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This article was written by Ihu. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.


Dancing with Destiny

Chapter 1[]

The unending silence of deep space was shattered by the arrival of a host of fighters. They were small and streamlined, each with two Thundersight blasters fitted to the underside and a thin tailfin on the back.

The ships belonged to the Disciples of Vradok, a group of ritualistic terrorists devoted to an all-powerful - even in death - deity, and their mission was simple - find New Krano Nui and destroy it. So far, their search had been unsuccessful.

At the back of the formation, a black-armoured Mersion activated his comlink. "Lord Vahliin, this is Hordika Four. A bogey has appeared four kios to the rear."

The squad leader, a tall being known as Vahliin, responded. "Hordika Four, this is Lord Vahliin. You and Hordika Six will break formation and investigate. Over."

"Over."

Almost immediately, two of the fighters spun around and headed in the opposite direction from their team-mates. The others would have to wait for them to come back before returning to base.

After several minutes, the two fighters rejoined their comrades. Hordika Six, a Vorgaan heretic with a knack for bioengineered explosives, checked his dashboard chronometer. It was a long time since they had left Remus Magna, their last stop, and he was running low on fresh oxygen. Unlike the rest of his squad, Vor Sxe'cahn was an organic being, at least partially, and was much more reliant on food, water and fresh oxygen than the others. It was almost like a curse during missions such as these. Only Captain Python could really understand that fact.

"Hordika Squadron, this is the OSV Shadow Plague. Prepare to dock at Hangar Bay Twelve. Over and out."

And there it was - the OSV Shadow Plague, the largest space vessel in Vradok's fleet. It was huge, brimming with the latest weaponry, and home to more than one million Disciples of the dark lord.

From a distance, Vor thought it looked like a Laser Crossbow with fins and a massive block at the rear. This "block" was the matter/antimatter reaction engine. It relied on a small pocket dimension for its fuel, the dimension itself replicating the matter and antimatter at an impossible rate. It would power the Shadow Plague until the end of eternity.

Vahliin activated his comlink once again to address the entire unit. "Okay, Hordika Squadron, once we land on the Plague, you have exactly one hour to prepare for the next mission. Over and out."

Chapter 2[]

Karu pulled his Kanohi Mahokau away from his face, and replaced it with his oh-so-familiar Calix. He could use Kanohi, unlike most other Matoran, and the Mahokau allowed him to breathe in the depths of space. Since he was no longer flying through that vast vacuum, he no longer needed it.

This chamber was huge...and dark. The OSV Lava Hawk had been abandoned centuries ago, and yet almost all of its systems were still fully functional. There was air, gravity, a few lights, even an automated bar. The droids had powered down a long time ago, but Karu could get them running again in seconds.

That, however, was not his top priority. The Water Council had employed him to investigate the ship's mysterious past, in return for a supply of Volo Orbs and permission to keep the OSV Lava Hawk itself.

Looking around, Karu began to make a mental note of everything. In seconds, that note had become a list.

  1. No life forms anywhere, save a few bacteria.
  2. Only immediately obvious damage is a light-fitting lying by the bar. The wires have been chewed up, and a Crustainax dagger protruding from the bulb.
  3. Speaking of Crustainax, this place smells of burnt crab.

Why did it smell, though? There was nothing alive there, and there hadn't been for centuries, so how...

Karu saw something move in his peripheral vision. He spun around, and it was all he could do not to scream. Three Crustainax were standing there, staring straight at him. Bits of their armour were missing, and one had lost an arm. Slowly, they began to move forwards, limping their way towards the frightened Matoran. One of them let out a terrible groan, and Karu knew exactly what was going on. They were the living dead.

He'd seen the dramas on HES when staying in Irania Nui. The reanimated bodies of the deceased. And they seemed to be much more horrible in reality than in the movies. Karu drew a Cordak Pistol, just as another nine zombies emerged from the shadows. There were twelve of them now, and Karu only had eight pieces of ammunition.

Firing at the center of the crowd, Karu hit two of the Crustainax, and the walking corpses exploded into a cloud of armour and rotting tissue.

Seven pellets and ten Crustainax. This was going to be a tricky one.

Chapter 3[]

Captain Python turned at the sound of footsteps. In front of him now were Lord Vahliin and an Agori in gold armour. Python smiled.

"Greetings, gentlemen. What can I do for you?"

Vahliin, who was easily twice the Captain's height, spoke first. "A bogey was encountered eleven kios from the Plague at 25:16 ship's time. We were unsuccessful in obtaining it at the time, but we do have some images."

The golden Agori passed Python a set of photographs, each showing a ball of glowing, blue energy.

The Captain chuckled. "It's an Amana Volo Sphere. Send Piraka Two to collect it using a Gravitan Vortex Generator, and then get it down to Wires on Deck Thirty-Eight."

The Agori saluted. "Yes sir."

Vahliin stayed behind after his gold ally had left, and examined Captain Python. A strange being from a far-off galaxy, Python was completely organic save for a few small implants that increased his life-span and allowed him telekinesis, for he had no natural powers of his own. Roughly 1.4 bio in height, his skin was a pinkish-beige, whilst his eyes were white, broken only by a small disc of blue, and an even smaller disc of black within that. Short brown fur protruded from the top of his head, with thin stubble around his chin and jaw. Once, he had been a smalltime military officer on his homeworld. Now, he commanded a vast intergalactic army, as one of Vradok's most trusted. If he missed his previous life, he didn't show it.

Python caught Vahliin's gaze. "Lord Vahliin, do you have something you wish to say?"

"Indeed I do. I am taking Hordika Squadron to the Solis Magna system at 26:22, but I require...assistance. This mission will not be easy, and many good soldiers will die."

"Very well." The Captain pressed a button on his desk, and a door appeared in the center of the far wall. Through it stepped a four-legged, white-armoured being wearing a polished silver Kanohi Ilyla. He carried a sword in one hand, and a Cordak blaster in the other.

"This," Python began, "is Zeitru. He is a master of armed combat, and his other talents make him invaluable in any battle. He will be your assistance - now go."

Chapter 4[]

As he stood at the water cooler, looking out over the vast nothingness of space, broken only by a few ships, Vor couldn't help thinking about Ik'jaro. In his native language, Vorgese, it meant "the fields". And there were certainly a lot of fields on Ik'jaro.

Ik'jaro was one of Kiridonia's moons, and was where Vor and some Kiridonian farmers grew the famous "Viperdust" spice. It was an extremely volatile substance, and so very effective as an explosive. Viperdust was just one of many bioengineered weapons, however, and all of them were a vital part of the Disciples' military.

The chronometer on the wall stated that it was 26:18, so Vor would need to get back to his fighter. An important mission awaited Hordika Squadron, and then he could return to his farmland.

****

At 26:22, Vahliin led his squadron back into the depths of space. They were searching once again for New Krano Nui. With their leader Morotok dead, it would be a lot easier to take control of the floating city.

New Krano Nui was huge, much larger than any regular OSV, and was home to several million Matoran, Agori, and others. The entire population of one of the Great Beings' test islands resided there, as did the residents of the original Krano Nui.

Destroying it would get the Disciples a quintillion steps closer to achieving universal domination.

Suddenly, a ship came into view ahead of them. A brief scan indicated that it was the OSV Lava Hawk. It had been abandoned centuries ago, and yet the airlock had been used in the last half an hour.

Interesting, Vahliin thought. Perhaps we should take a look?

Chapter 5[]

Pulling herself up out of the cockpit of a small fighter, Psyra glanced at her assistant briefly, before turning to Daero. The Toa had said nothing since leaving Isakrah only days before, and now looked as if he was finally gearing up to break that silence.

But, before he could speak a word, Onatrix ran into the hangar, Covoc and Miran close behind him.

"Psyra! Psyra! It's happened!" The small being shouted. "The Rakuta is free! And he's here!"

****

Far away, on the island of Irania Nui, four Toa sat in a large canteen. It was part of the famous F.R.E.E.Z.E. Industries Headquarters, where the latest advances in cryogenics were pushed to their limits.

They all turned at the sound of footsteps, only to see a Ce Matoran enter with a small silver datapad.

"Greeting. I am Junoh." Her voice was as cold as the rest of Ko Iarn.

Halok stepped forwards. "Pleased to meet you. He put out his hand for her to shake, but she just turned to Gelik, Karael and Juuloc.

"So," Karael began, "What happened to the guards?"

Junoh frowned. "They were frozen. It wasn't very violent, so they survived, but Leik...wasn't so lucky."

Leik was a Matoran scientist who had been examining the artifacts that had been found in Onu Iarn. He had been attacked, and the artifacts stolen.

"Leik was frozen too, but it was like nothing we've ever seen. He went from his normal body temperature to Absolute Zero in roughly .3 of a second. He's dead. Whatever you're up against, whoever you've made your enemy, they sure are powerful, and very dangerous."

Chapter 6[]

For the first time in over six thousand years, Psyra screamed. It was a horrible sight - Kuro, Toa of Ice, frozen solid at a temperature that was impossible. 0 Kahlven is the coldest temperature possible, at which all atoms stop moving. The meter was reading -3000 Kalven. He had been screaming at the time, trying his best to defend himself from an unknown assailant. A few quick scans revealed that he had been dead from the moment he was frozen.

Psyra turned to face Covoc. His eyes were wet, and his breathing was heavy. It had only been a few days ago that Toa Frucas had been murdered by the Sygran, whom Covoc had battled all through the night to defeat. He wouldn't be able to take any more deaths among his friends.

Onatrix led the four of them out of the room, to find Kurek, Daero and Kentaurus waiting for them. Kent, as her friends called her, had grown very close to the Toa Krano since their arrival on New Krano Nui, and was horrified to find her new friend Kuro dead.

Nobody said a word, until Covoc waved a hand at Onatrix, who took that as his cue to leave. The others followed suit, until only Psyra remained with him. He looked up into her mask, and she saw a new side to Covoc that shocked her slightly. His eyes burned with the fury of a raging inferno, and his features were set into a mask of immense, yet controlled, anger.

"I don't care about regulation or protocol, Psyra. You're giving me a team of elites, the best equipment, and everything I need to kill this Rakuta. Now."

****

If Karu was scared, he didn't show it. He was locked in a small "panic room", surrounded by rotting supplies. Outside, corpses all over the OSV Lava Hawk had sprung back into life, and were converging on his hiding place. There were Crustainax, Toa, Kuat, Skrall, Vorgaan, Makuta and others, all of them hungering for Karu's life force. And he only had one pellet left. A few minutes earlier, he had set off a distress beacon, and now all he could do was sit, wait, and hope for a miraculous rescue.

Chapter 7[]

Gelik was the first to read the message, or a at least to try. It was written in a foreign dialect, and not even a Mask of Translation could decipher it. That meant it was old. Very old. Older than the whole of Irania Nui. And that was worrying.

Juuloc sat down beside her. She was a mess - still shaken from her encounter with Vashkov, Kreix and the Lupiforms, and she was mourning Yezu, who had disappeared just over a week ago.

"You okay, Gelik?"

She smiled softly. "I've been a lot better, but I'll live. Anyway, we have a job to do."

"Do you think the break-in has anything to do with Onu Iarn?"

"I think it has everything to do with Onu Iarn, Juuloc."

A door opened, and Halok walked in. "Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we have our first lead."

Juuloc and Gelik both stood up at the same time. The former spoke. "Where to?"

"The first word in the message is Arka. As in Arka Nui."

Karael appeared from behind the same door. "And guess what - that's where we're going."

Chapter 8[]

The Lord Protectorate of Arka Nui stood on the balcony of the Tower of Change. Inside, a Matoran hopeful was undergoing various tests and being challenged by his peers, in order to see if he was to join the ranks of the Toa Arka.

Arka Nui was a marvel of engineering - chimneys lined the horizon, all part of the vast factories that made the day-to-day running of the city possible. It was easy to ignore the smog that rested above the island.

Some called it Sin City, the Lord Protectorate called it home, as did every other citizen. All except for one - a Fe Matoran called Ikov, who nearly destroyed society in a bid to find the mythical One Mask. According to Irania Nui News, he was finally deceased, killed during a battle with a Toa of Light named Karael.

Zaito appeared behind the Lord, and coughed twice. "My Lord, there are some Toa visitors who wish to speak with you."

unfinished

To be continued

Characters[]

Trivia[]

  • The mention of the Kahlven system of measuring temperature is a nod towards Kelvin, a real-life system.
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