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Interchange: Toa Metru


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Interchange: Prologue




What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? This epic tells the story of a different universe, one where those we know as Matoran took their place.




The forges and furnaces of Ta-Metru were a dangerous place. Matoran from other Metru imagined the risk might be falling into molten protodermis, but Ta-Matoran worried more about toxic gases and residue, operation errors in automated machinery, Rahi infestations, proto conduit leakage, and lately, their little... weed problem.


No one Matoran had to shoulder the duty of managing all these dangers alone, but there was one Matoran who liked to think he did. His name was Jaller, and he sat with heroic dignity in the watchtower by Furnace 03, eyes sweeping the video screens, ears keen for the first shout of alarm from the communicator.


But today, the first omen of disaster was not a cry for help, but the heavy clang of armored feet landing on the watchtower behind Jaller. He spun his chair around to see none other than the Toa of Metru Nui himself, his Great Mask of Flight still glowing.


"Toa Jovan!" Jaller sprang up to a salute so quickly he almost knocked off his own mask.


"No need for ceremony, Overseer." Those who knew Jovan better might have recognized that his smile was forced. "I only came to ask if you knew where Balta might be."


Jaller's eyes narrowed, then bulged. "Balta?! The... junk tinkerer?" Many Ta-Matoran tolerated his unusual habit of crafting ornaments and useful devices from scrap metal. Jaller did not. Balta's forages in the scrapyard were flagrant violations of security protocol. Jaller wished the Vahki would arrest him and be done with it, but by some bureaucratic loophole it counted as work.


Jovan nodded sharply.


"Give me a moment." Turning to his screens, Jaller checked the gate records for the scrapyard under his jurisdiction. They noted a Matoran without security clearance entering an hour ago, with no mention of his departure. There was no other Matoran it could be.


"Right down there, Toa." Jaller pointed in the direction of the yard.


Jovan leapt from the watchtower and soared out of sight.




A pair of yellow eyes flickered open. They glanced over a massive insectoid body, equipped with six limbs, a spiked abdomen and a pair of mighty mandibles, all clad in orange carapace and, at the moment, enough soot and metal scrap to crush a Matoran. Well, Krona mused, at least she was still in one piece. With a mighty shout, she flipped herself right-side up, scattering protodermis waste across the derelict forge.


Then she heard coughing from the mound of debris. With a huge forelimb, she scraped it aside to reveal a two-legged being much smaller than she, and deceptively frail in appearance. The small being coughed once more, then glared up at her. "I see you have a hidden talent: botching a perfectly laid ambush."


"Excuse me? I didn't see you landing any attacks."


"Well, that's not easy when my knives are all magnetized to my hands! You told me you knew what tactics he would use!"


"Evidently he's been improvising." Krona spat a ball of searing plasma at the floor. It made a red-hot streak among the black soot. "In case you've forgotten, I can't read minds... anymore."


"Oh, quit whining." The small being was now digging through the rubble for a set of throwing knives. "I'd like to see you go from being the slave of a gang of Skakdi females--"


"--To being their leader in just six days, yeah, we've all heard the story. Pity you let them all die before you enlisted, though, so they can't confirm it."


Suddenly a knife was at the side of Krona's head, where her armor was weakest. "What are you implying, you plague-ridden Hoto bug? Maybe YOU have some secrets you'd like to spill, huh? Like how you're collaborating with Jovan?"


Krona roared in rage and unfurled her wings, beating them to produce a gust that forced back her partner and allowed her to rear up on her hind legs and abdomen. Her head nearly brushed the mangled overhead beams. "How DARE you! Your very breath taints my honor! Jovan is no brother of mine!"


"Dark Hunters don't have honor," replied Lariska in a low voice.


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Edited by Akavakaku

( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) -Takuaka: Toa of Time

What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? Interchange: The epic begins

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Chapter 1


Balta stared in awe at the figure of Jovan receding into the sky. He had never met a Toa mask-to-mask before, and it had been... not quite as glamorous as he'd have expected. He'd simply said hello, handed Balta an ovoid package and flown off. Was it for some sort of device the Toa wanted made? If so, why hadn't he said anything about it, unless...


Unless it was something illegal.


Balta glanced left and right, then ducked under an overhanging heap of damaged metal plates and, hands shaking with excitement, removed the foil wrapper from... a red rock. For a few moments he could only stare at it. Jovan must have meant something by it; the Toa of Magnetism didn't have much of a sense of humor. But what?


Then his crafter's eye caught something printed on the inside of the foil. It was a schematic of a building, perhaps the best-known building in Metru Nui, aside from the Coliseum.


Balta packed up his bag full of scrap and put the red stone in the side pocket. He didn't know what waited for him at the Great Temple, but he was ready to find out.




Garan exhaled deeply, which was as close as he came to sighing in public. He couldn't ignore a summons delivered by a Toa, even one as informal as a picture printed on the wrapper of a greenish-black stone.


Garan neatly stacked the tablets on his desk, sorting them into exhibit blueprints, letters from other archivists, and documents from the Onu-Metru council. "Think you could manage without me for a couple hours, Onepu?"


"No problem, Garan," the violet-masked Matoran called from the other side of the office. "Just be back by 25; Nuparu's called a meeting to unveil some new stasis chamber model."


Nuparu was one of the few Matoran Garan had real trouble working with. He was only a Rahi shipment unloader, yet he was constantly pelting the archivists with plans for new technology for the Archives. Nuparu wasn't known to be too fond of Garan, either. Something about Garan's habit of rejecting his over-designed gadgets seemingly didn't sit too well with him.


Well, perhaps a quick break from the Archives Management Office would do Garan good. After a little fresh air, he'd have all the more energy for sitting through the latest Nuparu nonsense.




Piruk turned over the bright green stone in his hands, glancing between it and the image of the Great Temple it had been packaged in. The message implied by Jovan's gift was clear. But Piruk had a chute station to look after, and his boss Kongu didn't appreciate it when he called in with questions. He supposed he would have to wait until his shift ended.


Still, though... Wasn't Kongu always telling him to take the initiative and make more decisions for himself? The station wasn't due for heavy traffic any time soon. Piruk settled on a compromise: he'd quickly see what was going on in Ga-Metru, and then send a message back to Kongu if it seemed like something that would take a while. Hopefully then he wouldn't be too upset.




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Edited by Akavakaku

( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) -Takuaka: Toa of Time

What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? Interchange: The epic begins

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Chapter 2


Kazi slammed a fist on his desk. Of course. Of course it had to be right now. Right when his inbox was overflowing with demands that he debug some telescope guidance program or retrieve some lost files. But instead he had a shiny white rock from Jovan that he had to take to the other side of the city.


There was a knock at the door of his office. As he'd expected, it was another of those insufferable Seers. They imported supercomputers from Xia to perform the crude calculations that their work required, yet most had hardly any idea how the machines worked and no idea what to do when something went wrong. Normally this was infrequent, but lately errors occurred on a regular basis. And so they came running to Kazi in the knowledge tower basement at all hours, asking for help.


"Kazi, I wanted to ask..." Matoro's voice trailed off. "Are you packing up?"


"Yep. Sorry, it's urgent." Kazi added his handheld computer to his backpack and threw it over his shoulder.


"Well, then... I... I'll wait for you to return, then." Matoro glanced down at a tablet he was holding, and then quickly shifted so that its surface was turned away from Kazi.


Kazi stared in confusion at Matoro on his way out. Seers were usually distant, but this was odd behavior even for him. Kazi somewhat morbidly looked forward to learning what this was about when he returned.




Dalu steered the cleaning cart back into its slot in the supply closet and slammed the door with unrestrained confidence. At last, all her nocturnal coursework had paid off! This was exactly what she had always known would happen. A summons to the Great Temple, where all of Ga-Metru's great scholars were inducted.


She had no idea what position or honor they planned to bestow upon her, but it had to be a great one. No one ever received a message directly from a Toa. Soon her current status as a laboratory janitor would be far behind her. Even Hahli, the head of the biology wing where she worked, would have to answer to her.


A moment after she flung open the laboratory doors, Dalu was greeted by the grating impact of four mechanical legs against the ground right beside her. She spun to see a blue-and-orange Vahki looming over her. It was followed by another an instant later.


Freezing in place, Dalu held the blue gem given to her by Jovan in front of her like a charm against evil. The first Vahki's gaze bored into the stone for what felt like a whole minute before it turned to the second Vahki. The two buzzed at each other like insect Rahi, then withdrew and allowed Dalu to pass between them.


She glanced back at the Vahki Bordakh over her shoulder and watched them fly off. Her rational side told her that there was no shame in being afraid of them; every Matoran feared being targeted as a criminal by the machines. But the fear felt like poison, and she was glad to be rid of it and on her way to the temple.




Velika powered down the Kanoka lathe, removed his magnifying goggles and rubbed the back of his neck, sore from hours and hours spent hunched over his work. Now it was time to see if his efforts were finally paying off.


He lifted the finished Teleportation disk from his workstation and loaded it into a scanning device. Most properties of a Kanoka could be discerned by sight or touch, if you were skilled enough, but determining a disk's power level required the use of special tools.


For an instant, as the disk rotated in its scanner, Velika believed he might have finally succeeded. But he was soon let down as the machine reported the energy content . The disk wasn't even level eight. As he carried it to the pile of finished disks he felt like giving up. It was a very familiar feeling.


"Hey, bro!" There was a loud clang against the door of Velika's workshop. He glanced up to see a familiar mask peering in through the door's small window. Velika unlocked the door from his control console, the inadequate disk still weighting his thoughts.


"I got your new shipment here!" The Matoran who had arrived pushed in a cart laden with three chest-high reinforced canisters. Each was marked with the seal of a different metru. "Ko,' Le,' and Onu,'" he declared proudly.


"Oh, thank you." Velika glanced between his employer and the canisters. "Did you want anything else, Hewkii?" Velika found it strange that Hewkii had delivered the raw protodermis personally, rather than send it via transport drone.


"Nah, well, yeah. Just wanted to..." Hewkii absently withdrew the Kanoka in his launcher and spun it between his hands, as he often did. "Just to see how you were doing. Good progress?"


"Hah. Oh. Uh, it's okay. I'm... not there yet. But I'll get there."


Hewkii sighed and returned the disk to his launcher. "Ok, I'll be honest, bro, Turaga's been on my case to tell you to hurry up with these special disks he wants. Like, I'm trying to tell him you need time, but he isn't happy about it."


Velika sunk into a chair and supported his head with one hand, pretending to reread the order from Dume for six high-level disks that lay on the table before him. He hadn't made a single one yet up to the quality standards ordained by the Turaga. Of course, no one in Metru Nui ever had. But Velika had a reputation for achieving what other disk makers said was impossible, so shipments of raw protodermis from all six metru were being delivered to his workshop.


"Hey, bro! I know what you need! You need to take a break, you've been working on those 'disks of legend' all week! Come on, me and the assembly carvers are having a kolhii tournament after work today, you should come watch!"


"You always win at kolhii." Velika sighed, but a smile reached his mask. Hewkii's familiar chat took his mind off his troubles. "There's no suspense."


"Oh, I don't know. Epena's got some really sick new moves."


"I'm serious, if you were half as good at Akilini you'd be a superstar."


Hewkii's reply was cut off by a knock on the open door. "Hey! You better get back to your shop, Hewkii, there's Zadakh prowling around it!"


Hewkii waved to the Matoran who had alerted him. "Gotta go, Velika. You better be at the kolhii field tonight!" He raced out the door, closing it behind him.


Velika didn't see the intruder slip in through a window.


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Edited by Akavakaku

( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) -Takuaka: Toa of Time

What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? Interchange: The epic begins

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  • 2 months later...

Chapter 3


Lariska glanced out the window she had entered through and put a special computerized lens to her eye. The device automatically locked on to the airborne speck that was Jovan and traced out his trajectory, confirming that he was heading straight towards the Po-Metru street outside Lariska's hideout. Despite the utility of the lens, she felt a strong dislike for it. It took the risk, the challenge, out of tracking down a target. She would rather fail a mission by her own merit, unlikely as that was, than succeed because she had the better tools.


The Dark Hunter flipped away from the window frame and alighted upon a ceiling beam, the impact silently dampened by her mechanized prosthetic arm. Her vision swept over the room, noting a lone Matoran who appeared to be in the process of crafting something. If Jovan chose to make his final stop in this building, a single Matoran would pose no risk to the ambush's success; it could only hinder the Toa.


Now that all the possible ambush sites had been surveyed, all that remained was to wait for the target to arrive. He had already escaped unharmed from two attacks. Lariska's orders were to capture Jovan alive if possible, and if not, to kill him. At this point she would gladly let Krona turn him into a steaming puddle. This was the last Metru Jovan needed to visit, and unless he planned to make more trips to undefended locations it would only be more difficult to capture him later.


Jovan landed in the street, curtly greeted the Matoran standing nearby, and headed towards Lariska's hideout. She now had only seconds to send Krona the signal. Lariska flicked the pebble she'd left on the windowsill into a grate in the ground outside. Now for the Matoran working in here. Killing him would be easy, but that wouldn't help bring in Jovan.


Instead, Lariska dropped to the floor directly behind the Matoran and, before he could even cry out in surprise, put a short length of cloth over his mouth and a knife to his neck. "I'm not being paid to kill you," she growled, "so don't make me."




Jovan stifled his anxiety and walked purposefully towards Velika's workshop. If the Dark Hunters were still following him, so be it; his task was nearly complete. All he regretted was that if he was captured, his successors would have no one to train them.


He knocked on the door, then pushed it open. "Velika?"


The only sound in the building was the rumble of a large machine with a dim digital display. Jovan glanced at it and noted absently that it was indicating the properties of a protodermis sample.


"Velika?" That Matoran at the Kanoka shop had said he would be here. Something was wrong. What was that in the back corner?


"I'm sorry, Jovan, he's not available right now." Lariska was holding the terrified Po-Matoran at knife-point.


Jovan drew his bayonet launcher and pointed it at the Dark Hunter, even though he knew it was a futile gesture.


Lariska scoffed. "I'd slice him open before you could even pull the trigger." Velika's eyes widened even farther in fear. "Lower your weapon... before I get impatient."


His gaze fixated on Velika, Jovan did as Lariska said. But he noticed that the Matoran's eyes were flickering methodically: to Jovan, to a large metal canister on the right, to Lariska, and then back to Jovan. After a moment he realized what the message was. But he had to act with the utmost caution.


Jovan slowly and deliberately walked a few bio to the left, then sat down on a large crate. Lariska turned to follow his movements.


"Well, it seems you have something I need." He raised his hand and pretended to inspect the armor on it.


"Are you trying to negotiate, Toa?" Lariska stressed the last word by tightening her grip on Velika.


"Tell me, what are your terms?"


"Your unconditional surrender. Or your death."


"I see. Rather flexible." Jovan's eyes flickered to the space above Lariska's head. "But I decline." He flipped over the canister which he had magnetically carried into position above her and solid protodermis granules poured out, each one expanding into a steaming mass of dry ice on contact with her armor. Lariska herself unwittingly shielded Velika from the downpour of Freeze protodermis, and he broke free of her rigid grip. But before he could flee to safety, Lariska managed to smash her icy shell and kicked him aside. His mask flew off and he landed motionless in a pile of disks.


Jovan raised his weapon and fired a magnetic bolt at Lariska, who intercepted it with a thrown knife. The blade crumpled into a tiny metal ball from the magnetic force. Before Jovan could fire again, Lariska shouted, "Krona!"


The floor between Jovan and Lariska exploded, and from it crawled an insectoid orange titan. "I've been looking forward to this, Jovan," Krona growled.


Jovan smiled morbidly and aimed his bayonet towards the former Toa. "Good to see you again, sister."


"I am no sister of yours!" Krona lunged forward at Jovan, mandibles bared. Jovan leapt straight up and used his mask to soar over her, taking him from the corner to the center of the room. Krona's momentum carried her into the wall, which she hit carapace-first.


Brushing the last of the dry ice from her armor, Lariska threw a large black dagger at Jovan. He noticed it out of the corner of his eye and waved his arm to deflect it with magnetic force, realizing too late that it was unaffected. The glass knife hit a gap in his stomach armor, and he gasped in pain.


Undamaged by the collision, Krona sucked in a lungful of air and exhaled a stream of hot plasma at Jovan, forcing him to defend himself with a magnetic barrier. It could block the plasma, but not the heat it radiated, so Jovan was forced to fall back. He glanced towards the disk pile where Velika had fallen, but Lariska was there, kicking disks aside in search, another black knife in hand.


This was impossible! How could he defeat the Dark Hunters while still protecting Velika? They could attack at will, while he had to focus on defense. No, of course: that was the solution!


Jovan ducked behind an overturned table to give himself a moment to gather his remaining elemental power. As soon as he felt he had recovered what he needed, he stood back up to see Kronia preparing another scalding blast. Rather than protect himself, though, he pulled hard with elemental power on Lariska, putting her directly in the path of the attack. Kronia gagged on her own plasma breath to avoid incinerating her ally.


Meanwhile, Jovan spotted the brown of Velika's armor in the disk pile and leapt to his side, magnetically summoning his mask. He put it back on Velika's face and put the wrapped stone in his hand, then turned to see both Dark Hunters closing in on him.


"Excellent." Krona's voice was scratcher, but that did not diminish its menacing tone. "We have our target AND the witness."


"You won't take him!"


Jovan couldn't see the code on the disk in Velika's hands, but he knew what it was. "No, Velika!"




"Excellent." Velika awoke to find Jovan facing both the being who had held him captive earlier and a huge insectoid. "We have our target AND the witness," rasped the larger foe.


Velika realized the disk he had just made was at his feet, and he had a sudden inspiration. "You won't take him!" he cried as he threw the Teleport disk at Jovan.


"No, Velika!" Jovan raised a hand and pushed against the disk's momentum with magnetism, stopping it and reversing its course back towards Velika.


It hit and he felt the dizzying warp of teleportation, then found himself in a dark place. It was a cube, not much bigger than his own dimensions. Directly above him was a thin line of light. When he touched it, it opened, revealing the skyline of central Po-Metru. He was in a crate, far from his workshop. Jovan had sacrificed his freedom to save him, but why?


It was then that Velika realized he had been holding something since he had reawakened. The object turned out to be an amber-brown stone wrapped in a picture of the Great Temple. It must have been Jovan's way of telling him to take the stone there. He didn't know what to expect, but it had to be something vitally important to Metru Nui.


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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) -Takuaka: Toa of Time

What if the Toa you know best were not destined to be? Interchange: The epic begins

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