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This week went swimmingly, I must say. The Toa Tronux are hitting it off well with the rest of us, and even Rohko has to respect Voran. I didn’t expect it to happen, but apparently Voran is a strong enough leader that he commands even my surly brother’s common decency. It should be noted, however, that Voran is under no illusions. As long as my brother is with us, he’s in charge. No exceptions.

The other Tronux are getting along especially well with Matu and Hoka. The Matoran and the little Toa engage in conversation and mock battle simultaneously, learning from each other both in terms of strategy and personal histories. The Tronux have been through a lot, it seems. Apparently their long years of being depowered and reduced in stature have taken a toll on a couple of their members, for the Fire Toa, Runik, is somewhat skittish, and the Iron Toa, Bartha, said by his teammates to have once been quite personable, has turned bitter and resentful over the years. The Water Toa, Yurdil, hasn’t changed much, the others tell me, and neither has the fairly closed-mouthed Sonics Toa, Jahvoka. He may not speak often, but I sense that much goes on behind inside his head that he simply chooses not to share with the rest of us outside his head.

Matu likes having sparring partners so close in stature to him, even with their elemental powers (low-power but still effective) usually spelling his defeat. He’s a good sport, however. One of the first things he did after they joined us was repair the Tronux’s worn-down weapons. He also examined them and took notes, intending to use some of their design details in his own creations. The Tronux know nothing of this, although I should note that technically I don’t either. I never saw Matu do anything of the sort I just mentioned, but I DO know Matu himself. He would never have turned down an opportunity to reverse-engineer foreign Toa tools. It shan’t be long until he is sporting some new tools of his own. Perhaps he will give some to Hoka, as well.

At any rate, the team is melding together well. Rohko has been of good (and by that I mean less bad) temperament, Vohk has been interacting with the rest of us with a fair degree of amiability, as well as (usually) in a fairly mature manner. The Fuzors, the Tronux, and the Matoran are getting along just fine, and Voran is quite happy to watch all of this unfold. Me, I get involved where I happen to get involved and primarily take an observational role. I’ve never been too much of a party animal.

Suddenly a most unsettling event is called to my remembrance. I will need to hide my journal more effectively from now on, and not just because getting a review from Vohk every week is annoying. I need to keep this incident under wraps as best I can. I will tell Rohko, but only because he is my brother, and because he is team leader. No one else need be informed.

What happened is this: I met Vaturi while out foraging. It was at night, and apparently the female has some nocturnal blood, for she seemed bolder in the darkness. Or maybe it was because her armor is black and she therefore blends into her surroundings at night. Whichever way it is, she confronted me.

Obviously, I immediately stepped into a defensive posture. She did as well, and for a long time neither of us said a thing. Then Vaturi asked, “Truce?”

Not eager for a fight myself, I nodded and we both relaxed, at least visibly. Vaturi walked closer to me, the moonlight reflecting off her ebony armor and glinting on the tip of her needle-like fighting staff.

“I’m getting sick of fighting,” Vaturi said bluntly. “I could use some peace for a change.”

“Me too,” I replied. I kept silent, for I sensed that she was going somewhere with this.

She sighed and glanced over her shoulder. After glancing quickly over her other shoulder, she leaned in to whisper something to me.

“I could use your help,” she said. “You and your teammates’.”

I was naturally dubious but curious. “Yes?” was all I said.

Vaturi continued. “You know Panuko and Buraka, right? Those other Crynok who are hunting me? Of course you do. You were fighting Panuko. Vaturi, you moron. Anyway, the whole charade is getting old. To be honest, it was old three days ago. I would appreciate it if you and the rest of your Alliance were to Avenge me.”

“For what?” I asked, not even thinking to ask how in the world she knew our team name and mission statement.

“Let’s just say I’m done doing what Panuko says,” Vaturi replied acidly. “Always such a stickler for rules. Always doing things by the book. And when the Code is obviously not meant for a particular situation, he goes on defending it with logic! Can’t he see the truth right in front of his face?” She took a few breaths, because she was beginning to raise her voice, and that is not a recommended stealth tactic.

Now composed, she essentially confirmed that my preliminary guess as to what she wanted was correct. “I would like you guys to get them off my back. Tell them to go home, with force if you have to.”

“Now, wait just a second, Vaturi,” I said, letting her know that I was fully aware of who she was as well. “It appears from your little monologue that you were the one who broke some kind of regulation, and that you are in turn running from the law. I cannot condone that.”

Vaturi surprised me by whirling on her heels and marching up to me. Somehow, even though we are about the same height, she seemed to tower over me.

“I am running from nothing except a conceited blowhard who refuses to own up to his own failure. You want to know what’s going on, Hordika-face? We were on Yalnam, serving our allies, the Yelnir, in a war they were fighting. Panuko, me, and another teammate were trying to put down an enemy spy outfit in an unstable old mine. I bet you can guess what happened next, so I’ll just assume you realize that the ceiling caved in. In retrospect, fighting in that decrepit old place was stupid, but then it wasn’t MY idea. So there we were, and the place was about to change from a mine to a tomb. Our buddy’s further down the cave, and he trips. So what are we to do? Panuko tells me to keep going, and to leave our comrade behind. But I can’t imagine what it’d be like, in the last moment of your life, to only see the receding back of your friends, who are perfectly aware that you are about to die, but just keep running. I wasn’t about to let my final image to my friend be that of a coward. I turned back. Panuko shouts at me that it’s all in vain. I ignore him and work on freeing my friend. We almost got crushed, but I found us a nice little alcove to hide in until the cave-in stopped. Well, I eventually got us out of the mine. We’re both filthy, I’m bushed, my friend’s got both legs busted, but we’re alive. And then Panuko was there to greet us, my friend with a mat to lie on, and me with a court martial. We Crynok are pretty strict about disobeying commanding officers.”

I have to admit I was moved by her story, but still unsure what exactly to do.

“A girl’s gotta follow her gut, I say. I’m only running from written law, Hordika-face. Panuko is the real fugitive. He’s running from the law we all have inside our souls,” Vaturi concluded.

“I’ll see what I can do to help,” I said. “I can’t promise anything, however.”

Vaturi turned to leave. “All I’m saying is, you guys avenge the oppressed, and if you guys don’t avenge me and my friend, then I’m going to have to.” With that, she leapt into the darkness and was gone within a moment.

So I am now, sitting at my desk, jotting all this down, wondering what to do about this situation. I trust Vaturi at most as much as I trust Panuko, but I’m not sure I trust either completely. I will consult Rohko about this very shortly. As soon as I find a place to hide this journal, that is…

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