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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?”




“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.







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.






“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.”




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.”




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.


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“Urrrgh... my head....”


Pressing his palm to his mask, Voltex slowly blinked his eyes as he regained consciousness. His head was throbbing and his back ached. A quick glance over of his armor revealed that he was in need of numerous repairs – his armor was scratched, dented and pitted everywhere that he could see. What was once black and purple was now more akin to black and a dark burnt gray. It all came rushing back to him in a blur as he stood, clawing the reception desk (or what was left of it) for support, coughing.


What have I gotten myself into?




“Hey, you! What’s your name?!”


Voltex turned at the sound of the voice – a Ko-Matoran wearing a black cloak and dragging a massive scythe four times his size behind him. There was only one Matoran in Metru-Nui that would carry around a weapon that obnoxious if Voltex’s former fighting career was anything to go by.


“Is that you, Voxumo?” Voltex asked, breaking off into a fit of coughing.


“It is,” the Ko-Matoran said, eyes glinting. His armor was stained a light gray. “And you are?”


“Voltex,” the Ba-Matoran said. “I was sort of in the middle of... something.”


The Gravity Matoran waved his arm in a wide gesture around the lobby. Voxumo nodded before pointing down the hall behind him.


“A couple more are back there,” the Ko-Matoran said. “They’ve decided to work together and search for survivors right now. You’re the first we’ve found, though.”


“I think most stayed in the conference hall itself,” Voltex said. “I tried to escape... got smacked back inside by some shadow thing, though.”


Voxumo nodded. “It’s surrounded the entire building.”


About to speak again, Voltex fell silent when the Ko-Matoran abruptly continued on his journey. “Where are you going?!”


“I said they were working together,” Voxumo called back. “I’m more of a lone wolf type. I think I’ll take my chances out here.”


Deciding that now was not the time to convince Voxumo otherwise, the Ba-Matoran just shrugged and started off in the opposite direction, hoping that the Matoran the Ko-Matoran had referred to were friendly. If they were not...


...well, he would deal with that when it came.


“I don’t think we’re gonna find anyone else,” a familiar voice was saying as he rounded the corner. “It’s hopeless. We’ve checked everywhere – the only other survivors are in the conference hall.”


“You’d be right,” Voltex said. “Except for me, of course – I’m still alive and well.”


Blade just shook his head and grinned as Voltex joined him and the other three Matoran. “I should have known you’d survive somehow,” he said.


“It’s worse than that,” Voltex muttered. “I nearly made it out. So who are your companions?”


“The Le-Matoran is Pupwa, the Po-Matoran is TBK, and Chro is the De-Matoran.”


“Haven’t I met you?” Voltex asked, offering his hand to Chro.


“Maybe,” Chro said. “Were you a member of the writer’s group that collapsed last year? I was a member there.”


“That’s probably where we met, yeah,” Voltex agreed. “As for the others... I can’t say I’ve seen you two around.”


TBK shrugged. “I just started in the comics business, but the Turaga had contacted me for a job. Something to do with propaganda; I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time.”


“What about you?” Voltex asked Pupwa.


The Le-Matoran glanced up from the wire he was fiddling with. “Oh, I snuck in. I was kind of hoping for a free meal... times have been a bit tough for me lately. So much for that, eh?”


“So much for that,” Voltex said, nodding in agreement before turning back to Blade. “Voxumo mentioned that everyone was in the conference hall still?”


Blade nodded. “Voxumo seems determined to go lone wolf, but Sumiki and Lhikevikk say that Xaeraz popped in earlier to say that we’d each be receiving our roles soon.”


“Our roles for what?”


“Whatever twisted game he has planned for us,” Chro said. “Remember? All that stuff about ‘earning your way out of here’.”


“I do now,” Voltex said. “Well... we better go, then. I’d hate to miss that.”




As one of the only Su-Matoran in all of Metru-Nui (even in BZ-Metru, popular for its diversity), Pulse’s skills had always been in high demand, and as such he was held in high standard by the Council of White Turaga. Up until now that had always been a boon to him; access to areas restricted to most others and an influence on the decisions that defined how life was lived in the city-nation.


He hated it. His position of pseudo power and celebrity status meant that he was disliked by most Matoran, and he had taken to hiring bodyguards wherever he went just to make sure that he could survive going past his front door.


Naturally, in the pandemonium following the assassination of Turaga White Two and Turaga White Six, Pulse had feared for his life – and rightly so. Both of his bodyguards had foolishly allowed themselves to be taken by surprise and they had died before Xaeraz’s form had flickered off of the screen. Pulse had barely escaped with his life, beating back his attackers with the help of a Ko-Matoran wielding a massive scythe. Unfortunately, the Matoran had vanished before Pulse could hire him as his new bodyguard.


So here he was now, leaning against the wall a few feet away from the circle that most of the surviving Matoran had formed and were currently discussing the situation. He was debating whether or not to give his input when the only functioning door of the conference hall opened to reveal five other Matoran – none of them the scythe wielder from earlier. Sighing, Pulse returned his attention to the group on the floor.


“We’re back,” Blade called. “Voxumo ran off, but we found Voltex.”


“Voltex?” Pulse asked, forgetting to remain silent in his surprise.


“Is that you, Pulse?” asked a Matoran that looked like he had gone through a fireplace and back. “As in the Pulse, who nearly got me arrested with a mere offhand comment about the controversial topics discussed in my final book?”


Pulse decided not to reply to that one. Voltex just shook his head and joined the group on the floor. Pulse made a mental note to get some reconciliation with the former author before he was killed. The last of Blade’s group had just sunk to the floor when the screen at the front of the conference hall lit up to reveal the face of Xaeraz.


“Hey there everybody!” the crime lord said, grinning at them all. “A whole twenty-three of you managed to survive all of that carnage earlier! Sorry about the wait – I’d only predicted fifteen of you living through it, so I had to do some re-calculations. I bet you’re all wondering what I have planned. Five of you already know your roles here, but for the rest of you, I suggest you look at the cards that I had inserted into your left forearms while you were knocked out.”


The Su-Matoran bent over silently, clutching at his wrist as a searing pain lit up in his left forearm. Biting back a groan, Pulse watched as a card slowly slid out – tired of the pain, he wrenched it out and ignored the burning in his arm as he gazed with disappointment at the blank white space.


“Some of you have a blank white space,” Xaeraz said. “That means you’re just an ordinary Matoran. Those of you with roles... I’ve given you a nice little description on your cards, as well as a location for where the equipment you’ll be needing is located. Follow the cycle I have laid out for you all or die. That is all.”


The picture faded away as the lone chain holding the screen up snapped, causing the screen to crash to the floor.


“...well,” a Ta-Matoran called Lhikevikk said after a moment, breaking the silence. “Shall we... get started?”


“I suppose,” said a Fe-Matoran – one that Pulse recognized as Sumiki, the legendary CEO of Hats Enterprises. “Shall we all meet back here in two hours?”


“That sounds like a plan,” Lhikevikk said.


The group muttered its assent and various Matoran began to depart. Realizing that Voltex was getting up, Pulse pushed off the wall and made his way over to the estranged writer and offering his hand to the Matoran. Voltex glanced down at it and snorted before gazing back up to him.


“I’d like to apologize for tarnishing your writing career,” Pulse said.


Voltex shared a glance with Blade, but accepted the hand offered. “Your apology is accepted. Would you like to join us?”


“I’d better not,” Pulse said. “There’s a Ko-Matoran wandering around with a scythe – I think his name is Voxumo? Anyway, he helped me fight off some attackers earlier, but he ran off before I could say thank you.”


“Good luck with that,” Voltex said. “He’s a bit of a lone wolf.”


“I’ll take that into account,” Pulse said drily. “I’m sure he won’t skewer me, but if you find my body, I suppose you have the killer already.”


“Still, I’d feel uneasy letting you go off on your own...” Voltex said, trailing off before continuing, “I can’t join you, though.”


“I’ll go with him,” said a nearby Fa-Matoran. “The name is Ehks.”


“I’ll hop on too,” said another Matoran of Magnetism from behind Pulse. “I’m Luroka, by the way.”


Pulse glanced over to Voltex and nodded. “I guess this is goodbye for now, then?”


“For now, yeah,” the Ba-Matoran said. “Don’t go dying on me, though – there’s still some stuff we need to talk about.”


“Of course,” Pulse said, waving goodbye and turning away to leave. “Let’s go.”


He exited the conference hall, with Ehks and Luroka both trailing behind him.


“Wait! Wait up for me!” a voice shouted from behind.


Pulse turned to see a Ta-Matoran racing towards them – he sighed as he recognized it as Tahukan, his personal assistant. How Tahukan had managed to sneak his way into the news conference was beyond Pulse’s comprehension; how he had managed to survive the pandemonium afterwards merely made his brain hurt.


“Don’t leave me behind, boss,” Tahukan said, skidding to a halt and panting for breath. “No offense but uh, your reputation is pretty terrible, and people know I work with you-”


“For me,” Pulse corrected.


“-so they hate me too,” Tahukan continued, oblivious to the words Pulse had just spoken.


“Let’s just go,” Pulse sighed, continuing on his way, shaking his head. “So Luroka, I hear you were just named the manager of a factory for Hat Enterprises?”


“That is correct,” the Magnetism Matoran said.


“I don’t know you though, Ehks,” Pulse said. “Haven’t heard of you.”


“Eh, you know,” Ehks said, shrugging. “I’m a nobody. Kind of just popping up here and there, I suppose.”






“No. It’s not useful at all.”




“Just the three of us,” Blade was saying as Voltex led him and Portalfig through the halls. “Where are we headed?”


“Somewhere important,” Voltex said. “What did your cards say?”


“Mine didn’t say anything,” Blade answered.


“Neither did mine,” Portalfig said. “That was an awful lot of pain just to learn that I’m not anything special. What about you, Voltex?”


The Ba-Matoran glanced down at the card he was still clutching with a death grip.


You are the Detective – which means you get to investigate one player each night and find out what their role in this game is! How, you ask? Well, that’s simple... you see, the cards everyone has appear blank to everyone else. But I’ve left a scanner in one of the drawers of the receptionist desk in the lobby that will allow you to read those cards.


I think we both know why I chose you for this, Detective. I wonder how upset Blade and all your other friends will be when they find out that you sold out and joined the Metru-Nui Police Force to take orders from the White Council of Turaga themselves?


Much love and blood,




“You’ll find out,” Voltex said. “There’s something in the drawers of the receptionist desk that I need. We have to recover it and then I need to visit someone... alone.”


He ignored the glance that the other two shot each other at his words as they approached the desk. The Ba-Matoran strode over to the half that had not collapsed and ripped open the top drawer to reveal a small black circular device that fit inside the palm of his hand comfortably. He strapped it onto his left hand and turned back to Blade and Portalfig.


“I’m ready,” he said. “Let’s go find some company. Did I see JiMing and Unit back at the meeting?”


“You did,” Blade said. “Why? Did you want to group up with them?”


“I’d like to try,” Voltex said. “The more friends we have, the better. But right now I have other business to attend to.”




What Ehks had told Pulse earlier was true – in the eyes of the others, he was nobody. He had been summoned to Metru-Nui several weeks previously by the White Council to help them push through another controversial law, or at least that had been the public excuse. He had refused to find the loophole they were looking for and had been on the verge of returning to his home in the southern isles when the so-called “invitation” came.


Now he was stuck inside a giant expo center with twenty-two Matoran he did not know, and most of them were murderers.


“Hey,” Tahukan whispered, pulling him aside. “I have something for you.”


The Ta-Matoran pressed a small object into his hand – Ehks looked at it for a few seconds before glancing up to Tahukan and asking, “is this what you were fiddling with earlier?”


“Yeah,” Tahukan said, nodding. “Don’t tell anybody though – it’s a device to let you read the cards of others. Everyone sees the cards as blank, y’know? But this device can scan them, let’s you see what they really are.”


“So,” Ehks said, “if I use this on you... I’ll know your role?”


“Yes you will.”


Ehks held out his hand and the Ta-Matoran complied, handing him his card.


“Just be careful,” Tahukan warned. “It’s one-use only. So it might burst into flames once you’re done with it or something.”


“I’ll try and keep that in mind,” Ehks said, holding the device over Tahukan’s card and activating it. An ultraviolet light flickered on and the text was revealed.


Hello there!


You are one of the Inventors (and Turaga replacements!) I have appointed. Hopefully you and your partner can do a better job than White Two and White Six!


The two of you are the only Matoran good at inventing stuff – so I’ve included some blueprints for the two of you so that you can build equipment as needed. The equipment will allow you to scan roles, protect others, or kill them, but will only last for one use before self-destructing... so choose who you give them to wisely!


With much bloodthirsty thoughts in mind,




The Fa-Matoran tossed the device away as it burst into flames, cursing under his breath and rubbing his hand where the scanner had burned him before turning to Tahukan, who looked at him nervously.


“Well Inventor, it’s nice to meet you,” Ehks said, glancing around to make sure that they were not being watched and sticking out his hand. “You’ve gotten yourself an ally.”


Tahukan breathed out a sigh of relief, shaking his hand back. “Good... for a moment there I thought you were going to kill me!”


“Nah, I’m not into that sort of thing,” said Ehks. “We should probably hurry up, though – the others are sure to be wondering where we are.”




The two Matoran froze at the sound of a gunshot, and both flinched as three more shots were fired before silence returned. After a second, Ehks glanced to Tahukan, who pointed in the direction they had come from – with a final look at each other, they both sprinted towards where the shots had been fired.




“Did you hear that?” Portalfig asked.


“Of course I heard it,” Voltex snapped. “You two stay here – I’m going to go find out what’s going on.”


He took off before either of his friends could reply, speeding around the corner and skidding to a stop as he nearly crashed into a familiar Matoran of Magnetism; one with a robotic arm and leg that he had needed ever since a mining accident in the archives two years prior.




“Hey Voltex,” Unit said, frowning and pointing at the floor, “you better look.”


Pushing his way past Unit and an unfamiliar Ta-Matoran, Voltex crouched beside Ehks on the floor, looking over the body of the Shadow Matoran on the floor before reaching the mask and flinching with surprise.


“Are you alright?” Ehks asked. “He’s as good as dead.”


“I know him,” Voltex said. “This is Shadowhawk.”


At the sound of his name, Shadowhawk coughed and opened his eyes, his gaze flicking over to Ehks and Voltex weakly. A soft chuckle escaped him. “Come to see me finished off at last, eh?”


“You two know each other?” Ehks asked.


“We were rivals,” Voltex said. “Back in the Bionifight arenas... we were always duelling for the top position; either of us could easily sell a fight, but our rivalry was large enough that we would have fans sailing up from as far south as Xia just to watch our matches against each other. We defined rivalry.”


“Until I beat you,” Shadowhawk whispered, “and ended your fighting career.”


“He injured you? Where?” Ehks asked.


“It doesn’t matter,” Voltex muttered.


“I injured his pride,” Shadowhawk said weakly. “In our final match it took me thirty seconds to eliminate him. He became the laughing stock of the fighting crowd. You don’t recover from a fight like that... not if you’re Voltex, at least. But look who’s laughing now, eh? You beat me in the end.”


“Who did this?” Voltex asked.


“Wouldn’t you like to know...?” Shadowhawk asked, closing his eyes and smirking. “You’ll have to find out the hard way. Gotta get a laugh in somehow....”


“No!” Voltex snapped, grabbing Shadowhawk by the shoulder and shaking him. “Shadowhawk! Tell me who it was!”


“It’s no use,” Ehks said, prying him off of the Shadow Matoran. “Look, he’s dead.”


Voltex stood to his feet, glaring at the crowd. “Who was here first?”


“You can’t just accuse people!” Ehks snapped from his place beside Shadowhawk.


“Who’s stopping me?” Voltex asked.


“I am,” Ehks said, standing up as well. “You need to calm down – I get that you’re upset, but that doesn’t give you the right to try and seize control.”


“Upset?” Voltex laughed. “I’m not upset – unless you count being frustrated that I wasn’t responsible for his death ‘upset’. I’m more than happy Shadowhawk is gone... but it means we have a killer standing right next to us, and Shadowhawk won’t be the last.”


Ehks narrowed his eyes at the Ba-Matoran, glaring at him for several seconds before backing down. “Just try to be less... confrontational about it, will you? Things are bad enough already without us all going at each other’s throats.”


“Whatever you say,” Voltex muttered, rolling his eyes.



Several hours later, the suspect list had been narrowed down to four Matoran – Tahukan, Unit, Flaredrick, and Luroka. Voltex had just realized that he could still investigate one of them when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning, he saw Sumiki standing behind him.


“Hey man, what’s up?” he asked.


“I have something to show you,” Sumiki said.


“What is it?”


“I don’t think it’s something for everyone,” the hat maker said. “Trust me, it’s important.”


Sighing, Voltex allowed the CEO to lead him away from the group. As they walked away the various Matoran continued to debate, as accusations flew wildly amongst the group and the suspects tried to defend themselves. Shaking his head, Voltex followed Sumiki into a small office, leaning against the wall as Sumiki experimentally flicked the switch. The hat maker grinned as the light flickered to life, illuminating the small area. The CEO closed the door and turned to face the Ba-Matoran, who crossed his arms.


“What is it?” Voltex asked.


“I know who killed Shadowhawk,” Sumiki breathed, “and I know who told them to pull the trigger.”


“You do?” Voltex asked eagerly, stepping closer. “Who was it?”


“I can’t tell you,” Sumiki said softly, the trace of a grin beginning to form on his face. “You’ll have to guess it.”


“What do you mean?” Voltex asked, stepping back again in confusion.


Sumiki shrugged, grinning sheepishly. “I mean exactly what I said, Voltex. You’ll have to guess who did it just like the rest of them!”


A suspicious thought began to eat its way into the mind of the Gravity Matoran, but he shrugged it off for the time being, refusing to believe it as he tried again. “You can’t be serious, Sumiki – this isn’t a joke, you know? I didn’t care for Shadowhawk, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s dead and we have a killer on the loose.”


The CEO of Hats Enterprises laughed out loud at that. “I know it doesn’t, Voltex. I like you and I respect you – that’s the only reason I’m giving you this hint at all.”


Oh no, please no, Voltex thought. Not Sumiki... please not Sumiki.


“L-let me see your card,” Voltex ordered, holding his palm out.


Sumiki smiled and offered the blank white card to him; the Gravity Matoran accepted it and held his other palm over it, activating the scanner.


Hey there friend!


Xaeraz here. We both know what you are, but just for appearance’s sake I need to give this to you. You’re the Leader, so the Traitors and that Ghost will be taking their orders from you. Don’t be afraid to terrorize them if that’s what you want – your body armor is designed to protect you until the last of your servants dies. It’s programmed to disintegrate once that happens.


In retrospect I’m thinking that I should have designed it so that you’d make it out no matter what, but I don’t really think that would be fair, you know? Spilling blood is my thing and all, and if that includes your death, then I suppose that’s what it includes.


If you do die, don’t worry – now that I’ve bought out Hat Enterprises, I’ll take good care of the company upon your death. If you don’t, then I look forward to being an equal partner in your business!


Spill the blood!




“Oh no,” Voltex whispered, dropping the card and watching as the plastic card clattered to the floor.


“Oh yes,” Sumiki said, crouching to pick his card up before standing again. “Look, there’s no hard feelings, Voltex. Just a warning that if you reveal my identity to anyone, you don’t die until the end – but I will make sure you’re paralyzed and in more pain than you could ever imagine as you watch your friends die one by one.”


The Fe-Matoran patted him on the shoulder in a friendly manner before opening the door. Halfway out, he briefly turned back to say one more thing: “No hard feelings, right? We’re cool?”


Voltex gulped.


I will make sure you’re paralyzed and in more pain than you could ever imagine as you watch your friends die one by one.


“Yeah,” he managed to croak out after a moment. “We’re cool.”


Seeming satisfied, Sumiki flashed him one final smile before stepping out into the hall.


To Be Continued.


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Sumiki observed the Detective calmly as the Ba-Matoran inspected the card he had handed to him.


“Oh no,” Voltex whispered, dropping his card to the floor.


“Oh yes,” Sumiki said, crouching to pick his card up before standing again. “Look, there’s no hard feelings, Voltex. Just a warning that if you reveal my identity to anyone, you don’t die until the end – but I will make sure you’re paralyzed and in more pain than you could ever imagine as you watch your friends die one by one.”


Reaching over, Sumiki patted the paralyzed Matoran on the shoulder in a friendly manner before opening the door. Halfway out, he briefly turned back to say one more thing: “No hard feelings, right? We’re cool?”


Voltex gulped audibly, and Sumiki suppressed a chuckle.


He’s like the farm animals after we tell them that we’re gonna turn them into hats but before they realize that they’re actually dreaming.


“Yeah,” he heard Voltex croak out after a moment. “We’re cool.”




Sumiki flashed the Detective a grin before popping out the door and into the hallway, humming to himself as he re-joined the group of Matoran that were squabbling over Shadowhawk’s dead body. Joining Lhikevikk and the Onu-Matoran named Zakaro that he had met earlier that day, he asked, “has anything changed?”


“Not really,” Zakaro said with a shrug. “Tahukan seems to have been absolved of the blame, though – he was with Ehks when Shadowhawk yelled.”


The hat maker nodded as Voltex came to a stop beside them. He shot the Detective a glance, meeting Voltex’s gaze head-on. The Ba-Matoran shuddered and looked away.


“Is something up Voltex?” Lhikevikk asked.


The Detective’s gaze met Sumiki’s again – the Fe-Matoran smiled warmly, knowing that Voltex could read every thought going through his mind right now.


Try me, Detective, the hat maker thought. Blab it out. Share my identity with the world.


“...nothing’s wrong,” Voltex said, looking away again. “Just unsettled by the death, I suppose.”


“Alright,” Lhikevikk said, appearing satisfied.


“So who are you all voting for?” Zakaro interjected.


“Voting for?” Voltex asked.


“Yeah,” the Onu-Matoran said. “People are voting for who we should execute.”


“Why would we execute anybody?” Voltex asked.


“Because this is one sick, twisted game,” Sumiki said, “and you put it best yourself – we can’t afford to have a killer running through the halls, can we?”


The Ba-Matoran muttered, “I need to go vote,” and walked away, leaving the other three Matoran in silence for several seconds before Zakaro spoke up again.


“Something’s off about him.”


“I agree,” Sumiki said. “Maybe he’s one of the Traitors, maybe he’s just not used to death... whatever is, I think he’ll adjust soon enough.”




“I know Voltex just a little bit,” Sumiki said casually. “He always finds a way to pick himself back up and face whatever challenge he meets head-on. If he’s not one of them, those Traitors will have lots of fun playing cat-and-mouse with him.”


“But who’s the cat, and who’s the mouse?” Zakaro wondered aloud.


As he processed the words, Sumiki pondered them curiously. Who indeed?




Pulse had, for the most part, remained silent as he watched Flaredrick trying to defend himself. The Ta-Matoran had bypassed desperation into utter hopelessness, and at this point he was only defending himself out of habit. Pulse leaned against the wall as he listened in, sighing.


It can’t be him, Pulse thought. The killer would have slipped up by this point in their defense... I haven’t seen any evidence put forth to blame Flaredrick, and yet he’s the target of the crowd.


“What do you think, Pulse?” Tahukan asked, joining him on the wall.


“I don’t think Flaredrick is guilty,” Pulse said quietly, “but I don’t have the kind of pull to convince them otherwise.”


“Neither do I,” Tahukan said with a shrug. “But hey! At least you know I’m not the killer, right?”


“Yes, that is such a relief,” Pulse muttered.


“So who do you think did it?”


“Luroka,” the Su-Matoran said. “He disappeared a couple minutes before Shadowhawk was killed and then he turned up again afterwards – that’s more than a little suspicious. What about you?”


“I think it was Unit.”


“Don’t let Voltex hear you say that,” Pulse warned. “Or Blade... or Lhikevikk... or Zakaro... or Portalfig... or, well, just don’t let anybody hear you say that. Voltex will set the mob on you faster than you could blink.”


“But I’m not guilty,” Tahukan protested. “Ehks absolved me of the blame!”


“Yes,” Pulse agreed, “but Unit and Voltex are very close friends – and Voltex doesn’t even take kindly to the people he hates being sentenced to death. Also, you work for me, and the last thing I need is for the others to have another reason to hate me.”


Tahukan sighed. “I suppose you’re right, boss. I’ll vote for Flaredrick, then. Stick to the popular opinion and all that, maybe they won’t notice me.”


“Sounds like a plan,” Pulse said, stepping away from the wall. “I suggest you go accuse him a bit, then. I’ve got to go find someone.”




“How’d you guess?”


“You were looking for him earlier and you never did,” Tahukan said. “It was the natural conclusion to make.”


“Yeah, well...” Pulse trailed off, gazing around at the gathered Matoran. “He’s still missing, so I’m going to drag him back here.”


“You know why we’re all here, don’t you?” Tahukan asked suddenly.


Pulse stiffened. “I have a few ideas, yes, but none of them are pretty.”


“Wanna share?”


“No,” Pulse said, walking away. “You don’t want to know what they are.”


“I really do, though!” Tahukan called.


The Su-Matoran sighed, shaking his head. “If I’m wrong and I tell you, it’ll be my head on the chopping block next. And if I’m right... then I don’t want any of you to ever realize it.”


He left the Ta-Matoran alone to his thoughts and left to search for Voxumo.




Ehks slid down the wall to the floor and sat silently as he watched both Voltex and Pulse exit the area in different directions. He was about to get up and follow one of them when a green and red Ta-Matoran sat beside him and offered a hand to shake. Accepting it, he said: “People here like to shake hands a lot. The name is Ehks.”


“I’m Locke,” the Ta-Matoran said, waving over a Ko-Matoran. “Have you met my friend Kayn yet?”


“I have not,” Ehks said as Kayn sat down on Locke’s other side. “So what brings you over to this part of town?”


Locke shrugged and Kayn said: “We just wanted a break from the chaos for a little bit. It’s pretty much down to Luroka and Flaredrick at this point, and I’m sure they can decide who did it without us.”


“True enough,” Ehks agreed. “So what do you two do?”


“Freelance technology stuff,” Kayn answered. “Any sort of one-off project that needs to be done, you know – I’ll take it.”


“I do comics sometimes,” said Locke. “Recently I’ve been battling in the Bionifight League, though. More money to be had there, you know?”


“Not really,” Ehks said. “Never had a fight in my life.”


“You’re lying,” Kayn said.


“Yeah, I am,” the Matoran of Magnetism said with a shrug. “I fought in one of the Bionifight tournaments a few months back – I went under the pseudonym ‘The X’.”


Locke glanced at him with narrowed eyes and after a second said, “yeah, I recognize you now. You were beaten pretty early on, didn’t you?”


“I don’t want to talk about it,” Ehks muttered.


“Fair enough,” Kayn said, chuckling. “So who do you think did it?”


“Flaredrick,” the Fa-Matoran answered. “You guys?”


“I agree with you,” said Kayn. “Everyone else is accounted for by someone else in some capacity. Nobody saw Flaredrick until after the killing.”


“Well, I think it was Luroka!” Locke said. “Nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.”


Ehks and Kayn shared a glance and laughed, causing Locke to appear very put-off. The Ta-Matoran huffed, muttering something about opinions as he stood to his feet and left. Kayn, still laughing, shot an apologetic look back at Ehks before rushing after Locke.


The Matoran here are so strange, Ehks thought. I’m glad I’m not one of them.




Voltex did not know where exactly he was going – he just knew that he needed to be gone. He ignored the looks sent his way as he pushed through the crowd and stalked down the hallway, clenching and unclenching his fists.


How could it all go so wrong? He wondered.


The thought that he had somehow helped to elaborately plan his own death had been bad enough, but the knowledge that he now had to eliminate at least one of his friends to survive was almost too much. How was he supposed to just fire a bullet into Sumiki’s brain and live with it? Could he even stand by and watch as someone else pulled the trigger instead?


Would he even live long enough to see that occur?


These questions and more plagued the Ba-Matoran as he whirled around a corner and slammed into the wall – wait, what?


He shook his head to clear it, only to be smashed into the wall again before a fist launched itself into his gut. Groaning, Voltex shut his eyes as he was thrown away, landing on his feet and staggering back for several steps before colliding with another wall and collapsing to the floor. He opened his eyes warily and tried to stand, but was overcome by dizziness, causing him to collapse onto his face. A dark blue armored foot thudded into place in front of his swimming vision.


“Wuzgoinon?” Voltex managed.


“I’m sorry, I can’t quite hear you,” a voice said, a sneer evident in their tone.


“Who are you?” Voltex asked.


A hand wrapped itself around his throat, fingers digging into his neck as he was pulled back into a sitting position against the wall. His vision steadying, Voltex blinked and stared at the angry Fe-Matoran crouched in front of him.


“Recognize me yet?” the Matoran asked.


Voltex did, and he knew he could not hide it. “Aw, crud. What are you doing here?”


“Say my name,” the Matoran whispered.




“Say it!” the Matoran yelled, slamming him into the wall again before taking a deep breath and whispering again, “I want to hear you say it.”


“Kaiser Manducus,” Voltex coughed, putting as much spite into the words as possible.


“That’s right,” the Fe-Matoran said, nodding with satisfaction before pointing out, “you’re afraid of me.”


“Should I not be?” Voltex asked. “I mean, you’re not as scary as someone like Xaeraz, but you were a pretty scary guy even before I put you behind bars.”


The Fe-Matoran released him, shoving him into the wall one final time before sitting back on the floor and glaring at him.


“Why are you here?” Voltex asked after a moment, breaking the silence.


“I wanted to ask you that,” said Manducus, “seeing as I’m the one that was flown all the way out of the Coliseum Cells to die here.”


“That’s what they told you?”




Voltex fell silent for several seconds. “I can’t talk about it.”


“Then I’ll kill you.”


“You were one of Xaeraz’s biggest allies,” Voltex said. “You were funding him with your company, but you were so rich that you could just buy your way out the back door and vanish, only to reappear somewhere else. We needed you out of the way. So they planted me and I removed you. It worked, you know – Xaeraz is still a huge problem, but his activities were drastically slowed down.”


“What exactly are you, Voltex?” Manducus asked. “The Metru-Nui Police Force doesn’t accept Matoran – only Toa.”




“If you say you can’t tell me, I will gut you right now.”


The Ba-Matoran looked away, clenching his fist in frustration. The Kaiser sighed. “You still haven’t actually told me why I’m here, either.”


“Like I said,” Voltex began, “you were one of Xaeraz’s biggest allies. Executions are still outlawed in Metru-Nui... but since you’re too dangerous to keep alive, they brought you here to die in lieu of that.”


“What are you? What do you do?”


“I come up with conspiracies and bring them to other Matoran. Usually my theories are proven false within the week when the incriminating evidence is proven false, boosting the standing of the White Council with most of the population.”


“I meant your real job,” Manducus snapped. “Everyone knows you’ve turned into a crackpot theorist.”


“You’ll have to kill me,” said Voltex. “And when you do all those answers you want will be gone forever. You’ll die empty handed and empty minded.”


“Then I’ll keep you alive.”


“Then you better get out of my mask,” the Ba-Matoran snarled, “before I find enough evidence to pin you as a suspect.”


The two Matoran glared at each other for a moment that felt to Voltex like it lasted forever, until Manducus finally looked away and stood to his feet, walking away in silence. Voltex watched the Fe-Matoran as he went, and a Ta-Matoran walked towards him.


“JiMing?” Voltex asked in surprise as the Matoran drew closer. “You too?”


“It sure is,” JiMing muttered, plopping to the floor where Manducus had been sitting a moment before. “How is life treating you, aside from being trapped in a death chamber?”


JiMing had been one of Voltex’s biggest fans when he was in the Bionifight tournaments. After his retirement the Ta-Matoran had actively campaigned for his return – and when that had failed, JiMing had entered into the tournament himself and become champion. He was the first rookie to have made the accomplishment in the history of the game.


“What are you supposed to do?” Voltex asked, ignoring the question. “How do you watch your friends all drop dead one by one, knowing that it’s all because of something you did?”


“I doubt it’s your fault,” JiMing said with a laugh. “Unless, you know, you defend them and then the Traitors kill them in retaliation, I guess. I think we just live with it and hope we catch the killers quickly, you know?”


“I guess so,” Voltex said quietly. “I’m just having second thoughts, you know?”


“I think that’s to be expected,” the Ta-Matoran replied. “I’d tell you to ignore those second thoughts – after all, look at me. I ignored them and now I’m a celebrity. A celebrity that will probably be dead by the end of the week, but a celebrity nonetheless... actually, that’s kind of depressing.”


The two Matoran chuckled anyway.


“Hey Tex?”




“Wanna be allies? Y’know, watch out for each other.”


Voltex smiled. “I think that’d be cool. Shake on it?”


“Shaking hands is overrated,” JiMing said, shaking his hand nonetheless. “Neither of us dies without the other one trying to save them, alright?”


“Right,” Voltex agreed. “And don’t betray each other.”


“We should share information too,” the Ta-Matoran said as an afterthought. “I’ve got nothing. You?”


“Not yet,” Voltex said, standing, “but I hope to soon. We should get back before they hang anyone.”


The Ba-Matoran helped JiMing to his feet and the two set off back in the direction Voltex had come from, chatting amicably along the way.




When the two Matoran arrived back where the execution was to occur, they found the entire group waiting for them. Sumiki smiled and waved them over.


“Good, you’re here,” the Fe-Matoran said. “I was beginning to think I’d have to condemn someone to death – the votes are tied for Luroka and Flaredrick right now, you see. Good thing you two are here! Although I suppose that if you agree with my selection, then it would still be my fault after all.”


“That’s great,” Voltex managed to cough out.


He won’t vote for one of his own, Voltex thought to himself. Sumiki isn’t stupid.


“So who do you think is guilty, Voltex?” Sumiki asked, his eyes boring into the Ba-Matoran’s.


“Why does it matter?” Voltex responded. “Don’t let me affect your judgement.”


Sumiki walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “So you trust me?” The Fe-Matoran asked quietly, so that only Voltex could hear.


“I trust that you wouldn’t condemn an ally,” Voltex whispered back. “Not this early in the game.”


“You know me so well,” Sumiki chuckled before turning back and scribbling down his vote before announcing, “I vote for Luroka.”


JiMing turned to Voltex, who struggled to keep his face composed as his thoughts raced through his head, analyzing the situation.


“I’ll vote alongside you,” the Ta-Matoran said. “Who do you think?”


Voltex considered it for a moment before meeting Sumiki’s gaze and speaking: “I vote for Flaredrick.”


“So do I,” JiMing said.


Flaredrick turned to bolt, only to be grabbed by a visibly relieved Luroka and Lhikevikk, who held him firmly in place. He sagged, defeated, as Ehks spoke up.


“How are we supposed to execute him? Nobody here except the Traitors possess any weapons, and I doubt they’d just reveal themselves to us all to kill him.”


The group considered the question, turning to each other and whispering furiously until Lhikevikk asked, “does anybody have a rope?”


Locke was chosen to find a rope, and fifteen minutes later the Ta-Matoran returned lugging an enormous rope in hand. The group divided into groups to set the lynching up in the main conference hall and Voltex found himself working alongside Kayn and Zakaro up where the strongest portion of the ceiling remained, tying the rope as tightly as they could.


“So how does it feel to know that you were the one to condemn a Matoran to death?” Kayn asked, breaking the silence as they worked.


“Technically it was JiMing that did it,” Zakaro pointed out. “Voltex just tied the votes.”


“Yeah, but didn’t JiMing say he would vote whoever you did?” Kayn asked, directing the question to Voltex.


“He did,” Voltex said quietly.


“So what happens if he’s innocent?” the Ko-Matoran asked.


“Then we have narrowed the list to three suspects, I guess.”


The conversation died after that, and the three Matoran worked together in silence until they were confident that the knot was tied tightly enough. Zakaro called over to Lhikevikk and Manducus, who were trying to loop the noose around Flaredrick’s neck.


“How’s it going?”


“Not good,” Lhikevikk called back. “He’s struggling, and we’re a little too high to fight him too hard.”


Voltex sighed. “Just knock him out, then.”


Lhikevikk paused for a moment, a sheepish look crossing his features before karate chopping Flaredrick on the head, knocking the doomed Matoran out instantly. Manducus slipped the noose around the Ta-Matoran’s neck with ease and signalled to Sumiki far below.


“You’re ready?” Sumiki yelled.


“Yep,” Manducus yelled back. “Are you?”


“Yes! Let him drop!”


“Hold on,” Zakaro muttered, inspecting the beam that they had tied the rope around. “On second thought, I don’t actually think this is strong enough to-”




Voltex glanced down at the beam he, Zakaro and Kayn were perched on as Manducus let Flaredrick drop, and he watched as it snapped under the sudden increase in weight. Zakaro frowned and Voltex sighed, rubbing his eyes.


You’ve gotta be kidding me, he thought to himself.


And then the three of them were falling through the air.


To Be Continued.


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As promised, a chapter on Wednesday!




Voltex glanced down at the beam he, Zakaro and Kayn were perched on as Manducus let Flaredrick drop, and he watched as it snapped under the sudden increase in weight. Zakaro frowned and Voltex sighed, rubbing his eyes.


You’ve gotta be kidding me, he thought to himself.


And then the three of them were falling through the air.






Ehks watched as the beam snapped off under the sudden increase in weight alongside the rest of the Matoran. He was snapped out of his reverie as Sumiki started shouting orders:


“Norik, get up on that bookshelf with Chro! On my command, jump!”


The two Matoran scrambled into place – Ehks watched as Flaredrick tumbled off to the side and collided with the sharp edge of a partially collapsed wall, cringing as the Ta-Matoran was impaled upon it. The pure white form of Kayn latched onto the rope (and to safety) with blinding speed and reached out, missing the hand of Voltex by the briefest of seconds.


“Kayn is safe!” Sumiki yelled. “Chro, jump now!”


Ehks watched the CEO while the Matoran of Sonics did as Sumiki ordered, leaping through the air and crashing into Zakaro as Sumiki ordered Norik to do the same to Voltex. The four Matoran tumbled to the ground in a whirlwind of limbs and dust billowed into the air wherever they rolled, obscuring the view of the others. Starting forward, Ehks grunted as Sumiki’s arm flashed out to stop him.


“Hold on,” the Fe-Matoran ordered with a wink. “Don’t want you to end up hurt if anybody is going crazy.”


“Of course not,” Ehks said.


After a few seconds, there was nothing but silence as the dust began to settle. Pushing past the CEO, Ehks stepped into the cloud, waving his arm to try and disperse it as someone coughed from within. The Magnetism Matoran silently cursed as he stumbled over something, squinting through the dust to see a black arm. Grabbing it, he asked, “Zakaro?”


“Owwww...” came the reply.


Yup, it’s Zakaro, Ehks thought as he began to drag the Onu-Matoran away, ignoring the exaggerated sounds of pain the Bionifighter was letting loose. “Shut up!”


“It hurts,” Zakaro whined.


“It should,” said Ehks. “You just fell from the ceiling. Now suck it up – you’ve suffered worse than this before.”


“Probably,” Zakaro agreed with a nod as Sumiki joined them and helped the Onu-Matoran to his feet. “Thanks for the help – I think Chro is out cold, though. I might have landed on him a little bit.”


“I’ll try to keep that in mind,” Ehks said, entering the dust cloud again with several other Matoran.


Where are you, Voltex? The Fa-Matoran wondered.


“Holy Karzahni, my head hurts,” a familiar voice moaned from up ahead.


Fighting back the cough that was working its way up his throat, Ehks forged onwards into the dust before flinching back as he stepped on something and Voltex screeched.


“What was that?” Ehks asked.


“You just stepped on my foot!” Voltex snapped before bursting into a fit of coughing. “Where are we?”


“We’re in the conference hall,” Ehks said, crouching down and finally seeing the Ba-Matoran. “You fell off the ceiling while lynching Flaredrick.”


“Of course I did,” Voltex muttered. “Help me out?”


“I shall.”


Offering his arm to the Gravity Matoran, Ehks hauled Voltex to his feet and wrapped his arm around the other Matoran’s shoulders, helping the still dazed Ba-Matoran back out to where most of the other Matoran were gathered in a heated discussion. Several shot glares in their direction as they joined the haphazard circle, but Ehks ignored them as he helped Voltex to become steady on his own feet again.


“-I’m sure it’s not Voltex’s fault,” Blade was saying. “He wouldn’t condemn an innocent Matoran on purpose.”


“On purpose or not, he still did it,” Manducus responded.


“Does your opinion even count?” Chro asked. “You were funding Xaeraz, for Mata-Nui’s sake! Why shouldn’t we just execute you instead?!”


“Because I’m no killer,” Manducus shot back.


“I agree,” said Sumiki. “Whatever else he might be, Manducus does not seem to me like the type to kill another Matoran in cold blood – neither is Voltex, for that matter.”


“He’s still worth more dead than alive,” Chro said. “Manducus, I mean, not Voltex. Voltex is just a conspiracy theorist – but Manducus is a wanted criminal.”


“You aren’t a wanted criminal after you’ve been jailed,” Manducus muttered, rolling his eyes. “Whatever... I don’t have to explain anything to you.”


The disgraced Fe-Matoran stalked away; the group (Ehks included) watched him go in silence for several seconds before collectively jumping as Voltex spoke: “Flaredrick was innocent?”


“It looks like it,” said Blade. “His card fell to the floor and a message from Xaeraz appeared on it. Well, I say message – it was more of a taunt, honestly.”


“Of course it was,” Voltex muttered.


“Well, if that’s all, I’d best be going,” Ehks said. “Voltex, would you care to join me?”


He glared back as the Ba-Matoran sent him a shocked glance. “I don’t even know you,” the Ba-Matoran said.


“We’ll call it a bonding session then,” Ehks said, glancing over to Sumiki, who was gazing at them curiously. “There’s something important I need to discuss with you.”


“Can it not be said to the group?” Sumiki asked.


“No,” Ehks said. “It can’t.”


Sumiki’s gaze darkened for a second before flashing back to normal as the Fe-Matoran nodded, clapping his hands together. “There doesn’t appear to be anything else to discuss – I suggest we all go our separate ways until we are forced to re-convene. My experiences thus far are leading me to believe that we will end up slaughtering each other if we confine ourselves to the group.”


“You’ve got that right,” Chro muttered.


Several other Matoran nodded their ascent, and slowly the group began to drift apart. Glad of the excuse to leave, Ehks grabbed onto Voltex and yanked him off in the direction of the washrooms, ignoring the disgruntled Ba-Matoran’s huffing and puffing as he was pulled along.


“You know, I do have friends here that I’d like to talk with,” Voltex snapped from behind him, “seeing as, y’know, one of us is probably going to die here. Or all of us.”


“Shut up,” Ehks said absently, searching for the washrooms. “Ah, here we are.”


Pushing the door open, he pushed Voltex into the darkened space and then joined him by the sink, flicking the light switch experimentally. The switch did not work, although the room seemed to brighten just a little bit from a source neither Matoran could identify.


“Why are we here?!” Voltex asked scathingly. “I can’t see a thing!”


“Keep it down!” Ehks hissed. “I have some important information.”


“That’s lovely,” Voltex drawled. “I always wanted more important information. Why doesn’t everyone just share all their secrets with me? It’ll be a breeze!”


“Oh my god let me kill you now,” Ehks muttered, shutting his eyes tightly and rubbing his head, deciding to just get it over with. “I know about you and Sumiki.”


That shut the Ba-Matoran up, thankfully. Allowing himself a small smile, Ehks continued: “That’s right, I know what you two are.”




“I followed you two earlier,” the Magnetism Matoran said casually. “I figured he was going to accuse you of killing Shadowhawk and I wanted to hear your response. I definitely wasn’t expecting both of you to, you know....”


“Be a traitor working for Xaeraz?” Voltex asked with a sigh. “Yeah... I guess we know how Xaeraz was still getting the materials needed for his attacks after Manducus was arrested.”


Ehks nodded in the darkness, aware both that Voltex could not see him and that the Ba-Matoran was probably unaware that Ehks had no idea what he was rambling about. Before speaking again he paused, confused – Voltex’s response indicated a similar but yet entirely different conversation.


“You do realize what I’m accusing you of, right?” Ehks asked.




“I said I know that you and Sumiki are both traitors.”


“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Voltex muttered. “I’m the Detective, not a traitor.”


“Sure,” Ehks said. “Just wave that information around. I’m sure it’ll do you a lot of good.”


The Ba-Matoran did not reply, and Ehks rolled his eyes in the darkness and sighed. Hearing a click and several beeps, he turned to face the Gravity Matoran directly, startled to see a bright light shining on Voltex’s face.


“What is that?” he asked curiously.


“A communication tablet,” Voltex whispered his voice breathless with excitement. “There’s a call incoming! I can’t believe it worked!”


“What worked?”


Voltex ignored him, activating whatever the thing was and stepping beside Ehks so that they could both look at the screen as a Le-Matoran flashed onto the screen. Ehks frowned – he did not recognize the Matoran, although Voltex seemed to.


“Hey there Automaton,” the Gravity Matoran said. “It’s good to see your face.”


“It’s even better to see yours, trust me.” The Le-Matoran’s voice was laced with static, as though the connection was bad. Considering the shadows that were blocking the conference hall, Ehks assumed it was a miracle that they had a connection at all.


“So what’s the situation out there?” Voltex asked.


“Well, that reporter you sent found Burnmad and he got into contact with me,” the Le-Matoran said with a shrug. “So here I am – what exactly do you want to know?”


“What’s going on out there?” the Gravity Matoran asked. “The building is encased in shadow, and I don’t think any of us can get out... actually, that’s a good question. Ehks?”


Ehks considered the question, thinking back to the escape attempt by Zakaro. The Onu-Matoran had run at the shadows full-force and had simply been flung back at the other Matoran. “Yeah, we’re not getting out.”


“Who’s Ehks?” the Le-Matoran – Automaton – asked.


“Just a friend, or at least an ally for now,” Voltex said, before asking again: “the outside?”


“It’s really weird,” Automaton said with a frown. “The White Council is acting as if everything is fine. They’re just telling everyone that what’s going on is a new security experiment that everyone at the conference agreed to participate in.”


“That makes sense,” Voltex said. “If word got out that Xaeraz had somehow assembled enough power to do all this, Metru-Nui would collapse within a week.”


The Le-Matoran appeared shocked, and it did not take long for Ehks to find out why. “Uh, earth to Voltex? You should be all over this! This is the perfect conspiracy, and you’re siding with the White Council?”


The Gravity Matoran’s gaze flicked over to Ehks, who shrugged and gestured for him to continue, while logging the information for later use.


I’ve got my eyes on you, Detective, he thought, shaking himself out of his reverie as Automaton spoke again.


“So what’s up in there?”


“RG was the only one to make it out,” Voltex said. “I almost did, but the shadows dragged me back. Nearly everyone that came is dead – out of two hundred Matoran there were only twenty-three survivors, and now two of them are dead as well.”


“The survivors are killing themselves?” the Le-Matoran asked.


“It’s part of Xaeraz’s scheme,” Ehks said, butting in before Voltex could respond. “He’s set up this twisted game with those of us who are left. Some of us have special roles and others don’t – five of us are apparently traitors hired by Xaeraz to kill the rest. If they succeed, they’ll get to leave the place alive. If we can find them all and kill them before they do that, whoever’s left will be allowed to live – or at least, that’s what he says. I don’t know if we can trust the word of a known terrorist.”


“You can trust Xaeraz,” Voltex said. “In a twisted way, he usually says what he means, and he’ll follow up on it. If he’s going to kill the survivors of this so-called ‘game’, he’ll let them know ahead of time.”


Well isn’t that just sunshine and rainbows, Ehks thought.


“Who’s dead so far?” Automaton asked.


“Shadowhawk and Flaredrick,” said Voltex. “Both were just ordinary Matoran, no roles. We can’t be sure of who the next target will be.”


Ehks thought he had a pretty good idea who was next, but decided to keep it to himself as Automaton asked, “know of any roles?”


Voltex glanced at him - Ehks shrugged and the Gravity Matoran sighed. “I’m the Detective – I’ve been given a scanner that can read these ‘role cards’ Xaeraz gave to everyone. I can discover the identity of any Matoran I want to.”


“That’s good to know,” Automaton said. “Anyone else?”


“Tahukan is an Inventor,” Ehks said. “He built a one-time scanner for me and I used it on him.”


Voltex nodded in satisfaction and added, “and we know who the leader of the traitors is – unfortunately, we can’t kill him until after we’ve killed the others.”


“Who is it?”


The Gravity Matoran sighed. “It’s Sumiki.”


The Le-Matoran frowned grimly and nodded, scribbling something down on a sheet that Ehks could not fully make out on the screen. Ehks himself kept his own features neutral despite the shock he was feeling at the revelation.


“I’ll do some research, see who Sumiki has been in contact with recently,” said Automaton. “Has he been fraternizing with anyone over on your end?”


“It’s Sumiki – he’s one of the most popular Matoran here,” Voltex said sourly. “So that leaves everybody.”


Automaton was opening his mouth to speak again when Ehks heard the voices drawing nearer – hushing the Le-Matoran, he grabbed Voltex and pulled him closer. “Someone’s coming!”


The Matoran of Gravity nodded. “Automaton, we have to go. I’ll contact you later.”


“Got it.”


The screen went dark and the room faded to pitch black. Approaching the door carefully, Ehks leaned against it, fighting back a growl as Voltex pushed him to the side trying to join him.


“Speak of Karzahni,” Voltex breathed. “He’s right outside.”


“Shut up,” Ehks hissed.


The Ba-Matoran beside him thankfully fell silent and Ehks fought to make out what Sumiki was saying.


“-... kill tonight,” the Hat Enterprises CEO was saying.


Another voice that he could not make out said something – presumably asking who to target, if the reply that Sumiki gave was any indication: “Somebody nobody will care about. If they don’t know them, they’re less likely to try and avenge them. Go for that Ehks fellow – he’s been giving me some odd looks, and I’m beginning to suspect he knows who I am.”


Ehks reached out and grabbed Voltex’s arm for support as he wavered in place, swearing softly. The pat on the arm that the Ba-Matoran gave him was both hesitant and awkward, and Ehks mentally reminded himself to never try and find comfort in the Detective again.


“We’d better get out of here,” said Sumiki. “We wouldn’t want anyone to notice us alone together, after all – they might grow a little bit suspicious.”


Two sets of footsteps could be heard walking in opposite directions away from the washroom. Ehks remained huddled against the washroom entrance with Voltex for several seconds in silence and darkness before the Ba-Matoran finally shifted.


“We should get out of here,” Voltex said quietly.


Ehks nodded even though he knew Voltex could not see him and stood to his feet as the Gravity Matoran did the same, pulling the door open with a creak and stepping back out into the hallway, rubbing his eyes as the Ba-Matoran joined him and put a hand on his shoulder.


“Are you gonna be alright?”


“Yeah,” Ehks said absently. “I’m fine.”


“You’re not fine,” Voltex said. “We need to find a doctor-”




“-and get them to help you,” Voltex continued, ignoring the interruption. “Wait, medic?”


“That’s what we call them down south.”


“Oh,” said Voltex. “Say, do you know if Tahukan could help?”


“No,” Ehks said, shaking his head. “I haven’t seen him around since before the lynching.”


“Well, I’ll stick by you,” Voltex said.


“Actually, before I die, there’s something I need to do...” Ehks said, trailing off. “But it has to be alone. Meet me back here in three hours, alright? Assuming I’m not dead by then. And if you try to refuse, I’ll just knock you out.”


Voltex sighed, frustration evident on his face. “Fine! Try and stay alive though, okay? If you’re going to die, I’d like to see who the killer is. And if I can find the doctor or medic or whatever they’re called, I’ll bring them with me.”


“Alright. See you later then.” Ehks said, waving the Ba-Matoran away. Voltex gave him one last glance before sighing again and shaking his head, walking away.


And now it’s time for my project to begin, Ehks thought. And hopefully end, since I have so little time.




Pulse sat with his head in his arms and his eyes shut, resting as much as he could while the other Matoran seated at the round table in one of the two kitchens discussed anything and everything in tones that were, to Pulse, obnoxiously loud.


“...still think Voltex is responsible,” Chro was saying. “Or maybe Ehks... the two of them just snuck off like that in front of everybody. It’s obvious, isn’t it?”


“Yeah,” Pulse drawled, too annoyed to care that he was allowing himself to join the pitiful argument. “It’s too obvious, Chro. No killer would just grab their partner and waltz off like that in front of everyone. Besides, none of us even know Ehks. What if he’s got some sort of issue that needs to be privately taken care of?”


“Like what?” Chro asked.


Pulse shrugged, or at least he tried. “Who knows? Maybe he has a metal rod in his arm that needs oiling every so often.”


The De-Matoran sighed, shaking his head. “This is hopeless. Why am I even trying to convince you guys? You’re already convinced that Voltex is some saint.”


“He’s no saint,” Pulse muttered, “but he’s no killer either.”


“How can you be so sure?!” Chro snapped.


“Do you want the honest opinion or the bogus one?” Pulse asked.


“Honest... obviously.”


“I’m afraid of him and would like to believe he isn’t a killer, because that would increase my chances of survival.” Pulse explained, sitting up properly, before offering as way of explanation: “I shut down his writing career.”


“So I’ve heard,” Blade said. “Many times, in fact. Until his fighting career ended... and then I got to hear all about how his writing career and his fighting career got shut down.”


“Voltex is definitely one to hold a grudge,” Unit agreed. “I think you’d be dead already if he was one of Xaeraz’s traitors.”


“But maybe Shadowhawk was the higher priority,” Chro pointed out. “After all, the end of his fighting career was definitely more public. It would have been more humiliating – not to mention more recent – than the end of his writing career. Pulse could be the one dying tonight.”


“That’s wonderful,” Pulse muttered, getting to his feet. “Now you’re talking sense, Chro. Why did you have to talk sense?”


“Wait, where are you going?” asked Blade.


“Anywhere but here,” Pulse said. “I told Voxumo to meet me at the eastern cafeteria and threatened to stab his liver if he didn’t.”


The Su-Matoran glared back at the other three as they all snorted. “He has a giant scythe! Nobody with a weapon of that size is going to take a threat seriously.”


“Whatever you say,” Chro muttered. “You go – if you’re dead when we find you, rest assured I will personally have Voxumo lynched for you.”


“Why?” Pulse asked.


“Voxumo and I have... a history,” Chro admitted. “Let’s just say he always finds a way to beat me no matter what the activity is. I’ve gotten a little tired of that. I don’t really care if I die in this building, but I’d rather that Voxumo died first.”


“What a lovely set of priorities,” Pulse said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Sayonara, loser. Catch you later Blade, Unit.”


Leaving a furious Chro sputtering in his wake with an amused Blade and Unit, Pulse smiled grimly before exiting the room, in search of his target – who was not, as he had allowed the others to believe, Voxumo. No, he had already found the Ko-Matoran and the two had struck an uneasy alliance.


His new target was Voltex.




The past three hours had been the longest of Voltex’s life, as well as some of the most frustrating. Tahukan was nowhere to be found, and he had been unable to get JiMing away from a group of Matoran discussing strategies that Sumiki was a part of. He supposed he could always ask Blade, Unit or Portalfig, but with Sumiki knowing his role already....


It’s better this way, he thought. Keep them out of whatever suicidal plans I involve myself in and Sumiki will be hard-pressed to blame them. Then again, it’s Sumiki... he’ll probably blame them anyway... well, it’s too late now. Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable.


As he leaned against the wall opposite the washroom from earlier, he was startled out of his thoughts by the arrival of Ehks, whom Voltex thought looked remarkably happy for someone that knew they were about to die.


“Um... are you... okay?” the Ba-Matoran asked.


“Perfectly fine,” Ehks said, gesturing for Voltex to follow. As they began to walk, Ehks adjusted the overcoat he was wearing while continuing to speak: “I have something to show you – I found it while I was working earlier. It’s pretty awesome. It’s just around the corner up ahead.”


Voltex began to feel a sense of foreboding, and he reached and arm out, blocking Ehks’s path. “Wait, I should go first.”


The Fa-Matoran snorted, and pushed his arm away, walking around the corner. “Pssh, please, Voltex. It’s not like they’ll be standing right-”


BAM. The sound of the gunshot temporarily deafened Voltex and he clapped his hands over his ears.


“-there,” Ehks finished weakly, stumbling back around the corner and collapsing into Voltex’s arms.


Voltex moved to race after the killer, but a pair of shaking arms pulled him back to kneel beside Ehks, who shook his head, coughing and closing his eyes.


“Ehks, I need to go after them! I can catch them!” Voltex protested.


“Voltex, it’s fine,” Ehks whispered. “I saw them clear as day....”


“Who was it?” Voltex asked quickly. “Who did you see, Ehks?”


“It was... they were...” Ehks grew stiff as he trailed off before relaxing again, this time slumping to the floor, unmoving.


“...Ehks?” Voltex asked, nudging the Magnetism Matoran’s shoulder. “Come on Ehks! Ehks!”


The Ba-Matoran sighed, collapsing against the wall and burying his head in his hands. The situation had always been hopeless, but until now Voltex had not realized one important fact:


I really am alone.


To Be Continued.


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The Fa-Matoran snorted, and pushed his arm away, walking around the corner. “Pssh, please, Voltex. It’s not like they’ll be standing right-”




“-there,” Ehks finished weakly, stumbling back around the corner and collapsing into Voltex’s arms.


Voltex moved to race after the killer, but a pair of shaking arms pulled him back to kneel beside Ehks, who shook his head, coughing and closing his eyes.


“Ehks, I need to go after them! I can catch them!” Voltex protested.


“Voltex, it’s fine,” Ehks whispered. “I saw them clear as day....”


“Who was it?” Voltex asked quickly. “Who did you see, Ehks?”


“It was... they were...” Ehks grew stiff as he trailed off before relaxing again, this time slumping to the floor, unmoving.


“...Ehks?” Voltex asked, nudging the Magnetism Matoran’s shoulder. “Come on Ehks! Ehks!”


The Ba-Matoran sighed, collapsing against the wall and burying his head in his hands. The situation had always been hopeless, but until now Voltex had not realized one important fact:


I really am alone.




Voltex was interrupted from his musings by a loud groan: “oh, god... that frickin’ hurt like karzahni....”


No way, Voltex thought, raising his head and looking at the body of Ehks on the ground. No freaking way....


The Fa-Matoran sat up and Voltex swore, scrambling away and shielding himself as best he could, earning himself a smirk from the Matoran of Magnetism.


“You-you were-but-you were dead!” Voltex sputtered.


“Hahaha, no,” Ehks said, before leaning in and whispering conspiratorially, “that’s just what they want you to think.”


Rapidly running out of patience, Voltex stood to his feet and grabbed Ehks by the throat, hauling the Fa-Matoran up and slamming him into the wall, flexing his other hand as he wondered whether he should punch his companion as Ehks tried to croak out a response to the violent maneuver.


“Look here,” Voltex said, taking a deep breath. “I’m going to relax my grip. You are going to have ten seconds to explain what the bloody karz is going on before I beat you to the Coliseum and back again.”


“Well,” Ehks muttered, shifting in his grip. “You remember that project I told you about earlier?”


Here, the Magnetism Matoran began to unbutton his coat, revealing what was probably once a shining plate of armor but was now marred by the impacts of several bullets.


“I was making myself some armor,” the Fa-Matoran continued, “but I thought ‘why not have some fun’, and so when I was shot, I pretended to die to see your reaction.”


Voltex involuntarily clenched his fist again, cutting the other Matoran’s air supply off before he could breathe.


“YOU WHAT?!” Voltex screeched, tossing Ehks to the side and pounding his fist into the wall, leaving a sizeable hole in his wake as he tried to calm down. “Urrrrgh! Oh, you have no idea how angry I am right now! I am going to stab you and watch as you bleed out all over the floor.


“What?! Why?” Ehks cried from behind him. “It was just a joke! Admittedly one that might have been in slightly poor taste, but still-”


“SLIGHTLY POOR?!” Voltex screeched, whirling around and kicking Ehks in the chest, knocking the Magnetism Matoran to the floor as he attempted to stand. “We are trapped in a building where we are literally being forced to murder each other one by one, and you thought it was a good idea to fake your own death?!”


“Well, when you put it that way,” Ehks muttered, but Voltex cut him off before he could continue.


“HOW ELSE CAN YOU PUT IT?!” Voltex screamed, kicking the wall and swearing loudly as his foot rebounded off of it, now throbbing in pain. “Ow that hurt please let me kill you....”


“I won’t do it again, alright?” Ehks said, raising his arms in surrender and flinching away as Voltex turned to face him again. “I promise not to do it again! I’m sorry!”


“Sorry doesn’t even begin to cut it,” Voltex snapped, sliding down the wall back into the position he had been in before the whole ‘dead Ehks is not really dead’ event had occurred. “It’s just an empty word.”


He decided to ignore it as Ehks rolled his eyes, insteading holding out his hand. The Magnetism Matoran appeared confused for a brief second before realizing what he wanted, handing him a white card. Sparing Ehks one final glare, Voltex activated his scanner.


Hey there Mister Mystery!


I hear you have some rather dark secrets you’d rather aren’t made public! Well, I’ll make you a deal. If you die, I get to tell everyone what you used to be! If you DON’T die, well, let’s just say you better find me and kill me before I let the secret slip! But for the duration of this game, I’ll leave the matter be.


Just to make it easier for you to live (because honestly I’d love to kill you myself when you inevitably come-a-callin’), you are the Medic! You can protect other Matoran, or yourself, from my Traitors. Lucky you! Use it well!


Please don’t die until I can kill you personally,




Snorting, Voltex tossed the card back to a now visibly miserable Ehks, who caught the card and pocketed it.


“So you’re the Medic,” Voltex said after several awkward moments of silence.


Ehks nodded. “That I am.”


“And I’m the Detective...”


“So you are.”


The Ba-Matoran grinned and Ehks’s frown deepened in response. “Ehks, together, I think we can definitely win this.”




“Probably not,” Voltex said, shrugging. “So who shot you?”


“Scanty,” Ehks replied instantly. “Granted, I didn’t get as clear a look as I wanted, but I’m pretty sure Scanty is the only one here with blue armor.”


“I think so,” Voltex said. “So, uh... how do we just go up to everyone and say ‘let’s kill Scanty, he just tried to kill Ehks, who somehow survived’?”


The two Matoran paused to ponder this as the familiar – and rather distinctive – form of Pulse became visible at the other end of the hallway.


“Darn, he found me,” the Ba-Matoran muttered. “I was hoping that this conversation could wait... or just not happen at all.”


“What conversation?” Ehks asked curiously.


“Never you mind,” Voltex said. “You go deal with the lynching while I deal with this poor fool. Divided we conquer.”


“Or divided we fall,” Ehks muttered, getting up to follow the orders regardless. “Shall I hold the votes for you two?”


“Don’t bother unless there’s some sort of tie,” Voltex said.


“Alright,” Ehks said. “See you later.”


The Ba-Matoran did not reply, and Ehks rolled his eyes before heading off for the main hall, wondering how he was going to get his would-be killer lynched.




The CEO of Hat Enterprises was in the middle of a conversation laden with theories on how they had all been drawn into this predicament when Ehks burst into the room, the damaged hinges of the entrance shattering from the force of impact and causing the door to crash to the ground behind the Fa-Matoran, who wasted no time in pointing fingers.


“You,” Ehks yelled, silencing everyone and pointing his finger at Scanty, “just tried to kill me!”


An interesting development, Sumiki noted, keeping his face neutral.


“W-what?” Scanty asked, stepping back even as Ehks stomped forwards. “I wouldn’t kill you!”


“Yeah, you say that now,” Ehks drawled. “But if it weren’t for the god forsaken Medic in this place, you would have killed me less than thirty minutes ago.”


“Thirty minutes ago?” the Po-Matoran TBK asked. “Scanty, didn’t you leave the room about that time?”


“W-well yeah,” Scanty stuttered, “but I mean, come on, a bunch of Matoran did – Kayn, JiMing, Manducus – they all left as well! Not to mention that Voxumo and Voltex have been missing as well!”


“Voltex was with me when I was shot,” Ehks said.


“So maybe he shot you,” Scanty said. “Even if I had killed you – or tried, rather – how would you know it was me?”


“Your armor,” Ehks said, gesturing towards the Ce-Matoran. “You’re a rather distinct shade of blue.”


“Now hold on,” Sumiki said, a plan formulating rapidly in his mind. “Scanty is a refugee, Ehks. He barely managed to escape with his life from the crusade that was launched on the Ce-Matoran down south... which, if I’m not mistaken, is where you are from?”


Everywhere is down south of here,” Ehks snapped. “And what does being a refugee have to do with anything?”


“If you were in Scanty’s position, would you intentionally endanger your chances of survival by becoming a murderer?” Sumiki asked.


“Well, no,” Ehks admitted, “but who knows what he’s thinking about?”


“I think we should all step back for a moment,” Lhikevikk said, stepping between Ehks and Scanty. “Throwing around claims like this with little evidence outside an adrenaline influenced memory is not going to help matters.”


“You’re right,” Ehks agreed, stepping back.


“Why don’t we gather in a proper circle?” Sumiki suggested. “Ease of communication would help the situation.”


The other Matoran all nodded in agreement and the circle was made – Sumiki took his seat across from Ehks, making sure that Scanty was located halfway between them both to avoid any visible bias on the matter.


And now it is time for the mouse to be played with, Sumiki thought to himself. If only the mouse knew that he was the one being played.


“So you believe that Scanty is guilty of trying to take your life?” the CEO asked Ehks, not missing the not-so-subtle glare that the Fa-Matoran sent his way.


“I do,” the Fa-Matoran said. “The armor of the Matoran who tried to kill me was gold and blue – Scanty is the only one here who matches that description.”


“What if the traitors have some sort of cloaking technology?” TBK asked.


“That’s certainly a possibility,” Sumiki said, nodding in acknowledgement before turning to Kayn. “Kayn, if I am correct, you have been working as a freelance technician recently, correct?”


The Ko-Matoran nodded. “I have. Why?”


“Would such a cloaking technology be possible?” the CEO asked. “I’m afraid my knowledge of technology is rather limited to whatever is common place or relates to the creation of hats.”


Kayn gazed thoughtfully up at the ceiling as he pondered the question before slowly saying, “I don’t believe so, although considering where we are, it wouldn’t surprise me if such a technology was in its prototype stages. That said, even if it is at that point, I doubt many outside of the White Council themselves would be aware of its existence.”


“So the traitors don’t have that technology,” TBK responded.


“I’m afraid that it’s unlikely,” Kayn said. “Or rather, I’m not afraid? I guess it would be even harder if they did have access to such a cloaking device, so....”


“But they must have some sort of cloaking,” Scanty protested, “because I did not kill Ehks!”


“Of course you didn’t – the Medic made sure of that,” Ehks said.


“No, I didn’t even try to kill you!” the Ce-Matoran snapped. “Come on, somebody must believe me!”


Sumiki nodded. “I do not believe you would attempt to take the life of anyone here, Scanty. Unfortunately, it appears that the evidence is stacked against you. No other Matoran aside from Ehks has brought forth claims of any attempts on their lives, and if the traitors had killed someone, I am quite certain that we would have heard about it by now.”


“So you do think he’s guilty?” Lhikevikk asked.


“No,” Sumiki said. “I merely believe that his position is rather unfortunate.”


Lhikevikk seemed satisfied, but if anything it only seemed to convince Ehks that he was right, judging by the Fa-Matoran’s next words:


“He’s definitely guilty, then.”


Sumiki allowed an amused smile to grow on his face in response, followed by a small sigh. “Why don’t we take a vote, then? All who believe that Scanty is indeed guilty of the attempted murder of our dear friend Ehks, please raise your hands.”


The Fe-Matoran’s gaze met the eyes of Ehks across the circle, noting the gleam of triumph in the Fa-Matoran’s eyes.


He does know indeed, Sumiki thought. What move shall he make when he discovers just how well he has been played?


It was abundantly clear that the majority believed Scanty was guilty – to his credit, the Ce-Matoran did not attempt to flee or even speak a word as he was strung up by the crowd (this time in the hall, where the ceiling was stronger). The assorted Matoran observed the body for several minutes in silence before Sumiki gestured for Lhikevikk to grab the white card protruding from the late Scanty’s armor. The Ta-Matoran complied and plucked the card away, shaking his head grimly after observing the message that had been left behind.


“He was innocent,” Lhikevikk said. “Which means TBK was right... they do have some sort of cloaking ability.”


“Or perhaps Ehks gave us the wrong information,” said Pupwa. “After all, none of us know who he is. Maybe there wasn’t even an attempt on his life at all!”


Ehks shrugged. “Oops?”


In the back of the crowd, not noticed by anyone, Sumiki’s smirk grew.




“What do you want, Pulse?” Voltex asked as the Su-Matoran stopped before him.


Not even a ‘hello’, Pulse thought. How polite can you be?


“I think we both know that this conversation needs to happen sooner rather than later,” the orange and white Matoran said. “I’m the owner of the only remaining news corporation in Metru-Nui, Voltex – and the only reason mine still stands is because I work with and for the White Council.”


“What’s your point?” the Ba-Matoran asked, scowling.


“I’m at the top of the grapevine. Nobody is closer to the White Council than me,” Pulse said. “I know exactly what you do, Voltex. What you’ve been doing ever since you ‘retired’ from the Bionifight league.”


“I did retire!” Voltex snapped. “I was humiliated in the championship match... I was ruined.”


“So then the White Council approached you,” Pulse said, pressing onwards. “They offered you a job – to join the Metru-Nui Police Force. But not just any job....”


“If you’re expecting me to give any answers, you’re wrong,” Voltex said, getting up to leave.


Pulse reached out and grabbed the Gravity Matoran’s arm, stopping him. “I don’t need answers, Voltex. You joined a covert group of six Matoran headed by Burnmad, the most elite of the forces that Metru-Nui has to offer. Your jobs are top secret; aside from the White Council, nobody knows who any of you truly are. You’re still Matoran so that you can infiltrate enemies of the White Council quickly and easily, and once you have you get in close to those in charge... and then you bring the entire operation down, or put it under control of the Council.”


The Ba-Matoarn stiffened under his hand, and Pulse withdrew it as Voltex whirled around, staring at him with a mixture of panic and confusion.


“How do you know?”


At that, Pulse laughed out loud, startling Voltex and confusing the Gravity Matoran even further. “Voltex, please. Why do you think I’m even here?”


“What do you mean?”


“Voltex, nobody except the White Council is supposed to know about you,” Pulse said. “But it’s in my nature – I grew suspicious of the ever-increasing rate with which the White Council was bringing down each of their enemies without so much as a peep to the public. So I did some digging – unfortunately, the Council grew suspicious of me as well.”


The Gravity Matoran sighed. “They put someone in the news corporation?”


Pulse nodded. “They flew up the ranks quickly – fast enough to interest me. So I let them get in real close... and then I confronted them. I’ve got a lot of power, you know – so I did my research, and then I threatened them where I knew it hurt. It took me all of five hours to learn everything about your operations.”


“But the Council found out?” Voltex guessed.


“They did,” Pulse confirmed. “I foolishly sent the Matoran back alive... I doubt he still holds that privilege, though. Regardless, that is why I am here. Because I knew too much, and held too much power – so I became an enemy of the state.”


Despite doing his best, the bitterness in his voice was obvious enough for Voltex to notice.


“I helped them with this,” Pulse snapped, gesturing around them. “I know that you did too, Voltex. The Matoran I interrogated told me that you had been helping the White Council to plan for some sort of conference – well, guess what? I was a driving force behind it as well.”


Voltex sighed, before glumly saying: “You’re right. The whole idea behind this conference was for the White Council to get rid of every single enemy they had in one fell swoop, Xaeraz included. They brought me on board after I arrested Manducus, and since then I’ve been picking out targets for them to send. I just don’t understand why they sent me.”


“Loose ends,” Pulse said. “What I don’t know is what they plan to do with the survivors. Do you?”


“No,” Voltex said, slumping to the floor.


Pulse did the same. “No idea?”


“None at all,” Voltex said, sighing heavily. “That’s been bothering me a lot as well. It’s not just that I helped to set this whole death trap in motion, or that I somehow got snapped up as well – it’s that I know Xaeraz will leave the survivors alone – but will the White Council do the same?”


The Ba-Matoran sighed, shaking his head in despair. “I don’t even know who the real enemy is anymore.”


Pulse found himself unable to answer – so he did not.


To Be Continued.


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Voltex sighed, before glumly saying: “You’re right. The whole idea behind this conference was for the White Council to get rid of every single enemy they had in one fell swoop, Xaeraz included. They brought me on board after I arrested Manducus, and since then I’ve been picking out targets for them to send. I just don’t understand why they sent me.”


“Loose ends,” Pulse said. “What I don’t know is what they plan to do with the survivors. Do you?”


“No,” Voltex said, slumping to the floor.


Pulse did the same. “No idea?”


“None at all,” Voltex said, sighing heavily. “That’s been bothering me a lot as well. It’s not just that I helped to set this whole death trap in motion, or that I somehow got snapped up as well – it’s that I know Xaeraz will leave the survivors alone – but will the White Council do the same?”


The Ba-Matoran sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t even know who the real enemy is anymore.”


Pulse found himself unable to answer – so he did not.




“So what are you guys talkin’ about over here?”


Pulse jumped at the unexpected sound of Voxumo’s voice from behind him and turned to face the Ko-Matoran nervously, unsure of what the Bionifighter had heard from their conversation.


“Is he bothering you?” Voxumo asked, gesturing to Voltex.


“Hey,” the Ba-Matoran protested. “Voxumo, it’s me!”


“So?” Voxumo said, shrugging. “I never made an alliance with you.”


“He’s fine,” Pulse sighed. “What did you hear?”


“Something about enemies,” the Ko-Matoran said. “Everyone is an enemy here, are they not?”


“That’s all you need to know,” Voltex said, getting to his feet. “Pulse, am I correct in assuming that our conversation here is done? Or are you going to drag me somewhere else next?”


“No, I think we’re both good,” Pulse muttered. “Keep an eye out though, won’t you?”


“Of course I will,” Voltex shot back, walking away. “It’s my job.”


Pulse and Voxumo stood next to each other in silence as they watched the Gravity Matoran stalking down the hall, drawing his cloak closer around himself as though trying to blend in with the shadows. Once Voltex had rounded the corner and was out of sight, Pulse spoke again.


“What are you doing here, Voxumo?”


“You are paying me to be your bodyguard,” the Ko-Matoran said, shifting his scythe so that it was resting upon his shoulder. “So I am here to guard your body.”


“Er... okay, I guess,” Pulse said. “That makes sense. Where did you go before?”


“I prefer to work on my own,” was all he got in response, only perplexing him further.


“You might be one of the strangest Matoran I have ever met,” Pulse commented.


“I strive to be unique,” Voxumo said. “My scythe is much like me.”


Deciding not to ponder on Voxumo’s logic or wording, the Su-Matoran merely waved for the Ko-Matoran to follow him as he made his way back towards the conference hall at the other end of the building.






The Ba-Matoran glanced up as his name was called to see JiMing leaning out of one of the smaller conference rooms and waving towards him. Hurrying his pace, Voltex nodded to JiMing as he entered to room before wondering if blindly entering it had been a good idea.


“Uh... what’s going on here, exactly?” he asked, noting the occupants of the table – or rather, one in particular.


“Who said he was allowed in here?” Manducus snapped, banging his fist on the table.


“Shut up,” JiMing said absently, locking the door and dropping into a seat, signalling for Voltex to do the same. “Voltex I’d like to welcome you to the alliance.”


“The alliance?”


“The alliance,” JiMing repeated, nodding. “A bunch of us decided to band together since we’re doing absolutely rubbish otherwise. Everything said or done in this group is in the strictest of confidence.”


Voltex took a seat as JiMing spoke, observing the other occupants of the room. Aside from himself and JiMing, there was Manducus (glaring at him like usual), Tahukan (who looked rather eager to be there), Luroka (who was rather sullen), Unit (looking bored), and Portalfig, who was paying attention to JiMing’s words the most out of the group.


“How do you know that nobody here is a traitor?” Voltex asked.


JiMing cringed. “Well, we don’t, but... well, it’ll help, right?”


The Ba-Matoran shrugged. “Honestly, I have no idea. Nothing like this has ever happened before.”


“Why not just invite everybody?”


“Because then what’s the point?” Unit asked. “Just a small group working together and maybe we’ll have a better chance of fixing this.”


“What about Blade, though?” Voltex pressed.


“We all have to make sacrifices,” Luroka muttered. “I wanted TBK and Locke in, but these morons all said no to that little idea.”


“Yeah, well I wanted Sumiki!” Manducus snapped. “He and Lhikevikk are the only ones bothering to lead us at all aside from Ehks, and Tohu knows we won’t be following him again.”


Voltex leaned forward. “What did you just say?”


“You heard me,” Manducus growled. “We won’t be following Ehks again – not after he got us to lynch Scanty.”


“Scanty wasn’t guilty?”


“Oh right, you weren’t around for the lynching,” Unit realized. “Yeah, uh... Scanty’s dead. He was innocent. No role or anything.”


The Gravity Matoran sagged into his chair. “That’s splendid.”


“How is it ‘splendid’?” Tahukan asked.


“Sarcasm,” Voltex muttered, rubbing his eyes. “Wait, Manducus – you said something about Sumiki and Lhikevikk?”


The disgraced CEO muttered something under his breath about ‘not listening’, but Voltex did not care to make him repeat the insult. “Sumiki and Lhikevikk are the only Matoran that can be bothered to lead us aside from Ehks, or this fool,” Manducus said, pointing to JiMing.


“Hey!” the Ta-Matoran protested. “I’m not a fool!”


Voltex ignored the argument that was developing, standing to his feet immediately. “I need to go.”


“Go where?” Portalfig asked.


“I need to go see someone,” he said. “It’s not important.”


“Then why are you leaving so soon?” Tahukan asked. “Can’t it wait?”


“Yeah, can’t it wait?” Manducus asked mockingly.




The Gravity Matoran turned to go, but stopped at JiMing’s hand on his arm.


“Wait,” the Ta-Matoran said. “Let two of us go with you. We figure if we travel in groups, we’re less likely to, you know, die and all that.”


“Fine,” Voltex sighed. “You and Portal can come.”


“What about me?” Unit protested.


“Unit, the farther away you are, the better,” Voltex said as Portalfig got up to join him. “The leader of the traitors has named me as a priority target and I’d rather you didn’t die.”


“Oh, that’s splendid,” Portalfig muttered. “So instead I get to die?”


“Never mind,” Voltex snapped. “There’s no winning with you people. Let’s just go.”


“The rest of you stay in pairs,” JiMing ordered as they left the room. “Unit and Manducus, you two stay together. Tahukan, you’re paired with Luroka.”


Without waiting for a response from any of the others, the three Matoran exited the room, JiMing shutting the door with a click behind them. Without a word, Voltex started off in the direction of the main conference hall.


“So where exactly are we going?” Portalfig asked after a few minutes of semi-awkward silence.


“To see Lhikevikk,” said Voltex. “I just need to check that he’s on our side.”


“Why wouldn’t he be?” JiMing asked.


“You have Manducus in an alliance with you,” the Ba-Matoran pointed out. “Don’t you think it’s safe to say that loyalties might be a little twisted around?”


“I suppose so,” the Ta-Matoran replied. “But still... Lhikevikk? Evil? I don’t know about that. Crazy, maybe, but not evil.”


“That’s what I thought too,” Voltex said under his breath.


“What was that?” Portalfig asked.


“Nothing,” Voltex said quickly, as they reached the main conference hall. “Alright, so we’re going to pop in, hopefully catch Lhikevikk by himself, hope that none of the traitors shoot us on sight, and then we’re going to leave, because I hate this room.”


“Got it,” the other two said simultaneously.


Voltex pushed open the door and stepped warily into the enormous hall, which despite the wreckage was still rather expansive. There were plenty of places for a killer to hide here, should they wish to do so. The body of Flaredrick hung limp on the wall, still impaled on a spike. Voltex tried not to look at it. Looking around, he spotted the familiar form of Lhikevikk at the opposite end of the room, conversing with Locke. Waving to the two other Ta-Matoran to get their attention, Voltex gestured for Portalfig and JiMing to remain where they were before hurrying over.


“Hey Voltex, what’s up?” Lhikevikk asked. “Have you met Locke? His armor is weird, but otherwise he’s pretty cool.”


“Yeah, I like the colors,” Voltex commented, “and this is going to be a little awkward, but could you leave, Locke? I need to discuss something with Lhikevikk alone.”


“Oh, I don’t go off one on one with anybody,” Lhikevikk told him. “If the traitors are going to kill me, it’ll be through some brilliant scheme right in public.”


“We can talk here,” Voltex said, exasperated. “I just don’t want anyone listening in.”


Lhikevikk shrugged apologetically to Locke, who nodded. “Alright, I’ll go,” the unusually colored Matoran said. “It’s fine – I should be meeting up with Kayn and TBK anyway.”


One the red and green Matoran was out of earshot, Voltex spoke. “I need to see your card, Lhikevikk.”


“Okay,” the Ta-Matoran said, face furrowed in confusion as he handed the blank card to Voltex. “What for?”


Activating the scanner in his palm, Voltex held it over the card, revealing...


...absolutely nothing. With a sigh of relief, Voltex handed the card back to its owner, smiling. “You’re all clear.”


“I know I am,” Lhikevikk muttered. “So what are you, then?”


“That’s not important,” the Gravity Matoran said. “The less anyone knows the better. Now I just have a warning.”


“For me?”


“Yeah,” Voltex said, leaning in closely and whispering into Lhikevikk’s ear, “be careful who you’re working with.”


Lhikevikk nodded, and Voltex stepped back.


“That’s all for now,” the Gravity Matoran said. “I’ll see you around?”


“Probably,” Lhikevikk said with a grin. “I don’t plan on leaving just yet!”


His job done, Voltex turned back to Portalfig and JiMing, flashing them some quick thumbs up as he walked back over to them. JiMing opened his mouth – probably to ask what exactly had transpired – but Voltex shook his head. Now was not the right time or place to reveal his role, even to his closest allies in this mess.


Aside from Ehks, but that Matoran of Magnetism was another enigmatic matter entirely....




Pulse had long ago given up on attempting to hold a conversation with the Ko-Matoran walking beside him, either unable to elicit a response or just plain unable to understand what Voxumo was getting at. It had become rapidly clear that the Bionifighter did it on purpose just to be confusing, and Pulse had repeatedly reminded himself that Voxumo was the one holding the giant scythe.


“Hold on,” Voxumo said, grabbing him by the throat and holding him in place.


“Ack-leggo Voxumo,” Pulse coughed, peeling the hand away. “A hand on the shoulder works too, you know.”


The Ko-Matoran merely shrugged. Pulse rolled his eyes and took a deep breath, counting to ten in his mind as Voxumo’s head tilted, the Bionifighter evidently listening in on something.


“Two rooms down and on the right,” the Ko-Matoran said. “I hear arguments.”


“Who is it?” Pulse asked, rubbing his neck.


“Who knows? I do not care,” Voxumo said, shifting the scythe in his hands. “I want to pay a visit.”


“Of course you do,” Pulse muttered.


Nevertheless, the Su-Matoran followed his new bodyguard down the hall, pausing in front of the door and taking a step backward to avoid the hand that tried to clench around his throat again.


“Stop it,” he said.


Voxumo put a finger to his mouth in response, shushing him. “I shall go first because of guarding you, and then you will also enter.”


“Sure I will,” Pulse said. “That’s not stupid at all.”


“I have a scythe,” Voxumo said casually. “It is very large and beautiful, especially when removing heads.”


“Fine,” Pulse huffed. “I’ll enter the stupid room!”


The Ko-Matoran smirked at him before kicking the door open and stepping inside. Pulse followed immediately, only to freeze in the doorway at the sight of Norik and Chro, who were wrestling with each other over a handgun.


“Ahem,” Voxumo fake coughed. “Hello, I am Voxumo with the scythe.”


Both Chro and Norik froze, glancing at the two newcomers. Pulse grimaced and held his hands up in a surrender pose, knowing that it would do him absolutely no good.




“WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!” Pulse screeched, flinching.


Norik and Chro dropped the gun to the floor, both leaping away from it. Slowly the three Matoran turned their gazes to Voxumo, who stumbled into the wall.


“Ow,” Voxumo muttered, sliding to the floor.


“...great,” Pulse muttered, turning back to Norik and Chro. “Now who is going to be my bodyguard?! You morons! Who’s gun is that, anyway?”


At the word ‘gun’, both Norik and Chro seemed to realize that the gun was still on the floor waiting to be claimed; each dived for it at the same time as Pulse leaped to the side, dodging the bullet that was subsequently fired into the hallway.


“Give it here!” Chro snapped, kicking Norik in the shins to no avail. “You already killed Voxumo!”


“Your quasi-extermination of a Bionifighter renowned for the voluptuous butterfly technique in the showground will consequently produce a result concluding with your demise,” said Norik.


“Stop using so many obnoxiously large words!” Chro yelled. “I can barely understand what you’re saying!”


“Understanding is of negative importance to the requirements of my survival,” Norik replied.


“Was that even English?” Chro asked.


Pulse had to agree – not that he was going to state said agreement out loud. He stood up - if he was lucky, he would be able to sneak out the door and flee...


...but of course, that would be too lucky. In one smooth motion, Norik drew a long, curved knife and slashed Chro’s wrist, causing the De-Matoran to gasp in pain and release the gun. The Ta-Matoran smiled grimly and fired; at point blank range, Chro cried out as the bullet sped right through his chest and exited on the other side, flying into the wall. As the late De-Matoran dropped to the ground, Norik reloaded the gun and turned to face Pulse, the bodies of both Chro and Voxumo now behind him.


“Um... hello,” Pulse said nervously. “Listen, um, I actually have a, uh, meeting to discuss, uh, you know, uh... carpets, with... uh, Blade, so I should probably-”


“Accept the bereavement that fate has selected for you,” Norik said, aiming the gun.


“Bereavement?” Pulse asked. “Wait, what is fate depriving me of?”


“Existence,” said Norik.


“Duck,” said another voice.


Pulse shut his eyes and obeyed the order, waiting for the end; there was a swish, then a thud, and then a series of crashes, followed by a coughing fit as dust billowed up into his face and he breathed it in. Opening his eyes and standing to his feet, waving at the dust to try and clean the air, Pulse observed the room. Norik’s head was still rolling on the floor as his body slowly collapsed amid the rubble of what had once been two of the walls.


“Oops,” said Voxumo. “I did not mean to destroy the walls.”


“You’re alive?” Pulse asked.


Voxumo nodded. “That bullet, how do you say, it grazed my arm. Pretending to die, I was able to kill the traitor.”


The Su-Matoran shook his head in disbelief. “What about Chro?”


The Ko-Matoran shrugged. “It is too bad.”


“I guess you could say that,” Pulse agreed, breaking into a grin. “How did you know Norik was a traitor?”


“Because he killed Chro,” Voxumo said. “He was also going to kill you, but luckily that did not happen.”


“We should probably go,” the Su-Matoran said, examining what was left of the room. “If anyone finds us standing here over two dead Matoran – even if one of them was a traitor – they’ll execute us for sure.”


Fate must really hate him, because the words had barely left his mouth when the others arrived. Pulse shared a glance with Voxumo before facing the group, trying to think of something to say.


“What is this?” Sumiki asked. “Why are there two dead Matoran and a destroyed room here?”


“Did you kill them?” Lhikevikk asked, staring at Norik’s head.


“Yes,” Voxumo said. “I did not mean to destroy the room though.”


“Norik was a traitor,” Pulse said. “Voxumo killed him on my orders.”


“We shall determine that for ourselves,” Sumiki said quietly. “What about Chro?”


“He isn’t important,” Voxumo said dismissively. “He is just a regular Matoran.”


“Then why did you kill him?” Lhikevikk asked.


“We didn’t,” Pulse said.


“A likely story,” Manducus snarled. “I say we lynch them both!”


“It’s too suspicious to ignore,” Unit agreed. “Even if Norik is a traitor, how can we trust your word on Chro?”


“Hang them from the ceiling!” Locke called.


“I think they’re innocent,” Ehks said, stepping forward.


Manducus shoved the Fa-Matoran back into the crowd, growling as he did so. “Nobody is listening to your advice again!”


“We only killed Norik,” Voxumo said. “What is the problem?”


“You’re standing over the body of Chro as well,” Sumiki noted. “How do we know that you did not kill them both in cold blood, and Norik happened to be a traitor by chance?”


“You’ve got to be kidding,” Pulse protested. “There’s no way I would kill anyone!”


“You just said you gave the order for Norik to die,” Unit pointed out.


“Come on!” Manducus snarled. “Let’s kill them already!”


“What do you think, Lhikevikk? Luroka?” Sumiki asked.


“I don’t know,” Lhikevikk said, sounding uncertain. “It might be a bad idea to rush into-”


“Lynch them both,” Luroka said coldly, interrupting the Ta-Matoran. “They deserve it.”


To Be Continued.


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“You’ve got to be kidding,” Pulse protested. “There’s no way I would kill anyone!”


“You just said you gave the order for Norik to die,” Unit pointed out.


“Come on!” Manducus snarled. “Let’s kill them already!”


“What do you think, Lhikevikk? Luroka?” Sumiki asked.


“I don’t know,” Lhikevikk said, sounding uncertain. “It might be a bad idea to rush into-”


“Lynch them both,” Luroka said coldly, interrupting the Ta-Matoran. “They deserve it.”




Pulse backed away slowly, cursing silently as he tripped over what used to be the wall, falling to the floor. He watched as Sumiki picked up the gun that Norik had dropped, offering it to Manducus.


“Would you like to do the honours?” Sumiki asked.


Manducus shook his head. “I want Voltex’s head on my stake.”


The CEO of Hat Enterprises gave a shrug, turning next to Luroka. “Perhaps you’ll pull the trigger, then?”


Pulse sighed in relief as Luroka also turned the offer down, muttering something about a different sort of prey (whatever that meant, Pulse was not sure – he had other things to worry about at the moment). Sumiki turned to Unit, holding the gun out.


“I think I will, thank you,” said Unit with a smile. “Let’s see... we’re killing Pulse, right?”


“Yes,” Manducus growled. “He’s been skulking around with Voltex... he deserves to die.”


Unit had been examining the gun in his hand idly – every other Matoran in the vicinity flinched as, in a flash, the Fa-Matoran had swung the gun up and clubbed Manducus in the back of the head, smacking the disgraced CEO to the ground with a thud. Manducus grunted upon impact, grimacing as he began to push himself back to his feet.




The entire group flinched with each shot as they were rapidly fired into the disgraced Fe-Matoran’s back, blood pooling out from underneath his body. Pulse watched as the eyes of Manducus went dark and he shivered, remembering how vibrantly alive (albeit bloodthirsty and violent) the Matoran had been only seconds before.


“I don’t know how you got here or what your beef is with Voltex,” Unit said aloud, breaking the silence, “but I will not allow you to achieve that goal.”


Keeping his gaze on Manducus, Unit tossed the gun back over to Sumiki, who managed to catch it before it fell to the floor. The CEO of Hat Enterprises frowned, asking quietly: “...what was his role?”


“Ordinary,” Unit said in disdain, kicking the white card with a taunt from Xaeraz across the floor. “No role whatsoever. Just thirsty for the wrong Matoran’s blood – nobody kills my friends.”




Voltex ducked into the washroom, having successfully given his companions the slip a few moments earlier when his communicator tablet started buzzing.


“Hey,” he said, as the screen lit up before him. “Wait, Taka Nuvia? Where’s Automaton?”


“He’s meeting with Burnmad right now,” the Av-Matoran said. “He left me to check up on you.”


“How long has it been since he last contacted me?” Voltex asked. “Nobody is confident enough to sleep and every clock in this place is broken, even on this thing.”


“You’ve been trapped for about two days so far,” Taka Nuvia said.


The Ba-Matoran swore. “No way...”


“Way,” the artist confirmed. “So... any news?”


“Yeah – Scanty, Chro and Norik are all dead,” Voltex said. “I have JiMing and Portalfig at the execution that’s going on right now, so I’m not sure who’s being pinned for the latest crime.”


“Roles?” Taka Nuvia asked, scribbling the names down.


“Scanty and Chro were both innocent,” the Ba-Matoran said. “Apparently Norik was a Traitor, Ehks is honest... and I think he is. As honest as you can be here, at any rate. Any news for me?”


“Not much,” Taka Nuvia said. “Burnmad is doing his best to organize an extraction effort for you guys. Just hold on for another day or so and you should be fine.”


Voltex sighed, nodding. “Got it. What about-”


He forgot whatever he had been about to say as the tablet flickered off. Standing alone in the darkness, he let the hopelessness overtake him for a moment before forcing it back down. There was no time to be like that – he would just have to do what Taka Nuvia had said and... and....


It was back on.


Pressing his mask eagerly into the screen, nothing could have prepared Voltex for what he heard next.


“Hey there, buddy,” said Xaeraz. “What’s up? How’s it hangin’?”


He lost his grip on the communicator, and cursed as he scrambled to get it back in his grasp. The Fe-Matoran on the screen let loose a small chuckle, observing him with blood red eyes.


“How did you do that?” Voltex asked, when the communicator was safely in his hands again.


“Oh, please,” Xaeraz said, laughing. “I organized that whole little game you’re playing right now, buddy. Don’t you think I might have someone who can hack cheating communicator devices that Matoran decided to sneak into the conference?”


“I wasn’t aware that you knew about it,” the Ba-Matoran said.


“Oh, I wasn’t at first, but of course, I have my sources.” The Fe-Matoran winked, before frowning and glaring at him. “You were cheating, buddy. That’s not cool. You know what I do with cheaters? I have my Traitors execute them.”


“What if a Traitor cheats?”


“Then I just kill them,” Xaeraz said dismissively. “But just this once, I’ll cut you some slack.”




“I like you,” Xaeraz said. “You’re fun to play with.”


“Fun to – you don’t make any sense,” Voltex snapped.


“Like just now, I made you angry rather quickly,” Xaeraz said, looking smug. “If I told you to kill one of the Matoran you’re trapped with right now, would you do it?”


“No,” Voltex said. “Well... maybe a Traitor, but nobody else.”


“You condemned Flaredrick,” Xaeraz pointed out.


“I didn’t kill him, though.”


“You were one of the ones to tie him up.”


“I tied the rope to the ceiling, which nearly killed me,” Voltex snapped.


“Fine, keep making excuses. I’ll make sure you kill before we’re done here, though.”


“I don’t kill.”


“What an outdated concept,” Xaeraz said, snorting derisively. “Unfortunately, I think that’s true. Did you know that I’m supposed to be dead right now? You were supposed to kill me back in that office. But you didn’t, and you want to know why?”


“Why?” Voltex asked, sighing.


“Because you’re selfish,” Xaeraz growled. “You knew that if you killed me, I would kill you, and that would be such a terrible thing, wouldn’t it? When you don’t get things your way, you go and you cry about it or you run away!”


“I do not!” Voltex whispered furiously, fighting to keep his voice down.


“Oh yeah?” Xaeraz taunted. “What about your books? One of the most popular authors just ‘stops writing forever’ because another Matoran makes one little comment. Someone who is arguably the best Bionifighter of the time just ‘gives up’ as soon as his rival defeats him.”


“I was humiliated,” Voltex growled.


“Get over it,” Xaeraz said. “You humiliated Shadowhawk first. Did you ever wonder what prompted Pulse to make that comment? Ever bother to think about how exactly Shadowhawk beat you in literally half a minute without giving you a chance to even breathe?”


“What do you know?” Voltex asked suspiciously.


“Absolutely nothing,” Xaeraz said, waving the matter away. “But now you’re wondering, aren’t you? This is fun, messing with your head. You’ll never know when I’m lying or when I’m telling the truth!”


“Was this your plan for me?” Voltex asked. “This ‘game’ thing?”


“Oh no, of course not,” Xaeraz said. “It’s just a part of the plan.”


“You want me to survive.”


“Of course! There are a few of you that I want to see make it out of that building. I’ve got lots of stuff planned for you,” Xaeraz said. “It’s a shame Shadowhawk had to go and die on me, I had to spread all of his appointments amongst the rest of you.”




“As if I’d tell you, mister nosy,” Xaeraz snapped, before smiling. “Anyway, your little communication device isn’t going to work anymore. Figure things out on your own or don’t figure them out at all!”


With that, the screen went dark, leaving a speechless Voltex unable to reply.




Pulse and the others were still all frozen in shock, slowly coming back to reality as Sumiki examined the gun in his hand critically.


“You used almost all of the bullets,” he said to Unit. “There’s only one more in the chamber.”


“So do we kill Voxumo or Pulse?” Locke asked from somewhere behind Luroka.


“Voxumo is the one who actually killed,” Lhikevikk pointed out.


“Yes but Pulse told me to do it,” Voxumo said.


“Thanks, Voxumo,” Pulse muttered. “I love you too – so much that I won’t throw you under the bus, you yellow-bellied worm.”


“Any last words?” Sumiki asked.


“Yeah,” Pulse snapped. “Screw all of you.”




Many times, Pulse had imagined what it would feel like to die. With the number of attempts made on his life, it was, after all, inevitable – sooner or later, someone trying to kill him was going to succeed. He had imagined going out as a suicide bomber, going out peacefully in his sleep, having a doctor overdose him with medicine, falling from a building, a flash of red as a sniper put a bullet in his brain, the rushing of black – but none of those happened.


What did happen was he shut his eyes, suddenly unable to confront his fate.


A fate that, as cruel as it was, did not appear to be waiting at his doorstep on this particular day to sweep him away; no, fate had other plans.


There was a cry of pain and a thump as a body landed right in front of him. The Su-Matoran was shocked into opening his eyes, to see a familiar Ta-Matoran clutching at his stomach as he lay upon the ruined plaster of the wall, his breaths coming in quick, ragged gasps.


“Tahukan?” Pulse asked in disbelief.


“H-hey, s-sir,” Tahukan said, grimacing in pain. “That w-was a p-pretty stupid idea, huh?”


Pulse stared at his assistant – an assistant who had loyally served him for over two years, staying by his side despite attempts not only on the life of his boss but on the life of himself. A Ta-Matoran who could have started a business of his own countless times, who could have accepted an offer to join the governing body of Nynrah...


...an innocent Matoran now bleeding away before his eyes thanks to one little mistake.


“Dying hurts a lot,” Tahukan groaned. “I wish I wasn’t here....”


“So do I,” Pulse said quietly. “You shouldn’t be here at all.”


“D-do you think that there’s... l-life after death?” Tahukan asked.


“I don’t know,” Pulse said honestly, placing a reassuring hand upon the Ta-Matoran’s shoulder. “But if there is... you’ll go to the best place, where all the good guys go. You were a good assistant, Tahukan – and a better friend. I’m promoting you.”


“You always said... that the only person... with more power than me... was you...” Tahukan said slowly, and softly, his eyes beginning to close.


“That’s right,” Pulse said, nodding. “You own the company, man. It’s all yours.”


“I’m giving it... back... to you....”


Tahukan’s eyes closed and his chest stilled, the heart light present there dying away. Pulse gazed upon his late assistant for a moment longer before standing to his feet, glaring at the other Matoran, who were all staring at him. He pointed to Sumiki.


“You’re dead. I don’t care how, and I don’t care when, and I don’t care who does it... but you are going to die,” he promised. “And I’m going to make sure I’m there to see it.”


The Fe-Matoran in question held his arms up in a surrender position, stepping back. “I meant to kill you, not him.”


“Somehow, that doesn’t change my feelings,” Pulse snapped, before his attention was drawn away by a flash of light. “What the...?”


“Tahukan’s card,” Unit said, crouching by the dead Ta-Matoran. “It... Sumiki, you killed an Inventor.”


Sumiki sighed, rubbing his eyes. “Alas, this is why I did not want to fire the shots myself. We have made a grave error today.”


“No kidding,” Pulse snapped. “Why don’t you scram before I strangle you?”


“Hey,” Sumiki said. “It was an accident.”


“Just leave,” Pulse muttered, walking away. “I don’t want to see your face again.”




“I ran into Voltex earlier, had a bit of a chat,” Ehks said, looking over to Blade, who was the only other Matoran occupying the particular room they were in at the moment, sitting across the table from him. “I hear you’re both good friends, not too big on the White Council?”


“We’re friends, yeah...” Blade said guardedly. “The White Council is okay.”


Ehks laughed. “Don’t worry, you can speak the truth from me. The White Council and I have... well, our history isn’t too great. I’m not a very big fan.”


The Vo-Matoran seemed to relax more at that, replying: “okay... then yeah, I don’t really like them. Something about them is... off.”


“Like the way they somehow took control of Metru-Nui in less than a week and nobody had a problem with it?” Ehks quipped.


“Yeah, something like that,” Blade muttered.


“So what do you do for a living?” Ehks asked, deciding to try a different topic.


“I race in the Day Run and battle in Bionifight,” Blade said, visibly opening up. “Sometimes I do Detective work on the side, but not very often. I don’t usually have much free time.”


Ehks nodded to show his understanding. “Yeah, I could see two leagues like that taking up a lot of time. Have you ever won?”


“Twice in Bionifight, never in Day Run,” the Vo-Matoran answered. “I’m newer to Day Run and there’s only one overall winner per year, so it’s harder for me.”


“Which tournaments did you win?”


“Ten and eighteen,” Blade said.


“Wow,” Ehks said, whistling. “That’s pretty impressive. I fought in the Bionifight league once. Got eliminated in the first round, never tried again.”


“Well, you know,” the other Matoran shrugged. “It was pretty cool.”


“What about Voltex? He used to play, right?”


“Oh, yeah,” Blade said, nodding as his eyes went vacant, gazing into the past. “He was the best there was for a couple years. He was supposed to be the first rookie to ever win the tournament, but he misjudged Voxumo’s scythe in the fourth round... then he beat Shadowhawk three years in a row. Nobody really knows what happened in his fourth final, though. It was over so fast....”


“And nobody thought it was suspicious?” Ehks asked.


Blade shrugged. “Sure, there was a bit of an inquiry, but Voltex had already retired by the time anything started. If the idea was to get him to quit, it definitely worked. The police force eventually ruled the fight as fair, and Shadowhawk’s popularity spiked for about three weeks before JiMing became the star of the show.”


“And it has been like that ever since,” Ehks mused. “Yeah, I think I remember JiMing being the champion when I played. He won his first ever tournament, correct?”


“He did,” the Vo-Matoran said. “Came out of nowhere demanding that Voltex return – and when Voltex didn’t, JiMing swore revenge on Shadowhawk and then waltzed right through us all. This is a pretty sucky end to his career, you know? The likes of Burnmad, ToD, Voltex, Shadowhawk... their legacies were all rapidly fading underneath JiMing’s. One more win and he would have broken the record for most tournaments won in a row.”


“That’s rough,” Ehks commented. “I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now.”


As if on cue, the Ta-Matoran in question poked his head into the room, glancing around before stepping inside, followed by the Onu-Matoran Portalfig – the two newcomers ignored the looks from Ehks and Blade, slumping into chairs at the table where they sat.


“Um... hello... can we help you?” Blade asked.


“Tahukan is dead,” JiMing moaned, rubbing his eyes. “He and Manducus were executed.”


“What? Why?” Ehks asked. “Well, I mean, Manducus is obvious, but why Tahukan?”


“Sumiki was trying to kill Pulse, but Tahukan jumped in front of the bullet,” Portalfig said. “He was one of the Inventors.”


“Inventors?” Blade asked.


“Two of the Matoran were named as Inventor roles by Xaeraz,” JiMing explained. “They’re basically really good at building stuff. Xaeraz left materials and blueprints to scanners, body armor, and weapons for them to give to other players.”


“So now there’s only one,” Ehks mused.


“What about Manducus?” Blade asked.


“Just a regular Matoran,” Portalfig answered. “Sounds like he was threatening to kill Voltex, so Unit decided to put a bullet into his brain.”


“Remind me to never get on his bad side,” Ehks muttered, shuddering and glancing back to the door. “There seem to be a lot of people who want Voltex dead.”


“He’s rather... how do I put this politely?” Portalfig muttered.


“Opinionated,” Blade said.


Portalfig nodded. “Yeah, that works.”


“Really? I never noticed,” Ehks drawled. “I was shot by someone pretending to be Scanty and he nearly throttled me to death when I popped up alive.”


“Why?” JiMing asked.


“I, uh, might have pretended to be dead,” Ehks mumbled.


The Ta-Matoran snorted and the other two broke into grins. “Nice.”


“That’s what I thought, too,” Ehks huffed. “Not Voltex, though, nope. How dare I pretend to be dead.”


“So who really targeted you?” Blade asked, leaning forwards. “I’m assuming you aren’t a Traitor, because I would be dead by now.”


“Oh, probably,” Ehks agreed. “Honestly, though? I have no idea. Either Scanty’s card lied to us or someone was able to disguise themselves as him, which means they’re off laughing at me somewhere.”


“Laughing at all of us,” JiMing corrected. “We all lynched him, it wasn’t just you.”


“True enough,” Ehks said. “Any ideas for the remaining Traitors?”


The others shrugged, but Portalfig did say: “My first guess would have been Manducus, but since he wasn’t... Voxumo and Pulse are possibilities.”


“I don’t think Pulse is a Traitor,” Ehks said. “I left him alone with Voltex and they both walked away from the encounter.”


But then, he thought, Voltex walked away from Sumiki alive, as well....


“I’ve been keeping a close watch,” JiMing admitted, breaking his train of thought. “And I think I have some ideas....”




After the... enlightening conversation with Xaeraz, Voltex had run into Zakaro. While he and the Onu-Matoran had never been terribly close, during his time in the Bionifight league Voltex had become friends with the fighter despite beating him every time they met in the arena. Now, the two were united for a single purpose:


They were trying to find Pupwa.


The Ba-Matoran was not sure why exactly Zakaro wanted to find Pupwa, but he was not going to interrogate him about it – after all, he himself had offered little explanation for why he would be searching for the elusive Le-Matoran.


“Do you know why we’re here?” Zakaro asked, breaking the silence that had hung over them like a cloud.


Voltex sighed. “No, I don’t. Blade and I were just handed the invitations in the middle of a restaurant with no explanation given.”


I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, he thought. What a waste of time.


“Neither do I,” Zakaro muttered. “I was just – did you hear that?”


The two Matoran halted, and Voltex held his breath, listening carefully, before – yes, there it was. Up ahead, one of the doors was open a crack, and the voice of Pupwa was echoing out of it as something clanged.


“What do you think he’s doing?” Zakaro asked.


“No idea,” Voltex breathed. “No more noise, let’s be quiet. I don’t know anything about him.”


Zakaro nodded and Voltex crept ahead, the Onu-Matoran following him silently. As he reached the door, Voltex took a deep breath and glanced to Zakaro, who nodded reassuringly to him, mouthing “go in”. With a grim smile, Voltex pushed the door open and ducked inside, followed by Zakaro, who shut the door behind them with a click. Unfortunately, Pupwa heard them.


“Hey! You’re supposed to knock first!” the Le-Matoran said, turning to face them before his eyes went wide. “Oh dear. Hello there! Please allow me to shock you with my magical tricks of the ponies and the rotten apple cores that will be driven through the hard drives of your computers while the universe makes it rain flakes of snowy grass.”


“...huh?” Voltex muttered, glancing over to Zakaro. “Did you understand a word of that?”


“I didn’t,” Zakaro said, looking away from Pupwa.


“Ha! It worked!” Pupwa cried, reaching behind him.


“Duck!” Voltex yelled, doing just that as Pupwa swung the shotgun around and pointed it at Zakaro. “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”


“You can’t kill me,” Zakaro said, ripping the armor off of his left arm to reveal a handgun that he proceeded to aim at Pupwa.


The Ba-Matoran slowly stood, backing against the wall as he glanced at both of the armed Matoran, scrambling to figure out who was what as he held his shaking hands out tentatively.


“Let’s... let’s just hold on a second,” he said in what he hoped was a neutral tone. “Nobody needs to die just yet, right?”


“Sorry Voltex,” Zakaro said grimly, not taking his eyes off of Pupwa. “It looks like this is where I die.”


To Be Continued.


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“Duck!” Voltex yelled, doing just that as Pupwa swung the shotgun around and pointed it at Zakaro. “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”


“You can’t kill me,” Zakaro said, ripping the armor off of his left arm to reveal a handgun that he proceeded to aim at Pupwa.


The Ba-Matoran slowly stood, backing against the wall as he glanced at both of the armed Matoran, scrambling to figure out who was what as he held his shaking hands out tentatively.


“Let’s... let’s just hold on a second,” he said in what he hoped was a neutral tone. “Nobody needs to die just yet, right?”


“Sorry Voltex,” Zakaro said grimly, not taking his eyes off of Pupwa. “It looks like this is where I die.”




“Let’s just put the guns down,” Voltex said slowly. “One of you is a Traitor... that’s fine. We can work past it.”


“The guard,” Pupwa said.




“The guard,” the Le-Matoran repeated. “At the hub of motors, when you met with the Automaton. Do you remember?”


“Yeah,” Voltex said slowly, remembering the irritable Matoran that had nearly refused him entry. “Wasn’t the greatest service I’ve ever received.”


“It was me,” said Pupwa. “I am the guard.”


“You were the... but I thought you were from BZ-Koro...” Voltex said, confused.


The Le-Matoran shook his head. “Was lying – cover story. I work for the White Council for much money, very profitable. Take out targets, hired for Xaeraz to kill.”


“You’re not making any sense,” Voltex said.


“The White Council hired him to kill Xaeraz,” Zakaro translated, his gaze fixed on Pupwa’s.


Pupwa nodded. “Supposed to kill when drawn out, but won’t happen. You do it, Voltex.”


“Wait,” Voltex said, realizing what was about to happen. “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot each other!”


Before either of the Matoran could fire, the door was slammed open, revealing the familiar form of Voxumo. Voltex sagged in relief, gesturing towards Zakaro and Pupwa. “Thank Tohu you’re here! They’re about to kill each other!”


The Ko-Matoran glanced from Zakaro to Pupwa and then swung the scythe. It swished through the air and embedded in the wall with a thud, Pupwa gasping as he was impaled upon the blade. Voltex paid no heed as Zakaro vanished, lurching forwards to Pupwa, who groaned and pulled the blade out, gushing blood.


“Son of a takea,” Pupwa whispered, “Dead I am gone for now....”


He levelled the shotgun at Voxumo’s chest and blasted, unaffected as the enhanced weapon blew a hole in the Ko-Matoran’s chest. Voltex skidded to a stop as Pupwa laughed, lurching back into the wall.


“You work for the White Council?” Voltex asked.


The Le-Matoran nodded. “Until death. Kill Xaeraz for me... White Council not quite so good when the rainbows are shining, but... he is blood....”


Whatever logic Pupwa had operated by with his way of speaking was lost on Voltex, who only stood there, confused even as the late Le-Matoran collapsed to the floor, the light having faded from his eyes. He stared at the body for several seconds in silence before shaking himself into action, crouching down to observe the card.


Hey there, infiltrator!


Xaeraz here. I heard you were sent into this place on a suicide mission to kill me! I feel so honored, I really do! If only we would ACTUALLY meet face-to-face, so that I could show you that I would beat you in a fight. Oh well. I’ve taken the courtesy of removing all of the bullets from your gun, except for one. Consider yourself armed! Please use it to kill whoever murders you. And if nobody murders you, well, then... I guess kill someone.


Have fun dying!




“An Armed Matoran,” Voltex muttered. “Would’ve been useful to know before he was brutally murdered....”


And what about you, Voxumo? He wondered. What role did you play in this mess?


The Ko-Matoran’s card bore another message from Xaeraz declaring his role:


You’re the Spy!


What fun! So the Detective, the Medic, the Traitors, all those good folks desperately trying to kill each other – they have abilities, see! But I heard you’re a bit of a lone-wolf type, so I thought, hey, why not give you a bit of a break?


You see, the only way you can win is if you are the final one standing at the end! How lovely! You can, of course, copy the abilities of any role you wish. I hope you will use this overpowered ability to cause absolute carnage. I hear you’ve already protected that Pulse fellow... betrayal tastes sweet. Please entertain me!




“Well,” Voltex said, standing up again. “I guess it’s a good thing that he is dead, at least.”


That was when the realization hit him.


It was also, coincidentally, the moment that he felt the barrel of the pistol tap the side of his mask. Closing his eyes, Voltex sighed, saying: “Zakaro....”




“You’re a traitor,” the Ba-Matoran said, turning to face his Onu-Matoran companion.


Zakaro nodded quietly. “Hear me out, Voltex. I don’t want to kill you.”


“Then why are you pointing a gun at me?”


“Insurance, so that you won’t kill me, or at least, not yet,” Zakaro said. “Look Voltex, I’m sorry. I really am – I never wanted to be a traitor. I think Xaeraz had the rest rounded up before the conference ever began, but I was a bit of a wild card. When I tried to say no... well, he doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I had to join the traitors.”


“You were going to kill Pupwa,” Voltex noted. “Why him?”


“He’d been missing for a little too long,” Zakaro said, shrugging. “Sumiki and the others were growing suspicious. It’s too bad Voxumo had to crash the party – that wasn’t a part of the plan at all. I was sort of hoping Pupwa would kill me, too.”


“I have to kill you,” Voltex said. “Well... not me, but you need to die.”


“I understand that,” the Onu-Matoran said softly. “I never wanted this – oh, hold on, I’ve got to take this.”


They must have some sort of earpiece and microphone for communication, Voltex realized, as Zakaro turned around and started whispering furiously to whoever was on the other end of the line – probably Sumiki. I wonder if that’s the order to kill me... I don’t really want to die right now....


“Sorry about that,” Zakaro said, turning around to face him again before gesturing towards the open doorway with his gun. “Out you go – we have an appointment. Mind you don’t slip in the blood; it’s a little gross.”


“Where are you taking me?”


“I have a new appointment,” the Onu-Matoran explained from behind him, as he stepped into the hall. “And I figure you deserve something of an explanation.”




“Because Xaeraz knows your role in all of this,” Zakaro said dismissively. “And because he knows, Sumiki knows... and because Sumiki knows, I know. And I figure you might be the only one capable of stopping it.”


“You’re overstating my potential.”


“The only one here,” Zakaro said, correcting his statement. “There are others, of course, but... none of them attended the conference.”


Voltex watched Zakaro as the Onu-Matoran stepped up his pace to walk beside him, the gun pointed at him lazily, as though Zakaro had no real intentions of shooting him. He idly wondered if he could snatch the gun, but Zakaro’s gaze met his and the Onu-Matoran shifted the gun into his other hand.


“You were going to take it and run.”


“I was thinking about it,” Voltex said casually. “So how about that information? Where are we going?”


“I can’t tell you where we’re going or who I’m killing, because if you knew you would try to stop me,” Zakaro said. “As for the explanation... I was the only one to refuse, Voltex.”


“Refuse what?”


“My place in the traitors,” Zakaro snapped. “I was the only one. Do you understand, Tex?”


The uncharacteristic display of anger shocked the Ba-Matoran, who flinched away before he could stop himself. “Uh, sure? I mean, you all need to die... I’ll just enjoy killing them and regret having to kill you.”


“No,” Zakaro muttered, shaking his head. “You don’t understand.”


Voltex grunted as Zakaro whirled around and slammed him into the wall, struggling and failing to push the Onu-Matoran away, though the gun remained pointed suspiciously away from him as Zakaro spoke again.


“Voltex, I need to know that you understand,” the Onu-Matoran said. “You need to understand that I am the only one that said no.


“Why is this so important?” Voltex croaked.


“I can’t tell you,” Zakaro said with a sigh, growing slack. “I don’t want to break you, Voltex.”


“If I was going to break, it would have happened already,” Voltex snapped back.


“I think you’re already starting to,” Zakaro whispered. “Just promise me that you’ll move past it, Voltex. Because in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be worth dwelling on. You’re going to have bigger problems.”


“Bigger problems than what?!”


“You’ll understand when you find out.”




The wall before him had the names of every single Matoran to survive the conference listed down. While RG was being tracked down externally by some other hires of Xaeraz (if only their mutual friend had gotten the walls up faster), everyone else had numbers and other information listed beside their names. To an outside observer, and even to the other traitors, it would appear random.


To Sumiki, it was like reading a picture book. Several names (Chro, Shadowhawk, Pupwa) had been crossed off as they were eliminated, while others (Voltex, Pulse) had been alternatively circled or underlined as they became more dangerous.




The Fe-Matoran leader of the traitors silently turned to see his other regular traitor standing at the door, awaiting his permission to enter.


“Greetings,” he said, acknowledging the other Matoran.


“Zakaro has confirmed the new kill order. He is en route to the target.”


“Good,” Sumiki mused, glancing back to the wall of names. “Any word on our ghostly operative?”


“He notes a successful infiltration,” the other Matoran said from behind. “Although Norik said the same thing, and evidence would suggest that Chro suspected his true role, judging from their duel.”


“We must proceed swiftly and with caution,” Sumiki said. “Keep an eye on Voltex and Ehks, will you? Xaeraz has plans for those two... and if we aren’t careful, they will turn us into casualties.”


“Of course, sir... anything else?”


“Nothing of note to you,” Sumiki said, waving the other Matoran away. “You are dismissed.”


Out of the corner of his eye, Sumiki saw the other Matoran bow before backing out of the room. With a small sigh, the CEO of Hat Enterprises turned his full attentions back to the wall of names. The landscape of the game was ever-shifting, and if he wanted to escape alive, he would have to be prepared for every eventuality.




“Here we are,” Zakaro said quietly, pointing to the slightly open doorway before them. Voltex could see Portalfig through the opening and frowned.


“If you’re killing Portal....”


“I’m not killing Portal,” Zakaro said, holding an arm out to block Voltex as he placed his hand on the door, swinging it open. “Wait here.”


As the door swung open, the Onu-Matoran strode purposefully into the room, and for a brief moment the occupants (Blade, JiMing, Portalfig and Ehks) were all silent before JiMing spoke up from his place at the opposite end side of the table: “Hey Zakaro, Voltex – what’s going on? Did somebody die?”


“Something like that,” Zakaro said, walking around Blade towards the Ta-Matoran. “Voxumo and Pupwa are both dead.”


“Who killed them?” Blade asked.


“They killed each other,” said Zakaro, pausing beside JiMing. “The Spy and the Armed Matoran.”


Then he swung his arm, slamming the butt of his gun into the side of JiMing’s Kanohi, cracking the mask and smashing JiMing out of his seat and to the floor. Without leaving room for the Ta-Matoran to react Zakaro pointed his gun at the Matoran and fired off three rounds in quick succession. Voltex froze, having lurched forward into the room at the assault.


“I’m sorry,” Zakaro said, looking up at him. “I had my orders, Tex. He was an Inventor.”


Ehks was on his feet in a flash, but he too froze as Zakaro pointed the gun at him. The Onu-Matoran shook his head. “Stay where you are.”


“Why wouldn’t you tell me?” Voltex asked, stepping forwards and gripping back of the chair nearest to him. “I could have warned him, gotten the Medic....”


“I can’t help my role in this game,” Zakaro said, staring back down at JiMing and crouching down beside him. “Looks like he was building something... a weapon to defend himself with, maybe.”


Standing to his feet, the traitor tossed whatever it was over to Voltex, who fumbled in his surprise but managed to catch it. It was as long as his arm and vaguely cylindrical in shape, although the various large gaps in between the multitude of wires and metal frames. At one end there was some sort of faintly glowing circular generator that could fit in the palm of his hand.


“What is this?” he asked.


“Put it on,” Zakaro said. “Just touch your arm to it.”


“Don’t trust him!” Ehks interrupted, before Voltex could follow through. “He’s a traitor! He killed JiMing!”


“He did, but...” Voltex agreed, trailing off and meeting Zakaro’s gaze with his own. “He also never wanted to do it in the first place.”


Tentatively aligning the device so that the generator circle end was even with his right hand and the rest was aligned with his right arm, Voltex touched it to himself. The device immediately shuddered before the half connected with his arm clicked and flipped open, magnetically attaching itself around his arm, pieces flipping into place and snapping shut as the device re-formed around his arm. The whole process took less than five seconds, with the circular generator clicking into place to end it all off.


Or so Voltex thought – before a hundred thousand daggers were stabbed into his arm all at the same time. Crying out, he fumbled at his arm with his other hand, unable to actually get a grip as he staggered back into the wall and the needles dug into him.


“What did you do to him?” he could vaguely hear Ehks demanding.


“It was your ally that created it,” Zakaro shot back. “How was I supposed to know?!”


And then clarity. Or at least, that was what it felt like when the pain immediately vanished without a trace. Staring at the device curiously, Voltex spoke slowly, trying to make sense of it all. “What just happened?”


“You tell us,” Portalfig said. “It looked like you were dying.”


“I thought I was dying,” Voltex retorted. “But... everything seems normal....”


“JiMing had notes,” Zakaro said, crouching by the fallen Ta-Matoran again before pulling out several sheets of parchment. “It would appear that it is a prototype of a weapon he called ‘The Repulsor Arm’, and that pain you felt was the device integrating itself into your brain. It will respond as though it were another limb... this is advanced stuff. Now his weapons in the tournament make sense....”


Voltex stared at the Repulsor Arm in awe. JiMing had never mentioned his skill with technology – the Ba-Matoran had always assumed that his sponsors just had some very bright technicians.


“We all know what happens now,” Zakaro said, breaking his train of thought. “You need to kill me, Voltex.”


“No I don’t,” Voltex said. “There’s got to be some way to kill Sumiki without killing you.”


“Probably,” Zakaro acknowledged, “but do you want to risk it? Maybe you’ll find it in a week, maybe a month, but by then everyone will already be dead. It’s far easier, far faster, and far more effective to just kill me now.”


“I can’t.”


“You can,” Zakaro said forcefully. “You’ll be doing me a favor, Voltex. I didn’t want to kill JiMing. I don’t want to kill anyone else. Kill me now of your own free will or I will shoot myself.”


Reluctantly, Voltex raised his arm, pointing his palm at the Onu-Matoran, but he stopped as Zakaro held a hand up in the air.


“Before you shoot, I do need to tell you two things,” the Onu-Matoran said. “The first is a repeat: no matter what happens, Tex, remember that I was the only one who said no.”


“Alright,” Voltex said. “What’s the second?”


“The Ghost is still alive,” Zakaro said, looking right at Ehks. “The traitors have cloaking technology, and that is how the Ghost pinned the blame on Scanty. There is only one Matoran here who knows about cloaking technology.”


“What does that mean?” Voltex asked.


“Ehks knows what I’m talking about,” Zakaro responded. “Don’t you?”


“Yeah,” Ehks said, his eyes widening. “Yeah, I think I do.”


Zakaro turned back to Voltex, nodding to him. “Alright then... I guess this is goodbye.”


“I guess it is.”


It did not even require a conscious thought – it was more of an instinct that caused the Repulsor Arm to fire right at Zakaro, blasting a hole in his chest and sending him crashing into the wall, where he slid to the floor in silence. Voltex, Ehks, Blade and Portalfig stared at where the former traitor had fallen in silence for several minutes before Ehks finally spoke.


“I know who the Ghost is.”


A rush of determination filled Voltex, and he turned to the Magnetism Matoran. “Show me.”




In the main conference hall, Ehks watched as the remaining survivors gathered together before himself and Voltex. The Ba-Matoran was fidgeting, with both arms clasped behind his back and hidden inside his cloak. As Pulse and Lhikevikk finally tricked in, Ehks spoke.


“Thanks for gathering here,” he said. “Voltex has some stuff he’d like to share with you all, before we get to my little bit.”


“Pupwa, Voxumo, JiMing and Zakaro are all dead,” Voltex said, pausing to let the information sink in. “They were, in order, the Armed Matoran, the Spy, the second Inventor, and a traitor. Pupwa and Voxumo killed each other; JiMing was slain by Zakaro, and I avenged him with a prototype weapon of JiMing’s design.”


“So we’re down to the last three traitors?” TBK asked from where he sat beside Locke.


“That is correct,” Voltex replied. “Luckily, Zakaro decided to provide us with a hint as to the identity of the Ghost.”


“Should we really be listening to you?” Luroka asked from the back. “You’re up there with Ehks. He’s the one made us lynch Scanty!”


“So I did,” Ehks said, stepping forwards. “But Zakaro filled us in on why I was wrong. We were lied to.”


“How astonishing,” Pulse muttered, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Who would dare to lie to us here?!”


Ehks sent him a look to shut up, and the Su-Matoran thankfully complied before Ehks spoke again: “The traitors have access to cloaking technology,” he continued, “and the Ghost has been using it to conceal their identity. When they attacked me, they were disguised as Scanty.”


“Who is it?” TBK asked.


Glancing over to Voltex, who nodded almost imperceptibly, Ehks answered: “When we lynched Scanty, Sumiki asked the only Matoran known to be an expert of technology whether it was possible that the traitors were using cloaking technologies... the Ghost is Kayn.”


In the vacuum of silence that followed, even the drop of a pin would have been swallowed as every single Matoran in the room turned to face the Ko-Matoran in question. Standing to his feet with a grin, Kayn spoke tauntingly, sneering at Ehks: “What are you gonna do about it? Kill me?”


“That’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Voltex said from beside Ehks, raising his left arm. “Any last words?”


“Yeah,” Kayn said. “You’re all in over your heads.”


“How melodramatic,” Voltex said drily.




Ehks flinched at the sound of the shot and Kayn’s grin faltered momentarily before it returned and the Ko-Matoran collapsed.


“Three down,” Voltex said from beside him, and Ehks followed the Ba-Matoran’s gaze to where it met Sumiki’s. “Two to go.”


To Be Continued.


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  • 2 weeks later...


Standing to his feet with a grin, Kayn spoke tauntingly, sneering at Ehks: “What are you gonna do about it? Kill me?”


“That’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Voltex said from beside Ehks, raising his arm. “Any last words?”


“Yeah,” Kayn said. “You’re all in over your heads.”


“How melodramatic,” Voltex said drily.




Ehks flinched at the sound of the shot and Kayn’s grin faltered momentarily before it returned and the Ko-Matoran collapsed.


“Three down,” Voltex said from beside him, and Ehks followed the Ba-Matoran’s gaze to where it met Sumiki’s. “Two to go.”






Thirty minutes had passed since he had shot the Ko-Matoran Kayn – the Ghost – in the chest. Twenty minutes had passed since said Ko-Matoran had flashed back onto his feet and then disappeared completely. Voltex was not reassured.


Currently, he and Blade were sitting across from each other at a desk in one of the offices, Voltex having tried a futile attempt to bring the computer terminal online.


“Blade, there’s... something I need to tell you,” he said slowly, tapping the underside of the desk nervously.


“What is it?” Blade asked.


“I’m the Detective,” Voltex started, causing Blade to burst into a smile.


“Don’t worry about it,” the Vo-Matoran interrupted, waving his hand dismissively. “I’ve suspected that you were the Detective ever since we stopped by the front desk for your equipment.”


“No, it’s not that,” Voltex muttered, fiddling with the Repulsor Arm. “It’s... Xaeraz made me the Detective for a reason, Blade.”




“It was my job,” Voltex said, looking Blade in the eye. “He chose me because of my job. Because of what I do for a living.”


“But you don’t do anything,” Blade said, his voice laced with confusion. “I know you don’t like us saying it, but you’re about as homeless as homeless gets.”


“That’s just my day job,” Voltex said. “It’s a facade, designed to hide what I’m truly doing.”


The Vo-Matoran’s gaze narrowed. “And what are you ‘truly doing’, Tex?”


He took a deep breath, inwardly preparing himself for whatever verbal tirade or physical contact was sure to follow. “I work for the White Council.”


Dead silence met his words.


“I-I’m not the only one,” he said quickly. “I’m part of – or at least, I was a part of – a covert force six Matoran strong led by Burnmad, used by the White Council to infiltrate their most powerful enemies and the greatest threats to their rule, the ones that they can’t just beat down or arrest. Since we’re just Matoran, we’re inconspicuous – we sneak in, gain their trust, and then arrest them for treason.”


“You must be lying,” Blade breathed, his mouth hanging open.


“I’m not,” Voltex said, shaking his head. “Remember when Manducus was put behind bars, but they could never figure out who made the arrest? That’s because it was me. Why do you think Pulse is here? He got one of my team mates to blab everything and learned too much.”


“Wait just a second,” Blade said, slapping a hand over his mouth. “What did you just say about Pulse?”


Voltex realized his mistake far, far too late to do anything about it. With a gulp, he said: “I... uh, said that one of my team mates blabbed everything to him and he knew too much, so... he was removed.”


“He was removed?” Blade asked, his voice barely a whisper. “How much do you know?”


His throat was dry as he explained. “For the past couple months, the White Council have had a couple Matoran such as Pulse and I helping them with various stages of a – a plan. They called it Scenario Alpha.”


“I don’t give a stone rat’s fart what the name of the plan was,” Blade snapped. “What did you help them plan, Tex? What is Scenario Alpha?”


“I-” Voltex coughed before speaking again. “I... they wanted to get rid of all of their enemies in one stroke, Blade. Anyone that could pose a threat to their rule, eliminated all at once. The conference was never meant to discuss Xaeraz – it was part of a trap to draw him and everyone else in and cut them all down.”


The Vo-Matoran stepped back and sagged against the wall, burying his face in his hands. “What did you do?”


“I helped plan the conference,” Voltex said quietly, sighing. “I told them exactly how they could pull it off without anybody being the wiser. I helped them decide who to throw in this place... well, some of them, at any rate.”


Blade shot up and Voltex just barely held back a flinch as the Vo-Matoran stalked towards him, shoving his finger into the Ba-Matoran’s chest and causing Voltex to stumble back.


“You disgust me,” Blade snarled, pushing him to the floor.


“Blade, wait!” Voltex cried desperately. “I didn’t put you here! You weren’t one of the ones that I named!”


“Why are you here, Tex?” Blade asked, his voice laced with lethal sarcasm. “Come to enjoy the view while we all die?”


“No – no, I’m not!” Voltex protested, crawling backwards as Blade stalked forwards. “I don’t know why I’m here!”


“You tried to escape!” Blade snapped, realizing gleaming in his eyes as he interrupted the Ba-Matoran on the floor. “You were going to run away!”


“Run away and get help!” Voltex said. “I saved RG, but it wasn’t enough! I tried to warn you, Blade! I really did! At the cafe, remember? I tried to tell you something would happen!”


“Well you were too cryptic, weren’t you?!” Blade shouted, kicking him in the gut and knocking the wind out of him. “And then you just popped up and decided to go!”


Voltex coughed, trying to regain his breath. “I went to see a friend! Get help from the outside! But the guard was working for the White Council – Pupwa, he was working for them and I never even realized and he must have told them or something because there’s been no help at all!”


Another kick – this time he groaned as Blade grabbed him by the shoulders and hauled him to his feet before hurling him back onto the desk, crashing through the papers and smashing the computer terminal to the floor. Before he could get a grip on his bearings, he was knocked onto the floor on the opposite side – and then he felt the hands close upon his throat from behind.


“You son of a Makuta,” Blade whispered. “I’m gonna kill you... we’ve been friends for how long, and you repay me with this? Have some of your own medicine!”


He grabbed at his throat, trying – and failing – to pull Blade’s fingers away. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. He kicked out, lashing against the chair and knocking it to the floor, but could not pull Blade away as the edges of his vision started to fade away.


Not like this, he thought, as everything began to flash. Oh Mata-Nui please no not like this....




He slid to the floor with a thud as the grip on his throat suddenly fell away. He gagged as he collapsed onto his side, his chest heaving as he fought for breath. Everything swam in front of him as he clawed his way to his feet, a death grip upon the desk. He blinked furiously, glancing to the doorway where he could see a familiar face smiling at him.


“Don’t worry,” the Matoran said, tossing something into the corner. “It’ll be your turn soon enough.”




Voltex collapsed onto the desk and closed his eyes as the Matoran left without another word. Somewhere in his mind, the bang continued to ping in his mind, as though he were forgetting something important.


Ping... bang... pong... bang... boom... he thought tiredly. Dying... bang... wait....


In the blink of an eye he had flashed back up, stumbling back into the wall as he glanced over to Blade, who was slumped over where the computer terminal had sat moments before. A hole was visible in the back of his head, blood leaking out of it. Several fractures were visible upon his Kanohi mask, and his eyes were dull.


“Blade?” Voltex asked hoarsely, coughing.


The Vo-Matoran was clearly dead. Should he be happy or should he be upset?


He did not know.




Sumiki sat back in his seat, gazing at the screen as the familiar jumbled form of his business associate flashed into view.


“You called me twice,” Xaeraz said, shifting on the screen as he made himself comfortable, as if he already knew that Sumiki had planned for it to be a long conversation.


“It was urgent,” the CEO said. “Voltex executed both Zakaro and Kayn.”


“Is Kayn not the Ghost?” Xaeraz asked, his voice sarcastic. “He should have survived.”


“He is...” Sumiki trailed off, shrugging, “missing in action, for now. He ran off.”


“That is within the rules,” Xaeraz said drily, setting fire to something in the palm of his hand that Sumiki could not make out. “As the Ghost, he has a free pass unless somebody kills him again before the game ends. After that, it is all over.”


“I was hoping we could work out a deal,” Sumiki said, deciding to cut to the chase.


“My answer is ‘no’, and you cannot change my mind,” Xaeraz snapped.


Bewildered, Sumiki blinked. “You have not heard my proposal yet.”


Xaeraz smirked and the armor that the CEO wore sparked before fragmenting and falling away. As Sumiki stood to his feet, Xaeraz said: “You were about to attempt to convince me to let you keep your precious invincibility armor.”


“You are doing this out of turn!” Sumiki snapped. “I still have one traitor!”


“And he has foolishly decided to kill Blade, rather than Voltex,” Xaeraz drawled. “He is doomed as soon as our little Detective regains his bearings. That is the problem with pride, my dear Sumiki. We convince ourselves that the world is ours. But we are all wrong – the world belongs to nobody. The only thing the world is here for is to be destroyed.”


“I want out,” Sumiki said, but the other Fe-Matoran ignored him.


“Today, you are going to be a part of that destruction,” Xaeraz said firmly. “You and your last traitor. I will not deny my disappointment, Sumiki. You’re one of my favorites. But I will not break the rules to appease you... and we both know how I would feel if you broke the rules.”


“Yes we do,” Sumiki said stiffly, reaching for the remote. “Now if you would excuse me, I have other business to attend to.”


He cut the connection before Metru-Nui’s most wanted criminal could reply and sank back into his chair, but he had barely been slumped down for thirty seconds before the door burst open behind him. He sighed softly before asking, “who is it that feels it necessary to interrupt my fantasies of farm animals?”


“Me,” a voice said, as the barrel of the gun pressed itself to his temple.


Eyes shooting open, Sumiki turned his head and met the gaze of Ehks, who was stone cold. “Hello there, Doctor. Come to arrest me?”


“Not just yet,” Ehks said. “Just gathering you for a little showing off... and a little showing down.”


“What spiteful words,” the CEO said casually, stretching as he stood to his feet. “Very well, Doctor. Please lead me – I promise not to kill you... yet.”


“You first,” Ehks said, pointing with the gun. “Unless you’d rather die now?”


Thinking about the now-useless armor scattered over the floor at their feet, Sumiki shook his head. “Of course not – please excuse me.”


He turned to exit and sighed, several plans rapidly blooming in his mind. It was only a matter of time....




Pulse scowled as he approached the conference hall, with the Ta-Matoran Locke and the Po-Matoran TBK both straggling behind him. Voltex had already filled Ehks and himself in on the details; Blade was dead and Zakaro had been right (about what, Pulse did not know). While the Ba-Matoran had foolishly run off to apprehend the target, he had sent Ehks to get Sumiki and Pulse to gather everyone else.


Except he had not told them who the traitor was – and to top it off, Locke and TBK were the only ones he had been able to find.


“Why are we meeting here, exactly?” Locke asked. “Are you going to kill us?”


“Don’t be stupid,” Pulse muttered. “If I was going to kill you I’d make sure you were alone. We’re meeting with everyone else – Voltex has found our last two traitors.”


“Who are they?” TBK asked.


“I don’t know,” Pulse said, hoping his voice did not betray the half-lie. “He hasn’t decided to share just yet.”


“I think Ehks is one,” Locke said.


“Nah, that’s too obvious,” TBK replied. “I mean, he could be, but Kayn was pretending to be Scanty, right? And he tried to kill Ehks, so....”


“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” the Ta-Matoran said.


“Sumiki is one,” Pulse told them. “Both Voltex and Ehks have been hinting at it for awhile. But I don’t know if he’s the leader or just another traitor, and regardless of whichever role he holds, we still don’t know who the final member is.”


“But Voltex does know?” TBK asked.


“Yes. Apparently.”


“Then we’re all set,” TBK said.


“Assuming nothing goes wrong,” Pulse muttered.




Voltex pushed his prey into the main hall, where they stumbled to a halt before the rest of the Matoran. The Ba-Matoran clenched his fist, forcing down the anger and betrayal he felt.


You don’t deserve it, not after what you’ve done, he thought.


“What is the meaning of this?” Lhikevikk asked, breaking the silence.


“Why is your friend on the floor?” Sumiki asked.


“Because he works for you,” Voltex snapped, pointing at the CEO of Hat Enterprises. “Y’know, I never would have guessed it – really, you would have beaten me. But Zakaro reached me first. He warned me about what would happen... and when he was on the ball about Kayn, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.”


“What are you talking about?” Sumiki asked, scoffing.


“Before he died, Zakaro told me something several times,” Voltex said. “He told me ‘You need to understand that I am the only one that said no.’”


“I don’t get it,” Lhikevikk said. “What does that have to do with anything?”


“I have been betrayed by one that I considered as one of my closest friends,” Voltex said. “Zakaro was warning me that they wanted to do it.”


“Zakaro was a traitor,” Sumiki said casually. “Perhaps he was just toying with you.”


“Was he?” Voltex asked. “Let’s think back to when Shadowhawk died – we drew up a list of four suspects. Tahukan and Flaredrick are both dead now – that leaves Luroka and Unit.”


“Luroka’s the final member of the traitors, then,” Locke gasped, backing away from the Fa-Matoran. “You killed Shadowhawk?”


“Of course I didn’t,” Luroka snapped. “Haven’t you been listening?”


“It wasn’t Luroka,” Voltex announced. “Why would I have any trouble believing that Luroka was a traitor? He’s been by your side this entire time, Sumiki. It would be obvious.”


“Too obvious,” Portalfig murmured off to the side.


“Zakaro insisted that I believe him,” Voltex continued, “because he knew that I would have trouble comprehending the fact that Unit had willingly allied with Xaeraz in the interests of killing us all.”


Unit pushed Lhikevikk away and shrugged. “If that’s what you believe.”


“But Unit executed Manducus,” Pulse said. “He did it because Manducus wanted you dead!”


“Ah, yes... what was it that you said to me, Unit?” Voltex asked, glaring at the Magnetism Matoran. “Wasn’t it along the lines of ‘nobody kills my friends but me’?”


Scowling, Unit looked away, refusing to answer – but his silence was truth enough. Lunging forward, Voltex elbowed him in the side of his head and then grabbed his former friend in a choke hold, pressing the palm of his right hand to Unit’s head. The Fa-Matoran wrestled to get out of his grip, but Voltex refused to give away an inch as he stared right at Sumiki.


“Once I kill him, we both know that it’s over,” he said. “You’re dead, Sumiki.”


“Not quite yet,” the CEO breathed, smirking. “Tell me, Voltex... who should I kill first once Unit is dead? Shall it be Ehks, the Medic? Or perhaps you? Or maybe I’ll let you watch Portalfig die next. Or perhaps you shall pitifully attempt to lynch me first, thereby giving us two more chances to knock your numbers down? I vote for myself.”


“I vote for Sumiki,” Unit rasped.


“I shall also vote for Sumiki,” Luroka said.


If Sumiki receives a majority vote... Voltex thought, then they’ll be able to kill two of us. But if we could kill them both now....


“TBK, vote for Sumiki,” Voltex ordered.


“Um, alright,” the Po-Matoran said from behind him. “I vote for... Sumiki?”


“I vote for Sumiki as well,” Voltex said, glancing over to Portalfig.


The Onu-Matoran’s eyes widened as he realized what Voltex was doing and he spoke: “I vote for Unit.”


“I vote Unit,” Ehks said, glancing between Portalfig and Voltex.


“So do I,” Pulse echoed.


“I will as well, then,” Lhikevikk said.


“I vote Unit,” Locke decided.


Meeting Sumiki’s gaze, Voltex smirked back. “Oh dear... it would appear as though we have reached a tie. I guess it’s a double execution.”


Without a second thought he fired a blast right into Unit’s head, killing the Fa-Matoran instantly. Dropping the body of his former friend to the ground, Voltex stepped forwards and raised his palm, pointing it towards Sumiki, and –


“Drop the walls,” Sumiki ordered.




A shockwave of shadow rippled through the air, slamming into the remaining survivors. Voltex grunted as he smacked into the wall, shaking his head to clear it as a howling wind ripped through the hall, buffeting them all back and forth. He stumbled forwards as the others regained their footing, staring at Sumiki, who glanced at him smugly before nodding to Luroka, who appeared to be the only one not affected by what was transpiring.


Then he could no longer see, as Luroka raised his arms and brought them down – sunlight burst through the gaps in the roof, blinding him as the walls of shadow collapsed.


“So you see, Voltex, not everything is as it seems,” Sumiki shouted once Voltex had recovered enough to squint at him. “Luroka, perhaps you could explain?”


“I am Makuta Luroka the Malignant,” Luroka said, his voice morphing into a guttural growl that echoed as he spoke, the shadows growing deeper and darker.


“Wait a minute... what?” Voltex asked.


The wind stilled and silence fell over them. Sumiki sighed and turned to Luroka, whose armor had rapidly turned black, before facing Voltex.


“You heard correctly, my dear Detective,” Sumiki said. “I have a Makuta on my side!”


“You....” Voltex trailed off.


Sumiki turned to Luroka. “Silence him.”


A ball of shadow rapidly began to grow between Luroka’s hands – Voltex threw this arm up to fire a blast at the Makuta, but Luroka shot the sphere of darkness before he could finish the movement. The shadow sphere phased right through him and he stumbled back, his arm dropping. He slowly looked down at his chest as it began to tighten – poisonous black tendrils were spreading from the center of his chest.


“...Voltex?” Ehks asked.


His gaze met Ehks as he stumbled forwards briefly. “I... hnnngh....”


He closed his eyes, clenching his fists around the armor at his chest as pain lanced through his body. With a groan, he collapsed onto his knees, opening his eyes briefly to the triumphant gaze of Sumiki before his vision swam and everything faded to black as he pitched towards the ground.


To Be Concluded.


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Sumiki turned to Luroka. “Silence him.”


A ball of shadow rapidly began to grow between Luroka’s hands – Voltex threw this arm up to fire a blast at the Makuta, but Luroka shot the sphere of darkness before he could finish the movement. The shadow sphere phased right through him and he stumbled back, his arm dropping. He slowly looked down at his chest as it began to tighten – poisonous black tendrils were spreading from the center of his chest.


“...Voltex?” Ehks asked.


His gaze met Ehks as he stumbled forwards briefly. “I... hnnngh....”


He closed his eyes, clenching his fists around the armor at his chest as pain lanced through his body. With a groan, he collapsed onto his knees, opening his eyes briefly to the triumphant gaze of Sumiki before his vision swam and everything faded to black as he pitched towards the ground.





Darkness everywhere.


“...some space! I need...”


“Drop the walls.”


Everything dying, decaying, rusting away. Gone forever....


“...he awake?”


“I don’t know what that shadow is going to do, but-”


“...fine! Locke, come...”


Was this what death felt like?


“Knock him out!”


“I met Xaeraz once... it was terrifying.”


“...you doing?”


You need to understand that I am the only one that said no.




Everything inside was boiling. A fury the likes of which even he had never known was bubbling to the surface. Everything was numb.


“...him still!”


“It’ll be your turn soon enough.”


“Losing him!”


Puny voices, so weak.


“Silence him.”


“Oh no...”


What a mistake.




“How much do you know?”


“...not killing...”




“Grab me those pliers!”




“...clear it all...”


“What is Scenario Alpha?”


“...corruption spreading...”




“What do you think?”


“I have a Makuta on my side.”


“Might’ve stopped for now...”


So much pain. Blinding lights flashing incessantly, his head splitting apart.


His eyes swung open and Voltex jolted up into a sitting position, his back ramrod straight as his mind raced through the events leading up to his collapse. Slowly, he lowered his gaze to his chest, where a faint black mark could be seen. He sighed softly, examining his arms and legs.


Wait, he thought. My armor looks brand new... so why is it still black and silver?


“You’re up,” a voice said to his right, filled with relief. “Thank goodness. You gave me a bit of a scare there Tex, I won’t lie.”


“Where is my purple? Why is my armor new? What happened? Where’s Sumiki?” Voltex asked rapidly, unable to halt the flood of questions coming from his mouth.


“Slow down,” the voice said as Ehks stumbled into view, looking exhausted. “After Luroka hit you and you collapsed, he and Sumiki sort of... vanished. Since then, I’ve been healing you.”


“With help,” a disgruntled voice snapped, Locke stepping into view. “He wouldn’t let more than one of us in with him while he healed you.”


“I should be dead,” Voltex said.


“No, not dead,” Ehks said. “We thought that was the intention, and we were almost too late, but it was actually designed to corrupt you.”


“Corrupt me?”


“Turn you evil,” the Medic said bluntly. “Twist your emotions into a pretzel of shadow so that you could become a ticking time bomb. Your armor... well, I had Locke clean it while I was healing you so that I could take note of any physical side effects. The armor color is the only physical side effect at the moment – I doubt your armor will ever be purple again.”


Voltex’s eyes narrowed as he turned to face the Medic. “You healed me?”


“Uh... yeah.”


“From a shadow orb designed to turn me evil?” Voltex snapped. “I wasn’t aware that you had that in your skill set, seeing as only someone with control over the element of light could possibly cure me of that so quickly.”


The Fa-Matoran stepped back involuntarily, flinching as Voltex hopped off of the makeshift operating table and advanced towards him.


“What are you not telling us, Ehks?”


“Voltex, you’re overreacting,” Locke said from behind, sounding frightened. “It’s the corruption talking.”


“SHUT UP!” Voltex bellowed, whirling on the terrified Ta-Matoran before turning back to Ehks. “Talk now.”


“I... I spotted the corruption too late and he’s a Makuta and I’m still only a Matoran and I didn’t have enough power to remove it completely, only halt its progress,” Ehks rambled, “so you’re like thirty-seven percent more evil or whatever now?”


The Ba-Matoran snorted in derision, pushing Ehks to the floor. “I wasn’t talking about that. You aren’t really a Matoran of Magnetism, are you?”


“I-I...” Ehks sighed, before speaking so quietly that Voltex knew Locke would not be able to hear: “No, I’m not.”


“Why did you hide it?” Voltex asked.


“I’ll tell you later,” Ehks said, glancing behind him to Locke. “I promise I will, okay? But it’s taken us an hour to wake you up and the extraction team should be outside at any moment, and I’m sure the others are anxious to know if we’re still alive.”


Voltex scoffed, but turned away regardless, and waved Locke forwards. “Let’s go.”




Sumiki observed the map of BZ-Koro closely, mumbling to himself as he circled certain areas and crossed out others. At the other side of the basement room they were currently secluded in, Luroka sat perfectly still, waiting to jump any intruders – not that they were expecting any.


“Where to?” the Makuta asked.


“I’m trying to figure that out,” Sumiki growled. “It would be useful if you could just lift us both out of here, but we would be shot down by either BZ-Koro or Metru-Nui almost instantly.”


“You know what they are planning,” the Makuta said quietly. “Perhaps it is best if we stay... and cause a little bit of mayhem?”


“Xaeraz is hunting us down, and we both know that they will send us no aid,” Sumiki said. “I would feel safer knowing that Xaeraz is here and I am elsewhere.”


“You have a Makuta on your side,” Luroka reminded him. “What could go wrong?”


“Many things,” Sumiki said. “Once, this upstart officer by the name of Kante... ah, never mind. I’ll just go back to planning.”


“Shall I contact them?”


“No... leave it be.”




Pulse tapped his foot impatiently from beside Lhikevikk as the small group of survivors awaited the extraction team that would supposedly arrive soon to retrieve them.


“Please stop tapping,” Portalfig muttered from a few feet away, where he lay sprawled out on the ground, arm resting over his eyes.


“I’m not one for patience,” Pulse snapped, before sighing. “But... I’ll try, I suppose.”


“You’re apologizing?” TBK asked, looking up from where he had been doodling in the dirt. “I never thought I’d see the day.”


“Shut up,” Pulse said, unable to inject any venom into it.


TBK merely snorted as Lhikevikk glanced back into the conference hall – or what was left of it – worriedly. “They better get out soon or I’m going in,” the Ta-Matoran murmured.


“Don’t worry about them,” Pulse said, before nodding in the direction of the city of BZ-Koro, which lay off in the distance. “Look at it – I can see the smoke from here, and nobody has come to take us away yet. Something isn’t right.”


“I’m pretty sure nothing has been right ever since Xaeraz took over the conference,” Portalfig said.


“Well, obviously,” Pulse snapped. “I just... BZ-Koro and Metru-Nui haven’t been on the friendliest of terms lately, if my sources were correct... so they should theoretically be acting faster to reach us now, not slower.”


“Part of me is really hoping that you’re looking into this thing too deeply,” Lhikevikk said, “but... after the past couple days, I have to admit that you’re probably right.”


The four of them fell silent after this, and Pulse returned to pondering whether he should enter the conference hall again – and why Ehks even wanted the privacy in the first place. What did the Fa-Matoran have to hide?


His thoughts were interrupted as Lhikevikk nudged him, pointing to the entrance of the conference hall, where Voltex and Locke were stepping out.


“Hey,” Lhikevikk called, waving them over. “So Voltex, you’re gonna be fine after all?”


The Ba-Matoran nodded as Portalfig jumped to his feet and jogged over.


“You gave us a bit of a scare,” the Onu-Matoran said. “Although how you survived an attack from a Makuta is beyond me.”


Voltex shrugged, sharing a glance with Locke. “I guess he wasn’t really trying.”


Pulse held back a snort, narrowing his eyes at the Ba-Matoran. Something was up – something was... off. He had no doubt that it had to do with the apprehensive look on Locke’s face.


“Where’s Ehks?” he asked.


“Inside,” Voltex said shortly. “I’m sure he’ll be out in a few moments.”


What is going on? Pulse wondered. I know they don’t exactly... get along, but....


“Something on your mind?” TBK asked, walking up to him.


“Nothing important,” Pulse muttered. “Just something else to add onto everything.”




Don’t let them see. Hold it all back. They aren’t responsible. Don’t kill them.


It was like a mantra in Voltex’s head; he felt like he was drowning in his anger, and fighting it off was slowly driving him mad. Or quickly driving him mad – after all, he had barely been awake for fifteen minutes.


“Voltex?” Portalfig asked from beside him. “Everything okay?”


Don’t blow up.


“Yeah, I’m fine,” he muttered, refusing to look his friend in the eye. “Just feeling a little, um, off-kilter; y’know, scrambled and all that stuff. Luroka packs a bit of a punch and stuff. Yeah.”


“Sure thing,” Portalfig said.


He glanced at the Onu-Matoran out of the corner of his eye – Portalfig was looking at him skeptically and he fought down the urge to throttle the other Matoran.


What is happening to me?


“He just needs some space,” Locke said from behind him. “He hit his head when he fell and Ehks thinks that the impact combined with the nature of Luroka’s attack will have him out of sorts for a little while. He should be perfectly fine in a few days.”


You should be thankful that he’s covering for you, Voltex scolded himself as frustration with the Ta-Matoran swept through him. Ehks said I was thirty-seven percent more evil, whatever that means. How evil was I already?


Evil enough to help the White Council plan the deaths of your closest friends, a voice in his head pointed out.


Shut up, me.


“Helicopter!” TBK cried out, distracting him from his thoughts. The Po-Matoran pointed off in the distance, where two black dots could be seen slowly approaching the island. “Make that two helicopters!”


“It’s about time, Burnmad,” Voltex muttered.


They waited in silence, the six of them, as the helicopters drew nearer, until finally they hovered overhead, the rotors whipping the wind around them as they slowly began to descend.




Ehks remained where he was on the floor as Voltex slammed the door shut behind him, staring at the door in a daze.


What do I do? He wondered. If they knew who I was... I wouldn’t even last a week.


“Contemplating the future, are we?”


“WHA-” Ehks started, scrambling to his feet and getting cut off when a hand smacked him in the throat.


“Be quiet,” Xaeraz said quietly, taking a seat over by the wooden desk in the corner and pulling out a knife, carving into the wood. “I am simply here to talk.”


“You’re never anywhere to ‘just talk’,” Ehks said, rubbing his neck. “What do you want?”


“I know your secrets,” the Fe-Matoran said, the collection of junk making up his body fascinating Ehks as it moved. “How does that make you feel? And please, be honest... I’m in a rather poor mood.”


“It...” Ehks trailed off, before admitting, “it makes me feel powerless.”


“That’s very good,” Xaeraz whispered, gesturing for him to sit on the makeshift operating table.


He did.


“So what will you do now?” the Fe-Matoran asked, tapping the blade of his knife onto the desk.




“Um... I don’t really know,” Ehks said, sighing. “Whatever you want me to do, I suppose.”




“I believe that would be in poor taste,” Xaeraz chided. “Contrary to what everyone believes, I am not all-powerful. If I was, the White Council would be long gone.”




“Then what would you have me do?”




“Whatever your true heart desires,” Xaeraz said quietly. “In here you were playing my game, by my rules – and rest assured, I will hunt down those who broke my rules and I will make them pay the consequences. Perhaps I was your enemy – perhaps I still am. But I think it is more likely we are about to become allies.”




Fighting off the irritation rising at the repetition of the sound, Ehks asked: “Are we really?”




Xaeraz nodded. “You know why we are all here. And I do believe that you know what is about to happen when that extraction team arrives.”




“And what would make you think that?”




“The fact that you are still here speaking with me and not out there waiting with all of them,” Xaeraz said. “They believe that it is all over, Ehks. What do you believe?”




He inhaled a deep breath. “I think it’s just beginning.”




The Fe-Matoran smiled, seemingly satisfied. “That is precisely what is happening. Now run along – and mind you don’t spill all of your dark secrets to the wrong person, Ehks... I’d hate to have my men clean your corpse off the streets.”




“Your men?” Ehks asked, standing.




Xaeraz nodded in confirmation, not offering any further explanation. Staring at the most wanted terrorist of Metru-Nui, Ehks said: “You seem calm. More collected... dare I say it? More... sane than usual, I guess.”




The terrorist Matoran’s gaze darkened. “Don’t remind me.”




Nodding, Ehks backed out of the room, hurrying down the hallway.










The first helicopter had barely touched the paved ground when a door on the side slid open and a bright red Matoran hopped out, landing easily and striding towards the group. Noting that Ehks had finally joined them, Voltex stepped forwards as well, clasping his hand to the Ta-Matoran as he met him halfway between the survivors and the helicopter.




“It took you long enough,” Voltex yelled over the roaring of the rotor blades. “What took so long, Burnmad?”




“There’ll be time for that later,” the Ta-Matoran responded. “Right now, let’s focus on getting you out of here.”




“Alright,” Voltex conceded, nodding and waving the others over. “Let’s get this extraction started.”








The End.


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  • 1 month later...



---[3 Weeks Ago]---


















With a soft click, the entrance doors of the BZ-Koro National Bank & Credit Union swung open as a devilishly handsome Le-Matoran clad in forest green armor stepped out onto the street, his armor mutedly reflecting the light of the street lamps. Stars speckled the dark night sky above and all was silent as the Matoran slowly took a deep breath, closing his eyes in satisfaction as the air flowed through his systems.


















Whistling softly to himself, the Matoran slowly walked over to the nearby hoverbike that was parked at the side of the road, his feet crunching on the pavement as he idly walked along.




The sound was muted behind the now-closed doors of the bank, distant and underground as the ground shook from the force of the bomb. Smiling slightly, the Matoran climbed onto the hoverbike and kicked back to activate it, revving the bike to life as the two thrusters activated, repelling it from the ground. He revved once, twice, three times – and that was when the entire facade of the BZ-Koro National Bank & Credit Union was blown into the street, bricks and dust cascading onto the street as a ball of fire billowed into the sky. The hoverbike shot forwards straight down the street in front of the bank as sirens wailed in the distance. The Le-Matoran leaned forwards as he picked up speed, his eyes narrowing as a BZ-Koro police cruiser swerved onto the road several blocks ahead and began speeding towards him. Two more soon fell into the ranks alongside it, blocking the entire road in an attempt to contain him.


Smirking, the Matoran only sped up – seconds before impact he flipped a switch on the handlebar of the hoverbike and the thrusters flared briefly, shooting him high enough for him to surf over the cruiser, landing gracefully behind it and speeding on.


The fourth cruiser flew out of nowhere, slamming into the front of the hoverbike without warning and causing it to flip through the air. Frowning in concentration as he flipped through the air, the Matoran pulled a handle on the side of the hoverbike as he rolled off, ejecting a long, round device into his arms as he rolled along the pavement, swiftly getting his balance back and swinging the device around before pointing it at the cruiser, which was now turning around to meet him again. He took two seconds to aim before pressing the trigger and firing the rocket right at the cruiser.


With a bang the rocket hit its target dead-on, blowing the cruiser into pieces as the other three swerved into the next street over to avoid the same fate. Dropping the rocket launcher to the ground, the Matoran turned as a small black car – an old model, still with rubber tires – pulled up before him, the back door flipping up as he climbed inside and pulled the door back down.


Ignoring the two other passengers, each with identical markings on their shoulders, he spoke directly to the driver, a white and gray armored Av-Matoran: “Take us to the bridge.”


With a nod, the Matoran at the wheel put his foot to the pedal and the car took off down the road, swerving and looping through the streets as they avoided the small battalion of police that had been sent to capture them. The Le-Matoran stared out the window as they sped along, until they skidded around a corner and he could see the bridge up ahead, stretching across the river and connecting the two halves of BZ-Koro together. As they reached the bridge, he leaned forward –




The police cruiser slammed into them from the side, sending their car flipping over the guard rail, tumbling towards the water.


“Get out,” he ordered.


With the press of a button the four doors of their car flipped up and they all leaped out into the air, the car splashing into the river and rapidly sinking below them. The Le-Matoran landed in a motorboat anchored by the edge of the river, dropping to a kneeling position to catch his bearings. One of his partners joined him and pulled the anchor up as the other two hopped onto jet skis.


A tap on his shoulder let him know that they were ready to go – as the police cruisers pulled up alongside the side of the road above them, he jumpstarted the motor and steered them away into the middle of the river, ducking as the telltale sounds of gunfire began to ring through the air from the shoreline. Swerving in a zigzag to make it harder for the police, he waved the two Matoran on the jet skis forward and they obeyed, drawing the fire of the police as they leaped off into the water, where the Av-Matoran in the motorboat hauled them in.


His eyes up ahead, the Le-Matoran let out a small laugh as one of the cruisers followed them along via the road up above, blaring orders for them to halt. Noting the dock and stairwell up ahead, the Le-Matoran steered them directly towards the wooden structure. The other Matoran in the boat waited silently as they rushed forwards – and then with not even a sound they were skidding across the dock before the tip of the boat slammed into the stairwell. The boat flipped, flinging all four Matoran into the air. As his companions all collapsed on the stairs, the Le-Matoran kicked off of the railing and landed at the side of the road as the police cruiser halted beside him.


As the door opened, the Le-Matoran kneed the driver of the vehicle in the chest. Tossing him away and grabbing the officer’s gun, he jumped and slid across the hood of the cruiser to kick the other officer in the mask before delivering several quick jabs to his limbs and shoving him away, ducking into the cruiser and crawling into the driver’s seat. His companions scrambled into the cruiser as he began to drive away, three other police vehicles now hot on their tail.


He grinned as he turned another corner, spotting the building directly up ahead.


“Jump ship,” he ordered.


The Matoran in the back seated directly behind him opened his door and tumbled out onto the street; in the rear view mirror, the Le-Matoran watched as all three cruiser behind them swerved to avoid the Matoran as they continued to chase down the stolen car.


Next up was the other Matoran in the back, who performed the same routine before tumbling to a stop. The Le-Matoran shared a glance with his final passenger and nodded. The Av-Matoran beside him rolled his eyes but complied, smashing the window with his elbow and leaping out, crashing to the ground.


Turning to face the road ahead once more, the Le-Matoran smirked as he clicked the gun into place at his hip.








He spun the wheel to the left and shoved open his door, causing the cruiser to swerve to the side as it reached the lip of the sidewalk, flying into the air as he flew out, turning in mid-air and firing several times at the gas tank of the cruiser.


The explosion ripped through him before he could hit the pavement, as the other three cruisers were caught in the middle. The cruiser he had shot exploded right in the middle of the refueling station, destroying half the block as all four vehicles and some of the surrounding buildings erupted into flames and debris, a cloud of smoke billowing into the air. He slammed onto the road and skidded past it before flying through the window of a bakery, crashing to a stop in the middle of the glass display counter.


His entire body aching and stinging, and his head woozy, he lay there without moving for several seconds until the Av-Matoran from before gingerly stepped into the bakery, trying to avoid the broken glass scattered everywhere.


“Are you alright?” the Av-Matoran asked.


“Totally fine,” the Le-Matoran grunted.


“You sure don’t look it.”


“Shut your mouth, MT,” the Le-Matoran said, trying and failing to sound disgruntled. “You can let our benefactor know that the BZ-Koro bank has collapsed – Project Mayhem continues as planned.”




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