Unseen Chapter E I G H T
Today the Bones Blog continues with the final few chapters of Unseen, the Bionicle Paracosmos short epic slow-reveal of the winner of the Monster Mystery Art contest. Chapter 8 is 8 pages long, rather than the 6 average of the previous chapters. There will most likely be three more chapters plus an epilogue.
Taureko and Mohrook have just been blasted out of a Coliseum window by the Trickster villain, after trying to send a citywide broadcast to me…
Taureko took only a second to get a snapshot of his surroundings. A stone desk fell just above him. A cloud of broken glass obscured his view of everything but the Coliseum.
The Onu-Matoran had to be falling below Taureko.
The Ko-Matoran called on his Noble Mask of Flight – which he could use thanks to a Brotherhood experiment from the days when he was a Lab Matoran – and sped up his fall.
He flew downwards faster than the glass.
His mind took another snapshot, a still image of Mohrook below him against a rushing, terrifying background.
Mohrook grabbed his right hand, and Taureko flew to the side, afraid of the desk.
But the ground was coming up too fast.
Taureko reached out for the Coliseum’s wall.
Left hand scraped against it. Absorbed impact energy. That added to the impact he’d absorbed from the Trickster’s Kanoka Arrow.
Held his hand down. Shot impact energy downward, slowing their fall.
The desk hurtled past.
Knicked Mohrook. “Aaah!” Both Matoran spun, midair. Taureko lost sight of Mohrook.
Felt his hand slip.
In the next moment, Taureko saw only the zooming side of the Coliseum, and knew he didn’t feel Mohrook’s hand anymore.
Just a split second later, a hand clasped his right foot.
But the danger wasn’t over. Mohrook doubled his weight – the Noble mask wasn’t designed to handle this much of a load. They continued to fall, just a bit slower.
Taureko tried to fly upwards to counter the weight now that the desk was no longer a threat.
This slowed their fall still more.
He glanced down.
The ground around the Coliseum was a crisscrossing mess of canals, bridges, and small buildings. The canals!
Flew sideways. Over a canal, just barely. A bridge whooshed up, just missed them.
Taureko surfaced moments later, blowing water out of his mouth. He saw brown stone canal walls looming over dancing water. Saw a dustcloud over the top of the wall closest to the Coliseum – the crash of the stone desk, he presumed. One of the suns glared off the water downstream, so he couldn’t see if Mohrook was that way… he wasn’t anywhere else…
Then there was a sputtering sound behind him. Taureko kicked the water to circle, and saw Mohrook treading water behind him.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Mohrook took a moment to answer, breathing deep for a moment. “I was out for a moment when we hit, but yeah.”
They swam to the nearest metal ladder and climbed out.
Once atop the canal wall, they surveyed the impact of the stone desk. There was only a crater in a patch of garden by one of the Coliseum’s entrance, plus a darker dust settled atop the brown earth of the crater. The scene glittered from hundreds of pieces of glass.
Mohrook turned his scoped mask to the skyline. “You think Hujo got our message?”
Taureko sighed. “If he did, I didn’t notice any Blue Fire flares while I was falling… not that my mind was on that… We probably missed any response he gave us.”
But I was still unconscious in Ta-Metru after narrowly escaping the Unseen monster. So before I return to my perspective, we rejoin the unfolding events revolving around Turaga Dume, atop the Coliseum, as seen through the eyes of the cloaked Unknown…
Volitaos watched the apparently insane red Turaga pace the room in silence for several minutes.
He had watched a confusing and shocking turn of events in the last few moments, which Dume refused to explain. First, he’d seen Dume alerted to the attacks of the Unseen in Le-Metru, and seem not to care. Then he’d seen the Turaga obsess madly over a strange blocky key he’d retrieved from his quarters. Then the Trickster’s pet Throughrunner Beetle, Kobahko, had stolen, apparently, another key just like it… and Dume retrieved the third.
Dume then had the Turaga turn their round meeting table on eight spokes, and went on a smashing spree – smashing a mask right on Vakama’s face, smashing potted plants.
As if this wasn’t crazy enough, when Taureko and Mohrook had arrived, Dume had refused to let them carry out their mission, begging them to retrieve two vats for him.
What’s in the vats?
He walked up to the other Unknown in the room. Caroha had warned him a moment to say this would come, though he never could have predicted the events that would lead up to it, simple as it had seemed when the Unknown leader had told him of her vision.
“Caroha says follow the guards,” Volitaos – the invisible Unknown – whispered in the ear of Surkahi – the visible Unknown.
The Miru-wearing shapeshifter gave a tiny nod none of the Turaga noticed. Volitaos stepped away, satisfied… and curious to find out what his message even meant.
Dume finally stopped pacing. “Taureko and Mohrook may disobey my orders… I will be lenient, since neither are Metru Nui citizens… This time. But the vats MUST be retrieved.”
“I will do it,” Surkahi volunteered, “if you simply explain what they’re for.”
Dume’s face turned into rage in an instant. Volitaos cringed. Surkahi shouldn’t have pushed. “GET OUT OF HERE!” Dume shouted at the shapeshifter. “This is my business, the business of this city! If outsiders will not play by my rules, then GO OUTSIDE!”
Surkahi tried to look apologetic, but Dume just stared at him, finger pointed (arm shaking madly) at the door.
Volitaos took a guess based on Caroha’s warning, and whispered in Surkahi’s ears again. “Leave. I’ll watch him.”
“Very well,” Surkahi said, sighing. “But I will be in the Coliseum if you choose to summon me back.”
“I won’t. Go.”
So he left. Dume slammed the door shut behind him. Then turned to the other Turaga, who all looked like they were trying to hide their honest feelings of disgust for their superior’s actions.
“Let wisdom alone play the role of the wise,” Dume muttered. “So as I was saying. We will handle this ourselves, as a city. No more Unknown, no more ‘Freers.’”
“Sir,” Turaga Takanuva started.
Vakama held up a hand sharply, giving the younger Turaga a look that said, ‘wrong time, wrong speaker.’ The elder of light fell silent.
“Thank you,” Dume said to Vakama, smiling faintly. “Let’s all remember our places.”
“Now that we’re amongst ourselves,” Turaga Nokama said softly, “do you advise telling us any part of your plan to thwart the Trickster that we can help on, sir?”
Volitaos shook his head, rather pointlessly, in amazement at how tactful the Water elder could be, after Dume’s behavior especially.
But Dume just waved a hand dismissively at her. “I think we all know we’re not really alone. Right, Volitaos?!” The elder spun in a circle, looking around the whole room, as if expecting to see a faint outline of the Unknown.
Volitaos clenched his fists. As a more powerful version of the Mask of Stealth, the Kanohi Volitak he was named for made him literally, totally, undetectable. Dume did not see him, thankfully. But to what lengths might Dume go to make sure they were alone?
He started to get his answer the next moment. “Line up on one side of the room,” Dume ordered the others, “And join hands. We’ll walk across the room.”
The others reluctantly obeyed.
Volitaos had to admit, it was a clever plan, although easily foiled by becoming a ceiling-climber creature. He moved up the opposite wall, gripping the room’s bulkheads gently, and hung from the girders that held up the wide ceiling.
As the Turaga cross the room, climbing over the table when they reached it, Volitaos had to admit, if Dume was sane enough to come up with this plan… if misdirected… maybe the elder actually was sane enough to understand and plan for the Trickster situation?
But what about the Unseen?
Dume claimed the Unseen monster was only a distraction. And knowing the Trickster from his deceptive history with Metru Nui, that made sense. But to the Matoran captured by the monster, it was hardly a distraction. Tamaru and Kuhauha deserved all attention being turned to their rescue.
The problem for Volitaos, really, was that Dume refused to give him all the pieces to the puzzle the fire elder knew of. What was the table? What were the keys for?
All he knew about such things was that there was a keyhole in the table, and Dume had combined the two keys he had into one interlocking key, put it in that keyhole, and turned. This had triggered the table’s eight spokes to reveal themselves mechanically… then the Turaga had turned the table.
His chain of reasoning was cut short by the Turaga crossing the room. “Well,” Dume said, “If he’s here, he’s on the ceiling. I have a plan to get him now.” The elder gripped his staff tightly.
For a moment, Volitaos feared the Turaga would actually start throwing his staff around…
Then the elder turned to a computer console mounted in the wall behind him, and pressed a button. He spoked quietly into the Coliseum intercom system. Volitaos couldn’t hear what he said from here. Had all the drama been meant only to keep Volitaos’s ears away?
Volitaos became a long-legged insectoid form, and walked over to the huge window that formed one of the four walls of the room. He had an idea of a form that would probably fool a possible staff-throwing plan.
When he was against the window, he spread himself out, widening and thinning, against the glass. More, and more. He also actually compressed his volume, though his actual weight stayed the same.
Soon he was simply a paper thin, invisible layer added to the glass. It would take an extremely careful eye, even if a hand was pressed against the glass, to realize the layer was even there.
The door opened.
If Volitaos had wanted to slip out, he realized, he was about to lose his opportunity.
Five guards entered. One was a Miru-wearing Ta-Matoran he recognized as Tlenoh, one of the most skilled guards among all the Metru Nui Matoran.
Dume whispered something in Tlenoh’s ear.
Volitaos shapeshifted an invisible ear on a long, flexible stalk. Stretched the ear towards the unexpected huddle…
“…a direct order.” Dume was saying.
Whatever the order had been, Tlenoh’s face registered confusion, or some similar emotion, only for a split second. Then the guard stood there, looking Dume calmly in the eyes. Volitaos couldn’t be sure since Dume’s back was to him, but he sensed that the Turaga actually feared the skilled guard.
“Yes, sir,” Tlenoh said. The Ta-Matoran held Dume’s gaze for a moment, then calmly turned away, motioning at the other four guards to follow.
Should I leave?
No. Caroha had probably been talking about this very moment in her vision. Surkahi was to follow the guards. Volitaos was to remain.
But were those the guards to be followed?
Surkahi had been kicked out by a plant-smashing Turaga.
He was now a potted plant, just outside the door.
The ancient being had to admit he was being a bit childish and spiteful by taking this form. Caroha would certainly say the choice was unbecoming of a wise, grandfatherly being like himself. But it had been about that long since he’d been so disrespected by anyone.
In any case, he now had a dilemma. Two groups of guards had just come into his sight.
First, Tlenoh and four other guards had come, entered the Meeting Room, then left. Three remained posted at the door, while Tlenoh and one other guard left alone.
But before they left, five other guards ran up, led by a female Po-Matoran named Jerabu. “Stand aside!” she told the other group of guards. “We have news for the Turaga!”
“Dume has forbidden any entry into this room for the moment,” Tlenoh said.
“It’s urgent. Taureko and Mohrook are here, and they just tried to broadcast on the citywide! We saw the broadcast on one of the hallway screens. Then something cut them off!”
Tlenoh looked worried. But he replied calmly, “Dume insisted even if there were rumors of an attack in this building, nobody may enter. I assume he fears the Trickster is going to try some deception… shapeshifting maybe.”
As far as Surkahi knew, Raogahk did not have shapeshifting powers. But then, the Trickster was always collecting strange artifacts… it was worth preparing against, he supposed.
“Well,” Jerabu said, “According to Dume’s new roster, you outrank me. What shall we do?”
Surkahi knew that was a difficult statement for the sand-colored Matoran to make. She didn’t like answering to any rank, not even Dume. But all guards believed in Duty.
“The five of you investigate it,” Tlenoh said. “And Surkahi? If you’re still around here somewhere, I recommend you go with them. I doubt it’s the Unseen, but if it’s the Trickster, it’s just as much a threat.”
Surkahi almost nodded… then thought better of it.
“Why aren’t you coming?” Jerabu asked.
“Dume sent me and Vira on a secret mission,” the Ta-Matoran said. And with that, he walked away. The Le-Matoran Vira followed.
Jerabu and the four guards left too, heading the opposite way in the hallway.
Surkahi answered to no Matoran rank, but he agreed with Tlenoh’s motives for telling him to go with Jerabu’s group. Whatever happened in the broadcast studio, they might need someone with his powers for protection.
But the childish, suspicious side of him… the side that both shocked him and made him feel alive… told him to find out what Dume’s mission was.
Who to follow?
Feel free to review, theorize, ask questions, etc. by adding a comment to this chapter blog entry, and stay tuned for the next chapter as a new blog entry.