The sleeping Sub-Commander awoke with a start. "Yes, Commander?" he asked, shifting in his obnoxiously comfortable chair. All of the finest maha leather and memory foam in the world went into this seat, as such was the position of the Sub-Commander of MATA, or Military Aversion of Total Annihilation.
Of course, as Commander, Perkhan Highwind was sitting in the Elite Version. You know, the one with all the hidden goodies. One of which was a protype anti-gravity drive, which he put to good use, rising high enough to gaze over the mountain of paperwork at the Sub-Commander.
Who rose the old fashioned way, via pneumatics. As the seat rose with a hiss, he met the commander's gaze. The two middle aged toa stared at one another in silence for a moment.
Finally the Commander broke the ice, gesturing to the Paperwork and glaring from behind his tinted shades, expression otherwise as stony as ever. "Seriously?"
His friend shrugged. "Listen, they have to make sure health standards and the like are met, Commander." he said with a placating tone. He had been subordinate to Highwind for too long to not recognize one of his rare bouts of irritation.
"You'd think they'd get it after a century of exceeding expectations. And the fact that our purpose is to make sure nobody tries to end the world. That would logically be another reason to cut us a little slack, wouldn't you think?" he replied, making a conscious effort to not depress the flamethrower button.
Tillian sighed. The Commander, as usual, had a point. Not once in over a century had they slacked off on their nigh-perfect health and safety records, and any new infection, disease, or outbreak was swiftly contained and eradicated.
"You know, I'm beginning to think we could just run this through the Inika," he said, referring to the six supercomputers that kept track of both MATA HQ and darn near all of Metru Nui. "I mean, they should get this done in what, half a second.
Even if Perkhan wasn't wearing his shades, he would still be giving his subordinate a very blank look. Holding up a specific packet, he indictated the title to Tillian, who leaned forward and read it aloud.
"Verification that rescources are not being misused..." he mumbled, before sitting back and folding his arms with an annoyed grimace. "goddarnit. That counts as a misuse?"
Perkhan gave an almost imperceptible nod. "We can't give the Inika any more distractions than they already have by keeping the city running smoothly. And being on the lookout for a Makuta attack."
[All right, which one of you is on Youtube?] Inika-01, A.K.A Jaller, asked, above the cacophany of Wombo Combo-related hollering from the feed of a Super Smash Bros tournament of sorts.
[Screw you, I do what I wa-] Inika-03, Kongu, began to reply, as was customary whenever questioned. He was cut off by a strange reading on the island's west coast. [Now what is thi-- Oh, not good. Initiate crisis procedures. We've a visitor.]
Perkhan leaned back on his chair, finger locked in place just above the flamethrower button. Tillian did the same, sans ability to rid the desk of the mountain of paperwork, and thus, the temptation.
"You know, I'm beginning to think that maybe we were wrong." he said.
"Maybe the makuta were just a one time thi-"
The room went red as warning klaxons were sounded throughout the facility, and, by extension, the rest of Metru Nui. "SHADOW CORE DETECTED. INITIATE FULL MEASURES FOR RESPONSE TO MAKUTA ATTACK. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THIRD MAKUTA DETECTED." An electronic voice called in a dozen languages.
"Oh, now that's a load of-" Tillian began, cut off by the Commander's chair flying past. Glancing back at the nicely burning stacks of paperwork, he shook his head and rushed off after him.
"Emarosa," Perkhan said, calmly speaking into the comm unit even as his chair rocketed through the myriad corridors of MATA HQ. "What's the status of the Dreadnoughts?"
"Not what we'd like it to be, sir," a female voice replied, nearly as collected as his own. "Secundum's pilot is still recovering from the last testing accident, and Primum still refuses to synch with anyone. The Militia is en route to buy time, but we doubt they can hold for long."
The commander's eyes narrowed. So already they were forced to use their last resort in the event of a Makuta attack. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he makes a quick apology before he speaks again.
"Get Primum's pilot in here."
There is a squeal of tires over the intercom. "The major's already on it." Emarosa reported.
Godspeed, Major. Perkhan thought, even as his chair connected to the main command interface. "All personnel, report to battle stations." he ordered, gravelly tones echoing through the base.
"Your orders are to ensure that Primum's pilot is transported to MATA HQ unharmed. Major Riaril is already en route to pick him up. As official policy dictates, we will compensate for the inevitable damages her... unique method of driving causes." he stated.
Everyone in the facility shared a quiet chuckle, the joke helping to ease the tension somewhat.
"That wasn't a joke. This was a court mandated addition to our policy." the Commander added, not a trace of humor in his voice.
Everyone donned their poker face.
Even as he watched the video feed of the eldritch being lumbering through Ta-Koro, seemingly not even noticing the barrage of military weapons thrown at it by the desperate militia, he remained calm. Primum's pilot would arrive on time.
He sighed. And so, he would dump the fate of the world on his son's shoulders.
He was getting too old for this.