Boom, hey everyone! It's Tobi here, back after a long series of writer's block! I have some great ideas for the story, so, without further ado, let's begin!
(((Island of Karzahni)))
Seerup sat cross-legged on the ground, his eyes closed, though to any on-looker, it would appear only one eyes was blinking. But there were no on-lookers, and no one would be coming here.
Over the past two weeks, weird things had been happening in the Matoran Universe. Well, weirder than what had been happening for the past month, anyways.
There was a sound from behind like a miniature avalanche, and any Matoran would've run in terror, and any Toa would have prepared his weapons for combat, but Seerup did neither of these things. He didn't even open his eyes. He merely sat there, with his eyes closed.
"Done with your tantrum, are you?" Seerup said to his visitor.
"I'm not exactly happy with the circumstances," came Tahu's reply, "but I've come to terms with it."
"Good," Seerup replied. "I can understand the circumstances, seeing as you've been fighting Makuta for a while. And even more so after your last... heroic venture."
Tahu winced at the jab.
"You know, it wouldn't kill you to show a little respect for our hard work."
"You're right, you're right, I'm sorry," Seerup said, shaking his head and standing. "I suppose even back in the old days, he influenced me just a little. It's a resentment towards Toa that I don't necessarily approve of, so I'm sorry. I'm not usually like this."
"It's fine," replied Tahu, putting a hand on Seerup's shoulder. "I can understand. I'm not happy about this arrangement either, as I said."
"I suppose," Seerup sneered, shrugging his shoulders and forcing the Fire Toa's hand to fall to his side. "Anyways, there are some things I need to talk to you about, like why I've been so quiet the past few days."
"Aren't most Makuta silent?" Tahu joked.
"Very funny. I wouldn't say I'm the talkative sort, but I'm no mute, and these things are important, so you'd better listen."
The tone of Seerup's voice was harsh, and it caused Tahu to flinch a little, the words stinging like needles. Still, he obliged and nodded.
"Now, so far I know two very important things," the Makuta began.
"Only two?" asked the red-armored Toa, forcing out his joke without thought.
"No time for jest, 'brother,'" Seerup hissed. "It's important I get this through to you. So, here we go:
"The first thing is that there's been a change in the inhabitants in the Universe, and it's not quite equal."
"Well, that's to be expected. Teridax is crushing small rebellions throughout the Universe."
"No, not like that. Like... well for example, the appearance of life."
"Appearance?" Tahu wondered aloud.
"Yes. Last week, someone entered the Universe. A Makuta."
"A new Makuta?" Tahu was unable to hide the concern from his voice, but his worry was nearly dispelled by Seerup shaking his head.
"That's just the thing, from what I can tell, he's not new, he's... old. Quite old. And the strangest part is, he feels almost exactly like Teridax, but... opposite. Like all the shadow in him was replaced with light. Other than that, he feels exactly like him. I don't know how to explain it."
"Okay, so, what's this unequal exchange of life?"
"As a Makuta, and a member of the Order, I keep tabs on many of the members. I can't read their minds, but I can still keep track of them. I know that Helryx was looking for Energized Protodermis, seeing as it's a way to dispell Antidermis, so knowing she was on the southern islands was no big surprise. But realizing that Axonn and the being being known as Brutaka were down there. You know of them, right?"
Tahu thought back to when he and his team had traveled to Voya Nui, only to be beaten time and time again by the gold-and-cyan armored being.
"Yes," was his response, "we engaged Brutaka several times before, and Axonn assisted us in our mission. I know that Brutaka was transported to the Pit."
"Correct, he was, but he was released because his assistance was needed," Seerup nodded. "However, something strange happened. I was able to figure out that the only other thing on the southern islands worth the Order's time were possible sources of Energized Protodermis, and the Origin Pool of Antidermis, where all Makuta came from. Next thing I know, I'm seeing everything Brutaka is seeing, hearing everything he is, even feeling him, and understanding his thoughts. It's as if we were one person."
"How does that make sense?"
"I'm not sure, that's the thing." Seerup stared hard at the ground in thought. "My only assumption is, somehow, the Antidermis bonded with him, in all of its sentience, and he became its vessel. The two of them traveled to Metrui Nui, as did Helryx, Miserix, and even Artahka himself arrived there. The conversation they had, though, was hazy, and I couldn't hear it all, like there was some sort of interference with the mental link I had with Brutaka. Now, all of them but Miserix are gone."
"Gone? What do you mean, 'gone'?" Tahu was beginning to worry again.
"I mean, they vanished. All of a sudden, their presence felt weak, like they had gone very far, and then I couldn't feel them anymore."
"He killed them? Some of the most powerful beings in the Universe, and he just killed them?" Tahu growled, his eyes burning with hatred.
"Not exactly," Seerup interjected. "If he wanted to kill them, he would want to watch them suffer, not just disintegrate. There would be no point to that for him, since this is all just a game. No, he would've done something else. They're probably alive."
"Alright, fine. So, what's this other piece of information you know?"
"Well, the Order has ways of maintaining the Universe Platform's systems. Not controlling, but monitoring. And from what we can tell..." Seerup hesitated to continue.
"What is it? What happened?" Tahu demanded.
"Some booster engines were ignited. Not the most powerful, mind you, but enough to get off the ground, and a psychic uplink was established with some sort of device. We're not sure of all the details, since we've been locked out of the visual ranges, but we do know that Teridax has left the Endless Ocean's atmosphere and is on the move."
"Where is he going?" Tahu asked, knowing full well he wouldn't be able to comprehend the answer, if he even got one.
To his relief, Seerup shrugged. "We don't know," he answered. "Nor do we know why, but for whatever reason, he's moving."
Kopaka trudged through the halls of the ruined Order of Mata Nui fortress, followed by the talkative, sinister smiling being who identified himself as "Vezon-X." The talkative being looked very similar to the Vezon the Toa Inika had fought in the Chamber of Life, but had tubes sticking out of his torso, and sharp claws on one hand, as well as some variances in his armor. Despite the physical differences, however, the high-pitched, grating voice was almost identical.
"So, whacha lookin' for?" the insane half-Skakdi continued, repeating his question for the ninth time.
"I already told you," Kopaka groaned. "I'm looking for the synthetic Energized Protodermis that Jerbraz told me about."
"Jerbraz is quite fascinating," Vezon-X said, completely ignoring that his question had, once again, been answered. "He's all tall and strong and stuff, but you'd never know, cause you can't see him. Have you ever seen him? I haven't seen him. Well, I thought I saw him one time, but then it turned out it was just my shadow, but I still thought it was him, so I-"
Kopaka whirled around, glaring daggers at Vezon-X.
"Would you please shut up?" Kopaka said in his cool tone, though obviously about to blow up. "Your chatter is making it hard to think, and when I can't think, I can't find the one, blazing place I'm looking for."
"Why are you looking for something that's right in front of you?" Vezon-X asked cheerfully.
"Right in-?" Kopaka turned around, seeing a large metal door marked "Experimental Lab: Authorized Personnel Only"
"I guess this is it…" Kopaka muttered, pushing open the door.
"Oooh, you don't have a tablet, you're gonna get in trouble!" Vezon-X pointed out in a sing-song voice, but the Toa of Ice just ignored him.
Walking inside, Kopaka was met with an arrangement of items, some looking like weapons, others like incubators of varying sizes, though most of the contents were unidentifiable. Despite the damage the Rahkshi had done do the fortress, this wing had remained relatively unscathed for some reason.
Kopaka walked around the circular room, the lab pieces all moving in an inward spiral that eventually brought him to the center of the room.
Being a Toa of Ice, the near-frozen temperature of the room didn't bother him; he was perfectly at home in the cold. But this large tank seemed alien. The glass tube that surrounded it rose from floor to ceiling, and inside was a large tank, which looked almost like a swimming pool full of a glowing silver substance. Nearby, a similar, though substantially smaller, tank of silver liquid sat just as imposing as the first. The label on the smaller tank read "Energized Protodermis: TOUCH AT OWN RISK," while the larger tank simply read "EXPERIMENT EP-III."
Pushing a few buttons on the control panel in front of him, Kopaka watched as steam hissed from the bottom seal of the glass tube, and it slowly rose into the ceiling, leaving only thin air between Kopaka and the substance.
It was this liquid that had forever transformed he and his friends into Toa Nuva, and that had created Takutanuva, that led them to Metru Nui. This substance had saved the Matoran of Voya Nui and had done so much in the universe, and here it was.
Kopaka's directive was to take a sample of the stuff to Jerbraz, who was waiting in a skiff nearby. The Order member would then take it to a makeshift lab, where more would be produced, and used in chemical warfare against the Rahkshi. It was the ultimate weapon for those who did not wield light powers.
Kopaka remembered the discussion he had had with the Order members, while Pohatu, who had been present at the time, suggested that they use Midak Skyblasters as weapons, seeing as they were powerful, but this idea was quickly shot down by the Makuta known as Eldra. He said that since the weapons drew in light from nearby, and light would take a while to restore, the more they were used, the darker everything would become, only making Teridax more powerful in the process.
A crash drew Kopaka's thoughts back to the present, and he turned to see Vezon-X stumbling around and over things, getting to the center in as straight a line as possible, though surprisingly doing little damage to the experiments.
"Oh, pretty!" Vezon-X chimed. "What is it?"
"This is the synthetic Energized Protodermis. Extremely powerful, so don't touch it."
"Okay," said Vezon-X, only half listening.
Kopaka picked up a test tube from a nearby table and filled it with the liquid, corking it and putting it in his pack.
"Alright, let's go," he mumbled to Vezon-X, who seemed more than delighted to be allowed to leave the fortress.
"Hooray, we're going on an adventure!" he shouted, jumping up and down and giggling. Vezon-X continued this show, even while following Kopaka back around the spiral to the door, where Kopaka stopped.
"Can you stand still at all?" Kopaka inquired, prepared for an expected answer.
"I can hold my breath and look like a statue, see?" Vezon-X then inhaled deeply and stood absolutely still, even when he was knocked off balance by a tremor.
"What in Mata Nui's name was that?" Kopaka asked, seeming almost frantic as he stared down at his deranged companion, who still lay completely still on the ground, not breathing. "Ah, forget it!" The Toa of Ice charged down the hall towards the source of the disturbance.
Vezon-X raised his head, curiously, staring after the fleeing shape, then looked back at the lab room, smiling deviously.
Not to worry, I'll work on the next chapter tonight. The conversation between Tahu and Seerup was longer than anticipated, but not to worry; I know where this is going, and will probably post the new chapter tomorrow!