|Setting||Unidentified parallel universe|
Biomechanical Chronicles is a story written by UsagiTaicho and set in a parallel universe.
From the private journal of Dr. L. Eskner:
I have done it! I have successfully developed a way to transmit commands through solid plastic-like semiconductor! I am overjoyed at this, as it will completely revolutionize robotic and computer engineering. Now, since this new material (which I have decided to call “protosteel”) can be melted down and reshaped any way you need, I can finally resolve the body-type issue. Plus, this wonderful material can even move on its own, provided the right signals are sent through it. Oh wonderful times. Now, I simply need to create a suitable memory unit capable of storing vast amounts of information, yet smaller than two inches. This might be a problem.
Lhikan sat up and opened his eyes. Well, technically, he sat up and turned on his eyes. But he was unaware of the difference, and he was programmed with a limited vocabulary, unable to compare the definitions for his first experience in life. Looking around, his head swam with the information; not only the unprocessed info that had been downloaded, but the vast amount of stimuli he was receiving from every conceivable part of his body. As the information piled up, Lhikan was overwhelmed, and was rendered unconscious.
Several hours later, various subroutines woke the sleeping Toa up. The room was now pitch-black, and for the first time, Lhikan made a coherent thought; Are my eyes closed?
“No, but the light is gone.”
Startled by the appearance of the voice, Lhikan stumbled backwards. He saw before him, a large mass, with glowing green eyes. Lhikan reached for something to defend himself, when the thunderous voice spoke again:
“Easy, my name is Axonn. I’m not gonna hurt you.”
“Ah-Axonn? What are you?”
“I am like you, just a bit bigger. What’s your name?” Axonn asked.
“Lhikan.” Startled at how quickly he knew his own name, despite never having thought about it before, Lhikan’s stare went blank. His head swam with information, but this time Lhikan fought through it, sorting it out until he found what he was looking for; proof of his name.
Axonn laughed, a strange noise which sounded like metal slamming together and pipes being struck with a mallet. Not the most pleasant noise ever, but it could've been worse.
“Very good, little Toa. You managed to stay awake that time.”
Lhikan, still a little dazed, stared at the large shape before him, which had developed detail. Standing before him was Axonn, a silver face, with silver armor. Giant hands and red limbs equally giant, obviously meant to wield something fearsome. But Lhikan was not afraid of Axonn. He simply stared in awe.
“Axonn! Where did you go?” a new voice cried out from the dark.
“Here, Nidhiki! I found another one. He is like you!”
Nidhiki emerged from the darkness, a refreshing dark green, with a silver mask. “Well hello. Who are you?”
“Lhikan.” His answer was more firm than before, because he was sure of it.
“Well then, Lhikan, please, come with us. There are more.”
“More?” Lhikan asked before he was pulled onto his feet by Axonn.
“Of course” the giant answered, “did you think that we were alone?”
Lhikan had not really thought about it, and staggered under the mental storm. He now knew that he was a Toa, a member of a mechanical race. He pondered what "mechanical" meant, but had nothing on the word other than that he was mechanical.
“What does 'mechanical' mean?” he asked his companions.
Both stopped to think about it, but simply shrugged when there own mental searches came back with nothing. The three continued on in silence, walking toward the far end of the blackness. When they got there, Lhikan saw the light.
The light, caused by a group of Toa, revealed a steep cliff, and at the bottom, was a large group of Toa. Lhikan was startled to see so many of his kind in one place, and he could see others joining the group much like he was. They were all gathered around one Toa, whose mask was emitting a great amount of light. Lhikan assumed he was the leader. Many of the Toa were talking amongst themselves, in low voices, as if waiting for the glowing one to speak.
Axonn jumped down the cliff, and motioned for Lhikan and Nidhiki to do the same. Nidhiki jumped as carelessly as Axonn, but Lhikan was worried.
“Come on, you big coward! It doesn’t hurt!” Nidhiki called up to him.
Lhikan figured that if he could do it, so could he. He wasn’t going to let some loudmouth show him up anyway. Jumping feet first, Lhikan landed gracefully on his feet, unaware of how he did it.
Another Toa, larger than even Axonn, approached the group. He stopped just short of them, looked at Lhikan, and started talking to Axonn. The two walked off to another part of the Toa’s encampment, leaving Lhikan alone with Nidhiki.
“Come on, new guy; we've got to introduce you to Takanuva.”
“Who is that?”
“The guy everyone is paying so much attention to. He is pretty much the de facto leader around here.”
The pair approached the center of the group, weaving between other Toa and occasionally pushing them aside. Most of the Toa would move out of their way if they could. Lhikan decided that Toa were polite, except Nidhiki. He hoped that there weren’t any more like him.
Finally reaching the center, Takanuva acknowledged them immediately with a gesture to wait. He was engaged in conversation with a white Toa, Who wore a strange looking mask. The two seemed to be discussing plans to separate the growing populace into groups. They were debating on the number. Takanuva seemed unconcerned about it, thinking that it could wait.
“Kopaka,” he said, “could this wait? I think we should decided what to do when we know the exact number.”
“Very well; I won’t wander very far.”
“Thank you, Kopaka.” Takanuva turned to Lhikan and Nidhiki. “Yes?”
“This one is new. His name is Lhikan, and it looks like he is a fire guy.”
“Fire?” Lhikan asked. His mind raced to find the definition, which he learned that fire, designated by the prefix Ta-, is an element that some Toa could control, himself among them. “Yes,” he said, “I am of the element of fire.”
Takanuva looked impressed. “Not many can process their thoughts as fast as you. Stick with Nidhiki for now, I want the two of you to try to find more of our people.”
Lhikan nodded, grateful for the compliment. He turned with Nidhiki, who was mumbling under his breath. Lhikan decided that he wasn’t too happy about being sent back into the dark.
Several hours later, the Toa were fully gathered. Lhikan stood with Nidhiki and Tuyet, a Toa the two had found in the dark. Takanuva asked for everyone to settle down, as he was ready to address them. The Toa named Kopaka looked rather stern, as he stood behind Takanuva. By this time, all the Toa who could control the element of Light had stopped producing it, as light began to stream through the air on its own. Only Takanuva stayed lit; Lhikan figured he did it for the added attention.
“My brethren, today is our first day alive. We have taken or first steps from the darkness, to emerge in the light! For many of us, the shock of the knowledge stored within our minds rendered us unconscious. We have gradually gotten better at handling the information, and the Great Spirit has rewarded us with light!”
“We must now make decisions that will affect us all. Three hundred we are, a force to be noticed! However, I, and many who I have spoken to, believe that if we move together, we will be targeted by unknown forces. However, there is no proof that any other forces exist, with the exception of the felled giant, slumped over, dead. If there are more like him, they may be hostile.”
“Kopaka proposed that, for a while at least, we break off into small groups, exploring the area now that its in light. The smaller groups should, if spread out from one another, be less noticeable. Eventually, when we have found a suitable location, we can regroup. But now you must put it to a vote. Who is in favor of sticking together?”
“Aye!” The cry rang out from many places.
“And who is in favor of splitting up?”
“Aye!” This time, the call was much louder, and more numerous. Lhikan wasn’t sure what to do, and he didn’t vote. Neither did Tuyet. Nidhiki wanted to split, as did many of the Toa around them.
“Very well, we shall separate.” Kopaka looked generally surprised at the vote. Apparently he had lost a little faith in his own idea.
“I will now appoint several people to decide the groups. Axonn, Brutaka, Vezon, Dume, Teridax, Icarax, Ignika, Lesovikk, Hydraxon, Maxilos, Tuma, Mata Nui — you shall be the choosers of the teams. Choose well. I resign myself to your will, and I expect my family to do the same.”
With that said, the chosen began to break off groups of people. Axonn strolled towards Lhikan. He had a few Toa following him.
He strolled off, gradually picking Toa to follow him. Toma looked at her new teammates. Lhikan introduced himself.
“I’m Lhikan,” he said. “And this is Nidhiki and Tuyet. Tells us what element you are, Toma.”
“I am a water element.”
“Great, Axonn messed up. He gave us two water Toa,” Nidhiki said.
“I don’t see how that is a problem. Who should be leader?” Tuyet asked.
“Do we need one?” Lhikan said, “We only have four people.”
“It should be me. I’m the most experienced.”
“You are also lazy and rude. Perhaps Lhikan should lead.”
“Really?” Lhikan thought about his new responsibilities. “Who do you think should be leader, Toma?”
“I don’t know. I just met you. But based on first impressions, it should be Tuyet. She is the one who realized the need for leadership, and she didn’t nominate herself. Lhikan, you don’t see the need for a leader, and Nidhiki seems like he just wants to order people around.”
“Valid points. Toma. Perhaps Tuyet should be the leader.”
“I would want a co-leader, to second guess me. It only mak-”
“Hey. Krekka was told to come here. Krekka part of Toa Mangai.” A large blue and white Toa appeared, interrupting the conversation.
“Oh, ok.” Tuyet said, “We were trying to choose a leader. The nominations are me, Lhikan, and Nidhiki. Do you have any nominations?”
“Krekka doesn’t care. Krekka just wants to go. Let's go.”
“I vote for myself,” Nidhiki interjected.
“I vote for Tuyet. Toma made a good point,” Lhikan said.
“I vote for Lhikan,” Tuyet stated.
“I vote for Tuyet,” Toma said.
Nidhiki was angry, and looked at Krekka for an answer. Krekka just shrugged, well aware he was incapable of making a decision.
“Sorry, Nidhiki, but Tuyet is the winner.” Lhikan stated.
“Alright then, leader, what do we do first?” Nidhiki asked.
Tuyet thought a moment, and turned to look for Takanuva. She couldn’t see him, he had disappeared into the crowd. “Well, maybe we need some sort of mission. Lets go search for the giant. Maybe he has some clues as to what this world is.”
Lhikan nodded in agreement. Secretly though, he knew that Nidhiki really wanted to be leader. He hated getting told what to do. Lhikan turned to follow the group, as they walked off towards the giant. Obviously, other Toa had the same ideas, since they weren’t the only ones heading towards the corpse.
“What is your element, Krekka?” Nidhiki asked as they walked.
“Krekka thinks it is Ice. But Krekka not sure.”
“Well, that’s a lot more helpful than two Water Toa.”
Lhikan sighed. He has gotten to know Nidhiki well in the past few hours, and he know that when he was angry with something, he would complain for a long time. If you tried to stop it, he would just complain longer. Fortunately, Tuyet stopped Toma from butting in with a shake of her head.
“Krekka not care. Krekka just want to do job, do next job. Krekka not care how it gets done, it just gets done.”
At this time, Nidhiki started to mumble again, obviously angry at Krekka’s inability to sympathize. Lhikan smiled secretly, enjoying Nidhiki’s anger and bitterness. Nidhiki was not a nice person, and he complained way too often. He should try to be more like Krekka, perfectly happy as long as the job gets done. Lhikan wondered if Krekka knew that he was Ice, or if he just guessed because he didn’t care.
The group approached the dead giant, carefully eying it as a precaution. They didn’t want it to come to life and attack. Another group of Toa, six of them, were scaling the giant already. When they got high enough, they jumped off of it to the nearby plateau. Tuyet took this as a sign that exploring the giant was still an option, and signaled for her team to begin to climb.
Lhikan took his first lesson in climbing about as well as his first lesson in thinking. He fell off. Luckily, he was close to the ground, and Krekka caught him. Tuyet seemed to be a natural climber, and was up on the giant's lap while everyone else was trying to find handholds on his legs.
Lhikan tried again, and found that if he let his reflexes do most of the work, he could climb rather well. He decided that that must be how Tuyet did it. He looked down and saw Toma struggling.
“Let your body do all of the work. Let go of yourself, and just tell it what to do,” he advised.
Toma thought a moment, and climbed with the skill Tuyet had shown. Nidhiki also followed Lhikan’s advice. Krekka, on the other hand, simply jumped, his powerful legs took him to the giants lap with ease. Obviously, not all Toa were created equal. With tenacity, the Toa Mangai reached their goal. Tuyet immediately assigned areas. Because of his size, Krekka was told to catch anyone who fell. Nidhiki was given the top of the giant, Lhikan was supposed to search the folds of its garments. Toma was told to study the surrounding area, while Tuyet was going onto the plateau to speak with the other group. She did this as gracefully as she had climbed, leaping from the giant to the plateau. Toma and Nidhiki both climbed up.
Lhikan stared at the mess before him. He questioned what purpose such garments had. He and the other Toa only wore masks and armor, assuredly because of a great peril to their race. The garments the giant wore did not appear to offer much protection. Maybe, Lhikan concluded, they were to keep him warm, and carry items while keeping his hands free.
Lhikan noticed that Krekka paid very close attention to Nidhiki and Toma, ready to leap and catch them if they should fall; He gets the job done. Lhikan returned his focus back to the giant. He noticed this little round thing, which looked as if it was made from the same material as he was. He noticed that they were all lined up in a column, going from one end of the giant to the other. He also noticed that the disks were not found on his lap.
“Nidhiki!” called Lhikan, “did you find any round disks up there?”
“Yeah, I used them as holds when climbing! They go all the way to its neck!” he called back.
“They might be useful! I’m gonna try and pull one off!” Lhikan called up to his fellow Toa.
Lhikan stared at the disk. He grabbed it, and pulled. And pulled, and pulled some more. Finally, the disk popped off. Lhikan stumbled across the lumpy surface, a little shocked. He called out, “It came off!”
Lhikan stared at the spot where it had been. There was nothing there but a little hole.
“There’s a little hole!”
“Anything inside it?”
Lhikan poked his hand through. He felt a cold thing, but nothing else.
“There’s nothing! I think it’s the giant’s skin!” He called up.
Tuyet reappeared a little later. Lhikan had collected a small pile of the disks. He presented them to her when she joined him. Krekka continued to watch Toma and Nidhiki. Toma was climbing down, and Nidhiki had disappeared into the folds.
When Toma reached the lap, she said “The place we appear to be in is massive. There is all kinds of strange things on top of similar plateaus. As far as I can tell, we are in some sort of room, rectangular in shape.”
“Very good Toma. Nice job. What happened to Nidhiki?”
“He went behind the garments. You can see his outline up there.” Lhikan pointed as he said that to a moving shape.
“Nidhiki! Return to me, please!” Tuyet shouted.
After a little shuffling around, the Nidhiki-lump emerged as Nidhiki. He had something with him, and held onto it as he climbed down.
“Look what I found,” he said when he landed before them. He handed Tuyet the thin, plastic rectangle. “I found it inside.”
“What is it?”
“No idea. But that isn’t for us to decide. We need to take these things back to Lesovikk. He told the other group to bring all weird things to him. So we take it to him. Apparently he started a group to determine what stuff is. After that, we take our report to Takanuva. He will give us another job.”
“Well, lets go then.” Nidhiki said. “Come on Krekka.”
Lhikan watched as his friends jumped down. He tossed the disks down after them. He jumped down himself, landing next to Nidhiki. He picked up the disks, and followed his team to Lesovikk.
Lesovikk was standing talking to the leader of another Toa team when the Toa Mangai arrived. Tuyet motioned for them to wait. When Lesovikk and the other Toa were done speaking, He motioned for his special team to take the stuff they found. He started over to Tuyet.
“What have you got for us?”
“That is for you to decide, Lesovikk.” Tuyet motioned at Lhikan and Nidhiki. The two Toa presented what they found to Lesovikk.
“These disks I pulled off of the giant’s garments.”
“And I found this thing in his garments, tucked away.”
At the mention of their names, two Toa strode forward. The took the stuff off Nidhiki’s and Lhikan’s hands.
“We will be off, then; we have to see Takanuva.”
“I saw him over by the gathering area. He was talking to his group.”
“Thank you, Lesovikk.”
Lhikan waved goodbye, and left with his group. They passed another group of Toa, and Lhikan nodded hello. They nodded back. Tuyet led the way to Takanuva, who was arguing with a red Toa. The two seemed to be arguing about whether or not Takanuva should go with them. Tuyet saw the red one becoming increasingly angry, and politely cleared her throat.
“Sorry, about that,” Takanuva said when he dismissed the red one. “Tahu seems to think it would be best if I went with them. But everyone is looking to me for leadership and wants me to give them jobs. And my team is needed elsewhere, I can’t expect them to do nothing but wait on me. I asked them to go on without me.”
“Its fine. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions about what we should do next?”
“Yeah, go with them.” He said as he pointed to his Toa Team. “They need some help.”
“Okay. Thank you,” Tuyet said before she led the Toa Mangai towards the group.
“Greetings, I am Toa Tahu. These are Lewa, Kopaka, Gali, Pohatu, and Onua. Takanuva is supposed to be with us, but I guess he is rather busy now.” Tahu sounded extremely peeved, obviously at Takanuva. Takanuva waved him away and walked towards another group of Toa, who were wondering what to do next.
As Lhikan followed Tuyet, Onua and Krekka were talking. Kopaka was silent, and Gali was speaking to Toma. Nidhiki was fuming again about some imagined slight, and the Toa Lewa and Pohatu were joking around. Meanwhile, Tahu and Tuyet were discussing the next job. Lhikan noticed that his new comrades all had the same build, and it was different than anyone else’s, except Takanuva’s. Lhikan was pondering this when suddenly, Tuyet stopped. Lhikan crashed into her and knocked her down, but quickly apologized and helped her up.
Tahu shook his head, disappointed in his fellow Toa of Fire. “Here is where we were supposed to go. Up there on that ledge is some sort of cave. Early reports say the wind can be heard passing through there. It might be out way out of this weird place.”
“How are we supposed to get up there?” the Toa of Earth, Onua, asked.
“Well, I can fly up,” said the Toa of Air, Lewa.
“Wait, you can fly? I can’t fly!” Nidhiki said.
“Well, that’s because he has the Mask of Levitation. So technically, he can’t fly,” the usually silent Toa of Ice interjected.
“Krekka sees no point to bickering. Ladder over there.” The imposing Toa pointed towards an already-made way up. Lhikan realized that Krekka was smarter than he seemed. All the Toa had missed that.
With much determination, the two Toa teams climbed up the stairs made by others, and joined an already large group of Toa, at least three other teams. Axnon was there as well, coordinating the teams’ efforts. Lhikan was relieved to see a familiar face; Axonn had been the one to help him realize how to think. The Toa Nuva and Mangai headed towards him immediately.
Axxon was glad to see the Toa Mangai. He told Tuyet to help construct the scaffold system another group of Toa were hard at work on. Apparently the cave was a lot higher than previously thought. Tuyet told Krekka to go with the Toa Nuva in their job to get supplies to bring back. He agreed.
Lhikan saw that these new Toa were much like him, except they were all solid in color. Whereas his mask and armor were gold, accenting his red body, the Toa he was assigned to work alongside had red armor and a red body. He introduced himself as Vakama, and said he was the leader of the Toa Metru. Lhikan recognized him as one of the Toa that were following Axxon around.
They worked for several minutes in quiet, conserving their breath for work. After an hour, the scaffolding was complete. Another Toa team, the Toa Nexus, were told to climb the scaffolding and get the grate off of the cave while the other Toa teams rested. Lhikan took his downtime as a sign to talk to Vakama. The two found they had much in common. Vakama was a reluctant leader; Lhikan had almost become leader. They were also both of the Fire element, and they were both part of teams made by Axonn.
Finally, The Toa Nexus pried open the grating to the windy cave. One, a Toa of Light, scrambled inside. He activated his elemental power, and could see down the entire path. He emerged, and the Toa Nexus scrambled down the scaffolding, to report to Axonn. He sent a runner, named Vezok, to tell Takanuva what was accomplished and what was seen.
Axxon decided that the opening should be made bigger, and a Toa team should explore it. The Toa Inika were chosen, and with their abilities, they were the best ones for the job.
Axxon then instructed the Toa Metru and Mangai to guard the scaffolding. He told the Toa Nexus to find Umbra, and the Toa Nuva to return to Takanuva. Vezok had returned, so Axxon sent him and the rest of the Toa Piraka to find Brutaka.
Lhikan, Tuyet, Toma, Nidhiki, Krekka and the Toa Metru stood at guard. Lhikan and Vakama talked more, offering each other advice and discussing what they could do with their powers. Lhikan had not yet tried to activate his. He found he couldn’t and wondered why.
The familiar rush of thoughts came to the surface of his mind, and Lhikan struggled to sort through them. Finally he found what he was looking for.
The sound of his shout startled many of the other Toa near him.
“What weapons?” Tuyet asked.
“We have weapons! We all have weapons!” Lhikan said, excited. “We know how to use them, and everything! We have to find them! Search your memories!”
The other Toa, obviously perplexed, concentrated on the word weapons. In each of their minds a realization took place, that they all had a special weapon that they used. They knew how to use them, but not where to find them.
Vakama stood silent for a moment, before speaking, “We need to tell Takanuva.”
“I will volunteer to go.” Tuyet agreed.
“I need to go to.” Lhikan said.
“Toa teams shouldn’t be forced to separate. Take your whole team, Tuyet,” Vakama said. “We will stay to guard the Toa Inika’s return.”
“Thank you Toa Vakama. We will return soon, or send others in our place,” Tuyet answered.
Tuyet led the Toa Mangai across the enclosed space, toward Takanuva. She ran most of the way, as did the rest of the Toa Mangai. Lhikan sprinted the rest of the way, excited about his discovery, and secretly seeking vindication. He stopped just short of Takanuva, and waited for him to be finished with another Toa. The rest of the Toa Mangai caught up to him, just as Takanuva asked Lhikan what was so important.
“Search you memories; think about weapons. We have weapons!”
Takanuva paused in the conversation, filtering through all his thoughts. He realized what Lhikan had babbled excitedly was true. Toa have weapons, they know how to use them, and they can focus their powers through them.
“Lhikan, you’re right. You have to find them. Find them, and distribute them among the Toa. When the other Toa see the weapons, they should know which are theirs. Toa Mangai, this is the task I assign you. Complete your task.”
“Toa Takanuva, is there a Toa team to replace us on our last task? We left without finishing it,” Tuyet said.
“Of course. Toa Hagah! Go complete the task the Toa Mangai had to abandon. They left the Toa Metru at the scaffolding. Guard it until their return.”
The Toa Hagah, who had been approaching Takanuva for reassignment, nodded and turned towards the direction of the scaffolding.
“Toa Mangai, I suggest that you head that way, much of that area is unexplored.” Takanuva said, pointing in the opposite direction.
“Thank you Takanuva.” Lhikan said. He looked to his team: Tuyet, the leader; Nidhiki, the irrational one; Toma, the soft-spoken level-headed one; and Krekka, the imposing perceptive Toa. Lhikan wondered what they saw he was. He wondered if they knew that each one had a role, if it wasn’t always helpful.
Now they had a task, perhaps the most important one of all.
The Toa Mangai scaled another mountain, this one both easier and harder than the giant’s corpse. Lhikan was leading the group, excited about the task ahead, and the potential rewards. He grew more and more as each moment passed. He felt vindicated, and ready. Lhikan was ready for anything to come, and he would meet the challenge head on.
“Lhikan, slow down!” Tuyet called behind him.
Lhikan turned and looked. He was nearly to the top, and the rest of his team hadn’t made it halfway yet. “Sorry!” He called.
“Just wait for us!”
“But I can make it up and scout ahead!”
“Just wait, Lhikan!”
Lhikan sat down on the ledge he was on. He thought about his weapons, twin sword that could be combined into a shield or a lava board. The very thought of it made him want it more. But he had voted for Tuyet to be the leader, and he had to respect her judgment, because otherwise he wasn’t respecting his own. While he was pondering this quandary, Tuyet and the others caught up to him. He reached down to help her up, and repeated the process with Toma. Nidhiki pulled himself up, and no one worried about Krekka. He knew how to get up.
With the rest of his team with him, Lhikan climbed up with renewed vigor. He reached the top and stared out across the plateau. As the rest of his team reached the top, Lhikan took off on a dead sprint across the flat surface. He raced towards a large structure, sure that the weapons lie within it. He ignored Tuyet’s cries to slow down, to wait for the rest of them. He stopped just short of it, to catch his breath and wait for the others. Tuyet scolded him for rushing ahead.
“Sorry. I just want those weapons.”
“We all want them. It is our duty. Duty is important. But so is unity. The unity of our team. Destiny is important, but we don’t know our destiny. Anything could happen, so lets move with a little more caution. Okay?”
“I’m sorry Tuyet. I will try to reserve myself from now on.”
“How do we get in?” Nidhiki asked.
The five Toa looked at the structure. Lhikan looked at Krekka. He did nothing.
“Maybe the door is on the other side.” Toma stated.
The Toa Mangai shrugged in unison, and proceeded to walk around the structure. They turned the first corner, and saw a crack running parallel to the edge. They saw the same thing across the bottom and top.
“It’s a door! How do we open it?” Nidhiki asked.
Lhikan stared at the metallic protrusion on the door. “That,” he saidm and pointed to it.
“Its too high up for us; maybe we can get Brutaka or Tuma.” Toma said.
“No. Krekka hold. You, you grab and pull. Krekka pull, door open.”
“Good idea, Krekka.” Tuyet said, “Lhikan, you do the honors.”
Lhikan nodded to his leader. He climbed on top of Krekka, and grabbed the handle. Krekka grabbed ahold of Lhikan, and began to walk forward, pulling on the door. With their combined strength, the door began to slide forward. The other Toa moved aside as the door slid open.
“Hey, it doesn’t look like its opening!”
Krekka and Lhikan stopped. Lhikan scrambled up and disappeared through the top.
From the private journal of Dr. L Eskner:
With the memory crystals designed, I simply have to put them into production. The prototype came in today, and it worked marvelously. I can’t wait for the rest of them. Now, if only I could finish the elemental formula. It has gotten rather trying.
Takua led his group of Toa through the windy cave. The Toa Inika had known each other since waking, and were put together on a team by Vezon. His team consisted of himself, Toa of Light and leader; Macku Toa of Water; Tuuli, Toa of Air; Goylo, Toa of Iron; Shizu, Toa of Acid; and Shala, Toa of Lightning.
Takua smiled to himself. He felt sure that the Toa Inika were the best Toa team. They were given the most important job, to find out where the cave leads. They would complete the job, and be well vindicated for their task. He would make sure of it.
“Come on Toa Inika! Lets go!”
“All right!” Takua’s team shouted in unison.
The Toa rounded another corner, coming to another long hall. Luckily, they wouldn’t get lost because Goylo. His abilities as a Toa of Irom ensure that he will never get lost, especially if he is traveling down a metal cave. The Toa leaped over another floor grating. They passed a lot of those, and each one had revealed the same thing: more of the giants, only these were alive and moving. At first the Toa had stopped to watch them, but Takua decided that they were boring. He wanted to be on the move, to complete the job.
“Where are we going?” Tuuli asked.
“To the end of the tunnel!”
“How much longer is that gonna take?”
“Curse it, Tuuli! You know that he is just gonna tell you ‘as long as it takes,’ so why do you even ask?” The Toa of Acid’s personality reflected his element, Shizu was basically pissed all the time.
“Calm down Shizu. Its not his fault he has no short-term memory.” Shala was quick to defend anybody Shizu snapped at.
“Will everyone just calm down?” The Toa of Iron was the calmest one of the lot. Goylo was always calm because he always knew which way to go.
“Come on Tuuli,” Toa Macku said to him when he stopped, “We can’t leave you behind.”
“We could, then we wouldn’t have to suffer his repeated questions any more.” Shizu said.
“Come on, people! Let’s go up this one!” Takua ignored his teammates bickering.
“Where are we going?”
The Toa Inika bounded up the steep cavern walls. Leaping up the walls covered more ground, and faster. The six moved together, none falling behind. They reached another corridor and took it. One after another, with constant bickering. Takua ignored it. His duty was more important than some friendly cursing; The last one was a little vulgar, even for Shizu. He better bite his tongue, or Shala might rip it out.
Takua heard a noise. He heard lots of noises in this weird cave, but this one was different. He signaled the Toa Inika to stop. Together, they edged around the corner and were surprised by what they saw.
A large spinning blade was making the noise. It was generating a cool wind that was pushing the Toa back. Takua was tempted to use his mask. Suddenly the blade stopped. Takua could see light beyond it.
“Onward! Now, while it's stopped!”
The Toa Inika charged onward, rushing past the still blades. They came to a large grate. Takua activated his mask, gripping the grate and prying it open. He succeeded, creating a hole large enough for a Toa to enter. He did, leading the Toa Inika through the hole, to the other side.
The opening led to another world. The Toa Inika found themselves in an open area, with the sun beating down on their heads. Takua looked up in surprise. He was saved from the blinding light by his elemental power activating. Shining brightly, he warned his brethren not to look towards it. He then led them towards the far end of the new world.
“What the Karzahni are those things?” Shizu asked when he looked over the edge.
“I don’t know. But they look like they might be a threat.” Takua said.
“What should we do?” Tuuli asked.
Takua sat down. He had some serious thinking to do, and all serious thinking is done while stable on the ground. His mind raced with thoughts, but none of them told him anything about the large metal objects going at high speeds below. The closest thing that came to his mind were vague images of monsters called Rahi. When the dizziness cleared from his head, Takua stood back up. He looked down at the large things, and then at his friends.
“Let's go then.”
“Back to Takanuva. We should tell him what we found.”
The Toa Inika got past the spinning blade with ease. They jumped straight down the shaft they had ascended earlier, gripping the walls to slow down. Reaching the bottom, they ran, following Goylo through the strange cave.
“Where are we going?” Tuuli asked.
“Son of a Nui-Jaga! Shut up, Tuuli! Just shut up!” Shuzi said, annoyed as usual.
“Shuzi! Be nice, ya jerk!” Shala yelled at him.
“Can everyone please calm down?” Macku asked.
“Come on people! Follow Goylo!” Takua urged.
“Where are we going?” Tuuli asked more insistently.
“Just follow me, please, Tuuli,” answered Goylo.
Turning the corner, the Toa Inika almost ran headlong into another group of Toa. Takua was shocked, but quickly deduced why they were here.
“What’s the matter? Did we take too long?”
“Takanuva sent us to find you. He grew worried,” came the reply from a Toa of Plasma.
“Who are you?” Tuuli asked.
“My name is Joka. I am a Toa of Plasma and leader of the Toa Turyek.”
“My name is Takua. These are Tuuli, Goylo, Shala, Shizu and Macku. We have something urgent to tell Takanuva.”
“Very well, please allow us to escort you. Kali, have you contacted the other teams yet?”
“Yes Joka.” came the reply from a purple Toa. “They have agreed to meet us where we split up.”
“Ok. By the way, this is Kali, Juzu, Hafu, and Korin. The rest of the Toa Turyek.”
“Great to meet all of you. Goylo, lead the way.”
“Of course” came the Toa of Iron’s reply, soft and gritty.
The Toa raced on, both teams side by side, aware that they must return to the others.
Takua listened to the conversations around him. For some reason, Toa always enjoyed conversing inter-team. Takua didn’t know why. Even he enjoyed it. He listened to Shizu argue with another Toa of Acid about who had the worst team. Shala was talking to a Toa of Magnetism, quite freely showing her interest in him. Macku had found her a fellow Toa of Water to talk to, Tuuli was questioning a fast-talking Toa of Air about everything, repeatedly. The other Toa of Air didn’t seem to mind at all. Goylo was talking to a Toa of Psionics, asking her why her team didn’t have a Toa of Iron despite the mission she was sent on.
Takua himself wasn’t talking. He was still trying to determine what the strange objects were. He couldn’t seem to figure it out. That bothered him. He didn’t like not knowing stuff. It bothered him to no end.
Nothing bothered him except when he couldn’t figure stuff out. Takua was a very laid-back Toa. He didn’t really have the same sense of urgency as Shala, or the uptight anger of Shizu. He didn’t feel pressured like Macku, or confused like Tuuli. And he wasn’t entirely sure he felt like Goylo, since he didn’t tend to have any quirks. Takua just knew what to do, and he did it. No problem.
His was one of the teams to go out initially without instructions, the sign of true leadership. Or the lack of participation of the group. Either way, he knew he was awesome. But not knowing what something was confused him, and made him loose confidence in himself. He didn’t show it, cause he was a leader. Leaders don’t show their weakness on the job. They wait till after. Takua smiled at the joke Takanuva told him earlier.
“Here we go!” he shouted as he saw the grate they had passed through to enter the metal cave. Standing at the entrance, peering out, were the Toa Metru and the Toa Hagah.
From the private journal of Dr. L Eskner:
The prototype worked marvelously, walking and talking all on its own. His motor skills seem to shut down when he accesses his memories, but it takes less and less time for him to regain mobility after each remembrance. I don’t believe it will be a serious issue. I have the elemental formula finished. I am waiting for my order to come in, when it gets here he should be able to use the upgrades I gave him.
Takanuva stood among several teams of Toa. He had already sent three teams to find the Toa Inika, each of them had a Toa of Psionics on the team. He also sent three more to search for the weapons in all different places. Many of them have already activated their masks, and a few had even activated their elemental abilities. Still, most others could not activate their abilities without their weapons. Takanuva wondered what sort of great being would design such a diverse people. He also wondered what could be taking the Toa Inika so long, and the Toa Mangai, did they retrieve the weapons?
Are the Toa going to survive?
Suddenly, he heard a shout. Turning, he beheld the Toa Mangai, carrying as many silver objects as they could. He realized that they must have completed their mission. Toa Lhikan led the group, waving a great sword around, with two more strapped to his back. Takanuva stared at them, but the rest of the Toa around him ran towards the group.
Lhikan dropped most of the weapons, and ran towards Takanuva.
“Mission, complete. Go and find your weapon.” He collapsed to his knees out of exhaustion.
Tuyet walked calmly towards Takanuva, wielding a deadly short sword. “I can return to my former duties now, or do you wish me to send runners to the others?”
Takanuva turned to look at her. “Do what you wish.” He said, strolling forward to pick up a spear. He hefted it, and determined its weight; Perfect.
At that moment, the most imperfect thing happened: the wall opened.
Seeing the wall opening inward meant one thing to Takanuva, danger. He shouted over the crowd to pick up what they could and run. The Toa scattered, never before had they been so wary. They rushed under the nearest plateau, edging as far back away from the giants who were coming from behind the wall.
The giants shouted in surprise, and Takanuva thought all was lost.
The giants rushed over to the dead one, either ignoring or not seeing the Toa hiding under the plateaus. Takanuva sighed in relief, but knew he wasn’t out of the water yet. The Toa around him were wary, and he had no idea if they could make it to the cave in time. He had no idea if the other Toa had made it to safety or not. He had to act.
Quietly, he got the Toa’s attention. He made motions to signify that he wanted them to sneak over to the cave. Most seemed to understand, and everyone else caught on to the plan by following their movements. Takanuva hoped that the giants would leave soon, and the rest of the Toa could escape with them.
While they were moving, Takanuva kept one eye on the giants. He couldn’t understand their language at all. He wondered what that meant. Could the giant, who he believed to be their creator, have made them to speak a separate language? Or perhaps the Toa’s ears simply didn’t register the shear volume of the giants’ voices. He decided to ponder this later. His people looked to him as a leader, and he needed to lead them.
At the end of the plateau, the Toa stopped. He assigned two teams to watch the giants while the rest sneaked away. About half the Toa had left the plateau when Takanuva saw movement across the way. It was Axxon and Brutaka’s teams, sneaking away from where they had been before the giants came. Takanuva sent one Toa over to them, to tell them the plan and ask them if they knew where the other missing teams were. He then watched the same Toa sneak back over.
“What did they say?” Takanuva asked in a whisper.
“That they didn’t know. They saw one Toa team over in the far corner, but it looks like any movement they make might give them away.” he replied in a hushed tone.
“Very good Kopeke. Go to the cave.”
“Of course.” and with that, the Toa of Ice Kopeke left.
Takanuva set a steady line of Toa to escape when Axxon and Brutaka’s group had ascended the scaffolding. He went to the back, where the Toa Nuva stood waiting.
“We have to save our brethren. If even one of us is left behind, then our people are lost.”
“Agreed.” came the gruff reply of Tahu. The others nodded in agreement.
“Let us go, we need to find them and lead them to safety.”
The Toa Nuva set off under the plateau. The seven of them snuck around the long way to the far plateau, avoiding the giants. Takanuva figured that they were lamenting the loss of a comrade, much in the way he would. But he knew his duty. He would lament, and then carry their body on to wherever his people were destined.
Tahu signaled a stop. Two more giants, entered the place from the same spot as the first. These ones carried a bunch of stuff, and they weren’t acting the same as the others. They seemed more focused on their task. The Toa Nuva watched in silence. One of the new comers escorted the other two original giants away. The last giant pulled something out of his case, a black thing. While his back was to the Toa, Tahu signaled a sprint to the next cover.
The Toa Nuva reached the next batch of relative safety safely. Takanuva sighed, and waited for Kopaka to get done scanning for the first group. His excellent eyesight and mask of vision grants him the ability to see almost everything. He pointed the Toa Furon out to Tahu, and the Toa Nuva were off again.
By the time they reached the plateau, the other giant returned. He knelt next to his friend, and then helped him lift up the body of the dead giant and put it in the black thing. The two then lifted it up and carried it out.
Takanuva saw the Toa Furon and the other teams jump off the plateaus from their hiding places. They took off at a dead run towards the cave. Tahu signaled for the Toa Nuva to follow, and Takanuva ran. Eventually they made it to the cave, bounding up into the opening together. Takanuva saw Takua of the Toa Inika come before him. He was holding a hammer.
“The Toa Inika have found a way out. Follow us.”
“Very well.” Takanuva’s reply was heavy. He had a lot to think about when they found their new home.
The Toa Inika led them through the maze of tunnels, seemingly at random. Takanuva wondered if Takua had led the team through the first time. He had no discernable pattern. The three hundred Toa marched on, talking amongst themselves and showing off their weapons.
Takanuva saw Lhikan and Vakama speaking to each other. He also saw that the rest of the Toa Mangai were silent, walking together. Nidhiki would occasionally say something to Krekka, but otherwise kept silent. The air was heavy among the Toa, they all wondered about the giants. The Toa would occasionally walk over a grate, below them would be the giants.
Takanuva saw more than one Toa pause and stare. But, like their brothers and sisters, they would eventually carry on, following the Toa Inika to wherever they were taking them. Takanuva saw that Takuta would stare at them longer than most, as if mesmerized by their movements. Tierdax would puzzle over them too.
Takanuva did not want to see any more giants. He had enough earlier with the four living ones so close. Eventually the Toa came to a vertical shaft, which the Toa Inika led them up. Reaching the top, they walked on, occasionally hearing a strange noise that Takua assured them was ok.
When Takanuva rounded the last corner, he beheld the spinning blade. The gust of air pushed against the Toa, but many of the Toa of Air diverted it with their own powers. They cheered at the use of their powers, which prompted the Toa of Iron and Magnetism to use their powers to stop the spinning blade. Takanuva and the rest of the Toa ran past it, out to the opening Takua had made earlier.
Takanuva stared out into the open. He had no idea that so much open area could exist. His memories only offered vague images of buildings deep below the ground. The world above was impressive, massive. The world of the giants. Toa did not belong here, that much was certain. The Toa, grateful to be out of such cramped quarters, spread out. A few approached him, looking for direction. Takua motioned for him to come see something.
The other Toa of Light pointed to below the Toa’s position. Large things of multiple colors and sizes race past each other. Takanuva saw some giants get into one. The thing sped away, going at speeds even Toa Pohatu couldn’t match. Takanuva was unsure what they were, but he figured that the giants used them for transportation.
He turned to the Toa, seeing them waiting patiently for new orders before him. He thought on all that had transpired earlier. Their awakening and gathering. The various exploratory missions his brothers and sisters under took. The realization of Lhikan that they had weapons. The retrieval of those weapons, and the intrusion of the giants. Their exodus through the metal cave, led by the Toa Inika. And now his brethren expected him to speak about what to do next.
“We have to go below ground.” Many of the Toa looked puzzled at this, so Takanuva explained, “It is obvious to me that the giants are dominate, at least in this part of the world. Earlier they showed many of the same mannerisms that I would’ve; lamenting the loss of a comrade and completing the mission.”
He went on: “So, I assume that if I feel comfortable out in the open, even if a little paranoid, that the giants would too. So we should go underground, at least for a while. Until we are ready to reveal ourselves, we should remain hidden.”
Some of the Toa nodded in agreement, but most of the Toa of Air did not. They liked it up here, and Takanuva did not blame them.
“Please my brothers, sisters. Let us argue about it later, for now we should flee to where we won’t be seen.”
“I agree.” The speaker was Takuta, a Toa of Twilight. His power flowed from him now, as it was twilight in the world of the giants. “We must remain hidden.” His Toa team backed up his word.
“Yes.” Came the agreement from Tierdax and several other Toa of Shadow and Earth.
Takanuva looked towards them. It was only natural that the Toa of Shadow and Earth would want to go underground. Takanuva needed the support from someone else.
Toa Helryx stepped forward “We must follow our brother, for he is right.”
Takanuva nodded towards her.
“We must find a safe passage down, and we must get below the ground.” He said. “Once we are below the ground, we can discuss our next move. But here, I feel exposed, to be discovered by the giants at any moment.”
Takanuva watched as Toa Lesovikk waved him over to see something.
Takanuva was impressed by Lesovikk’s discovery. A long shaft of metal, extending all the way to the ground below, perfect for Toa to descend. Takanuva had set up a line of Toa to go down the shaft. Axxon, Brutaka, Krekka and a few others stood away, too large to fit down the shaft. They were waiting for the right moment to slide down the outside of it.
Takanuva pondered at the role of the shaft. Like most of the giants’ creations, the shaft had no obvious job to do. He watched as the Toa spilled out of the shaft and took cover, hiding like they were told. The Toa of Light stood up high, with the rest of the Toa Nuva. He had sent the Toa Furon and Toa Nexus to try and locate an entrance to the underground from their position up high.
Toa Sentra from the Toa Furon ran up to him. “I think we found something.”
“What is it?”
“Across the street, where the large things roam, there is a rectangle of shadow. I have spotted two more parallel to the street. It is logical that they lead to the underground, as part of some sort of runoff system.”
Takanuva nodded. Suddenly, the purpose of the shaft was made clear. The giants used it to divert water to the ground, in an effort to keep the water from damaging their structures. It made sense, but why not just make the structures impervious to damage? Takanuva pondered this question while he sent Sentra down the drain shaft to investigate the shadowed area.
Sentra was very careful, staying out of sight until his teammate Kara gave the all-clear. He rushed towards the hole, then turned around disappeared. Takanuva felt a surge of panic. Sentra reappeared after a moment, rushing back to the other hidden Toa.
After all the Toa were sent down, Takanuva approached Sentra.
“There is a cave directly across from us. It is hidden from our view, but it leads down below.” he paused, looking at Brutaka, “I believe that we will all fit.”
Takanuva couldn’t believe their luck. It was as if the Great Spirit himself was making their way easier on them. “Well done. The Toa Furon shall lead us to our destination.”
Toa Sentra nodded and left.
Takanuva gestured for the Toa to remain hidden until it was their turn to go down the cave. Many hours passed, and the giants showed no sign of slowing in their travels. Takanuva began to wonder if they ever slept. He knew that he was beginning to tire, no doubt his brethren were too. Eventually, the large constructs began too have more and more time between them. Takanuva decided it was time to move, He set the Toa Inika as watchers, depending on them to give the all-clear for Toa to pass into the cave.
This continued for hours, until finally, the only Toa left were the Toa Nuva and Inika. Neither team wanted to leave the other behind, so they waited for total silence and ran together, disappearing into the dark.
From the private journal of Dr. L Eskner:
With the integration of the elemental conduits, the prototype has begun to display its powers of fire. It has succeeded in burning my favorite suit, setting off the anti-fire system in the lab. I almost didn’t get my oxygen mask on in time. I am still very pleased with the results. It has been accessing the knowledge stored within it more frequently and quickly. I have ordered a total of three hundred units to be assembled in my lab.
Matoro looked around the cave. He was amazed at how large it was. Many of the Toa had already set out exploring their new environment, the Toa Mahri among them. Jaller, the leader of the Toa Mahri, had ordered them to explore the water below, since all the Toa Mahri were equipped to breathe underwater. Matoro wondered how his Ice powers would react to the water. He didn’t have much time to think about it as he jumped headlong into it. The cold splash washed over his entire body, almost sending him into his subconscious like when he first awoke.
Matoro recovered, righting himself in the water. He regrouped with the other seven Toa Mahri. He looked from Jaller to Hahli, Hewkii, Kongu, Lesovikk, Hydraxon and Nuparu. The Toa Mahri had been formed by Toa Lesovikk to solve problems. These problems used to be “what is this thing”, but now apparently include “find out where to go”.
Matoro listened to Jaller explain that they need to find a suitable habitation for the Toa, and watched Lesovikk nod in agreement. Matoro and Hewkii were assigned to relay messages from Takanuva to Jaller’s main team.
Matoro watched as the Toa Mata scaled the walls searching for any outcroppings for the Toa to start a camp on. Hewkii amused himself by sending water flying around the air. As a Toa of Gravity, Hewkii could control the forces that hold the universe together. Matoro watched as the water moved around gracefully in the dim light. He activated his element, freezing the water and surprising Hewkii. In retaliation, Matoro’s friend threw him up into the air, sending him level with the Toa Mata.
After freezing the water around Hewkii, his friend let him down. “Did you have fun up there? You looked like a Le-Toa. Hahaha.” The Toa laughed at his icy friend.
Matoro looked at him, and then turned his attention to the movement in the sky. Many Toa of Gravity and Air were using their powers to search above, just as many Toa of Water were now searching below him. He knew they were looking for a place to rest, while Takanuva was no doubt searching for a more permanent place to stay.
Suddenly, Matoro heard a cry of surprise from further down. He and Hewkii started towards it, along with several other Toa.
The exclamation was caused by a Toa team, who had swam away from the others. They had encountered some sort of monster, the size of the average Toa, with large teeth, beady eyes and a bad attitude. The Toa Agori, as they were called, had killed their attacker, and now faced two more. By the time Matoro and Hewkii arrived, they had already killed them and disappeared into the monsters’ den. Matoro decided that the three teams descending into the lair was enough to deal with any threat.
“Lets go tell Jaller and Lesovikk. We might be able to convert the monsters’ lair into a home.”
“Agreed, you tell Jaller and I will tell Takanuva. Go my brother.”
Matoro nodded at his friend. He dived to swim faster, wanting to reach Jaller as soon as possible. With his enhanced underwater vision, he quickly saw through the murky water to his friends. He swam quickly to them, faster than even some of the Toa of Water with him.
Hahli met him halfway, and he relayed the information to her. He then returned to the surface to wait for Hewkii. Hewkii returned a short time later, and by that time most of the Toa had gathered at the monsters’ den.
The Toa Mahri swam leisurely towards the others, calm and collected. Matoro could tell that Jaller was disappointed that the Toa Mahri were not the ones to discover the nest. As they got closer, they were greeted by Kopeke, who was standing on an island of ice. Matoro hadn’t even thought about that. He thought that his ingenuity was lacking. The Toa Mahri climbed on board, and Matoro added to the floating platform.
Kopeke explained to them that Takanuva was inside, examining the tunnels to determine their worth to the Toa. Matoro watched as a Toa Nuva pushed one of the dead creatures out of its hole, into the water.
“Takanuva must have decided that it would be a great place to stay,” Kopeke said, eying the dead thing.
“Yes,” Jaller agreed.
Matoro looked at the Toa standing around, looking for something to do. We don’t take time to ourselves well, he thought. He noticed Jaller and several other Toa walk into the tunnel. Matoro and Hewkii looked at each other.
“Must be going to get orders,” Hewkii said.
“Yeah, we need to something,” Lesovikk agreed.
“I wonder what job we will get assigned?” Matoro pondered.
“Maybe they will tell us to come inside and take a break,” Hahli spoke in a wanting tone.
Matoro just stared ahead at the hole. He thought about all that had happened to his team today. The Toa Mahri were rather lucky; Lesovikk had formed them to be the ones to figure out what stuff was used for. They hadn’t wasted much energy throughout the day. The only time they had been physically active was when they were swimming and escaping through the metal cave. And swimming didn’t take as much out of them as it had their brothers and sisters.
Jaller reappeared and came towards them. He stopped, and looking at his team, shook his head.
“Unfortunately, Takanuva only needs the help of certain Toa. Hewkii, Hahli, and Lesovikk, you are needed. Hewkii, Takanuva wants you to compress some matter. He needs you to help expand certain tunnels and make new ones. Lesovikk, you are needed to identify where any of the giants’ metal devices are, and make sure we don’t disturb them. Hahli, you and the other Toa of Water are to push the creatures down river.”
Matoro, Kongu and Hydraxon looked anxiously towards their appointed leader. They awaited his orders.
“Matoro, you are needed to help keep this ‘dock’ afloat. Kongu, follow Hewkii, cause you have to push out whatever he condenses and floats.”
Matoro nodded, slightly disappointed. Kongu seemed more than enthusiastic for him.
“Which leaves you and me, Hydraxon. We get the honor of doing nothing. Apparently, Takanuva can think of no use for us.”
“I don’t have much use either.” Matoro interjected. “Keeping this thing as big as it is doesn’t take much concentration.”
Hydraxon nodded, and said “At least we can rest. We may be needed sooner than you think.”
Jaller nodded. Matoro just looked ahead. He was watching Ignika, a Toa of Life, showing off his acrobatic skills to some of his friends. Matoro wondered why he never felt compelled to just goof off. He felt tired, older than he should be. The weight on his shoulders pressed down on him, heavier than even Hewkii’s powers. Perhaps he just needed to sleep. But he had to wait for sleep, until the monsters’ nest was cleared out and all the Toa could rest together.
It was a few hours later until the Toa working emerged with the last of the debris. Matoro still felt sleepy, but was relieved to see Takanuva stand up before the Toa again. Matoro concentrated on making the ice bigger so that everyone was comfortable.
“Friends,” Takanuva began, “it has been a long day, and a long night. I am sure that we are all tired, and I respect that. With our new home cleared out, we can finally take the rest we deserve. But when we awake, we must continue our duty to each other, by making our new home as good as can be!”
Several Toa cheered, but most were silent from the long day. Matoro was among the silent, as was his teammates. Takanuva took their silence as a sign, for he continued by saying “So, let us retire now, and please, no friendly pranks. We all want uninterrupted sleep more than anything right now.”
The Toa filed into their new home, directed according to element where to sleep. Matoro and the other Ko-Toa were the last to enter, and were lead by Kopaka down one of the halls. There, they laid down on the floor.
The last thought on Matoro’s mind before sleep was whether or not the Toa’s lives would ever be anything other than work.
Matoro awoke to find many of the other Toa were already up. He hurried to find Jaller, to get his new orders. He was instead stopped by Kopaka who told him to follow Nuju’s example. Matoro looked until he spotted Nuju, who was down the Ga-Koro, or water hall, creating frozen domes on the ceiling. Matoro ran towards him.
“Toa Matoro reporting in. Kopaka told me to see you.”
“You are Nuju, aren’t you?”
The Toa of Ice was silent, but nodded his head. He pointed towards the ice dome attached to the ceiling, and gestured for Matoro to do the same.
“You want me to make one of those?” Matoro pointed at them. “Okay,” he said with a shrug. Matoro created an exact replica of the dome, spaced evenly away from it.
Nuju nodded. “Good,” was all he said. He then waved at Matoro, a gesture that said "Go do it somewhere else."
Matoro left the Ga-Koro, and went to the Vo-Koro, the hall of lightning. He then proceeded to put more of the domes on the ceiling, when suddenly he heard a loud cracking. He ran to see what had happened, when Jaller grabbed him.
“Lesovikk was put in charge of figuring out a permanent lighting solution. So, he decided that was a perfect job for the Toa Mahri, since we are the guys to think of stuff like that.” Jaller had pulled Matoro and the rest of the Toa Mahri down the Ba-Koro, since all the Toa of Gravity were off making expansions on the home.
Hahli shook her head, “How am I supposed to be of any use? I was better of with the other Toa of Water, making sure the debris were pushed down river.”
“True, I don’t know how we can all help, but I would rather us work as team than separate.” Jaller replied. It just dawned on Matoro that Jaller was probably one of the ones to vote for the separation into teams. Matoro knew nothing about him before Lesovikk made them the Toa Mahri.
“Well, back to the original problem.” Lesovikk interjected. “I was tasked with finding a permanent solution to the light problem, since now the Toa of Light are just reflecting their light through the ice domes the Toa of Ice have erected. When the Toa of Light have to rest, the network of lights will go down. Same with the Toa of Ice. When they sleep, the domes will shatter and melt.”
“So basically, we need to design some sort of light that can be switched on or off?” Kongu summed up the solution perfectly.
“Yes. Any suggestions?”
“Well, maybe a device that senses elemental powers would be good. We could use it to trigger the light,” Hydraxon suggested.
“A good idea, but how do we make the trigger?” Jaller asked.
“And with what?” Hahli added.
“What will be the light source?” Matoro asked. He figured that that was all the main details to be decided.
After a long debate, the Toa decided to try some of their theories out. They grabbed the first available Toa of Light, one Matoro hadn’t worked with before by the name of Takua. They had him channel some of his power into a piece of the wall that Hewkii ripped out. Hewkii then condensed the piece into a diamond, and with some help from Jaller and Lesovikk, magnetically attached it to the ceiling.
“Ok Takua,” Jaller said, “shut off your powers.”
Takua did, and the diamond stopped glowing. Matoro watched in amazement as Hahli channeled her powers into the jewel, making it glow. The results were feint, but they were the results the Toa Mahri were looking for. They repeated the process, this time making Takua transfer more of his power into the jewel. Kongu concentrated this time, making the diamond glow with his power.
Takua left to exchange places with Takanuva, who was fascinated with the results. After a variety of Toa tested the contraptions, it was found that Toa of Light could make them glow brightest, with Lighnting Toa in second. Shadow Toa showed absolutely no interest in it, as many of them preferred the dark.
With the new “lightstones,” as Lewa of the Toa Nuva called them, the Toa of Light were free to move on to other things. Many of them were directing the expansion effort, sending Toa of Gravity off to clear out a section, with the Toa of Air following behind. Nuju and Kopaka seemed to be discussing expansion plans to the Ko-Koro, but it was difficult to tell because they just kept nodding to each other. Meanwhile, Matoro noticed that Vakama, Lhikan and a few other Toa were having a contest in their downtime. They seemed to be seeing who could let off the biggest burst of flame.
The Toa Mahri were keeping busy, making tons of the lightstones with Grinna of the Toa Nexus. It was decided that they could never have too many lightstones. Nuparu was the one who suggested using some of the debris floating down from the upper-level construction. Matoro thought it was a good idea, it beat scraping the walls down here.
So, construction of the lightstones was moved to In-Koro because it was closer to the hole to the upper levels. Some of the Lightning Toa didn’t appreciate that, but they couldn’t do anything about it. Finally, when the Toa Mahri had completed their 500th lightstone, Jaller suggested they take a break.
From the private journal of Dr. L Eskner:
With most of the three hundred complete, I am as giddy as a schoolboy, hoping to complete them when the pain set in. I was rushed to the hospital, apparently I had suffered a heart-attack. The doctors told me to rest up. What do they know? I have been a doctor for far longer than they have been alive. Incompetent fools. Still, the institute told me to stay home, they weren’t going to allow me back in.
Vezon looked at the Toa Piraka. His twin, Vezok, snapped at Zaktan, yelling at him over some imagined offense. Vezon smiled. He loved the Piraka; their constant bickering was music to his ears. If he even had ears. Vezon was different from the other Toa. He was odd. Some called him crazy, like Vezok. Others called him a hero, like the voice in his head. Vezon didn’t know which he liked more.
He looked at Vezok and Zaktan, the only two crazy enough to follow him. His other Toa had more important things to do, and were no doubt swarming below him in the cave with the others. Actually, Vezon demanded that Vezok and Zaktan came with him, cause he would look pretty stupid climbing the wall alone. That, and he needed Zaktan’s acid power for his plan.
Finally, the Toa Piraka reached their destination, a small ledge that Vezon overheard the Toa Mata talk about. He realized when they reached it that it is a very small ledge.
“Why did you drag us up here anyway?” his twin brother asked.
“Because I need Mr. Sunshine here to carve out this wall with his acid.”
“So then why did you have him come along?” Zaktan asked pointedly.
“My personal amusement. Why else?” Vezon laughed as he gently pushed his brother, causing him to nearly lose balance.
“Ha!” came the amused cry of Zaktan.
“Enough fun and games, then; get on with it, Zaktan,” Vezon ordered while he dodged his brother’s swing. “Now now, someone might get hurt if you keep goofing off up here, Vezok.”
“I’m hoping it will be you!” yelled Vezok as he swung at his insane brother. Vezon ducked and kicked hard into Vezok, sending him over the ledge to the water below.
Vezon frowned, knowing that his brother would get him back later. His brother didn’t have the same sense of humor as he did. He looked at Zaktan, who was busy carving at the wall with his powers and weapon. His Mask of Erosion worked wonders on the wall, eating it away. Vezon sat down and looked at the water below. It would be so easy to just leave Zaktan up here. He wouldn’t notice until he was finished.
But he didn’t know when to stop. Zaktan was too stupid to know when a structure wasn’t solid anymore.
“Zaktan!” Vezon yelled. He realized that with his weapon, mask and element, Zaktan was laughing as he cut into the rock. “Zaktan!” he yelled again.
“What!” Zaktan’s response was more like an angry command than the question it should’ve been.
“Manners. Now, carve out a five-by-eight semi-oval.”
“Five by eight what?”
“Semi-oval, it is a shape. Kind of like a half-circle.”
“No I meant what unit of measure?”
Vezon looked at his subordinate with the eyes of a sloth. “Does it matter?”
Zaktan looked furious. “You tell me!” He yelled.
Vezon shrugged and waved at Zaktan to get back to work. He had no idea if it even mattered if it were a semi-oval. If it wasn’t done right, he would just tell Zaktan to do it again. He could always request another Toa of Acid if Zaktan refused. Of course, that would require explaining why he needed a Toa of Acid if he already had one. He could lie and say that Zaktan died. But what was the fun of that? Oh yeah, all of it.
And later, Vezon could explain that Mata Nui or Ignika restored Zaktan’s life. The only problem would be getting them to play along.
He could just kill Zaktan and solve the whole lying thing.
It might even be worth the reprimand. Maybe. It would certainly give him a few hours of entertainment. Maybe even more. He wondered if the Toa could die. No one had died yet, and they hadn’t eaten anything at all. The only thing they had drunk was a few unwanted gulps from the nasty river down below. At least they had a sense of taste.
Zaktan tapped him on the shoulder. Vezon turned and looked, surprised to see that he was finished, and that it didn’t look half-bad.
“Well, I guess you’re finished. Go down and ask Takanuva what to do. I’m gonna hang out here. I got stuff to do.”
“Whatever.” With that parting remark, the Toa of Acid jumped to the water below.
Vezon stood up and stretched. He pulled out his weapon, the spear of fusion. The weapon embodied Vezon’s element of [Twilight]], the fusion of Shadow and Light. Perhaps that was why Vezon seemed so odd. Only two other Toa have this element, Takuta and Hydraxon. Of course, they seemed normal. More normal than him anyway.
Vezon twirled the Spear around his fingers, creating a whirlwind of power. The rock around him began to tear itself apart, fusing with the air to create a plasma-like substance. His powers activated on their own, casting an eerie glow on the area. He didn’t activate his mask, its powers would be useless in this situation.
When he decided he had enough of the new substance, he slowed the Spear’s movement. The plasma began to harden, solidifying into a new substance. Vezon watched as it fell to the ground. He picked up a piece, and satisfied with the results, chucked it over the edge. He kicked the others over the edge as well. He pointed the Spear at the wall, causing it to turn to dust.
He nodded at it. Now if only the others hadn’t killed all of those creatures, he could test his mask’s power as well. Well, maybe he could test it out on the other Piraka. Zaktan, Avak, Reidak, Hakann, Thok, and his brother Vezok would make great test subjects for the Mask of Mutation. If only he were allowed to use other Toa as test subjects.
He stared at the water, and without a moments hesitation, dived into it. Off to find a creature, a wonderfully disgusting creature to mutate.
With his Mask of Mutation, Vezon discovered he could easily breathe under the water. He was utterly fascinated by this. Having gills just sent him into a whole new world of ideas to try on whatever he could find. He couldn’t wait to set some on his brother and the rest of the Toa Piraka.
He swam around for a few hours, occasionally listing lazily in the water because he forgot what he was doing. He swam upstream, so the current could carry him back later. Finally, he found something odd.
The weird buildup of strange material gave off a putrid smell. Vezon countered it by suddenly having no sense of smell, taken away by his Mask of Mutation. On the strange pile he saw a strange thing. He knew it was a living thing, somehow feeding off of the smelly mess it sat on. He focused his mask on it, watching it grow bigger.
“Oh, wonderful! Look at it go!”
He focused, trying desperately to change its increased size to giving it a different digestive system. The outcome disturbed Vezon quite a bit, which is not an easy thing to do. The new creature had a large, flat mouth. It also gained giant claws, and gripped Vezon, trying to eat him.
“Ha! You think you can eat me, my grotesque friend? I made you! Now watch me unmake you!” Vezon shouted at it as he raised his Spear of Fusion. He slashed at the creature, and it fell apart, merging with its primary food source. Landing gracefully on his feet, Vezon laughed at the bits and pieces that littered the brown mess, “How do you like me now?”
In response, the pile rose up under his feet, more menacing than the monstrosity he just vanquished. Odd, thought Vezon, I wonder if this was the Spear’s fault or the mask’s? Either way, it made no real difference to him, He focused the power of the mask to mutate the giant thing into a small, harmless creature.
“Aww… you’re so cute littleRrahi. How would you like to munch on my brother?”
“Scree!” the small thing replied.
“Good! You and I are gonna have a lot of fun. But first, lets get rid of that disgusting smell.” Vezon said as he activated his Mask of Mutation. His mask destroyed the putrid smell given off by the creature, and returned Vezon his sense of smell.
“I’m going to call you Ponu. We are gonna have so much fun!”
Vezon swam back with Ponu riding on his shoulders. The little Rahi looked ecstatic at the opportunity to attack something. The swim was easy, Vezon used the current to propel himself at a faster speed. Now that he had a new toy, he wanted to test it.
From the private journal of Dr. L Eskner:
It has been nearly three weeks since my heart attack, and my colleagues still won’t let me back into my lab. Apparently, I am to take a temporary teaching position. Fools. I am as healthy as ever! Arguing is a useless gesture, but they try and keep me calm, which in turn, keeps me amused. I suppose I must resign myself to teaching, until the doctor tells me I can go back to my real work.
Ahkmou looked around at his friends. Nuhrii, Vhisola, Orkahm, Tehutti, Ehrye and he were assigned as a team, to work on ascetic decorations of the Toa’s new home. While he was busy carving designs into the walls of the Po-Koro, Vhisola and Ehrye worked to build an ice fountain, that would be permanent down the Me-Koro, or main hall. Tehutti worked next to Ahkmou, carving out a new room. Nuhrii and Orkahm were focusing their elemental powers on forming glass decorations and inlays, to be put in Ahkmou’s carvings.
Ahkmou turned his attention back to the battle scene he was working on. His friend Takua of the Toa Inika was great at making up stories, and when they had some down time, the Av-Toa told Ahkmou about a great battle. Ahkmou was now trying to give shape to Takua’s words. The Toa of Stone worked diligently on his work, trying desperately to get the details right on the hero of the story, Toa Cero.
Toa Cero is the ideal Toa; kind, just, strong, graceful, and champion of good. If Toa Cero were here now, she would be given command of the other Toa. Everyone, even the troublemaking Vezon and his Toa Piraka would listen to Toa Cero. She would probably punish him for creating rahi, and tame his new pet for the good of all Toa. Here, in the stone, her power over all things proved in battle, she would be admired by all.
Toa Cero danced across the battlefield. Her mask was alight in power, her weapons energized, and her enemies vicious. She defended the other Toa, and the Matoran, from the dark and vile creatures she was fighting. Suddenly, a large ugly thing reared over her, slashing with claws, biting with fangs, spitting acid and poison, drawing all life from the area. It snatched her up, and she realized she couldn’t beat it.
But she could make sure it didn’t harm her comrades.
She built up her power, drawing it all in until finally! She released it, sending all the monsters away forever. Unfortunately, Toa Cero was lost as well, only her mask remained with the rest of the Toa. The lamented her loss, and created a monument for her, with her mask within it, waiting for her return.
So lost was Ahkmou in his work that he didn’t hear Nuhrii approach, or even hear him call his name. He did feel Nuhrii’s hand, and leapt at the sudden touch.
“Quitting time Ahkmou.” Nuhrii said.
The Po-Toa shook his head, “not for me, Nuhrii, Toa Cero’s work hasn’t been finished yet.”