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Dark Future
I39 Dark Future Banner
Story
Series
The Fairon Chronicles
Setting
Date Set
1.820 AET
Timeline
Previous
Dark Future: The Untold Story
Next
"Nothing was the same anymore. The Nui Tower of Time collapsed after Kratus had betrayed his best friend Fairon, and nearly killed him and the team he was with in the resulting battle. The Nui Tower collapsed with a thundering sound, signalling the beginning of a new era. Or rather, the end of all other eras. The result was a universe without any flow of Time whatsoever, which allowed the forces of Darkness to enter the universe without restrictions."
―Narrator, Chapter One

Dark Future is a story in the Kronian Multiverse Storyline, chronicling the events of the later stages of the Temporal War, fought out between the Temporal Empire and a team led by Fairon. In their struggles, the Temporal Empire makes usage of an army of Undead – creatures made from the Darkness in one’s heart, and the remnants of the hearts of fallen beings – to enforce their iron rule.

It is the first story in the Kronian Multiverse Storyline to be released, and is a total rewrite and total reimagining of a story by the same name which was originally written by ToaFairon in 2010 up until Chapter Eight. The original Dark Future and the contemporary story share the same basic premise, including the Temporal Empire, the Primal Beast's status as greater-scope antagonist and Krataxus' role as primary antagonist throughout the story.

Synopsis[]

In a universe enjoying its golden age, an apocalyptic event has changed the course of history forever. The collapse of the Nui Tower of Time signified the end of all eras, and stalled the flow of Time. After the betrayal of one of their own, a once determined and proud team of warriors now finds themselves gathered at the edges of the endless abyss which threatens to destabilise the universe even further. More than ever before does the team need unity and strength in order to confront the adversaries they are about to face.

But, although they desperately try to find a way to reverse the Universal Paralysis and the damage done, the warriors have to face harder challenges and confront stronger, more powerful adversaries than before, including an adversary who they would prefer to call friend

Story[]

Log Entry #221[]

"And then, everything, for what seemed to be a brief second taking an eternity, stood perfectly still...

The team of brave warriors I have sent out on a mission to prevent the unthinkable from happening, has failed to do so in the face of adverse conditions and the ever-growing threat of Darkness, which draws ever closer to us. I fear this is just the first of many tricks He has in store for us.

The Nui Tower of Time has collapsed in the wake of these events, brought about not just by their failure to go to the summit, but by His interference in the brave team. Its leader, a young, brave Toa of Fire, has fallen prey to the tricks Darkness has played on him. The poor Toa now serves as nothing but a mere pawn on His board, ready to be sacrificed at His whim, should the Toa be of no more use to Him.

Every single moment I sit here, with every word I write, I can feel His power is growing steadily.

While the forces of Darkness once again dawn upon the Universe, like a blanket drawn over a bed, He and His allies seem to draw ever closer to winning yet another victory over the Universe. And now, with there being no more flow of Time itself, He is able to once again descend the curtains of Darkness upon the Universe at an unprecedented rate, corrupting millions in the process, while threatening the existence of thousands of civilisations and planets.

Even the Galactic Council, beacon of civilisation and bulwark against the Dark forces, has failed to prevent His forces from taking control over ever larger parts of the galaxy. Arcturus Magna itself, the very cradle upon which the galaxy was built, has succumbed to the forces of Darkness, leaving in its wake a power vacuum that could only be filled up by a single Dark entity, that was long awaiting its return.

The Temporal Empire is a fact.

In spite of this Empire slowly spreading its wings of Darkness and corruption over the entire galaxy, there is still a glimmer of hope in the endless fog of Darkness. A point of Light that even the darkest, most vile forces cannot put out.

A young Toa of Light and his team are the final hope in stopping the spread of Darkness before it is too late. And they have little, for lack of a better word, Time, to stop the Darkness from spreading out and irreversibly corrupting the core fabric of the Universe itself. They must make haste. His forces are at the ready, and He is doubtlessly preparing to physically return to the Universe, from where He can once more wreak havoc and destruction upon those who dare stand in His way."

Prologue One[]

A desert planet, 1.820 AET, frozen in Time…

Desert winds blew across the darkened skies above the loud and crowded cityscape on the planet of Estron. It wasn’t night. Nor day, for that matter. Since the Paralysis had occurred, the city was locked in a permanent state of twilight, as the planet did not spin around its own axis. On the sandy ground in a wide, crowded and loud street filled with market vendors left and right, a silver-armoured, blue-eyed, cloaked being was slowly making his way towards his destination. Follow the smell, he knew. This planet was Estron, home of the great warlord Rex, and the birthplace of many a collapsed civilisation. It was, perhaps, the galaxy’s troubled child, but its “management” – for as far as there was one – acknowledged the problems and tried to work it out.

For the being, it did not matter. All that mattered was that he arrive at the den.

Another, tinier being came walking besides the silver-armoured being. The two did not for a moment stop to look at one another or analyse one another, but the taller one knew that this tiny being here would lead him right to the den.

The tiny Matoran abruptly took a turn to the right, and the taller being followed suit. The street they walked in now was far more narrow than the wide and open space of the street they had just gotten out of. As a result, the noise here was at least slightly more bearable than the cacophony that was the previous street, with the shouting vendors and rowdy low-lifes looking for a drink.

They stopped at a small door on the left side of the street.

Once the Matoran opened the door, the two were greeted by a flowery, slightly numbing smell. Stepping into the door, the tall one tried to look around in the haze. He could vaguely make out the shapes of restaurant waiters and lone Matoran gamblers, who only gave him unfriendly stares as he walked past them towards the back. Passing by the bar, the Matoran opened another wooden door, leading into a dirty, badly lit hallway. The smell in the hallway was even stronger than that in the den. Stopping in the back of the hallway, the Matoran opened a door on his right, leading the two into an office-like space.

There, behind a desk of dusty, old, cracked wood, stood a chair with another being sitting in it. The smoke of his cigarette filled the room and smelled heavily. The Toa was disgusted, but he knew that this was usual on his home planet. He himself had, after all, also smoked cigarettes for a while.

The being in the chair greeted him, “Ah. I see you have arrived here”. The chair turned, revealing a rather small being – perhaps a Matoran, perhaps an Agori. The left half of his armour was blue, while the right half of his armour was black. His voice was rather gruff and low, and just a bit growly. He had gotten the black armour from an attack by Spydra, which poisoned half his armour, leading it to become black. His eyes were green, and stared directly into the big being’s blue eyes. He urged for the big being to sit down.

“What have you come for?”

“What do you think I have come for?”

The Toa grabbed something from his pouch, and laid it down on the table. Unveiling it, it turned out to be a piece of paper. “We need to know, and you know”, he said, pointing at a piece of text on the paper. The text was written about the potential Universal Paralysis that could happen, what the consequences could be, and what could possibly be done to reverse it. It did not, however, contain exact instructions to reverse it. The being in the chair leaned forward, gazing at the paper in front of him. He sat back, put out his cigarette, and threw it away into an ashtray. His eyes were firmly fixed on the Toa’s.

“Are you out of your mind?”

“I could be.”

“Quit the jokes. Reversing the Universal Paralysis is an utterly bonkers idea. Possible, but bonkers.”

It was at this point that the Toa sat forward, pulled off his hood, and spoke, “Listen. You and I both know this regime cannot last if the stability of this universe – or what’s left of it – is to be kept intact. We also know it is possible, and we know you have the knowledge we need to accomplish what we need to do. You, after all, have a wider network of contacts and informants than any readily available source out there.”

The being sat back, looking rather unamused. “There is a temple, somewhere in the vicinity of the Protected Zone.” He got up from his seat and opened one of the drawers behind him. The Toa could get a faint glimpse of what filled the shelves. Books filled with information about pretty much anything one could need. From information about the creation of the universe, to the biology of several creatures, to the history of planets. History, the Toa thought.

If only we could still make history

The being took out a heavy, brown, bound book, and closed the drawers. He slowly walked back to the table, and put it on the table, which creaked and cracked as the large, heavy book was laid down onto the old wood. He opened the book, skipped through its pages, until he arrived at page 335. The page showed drawings of a large planet with perpetual rainfall and heavy thunderstorms, with a hard rock surface, and inhabited by nothing. The only location seemingly on the planet was a round, circular structure that reminded the Toa of the Kronian temples on Estron. “Here. On the planet Ashatan, one can find an ancient temple, from pre-Infinian times, with scriptures and engravings containing information and instructions on a Universal Paralysis, its symptoms, and the possible reversal of it. While the planet is traversable, it is extremely hazardous and dangerous. In fact, it was illegal to traverse the planet per the laws of the Galactic Council, and I have no reason to believe the planet isn't dangerous these days.“

The Toa, not taken aback by the warnings of the being in the chair, leaned forward in interest.

Tell me more.

Prologue Two[]

A remote location in the galaxy, 1.820 AET, frozen in Time…

The gargantuan vehicle slid slowly through the emptiness of space. Ahead of it, lay a magnificently armoured and protected fortress, hiding the remains of a formerly magnificent tower. Behind it, lay more than a dozen wreckages of battleships and other types of ships that had tried to stop the empire, before and after the Paralysis happened.

In the bridge of the vehicle, located in a tower high above the other decks of the ship, the captain oversaw the large and long ship docking at the main port of the tower. The ship was a vehicle of epic proportions, long and sleek, designed to have the same form as a battleship at sea, but adapted to travel through space-time. The bridge was slightly aft of the centre of the ship, in a large tower, with the bridge itself overlooking most of the ship. On the foredeck, three triple-barrelled energy cannons were ready to fire, while on the stern, another 2 triple-barrelled energy cannons were ready. The stern was mounted with wings carrying the engine's nacelles, while the middle of the stern hid the trans-warp nacelle, which was built into the hull. On the sides and the keel of the ship, missile launchers and smaller energy guns were mounted to provide defence against closer enemies. The bridge's tower was equipped with similar defence systems.

The ship slowly slid into the hangar, in almost perfect motion, and was attached to the docking clamps. The workers in the ship readied themselves to leave their station and get ready to greet their commander in the hangar itself. As the ship's reactor engine turned off and the ship finished its docking process, the gates of the ship opened up, slowly sliding towards the platform of the hangar. Lines upon lines of deathlike creatures marched out of the gates, eventually ending in 2 straight lines inside the hangar to await their commander. At last, the commander, a tall, intimidating red and orange armoured being with fiery red eyes and bat-like wings, stepped out onto the reflective metal surfaces of the hangar. He stepped slowly, making sure each step could be heard throughout the hangar, to announce his presence.

The captain and his escorting soldier slowly walked onwards through the hallways in the gargantuan fortress. On their left hand side, one could view hangars and storage rooms, while on their right hand side, one could find an array of training rooms, ship repair bays and even engine rooms. Arriving at the end of the long hallway, the soldier pressed the button to call the elevator. A ping, and the elevator doors swept open, revealing a large, luxurious elevator made of steel and glass. Pressing the button to the upper floor, the elevator shot upwards at rapid speed. While the elevator was ascending rapidly, the duo could briefly catch glimpses of what was going on inside the many rooms of the fortress. Training rooms where soldiers were given instructions on how to fight. Further up, they could see large construction facilities, where the hull of a new battleship was being constructed by workers. Yet further upwards, they caught a brief glimpse of the tremendous energy ball that was the core of the facility itself.

And then, the windows showed nothing but stone. The two in the elevator could feel it slowing down from its rapid pace, nearing its destination at the top floor. Grinding to a halt, the elevator doors opened, leading onto the summit of a tremendous, but damaged tower. The commander walked out slowly, dismissing his soldier. The elevator doors closed behind the commander.

The surroundings were enormous; large, decorated pillars depicting the creation of the Infinus, walls with Kronian Infinian inscriptions that were unreadable to most, and the very Altar of Time, where the Crystal of Time was to be installed in the event of a restoration of Time.

There, in a throne built of remnants of armour of fallen fighters, stones from the remains of the tower, and metal remains from destroyed ships, a large, reptilian being sat. The being was quietly meditating, deeply concentrated.

But it had heard footsteps.

"It has been awhile. Is all going according to plan?" the reptilian being asked. Its voice was growly, low, and slightly booming, and had a rather distorted quality, as if another being was trying to speak through the reptilian. The commander, kneeling at the steps leading to the Altar, spoke, "My Lord and ruler. They have once again gone to Estron, in search of information. If I am to believe my informants, they are planning on heading towards Ashatan."

The reptilian being smiled, but it was not for the commander to see. The reptilian had, after all, still not turned around his throne to face the commander. Still, the smile of the reptilian being was one of the most twisted, vile things any being could see in the galaxy, its sheer ugliness enough to scare even the greatest Toa into taking a step back from the confrontation with the being.

“Why don’t you pay a…visit to them while they’re there? Give them a tour, show them around.”

The commander smiled, too. Or, the closest he could come to smiling. He had not smiled since his friend had betrayed him for his own ends. The old friend did not realise what dangers there were, not listening to the commander’s heeding words. Indeed, he had warned them of what disasters lay ahead, what could happen if they prevented the collapse of the Nui Tower of Time.

But they had stubbornly refused to heed his warnings.

“Very well, my master. As you wish.”

He got up from his knees, and bowed once more to his leader. Afterwards, he turned around, facing the elevator once more. He started walking at a quick pace, to the elevator. He pressed the button on the elevator control panel, and the elevator opened up. He stepped into the elevator, and pressed the button to the floor where the hangars were located. The elevator shot down, and passed by all the locations it had just passed by.

The commander walked down the same corridors again, flanked by the same soldiers that had flanked him before. He was again greeted by rows of soldiers, ready to march into the ship. The loading ramp was still opened, and the red-armoured being walked upwards into the innards of the ship. Behind him, he could hear the footsteps of the thousands of white-armoured, skeleton-faced soldiers readying themselves to bring the equipment on board the ship. In front of him, he could see the extremely long corridor of the ship, which extended all the way from its stern to its bow.

Taking a sharp turn to the left, the red-armoured being arrived at an elevator. He pressed the button to summon the elevator, and waited. Shortly afterwards, the elevator doors slid open, and the being walked in. He pressed the button for the upper floor. The doors closed shut, and the elevator shot upwards towards the top of the tower in the middle of the ship.

Grinding to a halt, the elevator arrived at its floor. A computerised voice announced its arrival: “Top floor. Bridge.” The doors then slid open. The room the red-armoured commander walked into was large and long, with windows at the other end of the room providing a 180-degrees view of what lay in front and next to the ship. In the middle, the captain’s chair was situated, in front of which was a pathway which led all the way to the front of the windows. The pathway was flanked left and right by controlling desks with radar devices, engine operation, gun operation and radio communication. In front of the captain’s chair, a large control desk was situated, featuring a microphone to speak to the entire ship, buttons to give orders to the engine section, and controls for several guns.

The red-armoured being sat down in his chair, and pressed a button activating the communicator.

“Attention, crew on the ship, this is your captain and commander speaking. Prepare the ship for leave towards the vicinity of Ashatan on the borders of the Protected Zone.”

With a roaring sound, the engines of the ship activated. The docking clamps in the hangar were detached, leaving the ship to use its own engines to levitate. Taking a turn to the right, the ship was now facing open space.

“Go.”

Chapter One[]

Footsteps sounded through the faintly lit corridor, its arched roof revealing nothing but the hollowed-out rock of the asteroid it was in. All that gave the faintest idea where one was, were the few round windows looking out into open space. It was the Shipwreck Field, an asteroid field distant from many supposedly "civilised" locations. Inside some of these asteroids, this corridor network signified the presence of a base unknown to anyone but the few working inside it.

The faint white lights coming from the bulbs above only faintly hinted what the being walking through the corridor looked like; his black and silver armour was hidden under a black leather cloak. His eyes were fierce and blue, a shade they shared with his Heartstone. He walked rather silently, thinking deeply about what was to come, and what had come before…

Nothing was the same anymore.

The Nui Tower of Time collapsed after Kratus had betrayed his best friend Fairon, and nearly killed him and the team he was with in the resulting battle. The Nui Tower collapsed with a thundering sound, signalling the beginning of a new era. Or rather, the end of all other eras. The result was a universe without any flow of Time whatsoever, which allowed the forces of Darkness to enter the universe without restrictions.

Fairon, himself a relatively honourable, honest, slightly doubtful Toa of Light, had been turned into an emotional and psychological wreckage by what had happened. His best friend had betrayed him, in the process nearly taking his life and the lives of his other friends. To top it all off, the already rather unstable Fairon was slowly consumed by the omnipresent Darkness, constantly experiencing nightmarish visions of what had happened.

The new controllers of the universe, in the form of the Primal Beast and Krataxus, had established themselves as a new galactic authorities, overthrowing the Galactic Council and instating their own law and rules. On Arcturus Magna, the Chief Enforcer Acritus had been put out of his position after refusing to take the orders to kill rioters. Krataxus then became the new Chief Enforcer and President of Arcturus Magna, effectively suspending the rule of law that once made Arcturus Magna a haven in comparison to Estron and the other “lawless” planets. To make matters worse, Fairon and his team – the last who had the chance to reverse it all – were forced to flee the civilised world and take refuge in an asteroid field just a little distance from a planet notorious for its bounty hunter activity and lawlessness. And all that while they were entirely aware of the fact that any bounty hunter could sell them out when offered enough money and threatened with death.

The universe’s situation had not looked this bleak since the Second Great Infinus War led to the exile of Titanus, the disappearance of Infina Magna from galactic maps, and the disappearance of the Combat Masters’ League.

The being in the corridor himself, also a part of the strike team that was sent to prevent the Nui Tower from collapsing, had also been considerably scarred by the events that took place right before the collapse. He remembered the ground shook at irregular intervals, the second shake even heavier than the first one. He saw the nightmarish visions that the Darkness was planting in his mind.

Worst of all, he could still remember the moments Kratus snapped.

In the previous few days, the Toa of Fire had barely had any chance to rest and, given the fact he was already tempered with by the Darkness, this enabled the dark powers at hand to temper with his mind even further. The Toa’s moods had been getting progressively worse and he was slowly descending into paranoid madness. Still, the Toa in the corridor did not expect what came afterwards.

The final day, the Toa of Fire’s mood seemed to be getting slightly lightened up before he fell unconscious, only mere moments before the rest of the Toa team were to make the final ascent at the summit and finish their mission. Aquila, the team's healer and Toa of Water, agreed to remain with the Toa of Fire, in order to look after him, and the rest of the team made the final ascent to the top of the Tower.

Once there, though, the team was inadvertently confronted by an angry, confused and out-of-control Temporal Beast. Though their efforts were courageous and they managed to work together strongly, the Toa could not push the strong reptillian Infinus back far enough as to give them access to the Altar of Time, where they could install the Crystal and prevent the Paralysis from happening.

And then, before the team could push back the Infinus long enough, the unthinkable happened.

The enraged, confused Toa of Fire reappeared on the summit, Aquila nowhere to be seen, and proceeded to accuse Fairon of the most heinous of crimes. When the Toa of Light asked his confused friend what was going on, he found himself being hacked at with a sword by a raging and screaming Toa of Fire in response. The Toa remembers the vision of the intense hatred in the fierce red eyes of the Toa of Fire as he accused the Toa of Light of only serving his own goals and his own ego, of seeking to plunge the universe into chaos and Darkness. He could hear Fairon’s despaired screams as he begged for his friend to turn to reason instead of letting himself be tampered with by the Darkness.

But nothing helped.

The fierce and angered Toa of Fire suddenly started wildly attacking his team members in a fit of rage when they, too, sided with Fairon. A battle ensued at the summit of the Nui Tower of Time itself, where that same team was supposed to prevent the Darkness from engulfing it. Instead of preventing the Darkness, though, one of their members was siding with the Dark, and helping the Temporal Beast prevent the team from preventing the total collapse of the Nui Tower. In all of these horrific moments, the raging, screaming Toa of Fire managed to slowly push his team members ever further away from rescuing the Nui Tower of Time, until it was too late.

The silver-armoured Toa remembers the ground shaking more violently than ever before in preparation, only mere seconds before it all ended. The black hole above them tore away a wall. And then another. The team, still fighting with Krataxus, pushed back the Toa of Fire just enough to be able to make a run for it themselves. Fairon, though, begged for the rest of his team to listen to him and return to save Kratus, but the others reasoned it to be too late. When the Toa of Fire threatened to block the way and possibly kill the rest of his team, the skinny Toa of Air, Lev, pushed the Toa of Fire back, while Shadon utilised his energy gun to destroy the ceiling and block Kratus’ way.

The team hurried to descend the remaining stairs of the Nui Tower before finally rushing out of the exit into their ship. The Toa still vividly remembers the booming, low, buzzing noise of the Nui Tower of Time being inevitably sucked into a massive black hole, and the sound of the resulting explosion that heralded the end of Time as they knew it. Fairon and Aquila were sobbing uncontrollably, while Shadon piloted their airship to worlds distant from the Tower.

For the Toa in the corridor, the memories were lively.

Perhaps a little too lively, the being thought to himself.

Arriving at a great steel door, the being stopped in his tracks and waited for the computer to activate. The faint white glow of the light bulbs behind the being were now being replaced by a bright red, spinning alert light. The door's computer activated. The being calmly typed some codenames and numbers on the keyboard of the computer, the red light brightly illuminating the being's silver Hau. He pressed the "input" button on the keyboard, after which the red light started illuminating the space below the door instead.

With a mildly clanging sound, the door slid open, revealing the many corridors in the innards of the battleship. Around him, he could hear voices of Matoran and other beings faintly whispering. The corridors of the former ship were as faintly-lit as the corridor leading to it, if not even darker. The being slowly walked into the ship, and took a turn to the right, into the corridor. Arriving at a door in the middle of the ship, the being took a turn to the left and opened the door, revealing a massive stairwell with metallic staircases. The stairwell led all the way from the upper levels of the ship right down to the lowest levels, and was just slightly aft of centre, as was usual in this design of ships. The being calmly walked upwards, while his footsteps could faintly be heard throughout the stairwell. At the top of the stairwell, the being stopped to once again type codenames and numbers on the keyboard of a computer to allow himself entry. He pressed the "input" button, and the doors slowly slid open to reveal a large room that overlooked the foredeck.

The being slowly strode into the room, carefully taking note of his surroundings. Close to the door at the front of the room, a large conference table stood, with several beings gathered at the sides of the large table. At its head, on the far side of the room, the chair was rotated to face the large windows facing the foredeck, and out onto the endlessness of space. On the chairs besides the chair at the head of the table sat Fyxan and Shadon respectively. Fyxan was tall, with gold and white armour, and a left eye that was robotic due to a heavy fight with Zirix during the fall of Dracia. The other eye, not robotic, was blue. Fyxan was also the proficient swordsman, with his unusual reversed grip technique and his usage of light powers to move at great speeds. Shadon, on the other hand, was shorter, had grey-silvery-coloured armour, and was the technological and weapons master of the lot. His armour was highly advanced and had folding wings as well. Both hailed from Dracia, but had different origins. While Fyxan had been the apprentice and later right-hand man of Hendrax’, Shadon was a tradesman, one who made weapons for a living before Dracia disappeared, and then turned into a Toa and became a bounty hunter for a while, before being recruited by the Turaga at Kraka Minor for this mission.

The two were looking at the being who had just entered, and gave him their nods. The room was large and circular, with two levels. The upper level contained the table, the lower one contained the radar apparatuses and gun-operation stations, with the radar being operated by a single blue-armoured Matoran. In the middle of the room, overlooking the lower level, the captain's chair was situated, being situated simultaneously at the head of the table and at the platform overlooking the lower levels of the bridge. The room was filled with eerie silence, and the being could feel the atmosphere of anticipation as he walked to his seat. The only sound that occasionally broke the silence, were the bleeps of the radar.

Choosing the chair at the other head of the table, the being slowly sat down, facing the turned chair at the other side. "Ah, Jareroden. Did your mission yield any significant results? You always speak very highly of your Estronian source, so I would like to know what they had to say," the being at the head of the table broke the silence. Slowly turning his chair, the being's fierce green eyes were now piercing directly into Jareroden's blue ones. "Yes, Fairon. According to my Estronian source, the instructions to reverse a Universal Paralysis and the destruction of the Nui Tower of Time are hidden in a temple on the planet Ashatan of which the coordinates are X-253.00012, Y255.06000, Z252.30120. If these coordinates are correct, that would place it near the Protected Zone. We can make it there, but it shall not be easy," Jareroden explained calmly. Fairon was relatively tall, had fierce green eyes and a white and gold armour. He did not know where he came from, but he was found by Kratus at Kraka Minor and taken to the Turaga that trained them all.

"It never was easy," Fairon remarked in a slightly sarcastic tone. Continuing, “but that won’t make us back down, now will it?” Nearly in unison, the other Toa around the table cried “no!” This optimistic, fierce tone surprised Jareroden in the face of what had happened in the past few “days”.

Jareroden proceeded, “To add to that, I hear the planet Ashatan is permanently covered in intense rainfall and thunderstorms that do not cease, and is therefore extremely hard and hazardous to navigate.” Shadon, the grey-silvery armoured, relatively short Toa with red eyes sitting beside Fairon, responded, “Some drops of rain and lightning wouldn’t bother me. The patrols wouldn’t either, for that matter. What bothers me is when they summon Krataxus”.

Krataxus… Fairon thought, as he heard the name of what remained of his former best friend.

Everything around him started turning hazy.

And then it all went black.


Fairon felt the ground. It was cold, and made of uneven stones. Slowly opening his eyes, he realised by his surroundings that he was in one of the higher rooms of the Nui Tower of Time. The room was circular like the Nui Tower itself was, and it was aligned with pillars left and right. A crack, and then an explosion, while a part of the wall he laid near crumbled apart. In his right hand, he noticed that he was carrying his sword instead of his usual spear of Light. Unusual, he thought.

Suddenly, he saw a sword coming at him.

He lashed out with his sword, barely managing to block the swing from the incoming blade. The resulting clang echoed thunderously through the room. The Toa of Light looked up to face the being who was carrying the sword.

There he was again, the very same red-armoured Toa of Fire that Fairon had not seen since their mission to the Nui Tower of Time. A Toa who the Toa of Light would have wanted to still be able to call friend, but sadly found himself unable to even utter the words “my friend” in the same sentence as the name of this dark being.

There stood Kratus.

It seems he was screaming something at Fairon, but all the Toa of Light could hear are faint screaming sounds in the distance. All he could do was block the parries from the raging Toa of Fire’s sword, attempt to strike back, and defend himself against the onslaught. An onslaught that oddly reminisced a fight that had been seen at a certain Tower before.

Enough.

The Toa fired a powerful blast of Light squarely into the chest of the Toa of Fire, while blocking his sword strikes.

What surprised Fairon, though, was that the blast of Light went through Kratus’ body. It did not hit him, send the Toa flying, or even knock him back even a few metres. It just went right through the Toa’s body, not hitting anything in its way. The Toa of Light looked confused. What was his former friend actually screaming at him? How could he not blast the traitor away using a powerful blast of Light? What was even going on?

And then everything around Fairon collapsed.

The noise was deafening, as he saw the outer structure of the room getting ripped apart and sucked into a black hole. The Toa looked back to the spot where Kratus once stood, only to find the red-armoured being already getting sucked into the large black hole above Fairon. The red clouds swirled around the Tower, with lightning flashes occasionally illuminating the dark sky. Fairon felt a force pulling him, and eventually lost his balance entirely while he was flying up into the air. Though the Toa desperately attempted to get back to the ground, he realised it was too late.

He found himself in the hands of fate.

Behind his back, the Toa could hear a deafening, monstrous roar sound through the dark skies. The Primal Beast’s roar.

Is this it? he thought to himself while slowly being separated from reality into the never-ending abyss. In what he imagined to be his final move, the Toa of Light closed his eyes calmly, accepting whatever fate had to offer him.

And then all went black again.


There he was, sitting in his chair, in the Titan-I battleship. Krataxus was gone, the Nui Tower was gone. Fairon's surroundings were, once more, the surroundings of the conference room in the battleship. The look on his face was one of confusion. He could notice that the rest of the Toa around the table had their eyes fixed on him, looking worried.

“Did you see it again?” Aquila, the thin Toa of Water, asked. Aquila, like Fyxan, Lev and Shadon, was from Dracia as well, but she had been a Matoran and a healing student before the fall of Dracia. After the fall of Dracia, she wound up wandering on Arcturus Magna before ending up on Kraka Minor by the invitation of the Turaga, where she became a Toa and underwent extensive training.

Fairon continued to speak.

“Y-yes…There I was again, facing Kratus as usual. I couldn’t hear what he was saying this time, though…Whatever blast I threw at him, I could not hit him. It wouldn’t work. And then it all collapsed. Nothing else. It just…collapsed on itself, with the black hole destroying the room, and sucking in everything – including myself.”

Odd, Fyxan thought, Fairon’s visions are getting worse, more psychedelic and less understandable. He wondered why it was that Fairon was being plagued by the visions, and what it was that was causing these visions to manifest themselves. I just hope they don’t get the best of him, he thought, fearing that the visions could push the Toa of Light over the edge. The being did not want to lose another friend, not again.

He looked up, facing the Toa team again, and broke the silence that had filled the room after Fairon had revealed what happened.

“So…Considering the risk of being discovered by patrols, and the risk of the patrols calling Krataxus, I believe it is the best idea that most – if not all – of us go on the mission. That way, we have the greatest coverage and greatest amount of knowledge, while we can cover up both the area and each other’s backs when needed.” In agreement, the blue-armoured, rather skinny Toa of Water, Aquila, nodded to Fyxan. Lev, the even skinnier Toa of Air, with his green-silver armour, spoke, “It is best to split up, if we do so. Using two ships, we can cover a greater area of the temple in less time, and with more manpower we have more knowledge.” Lev was the rather quiet one of the group, but also the most technical one alongside Shadon. Like Shadon, Lev had been from Dracia, and, also like Shadon, Lev had been an engineer. Unlike Shadon, however, Lev had also been a Combat Apprentice of Hendrax’ like Fyxan, and Lev was one of the beings chiefly responsible for the evacuation of Dracia. After wandering on Arcturus Magna for a while, Lev was invited by a mysterious Turaga to come to Kraka Minor, where he underwent extensive training along with Fyxan, Aquila, Shadon, Jareroden, Fairon and Kratus.

Agreeing with Lev, Fairon nodded, and said, “That is that, then”, continuing, “I propose that Fyxan and Shadon go with me, while Lev, Jareroden and Aquila go with eachother as well”. Shadon got up and added, “My suggestion would be that our team approach the Temple from the southern entrance, while the other team approach from the northern entrance. That way, we can cover as much area in as little time.” Fairon nodded in agreement, and Jareroden could not help but notice the faintest hints of a smile on Fairon’s face as he nodded. Funny, he thought, Fairon smiling for once. He looked at Fyxan, who had seen the “smile” on Fairon’s face as well.

Jareroden activated the computer in the middle of the table. He plugged in a USB stick, and opened a file of the map of the planetoid the Temple was on. He pointed to the location south of the entrance, “As Shadon had planned…” he said, looking at Shadon and smiling, “he, Fairon and Fyxan shall land here”. Fairon and Fyxan nodded, urging for Jareroden to continue, “They will approach the temple and, once inside, they will explore this side of the Temple for clues.” Jareroden pointed to the location north of the entrance, and continued, “Lev, Aquila and I will land here. Once inside the temple, we will explore the other side of the Temple for clues.” Lev and Aquila nodded, with Lev adding, “I am not certain about the structure of this building, but I suggest we also try to find a top floor, if there is one.” Before Fairon could nod yet another time, Aquila added, “And we mustn’t forget our readers. I am not sure how old this Temple is, but given its location and the information we are searching for, it is likely that the information is not exactly the newest information and, as such, would not be in the newest possible dialect of Infinian.” Fyxan laughed. “Ah, but you studied Kronian Infinian, didn’t you Aquila?” prompting a smile even from Fairon. Fyxan got up, and stated, “I think we’re settled then, no?” Shadon got up, stating “For us”, with Jareroden following him and standing up, saying “For the Matoran”, while Fyxan added “For the restoration of Time”, with Lev standing up and adding “For the universe”, which meant everyone but Fairon was now standing.

At last, with everyone standing, the Toa of Light slowly rose from his seat.

For Kratus.”

Chapter Two[]

The large hangar in the asteroid was spacious. Far more spacious than the sometimes crammed hallways of the ship that made up the main part of the base. Near the walls, large metal crates carrying supplies were stacked up on top of one another, ready to go for the mission. In the middle of the hangar, on the metallic floor, two shuttles were resting, ready to be flown towards Ashatan. Their main body, a rather large structure made of reinforced steel Protodermis, was directly attached to the cockpit at the front. It had three wings, which, when unfolded, made the ship look rather like a triangle.

Lev looked onto the hangar from the viewing bay situated in a room in the centre, overlooking the entire hangar. The viewing bay was a round room, and controlled the doors of the hangar and its shields.

Although he had agreed to go on the mission – he had even helped planning it after all – he couldn’t help but feel a little…strange inside. It was the first time in a while since he had actually agreed to go on a mission again. In fact, it had been his first mission in a while, after his last mission on Estron ended in a disastrous setback for the team and their mission.


Estron.

The name of the notorious planet echoed inside the Toa’s head, who couldn’t help but be reminded of the disastrous battle that had gone on not too long ago. He had been sent on a mission to the desert planet to recruit a fair amount of beings to help the team assemble a unified resistance to at least try and take control out of the hands of the Primal Beast and Krataxus, who had firmly established their rule. He had recruited Matoran, Agori, Skakdi…anything he could come across, anyone who was willing to go. The resulting “resistance” he had assembled was something of a ragtag bunch of misfits, but, in the end, they seemed to fit the part of “resistance” much better than Lev had initially expected them to.

All went on well for Lev.

A bit too well, perhaps.

As soon as Lev and his “resistance” were fairly set-up and had become a reasonable organisation on Estron, news spread around the notorious Estronian bazaars that a resistance was brewing, that rebellion was coming against the galactic authorities. The word was spread on the bazaars, in the coffeehouses, even in the small basements and the back rooms of the coffeehouses. Indeed, before he knew it, Lev’s resistance was pretty much a fact. He remembers well a poster with the headline “Resistance uprising? Rebellion coming?”

Everything after that went by so fast, it almost seemed like a flash of lightning to the hardened Toa of Air. Not long after he had spotted the poster at a nearby coffeehouse, he spotted the skeletal, deadly white armour and face of an Undead soldier.

And another. And even more.

These events brought to Lev the realisation that his resistance plans were at a high risk. He fled the streets soon afterwards, taking to his own alleyway where the hideout was. But, as he wanted to open the door, he felt a blade barely touching the back of his neck. He did not turn around, guessing a bounty hunter had probably been hired to turn the resistance’s “leader” into old news soon enough.

“State your demands,” Lev spoke commandingly.

“You know very well what my demands are.”

The voice of the carrier of the sword was a voice that Lev had not heard since the Nui Tower had collapsed, when it screamed in anger and agony as Lev, Fairon and the rest of the team managed to block his way out, enabling their escape from death. The voice was deep and slightly growly in its sound, giving off an air of controlled menace.

It was Krataxus.

Lev felt as if he were nailed to the ground, unable to move even a centimetre away, while Krataxus was standing behind him, simply laughing while keeping the cold blade of his sword to Lev's neck.

was abhorred at the very thought that the being he had not seen since the battle at the Nui Tower of Time had managed to find him and his resistance, and was there personally to end it all.

Krataxus then slowly pushed Lev into the building with his sword, where he would deal with the problem himself. “Walk, Toa,” Krataxus ordered Lev ever so calmly, still having his sword placed against the back of Lev’s neck. Krataxus smiled. Once he got Lev, he could use the thin Toa of Air to extract information about the whereabouts of the Resistance’s hideout, where he would confront Fairon and, in the end, bring him to justice before the Primal Beast.

But, as he walked into the building, Krataxus had failed to notice one small detail about it all; the rest of the “resistance” was, in fact, still present in the building. In a flash, a small Matoran flung himself onto Krataxus’ back, intending to scratch him with his daggers, while an armed Skakdi intended to take Krataxus down once and for all while he was distracted. Krataxus screamed. A loud roar. Swiftly, he flung the Matoran off his back and threw the Matoran into the wall. “Come guardians!” he called into the air, which suddenly became eerily cold in the otherwise extremely hot house.

Shortly afterwards, three portals of Darkness appeared into the room, and at least a dozen of skeletal white beings stepped out. Each being identical to the other, their eyes were all the same shade of red, and all shared the same emotionless stare. Their faces were all mutated skulls, none of them wearing a Kanohi to hide their ugly faces behind. All of them carried a sword and a shield, each no different from the other, and all of them roared in the same menacing way.

Krataxus then summoned his own sword out of Darkness, and attacked the Skakdi that had wanted to put an end to him. With a swoop from his sword, he disarmed the Skakdi, which screamed for help. Two Matoran sprang to his help, one carrying a sword, the other a blaster. Krataxus did nothing but laugh, cackle almost. He enjoyed the effort that three warriors had to put into not even tiring him. What he did not notice, however, was a Skakdi in the back, grabbing a blaster. Charging up the blaster, the Skakdi fired it into Krataxus’ face, sending him backwards a metre or two.

Enraged, the dark Toa got up, his hands burning with purple flames of Darkness.

In one fell swoop, he sliced off the head of a Matoran warrior, and used a Darkness blast to send the Skakdi flying into a wall. Using his fist of dark Fire, he grabbed the Matoran, who cried as he begged for Krataxus to spare him. Charging his Darkness powers into his fist, Krataxus set the Matoran aflame in the same purple flames that burned around Krataxus’ hands. The Matoran screamed and begged for Lev to help him, until falling down onto the ground, where the flames of Darkness consumed the Matoran.

Lev was horrified. The Matoran’s charred body was disappearing into nothing, while its heart was leaving it at the same time. The light of the Matoran's heartstone was extinguished, and his body faded away forever.

The heart, in the meantime, was being engulfed by the Darkness, an image so nightmarish and gruesome Lev covered his eyes.

It grew a face of the same shape as the other Undead, with the same horrific, bleached-white teeth and skin. It grew red eyes of the same hue as the other Undead, and it grew skeletal white arms and legs, while its feet became clawed, monstrous feet. In his right hand, the newly-created Undead summoned his sword, while, in his left hand, he summoned the shield that shared its white colour with the arms, legs and face of the Undead creature.

The Undead jumped at Lev, forcing Lev to unsheathe his sword and fight. He did not want to fight, thinking his friend was still somewhere in there. But, judging by the bad breathe of the Undead as it roared into his face, Lev realised his friend was not there. Parrying several attacks from the Undead, Lev leashed out, cutting off its hand. To his absolute horror, Lev watched as the dark hand disappeared and then reappeared undaunted on the body of the Undead soldier. He fired a blast of wind, throwing the Undead back, and then threw his sword into the head of the Undead soldier. Finally, it dissipated into Darkness, defeated.

Lev realised it was time to run.

While his warriors were fierce, they hadn’t been up against this sort of opponent before. The gladiator arenas of Estron and the warrior matches were kids’ play in comparison to the fierce, bloody fighting style that Krataxus utilised. He utilised both his Fire and Darkness powers, and his sword, to outdo his opponent in terms of power and strength.

Besides that, the sheer number with which the Undead kept coming into the resistance’s lair was simply frightening, and far too much to handle for the small amount of resistance fighters that Lev had managed to gather there.

Lev ran. He was running for his life. Never before had such a thing happened in his life, and he determined not to make it happen again anytime soon. He ran down the dust-covered hallways, almost slipping over the sand, until he eventually reached the hangar where his shuttle had been stationed since he had landed. He opened the door, stormed in, and got into the pilots’ seat. He activated his communicator with Fairon. “Fairon. I…think we’ve got a little problem over here.”

On the other side of the communicator, Lev could hear Fairon curse angrily. He decided not to mind too much, considering his life was a bit more important right now than Fairon’s frustrations.

With a click, Lev activated the shuttle’s engines. Looking to his right, however, he saw three Undead soldiers coming right around the corner, running towards the hangar to stop Lev. He urged his shuttle to levitate angrily, muttering some curses under his breathe while trying to keep his calm.

The shuttle levitated.

Finally, Lev thought, and led out a sigh. But, before he had any time to rest, he heard a thud. An Undead soldier had jumped onto the shuttle, and was now trying to enter the shuttle by destroying the outer hull. Lev panicked like he had never panicked before, thinking of any possible solutions to shake off the Undead creature.

Out of time and out of ideas, Lev instantly aimed the cockpit straight up, and turned on full throttle, taking off through the roof of the hangar. Crashing through the roof, his cockpit window covered in dust, Lev found himself outside of the hangar. Behind him, he could see the cityscape become smaller. He could also see how his lair was aflame.

But the Undead was still there.

A thud. Another. Lev’s full-throttle strategy was working, but only barely. Looking over the shoulder, Lev saw the Undead flung into the vast expanses of space, until it opened a dark portal and disappeared forever.

Lev had finally managed to escape from Estron. His resistance, however, was doomed. Their headquarters had been compromised, their ranks slaughtered or fled. All thanks to him. Never again, Lev swore. He had tears in his eyes, feeling sad for the deaths of those he had recruited in a mission that would never happen.

A one-way trip to their inevitable end, made possible by Lev.

And then, before Lev entered the asteroid field to get back into his base, it all stopped.


Lev snapped out of it, as he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Jareroden’s, who was standing next to him. Jareroden, the lone Toa who had grown up on Estron, who was the most unlikely being to be chosen, but became an inevitable hero in the process. Lev and Jareroden weren’t the best of friends, but, in cases like these, Jareroden’s powers over psionics helped him sense Lev’s nightmarish experience, his nightmarish reliving of what had gone on during the battle of Estron.

“Are you alright?” Jareroden asked flatly. “I-I’m fine.” Lev attempted to assure Jareroden, but they both knew it was a lie. Lev looked forward. “I still regret it. The happenings on Estron.”

“You need not worry about those. Estron was a disaster, yes, but we cannot reverse what has happened. We mustn’t let it happen again.” Jareroden reassured Lev, who wiped the tears from his face. Still, he couldn’t help but feel remorseful for what happened.

The two heard footsteps sounding through the hallway. They turned around, facing Shadon and Aquila walking towards the hangar, who noticed that Lev had been sobbing, and saw his facial expression. Aquila ran towards Lev, putting her arm around his shoulder. “What’s going on, Lev?” she asked calmly. “I…I don’t want our mission to go the same way as Estron…” Lev sobbed. Tears were running down his face again. Aquila looked worried, remembering the state Lev had been in when he just arrived at the base from Estron.

“I promise you, Lev. It won’t.”

The four heard footsteps through the hallway again. They looked to their right, seeing Fairon and Fyxan walking down the hallway. Once the two saw Lev and his facial expression, they rushed towards the four. “What’s up with Lev?” Fyxan asked. “It’s the mission he had. The one on Estron.” Aquila noted. “Oh…that.” Fairon said, looking away in shame. For he, too, remembered well a panicked Lev arriving at the hangar, swearing that he would never do such a mission again, and that such a thing may never happen again.

Lev got up again, with Fyxan and Aquila still helping him. Though worried, he was certain now. “Let’s go.”

Fairon and Fyxan looked at one another, and then at Lev, and then started preparing themselves to get up into the shuttle. Shadon opened the door of their shuttle, while Fyxan and Fairon carried the necessary foodstuffs over into the cargo space in the ship’s passenger hold. In the other shuttle, Lev was positioned behind the pilot’s seat. He had been forbidden to pilot the ship, so instead Jareroden had assumed the role of pilot while Aquila was now the co-pilot. With a click, the loading ramp of the shuttle had been shut tight.

Shadon activated the engine of his shuttle and sent it upwards. The shuttle flew out of the hangar slowly, but certainly. Behind them was the other shuttle, with Lev, Aquila and Jareroden aboard. “Is everything alright over there?” Shadon asked over the radio. “We’re okay,” Jareroden replied through his radio communicator.

The area around the base, as the base itself, was filled with asteroids small and large. It was an area notorious for being the least accessible trans-warp route towards Estron, and was referred to as its “natural shield”, and it was the reason for the location gaining the notorious nickname Shipwreck Field, for its large amounts of shipwrecks. Mostly, these wrecks were wreckages of ships that intended to conquer Estron, but failed to get past its natural shield. Indeed, the natural shields had always been seen as the planet’s biggest advantage in continuing to be governed by an independent government instead of the Galactic Council or some such “government”.

Taking a sharp turn to the right, and then another turn to the left, the shuttles manoeuvred themselves through the asteroid field. In the distance, one could faintly see the wreckage of a crashed Galactic Council Fleet ship that had tried to subdue Estron, but failed after it got caught in the Shipwreck Field. The shuttles themselves finally manoeuvred out of the asteroid field, into open space. In front of him, Fairon could see an endless array of stars, a vast expanse of space. “Buckle up. This ship’s not as easy to travel at warp-speed as the Titan-I is,” Shadon said. Fairon and Fyxan fastened their seatbelts, while Shadon readied some buttons on the control panel in front of him. He then fastened his seatbelt too.

“Ready, Jareroden?” Shadon spoke through his radio communicator.

“Ready when you are.” Jareroden's voice could be heard through the speakers.

“Let’s go!”

As the ship’s engines started getting fired up, Fairon could feel the intense energy of the engines that were about to blast the ship into the trans-warp speed. The stars, formerly little white dots, now were turning more and more elongated until, eventually, they were nothing but long white lines from where Fairon was sitting. He heard an explosion, and was pushed back into his seat by the extreme force of the acceleration.

They were now travelling at trans-warp speed.

Fairon was still pondering, though. He felt bad for Lev. Bad for all those he had let down. He had failed to stop the Paralysis, plunging the universe in Darkness. He had failed at everything that had been set out for him thus far, and he feared that it would only get worse. Why, he thought. Was it his mission to reverse the Universal Paralysis, if he had failed to prevent the world plunging into Darkness in the first place? If it was his fault that the world was now left without a flow of Time, how was he the one going to solve it?

Fairon could only wonder why.

Chapter Three[]

The small shuttles were flying through the galaxies at trans-warp speed. Inside of the shuttle at the back, containing Fairon, Fyxan and Shadon, there was no sound but an eerie silence, with not even the radio communicators making any noise. Indeed, since the shuttles had taken off from the hangar and Lev had been calmed down, the atmosphere in the shuttles had been rather tense. The beings in both shuttles spoke little to each other, in anticipation of what they were to encounter on Ashatan. Shadon pressed some buttons on the on-board computer, which then showed the coordinates of the shuttle at that moment. It won’t take long anymore from here… he thought, staring first at the coordinates on the computer, and then into the array of lines that was warp-space.

Behind him, Fairon sat, staring at the ground, thinking deeply. Why would Ashatan be a danger zone of the Galactic Council? Why would Jareroden’s source warn him of the dangers of the planet? He could only wonder what the answers to these questions were.

Next to Shadon, in the co-pilot’s seat, Fyxan sat, looking forward with a worried facial expression. Neither of the three spoke to one another, silent in anticipation.

With a slight zapping sound, the trans-warp engines deactivated, leaving the view from the cockpit endless blackness, with a few dots of light to be seen in the distance.

Looking around him from the cockpit, all Fyxan could see was a few stars faintly in the distance. No signs of anything that looked even remotely like a planet, none in the remote distance at least. In the distance, though, Fyxan could see a light flashing very briefly. And another. He pointed at where the flashes came from. “Can you scan that, Shadon?”. Shadon nodded, and pressed a few buttons, activating the scanner. In his computer screen, he could see that what he had just scanned was, in fact, a planet. So, that is Ashatan…Shadon thought.

Shadon activated the radio phone towards the other shuttle. “We have a vision on the planet. Follow us.” “Will do,” Jareroden replied from the other side.

Shadon’s shuttle slowly flew towards the planet, which was coming ever closer. And then, Shadon activated the ship’s lights, illuminating the clouds of the planet.

The only thing they could see, apart from the occasional lightning flash and the illuminated clouds, was blackness. Nothing but an endless sea of blackness shrouding Ashatan in eternal darkness.

The rain fell down heavily on the metal hull and the reinforced Protodermis glass of the cockpit’s front window. The once silent ship was now filled with the rattling noise of millions of raindrops falling down on the hull at once. In a sudden move, Shadon manoeuvred the ship downwards. “We’re experiencing heavy winds, hold on tight!” he screamed through the radio and to Fairon and Fyxan. On the other side of the radio, one could barely hear Jareroden’s voice, sounding fuzzy because of the bad connection the two radio’s had.

“We are going to our side of the temple! Watch out when landing!”

“Well, Jareroden’s source was right indeed…” Fairon remarked to Fyxan, who nodded in silent agreement.

A crash.


Jareroden manoeuvred his ship left and right, with the ship being thrown about by the strong winds. He was clinging on to the steering wheel like his life depended on it, trying desperately to keep the ship stable while it was on its way down towards the surface of the rocky planet. Finally, the surface was illuminated by the large light of the ship, giving Jareroden the necessary vision to land the ship safely.

With a slight thud, the shuttle touched down on the ground.

Aquila unbuckled her seatbelt, and Lev did the same. He had slept for the most of the ride, rather tired of the happenings in the hangar. He had finally had his rest, though. He stepped into the passengers’ compartment of the ship, and opened the cargo bays above the seats. He took out the flashlights and the electronic wristbands for each of the three. The electronic wristbands allowed the Toa to scan their environs, as well as take pictures of the environs and store these. Lev attached his own wristband, and activated it. He then handed over the wristbands to Aquila, while Jareroden was still seated and adjusting some of the ship’s landing gear.

Jareroden then spoke into the radio communicator. “Attention Shadon, we have landed safely. I repeat: we have landed safely, over.” The only sound the radio gave was a faint static, no response from Shadon. Jareroden tried again. “Attention Shadon. We’ve landed safely. I repeat: we’ve landed safely, over.”

Again, no sound but static.


“Attention Shadon, we have landed safely. I repeat: we have landed safely, over.”

“Attention Shadon, we have landed safely. I repeat: we have landed safely, over.”

Shadon opened his eyes. He felt his head rest against a cold piece of metal, and all he could see was raindrops coming down from the window of the cockpit. What happened? Where am I? were the first questions to spring to mind. He raised his head, and looked around in the ship. Looking next to him, he could see Fyxan resting his head in-between his arms. He looked behind him, and was surprised to find Fairon conscious. He looked fairly confused, but appeared conscious.

“In the name of Kronos and all that is fair and holy in this dear world, what were you doing, Shadon?!” Fairon asked, sounding rather panicked.

“I don’t know, to be fair. All I remember was a fairly hard gust of wind hit the ship and, next thing I know, I open my eyes to find we’ve crash-landed in a rather unruly fashion.”

“Unruly indeed…”

Shadon looked around in the ship, trying to assess the damage that the ship had taken. He looked at his control panel, and discovered that the computer was actually still active. It displayed a warning that the landing gear was damaged. He cursed. He looked at the radio communicator, and realised that the messages that had been sent to them had been sent to them in distress by Jareroden. He grabbed the radio communicator, and turned it on.

“Attention Jareroden. We have had a crash-landing, we’ve come off with only a few scratches. We will see you in the temple.”

Shadon then unbuckled his seat belt, and got up from his seat, shortly followed by Fyxan and Fairon. They walked towards the passengers’ compartment, and opened the cargo bays. Shadon got out only one flashlight for himself, and grabbed three electronic wristbands, which he handed over to Fyxan and Fairon. They placed the wristbands around their wrists, and activated them.

Jareroden let out a sigh of relief as he heard the radio message from Shadon. He had started to worry when Shadon didn’t reply. Deep down, Jareroden felt something emanating from the planet. An intense energy that pierced right through to his heart. He looked down, deeply locked in thoughts.

“Can you feel that?” Jareroden asked Lev and Aquila, who looked rather confused at him. “The energy…something’s off” he continued. Aquila looked down, swallowed by her thoughts.


Noises were filling the large spaceship in which the young Matoran of Water was standing. They were fleeing from their planet, Dracia, where Zirix had betrayed their king and intended to turn the planet to Darkness. The young, impressionable Matoran looks out to her former home, tears streaming down from her eyes. “No…” she whispers. “NO!” the whisper turns into a heart-wrenching scream of pain and regret. “NOT DRACIA! NO!”

But it is too late. She sees how part of the planet is swallowed by the black hole. The mountains, the cities, everyone and everything still on the planet is swallowed by the black hole, into the Realm of Darkness.

Suddenly, the Matoran feels hands on her shoulder. “No, Aquila! You cannot look at this!” She screams in agonizing fashion as she tries to wrestle her way out of the hands of the protective Combat Master, Fyxan. When she tries to look back, she sees the window has been closed, and she can no longer look out of the ship. With a roaring sound, the engine of the ship activates its trans-warp, but that does not help to comfort the young Matoran. She can only think about one thing.

I will never have a home again…


“Y-yes. Something is…off here, I-I guess.” Aquila stuttered. Tears are streaming down her face. Lev took notice. “Aquila, what were you thinking?” he asked her. “Oh, nothing. Don’t mind it. It’s…just an illusion.”

She looks back up, and walks towards the back of the ship. She activates the communicator on her electronic wristband, and speaks into it. “Well, what are you all waiting for? Let’s go find the information.” She presses the button near the loading ramp, which opens with a click. The loading ramp then slowly unfolds unto the planet’s rocky surface.

Once outside, Aquila finds herself greeted by the feeling of a million raindrops falling onto her body, while she is almost thrown off her feet by the heavy wind. Jareroden helps her get back on her feet. “Weather’s good, isn’t it?” he jokes. She tries to fake a laugh, but her mood is fixed on something else. The planet’s shrouded in clouds, with no light available except the lights of the shuttle. She turns on her flashlight, revealing the rocky surface in front of her.

She aimlessly moves the flashlight around, revealing rocks and other unremarkable features typical of a landscape like this. A flash of lightning. Thunder. The trio can barely keep their balance on the wet, extremely slippery rock surface of the planet, trying to find their way towards where the temple was supposed to be. Scaling over what appears a pretty steep rock, the team finally arrive on a flat surface. Aquila uses her flashlight to illuminate her surroundings. In front of the three, they find a large structure looming over them, made of rock and with engravings on its wall. Another flash of lightning temporarily illuminates what now appears to be a building in front of them.

“I don’t know what it is, but I think it might be the Temple.” Lev said calmly, looking at the large building in front of them and aiming his flashlight around it, while several lightning flashes at once reveal more details of what appears to be a large, round building with six pillars arranged at equal distances from each other, perfectly symmetrical.


Fairon and Fyxan were leading the way across the rocky surface, utilising their light powers to create beams of light to illuminate the surrounding areas and the surface. Shadon, in the meantime, was walking a slight distance behind them, aiming his flashlight carefully at the surface so he knows where to place his next few steps. The raindrops keep falling on Shadon’s face, and he feels terrible and cold while he simultaneously tries to keep his balance and scale the rock surface of the planet. The cold wind and hard rain weigh down on the Toa of Iron.

Fairon and Fyxan aim their beams of light, and they find themselves standing in front of what appears to be a portal of sorts. They illuminate the area more, revealing that the portal is, in fact, a large arched portal, and a pathway is up ahead. Glad he’s walking on flat rock now, Shadon continues to walk behind the other two.

A hand on his shoulder.

He takes his energy gun off his back and turns around in an instant. “Anyone there?!” he shouts into the blackness and the distance. He mounts the flashlight on his energy gun, but still he sees nothing. Just rocks, rocks, and more rocks going on endlessly into the black rain. “Come on! Show yourself!” he shouts. Looking around again, he finds that Fairon and Fyxan are now looking – no, staring – at him. “Shadon, what’s going on?” Fyxan asks his partner worriedly. “I felt a hand. I am certain there’s something going on here,” Shadon replies. Odd, Fyxan thinks. He turns around, and urges Fairon and Shadon to go with him again.

But, while Fyxan appears undaunted, he too feels something is not right on the planet. He sets another few steps and crosses through the portal, aiming his light beam around to see if he can see anything. But, while he does so, he hears someone screaming his name, over and over. He turns around, making an attempt to observe whatever it is out there in the blackness that just shouted his name. But, it is to no avail. The only thing he sees are the raindrops, and suddenly the only sound he hears are that of the raindrops falling onto the ground as well. Shadon turns towards his friend and comrade. “Not you too?” he asks. “Yes. Something’s off here. I can’t say what, I just…feel something here.” Fyxan appears confused, and the look in his eyes was fearful, as if he had been attacked by something, or touched by something. Fairon was starting to get worried, but he felt he had to go on. He could not turn back.

Not now.


Jareroden looked around as he finally found what seemed like a door into the temple. He illuminated it with his flashlight, and read the signs on the door. They were unreadable. Considering the date of the temple and its actual age, the language was Kronian Infinian, as his friend on Estron had informed him. He lightly placed his hand on the doorway, and gave it a slight push. With a cracking sound, the door opened. But, as the door opened, it fell onto the ground with a loud thud, giving way into the large building.

Jareroden stepped into the building, and suddenly smelled the flowery, slightly numbing smell of the den that had been the home of his caretaker and mentor. The same mentor that had warned him not to go to Ashatan. What? Where am I? he thought, slightly confused. He was numbed, but, looking around, realised where he was.

The den of his mentor.

He walked around the den, hearing only vague voices in the distance. He saw beings walk by in flash, but he could not see their faces, or any distinctive features on their bodies. He opened the cracking door by the far side of the bar, and arrived in the smelly, dimly-lit hallway. He walked towards the office of his mentor, and opened the door. It cracked heavily as it opened. In the chair behind his mentor’s desk, Jareroden saw his mentor.

He was dead.

Jareroden looked around in the office, panicked. He muttered some curses in himself, trying to find someone to help. He walked back into the main room of the den. “Help! Someone help! The owner is dead!” he shouted through the den, but nobody seemingly heard him. The sound of the talks continued faintly in the distance. Jareroden felt the room was slipping away from him, he felt his grip on reality was loosening.

He was falling.

And then he hit the cold, hard floor in the large building.

“Jareroden!” Aquila screamed. She walked towards the Toa of Psionics, and helped him up. “What did you see?”

“I…the den. My master. He was dead.” Jareroden muttered. Aquila looked him in the eye, and assured him, “Jareroden. We aren’t in the den. We’re here. Or so I think…”

While Aquila helps Jareroden get up, Lev aims his flashlight around in the blackness of the room, looking around if he could find anything specific. Nothing so far. Slowly, he walks towards the sides of the room, when suddenly, he hears another door crack open. The sound echoes thunderously through the large, circular room, and Aquila and Jareroden, too, look up. There, in the distance, the three see a trio of lights, with two natural-looking lights, and one beam of light that looked more synthetic, more like it came from a flashlight.

“Is anybody there?” they hear a familiar voice ask. And indeed, in the distance, thee three can now see Fairon, Fyxan and Shadon trying to find their way around the tremendous circular room. Lev replies, “We’re on the other side. I’m going to explore and see the information here, it could be good if you guys sought information on the other side.”

Lev continues his search, looking onto the wall, but, upon closer inspection, finds the walls to be empty. No engravings as on the door he had seen before, just plain rock walls. where he finds engravings in the same script as the engravings that were on the door before. Lev gazes around the room, quite awestruck by the sheer size of the room. He turns back around, facing the wall. Weird, he thinks, no engravings at all here, while there were so many engravings outside? What is this planet even?

Something is off. Something is watching him.

He turns around, sword unsheathed, and aims his flashlight around the room. Nothing except for the beings that were already there. Even the walls on the other side – only faintly illuminated by Lev’s flashlight – do not reveal any unusual figures or shades to the Toa of Air. Lev, though, does not feel certain or ascertained by the fact that he did not see any unusual figures. Very strange…are his only thoughts. He turns back around, facing the wall.

Suddenly, he saw an unusual shape on the wall. A sign of sorts? It resembled a “letter” from the cryptic script also seen on the wooden door. He slowly walked towards it, nearly tumbling over a rock lying in front of him. "Guess I shouldn’t forget to watch my step next time," he whispers to himself in a sarcastic tone.

Finally in front of the unusual shape, he analysed it closely. It appeared to be sticking out of the wall, a perfectly square "button" with the mysterious sign from the cryptic script on it.

“Hey, everybody. Come have a look!”

Footsteps sounded through the tremendous circular room, while flashlights were illuminating the spot were Lev was standing. Ever closer they came, until Lev could distinguish the faces of the Toa that were part of both his team and the other team. They were standing in a circle around Lev, with only Jareroden coming remotely closer. “Unusual,” he remarks, looking around the mark and looking if he can find anything remotely interesting. He places his hand on the wall to lean on it, and then places his hand onto the mark.

Suddenly, Jareroden felt the wall move back slightly.

Jareroden found himself thrown off his feet as the ground around the Toa started trembling and shaking violently. The sound of rocks cracking and falling down onto the floor could be faintly heard in the distance, while the volatile trembling continued. “Get down!” Shadon roared. In reaction, the rest of the team ducked low to the ground, and placed their arms above their heads to dodge the boulders that were coming down upon them.

And then it was all over.

The shaking and trembling stopped. Once more, the room was filled only with the eerie ticking sound of millions of raindrops falling onto the roof of the temple, and the occasional thunder and lightning. Shadon slowly removed his arms from above his neck, and slowly got up. He aimed his flashlight around. The room was filled with shattered remains of boulders, but there was one other thing he could see. Something that hadn’t been there before.

A stairway had appeared only a few metres away from the Toa team.

Chapter Four[]

Jareroden stood, on the cold, stone ground.

He stood alone.

“Join us, Jareroden.”

“You can be safer. We can save the galaxy from a terrible disaster.”

He was standing in a large, circular room, lined with stone pillars. The pillars, though damaged, were once grand decoration, beautifully created by Kronos himself for the Nui Tower of Time, crafted from Infinity Stone, the strongest material. But now, the formerly ornately decorated pillars showed cracks, fractures. Some didn’t even stand upright anymore. Indeed, such were the remains of the Nui Tower, the results of the numerous earthquakes and the Dark influences clearly visible. Around some of the pillars, one could occasionally find that pure Darkness, in the form of thorny vines, had strangulated the pillars to keep them upright.

In front of him, stood Krataxus.

But Krataxus did not stand alone. In front of him, Fairon was kneeling, crying. Next to him, stood Aquila, Lev and Shadon. Jareroden could not help but notice the absence of Fyxan. “Where is Fyxan?!” he roared the question at Krataxus.

“You know.”

Turning around, Jareroden saw the lifeless, limp body of Fyxan. His armour was scratched, bent, and extremely damaged. On his legs and arms, he could see blood splatters. One of his hands was no longer attached to his arms, while his other hand looked like it had desperately tried to grab the sword that was just out of reach for it. But that did not shock Jareroden most. He looked upwards, at the neck of Fyxan’s.

There was no head attached to his body. It was lying above where the neck once was, lifelessly.

Jareroden turned back around, facing Krataxus. Krataxus lowered his sword, and reached out towards Jareroden, offering his hand. “Join us. There is nothing to lose anymore, Jareroden. The fight is lost.” Jareroden refused. He couldn’t let down the universe like this. “I…” he began. Krataxus’ eyes widened as the room filled with silence.

“I can’t do it.”

Krataxus looked, in anger, at Jareroden. He lowered his hand, placing it back next to his body. “That settles it, then,” he states in an unnervingly calm tone, still looking Jareroden directly in the eye.

Suddenly, in a fell swoop, Krataxus’ sword slices right through Fairon’s neck. The slicing sound pierces through Jareroden’s ears, to his very soul, as he hears how Fairon’s head slowly drops onto the floor. Krataxus looked at the now-headless body. He kicked it, and the limp body collapsed onto the ground with a thud.

“NO!” Jareroden screamed, attempting to unsheathe his sword.

But he couldn’t. There was no sword. He attempted to draw his sword desperately, but there was nothing in the sheathe.

Krataxus turned to him, head held high. “Now. To finish what I started…” He fired a dark energy beam, which went directly at Jareroden in lightning speed.

In a flash, everything Jareroden had ever seen, went by his eyes. He envisioned life on Estron, meeting his mentor, and the Turaga calling him up. He remembers his first mission on the Titan-I, his first mission as a true hero. He remembers the battles at the Nui Tower of Time, and the resulting collapse of said tower.

And here it finally was. Death had come to greet him, albeit at a rather uncomfortable time. He closed his eyes, determined to face death with dignity, waiting for the end to come.

But it didn’t come. Death wasn’t there.


“Jareroden?

Jareroden, do you hear me?

Do you hear me?!

Jareroden opened his eyes, but was blinded by light. He closed them again. On the back of his head, he could feel the cold stone ground. Shielding his eyes, he attempted to open his eyes again, this time noticing there were others standing around him, looking directly at him. Trying to get a look around, he could not see anything beyond the legs of the beings standing around him. All that was out there, was dark. In the distance, he couldn’t help but hear the noise of a million of raindrops falling down onto the rooftop.

He led out a sigh.

“He’s awake.” Jareroden could hear it was Fyxan whispering it to the rest.

Of course I’m awake, you can see that my eyes just opened.”

“What happened, Jareroden?” Aquila asked, ducking to come closer to Jareroden, to see if he was alright. She checked his wrist and his pulse, and also checked his forehead. Once she was finished, she held her hand on his shoulder to try to comfort him.

“I…well, I was in the Nui Tower, and all of you had surrendered to Krataxus, all but me, Fairon and Fyxan. When I asked where you were, Fyxan, I was told to turn around and, doing so, I could see your body, limp and lifeless. Worst of all, your head was separated from your body, chopped off.” Jareroden was looking shocked, pale. His eyes filled with fear as the images started flooding him again. He grabbed his forehead. “No…I can’t go back…” Everything around him started spinning. He closed his eyes once more in an attempt to fight the confusion, trying desperately to fight whatever it was that was pushing him this far.

At once, he screamed.

“NO!”

The rest of the Toa took a step back, while Aquila also got back up and took a step back, too. Jareroden was now sitting straight up again. He looked messy and confused. Despite this, he was desperate to continue telling his friends what had happened. He tried to continue, “After that…Fairon…Krataxus…head sliced off…I died…” he failed to speak properly, only able to stutter. Aquila, heeding to Jareroden, turned towards Fairon and Fyxan, her eyes filled with anger and despair.

We must leave.

Fairon was taken aback, and looked rather shocked by how direct Aquila had been. “B-but Aquila. We are here for a mission. We cannot just go without the information that was said to be here.”

This angered the Toa of Water, who got up and faced Fairon directly. “If you want your information, you go get it. We are leaving. If you guys want any more, fine, but I am not spending even so much as any more minutes on this cursed planet.” Fairon was absolutely shocked. Not before had he seen such an emotional display. Aquila’s eyes, which looked deeply into Fairon’s, were filled with despair, anger, and panic, and his were no doubt filled with panic as well. I must get this information, he thought, it is vital to our mission. On the other hand, he felt it too, gnawing away at him. He could feel that something was going on, something was toying with their minds, trying to make them leave.

“Listen, Aquila. You guys go. Take your supplies, and leave. We must try to find the information, it is essential to restoring Time and restoring the stability of the universe,” he spoke, looking her in the eye. He continued, “and, lest we forget, it is essential to bringing Kratus back.” His eyes, at the very thought of his former best friend, filled with tears. Aquila hugged him, comforting him.

“I understand. Go, before it’s too late.”

The two let go of each other, and Fairon turned around, “I promise you, we will be back,” Fairon assured Aquila, and then turned around to face Shadon and Fyxan. Lev picked up Jareroden’s body, and placed the limp body on his shoulder. “Gee, Jareroden. Your armour’s quite heavy.”

“Shut up.”

Aquila helped the Toa of Air by illuminating the surroundings with her flashlight. She greeted Fairon, Fyxan and Shadon one last time. “Good luck, you’ll need it.” She then turns around and faces the exit from whence their team came. Out of here, was the only thought she could still have after what had happened, and she was determined to make it that way.

Not long after, the flashlight of Aquila’s no longer illuminated anything inside the temple, and the three remaining beings were on their own now, to explore the upper floor. Fyxan activated his beam of Light, and aimed it at the stairway. Fairon followed, and Shadon got at the back of the row, still carrying his gun. He could feel something, someone, watching him constantly, like he was trapped inside a room with cameras around him from every angle.

Suddenly, footsteps behind the Toa.

In a flash, Shadon turned around, and pulled the trigger of his energy gun. With a thundering sound, the gun fired its energy bullet where Shadon aimed, destroying a rock in the process. Shadon aimed at the spot again, but noticed that there was, in fact, nothing there. Just the fragments of the now-destroyed rock. Strange, he thought. Turning around again, he once more saw Fairon and Fyxan looking in a confused fashion at him. “This is starting to get old, Shadon,” Fyxan remarked.

After a long, hazardous climb up the stairs, the trio found themselves in another large, circular room. This one, unlike the bottom floor, had six windows, and a hole in the exact middle of the room. Six pillars were aligning the walls – the same six pillars that had been outside.

Fairon stopped in his tracks, turning towards Fyxan and Shadon.

“I think it’s best if we stay together,” he whispered. Fyxan was confused. Why does he whisper? he thought quietly. Shadon agreed, whispering “we should.” Fyxan looked at the two, baffled as to why they were whispering when there were no signs of any other lifeforms in the building, let alone on the deserted floor.

A flash of lightning briefly illuminated the temple, revealing a large, round table-like rock in the middle of the room, exactly below the hole in the roof high above it. Fyxan pointed at the rock, and Fairon and Shadon noticed it, too. “Can you see that?” he whispered, pointing his beam of light at the rock, just slightly illuminating it in the middle of the otherwise entirely dark room.

But he had whispered.

Why? What am I doing? he thought, but when he tried to speak, he discovered that all he could do was whisper.

The three were still looking at the rock, slightly nervous as to what was on the rock, what could be hidden in there. They could feel a tremendous energy hidden in the room. An energy that became stronger the closer one would get to the centre of the room. “Who’s going first?” Shadon asked the others, attempting desperately not to sound unnerved. Fyxan was determined, and stepped forward. “I’ll go first. You two follow me.”

Turning in the direction of the rock, the three started walking for what seemed to be an eternity over a relatively small distance. Aiming his beam of Light at the ground, and aiming it back up at the centre, Fyxan couldn’t help but notice that they were getting closer, but only at a very slow pace.

Then, Shadon fell onto the ground.

He hit the ground hard, with the thud echoing through the round room many times afterwards. Shadon got up, and readied his gun, aiming it – and his flashlight – around the room apprehensively. Nothing to see.

“I am convinced something pushed me. I felt a hand, and I felt it push me,” he sounded rather panicked. “Whatever it is we’re doing here, Fairon, we better do it quick. I’m starting to agree with Aquila,” Shadon said in a tone similar to the tone that Aquila had spoken in when she told Fairon she was leaving the planet.

It unnerved Fairon.

Continuing their lengthy, tedious walk towards the centre, the trio could feel the energy getting ever stronger with each step they took. Fairon, attempting to appear focussed and calm as he walked towards the centre of the room, couldn’t help but think he was hearing a heartbeat, and something breathing, in the distance. No. It can’t be that, he thought to himself, determined to continue walking. He also felt an aching sensation, but attempted to ignore it.

They arrived at the table.

“Argh!” Fairon exclaimed, sitting down on the ground next to the rock. The sound of the breathing and the heartbeat were no longer background noises, but appeared to be right next to Fairon right now. His headaches were also becoming unbearable now, almost as strong as they had been back at the Nui Tower of Time. Shadon sat down to comfort him. “Fyxan, get onto the table and see what it is!” Shadon was barely able to speak loudly, but Fyxan had heard him, and acknowledged it. He stepped onto the table, and illuminated it with his Light beam.

What he saw in front of him, was unlike anything he had ever seen before. The text on the table, its image, was vast, and written in the same script as the engravings that had been on the door they had seen before. Not just that, the letters, illuminated by Light, seemed to emanate a ghastly green glow of their own. Fyxan just stared, in awe by what was in front of him.

Then he remembered, the pictures. He activated his electronic wristband, and, trying not to be too fascinated by the table’s texts, took two snapshots with it. He pressed a button, and sent the snapshot to all the other Toa in his team. Turning away from his electronic wristband, he was once more inspired by the text.

Ghastly green, the text seemed to come ever closer to Fyxan. The text started spinning around and, before he knew it, Fyxan felt himself on another plane of existence altogether.


Fyxan looked in awe at the scene in the large, ornately decorated throne room of the Royal Dracian Castle. His master, Hendrax, was locked in a fierce fight with the other apprentice, Zirix.

This was not a usual fight.

Fyxan could see blasts of Darkness being thrown at Hendrax in-between individual sword attacks, which Hendrax kept dodging or blocking. The clanging sound of the swords hitting each other, and the explosions of the blasts being diverted, echoed throughout the throne room.

“Zirix, what has gotten into you?!” Hendrax asked, looking desperate and tired of the battle.

“I could ask the same about you, Master,” Zirix said in an unnervingly calm tone.

No…Fyxan thought.

He jumped into the battle, unsheathed his sword, and appeared between the two. “I shall not let you betray the Kingdom of Dracia, Zirix! You will not win, Dracia shall not fall! Not as long as I am still able to walk and talk!” the sound of Zirix’s sword hitting Fyxan’s sent out a loud clang, which echoed through the throne room. In a fell swoop, Fyxan’s sword once more hit Zirix’s. And again. And again. The two were locked in a fierce, intense battle. The intensity was not something Fyxan had ever faced before during his training. But, Fyxan could feel that Zirix was imbued with an energy Fyxan had not felt or noticed around him before.

A kind of dark energy.

Clang.

Once again, the two swords hit each other. Fyxan is now standing face-to-face with Zirix. “"Well then. Let's see how long you can keep talking before I make you stop talking..." Zirix says, smiling in a sinister manner at Fyxan.

Then, Zirix abruptly and very loudly screams "Come Guardian!", after which a dark, corrupted creature appears behind Zirix' back, its face appearing to be in the shape of a rotting Hau, its eyes a poisonous, empty shade of green. Its massive claws were attached to metallic grey armour, while it lacked anything even remotely looking like a leg. Instead, it seemed to be attached to Zirix' back. Fyxan could feel that this disgusting creature was nothing like he had ever seen before. He could feel the pure Darkness emanating from it.

All of the sudden, the sound of a massive blast echoes through the room.

Fyxan screams in agony as he is sent flying through the room, flying multiple metres. With a thud, he hits the cold hard ground of the throne room. “Fyxan!” Hendrax yells, but something blocks his way. The hideous and ghastly semi-Toa of Darkness blocks Hendrax’ way, and attacks Hendrax, locking the two in a fierce battle. Fyxan opens his eyes, still feeling the pain in his back. In the distance, he sees Zirix calmly walking towards him, smiling.

Zirix kicks away Fyxan’s sword before he could reach it, and raises his own, aiming it straight at Fyxan's face. The black tip of the sword nearly touches Fyxan's face. Is this the end? he wonders.

“Any last words?” Zirix asks Fyxan calmly, looking the Combat Master in the eye.

Clang.


Fyxan finds himself holding onto his sword for his dear life, blocking the attack that had just come from his opponent. He manages to blast his adversary away and, utilising his Light beams, illuminates the room.

There, in the briefly illuminated blackness, stands a being whose red and orange armour are so distinctive that they can only be that of one being Fyxan has not seen since their mission to the Nui Tower of Time.

Krataxus, Fyxan feels noxious at the very thought of the name, and he feels recoiled as he stands face to face with the dark Toa responsible for thousands of deaths, and even more oppressed and tortured, at his hands.

“Well, hello,” Krataxus addresses Fyxan mockingly, “it sure has been a while

Clang.

He looks Fyxan in the eye, his red eyes looking fiercely into the blue eye of Fyxan's.

"How have you been?"

Clang.

Once more, the two warriors stand face to face, looking eachother in the eye.

"I've been just fine, Kratus".

Krataxus screams, and fires a blast of dark fire which Fyxan barely manages to dodge as he jumps away.

"My name is Krataxus!" he screams out angrily.

In the background, Fyxan can hear Fairon screaming in pain. He no longer feels the restriction to only whisper, and screams, “Shadon! Fairon! Go!”

Jumping upwards, Fyxan lashes out with his sword at Krataxus, who blocks the attack and counterattacks with a blast of dark fire, sending Fyxan flying backwards.

“Argh.”

He feels the pain aching like a thousand daggers are constantly stabbing him in the side of his body. But that does not deter him. He must go on.

He fires a blast of Light at Krataxus, who simply shrugs it off, looking Fyxan in the eye again. “You really do still believe what the traitor has been telling you, do you not?”

“He is no more a traitor than you are, Kratus.”

Krataxus screams in rage at his name, and ran towards Fyxan, sword at the ready. “I am Krataxus!” he exclaims loudly, firing a blast of dark fire at Fyxan, who barely manages to dodge it. Fyxan then lashes out at Krataxus with his sword, barely missing the dark Toa's head.

Clang.

Fyxan, realising he has to make time for Shadon and Fairon to escape, fires a blast of Light squarely in Krataxus’ face while in the middle of the swordfight, temporarily blinding the dark Toa. Krataxus screams, firing around blasts of dark fire in his attempt to hit Fyxan while still blinded. Fyxan runs for his life, nearly falling over a rock as he descends the stairs at rapid speed. He speeds out of the door, into the cold dark air. I have to leave...echoes through his head as he runs out into the blackness of the neverending night of Ashatan.


Fairon was running.

Running down many flights of stairs.

Stairs made of a beautiful white stone, ornately decorated. But, he had no time to focus on just how beautiful these stairs were. Behind him, he could hear Kratus screaming, “Come back! Traitors!” while hearing blasts of Darkness being hurled at him left and right. His headache is unbearable, but if he stops now a headache would be the least of his troubles.

Bang.

A blast of Darkness powers hurled by Krataxus hits the ceiling above Fairon, nearly sending the rocks falling onto him. He jumps away, barely getting away with his life, and then continues to run onwards.

Fyxan and Shadon are next to him, while Lev, Aquila and Jareroden are ahead of him, running for their lives as well. With a cracking sound, the wall next to them is ripped out of their stairwell. In the distance, they can see a large, black orb, with a circle of matter around it and a large red cloud swirling around the large black orb. It was the black hole that was sucking everything in.

The black hole that Fairon and his team were supposed to prevent from destroying the Nui Tower of Time.

Once more, Fairon heard Krataxus’ voice above the deafening noise of the black hole ripping apart the walls. “You will not escape with this, traitors! You don’t know the damage you can cause if you try and restore this Tower! It will be apocalyptic!” Kratus runs towards Fairon, the look of pure rage in his eyes something Fairon had never seen before. He sends a blast of Fire at Fairon, who feels part of his armour burning. He screams in agony as he feels a slightly numbing, burning feeling where the blast of Fire has hit.

He falls onto his knees, his hands covering the smoking spot on his armour, but it does nothing to relieve the pain.

He has no time to be distracted by pain or headaches, for he must go on if he wants to survive. But he cannot, the pain is too much.

Fyxan and Shadon rush to his aid, and, lifting him by the arms, manage to help him run away, out of the Tower.

He feels the anger. The pain.

He is desperate.


Fyxan and Shadon were running for their lives, Fairon right behind them. The slippery, wet surface of the rocks was the least of their worries when they were running for their lives. Nearly having one’s armour burned through does that to you.

A flash.

Fairon sees a blast of dark fire fly right by his face, and barely dodges the blast. It hits a rock near him, shattering it to pieces and leaving behind only dark, purple-coloured flames. In the distance, he can see a fiery Krataxus. “Fairon! Come back!” he roars, hurling another blast of dark fire from his right hand. Jumping to his left and landing on hard rock, Fairon barely dodges it. The headaches are unbearable, but he must go on. He hears Krataxus scream in anger. “That’s it!

In fluid motion, Krataxus forces all his anger and rage into a single, massive blast of Darkness and Fire, sending a beam of fiery purple flames of dark fire hurtling towards Fairon at rapid speed.

It hits Fairon square in his chest.

Fairon tries desperately to breathe calmly, but, failing to do so, he falls over. With a loud thud, he ends up on his knees, and then ends up face-first on the cold hard rock surface of planet Ashatan.

Krataxus smiles, a truly ugly expression for such a being of Darkness.

Though he was smiling, he felt a seething hatred for the one who had failed to listen to him. The one who had betrayed him in exchange for unlimited power. The one whose selfish goals nearly destroyed the stability of the very fabric of the universe itself. And now, Krataxus had finally put an end to that one traitor.

He watched as he saw Fairon gasp, and choke as he tried to breathe. When Fairon fell down, Krataxus simply stood there, almost in disbelief of what he had managed. Finally, he thought, finally it is all over. Although he nearly cannot believe it, he is overwhelmed by a feeling of joy for the first time since the Nui Tower of Time collapsed.

Amplifying his voice through his Darkness powers, Krataxus starts speaking to all those present on the planet directly.

“Dear friends and enemies. Onlookers, bystanders, cowards. It is in this fine moment that the greatest danger to the universal stability, Fairon, can finally be pronounced dead. Make no mistake to mourn for the fallen one, for he very nearly tipped over the balance of the fabric of the universe, bringing it ever closer to destruction on a scale not seen since the Second Great Infinus War.

Yes, you heard that right. The fallen one’s plans very nearly tipped over the balance of the very fabric of Space-Time itself, nearly bringing us all into a world of chaos and destruction.

But, now that Fairon is gone forever, his allies are left over. To them, I give this one-time offer: Join me, and, together, we can help rebuild the universe into a better place. A place of stability, prosperity, and justice.

Together, we can change the universe for the better. It only requires one thing from the allies of the fallen one…

Join me.”

The world was spinning around Fairon. He could feel the burning sensation of the Darkness tearing away at his heart, which was simultaneously numbing and agonizing. Is this it? My final descent? He wondered if he had been set up after all. He wondered if Jareroden had sent him to this place on purpose, if his mission was a lie to help Krataxus get what he wanted, to put an end to Fairon's life once and for all. No, he thought, it is not! He was determined, but the pain was agonizing and he felt how life was slowly leaving his body. “No…no…”

Barely able to contain his headaches or the burning sensation in his Heart, Fairon slowly got up from the rocky surface. He closed his eyes tightly, concentrating all the power that remained to his outstretched hands. He could feel the energy particles swirl and dance around his hands as they gained ever greater strength.

Krataxus slowly walked towards his former best friend, descending down the flight of stairs from the temple behind him. In front of him, he could see the shuttle in the distance. A little closer by, lay Fairon, on the ground. Krataxus felt triumphant, seeing Fairon like that, on the ground.

But something was wrong.

Fairon was getting up.

Krataxus could only look on in fear as he saw the particles of energy concentrate themselves around Fairon’s hands. He could feel the sheer power Fairon was concentrating on himself, the power he was about to release. Nailed to the ground, Krataxus could only look on in fear, not able to take any action to prevent what was coming.

Enough!

In great pain, the despaired Fairon unleashes a blast of Light unlike anything Krataxus or anyone else on the planet had ever seen before. The scream is heard by Fyxan and Shadon, who turned around in surprise to see the scene unfolding behind them. They then shield their eyes while a light stronger than a thousand suns illuminates the darkened skies of Ashatan. “What is he doing?!” Shadon roars to Fyxan. “I hope it’s something good…”

“Argh!” Krataxus exclaims as he shields his eyes from the massive light that has just been released, attempting to brace himself for that which is coming towards him at light speed. A massive explosion then illuminates the area even brighter than the blast did, while it sends the red-armoured dark Toa flying. Krataxus screams in anger and panic, until he hits the cold hard ground with a thunderous explosion, nearly knocking him unconscious.

Fairon feels dizzy. The sheer amount of power he has just released has not only exhausted him, it drained him of what little energy he had left to flee from Ashatan. Everything was spinning again. He could hear Fyxan’s and Shadon’s voices in the distance, talking to who seemed to be Aquila and Lev. Suddenly, he could see lights above him, while he heard a loading ramp close with a click.

Shadon and Fyxan placed the nearly unconscious Fairon into the chair behind Shadon, and raced towards their own seats. Shadon pressed several buttons, rushing to activate the ship’s engines before it was too late. Fyxan, in the meantime, started talking to Jareroden through the radio communicator.

“Attention: We have an emergency. Fairon is down and extremely wounded. I repeat: We have an emergency. Fairon is down and extremely wounded.”

Not looking back to see if Krataxus follows them, Shadon lets the ship take off, flying through the clouds until he is back in space, where he is greeted by the shuttle of Aquila and Lev.


Krataxus frowned as he felt millions of cold raindrops fall on his face, one right after the other, while a cold wind blew, not helping to make the dark Toa feel any warmer on the inside. He slowly opened his eyes, and, looking upwards, realises he is on planet Ashatan. He gets up quickly, realising what has just happened.

There, in the distance, a shuttle is taking off.

“No…”, he exclaims in disbelief as he realises it’s too late for him to take his revenge on Fairon. The shuttle with Fairon takes off and leaves as quickly as it can, away from the dark Toa, and away from Ashatan.

Krataxus is alone now, and he has failed his mission to defeat Fairon. His most glorious victory, turned into his most embarassing failure. The rage and shame slowly built up inside the dark Toa, and he suddenly felt a primal urge to release all of his anger and embarassment in one despaired scream.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”

Chapter Five[]

Fyxan led out a sigh.

For everything that had happened since they landed on Ashatan and started exploring the planet and the mysterious temple, Fyxan felt his response was a bit of an understatement. Fairon was still unconscious and extremely wounded. Fyxan and Shadon had only barely managed to escape with their shuttle and its damaged landing gear. But, perhaps most important, their hallucinations had stopped for the most part, and they had escaped from Krataxus and his dark beings alive.

Or, as alive as Fairon could be at that moment.

Sitting next to Fyxan, Shadon tried to concentrate himself on keeping the ship on course. Deep down, he could still remember the feeling of the hand on his shoulder, the feeling of being pushed to the ground by a being that was simply not there when he looked around. Never again, he determined, never to Ashatan again. The planet was at least as dangerous as Jareroden’s mentor had warned them it was.

The shuttle itself was eerily silent, with not even the radio communicator giving so much as a bleep. Since they had left and had contacted the other shuttle, the three had been silent throughout the ride, trying to understand just what had been going on there, on Ashatan. Fairon, however, was entirely unconscious, not even so much as moving his head just a little. It was eerie and sad, to see the Toa of Light entirely drained of his energy, barely clinging on to life after desperately using all the remaining powers he had to knock Krataxus back and allow the team to escape.

Shadon was thankful, but worried. What if the information is useless after all? What if we took off to Ashatan simply to have Fairon get killed? Maybe Krataxus was right after all, that Fairon’s goals were selfish? Shadon could not help but ponder. He hoped they arrived at their base soon, and that that would relieve him of his ponderings and thoughts.


Jareroden looked. He was looking through the front window of the cockpit, seeing the lines of stars that made up warp-space, and wondering when they would finally arrive at their base near Estron. He was not sitting in the pilot seat. Nor in the co-pilot’s seat, for that matter. They were manned by Aquila and Lev respectively, who had carried a panicked Jareroden away after he had experienced some heavy hallucinations at the temple on Ashatan.

Ashatan…

Jareroden would forever associate the name with the nightmarish vision of Fyxan’s lifeless body, his armour scratched, his left hand cut off, and his head lying above it like some sort of sick prop. With the image of Fairon’s head being sliced off by Krataxus. The image of the blast flying towards him… Even now, the sounds and images were still piercing through the Toa of Psionics’ head, who could not let the visions leave his head no matter how hard he tried.

But, there was one thing he was absolutely certain about: his mentor had been absolutely right.

Ashatan was a terrible planet permanently shrouded in ink-black darkness, with the only occasional “light” being the lightning flashes. The temple itself was a haunting place, placing visions of death and despair into the minds of those who had visited it, and it was worse than what Jareroden had expected.

He attempted to remind himself of the fact that they actually got the pictures of the information they could need, trying to uplift himself with that fact.

Loudly, the ship’s trans-warp engines deactivated, showing the asteroid field in front of the cockpit window again. In the background, Jareroden could see the reddish surface of his former home planet, Estron.

Taking a sharp turn to the left, the shuttles manoeuvred to an asteroid to which a large battleship had clamped itself. That, in itself, was their base; a battleship docked to several hollowed-out asteroids. Simple as it may sound, they had managed to stay undetected by bounty hunters and space pirates, but also by Krataxus and his forces of Darkness.

The two shuttles manoeuvred themselves into the large hangar, and slowly landed. The other shuttle, containing Fairon, Fyxan and Shadon, had damaged landing gear. While the shuttle with Jareroden, Lev and Aquila in it landed relatively easily, touching down onto the metallic surface of the hangar with a slight thud, the other shuttle had to land onto its own hull, landing with a loud screech onto the metallic surface on the hangar. Jareroden cringed at the sound.

Finally, breaking the silence, Lev announced “Attention: We have landed. I repeat: We have landed.” Jareroden had not heard Lev sound this relieved in a long time, not even when he had come back from his mission on Estron. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for Lev, Aquila, Fairon, Fyxan and Shadon, being the one who sent them all to the planet and who suggested they all go. What was I thinking? The question constantly echoed through his head, never quite leaving his thoughts.

Lev unbuckled his seatbelt, and got up, walking to the passengers’ compartment. Aquila also unbuckled her seatbelts, and sat next to Jareroden. “Everything alright?” she looked genuinely worried. “I-I’m alright, but I can’t say I’m fine.” Aquila smiled, and hugged Jareroden tightly. “It’s alright,” she assured him. Getting up, she urged Jareroden to get up too. “Shall we?”

The loading ramp of the ship opened, and the three Toa walked out of their ship.

In the other ship, Fyxan unbuckled his seatbelt, unbuckled Fairon’s, and walked to the passengers’ compartment. He opened the emergency cargo compartment and took out a litter for Fairon. “Shadon, help me a little, will you?” Shadon nodded, unbuckled his seatbelt, and helped Fyxan set up the litter for Fairon. Shadon grabbed the Toa of Light’s legs, while Fyxan grabbed the arms, and they placed the unconscious Toa on the litter. Fyxan, looking back, pressed the button to open the loading ramp.

Slowly opening, the loading ramp revealed the figures of Lev, Aquila and Jareroden awaiting the other three with their heavily wounded patient. Once the loading ramp was fully opened, Aquila rushed towards Fairon to check what was going on. “What exactly happened?” she asked Fyxan, her eyes widened.

“After you left, we decided to ascend to the upper floor of the Temple. Once arriving there, the weird…energy we could feel was intensifying, while our hallucinations were getting ever more terrible and realistic. I noticed a table in the middle of the top room, and, as we got ever closer, the energy intensified even more. Walking to the “table” felt like climbing the highest mountain in the multiverse, taking what seemed to be like eternity. Once there, Fairon had an extreme hallucination and an extreme headache, and I, too, had a hallucination after I tried to take a picture of what was written on the “table”.

Once I had taken the picture, though, I was attacked by Krataxus. Though our battle was fierce, I managed to distract him long enough to have all three of us out of the temple, and fleeing towards our shuttle. While we managed to get out of the temple, Krataxus managed to catch up with us quickly, and began hurling blasts of Darkness at Fairon. While he managed to dodge the first few ones, Fairon was eventually hit by one blast, seemingly putting an end to Fairon once and for all. Afterwards, Krataxus held a triumphant speech, declaring Fairon dead and the Resistance over.”

“I heard that speech as well. It was shocking. I thought it was all...over.”

Fyxan continued, “Well, not really. Just as we thought Fairon was, indeed, deceased, he managed to get up and, utilising what seemed to be all his remaining power, fired a blast of Light of such sheer power that it forced us all to shield our eyes. The blast sent Krataxus flying, but Fairon collapsed shortly after. Shadon and I grabbed Fairon and took him with us into our shuttle, and he hasn’t been awake since.”

Aquila felt something sinking in, looking at Fairon’s limp, unconscious body. She knew he did not have much left before he would pass away as a result of what he had done combined with what had happened to him on Ashatan. “Fyxan, Shadon, we are going to the medical bay. I need as much assistance as I can.”

The three raced off with the litter carrying Fairon, racing through doors and elevators, and arriving in the same dimly lit tunnels that would take them to the ship itself. There, they took a turn to the left, running through the long steel corridors that made up most of the innards of the ship. Their footsteps sounded through the hallways. Arriving at a large door with a medical cross on it, Aquila typed the password on the computer’s keyboard, and the door opened, revealing the medical bay.

The three drove the litter towards the operating centre in the back of the medical bay, where they laid Fairon onto the bed in the middle of the room. There, Aquila started examining Fairon’s body and armour, to check if anything was off. On his legs, she could notice bruises and scratches from the rock he fell on. His upper legs were largely undaunted, though. Starting to inspect his chest, she notices a large blackened spot on the middle of Fairon’s chest. It reeked of Fire, and she could feel dark energies emanating from it. She turned to Fyxan. “Is this where he was hit?”

“Yes.”

She examines the armour more closely, and then moves onwards towards his face. Closely examining his face, she notices no abnormalities except for a scar on his mask that runs through the right eye. Once more turning to Fyxan, she asked, “What happened? Did he fall down?”

Fyxan could still vividly remember the scene. He heard Krataxus scream “That’s it!” and, turning around, saw how Fairon was hit fully in his chest by the dark fire blast. His chest aflame, Fairon was unable to move or breathe, and fell down, face-first, on the ground, in front of Fyxan and Shadon.

“Yes. He fell down face-first onto the rocky surface of Ashatan.”

Aquila cringed. “Ouch!”

She looked back at Fairon’s armour, and looked for ways to fix the armour and heal Fairon. She turned around, and walked towards the medicine cabinets containing the healing potions. “I’m going to be needing Light powers and my own Water powers to heal this burning spot he has on his chest. It will not be fun for him, and he will scream, but the risks of him losing his heart to Darkness are extreme if we do not take action immediately to reduce the effects of the wound.”

She takes out a numbing potion and a sleeping potion against the pain, and to have Fairon asleep while she carries out the operation. She opens Fairon’s mouth, and slowly pours the sleeping potion into his mouth. She then closes his mouth, and puts his head back onto the bed calmly. She then opens the bottle of numbing potion, and pours it over the black spot on his chest. Fairon cringes and screams in agony as she does so. Shortly afterwards, though, his eyes close again, and he falls asleep.

She urges Fyxan to stand next to her, and starts channelling water through her hands. “Fyxan, if you could channel your Light power through your hands, you could try reduce the Darkness in that wound, while I try to minimise the effect of the burns on him with my water powers.” Fyxan nodded, and, channelling Light powers through his hands, places his hands above the wound. Fairon cringed slightly, but calmed down again shortly afterwards, enabling the two to perform the tasks ahead.

Shadon, who, up until that moment, had been with the other two, left the room to assist Lev with defragmenting and decoding the texts that Fyxan found in the temple. Opening the door, he ended up in the main hallway of the ship, from where he entered its central staircase. He walked up to the highest floor, where the bridge and the computer room were, and met Jareroden and Lev there. They were sitting near the conference table behind an array of computer screens, looking at the picture, while Lev was typing commands and such onto the computers. Shadon sat next to Lev, and patted Lev on the back.

“Let’s do this.”


In the operation centre, Fyxan’s Light powers effectively reduce the size of the large black spot. Aquila looks on while she tries to remove the smoke and the wounds that Fairon retrieved from the fire in his chest. “I…I hope he’ll make it,” Fyxan says in a sad tone, prompting Aquila to respond, “If we continue like this, he will be making it. He’ll need some time to recover, and he will not be rid of the Darkness completely, but he will recover in the end.” The burn wounds are then reduced to nothing, effectively getting rid of the smoke coming off the now very small black spot. Fyxan, concentrating himself fiercely, channels more Light powers through his hand and, in doing so, effectively erases the black spot. He is tired, and so is she. They sit down, trying to calm themselves a little after what had happened.

“It’s been a ride, eh?” Fyxan turns towards Aquila.

“Hmm, it sure has.”

Their operation successful, Fyxan smiled. He was, for the first time since the Nui Tower had collapsed, finally happy that he had done something, and he was actually happy that he had escaped from Ashatan. “Should I tell the rest?” he turned towards Aquila, who nodded quietly, urging for him to go and tell the rest, and inform if anything had been found yet.


In the information centre, Lev and Shadon were rapidly typing on their computers, attempting to process the information and decode the text of the slab of stone that they had found on Ashatan. It was not doing very well, at least not as well as Lev had planned. The pictures Fyxan had sent were clear, but the text was extremely hard to decipher, even for the highly advanced computer. Still not able to get a translation out of it, Shadon banged his fist on the table, and cursed. “Why won’t this stupid thing work?!”

Lev turned towards him. “Shadon, it’s not going to work any better if you keep banging your fist on the table like that.” Shadon agreed, and turned towards his computer again, typing several more commands to attempt translating the incomprehensible wall of text that was in front of him on the screen right now. Come on…he thought, while he saw the computer rapidly processing large amounts of data at once.

There it was. The translation appeared on his screen.

Hurrying to press “save file”, Shadon saved the file onto his computer, and led out a deep sigh. He then wiped the sweat from his forehead, sitting back. “Fi-na-lly," he says, with Lev and Jareroden looking at him questioningly. "I’ve done it,” he says rather nonchalantly, turning to Lev and Jareroden. Lev's green eyes widen at hearing wht Shadon just said. “You did what?!”

“I did it. The translation.”

Lev rushes up from his chair in anticipation, standing behind Shadon in excitement. Jareroden, too, gets up quickly, standing next to Lev and behind Shadon. All very interested, they read the translated text. Shadon started reading it aloud:

The Nui Tower of Time, the Universal Paralysis, and how to prevent it from happening

The Nui Tower of Time is one of the most important structures for the stability of the universe, regulating and stabilising the flow of Time and, as a result, one also stabilising one half of the Space-Time continuum. If, for some reason, the Nui Tower of Time is destroyed, the consequences will be catastrophic for the fabric of the universe and the Space-Time continuum, threatening to destabilise the very universe itself if it is not reversed quickly.

In the case that a destruction does occur, there are ways to reverse the destruction and restore the flow of Time before the destabilisation effects become permanent. The first, most important way is the Crystal of Time, which can be installed on the Altar of Time at the Temporal Summit, the summit of the Nui Tower of Time. Once it is installed on the Altar of Time, the Crystal will restore any damage done to the Nui Tower, and restore the flow of Time in the entirety of the universe.

If, for any reason, the Crystal of Time is no longer available or destroyed, there is one other way to restore the flow of Time. That way, is to mortally wound Temporus at the Temporal Summit in battle, an action which will force the Infinus of Time to regenerate himself and his body, in effect also restoring the Nui Tower of Time. By extension, this will restore the flow of Time itself, and reverse the Universal Paralysis.

A Universal Paralysis can have devastating, long-term and even permanent effects if not reversed quickly. These include: 1. The destabilisation of the fabric of Time, leading to a destabilisation of the Space-Time continuum. Space-Time can be distorted, and travelling through it can be highly dangerous as a result; 2. Darkness can flow into the multiverse without regulation and at an extremely high pace; 3. Structures old and new can be damaged and even destroyed by the effects of the Paralysis, mainly involving the Darkness that tears away at the fabric of the universe.

This information was compiled by the Combat Masters’ League.

Once Shadon finished reading the translation, the atmosphere in the room turned from tense to celebrative. They had discovered a way to actually reverse the Universal Paralysis and finish their mission, once and for all, before it was too late. Lev simultaneously felt joy and fear, as he realised that a mission to the Nui Tower of Time itself was not like any mission, not even his mission on Estron. Jareroden, too, realised that the mission to the Nui Tower of Time itself could very possibly be their last chance at ever restoring the flow of Time, their last chance to prevent the universe from being turned into Darkness completely and permanently.

The door into the computer room opened, revealing the figure of Fyxan. He looked rather tired, and sat into a chair next to the other three.

“It’s done. Fairon’s alive, and recovering.”

Jareroden’s eyes filled with tears of joy. Fairon was not dead after all, and Fyxan and Aquila had helped him to remain alive. Jareroden rushed up from his chair and gave Fyxan a heartfelt hug. Fyxan’s eyes, too, filled with tears of joy. “Yes, guys…it’s been hard, but we've managed to do it.” Shadon, usually quiet and stern, was crying in his chair, ecstatic about the news that the one he could call a friend was actually alive. Lev, too, was finally filled with joy after all the dark moments they had been through.

“We can do it, my friends. We have been through Ashatan, now all that stands in the way between the reversal and us is finding the Crystal of Time!” Shadon cheered, and Fyxan, Jareroden and Lev cheered too. The atmosphere in the room was one of celebration, of happiness and joy. So we celebrate after all, Jareroden thought, smiling, while wiping the tears from his mask.

“So, did you guys find anything?” Fyxan asked after the celebrations that Fairon was alive had died down. Shadon got up and went back to his computer, and activated it. He showed it to Fyxan, who thoroughly read the piece of text he had photographed in the middle of the temple. Fyxan hugged his friend Shadon. “Thank you, thank you so much. At least I didn’t go through the gates of the Realm of Darkness and back for nothing.” Shadon laughed, and stated, “It sure was hard to get the information, but we’ve got it now.”

“So…what are we intending to do with the information?” suddenly, Aquila stood in the doorway as well, having overheard the conversation that just happened between the other three. “I sure would like to know before we embark on any mission.”

Chapter Six[]

Krataxus was ashamed.

Everything he had been planning to do up until that point, everything he had been intending to do, was gone. His best friends had betrayed him and left him behind. Nothing had gone to plan, not even killing Fairon. Just as he believed he had finally made an end to the witty Toa’s life, the Toa got up and, using the last bits of power he had, blasted Krataxus back into the wall. But that was not the worst.

He still had to confront the Primal Beast about it.

The elevator calmly ascended the Nui Tower of Time, as it usually did, but Krataxus did not feel nearly as calm and collected as he usually would when ascending on this elevator. The Undead next to him simply stared in front of it. A blank, emotionless expression of what remains of a heart when it has been consumed by Darkness. Krataxus, too, attempted to stare in front of him emotionlessly, but he could not control the shame he felt.

He had failed once again.

The elevator slowly decreased its speed, until it finally stopped at the Temporal Summit, the very top of the Nui Tower of Time, and its metallic doors slid open calmly. Back to where it all began…Krataxus thought, stepping out onto the surface of the gargantuan summit. In the distance, he could see the Temporal Altar, where the throne was located. Around him, formerly ornate and beautiful pillars were lining what used to be the summit of a grand, beautiful structure. Nowadays, though, these pillars were only a sign of what had been left by the destruction. Krataxus walked calmly through the columns of pillars, on the way to the throne.

He kneeled in front of his master.

“Master…I-“

I know you did not manage to kill Fairon. I also know he has escaped, and yes, defeat is an utterly atrocious thing to happen." Before Krataxus could even reply to what his master had been saying, the reptillian continued calmly, "But, one thing you should realise, is that defeat happens to the best of us. Therefore, you should learn to accept defeat, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Your mistakes have been forgiven, Krataxus, but go forth. Go to Estron. Get the information necessary. Find Fairon, and bring him to me.

Without even turning around, the Primal Beast had told Krataxus all he needed to know, without even once mentioning anything about repercussions. Krataxus, though, still feared that he was about to be punished.

Reading the dark Toa's mind calmly, the reptillian in the chair started speaking again. “You fear repercussions? I have no reason to punish you for your failures, for they are a key to growth. It would be a waste to execute you here. Remember it well, and bring Fairon to me.

Krataxus was shocked. Baffled. He had failed his mission, but his master did not kill him for it. In fact, his master did not even so much as punish him. All his master had done, was tell him to accept defeat once, and to go forth towards Estron, and fulfil his mission, to bring Fairon to the Primal Beast, so he could make sure that the stability of the universe could be ascertained. Trying to suppress his shame, Krataxus attempted to smile, and slowly got up from his knees. Deep down, he still felt extremely ashamed for his failures, but he was grateful that the Primal Beast – the single most powerful being in the universe at that point – had actually spared him.

He turned around, facing the elevator again, and started walking towards his ship, ever more determined to find his archenemy, and bring him to justice.

To Estron, he thought.


For the first time since the mission to Ashatan, the conference room of the Titan-I battleship was filled again. The conference table, where the Toa team convened, was filled, with everyone back in their usual spots. Fyxan and Shadon flanked the head of the table near the captain’s chair, Lev and Aquila sat next to them, and, next to Lev and Aquila, on the other head of the table, sat Jareroden. Only one chair was empty, though.

Fairon’s chair.

Considering Fairon’s extreme wounds and tiredness, and his need to recover, the team had collectively decided not to allow Fairon's participation in this meeting just yet. It would be better for him. But, it did mean that someone else had to lead the meeting now. And that responsibility fell on Jareroden's shoulders, who quietly sat in his chair, waiting.

Once, he had been the last to arrive in this chamber, with the others waiting for him when it seemed that he just wouldn’t come. Now, he was in their position, sitting around a table with one chair left empty. The only difference now, was that, unlike Jareroden, Fairon would not be able to attend this meeting of his team.

Jareroden activated the computer in the middle of the table, which then showcased the translations it had just made. “My friends,” he started, “as you may all know, our mission to Ashatan, while disastrous, did not actually end in complete failure, contrary to what we may think. In fact, the mission did yield some results.” Shadon smiled, thinking about the great amounts of work he had put into getting his computer to translate the piece of text from the picture. Jareroden continued, “We have, in fact, managed to translate a very important instruction on the creation of the Nui Tower of Time, its purpose, and how to reverse a Universal Paralysis in the event that it did happen – as it has already.” He pointed the remote controller at the piece of text detailing the reversal with the Crystal of Time. The rest of the room was eerily silent, everyone having their eyes fixated on Jareroden while he spoke about the instructions to reverse the Universal Paralysis.

He continued, “As you can see here, there isn’t just one way to reverse the Universal Paralysis in the event it happens. There are, in fact, two ways to reverse the Paralysis.” He points a laser pointer at the text detailing the reversal. “The first way,” he begins, with Shadon adding, “is to get our hands on the Crystal of Time, go to the Nui Tower of Time’s summit, and place the Crystal of Time on the Altar of Time, where it will restore Time and repair the Nui Tower of Time.” Jareroden nods thankfully at Shadon, smiling a little.

He continues, “The second way,” with Lev continuing, “is to wound Temporus – the Infinus of Time, also known as the Temporal Beast – so badly that he will be forced to regenerate, an event which will also restore the flow of Time, and restore the damage done to the Nui Tower of Time.” Lev and Shadon then sit back again, urging for Jareroden to go on.

“This means that, whichever method we decide,” he begins, but is interrupted by a rather familiar voice, which continues, “we will be forced to go to the Nui Tower of Time in the end.”

Standing there, armour still scratchy and a large scar now covering the right side of his face, Fairon smiled at the group. Before he knew it, the rest of the team rushed up from their seats, forcing Fairon to the back in a hug. At long last, Aquila got up as well, looking rather unamused at the Toa of Light. “You knew what I had told you, didn’t you?” she speaks in a rather unamused tone. “I…couldn’t keep lying there with you not being there, you know.” Fairon winked as he said that, forcing Aquila to blush.

With the hug over, Fairon begins, “Well, Jareroden, now that you’ve started this meeting, I sure expect you to tell us: where do we go next?”

With that done, Jareroden slowly sits down in his seat again. The rest of the team follows shortly after, until only Fairon is left standing. Sitting down slowly, the Toa of Light once more occupies the seat at the other head of the table, opposite of Jareroden. Fairon smiles at Jareroden, and urges for him to continue speaking to the group. “My plan is to first go to Estron, and ask my mentor for the best ways to get to the Nui Tower, what will happen when we get there, and where the Crystal of Time is. I am unsure if he knows where the Crystal of Time is, but I do know he has extensive knowledge of the Nui Tower of Time and its area. He, after all, was the one who sent us to Ashatan…” At the mention of Ashatan, the room fell abruptly silent for a moment, each being reminded of what nightmarish visions they saw on the dark planet.

Breaking the silence, Jareroden continues, “so I reckon that he, at the very least, knows something. Once we have gone from Estron, we will return here, and split up into two teams. I suggest the first team to consist of Fyxan, Lev and Shadon, and the second team to consist of myself, Aquila and Fairon.” Before Fairon could raise his hand to suggest different teams, Aquila interrupted him with “I think it’s a good plan to have these two teams, as well.” Fyxan nodded in agreement and, shortly after he did, Shadon, too, nodded in agreement. “I agree, too,” Lev said. At last, Fairon was once more the last to speak, “I, too, agree.”


Desert winds blew in Fairon’s face, bringing to him the warmth that naturally came with the deserts of Estron. But, it also meant that the unpleasant sweaty smell of the many onlookers in the dirty arena was blown right into Fairon's face, something he'd rather not have. He hated arenas, especially when it came to gladiator arenas and their matches. Their audiences were far too noisy, loud, and rowdy, and the seats were uncomfortable to add to the annoyance. To add to that, the spectacle in these arenas was even more sickening than the sweaty stench.

He was surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, an audience comprised of an assortment of species and beings from all over the universe, all of them lowlifes looking for cheap entertainment at the expense of others. Skakdi warriors, Matoran bounty hunters, mutants, and even corrupted Toa, were there to see the disgusting spectacle that was about to unfold before them.

The arena itself was built out of a brownish stone, in a rather oval shape. In the fighting field all the way below, in the middle of the arena, all there lay was burning sand, so as to torture the participants in wearing specialised foot armour, and to prevent participants from staying somewhere for too long. There were not even seats in this arena, just cheap, crumbling stone grandstands. The outer walls of the arena had been aligned with large arches, three rows on top of one another, while the audience flocked into the arena through both arches on top of the grandstands, as well as entrances in the grandstands themselves. All in all, the building itself was impressive, but it was clearly in a state of disrepair, which disappointed Fairon even more.

Looking down, to the sandy fields in the middle of the arena, the gates on both sides of the field opened up. Out of those two gates, stepped two fragile looking Matoran or Agori. A truly sad sight, for Fairon. The voice of an announcer then boomed across the arena, announcing the names of the Matoran. “In corner one, we have hardened Matoran gladiator, Matorix!” Fairon had never heard of said Matoran gladiator before, but the rest in the arena clearly had, considering the roar of applause that went through the arena the moment the name of the Matoran was mentioned. The Matoran’s armour was damaged and scratched everywhere, and of a rather rusty iron colour. He was also scarily thin, as if he had been starving. His sword was already fragmented and cut on many parts of the blade, and his helmet was actually too big for his head, giving a rattling noise.

The announcer enthusiastically continued, “And, in corner two, we have the tough Agori gladiator, Aputo!” Once again, Fairon had not ever heard about said gladiator, but the arena’s roar was even louder than it was for Matorix, leading Fairon to believe that this Agori was, indeed, one of the more popular gladiators around these parts. Aputo’s armour was a faded blueish hue, it looking rather worn-out. In a fashion similar to the Matoran's, the Agori was also rather thin, like he had not eaten for months on end. His sword looked like it could fall apart at any moment, and, in contrast to the Matoran, did not even have any helmet to begin with.

The announcer’s voice boomed once more through the arena: “Let the games begin!”

Though a thunderous roar filled the stadium with sound, Shadon couldn’t help but feel slightly sickened by the prospect of warriors tearing away at each other for fun, for money. Having been a former bounty hunter himself, Shadon couldn’t help but feel that gladiators were the lowest of the low, lower even than the bounty hunters. Because, unlike gladiators, bounty hunters – or at least Shadon – had a strict honour code to keep themselves to, while gladiators were the lowest common denominator of what Shadon would refer to as scum.

The Agori and Matoran ran at each other, armour rattling, and the swords clanged as they hit each other in the middle of the arena, starting the battle. Although he was watching, Fyxan was far too distracted to think of the events unfolding in front of him, instead attempting to concentrate himself on what was to come. After all, they were to be introduced to Jareroden’s mentor, but how they were going to be introduced to Jareroden’s mentor was a mystery to all.

“So, how will we be brought to your mentor?” Fyxan shouted at Jareroden in an attempt to overcome the roar of the crowds. “I don’t actually know,” Jareroden said, continuing, “I was just told to be here, in this very arena, once this gladiator match started. I just hope they know what they’re doing…” he looked just a little worried as he looked onto the field, where the Matoran had just managed to place a deep cut into the Agori’s body. Blood streamed out of the wound, with the Agori screaming in pain. Still, the Agori got up and decided to attack the Matoran mercilessly, cutting the Matoran in the arm. “Ouch!” Fyxan said, looking in shock at the bloody battle that was unfolding in front of him. Jareroden, too, was not very pleased with what was unfolding in front of him.

Suddenly, he felt something ticking on his shoulder.

“Who’s-“ he tried to ask, turning around, but, as he turned around, he saw the same small Matoran that had guided him to the den earlier on. “Fyxan! Fairon! Shadon! Lev! Aquila!” he called the names of the several Toa, and urged for them to follow him. But, the Matoran had disappeared, it seemed. Jareroden made his way towards the exit, where, standing on the bottom of the flight of stairs, the Matoran awaited the Toa team. Jareroden remembered that the Matoran was simply a general guide, and that the two should not be seen together, lest Undead soldiers or bounty hunters could find their way into the peaceful den. Descending down a flight of stairs, and then another, Jareroden and the team were now standing at the exit.

Walking out of the arena, onto the dusty ground, an extremely large bazaar stretched out in front of them, out of the square and into the streets in front of them. In the widest street, right in front of them, Jareroden saw the Matoran standing again, simply looking at him. “Let’s go,” Jareroden said, and started walking down the stairs. Fyxan, not entirely trusting of what was going on, asked Jareroden “are you sure you know what’s going on?” Jareroden turned around.

“I do. This used to be my home planet, I know the place.”

It didn’t help to reassure Fyxan, nor did it help to reassure any of the others in the team. “I guess we’ll just have to follow, then?” Shadon whispered in confusion to the rest, who silently agreed and walked down the flight of stairs to where Jareroden was standing. They then started walking into the wider, noisy street.

The noise was everywhere.

Left and right, Aquila could hear salesmen desperately attempting to advertise their wares, shouting the product names and prices at the top of their lungs. The competition was fierce. Once one salesman announced a lower price, all the other salesmen would announce even lower prices, leading to absolute chaos on the bazaar, with beings walking left and right to the nearest salesman selling at the lowest price. As such, it did not amaze the Toa of Water that, before the Universal Paralysis, she would regularly hear stories about beings dying on the markets of Estron.

Lev, walking at the back of the group, calmly looked around the markets, trying to make sense of the chaos of the salesmen around him. The noise was very disorienting, and the amalgamation of different smells on the streets did nothing to help it. In fact, around him, Lev could smell coffee from the coffeehouses, food from the various food stalls, and a slightly numbing, flowery smell which he simply couldn’t bring home. It was just like last time he had walked through these streets, although he could not see any Undead in the near distance, something which helped to calm him ever so slightly.

Desert winds were blowing sand onto Fairon’s golden Kanohi, giving it a slightly rusty colour. The sand burned against the side of his face and on his armour, but Fairon seemed not to mind, too concentrated on getting where he was supposed to go. He had noticed the Matoran Jareroden seemed to follow. The Matoran was small, his armour a shade of light blue, and he was wearing a hood and a cape, which were not unusual attributes on Estron. Fairon, too, was wearing a robe and had his hood up, realising the dangers of being recognised.

But the wind blew a little too hard.

Fairon’s hood was blown off and, though he immediately tried putting it back up, he heard a roar in the distance. “Fairon!” a gravelly voice yelled out over the noise of the streets. Immediately, the chaos stopped in its tracks, all beings turning their eyes on Fairon. The rest of the Toa team stopped walking, and looked to their backs, too. Not again…Fairon thought, ashamed, as he turned around to face the one who had yelled his name.

The being who had yelled had rusted, iron-coloured armour, and was carrying a massive club in his right hand. He was smoking what seemed to be some sort of cigarette, but it did not quite look like the cigarettes Fairon was used to seeing. Its smell was different, too, more flowery and numbing than the dirty smell he was used to from a cigarette.

The being approached Fairon slowly.

“What brings you to our fine planet, mister Fairon?” the being asks in Fairon’s face. His breathe smelled worse than anything Fairon had ever smelled up until that moment, like a vile combination between the rotting corpse of a Spydra, a thousand pits of toxic waste and the rotten smell of the fart of an Undead soldier. It was nauseating. “Answer me!” the being yelled, punching Fairon in the face. The punch hit hard, forcing Fairon back a little.

It still did not hit as hard as his breathe, though.

Fairon got back up, facing the being again. The being, even angrier now, once more punched Fairon in the face, everyone on the market simply looking towards how he was punching Fairon in the middle of the streets. Eventually, tired of punching Fairon with his fist, the being raised his club. In a pinch, Fairon summoned his staff of Light and charged it with power, slicing the club in half.

Putting back his staff, Fairon grabbed the being by the neck, and pushed him against the wall of a building near him.

Trying to resist the nauseating smell of the being’s breathe, Fairon started speaking.

Listen up, you poor, foul-faced rat. I hear one more word from you, about you, that you spoke about me, and I will find you, and I will not hesitate to make sure everyone knows what a foul-faced lowlife you actually are, how dishonourable you are, to punch a being in the face in the middle of the streets. If you have anything to settle with me, you settle it with me in private, you understand?” he let go of the being’s neck, who gasped for air. Then, turning around, Fairon once more pushed the being against the wall and grabbed him by the neck.

“And, before I forget: don’t you dare breathe into my face again.”

Finally, letting go of the being’s neck, Fairon turned around, and put his hood over his face again. The being, standing on the wall, had turned a whiter shade of pale, fear clearly in his eyes. The group looked shocked, as Fairon calmly walked to join them again. He calmly walked to Jareroden. “Let’s go, before his breathe really does kill me.”

Looking around, Jareroden tries to spot the hooded Matoran. He looks in a street to his left, but there are no signs of the Matoran. No signs to his right, either. Starting to get worried, the black and silver-armoured Toa of Psionics suddenly notices the Matoran standing on the other side of the street, in a side street. “Follow me,” the Toa of Psionics urged, starting to walk towards the alleyway on the other side of the street.

With the scene gone, the streets turned to chaos as usual, enabling the Toa team to manoeuvre themselves quietly through the busy streets while they try to make their way towards the other side. Finally, they enter the side street, where the noise is a bit more bearable.

And there, next to a small door, was the Matoran.

He opens the door.

Come in.”

Stepping through the door, the Toa team are greeted by a very strong, flowery, numbing smell. The room is filled with smoke, and beings sitting at the tables are barely even visible in the haze of the smoke. Shadon tries to orientate himself, but nearly trips over a chair next to him, in which a small being is calmly sitting, smoking what appears to be some sort of cigarette. Fairon recognises it as the same cigarette-like object that the being with stinking breathe was smoking. Slowly walking to Jareroden, Aquila asks, “Just where did you bring us?”

Jareroden turns around, looks her in the eye, and puts his hand on her shoulder. “Trust me, at least for now,” he says, his facial expression begging for her to trust him that he knows what he’s doing. Although reluctant, Aquila agrees.

Once the Toa team are in, the Matoran closes the door, and urges for them to follow him.

They walk past the bar, where an extremely attractive female being is standing, serving the drinks and cigarette-like objects while flirtatiously looking at her customers. When she spots the team, she looks at Shadon, who barely feels his ability to control himself. “Hey there, Toa,” she says in a very seductive tone, looking at Shadon. What? The Realm of Infinity is actually here? he thinks to himself while staring in awe at the beautiful being.

But, before he could come closer to the beautiful female being, he is dragged away. “Shadon! Stop your distractions, we have a mission.” Lev looks angrily at the Toa of Iron. “Behave yourself a little.”

Next to the bar, a door is opened by the Matoran, who urges the team to get in there. Once all of them are gathered, the Matoran closes the door. It creaks while it does so. The team now found themselves crammed together into a tiny, smelly hallway. On the left, there was a door to an even smellier kitchen. On the right of the beings, they saw two toilets.

None of the Toa even so much as thought of opening the toilet doors.

The Matoran tried to push his way through the crammed group, until eventually ending up ahead of them. Arriving at the back of the hallway, the Matoran knocks on a door on the right side calmly. A peeping hole opens up, and then closes. The sound of locks being fiddled can be heard through the hallway, while the team wait in anticipation.

The door opens.

“Come in,” the Matoran urges, while walking into the doorway first. Inside, they are greeted by what appears to look like some kind of office. The remains of its wallpaper are a tacky red colour, while the rest of the wall is either rotting wood or simple concrete. The floor is also extremely old wood, and it cracks with every step the beings take.

At the back of the room, two gigantic wooden closets align the wall, its doors closed firmly. Like the floor, these two closets are also made of very old wood, its faded colours evidence for their age. A faded, dusty painting hangs on the left side of the room, in what looks to be a desperate attempt to make the old, rotting room look a little fancy. It depicts what looks to be a very prestigious-looking, beautifully round arena, situated on a large square with markets in front of it. Jareroden recognises it as the arena they had just visited, and realises exactly why they had been summoned to the arena.

Below the painting, an old leather couch is situated on the old wooden floor. The leather is old and smells vintage, giving the room a slight air of decay. The room is lit by a single, primitive lightbulb, which brightly illuminates the room in its dull synthetic colour.

In the middle of the room, a large desk stood, with two chairs in front of it, and one large leather chair behind it. On the desk stood a clock, which had stopped ticking, and what looked to be a globe of Estron. The desk, too, was made of the same old wood that seemed to have been placed throughout the small room.

The Matoran carefully walks towards the chair, and asks for the attention of the being sitting in it. “Master. They’re here,” the tiny being speaks ever so calmly. Not turning his chair around, the being in the chair started speaking, his voice slightly growly and low. “Ah, Jareroden. You are back already?” The smoke of the being’s cigarette filled the room with the dirty smell of cigarettes. Fyxan was disgusted, and coughed. The chair slowly turns around.

“And I see you have brought your friends…”

Chapter Seven[]

With all the eyes in the room concentrated on him, the being in the chair turned around his chair slowly, to face them all. In front of him, the mentor could see most of the team were wearing some form of cloaks, most of them black or brown. One of them he knew, the rest he had only heard of by name.

His own armour was blue on one half, and black on the other half. Before he settled down in the den where he was now and expanded his network, the mentor had been an explorer in the Estronian deserts, endlessly exploring the Estronian deserts in search of more knowledge. Knowledge, he did gain. Experience, too, for that matter. The black half of his armour was due to this exploring. On one fateful day, he lost sight of his convoy when they were about to enter a Spydra-inhabited territory. The mentor desperately tried to search for his friends, but, before he could find them, he found a group of Spydra. Despite his desperate attempts to flee, the Spydra jumped up and attacked him. Although the small being is doing his best not to remember the agony and the pain of the Spydra poisoning the now-black half of his armour, he is constantly reminded by it when he looks at the right part of his body, where the unhealable black colour of the poison will forever remind him of what happened that fateful day.

But he has to live with those painful facts, for they have become reality for him.

Facing the Toa again, the small being starts speaking to them. “Why don’t you make yourselves comfortable?” he asked the team calmly, urging for them to sit down in one of the chairs or in the leather sofa below the painting. Raising a teapot and a pot of coffee, he looks questioningly at the team. “Anyone would like something to drink? No?” Fairon raised his hand to get a cup of coffee, while Aquila and Jareroden took a cup of tea. The being in the chair slowly poured the coffee into Fairon’s cup, and handed it to the white and gold-armoured Toa of Light. “Thank you,” Fairon said, smiling. The master then poured the tea into the cups, and handed them to the other two. “There you go,” he said, smiling at them. They would make a good couple, he thought.

“Right,” Jareroden began, “I guess we should go right down to business now, no?” he asks the rest of the team, who silently nod in agreement. The Toa of Psionics turns towards his mentor. “We have been to Ashatan. The experience was far worse than anything you had even warned us for.”

The news of the trip to Ashatan did not surprise the being in the least. He simply continued staring Jareroden in the eye, unnerving the Toa slightly.

“I warned you, Jareroden, that Ashatan is a very dangerous planet, a place you would not want to go to,” he began, looking sternly. “But,” he added, “I am very glad to see that you all are, in fact, alive and standing here in front of me after an adventure to the nightmarish planet that is Ashatan. Let us hope that nothing of that sort ever happens to you all again.”

He looked around in the room, scanning the faces of the other Toa, before returning his glance to his student. “That being said, I do believe that you are not here purely to tell me how awful your trip to Ashatan was. You don’t come to me for no reason, after all,” the mentor finishes and smiles. Jareroden nods, and starts explaining, “You are correct,” he began calmly, continuing “we have not come to tell you how awful our trip was.” He took a sip from his cup of tea, before continuing, “we have also not come here to have you analyse information or tell us where to find information, for we have actually found the information.” The mentor smiles, proud of the once young Toa warrior he had taught to be strong, fierce and independent. There is the student I know, he thought while looking at the Toa of Psionics in front of him.

“But there is an issue,” Jareroden says, lowering his voice, “to reverse the Universal Paralysis, we have to head to the Nui Tower of Time.”

The tone of Jareroden’s voice had turned from lower to dire, and his facial expression had become grave as well. His mentor, too, looked quite grave now, shocked at the revelation that the team had to go to the very Nui Tower of Time itself. He thought deeply, wondering what they were to do there.

He looked back up.

“If you want to head to the Nui Tower of Time, the best suggestion I have is to prepare yourself very well,” he began, in a grave tone. He continued, “there are patrols everywhere in the Protected Zone, and you cannot enter it while travelling at trans-warp speeds, it has a special shield preventing any given spacecraft travelling at trans-warp speed from entering, basically deactivating the trans-warp engines as they pass the shield’s borders.”

Fairon, at that moment sitting in the couch, sat upright, and turned to face the tiny being in the seat of Jareroden’s. “If I may interrupt your conversation,” he began calmly, “we need a way in.”

The mentor of Jareroden’s tried to think, desperately trying to clear his mind. It had been a very long time since he had last explored the planets besides Estron, and he had explored very little since the Paralysis rendered it nigh-impossible to explore without the risk of Undead patrols constantly stalking him throughout his flight.

In a pang, though, the mentor realises at once how he was invited by Krataxus to advise him on the workings of the Estronian political system, and how he was escorted into the Protected Zone by a fair amount of Undead patrols. He remembers the gargantuan Nui Tower of Time, the fortress that it had become and how much it had changed from its original structure.

He calmly turns towards Fairon, starting, “The insides of the Protected Zone, especially near the Nui Tower of Time, are nigh impossible to enter without being found by the patrols, which will gladly escort you towards the Tower itself,” the mentor paused, calmly taking a sip from his cup of tea, before continuing, “as for the Tower itself, it is a vast, sprawling structure. A fortress built around the expanse of the Nui Tower itself, a place of pure, relentless and merciless Darkness. Once you are lost in there, nothing is going to save you.” Once again, the mentor calmly sipped from his cup of tea.

Fyxan, sitting next to Jareroden, then asked, “Is there any way…a safe point where we can converge before we enter the Nui Tower of Time? Perhaps somewhere in the surroundings?”

The being shook his head in denial. “No. Absolutely not. Although there are planets and asteroids near the Nui Tower, there is no safe place in there. You’re on your own out there, not even radars work properly in there.”

The mentor then continued, “Therefore, I strongly warn you not to go. Ashatan was terrible, but the Nui Tower of Time is at the very least a million times worse in comparison to anything you may have gone through on the dark, rainy planet.”

Shadon, until that point calmly listening to the mentor, got up and banged his fist on the table, prompting Aquila to get up and try calm him. “Please, sir. This is our only chance at getting rid of the Darkness before it leaves a lasting effect on the universe. If we do not reverse the Paralysis as soon as possible, tomorrow may never come, yesterday may never have happened and today might as well be an illusion. It is essential that we go.”

The mentor was shocked by the prompt response from the large, armoured Toa of Iron, but he sure admired the directness that the Toa of Iron had in comparison. And, deep down, he felt the Toa of Iron was actually right. If the Universal Paralysis was not reversed, what would become of the world? The empire had already taken over the Galactic Council and its workings, forcing out the legitimate governments of the member planets and instead making way for a single, direct government, governed by the Primal Beast and Krataxus. Laws did no longer exist, and would never exist again, for the galaxy, if the situation were to continue. Deep down, the mentor felt that that would be fundamentally wrong.

Though he wished it were otherwise, the wise being knew that the team were right. They must go, he realised.

He finished his cup of tea, and slowly placed it back onto the table, which creaked a little. He then turned towards the team, hesitantly speaking up. “You are right. The Universal Paralysis has to be stopped, and it may be the only way of reversing the short-term effects before anything worse sets in." He took a deep breathe before continuing, in an emotional tone, "I beg of you, though, please be careful, please return home in one piece. I cannot afford to lose any of you. Stay safe, stay careful.”

The team slowly got up, Fairon first, to wish the mentor farewell and thank him. “Thank you, sir,” Fairon said, making a bow slowly. The being, too, bowed to Fairon. “You are welcome.”

Fyxan then walked towards the mentor, and shook the tiny being's hand. “We will watch out, sir.” The tiny being, still sitting in his chair, nodded at the blue-eyed one. “I am sure you will,” he said, his voice filled with great pride.

Fyxan, too, left the room into the hallway, standing next to Fairon to await the arrival of the rest of the team.

Shadon, who had banged his fist onto the table, then turned towards the mentor, slightly ashamed. He held out his hand. “Sorry for banging my fist on the table that loudly, and I must excuse myself for the rudeness I exhibited. Thank you for the wishes of luck, sir.”

The mentor grabbed Shadon’s hand, and shook it firmly, smiling assuringly at the Toa of Iron. “You’re welcome.” Shadon, relieved, slowly walked into the hallway as well, standing next to Fyxan.

Aquila, who had remained silent throughout the conversation, slowly got up and bowed before the being. “Thank you, sir. We will watch out, I will make sure,” she said, looking the mentor directly in the eye. The mentor responded, “Ah, I know you will,” he said, smiling at the Toa. Aquila, too, then walked out of the hallway, and stood next to Shadon.

Lev, the other silent one during the conversation in the room, got up from the leather sofa. “That sofa’s way too comfortable,” he joked. The mentor laughed, and nodded. “It sure is!” Lev then extended his arm, and shook the hand of the mentor. “Thanks for everything.” The mentor nodded at Lev, who then left the room to stand in the hallway, too.

At long last, Jareroden was alone with his mentor in the room, sitting on the other side of the table where he had sat before, in the same chair where he once first met the tiny being. The same chair in which he sat when he was first sent on a mission, and the same chair in which he sat when he was sent to Ashatan. The Toa of Psionics got up, and his mentor, too, finally got up from his great leather chair. The Toa hugged the small being. “Thank you so much,” Jareroden said, his eyes turning a little watery. “You know I’ll be there for you, Jared,” his mentor assured him. His eyes, too, were filled with tears. It felt like a farewell for the two, but Jareroden assured the mentor, "we will be back". In response, the tiny being simply patted the Toa of Psionics on the back, "I know you will," he said proudly before letting go of his best student.

The Toa of Psionics then turned around, preparing to leave the small office to join his team again.

But, before he was out of the room, his mentor uttered one last sentence to the team, smiling with the cup of tea in his hand.

“Best of luck out there. You will need it.”


Footsteps sounded through the faintly lit corridor, while the team of beings were walking towards the large steel door leading to the innards of their base. They had just returned from Estron, where they had spoken to the mentor of one of theirs, to prepare themselves for their most important mission to the Nui Tower of Time. There, they would find the Crystal of Time, distract the Temporal Beast, and insert the Crystal of Time in the Altar of Time and, in that manner, reverse the Universal Paralysis that had caused so much pain and grief to them all.

Arriving at the entrance to the base, Fairon stepped forward out of his team, and walked towards the computer. On its keyboard, the Toa of Light typed in the passwords to the inside of the base. The faint white lights then turned red, faintly illuminating the armours of the beings in a reddish hue.

With a clanging sound, the great steel door opened.

The team proceeded to walk into the great corridor system of the innards of the Titan-I battleship, the very heart of their base here. They slowly walked through the corridor, until, ending up at a doorway on their left side. Opening said door, the beings stepped into a large metallic stairwell, situated at the exact centre of the ship. This stairwell led from the very bottom levels of the ship all the way to the top levels of the command tower. The team ascended the stairs slowly, but surely, until arriving at the top floor.

Once again, Fairon typed the passwords into the keyboard of the computer, and the door slowly slid open, giving the beings access into the large room that was the bridge.

The team slowly walked down the aisle leading up to the table, each returning to their assigned seat. Fairon, as usual, sat in the captain’s chair in the middle of the bridge. He turned it around to face the table. Fyxan and Shadon, in their usual manners, sat down next to Fairon, while Aquila and Lev sat down next to Fyxan and Shadon respectively. Finally, Jareroden, the last to get into the room, sat down next to Lev and Aquila, opposite to the Toa of Light.

With the team seated, Fairon grabbed the microphone of the ship transmitter system, and started speaking not only to the rest of his team, but also to everyone present in the ship at that very moment.

“My friends. We have been to Estron, and we have spoken to the mentor of Jareroden’s about our mission to Ashatan, and our coming mission to the Nui Tower of Time. As we all may know, we are now at a turning point in our lives. From here on, everything we do will determine the very future of the universe. We are not permitted to make mistakes, we cannot fail from here on. There will be obstacles, and it shall not be easy, but we shall not stop at that. We accept the challenge posed by the coming mission. We accept our duties. We accept the fact that we are the ones to reverse this, once and for all.

And we will not back down.”

As he finished speaking that last sentence in his dire, but courageous tone, the rest of the team burst out into applause, giving Fairon a standing ovation in agreement to what he had just said.

Grabbing the microphone again, Fairon continued slowly, “I suggest we split up our team into two. The first will consist of Fyxan, Shadon and Lev. They will scout the area around the Nui Tower of Time in search of the secret entrances that Jareroden’s mentor mentioned earlier on.” Fyxan, Shadon and Lev got up, and joined each other at the other side of the table, standing behind Jareroden’s seat. Fairon then continued, “The other team, will consist of Jareroden, Aquila, and, lastly, myself.” Jareroden and Aquila got up from their seats, and stood behind Fairon’s seat, where Fairon himself remained seated.

He continued, “Lev, Fyxan and Shadon will be the first ones to travel to the Nui Tower, where they will travel to in a shuttle so as to prevent detection. We will keep contact with them from here, in the headquarters, until they have found a way into the Nui Tower relatively unnoticed. Once that happens, they will contact us, and we will make our way towards the Nui Tower, too.

Once inside the Nui Tower, we will make our way towards the top levels, searching for the Crystal of Time while also trying to stay unnoticed by the guards. Once we have found the Crystal, we will make our way to the summit, where we will place the Crystal on the Altar of Time, and restore Time!”

With Fairon finished, Jareroden grabbed the microphone. Through it, he yelled “For the universe!”, raising his fist as he said it. The rest of the team chanted “For the universe!” in unison, also raising their fists. All but Fairon, who remained seated rather silently.

Shadon then grabbed the microphone from Jareroden, and chanted “For us!”, also raising his fist while doing so. The rest of the team chanted “For us!” with him, while also raising their fists. Again, Fairon did not join in the chant.

Then, Fyxan grabbed the microphone from Shadon. He raised his fist, and chanted “For the Matoran!” The rest of the team followed suit, and also chanted “For the Matoran!” in unison. The Toa of Light, though, still did not budge.

Then, at last, with everyone standing, Fairon took the microphone from Fyxan, and calmly rose from his seat. He held the microphone, raised his fist, and shouted, “FOR KRATUS!” at the top of his lungs. The rest of the team burst out cheering, chanting out “FOR KRATUS!” in unison, while also having their fists raised.


Fyxan found himself sitting in the passenger’s chair, contemplating deeply about the mission that was to come. Soon enough, he, Lev and Shadon would have to find a way into the Nui Tower of Time, a way through which not just the three of them, but also Fairon, Jareroden and Aquila, could get into without being seen. Though sceptical and slightly nervous at the prospect of returning to where it all began, Fyxan knew that they were the only ones capable and willing to reverse the Universal Paralysis.

In the pilot’s seat in front of him, Shadon sat, carefully readying the ship for take-off. Next to him, Lev sat, readying the communication links and speaking to Fairon and Aquila about their take-off and their mission. He semed rather nervous. “We are going to test the communicators once we are near the Protected Zone. We are also taking a radar beacon with us, so you guys can follow us until we have entered the Protected Zone.”

Looking out of the window to his front, Fyxan found Fairon and Aquila standing in the control room. In his left hand, Fairon held a communicator to speak with the Toa of Air sitting in front of Fyxan. The Toa of Light raised his thumb in approval of what Lev just said, and, speaking through the communicator, acknowledged what the green-armoured one had said.

Pressing a button, Shadon closed the loading ramp on the back of the ship. After, he pressed a button, activating the engine. Fyxan could feel the energies of the engine charge up, while Shadon and Lev were readying their on-board computers to work at maximum capacities. Through the communicator, the Toa of Iron spoke. “Attention control room: Shuttle #1 is now getting ready to leave the hangar. I repeat: Shuttle #1 is now getting ready to leave the hangar.”

Once again, looking through the front window of the cockpit, Fyxan could see Fairon and Aquila, with Jareroden standing next to them, typing some commands on the computer of the control room. The doors and airlock leading into the hangar then closed shut, and the primary door of the hangar slowly started opening.

The shuttle slowly took off, and Fyxan could feel that the shuttle was no longer on solid ground. Looking to his left, Lev gave Fairon a thumbs-up. The Toa of Light responded in the same manner. With the hangar doors now fully opened, Shadon turned the ship to face the hangar doors, and then slowly flew out of the hangar, into the asteroid field that lay beyond.

There, Shadon activated a device on the on-board computer of the shuttle. On the deskboard screen in front of him, the text “RADAR ACTIVATED” appeared, and he pressed it away. Then, grabbing the radio communicator, the Toa contacted their main base. “Attention control room: Shuttle #1 has activated its radar device. Do you see us?”

Through the communicator, Shadon heard Fairon’s voice. “Attention Shuttle #1: We see your location clearly on our main screen. Repeat: We see your location clearly on our main screen.”

Shadon smiled.

Getting out of the asteroid field, Shadon and Lev started pressing several buttons that readied the shuttle to activate its trans-warp engine and enter trans-warp speed. “Buckle up in there, we’re going into hyperactive,” Shadon said, after which the Toa of Iron calmly buckled his seatbelt. Lev, next to him, then buckled his seatbelt as well. At last, Fyxan buckled his seat.

Then, with a blast, the ship’s trans-warp engine activated itself, sending the ship away at trans-warp speed.

Off we go…Fyxan thought, off into the Darkness.

Chapter Eight[]

Eyes of a fiercely red hue calmly scan the large, stone arena it was in. The battlegrounds, far below him, were made of a burning sand, forcing even the gladiators’ feet to be protected by armour, lest their feet burn entirely. The rest of the arena was made of a brown, old stone, in a Romanesque architecture. Beautiful stone pillars and large arches align the sides of the arena, from where the audience flock into the arena in ever larger numbers.

It was noisy.

The temperatures were burning hot, but that did not seem to matter much for Krataxus, for he was both a Toa of Fire and Darkness. He was used to the heat. For him, it only made him more powerful and comfortable, for he could charge up the fires of his rage easier with the heat of Estorn, than he could with the cold hard rainfall of Ashatan.

He preferred not to think of the happenings on Ashatan. Though his master had forgiven him, he still believed he was a pitiful fool for having failed. It was therefore, that he decided to travel to Estron, where he would seek his informants.

He would find the answers.

The voices of some very enthusiastic announcers then boomed through the arena, getting the crowd ready for the upcoming battles. Down below, on the battlefield, the being could see the gates at both sides of the arena opening. When the first one opened up, the announcers’ voices boomed out, “And, in corner one, we have the impressive Skakdi gladiator, Zunos!” The gladiator stepping out of the gate, into the arena, was a brutish, red-coloured Skakdi, carrying a sword that was impressively large even for his size. The roar that went through the arena was a clear signal to the being, that this gladiator was not just impressive in size, but also impressive in track record. His red-coloured armour was slightly faded, and his sword, though impressively large, looked slightly beaten.

When the other gate opened up, the announcers’ voices announced, “And, in corner two, we have the nearly unbeaten gladiator, the unbelievable Miran!” This time around, the roar was even louder than ever before, the entire crowd getting up from their seats in a frenzy, chanting Miran’s name in unison.

Pitiful…Krataxus thought. He despised the showy, flashy nature of the Estronian arenas, and their disgraceful practices of putting warriors against one another for the entertainment of a hungry, bored audience. Was this the result of his rule over the galaxy? Was this what he had fought so hard for? The dark Toa would like to think it was not.

Let the battles begin!” the announcers roared, and the crowd then unleashed all their fury and support of their gladiators in a frenzy of supportive chants and shouts, leaving the red-armoured one slightly disoriented and angry. While the crowd continued their riotous frenzy in support of their favourite gladiators for this sick form of entertainment, Krataxus slowly got up from the uncomfortable stone grandstands, and decided to take his leave.

He had waited long enough.

Calmly walking down the stairs of the beautiful arena, along the large rows of arches and the outer rings of the arena, Krataxus couldn’t help but notice the market stands selling supportive merchandise, including banners and flags for the gladiators that were now fighting out in the field. Attempting to ignore it, he calmly continued walking past the stands.

“Hey you! Batwing! Why don’t you start buying anything instead of walking out of here depressingly? There’s games going on there! Go out! Watch them!”

A particularly loud seller had started to yell angrily at Krataxus. In a fluid movement, the dark Toa turned around, and, in a flash, flew towards the stand where the particularly loud seller had been yelling obscenities at him. He swiftly grabbed the seller by the neck, and angrily pushed him into the wall, while loading his fists with dark energy.

Krataxus then looked the seller right into the eyes, and began, “For a first; I’m not depressed. For a second: If I had wanted to go back into that pile of dirty Muaka, I would have. For a third: I do not care about your bloody games. And, for a fourth and final point..." he paused briefly, "I am not called batwing.

I am Krataxus.”

The seller’s eyes filled with fear as he tried to wrestle his way out of the dark Toa's firm grip. Krataxus, deciding it was enough for the seller for now, threw the seller onto the ground, and, grabbing his sword, pointed his sword at the neck of the seller. “One more word from you, and you will be ended.”

Then, putting his sword back, he walked away calmly, out of the room, down the stairs to the entrance of the arena, and then, finally, out of the arena altogether.

His feet calmly touched the burning sand, absorbing the heat to enhance his fire powers. Step by step, he walked calmly through the chaotic Estronian bazaars. Behind him, an array of portals of Darkness appeared and four Undead appeared walking out of them, flanking Krataxus through the streets of the city.

The bazaar turned eerily silent at the sight of the Undead, with the former crowds making way for Krataxus and his skeletal soldiers to walk through the streets calmly, allowing them a good view of the streets and alleyways of the chaotic bazaar. Around him, the dark Toa could smell the aromas of very strong Estronian coffee from the coffeehouses, but also the numbing smell coming from the backrooms. Scum, he thought, all scum, while looking at the frightened visitors of this great Estronian bazaar.

Breaking the eerie silence, Krataxus could hear, in the distance, someone screaming. “Hey, Krataxus!” The being had a very gravelly voice, with a very foul accent. Krataxus abruptly stopped in his tracks, and his Undead behind him stopped too. He calmly turned around to face a being whose armour was of a rusty, iron colour, and who was carrying a massive club in his right hand. He was smoking what seemed to be some sort of cigarette, but Krataxus knew well that that was not just any cigarette the being had in his hand.

The being slowly walked towards Krataxus, ever so calmly, but the Undead prevented him from getting any closer. Krataxus urged the Undead to make way for the being. The Undead creatures, loyal to the massive powers of Darkness Krataxus has control over, stepped aside, leaving the iron-armoured being to step directly to Krataxus, face-to-face.

“The very Krataxus himself, the leader of galaxies, ruler of rulers. What brings you to this fine planet?” the being asks in Krataxus’ face. His breathe smelled worse than anything the Toa of Fire could ever have imagined, like a vile cross between the rotting body of a dead Spydra, the revolting smell of the fart of a brutish Skakdi and the vile stench of cold tea. It was nauseating. Though he did not show any emotions, the dark Toa felt sickened by the revolting stench.

Answer me!” the being yelled, attempting to reach out his to punch Krataxus.

Before his fist could reach Krataxus' face though, the latter grabbed the being’s hand in a flinch. He saw the being’s eyes turn fearful, and he smiled calmly.

Ever so calmly, Krataxus summoned his sword from the Darkness, calmly holding it up. Raising his hand slowly, the red-armoured being then sliced off the being’s hand in a very quick flash. The screams of the being sounded through the streets, agonised. Tears were rolling down his cheeks.

Then, Krataxus grabs the being by the neck, and looks him right in the face.

“For a first, I am a servant of the galaxies, not its leader. For a second, I despise your dishonourable, despicable tone towards me. For a third, you do not address me like that,” he said, holding the being ever higher, and then continued, “And, for a fourth and final point,” the dark Toa took a brief pause between what he said and what came next, “don’t you ever dare breathe in anyone’s face with that breath again.”

He then threw the being across the streets, into the wall of another building.

His thoughts had been confirmed. All that was living – nay, creeping – out on the streets of the Estronian bazaars was lowly scum, none more worthy than a rat waiting to be trampled upon or a being dangerous enough to destabilise the entire universe. Krataxus despised the very dishonourable routines of the Estronians. Someday…the dark Toa thought, while gazing across the streets. Someday, this will all change.

He swore to return to an Estron of honour and glory, where no gladiator fights were held, and where the bazaars were filled with beings of class and status, beings who had dignity.

Turning around, and continuing his pace, Krataxus and the Undead continued to make their way through the streets, all beings standing on the side, in fear of facing the same fate as the being who had just dared to bother Krataxus in the middle of an important mission.

Calmly walking to the left, into a small alleyway, Krataxus and his Undead continued. The beings walking through the streets, once seeing the darker red and orange hues of Krataxus’ armour, knew quickly to step out of the way, making way for Krataxus and his squad of Undead. Arriving at a small door to their left, Krataxus simply stared at the door for a second. This was where he first met his informant, and he knew that this was where he would find him again.

Not intent on opening the door calmly, Krataxus charged his fists into a ball of dark fire, and punched right through the wooden structure, breaking it in half and throwing the wooden remains into the room ahead of him. Almost instantly, a flowery, numbing smell slowly came out of the disgusting place that lay in front of him. Through the haze, he could see some Matoran and other bounty hunters looking at him angrily, in confusion of what had just happened.

A green-armoured small Matoran started angrily screaming at him, cursing the Toa out for his supposed “un-civil behaviour” and for how he was not allowed to do that. In a flash, he grabbed the being by the neck, looking the green-armoured Matoran right into the eyes, his own eyes ever so fiery. In the Matoran’s eyes, he could see the fear, the fear of death. Fear of rot.

Fear of the Undead.

Deciding that the Matoran was unworthy of a fate of being devoured by his skeletal, dark servants, or made one of them, he threw the Matoran sideways, and urged for the soldiers to follow him calmly. The formerly rowdy, loud den was now filled with the sound of eerie silence, while the air in the once extremely warm restaurant was growing ever colder in the presence of the Undead.

He calmly walked past the bar, where a gorgeous female being with fiery red armour was crouching, in what looked to be a rather silly attempt at not being seen by Krataxus and his dark servants. He laughed. “You can run, but you cannot hide,” he stated in a deadpan tone to the female being, who simply cried as she tried to keep out of the view of the Undead.

He then turned his attention to all those in the den, and, with his Undead surrounding him, started speaking.

“Ah, everyone! It sure is a good pleasure to meet all of you here once again, after all this time, on the Estronian bazaars. You may or may not know me, but, I am Krataxus, the servant of the galaxies and the servant of universal stability. You can help me continue to help stabilise the universe, by telling me,” he paused briefly, before growling, “where the owner of the den is.”

The crying female, still crouched behind the bar, slowly got up from her spot, and pointed at the door. “H-h-he-e’s th-th-there, l-l-last d-d-door on the r-r-right…” she could only stutter in fear, with tears in her eyes and running down her cheekbones.

A truly pitiful sight it was.

In calm fashion, the dark Toa opened the door next to the bar, leaving behind the flowery, numbing smell that filled the restaurant, and ending up in a smelly, dirty, badly lit hallway. The Toa and his skeletal white soldiers calmly walked by each door. On his left, he could see the first door to be the door to the kitchen, while the first two doors on his right were the wooden doors into the toilets, which were awfully smelly.

The smell made even the red-armoured Toa cringe.

Finally, arriving in the back of the hallway, Krataxus walked up to the final door. The hallway was now filled with Krataxus and his Undead soldiers, with there being so many Undead soldiers in the hallway that there was an outpour into the den itself.

Krataxus knocked on the door calmly.

“Come in.”

He opened the door, expecting to be cornered by several brutish Skakdi not unlike Zunos from the arena was.

Instead, to the surprise of the dark Toa, he opened the door to find himself inside a small, old-looking office. The remains of its wallpaper are a tacky red colour, while the rest of the wall is either rotting wood or simple concrete. The floor is also extremely old wood, and it cracks with every step Krataxus takes into the room.

At the back of the room, behind the desk and the chair, two gigantic wooden closets align the wall, its doors closed firmly. Like the floor, these two closets are also made of very old wood, its faded colours evidence for their age. A faded, dusty painting hangs on the left side of the room, in what looks to be a desperate attempt to make the old, rotting room look a little fancy. It depicts the arena where the disgusting gladiator fights took place.

Below the painting, an old leather couch is situated. The room is lit by a single, primitive lightbulb, which brightly illuminates the room in synthetic colours.

In the middle of the room, a rather tacky large desk is situated, made of the same old wood that the wall and floors are made of. In front of it, two small wooden chairs are situated, each cracking as much as the floor itself, while on the desk itself, a clock and a globe are situated. Behind the desk, a large leather chair is situated, its back turned towards Krataxus and his Undead.

“What have you come for?”

“You know very well what I have come for.”

The being in the chair, still not turning around, could only smile at the stubbornness of the one who had just gotten into the room. This was someone he had met before, but also someone he had not seen in this place in a good while.

This was the dark Toa who had once guided him through the Nui Tower of Time.

“I do not know what you have come for,” the being in the chair stated calmly.

Enough, Krataxus thought, and he stepped towards the desk calmly, and forcefully threw the leather chair around, forcing the being to face him. “Quit your jokes now, joker. I have come here for you, because, as per my informants, you have been responsible for aiding Fairon and his team on multiple occasions. You have given them more than enough information on how to destabilise the universe even further, and you are, perhaps, besides Fairon, the single greatest danger to the stability of this universe. Now, give me one good reason, why I should not burn this place down, with you in it.” He held his sword at the neck of the being, who still smiled coldly.

“But Krataxus, you and I both know I have seen enough. I can give you all the information you want, but, in this era, coming by useful information has a price-tag,” he calmly states towards Krataxus, and continues, “and you, too, have to pay for the information.”

That was the moment Krataxus had had enough. As long as he had the authority to enforce the galactic laws and the blessing to do so, the Toa of Fire would not permit any such fraudulent actions to happen. Still having his sword at the neck, the dark Toa channelled some dark fire through it, producing a small, purple flame at the tip of the sword, nearly hitting the neck of the being.

Listen here you little twit. The moment I walk out of this disgusting place, two things can have happened: One, you will have told me everything you know, now and in the future, and you will be able to walk free for now; Two, you will have continued to order me to pay you and there will be only one of us having paid, and I assure you it won’t be in money.”

The being, sensing that the threats were real, knew that he had made a promise to Jareroden and Fairon, a promise he knew he would have to keep. The Toa of Psionics was, after all, still his apprentice, and the master was responsible for the Toa staying alive in the end. Though he wondered why, he had too little time to think about anything at all, for the small being knew that if he took too long, Krataxus would not accept it.

He looked at Krataxus calmly. “Fine. They are headed for the Nui Tower of Time in small shuttles. They will probably be looking for a back entrance into the Nui Tower of Time, trying to find their way in without you noticing them being there at all. But, please, spare them. I beg of you.”

The dark Toa smiles, and slowly pulls his sword from the neck of the small one, no longer channelling any dark fire into the large sword. Then, the red-armoured one led his sword disappear into the Darkness again. “Thank you,” he said calmly to the master of the den, having gotten the information that he had come for. The Toa then calmly walks out of the room, not even so much as wishing the being in the chair farewell, with the Undead following slowly behind him.

They calmly walk back into the badly lit hallway, and then out into the restaurant itself. There, not one single guest has left, each and every guest still sitting there, awestruck about what had just happened. Krataxus stepped over the remains of the door he had destroyed, and then through the doorway, stepping back out into the open.

At last, the Toa of Darkness turned around to face his servants calmly. He pointed at the building they had just exited, and urged for the dark creatures to do what they did best.

Destroy it.

Chapter Nine[]

The cockpit of the small shuttle was filled with an eerie silence, as the beings inside the shuttle knew they were not just travelling to the Protected Zone.

They were going to travel into the Protected Zone.

Since the Universal Paralysis, none of the beings in the shuttle had been this close to the Nui Tower of Time, owing in part due to its Darkness and its heavy protection, and in part due to the fact that Fairon simply could not bear to get back to the Nui Tower where his best friend had betrayed him. Indeed, the team had strayed clear from the Nui Tower since the beginning, instead preferring to undermine the authority of Krataxus and his Empire through proxies.

Fyxan calmly scanned the area around him, as they came ever closer to the Protected Zone in trans-warp speed. The lines of stars that had made up the vision from the cockpit’s front window were now no longer present, as the stars became ever more distant from where the three in the shuttle were.

Bang.

With a thunderous sound, the shuttle came to an abrupt stop in the emptiness of space. Loud alarms sounded from the computers while a loud, computerised voice gave a warning about the trans-warp having been deactivated. Shadon muttered some curses under his breath, trying to restart the trans-warp drive. Next to him, in the co-pilot’s seat, Lev was carefully scanning the computers for any clues as to why the ship had just stopped. And then he saw it. He slowly leaned back, facing Fyxan, and looking Fyxan directly into the eye with his own green eyes.

“We’re in the Protected Zone.”

Silence fell as the beings finally realised why they were so abruptly stopped in the middle of trans-warp speed, and Shadon just stared at Lev, his facial expression somewhere between excitement, fear and anxiety.

Shadon then pressed some buttons, and grabbed the communicator microphone to connect to the base where Fairon, Jareroden and Aquila were. He then started speaking slowly, “Attention, Control Room: Shuttle #1 has entered the Protected Zone. I repeat, Shuttle #1 has entered the Protected Zone.”

The other side of the radio did not budge nor respond, not even a hint to signify that they had received the message.

Shadon tried again, “Attention, Control Room: Shuttle #1 has entered the Protected Zone. I repeat, Shuttle #1 has entered the Protected Zone.”


Silence filled the bridge of the ship, as Fairon, Jareroden and Aquila concentrated themselves on the radar screen with the location of the small shuttle. Suddenly, the small dot signifying the shuttle’s location disappeared, at coordinates that were near the border of the Protected Zone. The three looked at one another, staring at one another in eerie silence, each one having the same burning question to ask.

“Are they there?” Aquila asked in a tone almost silent enough for it to be inaudible. Fairon looked at the screen, and at the coordinates where the three were last seen.

“They could be,” he said, in a rather worried tone. He sincerely hoped the three did not get lost. He did not want to have his friends die because of him. Not after everything that had happened already.

Suddenly, a fuzzy sounding voice came out of the communicator, barely audible and with a terrible signal. “Attention…Protected Zone…” The message was fragmented and sounded barely audible, forcing the three closer to the speaker in an attempt to hear the nearly inaudible sentence. Suddenly, the voice boomed through again. “I repeat…entered…Protected Zone

Fairon’s eyes widened. It was a voice he recognised, after all this time.

Shadon’s voice.

Phew…” Fairon sighed, signalling the stress he had been having in the previous moments when the radar dot disappeared. Aquila turned towards the two, and calmly whispered, “They’re there.” Jareroden could barely hear Aquila’s mutterings, and so asked her what she had been saying.

She turned towards him, and grabbed his shoulders, “They’re there Jareroden! Don’t you see?!” the Toa of Water yelled at the Toa of Psionics, who could not help but feel some strange feelings of happiness at the news that the three had, in fact, arrived safely in the Protected Zone, without any harm. He just hoped that they stay alive, especially considering they were in the Protected Zone.

Fairon then abruptly grabbed the microphone, and started speaking into it towards the shuttle. “Attention, Shuttle #1: Control Room has received your message. Not very clear, the signal is weak, but we have received it.” Though there was no response, Fairon repeated it. “Attention, Shuttle #1: Control Room has received your message. Not very clear, the signal is weak, but we have received it.”

He then sat down into his chair again, hoping for a response in the otherwise eternal quiet.


Attention…Shuttle…Received message…Signal weak…received it

Shadon, Lev and Fyxan stared at the speaker, the fuzzy message that just came out of it being barely audible, and the voice barely recognisable. Then, the message boomed through again. “Attention…Shuttle…Control Room…received message…Signal weak…received it

Though fragmented, the three could now hear that the voice coming out of the speaker was, in fact, Fairon’s, and he had confirmed the fact that their message had come through. Though all three were delighted, they had little time to look at one another, as, after all, they were in the Protected Zone.

Shadon grabbed the microphone, and spoke into it one last time. “Attention Control Room: Shuttle #1 will, from this moment onwards, adhere to radio silence. We are entering the Protected Zone, and therefore cannot afford being detected by any potential signal detectors they might have.” He then repeated the message once more, calmly speaking into the microphone, “Attention Control Room: Shuttle #1 will, from this moment onwards, adhere to radio silence. We are entering the Protected Zone, and therefore cannot afford being detected by any potential signal detectors they might have. Wish us luck, we will contact you when we have found the entrance.” He then placed back the microphone, turned on the ship’s shields, and permanently turned off the communication channels completely. Now, the ship turned eerily silent as not even the communication channel was turned on, leaving the three all on their own in the vast expanses of the Protected Zone.

Shadon slowly started increasing the throttle, increasing the ship’s speed and making it move into the Protected Zone itself. He did not take a second to even look anywhere else, and just looked forward, awaiting what was to come.

Here we go…


Fairon, Jareroden and Aquila were still sitting in the bridge of the Titan-I, eagerly awaiting a message from the other side of the communication channel. Then, breaking the silence of anticipation, another fuzzy-sounding message arrived, the words even less audible than those in the previous message.

…Control Room…radio silence…Protected Zone…detectors

Fairon did not know what to make of it. Those words had little to do with one another. He looked at Jareroden questioningly. “Any ideas?” he asked desperately.

Jareroden thought deeply, attempting to remember what his mentor had told him about the expanses of the Protected Zone. He remembered his mentor telling him about the shields against radar detection, the shields against trans-warp speeds, but he had not heard anything about signal jammers nor about signal detectors. His mentor had always remained silent about what the Undead were doing, except of course the obvious Undead patrols around the Nui Tower itself.

Then, the silence was once more broken by a fuzzy-sounding message. “Attention Control Room…adhere to radio silence…Protected Zone…potential signal detectors…wish us luck…”

The blue eyes of the Toa of Psionics widened at once

“They’re in the Protected Zone, and they’re going to be silent on the communication channel. It’s a good precautionary measure. I just hope it’ll be an effective one…”


The vast blackness of the infinite expanses of space was filled with little light from the stars in the distance. Indeed, the area where the shuttle was flying was so remote that but few beams of light from the stars even reached it after all this distance.

Looking around him, Lev could not see anything but the blackness, and the occasional asteroid in the distance. Not a single source of light in the remote distance though, and this did not help the tense atmosphere that was definitely felt in these parts.

The innards of the small shuttle were very dimly lit, with only the computer screens providing even the faintest of light to all those inside it. No other lights had been activated, as a precautionary measure, and it definitely contributed to the silence in more ways than one.

And then, in the distance, something became visible.

A disproportionately large structure, one which all the Toa recognised. And yet, this very structure had changed so much since the Universal Paralysis that its core was barely even visible under the layers upon layers of reinforced Protodermis Steel and defence systems to prevent any outsider from entering the massive fortress and its surroundings.

It was the Nui Tower of Time.

But then again, it was not. Though the core of the Nui Tower remained intact, and its asteroid remained intact, nothing else of the Nui Tower of Time was even remotely recognisable as being part of the actual structure itself, anymore. The asteroid had been expanded and built upon in various ways and forms, including artificial rock to enlarge the asteroid and reinforced Protodermis armour to guard the massive fortress. Around the Tower itself, a cloud of Darkness was whirling chaotically, lightning flashes left and right.

Here it was all going to happen.

The sheer magnitude of the tremendous Tower was enough to silence all the Toa in the shuttle. Shadon, in amazement, could only mutter “In the name of Kronos…”, before he was silenced once more by the lightning flashes around the Tower.

And then, it all dawned on them.

After all the anticipation and the surprise of finally being at the Nui Tower, it dawned on the group that they were not here to just stare at the Tower or admire the sheer magnitude of the structures that had been erected around the Tower for its defences.

They were not here for that. For this was what it all came down to.

Here, it all had to happen, and if it had to happen, it had to happen as soon as virtually possible. They had lost enough time with the paralysis itself having happened. The realisation did nothing to help calm Shadon or any of the other beings present in the shuttle.

In almost deathlike silence, Shadon turned towards the communicator buttons on the computer. Slowly, he placed his hand on the button, activating the communicator for the first time since they entered the Protected Zone.

Slowly, he moved the microphone to his mouth, and calmly and silently started to speak, “Attention Control Room: Shuttle #1 re-establishing contact. We have arrived at the Nui Tower of Time. We will be reporting in again when we find a usable entrance. I repeat, Shuttle #1 re-establishing contact. We have arrived at the Nui Tower of Time. We will be reporting again when we find a usable entrance. Shuttle #1 signing off.”

Afterwards, Shadon calmly pressed the button on the communicator, turning off the communication channel, leaving the ship in eerie silence once again.

Now, Shadon thought, to find that entrance…

He slowly thrust the ship upwards to the side surfaces of the Tower, all while trying to keep away from the searchlights and their guns.

Around him, Lev could see the gargantuan structure of the Nui Tower, its massive stone only faintly looking as beautiful as it once had been, with only the faintest hints of the beautiful white of the old structure remaining visible. It was a sad thing to behold, the destruction that had been wrought by the Darkness. What had already been destroyed by the Darkness was augmented by a slick, silvery-coloured highly reinforced steel Protodermis, the same building material used to create new battleships. The contrast between the slick, silvery-coloured steel and the old, faded white stone could not have been more evident.

Though scanning the Tower and its necessary surfaces thoroughly, neither Lev, nor Fyxan or Shadon, could find any entrance to a hangar that could be described as “usable” in even the most remote sense of the word. All of them were extremely heavily guarded by searchlights and turrets, impenetrable to the small, weak shuttle that the trio were flying.

Because of this, Shadon thrust the shuttle downwards slowly, hoping to find something near the asteroid upon which the Tower itself was resting.

Although the asteroid might have seemed the most logical place for a usable side-entrance into the main base of the Nui Tower of Time, even there, all the larger hangars were unusable and highly guarded by the turrets that were also guarding the hangars higher up in the building.

It all seemed very hopeless to the three.

Kronos help us…Shadon thought, still helplessly scanning the asteroid in the hopes of finding a hangar.


Endless arrays of stars lined up the front window of the massive battleship that was moving gracefully through the galaxy, its streamlined battleship hull of reinforced Protodermis steel allowing it to move at Trans-Warp Category 4, the fastest ever Trans-Warp speed up until that point.

Eyes of a fiery red hue calmly looked around in the bridge, the red-armoured being sitting proudly in his chair, in front of his control panel, in the middle of the bridge, on the level above the radar and weapons operation level.

Krataxus was calmly preparing himself for the coming confrontation with Fairon and his team. A confrontation which he hoped would finally bring an end to all the anarchy and chaos that Fairon had been spreading across the universe. The message to fight against the empire, a corrupted message that posed a great danger to the stability of the very universe itself, would finally be put to definitive silence once Krataxus was finished with his mission.

And he was not just going to end it anywhere.

He would end it in his own base of operations.

The majestic Titan-II battleship had been readied for this very job, to bring to an end the Titan-I, and take its place as the symbol of galactic justice and freedom in the universe.

Looking at the coordinates, Krataxus took note of the fact that his ship was nearing the Protected Zone, where its Trans-Warp would be deactivated and it would have to fly on its own power.

He smiled calmly.

With a loud, booming sound, the massive battleship came to a still in the endless expanses of the universe. The Trans-Warp nacelles deactivated themselves, reducing the ship’s speed to its standard above-average speed.

Graciously, the Titan-II slid through the emptiness of the Protected Zone, not a star to be seen in even the farthest distance, all the while calmly awaiting the opponent that was to come.

Krataxus, the red-armoured Toa of Fire and Darkness, slowly pushed the button to activate his own communicator, and started speaking calmly, his low, growly voice sounding across the ship, “Activate the searchlights.”

The operators of the searchlights nodded. Shortly afterwards, around the hull, searchlights were looking around it, shining endlessly into the expanses of space in the hope of finding an object even remotely recognisable as a battleship.

But no battleship did arrive.

Suddenly, though, an alarm sounded loudly through the ship, alerting all those present. A computerised voice started speaking, “Attention: Unidentified spaceship located. Attention: Unidentified spaceship located.” The computerised voice kept repeating the same message over and over again.

Krataxus got up from his seat, and roared “Activate the radar screens!” across the bridge.

Out of the ceiling, a very large, digital screen gracefully slid, showing a picture of the ship’s beautiful hull, with the radar consistently beeping around it. On its front, on the radar screen, a small dot could be seen in the distance, which surprised Krataxus.

Walking to the front window, Krataxus started peering out of the window, hoping to get even a glimpse of the ship.

There, in the distance, in the emptiness of space, lay the Nui Tower of Time, Krataxus’ base of operations itself. He looked across the Nui Tower, in an attempt to scan where the unidentified object was.

And there it was.

A very small shuttle, identical to the one Krataxus had seen Fairon flee in on Ashatan, was flying close to the Nui Tower of Time, in a movement that seemed to be scanning the Nui Tower.

He walked back towards his seat calmly, walking by the radar and weapons operators sitting in their seats calmly.

“Ready the weapons and manoeuvre the ship into firing position!” he roared across the bridge. At once, the weapon and engine operators started pressing many buttons one after the other, forcing the ship to start its movements.

Suddenly, the massive side thrusters on the front and back of the ship started to slowly turn the ship into a position in which its starboard sides were facing the shuttle directly. The energy cannons mounted on the foredeck were turning to that same starboard side, readying themselves into a suitable angle to fire the energy projectiles without hitting the Nui Tower itself. Besides the large energy cannons, a huge array of smaller energy guns were also getting readied to fire upon the shuttle from the starboard side of the Titan-II.

And then everything went silent, the tremendous spacecraft was now facing the shuttle directly, in firing position.

“Firing position and weapons ready, sir!” a weapons operator yelled out across the bridge, to which Krataxus calmly muttered, “Perfect.

Krataxus calmly sat back in his chair, and activated the communicator. “Give me their communication frequency,” he calmly ordered across the ship.

Just one deck down, in the radio room, an array of radio apparatuses started scanning the shuttle and its satellite signal, gathering extensive data on the communication systems and radio systems used by the shuttle. Then, calmly scanning the shuttle’s radio sending system, it gathered a radio frequency, and sent it through to the bridge.

Krataxus, looking at his control panel, saw the radio frequency of the small shuttle that they were facing. He started typing the radio frequency into the “Input” field of the radio communication selector, and then pressed the “Confirm” button.

He smiled.

Slowly, the screen that had slid out of the window was transferring its signal to the shuttle, while also attempting to receive a signal from the shuttle.

Now…


The eerie silence and calm that filled the shuttle seconds before was abruptly interrupted by an alert signal sounding through the ship, a computerised voice consistently warning the shuttle’s crew that their radio frequency was being hacked.

Hopelessly, Shadon and Lev were typing commands into their respective computers in desperate attempts to shut their computers and their communication channels off. But it was useless. Whatever it was that was hacking their communication system, they were no match for it.

The main screen on the cockpit window activated, showing a face all three had hoped not to see after what had happened on Ashatan.

“Greetings, friends,” the being’s slightly growly voice was the last thing that any of the three wanted to hear at that moment in time.

The face that appeared on the screen was a hideously orange mask. The being’s eyes were of a fierce red hue, and he smiled hideously at the three while he was speaking to them.

It was not a pleasant sight.

Fyxan got up, and faced the screen. “Well, hello, Krataxus, if you so insist,” he greeted Krataxus sarcastically.

“Now, now, no need for any sarcasm here, Fyxan,” Krataxus replied, again smiling hideously, before continuing “all I need of you, is Fairon. You hand him to me, and I will assure you that you shall be spared, and allowed to join me.”

Lev banged his fist on the desk in front of him, and got up. “Never. I refuse to adhere to your sick, twisted vision of this universe. You have had enough blood on your hands, Krataxus, and you know that what you have been doing will not stabilise the universe at any rate.” Never before had Lev been this furious at anyone.

“Listen here, you rat. Your dichotomy of “your point of view is evil” may be something you adhere to, but in this world and time, and in such dire circumstances, I try to do what I believe is right. Although to the average being, my actions may seem morally questionable, they are not an end in and of themselves. My actions are a means to an end, and the end justifies the means in our case, Lev. But none of you accepts the ends, and therefore you do not believe the means can be justified.

Now I am done clarifying my intentions, I will request you politely one more time, to give me Fairon, and you shall be spared.” Krataxus’ voice had gone from being a slightly raspy voice to being a booming bass voice that boomed through the communicator’s speakers. Its tone was even more threatening and low than the usual air of controlled menace of his voice.

“Fairon is not here,” Shadon stated dryly.

“You are telling me what?” Krataxus rasped, to which Shadon once more repeated his sentence dryly, “Fairon is not here.”

Krataxus looked away, and then faced the screen once more, looking fiercely.

“I will give you some time to rethink what you just said there. During this time, you all will be given the wonderful privilege of not being shot to bits. Your time starts..." he took a brief pause, before finally uttering "now.” Afterwards, the screen closed down, and Krataxus’ face was gone from the cockpit’s front window.

“So, what do we do now?” Fyxan asked Shadon and Lev, who looked at each other helplessly. Shadon then suddenly sat back into his chair, and stated, “If only we could…”

He then starts pressing a good many buttons, reactivating the communication channel’s signal and reactivating the general communicator. He then types some commands into the keyboard of the ship, ordering it to establish connection with the home base. He speaks into the microphone calmly, “Attention Control Room: Shuttle #1 is in emergency. I repeat, Shuttle #1 is in emergency.”

Only silence fills the room again, with the team realising that they were running out of what little they had left. “Be fast!” Shadon urged the communicator in a panicked tone.

Suddenly, out of the communicator speakers, a very fuzzy voice boomed. It was Fairon’s. “…Shuttle #1…Where…what…going on? Repeat…where…what…going on?”

Though the voice was extremely fuzzy, Shadon replied quickly to the message sent out, “Attention Control Room: Shuttle #1 is at the Nui Tower of Time. We are confronted by Krataxus. I repeat, Shuttle #1 is at the Nui Tower of Time. We are confronted by Krataxus.”

Afterwards, only radio silence filled the shuttle again.

Suddenly, the screen boomed back on, upon which Shadon jumped out of his seat.

Krataxus cackled at Shadon’s scare moment. It was a sickening, repulsive sound that would've made even the most vile Estronian shake to the very core.

Time’s up,” Krataxus spoke firmly and clearly, without any hints of the formerly slightly humorous tone in his voice. “Hand Fairon to me, and you shall be spared.

That was it for Shadon. He realised there was no way the three could possibly escape from this situation, considering all guns were already aimed at them. Their only hope was to give in and hope for the best, for Krataxus would find out their base’s locations afterwards in any of the given cases.

“We do not have Fairon aboard,” he spoke one more time, attempting to remain calm while doing so.

Krataxus replied calmly, “So be it.

The screen deactivated, and the computer of the shuttle activated a loud and noisy alarm. “Alert: Enemy ship aiming guns at this ship. Alert: Enemy ship aiming guns at this ship.”

The realisation dawned that the time for the three was perhaps, done, and they had little chance at surviving a shot from the enemy ship. Shadon looked Lev and Fyxan desperately in the eye, and then turned back towards his computer, clutching to his steering wheel as if he were clinging on to his life.

“I just hope this goes well…” Shadon stated, looking sternly into the emptiness of space.


The atmosphere in the bridge of the sleek battleship was one of the most tense atmospheres Krataxus ever felt. Even though they were confronting only a small shuttle that they could blast to bits at any second thought, it felt to Krataxus as if they were confronting a battleship at least twice as big as theirs. He looked around, thinking deeply at the consequences of shooting them down. If they are to be shot, our chances of luring Fairon are lost…they can lead me to Fairon…they are pests in my way…those thoughts shot through the dark Toa’s head while he was trying to make up his mind on whether or not to give the final order.

Finally, Krataxus turned back towards his captain’s chair, and grabbed the communicator sternly.

Fire.

Chapter Ten[]

Extremely bright, coloured flashes signalled the shots fired from the tremendous cannons of the massive battleship, all cannons aimed at the small shuttle itself. The energy bullets shot through the distance between the battleship and the shuttle at velocities higher than 500 metres per second.

But only two cannon shots hit the shuttle fully.

The explosion and the fireball that was visible shortly after was large enough to temporarily hide the small shuttle’s body from the view of the large battleship. Once the smoke and the fire was cleared, though, the shuttle was still intact.

Just as I had hoped, Krataxus thought, smiling nastily.


The body of the small shuttle was significantly damaged, several armour plates having cracked and part of the engine aflame as well. The damage done was just enough to do exactly what Krataxus hoped it would: force the crew of the small shuttle to land and take them away to give him the directions to find Fairon. Indeed, they were going to be the key to where Fairon were. That is, if they were speaking the truth and were not hiding Fairon aboard their ship.

“Activate the communication channel,” he spoke through the communicator microphone.

Violent explosions shook the small shuttle violently. The alarms that the computer was transmitting became ever louder and more nauseating, this time transmitting not only the initial warnings, but also stating “Warning: Engine significantly damaged, shields down. Warning: Engine significantly damaged, shields down.” The alarm message spoke at a constant rate. It annoyed Shadon to no end.

Attempting to overcome the annoyance, Shadon got back up, and coughed.

Hastily typing an array of commands into the small shuttle’s main computer, Lev attempted to assess the damage taken from the shuts. He read the stats aloud to the other two. “Guys…it does not look good. Half the engine has been destroyed completely, the shield generators are down, the power generator is only halfway for trying to keep up the shield generators. The trans-warp capabilities of this ship have been destroyed. We have no chance of survival if we try to escape,” Lev spoke quietly. The tone of his voice was dire, realising the gravity of the situation at hand.

“We cannot give up. That is not what we came for,” Shadon attempted to speak sternly, stuttering slightly, while still clutching the steering wheel like clinging on to his life.

Fyxan, at this comment, got closer to Shadon. “Shadon, we cannot win. While I truly wish we could find a way to escape, the best we can do now is contact Fairon and hope for the best. They have gotten us. We must surrender if our goal is to get inside without being reduced to mere atoms,” Fyxan said in a dire, begging tone, continuing, “Shadon, we must give up.”

Then, the main screen of the small shuttle turned on, once more revealing Krataxus’ face.

He was smiling.

“Hello again, my friends,” he spoke in a most pleased tone, “considering the damage done to your ship, I guess the both of us can agree that any further shots fired by this ship will mean the end of you and your lives,” he spoke calmly. The three, though hoping it did not happen, nodded.

Krataxus continued, “And none of us want that, do we?”

That’s it…Shadon thought, getting up and facing the screen directly. “Enough jokes, Krataxus. State your demands!” he demanded loudly and angrily from Krataxus.

Krataxus could not help but laugh at Shadon’s pitiful attempts to demand something of him. The laugh was a hollow cackle, awful and dissonant in its tone. He then turned back to face the camera again, facing the three “heroes” directly.

“Now, now, Shadon, let me explain myself here, very clearly,” he began in a more serious tone, continuing, “both of us know that you do not hold any right to demand anything from me here. Our ship has the sheer firepower to reduce your ship to nothing but a field of debris just like all the other remains of battleships seen all around you. You are more than free to join that field of remains, but I am certain that none of you would wish to end up like that.

Therefore, I suggest that you start listening very carefully now.

You will be spared if you surrender yourself now. Our ship will use its Trans-Warp technology to teleport you to our teleportation bay. There, I shall personally await the three of you, and have you escorted towards the cell block. Questions are not tolerated, you can either accept the offer and be spared, or refuse the offer and be reduced to mere atoms.

Now, what will it be?” Krataxus smiled hideously while asking his question to the three.

Shadon, silently sitting back into his seat, resigned himself to the fact that he was not going to survive if he was going to fight back. He thus turned towards the screen, and stated, “We accept your offer,” in a tone that signalled surrender and resignation to the facts.

Very good,” Krataxus said calmly, before the screen turned off once again.

Krataxus calmly got up from his chair after having said what he had needed to say, and turned away to walk out of the bridge. Before doing so, he yelled into the bridge, “Hack their PA system. I need to be able to announce what they need to do when they are being teleported into this ship.” He then turned back. The cockpit’s doors opened automatically, and closed behind Krataxus’ back.

Krataxus then found himself in a large array of corridors, all made from the same slick, matte grey reinforced Protodermis Steel, giving the ship a very dark feel and mood. He walked carefully through the hallways, his footsteps sounding through them while he walked on the mirroring metallic floors, which contrasted with the matte grey of the walls and ceiling.

Taking a turn to his right, Krataxus found himself at the doors of an elevator. He pressed the button to go downwards, and, shortly after, the elevator doors slid open silently.

He stepped into the elevator, and pressed the button to go down to the deck where the teleportation room was situated. The doors then closed, and, with a click, closed shut. The elevator shot down at rapid speeds.

After a mere 5 seconds in the elevator, the elevator decreased its speed and, finally, stopped. The doors slid open silently, as usual, allowing Krataxus entry into the teleportation deck.

He walked through the corridors calmly, when the main PA system in the battleship announced, “Attention captain: Hack into the enemy shuttle’s PA system has been successful. I repeat: Hack into the enemy shuttle’s PA system has been successful.”

Very good, Krataxus thought as he walked into the corridor of the teleportation room. The automatic doors opened up, revealing a large room, split into two rooms, a control room and the actual teleportation room itself. The control room was hidden behind two doors and a window viewing the teleportation bay, while the teleportation bay was a round, entirely matte grey room, lit by the same synthetic white lights that lit the corridors throughout the ship.

Krataxus walked up to the control panel, where a Matoran was working. “Sir, you have control over the PA system. We are reading the teleportation of three beings now,” the Matoran spoke silently to his captain. “Very good,” his captain responded, “link the control panel’s microphone to the enemy PA system.”

The Matoran, simply nodding, started typing several commands onto the control panel, linking the microphone of the control panel to the PA system of the shuttle in which his three opponents were situated. Krataxus then leaned in closer to the microphone, to start speaking.


Once again, I greet you, my friends,” a sarcastic voice boomed through the small system’s PA, suddenly cancelling out all the other PA messages, including the alarm and the alarm warnings. Shadon looked at his computer, and attempted to type in some commands. The only message the computer gave him was a stern “Access denied” on all computers.

“We’ve been hacked,” Shadon stated to his fellow warriors, his tone one of worry and annoyance.

It is best if the three of you got up right now, and started standing solidly on a single spot. Only then can we establish a correct teleportation connection without any possible bodily damage to any of you,” Krataxus spoke, nearly ordered, the three calmly.

At this, Shadon calmly unbuckled his seatbelt, and started standing calmly in the empty passengers’ compartment of the small shuttle. Fyxan followed suit, unbuckling his seatbelt and standing next to Shadon.

Finally, Lev unbuckled his seatbelt. Afterwards, he slowly got up from his seat, turned around, and then walked into the passengers’ compartment, where he, too, joined Shadon and Fyxan to ready themselves for the incoming teleportation.

Lev closed his eyes, attempting to concentrate himself on something else.

When viewing that Lev had closed his eyes, Fyxan wondered why. “Lev, why are you closing your eyes?” he asked, to which Lev responded calmly, “I am closing my eyes in preparation of what is to come.”

Fyxan shrugged, hoping that what was to come was not as bad as what Lev was preparing himself for.

Krataxus’ voice then once more boomed through the PA system of the shuttle. “Prepare yourself for teleportation in,” he spoke, and then started counting down, “ten, nine, eight, seven, six,” Lev closed his eyes ever more tightly, “five, four,” Shadon, too, closed his eyes now, “three, two,” Fyxan, realising the other two had their eyes closed, too shut his eyes firmly, “one…

And then, three dark portals appeared below the feet of the three, swallowing them and their bodies whole.

Fyxan screamed like he had never screamed before as he felt like he was falling through a void bigger than any other void he had ever been through. The feeling he was experiencing was something like a cross between being stretched out by a machine and being compressed to an infinitesimally small atom at the same time. The pain was agonizing, causing not just major physical pain, but even an extreme headache for Fyxan.

Lev felt as if he were being put through a blender at maximum speed. He was thrown from left to right, felt like he was hitting objects all around him, and could simply not control whatever was going to happen. He begged for Kronos and all existence to save him from whatever he was going through, all so he could be put out of the agony of the teleportation.

Shadon felt as if his armour was being ripped to pieces with a chainsaw, and then reattached, and then ripped to pieces again in a nightmarish sequence of inexplicable events that were more painful than mere words could describe. The teleportation was far worse than he had expected, and he screamed for his life like he had never done before.

And then, suddenly, it was all over. He now felt nothing but the cold hard metal that made up the floor of the ship they were now in.

Shadon attempted to get up, with a severe headache, looking upwards. His eyesight was terrible, and he felt dizzy. “What…in the name of KRONOS, was that?!” he asked loudly to whoever it was that wanted to listen to him.

And then he heard a voice he did not want to hear after the experience of having one’s armour ripped to pieces and then reattached only for it to be ripped to pieces and reattached again.

He heard Krataxus’ voice.

“You have gone through the very first Trans-Warp teleportation sequence in the galaxy. I forgot – perhaps not very incidentally – to inform you that our technology is in its early experimental stages, and the sequence of travelling by Portal of Darkness is way more comfortable. Yet, you have gone through the first Trans-Warp teleport ever. Congratulations!” he addressed the three in a very matter-of-fact way, almost like a teacher would.

Never had receiving congratulations from someone made Shadon as angry as he was at that moment in that teleportation bay.

In a rush of anger, he got up, and, getting his gun ready, aimed at Krataxus.

In fluid motion, Krataxus released a blast of dark Fire from his hand. The dark, purple-coloured flames shot at Shadon’s hand. The flames shot into his hand, releasing flames over his hand and flinging the gun out of his hand.

He screamed in agony. His hands were burning white-hot from the purple-coloured flames the dark Toa had unleashed.

He fell onto his knees, still trying to hold onto his hand in pain.

Krataxus simply laughed as he walked towards the Toa of Iron. The dark Toa then kicked the Toa of Iron onto the ground. Looking at the other two, he spoke, “Let this serve as an example of what happens to those who try to resist me here.” He spoke calmly and controlled, before turning his back on the other two.

Before leaving the room, though, he stopped.

Take them to their cells.”

The Matoran at the control panel nodded at his master’s orders. Shortly after, a pair of skeletal white beings started to walk into the room. Their heads were of a skeletal white hue, their eyes an empty, emotionless red, their legs thin and of the same skeletal white hue, while their arms were fat and the same skeletal white hue. They were carrying black-coloured swords and shields of the same white as their face and their limbs.

The instant these vile, disgusting beings came into the room, Lev felt the air in the room go significantly colder, and, upon feeling the change in temperature, he realised that these beings were not just any beings.

They were the Undead.

He felt the two step closer to him, the rotting Darkness literally dripping off their bodies. He felt a hand under his shoulder, after which he was very forcefully dragged up. Next to him, Fyxan still laid on the ground. Suddenly, Fyxan felt a force pulling on him tightly, and then dragging him upwards.

The Undead, emotionless and thoughtless as they were, did not say a single thing as they performed the exact command Krataxus had given them. With the three Toa standing upright, the Undead started forcing the three out of the teleportation bay. The electronic doors of the teleportation bay slid open, and Fyxan was led out first. Shadon was forced out of the room afterwards, with Lev being the last to leave the teleportation room.

The corridors they were in had walls and a ceiling made of a dull, matte grey. The floor contrasted sharply, being a metallic, mirroring grey finish instead of the dull matte grey.

Stopping at an elevator door, one Undead pressed the elevator button, after which the elevator’s doors slid open slowly. The three were pushed into the elevator by the Undead soldiers. The Undead soldier pressed a button onto a lower deck, and the elevator doors closed, after which the elevator started descending to an even lower level.

Slowly, the elevator started decreasing its speed, until finally coming to a standstill. Having come to a standstill, the elevator doors slowly slid open again, revealing hallways not unlike the ones several decks above this one.

The Undead pushed Fyxan into the hallway first, Lev second and, finally, Shadon was pushed into the hallway. Fyxan attempted to scan the hallway for irregularities, but could not find anything in the dull grey of the hallway.

Taking a turn to the left, the three were led through a large steel door into a hallway featuring several smaller doors, with windows besides the doors. Inside these rooms was a simple, unforgiving steel bed hanging from the grey walls. In the back, was a simple, metal sink, and a mirror embedded in the wall. A small toilet also hung from the wall besides the sink.

The cell was of the same dreary matte grey that the hallways were made of. The floor was of the same mirror finish that the floors in the rest of the ship were made of, giving the cell a slightly futuristic look. It was lit by a single light hanging from the ceiling.

Fyxan felt he was being grabbed by the Undead. In a flash, the Undead threw Fyxan across the room. He hit the wall with a loud thud, before finally sliding onto the cold hard floor. His body hurt from the tremendous force with which he was thrown onto the wall. When finally opening his eyes and attempting to look in the direction of the door, he noticed that the window was blinded on his side. He attempted to scream, “Shadon! Lev!” but he heard not a sound, not a single reply.

Suddenly, a robotic voice emitted from a communicator in his cell. “Attention occupant: Noise level too high. Higher noise levels will result in punishment.”

Though he felt the urge to scream again, he knew that it would be in vain. “Well,” he spoke to himself in a contemplating tone, “I guess that’s it for now.”

He sat down on the bed, hoping Fairon and the others would not be lured here by Krataxus’ attacks.

Lev had little time to react or be shocked at the way Fyxan was thrown into his cell, as he, too, was being lifted. He closed his eyes, bracing himself for the impact of the cold hard walls that he was about to feel.

Bang.

The thud echoed through the cell, while the door closed itself shut. Lev felt as if he had been smashed in the middle of his chest with a blunt metal object. A truly nasty feeling. Though he attempted to look back, he realised it was already too late for anything to be done, for he, too, was now locked in a cell, to await the ship’s arrival at the Nui Tower of Time itself.

Shadon, finally, looking at the other two of his brothers being thrown into the walls of their respective cells, felt how he was being lifted up by the sheer muscles of the Undead guard. He did not do anything to resist the grip of the Undead even in the slightest, and instead tried to mentally prepare himself for what was coming.

He was not prepared for what had been coming.

The thud that echoed through the metallic cell was loud and strong enough to even resonate through Shadon’s armour itself. Despite his preparations for the worst, Shadon still felt like someone had just grabbed a very large rock made of metal, and thrown it squarely into his chest. Though he wanted to try and escape, Shadon knew that, for all there was, the chances of him escaping were as high as the chances of Krataxus changing his mind and freeing the three Toa anyway.

He sat down on the bed calmly, thinking about what was to come next.


A majestic spacecraft slid through the vast expanses of space around the Nui Tower. In the bridge, high above the rest of the decks, Krataxus was viewing the Nui Tower as they were coming ever closer to his headquarters.

The ship, arriving at the tremendous dock, slowly flew into position. The large clamping arms then took magnetic hold of it, holding the ship in place and permitting the ship and its crew to take their leave.

Krataxus himself calmly got up from his captain’s seat, and grabbed the communicator’s microphone. “Attention, Crew members: We are leaving the ship. Notice for the prisoners’ bay: Take the prisoners and place them into the cell block of the Tower.” He deactivated the microphone afterwards.

Now, he thought, time to see my beloved friends.

Chapter Eleven[]

A cold, dead silence filled the dull, matte grey cell after the announcement that the ship had arrived at the Nui Tower of Time. The special notice for the prisoners’ bay had alarmed the being inside the cell, who would otherwise have stayed asleep for a little longer.

Fyxan sat calmly on the bed in his cell, all while looking around and attempting to focus on a single point. He awaited the coming of the Undead guards, who would inevitably drag him out of his cell and bring him to Krataxus. He was at peace with it, though, for he realised that any potential attempt at resisting the dark Toa’s soldiers would be met with severe punishment.

The door opened.

Instead of just a single Undead guard, two Undead guards walked in and grabbed him by the arms. They dragged him upwards, and he was once again forced to walk. He felt the cold blade of an Undead soldier’s sword lightly touching the back of his neck.

He saw how the other two jail cells were being opened, and, in similar fashion, his two comrades were also being pushed out by a pair of Undead guards.

Suddenly, a being who he had hoped not to see until inside the Nui Tower spoke ever so calmly, addressing the three very personally. “Now, my friends. I welcome the three of you to the Nui Tower of Time itself. Unlike most visitors, you are taken to a very special room, down in the cellar of the Nui Tower of Time. There, I will hear the three of you out on why you have come here.”

“You know very well why we are here, Kratus,” Shadon snarled, at which Krataxus abruptly stopped his pace. The Undead followed suit.

Krataxus walked towards Shadon ever so calmly, an air of fiery menace that was almost tangible around him. He drew his sword, and aimed it at Shadon. “We all know that it’s very simple around these parts. You either say my name correctly, or you do not say it at all. If you really do not wish to call me by my name, just refer to me as sir, if you please.” Finishing, he put his blade away from Shadon’s face, and walked back to the front of the group, continuing his pace slowly.

Looking around him, Lev could see that his surroundings had changed from the dull, matte grey hallways of the enormous battleship to a majestic and very large dock, located in the Nui Tower’s lower levels. The dock’s floors were made of a beautiful, mirroring black finish, and its walls a shiny, metallic grey. It contrasted sharply with the dullness of the battleship.

The three were pushed down the walkway, out of the ship and into the dock, with Krataxus proudly in front. Besides the four and their Undead guards, two groups of hundreds of Undead soldiers had lined up perfectly to greet their master and commander’s arrival at the Nui Tower.

The occasion of the revealing of those three dissenters seemed to be very splendid and grand, but none of the Undead lined up so perfectly did even so much as bat an eye at the sight of the three dissenters. Instead, the Undead soldiers kept perfectly still, as if fixated on something in the wall to their opposites. It all gave an air of unease and slight eeriness to the proceedings.

Shadon felt the air around him was icy cold. He could feel the stone cold tip of the blade of the Undead guards behind him still faintly touching his neck, ordering him to move on through the fortress. The experience in the room felt slightly surreal, even if just for the sheer scale of the docking room and the eeriness of the silent Undead.

Arriving at the other end of the docking room, the three were forced to take a turn to the left by the Undead. There, the group found themselves in an extremely long corridor. Its floors and walls remained majestic-looking and ever so stately, almost forcing the three to stare in awe at the technical achievements of the empire.

But, staring at the technical achievements of the empire was the last thing that was on Shadon’s mind at that moment.

The whole thought of being in what had formerly been the Nui Tower of Time, and seeing that that very same Tower was now an extremely advanced, near-impenetrable fortress baffled the Toa of Iron. How could an army of Undead creatures possibly think of building a fortress this large and advanced without the help of outside forces? Shadon could only wonder.

Arriving at the other side of the hallway, the Undead guards pushed the three warriors into the elevator first, and then got in themselves, with Krataxus finally ending up last in the elevator. After a brief ride in the elevator, the doors of the circular elevator opened again, this time revealing a vastly different corridor from the one they had just come out of. Rather than being high-tech and covered in machinery, these corridors were hidden inside the innards of an asteroid, which was clearly visible. Only the reinforced Protodermis steel floor and the artificial lighting gave the three any idea that they weren't just inside a primitive mining facility as opposed to a fortress.

They slowly walked onwards into the hallways, walking through several doorways and past several others, before the Undead pushed the three to the right once again. The door slowly slid open, revealing a small, dead-end corridor with three doors at each side of the wall. Besides each door, was a window through which the innards of the small cells could be seen. Unremarkable and uninteresting, but certainly more aesthetically pleasing than the cells inside the spaceship.

Krataxus, still at the back of the group, ordered for the Undead to separate the three into a cell. Loyal as the creatures of Darkness were, the three were separated, Fyxan placed into a cell first, Shadon second and, finally, Lev in the final cell. Like the situation in the spaceship, the three were thrown into their cell furiously, after which the Undead would leave the cells.

Now, with the cell block empty except for the cells which contained the three beings, Krataxus stood in the middle of the cell block while contemplatively staring at the cells. Now, he thought, which one shall be first? He looked at Fyxan first, Fyxan is perhaps the most experienced, but this poses the risk of having stronger willpower. Next, he looked at the Toa of Iron, who tried to look through the window, but saw nothing but a grey metallic wall. Shadon, he thought, is the technical side of these three. He is more bulky, so any risk he poses for questioning is attempting to strike back.

At long last, he stared at Lev’s cell and realised that Lev was the one he would have to interrogate. Lev, he thought, is, besides Shadon, the most technical of the team. He should be able to hand me the coordinates exactly as I want them…


An eerie silence slowly filled the large room that was the bridge of the Titan-I battleship in which the three Toa were sitting. The final message that they had gotten from the small shuttle was rather unsettling, a collection of mumbled ramblings about emergency, “Attention…Shuttle…emergency…repeat…emergency”. Besides the emergency report, though, the message stated nothing clear about the reasons for the emergency.

It worried Fairon.

He looked at Jareroden, and then at Aquila, and then at Jareroden again, before finally speaking up, “I think we should do something.” Aquila and Jareroden simply looked up, looking Fairon in the eye. “But what exactly do we do then, Fairon?” Aquila asked, “The very idea to barge into the Protected Zone, especially when we realise that our friends are in danger, is ludicrous, and you should know that, Fairon,” she said sternly. Jareroden nodded, “I think she’s right. We have to try and re-establish contact first, in order to see if this was not a miscommunication.”

Fairon looked at Jareroden and Aquila, begging for them to see his point. “We cannot establish contact with them. All three of us know that reporting an emergency is not something one does for fun or by accident. An emergency is an emergency," he paused briefly, before continuing sternly, "and an emergency is serious,” he stated.

What Fairon had just said got the two Toa thinking. There were little arguments in the way against Fairon’s point. But, one thing all three knew, was that an emergency in a mission of such importance was not just any emergency. No, such an emergency would pose a greater risk to their operation than an emergency on Estron ever could have posed.

As the three turned silent once more, a sickening white noise filled the room. The three Toa were still staring contemplatively at the small speaker on the communications desk, as if begging for a “we are okay” message to sound through the speakers.

But no such message would arrive, and, deep down, all three realised that painful truth.


Silence had barely filled the small, cramped cell before the door already opened once more. In the doorway, the orange and red-armoured figure of Krataxus was simply staring at Lev, seemingly calmly observing the Toa of Air, before finally calmly walking into the cell. The door closed behind him, leaving the two inside the cell.

Krataxus’ fiery red eyes looked into Lev’s green eyes, and he observed that the Toa of Air was shaking.

“Tell me, Lev, do you fear the Undead?” he whispered in a raspy tone to the Toa of Air. Lev attempted to look in front of him sternly, trying desperately to suppress the memory and the sight of the Matoran’s heart being engulfed by Darkness and turning into an Undead. But he failed, the images were still flooding his mind, he could still vividly see how the Darkness engulfed the tiny Matoran heart, how it grew a body of its own, a sickeningly, deadly pale face and limbs, and, finally, those red eyes with that emotionless look in them.

It sickened the Toa.

“I do not,” he stuttered, upon which the dark Toa leaned in closer to the Toa of Air. “What?” was all the dark Toa asked, to which Lev, now in a sterner, more determined tone, replied, “I do not.”

Krataxus abruptly burst out in a manic cackle, almost as if he was having the time of his life in the jail cell while sitting next to the frightened Toa of Air. If any sound was at all allowed to go through the impenetrable walls of these cells, then Krataxus’ cackle would most certainly have been that sound. A sickening sound it was.

And then he abruptly stopped laughing, turning his attention once more to the Toa of Air.

“You have information I need,” the dark Toa spoke in a tone slightly lower and more growly than the usual tone in his voice, before continuing, “and there are some options you have. You can give it to me and we will be fine, no harm will be done, or you will be forced to hand it to me after…specialised procedures.”

It quickly dawned on the green-armoured, slender Toa of Air that these specialised procedures were only Krataxus’ way of threatening Lev with a very harsh, very painful session of torture. Lev, knowing what the dark Toa would be capable of in any case, thought deeply about what he would do.

The Toa of Air suddenly felt how a sword hacked right into his right arm with tremendous force. Its tip had been imbued with the powers of dark Fire, which did not help to relieve the pain the Toa of Air was to receive. The wound burned agonisingly, and the Toa of Air screamed in pain. “AAGH!” he screamed desperately, while trying to resist the urge to scream even louder.

The red-armoured one, still sitting next to him, had been laughing for the entire duration of the event, simply enjoying the severe pain he was inflicting on the Toa of Air. The sheer magnitude and sadism of Krataxus’ actions made the Toa of Air question how far his friend was removed from him, and how far the dark Toa had been immersed in the world of Darkness.

Then it all stopped.

The Toa of Darkness released the blade, and sheathed it, no longer dealing any pain to the Toa of Air. The Toa of Air next to him was desperately attempting to cover the agonising wound. Pitiful, the dark Toa thought. Still, he decided against torturing the Toa of Air even more gruesomely, believing it would be detrimental to the information he was to extract.

He turned to the green-armoured Toa, and started speaking very slowly and very quietly, almost like a deadly whisper. “Where is your base?” Though he had been asking a question, the tone and quality of his voice gave the question the tone of a command, as if the dark Toa ordered the Toa of Air to give him the coordinates to his base.

Lev simply spat on the ground in disgust. “You do not deserve to know,” he scoffed. Before he could say anything else, though, another jolt of pain rushed through the Toa’s body, burning agonisingly in his left arm. The dark Toa leaned in ever closer to the Toa if Air.

Where,” he started menacingly, “is your base?!”

This was the moment it all came down to. Lev could not betray his team. To reveal the information to Krataxus would mean the end of the team’s mission, the end of everything that they had ever fought for. But, he realised that, if he were to refuse to tell his former friend where the base was located, the repercussions and the pain would only intensify.

Enough, the dark Toa thought. He calmly unsheathed his sword, and prepared to strike the Toa of Air with a final blow. But, right as Krataxus wanted to unleash all his rage and anger onto the feeble, imprisoned Toa, the Toa yelled out “Stop!”, freezing the dark Toa’s movement dead in its tracks. He stared at the Toa, his fiery eyes filled with unstoppable rage.

Speak,” he snarled.

“Our main base is located in an asteroid field around Estron, referred to as its “natural shields”. The ship is clamped onto an asteroid near the desert planet. I am quite certain you know where Estron is, but the ship is in the asteroid field around it. It should not be that hard to find if you look good enough,” the Toa of Air rushed through his sentences, almost saying them all in one single breath.

The dark Toa simply smiled menacingly.

He turned around, and urged for the doors to open. The cell’s door slowly slid open, giving the dark Toa access into the cell block. But, before stepping out of his cell, he turned back and faced the feeble Toa of Air once more. Aiming the tip of his sword at the Toa, he unleashed a blast of Darkness that would temporarily blind the Toa of Air as a punishment. The doors then closed behind him.

The Toa simply walked out of the cell block casually, as if nothing had happened in the cell of the Toa of Air. He took a turn to the right, and once again found himself in the great corridors of the fortress that the Nui Tower of Time had become. Turning to the left, he finally found himself at an elevator door. He pressed the button to call the elevator and, seconds later, the door opened to reveal the elevator was empty as usual.

Krataxus stepped into the elevator gracefully and calmly, intent on returning to his hangar. He pressed the button to ascend several floors upwards, to the hangar where his ship was situated. The elevator doors closed with a clicking sound, and the circular room shot upwards, upwards through the fortress on its way to the floor where the hangar was located.

Decreasing its speed, the elevator slowly came to a grinding halt at the floor where the docking room for the gigantic vehicle was located. The doors slowly opened, revealing once more the extremely long corridor the Toa of Darkness had just walked through. This time, though, he did not waste any time to stand still at one of the windows to force his three friends to stare at the technical achievements of his empire. Instead, the dark Toa simply walked through the corridors in a rush, not intent on taking any sightseeing routes and instead intent on reaching his ship as quick as he possibly could.

Arriving once again in the extremely large hangar, the dark Toa did not notice the rows of Undead still standing there, eerily staring at what seemed to be nothing in the distance. He walked past the rows, onto the docking ramp and right into the corridors of the beautiful and technologically advanced vehicle. The skeletal-white soldiers behind him joined him in his journey into the ship, and began taking their places once more in the ship, while the dark Toa made his way upwards.

He took a sharp turn to the left, into a cramped, small stairway in the middle of the ship. This was the central stairway, which led all the way from the bottom decks to the very upper levels of the bridge itself, and could only be used by the highest-authority crew members. The Toa entered his password, opening the door into the stairway, and started ascending the stairways, step by step.

Arriving at the bridge, he opened the door of the central stairway once more, and found himself in the back of the enormously large room that made up the very top of the command tower of the Titan-II battleship. He walked down the aisle where the computers and control desks for radars were situated, right to his captain’s chair situated in the middle, where the Toa of Fire calmly sat down. He then activated his control desk by pressing a small button. Pressing another button, the red-armoured Toa activated the communicator, and started speaking into the microphone, addressing all present on the ship.

“Attention, crewmembers: We are to set course for Estron’s asteroid field. There, the vile criminals that seek to destabilise this empire are hiding out, their ship clamped to an asteroid in a desperate attempt not to be seen. But I promise you, we will find them, for there is no escape from true justice. Go forth, activate the engines, loosen the docking clamps, and ready the ship for imminent trans-warp drive towards Estron.”

He then turned the communicator off calmly, and sat back in his chair to await what was to come.

The large docking clamps to which the ship had been attached now de-attached the ship from themselves, before folding into the hangar again. With a roar, the ship’s Energy Reactor-powered engine sprang to life, enabling it to float on its own in the tremendous hangar. Thrusters at the starboard side of the ship then slowly pushed the ship out of the hangar, before the ship’s main thruster started driving it out of the Protected Zone in general.

After a short while, the tremendous ship finally crossed the barriers of the Protected Zone, arriving into open space. The majestic engines and the beautiful warp nacelles, ready to start, were now only awaiting the orders from their commander to start doing their work.

Krataxus stared into open space. Let us go. He grabbed the communicator microphone, turned on the communicator, and spoke loud and clear: “Trans-warp to Estron, go!”

With those orders, the trans-warp nacelles started giving off their blueish glow, while the primary thruster turned even bluer than its usual blueish hue. The Energy Reactor roared as it brought to life the warp nacelles and pumped tremendous amounts of energy into the main thruster. Then, finally, when it all was prepared, the ship activated its trans-warp drive.

Roar, was all that could be heard inside the ship as it shot away, off to the desert planet of Estron.

Chapter Twelve[]

Green eyes scanned the bridge of the Titan-I battleship, looking out into the vast expanse of the asteroid field around Estron in which the base was hidden. Fairon desperately tried to distract himself from the worries about his friends in the Protected Zone. Whatever he tried, though, nothing seemed to work quite well in distracting him from his worries.

The only noise that could still be heard from the microphone was the constant hiss of the static white noise coming from a dead communication channel. For the Toa of Light, the static was ever so slightly unnerving on the long run. He leaned over to the dashboard of the communicator and, finally, turned off the communication channel completely.

The room was now completely, utterly silent.

Jareroden found himself at a loss of words since the final message had been delivered, its words still echoing inside his head endlessly. He felt he could not let go of that message, nor deal with its contents. The Toa of Psionics glanced at the Toa of Light as the latter turned the communication channel off, and simply did not do anything to prevent it. The silver-armoured one only wondered what to do next, and if there was still anything to be done at all.

Although the Toa of Water had kept icy calm throughout the situation, she felt anything but calm on the inside. Thoughts had been racing through her head, at once trying to drown each other out and resounding in an eerie chant that she could not suppress. Aquila wondered whether this was the end of their mission, or if they should actually try and go to the Protected Zone to rescue them.

She could not handle it anymore and, in rapid motion, looked up and glanced at the other two in the bridge.

“We cannot keep sitting here, just staring in front of one another in a desperate attempt to forget the cold hard reality that we are facing right now. Our friends are in danger, and we are simply sitting here, dumbfounded at the fact that there is no “we are okay” message we so desperately want to hear.” The words of the Toa of Water had never hit this hard with Fairon. The Toa of Light’s eyes filled with tears as he answered, “I just don’t know what to do, Aquila. Soon, I have to stand face to face with the one who used to be my best friend, and I fear it will get out of hand as it did on Ashatan.”

The tone set by the white- and gold-armoured Toa was one of melancholy and despair, and Jareroden, too, felt his eyes water a little. Fairon continued, “I fear that the visions will return, return to haunt me until my very last breathe – or Krataxus’.“ This was the first time since the scene at the Nui Tower of Time itself that the Toa of Light uttered the name of the dark Toa, which surprised both Jareroden and Aquila considerably. He continued, “I do not want to be trapped forever into the dark world that the visions put me into, and I refuse to be beaten back into that world!” His voice was now more determined, stronger than it had ever been since the Tower had collapsed.

After the Paralysis had happened and Krataxus had betrayed them, Fairon had been afraid of confronting the visions head-on, fearing he would be sent back into the dark world without any escapes. He also refused to confront the issue of the Universal Paralysis, instead preferring to hide out in the Titan-I battleship, hoping that he could wait long enough for another courageous being to stand up and reverse the Universal Paralysis.

But such a being would not come, and, deep down, he had been carrying that knowledge all along, despite his vehement attempts at denying it.

Aquila, strengthened by Fairon’s tone, spoke enthusiastically, “then, Fairon, why do we not go? Our friends are in danger. They need our help, more than ever before!” The Toa of Light looked down, but knew that he could no longer hide in his shell of fears and thoughts now, for they had a mission. Thus, he looked back up and faced the two Toa sitting next to him, his eyes turning a fierce green hue.

We shall rescue them,” he began in a determined tone, before continuing, “it is time to confront the forces of Darkness head-on.” The two Toa next to him nodded, while Aquila smiled proudly. Jareroden, deep down, felt a sense of relief come over him as he realised that the Toa of Light was finally accepting the fact that nobody else was going to reverse the Universal Paralysis for them.

Fairon continued, “Jareroden, ready the ship for being detached from the asteroid and the main base. Prepare the engines and the main ship’s computer. We are not going to take any shuttles now, for we may never return here.” Jareroden was surprised by his companion’s sudden newfound determination but, enthusiastic as he was, ran towards the engine’s computer interface panel located down the aisle in the bridge. There, the Toa of Psionics started initiating the commands that would reactivate the engines of the ship.

The Toa of Light turned to Aquila, stating, “You should ready the navigation and radar systems. I will personally pilot this ship out of here.” The Toa of Water nodded at her orders, and ran to her station of work, on the other side of the aisle as Jareroden’s station was, both stations on either side of the aisle in front of Fairon’s control panel and chair. She sat down in the chair, and started activating the radars systems, communication systems and weapon systems of the ship.

Suddenly, though, the base shook heavily, nearly throwing the Toa out of their seats. It forced the alarm to activate, but the main computer did not announce any damage done to the ship. Fairon looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of what happened, but he could not see anything in the remote distance. The Toa of Light then glanced at the main computer screen in front of him.

Nothing.

Jareroden, in the meantime, had managed to successfully detach the beautiful but old battleship from the asteroid it was once attached to, breaking it free for the first time since they had established their old base. While the Toa of Psionics stared at the base they were now being detached from, he could not help but wonder when they were going to Estron, and if they were going to return at all.

The Titan-I battleship was a truly majestic vehicle. The tower in which the bridge had been situated was, like other spacecraft of the same class, high above the other decks of the ship, and its hull looked like a seafaring battleship turned into a spaceship. On the front deck, two double-barrelled energy guns were situated, and on the aft deck, behind the bridge, another two were situated. Three nacelles to the aft of the bridge provided the trans-warp drive of the ship, while a tremendous, round thruster was situated at the stern, providing the propulsion for the spacecraft.

But, for all its beauty, the three Toa could once again feel the ground shake as they heard the sound of an explosion echoing throughout the spacecraft.

The ship shook even heavier than before, and the artificial voice of the computer finally announced “Attention, impact on stern,” a message which it repeated almost incessantly. Through the noise and the chaos, Fairon screamed “What is going on?!” at the other two Toa. None of the three in the bridge knew what it was that had impacted the ship, nor the heaviness of said impacts. When Jareroden tried steering the ship further out of the asteroid field, though, the spacecraft shook more violently than ever before, throwing Fairon out of his seat.

The computer finally announced “Signal incoming” in its dull artificial voice. Fairon, slowly getting up from the cold steel floor, pressed the buttons on the control panel. The main screen of the bridge activated itself, revealing the face of a being neither of the three had expected nor hoped to have come this early.

Krataxus.

“Hello, my good old friends!” the former Toa of Fire began in an almost jolly tone, before continuing, “It is very nice to see you all here in this asteroid field around Estron. Sure took me a while to find you,” he laughed at that statement, before continuing, “but I’m here now!”

Fairon, not wanting to get in on any of his best friend-turned-enemy’s jokes, spoke sternly, “State your demands, Kratus.”

This did not please the dark Toa at all. His face had gone from being a smile to an expression of anger and hatred, before he burst out “I am not Kratus!” through the communicator screen. He continued, calmly growling “My name is Krataxus.” Never before had four words sounded like they could be more fatal than a bullet through one’s brain to the Toa of Psionics operating the engines.

The dark Toa then suddenly resumed speaking in his jolly tone as if the dark interruption had never happened, “I have an offer to make for the three of you,” he starts, before remarking “yes, even you, Fairon,” which surprised the Toa of Light, before the dark Toa continued, “join me, and I shall bring you to the Nui Tower and liberate your friends. Together, we shall make the multiverse a better place, one of law and order and of universal justice.” The Toa of Fire took a slight break before finally finishing with, “All you have to do, is follow my ship to the Nui Tower of Time, where you shall be welcomed as heroes. Does that not sound good?”

The offer just made baffled the three Toa in the Titan-I battleship. They were given the choice of joining forces with the one who had betrayed them earlier on. Was the Toa of Fire truly trying to redeem himself? The Toa of Light stared into the Toa of Fire’s eyes, before the latter finally gave in and nervously stated “I shall give you some time to think,” after which the main screen in the bridge of the Titan-I turned off.

Fairon looked at the other two Toa, and the three silently looked one another in the eye. Finally, breaking the dead silence of the bridge, Aquila spoke up. “I don’t think he’s serious,” she began in a dire tone, adding “he has, all this time, hunted us and attempted to murder us, and now he is offering us to join him? I do not know about you two,” she looked from Jareroden to Fairon and back again before continuing “but I am not accepting this offer.” She then placed her arms around each other, determined about her own opinions.

Fairon and Jareroden both felt that Aquila was right, and that the Toa of Fire was simply trying to make a ruse to trap them and finally be rid of the last beacons of resistance against his iron-fisted rule over the galaxy. But how am I going to escape him, then? Fairon thought desperately, trying to think of a way to escape Krataxus and his battleship quickly.

And then he remembered.

“Jareroden,” he turned to address the Toa of Psionics, who nodded, “ready all the devices needed to activate the trans-warp engines. Once I refuse his offer, activate it at once. Aquila,” the Toa of Light said, turning to the Toa of Water, “input the coordinates of the Protected Zone. We are going to save our team ourselves.” He spoke firmly and resolutely.

The Toa of Psionics turned towards the desktop in front of him, where he typed several commands to ready the trans-warp engines for immediate activation. He then turned back to face his comrade, stating “Trans-warp engines are on standby.” The Toa of Water next to Jareroden, now finished typing in the coordinates, also turned towards Fairon. “The coordinates are ready, we should be good to go any time now.”

The main screen turned on again, once more revealing the orange, mutated Kanohi that the Toa of Fire and Darkness was wearing. His fiery red eyes were thankfully less fiery on the screen, but still retained at least some of their fieriness. He started speaking loud and clear, his jolly tone all but gone, “What have you all got to say?”

Fairon looked up to face his once best friend and look him dead in the eye. He opened his mouth calmly, and then barely managed to utter the phrase he had wanted to utter since the very beginning of this ordeal.

No.”

With a thunderous roar echoing throughout the Titan-I battleship, the three Toa and their spacecraft shot off into trans-warp space at a moment’s notice, leaving far behind them the scene at Estron and the battleship that their adversary had been located in. They were now safely in trans-warp space, knowing that they had at least a little advantage in that they had already gone off to escape the ship, and knowing that the enemy’s spacecraft could not get past them in warp space.

Thank you, Jareroden,” Fairon at the Toa of Psionics with a tone of immense relief, “Thank you so much for activating the trans-warp drive.” Jareroden smiled. “All thanks to you, pal,” he stated in a friendly tone. The atmosphere in the battleship was still tense, and the Toa of Water had remained silent since the three had left, staring at her radar screens and at the coordinate screens.

Aquila looked back onto the desktop in front of her, the radar screen showing that the ship was moving properly and without interruption, with nothing in sight, while the coordinates screens showed that they were heading towards the Protected Zone rather quickly. She turned to Fairon and spoke, in a rather nervous tone, “It would have taken five more minutes to get to the Protected Zone from here. Since there is no flow of time anymore, I can only say we could count to 300 seconds,” she laughed in an attempt to shake off her worries, “but we will be there soon.” Her voice was as nervous as she had been feeling.

Though the Toa of Water was well aware of the capabilities of the Titan-I battleship and of the great speeds trans-warp held, she could not help but feel slightly uneasy at what they had just done. After all, they had probably enraged the dark Toa even worse than they could have if they had just refused his offer.

Still, it was either fight or flight, and a fight would have resulted in their annihilation.

Jareroden typed in some commands to scan the ship and where it had taken damage in the previous round of shots that had been fired from the enemy battleship. The computer’s desktop clearly indicated that the stern sections of the ship, near the trans-warp nacelles, had been damaged at least a little by the shots. A section just slightly aft of the bridge had also been hit by the shots, but in a fashion not nearly as heavy as the other sections had been hit.

Despite the battleship having been damaged by energy shots from another spacecraft, neither Jareroden nor Aquila or Fairon had actually seen the enemy spacecraft in reality, and so the three were wondering what exactly the battleship had looked like. Though they knew it was called that name, none of the three could actually think of an accurate image for Krataxus’ supposed successor to their own Titan-I battleship, which just slightly worried the Toa of Psionics.

Fairon himself was thinking deeply, wondering what the Nui Tower of Time would be like after all the events that had passed since the collapse. If he were to believe the mentor, the structure would have become a gargantuan fortress consisting of reinforced Protodermis Steel and various other materials that supplemented the beautiful but cracked stone remains of the formerly majestic structure that had stood in front of them before it had been torn apart.


Before it had been torn apart…

The Toa of Light looks around him on this beautifully magnificent asteroid, a large and majestic entity far away from everything else. In front of him stands a structure bigger and more magnificent than anything he had ever seen before, grand in scale and splendid in its decorations. The huge, round Nui Tower of Time ascended up infinitely high. On the outer walls of the Tower, Fairon could see beautiful round arches all lined up symmetrically all the way upwards.

It was a sight to behold.

But, what had happened in that great structure and what had happened to it were far less grand than its sheer beauty. A devastating black hole of unknown origin had started to tear away on the Nui Tower. At first, the black hole seemed to slowly tear away small bits and pieces, but the process accelerated ever more until eventually reaching an almost violent peak in which the black hole tore apart most of the protective shell of the Tower.

The resulting booming, buzzing noise was something that neither Fairon, nor Jareroden or Aquila would never forget. It was a sound that heralded the end of all eras and the culmination of history into a point past which no history could be written anymore. A truly devastating event it had been for all of them.

Since that magnificent event, the Toa team had needed to hide away from the universe and its new rulers, Krataxus and the Primal Beast, out of fear for repercussions and fear for not being able to strike back at them. The team went into hiding near lawless Estron, where they had hoped to be able to survive, but even that was now gone.

Now, they were finally going to go back to the very same grand Tower they had once gone to in an attempt to prevent what had already happened, and now they were actually going to reverse what had happened. This time around, they were not going to let themselves be stalled before they had reached anything even close to the summit. No, this time, Fairon knew that they were going to climb the Tower all the way to the summit.

He felt hope through all of his body as his spacecraft was ever closer to reaching the Protected Zone, from where the trans-warp would need to be turned off and they would be forced to fly by themselves.


Aquila, still looking nervously on her radar panels, announced that “it should not be too long before we reach the Protected Zone now, we are very close”. But, just as the Toa of Water announced the information that they were very close, she saw something on her radar panel she had not ever seen before. She finally had the courage to turn away from her radar tables briefly, and turned to the Toa of Light. “Fairon, could you come here for a sec? I’m getting a reading I don’t understand at all.”

Fairon got up from his seat and walked down the aisle calmly, stopping to stand next to Aquila. He leaned over her to look onto the radar screen and see what it was that she had been seeing. There, on that same radar screen, the Toa of Light saw something that utterly confused him, too.

It was something that was heading straight in their direction, and it was moving faster than they were.

“Aquila, could you activate the scanners and see if you can find any information at all about that object?” Fairon asked the Toa of Water, who calmly nodded. She pressed some buttons and, soon enough, the scanner screens activated, with the ship’s scanners scanning the area around them at rapid pace. The data it showed gave nothing. Strange, the Toa of Water thought. Fairon, looking over the Toa of Water’s shoulder, saw that the scanner had given no data, and decided to turn back towards his seat. He walked down the aisle and sat back in his seat again, trying not to worry too much.

Suddenly, the blue-armoured Toa detected a change in the energy patterns she had seen in the scan data. The object was charging something that carried an immense amount of energy, greater than even the energy core of the Titan-I itself had contained. She looked at the scan results in a desperate attempt to see what it was. And then the realisation dawned upon her, when she suddenly knew exactly what the object had been charging.

It was charging energy weapons.

Fairon suddenly heard a noise permeating throughout the large bridge of the Titan-I battleship. A booming, buzzing noise that seemed to go through to the very core of the spacecraft they were in. He had no idea what it was, but he looked at Jareroden and Aquila. The look in their eyes confirmed the Toa of Light's fears in the worst way possible: they heard it too.

But, before the Toa of Light could even ask what the noise was, the Toa of Water behind the radar panel simply screamed “Incoming!” at the other two Toa. Before anyone could respond adequately to the warning though, the ship shook violently as the sound of explosions could be heard in the distance. The violent shaking forced Fairon to cling on to his chair for dear life.

He managed to get back up, and roared “What in the name of Kronos is this even?!” at the top of his lungs. Neither Jareroden nor Aquila knew the answer to what was going on.


There, in the distance, behind the Titan-I battleship, an even larger, more majestic vehicle sped towards its adversary, its captain simply laughing at how foolish his former friends had been to think they could escape his spacecraft.

The Titan-II had been equipped with state-of-the-art trans-warp T3 engines. These engines enabled the ship to travel at T3 trans-warp, as opposed to factor T2 trans-warp, which was the galactic standard for such immensely high speeds. This meant that the spacecraft was not just a battleship with state-of-the-art weapons, it also meant that its engine was capable of outrunning even the fastest, strongest, and most advanced battleships in space. Even better, its main guns were able to fire in warp space, effectively enabling warp combat.

The three triple-barrelled main energy cannons on the Titan-II were aimed directly at the stern of the much smaller and technologically inferior Titan-I that had been flying in front of it. Several very bright flashes emanated from the gargantuan triple-barrelled guns, signalling that they had fired another volley of shots. And then they fired another. The harrowing, screechy sound of the shots resounded through the advanced and superior Titan-II and its hull.

The first volley of shots barely impacted the enemy vehicle, only hitting several spots near the upper two nacelles, the other one – on bottom of the hull – having remained undamaged. The second several shots, though, hit the stern quite heavily, nearly destroying one of the wings on which the nacelles was situated, and significantly damaging another wing.

The resulting damage on the battleship sent it spinning around rapidly, forcing the larger of the two spacecraft to make a sudden evasive manoeuvre in the middle of warp-space. A risky affair most certainly, but any mistakes made at this point could have resulted in an enormous, destructive crash of which the consequences would be far worse.


Another volley of shots made the ship shake extremely heavily, and threw Fairon out of his seat. He was noxious and nauseous about what was going on. Near him, sitting behind his panel, Jareroden held onto the engine operation desk for dear life, trying not to be thrown across the room. Next to the Toa of Psionics, Aquila was having trouble trying to keep her own balance as well.

The computer’s artificial voice resounded through the Titan-I battleship, constantly repeating its annoying but unnerving warning, “Warning: Warp nacelles damaged”. Fairon felt several other explosions shaking the ship to its very core, after which the spacecraft started spinning around heavily, forcing Fairon to cling on to his control panel to prevent being thrown into the wall by the sheer centrifugal force of the spinning spacecraft.

Now, the ship’s main computer was no longer just warning that the nacelles were damaged. Instead, it constantly reminded the three Toa in the bridge that it was in critical condition and that its shields had been brought down to a mere 50 percent of their original power levels. Red alarm lights were flashing on and off constantly at the same tempo as the alarm sirens wailed throughout.

The violent spinning of the vehicle slowly decreased, until finally coming to a standstill. Fairon slowly crawled back into his seat, looking onto the desktop in front of his chair in order to assess the damage. But, before he could even type any commands onto the keyboard in front of him, a terrible realisation dawned upon him as he looked out of the front window of the bridge.

The sheer force of the shots had pushed them out of warp space.

Finally regaining his balance, Jareroden managed to look up and look around in the bridge, trying to find where exactly they were and just how bad the damage actually was. He looked out of the window of the massive bridge. Although most of the starlight was very distant now, he could still see some of the stars in the very distance now, indicating they were at the very least close to the Protected Zone.

Aquila looked at her radar screens, and then turned to watch over the screens showing the coordinates that the ship was at now. Ashatan…she thought, and turned towards her comrade Toa of Light. “Fairon,” she began in a worried tone, “we’re near Ashatan.” At the very announcement of the dreadful name, the green eyes of the Toa of Light widened.

Since their mission to Ashatan, he had wished none of them to go through such an ordeal again. He did not even wish for them to come near the dreadful planet.

But, despite the wishes of the Toa of Light, the three once more found themselves near the planet shrouded in its never-ending rain.

In a flash, the three Toa saw a spacecraft pop up nearly in front of their own battleship. The magnificent battleship that lay in front of their battleship was tremendous in size. Its hull resembled the battleship hull of the Titan-I, but was at least one and a half times the size of its little brother, being far larger, fatter, and carrying a far larger bridge than the one the Toa were in. On the front deck, no less than three gargantuan triple-barrelled cannons were situated, while on the deck behind the bridge, another two of these cannons could be found.

Besides that, the enormous spacecraft in front of the Titan-I had not just three, but four warp nacelles that aided it in its trans-warp, and its main and supportive thrusters on the back were larger than that of the Toa’s spacecraft. Like their own spacecraft, this battleship carried a small bridge on the bottom of the hull, with two smaller energy cannons in front of it as well as a hangar hatch for reconnaissance craft.

From the perspective of the bridge of the Titan-I, the bow of the impressive spacecraft aimed at the portside.

Fairon was awestruck at the sight of the enormous spaceship that lay ahead of them. “In the name of Kronos…” was all the Toa of Light could mutter slightly as he saw the other ship’s triple-barrelled energy cannons turn towards them. Jareroden’s eyes had widened significantly as he looked through the bridge’s windows. Aquila, sitting next to Jareroden, was scanning the enemy ship while looking at its magnificent proportions.

When her readings were finished, she turned towards the other two Toa and started reading them aloud in a nervous tone; “The opposing ship we are facing has no more than five triple-barrelled high-energy cannons of a more powerful calibre and make than our four double-barrelled turrets. It also carries a single double-barrelled light energy cannon on the bottom of its hull, which was one of the weapons that has fired at us. Four nacelles provide the capacity to go not just into trans-warp factor T2, but also cross that boundary into trans-warp factor T3,” at this information, Jareroden’s eyes widened, while Fairon’s mouth fell open flat. “What?!” was all the Toa of Psionics could utter at the information.

The Toa of Water continued, “Not unlike our ship, the opposing ship has an array of smaller energy machineguns and rocket launching mechanisms. These number a total of three-hundred small energy machineguns around the bridge, another two-hundred on the bridge and a total of hundred-fifty rocket launching pads. This by far outnumbers our three-hundred energy machineguns and fifty rocket launching pads.” Fairon was dumbfounded. What had engineered this monstrous spacecraft?

Fairon gazed out of the window into the emptiness of space, at the spacecraft ahead of his own. The energy cannons were an impressive sight. Grey, triple-barrelled and intimidating to look at. The lighter one on the bottom, which Fairon only now noticed, was coloured red like the rest of the lower hull parts. The impressive quadruple nacelles were grey, but their engines coloured nearly-white due to the enormous amounts of energy running through them.

Before the Toa of Water could continue her analysis, however, the main screen of the bridge activated itself, revealing once more the orange mask and fierce red eyes of the dark Toa. He was smiling, before starting in an almost delighted tone, “Isn’t it just great to see each other again?” He had never sounded this jolly since before the team once embarked on the mission to the Nui Tower of Time.

“I must say, Fairon, you must have some great courage to fly away into trans-warp in an attempt to escape me. Don’t you realise that the Titan-II has T3 capacities?”

The Toa of Light shook his head in denial at the question, stating “We had no time to scan your ship. Nice name you’ve got there, by the way, you’ve been very creative as I can see.”

This did not amuse the dark Toa in the slightest. Trying to keep his calm and jolly tone, he continued “I have been very creative indeed,” he started, his tone returning to the jolly one, before continuing “because, as you can see, my spacecraft has outran yours by far. We have not just managed to replicate the original design, we have managed to rise above the limitations and expand upon the potential of the design. The name itself is nothing if not a homage to the beautiful old ship that you are, quite frankly, abusing,” the dark Toa finished, smiling at the three in the other spacecraft.

Finally, Krataxus continued, “But, before I go ever further off-track here, we all know why we are here,” his tone suddenly darkened significantly, “you have broken intergalactic law and regulations on multiple occasions. You have been charged with terrorism and threatening to destabilise the very fabric of the universe itself. No more excuses,” he then took a lengthy pause in speaking, leaving silence to fill the room.

“I give you two options: you surrender here and now, and you and the rest of your battleship will no longer be harmed. If you do not wish to surrender, you could always choose to fight back, in which case you will end up as nothing more than a swarm of stray atoms, once remembered as heroes and soon remembered as the most vile villains this universe has ever known. The choice is all yours.” After he finished, the dark Toa’s face disappeared off-screen and the screen deactivated.

Jareroden was beaten. Was this the ultimate culmination of everything that he and the team had ever done? Was this all that his mentor had ever trained him for? To either die or to surrender to Darkness? He looked at the Toa of Water next to him. She, too, looked rather helpless. Fairon, sitting behind him, shared the feeling of hopelessness and despair with the other two. What are we going to do now? he wondered.

Aquila looked at her screen and exclaimed “They are locking in on us. We have little chance of survival past this point. Our shields are at barely fifty percent of their original power level, the engines are damaged and the trans-warp nacelles don’t function properly anymore. Any attempts at escaping will result in being chased down and destroyed, and any attempts at fighting back will result in being destroyed. I think this is it.” Never before had the Toa of Water’s tone been so helplessly monotonous, almost as if she were trying to repress her emotions.

The realisation dawned on the three that their hopeful mission of rescuing their comrades ends here as the main screen turned on to reveal Krataxus’ face. “And…?” the dark Toa asked, his tone full of anticipation and anxiety. Fairon, getting up from his seat behind the captain’s control desk, faced the screen and looked his former best friend straight in the eye, his own fierce green eyes filled with despair.

We surrender.”

Chapter Thirteen[]

Krataxus stared at the main screen in the middle of the bridge of his tremendous battleship, his eyes filled with disbelief. He was staring right into the fierce green eyes of his best-friend-turned-worst-enemy, Fairon, dumbfounded as he was by what the latter had just done. Fairon had given no aggressive words, no speeches, just a single, dry declaration of surrender. In a tone signifying his disbelief, the dark Toa asked the Toa of Light, “Repeat yourself?”

The Toa of Light spoke clearly and without hesitation, “We surrender.”

For a brief moment, it felt as if everything had just frozen around the Toa of Fire. Everyone in the bridge was deadly silent, not even the radars giving so much as a bleep to break the silence. He looked at the battleship that lay to their portside, then looked onto their weapon operation panels that signified that the weapons were still locked onto the enemy warship.

Then, it dawned upon the dark Toa that his adversaries were actually surrendering to them now, and that they were handing themselves in.

But, Krataxus knew well that he did not want to transport these three on his own ship. He wanted them to follow him.

He got his act together, and looked Fairon straight into the eye with his own fierce red eyes, and began, “Very well,” his voice in a very low tone, “I expect the three of you to follow the Titan-II battleship while we cross the territories of the Protected Zone towards the Nui Tower of Time. Once there, your vessel will be brought to the hangar adjacent to the one in which my ship will be situated. There, the three of you must wait in your ship before I and my soldiers come to get you out and bring you to where you need to be. Have I made myself clear?”

“Perfectly clear,” the Toa of Light replied rather calmly. “Good,” Krataxus said, before he finally turned off the main screen of the ship.

He then leaned forward to press several buttons on the control interface in front of him, activating the communication system of the Titan-II battleship. He spoke calmly and clearly, “Attention weapons operators: Keep the weapons on the aft side locked onto the Titan-I battleship and be ready to fire at a moment’s notice. We must not lose the three while we have them.”

He took a deep breath, before continuing to finish, “Attention engine operators and navigators: Ready the engines and the ship to head towards the Nui Tower of Time and ready the ship for docking there once there. Thank you all for your attention.”

He then sat down into his chair, silently staring out of the bridge’s window onto the other, smaller battleship that lay to their port side. The hull near the wings carrying the warp engines was extremely damaged, and had a gaping hole in it. The warp engines themselves also looked mildly damaged, although the bridge tower had remained largely untouched by the onslaught of the Titan-II.

The dark Toa wondered ever so silently what would come next, still unable to believe that it had actually happened. Did they really surrender? he thought to himself, still staring silently at the battleship.

He could only hope so.

The Toa of Darkness then turned towards the control panel in front of him. Briefly scanning over the buttons, he then began pushing several buttons to once again activate the primary screen projection in the bridge. It activated silently, once again showing Fairon's golden mask.

Krataxus sighed audibly, before beginning, "Very well," the three in the other battleship remained entirely silent, awaiting what the dark Toa had to tell them. He continued calmly, "all you need to do now, is follow the Titan-II battleship. We are heading towards the Nui Tower of Time, where you will be docked by the guards. Once you are docked, you are requested to stay inside your bridge until requested to leave your ship, am I understood?" his voice became more commanding and menacing the moment he finished his sentence.

The Toa of Light, sitting on the other side of the screen in the captain's chair of the other battleship, nodded calmly in response to the dark Toa's request. "I guess we have little choice but to do so, then," he said, before finally turning silent once again.

The red-armoured one briefly stared at the screen in front of him, silently contemplating whether or not the Toa of Light would stay true to his promise. Then, he turned to the screen once again, his fierce red eyes looking straight into the green eyes of the Toa of Light.

"Very well."

He then pressed the button to deactivate the main screen, which then folded back into the roof of the large bridge, until it became completely invisible among the reinforced Protodermis steel machinery making up the innards of the large bridge.

With the primary screen turned off and Krataxus having stopped speaking, an eerie silence of anticipation filled the Titan-II's bridge, broken only occasionally by the bleeps of the radar machines further down the aisle, nearer to the windows than to the captain's chair.

The red-armoured one calmly sat down, his heart racing in a way in which it had not ever raced before. He looked into the vast emptiness of space that lay in front of him, the vast emptiness of the Protected Zone before they would even reach so much as the nearest outpost, let alone the Nui Tower of Time itself.

He wondered, is this really it? Have they really surrendered? The thoughts that filled up the dark Toa's mind filled him with dreadful anxiety. After all, the Toa of Light he had just faced was his former best friend, the greatest danger to the universe itself.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by the roar of one of the engineers sitting in front of the engine operation desk. "Sir! The engines are ready to travel to the Nui Tower of Time!"

"Very good," Krataxus responded rather calmly, "set course for the Nui Tower of Time. And, weapon operators, keep an eye out on the Titan-I battleship at all times." The Unead Matoran operators behind the weapon operation desks nodded calmly in response to their orders.

Slowly, the Titan-II battleship started cruising ahead, towards the Nui Tower of Time, where they would welcome their captives.


Fierce green eyes looked at the endlessness of space in front of the gargantuan vehicle. Throughout the battleship, a computerised voice announced a resounding warning that the shields had been brought down to only fifty percent of their original power levels, and that the warp nacelles were in critical condition. The fiercely red alarm lights were still flashing at the same rate as the alarm sirens were.

But to him, it did not matter.

All that mattered to Fairon, was that they had been defeated. Not just that, they had been defeated while they were escaping in warp space. The sheer speed with which his rival's battleship had chased them through warp space boggled the Toa of Light's mind, and he kept wondering just how Krataxus had managed to develop and utilise a level of technology that was as high as that of the Titan-II battleship.

He looked to his command desktop, before looking upwards again, to face the Toa of Psionics who sat in front of the engine control desktop nearer to the front windows. "Jareroden," he calmly began, with the Toa of Psionics turning around and looking at the Toa of Light. He continued, "do as he commands. Activate the engines and follow their ship."

The silver-armoured Toa simply nodded before turning back to face his desktop, where he activated the engines of the Titan-I battleship. Slowly, but surely, the damaged battleship started moving again. Its pace was slow, but it was all that the damaged engines could bring up after such a heavy encounter. Like Fairon, he could still barely believe that they had actually been shot out of trans-warp.

Aquila, operating the radars and weapons desks, knew very well that the enemy ship still had its energy weapons loaded and ready to fire at any moment. It unnerved the Toa of Water to know that they could be reduced to nothing more than a mass of atoms in the vast emptiness of space. When looking at the coordinates, the Toa discovered that they were no longer near Ashatan, and had finally entered the Protected Zone itself. That would explain why her radar had ceased functioning altogether.

How could they have conceived a ship so technologically advanced? she wondered to herself in silence, while staring at the enormous battleship and its majestic nacelle wings, as well as the gargantuan main thrusters at its stern.

In the distance, Fairon could not spot the littlest object. Not a single asteroid, shuttle or patrol ship to be seen. Only the Titan-II that was cruising just ahead of the three, the bluish glow of the main thrusters visible from the stern of Krataxus' spacecraft, and the triple-barrelled energy guns aimed directly at them.

Turning to his comrades, the Toa of Light broke the silence calmly. "This is really it. Here we are, in the Protected Zone," he began in a regretful tone, while walking towards the front window, stretching his arms out as if he were trying to make a cross. "And, for all that we have done, we have reached the Protected Zone under the escort of the very person we came to defeat," his eyes were watery as he looked out into the distance.

Into the endless expanse of the Protected Zone, where the Nui Tower of Time awaited.

Jareroden sat in his chair, merely listening to Fairon's lamentations, unable to do anything but ensure the engines kept running and that the ship kept cruising behind their adversary's vehicle. He looked ahead with heavy heart, as the realisation dawned upon him that, for all they had fought for, they had been caught so very easily by Krataxus.

As if someone had betrayed their hideout, betrayed where they were.

But no...the silver-armoured Toa thought, eyes widening, as he realised that the only being other than the team itself to know where their hideout was, was his mentor. "No..." he began, his eyes too turning watery.

At once, Aquila turned towards Jareroden, looking at him in concern. "What is it?" she asked in a grave tone.

"I think..." the Toa of Psionics began, but nearly could not keep himself from crying out loud, "I think Krataxus found my mentor's hideout." Fairon turned around, facing the other two, an angry look on his face. "And that means what exactly?" he questioned rather angrily.

"It means my mentor has betrayed our hideout's location to him!" Jareroden cried out in sheer desperation.

Fairon was shocked. Never before had he seen the Toa of Psionics, usually so calm and collected, act out in such sheer emotion. Worse still, this meant that Jareroden had actually revealed their location to his mentor, having put their mission at risk from the very beginning.

"So that means you revealed our hideout to your mentor, does it not?" Fairon asked in a biting tone. The silver-armoured Toa was crying out loud, only sobbing incomprehensible words that the Toa of Light could not understand. Aquila looked into Fairon's eyes with a look of concern and disapproval of the Toa of Light's sudden outburst.

Calmly, the Toa of Water urged Jareroden to get up from his seat. "You cannot keep this ship stable if you want to prevent getting shot at by them," she explained, and the sobbing Toa nodded calmly, getting up from his seat and desk and allowing the Toa of Water to sit down. She looked onto the touch screen and pressed several commands. The engines were at full throttle, but they were cruising very slowly.

Looking at the other screens, she realised that the ship's engines and shield generator had been damaged to such an extent that the power distributed to the engines was less than that distributed to the shields. She turned to face the Toa of Light.

"Fairon," she began, "the ship's power levels are extremely low, and there is still power diverted to the shields, even though we have already surrendered." The Toa of Light did nothing but nod, understanding the situation, and turned around towards the captain's seat. He sat down calmly while pressing several buttons on his keyboard, inputting commands. A screen appeared, asking him if he wanted to deactivate the screens, to which he pressed the "CONFIRM" button. He then typed in several commands to divert more power to the engines.

Slowly, the spacecraft increased in speed and started accelerating, being able to keep up more with the Titan-II battleship that cruised up ahead. It won't take long from here...Fairon thought to himself, still staring out into the vast emptiness that lay ahead of the Titan-I.

Jareroden, in the meantime, walked towards the table in the back of the bridge and sat down in his chair, attempting to process what exactly had happened with his mentor. Is he dead? No...But where is he then? Is he even safe? such questions raced through the Toa of Psionics' head as he thought about the encounter his mentor could have had with the dark Toa.

Whatever it was, he knew that his mentor was not one to break under pressures.


In the distance, a tremendous structure appeared ahead of the stately Titan-II battleship. A tower, perched atop a tremendous asteroid, with a multitude of Protodermis Steel structures built around it to reinforce the destroyed foundational structure of the tower itself.

There it was.

The Nui Tower of Time itself.

A smile broke across the dark Toa's face as he stared towards his headquarters, where he would end it all. Soon enough, judgement would be given to the universe's greatest criminal, the greatest danger ever to walk the path of existence, he who threatened the very foundations of the universe itself.

Toa Fairon.

But the red-armoured one knew that Fairon was not worthy of the title of Toa. He lacked the honour and high standards of a true Toa, and lacked the feelings of justice that characterised a Toa. Indeed, Fairon was not even remotely worthy of being called a Toa, and deserved to have the title revoked, once and for all.

He looked on towards the Nui Tower of Time, as the two battleships cruised slowly towards the hangars situated in the lower levels of the tremendous fortress. There, in those hangars, they would be greeted by rows upon rows of dead silent Undead soldiers, their skeletal faces expressionless and their eyes filled with blank stares.

The Titan-II slowly cruised towards its own hangar, situated next to the hangar to which the enemy spacecraft was to be escorted towards. While his own spacecraft sailed on its own towards the hangar, Krataxus saw a multitude of shuttles take off to escort the Titan-I battleship into its hangar, where they would be warmly welcomed.

"Activate the primary screen!" he roared across the bridge. The main screen slowly folded out of the roof, into the middle of the bridge, directly in front of the dark Toa. Afterwards, it turned on, revealing the three Toa sitting amid their bridge.

Krataxus cracked a smile.


The bridge of the damaged Titan-I was filled with an eerie silence, as the three Toa simply stared at the majestic structure that loomed large ahead of their ship. This structure ahead of them, was what had become of the Nui Tower of Time. Instead of the beautiful stone structure they had once been greeted by, the Tower was crooked and cracked on a multitude of sides, its once ornate white stone surface augmented at places by reinforced Protodermis Steel in order to prevent the structure from further deteriorating.

The once great sides of the Tower were being slowly eaten away by Darkness, swallowed whole by the tremendous black hole that destroyed the Tower in the first place. The structure, which was already big by itself, had been enlarged significantly by the massive fortress that had been constructed around it.

In awe, Aquila stared at the remains of what was once a beautiful structure. "That's no longer the Nui Tower..." she began in awe, "it's a space fortress."

Suddenly, the main screen of the ship activated, revealing once again the ugly face of their adversary. The dark Toa facing them was cracking a smile. A truly revolting expression for a being so vile.

"Welcome!" he began in a delighted tone, "Welcome to the Nui Tower!"

"I don't feel particularly welcomed," Fairon grumbled, looking rather displeased. This did nothing to harm his former best friend's facial expression or jolly tone, though. "No need to fret if you don't feel welcomed here!" he began, continuing, "we have our high-class shuttles ready to escort you to your hangars, where you will be advised to stay inside your ship until I and my forces have arrived to escort you out."

Still looking displeased, the Toa of Light began speaking, "And what if we decide not to stay inside our ship?"

As abruptly as Krataxus' happy tone had appeared, equally abruptly did it disappear as his face, too, became one of displeasure. "You will be..." he began very calmly, before lowering his voice to a dramatic growl, "destroyed."

"Original," Fairon remarked bitingly at his former best friend.

The primary screen in the middle of the bridge deactivated itself, before folding into the roof again. Up ahead of their spacecraft, the Toa of Light spotted two small shuttles, their wings in the shape of an X, flying towards their spacecraft. Their guns were clearly aimed at the Titan-I, while they slowly cruised towards the battleship. Finally, arriving at the battleship, the two shuttles stopped and activated a pair of searchlights, aiming them directly at the massive ship.

Suddenly, a growly voice resounded through the PA systems of the Titan-I battleship, prompting even Jareroden to look around him in surprise. The voice spoke in a calm and collected manner, "Attention, crew of the Titan-I," it began, "you are expected to follow these two shuttles while they escort you into the hangar. Once in the hangar, you must stay inside your ship until I and my forces arrive to escort you from the cargo bay of your ship into the hangar. It is for your own safety."

It had been Krataxus' voice.

"Very well," Fairon responded in a rather annoyed tone, before turning to the Toa of Water still sitting at the engine operations desk. "Aquila!" he abruptly roared, prompting the Toa of Water to turn around and face him with a questioning look on her face. "Follow those shuttles," he commanded her, and she nodded calmly, before typing in several commands on the desk in front of her.

Slowly, the ship steered towards the two shuttles. The spacecraft then started flying next to the battleship, as if to make sure that the vehicle could not slip away unnoticed, something rather hard for a spacecraft the size of the Titan-I, especially in the Protected Zone.

The shuttles flew ahead of the spacecraft as it finally started entering the dock, flanking the entrances of the dock before flying into the dock themselves. The large docking clamp calmly wrapped itself around the hull of the battleship, and a loading ramp emerged from the floor of the dock onto the loading hatch on the starboard side of the battleship's hull.

Then, as if someone had fired a gun throughout the hangar, everything fell silent at once, not even the hangars giving so much as a beep anymore. An air of eerie anticipation filled the large room that was the bridge of the Titan-I, as the three Toa awaited Krataxus and his crew.

Fairon, no longer taking it, got up from his seat and walked up to the windows. Looking down into the tremendous hangar, he saw row upon row of Undead soldiers, an innumerable amount of dark creatures, perfectly lined up to await their red-armoured master and commander. Near the ship, tremendous docking clamps and cranes carrying repair equipment were situated, ready to accommodate any ship that was to come in. On the far side of the room, a huge steel door hid the tremendous labyrinth of corridors that lay beyond it.

The door opened.

As a series of spotlights aimed directly at the door activated, the red-armoured figure that was Krataxus was revealed, with twenty-some skeletal creatures walking behind him in perfect symmetry. Many of them joined in the perfect rows in the hangar, until only four of them remained by the dark Toa's side. Walking right towards the ship at a slow pace, Fairon felt as if time stood still while he watched his former best friend come ever closer.

And then the Toa stopped dead in his tracks.

The Toa and his Undead had stopped right in front of the loading ramp that led to the cargo loading hatch, simply staring at the hatch.

Elementally amplifying his voice, the dark Toa started speaking towards the three inside the Titan-I. "My friends," he began in a sinister, dark and low tone, "you can now open the cargo hatch of your ship. My forces and I will await you at the docking ramp in order to pick you up."

Jareroden looked at Fairon, then at Aquila, before finally looking at Fairon again, before beginning, "well, this is it". The Toa of Light, in dead silence, nodded, before turning to his control panel, where he entered some commands to open the cargo hatch. Slowly, but surely, the massive hatch opened up, enabling the Undead soldiers to invade the ship in flocks. But, their master and commander keeping them under control, the dark creatures remained perfectly still, like a collection of skeletal statues.

The three Toa got up, and hugged one another deeply. Fairon hugged Jareroden first, patting his comrade on the back. He then hugged Aquila. He then turned towards his comrades. "I'm sorry," he began, but he could not continue speaking to his friends as he started crying. Aquila comforted the Toa of Light. "It is alright. We will complete our mission, no matter what the cost," she attempted to comfort him. Jareroden confirmed, "we will."

"Thank you," Fairon responded.

And then, with a heavy heart, the Toa of Light walked out of the bridge one last time. He opened the door of the central stairway, calmly walking down one last time, before taking a brief pause to stare at the battleship that he had called his battleship.

This was the battleship they received from Turaga Herax, as they were about to go on their mission. This battleship, was the battleship in which Fairon and Krataxus had their first great adventure, the mission to the Nui Tower. Once again, this ship was at the Nui Tower, although for very different reasons.

He continued walking, every step becoming harder and harder, before finally arriving at the cargo hatch. His former best friend stretched out his arms at the sight of the Toa of Light, looking delighted to welcome him.

"Ah, Fairon," he began in a very delighted, almost dreamy tone, "welcome back!" he roared across the humongous hangar, his voice echoing thunderously.

The dark Toa walked up to the Toa of Light, before finally, weirdly, hugging him, and patting him on the back. "It has been so long," he said. It was all a very weird, dizzying sensation for Fairon, who tried to keep his head cool as he hugged his best-friend-turned-enemy. The dark Toa let go, and looked the Toa of Light in the eye.

"You and I have some very special talk to do, Fairon," he said threateningly, before turning around to walk back into the large room.

In the bridge, Jareroden and Aquila looked at each other, and into each other's eyes. The eyes of both the Toa were watery with tears, before they finally fell into each other's arms, crying out loud as they realised it might be the last moment they would ever see each other.

"I will miss you," Aquila lamented to the Toa of Psionics while tears were streaming down her mask. Jareroden silently whispered, "so will I." while the two continued hugging each other lovingly in the middle of the bridge. Before finally letting go for real, the two looked each other in the eye, tears still streaming down their face.

"I will be back," Jareroden promised the Toa of Water, who once again hugged him before finally letting go. "We have to go," she told him, and he nodded calmly as he followed her out of the bridge, onto the central stairway of the Titan-I.

Holding hands, the two walked through the central corridors of their spacecraft, out of the central stairway and, finally, into the cargo loading bay. There, right up ahead, the cargo hatch lay. Still holding hands, the two walked up to it courageously, to be greeted by the sight of an electronically handcuffed Fairon, an army of Undead soldiers, and, finally, Krataxus.

The Toa of Fire stood there, laughing sarcastically.

"How romantic," his voice boomed through the hangar, "two Toa, loving each other? I almost didn't expect it!" The dark Toa roared at the two, as he burst out laughing. It was a cackle, maniacal and crazed in its sound. The skeletal creatures, having remained silent up until that point, suddenly started joining their master in his laughter, filling the room with the cold, hollow sound of an army of dead creatures "laughing".

"Capture them."

Two of the four Undead next to Krataxus made their way up the docking ramp towards the Toa, calm as ever and no longer laughing. Clenching one another's hands tightly before the dark creatures came up to them, Jareroden and Aquila wished each other a final goodbye. Then, the Undead finally violently took hold of Jareroden and Aquila, separating them in a most gruesome way. Jareroden screamed and resisted the cold hard grip of a dead hand, but it was no use resisting. Aquila screamed, begging for him not to resist the Undead.

In the back, Krataxus' laugh got ever louder, cackling in manic fashion at the sheer emotions the two were showing for one another. His lack of breathe from the heavy laughing made that he barely managed to roar the words "is it not pathetic?" at his audience, who laughed even louder at the dark Toa's remark.

Finally, with the struggle stopped, the two Toa were firmly in the iron grip of the Undead that had captured them. The creatures slowly walked down the loading ramp, before ending up in front of their commander, who looked at the two Toa with hatred and pity in his face.

He walked towards Aquila, and looked her straight in the eye. She attempted to evade his fierce red eyes, until he grabbed her face and forced her to look back into his eyes. "Oh, how beautiful your face is," he began, rubbing his hand across her face. Jareroden, in the back, tried desperately to resist the grip he was in, screaming.

"Silence!" Krataxus commanded, and the Undead creature placed its cold, skeletal white hand on Jareroden's mouth, effectively silencing him.

Krataxus turned towards the Toa of Water again, looking her straight in the eye while running his hands down her arms. "Oh, your arms. Such beauty," he then took a brief pause, spotting a scar on her arm. "Oh, what is that?" he asked in a soft tone, "have they hurt your arm?"

She responded merely by spitting in the dark Toa's face.

This infuriated the red-armoured one, whose eyes turned a fiercer shade of red as he charged his fists with Dark Fire. He then slapped her on the left side of her face. A truly horrifying sound, shaking Fairon to his very core. Jareroden tried to scream desperately, but all that could be heard of his despairing cries was a muffled "hmph!" sound.

The slap had left a burning, dark mark on the left side of the Toa of Water's mask. She looked into the fierce red eyes with hatred and contempt.

"I hate you," Aquila said in a truly contemptuous tone. She was coughing up some blood while doing it as well.

Krataxus merely laughed.

"Look at her," he sarcastically remarked, "look at her puny face. As if she could ever provide any kind of meaningful resistance to us!" he roared through the room. The dark creatures started laughing again. The same hollow, dead laugh they had given before. Krataxus himself, remained perfectly still, while cracking a most hideous smile. He then turned around, grabbed Fairon, and turned towards his legions of Undead.

"Take the lovers away!" his thunderous voice boomed through the hangar, as the two skeletal creatures solidified their grip on the two Toa, and took them away. Finally, Krataxus faced Fairon, and looked the Toa of Light in his fierce green eyes.

"You're coming with me."

Chapter Fourteen[]

The sound of footsteps of clawed feet echoes throughout the metallic corridors of the tremendous space fortress, clanging with every next step. Throughout these corridors, two skeletal white creatures, their bodies nearly entirely black and white, with empty red eyes, walked ahead of a pair of Toa.

The first of the Toa was tall and slender and had a pair of wings attached to his back. His armour was red and orange, his mask orange, and his eyes a fiery shade of red, betraying the being's fierce and unforgiving nature.

The other Toa, slightly less tall in stature, had white, gold and silver armour. His matte golden Kanohi Kualsi had become almost as iconic as his name itself. He was Fairon. Toa of Light, and now a prisoner of his adversary, Krataxus.

They were now leaving the tremendous hangar, where the Titan-I was now situated, far behind them, onwards into a system of corridors that stretched throughout the entire space fortress. The first thing Fairon could not help but notice, was the sheer amount of windows on the left and right, providing those who happened to be in the corridors a peek into hangars, shipping factories, and other kinds of machinery.

Nice showmanship, Fairon thought sarcastically, as he looked into the large hangar where the Titan-II was situated. It had been filled, like the other hangar, with lines upon lines of Undead soldiers, standing perfectly symmetrical and perfectly still, while groups of Undead were loading and unloading cargo onto the large spacecraft.

Taking a sharp turn to the left, the group walked onwards into another system of corridors, their floors the exact same dull matte grey as the floors before, and the walls the same shades of metallic grey. The only difference, though, was the notable lack of windows in this corridor.

Arriving at the long corridor's very end, the group stopped in front of a large, round elevator door, where an Undead creature extended its hand to press the button with its skeletal white finger. After a ping, the doors slid open to reveal a large, luxurious elevator made of steel and glass. The Undead creature pressed a button to ascend many floors upwards. The elevator doors closed, and the structure shot up at once, ascending the levels of the Nui Tower-space fortress hybrid at immense speeds. Throughout the ride, Fairon could not help but notice the even greater variety of structures, including what looked like a tremendous spaceship under construction, and an even larger energy reactor-like structure.

Shortly afterwards, though, Fairon could see nothing outside of the elevator anymore. Nothing but stone and pieces of reinforced Protodermis Steel. The Undead in front of Fairon's was not unlike the other vile creatures he had seen up until that point. Its body was rather large and Toa-like, and its face was white and resembled a viciously mutated version of the head of an unmasked Toa, with extremely large, skeletal-white teeth forming a huge mouth that could easily bite off the head of a Matoran. The soldier carried a blank expression, staring emptily at whatever it was that lay in front of it. Its arms were muscular and skeletal white, like its face, while its legs were extremely skinny, like real bones. Its clawed feet were blackened by the Darkness in a fashion resembling its black hands. Like its brethren, this Undead soldier carried a dark sword in its right hand, and a skeletal white shield in its left hand. Despite this, the dark creatures relied more on their raw physical power than on actual combat strategy, making it rather easy for a trained swordsman to take them out.

Suddenly, Fairon shot awake again, as he noticed that the elevator had started slowing down, before finally grinding to a halt altogether. The large doors slid open as silently as they did before, and one of the two Undead left the elevator with the two Toa.

In these higher levels of the Nui Tower of Time, the Toa of Light noticed a lack of the dull structure and aesthetics of the lower levels of the space fortress. Instead, the corridors around these parts were ornate, and often built using a mix of reinforced Protodermis Steel and the original ornate stone that had made up the Nui Tower. The lighting on the ceiling was slick and futuristic, and the ceiling was a pleasantly looking mirroring grey.

But that was not all Fairon could notice. The corridors were now, instead of long and straight, now constantly going round, indicating they were now in the Tower itself rather than the base structures below it. Though he attempted to find traces of the original's superstructure, the white-armoured one could not find much besides the occasional remnants of the original's stone.

Suddenly, the skeletal white monstrosity ahead of them stopped dead in its tracks, in front of a bland steel door. Krataxus walked up to the creature, and looked it in the eyes. For a brief moment, Fairon believed he could see fear in the eyes of the former Toa of Fire. Seconds later, though, the dark Toa nodded at the Undead soldier, and it nodded back, after which it entered a code into the code panel next to the door. The code panel made a small noise, and, after a click, the door opened.

Finally, Krataxus walked up to Fairon, and, grabbing him by the neck, he threw him into the small room that lay ahead of him. The Undead creature closed the door, giving the dark Toa the opportunity to speak to the heinous criminal.

The cell was large, and located in the superstructure of the tremendous Nui Tower of Time. Its outer walls were made of the damaged ornate stone, only occasionally supplemented by reinforced Protodermis Steel, while it was arched all around. Inside the arches, windows had been placed, providing a pristine view of the vast expanses of space that lay beyond the fortress.

Though Fairon knew what was coming was not going to be good, he could not help but feel a little overwhelmed by the regime's ability to maintain the superstructure of the former Nui Tower of Time. Incredible... he thought, looking around him into the room.

"So..."

Never before had Krataxus' voice come as such a displeasing thing to hear to Fairon, not even over the communicator in their ships. The dark Toa's eyes were as fierce as ever before, and he was clearly smiling. He then continued, "we meet again, at last."

"This was not the way I had hoped to meet you, Kratus," Fairon tried to begin, but, in a fierce movement, the dark Toa punched his adversary, throwing the Toa of Light off balance, before finally falling onto the ground. Slowly, the red-armoured one walked up to Fairon, and his red eyes looked fiercely into the green eyes of the Toa of Light. He then opened his mouth and, began, subdued, "I...", before finally exploding into a fiery "am KRATAXUS".

The dark Toa's voice sounded so fiery, so filled with rage, anger, and Darkness, that it made the Toa of Light feel not only revolting, but absolutely violated by its sound. In a split second, Fairon threw up. The dark Toa's voice was nauseating, worse than even the breathe of the one disgusting warrior Fairon had faced on Estron.

At the sight of Fairon throwing up, Krataxus merely sneered. Pitiful, he thought, to have an adversary who cannot even stand the weight of the powers of Darkness. Was this the being who had nearly defeated him all this time ago, on Ashatan? He began speaking again in a softer, lighter tone, more calm and subdued than the extreme rage he had just showed.

"I have been waiting, Fairon," he began, before continuing, slowly getting louder with every word, "waiting for a very long time to get here, to be able to confront you with your misdeeds and crimes," he slowly began yelling now, "your crimes," he was now screaming in rage again, "against the universe!" The dark Toa was breathing quickly, signifying the amount of adrenaline going through his body.

Fairon now had the time to get up again and, slowly doing so, found himself standing face to face with Krataxus. He still felt the numbing pain of the punch, but it was far less than the nausea he felt at his former best friend's violent rage. The dark Toa, looking at Fairon, continued, "you, Fairon," he started, slowly walking towards the Toa of Light, "you will face..." he unsheathed a small, pointy dagger, "justice!" he yelled as he slashed across Fairon's face.

The Toa of Light screamed in pain as the cut marked a scar into the golden Kanohi Kualsi, right through his left eye. He took a step back, covering his face in an attempt to protect himself from his adversary's fiery rage.

Taking advantage of the crippled state of his enemy, the Toa of Fire landed a kick squarely in Fairon's chest, throwing him onto the ground with a loud thud. He cried out in pain as he felt the shockwaves of landing on the ground resonate throughout his body.

Krataxus, in the meantime, was laughing. The dark Toa calmly walked towards his adversary, step by step. The sound of the footsteps of his clawed feet drew ever closer to Fairon's ears, but the Toa of Light did not dare open his eyes. He kept his eyes closed firmly, and simply kept listening until the sound of the footsteps was barely a centimetre away from his ears.

And then all sound in the room stopped.

The red-armoured Toa of Darkness simply stood there, looking at his adversary. "Look at you," he began in a biting tone, "look at how puny you have become after all this time." The words did nothing for Fairon, who merely kept his eyes shut tight. "The last time we confronted each other on Ashatan, you barely lived to tell the tale!" he roared, laughing sarcastically. He then continued, "And now, you're back again. Once again, we confronted each other near Ashatan," he took a deep breath, filling the room with silence only briefly, before continuing in his biting tone, "the only difference being that you were severely outgunned in every way imaginable."

He turned around, no longer facing Fairon but facing the wall in front of him. "Now isn't it sad?" he ends his speech, not really awaiting any answers. Suddenly, though, the wounded Toa of Light takes a deep breath, before finally starting to speak, "you want to know what's worse than your lies?" he asked bitingly, before continuing "the fact that, at the end of the day, you genuinely believe that what you are saying is the truth."

The dark Toa turned around in a flash, eyes fiery red, and grabbed his former best friend by the throat. He punched his nemesis into the wall, and looked him straight into his green eyes with his own fiery red eyes. "You, Fairon," he growled, "you do not see what I see. You do not hear what I hear, and you do not believe that the universe actually needs me." Fairon shrugged, "I would not be so sure of that," prompting the dark Toa to land another punch in his golden-coloured but scarred mask. He screamed in pain.

Finally, the dark Toa let go of his best-friend-turned-enemy, who slowly slid back onto the ground, limp. He turned around to face the windows gazing out into the endlessness of space. "To think I was considering offering you to join me to rule this universe together."

The limp Fairon laughed sarcastically. "What'd you expect?" he began mockingly, "someone like me to join a traitor like you?"

Krataxus snapped. Screaming loudly, the dark Toa turned around in a flash, while lashing at the Toa of Light with his sword once again, at the same spot as the other scar was already located. He then kicked the Toa into the wall again. All the poor being did was scream and writhe in agony, not even giving the slightest amount of resistance against what Krataxus was doing.

Finally coming to a stop, the dark Toa takes a step back, panting heavily. His fiercely red eyes widened with rage and anger at his rival. He began screaming, "pitiful!", but Fairon did not do anything to respond. In response, Krataxus landed another full kick into the chest. The Toa of Light no longer had much air to scream, only moaning in pain and agony.

Krataxus turned towards the door, and started inputting the password. "If you think your team still supports you," he began sarcastically, "even they think you're a pitiful excuse of a Toa."

That's it, Fairon thought. Closing his eyes, the Toa of Light feels the greatest amount of rage and energy sear through his body, through his very soul. Closing his eyes even more firmly, he focuses everything on channelling that anger into unleashing an enormous amount of energy. Particles of Light and Darkness start swirling around the fingertips of his clenched fists as he concentrates ever greater amounts of energy towards them. At last, he places his feet firmly on the ground, ready to do what he has to.

"ENOUGH!" he screams as he jumps fully at his nemesis, unleashing an enormous blast of Light and Darkness at the dark Toa of Fire. Krataxus flies through the cell before landing into the wall with a loud thud, dropping his sword.

The dark Toa writhes in agony at the sheer force of the blast that has just hit him. Slowly opening his eyes, Krataxus tried to look around, only to find himself hit in the face by another punch from his nemesis. And another. After ten or-so punches, Fairon takes a brief pause, panting heavily and looking exhausted.

Seeing a window of opportunity, Krataxus gets up and attempts to assault Fairon. The two step back, flinging elemental blasts of Light and Darkness back and forth at one another while trying to throw punches in-between every elemental blast. Krataxus charges his fist with dark fire powers, and throws another punch at Fairon, who ducks.

With a loud explosion, the door of the cell is blasted open by the sheer force of Krataxus' punch. Suddenly, alarm sirens start going off in the cell and the corridor, and a computerised voice begins announcing "warning: cells compromised" repeatedly. Krataxus kicks Fairon in the chest, forcing his nemesis backward, before opening a portal of Darkness.

"This is not done yet," he growls menacingly at Fairon, before disappearing into the Darkness itself, away from the cell and away from Fairon.

"NO" Fairon roared as he desperately attempted to jump into the portal to go after the red-armoured one. But, despite his efforts, he failed and landed face-first on the cold stone walls of the cell. With the portal closed, the Toa of Light looks around in a panicked way for an escape route, before noticing the sword Krataxus dropped when he was hit by the first blast.

Picking up the sword, the Toa slowly walked out of the room, looking around into the corridors for traces of the Undead guard that had been guarding the cell. With no traces, the Toa ran out of his cell, into the round corridors, while attempting to find an elevator.

In a blur of movement, an Undead guard appeared out of a portal of Darkness behind him, and, in what seemed to be a streak of luck, the distinctive crack of the guard's clawed feet resounded through the hallway, giving the Toa a moment of opportunity to turn around to see what was there. The creature immediately attempted to strangle Fairon, and managed to get its skeletal arms around his neck. Struggling to get out of the monstrosity's grip, Fairon kicked its legs desperately, only for his feet to hit unyielding Protodermis steel. He gained nothing but throbbing pain as his feet reeled from the impact.

As he struggled, he felt the bony hands tighten their grip around his neck until, despaired and panicking, he channelled his remaining Light energy into his hands, pushed the guard back, and proceeded to decapitate it using his energy blast.

Picking up the sword, Fairon proceeded to run onwards, doing his best to ignore the alarm sirens loudly screaming in the background and the computerised voice thunderously announcing its warning of a "dangerous intruder" over and over again. It did nothing to annoy the Toa of Light, who knew his destination was the cell block in the lower levels of the Tower.

Finally, coming at a turn to the left, the Toa noticed the great elevator door though which he had come before. With nary an Undead soldier in sight, Fairon pressed, nay, jammed the elevator button repeatedly, every press another waste of what little energy he had left. After all, the elevator would come of its own accord at its own time, not speeding up at one's very command. For what seemed like an eternity, the Toa of Light looked around, carefully scanning his areas for traces of the dark soldiers.

Finally, a beep.

The doors of the elevator slid open, but revealed something Fairon had hoped not to see: half a dozen Undead were now directly confronting him. The first soldier lashed out rather clumsily with his sword at the Toa, hindered by the cramped space of the elevator. The Toa of Light parried it and then stabbed the dark creature in the area where its heart would be, after which it immediately dissipated. With the rest of the squad clumsily fumbling around in the elevator, providing the Toa a window of opportunity which he made good use of, ridding himself of the rest of the squad rather easily.

They, too, dissipated into the darkness with nothing but a dark puff and the sound of a splash.

He turned around, only to see another horde of Undead soldiers racing towards the elevator door loudly. Fairon rammed the elevator buttons to the lowest levels, the ones marking "prison cells", like he had never before. Just before the horde could reach the elevator, the doors shut tight, hacking a single Undead creature that had managed to get through in half. It screamed agonisingly, before finally dissolving into Darkness.

And then, silence filled the elevator. An eerie, ghastly silence. Fairon gazed out of the elevator glass, into the elements of the superstructure that the Undead hordes and the empire had modified in order to maintain the Tower and its ability to stand.

The elevator shot past a majestic factory hall, with production lines and assembly machinery lined up left and right, manned solely by ghastly, white-armoured Undead Matoran slaves. He saw soldiers and smaller slaves carrying materiel from one place to the other, some working on the production lines, producing reinforced Protodermis steel plates, and a whole host of other activities including one manning a rather complex machine to assemble larger plates together.

It was a truly harrowing sight, all these creatures at work like that. Fairon could only wonder how great a power it would need to force such great numbers of Undead creatures to be able to perform such complex tasks efficiently and without giving in to their desires and instincts to create and spread Darkness.

Shooting past the factory hall, the Toa of Light caught a brief glimpse of an intensely bright white ball of energy. The Energy Core, doubtlessly. Encased in glass, like a ship's reactor core was, and with thick cables running left, right, up and down all the way throughout the room, the chamber was essentially the same as the reactor core room of the Titan-I, only several times larger than its counterpart in the battleship. The presence of the highly advanced piece of technology provided a stark contrast to the primitive stone superstructure upon which the Nui Tower of Time had originally been built, and left Fairon even more impressed of the capabilities of the empire and Krataxus' forces.

Afterwards, the elevator shot even further down, the window showing nothing but old stone and Protodermis steel. The Toa of Light looked onto the screen showing the floor number, which was slowly going below the surface of the asteroid. The elevator finally came to a halt at -29. The doors slid open to reveal corridors that were remarkably less advanced than the corridors on hangar level, and even less advanced than those located in the superstructure of the Tower itself. Carved into the hollowed-out, tremendous asteroid, these corridors only had a grey metal floor and lights carved into the walls. Besides these artificial attributes, though, they were considerably more natural than many other parts of the fortress.

The hallways in the lower part of the fortress were eerily silent, with not even the technology making any noise. The air inside the asteroid was deadly cold, almost unbearable. To his left and right, Fairon could only see a near endless network of hallways, passages and more T-junctions. It was an endless labyrinth, with every junction and turn looking similar to the previous one.

The Toa of Light sneaked around the corner of the T-junction to the left, away from the elevator from whence he came. Though the hallways were silent, he could feel the Darkness trying to eat away at him like it did during their mission to the summit of the Tower. A nasty, gnawing feeling, giving the white and gold-armoured Toa a nasty headache. Desperately trying to concentrate, he found himself at another T-junction, this time with what seemed to be a roadmap on the wall.

Scanning the map briefly, the Toa of Light could not help but notice one terrible truth about this floor: it was littered with cell blocks left and right. In the middle, several T-junctions away from where he was, Fairon saw a location marked "CONTROL ROOM" on the map. "One turn to the left...another to the left...then to the right..." he mumbled to himself in an attempt to memorise the route towards the room.

Suddenly though, he heard footsteps of clawed feet echo throughout the room, while the air filled with a cold that could only signify one thing.

The presence of even more of those guards.

Fairon looked to his right and, to his horror, saw a horde of Undead creatures patrolling the area, looking around themselves in an attempt to intelligently "scan" the area for the presence of unwanted beings.

As quick and as silently as he possibly could, the Toa of Light snuck away from the map to the next T-junction where, to his shock, he found another horde of the skeletal monstrosities blocking his pathway. Before he could sneak away, though, the dark soldiers took notice of the white-armoured Toa. He felt the cold hands of Darkness laying its hands upon his shoulders in a fashion similar to what old friends would do after not having seen each other in a long time.

A truly harrowing, nasty feeling of discomfort seared through Fairon's body.

And then he took a sprint.


A single eye stared at the blank, metallic grey walls of the cell in front of it. The other robotic eye attempted to scan it in a vain attempt to find anything even remotely useful in the case of an escape attempt. Not even something like a drain pipe. Not even the bed, which was made of the same reinforced Protodermis steel as the rest of this technological nightmare, could be ripped off the wall, for it was part of the wall.

Fyxan felt like he was going mad.

Since Krataxus and his vile creatures had left the cell, the warrior had sat on his bench. Silently. He wondered, whether or not Fairon, Jareroden and Aquila had gotten his distress call. Whether or not they had actually come to get him. Or if they had been blown to smithereens by a Krataxus who had finally, somehow managed to uncover the location of their base which, in hindsight, might not even have been all that hard.

After all, it was a rather large battleship located in the middle of an asteroid field. If that was not noticeable by an even larger, more advanced battleship like Krataxus', then they must have hidden it very well to escape notice.

No, Fyxan thought, Krataxus must have been playing games in not having discovered us. And yet, another side of his thoughts kept telling him, that can't have been. We only went hiding there after our attempted resistance operations on Estron went terribly wrong.

Despite the protests of his conscience, he couldn't help but believe that Krataxus really couldn't find the base after all. If he had been able to do so, he would have found them far sooner.

And yet, why would Krataxus not have chased them after Ashatan? It would have been very easy for such a large battleship to chase a pair of small shuttles to wherever they were going, especially given the sheer size of the spacecraft and the fact they were also able to determine and hack their way into the PA systems of Fyxan's shuttle. Seemed illogical then, for Krataxus, not to chase them down. Or, did he want to confront them in the Nui Tower, to take them back to where they started and then finish it all off himself?

Though all these questions entered the being's head, Fyxan did not have any answers. He could only wish to have them.


A green-armoured Toa of Air sat silently on a reinforced Protodermis steel bed, hurdled against the wall in silence after speaking the unspeakable. He was hiding his face from the view of the outer window, so as not to embarrass himself to onlookers.

What onlookers?

The Toa knew there was nobody going to come for him here. He, along with Fyxan, Jareroden, Aquila and Shadon, had been sent on a mission to Kraka Minor, a forbidding planet orbiting the black hole that used to be Dracia, in the heavily outdated Titan-I battleship. There, a mysterious Turaga named Herax awaited them, informing the team that "a great danger haunts the universe" and that "the flow of Time is at risk". Though Lev had known most of them by names, and Fyxan was his companion during his Combat Master training, the team had been given very little time to get to know one another before what was deemed to be a "mission of utmost importance" by his superiors.

From the very outset, Lev had been sceptical of the orders that his superiors had given him. Sending him to such a forbidding location? On what has been deemed an "extremely important mission"? To be briefed there by a madman of a Turaga that obsessively spoke about the "spectre of Darkness haunting the universe once again"? He knew that Darkness existed, but had it not disappeared again after Zirix betrayed Hendrax on Dracia?

And that was only the beginning of the ridiculous situation.

Just as Lev thought it couldn't get any worse, Herax, the Turaga, introduced the team of trained warriors to two rookies. By no means were Kratus and Fairon terrible persons, nor were their personalities, but their combat skills were just sad in comparison to the others, all of whom had had some degree of combat training or another. After receiving only very limited training in basic Combat and sword fighting skills, Fairon and Kratus were integrated into the team.

Never before had the otherwise calm Toa of Air been so thoroughly annoyed by what he deemed to be a series of mishaps and terrible choices.

If that hadn't been enough for them, the Turaga finally explained their mission and just why they had been sent to such a forbidding planet in such a location. Their ship had been upgraded secretly, and they were to go to the Nui Tower of Time to prevent the flow of Time from stopping.

Madness, Lev had thought of the idea. He'd been very vocal about it. "How, in the name of Kronos, is a ragtag bunch of warriors like us going to prevent the flow of Time from stopping, at the very Nui Tower of Time itself?!" he'd told the Turaga angrily and confusedly. None of it seemed well-planned or thought out, at all. In fact, it was utterly insane, and Lev could not help but feel terrible about it.

The Turaga, attempting to calm the Toa of Air, simply told him that they were the only ones in the universe capable of doing such a thing. Was he out of his mind?

Before he could even think of an answer to that very question, the Toa of Air was awoken loudly by the sound of a blaring siren that had started ringing throughout the cell block, while a computerised voice announced "Intruder Alert! Initiate evacuation process immediately" repeatedly.

In an instant, as the alert messages started, the reinforced Protodermis steel door of his cell slid open, providing him view into the open cell block. What was this? He looked out of the cell, only to find Jareroden sitting in a cell on the other side.

What the...Lev thought as he looked out of his cell door into the open area of the cell block.

Chapter Fifteen[]

Left...right...left...right...

The sounds of panting and hurried footsteps on cold reinforced Protodermis steel were drowned out only by an extremely loud siren and insistent computerised voice warning everyone in the facility of an intruder. Fierce green eyes scanned his doors left and right, desperately attempting to remember the route to the cell block.

While running, the Toa could not help but notice opened doors left and right of his. Strange though it may seem, once the alert had been activated, all these doors were opened right up, leaving behind eerily empty rooms and making the way towards the cell block all the more confusing.

Fairon then stopped briefly, taking some much-needed rest at another junction. The sound of him panting echoed through the corridors.

Throughout his sprint, images and sounds of his previous escape from this haunting place filled his head. The black hole...Krataxus' fiery eyes during his attack on the summit...the roars of the Primal Beast in the background as the team ran for their lives while the Tower was collapsing all around them...they were all coming back to him now, though he desperately tried to repress the hallucinations. No looking back now...he kept repeating to himself.

Finally, he got back up, and took a turn to the right into the door to the room which he believed was the cell block.

The room he arrived in, though, did not resemble anything like a cell block at all. Rather, it resembled some kind of control room, dimly lit, with an array of consoles and control stations in front of what appeared to be a darkened window. He took a step closer, the alarm sirens still echoing in the distance behind him.

The control panel looked like a mass-manufactured one, with its keyboard in the same layout as the keyboards on the other consoles throughout the Tower, and its screen the exact same size.

It could have been positioned in the bridge of the Titan-I battleship to operate a certain component of the ship, for that matter.

The computer on the control station was still turned on, and the Toa of Light took a closer look at it. Opening the keyboard on the touch screen, Fairon typed in several commands.

Nothing happened.

When he typed the command "lights.activ" into the input line and pressed enter, though, the lights in the room beyond the window turned on one by one, until the entire hall had been illuminated.

The lights revealed an immensely long, spacious hall, probably extending several hundred metres beyond the control room, lit by extremely large lights situated on the ceiling and on the walls left and right. Besides these lights, Fairon noticed something rather unusual in the walls: an array of blue lights was situated along the wall all the way from the control room to the very back of the hall. They glowed eerily against the sterile lights that provided the main lighting in the room.

A zip.

To the right of the Toa of Light, a small door had slid open, providing access to the hall itself. Almost in a trance-like state, Fairon proceeded to walk through the doorway, ending up on a balcony overlooking the room. A stairway was situated besides it, and Fairon proceeded to descend it.

His footsteps echoed through the large room as he descended the stairs rather calmly.

Finally setting foot on the metallic grey floor, the Toa of Light now found himself some eight metres below the platform on which the control room was situated. To his left and right, he could see that the bluish glow came from some kind of weird, stasis tube-like objects, all lined up perfectly across the wall, with three stacks of them going all the way from the back of the room to near the control room.

Careful as ever, Fairon took another step, closer to one of the objects lining the wall, curious as to what lay inside these strange containers.

It was a body.

The Toa of Light recoiled in sheer horror once he saw it. The body, or more accurately, armour, was slightly larger than that of an average Toa, and silver and black in colour. Its mask, or what appeared to be its face, had four fang-like attachments attached to its bottom, giving it a very eerie, almost deathlike aesthetic. Its eyes were closed and lifeless, its hands skeletal and nail-thin, exposing the body's bone structure. Its fingertips were accentuated by sharp, bony claws.

The sight of the body was harrowing, and Fairon chilled as he realised that every single one of these containers in the room contained the exact same body. He took a step back, his fierce green eyes widening. "What the..." was all he could say as he noticed just how many bodies and containers really were in this room.


In a flash, the cell door of Aquila's cell had opened up.

She was drowsy and almost asleep when it happened, a very loud alarm ringing throughout the facilities, while a computerised voice announced the same warning of a "dangerous intruder" continuously. The sheer volume of the sound was enough to wake the Toa of Water in an instant, and she quickly sat upright, looking around her. Her eyes were widened.

In front of her, the Toa noticed that the cell door was open, revealing the cell block that laid beyond it. On the other side of the cell block, she saw Shadon, almost as baffled as she was, staring into the cell block. The alarms, in the meantime, kept blaring continuously.

In what seemed to be a blur of movement, the Toa of Water got up and walked out of her cell, ending up right in the middle of the cell block. She had no weapons, and all she could rely on were her hands to generate her water powers.

Suddenly, she was greeted by a familiar voice.

"Sure is a nice place isn't it?" Lev said in a rather sarcastic manner. Aquila jumped up, forcing the Toa of Air to laugh out loud. "It's just me," he said jokingly.

Despite his attempts at cracking a joke, though, their situation was anything but funny.

Soon enough, Fyxan stood besides the two as well. Then Shadon joined, and, finally, Jareroden walked out of his cell. In what seemed like a brief moment taking an eternity, the group started hugging one another.

Even Fyxan cried. "I..." he sobbed, "am very glad to see you here." The tears from his single eye were running down his mask. Lev nodded calmly and silently in agreement. "Yep..." was all Shadon could mutter in response.

Finally, Jareroden and Aquila hugged each other intimately. She felt tears running down his face, as she patted the Toa of Psionics on the back. "I'm glad you're back," she whispered in his ear.

He simply smiled warmly, and closed his eyes briefly.

Finally, letting go of each other again, the two rejoined the group.

"So..." Fyxan began, "where's Fairon?"


All of the bodies in the room were perfectly still, all in the same position in their pods, encased in a bluish fluid. Every single body the Toa of Light looked at, looked identical to the previous one, and every single one of them was just as harrowing as the previous one.

Why? Fairon wondered, why would anyone create such a facility of lifeless bodies?

The chamber was enormous, still extending hundreds of metres from where Fairon stood, and the Toa of Light's steps echoed throughout whenever he walked. The body pods, all left and right on the walls, served as an eerie backdrop to the scene where Fairon was.

The eerie silence of the room was abruptly broken when a horde of Undead soldiers stormed into the room, shouting and screaming unintelligibly. The horde of white-armoured soldiers charged steadily at the Toa of Light, who hastily scanned his environs in search of a place to go to without having to confront the wave of beings charging at him.

No way out, the white and golden-armoured one thought, staring silently at the Undead horde coming at him. "Well then," he muttered to himself, "I guess I'll have to go through, then."

The Toa of Light began to focus all of his energy into his hands and his sword, and started to sprint in the direction of the Undead warriors, who began screaming louder and louder as the Toa neared them. He readied himself, took a deep breath, breathed out, and lashed out with all of his energies in his sword at once.

Creating a wave of Light energies cutting straight through the room, Fairon cut through the first line of the wave efficiently. Screaming, they dissipated into the Darkness from whence they came.

Seeing a window of opportunity to escape the room, the Toa of Light unleashed several more elemental blasts to cut through the wave and open up a pathway for himself towards the stairway and the balcony. As quick as he had opened up the pathway, though, the skeletal soldiers managed to fill the gap, pushing the Toa of Light back into the room once more.

Realising he had very little energy left to fight the hordes, the Toa quickly attempted to scan the area to escape.

The containers...


Eyes of an astonishingly powerful, blue hue were scanning a dark, dimly-lit corridor deep inside the innards of an asteroid, scanning the area for danger, as well as for possible signs of a certain Toa of Light. Though the corridors were opened up and empty, the Toa to whom the eyes belonged felt anything but easy in the gigantic fortress. The shadowy whispers of Darkness could be faintly heard in the distance, as could its cold grip on the universe be felt.

Taking another quick look in order to ensure the corridors were really empty, the Toa of Psionics turned to the rest of the team, who were behind him still, inside the cell block where they had been imprisoned mere moments ago.

He turned towards the rest of the team, and started talking in a hushed, quieter tone than usual. "Okay," he began sternly, "we must remain as quiet as possible in these corridors. Though they are empty at the moment, nobody knows when they will fill up with Undead again," he took a deep breath, before Fyxan took over from the Toa of Psionics, continuing, "we are going to search for our companion, fellow warrior and, most importantly of all, our friend, Fairon, deep in the innards of this large fortress-" before the warrior of Light could finish his sentence, explosions and muffled screams sounded in the distance.

"Get down," Fyxan whispered forcefully, as he and the rest of the team got as low as they could on the floor. Soon enough, the sound of the screams and explosions stopped. It did not do any good to put the team at ease, though. The opposite, would rather be true. Lev, the Toa of Air, still shaken by his grim encounter with Krataxus in the cell, cried silently in fear. Aquila, taking notice, walked towards Lev and gave him a warm hug. "We'll be fine. At least, as fine as we can be here," she whispered to the Toa of Air in an attempt to comfort him. Continuing to hug him, she turned towards Fyxan and Jareroden.

"So, where do we go from here?"

"To be perfectly honest," Fyxan started, "I wish I knew. The only thing I know we can do is try to find our weapons, or any weapon, so as to defend ourselves from any possible ambush by the guards." The look in his eyes betrayed how desperate he, too, was feeling. Jareroden only silently nodded in agreement with Fyxan, unable to formulate his own response. Suddenly, Shadon began to speak up, "Fyxan," the bulky Toa began, as Fyxan immediately turned towards his friend.

"Yes?"

"Does your scanner work here?" the Toa of Iron inquired, to which Fyxan merely nodded, asking, "how come?" Shadon took a deep breath, before continuing "Well..." he paused briefly, "you could scan the area for a possible presence of Darkness, as well as for the presence of computer systems, no?" Fyxan nodded quietly, before turning towards Jareroden. "Jareroden, could you check the corridors for possible Undead soldiers and other creatures? If they are empty, we are going to leave, and I will scan the area for possible Undead activity, activity from other life-forms, as well as for the presence of computer systems nearby."

Jareroden nodded, got up, and slowly walked towards the door of the cell block again. Turning his head around the corner of the door, the Toa of Psionics could neither see nor hear anything particularly suspicious. He turned around, nodded at Fyxan, who was now directly behind him, "We can go."

In an instant, the team began to move. Jareroden got out first, after him came Fyxan. Then came Shadon, gun at the ready for combat, carefully looking around. Then, finally, came Aquila and Lev, the latter happened to be more at peace again. Without their weapons, going out into a fortress like this felt uneasy and hard, especially given the fact the team now had to rely on brute elemental force. For this reason, Fyxan proceeded first, his elemental Light powers being the most effective in the fight against the Undead. Finally, looking around, Fyxan activated the scanner hidden in the replacement of his right eye.

He looked around, his scanner showing no signs of life-forms nor Undead creatures in the remotest distance. What he did see, however, was a computer room nearby. "There are no creatures in the area-" he was cut off before he could report his further findings, noting the presence of one or more life-forms in the area. "There are life-forms in the area, as well as a computer room nearby." He then turned towards the team.

"My suggestion now," he spoke up hurriedly, "would be to move towards the computer room first, before checking out the life-form or life-forms. Do we agree?" The rest of the team nodded in agreement, and they got on the move. Fyxan, keeping his robotic eye activated in order to be able to navigate through the complex system of corridors and T-junctions, walked quietly through the fortress, the rest of the team following him. Their footsteps resounded faintly through the eerily silent corridors.

Despite the utter silence, Shadon could not feel at ease in this massive system of corridors, bends and junctions. It only helped to make the Toa of Iron more and more paranoid for what was to come.

"To the left," Fyxan whispered, and the rest of the team followed on the T-junction to the left. Finally, entering another opened room, the team arrived in what seemed like a rather small control room, with camera screens left, right and centre showing what was going on.

"Lev, Jareroden," Fyxan spoke up sternly, and the two Toa turned towards him, "you three ensure you get into the computer systems and find any possible information on the location of Fairon within this fortress," the Toa nodded, and sat down behind computer screens within the room, beginning to type in several commands. Fyxan then turned towards his friend Shadon, "Shadon, you and I will guard the room, while Aquila keeps the oversight and relays any possible information from here to us, alright?"

Aquila nodded, and Fyxan and Shadon stepped out of the room into the corridor.

Jareroden sat down in the chair in front of the large computer screen in the control room. On-screen, a warning in bold red letters kept notifying the computer user of: "WARNING: Intruder sighted, initiate evacuation procedures at once" which significantly hindered the Toa of Psionics' concentration.

He attempted to type in several commands in order to crack the system and get past the alert warning, most of them to no avail. Looking to his left, the Toa noticed that his fellow Toa, Lev, was facing a similar issue with his own computer screen.

"It's nothing good, is it?" Jareroden sarcastically remarked, to which Lev replied with a simple "hmm," before continuing, "how about we try treating it like we treat our own ship's systems if it is in danger mode, locked and all that? I reckon the operating system is not too different from our own." To his surprise, Jareroden noticed that, indeed, the operating system of this computer was only slightly more updated than that of the Titan-I battleship.

Lev smiled.

He typed in the command "alertmessageterminate.init" and the entire computer system in front of him started to reinitialise itself. After several moments, the computer screen opened up and showed the camera screens properly again. Typing in a string of other commands, Lev attempted to find whether or not anything was going on at the floor they were in at that moment.

Nothing.

Several moments went by in silence in the room, with Lev and Jareroden attempting to dig into the camera's data in an attempt to find anything useful. Until, at one moment, Lev noticed there was a camera he had not opened yet. The room it showed was a control room not unlike the one they were in, but of a different layout. Rather than being surrounded by computer screens on all walls, this control room featured one computer system, and a large window in front of it, showing a darkened room ahead.

His curiosity triggered, the Toa of Air continued typing in a string of several more commands, before finally seeing what he had been trying to find all this time.

It was Fairon.


"Seems like old, eh?" the bulky Toa of Iron attempted to crack a joke at his friend, who merely nodded and laughed awkwardly. "Yep..." Fyxan said reluctantly, "just like the days when Kratus was still with us."

The sound of the name of their former friend, Kratus, hurt the warrior. He saw how a proud, strong and confident Toa of Fire had been turned into a depressed wreck by the workings of Darkness in the Toa. How the Toa of Fire, once a great warrior, became weaker and weaker the further the team got in their climb of the Nui Tower of Time. And then, the moment when it all happened. The futile confrontation with an enraged and out-of-control Temporus, Kratus' intervention, and the inevitable fall of the Tower. It all happened at the top of this huge fortress.

Suddenly, Fyxan shook up as he heard the sound of a voice in the distance shouting his name.

It was Aquila's.

"What's up, Aquila?" the being of Light attempted to sound confident, even though the tone of his voice had been anything but. "Well," the Toa of Water began, "Fairon was here."

Fyxan and Shadon turned around, looked at each other and immediately stormed back into the control room. "What?!" Shadon roared a little too loudly, prompting Fyxan to try to shush his friend into silence.

"Well," the Toa of Water began, "Fairon was on this floor several minutes ago, we found out-" "But where is he now" Fyxan promptly intervened the Toa of Water, who responded with an awkward and silent, "we think he's left this floor to make the climb."

The warrior's single blue eye widened, as he realised at once what they had to do. "Then we, too, are going to make the climb." The rest of the team silently looked at the warrior in anticipation of what was to come.

"Again."

Chapter Sixteen[]

Footsteps. Footsteps. Footsteps.

The only thought racing through the mind of the white and golden-armoured Toa of Light was that of footsteps, while he constantly hears his footsteps echoing through the immense reinforced Protodermis steel corridors of the higher levels of the enormous Nui Tower of Time. Though having managed to shake off the ambush inside the room earlier onwards, Fairon couldn't help but think something was utterly off with the room containing the enormous amount of pods.

The images of the body kept racing through his mind. The skeletal hands, the fang-like structures on the mask of the bodies, and the bodies' size, all the same across more than thousand bodies in one and the same room. Never before had the Toa of Light seen such a thing. It surprised him, it shocked him, and he was unable to determine what he should think about it.

What, Fairon thought, are they possibly going to use all of these bodies for? He coud not help it as the images of the bodies in the room continued racing through his head.

Finally, taking a sharp turn to the right, the Toa of Light arrived at another elevator door. The elevators in the fortress that had once been the Nui Tower of Time were very strange, especially when one was determined to head to the higher levels. Sometimes, an elevator would be used to go one or two floors higher as opposed to more. This made navigating the immense fortress harder and harder, especially as some elevators led to floors that did not have additional elevators going further upwards.

Strangely enough, since he escaped the ambush, the amount of Undead guards attempting to attack him had been remarkably low, especially given the fact that a state of emergency had been announced all over the fortress shortly afterwards. Yet, the absence of the guards, though helping Fairon recover strengths, made him feel even more uncomfortable than he had been would he have been fighting hordes of guards.

The elevator doors opened, and the Toa rushed in. He looked at the highest floor he could go to, and pressed its button, hoping it would bring him towards the top level. He raised his sword in preparation, and focused all of his energies into whatever it was that may come his way once the elevator doors would open at his destination. Zip.

The elevator doors slid open.


An eerie silence filled the summit of the tremendous Nui Tower of Time, as two unnaturally reddened eyes looked across the "sky", looking at the enormous black hole that once tore away at the Nui Tower, until the Universal Paralysis had become a fact.

Sitting on top of an enormous makeshift throne, made from the armour of fallen fighters, the remnants of destroyed battleships, and the remains of the Nui Tower itself, the enormous reptillian creature quietly meditated, his breath the only sound that prevented the summit from being completely, entirely silent.

That is, until the doors of the elevator behind him opened once again, and the reptillian being heard the crack of the footsteps of his first and foremost commander; a dark Toa of Fire, once again there to declare how ashamed he was by the fact that he had once again been defeated by Fairon, a Toa of Light.

The reptillian being slowly raised its clawed right hand, not even looking at his commander. "Here to lament your failure again, Krataxus?" the being calmly, though rather mockingly, asked, to which the dark Toa replied, "yes, I have failed," before kneeling down, almost as though he was begging for mercy from the powerful Infinus. "I have, once again, failed to defeat Fairon!" the Toa now roared across the summit. The reptillian Infinus, still untouched, remained ever so still in his throne.

"Krataxus," he calmly began to his apprentice, "return to your throne room," he commanded sternly.

The Toa stood up and wanted to object, "but sir, how can I return to my throne room if I cannot even ensure Fairon doesn't escape and wreck havoc all over this Tower?"

Finally, the reptillian being rose from his throne for the first time in a very long while. His body towered high above the body of the dark Toa, being more than twice as large as his commander. He turned around, his red eyes staring straight into those of the Toa.

"Krataxus," he calmly stated, as he advanced towards the Toa, "return to your throne room and protect the Crystal of Time," he paused briefly, allowing the Toa to state "why would I be chosen to protect such a powerful artifact, which can cause our downfall?" to which the large Infinus merely replied, "if you fail, it does not matter. I want Fairon alive. The rest of the team, just as well. Bring them to me."

The Infinus was loud and clear, and Krataxus, though insecure about whether or not he could stand up to the task, nodded and took a deep bow before his master.

"I will, my Master." "Very well, now go forth."

Krataxus nodded simply. He then rose up, turned around, and slowly walked towards the elevator, the crack of his footsteps echoing all over the summit of the tremendous Nui Tower. Stepping into the elevator, he turned around, seeing his master still looking at him. He nodded at his master confidently, pressed the button to return to the floor of his throne room, and shot downwards.

The Infinus smiled. A horrible, ugly smile from such an enormous, corrupted reptillian being. He then slowly proceeded to turn around, after which he slowly walked to the edge of the summit, staring into the dark abyss below. I sense, he thought, a great danger to the Universe.

A great danger that is to haunt this Universe once again soon.


"Agh!" Fyxan screamed as he is pushed down onto the floor by the iron grip of an Undead soldier. Shadon, in a heavy fistfight with another Undead soldier, could not help but become slightly exhausted as the Undead just kept going on and on in the fight. Aquila, trying to keep more of the creatures at bay using her Water powers, while Lev pushed more of the hideous white creatures away using his wind powers, though failing to do any significant damage. Jareroden, in the meantime, was mentally attempting to utilise his Psionics powers to throw builders and objects at the Undead, mostly to no avail.

Suddenly, Aquila was hit in the back of the head very harshly by what had appeared to be some kind of fist. Before she knew it, she, too, found herself on the ground struggling against the ambush of an Undead guard. "Aquila!" Jareroden screamed desperately. The distraction, having worked effectively, allowed another Undead to jump on top of the unarmed Toa of Psionics, who was now pinned down to the ground, too. And, though Lev was able to fend off further waves of guards with Aquila doing the same, he too now found himself in a struggle for life and death against a hideous white creature.

Is this it...? Fyxan thought to himself as he felt the Darkness slowly starting to envelop the room completely.

In an instant, the being found himself in the throne room of the castle of Dracia again, lying on the ground. Aimed straight at his face, was Zirix' sword. The Toa of Iron simply laughed ominously at the sight of his former best friend, fellow apprentice and Combat Master. "So, Fyxan," he began loudly, "how does it feel to have all your work, your life, everything you ever did thrown back into your FACE?!" he shouted angrily at Fyxan, who screamed "what are you talking about?!"

"You," he began in an uncontrollably angry, yet also saddened tone, "you have no idea. You have always been in a position of advantage over me and Lev, always been a favourite of master Hendrax!" he shouted as he kicked the helpless Combat Master in the chest.

Fyxan screamed in agony. Though he saw his former apprentice being beaten up, Hendrax was utterly unable unable to respond, still trying to fend off the hideously dark creature that was fighting him.

"I always had to do everything. The hard, thankless, meaningless tasks which were only designed to hinder my progress. You had it easy, Fyxan," the enraged Toa declared, with Fyxan shaking his head in denial, "No, Zirix! The tasks we were forced to face were equal, just like we are equals, Zirix! I was never given any advantage over you!" the warrior screamed in denial, to which the dark Toa once again kicked him in the chest.

Fyxan writhed in pain, the kick landing squarely in his chest.

"You lied."

"No!" Fyxan desperately tried to object, but it was too late. Zirix's rage had taken control of the Toa. "For your lies and your cheating, you will face the greatest disadvantage of all!" Zirix screamed at his former fellow apprentice.

He put his foot firmly on Fyxan's chest, raised his sword, and sliced at once.

"AAAAAHH"

Fyxan screamed in agony as Zirix effectively sliced out his right eye, the blood pouring out of the socket. The helpless warrior writhed in agony and begged for the dark Toa's mercy, to which the dark Toa only laughed and exclaimed "This, Fyxan, is your punishment."

Suddenly, though, Fyxan felt Zirix' foot being thrown off him, as he heard a muffled scream by the dark Toa.

"Enough is enough, Zirix."

It was Hendrax. The Combat Master's voice sounded more determined and angrier than Fyxan had ever heard it before.

"Come duel me, if you're as powerful as you declare yourself to be."

"Fine."


Clang! the sound of two swords hitting one another echoed through the corridors of the fortress that once was the Nui Tower of Time, suddenly throwing Fyxan out of the claws of his memories and back into the reality of where he really was. He felt the pressure of the disgusting Undead creature attempting to strangulate him suddenly be relieved as he heard more and more swords clanging against one another afterwards. Turning around and getting on his back, the Combat Master opened his eyes to see something he had not expected to see here.

Fairon.

Fairon was fighting for life and death against the waves of Undead creatures, fighting them off from his team using the single sword he had. "Can I get a little help here?!" he hurriedly asked at his teammates, who got up and combined their elemental efforts to defeat the Undead hordes. With Fairon having a sword, the team managed to quickly fend off the dark guards, defeating them one by one until the very last one of them dissipated into Darkness.

Aquila ran towards Fairon, hugging him tightly. Before long, however, the rest of the team joined in the group hug, and the Toa of Light was being hugged from all sides. "Thank you," Lev spoke softly, "I almost thought that was just going to be the end of it. The end of our operations and the end of our adventures." Fyxan nodded, "It was a close call indeed, that there," after which Jareroden asked his fellow Toa "but where have you been, and what caused all these scars?"

"It's a long story," Fairon began in a slightly hushed, saddened tone. "Once you guys were taken out of the hangar towards wherever it is that you were taken, Krataxus took me towards a cell higher up in the Nui Tower," he took a deep breath and paused, before continuing in an anguished tone, "once there, he proceeded to beat me up, mentally and physically. He taunted me, told me our mission was lost and how pitiful it was. Though it was quite a beating, I did not give in to his severe measures. In fact, he enraged me so much, that I had to call upon powers of Darkness and Light in order to strike back. In the ensuing fight, I managed to claim his sword, after which he proceeded to flee, though not before throwing a misaimed blast of Darkness at the door, enabling me to be free."

"So that's what caused the sudden panic and alerts to go off everywhere," Aquila exclaimed, to which Fairon merely nodded. "I ran, was ambushed several times, and attempted to find you in the lower levels. Once there, however, I was sent instead to a strange room containing thousands of, well, bodies." The rest of the team gasped, "bodies?!" Shadon gasped, to which Fairon continued, "yes, bodies. Thousands of bodies that were exactly identical to one another."

"How strange," Jareroden exclaimed, "why would Krataxus and Temporus seek to keep thousands of bodies stored inside their fortress? To fuel Undead creatures and give them a more powerful body, perhaps?" Lev shrugged, "whatever the reason, it cannot be much good," to which Fairon nodded, before continuing, "well, I had no time to analyse the bodies too thoroughly. I was ambushed by a horde of guards again in the room and narrowly managed to escape. I decided against remaining in the basements, knowing that they would go after me before going after you, and decided to try and make the climb further upwards, no matter how hard that may be."

"And then you found us," Jareroden stated rather calmly, with Fairon nodding. "Yup, I found you here, nearly strangled and killed by a bunch of guards. Which reminds me," he takes a brief pause before turning towards Fyxan, "we need to find weapons for you guys." The Combat Master nodded and noted, "that's exactly what we were trying to find before we got ambushed here."

Fairon nodded, then continued, "I do believe, from the maps I have found on this floor, that there is a vault somewhere here. We seem to be ever closer to the-" before he could continue, the team were nearly thrown off their feet, as the Tower started violently shaking.

"ROAAAAAR"

Before any of them could ask what it was, the Tower ceased its shaking again, though the Darkness seemed to feel more present than it was before. Thinking quickly, Aquila ran towards a window and, looking up, saw a surge of Darkness coming from the upper levels of the Tower. "Ehm, I think we have little time left," she stated. "There is no Time, Aquila," Shadon joked, though none of the team really appreciated the horrific attempt at cracking a joke by the Toa of Iron. He turned towards the team, "either way, shall we go and try finding those weapons then?" to which the rest of the team nodded.

"ROAAAAAR"

The enormous reptillian Infinus unleashes all his Dark powers into the dark abyss, allowing for more and more Undead guards to manifest themselves in the higher corridors of the Nui Tower of Time. He smiles briefly, still staring at the dark abyss that lies far, far below him.

Footsteps echo throughout the hybrid Protodermis steel and ancient stone corridors of the higher levels of the Nui Tower of Time, as the team of warriors rush their way across the massive fortress, in search of weapons. Finally, taking a sharp turn to the left, the team arrive at the large steel door which Fyxan had found utilising his scanner. "Step back," Fairon warned the team, charging up an incredibly powerful blast of Light. He closes his eyes, and then unleashes all the power through his sword. At once, the door of the vault explodes, unveiling the team's weapons, as well as a number of skeletal Undead Matoran engineers, who had been working on reverse engineering the weaponry, though now scrambled and fled in their portals of Darkness.

The team quickly move into the room. Shadon, finding his energy gun, quickly grabs it and briefly shoots it at the ceiling, nearly destroying it. "Watch out where you aim that, Shadon!" Aquila exclaims loudly, before picking up her own barbed sword. Lev, picking up his Air sword, feels relieved to once again have his weapons on him, while Fyxan and Jareroden pick up their respective swords, too. Finally, Fairon grabs his Light staff, but decides against discarding the sword he stole from Krataxus.

With their weapons at the ready, Fairon turns towards his friends. "My companions, my friends," he begins, smiling, "we are now nearing the end of our mission," before he could continue, he is interrupted by Shadon loudly exclaiming "at last!" in a very jolly tone. Fyxan continues, "before we can make the final climb towards the summit of the Nui Tower, we must find the Crystal of Time, which is hidden in this fortress. If I remember correctly, Kratus took it from us as soon as he attacked us at the summit."

The attack at the summit...Lev thought. It was a moment he could remember a little too vividly. Though the brave team had managed to advance all the way to the top of the Nui Tower, they were held back by the sheer power of the ancient Infinus that waited at the top. Even after several valiant efforts, it seemed as though the team would fail in their mission. That is, until Fairon and Fyxan managed to use their Light powers to temporarily blind the Temporal Beast long enough for to allow the rest to push him back, eventually possibly allowing them to install the Crystal of Time and restore the Nui Tower.

But no such thing ever happened.

Though Fairon's and Fyxan's tactics were efficient and managed to push the reptillian being further and further back, they were interrupted amidst their struggle by a number of blasts of Fire that were suddenly hurled at them, throwing them off their feet and allowing the Infinus to regain his balance.

"Traitors!" a familiar voice screamed at the Toa.

When Lev and the rest of the team looked to their left, they found to their horror that there, standing at the entrance of the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, was their very comrade, who had collapsed only mere moments before they reached the summit.

Kratus.

"Fairon!" the Toa of Fire began in a determined, angered tone, before declaring, "cease your activities at once, your actions are good for nothing and will only serve to destroy the little that is left of universal stability!" The words struck the Toa of Air like a lightning bolt. How could their actions to prevent the Darkness from taking over result in a destabilisation of the universe? He couldn't help but wonder what made the Toa of Fire say such absurd things.

Next thing he knew, the Toa of Air and the rest of the team were locked in a deadly battle with the Temporal Beast, who was now aided by Kratus. Being that he carried the Crystal of Time, Lev attempted to ensure that he would remain rather in the back, though the Toa of Fire quickly targeted him in his attacks. Though taking his stance valiantly, the Temporal Beast managed to get him off his feet after utilising its enormous roar, causing the ground to shake violently. In the ensuing chaos, the Toa of Air fell over on the ground, dropping the Crystal of Time with him. Though he scrambled to grab the Crystal, he was too late, as he saw the Toa of Fire's hands on the Crystal.


"Lev?"

"Lev?! Are you okay?!" the voice came as a shock to the confused Toa of Air, who suddenly realised he was no longer at the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, but within a vault in the higher levels of the fortress the Tower had become.

"I-I'm fine!" he stuttered, though Aquila did not believe him. "What's up?" she asked, "I-I had a vision of the fight at the summit again." Shadon turned towards his Toa of Air companion and sat next to him calmly, patting his friend on the back.

"Lev," he began in a determined tone, "we all have these dreams here. They're as much a part of your reality as they are a part of ours." The rest of the team present in the room nodded in silent agreement, despite hoping the reality would be different. "Here," Shadon began, helping his Toa of Air friend back up and handing the Toa his sword. "We can handle this." The Toa of Air smiled, a tear rolling down his face.

"Right," Fairon started, signalling his intentions to restart the team's planning, "so as we know, the Crystal of Time fell into Kratus' hands after the collapse of the Tower," he paused, looking at Lev briefly and smiling, before continuing, "my guess then, is that Kratus, being the proud and arrogant Toa he is, is likely to keep the Crystal of Time for himself as some sort of nice decoration. A trophy, if you want to call it that." Fyxan, standing next to Fairon, nodded, before starting, "so, what are you suggesting, Fairon?" to which the white and golden-armoured Toa responded, "I suggest we move further upwards and find the room where Kratus holds out. Only once we have the Crystal of Time, can we make the final climb towards the summit in our hopes of re-establishing the flow. Do we agree?" Fyxan nodded first, in determined fashion, after which Shadon and Aquila nodded. Jareroden nodded next, and lastly, Lev nodded ever so quietly. With the team in agreement, the Toa of Light signalled for them to move out of the vault, back into the large corridors of the Nui Tower of Time.

Corner after corner, floor after floor, the team rapidly and silently makes their way through the immense fortress of Darkness. Although high up in levels, Aquila could not help but notice the rather odd lack of Undead guards in these area's. "Fyxan," she whispers, after which the warrior turns to her in response, a questioning look on his face. "Do you not feel there's a rather...odd lack of guards here? We've crossed several floors and yet, it seems as though there are none of these creatures here at all."

Fyxan nervously nodded, before returning to look ahead of him.

Finally, arriving at a T-junction, the team notice an open door leading into a large room to their left. Without taking a look at the rest of his friends behind him, Fairon steps into the large room confidently.

Bang.

In a flash, the Toa of Light looks behind him, only to find the rest of his team locked outside of the room while the door behind him has closed. The sudden sound of clawed feet cracks coldly on the stone and Protodermis steel floor, reverberating all through the room. As his green eyes widen, the Toa of Light realises who it is in this chamber.

Krataxus.

"No!" Fyxan screams as the door slams shut in his face.

"Fairon!" he attempts to scream, attempting to reach the Toa of Light on the other side. But, in spite of his efforts, no result. Before the Light warrior could focus on anything else, though, the air turns cold.

Icy cold.

Out of nowhere, a mangled, tortured scream of Darkness is heard as a flood of deadly -white-armoured Undead guards make their way towards the team, their swords and shields at the ready. At once, Shadon readies his Energy gun and shield, and takes aim. He fires a blast at an Undead creature, instantly causing the hideous monster to dissipate. Another shot. And another.

They just keep coming.

Behind him, Fyxan, Lev and Aquila are locked into a prolonged attempt at keeping the remainder of the guards at bay, the sound of elemental blasts echoing through the hallway. Lev manages to slice the head off one Undead creature, then manages to cut off the legs of another. Though, no matter how many of the hideous creatures Lev manages to defeat, he can't help but notice one thing.

They just keep coming.


"Well!" a dark, ominous voice begins in a rather unusually jolly tone, "well, well, well, if it isn't Fairon we have here in our little room. How fine it is to see you here in person, is it not?"

"Heh," Fairon began sarcastically, "I was actually hoping you'd come down to party and join us-" before he could finish his sentence, though, the dark Toa interrupted "I will not join any of your needless, twisted, corrupted games, Fairon."

"It's not too late, you can still come back. You can still join us and help us restore Time. You've been lied to, deceived, don't you see?" though he tries to explain desperately to his former best friend that is it not yet too late, the dark Toa does not yield, and remains completely silent while Fairon continues, "show yourself, join us and help restore the balance of Time and the balance of the universe itself before it is too late."

"The only one working to destabilise this universe is you, Fairon, and I have no reason to believe that joining you will bring this universe any good, at all."

"Quit the games, Kratus."

"I AM NOT KRATUS!"

Chapter Seventeen[]

"I AM NOT KRATUS!"

The dark being suddenly jumps off his platform, utilising his sword to slash at his former best friend right away. Clang! Fairon's fierce, green eyes look straight into the hideously darkened, red eyes of his former best friend Krataxus. In a fell swoop, the dark Toa attempted to lash out his sword at his former enemy, only to be met with a quick defence in return. The clanging sound echoed throughout the large throne room.

Another clang.

And another.

Utilising all of his rage and energy, Krataxus kept sweeping and lashing out utilising his sword and dark powers, though Fairon, carrying both his Staff of Light and his sword, managed to parry the dark Toa's rapidly-paced attacks with what seemed like relative ease.

Until he let up his defences.

In a fell swoop, Krataxus managed to catch the Toa of Light off-guard, throwing the Staff out of the Toa's hands once again.

"Now," he began, "the fight is a little...shall we say, fairer?" he smiled hideously at his nemesis, before once again going into attack. Before he could reach Fairon, though, the Toa of Fire was pushed back painfully by a blast of Light hurled at him by the white and golden-armoured one.

"Agh!" he screamed, the pain of the blast piercing through him, the feeling not unlike a thousand knives penetrating his body armour at once before quickly retracting again. Before long, the red-armoured warrior hit the cold hard floor of his throne room with the sound of a muffled thud. His fierce eyes still wide open though, the warrior did not relent to the powers of the Toa of Light.

Unleashing a raging scream, the Toa of Fire shoots back up and releases a powerful blast of purple-coloured dark Fire at the Toa of Light from his hands. With only a millisecond to dodge, Fairon quickly jumps out of the way of the blast, only for it to hit the wall and explode upon collision.

Charging the energy from his sword, the Light warrior majestically spins around and unleashes a blast of his own, the light bright enough to cause one's eyes to bleed.

As quickly as he can, Krataxus blocks his eyes and jumps out of the line of fire of the blast of Light, which hits the wall near him. "Enough is enough!" Kratus roars through the majestic throne room as he unleashes another blast of dark Fire. And another. And yet another. In rapid motion, the dark Toa tries to make his way closer and closer towards his nemesis, who has trouble parrying the rapid onslaught of blasts of dark Fire coming at him. Still, in the little time he has to recover, Fairon manages to hurl a blast of Light back at his enemy, only for that blast to be parried as successfully as he managed to parry his enemy's blasts.

The once pristinely technological throne room, having been the most renovated part of the fortress, was slowly becoming more and more damaged from the elemental blasts that were flying left and right into the room, while neither of the Toa seemed to gain the upper hand in battle, their combat skills being too evenly matched for one to really up the other. Suddenly, as though called upon to cease their fighting at once, both Toa ceased hurling elemental blasts at one another. As soon as they did, their tired panting clearly became audible in the throne room.

"Come on Fairon, is that all?" the dark Toa remarked sardonically, to which the Toa of Light replied, "you'd wish!" before aiming a powerful blast of Light directly at the eyes of his opponent. Krataxus screams in pain as he is temporarily blinded by the blast, attempting to throw elemental blasts of dark Fire left and right. Although Fairon had now effectively disabled his opponent's direct combat skills, it had not made the fight that much easier.

I better start searching now I still have the time...the Toa of Light thinks as he stares at his now-incapacitated opponent, before making a sprint towards the throne at the back of the room. Once there, the first thing the Toa takes note is just how large this portion of the room is. Its roof is much higher, round, and there are glass panels on the slightly arched roof, enabling Fairon to look further upwards towards the Temporal Spire and, indeed, the very summit itself. Behind the large throne also, are large windows enabling one to stare into the endless distance of the Protected Zone.

Still, with no time to lose, the gold and white-armoured Toa attempts to find a vantage point from where he could see every single portion of the room, attempting to find the unmistakable object he was looking for. And indeed, there, hidden in the arch above the battlegrounds where he and his former best friend had just duked it out, was the exact item he had come for.

The Crystal of Time.

A beautifully snow-white coloured Crystal, sealed in a perfect carrier above the battlegrounds, this was exactly what he had been searching for, but before Fairon could attempt to reach it, the sound of a clang once again echoed through the throne room. Having recovered from his temporary blindness, Krataxus and his nemesis were now locked in a swordfight to the death, their eyes fiercely fixated on the moves they made with their swords as well as the moves of their opponents. Clang! Clang! The sound of the swords harshly clanged and echoed throughout the throne room as the opponents moved from the throne back towards the door from whence Fairon had come in, both stuck in a rapid fire duel of sword slashes, sweeps and swoops. Finally, in a fierce sweep with his sword, Krataxus attempts to disarm Fairon.

His attempt failed, however.

Instead of disarming his opponent, the dark warrior had made the miscalculation of not keeping the lower of his arm defended. Now, seeing the hole in his opponent's defences, the Toa of Light elegantly and harshly blew the dark Toa away using a powerful uppercut with his sword, imbued with elemental Light powers. With pain in his arm, the red-armoured dark Toa screamed as he was thrown back several metres.

"AGH!"


Sounds of elemental blasts were flung left and right inside the cramped corridor of the higher levels of the Nui Tower of Time, as the warriors sent there were duking it out against a seemingly ever larger onslaught of grimy, stinking Undead warrior guards. The hideous screaming sound of the guards filled the room as much as shards of reinforced Protodermis steel and ancient Nui Tower stone did, forcing the warriors ever closer together in front of the door to the throne room.

With Fairon still trapped inside, and them still trapped here, there was nothing they could do for each other but hope for the best.

Suddenly, though, Fyxan hears the anguished scream of his friend Lev. Turning around, he faces the sight of the Toa of Air being clamped down by a hideously white-armoured creature that constantly screams in his face, much like he had been before Fairon had come to rescue them. Before he could take further notice, he himself was almost attacked, now once again being forced into battle with at least three of these hideous creatures at once. Outmanoeuvring one, Fyxan charged his sword with Light and took out another, before finally managing to kill the last of them utilising a powerful Light blast.

"Shadon!" the warrior called out, to which the Toa of Iron replied, "what's up? You having a little trouble there, too?" to which Fyxan replied "yeah! Block out their way utilising your iron powers, I'll then utilise my powers of Light to show them what I've got!"

"Alrighty!"

At that moment, the Toa of Iron charged up his Energy gun, before aiming a powerful volley of it right at the ceiling. Focusing sharply, the Toa of Iron then pulled the trigger, unleashing an incredibly powerful Energy blast that brought down most of the ceiling on top of the hideous white creatures, killing them instantly and cutting one in half. Before the one cut in half could recover, though, Fyxan fired a blast of his Light powers at the hideous creature, causing it, too, to dissipate into darkness.

Finally, the warriors turned around to help their friend in need first.

Aquila, still there slowing down the Undead utilising her water powers, was relieved to feel the presence of the other two. Utilising some more of her water powers to keep a strong current, disabling the Undead from coming any closer, the Toa of Water was then aided by the Toa of Iron, who once more fired a blast from his Energy gun to dissipate most of the Undead. Jareroden then threw the remainder of the walking, still fighting-capable guards off their feet, before Fyxan finally finished it off with a blast of Light, freeing Lev from the deadly grip of his hostage-taker.

The Toa of Air immediately jumped up, and thanked his four fellow warriors kindly. "Once again, I would not know where I would be without you three," Lev remarked in a relieved tone, before turning towards the door.

"What do we do with this?" the Toa of Air asked the other three.

"Simple!" Shadon begins, "we charge up all of our elemental powers at once, count from ten to zero, and then fire it all at once. Aye?" The rest of the team agreed, responding with an "Aye" back at the Toa of Iron.

Fyxan began to concentrate very deeply, sending all of his energy straight into the Light particles that now slowly started to swirl and dance around his hands and his sword. He closed his eyes, enabling himself to concentrate even further and extract even more energy out of his powers. This was a technique he had learned from his Master Hendrax, who was known to state that, if a Combat Master truly concentrated all of his willpower on an elemental blast, they could destroy city walls if they so desired.

Lev closed his eyes, breathing in and out very calmly so as to allow himself to get more air into his lungs, enabling himself to steer ever more powers of Air once he would unleash the blast. The powers of Air slowly started swirling around the tip of the green-armoured Toa's sword, their green energy glowing a little in the faintly-lid corridor. Like Fyxan, Lev, having been an apprentice of Hendrax's, had been trained in this technique of focusing one's energy on specific points so as to enable one to utilise the maximum of their strength at once.

Jareroden started to focus himself on his elemental energies and how he would channel those through his swords, in a technique not unlike the one his master had taught him. As his master on Estron would often advise him, the Toa closed his eyes, allowing the Psionics powers of the silver-armoured Toa to flow freely and confidently through his body, while a purple-coloured stream of Psionics energies started emanating, dancing and swirling around the tip of the Toa's sword.

Aquila started breathing in and out very slowly, enabling all the water and water energy inside her body to build up thoroughly through her barbed swords, all while still staring at the door ahead of her. Slowly, faint bluish-coloured particles started dancing around the tips of her barbed sword, increasing in intensity and increasing in lightness with every second that passed.

Shadon, concentrating himself on the trigger of his Energy gun, began to concentrate all of his Iron powers and energies into the energy triggered by the gun. Soon enough, gunmetal-coloured particles started swirling around the gun's short barrel. The Toa of Iron took aim at the door, all while still concentrating all his power upon the coming blast.

"Counting down!

Ten Nine Eight Seven Six Five Four Three Two... One..... FIRE!"

At once, all four warriors unleashed all of their powers at once, an incredibly colourful light lighting up all of the corridor. A massive explosion resounded through the hall, forcing the warriors back a metre or two, as the entire hall was covered in dust.

There, in the centre of the dust-covered, destroyed remains of the throne room, Fairon stood in the hall leading up to the larger, domed part of the room. Krataxus was on the ground, at the mercies of the Toa of Light. As soon as Fyxan saw this, he began sprinting into the room, screaming "Fairon!"


Bang!

With an enormous explosion, the door of the cavernous throne room was blasted to smithereens. Fairon, still undaunted by this sound, still concentrated himself and the grip of his sword firmly on his opponent, Krataxus, who was now lying still on the ground, seemingly defeated.

"Fairon!"

In a flash, the Toa of Light turned around to face who it was that had said his name, before finally seeing Fyxan, Aquila, Jareroden, Lev and Shadon run into the room. Overwhelmed with happiness as well as shock at seeing his friends again, Fairon, unknowingly, turned away from guarding his opponent. Before he could hug the rest of his group of friends, though, his eyes widened as he realised what was about to happen.

Krataxus.

"No!" Fairon screamed, as the team ceased trying to hug each other, seeing Krataxus get up and scramble to get his sword. "Surrender now, Kratus!" Fyxan screams at the dark Toa who, enraged, sends a blast of dark Fire at the Light warrior.

"I am not Kratus!" the weakened Toa of Darkness roars as he retreats further and further towards the back of the room. The team, quickly in pursuit, aim their weapons together at the dark Toa.

"You have no more opportunities, Krataxus, surrender yourself and you shall be taken in with us," Shadon stated sternly, not realising what the dark Toa was looking at.

Krataxus smiled.

"Enough is enough."

In a smooth, sweeping movement, the red-armoured Toa of Darkness unleashed the last of his dark energies, hurling them in a smooth beam of dark Fire at the Crystal of Time situated perfectly in its carrier. As his nemesis Fairon looked up, the green eyes of the Toa of Light widened before he screamed "NO!" in an anguished, panicked tone.

Crack.

Chapter Eighteen[]

Crack.

In an instant, what had once been the beautifully glowing Crystal of Time lost its glow, its colour, and its majestic beauty, as it was shattered into a million pieces by a blast of dark Fire unleashed by Krataxus. Before either Fyxan, Lev, Jareroden, Lev or Shadon could realise what had just happened above them, and why Fairon had screamed "NO" so badly, Krataxus' hollow, manic cackle filled the room as he opened a portal of Darkness.

"This!" the Toa of Darkness declared in what seemed like slow-motion, "this is not the last of me you've seen, just wait!" he growled throughout the room as he stepped into the dark portal slowly but surely, before disappearing at once. His words, though having been said already, seemed to echo in the heads of the Toa forever, the team still unaware of what had occurred in front of their eyes.

Except for Fairon.

The Toa of Light had fallen to his knees, tears in his eyes, his face between his hands. He was crying, he was crying as though the entire world had ended right in front of his eyes. And, by all means, it had for him. With the Crystal of Time destroyed, Fairon realised at once that the only way they could ever hope to restore the flow of Time, was to kill the Temporal Beast, which, he believed, was an impossible feat to pull off.

Jareroden sat down next to the Toa of Light, and patted him on the back. "What's going on, Fairon?" he asked, to which his fellow Toa, still sobbing, replied, "look up."

As the Toa of Psionics looked up, he saw something he had never hoped to see in his life. The one thing he was hoping to find here, the one thing he was hoping could help them out of this hellish world of Darkness and death, had been destroyed by Krataxus. He sat down, unable to process the sheer amount of thoughts and emotions rushing through his head.

After Fairon's sobbing "look up", Fyxan, just like Jareroden, looked up at the wall above them in order to see what it was that had been up there that was so interesting. And then, as he looked, the warrior came to the crushing realisation that an essential part of their mission had been destroyed. "No..." was all the Light warrior could bring out hopelessly, as he pointed at the case that once held the artifact.

Shadon, following the finger of one of his best friends, too, looked up at the wall to see what was there that was so very noteworthy. First, the Toa of Iron saw a case, a beautifully decorated case before...

And then it hit him.

The Toa of Iron collapsed to his knees, unable to process the thought of what had just happened. Why...How...All questions raced through the Toa's head, and he was unable to answer any single one of them. Tears began rolling down his face, as he realised that one of the very little hopes they had for completing the mission after the disaster that had been their previous expedition here, had been shattered in the fraction of a second.

Aquila looked up. The blue-armoured Toa looked up in curiosity, following Fyxan's finger as it was pointed upwards at a certain spot in the ceiling...

And then she realised exactly what it was. The one thing they had come here for, the one thing they had agreed to search for in the Tower once they were reunited, was destroyed. Shattered at once. As soon as the Toa of Water thought of the implications of the destruction of this artifact, the crushing realisation came upon her as to what the consequences of this were for their mission. This artifact, she thought, why, why destroy THIS ARTIFACT. She couldn't help but feel trapped inside her own thoughts and, for the first time in a long while, the Toa of Water actually cried. She sat herself down next to Jareroden, the two hugging each other tightly in support of one another.

Lev, too, had been hit by the realisation. A realisation all in the team had had, but had never hoped to have since the very beginning of the mission. In fact, the realisation of this very act, felt for some as gruesome, as the realisation of Kratus' betrayal back during their very first mission to this cursed Tower.

The Crystal of Time was no more.


"Master..." the anguished voice of the dark Toa resounds all over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, "please, forgive me." Never before in his life had he sounded so meaningless, so pitifully weak. It made Krataxus feel more horrible than ever before. He wanted to cry, before turning his head back up and facing the reptillian being that was his master.

"You, Krataxus," the being began ominously, "go."

The dark Toa's fiery red eyes widened, as a frown started appearing on his ugly, mutated face.

"...go?" Krataxus barely managed to mutter under his breathe, still in awe at what his master had just told him to do. He was standing perfectly still, nailed to the ground as it were, by the sheer surprise. Did his master seriously tell him to just go? No executions? He would not be destroyed? Not even sent to exile in one of the prison colonies of the Empire? No punishment at all? He was supposed to just go away at that very moment? But where to? All those questions raced through his head as he looked fearfully at the throne in which his master was still seated, awaiting the response of the powerful, ancient Infinus in fear and anguish.

The reptillian being simply smiled.

"I understand what you fear, Krataxus. You fear execution, punishment for your failure to stand up and defeat Fairon," the being took a deep breathe before continuing, "and I understand you are confused, and don't even know where to go when I tell you to. After all, you expect me to punish you for your failure." The dark Toa only nodded, fearful of what his master was going to say. Before the dark reptillian being said anything, though, he got up from his enormous throne, his enormous reptillian body towering high above that of the Toa.

"Head to Arcturus Magna."

Once again, the dark Toa frowned at the orders of his master. "S-s-sir, Arcturus Magna? Why?!" the Toa just managed to bring out of his mouth, his voice shaken with fear. The immense being simply nodded at the dark Toa. "Yes," he began, "it is Arcturus Magna where I want you to go."

"But-but sir, what about you?! I cannot leave you to the mercies of these soulless, deadly warriors now can I?! It is my duty to the universe to protect you!" the Toa brought out in protest.

Finally, the reptillian being turned around, its ugly, ancient red eyes looking straight into those of the small Toa standing before him. He opened his mouth, "on Arcturus Magna we shall rendezvous, commander. My allies are there. They are waiting for you. The battle here is lost. The Empire we once started is no more.

Not in its original incarnation."

The dark Toa gasped, but before he could open his mouth in protest, the dark being started speaking in its booming, ominous voice once more. "Do not attempt to fight them, Krataxus. Go to Arcturus Magna. Once there, I will arrive within a day or two, assuming Time has been restored by then."

At that last sentence, the dark Toa nearly snapped. "Time restored?! But sir, that is an unfathomable-" before the Toa could finish any of his sentence, though, the immense Infinus raised his clawed hand to silence him.

"Shush shush, Toa. All will be cared for and all has been going exactly as planned. Our mission to restore stability to the universe need not require this ceasing of the flow of Time. And though the Empire may be lost, we are not.

We know what it stands for, Krataxus. Remain proud, remain strong, and head towards Arcturus Magna as I say. My allies and I, we will be awaiting you there, in orbit around Arcturus Magna, in the very same shipyard where your Titan-II was constructed.

Within one or two days, you will be given an access code into the atmosphere of Arcturus Magna, allowing you to enter the planet unnoticed in a small shuttle that will take you towards our temporary headquarters in the City. Your Titan-II will remain behind in orbit for repairs and upgrades.

We will call you to our location the very moment you are required to be in our presence. Until then, I want you to remain in orbit around Arcturus Magna at our headquarters until further notification. No questions.

Our mission does not end here, Krataxus.

It only begins here."

At that last sentence, the dark Toa could not help but wonder what it meant. Yet, with his master's orders crystal clear, Krataxus nodded. "Yes sir," he stated, looking at his master and making a deep bow, before finally walking away from the summit for what he presumed was the very last time he would ever be here.

He walked into the elevator, and pressed the button down to the hangar level. Behind him, he could see the enormous Infinus gazing at the blackened abyss before it, before the elevator doors shut closed, leaving Krataxus alone to embark on his mission towards Arcturus Magna.

Well then, he thought, staring dead-eyed in front of him, as the elevator rapidly shot down towards the hangar, where the Titan-II battleship was still awaiting the dark Toa for its departure. The Undead soldiers previously standing perfectly still and lined-up in the hangar were now no longer present, and instead the hangar was eerily empty apart from the large battleship and the crew inside it.

Walking onto the boarding bridge from the hangar, the dark Toa turned around, to face the hangar one final time, before he would make his permanent leave from the fortress that was once his headquarters. The fortress he had dared to call home when the Empire still ruled.

A tear rolled down his face.

Then, in a flash, the Toa turned around, and carefully strode into the immense Titan-II, the last reminder that he once was more than just a simple Toa seeking justice. The last reminder that he was, in fact, the greatest enforcer of universal law and stability since the Second Great Infinus War had ended. Now, with the Empire about to fall, Krataxus realised nothing but rubble will remain of his previously dignified reputation.

He took a turn around a corner, entering the central elevator system of the magnificent spacecraft, and entered the codes required to send him straight towards the bridge level. At once, the doors shut tight, and the elevator shot upwards, ever higher in the large command tower of the battleship, until finally reaching the bridge levels. Once there, the doors opened, and the red and orange-armoured Toa once again walked into the bridge that had become his second home.

At the back, where the elevator doors were situated, was also situated the strategic planning table, where Krataxus and senior officers of the battleship discussed strategic matters of a mission, and from where he would often contact the Nui Tower in case of emergency. Further to the front window, the captain's chair and his control station were situated while, yet further to the front, down the aisle, one could see different workstations left and right. One served the purpose of radar, coordinates and scanner operations, the other served the engine and Trans-Warp operations. Yet another served the weapons operations, while the final one, the one closest to the front window, served as a general indicator for shield, engineering and hull status. Finally, beyond the aisle and its stations, the front window was situated. In the ceiling of the bridge, right in front of the main frontal window, one could find the foldable communications screen and the primary viewscreen of the ship. This large window and viewscreen provided the crew of the bridge with the sight into space necessary, while windows on the sides of the bridge allowed weapons operators left and right to effectively aim their weaponry.

Krataxus walked calmly towards his captain's chair, sitting in the extremely comfortable leather seat for the first time in what felt like an eternity. He turned on the ship's main inner communications system, grabbed the microphone, and started broadcasting at once. "Attention crew of the Titan-II battleship. We are to head out towards Arcturus Magna on the orders of our leader and master, Temporus. Once in orbit around Arcturus Magna, we will be awaited at a space station where we will be able to dock and reassemble. Once there, I will depart from this ship temporarily, allowing you and the engineering crews on that space station to reassemble and further upgrade this ship as per His orders. The bottom line now, is to set course for Arcturus Magna."

With that said and done, the dark warrior deactivated the main communications system, put the microphone back in its stand, and signalled for the Matoran operating the Trans-Warp systems to set course for Arcturus Magna at once. "Ready when you are, sir," the Matoran replied, to which Krataxus nodded. "Shoot away," the captain ordered, and the Matoran activated the full throttle of the Titan-II, enabling the large spaceship to fly out of the Protected Zone. Once outside of the Zone, the Matoran pushed the full throttle of the Trans-Warp systems to factor T3.

In a flash, the majestic spacecraft was nowhere to be seen near the Protected Zone anymore.

To Arcturus Magna we go.


Not like this.

Eyes of a fiercely green-hue, belonging to a white and golden-armoured Toa, scan the dark room of the small house he finds himself in. Only mere moments ago, he was standing at the edge of an endless sky leading down hundreds of kilometres to what appeared to be an even larger planet.

It looked devastating.

Where am I? The Toa of Light can't help but think to himself. Perhaps more importantly even, the Toa could not help but wonder why he was here and who had brought him here again. Suddenly, he hears the creak and crack of the stairs, as a small, hooded figure with friendly orange-red eyes comes walking down the stairs.

And then he knew.

Before the small hooded Turaga could come any closer to the Toa though, an intense bright light blinded him, forcing him to shield his eyes from view. Once the light disappeared, he found himself now standing in the bridge of his battleship, the Titan-I, once again with the Turaga. Now, the Turaga was saying something, but all of his words appeared muffled and silenced.

Though attempting to open his mouth, everything the white and golden-armoured Toa said appeared not to reach the Turaga at all. He simply remained inert and unresponsive. Before the Toa could do anything to reach the Turaga though, he was thrown off his feet by an incredibly loud sound, forcing him to try to grab onto something.

ROAAAAR

The golden and white-armoured warrior finally falls onto the cold hard ground, though it is not the Protodermis steel floor found on the Titan-I. No, he finds himself on the cold, hard, ancient stone ground of what appeared to be the Nui Tower of Time.

The ground shook violently.

Another roar.

Suddenly, the Toa realises exactly where he is and what is happening right in front of him. The rest of his Toa team are being fought against by Temporus and Kratus, with one by one slowly failing to keep up with the combined efforts of the incredibly powerful duo. Before he could even run towards the team in an attempt to help them, the intensely bright light once again blinded the warrior, forcing him to shield his eyes.

Not like this.

As soon as he hears those words, things start picking up pace even quicker. He looks around him, only to find that the Nui Tower of Time is collapsing completely. The ground is shaking violently, the noise is almost unbearable, and the roars of the Temporal Beast make the experience even more gruesome and realistic than the warrior had ever hoped they would be. Looking around, the Toa could not help but see how the stones he was standing on, were slowly being ripped apart by the black hole, not too far away from him. Before he could run, though, he was already grabbed. Flying.

Falling.

Not like this.


"NO! Not like this!" Fairon roared through the throne room as he finally woke up, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. At once, Aquila sat down next to Fairon, utilising her water powers to help calm down her fellow Toa. Utilising her healing powers, she urges for Jareroden to come a little closer.

"Jareroden," the Toa of Water begins, to which the Toa of Psionics nods, "check how his psyche is and help me heal him."

The silver-armoured Toa of Psionics agreed at once, sitting down next to the Toa of Light, putting his hands on the forehead of the white and golden-armoured Toa of Light. Apart from the surge of energy that just occurred, everything seemed normal to Jareroden, who could not notice much damage in Fairon's psyche. Afterwards, Jareroden turned towards Aquila.

"He'll be fine," he said, smiling at her.

She smiled happily, before returning to tending towards Fairon's physical wounds. Shadon, in the meantime, was busy repairing the armour of the wounded Toa, while Fyxan was keeping an eye out alongside Lev in the hallway, ensuring that none of the dark guards would come into the room.

"He okay?" Fyxan asked his fellow warriors, to which Jareroden replied "he'll be fine, just give him a few moments. As for the Crystal, though..." he still felt horribly uneasy about the idea that the Crystal of Time, the very thing they had come here for and seemingly the only thing that could possibly help them reverse the situation, had been shattered.

Lev, too, could not help but still feel incredibly awful after what had happened moments ago with the Crystal. He thought and thought, why us? Why here, again?! As he stared at the stone ground, attempting to focus on guarding the room, but ultimately failing to do so horribly. Even Fyxan, the one usually attempting to be rather upbeat and strong mentally, appeared mentally paralysed by the destruction of the Crystal. It made the warrior feel more uneasy than ever before.

Then, Lev remembered one of the writings on the tablet they found within the Temple on Ashatan. A writing that, though it suggested the impossible, could be the final hope in restoring the flow of Time and, by extension, the stability of the Universe itself. "Fyxan," he signalled his partner guard in a rather unusually confident manner.

"Yes?" the warrior replied questioningly.

"I have a plan," Lev began, before continuing, "let's go inside the chamber, so I can propose and elaborate on it."

With no other option, the warrior of Light agreed a little reluctantly, following the Toa of Air into the throne room where Fairon was being tended to.

"Lev, what's up? You look rather...enthusiastic about something?" Shadon mentioned jokingly at his fellow engineer.

"No time for jokes," he panted, before continuing, "remember the tablet at the Temple on Ashatan?" he asked. "Why would we need to remember that?" Aquila, now also joining in on the conversation, asked the Toa of Air.

"Well," he began, "it suggested that the only other possibility of reversing the Universal Paralysis..." he took a deep breathe before finally stating it, "is to weaken the Temporal Beast up to the point at which it is forced to regenerate itself."

Shadon burst out laughing in disbelief at what he was hearing. "You're telling me what now?!" he screamed through the room, before continuing, "you're telling us we have to defeat the Temporal Beast, Lev?! Are you out of your mind?!" Fyxan frowned, as did Aquila and Jareroden, not believing what they were hearing from their fellow Toa of Air. "If this is your plan, Lev, you may well be a little too far out," Fyxan began, before being interrupted by a harsh cough and the gruff mumble of a familiar voice.

Fairon's voice.

"He may well be out of his mind," the Toa of Light coughed, before continuing, "but it's the only real option we have at the moment."

The white and golden-armoured Toa sat up and, with the help of Jareroden and Aquila, managed to stand up again. "Really, if there is any hope for us to get out of this awful situation, it is to go up there and confront Him directly-" before finishing his sentence, Fyxan interrupted the Toa of Light "but Fairon, how can we possibly beat back the Temporal Beast?"

The Toa of Light now turned to Fyxan. "Fyxan," he began, before letting the rest of the team listen as well, "our strategies at our previous battle on the summit were highly successful. If we can push Him back far enough using our combined efforts, we can effectively push Him over the ledge, letting the Temporal Beast fall to his death." Shadon concurred, "I agree. The only way to push him back is to temporarily blind him and then use the combined force of our elemental powers to push him over the ledge." Lev smiled, knowing that his idea had some effect on the rest of the team. Aquila, though initially sceptical, now believed it, too.

"But how will we go about confronting Temporus without him wiping us off the map the moment he sees us?" Jareroden asks the rest of the team.

"Well," Lev begins, "there's a way..."

Chapter Nineteen[]

A smile.

Many things, he thought, many things are going exactly as planned. The being looks around calmly, his darkly red eyes fiercely lighting up in the nearly impenetrable darkness. His throne is comprised entirely of the remains of the ancient Nui Tower, as well as carvings of the armour of fallen warriors who tried to resist the Empire's rule.

Finally, the piece on which his back rested was made entirely out of an enormous metal plate, salvaged from the remains of a battleship that was destroyed when it attempted to cross the Protected Zone to attack the Nui Tower itself. It is situated near the Temporal Altar, where the Crystal of Time would have to be put in place.

That is, if the Crystal of Time had not been shattered.

The immense throne is flanked by two pillars, one of which was cut in half as a result of the destructive effects of the black hole above the Tower. A further four pillars are situated all around the round summit of the Tower, each of which was symbolically intended to represent one of the Six Holy Elements. Due to this, each of these pillars is shaped differently from the other. The destroyed pillar which flanks the throne itself, was, perhaps by coincidence, perhaps on purpose, the pillar of Time. Its design was once beautiful, with beautiful patterns representing ancient Infinian clocks, as well as the movement of Time. Next to it stood the pillar of Space, which featured planets and stars as carvings, representing the vastness of Space. Next to that was the pillar of Light, a beautifully white and golden-coloured ornate pillar, which was followed by the red-and-black pillar of Darkness.

At the end of the six pillars, flanking the Altar of Time itself, stood the two most important pillars. On one side, the beautifully multicoloured pillar of Infinity stood, consisting of patterns of colours that slowly seemed to merge into one another. Then, on the other side, stood the striking pillar of Nothingness, a pitch-black, bloody red and silver pillar that was rather simple and plain compared to its companion.

Finally, only a few footsteps ahead of him, the edge of a deep, bottomless black abyss lay. Above, high above the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, was situated a pitch-black round shape, unmoving and uncaring in its position amid a storm. Around it, were immense fiery red clouds of Darkness, which were once aggressively swirling and throwing about, dark lightning emanating from it left and right. Now, with the Universe entirely paralysed, the clouds were entirely still. The black shape at the centre of this stormy cloud had finished the task for which it had been created.

The black shape, the black hole that was responsible for the destruction of the Nui Tower of Time and the Universal Paralysis.

Once again, a smile.

That very black hole, situated high above the summit, high above the throne where he now sat, was his responsibility. Well, not directly of course. Rather, an agent of his had served him well, seeking out the legendary hidden Crystal of Time on the planet of Ashatan.

Once having traversed the dangerous planet and having found the artifact he was searching for, the yellow and black armoured servant utilised his Darkness powers to corrupt the Crystal, inevitably ending up corrupting the flow of Time itself.

In reaction, Temporus, Infinus of Time, summoned the Crystal to his bidding. Once at the Nui Tower of Time, though, the hidden monstrosity inside the Crystal escaped at once, forging Dark energies high above the Nui Tower of Time, which slowly built up to become the black hole. The Crystal itself was then sent outward by Temporus, into the universe, waiting for someone to find it and take its now-uncorrupted self back to the Nui Tower to restabilise Time.

And then it found its way towards Turaga Herax, exactly as he had intended.

A smile.

Turaga Herax was given the artifact by his unknowing Toa of Fire apprentice, Kratus, who found it on a day in the fields shortly after finding the mysterious Toa of Light, Fairon. Herax, sensing the arrivals of Fairon and the Crystal being awkwardly off, rushed to assemble a team of warriors from across the universe which he knew were capable enough of the mission at hand: head to the Nui Tower with the Crystal, and resolve the problems. What Herax did not calculate into his plans, though, was the fact that Kratus, the Toa of Fire, was already slowly being consumed by his doubts and fears about the mission.

Indeed, within very short time, Kratus was gripped by fear and anxiety over the mission, believing - truthfully so - that the mission, if successful, could lead to a catastrophic chain of events in the far future that would destroy the universe at large. The changes were further exacerbated by the ever-growing presence of Darkness in the area of the Nui Tower of Time, further worsening the Toa of Fire's already paralysing fears.

And then, at the supposed end of their mission, Kratus finally gave in to Darkness.

Knocking his Toa of Water fellow Aquila unconscious, the enraged Toa of Fire took it upon himself to announce to the group the terrible dangers that the universe was facing. Yet, once he accused Fairon of selfishness and warned the rest of the terrible dangers, they sided with Fairon rather than him, and a fight ensued. The being, having done exactly what he needed to do at the right moment in time, aided Kratus in the fight at the top of the Nui Tower of Time, pushing back the team of hardened warriors far enough so as to ensure they had no more time to rescue the crumbling Tower.

And crumble, the Tower did.

With the team temporarily out of his way, he ordered for his dark creatures to create bodies for himself. Bodies which he would use to inhabit once this large, reptillian body was no longer of use. Anticipating the fall of his Empire, the being ordered hundreds, if not thousands of reserve bodies be made, the sheer amount of them ensuring that he would at least have one body should all else fail.

The lifeless, soulless and controlless bodies were kept in a stasis tank far below his summit, though he was well aware that the pesky Toa of Light had found it. Ah, the pesky one is unable to make anything constructive out of the bodies anyway, the being knew. Though the Toa of Light was smart, he was not smart enough to discern the true purpose of the bodies hidden inside the stasis chamber.

Another ugly smile from the reptillian being.

He turned his large, reptillian head upwards, eyes fixed firmly on the black hole that he once saw as his most successful creation yet. I salute you, my creation, he thought, for thanks to you, I have now completed whatever mission I had left to do here.

After all the fighting, after the War would be over, the Empire's - and most importantly, his - mission would not be over. Oh no, not at all. His mission, in fact, was only just moving into the next stage once the Empire was done for.

And he knew, deep inside, as he had told Krataxus.

The Empire's days were numbered.

Their solid rule over the universe would end here, at this very summit, where it once began.

Besides the Nui Temple of Space, where Spacius resided, this Tower was the most magnificent feat of Infinian design. Hidden inside its own dimension, it could move between the realms, much like its spacial counterpart could, occasionally appearing within one of the four realms. When Time stopped, its position became fixed where it had been destroyed, on the outskirts of the Realm of Light, near the Realm of Darkness.

As deep as his thoughts were, the being could not help but feel anticipation. Eager anticipation of the events to happen after this conflict was done for. Another conflict down, he thought, another move on the chessboard.

A smile.

Footsteps.

Footsteps? the being thought as he sat entirely still in his throne, the sound of footsteps echoing over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time.

And then, finally breaking the eerily dead silence of the summit, a voice resounded over the summit.

A voice all too familiar to him.

"Temporus! Temporal Beast! Whatever you desire to be called!" Fyxan called out towards the ancient, powerful Infinus.

"We surrender ourselves!"

A smile.

As Fyxan looks at the enormous throne situated to the left of the elevator, he notices the rise of an enormous, red, black and silver-armoured reptillian being out of his throne. The footsteps of his titanic feet echo all over the summit, as the being turns around to reveal its enormous head. Three horns emanate from its head, two on the side, one on top, and its hideous face revealed a set of gnarly, nasty teeth occasionally it breathed. On the sides of its face, two unusually dark red, reptillian eyes were staring straight at the Toa.

It was smiling.

As soon as the reptillian being stood in front of the team of Toa, Lev suddenly emerged out of the crowd of Toa, carrying a dead white and golden-armoured Toa in his hand, and the sword of said being, in his other. Kneeling, the green-armoured Toa of Air laid Fairon's heavy body down on the ground. Then, after that, he laid down the sword right where the Toa could reach it. Finally, the Toa of Air got back up, looking the ancient Infinus straight in its dark eyes. Those eyes...the Toa of Air thought, have I seen them before?

"We surrender ourselves, Temporus, to you," Fyxan declared.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha," the great Infinus laughed sarcastically. "I must say, I admire your courage to even go back here and make it this far, you warriors. Surely, Fyxan and Lev, your Combat Master titles are deserved, ha ha."

"Welcome, once again," the Infinus continued, "to the summit of the Nui Tower of Time."

Pausing briefly, the Infinus continues "Krataxus..." the air turns cold as the Infinus announces the name of the reviled and feared Dark Toa of Fire, "has fled."

Fyxan's eyes widened.

Krataxus has fled? But...how? Would he not remain loyal to this until the very end? The warrior could not help but feel something was very...off about the whole situation, yet he could not accurately put his finger on what exactly was so off.

Looking at his friend, Lev, with whom he had been in Combat training, Fyxan could notice that he, too, was feeling the same thing about the Temporal Beast and his odd behaviours, as well as the oddity of Krataxus just taking his leave.

"He was, shall we say it, ashamed of himself? Unwilling to accept the fact that he had been defeated by Fairon, our favourite Toa of Fire has left the building. Where he has gone, only time will tell, ha ha." The Temporal Beast's laughing, and his vain attempts at cracking jokes sounded hollow and meaningless, though he clearly seemed to be having a great time cracking them himself. Then, once finished laughing, the look on his hideous face turned deadly serious.

"So," he began, taking a deep breathe before continuing, "I have a proposal, to you."

"And what may this proposal be, Temporus?" Aquila asked the ancient being sternly, her fiery green eyes looking straight into the eyes of the ancient Infinus.

"You join me. Fair and simple. With Krataxus gone and ashamed of himself, you can replace him as rightful protectors of the universe. Rather than endless amounts of Undead creatures serving me and a single Toa, you can be the powerful protectors of law and order in this lawless universe. It is collapsing, and who is going to work hard to restore it once Time has returned? The Galactic Council? Hah!" he scoffed at the Galactic Council, before continuing, "my offer to you, is that you are allowed to join me, here and now, and you shall be forgiven for your crimes. With Fairon dead, you can become rightful protectors of a new order. And make no mistake; the order you will establish will prevent any further destabilisation of the universe.

Choose wisely."

The enormous reptillian being extends its arm, opening its clawed hand as a gesture of friendship. "Embrace the hand, and your lives will become better than ever before."

He smiled. A truly hideous expression coming from such an incredibly large, dark and corrupted Infinus.

Without a second thought, a white foot set the first step. Fyxan, of all the beings, was the first to take the step towards the Temporal Beast. Remaining ever so deadly silent, he walked towards the powerful Infinus, before turning around to face off the allies of Fairon, hoping that they, too, would join him and Temporus. Quickly, Lev and Shadon moved too, realising their potential was dwindling and not willing to fight their best friend Fyxan.

"No!" Aquila let out an anguished scream as she saw Lev and Shadon walk away from Fairon's body, her and Jareroden. She turned towards the Toa of Psionics, the Toa she knew she loved. "Jareroden," she began seriously, "please don't go. Please, don't!"

But it was too late.

The Toa of Psionics, swayed by the Primal Beast's offer, turned away from his lover Toa of Water, and walked towards the Temporal Beast. Finally, he, too, turned around, seeing only Fairon's body and the Toa of Water still standing over it.

"Well, Toa?"

She fell down on her knees over Fairon's body. "I," she barely managed to get out of her mouth. "I will not allow this to happen!" she roared angrily at the Infinus. "How dare all of you do this to our cause?! To betray not only our cause, but to betray the people of Estron, the people of Arcturus Magna, the people of Dracia.

You're betraying our friendship and love!"

The ancient Infinus laughed once again. A hollow, ominous sound echoing all over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time. Though none of the warriors standing by him followed suit, he did not mind. Inside, he knew full-well what was about to happen. If this is the kind of theatricality they seem to require, I shall leave them to it.

Finally, after a brief moment that seemed like an eternity, the large Infinus started walking ever closer to the comparably small Toa of Water and the body of the Toa of Light ahead of him, still sensing a little life energy coming from the Toa.

"Toa Fairon and Toa Aquila," the large Infinus announced in a now booming roar, "your choices have been taken into account. Your refusal to serve universal stability, duly noted. As a result of your actions against the cause of universal stability, you will be summarily executed, here and now."

"Yet, despite the fact that I, Temporus, am here, I am not going to be the one carrying out the executions. Your friend and brother, Fyxan, will carry that out for you, ensuring your death will be as painless as possible."

Fyxan's single blue eye widened. Yet, before he could take any action against it, the Temporal Beast was already cheering him on for carrying out the executions. Attempting to be untouched by the actions of the enormous Infinus, Fyxan breathed in and out, concentrating on his breathe, and started walking towards the position where Aquila and Fairon were, charging his enormous Light powers slowly but surely.

He closed his one eye, but activated his robotic eye to ensure he remained able to envision where Fairon and Aquila were. One by one, his feet got ever closer to the position of the two Toa, his footsteps the only sound heard on the otherwise deadly silent summit of the Tower.

He arrived at a position right in front of Fairon and Aquila.

"Go on, Fyxan! Show the two Toa, and your fellow comrades with me, the true extent of your powers!"

He deactivated his robotic eye, and focused all of his energies into the tip of his blade, like he head learned during combat training with Hendrax. Aquila looked in horror as particles of Light started swirling and dancing around the tip of her former ally. The light at the tip of his sword was becoming ever brighter and starting to dance and swirl ever more intensely around the sharp tip of his Protodermis steel sword. Slowly, very slowly, the warrior raised his sword and aimed it at the two, his single blue eye still closed tightly.

Finally, the warrior felt his energies almost surging and leaking out of the tip of his sword. He opened his mouth, breathing heavily and sweating profusely as he stood in front of two Toa he had once considered allies. And then, he focused all of the gathered energies at once, the entire blade of his sword lighting up in an enormous blinding light.

I'll show you the true extent of my powers, Infinus, oh I will.

And he fired.

Chapter Twenty[]

In a flash, Aquila saw all of the major events of her life move right by her. Her young life on Dracia, being taught how to become a Ga-Matoran healer at the Dracian Ga-University of Healing, and how she became a triumphant Toa healer and teacher at that very same university. She remembers the beauty and the pride she felt as she was instated into the position of teacher at one of the universe's most renowned healing sciences universities.

But then came the fall.

The fall had been one of the worst tragedies of the Toa of Water's life.

As soon as she was contacted by Fyxan and Lev that the return of Darkness was imminent, and the destruction of Dracia could not be prevented, Aquila and the rest of the Ga-University were evacuated as quickly as they could. Aquila's best friend, a fellow teacher and Toa of Water named Harini, joined them, aiding most of the university and its hospital personnel in the process of evacuating into their shuttles as quickly as possible.

With Aquila heading into the shuttles first, Harini realised that she had left an important teaching and research document behind in the facilities of the University. As an eager and earnest student, and unwilling to lose all her study progress, the Toa of Water that was Aquila's best friend rushed to head back into the University, telling her best friend that she'd catch up later.

Afraid, but realising the danger of the situation, Aquila agreed to make the choice to leave onboard of the Titan-I battleship, serving as its main healer on the orders of Fyxan.

Shortly after the Titan-I took off from the crumbling Dracian surface, the Toa of Water was contacted by Harini, who had made it into a shuttle and was departing at that very moment.

Happy to hear the voice of her best friend, Aquila asked Harini if she'd gotten the research.

"Yes, yes!" the nervous Toa of Water responded over the communicator.

After a brief moment, however, a crash was heard over the communicator. Aquila attempted to signal her best friend. "Harini? Harini?!" she yelled over the communications, her high-pitched screan resounding all through the communications deck.

And then it hit her.

Or rather, it had hit Harini.

The shuttle in which Harini had departed from the Dracian surface shortly before was hit by incoming rubble from the hangar and the destruction of the enormous Dracian Royal City and its various buildings.

Indeed, in the ensuing mass destruction, Harini's shuttle was unable to manoeuvre itself out of the incoming rubble efficiently enough before she was hit by an oncoming building.

The Toa of Water, unable to communicate any more, finally met her end at the hands of the building, before her bloodied remains were sucked into the black hole, away into the Realm of Darkness forever. As Aquila looked out of the window of the medical bay at Dracia, not only did she lose her home forever.

She lost her best friend, forever.

And now, once more, did the Toa of Water lose her best friends. Fyxan, one of the warriors she most looked up to even back on Dracia, was the first to betray her, walking towards the ancient, malevolent Infinus as though it was nothing. Afterwards, the two other Toa she looked up to, Lev and Shadon, were gone. And lastly, that which seemed to hurt her most.

The leaving of Jareroden.

With the Toa of Psionics she loved seemingly gone, the Toa of Water fell to her knees in front of the body of Fairon, her eyes filled with tears.

Oh you poor thing, the ancient Infinus thought, as he looked on at the saddened Toa of Water, if only you saw that which I and my allies have seen. If only you decided to join us, then perhaps you and your love could remain together forever in a universe that is not destroyed.

But sadly, it had not to be.

Her choice not to join the Empire in the wake of his offer was her own fault, and for it, she and Fairon would be ended, their bodies kept as a trophy later to be shown towards the general populace as an example of what would happen to those who refused to obey the principles of universal stability.

Oh, well, the Infinus thought, as its enormous reptillian eyes were fixed firmly on the warrior of Light, the Combat Master Fyxan, who was standing right in front of him, charging his powers of Light.

I'll show you the true extent of my powers, Infinus, oh I will.

Before releasing an incredible amount of Light energy upon his two comrades, the Combat Master that was Fyxan turned around in an instant, suddenly facing the ancient, corrupted Infinus.

"Very well, Infinus, I'll show you the true extent of my powers!"

The sight of the blinding light that emanated from the blade of Fyxan's sword was too much for Lev to handle, and he closed his eyes quickly. Before he could reopen his eyes, he heard the sound of what seemed like a scream coming from the large Infinus, signalling the start of the exact plan he had had in mind for the rest of the Toa.

As quick as they could, the rest of the Toa team dissipated in a variety of directions, all running away from underneath the Temporal Beast to get a better aim at him. Fairon, still alive, got up and picked up the sword that had been laid down besides him by Lev. He rolled over and, getting up to stand besides Fyxan, aimed a blast of Light purely at the eyes of the Infinus. He screamed and roared in pain as he was blinded, trying to shield his eyes, but unable to control them.

Temporus, the Temporal Beast, was struggling.

"AGH! GET OUT OF ME! GET OUT OF MY BODY, YOU VILE-" a thunderous voice roared, before the calmer voice of before returned, "no, dark spirit, be gone!" in what seemed like a clash of personalities going on inside the weakened Infinus.

"What in the name of Kronos is going on with him?!" Lev yelled. "I wish I had even the slightest idea, but it seems worrying, Lev," Shadon responded, with Fyxan adding "he does not seem to have control over himself, he's struggling-" before he could finish his sentence, though, the sound of his voice was drowned out by a deafening roar from the Primal Beast.

ROAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR.

Suddenly, a blast of Darkness hit Fyxan like never before, sending the Toa flying into one of the six pillars situated at the summit. "Agh!" he screamed as he hit the cold hard stone of the pillar with a thud. Another roar from the Beast.

Fyxan opened his eyes, only to see another blast of Darkness coming his way.

"YOU...WILL...PAY" the Primal Beast roared across the summit as it ever so slowly strode towards the position where Fyxan was, making its way to execute the warrior and Combat Master quickly and efficiently. Charging another blast of Darkness from its claws, the Primal Beast then lashes out at the small Combat Master with its clawed hands, forcing the golden and white-armoured warrior to fight a battle he cannot win.

"DO SOMETHING!" Fyxan yelled in desperation at the rest of his team.

Quickly, Shadon, Lev, Jareroden, Fairon and Aquila stand together, next to each other, and charge all of their elemental powers at the beast that is charging and hacking away at their friend. As the Primal Beast raises its claws in what seems to be preparation for the final blow to finish off its opponent, the Toa fire their energies all at once, the intensity of their energies brightly illuminating the darkness of the summit.

"AAAAGH!" the ancient Infinus of Time screams and screeches as he is thrown off-balance and knocked back several metres, forcing the Infinus to attempt to regain its balance.

Fyxan, seeing his opportunity, quickly runs back towards the team and nods, enabling the team to initiate the plan they had made in the throne room: push the Infinus over the edge of the Tower.

Fairon closes his eyes, placing all of his focus on the sword in his hands. He breathes calmly. One...two...three...repeating the process by counting to three every time he breathes, enabling the energy inside of him to surge dramatically as he readies himself and his body for the Light he is about to release. At the tip of his sword, Light energy particles start glowing and dancing around, their dance getting ever more intense as the Toa of Light focuses himself more and more.

As before, Fyxan closes his eyes and places all of his focus, though weakened, on the powers he has left. Grabbing on to his Light sword firmly, the warrior enables all of his energies to surge into the sword, the energies getting more and more intense and powerful with each breathe he takes. Finally, he opens his eyes, and aims straight at the Infinus.

The two fired their incredibly powerful blasts of Light.

At once, an incredibly bright light once again hits the enormous Infinus, which once again roars in pain as it is once again blinded. The rest of the Toa team, seeing this as their opportunity, charge up their energies, and fire a focused joint elemental blast, forcing the great Infinus further back towards the edge. As it struggles to keep its balance, screams can be heard coming from the Infinus once again, as though it still struggles against something inside of itself.

"GET OUT, YOU!" the ancient being roars, the sound of its voice nearly deafening the Toa, before the calm voice once again speaks "you, dark spirit, remove yourself from the grip of this body! I cannot allow you to control this!"

"I AM TEMPORUS, INFINUS OF TIME, YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR ACTIONS YOU-"

"No, impostor, your actions of heinous evil have been enough now, begone from this body before I have to force you to-"

Before the calm voice could attempt to finish its sentence, the Infinus appeared to grab its own neck, the struggle between the two minds still seemingly going on as they were now not only struggling for control of the mind, but also the gigantic reptillian body of the Infinus. Fyxan, seeing a moment of opportunity, signalled the rest of the team to look at the struggle the Infinus was seeming to have with its own mind.

"Guys!" the warrior began, with the rest of the team turning towards the golden and white-armoured Combat Master with questioning looks on their faces, "this it it! This is the moment! We cannot hesitate!"

We cannot hesitate.

Those words resounded through Fairon's head as he placed the entirety of his focus on charging his Light powers in order to aid his friends in the struggle against the Temporal Beast. It's either now, or never, the Toa of Light thought as particles of Light energy started to emanate from the blade of the sword he was carrying, their energy becoming ever more intense with every breathe he took, with every moment that passed. Besides him, Fyxan, Shadon, Lev, Aquila and Jareroden were doing the same, fixating all of their concentration on charging up their elemental energies. Slowly, the entirety of the summit of the Tower was illuminated by the bright glow of the energies emanating from the warriors' weapons.

And then, Fyxan started counting down.

"Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two... One..."

"GO!"

The summit of the Nui Tower of Time was instantly illuminated in a light brighter than a thousand suns as the combined elemental energies of Light, Iron, Water, Air and Psionics were unleashed simultaneously from the swords and weapons of the team of warriors. The energies, bundling together into one gigantic blast, flew straight at the gigantic Infinus ahead of them, which was still struggling with its inner struggle.

It hit the gigantic reptillian being straight in its chest, forcing it back to near the edge.

The warriors quickly followed the being in pursuit, determined to finish what they had come for. Determined to reverse the Universal Paralysis and end this conflict, once and for all. Before any of the brave beings could close their eyes and focus on charging up their elemental energies for a final blast, though, the Temporal Beast seemed to have regained focus.

"BEGONE!"

In a fell swoop of its claws, the ancient Infinus unleashed a powerful blast of Darkness, throwing Lev, Jareroden and Shadon across the summit, the three landing far away from the rest of their team. Then, in another smooth movement of his claws, the enormous creature unleashed a blast at Aquila, knocking the Toa of Water into the cold hard stone floor of the destroyed summit, before turning his attention on the two beings of Light.

Fairon looked at the ancient Infinus, which had finally started to make its advance on him and his friend Fyxan. As the ancient reptillian being got ever closer, Fairon could feel the shadowy breathe of death greeting him far below the summit. Was this really it? Was this what he had come for? Was this what he had fought for all this time?

No.

Charging what little elemental power he had left, the Toa of Light unleashes a blast of Light aimed straight at the eyes of the Infinus. In angered reaction, the Infinus screams, attempting to block its eyes from the intensely blinding light that just hit them.

Fyxan, seeing his opportunity, fired a powerful blast of Light directly at the chest, once again forcing the reptillian further and further back. "Fairon!" he yelled at the Toa of Light, who nodded in response, "this it it, we must finish him NOW or we will never be able to finish him!"

Fairon nodded in response and, determined not to let his or his team's efforts go to waste, charged all of his Light energies at blinding Temporus once again, keeping the giant being incapacitated, while Fyxan shot another blast of Light at the chest of the being, forcing him ever closer to the edge.

And another blast.

And another.

The Primal Beast's screams and screeches were heard all over the summit, but it did not deter either of the two extremely determined warriors on their path to defeat the ancient Infinus.

In a flash, Fairon fired another blast of Light at the Infinus ahead of him, which screamed in pain and agony. "AAGH! YOU VILE CREATURES!" it roared.

And then suddenly, a joint elemental blast hit the Infinus squarely in the chest.

The Infinus, hit so heavily by the elemental blast, was pushed back all the way towards the very edge of the summit. The back of his feet almost over the edge, the Infinus roared in panic, before finally firing another blast of Darkness. The blast of Darkness hit Fyxan, throwing back the Combat Master several metres before hitting the cold hard ground.

At once, Fairon realised this was his moment. He charged another Light blast, though before he could, he, too was thrown back several metres by a blast of Darkness from the now panicky Infinus standing on the edge.

Eyes of a fiercely blue hue stared at the events in front of him. His friend Fyxan was pushed back by the Infinus of Time and, before Fairon could fire a blast of Light to finish it, he, too, was hit by a dark blast fired at him by the Infinus. Realising there was no time left for games and no time left for their old strategy, Jareroden closed his eyes.

He remembered his youth on Estron, serving as a young Toa warrior and Combat Apprentice to the ancient Combat Master Rex before he disappeared and the Civil War broke out. Since Rex's disappearance, Jareroden had served dutifully an old mentor of his, an associate of Rex's whose wisdom was far beyond his years. He saw his mentor sit in the chair in the stinking office in his den on the Estronian bazaars, spending his hours contemplating the meaning of the universe, and helping his countless apprentices in their missions.

He saw the events that occurred at this very summit before. Kratus' betrayal, the team's loss of one of their best friends, and their failure to complete the mission that they had been sent for. Their escape from the Nui Tower, their attempt to build up a resistance. All of it shot through the Toa of Psionics' head.

I have to do something.

At once, the Toa of Psionics charged. Not an elemental blast, no. The Toa of Psionics literally charged at the Temporal Beast with all of his willpower and strength. If this is my end, so be it! he thought determinedly as he ran ever closer towards the enormous reptillian being that was balancing on the edge of the summit.

Bang.

"JARERODEN NO!" Aquila screamed as she saw the brave Toa of Psionics take charge at the enormous Infinus of Time. Lev's eyes were wide open, as was his mouth, as he was looking at the scene that was unfolding in front of him in awe.

Fyxan, barely having managed to get up, was shocked as he saw how the Toa of Psionics now proved himself to be perhaps the bravest of them all as he charged.

At Aquila's scream, Fairon shot up to see one of his friends and most loyal supporters, Jareroden, charge straight at the Infinus of Time itself, with nothing seeming to deter the Toa of Psionics.

Shadon was dumbfounded, the Toa of Psionics' courage surprising and impressing the Toa of Iron beyond mere words.

With a thud, the Toa of Psionics hit the armour of the gigantic Infinus. The Infinus screamed, roared and screeched in the struggle to regain its balance.

And then it took a misstep.

At once, the Infinus of Time reached for the object nearest to him.

It was Jareroden.

The Toa of Psionics, feeling as he was grabbed by the Infinus of Time, looked back at the rest of his team, who had by now all gotten up to view the enormous struggle the Toa of Psionics was having with the Infinus who, now, lost its balance altogether.

As Jareroden knew exactly what was going to happen after that moment, he closed his eyes in determination and, determined to defeat the Temporal Beast, charged all of his elemental powers to blast the darkened Infinus away from the summit and further away from the Tower.

And they fell.

Fairon rushed to the edge where the Infinus and Jareroden stood, the screams of the Infinus still echoing all over the blackened abyss that lay far below them. Fyxan, too, had come to stand next to Fairon. Slowly, but surely, the rest of the team came to join the two Light warriors at the edge, looking deep into the blackened abyss where, moments before, Jareroden's final moment could be viewed. The Toa of Psionics, one of their most eager and determined allies, had sacrificed himself for the universe. An act of kindness, an act of courage and, above all, an act of friendship.

Aquila was crying, though proud. Although the one Toa she loved was now, after all this time, dead, the Toa of Water could not help but feel pride over the legacy of the brave Toa of Psionics. With tears in her eyes, the Toa of Water smiled as she stared deep into the abyss.


Jareroden's eyes were closed, his focus placed entirely on keeping the Infinus as far away from trying to climb back to the Tower at once.

Their fall was long, and the ancient reptillian being was attempting to claw away at the Toa of Psionics, who desperately used his Psionics powers to stop the mind of the Infinus doing so. As the Toa of Psionics felt the two get enveloped into a new energy, the grip of Temporus on him inevitably weakened.

In his last moments, Jareroden opened his eyes, only to see something he had not hoped to see in his last moments.

An incredibly dark, hideous energy was making its way out of the body of the ancient Infinus, the blackness of Darkness and Nothingness left everywhere in its wake. The energy crawled and shot upwards towards the asteroid where the Nui Tower of Time was situated, though not towards the summit.

No, it was going towards the basement.

Jareroden, though wanting to warn his friends, realised he could not do much anymore to fight. He closed his eyes, focusing all of his powers on warning his friends that the Darkness was not yet gone with the defeat of the Temporal Beast. There, and then, in his final moments, the Toa of Psionics was engulfed entirely by energies coming from all directions. Is this it?

An explosion of energy.


A familiar voice suddenly sounded all over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time.

Jareroden's voice.

"My friends," his friendly voice began in the calmest tone, "I want to thank you all for being a part of my life. For being a part of this adventure with me, and for having me as part of your team."

A brief pause occurred, before the voice of the Toa of Psionics started thanking each of the members of the team, one by one.

"Fyxan," the voice turned itself towards the Combat Master, "thank you for teaching me what you know about Combat besides what I already knew, and thank you for being the calm voice of our team in times of need. Without you, our team could have gotten lost forever."

The Combat Master's eyes filled with tears as he was barely able to give a thank you to the Toa of Psionics, whose voice then turned towards Shadon.

"Shadon," the voice began, "I want to thank you for being such an incredibly funny - and sometimes incredibly unfunny - friend and joker of the group. Your engineering skills and technical strategic skills have doubtlessly helped us stand the test. Without your occasionally light-hearted jokes, life might have become a little too unbearable for all of us."

"Oh my..." the Toa of Iron could only say, as he sat down and cried, humbled by the words of the Toa of Psionics.

"Fairon," the voice began, turning towards the Toa of Light, "a sure hardhead you are, but I want to thank you for managing to keep yourself together through all of this, even despite all of the horrors we went through together. After all, if it weren't for your determination, some of us might have given up along the way, myself included. I want to thank you for your perseverance in the face of these adverse circumstances, and I want to wish you the best of luck in finding out more about yourself, your origins, and who you really are."

Fairon smiled as a tear rolled down his golden Kanohi Kualsi, flattered and struck by the kind words the Toa of Psionics left to him.

"Lev," the Toa of Psionics turned towards the Toa of Air, "sometimes the silent one, sometimes the funny one, thank you for being so creative with solutions and so sensible when you need to be, and thank you for being such a great friend whenever needed. Your technical contributions alongside Shadon's are much appreciated and, without them, we would likely never even have reached this point at this very Tower. Once again, thank you."

Lev was humbled, he sat down and cried, but smiled and felt proudly of himself and of the Toa of Psionics who, at last, turned towards his love, the Toa of Water Aquila.

"Aquila..." the voice began, before pausing shortly, "I want to say I am sorry for not making it out of this alive, for making this sacrifice for you. I, too, would rather spend much of my life fighting the forces of Dark side by side with you, but it was not to be written in my destiny. As such, I want to thank you for being the best there is in this entire universe, and all universes beyond this one. I could not put it differently."

The Toa of Water started crying even louder, though a big smile appeared on her face despite of it. She was proud of him. Proud of the Toa of Psionics to have gotten this far. Before anyone could rejoice or celebrate, though, the voice continued.

"Before I must take my leave, there is something I want to warn you for.

Darkness is still on the loose.

Though our adversary of the Empire may be defeated, I fear this is not the last of Darkness we have seen. Remain careful, my friends, remain strong. My time has come to leave. Goodbye."

With that, the voice turned silent and, soon afterwards, so did the summit of the Nui Tower of Time. Only the sound of sobs and crying filled out the eternally silent summit.

The muffled sound of an energy explosion suddenly sounded in the background.

Fairon, hearing the sound, got up and walked towards the edge where the Temporal Beast and Jareroden had just fallen. There, deep in the abyss, an intensely bright blue light had exploded and was shooting up, the shockwave emanating all across the universe from the location where it had occurred.

And then it shot upwards.

At once, the intensely bright blue light shot upwards towards the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, hitting the formerly reddish black stormy clouds that had formed high above the summit when the black hole had appeared. The clouds, hit by the energy, suddenly turned into a faintly bluish hue, and the black hole at the centre dissipated at once. Afterwards, the rest of the clouds dissipated in what seemed like a splashing sound, the same splashing sound that could be heard when Undead guardians dissipated.

The clouds disappeared, the air on the summit of the Nui Tower appeared to become warmer again, signifying the leave of the Undead creatures and the leave of Darkness. Fairon and Fyxan suddenly felt strengthened as the power in their bodies returned to the levels in which they had been before the Universal Paralysis had occurred. And then, faintly in the distance, something started appearing.

A sun was rising over the Nui Tower of Time for the first time in what had seemed like forever, and the Toa cheered in celebration over the return of Light.

Time had finally been restored.

The Toa's mission to the Nui Tower, what they had once set out to do after Turaga Herax sent them to prevent the disastrous collapse, had finally happened. Although it cost much more than they wanted it to cost, including the life of one of their members and the betrayal of another, they had managed it. They had not just come this far, they had restarted their mission and won over their obstacles even in the face of the most severe conditions.

For the first time in an eternity, Fairon finally felt like he could genuinely smile worrilessly.

But their work was not over, yet.

Though the flow of Time had been restored, there was still so much work to do for the team.

As specified by the Ashatani tablet, the Nui Tower of Time would slowly restore itself over time, but that was not the least of the Toa's worries. The Titan-I battleship was, since its encounter with its successor, in shambles.

Shadon, walking into the now entirely empty hangar in which the large vessel was located, looked at the spacecraft in what seemed like a mix of shock and awe. "What," the Toa of Iron began, pointing at the damage all over the immense battleship, "did happen to it to cause this amount of damage?"

The hull of the Toa's battleship was incredibly damaged closer to the stern, behind the bridge on the hull. The starboard of the upper two wings, which were placed on the hull in a Y-shape, had been completely torn to pieces by what appeared to be high-energy cannon shots.

The main thruster, too, had endured significant damage. Furthermore, the shield generator had been significantly damaged as a result of the high-energy volleys that had been fired at the Titan-I.

Shadon's mouth was wide-open.

"Well," Fairon began, before Aquila stepped in to finish "we had an unfortunate encounter with Krataxus' vessel in warp-space." Shadon's mouth fell wide-open as he heard how the other trio had been attacked in warp-space by Krataxus' vessel.

"I, I knew this ship of his was capable of some impressive technological feats, but to be capable of actually entering trans-warp factor T3 and being able to attack you while doing so is a technological feat I had not yet heard of."

The Toa of Iron could not contain just how shocked he was by the fact that the Titan-II seemed to be capable of these things. He wondered what could possibly have engineered a monstrous vessel with such capabilities.

"Shall we?" Shadon asked his fellow engineer Lev, who nodded at his Toa of Iron comrade. The two slowly walked up the loading bridge into the hatch on the side of the Titan-I, the same bridge which Aquila and Jareroden had been led down by Krataxus only some time earlier.

Once inside the ship, Lev and Shadon took a turn to the left, walking through a series of corridors leading further and further to the stern of the ship. Once there, the two Toa noticed something quite shocking above their heads.

The hull had been breached by the force of the energy shots.

Analysing the hole in the hull thoroughly, Lev could not help but be quite amazed at the sheer power of the Energy cannons that did this. Walking further down the corridors, the two engineers of the ship could not help but notice the fact that the shots had only barely missed the Energy guns of the Titan-I itself.

If those had been hit, Fairon and his comrades in the battleship might have been even less lucky than they were.

With the inspection of their ship finished, Lev and Shadon walked back out of the ship, into the hangar, to face the rest of the team.

"Well," Shadon began, "there's major damage to all areas behind the bridge, I'm afraid," before Lev continued, "we're going to have to proceed to repair the ship utilising what parts are present inside this fortress here." Fyxan then stepped forward, turning towards the two engineers, "and how long do you believe this will take us?"

Lev and Shadon looked at each other, the worried look on their face clearly hinting that what they were about to tell was not something Fyxan wanted to hear.

"Well..." Shadon began, before Lev finished his sentence, "it's going to be taking us several days to repair this, at the very least. The Trans-Warp systems need to be replaced in their entirety, the hull needs to be fixed, and the power of the Energy Reactor needs to be restored. Looks like we're going to have to remain in this place for a while."

Chapter Twenty-One[]

Eyes of a fierce, determined green hue stare at the sun in the distance, which illuminates the summit where the being was. The being sits on a rather large Altar, having ascended the steps towards that Altar, giving the being a good vantage point over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time. Its six pillars, still destroyed, were all around him, as was the throne of the being who once ruled the universe from this very location.

But that is not why he is here.

In this calm, silent place, high above the rest, the Toa of Light decided to retreat while the two engineers, Shadon and Lev, were doing their job on fixing the Titan-I battleship to enable the Toa and their team to return to Kraka Minor, where they would tell Turaga Herax of the events that happened. They would inform the elderly Turaga that one of their members, Kratus, had betrayed them, becoming a hideously mutated Toa of Darkness called Krataxus in the process. Afterwards, their plan was to ask their Turaga for guidance in where to go next, where to possibly find the former Toa of Fire, and if it were at all possible to return him to the Light.

Since their final confrontation, Fairon had not seen the Toa of Fire.

The Toa of Fire, as it were, fled the throne room in a portal of Darkness, but not before destroying the Crystal of Time, nearly forcing the team of warriors to put an end to their mission and give up. Once they ascended towards the summit, where Fairon now was, Temporus informed the team that their former member and friend had run away, as it were, ashamed of himself.

Still, Fairon could not help but wonder just where Krataxus had fled to. After all, he knew that the Toa of Fire was not one to make such quick, irrational decisions, even when he was overcome by Darkness. He sighed and held his head down, pondering endlessly.

The crack of footsteps.

As quick as he could, Fairon raised his head and opened his eyes, looking away from the sun to see where the sound of footsteps had come from.

Strange.

I thought they agreed to leave me to meditate and come to rest here.

Another few footsteps.

This time, the Toa of Light shot up, quickly scanning his environs to search for the area where the footsteps came from.

Nothing.

Or was there really nothing there?

"Looking for Krataxus, are we?"

Fairon jumped, the sound of the voice came from all directions, not unlike Temporus' voice had previously come from all directions on the summit. Yet, in sharp contrast with the reptillian Infinus' voice, this voice was much smoother and had a deeper, more bassy timbre, with an almost soothing and calming quality to it.

"Who are you?!"

"I am someone who knows."

"Reveal yourself, whoever and whatever you are!"

"Ha ha" the voice laughed, before continuing, "you are so very much like he was, oh Fairon. So very much like he was."

That last sentence struck the Toa of Light harder than it should have. He? Who is he even?

"I know you are confused, Toa, and I know you are afraid. Thrown into a world you don't even know, with no knowledge but your name, only to be discovered by a Toa of Fire who, not too much later, decides it is his deepest desire to kill you. I can imagine you are struggling, Toa."

"I am not struggling! I am Fairon and I know who I am! Where I come from does not matter, it matters where I'm going!" the Toa of Light roared in determined fashion. His patience was running out, just who was this being and why was he doing this to Fairon? Did he not know who he was? Of course, he did not know where he came from or how he ended up on Kraka Minor, but that was not of the matter, was it?

"So very much like him indeed."

"If you know so much about me, then tell me who I really am?! Tell me everything you know, whoever you may be, and reveal yourself!"

"As you wish."

Suddenly, the crack of footsteps was right behind the Toa of Light.

He turned around and, standing there, was a being slightly larger than he was. The being's eyes and his body armour were hidden, a large, thick black cloak hiding his armour and his eyes from the sight of the Toa of Light. Out of the sleeves, two skeletal hands emanated, their fingertips clawed.

Besides the skeletal hands, only the being's feet could be seen.

Fairon, shocked, jumped back a little, before walking off the Altar step by step, ever closer to the middle of the summit.

The cloaked being remained perfectly still, only staring silently at Fairon.

Suddenly, in a flash, the being disappeared into a cloud of Darkness.

"What?! Where are you?!"

And there, only a few meters away from him, Fairon saw the cloaked being standing once again, still perfectly still. This time, though, the being's back was leaning against the remains of the Primal Beast's throne.

The being was staring at him.

Fairon unsheathed his sword and, charging his Light powers, aimed it at the being. This one would not get away with taunting him without telling him everything he knew.

"Now," the Toa of Light began, "tell me everything you know."

"Ha ha ha. So very determined aren't we, Toa?"

"Quit the games, you!"

"Don't you know, Fairon? Do you not remember me? I know not only where you come from, or how you arrived there I know who you are."

Fairon felt more than a little uneasy at what the being was saying. Remember him? How could he, a being Fairon had never met before know where the white and golden-armoured Toa of Light came from? The two had never met before, at least not as far as Fairon remembered, and neither did they have anything to do with each other as it seemed.

The being still stood perfectly still in an almost eerie fashion, just staring at the Toa of Light, his body entirely unmoving.

"Tell me Fairon," the cloaked one began, before continuing, "do you...remember?"

That's enough, Fairon thought. The Toa grabbed his sword, and charged at the cloaked being, charging his Light powers in the process and readying himself for a fight.

"Argh!"

Before the Toa of Light could even so much as attempt to come near the dark cloaked being in front of him, the dark being fired an incredibly powerful blast of Darkness, more powerful than any of the blasts Krataxus had ever fired at the Toa. It sent the Toa of Light flying over the summit, before he hit the ground with a muffled thud.

Still, undeterred, the Toa of Light rushed to get back up, once again grabbing his sword and readying his Light powers for battle.

The being let out an annoyed sigh.

"Fine then, Toa. Have it your way."

At that moment, out of the nothing, two incredibly large, razor-sharp swords flash into the hands of the cloaked being. On their tips, extra blade extensions were situated, featuring some sort of intense reddish Energy that Fairon could not bring home.

Before the Toa of Light had any more time to analyse the cloaked one's weapons, though, the latter charged at the Toa of Light with incredibly speed, his twin blades cutting in the ancient stone of the Nui Tower of Time. A clang resounded all over the summit of the Nui Tower of Time as one of the twin blades hit Fairon's sword. And another clang. And another. Fairon feels as though he is overpowered by the incredible agility and speed with which the cloaked being keeps lashing out his sword at the Toa of Light's, their power remaining equal with every next hit.

Fairon was growing tired, the incredible speed of the warrior he was up against was nearly too much for him. Seeing what he believed to be an opportunity to retaliate, Fairon fired a blast of Light at the cloaked being's left hand, the blade flying out of the being's hand.

Before the Toa of Light could rush to grab the blade, though, it disappeared into nothingness.

And then, behind him, the cloaked being once again stood.

The blade reappearing in his left hand, the cloaked being once again charged at the Toa of Light. A clang once more echoed. Then another, and another. The onslaught of charged attacks from the cloaked being tired the Toa of Light ever further than he possibly could.

Clang!

The sound of the clang was louder than it had been before, and Fairon, in pain, felt how the being sliced at his hand, forcing the Toa of Light to let go of the sword.

The sword flew through the air, before landing near the Altar at the back of the summit, far away from Fairon. Before he could rush towards the Altar, the cloaked being kicked the Toa of Light in the back, forcing him onto the ground. With a thud, Fairon landed face-first on the cold hard stone of the Nui Tower of Time, the shockwave of the fall being sent right through his body.

"Toa, you tell me something now," the being commanded, his voice sounding intimidating and far less soothing than it had sounded a few minutes before, before continuing, "just what do you hope to gain by fighting me?"

The Toa of Light grew incredibly angered. What was the cloaked one trying to do to him? And why? He was trying to deter the being's onslaught of mental and physical torture, even when all odds seemed stacked against him and he had lost his weapon in the process.

But, despite that, why he was actually fighting the being, he didn't know.

"Not just in personality, but also in fighting style, the two of you are incredibly, though unsurprisingly alike."

And then the Toa of Light snapped.

He rushed back up, grabbed his sword, and proceeded to charge an incredibly powerful blast of Light at the cloaked being. "Enough!" he screamed across the summit of the Nui Tower of Time as he fires the blast across the summit towards the pillar where the cloaked being stood. Yet, the cloaked being seemed undeterred at the sound of the blast of Light rushing at him. In a flash, the blade in the being's left hand disappeared, and he raised the hand calmly.

At that moment, it appeared as though time was moving so very slowly between the two beings, as though it all was happening in slow-motion.

An enormous blast of electric power erupted out of the being's ghastly skeletal hand, its reddish glow being exactly the same as the glow at the tip of his twin blades, while it crept through the air like a lightning bolt. The blast crept through the air between the Toa and him, before hitting the blast of Light head-first.

In an instant, Fairon felt how his elemental power was being pushed back by an energy he could not really recognise. It wasn't Darkness, that was one thing Fairon knew for sure, this was something far colder, far less remorseful and far more emotionless than Darkness was.

Despite his valiant attempts to channel all of his Light powers against the onslaught of energy that was pushing his Light back, Fairon could not help but notice how his blast seemed to be getting shorter and shorter, the red glow coming closer and closer to him. Before he knew it, the Light energy was thrown back into his blade, while the intense, emotionlessly cold lightning-like Energy engulfed the Toa of Light as he was thrown onto the ground, the intense amounts of Energy draining the life-force and his will to live out of the Toa of Light faster than he could have ever hoped. He screamed and writhed in agony. "Please...Make it stop!" he begged for the dark being, the latter only laughing at the Toa of Light's feeble attempts at resistance.

And then it all stopped.

Fairon's body felt as though it had just been hit by the most crushing weight of existence he had ever felt since the collapse of the Nui Tower of Time. His life-force was drained, and the Toa felt utterly, utterly depressed at the state he was in, still on the floor in front of the cloaked being. In pain, the white and golden-armoured Toa of Light cried. Why? he wondered to himself, just why?

In a flash, the being's second blade once again appeared in his left hand.

The sound of footsteps echoed across the summit of the Nui Tower of Time, skeletal hands clinging on to the incredibly sharp twin blades in his hand.

"So, Fairon. After all this time, I come to find you here after your mission, and what I receive is you attempting to battle me. I am utterly, utterly disappointed in you, Toa."

The being was now standing over the Toa of Light, his twin blades still in his hands. He placed his foot on the Toa's chest, forcing the Toa down onto the ground. Slowly, the being raised the twin blades, putting them in such a position to decapitate the Toa of Light. The intense Energy at the tip of the blades was enough to make the Toa of Light writhe and beg for the being not to come closer with his swords. "Look at you, Toa Fairon," the being began in a mocking, though calm tone, "you appeared so proud and strong battling Temporus, yet here you are, lying on the ground, begging for me to spare you."

Though incredibly angered, Fairon decided against any attempts at getting up, realising that doing so would only bring the being to attacking and torturing him even further than he already had. All the Toa of Light could bring out, his voice at its most desperate, was a strained "why do you do this to me?! What is the purpose of all this?"

The being laughed, before raising his swords away from the head of the Toa of Light. Afterwards, the swords disappeared out of his hand, much like the other sword had previously disappeared into the nothing when Fairon attempted to grab it. The being turned around, put his foot off the Toa of Light's chest, and started walking towards the Altar.

"Looking for a place to go, are we not?" the being began once again in his smoother, more soothing voice.

"Tell me what you're here for!" Fairon demanded, at which the being fired one bolt of the intensely cold energy, once again throwing the Toa of Light onto the ground in pain.

"There is a place you can go. But I can assure you, it is not Kraka Minor. Your Turaga is not awaiting you there."

Fairon was shocked. How could Turaga Herax, the one Turaga who had sent them on this madman's mission, not be awaiting them for their safe return home?

And then he realised.

The Toa of Light's green eyes widened in horror as he realised that Herax was probably hunted down by Krataxus and murdered, or otherwise disappeared. Herax, after all, knew of the risks associated with doing what he did.

He could not have been killed, Fairon thought.

"Your destination," the being once again began, "lies at the following selection of coordinates. Remember them well. X goes to 122 dot 31233, Y goes to 380 dot 02341 and lastly, Z goes to 123 dot 32534."

Finished with his coordinates, the being took a brief pause before turning back to face the Toa one last time.

"Remember them well, Toa. What you seek may just be found there. Until then, I salute you."

Suddenly, a portal of Darkness erupted behind the cloaked being. Fairon, upon hearing the sound of the portal of Darkness, jumped up.

"NO!"

The Toa of Light screamed in anger as the dark, cloaked being walked backwards, every step closer to the portal of Darkness. Finally, the being stepped into the portal, and the portal closed itself. With a thud, Fairon hit the Altar's wall, and he sat down in anger and rage. Just who was this being and why had he given Fairon coordinates to go to?! Was their mission not finally over?!

The Toa of Light could only help but wonder.


"Fyxan"

"Fyxan!"

The warrior of Light sat up in shock as he heard Shadon's voice bringing him to attention. "Yes, Shadon, what's up?" the golden and white-armoured warrior asked his friend, who pointed at the Titan-I battleship in the hangar.

The Titan-I looked fresh and rebuilt, its triple warp nacelles having been fully restored and expanded upon what they previously were, their beautiful bluish glow once again back where it was supposed to be. The hull and shield generators, which had been damaged, had also been restored to their former glory.

Fyxan smiled proudly.

"You two did a good job," he complimented Lev and Shadon, patting the two Toa on the back for their immense work, which they had managed to fix in only four days as opposed to the original planning of taking more than a week. Rightly tired, Lev was after all these days, attempting to utilise the design sketches of the battleship he could find in the spacecraft's engineering area. Yet, once he had found those, the two Toa managed to repair the great majority of the damage that had been done to the spacecraft, restoring it to its former glory.

The only thing that it was waiting for, now, was Fairon and the rest of the team to once again pilot it.

But Fairon hadn't been seen in two days. After a meeting with the rest of the team in the then-dilapidated bridge of the battleship, it was agreed that the Toa of Light would spend some time for himself, meditating atop the Nui Tower of Time at the summit and attempting to regenerate his energies after the battles of the previous days.

The rest of the galaxy, in the meantime, had not yet established contact with any of the team. Aquila reckoned that this was due to the fact that the Empire collapsed rather suddenly and swiftly, without much of a civil effort preceding its collapse. Fyxan agreed with the Toa of Water's hypothesis, noting that Arcturus Magna had not yet been sending its energy signals, which were usually a sign of it being an active trading planet. Throughout the period of the Empire's rule, most intergalactic trade had been reduced to a minimum, and trade to Arcturus Magna was no exception.

Yet, despite this, Fyxan wondered what it would be like when they returned to Kraka Minor and then the rest of the Galactic Council, hoping that the Council had slowly managed to pick up its restoration procedures.

But the Light warrior sensed something was ever so slightly off about the atmosphere in the Nui Tower.

"Aquila," the warrior inquired, "do you feel that slightly...odd energy?" to which the Toa of Water nodded. The two walked back into the engineering room where Shadon and Lev were staring at their ship, hoping most of it was finished.

"Shadon, Lev," the Toa of Water began, at which the two Toa in their chairs turned around to face the two beings who had just walked into the small room. "What's up?" Lev asked the Toa of Water in a friendly though slightly worried tone. "Well," Fyxan began, before Aquila continued, "we feel a slightly odd disturbance in the energy around the Tower. And, with Fairon still not back from his meditation atop the Tower, we're going to see if we can find our friend and ask him if he's doing fine."

"Well, sure, why not?" Shadon asked, "we still have to do the final wrap-up of the reparation process before we can try and initiate the launch procedure of the battleship either way, so it's good if you guys go."

At that, Fyxan and Aquila nodded, looked at each other, and started walking through the corridors of the fortress. Unlike the first time either of the two had gone through these corridors, there were now no longer Undead Matoran slaves to be seen to the left and right.

Rather, the entire fortress was, apart from the team, entirely empty, which lent to a rather uncomfortable atmosphere for both Fyxan and Aquila. Yet, knowing that the Darkness was gone, the two warriors walked towards the elevator, entered it, and pressed the buttons to head directly upwards to the summit.

"I sure hope Fairon's okay," Aquila began, to which Fyxan nodded. "I do, too."

"This energy disturbance cannot have gone unnoticed with him."


An elevator door opened.

Fairon, sitting at the top of the Altar of Time, overlooking the summit, turned to face the elevator.

Out of the elevator came Fyxan and Aquila, the look on their faces incredibly worried as they neared their Toa of Light friend, who slowly got up to receive his friends, still a bit shaken from the encounter with the cloaked being he had several moments ago.

"Fairon, are you okay?" Aquila shouted, to which the Toa of Light responded, "well, I've had an unpleasant visitor here only about an hour before you two came here."

"A visitor?" Fyxan asked the Toa of Light, to whom the latter nodded. "Indeed, I have had a visitor who told me he knows who I am and where I come from and how I arrived in this universe. It seemed to me as though he was trying to sell me a lot of nonsense, but I cannot help but feel slightly uneasy about him."

"What'd he look like?" Aquila inquired.

"Well, that's the problem. The being I faced off was entirely cloaked. He was larger than I was, and an incredibly powerful warrior. If this being had been a Combat Master, I would have believed it in an instant. He was carrying two incredibly sharp blades, each exactly the same, both of them with a blade tip that was accentuated by some kind of cold...energy."

"Cold energy?" Fyxan looked questioningly, "what exactly was that cold energy you speak of, Fairon?"

The Toa of Light looked down, the look on his face worried and rather sad.

"Well," he began, "for a first, I know this was not Darkness," the Toa of Light began, the look on Fyxan's and Aquila's faces getting more confused and more worried as he continued, "rather, this energy was so intensely powerful. It was glowing a strangely deadly Red and, as soon as the being hit me with a blast of it, I was thrown to the ground in utter agony." The Toa of Light took a brief pause, Fyxan and Aquila looking at each other worriedly, before their friend continued, "unlike Darkness blasts, which make one feel sadness, anger or fear, these blasts were utterly draining. They drained everything, from my life-force, my will to live, to my happiness as the blast hit me. It was incredibly crushing and painful as I felt how my life-force was slowly drained out of me. Whatever it was, this was not Darkness."

Fyxan's mouth fell wide-open. He had, never before on any occasion in his life, heard of elemental blasts of energy that literally drained one of their life-force and their will to live. He knew what Dark Energy blasts were capable of, having previously been subjected to those by Zirix during the final battle at Dracia, but he never before had heard of any elemental power being capable of this. He looked at Aquila, who shared the same gobsmacked look as he did, indicating that she, too, had no idea what this power had been.

"I, I hope you're okay now?" Fyxan carefully asked his Toa of Light friend, who nodded slowly.

"I'm better than I was when he had left. Still not wholly back on my original energy levels, but I'm surely doing a lot better. Thanks for being there," the Toa of Light smiled at his two comrades. "Oh, by the way," Aquila began.

"The ship is ready."  

Chapter Twenty-Two[]

A single blue eye scans the area in the enormous, reinforced Protodermis steel hangar. On the far side, near the exit of the hangar, an enormous vessel is situated; the Titan-I battleship, fully repaired to its former glory. Its trans-warp wings and the nacelles on top back in their original glory, the ship looked intensely majestic in the enormous hangar, a far cry from the incredibly damaged ship Fairon had left there when he had last come into this hangar.

The Toa of Light smiled.

He was happy to be back in the hangar with his friends. To his left stood Lev and Shadon, the two engineers who had managed to pull off the incredible task of repairing the enormous ship for usage by the brave team of warriors once more. To his right stood two of his most trusted and closest friends, Aquila and Fyxan. Without the caring Toa of Water and the incredibly wise, powerful warrior of Light, Fairon would probably not know if he or the team could ever have pulled off the intense mission they had just finished.

But it was only just the beginning.

With the coordinates the being had revealed to Fairon, the Toa of Light intended to head towards those coordinates and find what exactly it was that he, according to the cloaked being, was looking for. Would he find Krataxus there? Would he find the answers to his mysterious past there? The white and golden-armoured Toa of Light honestly did not really know what it was that he was going to find there, but there was one thing that he absolutely knew for sure.

He was going to find out who the being was, what the being was, and why the being had confronted him, and he would get all the answers the being had hidden from him during their brief confrontation atop the Nui Tower of Time.

"Well," Fyxan stepped forward first, getting in front of the Toa and in front of the loading bridge that the team were soon to be using to board their renewed battleship. "Though we've been through a lot in the last few, what is it, days? Weeks? Years even? I don't know, Time was not on our side, haha!" the rest of the team laughed at the silly joke the warrior of Light pulled, before he continued more seriously, "whatever the duration of our mission and our conflict with Krataxus and Temporus might have been, the truth is that we defeated them after all the hardship. I do believe that deserves the necessary applause for ourselves."

The rest of the team, along with Fyxan himself, applauded proudly for themselves. They were smiling happily, happy to see that the hellish mission they had been through was finally over. No longer were they forced to go into hiding. They could, once again, live out in the open without fear of any hideous Undead soldier seeking to capture and corrupt them to Darkness.

They were free beings once more.

"As you can see behind me," Fyxan continued, pointing at the majestic, rebuilt and repaired battleship situated behind him in the otherwise empty hangar, "the Titan-I battleship has been repaired thoroughly by our two engineers, Lev and Shadon. They, too, deserve a big round of applause from us for managing to pull off this incredible feat within such an incredibly short time!"

The team once again applauded. Lev and Shadon smiled at each other, then smiled at Aquila and Fairon, and then back at Fyxan.

"Of course, I want to thank both Aquila and Fairon, for remaining so powerful, both physically and mentally, even when it seemed as though the hardships were getting to be too much. Our mission to Ashatan, where Fairon was nearly killed, our mission to Estron, and even our very final mission to here, throughout these two Toa remained two of the bravest warriors I have ever seen."

The team applauded once more.

"And finally," Fyxan began, his voice growing more silent and sadder in tone, "I want all of us to look back at the events at this very Tower, and to forever remember one who gave his life so we could live in a brighter future. I want all of us to remember the powerful Toa of Psionics Jareroden." Aquila's eyes filled with tears as she heard the name of her beloved Toa of Psionics be mentioned.

"Jareroden," Fyxan began, "seemed to be the rather odd one out of our team. Much like me and Lev, Jareroden's early life was spent on behalf of a former honourable government, serving as an apprentice to that government's leader, the sole Combat Master on Estron, Rex." He took a deep breathe, the tears almost becoming overwhelming even for him, before finally continuing, his voice ever sadder, "but Rex disappeared after Dracia did. The brave Toa Jareroden we knew, was sent into exile, taking up refuge with a mentor of whom the name I still do not know. As apprentice of this wise, old mentor, Jareroden's life became significantly tougher than that of any of us." He sobbed, and took a deep breathe once again.

Taking a sip from his bottle of water, Fyxan continued, "Jareroden's life was tough. Unlike Lev and I, who became honoured Combat Masters on Arcturus Magna, and unlike Shadon and Aquila, who managed to build up their lives as an engineer and a healer respectively, Jareroden was forced to live in the hardships of daily life on the Estronian bazaar, all while still being honourable enough to hold himself to the code of the Combat Masters' League. His life was threatened countless times. By Spydra, by enemies of Rex' government on Estron, and by anyone who deemed his mentor to be a danger to their cause. Yet, Jareroden fought on, believing in a better world for everyone."

Fairon was crying, as were Lev and Shadon, at the immense sacrifices their fellow Toa of Psionics had made.

"Jareroden," Fyxan nearly sobbed, before continuing sternly, "Jareroden was a warrior of us all. It was for this reason that Turaga Herax chose him out of all other possibilities to aid us in our mission towards the Nui Tower of Time. Herax knew that Jareroden had the perseverance, the mental strength, to keep us together even in the harshest of times.

Oh how right he was.

Jareroden brought us everywhere, and so much further beyond that. Without the information of the Toa of Psionics, we would never have even set foot on Ashatan in our attempts to uncover how to reverse the Paralysis after our resistance plans on Estron failed. Without him, we would never even have had the courage to return here to finish our mission. Jareroden, the Toa of Psionics, pushed most of us further out of our comfort zone than we could have wished for him to do. Thanks to that unfettered desire to see others grow, we grew. As warriors, as individuals, and most importantly, as friends. We made the climb, we arrived here and we climbed up this Tower, twice," Fyxan's tone was now crying, his sadness almost as overwhelming as how proud he felt of the rest of his team for having gotten here.

"We got to Temporus, and we faced him! Together, we nearly managed to overwhelm Temporus. But, when Temporus threatened our lives and, by extension, the very future of this universe itself, Jareroden made a decision no one but him could have made. In that moment, realising how hopelessly lost we were in the face of the sheer, brute power of the Infinus, Jareroden willingly sacrificed himself in order to defeat Temporus. He charged like I had never seen anyone charge before, and he threw Temporus and himself over the edge of the summit of this very Tower we stand in."

He paused and sobbed briefly, the look in his eyes one of sadness and immense pride of his team and Jareroden.

"And in this sacrifice, Jareroden saved everyone. The Toa of Psionics who had always been the odd one out for not having had a role like me, like Aquila, like Shadon or like Lev, a Toa of Psionics who did not come from the privileged environs from which we came. While most of us, with the exceptions of Fairon and Kratus, came from Dracia, Jareroden had to make do with Estron and its unstable political system. And he did it like the best of them.

This only goes to show that privilege, my friends, does not matter.

Sure, you may have a nice house, you may have been created on a safe planet far away from the warzones, but it does not make you the most honourable or dignified, no." He took a deep breathe, his voice ever more determined, "no, privilege rather makes you fail to see how harsh reality can really be. Even for me, living under this oppressive regime from an asteroid and a spaceship, was the hardest thing I have ever done. Jareroden was not only used to this, he lived it all the time. For that, he carried us through this mission. He helped us get through hardships, he helped us grow, and I want to thank him for just that. I doubt that we would have made it this far without at least a little help from the bravest Toa I have ever known. May Kronos' blessings go to him."

His speech finished, Fyxan sat down briefly to take a pause. Aquila, who was sobbing uncontrollably, smiled at the being of Light. All of the words she would have wanted to say about the Toa of Psionics, Fyxan had managed to say. Indeed, for the Toa of Water it felt as though the Light warrior had managed to exactly read her mind and extract what she wanted to say before putting it into his own words.

She was proud.

Although she was sad, the Toa of Water was relieved. Jareroden, the Toa of Psionics she loved, was vindicated. The rest of her team acknowledged this, too. Not just that, they respected him so much more for it. Though sad and lamenting his death, the Toa of Water couldn't have felt prouder at that moment. Through the thousands of tears, she smiled, proud to know that, though the Toa of Psionics had sacrificed himself right in front of her eyes, his sacrifice had not been in vain.

Finally, after a brief moment, Fyxan once again got up, taking his position in front of the loading bridge once again, facing the four Toa in front of him.

"My friends, it is time we leave this Tower to restore itself. It is time we, once again, board our ship, and set course towards the next challenge that awaits us, to set course towards Turaga Herax!"

Fairon, hearing Fyxan's enthousiasm to return to the Turaga on Kraka Minor, stepped in and intervened in that moment. "I am sorry, Fyxan, we cannot return to Turaga Herax. Since the Paralysis, he has most likely fled Kraka Minor or, worse, been imprisoned by the Temporal Empire."

"Then why don't we go looking for him?" Shadon inquired, wondering exactly why Fairon so suddenly interrupted the fellow warrior of Light.

"Well..." Fairon began, "as Aquila and Fyxan know, I was confronted atop this Tower by a mysterious being. After a brief confrontation and a battle in which I was mercilessly pummelled into the ground, the being told me there was only one place to look right now. Right before he disappeared, he gave me a set of coordinates, and I believe it is essential for us to head out to those coordinates first, before we even so much as think about heading out towards Kraka Minor."

Fyxan nodded at Fairon's suggestion. "Fairon's right," he begins, "though Kraka Minor would seem a sensible choice, I believe it is more sensible to hear the coordinates Fairon has to offer, and pilot our ship there. Now Fairon, could you tell us what these coordinates you were told were exactly?"

Fairon took a deep breathe, before reciting the exact coordinates as he received them. " X122 dot 31233, Y380 dot 02341 and lastly, Z123 dot 32534." As Fairon cited these coordinates, Fyxan's single eye widened in surprise.

"But," he began, stuttering a bit before managing to get his act together, "but Fairon, those are the coordinates of Arcturus Magna."

"Well then, off to Arcturus Magna we go," Fairon said in a determined tone. "I...I guess so, then, if it's what this mysterious fella told you to do, if he told you to go to those coordinates, then let's head to Arcturus Magna, I guess," Shadon stated in a rather cynical tone, wary of being sent to Arcturus Magna by a being he did not even know for supposed answers.

With that agreement reached, the team walked over the loading bridge into the Titan-I battleship. Before walking further into the innards of the beautiful spacecraft, Fairon took a look back at the hangar one last time, remembering how it was lined up with Undead soldiers left and right, standing perfectly still somehow. Then, the Toa of Light turned around and started making his way upwards through the innards of the massive battleship, back to the bridge.

Once there, in the bridge, the Toa started situating themselves in their positions where they had been before the first mission to the Nui Tower of Time. Fyxan seated himself in the First Officer's chair, the first one after the Captain's chair in which Fairon was situated. Further down the aisle, Lev situated himself at the main communications station, while Aquila positioned herself, once again, at the radar and scanner workstation. Finally, Shadon seated himself where Jareroden once sat, at the engine's controls.

Though the bulky Toa of Iron had been used to piloting ships, especially this one, he could not help but feel slightly uneasy about sitting in the chair of his fallen comrade. At last, Fairon situated himself in the Captain's chair, sitting down in the big comfy leather chair amid his round workstation. He looked forward at the viewscreen at the front of the bridge, overlooking the bow of the ship and its cannons.

"Everyone ready?" the captain of the rebuilt Titan-I asked the rest of his crewmates. "Aye-aye!" the rest of the team responded in unison.

"Well then, Fyxan," the Toa of Light signalled the first officer ahead of him, who nodded in response. "Retract the docking bridge in the hangar, unload the docking clamps holding our ship together. Afterwards, I want you to activate the engines. "

"Aye sir."

The docking bridge slowly retracted itself into the massive Titan-I battleship, before the docking hatch closed itself off, so no forces of the vacuum of space could enter into the ship. Afterwards, Fyxan pressed a number of button combinations onto his computer screen.

With a loud buzzing sound, the Energy Reactor of the Titan-I battleship fired up.

"Good day, crew of the Titan-I battleship. Reactor Energy at 100% and flowing in a stable manner. Anti-particle shield level at 100% and ready for Trans-Warp travel. All engines and operations on-board are stable and functioning." The computer of the battleship, too, had once again entered functionality.

"Very well, Shadon!" Fairon signalled the Toa of Iron, who responded with an "Aye sir?"

"Steer the ship out of the Tower and the Zone, and then ready us for travel towards Arcturus Magna. Fill in the coordinates already, if you please." The Toa of Iron nodded, "aye sir!", and started to type in several commands on the workstation in front of him.

Slowly, but surely, the majestic spacecraft came loose of the massive docking clamps of the hangar that were formerly holding it in place. For the first time since the Universal Paralysis, the Titan-I was going to fly through the universe without any possible enemy vessel giving chase. Afterwards, the large vessel slowly moved out of the hangar itself, before flying straight into the openness of space beyond the Nui Tower, which became ever more distant as the ship increased throttle.

Finally, reaching full throttle, the Titan-I battleship shot out of the territories of the Protected Zone, enabling the large spacecraft to utilise its newly-repaired and rebuilt Trans-Warp wings and nacelles to the maximum of their potential.

"Fairon," Aquila reported, looking at the coordinates, "we have left the Protected Zone and are ready for Trans-Warp." The Toa of Light nodded, turning towards the Toa of Iron, "are the systems for Trans-Warp ready?" The Toa of Iron turned around, facing his Toa of Light comrade.

"Ready when you are, sir!"

"Alright then, fire!"

Acknowledging his commands, the bulky engineer turned towards his workstation, where he started typing in a string of commands into the main computer of the station, enabling the usage of the Trans-Warp nacelles and engines.

Staring ahead at the big frontscreen at the front of the bridge of the battleship, Lev felt relieved. Finally, the Toa had managed to restore Time and bring an end to the constant paranoia and fear in which they had lived the past...eternity. In the process, the Toa had to cope with tremendous losses, most importantly that of their fellow Toa of Psionics and one of their best friends, Jareroden.

But Jareroden's sacrifice was all worth it.

Fyxan smiled as he stared endlessly ahead of him, proud of what the team he had been a part of had achieved. Now, though the brave and strong Jareroden had lost his life in the process of restoring Time, the team had managed what seemed to be impossible since Krataxus' betrayal.

They had restored Time.

The Combat Master was proud of his allies. Proud of Lev for enduring the beatings he had gone through under the oppressive realm. For enduring the defeat of his resistance on Estron and for being strong enough to endure the painful torture inflicted on him by Krataxus. He was proud of Aquila, for remaining determined to heal her allies and remaining determined to do whatever she deemed to be right, even when all else seemed so wrong. He was proud of his good friend Shadon, the engineer and joker, for managing to keep himself going and for managing to stay serious in a time when it would be all too understandable for him to resort to merely making jokes and doing nothing. Proud of Fairon, for enduring the mental and physical torture he had been subjected to as a result of the loss of his best friend. But most of all, Fyxan was proud of Jareroden. The Toa of Psionics' sacrifice reminded the Combat Master that humility was the only way, and that no cost was too great if it came to saving the universe. He smiled.

Aquila was relieved. Relieved that the oppressive Darkness had faded away, relieved that she and her team could once again live in freedom, and relieved that they were no longer being assaulted or attacked from all sides whenever they went outside of their battleship. The lonely existence of the Titan-I in its asteroid had made her feel lonely, sick and depressed, and she could not wait to return to Arcturus Magna to greet her friends again. Yet, despite the relief the Toa of Water felt, she still felt sad. Her love, the brave Toa of Psionics Jareroden, had given his life for all of them. Though sad, she could not feel more proud of him. His achievement was something many young Matoran and many young Combat Apprentices could only dream of doing.

She smiled.

Shadon was happy. Once more, he could crack jokes without his jokes being too contentious, and he was happy that the rather serious and dire atmosphere of the previous era were now gone. Furthermore, the Toa of Iron could not help but feel so proud of himself and Lev for fixing such an immense battleship in a very short time, and he was glad he could be part of the team he had been a part of since the beginning of this tumultuous mission.

Finally, the Toa of Iron opened the glass and Protodermis steel enclosure of the big Trans-Warp throttle handle. He pushed the throttle calmly ever more, increasing the thrust of the drive as the ship started shaking a little at the sheer speed it was now entering once more.

And then, in a flash, the battleship shot off, off and away from the Nui Tower of Time.

Off to Arcturus Magna.

Epilogue[]

Sirens roared across the blackness of the night sky over the tremendous metropolis known as Arcturus City. In the distance, police airships were pursuing a target through the skies, trying to re-establish their rule after the chaos that was the Restoration of Time. The only things that faintly hinted at a civilisation having established itself here was the skyline, dominated in its centre by an impenetrable immense fortress, its top piercing into the sky. The Governmental Palace was the city of gold’s most prestigious project, the very symbol of the power of the Arcturan government and its honour. In fact, it was not just the base of operations of the Arcturan government; it was the temporary base of operations of the Galactic Council itself, the intergalactic authorities that had re-established themselves in the wake of the collapse of the Temporal Empire.

But it did not matter to the being, standing silently on the roof of an apartment tower in the outer suburbs of the tremendous city.

Eyes of a darker shade of red carefully scanned across the skyline of the impressive city. Above and around him, he sees the dome of the tremendous Biosphere he is in. Its windows, with their hexagonal shapes resembling some form of honeycombs, provide protection against the icy surface winds of Arcturus Magna, and the threats of radiation from its parent star. Their size was a testament to the level of technological advancement of this civilisation.

Much further away, at the very centre of the dome, an immense, Ziggurat-like construction rose high above the buildings surrounding it. The enormous pyramid-like construction resembled, amongst other things, some of the ancient Infinian temples found on Infina Magna. Yet, it was most resembling of the former Palace of the Combat Masters' League itself before it had been laid to waste during the Second Great Infinus War.

The Governmental Palace.

Though it was called a Palace, the one responsible for its name, the former Combat Master Filius, may as well have called it the "new Combat Masters' Palace", so close was its resemblance to the original Palace. Aside of referencing the Combat Masters' Temple in design, the city and the planet functioned in much the same way as the city in which the original Palace was situated, Hava Infina, and its role in Infinian society before it collapsed.

Indeed, this planet served, much like Hava Infina did, as not only a capital of the Galactic Council, but as its most dominant planet, in spite of the Galactic Council's pretenses of democracy and justice.

The being remembered the city, the functioning of its political structures, and the reasons it was founded.

He was the reason it was founded, after all. He also remembered those who lived there, some of whom were old friends, some old enemies. Yet, whatever creed they may have had in the past, did not matter to the being.

What mattered was whether or not they saw the danger at hand. The danger he had predicted, and the danger that was ever closer to becoming a reality.

Yet, despite the danger coming closer and closer, so, too, was his plan to avert the danger.

To the beings living in the city, all seemed so tranquil, now that the flow of Time was restored and the Temporal Empire collapsed. With the Temporal Beast defeated and Krataxus nowhere to be found, the Nui Tower of Time was restored after the Temporal Beast regenerated, and the Undead hordes fled back into the Realm of Darkness, only keen to come stalk the planets at night. The very stability of the universe that was once preserved with the Universal Paralysis, was gone in a split second once the Primal Beast regenerated.

But he was not here to lament this setback.

The red-eyed being had summoned his accomplices to meet here, and he was waiting for them, quietly, while overlooking the vast expanses of the city. Here and now, the cloaked being would announce his intentions to those who had assisted him since he first announced his plans in public.

A mere metre or three away from him on the rooftop, a portal of Darkness opened.

Stepping out of the portal of Darkness calmly, an impressive cloaked being appeared. His cloak was jet black, nearly hiding the being from the blackness of night. His arms were hidden in the cloak, and his legs and feet were, too. His face was invisible, except for two eyes that had the exact same orange-ish hue of a long-lost, dead Infinus of Light.

The being smiled.

The other looked at his mentor, the one already there, and was surprised to find him smiling underneath his cloak for once.

Around him, he could feel the very foundations of the world shake at the very thought of him smiling. Despite the fact that the temperatures in the city were relatively cold, the air around the ancient mentor was colder still. An almost deathlike cold that gripped everyone surrounded by it in paralising fear.

He looks a lot like you.”

The mentor spoke calmly and clearly, his voice soft and low, and yet powerful enough to sound commanding. The sheer calmness of the being gave an air of apathy surrounding him.

The apprentice turned towards his mentor.

“What?”

He looks a lot like you.”

Confused, the apprentice looks into the distance, at the Spire. thinking deeply about those few words. He looks a lot like you…who does?

The Palace was visible in the distance, the enormous Ziggurat-like building rising high above the rest of the buildings to dominate the immense city's skyline. Searchlights emanated from all levels, as if they were constantly scanning across the night sky. At its foot, a cluster of smaller buildings was conjoined to form what looked to be a gigantic fortress. Yet further from the enormous pyramid, one could see a number of smaller pyramids built in the same style as the Palace itself.

Arcturus City, the galaxy's most politically and economically powerful city, was truly an impressive sight to behold.

“Do you know who you are? Do you remember your name?”

All he could remember, was a flash, an angry roar, and a long fall down, accompanied by a panicked, hysterical scream. And then, before it all went black, an enormous explosion and a blinding light. Whatever it was that had happened afterwards, he did not know. In fact, the being did not even remember his name or where he came from.

What the apprentice did know, however, was that he had, in the past few weeks, been journeying through the universe, seeing places, meeting a great multitude of beings on a variety of planets, until he eventually was summoned to meet here, at this location and at this time. With this being.

An interesting time it was indeed.

The mentor turns towards his apprentice. “You are…” he says, but does not finish his sentence. Instead, using pure energy, he creates three scrambled letters. “Sol,” it reads, the letters coloured in a bright, cold red, and the apprentice reads it aloud. Though he is sure he recognises the name somewhere, he cannot bring the name home, and does not remember himself being called Sol, nor does he remember anyone else called Sol.

In a flash, a very sharp blade appears in the mentor's hand, who then slashes through the name, vanquishing the energy back to where it came from. He summons new letters, this time no longer including the S, and instead including an X.

Finally, the cloaked being finishes the rearranged name, and turns it towards the other. The apprentice, looking curiously at the name in front of him, reads the word aloud.

“Loxus,” he reads aloud, and the mentor nods quietly.

“Loxus you are, my apprentice.”

The apprentice was confused. He had never heard of that name before. Yet, somehow, despite the newness of the name, it strangely clicked for the cloaked apprentice, who felt humbled. Whether or not he had just been given a new name, he did not know, but what the apprentice did know, was exactly what was here for.

Another dark portal opened.

This time, a green-armoured, tall being appeared. His eyes an orangey shade of red, and his armour dark green and black, with lime green hands. The being's armour was impressive. He had a rather large stature, standing much taller than the black and white-armoured being. Its chestplate was big and impressive, and looked rather mechanical in nature, making Loxus wonder as to what had happened to this titan.

The green-armoured one slowly walked towards the apprentice, every step along the way cracking through the snow, the mechanic components of his armour creaking ever so slightly with every step he took. He then extended his arm in what appeared to be an attempt to look friendly. It rather confused the apprentice.

“Greetings,” the large being rasped, his attempt to sound friendly clearly having failed. “You are…?”

“Loxus is the name,” the black-and-white armoured being answered calmly, in a most polite tone. “Great to see you. You are free to refer to me as The Claw.”

The Claw smiled at Loxus. An utterly hideous expression.

Turning towards the mentor, The Claw slowly walked towards him, and made a bow in the most polite fashion possible.

“My master, my...brother. How great it is to see you again, in material form!” he spoke, but Loxus could hear him stuttering ever so slightly. Does he fear my mentor? the apprentice wondered.

His mentor does not bow back, and simply stands there, simply staring down at the Claw. “Quit the flattering. Despite the fact that we are brothers, you are by no means intended to take part in a session of flatter-my-leader, Claw," the cloaked one calmly spoke in that same emotionless tone.

The Claw stumbled back a little, nodding at the cloaked one. The look on his face was one of disappointment and resentment.

Another dark portal opened, revealing a rather large, red and silver-armoured being with dragon-like wings on his back. His deathly skeletal hands ended in red, sharp claws, and an appendage from his arm formed his blade. The being's eyes were green, though a darker, deadlier green than those of the apprentice.

This being was far more formal in attitude than The Claw had been.

He stepped forward calmly, turning towards the new one first. "Well, well, well," the being began calmly, analysing the apprentice intently. "He is our new one, I presume?" the being asks the master.

"One of two new ones to join us tonight."

"Very well," the red and silver-armoured one begins, offering his hand to the apprentice. The apprentice shakes the clawed hand of the being, feeling a fiery warm power emanating from the hands. "My name is Velnax. It is a pleasure to meet you here on this planet, mister...?"

"Call me Loxus."

"Ah, very fine, Loxus. It is a pleasure to meet you here on this planet," the red armoured one smiles before turning towards The Claw. The two beings hug as old friends do, before releasing each other again. Velnax looks at his comrade, "well if it isn't The Claw. How have you been?" to which the hideously mechanic being responds "I've been better, my armour requires a number of repairs, really."

Velnax, analysing The Claw's cracking armour, nods. "You have some armour work to do, my friend." Afterwards, the tall being walks towards his master, making a polite bow. "My old friend, it is such a pleasure to see you again," Velnax begins, to which the master coldly replies "yes, Velnax, it is truly a pleasure to be back in material form, a form in which I do not have to wretch control from another soul or heart."

"Now, for our last visitor..."

As the old mentor announces it, another dark portal opens at last.

Out of it, into the open air of the Arcturan cityscape, stepped a being whose fiery red eyes contrasted sharply with the calmly menacing red eyes of those of the mentor. The contrast between the mentor's eyes and the rage-filled fiery red eyes could not have been any bigger. The being’s armour was red and orange, while his mask was orange in colour. The crash of his clawed feet on the Protodermis steel roof cracked, as he stepped towards the four others present there.

“What am I here for? And who are you all?” he asks in a gruff, low voice, by far the least pleasing voice Loxus had heard up until that point.

The being was also the least polite of all the four who were present on that rooftop.

The mentor slowly turns towards the red-armoured one, and for the first time, starts walking towards him.

Although his footsteps can be heard faintly, the cloaked one's movements are graceful enough to give one the illusion that he is actually gliding over the ground. Once standing in front of the red-armoured one, who was slightly taller, the cloaked one simply looked into the fiery red eyes, his own red eyes filled with not a single emotion.

“I have been to see him,” he speaks calmly, continuing, “and you know very well who I am, Krataxus. I sent you here, after all.”

The red-armoured one nodded.

Since the fall of the Empire, he had felt confused and enraged, having been forced to live in hiding around a planet he was once the ruler of, living in a space station with The Claw. And then, at last, he was summoned here, to this rooftop, for what exactly?

Much worse than that, he was no longer the honourable leader and lieutenant of the Empire he had been before. No. The Galactic Council sought out this dark Toa of Fire for "war crimes" and "crimes against universal stability", the latter of which was the very thing he had tried to prevent. It was disgusting for the red-armoured one, to be spat on by society in that fashion, and it enraged him to his very core.

And that, exactly, was why he had been summoned here.

The mentor then turns back, turning towards the enormous pyramid that made up the Governmental Palace. The others simply follow him, and stand next to their master, looking towards the enormous structure, towering over the skyline of the technologically advanced city. The mentor then slowly extends his arms, until he stands in the form of a cross, with the Palace directly in the middle of him.

“My accomplices, it has been a long, dangerous road to reach this very place. But I am here, now," he begins to speak louder. Although his voice is louder and his hands could not have been moved in a more dramatic fashion, the cloaked one still sounds rather cold.

He then calmly, yet loudly, continues, "Although the Empire may have fallen, we will continue its mission to prevent disaster from happening, and I have come here to oversee that mission, personally. I will not actively partake in any activities, not yet," he takes a brief pause, staring endlessly at the enormous Palace in front of him, before continuing, "rather, I rely on you to further our collective cause of averting disaster in our universe, of finding the Six Holy Elements."

"There is one of you who will serve as my representative on this planet, in this very city. One who I request you to turn to when you need guidance and assistance, a representative of who I am. He may not be as experienced as some of us are, but the very fact that his identity need not be as concealed as ours, is in itself reason enough to have him as my representative while we carry out the rest of our activities, covertly.

You are to turn to the one who has only just arrived to join us here in the City of Gold.

Krataxus.”


To be continued in City of Gold

Characters[]

  • Fairon's team
    • Fairon
    • Fyxan
    • Jareroden
    • Lev
    • Aquila
    • Shadon
  • Temporal Empire
    • Krataxus
    • The Primal Beast
    • Undead Toa as guards and warriors as well as slaves
    • Undead Matoran slaves
  • Turaga Herax, Turaga of Krataxus' village on Kraka Minor (in a flashback)
  • Several unnamed Estronians
    • Mentor of Jareroden
    • Matoran worker in the den
    • Estronian with smelly breathe
    • Matoran "resistance" members (in a flashback)
    • Skakdi "resistance" members (in a flashback)
  • Titanus (mentioned only)
  • Zirix (in a flashback)
  • Zirix' Guardian (in a flashback)
  • Kronos (mentioned only)
  • Unnamed cloaked being
  • Loxus
  • The Claw
  • Velnax

Trivia[]

  • Dark Future was originally an entry-style contest story, in a way similar to Dark Realities, by which its title was inspired.
  • The original story reached chapter 8 before being rewritten to what it is now.
  • Special thanks goes to ChineseLegolas for aiding in the writing of this story and giving feedback where necessary during the early stages of the total rewrite in 2015.
  • Thanks to Invader39 for creating the banner.
  • The last revision of the original version of Dark Future can be read here.
  • The original version of Dark Future was, by chapter 8, the 108th longest page on the Wiki with 56.362 bytes. The current version was already longer by the time it had reached chapter four, and is currently the sixth longest page with all Twenty-Two chapters (plus two prologues, the epilogue and the log entry at the start) finished.
  • The first scene of Chapter One, in which Jareroden is walking through a dimly lit corridor, is one of the few parts that was lifted from the original Dark Future. Furthermore, the scene in the Estronian arena was lifted from a scene in the original where the Resistance pays a visit to Stelt and heads to the arenas first.
  • This story won Featured Story spotlight for November 2017.
  • Aquila's saying "That's no longer the Nui Tower...it's a space fortress!" in Chapter Thirteen was inspired by and is a direct reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi's quote of "That's no moon...it's a space station!" in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
  • This story was inspired, in part, by Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, primarily the Universal Paralysis, the Primal Beast, Krataxus' role as main officer of the Primal Beast and the Undead as his soldiers. The story also owes its name to a dungeon in the game, called the Dark Future.
  • The plot of Fairon vs. Krataxus, as well as their dynamic as former best friends-turned-enemies, is inspired by the Kingdom Hearts games, most notably the first.
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