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This article was written by BobTheDoctor27. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
Vendetta
Vendetta 02
Story
Setting
Date Set
1,003 AGC
Timeline
Previous
Next


Vendetta is the seventh story serial in BobTheDoctor27's Fractures Universe storyline. The main purpose of the story was to bridge the gap between Over Your Shoulder and Judgment Day and to restore the audience's faith in Tollubo after his derailing in Over Your Shoulder.

Story[]

Chapter 1[]

Toa Tollubo didn't seem to have a care in the world as he drove his transporter through sixty miles of parched emptiness. The dimensionally-displaced warrior was starting to get the hang of this driving thing, particularly in Po-Metru where there was enough room to crash safely.

And he tended to crash a lot.

This particular model had been developed in Xia and had once belonged to a seductive Xian Secret Service Agent named Racasix. Several months ago he’d fallen in love with her and the pair had courted for a while. But, as he'd later found out, her sole motive for accepting his affection was the opportunity to double-cross him. Her employers had wanted him to be taken down a peg so that he didn't disrupt the delicate balance of political power, so Racasix had resolved to shoot her lover whilst he was in the middle of a deeply personal mission.

So he’d stolen her transporter.

At first it had hurt, but he’d struggled onwards. Tollubo had re-evaluated exactly who he was and where he belonged. His place was with the Toa and his life was barbarous enough as it was, without a female touch. He’d started things afresh and was now four months into a sober streak. Toa Jollun was recovering well. The Cult of Darkness was nowhere to be found. Boiling tensions were beginning to calm down under the rule of a different Turaga.

Although it came with quite a story, the transporter still felt awkward and conspicuous. Its slender, black build was all too noticeable against the tan backdrop. Even out here, trailing a dust cloud the size of Artidax through the Fields of Construction, he felt something nagging him.

That would be the whining Av-Matoran in the seat next to me, he thought, taking a glance at Mesa. She was staring out the window, a bored expression smeared across her unappreciative face. She’d fallen asleep twice over the course of the journey. For the first few hours they hadn’t spoken but the Matoran was beginning to lose her patience with the endless sprawl of desert.

“You ever felt heat like this before?” she asked, not a hint of curiosity present in her voice. Tollubo still felt uncomfortable around the female Matoran of Light.

“Once or twice,” he grunted impassively. He’d spent many years in the Southern Island Chain back when he was a Matoran. The hardier, volatile regions of the Matoran Universe had been his playground. It had been natural to him.

“It’s new to me,” murmured Mesa, her voice shrill. “I figured it’d be hot here, but this is completely unbelievable.”

The Toa of Light didn’t grace her with a response. Instead he focused on his driving. The sky ahead was light blue, so hot it looked white. The twin suns were a diffused glare, like they were elsewhere. There were no clouds at all. He was squinting so much the muscles in his face were hurting.

Inevitably, Mesa asked him when he’d experienced such a temperate climate before and how he’d known her before his arrival in this alternate reality. The Toa responded with the expanded ten-minute version of his autobiography. The first few centuries were vague, partly because he still didn’t like talking openly about his line of work to someone who wasn’t in the Order of Mata Nui, but mostly because he didn’t want to tell her he’d been completely in love with her for the first 40,000 years of his life. He formed a nicely linear tale of his time in Karda-Nui, his life as a Brotherhood servant, then as an Order informant, then straight onto the rise in power of Makuta Teridax, how he'd hidden on Nynrah and fought his way to freedom, which led directly into his traveling days and multiversal exploration. He intentionally skipped out any activities on Bara Magna that involved Mesa’s alternate counterpart and stressed his varying relationship with Betak.

The last six months were harder, as always. The dimensional displacement , the aimlessness, the killings, his heart-light attack, the Toa Metru. Many of the people who he told his story often asked why he chose to stay in this warped and war-stricken universe and why he didn’t try to find his way back to his own reality. Sometimes he asked himself the same question only to arrive at the same conclusion. He wanted to make a difference to this world.

The Tollubo in this reality – who had recently been murdered – had never joined the Order of Mata Nui. He’d spent his entire life in the Brotherhood of Makuta. He owed it to himself to make sure his counterpart’s stain didn’t perment his evil image.

Plus his friends were far safer in this universe. Metru-Nui was the pansified capital of the Matoran Universe. So long as the people he cared about remained unharmed, he was happy to stay and help the Matoran of this dimension.

So, as always, he just told the story and answered the awkward questions, letting the Av-Matoran think whatever she wanted.

But then she responded in turn with her own autobiographical account, something that surprised the Toa. The first few years of her life were more or less the same as him, save a few mild inaccuracies that he put down to the memory loss that he too had experienced during the Time Slip. She’d started her life on Spherus Magna along with the other Matoran of Light, aided in the construction of the Matoran Universe, then taken up residency in Karda-Nui. The Toa was surprised by her hints that she’d ever had a choice in the matter. He didn’t think Teridax’s absence from this universe would have had such a profound impact on the earliest days of Matoran history.

60,000 years ago the Av-Matoran had been dispersed amongst various different villages in the Matoran Universe and the two of them had made separation of each other’s society. Mesa had lived on the Southern Continent for many years amongst the majority of their kind. She’d lived in relative peace for the next 39,000 years, living a simple, goodly life in a hut – the Matoran way, as she called it. Tollubo tried to picture a time when he’d lived like that.

It took a lot of thought.

But then everything had changed for the unfortunate Av-Matoran. Teridax’s lack of existence had done nothing to hinder the eager Brotherhood of Makuta from overthrowing Miserix and invading the Matoran Universe. The entire Makuta civilization had openly declared war on every other species out there. Rahskhi and Visorak platoons had stormed through entire continents and the Av-Matoran villagers had been massacred. Toa, Matoran, Turaga, Skakdi, Vortixx and Steltians alike had been blasted into the ground for years. Entire forests had been burnt to ash and one of the cruelest, systematic forces of extermination the Universe had ever seen had started its 3,000 years lifespan. Mesa had barely escaped with her life aboard a boat filled with refugees.

“So where’s next?” he asked plainly.

“After this?” The Av-Matoran shook her head. “I’m staying in Ga-Metru. It’s where I belong.”

“Glad to hear it,” muttered the Toa, utilizing the full extent of his deceptive skills to fake an interest. There should be a Kanohi mask to help in this type of situation: the Mask of Acting. It would be a lot more helpful in day to day life than certain other Kanohi that he could think of.

“I think someone needs to make a difference,” continued the powerless Faxon-wearer, as if she were embarking on a long and bawling rant about the political climate of her refuge.

“What about Turaga Matoro?” he asked. “Didn’t he make a difference?”

The female Matoran shrugged her shoulders causally, as if she were inclined to make that decision. “I didn’t follow his policies well enough, but his reputation was good. Plus he didn’t make things any worse than they already were. Metru-Nui’s still messed up from bringing in all us refugees. They had about a dozen Toa of Stone expanding the landmass about 2,000 years.”

Tollubo zoned out from the talk of other Toa. Including his dimensionally-displaced self and Jollun, there were now seven members of the Toa Metru, one of which wasn’t even a Toa. There had been hundreds at the start of the war. He was part of an endangered species and he didn’t like to remind himself how many people wanted his head on a pole, especially in this reality. His counterpart had allegedly been some form of mass murderer, who was also responsible for the deaths of at least three Toa and large-scale destruction of a Steltian business district. He’d nearly been arrested when he first stepped foot into this universe just for mentioning his own name. That was almost insulting.

He would have thought that the severity of his counterpart’s actions would at least earn him an execution.

The Toa began to slow the transporter. They were approaching an Assembling Branch up ahead, although he didn’t recognize any specific features of the landscape. It was laid out in front of him, so dry and so hot it seemed the scorched vegetation could ignite at any moment. He needed a break and his transporter needed a tune up. He was going to stop there when they drew closer.

“Remind me again what the mission is,” ordered the Toa, basking in the dominant feeling of Mesa reading him his schedule gave him. That was, after all, the only reason why the Av-Matoran was with him. He was a busy Toa and his adoptive island home had a lot of enemies.

That was what he did now. After Racasix had shown him the lowest point of his life he’d started to make drastic changes to his life. He needed to be true to himself, which included abandoning the Toa Code. Every day Turaga Vilnius would present him with a list of individual criminals to target. As an added convenience, he also got given contact information, addresses, financial records and notes on their illicit activities. Then he would leave Tollubo to correct the situation.

He was Turaga Vilnius’ own hired-gun in everything but name.

“His name’s Sidorak,” muttered Mesa as she flicked through the papers of her clipboard. “One of the big boys back on Stelt. He worked for the Brotherhood of Makuta and served as one of their top generals. He commanded the Visorak Horde for a while until Makuta Gorast superseded him during the war and disgraced him. So he faked his death then reappeared back in the Southern Island Chains with his own Matoran slave trade operation. He retired before the Final Push and moved up here with his riches.”

“Lots of Brotherhood dropouts did that,” grunted the Toa of Light. “What makes this guy special enough to take up my afternoon?”

“He moved from Stelt to Po-Metru when the war started going bad, but he recently crashed a transporter into a truck full of Le-Matoran farmers, injuring them all. It happened early in the morning, he was on his way back from a wild party in the city, falling asleep at the wheel. They were on their way to market. It was harvest time, they couldn’t work the fields and they lost their entire crop.”

“And Vilnius wants me to kill the guy over some rotten fruit?”

“Nope,” answered the female Matoran decisively as she turned the page. “There was a recent trial and he lost. But he’s been refusing to pay up for weeks. There are no Vahki out here yet and he’s got too much influence for our officials to touch him. He’s waiting them out until they starve and go back to Le-Metru. And they’ll have to, because if they go back to court they’ll have to wait another year. Not even Le-Matoran can survive that long on thin air.”

“And they didn’t have any kind of... crop insurance?”

“Way too expensive,” responded Mesa, as if mulling a strong and displeasing ale over in her mouth.

Tollubo was surprised it even existed.

“These Le-Matoran are barely scratching a living on their produce as it is,” continued the Matoran of Light. “They’re probably still using sickles and scythes at their pay grade.”

“So what am I? A debt collector?”

“Apparently.”

“Unbelievable,” grunted the Toa. “Is this even legal?”

“Is assassinating war criminals any better?”

“How much does he owe them?”

“Twenty thousand widgets.”

Tollubo paused, allowing the vehicle to cruise slowly on towards the desolate Transporter Service Station.

A devious plan began to take form in his mind.

He loved when that happened.




For a random Transporter Repair Workshop in the middle of the Fields of Construction, the service area was strangely cluttered with rusting transporter chassis. There were banners boasting low prices and excellent quality. From the condition the blistered repair shop looked, they may as well have been advertising a sale on rust.

There was an office at the rear, next to a long, low shed of hydraulic hoists. Tollubo drove his vehicle into the shade of the workshop then got out, stepping onto the oil-stained concrete floor. It was a slow start to a hot working day. There were four Matoran mechanics visible, though one of them was halfway underneath a Motosled. The other three were unoccupied, gazing with wonder at the newcomer, wondering if he was in fact a Toa or just some really tall guy from an island they’d never heard of.

The trio of Po-Matoran drifted over to the vehicle. They seemed friendly enough. One of them, a Miru-wearer, looked like the Foreman. The Toa smiled and asked the Po-Matoran to fix his transporter’s air conditioning system. The worker returned the smile and nodded politely. He seemed happy enough to be offered the work, then he informed his customer that the repairs would cost around 20 widgets; a fraction of what Tollubo had expected. Mildly surprised, he refused and insisted on paying double the cost. Then he gestured for Mesa to get out of the vehicle. Though reluctantly, she finally gritted her teeth and slid out of the passenger seat, adjusting to the intense desert heat almost as quickly as the Toa of Light had.

Normally, things wouldn’t have been that simple. After his heroism at the Turaga Tuyet Dam last year he’d had Matoran bowing, cheering and even saluting in his presence. At first, soaking up all the glory had been fun. But then, like all things in life that are simply too good to be true, his popularity turned sour. For every hundred grateful Matoran there was always a critic, someone who’d probably started off celebrating him but had done enough research to know that he was no kind of hero. He’d had Kanoka Disks, Cordak Missiles, even the odd rotten Thornax Fruit thrown at him in the street.

He had a famous face that was best kept hidden in these delicate times.

Normally, his original Kanohi Tryna would be resting on a mantle in his chamber back at the Coliseum. But, following his change of attitude over the past few months, he’d given the Tryna to a secondhand Kanohi Outlet in Onu-Metru. Every day he would order one of the Coliseum’s many Matoran workers to purchase him a new Great Kanohi and to take the cost out of the island’s defense budget in the name of national security. A new disguise. A new fake name. A new identity.

He would need all three of those when Turaga Vilnius finally received the bill.

Today, he had chosen to honor Toa Hewkii, a member of Turaga Matoro’s old Toa Team, with a yellow Kanohi Sanok. However, he’d been forced to alter his color scheme to gunmetal and black after some Huna-wearing Ga-Matoran started chasing Hewkii, thinking he’d returned from Bara Magna unharmed.

Content that his identity remained unknown to these Po-Matoran workers, Tollubo asked the mechanic for a tow rope.

“What d’ya wanna tow?” asked the greasy Po-Matoran as politely as his vocabulary would allow.

“Nothing,” answered the Toa cheerfully. “I just need the rope, is all.” When the Po-Matoran cocked his head Tollubo smiled and answered his unspoken question. “It’s for a friend in Ga-Metru. She’s making a Sailcloth.”

The Foreman frowned and tried to look the massive Sanok-wearer in the eye. “You wanna rope but you don’t wanna tow anything with it? You wanna make it into a Sailcloth?”

“You got it,” chuckled the Toa, dropping another small sack of widgets into the Matoran of Stone’s hands. “And a spanner too, if possible.”

The Foreman raised an eyebrow but knew it wasn’t his place to ask questions. He tottered away on his little Matoran legs then returned with a coil of sturdy rope and Tollubo’s coveted spanner. The Toa beamed then placed them both in the passenger footwell. Mesa’s feet didn’t even touch the floor of the Vortixx-sized vehicle and there were only two seats. As far as he cared that made perfect sense.

After waiting the best part of twenty minutes in the air conditioned shed for the repairs, the Toa was finally able to drive the vehicle away, leaving Mesa to pay before starting the engine and heading north once more, down the same sun-baked road, before the Av-Matoran could get back in. He watched her standing there awkward and confused.

It didn’t feel like he was going up to the home of a former Brotherhood of Makuta general, knocking on his front door and demanding twenty thousand widgets. Only a fool would try unlicensed debt collecting, in the middle of some desolate Po-Metru desert, in a two-seater car, with a female passenger. If anything it was a lot safer that she stayed behind. Armed with a tow rope and a spanner he suddenly found himself warming to those odds.

He’d been to Karzahni in a bucket and lived to tell the tale. Now it was time to go there again without the bucket.

Chapter 2[]

The Sanok-wearing Toa didn’t stop the transporter once in the empty wasteland. He was about three mio north of the service station when he grew bored and realized the land no longer looked the same. This particular chunk of parched land was better irrigated than the patch he’d left behind. Spurts of grass were growing up from the cracked orange surface. Cultivated acres with small green bushes sprouting out of them. There was wild indigo on the shoulders of the road. The twin suns were roasting him and their rays were magnified by the windshield. The horizon shimmered and blurred.

Glancing again at the map that Mesa had left behind, the Toa decided that he’d just about reached the point he needed to stop at, because he could see a string of drooping power lines, punctuated by the inhospitable surroundings.

About ten minutes later the sand melted away to revel acres of lush, well-kept grassland. There were Agori workers toiling away at the gardening as Tollubo’s transporter approached the entrance of Black Mask Manor and passed through a fancy iron arch. The Toa scanned the area for security cameras and saw only one, facing the road he’d just driven down.

Perfect.

He drove right past the camera and stopped on the shoulder of the road at the foot of the first power line pole. Then he grabbed the spanner and rope and got out of the vehicle, looking straight up. There was a large transformer can at the top of the pole where the line split off at a right angle towards the other poles in the distance, leading towards Black Mask Manor. About a foot below that ran a communicator line.

The Toa tied the end of the rope to the spanner with a single, neat knot then passed twenty feet of rope through his hands and swung the spanner like a weight. Then he clamped the rope with his left hand and threw the spanner with his right, aiming to slot it between the communicator cable and the electricity supply above it.

He missed. The spanner fell about a foot short and Tollubo caught it coming down. Grunting in frustration, it suddenly dawned upon the Toa of Light that this might take all afternoon.

Letting go of the spanner, Tollubo raised his hand to wipe beads of sweat from his brow. The twin suns were relentless in roasting him. His fingers were sticky and his palms were moist even before they reached his mask. His already-grave expression furrowed into a deeper frown as his hand connected with the unfamiliar ridge of the hot, metal. He hadn’t wanted to resort to using his Kanohi Sanok today, but it seemed as though he was going to have to at this rate. A shame. It would have been far more impressive if he’d been able to make the shot using his own natural talents.

Activating his Mask of Accuracy, Tollubo plucked up the spanner and hurled it wildly at the wires. The Kanohi’s energies pulsed through his arm and his muscles tightened, curling into his fingers and redirecting the shot.

It hit just right. The spanner sailed through the gap, fell, and snagged the rope over the communicator wire. The Toa smiled and let the rope play through his hand then stepped forward to grab the spanner in his left hand. With a sharp tug the communicator line broke at the junction box and arched away from him, breaking the connection. A wide grin on his face, he untied the spanner from the rope then carried both of them back to the vehicle. In his head he imagined Mesa speaking to him.

Exactly what did that achieve?” she would have asked.

“You’ll see, soon enough,” he muttered to himself aloud in a dry chuckle as he pressed his foot down on the pedal.




The Toa of Light drove the best part of a mio down the private driveway to a white-painted mansion that looked like it had been based off of something in the Archives. It had four massive columns at the front, supporting a second story balcony. There were broad steps leading up to a wooden front door.

Tollubo stopped the transporter just past the entrance’s impressive steps and shut off the engine. The black and gunmetal-armored Sanok-wearer got out of the vehicle and went up the steps in short strides. He used the doorbell and heard a chime ringing somewhere deep inside the mansion. Then he waited. He was about to use the bell a second time when the left-hand door opened. A female Glatorian stood behind it, a lost look in her eyes. Probably a servant of some kind. One of the unfortunate Bara Magnans who fought her way into the Matoran Universe only to be captured by her master’s slave trade.

“I’m here to see Sidorak,” stated the Toa of Light formally.

“Do you have an appointment?” asked the crimson-armored female.

“Yes, I do.”

“He didn’t tell me.”

“He probably forgot,” shrugged Tollubo. “I understand he’s a bit of a jerk.”

The Glatorian’s face tensed. Not with shock though. She was fighting a smile.

“Who shall I announce?”

Trinuma,” lied the Toa with an even broader smile, like a hungry Takea Shark. “Tell Sidorak I work for a banking firm in Ko-Metru and we’ve just discovered stock in his name worth around three million widgets.”

“He’ll be excited about that,” the Glatorian beamed, a forced response, dripping with pretense.

She gestured for Tollubo to follow her. The Toa nodded and stepped inside in time to see her disappear through a door at the top of a small staircase. She moved neatly, without apparent effort, one hand on the rail all the way. She must have been a formidable opponent in the arena back on Bara Magna with such agility.

The foyer at the top of the stairs was the size of an Akilini court. It was silent and tranquil to the point where Tollubo abruptly became aware of his feet hitting the well-polished marble like granite.

There was an immense sun-dial-like ornament standing against the wall, ticking softly every second. The ornament was larger than Tollubo. It was probably another Agori invention used for telling the time on the rare occasion where the sun didn’t shine in Po-Metru. The Toa could hear the grinding of well-greased cogs and levers behind the golden hardwood and ornate frame. The Sanok-wearer found himself wondering if it would break down the middle if he even put his weight on it. Curious, he pressed an armored hand against it and felt the polishing of generations of Glatorian and Agori slaves rub off on his palm. Shuddering, he wiped it on the wall, leaving a waxy stain.

The female Glatorian reappeared at the bottom of the stairs the same way she had gone up, gliding, her body perfectly still and her hand just barely grazing the rail.

“He’ll see you now,” she announced with a smile. “He’s at the balcony, at the back of the house.”

The Toa nodded and let the Glatorian guide him up to an identical chamber on the second floor, through decorative wooden doors and out onto the rear balcony, which ran the whole width of the mansion and looked out over the acres of plants among the stretches of sand and the beginning of a limestone pavement in the far distance. The area was roofed and fans turned lazily near the ceiling. A Steltian Trader sat in a chair with a small side-table at his right hand. The table held a pitcher and a glass filled with what looked like water, but could have been anything.

The Steltian was no different to any other member of his species. His nose stuck up above his forehead and he had an air of pride about him. Tollubo could tell that he was a callous, selfish, egotistical character just from his posture. He was conceited and ignorant with a sick, twisted smirk across his ugly little sunburnt face. He looked like he was ready to go play a mollified version of Kolhii at some country club.

Trinuma, I presume?” he called smugly.

Tollubo walked over and sat down on the chair next to Sidorak without awaiting invitation.

“You married, sir?” he asked casually.

The haughty look on the former Brotherhood servant’s face was replaced by one of shock for a moment before he was able to recompose himself and answer calmly.

“I have three wives,” snorted the piggish trader, his breath reeking from years of fine food and Steltian Ale. “All Vortixx.”

“Any of them home?”

“No,” replied the crimson and black-armored slavery tycoon. “They are in disposed at the moment. Not that they do anything other than spend my precious wealth.”

“So it’s just you and the maid today?”

“Why do you ask?” He was impatient and puzzled, but polite, like people usually are when you’ve about to give them three million widgets.

“I’m a banker,” answered the Sanok-wearer. “I have to ask. Just to be sure.”

“Tell me about the stock,” commanded the Steltian as he leaned back in his chair, almost as if he were bored by matters of business, emboldened by the prospect on greater power.

“There is no stock. I lied.”

Sidorak’s eyes opened in surprise as a bemused smear crossed his brow. Slowly, it dawned on him that he had been played for a fool and the irritation sank in.

“Then why are you here, stranger?”

“It’s a technique we use,” announced Tollubo calmly. “I’m really a Loan Officer. A person needs to borrow a couple of widgets, maybe he doesn’t want his domestic staff to know.”

“But –” glowered Sidorak, “I do not need financial assistance, Trinuma.”

“You sure about that?”

“Certain,” he glowered with iron in his voice.

“That’s not what I’ve heard.”

“I’m a rich fellow,” snorted the Trafficker. “I lend. I don’t borrow.”

“Really? I heard you had problems meeting your obligations.”

Sidorak made the connection slowly. Shock ran through his body and up to his face in the form of a shaken twitch. He stiffened and grew redder then put his hand on the table and came back with a small silver bell. He shook it hard and it made a small tinkling sound.

Rola!” he hollered, shaking the bell frantically.

The female Glatorian came out of the same door Tollubo had used. She walked soundlessly along the marble of the balcony.

“Call the Law Enforcement,” ordered the Steltian. “I want this trespasser arrested and in Vahki custody.”

She hesitated.

“Go ahead,” smiled the Toa of Light. “Make the call.”

The servant ducked past them and into the room directly behind Sidorak’s chair. Tollubo heard the sound of a communicator being picked up. Then the sound of rapid clicking as she tried to make it work. He almost felt sorry for the unfortunate female Glatorian.

“The line’s dead,” she called.

“Go wait downstairs,” ordered Tollubo calmly.

“What in the name of sanity do you want?” snarled Sidorak menacingly.

“I want you to meet your legal obligation.”

“You’re not a banker!”

“That’s a triumph of deduction.”

“So what are you?”

“A guy who wants to collect a whole bunch of widgets,” answered the Toa. “A bunch that adds up to twenty thousand, to be exact.”

Sidorak’s features darkened and his eyes narrowed. “You represent those… Matoran?” he spat.

He started to stand up but Tollubo put his arm out straight and shoved him back into his chair roughly, hard enough to hurt.

“Sit still,” he grunted.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because I’m a compassionate guy,” replied the Sanok-wearer. “That’s why. There are people in trouble here. They’re going to be upset and worried all year long. Disaster is staring them in their faces. Never knowing which day is going to bring everything crashing down around them. I don’t like to see anybody living that way, whoever they are.”

“They don’t like it, they should get back to Le-Metru, where they belong,” sneered the Trader.

Tollubo glanced at him, surprised. “I’m not talking about them,” he huffed. “I’m talking about you, Sidorak. You and your three wives.”

“No…” spluttered the Steltian weakly.

The Toa nodded. “I stay mad at you, they’ll all suffer. An explosion here, a mugging there. You might fall down the stairs, break your leg. The house might catch fire. Lots of accidents. One way or another. You’ll never know when the next one’s coming. I’ll drive you insane.”

“You could not get away with that,” bristled the crimson and black-armored Brotherhood servant.

“I’m getting away with it right now. I could start today with you.”

Sidorak said nothing.

“Give me that pitcher,” grunted Tollubo. The Trader paused a moment then picked it up and held it out awkwardly, unsure why. It was a fancy crystal-cut pattern, maybe shipped all the way from some glass-blowing factory in Ta-Metru and probably cost around a hundred widgets alone. The Toa balanced it on the palm of his hand then tossed it over the edge of the balcony. Silver liquid spilled out through the air and a second later there was a loud CRASH from the patio below.

“Oops,” he chuckled hollowly.

“I will have you confined!” roared Sidorak, finally plucking up the courage to speak. “That is criminal damage! You will learn obedience!”

“Maybe I’ll start off with one of your wives,” mused the Toa, deep in thought. “Just pick one out at random and throw her off the balcony, just like that.”

“I shall have you locked away! I will –”

“Why?” interjected Tollubo. “According to you, what the legal system says doesn’t matter. Or does that only apply to you? Maybe you think you’re something special.”

Sidorak fell silent as the black and gunmetal-armored Toa rose to his feet, picked up his chair, then threw it at the balcony, cracking the stone and carving on the railing, sending it toppling over the edge, along with a shower of white pebbles.

“I want the check,” he repeated. “You can afford it. Like you said, you’re a rich guy. You just got through telling me.”

“It is a matter of principle,” explained the Steltian, trying hard to put up a calm façade. “They should not be here.”

“And you should?” snorted Tollubo. The Toa leaned inwards, intimidating Sidorak. “Why? Stelt is a little further away from here than Le-Metru.” The Toa waited for a response and was satisfied when he didn’t get one. That meant his tactics were working.

The Sanok-wearer bent down and snatched up the silver bell from the table. Even with a three inch diameter, it was probably an antique, engraved with patterns and shapes far beyond Tollubo’s own craftsmanship. He held it with his thumb on one side and all four fingers on the other. He squeezed hard and crushed it out of shape. Then he transferred it into his palm and squashed the metal flat. Content with his handiwork, the Toa leaned back and dropped the warped bell to the ground, where it gave off a metallic clatter and rolled away.

“I could do that to your head, too,” he challenged.

Sidorak made no reply.

“Give me the check,” commanded Tollubo. “Before I lose my temper.”

The Steltian paused. Five seconds. Ten. Then his sighed.

“Very well,” he sighed as he pulled himself to his feet and drifted over to the room Rola had used to access the communicator. He emerged again with an untouched checkbook and sat down again, a writing utensil in his hand. The Toa stood behind him to see it get filled in. Sidorak got the date right, he got the amount right, and he signed it.

“It better no bounce.”

“It will not.”

“If it does, you will too… off the patio.

“I hope you rot in Karzahni!”

“I’ve already been,” chuckled the Toa curtly as he snatched the thin piece of paper out of the Steltian’s hand. “But at least you’ll be warm and you’ll know people.”

Stuffing the paper into one of the open compartments in his armor, Tollubo made his exit. He found the way out to the upstairs foyer, went down the stairs and walked over to the giant sundial. His wicked grin broadened as he tilted it forward until it overbalanced, then watched as it fell like a tree. It smashed on the floor and stopped ticking.


Epilogue[]

The Cult of Darkness never forgot.

The Cult of Darkness never forgave.

The Zeverek known as Vunto was lying on his belly in the dust, prone to the midday heat, a telescope to his left eye.

He was almost a kio from the target area because of the terrain. There was no closer cover. It was low, undulating country, burned khaki by the Twin Suns, grass and rock and sandy soil alike. The nearest safe concealment was the broad dip that he was already in, a bone-dry gulch scraped out centuries ago by the forces of nature.

Every so-often he would turn and scuttle around on his knees, fetching water from the cooler, watching for waking desert Rahi, logging comments in a notebook. He had arrived before first light in a dusty old Kaxium, one of the many machines that the Agori had brought with them 3,000 years ago when they entered the Matoran Universe.

The watcher stayed resolutely on station, even though there was nothing much to watch. The mansion baked under the twin suns and stayed quiet.

He had thrown a dirty tarpaulin over the desert vehicle and held it down with rocks. Then he had eased forward to the rim of the dip and settled in, raising his telescope as the low morning suns blazed behind the mansion almost a mio away. This was his fifth consecutive morning.

He knew that a tall figure would walk out of the building in a few minutes. He didn’t know what mask he would be wearing. He didn’t know what color of armor. All he knew was that his target was none other than the infamous Toa Tollubo, a dimensionally displaced Toa who had meddled in a deeply personal mission of his in the past, humiliating Vunto and forcing him to murder his own teammate in a grotesque manner just to prove his usefulness to Mudro.

Nevertheless, it was safe to say that this was indeed a vendetta. Tollubo had disgraced Vunto and the months of planning that had been spent on his failed operation. The Cult of Darkness’ informant had delivered valuable information about the Toa’s current activities and plans had been made for his assassination.

Should he feel guilt? Vunto had killed other Zeverek before. He’d killed Matoran, he’d killed a Steltian Laborer, he’d even killed a Turaga of Plasma. Death was death. That didn’t change. Nor did the five thousand widgets he would be paid for this hit, not to mention the added advantage of being respected again. Killing the Cult of Darkness’ greatest enemy would win him a position of trust and redeem him for his defeat six months ago.

As usual, he would aim for the heartlight. The target area would be a fraction harder to hit this time because Tollubo would exit down the steps, but he would not miss. He never missed. Vunto had trained for years with snipers, especially after his fellow Zeverek refused to let him operate long-ranged weaponry while fighting on the battlefield. Some of the greatest achievements in this world were done out of spite.

It was time to prepare himself, to get his breathing under control, to enter that familiar state of calmness before a kill. He squared his eye against the scope, adjusting the cross hairs against the door through which the Toa would appear. He loved the feel of the weapon in his hands, the snug fit, the perfect balance.

The Zeverek was content. When he fired, for the blink of an eye, as the beam of disintegration energy began its journey down the barrel, travelling at three thousand meters per second, he and the weapon would be one. Toa Tollubo wouldn’t matter. Even the payment would be irrelevant. The act of killing was enough in itself. It was better than anything in the world. In that moment, he may as well be Mata Nui.

The door opened and the target appeared. If he had wanted to, the Zeverek could have seen a dashing Toa, clad in gunmetal and black armor, striding forwards in the prime of his life. In fact, he wasn’t even a Toa. He was just a walking sack of organs. He was a heartlight, a pair of lungs, and a convoluted system of veins and arteries mixed in with metal and circuits and armor. But very soon he would be nothing at all. That was why Vunto was here. To perform a little act of surgery – not with a scalpel but with a single beam of energy that would disintegrate the Toa’s entire chest.

He licked his lips and focused all his attention on his target. He wasn’t holding a sniper. The sniper was a part of him. His long finger curled against the trigger. He relaxed, enjoying the moment, preparing to fire.

But then everything went wrong.

Vunto’s sniper started to increase in temperature. The metallic Protodermis casing had been lying out in the heat all day without any noticeable change. Now the surface temperature vaulted up. The Zeverek cried out in startled confusion, tearing his hands off the weapon and letting go of it completely.

The barrel of the sniper had been melted off.

The metal at the tip of his firearm appeared to have superheated and liquefied. Sure enough, there was a grey stain of bubbling, metallic pulp on the edge of the crater. Half of his sniper had just spontaneously melted.

Frantically, the Zeverek searched around. Guns didn’t just melt. Not even in the sweltering heat of the desert. There were only dry holes, dusty caliche and nothing else all the way back to the edge of civilized of Po-Metru, four mio away. Just the sparse desert plains.

A shadow fell over the anarchist and his stomach sank. With wild eyes, he looked up from the bottom of his hole to see his attacker descend in from the skies. Like a bizarre angel falling down from the heavens.

A tall stranger was floating above the Zeverek, clad in glistening white armor that glimmered in the intense light. It was hard to focus because the twin suns were directly behind him, but Vunto was able to make out the shape of a wicked grin in his final moment of life. Then the unnerving smile of the Kanohi Miru-wearer turned to a frown and the silenced gunshot was fired.

Vunto died, shot square in the head with a single bullet, the walls of the hole behind him were splattered with blood, bone and brain tissue.




The mercenary known as Toa Thode deactivated his Kanohi and lowered himself into position, descending gently onto the rim of the hole, admiring his kill with sick fascination. As he had planned, the blinding sunlight on his back. Virtually undetectable to the naked eye.

The murderer turned around and watched as Toa Tollubo continued his journey down the steps then got into his transporter and drove off, leaving a small cloud of dust. He was completely oblivious. There was no need for the Toa of Light to learn of this incident. After all, he wasn't being paid for this hit. He didn't want the Toa of Light to catch wind of his soft spot for ignorant young Toa.

The unfortunate Zeverek target was, of course, well and truly dead. There was no question about that. The same startled expression remained on his face, even though his entire forehead had been torn off.

The assassin inhaled deeply, savoring the sensation of blood polluting the thick air then smiled thinly. The unnatural grin on his Kanohi broadened. He collected Vunto’s notebook then activated his Elemental Plasma powers, burning the evidence to a ashes in his hands. Without a word he scooped up the body of his victim and carried it over to the poorly concealed transporter, kicking the rocks out of the way with his heavy, metallic feet. With one rough shrug, he dumped the body over the side of the strange vehicle then set to work covering it back up again with the canvas cloth, returning the rocks to their original position. He left the ends flapping about on one side by about an inch.

An inch would let insects in and keep larger scavengers out. Insects would help with decomposition, but scavengers could drag body parts away, which would risk visibility. With any luck, it would be years before some Po-Matoran stumbled upon the vehicle and, by that point, it would be so dusty that telling one piece of corroded armor plating from another would be impossible.

Characters[]

I39 Vendetta poster2

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Trivia[]

  • Vendetta's alternate banner was created, very kindly, by Invader39.


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