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Hello BZPower, this is my first epic! It revolves around the adventures of the Kanohi Force in the 2004th Dimension as they gain greater intelligence and freedom from their unjust overlords. The story largely takes place in that dimension's Metru Nui, and so all of the Matoran characters use the MetruToran build. Anyway, I guess I'll post the first chapter now.

 

Review topic

 

Independence - Chapter One

The green Matoran dashed through the streets of Onu-Metru, breaking several laws in the process. Firstly, all citizens of Metru Nui were to be powered off at this time of night. It was also illegal to leave one's Metru without permission from a supervisor. Lastly, on-foot speed was not to exceed two miles per hour. The hulking figure lumbering after the Mahiki-wearing outlaw made note of all this information and sent it back to the Onu-Metru police headquarters for future reference.

 

Steam hissed from several exhausts on the pursuer's massive arm as it ratcheted down to grab an instrument from its torso. The giant flicked a switch on the cylinder and aimed it at the swift Le-Matoran. It watched, dumbfounded, as the criminal continued on unaffected. Checking The Code out of preprogrammed habit, the robot confirmed that the runner now qualified as defective. A hatch slid open on the robot's right shoulder and a small turret emerged, automatically locking on to the newly branded defective.

 

The Matoran realized that the guard had entered Phase Two and tossed the tablet he was carrying into the nearest window. As he rummaged for something in his satchel, he could only hope that the tablet was now in the correct building and that the inky black sky had prevented the guard from noticing it.

 

Finally finding what he was looking for, the Matoran hit a few buttons on a rectangular object while dodging laser fire. An orange portal appeared, hovering above the street. The Le-Matoran dove into the portal moments before it disappeared entirely. After performing scans in all imaginable spectrums to ensure that the perpetrator was not hiding, the robot began the walk back to the Onu-Metru police subdivision barracks.

 

* * *

 

The next morning at 5:00 AM, a Matoran powered on. This was a notable occurrence; Matoran usually awoke at 5:30. However, the government was lenient in some cases such as this one. This particular Matoran was a Le-Metru inventor. He wore a black Kakama and had green and black armor. Like the rest of the Matoran, he had no name besides his designation code: T1S. The pack on his back was slightly larger than the variety on most Matoran, seeing as he was an inventor. He was in Onu-Metru on a sanctioned business trip to pitch new inventions, but now it was time for him to return to his own Metru. He had powered on early so he could use a transport before the main rush. As he gathered his Akilini disk and the unsuccessful prototypes, he noticed something odd on the floor of his second-story apartment. He knelt down and collected a small stone tablet. One side was blank, while the other said, WAKE UP.

 

What could this mean, and who was it from? he pondered with his slightly advanced brain. Supervisors always gave very specific instructions, which they then relayed to the antennae on the Matorans' backs. It couldn't be from them.

 

The only logical solution he had was to present the tablet to a supervisor. He carefully put on his satchel before subjecting himself to the five minute screening process required to exit the building.

 

* * *

 

In the Onu-Metru underground, a Matoran sat at his desk, neatly recording every minor news story of late. As he copied down an article about the curfew being extended by a minute, his antennae began to hum. He tapped a button on the side of his mask and he heard the raspy, monotonous voice of a supervisor.

 

"Loremaster unit IRE, report to Onu-Metru supervisor office 4 immediately."

 

Using the button to toggle through options on an HUD, IRE confirmed that he had received the message and would follow the instructions immediately.

 

As usual, heads turned as he walked to the office. It was unusual for a gray Onu-Matoran to wear a Kaukau.

 

When he reached the office, a tall, thin supervisor with a purple shoulder patch was waiting next to a Matoran.

 

"IRE, you will be travelling to Le-Metru with T1S to analyze an object he discovered. Our forensics department was unable to find out anything, but we feel that your extensive knowledge of history could prove useful."

 

"Affirmative, supervisor."

 

The spindly, black being then took T1S's Onu-Metru pass and handed IRE a Le-Metru pass. The pair made the short walk to the transport terminal in awkward silence.

 

* * *

 

In Ta-Metru, a Matoran sat on a bench and carefully watched the traffic. If he had been anyone else, he would have been labeled defective and dragged off. However, this Matoran was a previous Chronicler, one who had the privilege of travelling the city and recording important events. This position was gradually phased out and replaced with the numerous Loremasters. As such, he now did whatever odd jobs the supervisors assigned him. Suddenly, he received a message.

 

"We only have one unit in forge 7. Head there immediately."

 

When he arrived, he found an orange-and-blue Matoran hammering a red-hot sheet of metal.

 

"Greetings. I assume you are the unit the supervisor sent to help?" the forgemaster asked.

 

"Affirmative."

 

"Excellent. Our task is to create some new armor for that guard unit." He gestured towards a massive black figure standing in the corner near some tools. "Hmm.... I think we need to get that cannon to retract before we can apply the plates. Can you turn him back on?"

 

The former Chronicler nodded, and then walked over behind the guard. He removed a panel from the back of its head and was presented with several switches. He flicked what he assumed was the power switch and the forge was filled with sound.

 

"YOU CLUMSY FOOL, WHAT DID YOU DO?!" the forgemaster shouted, just barely louder than the noise.

 

They heard laser fire and started looking around frantically. Quickly the two discovered that the gunshots went with the sound, and that the sound was part of a video! They intently watched the projection on the wall, first in amazement and then in horror.

 

"Why would this guard record himself shooting a Matoran?!" the Chronicler cried out.

 

"I don't know, but we need to show a supervisor," the forgemaster said.

 

As they headed for the office, they saw two annoyed-looking Matoran at the transport terminal.

 

"Do you two know which supervisor office is best for reporting something?"

 

"No," the gray one said. "Why do you ask?"

 

The pair of Ta-Matoran made sure no one else was around.

 

"We found a video of a guard shooting at a Matoran."

 

T1S remembered the strange note he found.

 

"You two are coming to Le-Metru."

Edited by Black Six
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"YOU CLUMSY FOOL, WHAT DID YOU DO?!" the forgemaster shouted, just barely louder than the noise.

That'd be my reaction in real life also. Anyways, I love where this is going and I hope this story goes along swimmingly! You've portrayed my character great so far! Keep up the good work!

 

Glad you liked it, but comments go here. 

This topic is strictly for the story itself. :)

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Independence - Chapter Two

 

The supervisor looked suspiciously at the two Ta-Matoran. Then she glanced over at the green-and-black Le-Matoran.

 

"You claim that these two units will be useful for your analysis of the tablet?"

 

"Affirmative, supervisor." It was the first lie T1S had ever told.

 

"Very well. Here are two more Le-Metru passes."

 

The four Matoran boarded the rail shuttle (train), which started the journey to Le-Metru.

 

"So how did you two get that video?" IRE asked quietly.

 

"We were supposed to fix up a guard unit, but we accidentally accessed its memory," the old Chronicler said.

 

"Wait a second," T1S said. "You may have permission to be here, but you didn't have permission to leave the forge! They'll find us before-"

 

Suddenly the train creaked to a halt. The forgemaster ran to the window and saw that they had stopped over a bridge, with several guards coming towards the cars. The fronts of the beefy robots opened and smaller, Matoran-sized versions emerged.

 

"They're coming aboard!" the forgemaster shouted.

 

The Matoran were ready to accept defeat when two Ko-Matoran burst into their car. One wore a Huna and carried a throwing disk while the other had an Akaku and a manic gleam in his eye.

 

The Huna-wearer darted to the back of the car, disk at the ready. The other pounced on T1S, screaming "NYEEEEEEEEEEH!"

 

"No! What are you-" the crazed Ko-Matoran ripped apart T1S's pack. It was common knowledge among Matoran that removal of the pack would result in death, or at least that's what the supervisors said.

 

"No! I'm dead! I'm dead! I'm....... I'm free!"

 

Unit T1S remembered everything. The invasion, the enslavement, he remembered who he was: Shadow. As his memories flooded back to him, so did his personality. While "T1S" was an obedient Matoran, Shadow was a natural leader.

 

"Hey! You with the Huna!"

 

"Kovika."

 

"Are you good with a disk?"

 

"Yes."

 

Shadow grabbed his own from his satchel.

 

"Let's get out there."

 

The two Matoran cautiously stepped out onto the narrow, windy bridge. One of the guards noticed them and opened fire with a small, handheld blaster. Using their Akilini disks as shields, they were able to deflect most of the lasers; Kovika did take a glancing blow to the shoulder.

 

"Ghiddy, get those sleepers out! Things could get messy!"

 

The Akaku wearer, Ghiddy, nodded to Kovika and started leading the citizens out the other end of the train. However, Shadow's company stayed behind.

 

Shadow threw his disk with newly-remembered expertise. It struck the gunner in the face, sending both crashing into the chasm below. Kovika threw his at one of the heavier guards, but it just bounced back. In response, the robot prepared a rocket launcher and aimed it at the train.

 

"IRE, toss me that thing!" Shadow gestured to one of his prototype inventions on the floor of the train. The Onu-Matoran passed it to Shadow. He opened a hatch on the gadget and began tinkering with it.

 

"This was a disk retriever for easy Akilini clean-up," he mumbled. "Let's try it backwards."

 

He loaded Kovika's disk into the device and aimed it at the guard. Just then, the robot fired a missile. Shadow cried out as his part of the bridge collapsed. His hands frantically searched for purchase as he fell. His hand caught something, and the forgemaster pulled him back to the train. Shadow tossed Kovika the disk launcher and watched as the Ko-Matoran used it to knock off the robot's head, but not before it launched a few more rockets. Kovika scrambled back into the train with the others and they all started running to the front.

 

The first rocket destroyed the back car and sent the smoldering wreckage over the edge. The next hit the second car while Ghiddy and the Chronicler were still inside. IRE and the forgemaster doubled back to help them while Shadow and Kovika continued on. The other four soon emerged, although IRE had some shrapnel lodged in his chest.

 

Once they got out on the other side, Ghiddy pushed the train, sending it into the ravine. It also managed to destroy more of the bridge, making it impossible for the Onu-Metru police to reach them.

 

Son, the six arrived in Le-Metru and quickly headed to Shadow's workshop. His assistant, a black-and-teal Matoran with a Miru, was already there. Shadow realized: it was Dragon! He knew that Dragon was prone to freaking out, so Shadow tried his best to sound like his "old self."

 

"Unit DRG, would you please sit down?"

 

"DRG" nodded and sat down on the floor.

 

Kovika quickly moved in, opened Dragon's pack, and unplugged some things.

 

Dragon nearly collapsed.

 

"S-shadow?"

 

"Welcome back, Dragon."

 

After catching Dragon up, they went about freeing the other three.

 

The gray Onu-Matoran stood up. "I'm..... I'm Irrie."

 

The Ta-Matoran awoke.

 

"Sup guys, I'm Tokytot."

 

"I am Geha."

 

Irrie and Geha began to discuss history while Kovika, Shadow, and Ghiddy came up with strategies and plans. Tokytot and Dragon stood guard outside.

 

"If we ever want to get out of here, we need to destroy the communications tower. The slower information spreads, the longer it takes them to catch us," Shadow said.

 

"Sounds like a good plan, but you can't come with us because it'll be suspicious if you don't have a pack." Kovika glared at Ghiddy as he finished his sentence.

 

Ghidora, trying to absolve himself from blame, said, "Even if you could go, how could seven Matoran bring down a whole tower?! We need more people!"

 

"Hmm.... perhaps the best thing to do for now is to make some weapons before they find us. And I want to see that video!"

 

Seven Matoran had never worked better together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Independence - Chapter Three

 

Ghidora cautiously led the four Matoran to the workshop.

 

He took a deep breath. "Remember guys, this will get very dangerous. Not all of us will make it." He turned to look at them. "This is your last chance to turn back."

 

The Pakari-wearing Po-Matoran stepped forward.

 

"I'm free now, so I will fight for the freedom of others, as Petewa!"

 

A Ta-Matoran with a Hau accepted next.

 

"If it will bring more hope to the city, I am happy to be part of it. I hereby take the name Tahu, to inspire those still enslaved."

 

The other two, also Ta-Matoran, seemed more reluctant.

 

"I... I think I need more time," one said.

 

"Durahk, we talked about this...." the other said.

 

"I know, I'm just not sure we're ready to tell them." Durahk ran off, with the other, Arzaki, hot on his heels.

 

Petewa started to charge after them, but Ghidora held him back.

 

"Don't. They're no threat to us. They might not join us, but we all hate the supervisors."

 

The three walked into the workshop, which was alive with activity. Geha and Dragon were fiddling with some Akilini disks, while Shadow directed Irrie in welding together some machinery. Kovika cringed as Tokytot tested a new device on him.

 

Ghidora walked over to the welding area.

 

"Uh... Shadow? Here are the recruits."

 

"Good. I was hoping for more, but with the weaponry we've put together this week I think we're finally ready for the attack."

 

"Hey! Po-Matoran! Come help us load these disk launchers!" Dragon called.

 

* * *

 

The seven Matoran exited the workshop, fully equipped. Shadow and Ghidora were staying behind because their packs were missing; however the former had managed to provide the others with disk launchers and cloaking devices. Ghidora had also set up an audio/video link between the workshop and the Matoran.

 

"Is this thing on? Okay guys, Shadow says you're supposed to press the red button on the circle thingies."

 

The seven did so, and the spheres emitted rays of blue light before projecting 360 degree holograms around each Matoran.

 

"Shadow says that these only protect against the naked eye, but if you stay quiet the guards won't have any reason to switch to other spectrums."

 

Using the Le-Metru chutes, they were able to get to the center of the city quickly. They moved slowly towards the communications tower, Petewa in the lead.

 

They heard Shadow's voice over the radio. "Okay, spread out around the tower while Irrie plants the charges."

 

As he neared the tower, Irrie's fear grew. As an Onu-Matoran, he was inherently afraid of heights. But the climb wasn't worrying him, his friends were. Shadow had put his faith in him, but pack or not Irrie was a writer. He pushed the thought of everyone dying from his mind and began the ascent.

 

Petewa breathed heavily as he made his way to his position.

 

The plan has to work, if I mess up - he tripped and fell.

 

The cloaker shattered, revealing him to the guards. Petewa froze as they charged him, ready for the certain death that would come. Suddenly, a disk whizzed past his head and smashed into that of one of the guards.

 

He turned to see Tokytot.

 

Loading another disk, the Ta-Matoran shook his head and said, "You clumsy fool."

 

However, one disk didn't impede the guards and soon they were unloading their weapons on the pair of Matoran.

 

"No! Get out of there!" Ghiddy shouted.

 

At this point, most of the Matoran had given up on the cloakers and were fighting back with Petewa and Toky.

 

At the top of the communications spire, Irrie watched the battle below.

 

"Ghiddy, I've planted all the charges. What now?"

 

"Get the karz out of there ASAP!"

 

Irrie quickly clambered down the structure and ran back to the meeting place, which had seemingly been abandoned. The only other Matoran behind the rock was Tahu, who had followed orders.

 

"Tahu, we're gonna have to leave the others. Let' go."

 

"We can still save them!"

 

"Remember the mission. Now let's do this for freedom."

 

Irrie slammed his fist on the detonator and the tower erupted in fire and smoke.

 

The two watched in awe as the smoldering supports came down onto the battlefield, crushing members of both sides of the fight.

 

Irrie and Tahu charged, bringing down a few remaining guards with their launchers.

 

"Last call, we're moving out!" Irrie shouted over the roar of the fire.

 

As they ran, Tahu noticed a figure limping towards them. It was Geha. The pair quickly ran over to him, holding him up as they left.

 

Irrie opened the channel to the workshop again.

 

"Shadow, we've only got three at the moment. Copy."

 

Nothing.

 

"Shadow?"

 

Irrie looked at Tahu grimly.

 

"Something's wrong."

 

* * *

 

Not much later, Petewa awoke with a throbbing pain in his chest. He was pinned under a girder, with shrapnel puncturing his armor in various places. He couldn't help but smile. He was injured, but alive. And the plan had worked. He fell out of consciousness again as some of the others were dragged of by guards.

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  • 4 months later...

Might as well update thi- *violent cough* Geez, it's dusty in here.

 

Independence - Chapter Four

 

Arzaki held open the door of the makeshift shelter as several Matoran shuffled in. Durahk stood outside the forge, watching for guards and supervisors. Three weary and battered travellers limped over, looking expectantly at Durahk. It took him a minute to recognize them, but when he did he quickly let Irrie, Geha, and Tahu inside.

 

"Hey Arzaki, I think we're full," Durahk said, motioning to the trio.

 

"Right. Lock it down."

 

Durahk closed the forge's main door and led the three through the stone passage in the wall. Arzaki then sealed off that entrance. The dry tunnel was lit by flickering torches and filled with the sound of hushed voices. Durahk and Arzaki led the way to a chamber in complete silence.

 

The chamber was very large and full of Matoran from all six Metrus. They traded, they ate, they talked. They were free.

 

"This is our base," Arzaki explained. "It used to be a vault for all the things the forgemasters created."

 

Durahk turned to them. "Everyone here is unplugged. We're hoping to form an army."

 

Arzaki spoke again. "Durahk hesitated because he weren't sure if we could trust you with this knowledge. But then we heard about the tower and our trust in you was solidified."

 

"Now you explain to us," Durahk said. "How did you find us?"

 

"Geha suggested that we retreat to Ta-Metru because most of us are Ta-Matoran," Tahu said. "He was familiar with the forge district, so here we are."

 

Durahk nodded. "Irrie, I think you should speak with our military strategist. He thinks we're ready, but you've had a lot of experience with the robots. You might know otherwise." The Ta-Matoran directed Irrie to a white Matoran wearing a Miru.

 

"Hi. I'm Finbarr."

 

* * *

 

Dragon exited his sleep and entered the darkness.

 

Am I dead? He thought.

 

A mid-sized guard with hands that ended in swords and knives appeared in the blackness.

 

No. I'm Not dead. But I wish I was.

 

"You have two options: give me the information about the rebellion and I cut your brainstalk. Or, don't give me the information and I slowly remove your brainstalk until you do."

 

Dragon hesitated for a moment. "I'll die for the resistance."

 

"Believe me, you will."

 

Nearly an hour later, the robot exited the cell. Another guard was waiting outside.

 

"Get a cleanup crew in there."

 

"Did he have any information?"

 

"None that he would share."

 

"The other two are the leaders. They'll be harder to crack, but they'll have the information."

 

"Any word on the three missing?"

 

"Teams are still combing the wreckage of the tower."

 

* * *

 

Several of the heaviest guard types methodically searched the Le-Metru district for Ghidora.

 

"You said he had an Akaku, right?"

 

"I don't know, I haven't gotten any information about him. Maybe communications are down."

 

"Wouldn't we have heard if the communications were down?"

 

The second guard slapped himself in the face.

 

Suddenly, Ghidora slipped out from behind a hut.

 

"Hey, you should be nice to your face while you still have it." He fired his launcher at the guard's neck, cleanly taking its head off.

 

The other guard readied its weapons, but its head was also knocked off, this time by Tokytot.

 

"Sup Ghiddy?"

 

"Toky! Did anyone else make it?"

 

"I dunno. I just thought it would be a good idea to come back to HQ. Where's Shadow?"

 

Ghidora swallowed.

 

"They took him. I dove out the back window just in time. I couldn't go back." He seemed very shaken up about Shadow's capture.

 

"Hey, everyone makes mistakes. We should-"

 

"HOW  CAN SOMEONE MESS UP THAT BADLY?!" His breathing grew heavy.

 

"Ghiddy. It isn't your fault."

 

Ghidora collapsed to the ground, sobbing.

 

"It's all my fault. I unplugged all of them. I didn't warn them in time."

 

"Ghiddy-"

 

Ghidora roared and bashed him with the empty disk launcher.

 

Tokytot stepped back. "I'll just give you some time to cool down, Ghiddy. Just stay out of trouble."

 

"No! Stay! Don't leave me!"

 

He looked back at Ghidora, and thought about all the weight on his shoulders, how troubled he was when they first met on the train.

 

The train, he thought. It seems like an eternity, but it's only been a week.

 

"All right then. We'll stick together. But where can we go?"

 

"I don't know. Is anywhere safe anymore?"

 

"There is one place, but it might be a worse idea than running into the supervisors' arms."

 

"Where?"

 

Tokytot gulped.

 

"The wild."

 

* * *

 

Back at the detention center, the same guard unit that had killed Dragon entered Shadow's cell.

 

"You have two options."

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Now that the story has split into several narratives, chapters are going to focus on one group at a time, no matter how mundane it may seem to fill a whole chapter with, say, crawling through a sewer. (Like this one)

 

Independence - Chapter Five

 

"Have you heard the stories?"

 

"Hmm?"

 

"About the wild."

 

"Like what?"

 

"The beasts. The countless deaths of those who left."

 

"Eh."

 

Tokytot and Ghidora sneaked through one of the unguarded sublevels of Le-Metru. The Matoran of this district were obviously accustomed to heights; the underground areas were unused and in disrepair.

 

The two continued on in silence for some time. Tokytot glanced back at Ghidora several times; he appeared to be twitching violently at times. Toky began to speak in an attempt to make small talk:

 

"I'd wager everything I've got - which isn't much - that this area was installed by the supervisors after the invasion. But for-" Toky stopped short.

 

He motioned towards the left, down one of the larger tunnels. He placed his hand on Ghidora's shoulder and activated the cloaker, concealing both of them. They moved slowly down the passage towards the warm, red, glow and the faint hum of machinery. Toky almost fell off the ledge at the end, but Ghidora held him back.

 

Before them was an indescribably large chamber, circular in shape with an enormous diameter and spanning far above and below their point. At the bottom, and on other tunnels cut in the stone walls like theirs, many fires roared. They were fueled by metals, primarily Matoran and Rahi, most of which were still alive as they rolled down the conveyor belts. These furnaces, watched carefully by guard units, sent their heat into turbines, which presumably powered generators, which sent electricity to the surface.

 

"I-it's the size of the whole inner ring," Tokytot gasped.

 

'The power plants on the surface are a front," Ghidora said blankly.

 

Tokytot continued to stare in horror.

 

Ghidora tugged at him. "Come. If our work is successful, they'll be gaping at us soon enough."

 

He still would not move, as though his feet had been melted to the ground by one of the furnaces.

 

Ghidora dragged him back down the tunnel.

 

* * *

 

"I think we've reached the end."

 

"How can you tell?"

 

Ghidora knocked on the thick metal wall that marked the end of the tunnel, as well as the city. An access tube rose from the ground next to it. He punched a hole in the weak plastic door. None of the chute's functions worked anymore; he began to work his way up the tube manually.

 

"Wait, wait. I got this."

 

Tokytot stretched his palms towards the wall, and a few embers appeared, leaving nothing more than a small black mark.

 

Ghidora resumed his climb. "Have fun with that."

 

 

Soon enough they had reached the top of the tube, which led to one of the guardhouses installed near the Le-Metru wall. Both had most likely been built by the supervisors; neither of them could be sure as they had never been to the edge of Le-Metru before the invasion. They could hear many guards talking in their deep, monotone voices, although this particular room was empty as the chute didn't work and there was nothing else of import there. The two drew their launchers and reactivated the cloaker.

 

They shuffled into the main room, where several guards were stationed at computer terminals, monitoring feeds from the cameras mounted on the wall. Ghidora swore aloud when he realized that the cameras could toggle between spectrums. Luckily no guards heard.

 

The pair waited for a tense half hour, until another guard entered the room. They dashed as one through the door as it slid shut.

 

The edge of Le-Metru was unlike anything they had ever seen. The main city had some plants, but out here is was a full-on jungle. They only stopped for a few moments before slipping towards the wall. The only way to the top was another tube.

 

Tokytot turned to Ghidora. "We're gonna have to risk it."

 

The tube, built to support full-armor guards, accepted the two of them side-by-side easily. A gust of air shot them to the top and out onto the wall.

 

This time, a guard did hear, and turned towards the tube before switching its vision to heat mode. It then hastily notified the guardhouse of intruders, causing several high-pitched alarms to screech across the jungle. Tokytot removed himself from Ghidora and deactivated the cloaker. No need for illusions now.

 

The first guard readied a rifle, while several others ran from the guardhouse towards the tube.

 

Toky looked at Ghidora.

 

"You ready?"

 

The Ko-Matoran nodded, and the two dove backwards off the wall. The seven foot drop into jungle foliage didn't hurt as much as the laser fire that followed. They managed to stumble to their feet and dash towards the taller trees, dodging more shots from the wall. The lasers soon stopped; the guards wouldn't venture into the jungle for whatever reason.

 

Eventually they slowed to a walk and looked at each other. Then they began to laugh hysterically.

 

"HAHAHA! WE DID IT!"

 

After a few minutes, they started to calm down, letting out a few more chuckles.

 

Ghidora cleared his throat. "Well done. Now the real work begins." He pumped his fist in the air. "For freedom!"

 

Tokytot stared at him at first inspired and then in horror as Ghidora fell sideways into the dirt.

 

And then everything went black.

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Independence - Chapter 6

 

"...strikes here and here will give us a hold on the entire district, and then..."

 

In the conference room, Geha had almost dozed off. Irrie was absorbing every word of Finbarr's strategy, while Tahu was at least trying to look like he knew what was going on. Geha knew he probably should have been paying attention, especially considering he felt something was off about Arzaki and his associates.

 

Suddenly, the talking stopped. Fearing someone had asked him a question, Geha looked up. Finbarr was looking darkly at Irrie, who was shaking his head.

 

"How many troops do you have?"

 

"About five hundred."

 

Irrie laughed for the first time since before the invasion. Now Finbarr was scowling.

 

He turned back to Finbarr. "There are easily four times as many guards. You'll barely leave a dent."

 

Finbarr sighed heavily. "You f- Irrie. Don't you get it? Strength is in numbers. They can't stop a rebellion that large."

 

Irrie threw his hands up. "Strength in- what?! The solo ones are hard to kill. Get a group together, and one explosion, and-" he paused. "and everyone you know is gone."

 

Gehad noticed that Irrie was now looking down at the table.

 

Finbarr stood and gathered his maps and schematics. "We're holding a meeting for the whole rebellion tonight. Maybe you'll understand then."

 

He left the room in silence.

 

Tahu and Geha looked at Irrie, and then at each other.

 

Tahu tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey? Irrie? I know what you're thinking, and it isn't your fault. There's no time for guilt right now, especially when it's false."

 

Geha nodded. "It's not your problem. If anything, it's -" he stopped.

 

Irrie looked up. "What?"

 

"Nothing. Just a stupid speculation."

 

"No. Really."

 

Geha waved him off.

 

* * *

 

After spending some time resting, the three of them were invited to the meeting. It was being held in the main chamber, and everyone there was set to attend. They were placed in one of the smaller side vaults in the wall, which had been converted into a balcony. A wooden stage, generally accepted as a trading area, had been cleared off for the speech givers. Irrie saw Durahk, Finbarr, and Arzaki, as well as a few others he did not recognize. The hum of chatter died down when Arzaki stepped forward.

 

"Citizens of Metru Nui!" His gruff voice echoed through the chamber.

 

"For too long we have endured the invaders in silence. But no longer! This is our time! And it will be remembered as such! The time we refused to be silent. THE TIME WE MADE OURSELVES HEARD!"

 

The chamber erupted with applause and cheering. Even Irrie joined in.

 

Durahk stepped up next. Irrie had seen Finbarr slip him his speech.

 

"Gaining our independence will not be easy, but with your help nothing is impossible. Arzaki and I-" Finbarr cringed a little - "have prepared our strategy, which consists of three main phases-

 

First- we will retake the city.

 

Second- we enslave the supervisors.

 

Third- we spread across the planet and claim our rightful place as the supreme race!

 

FOR FREEDOM!"

 

The crowd reciprocated his call, while Tahu and Geha, who had been clapping at first, stared at the stage in horror. Irrie remained completely silent.

 

Arzaki rejoined Durahk at the podium.

 

"Our journey begins tonight, brothers and sisters. Tonight, we take back what has been lost!"

 

More cheering. Several Matoran rolled out large crates filled with Kanoka, swords, and other weapons. The Matoran began to form lines, eager for the bloodbath to begin. Irrie and the other two moved with the rest of the crowd down the stairs from their balcony to the stone door.

 

Out on the streets, the battle had already begun. Several guard squads had been dispatched to the sound of the noise and were firing on Arzaki's troops. Some of the more agile Matoran were able to swoop in and slash with their swords, but most were kept back by the guards' guns. The Kanoka were of no use without the force brought by Shadow's launcher design.

 

Irrie pulled Tahu and Geha around the corner.

 

"Clearly we've fallen in with the wrong crowd. But I have an idea. If we can convince Arzaki- if he survives this- to move his men to attack the prison, we may be able to meet up with some of our comrades."

 

"But what if none of them are at the prison?" Geha asked.

 

A flaming chunk of a guard flew by.

 

"Then at least our enemies can take each other out."

 

Tahu nodded and then loaded his launcher.

 

"I assume we're fighting alongside Arzaki?"

 

"Yes," Irrie said. "Just this once."

 

Geha shrugged, and then picked a Kanoka from the street. "Free ammo."

 

* * *

 

A supervisor entered a darkened room. She looked roughly like all the others, although she had a crimson patch on her right shoulder. In the center of the room was a large, oval table. A lone figure sat there, seemingly talking to himself.

 

The supervisor saluted.

 

"Sir."

 

"What is it, Ercheo?"

 

She paused.

 

 

 

"My troops failed to suppress the rebellion in inner Ta-Metru."

 

Silence.

 

"Sir. If you could just give me more troops- I fear this ember may become an inferno."

 

Another silence.

 

"That may be the case. But anyone can stomp out an ember."

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Independence - Chapter Seven

 

Another millimeter. One step closer to insanity and death. And still, nothing but silence.

 

The guard removed its pincer-like hand from Shadow's brainstalk.

 

"Silence leads to death."

 

"Tha... that's funny. Before, keeping quiet was the only way to stay alive in this city."

 

Three millimeters.

 

"This is your last chance. How large is your rebellion? What are your future plans?"

 

Shadow glared at the robot.

 

"You already know that answer, don't you?"

 

Five millimeters.

 

"Insubordination will not be tolerated any longer."

 

Shadow snorted. "I'm not talking. Clearly you-"

 

A boom. And then an alarm.

 

The intercom emitted a supervisor's voice. "All units in block A, guard the lower level. Don't let them get to the second floor."

 

The guard retracted its claws and then looked at Shadow as it walked out.

 

"I'll be back." Then the cell door slid shut.

 

* * *

 

Outside the main prison compound, Arzaki's troops were fighting fiercely. Tahu and Finbarr had created several bombs and had detonated one by the outer wall. The Matoran had then flooded the courtyard and took fortified positions before the guards could react.

 

Tahu, Geha, and Irrie had taken cover behind a large, metal crate.

 

"We might actually win this," Geha said, smashing a guard off a balcony with a Kanoka. Most of inner Ta-Metru had been unplugged and joined with Arzaki. The master smiths from the inner city had made more effective weapons, giving the army a better chance than in the initial fight.

 

"Yeah, but we're not here to destroy the prison. We're here to look for the others," Irrie reminded.

 

"Then what are we waiting for?!" Tahu threw one of his bombs at a nearby wall. The smoke and rubble covered their entrance.

 

Irrie gestured to a flight of stairs, where several destroyed guards lied. "POWs are probably higher up."

 

As they dashed up the stairs, the power for the whole prison went out. Tahu quickly started a small fire in his palm. On the second floor, prisoners were taking advantage of their deactivated cells. Many were already running back downstairs. Geha spotted an unopened cell. It came open effortlessly. Inside, Kovika hung from crude metal chains.

 

"Kovika! Let's get you down from there." Tahu and Irrie moved in to free him while Geha watched the door. He seemed more tired than hurt. The guards had seemingly not interrogated him yet.

 

"Took you guys long enough. Let's go look for the others."

 

The four of them continued down the hallway, looking for their other comrades. Soon, they found another closed door.

 

"Hey guys."

 

They whirled around to see Petewa approaching them.

 

"Petewa! Good to see you're still around." With each reunion, Irrie felt less guilty.

 

"Have you seen Shadow?" Kovika asked.

 

"No. I heard you guys talking so I headed this way. I'll help you look for him, though."

 

"What about Dragon?"

 

The Po-Matoran went silent.

 

They turned their attention back towards the cell. They could hear the fighting getting closer.

 

"Let's hope he's here," Geha said.

 

Kovika kicked in the door completely unnecessarily. It nearly hit Shadow in the face.

 

Irrie quickly rushed over and undid his bonds.

 

"Uhh... you... you guys came back for me?"

 

Irrie helped him up. "No man left behind."

 

Shadow smiled. "Irrie... I need to.... he glanced over at the others, and then stopped.

 

The Matoran had pushed the robots back into the prison.

 

"We need to go now," Geha urged.

 

The six of them began to run back down the corridor.

 

As they ran, Shadow turned to Irrie again.

 

"Irrie... I've had a lot of time to think. And I figured something out. Something-"

 

A guard's pistol rang out. The group stopped in their tracks. Irrie turned to see Shadow doubled over.

 

He looked up at Irrie, his voice strong and clear now. "Never forget why you're fighting. For our independence."

 

Another shot struck him. He crumpled to the floor as Petewa holstered the pistol.

 

Irrie was in a state of absolute shock. He could barely muster a sentence.

 

"W-why?"

 

"Lowlifes like you could never understand. This wasn't my first choice but it's my only option now."

 

His words were like acid. He drew the pistol again, this time leveling it at Irrie.

 

"NOOOOOO!" Geha threw himself at Petewa, knocking the pistol from his hand and throwing him to the ground. The two began to wrestle around viciously, while the others watched, dumbfounded.

 

At that moment, the large but considerably less personal fight arrived. The few remaining guards were being pushed towards the far wall, at the end of the corridor near Shadow's cell. Geha and Petewa separated to avoid incoming Kanoka and stray laser bolts.

 

One of the guards turned and fired a rocket at the wall, blowing a hole open. The robots ran for it, and Petewa prepared to as well.

 

Geha had murder in his eyes.

 

"This isn't over, traitor."

 

Petewa turned back, almost sorrowful, it seemed. "I would hope not."

 

Then he leaped out of the hole.

 

 

A few minutes later, Arzaki, Durahk, and Finbarr reached them, battered.

 

"Good thinking, Irrie. The prison is ours now. It only gets better from here." The three of them turned back, presumably off to give another speech.

 

Irrie looked down at Shadow's body.

 

"No it doesn't."

 

* * *

 

"It appears the ember has grown, as Ercheo suggested."

 

The figure stood from the table.

 

"Now I extinguish it."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Independence - Chapter Eight

 

Arzaki had acted quickly and claimed chunks of the outer Ta and Le Metrus. His army ow had a considerable hold on the northern half of the city. However, the robots never relented. They continued to siege the taken areas, but Arzaki's grouping allowed for easy movement of reinforcements and supplies. But rumors spread that the supervisors had a powerful ally, and one that would strike soon.

 

Kovika and the others were allowed to stay in the prison, which had been converted into Arzaki's main base. Irrie hadn't been seen since the initial capture of the prison, while the others looked for clues regarding Petewa, Ghidora, and Tokytot.

 

Tahu was checking security cameras from around the area, desperately searching for their missing friends. Geha entered the control room.

 

"Anything?"

 

"Not yet. But I'll find them."

 

"Hmm."

 

Tahu sighed. "What could have motivated Petewa to betray us?"

 

* * *

 

Petewa of Po-Metru was led into the room by several guard robots. A supervisor stood from his seat and the Matoran kneeled.

 

"P2A. You have done well on your mission thus far. We see great potential in your future. We have assigned you another task."

 

Petewa tried to say something, but stopped.

 

"Is there an issue?"

 

"Just... I thought.... after all this, I'd have him back. You... promised."

 

"And that promise stands. but it will not be fulfilled until you assassinate KVA."

 

"It will be ten times as difficult."

 

"If you want him back, you will complete the task."

 

"....Yes, supervisor."

 

"Excellent. But for now you must lead another mission, a strike against outer Le-Metru."

 

"It will be done."

 

* * *
 

The Matoran army in outer Le-Metru was working its way inwards. Things had been going smoothly, with Arzaki actually leading the troops into battle. Soon, however, they met resistance, supposedly led by a Po-Matoran. Now they were fighting for high ground in order to get an advantage over the robots. Arzaki and Durahk hid with a squad inside a small, two-story lab. Guards were moving by outside, searching for Matoran.

 

"We're doing something different this time," Arzaki said. "Come on."

 

They hustled down the stairs and out the door, sneaking up behind a guard. Arzaki fired a Kanoka at its weapon arm, knocking it off cleanly. Then he ran up and ripped off its other arm, throwing the robot to the ground in the process.

 

"This is the first of many we enslave and torture. Phase Two is officially active."

 

The squadron split up to look for other robots. Arzaki and Durahk doubled back and looked up at the sound of an unsettling noise, both organic and mechanical. A winged figure circled inner Le-Metru, close to the building roofs.

 

* * *

 

Outside the city, in the jungle region, a Matoran watched the figure fly as he stood on a balcony. Quickly, he turned back towards his village and ran to the leader's hut. Inside he found the village ruler, as well as two others he was speaking with. The leader's silver armor was shiny enough for him to see his own red and gold reflection.

 

Bronze bowed, and then spoke.

 

"My lord. The Doombringer is over the city."

 

Aerixx turned to him. "What?! But then that means a serious conflict is taking place.... Yes, that would explain those two..."

 

Aerixx looked at one of his assistants. "Gather the Visorak. We leave tomorrow morning."

 

Bronze spoke again. "Sir? Should I wake them?"

 

"Yes. Let's go speak with them."

 

The two of them dodged other Matoran on the way to the medical hut. The whole town was alive with news of war. Aerixx pushed past the vine door and led the way to a pair of cots. Tokytot and Ghidora lied on them, while a Ga-Matoran watched them closely.

 

Aerixx turned to her. "Kasha. Give them the antidote."

 

"Sure thing." She quickly opened a nearby chest and poured two cups full of a strange liquid. Then she gave it to the unconscious Matoran. Instantly they awoke.

 

Ghidora sat up first. "Where am I?"

 

Aerixx stepped forward. "Outside the city, in the jungle. A team of my huntsmen found you out there a week ago and tranquilized you. You've been in our little hospital ever since."

 

Now Tokytot was listening, too.

 

"Who are you? What do you want of us?"

 

"I am Aerixx. As for your other question, both of us have some explaining to do. Come, I can tell you all you need as we prepare our attack. And in turn you can explain the nature of the city's conflict."

 

The two rose from their beds and followed Bronze, Kasha, and Aerixx out of the building.

 

* * *

 

The Matoran continued to fight, but warily. The winged creature still elected to circle the area. The two sides seemed evenly matched for once; rumors spread that the unseen Po-Matoran was the head of all the supervisors. Still, Arzaki's troops continued to disable and capture the robots instead of destroying them. Petewa had been careful to avoid their wrath.

 

Soon, the fight reached its climax in an open courtyard. Most of the remaining forces from both sides were present.

 

Petewa heard the winged being descending. He swallowed.

 

The mighty warrior, nearly ten feet tall with imposing armor, a massive sword, and ragged wings landed in the middle of the courtyard, crushing several of Arzaki's troops under his mammoth feet. He then grabbed Arzaki with a clawed hand and slowly drove the sword through him. The monster made sure he stayed alive until the entire blade had passed through him. Then he tossed the body aside.

 

All of the Matoran, even Petewa, were in awe and terror at the same time, although each feeling oddly managed to stay separate.

 

The warrior turned to fully face Arzaki's men. They now saw his grotesque mask and the various fluids stained on his armor, uncleaned trophies from past battles.

 

In a gravelly, roaring voice, the dictator of Metru Nui shouted.

 

Across the island, a single message pierced every Matoran's heart.

 

"GHIDARUS CANNOT BE OVERTHROWN!"

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Independence - Chapter Nine

 

The bloody afternoon had faded into night. Tokytot and Ghidora had joined Aerixx and several of his followers by a large fire, preparing to exchange stories in order to better understand each other and put the whole picture of Metru Nui together.

 

"How much of the pre-invasion and invasion eras do you remember?" Aerixx asked.

 

"Not much at all, besides the fact that they happened. Those memory and intelligence dampeners are killer," Ghidora replied.

 

"Alright then. I'll do my best to explain things, then. They never put one of those packs on me." He took a deep breath, and then began the tale. "This island was the most important place in the world. Beings from all around came here to visit Metru Nui. We were a hub for all sorts of trading and manufacturing. We had connections and allies all over the planet.

 

About seventy-five years ago, the supervisors and their wretched machines arrived. They claimed that they wanted to be partners with us and establish a strong military force for the island. Granted, we had defenses but we were free enough that there was no dedicated armed force. We accepted their deal, and they quickly set up their troops all over the island.

 

Things went smoothly for a couple of months, but then the illusions ended. The supervisors quickly seized the city and began to enslave the populace. Luckily, I was able to escape with a group of close allies before they took over everything. I guess things have been in their favor until recently.

 

My people built this village soon after we left. The guards never search the heart of the jungle, for fear of Rahi. We try to bring in anyone who manages to escape the city."

 

The group was silent for a while. Tokytot and Ghidora were processing everything, while Aerixx and his comrades were clearly remembering the tragedy.

 

Tokytot finally spoke. "How did you manage to escape?"

 

"I was actually in a position of power in the original government. I had many encounters with the supervisors before they took over. While most other Matoran trusted strangers easily, I had a certain detachment from my work. I always had a suspicion about them, and so I was able to get out at the first warning sign."

 

The two rebels nodded, and then began to share their part of the story. They included the full tale of the rebellion, as well as information they had uncovered while on the run after the tower's destruction. Aerixx listened intently; it also seemed Bronze had finally tuned in for some reason.

 

When they were finished, Aerixx asked, "So you don't know if your friends are still alive?"

 

Ghidora shook his head.

 

"Well, my assistant Bronze spotted the Doombringer over the city. So something serious is happening. There may be hope for them yet."

 

"Who is the Doombringer?" Ghidora asked.

 

Aerixx hesitated.

 

"His name is Ghidarus. He is the dictator of Metru Nui and the commander of all supervisors. He is a vile monster who must be destroyed."

 

Ghidora and Tokytot were a bit taken aback. Aerixx had been relatively tame until now.

 

"Five of us were the elected leaders of the city at the time. Jakura, Pohatu, Dallior, Arzaki, and myself. He destroyed all of them ruthlessly, as well as hundreds of others."

 

Arzaki was alive just recently - he may still be!" Ghidora blurted.

 

Aerixx stared at him, trying to determine if he was telling the truth. Then he rose from his seat.

 

"Come on. Let's get ready to go."

 

* * *

 

One of Aerixx's troops had outfitted Ghidora and Tokytot with ornate swords, as well as light armor to cover proven weak points. Now they were helping the rest of the villagers prepare the Rahi for the coming battle.

 

Tokytot was strapping a saddle to a Visorak when Bronze approached him.

 

"Hey, Tokytot."

 

"Hey."

 

Bronze paused.

 

".... When you were telling your story, you mentioned a Matoran called Petewa."

 

"Yeah, what about him?"

 

"He's my brother."

 

Tokytot stopped.

 

"Really?"

 

"Yeah. And you were talking about how the communications tower fell and everyone disappeared..."

 

"We'll find him. Promise."

 

Bronze stared at him for a moment.

 

"Thanks."

 

He headed off to find his own Visorak.

 

Soon, the whole convoy left the village, chasing after fate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Independence - Chapter Ten

 

Ghidarus had worked quickly to reenslave those Matoran still alive. But this time, he wasn't going to keep them in the dark. No, all of them would suffer through their fate, very much aware. He laughed to himself as he watched the rebels clean up the mess they had made of Le-Metru's streets.

 

Meanwhile, Irrie dashed through Le-Metru's outer ring. He had managed to slip out of the prison before it was retaken. Now he ran through the deserted roads, simultaneously knowing and not knowing what he was doing.

 

Soon, he reached the wall between Le and Ko-Metru. He started looking around at the nearby buildings, entering what he somehow knew was a laboratory, and one he felt he had been in before. The inside was a mess. The tables and counters were covered in notes and bits of machinery, with only a few complete projects in sight. Irrie grabbed a small device from among a pile of other junk and turned back to the door. Two guards stood in his way.

 

Irrie reached for his launcher and realized in a moment of panic that he didn't have it. He hastily ripped a long pipe from the wall, spinning it elegantly.

 

"Let's go, then."

 

The guards came at him with their fists, apparently trying to capture him, not destroy him. He brought the first down with the pipe, and then swiftly kicked the second into a table of beakers and vials. Chemicals of all sorts tore through its armor quickly.

 

Irrie smiled at his handiwork, and then slung the pipe through the strap of his satchel. More guards were waiting for him outside. He turned and ran for the border.

 

As he ran, he thought about what had happened after Arzaki won the battle at the prison. Irrie had disappeared into one of the cells, meditating on all of his previous exploits. He had come to terms with his grief and overcome it. He had realized he was not responsible for the death of Shadow, even though Shadow trusted him. With a clear head, Irrie had spent a few more days in the cell, trying to decide his next move.

 

It was at this time that Ghidarus had attacked the prison. The Matoran stationed there had received word of Arzaki's death far too late, and they were easily overrun. Irrie had just barely escaped, abandoning his friends once again with a heavy heart.

 

The border wall had no guards stationed. All forces had been sent to stop further rebellion and oversee the slaves. Irrie took the chute up and looked out over the edge. The jungle was beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The trees and grass were incredibly green, and the colorful plants that dotted the landscape were shades Irrie had never seen before.

 

He heard a rumbling, and turned to face twenty or so guard robots of the medium class approaching. They had followed him from the city, but the stomping wasn't them.

 

"Commander, this region has no history of tectonic activ-"

 

The robot was crushed by rubble as a Kane-Ra burst through the wall. Irrie quickly jumped from his place on the wall as several more Rahi of different species followed suit. Visorak, Muake, and even a few Nui-Rama hacked their way through the robot ranks. In all, there were about forty beasts, each with a Matoran rider. Another hundred fifty or so ground troops filed in with energy swords and bows and a variety of other weapons.

 

Irrie got to his feet in awe as Ghidora, Tokytot, and another he didn't recognize approached him.

 

Tokytot clapped him on the shoulder while Ghidora shook his hand. The other Matoran began speaking.

 

"Greetings. I am Aerixx, the leader of these warriors. Your friends here explained what was happening in Metru Nui, so we came as soon as we could. From their descriptions, you are Irrie?"

 

Irrie composed himself quickly. "Yes, I'm Irrie. I'm afraid most of our rebellion has been crushed. We have to act quickly."

 

"Then let's go get our city back."

 

The Matoran cheered, and Aerixx mounted his Gukko and took to the skies.

 

Ghidora tossed Irrie some spare armor pieces.

 

Tokytot leaned in. "Do you know anything about a Doombringer?"

 

Irrie paused for a moment. "I think I know who you're talking about. We have to get rid of him."

 

"Do you have a plan?"

 

Irrie pulled the device out of his satchel.

 

"I do. But when do our plans ever work?"

 

* * *

 

The Matoran had finished their work in Le-Metru and were now being prodded towards the center of the city. Tahu hadn't seen Geha or Kovika since the marching began. He hoped they hadn't disappeared like Irrie.

 

The guards seemed to have been reprogrammed to be extremely malicious.

 

"Move, worms. You will greet death soon."

 

Ghidarus flew over the entire procession, in an attempt to lessen morale even further.

 

They were almost through Inner Le-Metru.

 

As the morning sun began to rise, a voice called out behind them.

 

"RELEASE THEM. NOW. OR WE BURN YOU WHERE YOU STAND."

 

Tahu looked up at Ghidarus. He was hovering low enough now for Tahu to see his face. He nearly seemed impressed.

 

Irrie looked down the street at the Matoran. Captured. Weak. The guards shoved some to the ground. Then he looked to his friends. And then he knew that they couldn't lose, that there was no way they could let these monsters win.

 

And then he charged.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Here it is. The big finale.

Independence - Eleventh Hour

 

The guards braced themselves for the attack and readied their weapons. One of them opened a hatch in the street.

 

"In."

 

The Matoran stood.

 

The Rahi were attacking now. The guards were not built to handle such a threat and were torn apart helplessly as their systems scrambled.

 

The guard motioned to the hatch again.

 

"Now."

 

The Matoran stood.

 

Ghidarus retreated to the center of the city, flying quickly.

 

"Move!"

 

The Matoran made their stand.

 

They beat down the last of the guards, yelling the whole time. Le-Metru was theirs.

 

* * *

 

Ghidarus watched on a monitor as the rebels raided the armories near the city center. They took all of the weapons. From the precise laser pistols to the destructive rocket launchers. They took all of it.

 

He turned to one of his minions.

 

"Mobilize ALL units. I want them ground into dust by nightfall."

 

The supervisor nodded, and set off to deploy three thousand more robots.

 

* * *

 

The Matoran were about nine hundred strong now, and growing. Tahu had led some troops into nearby Ta-Metru to liberate even more warriors.

 

Now, the robots were arriving in the city's inner ring. Kovika had taken command of some Visorak whose masters had fallen and made first contact. Soon, the forces on both sides were spread all around the inner ring, flinging the entire city into chaos. Neither side had much coordination; the guards were still perplexed by the occasional Rahi strike and each Matoran had their own personal score to settle. Both sides seemed to have lost what they were fighting for and were now only trying to destroy each other.

 

In the madness, Finbarr and Durahk were trying to leave the city with some of Arzaki's original followers. Kovika found them near the Onu-Metru bridges. He quickly dismounted his Visorak and dashed towards them.

 

He threw Durahk to the ground.

 

"Irrie told me about you two."

 

Durahk got to his feet and drew his sword. Finbarr and Kovika did the same. Arzaki's followers crossed the bridge, but repeatedly looked back at the brewing fight.

 

"Let's settle this."

 

* * *

 

Tokytot and Bronze approached Petewa casually. They were in Ta-Metru, on top of a building. Petewa had been surveying the fight.

 

Bronze cleared his throat, and Petewa whirled around.

 

"Bronze! How did you-" he stopped, and instead ran over to hug his brother.

 

"Long time no see, brother," Bronze chuckled.

 

"How did you get out of Ghidarus' fortress?"

 

"....What do you mean?"

 

"When the invasion started, he captured you. He left me unplugged to use as a spy, to quash any rebellions before they started. I've had to do it once before. He said when my service to him was done, when order was finally restored, he would release you and we could leave the city."

 

"....Petewa..... I.... escaped the city before the takeover even began."

 

Petewa stared at Bronze for what seemed like a long time. His face contorted, his eyes twitched. After so long, some fragile part of his mind, maybe his whole mind, had finally snapped. He drew his sword.

 

His voice was shaking now, scared and paranoid. "No! They've changed you! Everything I've done.... all the blood on my hands... it can't have been in vain! You're lying!"

 

Tokytot and Bronze were somewhat stunned. Petewa was breathing heavily, swinging crazily, like a madman. They grabbed for their own weapons, and Petewa ran at them.

 

* * *

 

Geha, Tahu, and Ghidora had found each other again, and were now fighting fiercely against the overwhelming forces in Po-Metru. How they had made it there, they weren't sure, but nothing was certain anymore. Irrie, however, had seemed certain when he went looking for Ghidarus with Aerixx. He hadn't been seen since....

 

* * *

 

Kovika nearly fell off the bridge into the chasm below, but he managed to keep his balance. He lunged at Finbarr and began wrestling with him near the edge of the bride. He punched viciously, until the corrupt strategist was down. Maybe for good.

 

He got to his feet and turned to Durahk. The Ta-Matoran seemed to have lost his fighting spirit; perhaps it had been missing long before their battle. Durahk was a follower, not a leader. A few well-placed blows knocked away his sword. He looked Kovika in the eye, fear in his own. Kovika stared at him for a few seconds, and then kicked him off the bridge.

 

He sighed deeply, and turned to head back into Onu-Metru.

 

A sword tore through his chest, and then his attacker twisted it. He gasped and fell to the ground.

 

Finbarr stood over him, his Miru dirty and crushed. He seemed to have something to say, maybe something that would redeem him, clear him somehow. But he was silent. And then he began walking towards outer Onu-Metru.

 

* * *

 

Irrie and Aerixx crept towards the center of the city, making their way to the capital building. Following them was another Matoran, Ouberry. He was one of Aerixx's most trusted advisors and could easily be counted on in the clash with Ghidarus.

 

Soon enough, the tall cylindrical building stood before the three of them. The main door, surprisingly, was unlocked. The security systems on the inside were also disabled. No guards were posted. It was as if Ghidarus wanted to crush challengers personally.

 

They took the elevator all the way up, preparing themselves silently. Aerixx had a dark look in his eyes as he removed his sword from its sheath. Irrie held his staff and checked for the device in his bag, while Ouberry loaded his disk launcher.

 

The doors slid open, and they were bathed in the light of the monitors.

 

* * *

 

Petewa was more than a match for the pair of Tokytot and Bronze. He had far superior combat training and was much more agile. The duo was tiring out already.

 

"Petewa, please! You may have done terrible things before, but you got the same end either way. You can redeem yourself now! Just stop fighting us!" Bronze backed away from another swing.

 

"SHUT UP. SHUT UP. Things would be very different if I hadn't done any of this. We wouldn't be here." He motioned to the raging streets below them in disgust.

 

He slashed at Tokytot, who cried out and fell to the ground.

 

The brothers were near the roof's edge now. They continued to exchange blows, but no more words.

 

* * *

 

Fifty feet below them, the supervisors had entered the fray, pushing back the fighters from Po-Metru. Tahu, Geha, and Ghidora were now taking cover in a wrecked building, now using their disk launchers instead of their swords.

 

Outside, a maglev cart pulled up, driven by a supervisor. Instinctively, the fighters on the street cleared out. Geha looked at the trailer portion of the cart, and saw what it was carrying: massive amounts of explosives. He realized what it was: a suicide bomber. He swallowed, and ran out of the building. The supervisor saw him, and stepped out of the cart, clutching an energy spear.

 

Geha stood before the slender creature, knowing what he had to do, even if it would cost him his life. But better him than everyone else.

 

The supervisor raised her spear.

 

"Any last words?"

 

Cruelly, she drove the spear into him, before he could act or even respond.

 

But he stood. And he pointed the launcher at her head.

 

"I hope you can afford surgery."

 

The disk smashed into the supervisor's face, completely destroying her brain. She fell to the ground.

 

Geha dropped the launcher and fell to his knees, breathing heavily. He turned to his friends, watching him with sad eyes, one last time. They'd been with him from the beginning. Together, they'd carried everyone this far. A sense of peace came over Geha, and he smiled. And then he closed his eyes.

 

* * *

 

The three of them walked towards Ghidarus calmly. He was sitting in a large, thronelike chair, watching camera feed from around the island.

 

He swiveled around dramatically in his seat as Irrie cleared his throat. He glared at them, expecting some kind of grand speech. Instead, they just charged. Irrie darted over to the left, while Ouberry strafed him with his launcher on the right. Aerixx charged furiously up the center.

 

Ghidarus stood from his chair and drew his massive, rusted sword. He swung it at Aerixx, but too slowly. The silver Matoran hacked into his leg with the energy sword, knocking off a few bits of armor plate. Ghidarus wound up for another swing, but Ouberry's first disk hit his head. He growled, and turned to the Onu-Matoran. Irrie jumped onto Ghidarus' back, stabbing his staff everywhere.

 

This time, Ghidarus was able to catch his opponent. He snatched Irrie off of his back and threw him against the far wall. The others did not relent. The sword continued to tear into his leg, and his face was peppered with disks.

 

Soon enough, though, he had Ouberry cornered. He deftly hacked off his launcher arm and kicked him away.

 

Still, Aerixx never stopped.

 

"You're paying today, Ghidarus. For everyone you've ever killed."

 

With each blow, he called out the name of one of his fallen friends.

 

"DALLIOR! POHATU! JAKURAAAA!"

 

Ghidarus couldn't keep up. Aerixx quickly slashed all the way through his right leg, and the monster fell.

 

Irrie struggled to his feet as Aerixx rose his sword.

 

* * *

 

Petewa tackled Bronze and pulled a grenade from his waist.

 

"We're going down together, traitor."

 

"NOO!" Bronze pushed him away.

 

Petewa stood and pressed the activation button.

 

Five.

 

Petewa chuckled insanely.

 

Four.

 

This was what he wanted, right?

 

Three.

 

Bronze tried to do something. He tried to call out, he tried to move. But his legs were rubber. He couldn't do anything.

 

Two.

 

That was his brother. It was. They had been manipulating him the whole time. He should have known Bronze was safe. But it was too late -

 

One.

 

Kovika pulled the grenade from his hand and tossed it over the side. It exploded over the cart of explosives, igniting them in a massive eruption of fire. He put Petewa in a headlock and limped towards Bronze.

 

* * *

 

The explosion rocked the tower. Aerixx stumbled towards Ghidarus, but he kept his sword raised.

 

"You can't do it, can you?"

 

Aerixx snorted at Ghidarus.

 

"This isn't one of those stories where someone convinces me to spare the villain and give him a second chance.

 

Ghidarus chuckled weakly. "But this also isn't the story where the hero wins."

 

He punched a clawed hand through Aerixx's chest. At the same moment, Irrie pulled the device from the lab out of his satchel.

 

"IT'S TIME FOR YOUR REIGN TO END, YOU MONSTER!"

 

He pressed a button on the device, and a portal opened behind Ghidarus. He tried to pull himself away, but he was sucked through, alongside Aerixx.

 

As the portal closed, a burst of energy swept across the island. The majority of the guards had already been destroyed, and the remaining few were deactivated by the pulse. The Matoran all around the island looked up at the shining spectacle, completely amazed.

 

Irrie sighed. As he sunk to the ground and lost consciousness, his only thought was that it was finally all over.....

 

 

 

Independence - Chapter Twelve

 

The battle was over, and once again, the Matoran were picking up the pieces. But this time, of their own will.

 

Kovika noted Finbarr's escape, as well as that of several supervisors. Most likely they were hiding out in the wild.

 

Tahu, Ghidora, Tokytot, and Bronze had also all survived the battle. They were a little worse for wear, but intact. Kovika had managed to keep himself from falling apart after Finbarr's attack. He had metal plates welded over the hole in his chest, but other than that he was fine.

 

Ouberry found himself a replacement arm, as well as a pretty sweet cape, to boot. Irrie was physically fine, but he had been changed many ways on the inside.

 

As for Petewa, Kovika had handed him over to Bronze, but the Po-Matoran seemed to have slipped away into the city. Bronze had gone after him.

 

The rest of the group had gathered in a tower, with a balcony overlooking the injured city. They remembered their friends - and their enemies - who had given their lives to stand up to the supervisors. Dragon. Shadow. Durahk. Arzaki. Aerixx. Geha.

 

After thanking those brave Matoran, as well as the others who were still with them all throughout the city, they talked.

 

About all their adventures. About what they wanted to do. After all the turmoil of the past few months, it felt good just to speak among friends.

 

As the conversation started to die down, Tokytot went to visit Irrie on the balcony.

 

"It's kind of scary, isn't it? We're on our own now, in the real world. We've probably got a lot more enemies than before. Maybe we aren't ready for the world. What are we going to do?"

 

Irrie pulled the tablet from his satchel, the one that had started their entire journey. He stared at it for a while, and thought about its message.

 

"Reality is terrifying. As terrifying as the nightmare we were in before. But the nightmare wasn't the pain. Or the death. It was the darkness. The blindfold we were all forced to wear. The true evil was the illusion. But now we're here, and everything is real."

 

He paused to look out over the city, and all the possibilities it held.

 

"And you can do anything when you're awake."

 

END

 

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Epilogue - Dimension Three

 

A soft wind blew on the plains, making the sparse trees and the tall grass hiss as they rubbed together. The setting sun touched everything here, holding the world one more time before it set.

 

Ghidarus opened his eyes. And right away he knew something was terribly wrong.

 

The pain was incredible. He could hardly move anything without wanting to scream. But slowly, he was able to pull himself off the ground and look at himself.

 

He was much shorter, only the size of a Matoran now. His whole form seemed rusted and falling apart, some nightmare monster. He recognized bits of armor laying in the field as his own, and then he realized what had happened.

 

He'd been dragged through the portal with that scum Aerixx. And when they had come out the other side, they'd been fused together. And now he was trapped in this pathetic body. Forever. A wave of anger rushed over him.

 

He heard voices. His first instinct was to attack, but then he remembered that he was now powerless. He scrambled towards the nearest tree and clumsily hid in the leaves.

 

Two figures approached. A Matoran, and a Toa. The Toa looked vaguely familiar, but he recognized the Matoran right away.

 

Kultax. The one who had caused so much trouble. He must have given his little friends a teleporter before escaping here. He grew even more angry, but then he listened to what they were saying.

 

"Hey, Bonkle, check out this weird stuff over here."

 

"Huh. That wasn't here a couple of hours ago, Petewa."

 

Petewa. It was Petewa. Impossible.

 

"Well, we best get back to the tower."

 

The pair of idiots started chanting something.

 

"Kanohi Force! Kanohi Force!"

 

Ghidarus didn't know what the Kanohi Force was. But he would kill Kultax and Petewa. And anyone else they knew.

 

He hopped down from the tree.

 

My next nightmare begins, he thought.

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