Dangerous Employment Edit

Zallirix was very happy. He had taken control of a compact speeder with laser blasters on the front. He was flying around in circles trying to hit Levuku with a laser to the face, but he would be satisfied with a laser hitting Levuku anywhere to begin with. The face would be more satisfying, though. Levuku was just trying to stay alive long enough to counterattack. A Mask of Teleportation comes in handy in these kinds of situations, and Levuku was abusing his. Finally Zallirix left an opening in his flight pattern: he banked too hard and sped right past his quarry. Levuku dashed, dove, plunged his staff into the ground, and vaulted into the air. The speeder flew right under Levuku as he landed on it. Zallirix immediately noticed Levuku hanging on for dear life and shifted further back in his seat, driving his claws into the Crynok's wrists.

"I hate tag-alongs; they take up too much space." Levuku didn't let go, and neither did Zallirix. Zallirix wove, swerved, and banked, but Levuku held on. Zallirix's mad driving took the pair to a field of rocks and gullies. He was forced to look forward and pay attention to his direction. Levuku twisted his wrist and broke free of Zallirix's grip. Hauling himself forward, he shoved Zallirix off the speeder and took control. Suddenly clawed hands shot up from under the speeder and grabbed the handlebars. Zallirix flipped the ship upside down, all the while handing on the hull with his legs. He lowered the speeder almost to the ground and attempted to scrape Levuku off. "Stop causing drag! Let go already!"

Levuku was about to be scraped off a speeder like a barnacle and couldn't focus on any place to teleport to because of the ship's speed. Suddenly the answer came. Zallirix was on the underside of the bike, where the landing gear was. This Levuku deployed in Zallirix's face. Zallirix screamed abruptly and reached hastily for any makeshift handle on the ship’s construction, which he found in the form of a loose power cable. Levuku regained control and flipped the ship right-side up, but not for long. The landing gear caught on the rocky ground, flipping the ship around and sending Levuku skidding in the dust. Levuku sat up and watched what would happen next. The ship, with Zallirix snagged on a cable, went into a cataclysmic collision fiasco. First the bow plowed into the ground, sending dirt everywhere, then the landing gear caught again, reversing the flip direction and breaking the landing gear. The hull smashed sideways into a rock, and one of the boosters crumpled from impact. The ship then spun horizontally, flinging Zallirix off and ramming him into a stone slab. The power cable cut when Zallirix let go, turning the ship off in mid-spin. The ship sparked as it smashed into the ground in a heap. Its power cable being cut set off the self-destruct device, detonating each piece of wrecked ship in unison. Zallirix pulled his face out of the dirt and spat, "That wasn't fun! I want my money back!" He was hauled off the ground by a strong arm.

"You deserve to pay for that, not get a refund," Voran said, exasperated. Zallirix smiled. "I can dream of a perfect world, can't I?"

Levuku was in disgust. This Zallirix was one of the hardest foes he had ever had to face, and he had no apparent powers at all. Even Makuta Burtok was not as ingenuous as Zallirix had been. It was worse, though. Something told Levuku Zallirix was extremely dangerous. Something about Zallirix was too familiar for comfort. It was one of those life mysteries that no one solves until least expected.

The Alliance regrouped with the Universal Alliance and the Hokanuka once Zallirix was in captivity. Zalkatrex was a little ticked over the loss of the speeder, but at least the thief had not gotten away. Besides, Zalkatrex was always a little ticked about something. It was Trallix who noted the Toa coming toward them. He was a Toa of Plasma with tentacle sprouting from his back, carrying twin blades that were sharply angled crescents. He regarded the newcomers with a glance, then turned toward Recvak. The Toa of Air had accompanied the new arrivals on their way to Altronia, along with two other Toa, Cardvor and Lumcavar. It had turned out that Recvak was the second-in-command of the place from which Lihee had come. He had traveled to Crystal Island with Cardvor and Lumcavar, looking for talent. He had found it in the Allied Alliances, and had offered them membership in Lihee’s old workplace, Altronia Fortress, the home of the Order of Altronia. Naturally, they had accepted. To some it was deja vu, but for most, it was a brand new experience. For the Hokanuka it was just business. The Plasma Toa walked up the his boss and clanked fists with the aged Toa of Air.

“Greetings, Nytrix,” Recvak said. “Status normal?”

Nytrix nodded. “Perimeters intact. Fortress secure.”

“Good,” Recvak said, pleased. He turned to his new recruits. “This is Nytrix,” he said, gesturing to the Toa of Plasma. “He is an engineer in the Order, specializing in weapons and biomechanics. Still, even though he majors in technology, he is a formidable opponent, much like everyone else in the Order. We keep even our engineers well-trained.”

“Sounds smart,” Suntrah commented.

“It is smart, you lamebrain,” Lumcavar piped up. “That’s why we do it.”

In response to this he got angry looks from the rest of the Avenging Alliance. Suntrah turned slowly. “I realize that,” he said calmly. “I can recognize intelligence in others. Shame you do not have the same ability.”

Lumcavar prepared to retort, but noticed Bartha, standing next to him, unlimbering his warhammer. He shut his mouth and didn’t open it again.

The group turned back to Recvak. The Air Toa continued, “Yes, well-trained indeed. We try to train the tongue as well as the body, but sometimes certain operatives are a little unwilling to learn.”

Lumcavar scowled.

“This you will see as we show you around the fortress. First, of course is your induction, and for that we need to see Faxhuun.” Recvak then turned to Zalkatrex. “Thank you for your assistance, Hokanuka. We can take it from here.”

Zalkatrex and Trallix nodded. “I take it I can count on seeing you again, Recvak.” Zalkatrex said as he turned around. One by one, his followers began to follow, each bade farewell by the Alliances’ members. Only Slaryka and Fajaku returned the gesture.

Once the Hokanuka were gone, the troop made their way across the sandy dirt that made up of much of Altronia’s surface. Voran had put Zallirix to sleep with a electric pulse that had shut down his nervous system, and Zartok had put an energy net over Zallirix to restrain him. They now carried the sleeping psychopath along with them, since they had no better thing to do with him. At one point Levuku had asked Recvak what they were to do with their unexpected acquaintance, ant the Air Toa assured Levuku that he would not go to waste. Levuku was too busy pondering that statement to ask further questions.

Zartok was slagging behind. Yurdil noticed this, and had forced herself from reading the mutant’s mind, so that she could engage in real conversation with him. She could tell something was wrong, and wanted the Zelnian to reveal it in a normal manner. Invading his mind just seemed wrong.

"Something bothering you, Zartok?" Yurdil asked after slowing down to get next to him.

"Yeah, everything." Zartok answered bitterly.

"Why?" Yurdil asked.

"I won’t fit in with those at the fortress because I'm a mutate." Zartok answered.

"I'm sure there are others just like you at that fortress." Yurdil said reassuringly.

Zartok glanced up at Yurdil. "End of conversation." He said darkly, picking up his pace to get ahead. Zartok sure has changed, Yurdil thought.

All of about three seconds of silence descended on the group before something else exciting happened. Lihee pointed to something on the hoirzon, something only he could see right now. "What is that, and how is it getting so close so fast?" Lihee asked.

"It’s just a mirage." Recvak said, only glancing at what Lihee was pointing at.

Suntrah focused hard on the creature getting closer. "That's not a mirage, that's real, and by the looks of it, its hungry and heading straight for us." Suntrah said.

"Defensive positions. This is something new, so we want to try to study it and figure out how powerful it is." Recvak commanded.

Everyone complied but Thravak. Thravak didn't care about organizing, and decided to charge. The mutant Skakdi barreled toward the creature, neither slowing their pace in the slightest. Just before they collided, Thravak jumped into the air, planning to land behind his adversary. The creature followed the maneuver perfectly, and slammed into Thravak. As soon as it landed it jumped forward again and knocked Lihee of his feet, quickly followed by Voran and Levuku. Recvak gave it a hard kick, momentarily stunning it. Thravak used this as a chance to hurl a volley of energy balls at it, and each one hit dead on. To everyone's surprise, it seemed to take less damage with each energy ball that hit it until it didn't seem to be taking any damage at all.

"How-?" Thravak was cut off when it suddenly fired a humongous blast from its claws. A blast of what? Energy, the exact same that Thravak had shot at it. Now Lohrua had a chance to scan it. It appeared to have an ability to absorb power hurled at it, then release it at a target. This could get to be very bad, he thought.

Lumcavar charged in, slamming into the Rahi. It didn't seem to take to that very well, and slammed back into him, leaving a mark from its claws.

Buraka and Lihee headed forward, Buraka firing shots from her cannon and Lihee hurling fireballs. The Rahi dashed forward and slammed into Buraka, digging its claws in. Buraka gave a scream and then went limp. The Rahi tossed her aside and charged at Lihee. Though Lihee was ready, and he activated his mask so he could get more speed temporarily. Lihee charged at the creature. It slammed into him, grabbed him, twirled him around, and threw him as hard as it could. Luckily, Bultrox caught Lihee, making a slight grunting sound and staggering a bit when he did so.

"Leave this to us." Thravak and Lumcavar said at the same time.

The creature studied Thravak and Lumcavar as they approached, ready to strike. It then suddenly jumped over them, and when the two turned to face it, it lashed out with its foot, sending sand spraying into their faces. After that it charged, but Yurdil and Zartok intervened just in time. Yurdil telekinetically hurled sand to knock it off course, and Zartok fired an energy web that entangled the creature's feet, causing it to go flying past its targets. The creature quickly sliced through the energy web when a powerful blast of air slammed into it, quickly followed by a fist of sand smashing it into the ground. As soon as it got up again, an earthquake knocked it off balance and a two-handed blow from Bartha’s warhammer sent it flying. Then Runik and Lihee hurled fireballs at the apparently highly skilled creature, but it dodged those and was about to take out both Lihee and Runik when Panuko got in the way, causing both the creature and himself to be knocked down. The creature got up before Panuko, only to be grabbed and lifted off the ground by an angry Bultrox. He was just about to run it through with his disruptor sword when it lashed out with its foot, causing a gash in his mask and causing him to let go. It then jumped on him, and they started a wrestling match. The creature had the advantage of being able to use its claws and being to close for Bultrox to use his sword, but Bultrox was stronger. Whacking it with the handle of his sword, Bultrox grabbed it by its wrists and twirled it around, and then, he kicked it and let it go, sending it flying a very long distance. The creature made a very audible thud when it hit the sand. Getting up slowly, it got ready to fire a energy blast when it realized its adaption powers had worn off simply from waiting too long to counterattack, meaning that it couldn't fire a blast of energy like Thravak's anymore. Knowing it was defeated, the creature ran off.

The Avenging and Universal Alliances regrouped and found out something disturbing. Buraka was, in fact, very badly injured. Panuko was on the ground next to her, clasping her hand. The white Crynok was wishing, hoping, pleading that his best friend would make it. Lohrua scanned her with his mask, then shook his head. “It’s over, Panuko,” he said. “She’s too badly hurt, too far gone. Nothing we can do at all.”

Panuko’s eyes watered. “It can’t end like this,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. You’ve been to courageous, too heroic to die as a casualty.”

Buraka didn’t move, but addressed her friend as if she were looking him in the eyes. “You’re right, but if I didn’t, who would? Someone has to die this way, Panuko. Besides, I did die a hero. If it wasn’t me, it’d be one of you.”

“Stop being right. You know I hate that,” Panuko said with a bitter smile.

Buraka coughed when she tried to laugh. “Don’t worry about me. Move on, Panuko. I’m retired, but you need to still do your job. That way you can die a hero, too.”

Panuko sat there for a moment, then rose. He looked his leader, Voran, right in the eye. “Let’s go.”

Voran nodded slowly. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s continue on in doing the work that will never truly be done.”

So they did. After burying Buraka, they set out again. For a time, Recvak had kept his arm over Panuko’s shoulder, but eventually had to stop and go tell Zallirix, who had awakened by this time and being dragged along by the energy net, to stop trying to bite Jahvoka’s foot.

The Team was nearing Altronia Fortress at this point, which was now very close, and very, very big.

Thravak was wondering what the leader would be like. A Toa, no doubt, but what type? he thought. Then they reached the gate, and a voice called out.

"State your name and business walking up to our gates!"

Recvak activated his Mask or Flight and took off vertically, shooting up onto the wall. "Hi Razii, long time no see, now could you open the gate for my friends?" Recvak said.

Razii blinked, and then smiled. "No problem, sir. Open the gate!" he yelled.

There was a sound, which sounded exactly like metal scraping across a sandy floor because that was exactly what it was. Massive, dark gray doors opened, intimidating even to Lihee, who had worked here before.

The Team walked into the fortress slowly. As soon as they entered the Fortress, Lihee saw a twelve foot tall warrior in red and tan armor, wielding a spear and holding the spear in a throwing position. The warrior looked at the team warily, and especially Zartok, Vaturi, and Zallirix, who was still being dragged by Voran, though when he saw Cardvor and Lumcavar, he seemed to calm down.

"Um, hi?" Lihee said, trying to not be rude.

"I am Varoak, Razii's assistant, and you are?" Varoak said in a medium-deep voice.

"I'm Voran, this is mine and Lihee's team, we've come to join." Voran said before Lihee could.

"We would like to see your leader." Thravak said.

Varoak looked uncertain still, but Nytrix, shouldering his way through the team, nodded at the giant reassuringly. Varoak relaxed and motioned with his hand, and another warrior, this one with white armor and spikes all over, came forward.

"This is Sorpanar, one of our best warriors, he will take you to our leader," Varoak announced. He then stepped aside, allowing Sorpanar to enter the fortress.

Sorpanar gestured for the recruits to follow.

This they did, with Sorpanar, Nytrix, and Varoak in the front, the giant guard motioning with his spear for all those in the halls to step aside.

"Nice spear." Levuku mumbled to Varoak, looking at the five yard long spear. He then looked over Sorpanar's armor. “Nice armor." he said. Sorpanar only gave him an irritated glare. Apparently he was sensitive about his appearance. Levuku couldn’t understand how one who looked so awesome could be embarrassed of the way he looked. He has no fashion sense at all! Levuku thought.

Sorpanar led the Team through a maze of buildings and halls, until they reached the building in the center. Opening the door, he led them through three hallways, stopped in front of another door, and opened it, walking off after he did so. The first thing the team felt was a blast hot air. Walking into the room, Lihee studied it, looking at all the fires and torches lit.

"Who is it?" an authoritative voice said.

Levuku, ever so young and irrational, spoke first. "I'm Levuku, this is the team I'm in, led by Voran and Toa Lihee. Could you turn the heat down?" Over half the fires suddenly vanished. A chair in the center of the room suddenly swivelled around to face the team, and a ancient looking Toa of Fire stood up out of it.

"I am Faxhuun, leader of the warriors of this fortress,” the ancient Fire Toa said. He glanced at the orange-and-white flanking the group. “Welcome back, Nytrix."

Something about this Faxhuun person gave Levuku a chill. He gave a lot of people chills, after all. True, he was a valiant and brave Toa of Fire, and the leader of a fortress that was basically devoted to stopping Teridax, but he seemed to have an air of mystery about him. He had a sadistic sense of humor and a nasty disposition, but at least he wasn't dangerous. Or, not as dangerous as Makuta Burtok. And he actually wasn't that dangerous, Levuku reminded himself.

Faxhuun looked at Lihee, Jahvoka, Bartha, Yurdil, and Runik. ” I haven't seen you five in a very long time,” he said. The latter four were stunned, though Lihee had a smile on his face.

"Good to see an old friend." Lihee said.

The old Toa nodded and did a half smile. "Razii, come show an old friend and his teammates their sleeping quarters.” the group was now unofficially part of the Order of Altronia.

Razii walked into the room. "Yes sir!" As Razii lead the team, Levuku realized Panuko was falling behind. "Hey, Panuko, come on, what's wrong?" he asked.

"Buraka is gone." Panuko answered.

"I know, but there's nothing we can do, except cheer up!"

Panuko nodded. Levuku was right. Buraka would agree with him as well.

Razii stopped. "By the way, you can set your-" Razii was about to say "friend" when Zallirix smiled stupidly and insanely and gave a little wave, which caused Razii to realize who it was and change his sentence. "I mean, you can send Zallirix into the wall there," he said. Zallirix's grin turned into a scowl of disappointment.

"Gladly," Voran, who had been dragging Zallirix along, replied. SLAM!

Somewhat far away, a lone being stirred. He had been at the brunt of quite a blast, and it was not well received. He sat up and looked around, and he was pleasantly surprised. He did not see luminescent colors swirling around, a great energy core, and tiny spheres floating around connected by energy wires. No, what he saw was a barren island, pitted by canyons and gullies. It was snowing, but the ground was too warm for the snow to accumulate. The being pulled himself to his feet and thus surveyed the land from a better vantage point. He noticed a fortress, old, dark, and worn, standing in the distance. It seemed the best place to look for future subordinates, and maybe even weapons, technology, or weapons and technology in one small package. The survivor could see turrets that looked somewhat advanced as he approached the building. This was perfect. And as all know, thought Makuta Burtok, you can't beat perfection.

Burtok strode across the barren, cracked landscape toward the fortress. It was a longer walk as Burtok had expected, because he had underestimated the size of the building by about ten times. This fortress had to be about a mile to either side of the Makuta, and the wall he was facing was solid stone. By Burtok's estimation, it had to be about six feet thick. Not that Burtok was going to burst in, because that would be lame for an alliance ambassador to do. Burtok heard voices, happy voices, voices that disgusted Burtok. How could happiness exist in a testament to war?

"Who goes there?" a voice shouted down at Burtok. The source of the voice was a creature with lean armor and spikes on his back.

"A friend," Burtok shouted back, "One who has come to help you." This was a white lie. The being on the wall looked confused.

"How did you know we are here?" he called.

"I was just exploring," Burtok returned, "and I came across this giant fortress. Wouldn't you go look at something like that if you just found it?"

Burtok's quarry was sure that this intruder was impatient to get in, and that made him worried. Still, what could one intruder do? "All right, I'll give you the beginner tour." He said. "Go around to the right."

Burtok strode along the wall, all the way around the corner and over to an imposing gate. It took ten minutes, but he made it. The huge gate opened with a creak, but only enough to admit Burtok. The Makuta stepped in, and he was impressed. There were war machines everywhere, and well-armed, fit beings everywhere he looked. His quarry appeared quickly.

"My name is Rajal. Prepare to meet Faxhuun, Toa of Fire and commander of Altronia forces."

"He sounds important," Burtok said. Burtok was actually not very intimidated by the thought of Faxhuun at all. In fact a dozen dastardly schemes came to mind. They all involved Faxhuun dead at the end. He didn't voice any of those opinions as he kept in step with Rajal through winding hallways toward an unknown destination. After twenty minutes of twists and turns, a door was finally reached that was engraved in false gold. Rajal knocked on the door and let Burtok in, responding to an unheard signal. Faxhuun was standing dead center in the room.

"Welcome, Burtok. I know who you are, and you will be dealt with accordingly." Suntrah and Voran stepped out from behind Faxhuun, along with many other Toa, all unknown, all important--looking. "These are my main informants," Faxhuun said, putting his arms across Suntrah's and Voran's shoulders. "They told me of all your past deeds, and that made me prepared when Rajal's voice acknowledged your arrival.”

Burtok glared at the non-expressive Rajal, who met Burtok's glare by flashing a big grin and turning away. "Now the true challenge begins: How to fight this Makuta?"

"Deal with me how you will," Burtok retorted, "I will fight you until you are all--" Burtok felt a pain in his side, and looked to see Rajal injecting something into his side.

Faxhuun chuckled. "A power restrainer, to regulate your power so, while you have all your abilities, you lack the power level to overthrow us."

Burtok started to reach for his side, but Rajal warned, "Careful. It has Anti-Makuta 5000 in it. No good."

"A virus. Rajal is the silly name department around here." Faxhuun explained.

Burtok roared, "Chained like an animal!"

Faxhuun smiled. "And now we seemed to have domesticated you."

"I am no one's pet! You cannot control me like a slave!" Burtok shouted in dismay and defiance.

"Apparently you’re wrong, because we just started." Faxhuun said, smiling. “Cheer up. At least you have a little friend to keep you company.”

Zallirix was confused. He had been recruited to a mercenary fortress after being owned in a speeder battle with Levuku. How that qualified him to be an awesome, sneaky mercenary he did not know. But he was awesome, anyway. He refused to admit to himself that he had really been enslaved, and was, as far as he knew, the lowest-ranking being in the Order. Zallirix wasn’t about to ruin a good mood by accepting reality.

He strode along the hallway toward Levuku's dorm room. He was going to give Levuku a gift in response to the fight they had on the beach. Zallirix knocked meekly on the door to Levuku's dorm. Levuku answered the door, saw Zallirix, and promptly slammed the door shut again. There was a pause before he returned for the gift, saying simply, "Thanks." He opened the box while Zallirix looked on, anticipating its contents and wondering why Zallirix was giving Levuku something. Was he truly trying to make up?

No, he wasn’t. A foam-filled glove on a spring flew out and hit Levuku in the mask. Zallirix collapsed on the floor in laughter as Levuku slammed the door shut again. "Heehee...That was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!"

Toa Lihee strutted through the Altronia fortress, proud to return to his home like a conquering hero. Others looked at him with disgust at his jaunty way of acting, others were old friends and saw it as playful acting. He decided to try harder to make others laugh and stuck his head in an upright position to appear proud. This caused some to chuckle, but it also caused Lihee to lose sight of which direction he was going. The next thing he knew, he ran into a pillar in the middle of a hallway. This was strange, because this part of the fortress had no pillars in it, and because, once Lihee opened his eyes, he noticed that the pillar only went up three fourths of the way to the ceiling. The pillar was also brightly colored with blue and white, as well as very smooth, shiny, and spread out at the base. Before Lihee's eyes, the pillar "melted" and reformed into the shape of a Toa, but not just any Toa. This was a Toa of Lightning, and not very old, from the look of her. Behind her unusual mask, she smiled playfully.

"Careful to watch where you're going, because you may run into someone if you don't," she teased.

Lihee scowled. "Not everyone melts into pillars."

The female Toa laughed. "That's all thanks to Faxhuun's generous gift," she said, tapping her mask.

Lihee's eyes narrowed. "Is this you showing off to me?"

"Maybe it is, maybe not," the Lightning Toa said. "I like to see it as introducing myself. My name's Rewta."

Lihee stood up. "Lihee, pleased to meet you."

"Well, look at the manly Toa of Fire, speaking to females!"

Lihee whirled. There was Zallirix, spear in hand, standing in his line of vision like the nut he was. "You are going to wish you were wearing Kikanalo leather," Lihee growled.

Rewta shrugged and said, "Or rubber." The female Toa raised her hand and pointed at Zallirix. Energy crackled around her fingertips, and a discharge of energy shot at Zallirix, sparkling in the air as it went. The poor sap was jolted hard enough to jump six feet and drop his spear. Rewta then put her hands together and pointed, sending a purple-white blast of electric energy out of the gesture, which blasted Zallirix down the hall.

"Wow" was all Lihee could say.

Vaturi sat hunched over on her bed. She had begun having painful muscle contractions on the boat on the way to Altronia, and they had become more frequent and painful as time went on. She had quickly realized that the problem was her unstable physical form. After being dumped in a Rahi vat by Burtok, she had been changed from a mostly-robotic cyborg to a bat-like creature with elastic blades fused to her arms. Apparently the balance between Rahi parts and Vaturi’s previous body had not been achieved, causing her to begin to change shape.

Vaturi was trying to hold a positive attitude. Perhaps she would end up looking better that she did right now. Or she would end up almost as ugly as Yaltrax. If choice B was the reality, she would probably take her face apart and reassemble it out of madness. The contractions became worse, and now physical change had become noticeable. Vaturi's arm flattened out, and became wider, but not thicker. It was obvious to Vaturi that her arm was becoming a wing, as her other arm was as well. Not only that, but her armor was becoming sleeker, tougher, and more streamlined. A thin tail with a device on the end was also growing out of Vaturi's spine. Vaturi actually liked these wings, which looked razor-sharp, better than elastic blades. It was a shame that she did not have swords as sharp as these wings; however, as she thought these words, her wrists rotated and she was holding her front wing segments as swords.

This will be fun, she thought. This may possibly be the best thing that has ever happened to me, out of the many, many things that have happened to me.

Burtok got up out of his cot and went walking. He didn’t know where. He didn’t care where. All that mattered was the walking. He had to let some stress out somehow.

All these interlopers! He fumed. Constant, constant trouble! Why can’t they just go down and let themselves be exterminated?

Burtok found himself going through many memories of his past battles with the Avenging Alliance. Everything had been so much simpler. He could enact his plans, and got a little combat practice from the renegades on Crystal Island when they attacked. He never dreamed they would start winning. When they did, it made Burtok try harder and harder to fight them back, determined to get them dead so they would stop disturbing him. This just made Burtok devote less and less time to his pans, which only made him angrier. All those interlopers! Kanahka and Rohko and... Vohk? Burtok wiped his eyes. He thought he saw the orange-white renegade standing in front of him, but had to be mistaken.

He wasn’t. Vohk was there. In the Altronia Fortress dormitory. It seemed that the universe was out to get Burtok. Well, if that was the case, Burtok would give the universe a warning by finally, finally killing the little interloper and shutting his immature little mouth once and for all.

Vohk turned and saw Burtok standing there. At first he was as confused as Burtok, but shook it off quickly. “Burtok! He shouted.

“Vohk,” came the reply.

"That's Vohk The Awesome to you!" Vohk shouted back.

Burtok prepared for battle. “More like Vohk the Epic Failure," he taunted.

Vohk smirked, and then ran straight for Burtok, activating his superspeed powers. Burtok stuck his sword in Vohk's way, but Vohk veered a foot to the side, grabbed the blade, and swung up and into Burtok's shoulder. The two were sent flying from the short speedster’s momentum.

Vohk skidded to a halt and let the lighting from the hallway lamps glint on his claws, which was meant to be an intimidating gesture. "Liakatus has taught me well," he said, and dashed toward Burtok, but Burtok tripped Vohk with his blade. Vohk turned his tumble into a somersault, and, while still turning, veered back over to the Makuta. Burtok turned immaterial and allowed Vohk to pass through him. The short speedster simply jumped at a wall and ricochet at Burtok. The Makuta responded with a blast of shadow right at the little figure's mask. Vohk twirled horizontally, allowing the blast to be deflected and thrown right back at Burtok.

The Makuta laughed as the bolt struck him harmlessly, but that was the distraction Vohk needed to launch another attack. Vohk grabbed onto Burtok's arm as Vohk passed his quarry. Burtok swung his arm toward the ground to squash Vohk, but the speedster was ready. He flipped up the Makuta’s arm and pumped his legs as through running, while in fact Burtok was moving beneath him. It only took a moment for the Makuta’s face to plow into the floor. As he fell, Vohk landed tail stinger first and sent high-voltage current through Burtok. "Good job." He said. "But still, Vohk the Awesome triumphs!”

Vohk then took off and streaked away. If Burtok were here, perhaps there were others here, too. Maybe someone Vohk knew. If there were, Vohk would have to wait until the right moment and then jump out from behind something and scare them.

Vohk had been a prankster for years. Even before he joined forces with Rohko and Kanahka a year ago, he had always had a knack for doing things that would have gotten him in hot water if he was any slower when he escaped. Meeting Levuku formally months ago didn't help. Vohk would goof off with his best friend to kill time, but had always been careful to avoid doing overly dangerous or mission-endangering things. Fate, though, sometimes had other plans.

It's not like I can help that, though, he thought. Things just...fall into place wrong.

He continued speeding through the hallways, looking around the fortress for anyone he knew from his time helping the Alliance. It was times like this that reminded Vohk of how big this place really was. This place had no maps of the halls or even a "you are here" layout map to refer to. You just had to know the place. To Vohk, impatient as he was, it was nerve-racking and thoroughly irritating. One could go insane from the sheer congestedness of the place, Vohk said to himself. At least the fortress has a courtyard to run around in.

Finally Vohk saw someone he knew. "Rajal!" he called. Rajal turned to greet his friend.

"Hey, bud. What gives? Why are you all the way over here?"

"You meet any Avenging Alliance members?" Vohk asked.

"Yes," Rajal replied. "I am training their unit of recruits at this point."

"Good," Vohk replied, "because I would like to know where Levuku’s dorm is."

Rajal snickered. "I just left it. It's right here." Rajal pointed to the door about three feet away from him.

"Oh," Vohk nodded. "Right. Duh." He knocked on the door. It took a while, but Levuku came to the door.

"Dude!" he shouted. He extended his hand toward Vohk, and they shook hands, pounded fists, and spun around, slapping palms twice.

"How do you like our greeting?" Levuku asked Rajal.

"It' to watch," Rajal said. And nice to remember that it's not me there humiliating myself, he thought cheerfully.

"We can now get back to totally owning people," Vohk declared cheerfully. "You and I have some teamwork to review.”

"Oh," Levuku said, grinning, "like the time I kept teleporting and you swang from my legs and kicked off my feet?"

"That's exactly what I'm talking about!" Vohk agreed proudly.

Rajal spoke up. "If you two prove yourselves in battle, then I can arrange a mission for you."

The two friends looked at each other, grinned, and looked back at Rajal. "If you think you can take us on," Vohk said, with Levuku finishing, "we'll gladly fight you."

Rajal laughed. "I know. I'd like to fight me, too, if I were in your shoes, but this is a fight against Chilas."

"That's certainly a step down," Vohk said. "I'm almost insulted."

Continued... Edit