Faux - A Hydraxon Serial

This was originally going to be a short story, but it proved to be much longer than I intended it.


Kyrehx rarely got nervous. Countless years spent living in Mahri Nui and the dangerous seas that had surrounded the underwater city had hardened her and made her tougher than the average Ga-Matoran. She had braved a number of wild Rahi and had even survived more than one encounter with the Barraki. While she didn’t think of herself as being as brave as Idris or even Dalu, she liked to think of herself as being a formidable Matoran warrior.

And yet, stepping into the tavern, she found it hard to ignore the voice in her head telling her to turn around and walk away.

The tavern was still technically in New Atero, albeit on the outskirts that toed the border between it and the rest of Spherus Magna. The city was still in the process of being construction, and there were still debates about whether its location was ideal or not. But the beings tasked with working on it needed a place to relax and recreate, and so more than a few places had already been established to suit their needs.

The clientele of this particular tavern was not the sort Kyrehx was used to seeing around New Atero however. While the others were frequented by other Matoran, Toa, Agori, and Glatorians, this one was home to a number of beings of species Kyrehx barely recognized, most of them being from the Matoran Universe. A Steltian of the laborer variety operated the bar and watched her with a keen eye as she walked in. Avoiding his gaze, Kyrehx pulled the hood of cloak to hide her mask better as she willed herself to navigate past tables to get to the being she had come here for.

At the far end of the room, seated alone at a table, was a being clad in black and silver armor, one leg propped up on the table. His head was lowered slightly, indicating that he was sleeping, but as Kyrehx got closer she saw his green eyes glow to life and microscopically moved up to glare at the approaching Matoran.

She hadn’t come within seven feet before she found herself staring at the barrel of a Cordak Blaster.

“Leave me alone,” the being growled.

Clearing her throat, Kyrehx squared her shoulders and made herself look more confident than she was actually feeling. “You are Hydraxon, correct?”

“Don’t make me repeat myself.”

“I have a job for you.”

Hydraxon did not lower his weapon, but he didn’t fire it either. Kyrehx wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. “Get a Toa to do it. Or one of those Glatorian. I don’t take jobs from Matoran.”

“You’ll take this one.” Kyrehx dropped a sack of widgets onto the table. Hydraxon’s gaze briefly flickered to it before returning to the Ga-Matoran.

“Is that all or just the advance?”

“We can make it an advance,” Kyrehx replied, internally hoping she would be able to scrounge enough more money to support her bluff.

Hydraxon continued to stare at her before finally lowering his weapon. “What’s the job? And why don’t you get a Toa to do it?”

“Because it concerns a former prisoner of the Pit,” Kyrehx said. “I’ve been told that you used to be its jailer.”

“Not used to that being common knowledge,” Hydraxon muttered. “Especially for a Matoran.”

“Times have changed, clearly.”

The former jailer narrowed his eyes, and Kyrehx couldn’t tell if he was annoyed or amused by her bravado. “Let me guess. It’s one of the Barraki.”

“No. It’s someone by the name of Zakron.”

“Zakron.” Hydraxon slowly nodded. “I remember him.”

“Then hopefully you remember how to defeat him. Last week, he abducted six Matoran—including a couple of friends of mine. Some of the Toa and Glatorian did try following him, but lost him in the White Quartz Mountains. Apparently, some of the prisoners that escaped a few months ago have taken over the village of Iconox after the Agori abandoned it. No one knows what any of them are doing up there, but it can’t be anything good.”

Hydraxon snorted. “And you expect me to liberate the whole village?”

“Obviously I would like to, but I doubt it’s in your pay grade,” Kyrehx remarked. “All I’m asking is that you free my fellow Matoran and bring Zakron to justice.”

Hydraxon was silent for a long time, his eyes going from Kyrehx to the sack of widgets on the table. The longer the silence persisted, the more she worried that he was going to turn her down. Finally, he lowered his legs from the table and stood up to his full height, taking the sack and putting it away.

“Fine,” he grunted. “Not like I have anything better to do today.”

Kyrehx’s shoulders sagged with relief. “Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me.”

“Thank me when the job is done,” was all Hydraxon said as he strode past her.

Hydraxon rarely had second thoughts. But as he trudged through the snow leading up to the White Quartz Mountains, he was beginning to wonder what exactly he was doing.

For thousands of years, the only life he had ever known was working as the jailer of the Pit. A job that didn’t change even when the universe collapsed around him. But now the universe he had known had ended for the second or third time and apparently that mean the life he had known was no more. The Pit was long gone and replaced with a far more rudimentary jail that could barely hold more than a few dozen prisoners and had already had its first breakout a few months ago. Due to the Toa and Glatorian being stretched thin due to their other duties, he had agreed to take on the role of bounty hunter to help track down these escaped prisoners as well as handle jobs that the Toa and even the slightly more brutal Glatorian were uncomfortable with performing.

The work had been satisfying enough, but lately he had been pushed to his limits. Because he was one of the few bounty hunters in service to the New Atero Council (and probably the only one who actually did a decent job), it had given a good number of the escapees to group together and establish power bases throughout the uninhabited regions of Spherus Magna, dominating the Wastelands and even taking over some of the abandoned villages. There were already rumors about the Dark Hunters having expanded their ranks and the Barraki being in the process of rebuilding their kingdoms. And to add on to that, there were beings from this strange new world such as the Skrall that were allying themselves with such foes. Between these various enemy states and the unaccounted for escapees, Hydraxon had his work cut out for him… and as far as he was concerned, his usual pay didn’t really cover it.

Still, something in him always pushed him to end up taking these jobs; some sort of inherent nobleness and naivete that he thought only Toa had, and was typically beaten out of most members of the Order of Mata Nui. He wasn’t sure where this nobleness came from, as he did not recall ever having it during his time in the Pit. Perhaps it had something to do with the new world he found himself living in; the Matoran hadn’t been wrong about times having changed.

He shook his head to clear these thoughts. Up ahead, he saw a small building up ahead in the difference, no larger than the tavern he had departed from. Standing guard were a pair of Skakdi, and upon seeing the approaching Hydraxon, they raised their Zamor Launchers in his direction.

“Turn around,” growled one of the Skakdi. “This is a private club.”

Hydraxon said nothing and continued walking towards them. The two Skakdi kept their weapons raised while exchanging nervous glances.

“Did you hear what I said? Turn around now or else—”

“I heard you.” Hydraxon took two long strides to close the distance between him and the Skakdi. He then grabbed each of their heads with both hands before smashing them together. The pair dropped like stones into the snow as he proceeded to kick the door open. As he stormed inside, he found himself staring down a number of weapons, ranging from Zamor Launchers to Rhotuka spinners. The clientele at this place was even more varied than the one at the tavern, and there were more than a familiar faces that he recognized from the Pit.

“Ah, let him in,” a voice said from the back. “I knew he’d show up eventually.”

The weapons were reluctantly lowered. Hydraxon traced the voice to a white and green being sitting in the corner of the room, arms resting casually on the back of his seat. His appearance was slightly different from what Hydraxon’s recent memory recalled, no doubt due to the effects of the Pit’s mutagenic waters having been reversed when Spherus Magna had been restored. Then again, it didn’t make Zakron any less hideous than he had been during that time.

Brushing past the other glaring denizens of the tavern, Hydraxon stormed up to his quarry, making sure his Cordak Blaster was locked and loaded. Zakron did not so much as flinch, smiling wickedly from beneath his emerald helm.

“You know why I’m here,” Hydraxon said darkly as he stopped at the table.

“I have a decent idea,” Zakron said casually.

Hydraxon narrowed his eyes, studying him carefully. “Where are the Matoran?”

Zakron shrugged, waving a dismissive hand. “Not here. I’ve already handed them off.”

Hydraxon slammed his hands down onto the table. “Handed them off to whom?”

“Not for me to say.”

“I’m not leaving until you tell me.”

“Then you’d better grab a seat, because you’re gonna be here for a very long time.”

Hydraxon raised his left arm and brandished a pair of blades. “There are two ways this can go down,” he growled. “Your way or my way. Which one do you think you have better odds of surviving?”

Zakron chuckled darkly as he glared at the bounty hunter. “I’m not scared of you anymore, ‘Hydraxon.’ Especially now that I know you’re just an impostor.”

Hydraxon scowled. It wasn’t the first time he had heard the accusation, and they had only increased in frequency over the past few months. Around that time, the Red Star had exploded in the sky above Spherus Magna and the Toa Nuva Pohatu and Kopaka had survived to tell the tale. According to them, they had encountered a number of beings aboard the Red Star who were supposed to have been dead… including, if the rumors were to be believed, the original Hydraxon.

But there was no “original Hydraxon.” Because he was Hydraxon. He remembered everything, including the fact that he had trained Kopaka and Pohatu himself all those years ago. How could he have those memories if he wasn’t the real Hydraxon?

It didn’t help that Pridak had planted the seed of doubt in his mind, trying to tell him he used to be some Po-Matoran named Dekar. Hydraxon didn’t believe him then. He still didn’t.

And yet still the thought gave him a pause. And it was that pause that gave Zakron the window of opportunity he was looking for.

With a powerful leg, Zakron kicked the table into Hydraxon’s abdomen, sending the bounty hunter falling off his feet and onto his back. Before he could get back up, Zakron was already on him, pointing a spear at his neck.

“We’re not in the Pit anymore, jailer,” the former prisoner cackled. “This is my turf now. Our turf.”

Snarling, Hydraxon raised and swung his right arm, pointing his Cordak Blaster right at Zakron’s face. The other’s eyes went wide and he barely dodged in time as the bounty hunter fired off a rocket. It hit the wall behind him and the resulting explosion sent them both flying.

The next thing Hydraxon knew, he was outside, laying face-first in the snow. He quickly got up in time to see Zakron charging towards him, spear raised high. With a flick of his wrist, Hydraxon sent one of his throwing blades flying at him, which Zakron swatted aside with his weapon. This gave Hydraxon the opportunity he needed to raise his Cordak Blaster and line up another shot. Before he could fire, a large claw grabbed his arm and wrenched the weapon off, pulling it with enough force to make Hydraxon wince in pain. He looked to see a tall and lanky being standing there, green spikes lining their chest and arms.

“Drewdika,” Hydraxon growled. “Long time no see.”

“Last time will see,” the dim-witted being retorted as he lunged at the bounty hunter. Hydraxon quickly stepped aside before delivering a powerful kick to Drewdika’s side, sending him into the path of Zakron and causing the two to collide with each other. By now the other patrons of Zakron’s tavern had come out to join the fight, but upon seeing their boss fall into the snow, they seemed rather hesitant to try their lot at fighting the jailer.

“Looks like your way isn’t working out for you,” Hydraxon remarked, stepping around the fallen ex-prisoners as he picked up and reattached his Cordak Blaster. “Want to try my way now? Not too late to tell me who you gave the Matoran to.”

Zakron snarled as he shoved Drewdika off him and got back to his feet. “It doesn’t even matter. Even if I told you now, they will be long gone by now.”

“Just give me a name and I’ll be the judge of that for myself.”

Zakron glowered at him and seemed to consider taking another stab at fighting the bounty hunter. Instead, he signaled acceptance of his defeat. “Sahmad. He said his name was Sahmad.”

“Thank you,” Hydraxon said. “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Zakron tilted his head. “Does that mean I can go free?”

“No. It just means you can take a nap on the trip back.”

Zakron barely had enough time to react as Hydraxon threw a first straight into his face.

“Sahmad.” The Glatorian known as Ackar leaned against the wall, arms folded over his chest. “That’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Here I was hoping I never would again.”

“I take it he’s one of your kind?” Hydraxon asked, mirroring Ackar’s stance at the opposite wall.

“Well, he’s an Agori rather than a Glatorian. But that doesn’t make him less dangerous. Back when this was Bara Magna, he would capture Agori and sell them as slaves to the Skrall. If what this Zakron says is true, then it sounds like he’s expanded his selection to include Matoran as well. Although I’m not sure he could be selling them too.”

“Not the Skrall?”

Ackar shrugged. “They’re not as powerful as they used to be, especially with Tuma out of the picture, so I doubt it. Maybe he’s working for beings from your universe. These Dark Hunters I’ve heard about sound just as bad as the Skrall.”

“It’s possible,” Hydraxon muttered. “Any idea where I can find this Sahmad?”

“Best guess I can give you is the Wastelands; that’s where we always sent most of our outcasts. Although, I believe his tribe used to hail from the Great Jungle—what we used to call Bota Magna. I’m not sure if he would return there after the Restoration. Probably gives him bad memories.”

Hydraxon briefly considered asking Ackar to elaborate on that but decided against it; he was here to complete a job, not to learn his quarry’s background. He turned away from the Glatorian and started to head out. “I’ll start with the Wastelands then.”

“Can you find your way around them?” Ackar asked.

“I can manage.”

“Well, you’ll need transportation. Best way to get around the Wastelands is with a Thornatus. You know how to operate one?”

Hydraxon stopped to glare over his shoulder at the Glatorian. “I’ll ask for help when I need it. Which I don’t.”

Ackar rolled his eyes as he raised his hands. “Just thought I’d offer it….”


This story was written to expand on the suggestion by Greg Farshtey that Hydraxon became a bounty hunter on the reformed Spherus Magna.

This story eludes to events from Vision of the Great Beings/Myths and Legacy’s continuation of The Powers That Be and The Yesterday Quest, including the crashing of the Red Star and the escape of various evildoers.

Zakron and Drewdika from the Prisoners of the Pit contest partially canonized by Greg sans names. I know Drewdika’s name is silly, but I felt it wouldn’t be fair to keep Zakron’s name but change Drewdika’s. Besides, we already have characters with names derived from real people names (Tobduk, Johmak, etc.)

Hydraxon’s confrontation with Zakron is inspired by the opening scene of The Mandalorian.



It might have been because he had spent so much of his life underwater, but Defilak decided that he really did not like the sun.

The heat bore down on him and the other five Matoran that were bound up in the back of the wagon piloted by the Agori known as Sahmad. The orange-clad being looked almost like a Matoran at a glance due to his size, but his ruthless and sadistic nature made him seem more like a Barraki than anything else. He did not utter a single word as he whipped the strange two-headed creatures pulling the cart, and none of the Matoran dared to speak lest they draw his ire towards them.

Defilak looked around the caravan, watching the expressions of his fellow Matoran. Of them, he only really knew Gar, who had been his trusted advisor back in Mahri Nui. Two of the others appeared to be from Voya Nui, given their haphazard appearance; the Ta-Matoran he believed was named Dezalk while the Ko-Matoran was called Tejuto. Finally, the last two seemed to hail from Metru Nui: a Ga-Matoran named Kotu and the Po-Matoran Podu.

It was not lost on Defilak that the number of Matoran abducted as well as the specific selection of elements mirrored the typical lineup of a Toa Team. As their six types were the most common in the Matoran Universe, it was typical that the average Toa Team would have at least one of them as an element. Defilak could only guess what sort of plans Sahmad (or his employer) had for them, but he doubted it could be anything good.

He took in a deep breath and exhaled it in a sigh, wondering how they were going to get out of this. That was when he heard the low rumble of an engine.

He clearly was not the only one who heard it as the other Matoran lifted their heads up as well. “What was that?” asked Dezalk.

Defilak shushed him before looking over his shoulder. There, in the distance, was some sort of wheeled vehicle, likely of Agori design. And it was quickly catching up to the caravan. Very quickly.

Sahmad seemed to notice it as well as he let out a curse before whipping the two Spikits furiously, urging them to go faster. The combined eight legs of the creatures was not enough to accelerate the caravan however as the Thornatus was soon tailing right behind them. In the driver’s seat, Defilak could see a black-armored being that was far too large to be a Toa; in fact, he seemed to barely fit in the vehicle he was driving.

With one hand on the controls, the pilot flung a blade at the back wheels of the caravan. They were immediately taken out and the wagon came crashing to the ground, its Matoran occupants tumbling out. Sahmad fell out of his seat as well and the leashes to the Spikits snapped. Startled, the two creatures did not stop running and abandoned their owner, leaving him lying there in the sand.

The Thornatus screeched to a halt and its pilot stepped out of the vehicle. Without a word, he undid the Matoran’s restraints before walking over to Sahmad, blades and Cordak Blaster at the ready.

“There’s two ways this can go down,” the bounty hunter said. “Your way or my way.”

Sahmad pulled himself up, spitting out sand as he glared up at his assailant. “I know who you are,” the Agori grunted. “Zakron warned me to look out for you.”

“Then I hope he told you about how I captured him twice back in the day,” Hydraxon replied. “Make that three times, now.”

“Actually, he told me that you weren’t who you claimed to be. That the original Hydraxon died a thousand years ago and you’re just a Matoran playing pretend.”

Defilak frowned as he overheard the conversation. He looked up at Hydraxon, wondering if perhaps he really was a Toa after all. But that wouldn’t explain there apparently having been a different being named Hydraxon….

“I’ve heard it all before,” Hydraxon growled. “I’d bet you anything that Zakron got his information from the Barraki, who are a bunch of lying deceivers.”

“Is that right?” Sahmad retorted. “So I take it the name Dekar doesn’t mean anything to you?”

Defilak sucked in his breath at the mention of Dekar’s name. The Po-Matoran had been a dutiful hunter that had lived in Mahri Nui. He had gone missing shortly before the arrival of the Toa Mahri, and pretty much everyone had thought he had been killed by the Barraki. If what the Agori was saying was true….

No. Defilak shook his head. It didn’t make any sense. It was impossible, surely….

As he stared at Hydraxon, he felt Gar lay a hand on his shoulder. “Are you all right?” the Onu-Matoran asked him quietly.

“I’m sure-fine,” Defilak lied. He tried to think of some excuse for his reaction, but nothing came to mind.

He forgot about coming up with one when he saw Hydraxon point a Cordak Blaster at Sahmad.

“Tell me who you’re working for. Now.”

Sahmad laughed humorlessly as he stared down the six-barrels of the Cordak Blaster. “You think you can threaten me with death? You really don’t know anything about me.”

“Don’t need to,” Hydraxon growled. “Now answer the question.”

Sahmad shook his head. “Look, I don’t know how things were in your world—I can tell you’re one of those biomechanical freaks that the Great Beings made to ‘save’ us. But if you’re threatening to kill someone who has lived on Bara Magna for practically half of their life… you’re basically offering to do them a favor.”

Hydraxon narrowed his eye, studying the Agori carefully. He had seen this kind of behavior before; some of the prisoners he had apprehended in the Pit liked to feign not being afraid of death. But he was always able to break through their facade and call their bluff.

Sahmad was different. It wasn’t just because he was mostly organic rather than biomechanical; when Hydraxon stared into his eyes, he could see a hundred millennia’s worth of pain and suffering in them. Whatever this Agori had been through had truly been unlike anything Hydraxon or the prisoners he had faced in the Pit had ever seen or done in their lifetimes.

In a way, it was almost as if Sahmad was begging for him to fire the Cordak Blaster.

Grunting to himself, Hydraxon lowered his weapon and instead reached down to grab Sahmad, hoisting him up in the air. The Agori did not react nor did he try to fight.

“If you won’t talk for me,” Hydraxon muttered, “maybe you will for my friends back in New Atero.”

“Good luck with that,” Sahmad said dryly.

Hydraxon heard the whir of the Rhotuka spinner mere seconds before it struck him in the back. Losing his balance, he dropped Sahmad as he fell face-first into the sand, his senses knocked into disarray.

“About time you showed up,” he heard Sahmad say. “I passed through the rendezvous point five miles back but you weren’t there. I was going to circle back around to wait for you when this guy showed up.”

“Uh huh.” Hydraxon felt a shadow fall over him and he looked over his shoulder to see a tall green-armored being standing over him. In each of their hands was a long blade. “Round up the Matoran. This shouldn’t take long.”

“No, it won’t,” Hydraxon agreed. He pointed his Cordak Blaster at the Dark Hunter and fired. The explosion from the two rockets sent Spinner off his feet, crashing into the sands below. The effects of the Rhotuka spinner having wore off, Hydraxon got back up and glared at Sahmad, who was frozen midstep on his way to capture the six Matoran.

“Dark Hunters, huh? I guess Ackar was right.”

Sahmad scowled at him. “Yeah, well, there’s more of them where that came from.”

As if on cue, a small interdimensional portal opened in front of Hydraxon and a violet and white being lunged out, stabbing at the bounty hunter with a spear. Hydraxon deftly stepped aside, grabbed the spear, and slammed its other end into the Dark Hunter’s abdomen, knocking the wind out of them.

“Teleportation. Cute.”

Wrenching the spear out of Vanisher’s hands, he tossed the weapon aside before moving to apprehend his opponent. Vanisher hastily teleported away only to appear again right behind Hydraxon as he tacked the bounty hunter from behind. Hydraxon dropped himself low, reaching behind his back to grab the Dark Hunter and throw him over his head. Vanisher crashed onto the ground, kicking up a cloud of sand that momentarily obscured Hydraxon’s vision.

In that moment, Spinner had gotten back to his feet and charged towards Hydraxon. The bounty hunter heard him coming and reached for one of his exploding boomerangs, blindly hurling. The bladed weapon spun in their air before finding Spinner and making contact. The resulting explosion cleared away the sand and Spinner was once more on the ground, joining his fellow Dark Hunter in defeat.

Hydraxon waited for a few minutes, to see if any more Dark Hunters would come out of the blue to ambush him. But all was quiet on that front.

Then, he heard the engine of his Thornatus start up.

Whirling around, he saw that amid the confusion and chaos, Sahmad had ignored the Matoran and instead head for Hydraxon’s unattended vehicle. The Agori had already begun driving as Hydraxon broke out into a run, throwing his blades and firing his Cordak Blaster in its direction. In response, Sahmad angled the Thornax Launcher mounted atop the vehicle and fired. The fruit went straight into Hydraxon’s face and exploded, obscuring the bounty hunter’s vision with residue and thorns.

By the time Hydraxon had wiped his face clean, the Thornatus had peeled off and was now well into the distance, far out of reach.

Hydraxon came to a halt and cursed to himself, resisting the urge to drop down and pound the sand with his fist. It was bad enough to have a quarry escape from him; now he was stranded in the middle of nowhere with six Matoran and two unconscious Dark Hunters.

He really should not have taken this job….


The name was unfamiliar—it was supposed to be—yet he turned around at the sound of it regardless. He saw the Le-Matoran from the group standing there, a curious expression on his Kanohi mask.

“What did you say?” Hydraxon growled.

“The Agori… he called you Dekar.” The Le-Matoran frowned. “I knew a Matoran named Dekar. He died around the same time you showed up.”

“A coincidence,” Hydraxon grunted, turning away from him. “Plenty of people die before others show up.”

“Right, like that often happens,” the Matoran muttered. “My name is Defilak, by the way. Does that loud-ring any bells?”


Whether Defilak believed him or not, the Le-Matoran did not express it either way. “Well,” he said after a moment, “I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Right.” Hydraxon turned around and walked past Defilak. “We need to find someplace safe to set up camp.”

“Where?” asked the Ta-Matoran, gesturing widely with his arms. “There’s nothing but sand!”

“Then we’d better start walking. We won’t get anywhere by just standing around.” Hydraxon narrowed his eyes as he concentrated, using his hunting senses to retrace his steps. He then pointed west. “New Atero is back that way. Let’s start walking there, though we’ll have to make stops along the way.”

He did not wait to hear any objections or alternative ideas, already making long strides through the desert that forced the six Matoran to hurry to catch up with him.



Night had fallen over the Wastelands. They had managed to find some degree of shelter and stopped for the night. The six Matoran had already gone to sleep while Hydraxon kept watch, his eyes scanning the deserted landscape.

In the distance, he could all sorts of creatures making noises. He supposed some of them could have been Rahi, having gotten loose during the evacuation of the Matoran Universe. He wondered how well they were adapting to the new world, or if they were quickly falling prey to the bizarre creatures that were native to Spherus Magna, that knew the world far better than even he did. If he was being honest with himself, he honestly found it a miracle that any of them had managed to survive on this planet for more than a few months.

He did not have faith that it would last long, however. Sooner or later, something was going to break. Either beings like him would succumb to Spherus Magna’s relentless nature… or the Agori would decide that they didn’t want to share their home with these biomechanical strangers.

As focused as he was listening to these sounds and dwelling on the thoughts they gave him, the sound of footsteps nearby did not go past his notice. Without looking, he raised his Cordak Blaster and pointed it at the newcomer.

“That’s far enough,” he said.

“I was wondering when you were going to make a move,” the stranger said with a hint of amusement in his voice. “If I didn’t want you to hear me, you wouldn’t have.”

“Sure.” Hydraxon slowly turned his head to look at the newcomer, clad in crimson armor coated with sand. By all appearances, he appeared to be a Glatorian, likely of the Fire Tribe. “If you’re here to cause trouble, I would advise against it.”

“I mean you no harm.” The Glatorian crouched down, resting his large clawed gauntlets on his knees. “My name is Malum. I’ve been watching you for a while.”

“How long is a ‘while?’”

“Since I saw your fight with Sahmad and those two hunters. You are a skilled warrior, I will grant you that. For the time being, I have ordered my pack of Vorox to leave you and your wards be. Of course, I cannot speak for any others.”

“I appreciate it,” Hydraxon grunted. “Now, is there anything else or are you just trying to waste my time? Or is this all a distraction?”

“Not a distraction, I assure you.” Malum tilted his head, as if studying Hydraxon. “So it’s true, then. The creations of the Great Beings have come from their world to join ours.”

“We didn’t have much choice,” Hydraxon muttered. “Our world was destroyed in order to restore this one.”

“Ah.” A grin crept onto Malum’s face. “So you are not here by choice. An exile, then. An outcast. Just like so many here that live in the Wastelands.”

“I don’t intend on it being a long-term situation. New Atero is just west of here. We’ll be among civilization soon.”

“But will you consider yourself to be home? I hear the resentment in your tone. You are not satisfied with your life.”

“My satisfaction doesn’t matter,” Hydraxon retorted. “Only my duty.”

“Ah!” Malum laughed. “That word. I vaguely recall the Great Beings preaching that word way back when. It would appear they have drilled it into their creations. How fitting. How sad.”

“Sad?” Hydraxon knew he should not have been entertaining this strange creature yet he could not help himself. It was one thing to hear such condescension from Pridak and his ilk. But from some alien like Malum…

“You are not born like my kind are,” Malum went on. “You were built. Designed for a purpose. And now that that purpose has been fulfilled….” He gestured to the world around them. “You are lost. The work is done. You are not needed anymore.”

“I am still needed.” Hydraxon gestured to the sleeping Matoran behind him. “I am needed to protect beings like them.”

Malum glanced at the Matoran before snorting. “And what purpose do they serve that the Agori already don’t?”

To that, Hydraxon had no response. Seemingly satisfied with this, Malum rose up to his full height.

“I wish you luck in your travels, stranger,” the Glatorian said. “Perhaps someday you will find your purpose. Because as it is, I don’t think you even know who you are.”

Hydraxon simply stared at Malum as the Glatorian took his leave. It was only when he could not see Malum anymore that he finally lowered his Cordak Blaster.

A few minutes later, he heard the shuffling of feet behind him. “Who were you speak-talking to?” Defilak asked as he came to sit beside him.

“Some stranger,” Hydraxon murmured, not meeting the Le-Matoran’s gaze. “Native to this planet.”

Defilak nodded. “I sneak-heard everything,” he then said after a moment.

Hydraxon grunted. “Good for you.”

“You really don’t remember anything about your past life, do you?”

“Because I don’t have a past life.”

Defilak shrugged. “Maybe that’s true,” he conceded. “But it doesn’t sound like you enjoy your current life.”

“It doesn’t matter. It’s what I’m made for.”

“But there’s more to life than what you’re made for. I was made to be a trader, yet I found myself leading a city. I wasn’t made for it, but I did it anyway. It wasn’t easy, mind you, but what in life is?”

Hydraxon snorted. “You have it differently, though. You Matoran—all Matoran—were made to keep the Great Spirit alive. It didn’t matter what you did; so long as you worked, Mata Nui stayed alive. But now that Mata Nui is gone… what good are you? If anything, you should be the one who’s lost and without purpose. Not me.”

Defilak shook his head. “You don’t get it, do you? When Mata Nui left us, he told us that our lives now would be what we made of them. That the lives we knew had ended so we could start them anew. You don’t have to keep doing what you were doing in the old world. This is a new world now. So make it new.”

Hydraxon stared out into the desert. “I think you should go back to sleep. We have a long journey ahead of us.”

The Le-Matoran sighed in defeat as he got up to leave. He stopped only to look back at Hydraxon for a brief moment.

“If there’s one thing you have in common with Dekar,” he said quietly, “is that you can both be very stubborn.”

With that, he left to rejoin his fellow Matoran, leaving Hydraxon to his thoughts.

Sahmad grunted as he was slammed against a wall, held in place by a powerful hand.

“You understand that I don’t take failure well,” his employer said darkly.

The Agori glared at the other being. “Maybe if you had given me better protection, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“Hey, don’t pin the blame on us, organic freak,” snapped the Dark Hunter Spinner, standing to the side with his partner Vanisher. “You didn’t tell us we would be dealing with an Order agent. We were expecting Toa.”

“So was I,” Sahmad snapped. “Zakron told me about Hydraxon, but he didn’t think they would send him to rescue Matoran. It’s not exactly his field.”

“It doesn’t matter,” the employer hissed. “The results are the same: You are here empty-handed and I have no Matoran. How do you propose to amend this predicament before I snap you in two and see what you Agori are really made out of?”

“I don’t know,” Sahmad said sardonically. “Hire more Dark Hunters to help me track down the Matoran and deal with Hydraxon.”

“That’s not happening,” said Vanisher, looking pointedly at the employer. “The Shadowed One made it clear that he’s only willing to entertain this little operation of yours for so long. You’ll get your Matoran so long as he gets your services in return. But he has other venues for getting what he wants if you can’t hold up your end of the deal.”

The employer scowled before releasing Sahmad. The Agori fell to the floor, landing on his hands and feet.

“There is something else we can try,” the employer then said. “But it would require getting into New Atero.”

“Why would we go there?” asked Spinner. “I doubt they would have made it back there by now. They’re probably still out there in the Wastelands.”

“With some help, they’ll get there quicker,” the employer said pointedly. “That’s when we’ll strike.”

The two Dark Hunters exchanged glances, and Vanisher seemed to realize what the employer was alluding to. “That’s still bringing another Dark Hunter into the mix,” he said. “The Shadowed One isn’t going to go for it.”

“He will once he realizes what I have to offer in return. I’m sure with enough convincing, he’ll see the logic in my plan.”

Spinner and Vanisher exchanged glances again before the former shrugged. “All right. But it’s your funeral.”

The employer cackled, the laughter ringing against the walls of the hideout. “With any luck, it will be Hydraxon’s.”