I swear to you, Reep, I will get around to fulfilling that request of yours one of these days, as soon as I get a story idea. (Hopefully, that will happen before I graduate. =P)
Moving along, this story was inspired by two sources: Nuju Metru's SS I Am Too Good Sometimes (as seen in Elements 2), and Repicheep's Nui-Matoran series (which is a major influence on my next epic =D). The main character in this story is a Nui-Matoran herself, created by me, and her story is a tribute to the series. =)
Disclaimer: This is one of those rare stories where I own very little of the content. Bionicle, naturally, is Lego's property, and the plot was inspired by stories by the aforementioned Members (Jedi Gali probably had something to do with it, too). The main character belongs to me, but since she's a Nui-Matoran, Reep has partial ownership over her as well.
No matter how many years passed after the crime was committed, no matter how many new investigators – professional or otherwise – opened the case file again, no one was able to crack the mystery, or at least find some new details the original team had missed. It was a murder; that much was clear: there had been no suicide note to suggest otherwise. But so much remained uncertain, so many key details that might've kept this from becoming a cold case. How had the victim died? What was the motive? How had the killer been able to get past all of the victim's security implements?
And the million-widget question: Just who was the killer?
The Matoran that had been perusing the fruit stand didn't seem very interested in his wares that day, not even noticing that the Bula berries were at six widgets a dozen. Normally, the vendor would be offended by her lack of interest, but pity for her stayed his hand. When she had walked up and tried to talk to her, she had simply held up a piece of slate, a single word scrawled untidily on it in chalk: Mute.
Right away, with that single word, he had realized that she was one of those strange ones he had seen so often on Stelt. She had insisted that she was a Matoran of Psionics, but her armor color – pale grey and white – made her seem more like a De-Matoran instead. She had only told him one personal fact: her name, Rikka. And despite the fact she had clearly lost interest in the stand, she continued to dawdle beside it, like she was waiting for someone – or something.
Just as the Le-Matoran vendor was about to ask if was just going to stand there, yelling came from up the street. Two Steltian bruisers – both baring a royal purple plate of metal on their shoulders, like an ensign – were shoving their way through the pedestrians, clearing a path for them and their master.
The fruit vendor watched disgustedly as one of the Steltian elite, wearing the same purple armor as his guard, strode by haughtily, taking no notice of the people he was passing like they were unworthy of his attention. It was the sort of attitude that the Le-Matoran hated.
Even after the entourage had passed by and the street had become more or less the same state it had been beforehand, he noticed that Rikka was still staring after the Steltians. Before what he could ask what was so interesting – it was just one of many processions of wealth that made up part of Stelt's anarchy-esque society – she whirled, suddenly in a rush, and dropped six widgets on the counter, pointing at one of the small boxes that were filled with Bula. Startled, he recounted the coins, and then passed her the box. Before he could wish her a good day, she raced off, quickly vanishing into the crowd.
Rikka darted through the crowd, consuming the berries in a minute. Compared to her standard fare, the juicy stuff was heavenly to the taste, though she had to admit what she normally ate was less expensive – and generally lead to a better performance from her.
The Ce-Matoran shoved her analysis of food out her head; she had bigger things to worry about. She needed to catch up to the Steltians before the elite returned to his estate. While bypassing the front gate would be a cinch, she preferred to save her strength, and anyway it was easier to slip through the open gate.
The oddly-colored Matoran quickly caught up to the group; the old fool took no notice of her, not like she had been expecting anything different. Night was falling fast on the city.
Rikka quickly took a left the moment one presented itself to her. She knew all the alleyway shortcuts in this part of Stelt, and her current track took her right where she needed to be. She passed several muggings in the act as she passed, along with much more unsavory actions, but she ignored those involved, and they her. She had a job to do, and it didn't involve this.
In five minutes, she had reached the walled gates of the Steltian's mansion. She examined the immediate security – more bruisers, baring the now-familiar purple plating on their shoulders, and practically carpeted with weapons from head to toe. Despite this menacing façade, she sniffed disdainfully – unless those fancy rifles had infrared scopes installed, they wouldn't be able to detect her.
Rikka tossed the small wooden box she had been carrying aside; the guards didn't even look towards the sound of splitting wood. Humming a ditty to herself, the Matoran dredged up something from inside her, like she was a puppet master plucking a marionette's strings. Feeling the rise within that confirmed a successful attempt, she stepped out of the shadowy alley and walked towards the gate, in full view of the Steltians – both the ones standing outside the walls, and the ones marching up to it.
None of them noticed. Even when the gate guards saluted their master and opened the metal gates, even when she darted between them to get inside the old fool's home, they acted like she was thin air.
Well, it wasn't like Rikka – better known as Ghost – hadn't wanted that reaction. After all, there was money to be made.
In this case, the victim in question – the Steltian elite with the purple ensign and a superiority complex – had made an unwise choice. He had hired Dark Hunters to destroy a few corporate rivals of his, but when the deed had been done, the targets had been eliminated, and he had gained a giant foothold on the market, the Steltian – who went by the name of Gruknak – had held out on paying them. The agents had reported this new development to the Shadowed One, and he had sent the Matoran in response to teach him a lesson.
One that would cost that arrogant Steltian his life.
Ghost/Rikka lurked in the entrance hall of Gruknak's manor, holding her invisible self upright as servants from multiple walks of life scurried around the place, anxious to please their master. She had to admit that for a scumbag, Gruknak had a pretty posh place, with a carpet that was like quicksand: in the shadows where she stood, her feet had long ago sunk into the material.
Gruknak had to be very wealthy to afford all this – and to afford guards to defend his wealth from other, jealous elites. The Dark Hunter started wondering how many widgets and gems she would be able to pilfer for the organization once her task was complete. Call it "compensation" for having to kill him, she thought, smiling a smile only she was aware of. She had been telling the vendor the truth when she had said she was mute: she could only speak though her slate or with hand gestures.
She had once been able to speak. But the same person that had given her these powers and leeched much of the color out of her armor had also stolen her voice from her. One day, she would find him and force him to give it back.
Ghost shook off her dreams of vengeance as she noted a change in the patterns of the servants. The activity was dying down; according to the reports she had been reading, that meant the master of the house was preparing to turn in for the night. Her time was fast approaching.
The Ce-Matoran stretched in the corner she had been lurking in, moving her feet to make feeling return to them, before moving towards the staircase. Thankfully, the fool had carpeted the stairs as well, so any creaking her feet on the boards was muffled, and then ultimately drowned out by the remaining activity in the mansion.
Gruknak's chambers were on the second floor. According to what the other agents – Mimic, Triglax, and Spinner – had told the Shadowed One (and by extension, her), he always got a massage before he went to bed. Ghost personally found this a waste of time, but there was no accounting for taste.
She smirked. And according to the others, the masseuse is quite a catch, so it may have something to do with taste after all.
Invisible on the stairs, sometimes pressing against the wall so the servants wouldn't detect her, she fingered her weapons. They were attuned to her own powers, so they would change with her when she used her powers. That didn't mean they were less lethal, though – a bullet to the brain is still a bullet to the brain, even if you can't see it.
Finally, she came to the door to the chambers. It was locked, naturally – he always locked it when he was preparing for bed – but it wasn't a problem for Ghost. Her secondary power was intangibility, which made lock-picking skills completely unnecessary for her job.
Passing through felt like turning to gelatin and getting sucked through a tiny hole, but once the unpleasant feeling passed, the Matoran got a good look around, and was forced to keep herself from laughing. The scene was so strange it was ridiculous: a rather pretty Water Toa, calming music playing in the backround, oil bottles lining a nearby table, and Gruknak himself lying on a table, covered in fluffy towels as the masseuse rubbed his shoulders.
It wasn't the massage that was making her risk going into hysterics, though; it was more the fact that there were weapons covering the walls, making a drastic counterstatement against the peaceful scene happening on the table.
Once she had gotten serious again, Ghost examined the room with a critical eye. It was clear that she would not be short on weapons if she needed them, but that also meant Gruknak could get one too. The trick here would to be as quick and quiet as possible in taking them out. The Shadowed One didn't want any possible witnesses to the murder, so the masseuse had to die too.
Her first, then she decided, silently taking up a position behind her. The moment the opportunity presented itself, she pulled out her firearm – equipped with a silencer – and fired three times.
With a gasp, the Toa was down, blood oozing out of the bullet holes in her chest. Still invisible, Ghost holstered her pistol and slashed her throat with a dagger, cutting open her arteries and silencing any possible testimony she might've given, had she lived. Even as the Steltian started to react to the sudden absence of his masseuse, sitting up and fumbling for a weapon, the Matoran leapt up to the table, grabbed his throat with her hands, and started suffocating him. Despite her frail appearance, she was much stronger than she appeared, courtesy of the Dark Hunter's training.
She slipped her right arm around his windpipe, freeing up her better hand. With it, she gripped her dagger, then released and regrabbed him, this time covering his mouth and yanking back his head to expose his neck. Any protective armor he normally wore there was gone, taken off for the massage, so his flesh was bare to the bite of sharp metal.
With two quick slashes, her target became limp, dead weight beneath the towels. Sighing, she released Gruknak's body and got back on the floor, listening for any signs she had been detected. But she heard no frantic footsteps, no yells, nothing. Glancing around, she didn't even see security cameras, which made her snort. Old fool.
Dismissing thoughts of her target from her head, she walked over to where his armor was piled up, and felt around in his belt pouches. She withdrew a golden key, and then moved to find his safe.
As she suspected, it was the safe key that she had withdrawn, and the metal box contained quite a bit of money. Another snort escaped her. He could've easily paid up and still had plenty left over, but he was quite a miser, that one.
After filling her pouches with as much loot as she could pack into them, she locked the safe again, but pocketed the key. The Shadowed One would want it, so his agents could strip the house down later. Until then, it was mission accomplished. Turning intangible again, she passed down through the floors, ending up in a servant's kitchen. She then passed through the walls, over the estate grounds, and then through the gate to meet up with the others.
It was nearly midnight by the time she had reached the checkpoint – she had been forced to make a few detours to avoid those that might try to steal the loot off her if they had seen her. Like she had hoped, the three original agents that had taken the first job were there, along with Vezok. She wrinkled her nose disdainfully as she reappeared, but was forced to accept his presence.
"Got him?" asked Mimic, eyeing her apprehensively. While most were dismissive of Ghost/Rikka's stature and frail appearance, Mimic was the one person that knew her capabilities best besides the Shadowed One, since he had been the one to "invite" her into their ranks.
Ghost nodded and made a few gestures with her hands, communicating what had happened. She finished with "Let's blow this heap."
With that, the Dark Hunters piled onto their boat and headed out for Odina again. Ghost had made a point of hiding the loot, so no one was tempted to help themselves to what went to the Shadowed One first. Tiredly, she leaned on the prow, pondering. The Brotherhood had given her these powers of her, the powers that gave her the name "Ghost". There were others like her out there; about twenty had been left at the end of the experiments. How were they faring now? Were they like her?
Wherever they are, they better not get on the bad side of the Dark Hunters, she thought grimly. Otherwise, the face of one of their own may be the last face they see before they die.
This might be the first SS I've written in just one day. Though then again, my memory is notoriously bad, so =P
C&C is appreciated.