So, as many of you know, one of the first things I did since I returned to BZPower was participate in the Six Kingdoms Escapement. My character in the rpg was Kanohi, a Fe-Matoran “superhero” whose island was destroyed by the League of Six Kindoms, and who spent his days grappling around Metru-Nui trying to repair buildings and help evacuate civilians. He’s one of my favorite Bionicle OCs, just an anxiety-ridden Matoran trying to help others. He grew a lot over the first rpg, and he continues to grow in Six Kingdoms Rebirth.
I have written a number of stories about a version of him that fits into the canon of Bionicle, but this story will be a bit different. You see, as SKE was wrapping up we discovered that one of the major NPCs wanted to use the Disk of Time to change history. To us players, there was some fear that our character development would be erased, all our growth and new friendships lost. So I began to plan a way to avoid resetting Kanohi to zero.
Kanohi has an ability not unlike Vakama possesses in canon, he can experience visions of events yet to happen. Well he is a superhero, he needs at least one superpower. And it was based on this that I began to plot what to do if history was changed. Ultimately though history was not rewritten, but since the Disk of Time was used, and becauseI know some of us are a bit stressed by recent events in SKR, I thought it might be fun to still use my plan as the basis for a new story. So yesterday instead of sleeping I wrote this bad boi. This story takes place in a universe similar to SKE, starting with a failure of Fe-Matoran grappling through the swampland of his island home. With that said, enjoy.
artwork by @Onaku
The Impact of a Rebirth
The Fe-Matoran hurtled through the trees like a cannonball, tumbling and careening. As he was flung upwards, he fired from his Volo Lutu Launcher a small ball of gravity into a tree. As he fell from his arc he was yanked to the gravity ball, dragging him through the canopy. He flew past the tree, before continuing to grapple through the swampland of Bo-Wahi.
A satchel dangled from his arm, stuffed full of herbs. With Turaga Bomahri‘s back acting up, some of the foragers of Bo-Wahi had searched for and harvested a few herbs to treat his pain. To get them them to the Turaga in time they needed a courier, and Dece was, well, available.
Dece was an okay courier. Not a great one. He was decent enough at throwing a bamboo disk as well. Though most of Fe-Koro was his better. Still he at least was proficient at grappling through the swamp than he had been as a mask maker. Right?
The traditions of the island of Okoto were simple. The Fe-Matoran lived in Fe-Koro, they made the island’s tools, masks, they mined Protodermis, and occasionally they fought Rahi if Toa Fehagah was too far away to reach them in time. On the other hand the Bo-Matoran grappled through the swamps to forage plants and other resources, and acted as medics if there was a crisis. Toa Fehagah protected them from aggressive Rahi or other disasters, while Turaga Bomahri led them with wisdom. That was how it was supposed to be.
But Dece … he was a failure. He struggled to make masks, he had a few successes with easy Kanohi, but he failed on the harder masks. So much Protodermis wasted. Even Turaga Bomahri had gotten tired of his pathetic attempts at forging masks. And every time he tried to forge a mask, he could hear the Turaga’s disappointment, see the other Fe-Matoran looking in pity and-and…
The Matoran spotted out of the corner of his optics that his heartlight was flashing. He swallowed and made a moan. Remember what Turaga Bomahri always says. Just … don’t focus on the big picture, break everything down to small manageable tasks. The Turaga had found a way for him to be useful as a courier, he was still helping the Matoran, still doing his Duty. Maybe he wasn’t trusted with particular sensitive cargo, but this was still going to help Okoto. It would help the Turaga even. Dece tried to force a smile he … he was helpful, he … he was.
Then came a sound like a buzzsaw cleaving through a thick tree. Dece flinched at the sound and tried … tried not to look behind him. But he could see the shadow behind him, drawing ever closer. As he tumbled through the trees he used his left hand to reach into his satchel and pulled out a bamboo disk he … it wouldn’t be much help, but it might help him get away.
Then with a grinding shriek the Nui-Rama was upon him, the giant bug lunging its claws at his mask. He wore a Kanohi Hau, the Great Mask of Shielding. Not that he could use its power, he was just a Matoran, and not even a very useful one at that.
But as the Nui-Rama swung at him he threw the disk, striking its bulbous eye. It flinched, it’s flaw only slamming into his gut. Dece tumbled from the blow, slamming into the swamp.
As he struck the murky surface, Dece felt his head shattered. Not literally, his mask was not even damaged. But as he sank into the mud the mud seemed to swirl and grab at him, dragging him deeper into the swamp. He struggled, but the world was smothered in mud, turning into a brown goop.
And then … Dece’ s mind exploded.
“Turaga?” Turaga Bomahri looked up as he continued to rub his back. His hut was all but woven with iron like a quilt, with metal imitations of flowers blooming in it. In the entrance to his metal hut was a Fe-Matoran, wearing a burnt orange Hau and with a biomechanical body of the same shade or orange, mixed with black components.
“Oh, Dece you … have arrived. We were worried you were lost in the swamp.you certainly look the part.” The Turaga of Jungle remarked. Dece was covered in mud, splattered all over his body. But that wasn’t what made Bomahri hesitate. There was … something in Dece’s eyes.
“I have brought your herbs,” Dece said emptying his satchel on the table besides the Turaga. “Sorry, they got a bit muddy.”
“Of course,” the Turaga said with a sigh. What was he going to do with Dece? Couldn’t even travel the swamp without making a fool of himself.
“Turaga I … What do you think of Destiny?”
“Destiny? It’s what we all seek to fulfill, to be the best version of ourselves, as the Great Spirit Mata-Nui desires. It is of the Three Virtues most honored by Bo-Matoran along with Unity. Why do you ask?” Such a basic question.
“I … I saw something. Or … I was something. Or will be something. I … I don’t know if I understand.”
“Don’t worry, we expect that by now,” Turaga Bomahri smiled, “thank you for the herbs, but you need to hurry along, more Matoran will need deliveries.”
“Yes um, sorry Turaga. I … I’ll get back to work. Sorry, um, sorry…” Dece bowed and departed the room, but hesitated at the door. He started to look back, before clenching up and raving outside the hut. Then with a fire of his Volo Lutu Launcher he grappled away into the open air, hooking the surrounding huts to travel to the edge of the plateau.
“Matoran Dece,” Toa Fehagah knocked on the hut’s door. It was on the outskirts of the plateau, well away from the rest of the Fe-Matoran.
There was a delay and then a shout of, “Um, you … you can come in.” She nodded and bent over, before fitting into the metal doorway. She was tall, her armor was blue and white, and she wore atop her face a Kanohi Kadin, the Great Mask of Flight.
Dece was on the floor, welding something. “S-sorry, Toa. I know have not started my rounds today, I just … I saw something. I don’t understand it but I think it’s important. For all of us.”
“Alright,” she nodded, sitting down besides him. Anything I can help with—”
And then she realized he was welding something to his forearm.
“Dece what are you doing?” She demanded in shock, reaching to pull his Firestaff away, only to hesitate. If … if he burnt himself because of her.
“It’s okay, Toa Fehagah,” he swallowed, “I … I trust in Destiny.”
“What Destiny is it to have a Volo Lutu Launcher stuck to your arm?” She all but managed to shout. He flinched and she added, “sorry but this … this isn’t like you.”
“I saw something.”
“What did you see?”
“The future,” he whispered.
The Toa stared at him, “you … saw the future?”
“I don’t know how but I … I saw how I can help the village. How I can help our island. I know it sounds silly but I … Mata-Nui had to have given me this vision for a reason, right?”
She stared at him, and finally said, “Dece, you had faith in my strangeness, even before I was a Toa. The least I could do is trust in yours. Scoot over, I can make this smoother.”
His optics widened beneath his mask, “if … if it’s not a trouble.”
“It’s not,” she smiled, “but, would you mind telling me exactly what you saw?” She pressed her finger to his welding job and metal began to secrete from her finger, sealing up the rough welding he had been doing.
“Um, well um, is it okay if you do the other arm too?”
“Yes,” the Toa of Iron answered, “but what exactly did you see?”
“I saw you overwhelmed by strange people that were as tall as you. I … don’t think they were Toa. And I saw Fe-Koro demolished, Bo-Wahi burned to the ground. I saw me fleeing like a coward. I retreated to a great city, whose buildings towered above even the plateau. I saw … that city be destroyed too in the end, by the same army.”
“…The pressure you must feel.”
“But in the destruction of the city, I was doing things. Good things. Grappling around the city, rescuing Matoran from falling debris, snatching them before they could be executed, shielding them from attacks, using disks with strange powers to repair towers and bridges; I was helping. And if I can help Okoto now with what I had learned to do in the future, maybe we can survive this.”
“…That is a great responsibility.”
“Yes but … but I can help. A way to help that I can do, that others might not do as well. And that might take pressure off you.”
The Toa of Iron was quiet for a time, her body tense. Dece looked away, his face beneath his mask growing crimson. But finally she says, “well, let’s get to work then.”
“Toa Fehagah, this is foolishness,” the Turaga nibbled alongside her, his wooden staff helping support his wright, “Dece is barely good as a courier, he can’t be a fighter.”
“He won’t be. He’s going to be a vigilante protector. And he’s Kanohi now.”
“He can’t just choose a new name.”
“Yes well, you underwent Naming Day.”
“And maybe Kanohi will too one day,” the Toa dismissed, before using her long legs to speed past the Turaga’s pace. Soon enough she was at the edge of the plateau, where Kanohi was looking down at the swampland below.
He was covered in broken masks that he had dangled from his body, like wind chimes. He had never gotten rid of those failures, clung to them. And now they hung to him as armor, the broken and failed masks repurposed to do good.
“Um I … I am just your helper.”
“Well, you are doing part of my work, so you are my partner,” she smiled, and he blushed.
“Now we should begin practice by…” She trailed off, catching sight of something in the swampland.
“Fire,” she pointed in the northern patch of the swamp, and he followed her gaze, “it looks like it’s in the path of some of our foragers’ routes. We will have to reschedule practice for another day.”
“Okay, I-I-I’ll try to get them to safety.”
She turned to object, but stopped. Finally she said, “before careful, alright? I’ll contain and smother the fire, you help them escape. Don’t try to fight it.”
“Of course,” he nodded, his makeshift armor jingling at the motion.
She swallowed hope … hopefully this would go well. She lifted him up and put him atop her shoulders, and he held on tight. Then with a glow of her mask she lifted into the air, and blasted off through the jungle, flying with all the speed she could manage.
Kanohi hung to his Toa as she flew through the swamp. There was only one Toa in the island of Okoto, and only one Turaga. The island was difficult to reach, the trees were packed closely and shredded boats, it was surrounded by swampland so there was nowhere to dock a ship either. The only settlement was atop a large plateau, so a traveler would need a mask of flight or a Volo Lutu Launcher to actually meet with the natives. And few actually cared to visit Okoto in the first place.
The island had little to offer, just a vast swamp full of plants and large bugs, and a Protodermis mine built into the side of the plateau. It had no wealth, the technology it had was fairly basic except for the Iden Machine, but that was made by a traveler from outside the island. They had a few hovercrafts for shipping goods over the island, but the hovercrafts were small, and they were only able to maintain a few of them. Most folks who traveled just used Volo Lutu Launchers. Its people were poor, and they were not worth trading with.
And yet, those warlords in his vision, they would burn it to the ground.
He shuddered just, just focus on small manageable tasks. Right now there was a fire, he had to rescue Matoran, just … just tru to take it one at a time,
He did not have time to dwell on those through though, as soon enough a wall of heat slammed into him. “Here, Kanohi,” Toa Fehagah shifted her shoulders and he climbed off, landing in a tree, “I’ll contain the fire, you rescue the Matoran.”
He nodded in a frenzy, before pointing his right arm away. The Volo Lutu Launcher in his arm fired, and he was shot forward into the trees. Then with his left arm he hooked another tree, and began to swing across the swamp.
It was … easier somehow, grappling with the weight of his masks and with two launchers. That vision had all but given him the experience of using a similar setup. The one in the vision was a bit more … hi-tech, but this new power was still useful.
There, in the blaze he spotted a Bo-Matoran choking on the fumes. He swallowed this … it was real now. Mata-Nui, please let me not screw up again. Not with a life on the line.
Quickly he latched a tree trunk behind the Matoran, and grappled through the fire. As he sailed past he extended his arm and hooked it around the Matoran’s gut. With a heave he dragged the Matoran from the blaze, before the two of them tumbled into the mud.
As a Matoran of Iron, Kanohi had high physical endurance, so he stood up pretty quickly. He almost tackled the Matoran of Jungle, frantically over his injuries. He was still alive, but he was still unconscious. He … small tasks, just get him away from the fire,
With a shove Kanohi hoisted the Bo-Matoran onto his back, before grappling away from the blaze. He swung and hooked his way across the swamp, until he tumbled before to a lone tree some distance from the rest of the woods.
Slowly Kanohi lifted the Matoran, straining to carry him. He laid him against the tree, hopefully the tree was far enough away the fire wouldn’t reach it. He looked over, the Natoran was coughing now, spewing wads of black ash.
He … he still needed to learn how to treat the injured. He was no Bo-Matoran.
Still, he could hear the fire cracking, other Matoran would need help. Kanohi swallowed, before hook in a tree and grappling away, heading back towards the fire that chewed up the swamplands. Just focus on small manageable tasks.
He hurtled and flung through the trees, swinging one arm at a time. Soon enough he spotted another Bo-Matoran, this one stuck in a tree as fire engulfed the lower tree trunk. With an outstretched arm he caught the Matoran, carrying him away from the flames.
“What the heck are you doing?” The Bo-Matoran demanded as he coughed up mud, “who … who are you supposed to be?”
“I-I am Kanohi,” the Fe-Matoran said, “can you climb onto my back, I can carry you away from the blaze.”
“I don’t need the help of a freak—” The two of them staggered as a wall of heat slammed into them. The Matoran of Jungle winced before managing, “um, yeah, let me just get on your back.”
Kanohi shook under his weight, he had enhanced endurance, not strength. Still his body at least could take the strain, and with a fire of his built-in launchers he grappled away.
Toa Fehagah waves her hands about, and iron erupted from her fingers. Her elemental power snaked and wove through the air like vines up a tree, and soon enough metal had ensnared the trees of the swamp. From tree to tree she grew a wall of iron, a barrier to halt the spread of the flames. The trees would likely die from her metal vines strangling them, but the rest of the swamp should be saved.
She had been trained to use her element by Toa Bomahri, most of her lessons had been before he had become a Turaga. Back when he had the full elemental powers of a Toa of Jungle. Because of his influence, the metal she created almost grew like a plant, instead of crude geometric shapes it blossomed and crawled and strangled like any vine.
She … had only met one other Toa, the traveler who she traded bodies with, but even with her lack interaction with proper Toa of Iron, she knew she was weird. For many reasons. She was quite aware that she was a freak, just like Kanohi.
Kanohi’s vision was … horrifying. She wished she had a Mask of Mind Reading, so she at least could understand some of what he saw. Share his burden. But destiny chose only him to see that awful future. And all she could do was support her old friend.
He had always been … anxious and a mess of issues, but Fehagah did not forget that when realized she was no man, Kanohi had accepted her instantly. And when she became a Toa he did not forget her truth. He was respectful, if terrified of messing up. And when she decided to switch bodies with that Toa of Lightning, he was nothing but supportive.
Even her old mentor was a bit wary about the island’s only Toa using that strange untested machine. But Kanohi … he believed it was her Destiny from the start.
What else could she do but believe in his own Destiny?
As she formed her barrier there was a whoosh behind her. She turned to see Kanohi grappling past, dancing among the fire and the trees. She winced, the heat was dangerous. But he just hurled through it, looking for Bo-Matoran caught in the flames.
She could not remember this energy from him, this speed and grace. Yes he still tumbled, but his swing through the trees was so precise. That vision, despite its horror, it had empowered him. Told him plainly ‘you don’t have to be a Toa to be a hero. And you Kanohi, you can be a hero.’
As terrible a burden that vision must be, the Toa still found herself thanking Mata-Nui for letting him see what he could be.
Kanohi threw his bamboo disk, striking a few branches. The branches tumbled to the swamp, even as the disk ricocheted towards him. It landed in the mud besides him with a splash.
He leaned over to grab it, winching as he strained his back. Even with his enhanced physical endurance his body ached from carrying around the Matoran. Still he picked the disk up, before looking up at the tree he had severed.
Without those branches the fire would not be able to spread this far. He turned to the four Bo-Matoran, three of them carrying their fourth. Swallowing he said, “o-okay, you need to wade through the swamp, I will move from above and divert the fire from you.”
“Um, sure thing, Kanohi,” one of them managed. They looked at him like he had a Fikou perched on his head, but even still they began to move. He might be a mad Matoran, but he had been doing alright rescuing them from the blaze, so madness wasn’t looking so terrible.
Kanohi grappled above them, encircling them to look for dangers. The Volo Lutu Launchers the Bo-Matoran had been used were broken during the blaze, but Fehagah had reinforced Kanohi’s launchers when she attached them to his forearms, they would hold.
He was so lucky for the Toa of Okoto to give him a chance,
As he revolved around the group he stopped periodically, dangling from one of his launchers to look back to the blaze’s growth and to look for any Rahi. The beasts would flee the fire, but they would still be dangerous. Nui-Rama, Fikou, Nui-Jaga, Nui-Kopen; all those insects stalked the jungle, and all would eat a Matoran if they had the chance.
There was a boom as the fire engulfed another tree, and Kanohi grappled over, his bamboo disk at the ready. With a twirl he threw it, cleaving through branches before falling to the mud. He grappled down and hooked it in his hand as he swung over the mud, before hurling and flinging his way back to the four retreating Bo-Matoran.
But as he approached he heard that buzzing sound, that terrible buzzing. The Fe-Matoran turned to see a Nui-Rama with a cracked eye flying towards him. Was … could it be the one from before?
Kanohi swallowed, before grappling away from the large winged bug. It swerved after him, its claws swiping at the air behind him. He grappled left and right, hopefully throwing the bug off with his erratic movements.
Still it pursued him, buzzing like a roar as it clawed at the air. And — argh, the jerking motions only made his body throb and scream. He … he couldn’t just dodge it could he? It was after him, maybe even for revenge. He … he had to make the chase more costly.
With a flex of his arms he grappled to the base of a tree, just hanging there. He perched there for like a second, before launching away. The Nui-Rama all but slammed into the tree trunk to attack him, splashing into the swamp from the impact.
“Um, sorry?” Kanohi called out, as the Nui-Rama dragged itself out of the swamp. With a sound like a propellor grinding against a tree trunk, it reared its arm back, before slashing its claw through the base of one of the trees.
The Fe-Matoran swallowed and hooked another tree, resuming his swing through the swamp. In the meantime the Rahi shook off its wings, mud splattering wildly.
The Rahi pivoted in the air, before spying Kanohi and charging towards him. As the beast charged he latched onto a tree, waiting. But as it rammed him with its jaw he grappled away, leaving the Nui-Rama to take a large chomp out of the tree.
It spat out the biomechanical wood, before looking at the fleeing Fe-Matoran. It shrieked out a buzzing sound, it would get back at the four-legged Fikou another day. The Nui-Rama buzzed off, swiping a big gash in a tree as it left.
Kanohi grappled away, heading back towards the Bo-Matoran. But as he approached them there was a sound he struggled to recognize. Like a cry, but the pitch was off.
“Nice one, Kanohi,” he winced at what must be mockery, but then the Bo-Matoran said, “not everyone can drive off a Nui-Rama without even throwing a single disk. That was incredible.”
“Oh um,” were they being genuine? “um, well, all I did was making it hurt itself until it lost interest. It wasn’t like I fought it.”
“You didn’t have to, you used your head.”
“No, I didn’t head-butt it,” Kanohi answered, “but oh um, thank you though.”
“Everyone alright?” Kanohi turned his head around to see Toa Fehagah fly towards them. The fire was now contained, walled off from the rest of the swamp by a barrier of trees woven with iron vines.
“Don’t worry, Kanohi saved us. He’s working with you?”
“He is indeed, we are partners.” Kanohi’s face could have been redder, but it would have been hard. The Toa of Iron just laughed though, and said, “come on, we need to keep moving, even with the fire no longer spreading, it won’t be safe here. The Rahi will be all riled up.”
“Um, right, Toa Fehagah,” Kanohi nodded, “Um, what do you need me to do?”
“Just move among the trees, and get ready to help them if a Rahi attacks. I will follow from the air, but you can be closer to them.”
“Um, okay,” Kanohi nodded. He … he was going to be guarding so close up. Like the first line of defense. He … his hands fluttered like a Nui-Kopen’s wings. He … he really was helping Okoto. And maybe, if he got to be a better hero, even when the league attacked, he could help evacuate Matoran and rescue them, while Toa Fehagah fought the league. And with her able to focus solely on fighting, maybe this time she could win.
Mata-Nui had given him this vision of the future for a reason, he had to believe that. And whatever that wad reason, it had to be to help Okoto, to do what his future self failed to do and save his people. Not that he was better than that future self, that Kanohi had disks with strange powers that came out of a weapon, he had strange technology in his mask that let him aim his launchers better as well communicate from long distances. The Kanohi of Okoto lacked those abilities.
But maybe one day? It seemed possible at least?