex's career. 9 – Zakaro - Onu-Matoran; Another popular fighter in the Technic Coliseum and Bionifight league, as well as the current Day Run champion. 10 – Tahukan - Ta-Matoran; The personal assistant of Pulse, who has somehow survived seven attempts on his life. 11 – Pulse - Su-Matoran; Advises the White Council and lends his support to their decisions. Although he does not run it in any capacity, he owns the Metru-Nui News Network and has become rich as a result. He has survived nine assassination attempts. 12 – Chro - De-Matoran; An emerging author and actor quickly growing in popularity. 13 – Blade - Vo-Matoran; Close friends with Voltex and Unit; competes in the Day Run and Bionifight, while acting as a Private Detective on the side. Has been requested to join the police force by the White Council on several occasions. 14 – Toa Kayn - Ko-Matoran; A former scholar from Ko-Metru who now specializes in freelance technology. 15 – LockeBZ - Ta-Matoran; Makes comics professionally as a hobby, though he has recently focused on his Bionifight career. 16 – TBK - Po-Matoran; A newly emerging comic maker growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. Has been contacted by the White Council regarding propaganda work. 17 – Norik of Gielinor - Ta-Matoran; A lone-wolf Matoran from Stelt whose origins are unknown. 18 – Voxumo - Ko-Matoran; A lone-wolf Matoran that fights in the Bionifight league and Technic Coliseum, as well as racing in the Day Run. Is easily identified by his signature massive scythe, which he is rarely seen without. 19 – Voltex - Ba-Matoran; Close friends with Blade and Unit; a disgraced author thanks to Pulse and a disgraced Bionifighter thanks to Shadowhawk, Voltex is now a member of the conspiracy group Automaton helps to lead. Rumors say he has another job on the side. 20 – Unit - Fa-Matoran; Close friends with Voltex and Blade; formerly a miner in Onu-Metru and currently a warden of Facility A, a prison in Onu-Metru. 21 – Pupwa21 - Le-Matoran; A local from BZ-Koro, whose origins are unknown. 22 – Kaiser Manducus - Fe-Matoran; The disgraced former CEO of RomeTech, who was arrested by Voltex for providing Xaeraz with financial backing, though who made the arrest was never made public. 23 – Shadow Flaredrick - Ta-Matoran; A worker from the Great Furnace in Ta-Metru. 24 – Taka Nuvia - Av-Matoran; An artist often commissioned by the White Council. 25 – The Remorseful Automaton - Le-Matoran; One of the managers of the Moto Hub, as well as one of the leaders of an organization that believes the White Council are not the wise old Turaga they appear to be. 26 - Xaeraz - Fe-Matoran; A bloodthirsty mastermind and the most wanted criminal in Metru-Nui, Xaeraz's origins are largely unknown. 27 - Burnmad - Ta-Matoran; Once a common face in the Technic Coliseums and Bionifight league, he has since all but vanished from the public eye. 28 - RG - Su-Matoran; A rookie reporter from the Metru-Nui News Network and a huge fan of Voltex. Story Topic Here. EDIT: Just thought I'd mention that there will be four "narrators" of the epic - four different points of view that we'll see. As they're revealed I'll bold their link. One has been revealed so far - who could the other three be? >>As of Chapter 1, two more narrators have been revealed! >>And with Chapter 2 now up, all four narrators are known!
  14. Hello fellow users! The comic you're about to see was made back in 2012. I rewrote the dialogues/text boxes for a better read, and this re-release is now for the first time on BZPower! Expect a new chapter each Wednesday and Sunday. I hope you enjoy!
  15. First: If you're interested, read the PRELUDE. While not strictly necessary, it will help you to understand some stuff later on. I'll try to upload at least one chapter a week, most likely on Wednesdays. I might post extra outside of that schedule if I see fit to. And now... “Come on, RG!” Voltex snapped, slowing to a crawling speed as he waited for the other Matoran. “I’m coming!” The rookie reporter sprinted after Voltex, various cameras clacking and bouncing against his armor and a tripod tucked under his arm. Cursing as the floor shook beneath them, Voltex raced over and grabbed the tripod and one of the bags. Now free of the weights, RG was able to match his speed precisely as the two Matoran sprinted through the halls towards the exit. “We left everyone back there,” RG gasped. “That’s not important,” Voltex muttered. “We need to get out of here and make contact with someone outside before they isolate us.” “Terrorist attack?” “What else?” They fell silent again as the drew closer to the main entrance, through which the outside world could be seen. Clouds spiralled high in the sky and wind was whipping at the trees. The two skidded to a stop beside the doors and Voltex dumped the reporting equipment back into RG’s hands. The Matoran of Gravity was about to speak when RG interrupted him. “Voltex... outside....” Turning, Voltex saw what had the rookie reporter entranced – a stream of shadow speeding towards the building. Cursing, Voltex forcibly dragged RG through the doors, tossing the reporter unceremoniously to the ground. “Hey!” RG protested as he hit the ground. “RG, listen to me!” Voltex whispered urgently, crouching beside him. “You need to get out of here and find Burnmad – tell him Voltex sent you and explain the situation. Once you have, tell him to get into contact with Automaton in Le-Metru. Got that?” “Y-yes!” “Good,” Voltex said, sighing in relief. “I don’t know what that shadow is going to do, but-” Voltex grunted as the shadow slammed into him, cutting him off and sending him tumbling back through the open doorway, the glass doors shattering as the Ba-Matoran smashed into the wall behind the reception desk. As he slowly slid to the floor and lost consciousness, Voltex watched the shadows gather at the entrance and reflected on the events that had led him there. PRESENTING... BIONICLE MAFIA UPRISING PROLOGUE The BZPower Times: BZ-METRU, DEC. 11 – Notorious criminal mastermind “Xaeraz” escaped from custody late last night after being caught last week for vandalizing the BZ-Metru Bank and being arrested on a number of charges including first degree murder and suspected terrorism. Xaeraz levelled the entire villain containment centre in the Ga-Metru, freeing thousands of criminals in the process. Reports are estimating that forty guards were killed and an additional sixty more were injured. The Turaga issued a statement earlier this morning reminding Matoran to report any sightings of Xaeraz to the Vahki enforcers and Metru-Nui Police Force, with additional warnings to stay away from the wanted criminal. BZ-METRU, DEC. 12 – In response to the recent increase in terrorist activity and the escape of wanted criminal Xaeraz, the Metru-Nui Turaga have announced a news conference to be given on the island town of BZ-Koro in three days time to address the issues of security that are plaguing the country. BZ-METRU, DEC. 13 – Late last night, a message was discovered scrawled onto the walls of the Coliseum, warning the Turaga of Metru-Nui to cancel the upcoming address in BZ-Koro. Three witnesses were interrogated regarding the responsible party’s identity, but all three died of unknown causes before questioning could be completed. The Turaga have stated that the message will have no effect on the timing of the speech, although it was later announced that only two of the previous six Turaga announced to be attending will be present at the conference hall on Saturday. “Still looking at those scraps of paper?” The Matoran glanced up from the numerous paper cuttings strewn across the table of the cafe, located right next to the window. Grimacing, he offered the seat across from him to the newcomer, who accepted it. “Voltex, you’re worrying about nothing,” the newcomer (a Matoran of Lightning) said. “Nothing is going to happen at this conference.” “You don’t know that, Blade.” Voltex said absently, still inspecting the scraps of various articles. “I met Xaeraz once... it was terrifying.” “The security at the conference is going to be top of the line, though,” Blade said. “Security all over the country is top-notch right now and he’s still finding ways to blow up our biggest prisons,” Voltex said, pointing towards a clip detailing the destruction of a series of holding cells in Ko-Metru three weeks prior. Blade grimaced before changing the subject. “Did you accept that application to the Metru-Nui Police Force?” “Of course not,” Voltex said, laughing nervously as he adjusted his Volitak. “But gravity! That’d be so useful for law enforcement!” Blade exclaimed in mock surprise. “So is lightning,” Voltex noted, “but you didn’t accept it either.” As Blade mumbled something about Toa being lame under his breath, a Matoran cloaked all in black stepped up beside them. Flinching, Voltex scrambled to gather the newspapers, dumping them all unceremoniously into the pack sitting beside him on the floor. The cloaked Matoran said nothing, instead handing two sealed envelopes to the seated Matoran and then vanishing back into the crowd. “What are these?” Blade asked. “Must be an invitation of some sort,” Voltex said, “or we’re the targets of an assassination.” “...should we just leave them?” Blade asked, before realizing that Voltex was already opening his. “Voltex! What if they’re poisoned?!” “Oops,” the other Matoran said, not caring at all. “They are invitations, actually. To... the conference....” Voltex sighed and flopped back into his seat as Blade tossed his unopened envelope back onto the table. Their gazes met and Voltex sighed again. “Should we go?” “It’s dangerous to refuse the wishes of the Turaga,” Blade said. “They aren’t the most benevolent of rulers.” “Then it’s settled,” Voltex said, standing. “Let’s go to that conference and die.” The two stood to their feet and shook hands before exiting the cafe and heading their separate ways. --- Several hours later, Voltex stood in front of the Moto Hub of Le-Metru, a hooded cloak wrapped tightly around his form, obscuring his identity from the others out on the streets. The night sky was pitch black and the air felt stiff, as though it were just as apprehensive of the upcoming conference as Voltex was. Stepping up to the ticket booth at the entrance, Voltex leaned in closely, beckoning the Le-Matoran on guard closer. “What do you need?” the Le-Matoran asked, ignoring his silent request and failing to remove his gaze from the security tape of a crash on the track inside. “I need your help,” Voltex said. “Well, not your help, per se. I just need you to let me in.” “Really?” the Le-Matoran asked. “That’s a shame. Who’re you here to see, since you obviously aren’t going to be testing any vehicles?” “I’m looking for Automaton,” the cloaked Matoran said. “Appointment?” “No.” “He only does appointments now.” “That’s a load of Karzahni right there – I just saw him last week!” “Yeah... and yesterday, the Turaga came by to crackdown on that little bad habit of his,” the guard snapped. “Alright – I have an appointment,” Voltex said. “You’re lying.” “Your job isn’t to decide whether I’m lying, it’s to let Automaton know that his business partner is waiting for him outside.” The Le-Matoran sighed in annoyance, flicking the television off and glaring at the cloaked Matoran in front of him. “What’s the name?” “Just tell him his favorite facial feature is back in town,” said Voltex. “He’ll know who it is.” Shrugging, the Le-Matoran guard flicked a switch and pressed several buttons, causing a speaker on the wall to crackle to life. “You have an appointment, sir,” the Le-Matoran said, sounding bored. “Something about your favorite facial feature....” “Send him in!” Voltex smirked at the disgruntled guard, who muttered under his breath as he pulled a lever, allowing Voltex into the Moto Hub. The Matoran of Gravity was barely inside the complex when another Le-Matoran was sprinting towards him, skidding to a halt and offering a handshake as he panted for breath. The cloaked Matoran accepted and the two began walking back towards Automaton’s office. “You didn’t need to meet me at the door,” Voltex said. “I know,” Automaton said, shrugging. “But I looked at the security footage and saw you dressed from head to toe in whatever that is. What’s up? I mean, you can be a little... nervous, at times, but this is new.” “I’ve been ordered to attend the conference that is happening in BZ-Koro,” Voltex said quietly, as they approached the door. “I know Xaeraz is going to try something.” “So naturally, you have come to the Great and Wise Automaton for guidance.” “Something like that, yeah,” Voltex said cryptically. “Just a quick warning,” Automaton said casually, as they approached the office. “I have another visitor at the moment. She’s apparently turning into a bit of a conspiracy theorist herself.” “I’m sure we’ll get along just fine, then,” Voltex said drily. Automaton pushed open the door and the two Matoran stepped inside, where a familiar female Matoran was seated in one of two armchairs in front of the desk. “Taka Nuvia?!” Voltex exclaimed. “But aren’t you like, the official artist of Metru-Nui?” “Not quite,” Taka Nuvia replied. “I just did that banner for the museum... and the banner for the Coliseum... and... well, it’s not important.” “Automaton tells me you’re a conspiracy theorist now,” the Matoran of Gravity said, collapsing into the other armchair and closing his eyes. “Welcome to the club of Matoran going insane.” Taka Nuvia glanced from Voltex to Automaton worriedly. “Is he serious?” she asked quietly. “Dead serious,” Voltex said before Automaton could respond. “Well, I know that I’m insane, at any rate.” “Wonderful,” Taka Nuvia muttered. “Why are you here?” “Because I need Automaton’s help, obviously...” Voltex trailed off as he sat up straighter and removed his hood. “Actually, you can both help. I’m attending the conference on Saturday and I have a nasty feeling that stuff is going to go down. Just in case it does, I’d like to have a safety net – some outside help.” “What do you need me to do?” Automaton asked. “You’re good with machines. I need you to design two portable tablets that are connected only to each other,” Voltex said. “That way if I’m kidnapped and interrogated, they can’t access anything except your tablet, which will presumably have nothing on it.” “I can’t guarantee anything,” Automaton warned. “I’d be acting directly against the wishes of the Turaga – you know how they are right now.” Voltex sighed and nodded. “I understand. I just need you to do what you can.” “If anything goes wrong, send a messenger to me,” Automaton said, continuing: “or I won’t activate the communicator tablets.” “I wouldn’t expect anything less.” --- “You alright?” Voltex jumped at the hand placed on his shoulder – Blade removed it quickly, startled by his reaction. Rubbing his neck, Voltex grimaced in apology and tried to relax. “Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, glancing over to the other three Matoran they were sharing the airship with. “What are your names?” “I’m RG,” an electric blue Matoran said. “Up and coming reporter for the Metru-Nui News Network!” “Aren’t you the guy who blew up a baggage transport chute?” Blade asked. “It was an accident,” the blue Matoran mumbled, looking away. “What about you two?” Voltex asked, turning to the others – one was dark blue and gold; the other a pure white. “They call me Scanty Demon,” said the blue one. “I’m Kayn,” said the other. “I know you – you’re Voltex, right? You used to be an author and then you were in those fighting tournaments.” “So I was,” Voltex said softly, turning his gaze back out the window. “Do any of you know why you were invited to this conference?” “Not a clue,” Kayn said. “Do you?” Voltex glanced back, his eyes flicking towards Blade briefly before he shook his head and turned to watch as the airship drew nearer to the island of BZ-Koro. “No I do not.” He did not miss the glances shared by the other Matoran. --- Once the airship had landed, Voltex did his best to become lost in the crowds; unfortunately, RG appeared to have different ideas. The reporter was obsessed with getting the scoop on his failed writing career and his retirement from the fighting leagues – answers that the Ba-Matoran was unwilling to give. RG continued to chatter away even as the two took their seats in the conference hall, and Voltex slumped into his seat, trying to avoid detection as glares were shot their way. “Hey, can you shut up, blabber mouth?” an Onu-Matoran three seats down called, leaning over and smacking RG on the back of the head. “I’m sorry sir, he’s not with me-” Voltex began, cutting off abruptly as he recognized the Matoran. “Portalfig? Is that really you?” “Voltex?” the Onu-Matoran asked. “The one and only,” Voltex answered. Portalfig grinned, sticking his hand out. Voltex shook it as Portalfig spoke again: “Long time no see, bro! How have you been?” “I’ve been well enough,” Voltex said. “Until I got dragged here, that is. Two hundred Matoran in this room is too much.” “I know, right?” RG asked, butting in. “The place was only built to hold one hundred!” The reporter beamed at them both for several seconds before frowning at their glares and falling silent, flopping back into his seat. Before Voltex or Portalfig could speak again however, a loud cough echoed around the conference hall as Turaga White Six stepped up to the podium. “Black Six was so much better,” a Matoran on Voltex’s right muttered. “I wonder what happened to him?” “Who knows,” another Matoran whispered back. “But the White Council of Turaga sucks!” “Greetings to you all,” White Six said, his voice booming around the room. “Today, Turaga White Two and I are here to discuss the epidemic that our glorious city-nation has been suffering from. We are referring to the various acts of terrorism that have been committed against our government and our city as a whole, organized by the notorious criminal mastermind Xaeraz.” RG leaned over to Voltex. “Have you heard the rumors that Xaeraz actually used to be a good guy until the White Council took over?” the rookie reporter whispered. “Shut up before you get us executed,” Voltex breathed. “Despite the threat of a strike against this location today, we have been assured by our security agents that the island of BZ-Koro is secure,” White Six was saying. “As such, Turaga White Two will list off the topics of discussion for today.” BANG. Voltex was on his feet in a flash alongside several other Matoran as Turaga White Two stumbled backwards and collapsed to the floor. Turning, Voltex grabbed the first Matoran he saw – RG – and dragged him to his feet. “Did he just get shot?” RG asked. “Yes – now come on,” Voltex said. “We’re getting out of here.” BANG. The Ba-Matoran did not need to look back to know that Turaga White Six was down as well. He continued to pull RG along, the electric blue Matoran scrambling to keep ahold of his various pieces of equipment. “Hello everyone.” RG bumped into Voltex as the Matoran of Gravity froze at the sound of the voice now echoing around the hall. Turning slowly, Voltex watched as the screen onstage activated, revealing the image of a Fe-Matoran. The Matoran’s body looked cobbled together, as if built out of spare parts gathered from the junkyard. It was unmistakeably Xaeraz. “Now, I know you must all be feeling a little panicked right now,” Xaeraz said with a smile. “Don’t worry – you should be! You see, I have a quick little test for you all. Those that can survive the next ten minutes get the chance to compete in a game that will earn them the right to leave this building. The rest of you will die. Please enjoy the last few minutes of your lives.” The screen stilled and faded to black. The hall was silent for six seconds before pandemonium broke out. “RG, run!” Voltex shouted, pushing the rookie reporter forward. The electric blue Matoran did as he was ordered, stumbling forwards. Grabbing a disk launcher from a stunned guard, Voltex loaded a weakening disk and glanced around before firing, striking a Matoran down seconds before they could kill Portalfig. Some sort of bomb went off a moment later, blowing seats apart. No longer able to see his friend through the smoke, Voltex took off after RG, Automaton’s words clear in his mind: If anything goes wrong, send a messenger to me, or I won’t activate the communicator tablets. Ducking underneath a punch, Voltex kicked the offending Matoran away before reaching forwards and pulling another away from RG. “Leave the equipment behind!” he snapped. “I can’t!” RG cried. “I’ll get fired if I lose it!” And ‘fired’ means ‘imprisoned’, Voltex thought to himself. That’s just wonderful. Kicking another Matoran away, Voltex steered RG towards the exit. “Let’s get out of here.” --- Voltex grunted as the shadow slammed into him, cutting him off and sending him tumbling back through the open doorway, the glass doors shattering as the Ba-Matoran smashed into the wall behind the reception desk. As he slowly slid to the floor and lost consciousness, Voltex watched the shadows gather at the entrance and reflected on the events that had led him there. No, gotta get up... get up Voltex, come on... don’t give in... crazy stuff... happen... don’t.... Everything faded away. To Be Continued. Review Topic
  16. This is a topic about TRON. Discuss anything TRON-related here, but please be polite.Personally, I'm a BIG fan.
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