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- 40th Dimension, 61st Timeline
- Matoran Universe
- 100,300 years after the Shattering of Spherus Magna
“Port side! I said PORT SIDE, you Brakas Monkeys!” Muras yelled at a pair of Steltian traders. Begrudgingly, they began moving the Palanquin’s latest cargo to the other side of the ship. One of them shot a look at Knoxus as he walked past. Knoxus awkwardly smiled back. He tried to slink away but bumped into someone behind him.
The Matoran of Iron heard an annoyed voice behind him. “Knoxus…”
He slowly turned around to see Muras staring back at him. “…Yes, Captain?”
“Did I not tell you; ‘port side’?”
Knoxus had only been on the Palanquin for a day and a half and was already on his third job. Turns out being a fugitive weapon builder your entire life makes you useless at cleaning and taking inventory. Muras had decided to task him with relaying her orders to the rest of the crew instead.
“You did… I guess it didn’t mean what I thought it meant.” Knoxus said, tilting his head in shame.
Muras sighed, “Next time you should ask. Anyway, I’ve decided to make a stop at the Northern Continent to sell off some of this cargo before we continue south, if I hear about a ship headed back to Stelt, I’ll drop you off. But if you keep causing trouble like this, I may just have to report you to the Brotherhood instead.”
Knoxus couldn’t tell if she was joking or not. “What should I do until then?”
“Go below deck and get the crew to bring up the crates marked for Metru Nui. By the time they’re done, we should be almost there.”
A bell rang above deck as a Steltian Trader yelled, ‘Land ho!’
After spending the last 3 hours going through crates in the bowels of the ship, Knoxus climbed to the upper deck. He squinted from the sunlight. The Palanquin was approaching a jagged, mountainous peninsula jutting out from the Northern Continent, where Knoxus could make out a few Matoran settlements dotted throughout the hills. Muras’ orders echoed from the back of the ship as it glided into port.
All the crates destined for Metru Nui were neatly lined up by the loading ramp, and the minute the ship was docked, Muras and her crew went to work. She approached and greeted a Po-Matoran on the docks as her crew stacked the crates next to them. Knoxus crept up to the edge of the ship to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“20 crates of the finest Kanoka Disks widgets can buy, as you ordered.” Muras announced.
“I’m sorry Muras, I can’t afford them. The last ■■■■■■■■ I sent got turned away at the Sea Gate and we had to leave empty-handed. Some scary-looking fella at the border said Metru Nui’s under lockdown until some fraudulent Toa are caught.” The Po-Matoran said under his breath.
“What? You’ve got to be kidding me. What’s that Turaga up there thinking?” Muras groaned.
“What’s worse is that our Island’s Makuta aren’t telling us anything, and just yesterday, an airship full of 'em landed here. It’s making the other Matoran nervous.”
“They landed here?” Muras looked back to the Palanquin. Knoxus quickly ducked behind the ship’s railing, out of sight. After a few seconds, Muras spoke again. “Alright, thanks for the info, but I’ve gotta go. I’ll cut you a deal on the disks, but I was never here. I’ve got some… cargo that the Brotherhood can’t know about.”
“Of course, Muras. Thank you!” The Po-Matoran grinned. Muras marched back to the ship and ordered her crew to set off on the double.
Knoxus couldn’t shake the dread he felt. It had only been a few days since the Brotherhood of Makuta attacked Stelt, but he felt like it had been months. He had so many questions, and zero answers. Clearly, Parax’s past caught up with him, and he and his Fe-Matoran brothers paid the price, but that didn’t explain why the Makuta were suddenly being so secretive with the other island’s Matoran.
Knoxus remembered the conversation he had with Parax about leaving Stelt to find his own destiny. For a second, he considered asking to join Muras’ crew, but quickly nixed the thought. Even though Muras was kind natured, she clearly didn’t enjoy having a fugitive on board, as she was purposefully taking a wide route to the Southern Continent to avoid the busier trade routes.
After considering his choices very carefully, Knoxus decided returning to Stelt wasn’t going to be worth it. Instead, he would try to find a new life for himself on the Southern Continent. He climbed to the upper deck to tell Muras, in defiance of her orders, and as he did, he heard the ship’s bell start ringing once again. Looking out to the Protodermis Sea, he saw a massive body of land stretching across the horizon: The Southern Continent.
Muras was at the bow of the ship watching as her crew stacked a massive amount of cargo by the loading ramp. Lately, she had stopped giving him orders to relay, so he had just spent the last few days trying to stay out of the way.
A thunderclap echoed across the sea. Knoxus looked to see several ominous storm clouds forming in the sky behind the ship. He approached Muras, who had a worried look on her face. As he did, he realized the crew was securing the cargo to the deck.
“Knoxus! What are you doing above deck? Didn’t you hear the bell?” Muras said. “That storm is drawing pretty close.”
“The Southern Continent is right there, right? It looks like we can make it.” Knoxus said nonchalantly.
“I’ve never seen a storm that size brew that quick before. We won’t be able to dock in time.”
Waves began to rock the ship back and forth, and the sky grew dark. Something felt off. Knoxus had already gotten his sea legs but was somehow losing his balance now. In fact, the entire crew seemed to be having issues keeping their equilibrium. Knoxus grabbed the ship’s railing and felt a splash of water hit his mask. He looked up, and what he saw shocked him. Thousands of raindrops were suspended in midair, falling slower than usual.
Knoxus looked to Muras, who seemed to be just as confused as he was. The sunlight began flickering unnaturally as everything, even the air itself began vibrating violently.
Muras called out to her crew, “Drop anchor, then get below deck! We’re going to have to ride this one out!” The crew scrambled about as Knoxus pulled himself along the railing to the back of the ship. Suddenly, the longest, loudest thunderclap he had ever heard rocked the sky, and every raindrop came splashing down at once.
A loud rumble shook the protodermis sea, drawing Knoxus’ eyes back to its source: The Southern Continent. Suddenly, the landmass buckled skyward, followed by a bright flash of light. The light split into bolts of energy emitting from cracks in the continent. As they disappeared into the sky, a massive chunk of the continent burst outward from the center of the island, propelled by even more energy blasts. Knoxus looked on, mouth agape, as the enormous landmass rocketed into the sky, pushing the storm clouds aside.
Then the sky itself seemed to shatter as the central region of the Southern Continent somehow collided with it. Mountains of rock broke off the flying island, plummeting along with pieces of the sky into the crater below. The island then disappeared through the hole it left behind, which itself was replaced by a surging waterfall pouring from the opening. Earthquakes continued raging along to the cataclysmic display, which was so unbelievable that the crew of the Palanquin didn’t even notice the maelstroms forming in the sea all around them. The sky went completely black and rain began pouring furiously.
The crew scrambled around as waves continued rocking the ship violently. Knoxus hugged the railing as tight as he could, watching helplessly as two Steltian Traders tried to loosen the anchor holding them in place. A massive wave crashed over the deck, sweeping the two into the sea. Knoxus saw the anchor’s chain begin ripping into the hull of the ship as it bobbed with the waves. Muras noticed this as well, running over to the lever locking the anchor in place.
She tugged at the lever, but it was jammed. Knoxus began moving in her direction, but just then the entire ship dipped into the base of a giant wave. The tension on the lever loosened just enough for Muras to pull it, and the anchor was freed. The chain unraveled quickly as the Palanquin crested the oncoming wave.
Suddenly, the ship lurched, and the anchor mechanism was ripped off the deck, taking Muras down with it, and tearing a massive hole in the hull of the Palanquin. Knoxus looked on in horror as the ship started taking on liquid protodermis extremely quickly. Knoxus tried to climb to the stern of the ship but was launched overboard himself by more oncoming waves.
Knoxus tried to swim toward the Southern Continent but was quickly caught in the current of a nearby maelstrom. He watched as the Palanquin disappeared below the waves of the Protodermis Sea, before he himself was pulled into the raging whirlpool. Vibrations from the earthquakes echoed through the sea as he was plunged underwater.
Knoxus could hardly see what was going on, but he could at least tell that he was being pulled into a large crevasse that had opened in the seafloor. The maelstrom’s current pulled him deeper and deeper underwater, then into the crevasse. He kept going, shooting along through natural and Matoran-made tunnels and caverns like a waterslide until finally coming to a stop in an air pocket deep underground.
After scrambling out of the liquid protodermis and onto the rocky cave floor, Knoxus attempted to get his bearings. It was pitch black aside from the illumination of his own heartlight, and the entire cave system was booming with the echoes of the earthquakes. After a few moments, his eyes adjusted, and he was able to see a flicker of ambient light reflecting off a tunnel wall on the other side of the cave. Knoxus stood up, and shakily made his way toward it.
He rounded a corner in the tunnel only to find what appeared to be a Matoran settlement in the middle of the cave system. He started toward the village, but the earthquakes quickly grew in intensity. Cracks rippled along the walls of the cave, and into the cavern ahead. Suddenly, the floor supporting the village collapsed, and its lights were replaced by a binding flash from below. The floor under Knoxus also gave way, and he plummeted into a massive cavern filled with light. He tried to activate his jet gauntlets, but it was already too late. The stone floor falling below him suddenly stopped, and Knoxus promptly followed suit, landing with a sharp thud.
“Owww…” Knoxus groaned. His eyes opened, squinting from the light as he looked around. He was still in the massive cavern. Surrounding him on all sides were large stone pillars embedded in the floor hundreds of feet down. Residual earthquakes still shook the cavern, and every so often, a massive stalactite would break off from the ceiling and lodge itself in the floor below, mimicking the other stone pillars. Knoxus realized that the ground he was laying on was also one of these fallen stalactites.
Alone and aching all over, Knoxus felt completely helpless and overwhelmed. He looked down at Parax’s Ghostblaster, which he still clutched tightly in one hand.
So, this is my destiny, huh? He thought. Destined to be tossed around by the universe until it eventually succeeds in killing me…
He slowly lifted his body off the ground. Refocusing his gaze on the surrounding area, he noticed the village he had previously seen underground was resting safely atop the nearest stalactite. Several colorful figures could be seen moving around through the village. Knoxus stood and began trying to get their attention.
End of Chapter 2
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