The portal was only open for a moment. It crackled with electricity, before closing itself up again, leaving nothing but a small burn on the ground. Whatever had created the portal had already disappeared.
Things had been going well for the BLU team for a change. With the robots invading, the RED team had been doing all the stupid work of looking after hat factories, while the BLU Mercenaries had been given the job of, well, lying around and trying to find a better way of destroying Gray Mann and the robot hordes. It wasn’t like the machines didn’t know the BLU team were there, they clearly did, as hundreds of mechanical corpses littered the edges of BLU’s new headquarters. From the outside, the base didn’t look like anything special, it was just a boring old building. You couldn’t walk up to the building though, not without being crushed to death. It was all because of BLU’s secret weapon.
“So how many is that now?” Sniper lifted his glasses in awe.
“Seven thousand, eight hundred and thirty two, that I am aware of…” A robot Scout ran up and randomly imploded. “Seven thousand, eight hundred and thirty three.”
If Nuhvok-Kal could smile, he wouldn’t have stopped smiling for the last five months. Being a mechanical being, he never realised that no one would be able to properly acknowledge a being like him. The correct word would be ‘care’. He was a machine, but one with some sort of personality, not a duplicate of the mercenaries that he now lived with, like the robots he was destroying outside.
“That’s impressive, mate. You’ve really shown those robotic wankas not to mess with us!” Sniper took a potshot at a second Scout, which exploded in an impressive shower of sparks and oil.
Nuhvok-Kal shook his head. “That is not true. If that were true, these robots would have stopped attacking us.”
“Good point…” Sniper trailed off as he lined up a second shot, which perfectly decapitated an Engineer bot. “How long could you keep this up for before you got tired?”
“Hm… Potentially a very long time, as long as my Krana holds out. Unfortunately the only organic part of me is prone of illness and death, just like you humans are. Thankfully, nothing has happened yet.” Nuhvok tipped his head as Sniper tapped the wooden stock of his rifle and muttered something about touching wood. Actually expressing emotion was something the Bohrok hadn’t quite gotten a hang of.
In the distance, the large robot carrier slowly started to reverse. They’d given up for the day, and the carrier was off to get more supplies. Sniper grinned, then turned around and headed inside. Nuhvok-Kal followed. He could smell his favourite smell. Medic had made cake again.
As they entered the main living space, Demoman and Soldier were on the soft sofa, drinking beers, while the other mercenaries were around the ‘dining table’, still discussing various ideas. Nuhvok knew from experience that these discussions could last hours. The record was twelve hours, sixteen minutes and twenty nine seconds. This one had only lasted two hours, fifty six minutes and twelve seconds. Either way, Engineer and Spy were having a very heated argument.
“Yahr idea is stupid, Spy! That’d get us’ll killed!”
“Not if we collect enough intel.”
“An’ where d’ya think we’d find all that intel, son?” Engineer slammed his gloved fist on the table, knocking over a glass of milk. He apologized and picked up a cloth to clean it up. “Oh, hiya, Sniper, Nuhvok. Happy huntin’ t’day?”
Sniper nodded and helped himself to a slice of cake from the tray Pyro was carrying around. Pyro growled and Sniper put the cake back, but then Pyro held out the plate and offered him some. He clearly didn’t like snatching. After Sniper took a slice, Pyro offered a piece to Nuhvok, which he gently took and nodded a thank you.
“Yes, Engineer. Today alone we destroyed ninety six robots.”
Engineer smiled, but Spy just shook his head. They all knew why. Spy had wanted to get out there for weeks. He had a plan, a good plan, but as Engineer said, they lacked the intel to put the plan into action.
“Oh, reminds me!” Engineer’s smile disappeared. “There’s some kinda blip on the systems earlier. Ah think somethin’ may’ve got in. Heavy and Medic went t’check it out just b’fore ya’ll got back.”
Suddenly, the power went off.
“You would like me to investigate?” Nuhvok asked as he blinked three times, activating his night vision.
“Might not be a bad idea…” Spy pulled a lighter out of his pocket and lit it, while Engineer struggled over to the sofa and pulled a mining light out from behind a now unconscious Soldier, before throwing it on his head. Nuhvok-Kal nodded, not realising that the mercenaries could not see him.
“Where did Heavy and Medic go?”
“The basement!” Engineer replied. “Ya’ll be fine on yah own. Ah’ll try get the power back on, Sniper, come wit’ me, the rest o’ya’ll stay here.”
Nuhvok had been to the basement only twice, so he did not have a definitive map of the area. He was certain though that there were only two entrances in and out of the basement, and he’d taken one of them. A quick scan with his heightened senses told him there was nothing here. A quick heat-vision scan told him that whatever it was had not used the entrance he had used. Making himself float slightly with his gravity powers, Nuhvok headed to the other entrance and headed back upstairs. That was where Heavy and Medic had gone.
Upstairs was a mess. There were bullet holes. Nuhvok-Kal was unsure whether they were new or old bullet holes, There were some bullet casings further up though, definitely belonging to Sasha. As he rounded the corner, he saw something he did not wish to see.
Medic lifted himself up. His Medi Gun was on the ground, flashing faintly. Heavy was unconscious several feet behind them. After dusting himself down, Medic climbed to his feet. “Do not vorry, I am okay. Thankfully, I activated mein Ubercharge just in time to deflect that lightning bolt…”
“Lightning bolt?” Nuhvok asked.
“Yes, lightning bolt. Perhaps a RED veapon? It was red. Ozhervise I do not know. Vhat happened to the power?”
Nuhvok blinked, accidentally turning off his night vision. He turned it on again and shrugged. “It went off. I’ll lead you back to the kitchen where everyone else is.” With a flick of his hand-shield, Nuhvok levitated Heavy, who was still unconscious, into the air. Medic picked up his Medi Gun and placed a hand on Nuhvok’s arm, following him back to the kitchen.
There was something in the kitchen that wasn’t a BLU mercenary. It was keeping Soldier, Demoman and Spy pinned behind the sofa. Whatever it was, it was eerily familiar, just painted in red and sending sparks of electricity everywhere.
“Vhat zhe hell?” Medic muttered.
“Tahnok-Kal?” Nuhvok dropped the still-unconscious Heavy on the ground and took a few steps forward.
“Nuhvok-Kal, I have found you.”
Nuhvok couldn’t believe it. He didn’t know anyone else had the power to traverse gaps in space-time purposefully, let alone accidentally like he had done in the past. But there was Tahnok-Kal, the leader of the elite Bohrok squad, standing there randomly throwing bolts of lightning at his friends.
“We must destroy these inferior beings and leave at once.”
It occurred to Nuhvok that Tahnok-Kal hadn’t had the time to lose his mechanical, pure logic side. Unlike the other Kal, Tahnok-Kal had let his emotions get the better of him, much to his, well, embarrassment, Nuhvok guessed. That was probably why he was standing there, calling the mercs “inferior” and wanting to destroy them.
“Nuhvok-Kal, I gave you an order. Why do you not move?” Tahnok-Kal hissed.
“Because these are my friends?” Nuhvok asked. He had forgotten how cold he used to be. “Tahnok, it’s very nice to see you again, but, um, how?”
The red Bohrok took several steps forward, while the black one took several steps back. Nuhvok shuffled towards Medic and quietly whispered something. “I’ll keep him distracted…”
Medic slipped into the kitchen, but Tahnok-Kal ignored him. The Kal of Electricity was fully focused on Nuhvok. “I seek to find the Kal, to release the Queens and clear everything.”
Nuhvok hesitated. He had a point, they had a job to do and they never really finished it. He’d turned his back on his duty, but he’d exchanged it for a new one; protecting these mercenaries, his friends. It sounded so clear in his head, but Tahnok didn’t understand the concept of friendship. He’d just have to convince him.
“Nuhvok-Kal, I gave you an order.” Tahnok fired a blast of lightning in his direction, which Nuhvok reflected with a gravity shield.
“You’re not my boss, Tahnok.”
“I am the leader of the Bohrok-Kal. While the Queens are still imprisoned, I am your leader!” Tahnok took a step forward, bolts of lightning sparking from his hand-shields. “You dare refuse?”
“I dare!” Nuhvok taunted. Tahnok charged forward, throwing several bolts of lightning, but once again, Nuhvok deflected them. Spy took the opportunity to fire a shot from his revolver, which grazed the top of Tahnok-Kal’s arm. He ignored the injury and continued throwing bolts of lightning at Nuhvok, who kept on deflecting them. A second bullet caught Tahnok’s attention, but only long enough for Tahnok to throw a bolt in Spy’s direction, knocking him out. He then did something that Nuhvok didn’t know Tahnok could do: he teleported.
Nuhvok spun around, only to be thrown back by a blast of electricity. He didn’t expect that. “Since when could you do that?”
“I have better control over my powers. Never again will I be tricked. Not by you, not by the Toa, not by your friends. I will destroy them all…” Tahnok powered up a ball of lightning, but paused. He sniffed the air. “What is that smell?”
Medic appeared behind him in the kitchen. “Cookie dough.”
“Cookie dough?” Tahnok repeated. Nuhvok wobbled to his feet and hurried to Medic’s side. Medic offered the bowl to Tahnok, who just stared at it, unsure what to make of it. He continued staring at it for a good couple of minutes, after which the power came back on. There was a shout from somewhere outside, Engineer saying that he’d fixed it. He clearly had no idea what was going on currently.
“Taste it!” Nuhvok suggested. Tahnok though didn’t move. Medic poked the Bohrok and it still didn’t move.
“I think I broke it…” Medic sighed.
“Give him a moment. Remember, this happened to me.”
Suddenly, Tahnok twitched. He looked around the room. The beings were still alive, but he no longer saw a reason to kill them. “I apologise, Nuhvok-Kal. I have made a mistake and must leave. I shall leave you with your ‘friends’, even if they are inferior.”
Nuhvok awkwardly put a hand-shield on Tahnok’s shoulder. “You don’t need to leave! Stay!”
“Ja, ve don’t mind having two of you around!” Medic grinned.
But Tahnok shook his head. “I apologise, but I must leave. Nuhvok-Kal, you are better off here. I shall locate the other Kal.” He turned around, pushing Nuhvok away, his electricity shields sparking up again. But Nuhvok refused to let go. He took the bowl of cookie dough from Medic’s hands and gave it to Tahnok.
“If you’re going to go, take this. Share it with the others. Then come back here when you find them all. Okay?” Finally, Nuhvok released his grip on Tahnok. After a few more seconds of powering up, Tahnok disappeared in a cloud of white hot light.
“I shall return soon.”
“Good…” Nuhvok sighed as the light faded away. Once everything had calmed down, Medic clapped his hands, making Nuhvok jump.
“So, how about some more cookies?” he asked, ignoring his unconscious team mates on the floor.