|Group(s) involved||Rebels, Loyalists|
|Character(s) involved||Alta, Lazok, Chaza, Razekiel, Seshu, Dwin, Rahkar|
|Date||April 18 - April 21|
|Page(s)||28 - 32|
|<-||The Kohm (BZPRPG)|
Zyrul receives news from K-1, who reports that all of his pack died, either from the battle or from injuries after; he is the only survivor. On the other hand, the Rebels had no casualties, but K-1 insists that it was a fluke -- "it won't happen again," he growls.
Zyrul is annoyed, but doesn't punish K-1. Instead, he tells him to "see that it doesn't [happen again]", and that "if a war starts, I'm going to be counting on you as a general." Zyrul also tells K-1 to gather more of his kind, and that he will promote him to lead his personal task forces.
K-1 slinks back into the shadows, grinning at the thought of pure carnage in the war to come.
Alta decides to spent some time training in her natural element and goes to the coast of Ga-Metru, meditating underwater.
Realizing that the Academy Toa have become too far removed from the people they are obliged to protect, Alta decides to talk to the Matoran on a more personal level. Going to the district square, Alta announces herself as the Guardian of Ga-Metru, pledging her services to the district and reminding the Matoran to not be afraid to rely on the Toa for help.
While talking to her childhood friend Numa, the Ga-Matoran suggests that Alta visit her Ko-Matoran friend Chaza, since he might know something about the armor. Alta agrees.
Lazok runs into Alta while taking a walk outside the Academy grounds. Lazok explains the encounter he and the others had with the Kohm, and his suspicion that Zyrul is involved. In turn Alta tells him of the armor she found, and her decision to find Chaza for an explanation. Lazok offers to go along with Alta, who agrees.
Alta and Lazok meet Chaza at his home, and Alta has Chaza examine the armor. Chaza observes that it is very similar in design to Takanuva's golden armor, but asks to borrow it for a day to analyze it more closely. Alta and Lazok leave and return to the Academy.
Seshu and Razekiel spar in a combat class, but when Razekiel has the upper hand, the Toa of Air is suddenly urged by a strange voice to finish him off, telling him that Seshu 'is the only thing standing between [him] and Zyrul's approval'. Razekiel almost obeys the voice, but at the last second shoots his foot instead of Seshu. Seshu, angry at Raze's apparent willingness to murder his friend, demands an explanation but Raze leaves the room with a hasty apology.
Seshu goes to the library to cool off, studying a history textbook. He reads up on the history of the Dark Hunters, and finds a little-known rumor that Nidhiki mated with a mysterious female Dark Hunter (and later successor as leader of the Shadowed One), producing an offspring. Only the child's name was known - Arzekeil.
Curiosity piqued, Seshu finds another, older textbook, finding Arzekeil listed as "the Dark Son". He reads the text, discovering that the Dark Huntress's true name was Lariska. Further reading reveals that Arzekeil also mated with a Toa, producing a son named Kengel, who was the father of...Kongu!?
Finding a book on the great Toa, Seshu reads that Kongu's energy bow was passed through generations until it came into possession of a man named Kushtak.
A chill runs down Seshu's spine, and he hurries through the hallways, finally finding and confronting Razekiel. When Seshu asks for his grandfather's name, Razekiel answers 'Kushtak'.
"I'm a direct descendant of Toa Kongu, didn't I tell you?"
"And your father's name?"
Razekiel hesitates before answering: "Arzekiel. Yes, he was named after his - and my - distant ancestor. And since it seems that you've discovered the truth...yes. I am the direct descendant of the Traitor, Toa Nidhiki."
Razekiel reluctantly shares his feelings with Seshu, including his fear of ending up like his ancestor, but his determination not to.
Dwin finds a notice for a swordfighting tournament and signs up along with Rahkar.
Tommi and Votan run into Alta and Lazok as the latter two return to the Academy, and while Lazok hurries off to sign up at the swordfighting tournament. Tommi asks Alta where she was, trying not to sound too interested. Alta tells Tommi of how she lent her armor to Chaza for studying, and Tommi promises his help in case Alta ever needs it.
Rahkar enters her first fight, easily defeating a less experienced Toa of Plasma. Dwin has similar success, displaying his combat skill by pinpointing his opponent's weakness and exploiting it. Lazok has a bit more trouble with his battle but also wins after a short fight, disarming his opponent.
Komar finally finds and talks to Saeras, wanting to know what the other Toa were in the Archives for. Saeras tells Komar of how the mysterious Rahi who injured him mentioned the "Madness", and Komar recalls the famous plague that swept Po-Koro a long time ago. Before they can talk further, however, they overhear a conversation in the hallway outside.
"There are more rebels starting to surface..."
"That Tournament going on might force a few more to come out into the open."
"Yeah... but will there be enough Elites be ready to take them out?"
"Hmn. Good point... That Toa we've been keeping drugged seems to have progressed in his training enough."
"Think we should ask Master Zyrul if we can insert one of the new mental implants into that one?"
"After we re-dose him. Did you bring the anesthesia?"
A bit of shuffling ensues, followed by the muffled sound of arguing.
"I... I swear! I brought the doseage with me!"
"By the spirits... Let's check the stock room. Maybe you left it there when we were tending to that Fire Toa earlier..."
And the two medics retreat, leaving Saeras and Komar in shock at what they just overheard. Saeras mutters that he must get out of the infirmary before the medics drug him again, and Komar helps him to the tournament where, with so many people in attendance, they will have a safe hiding place.
However, had Saeras and Komar lingered there for a moment longer, they would have witnessed a fake medic poison Pohaka, who, after being discharged, faints in his room.
Gera is the third to have been sabotaged, as he realizes he is sick with some strange virus that he didn't have until he was admitted to the infirmary. However, he recovers with the help of an apparently benevolent medic, who injects him with a vaccine. Gera correctly deduces that some of his friends who were admitted at the same time as he was may have been sabotaged, as well, and seeks out Pohaka. Finding the Toa of Electricity unconscious in his room, Gera rescues Pohaka and takes him to the medic who treated him; however, the poison proves harder to combat, as unlike Gera's virus, there is no documented cure.
Komar and Saeras sit in the audience watching the ongoing tournament.
Rahkar, Dwin, and Lazok have by this time made it through several other rounds, until the semifinals where they are the only fighters left aside from one other. During the break for the semifinalists to recover, Zyrul makes an announcement to all the students.
"Greetings, my pupils. I'm sure that many of you remember the great battle we fought not too long ago. The battle where we had two forces merging and attempting to bring down The Academy. I know that some of you lost friends and brothers in that battle. There have been frequent attacks on The Academy as of late, and as some of you know, even rebellion among your own classmates."
A commotion was simulated by the audience, some of them pretending not to know, others actually unaware of what was all around them.
"I am concerned about the safety, education, and overall well-being of you students. Thusly I have been working on a solution along with my Elite. And through our hard work and dedication, we have brought in a line of Enforcers that will hinder the outburst of rebellion and attack here at The Academy."
As if on cue, a silver creature strides out onto the balcony with Zyrul. It is one of the Robotic Rahkshi that had been in the battle. The ones that had claimed complete victory for the defending side.
"These are what you might call the Vahki of our time. They are programmed to be able to control electricity, so that they may disable or (if need be) kill any enemies or rebels that may emerge here. Along with that, they have high resistance to extreme temperatures and magnified senses, allowing them to do their job more efficiently."
He smiles in order to give the illusion of care.
"I would hate to think that any of you would have to answer to these creatures, but they are here for your own safety. Respect them as you do me. Obey them as you would obey me. They are here to protect you and make The Academy a better place."
He raises his hands into the air. "Today, we face a new day. A day where we may stroll the halls without worry or patrol the gates without concern. For now a new force has arisen."
His eyes flash red. "The Arrahk are here."
Rahkar, like the other Rebels, is disturbed by the announcement but nevertheless elimates her opponent in the semifinals, a Toa named Kattal, despite the latter's cheating with his Komau.
Dwin and Lazok face off in the semifinals, and despite being evenly matched at first, Lazok eventually wears down after a long fight, allowing Dwin to wound him.
This leaves only Rahkar and Dwin for the final match of the tournament.
Tommi accompanies Alta back to Chaza's house, to discover that Chaza has obtained no results from studying the armor overnight. Tommi offers to put on the armor firsthand to see what happens. Chaza objects, citing the risks, but Alta supports Tommi's decision with the reasoning that "the risks that face Metru Nui are worth the risk of donning this armor". Encouraged, Tommi puts on the armor.
Immediately his mind is transported into a tunnel of blinding white light, and is propelled down the tunnel. After a journey of which the length of time he cannot comprehend, Tommi arrives at an infinitely large white space with countless masks floating around. Tommi is stopped in front of one particular mask, which forms a figure wearing the mask. When asked who he is, the being identifies himself as Nuju. Nuju explains that the armor allows Tommi to merge with one of the souls of deceased Toa, gaining the strength and experiences of that spirit. Tommi's body is effectively being shared by two minds at the moment.
After teaching Tommi how to coordinate movements when sharing a body, Nuju bids Tommi a farewell, and Tommi explains his experience to Alta and Chaza.
One of Razekiel's friends, a Toa of Fire named Aoran is targeted by a pair of Arrahk for a mysterious reason, and is knocked out before being taken away for 'extermination'. Razekiel notices the Arrahk and Aoran, and against his sense of duty, enlists the support of another friend (an engineer Toa named Quozark) to incapitate the Arrahk and rescue Aoran. Aoran thanks Razekiel, but Razekiel storms off, angry that he had to betray his loyalty to Zyrul. However, he promises never to do it again.
While commenting on how difficult it will be to leave the stadium with the Arrahk guards stationed everywhere, Komar mentions his ancestor Akano. Saeras observes that Komar really respects his ancestor, to which Komar replies that Akano did a lot of good for the Matoran.
The two dwell on the comment before realizing that although the duty of the Toa is to protect the Matoran, the Academy Toa have been doing very little of that; Zyrul has been training them but never preparing them to serve the Matoran. Komar remarks that Zyrul can't be trusted, and Saeras agrees, saying that this confirms his suspicions.
But then, Komar asks, what is Zyrul really training them for?