This is an Altacosmos Chronicle, a standalone story set in its own Bionicle dimension, no need to read anything else. This series was inspired by Takuta-Nui's Etymology series; for more, see my new Tapestry of Time Collection Topic (also links to TN's collection topic). This story is inspired by things BZPers have been saying for years, and an idea the Story Squad batted around but couldn't really do anything with canonically.
"Those were the days," Macku said wistfully.
Kapura listened to his old friend's reminiscing patiently, as patiently as he could considering he was supposed to leave soon.
As patient as he could was very patient indeed, for he had practiced.
"How do you stand it?" she asked him. "Going out there far and wide here? Spherus Magna is so huge. So open, unbounded. So easy to get lost."
Kapura thought for a moment. Why did he take this job, searching for lost remnants of Bara Magna technology, now mostly obscured by the new plant growth the Great Spirit had gifted the reformed planet with? It wasn't an easy task.
"The job is not easy," Kapura answered. For that was the answer, for him.
Macku shrugged. "I like a good challenge, too... but... I dunno... don't you remember what it was like? The Company? It wasn't that it was hard, or that we were somebodies. It was... that we got to travel the island together. Just us, not part of this massive confusion, this new government, all these other species..."
Kapura glanced at the clock on the shop's wall. His boss would not appreciate too much practicing right now.
But he was calm. He could move slowly enough to get to work quickly enough. He had no doubt of that.
"Maybe," Macku continued when he didn't comment, "you have actually become a Matoran of the great continent. I haven't."
"You live here," Kapura pointed out. "What else are you?"
Macku frowned slightly. Kapura thought the expression carried a subtle tone of intensity despite its slightness. There was a hardness, a coldness, to her eyes that he didn't remember seeing before.
When she answered, her voice was distant, strained, as if reaching his ears across a great distance – across a great ocean.
"I'm still an Islander."
* * * ^ * * *
Kapura was a few seconds late to work after all.
Macku had abruptly closed her shop, refusing to explain why to him, and ran out. There was a glint in her eye as she ran, a touch of... madness? Hope?
He hadn't expected their conversation to so affect her. His surprise made his heart race, and that meant he couldn't slow down enough.
But his boss had forgiven him and now here he was, out in the unexplored jungle with five others – two of them Agori, one a Glatorian, and one a Skakdi. Eyes running over every patch of growth, every spot of greenery, looking for a metallic glint.
What did I say to set her off like that?
He'd brought up the Chronicler's Company, and the war with the Bohrok. Another team working for his boss had recently been putting together a study on the Matoran Universe, and they'd made discoveries regarding the Bohrok, so he'd brought that up. She'd asked about it a little, and then started talking about the old days.
Glint behind a bush.
Kapura turned his mind away from Macku and got back to work.
* * * ^ * * *
"The Board recognizes Macku, a Matoran from Metru Nui."
That voice echoed out from the Great Forum. A voice Kapura had heard many times before. Vakama, his own village's elder, who now served the Spherus Magna government as an advisor and discussion organizer. A voice Kapura had not expected to say that.
This great stadium was where citizens could meet, once a week, to discuss proposals to help adapt to life in this brave new world. The leaders had the wisdom to realize that the best ideas sometimes came from the lowly, and ever more so when it was those like Kapura, out on the front lines of the exploration.
Kapura himself had presented an idea here once, but the board had responded to it much like most proposals – it was deemed not worth the effort, and good reasons were given that he had not thought of.
He looked over the many heads in the crowd, trying to spot Macku.
There, walking up to a podium angled to partly face the crowd and partly face the Board – thirty leaders representing the major species.
Macku held a few tablets. She set them on the podium, and stood silently, her eyes flickering over them. Finally, she looked up at the Board.
"I... uh... have an idea..." She coughed a little. "Um... There was this... uh..."
Kapura grimaced. This kind of hesitation was common for citizen proposals, but it was embarrassing when it was someone you knew.
"There was a team," she said. "They were studying the Bohrok, or more specifically the records of them."
"You're referring to the findings on the Great Spirit's camouflage system," one of the Board members said. "They were presented here yesterday; there is no need to summarize."
"Sorry, sir. But... you call it a 'camouflage system.' I... I call it... well... home, sir."
"Could you please get to the point?" another Board member said. "You are referring to the island your people lived on for a thousand years."
"It has been demolished by the Bohrok, and its pieces are somewhere, I suppose, in the ocean to the south now. It's gone."
"I know," Macku said, sounding distant again. "But... does it have to stay that way?"
The Board members looked at each other, as a chorus of murmurings ran throughout the crowd. Kapura narrowed his eyes. Was Macku suggesting what he thought she was?
"My island wasn't just a victim of a cataclysm like other places," she said. "Not like the places inside the Great Spirit. It's unsafe to ever go back to those. But my home... it is not just one place."
"Again," the same Board member said, "what are you driving at?"
"Mata Nui was a creation of that same system the team reported on yesterday," she answered. "That system is still there. It could be... moved."
Macku glanced back down at her tablets. "According to a study done two months ago of the ocean, there are places where it is shallow enough. The island could be... remade. It wouldn't be... quite the same... but..."
"What is the purpose of this proposal?" another Board member demanded. "We have all the land we could ever need, for a long, long time to come. There is no need for an island."
Macku looked like she'd been struck in the mask. "But... sir... 'need'... I... And I'm sure others... we miss..."
"We do not know if it's possible to extract the system safely," still another member said, "and we do not know how the Bohrok would react if we did. It's likely their programming would cause them to try to 'clean' such an island, even though it wouldn't be relevant to their original purpose. This would only give us another problem to fix, and that is exactly the opposite of what these proposals are for."
"And," another added, "it's not economically viable to extract it, even assuming the Bohrok would not care or could be secured in their sleeping mode."
"Or to transport it," the original impatient one added. "That same report you are referencing said that this system is huge – the core system was fairly small compared to the whole robot, but in order to form the island it needed to tap into pipes reaching across the entire face of the robot, and possibly beyond."
"But perhaps," Macku said, "just the core system would be enough to make... maybe a small island."
"For what purpose?"
"I... Well... it's the sort of place I for one would prefer to live."
She just stared at them. Kapura wanted to shake his head at this. What had gotten into her? Did she really think they shared her perspective? Firstly, most were from Bara Magna, and island life was nearly the opposite of what they were used to... and secondly they were living in the real world, not a dream world where your own nostalgic wishes could come to fruition just because you wanted them to.
But Kapura did not shake his head.
Not because she was his friend. He was not worried she would see, or that anyone else he knew would. He was just one face in the crowd.
Not because of his skill at patience.
But because he honestly found himself wishing this could happen.
It was true. He missed Mata Nui. Or the life of an islander. He missed the familiar bounds of the ocean. It was like a comforting embrace of a great protector, something you could count on.
He missed... fishing. He hadn't done that much, but whenever food was scarce, he had lived less than a mile from the beach. It was an option he had once grown so accustomed to he'd taken it for granted, and now he was hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.
On the other hand, there were plenty of rivers, and fish were becoming more common in them.
"Well?" the impatient Board member asked.
"I..." Macku sounded sad. The crowd was murmuring again. One of them shouted at her to finish up; there were important things to get on with.
Kapura watched her look over the crowd, as if seeing them for the first time. But he knew from his one time at that podium that the crowd was always on your mind there. It was impossible to ignore them. She was just realizing that nobody out there saw her perspective... that was why she was sad.
"Maybe mere... practical needs... aren't... you know... the most important thing?" she ventured after a few more seconds. "Maybe those of us... Maybe it's enough that I want to live on an island again?"
"It is not enough," the impatient one answered. "Do you have anything else to bring up? We need to move on."
"Uh... no, but please--"
"Mata Nui is gone," the Board member said. "Get used to it. Vakama, please call the next citizen."
The elder looked very concerned for Macku, but he had a job to do, a list in front of him, so he slowly looked down at it and read the next name.
Macku didn't walk away from the podium until the Skrall walked up, frowning at her. People in the crowd laughed derisively.
As she walked away, Kapura could only think of one word to describe her expression, her body language. Not dissappointed, not dismayed, not heartbroken.
* * * ^ * * *
It was a month later, and Kapura had nearly forgotten Macku's strange idea, when, at night, he heard the clanking footsteps outside his hut.
There was a loud rushing noise at his door, like the sound of the waterfall in Ga-Koro. Kapura felt a spray of water droplets raining sideways through the gaps and hitting his muscles.
He sat up, alarmed.
The door came off. Water crashed down all over his floor.
Against the dim night sky beyond, he saw the silhouette of a Bohrok.
Kapura concluded he was dreaming.
Just a dream.
You can wake up now.
The Gahlok stormed in, followed by two more. Ran right towards him.
Kapura was calm. It was just a dream.
The three robots walked next to his bed.
He took a deep breath, and smiled. He must have been dreaming fondly of the island again, and then thought of poor Macku, too embarrassed to open shop for a whole week after her humiliation. Something one of the Board members had said about Bohrok had inspired this dream, obviously.
One placed a hand roughly on his arm.
Another a handshield over his mouth, as if to suffocate him.
It felt real.
But he was very calm.
He did not make any quick movements.
It was just a dream, nothing to get excited about.
The Bohrok jerked him out of bed, turned, and dragged him towards the door.
Even if it wasn't a dream, Kapura considered slowly... best to remain very, very calm.
This dream is too weird, he thought. I'd rather be somewhere else.
And so the air twisted. The Bohrok and the walls of his hut seemed to get larger, move away, and he seemed to shrink, while curling up upon himself.
He slipped down into the hole in space and came out the other side, in the forest he had been focusing on.
Where he'd seen that glint of metal the day Macku had started acting so strangely.
He expected the metal to still be there, since it was a dream, but it wasn't there.
It had been a vehicle – a broken-down Bara Magna Cendox motorcycle, half-buried in sand, and then seven-eighths buried anew by plant life. The team had put it on the collection wagon and wheeled it back to New Atero.
Kapura looked closely.
Yeah, it was gone. The hole they'd dug to get it out was clearly visible even in the starlight.
Kapura's heart started to race then. He was glad he'd thought it just a dream... he might not have been able to escape if he knew. But it didn't make sense that Bohrok would try to kidnap someone.
Something else disturbed him... something he now realized he had seen out of the corner of his eye, outside his hut, just as he'd started to be where he was not.
Not something, someone.
Someone short. Either an Agori, a Turaga, or...
Or a Matoran, like Macku.
Watching the kidnapping. In grim approval.
* * * ^ * * *
The sun was high above by the time an exhausted Kapura made it back to New Atero. He'd been utterly unable to slow down – probably because he'd been running.
And probably because he'd been afraid to go home that quickly.
Guards of all kinds stood around the city, looking tense and alert.
One spotted him and shouted to the others.
Eleven guards ran towards him. One of them he recognized as Toa Tahu.
"Kapura?" the red Toa shouted before he was really in earshot.
He nodded, too tired to shout back.
It was real, and they thought I was taken.
* * * ^ * * *
Kapura was glad Vakama had asked him to sit before telling him...
The elder had hobbled to the edge of the city, having heard from a messenger of Kapura's arrival, and met the Matoran halfway.
It happened to be at Macku's shop, so the Turaga directed him inside.
Now Kapura realized that wasn't a coincidence. Vakama knew the shop would be empty.
Because Macku was gone.
So were Tamaru, Kopeke, Taipu, Onepu, Midak, Marka, Amaya, Kai, and many others.
All kidnapped, very quickly, all at the same time or close to it, by beings clearly wielding elemental powers, judging by the messes they'd left behind. Fire, water... the usual types... except for the Acid...
"But sir," Kapura replied, "I am sure... I saw her."
He hesitated. Maybe he had been half-dreaming. Surely Macku wouldn't... couldn't...
De-kranaed Bohrok could be given voice commands, he realized. And the Matoran of Mata Nui all knew it. Any of them could have sought out some Bohrok, made sure their kranas were gone, and ordered them to kidnap the others.
And the handshield over his mouth hadn't been to suffocate him. It had been to prevent him from speaking – from ordering the Bohrok to stop.
Only Macku had been focused on the Bohrok.
Mata Nui... if she woke even just one up...
Impossible. Macku was no fool. Sure, she could be disobedient, he had heard – from her – but she wouldn't do anything like that.
He thought back to the look on her face, that day at the Great Forum.
Maybe she would. Maybe... something had snapped in her mind.
"Who?" Vakama repeated.
Kapura held open his hands helplessly... and gestured at the shop's walls around them.
* * * ^ * * *
The next night more were taken.
Not just Matoran. Agori, Glatorian, even some Toa.
More Bohrok tried to take Kapura, but he was calm.
So he was in the forest again.
And then he was back, in the Great Forum. The empty dark stadium.
The sun rose, and he found himself standing in front of Macku's hut. He heard the news shouted everywhere.
Some broken hulks of Bohrok caught in the act by wary guards littered the streets.
None of them had Krana.
Kapura had kicked open Macku's door amidst all this confusion. He was no longer calm.
He'd hoped to find a tablet or two.
Nothing like this.
She'd turned the stone walls of her home into massive planning tablets. Inscriptions covered them, mostly diagrams and maps.
He recognized all of them.
Some were schematics of the camouflage system.
Some were the routes to the ocean from New Atero that had been established by survey teams.
Some were depth finding maps of the ocean from those teams, although highly incomplete, as it was a big ocean.
Others were written notes describing plans.
But the one that disturbed him most covered one entire wall.
These looked much different from the rest – they were hastily inscribed, and unlike the others, all furniture and shelving had been roughly thrown aside to give maximum wall space.
It was a chart of everywhere Kapura had been for his job.
And everywhere else Macku knew him to have visited.
It was a How-To guide designed for just one thing – to teach her Bohrok just one thing.
How to give him nowhere to go.
* * * ^ * * *
Kapura moved very quickly.
Trees were a blur.
He leapt and rolled as needed to get past the ground foliage without slowing. Held his arms over his mask protectively whenever he lost his footing, and then pounded them on the ground to push himself back up.
He couldn't be where he was not, because he could only go somewhere he knew well. So he had to run somewhere he'd never been.
Well, that wasn't strictly true... He remembered standing up in front of the Board, proposing that he help evacuate the Matoran Universe of its Rahi species by studying a map and being where he had never been before. He believed it possible, but Vakama had spoken up, urging him not to try it.
He wished now that he had studied the map anyways. He was too obedient, it turned out.
On the other hand, any place in the Matoran Universe was probably a place he was more likely to run into Bohrok, but he didn't really know that. The sensible thing to do was to strike out randomly into the wild of Spherus Magna. Don't even study the maps made so far – go where nobody had yet gone.
But Kapura refused to believe Macku had really gone insane. There had to be more to it. She must be in trouble somehow. Someone else must be forcing her to do this.
It might not have anything at all to do with her former plans.
Or maybe... maybe unlike Kapura, she hadn't been content with "no" and had continued studying. Trying to make an even better proposal, one they couldn't turn down. Maybe she'd gone to look at the system herself, and some enemy might have found her and forced her, somehow, into this kidnapping plot.
So he would not abandon her.
That was why he could now look up and every once in a while through the trees catch glimpses of the massive cliff looming – the body of the giant.
* * * ^ * * *
It was being cleaned.
The forest of Spherus Magna.
A line of it, headed south.
Or at least that's what Kapura thought he saw. He heard the sounds of branches brushing together, and loud rumbling noises. And something... huge... was moving behind them.
He crept closer.
They weren't being knocked down, or burnt... they were being...
He did not see any Bohrok.
What he saw was a massive machine, with a huge wooden structure tied under it, acting like a sled, and behind it, several huge metal pipes.
A long chain of pipes, in fact. It looked like it might be most, or all, of the pipes from the giant robot's face.
He did not see Macku, but he did see two figures standing atop the machine.
They looked like Toa.
One was black. The other green.
Why would Toa be doing this? Macku had been the one...
He risked going closer.
The machine was so huge, it was hard to tell for sure, but he thought he recognized Onua.
The earth under the machine was moving. Part of it was sliding backwards towards the pipes. The earth under it was sliding forward.
The green Toa appeared to be controlling the trees, making them bend a little as the Earth moved them to the right and left. No branches snapped off.
Ground foliage also moved aside and piled up.
Where the machine and the pipes had passed through, this Toa brought the trees and other plants back roughly to where they had been.
It wasn't being cleaned... it was being made to appear that nothing even close to this huge had come through here.
And where was Macku?
Should he show himself to these two Toa?
Onua was trustworthy. He didn't know the Toa of Plants.
But something told him Macku was somewhere else, and might be in trouble... and things here might very well not be as they seemed. The Onua he knew would not have gone off to chase a crazy dream like this, especially it not even being his own dream.
A Makuta, maybe?
Anything was possible, so he kept himself concealed.
* * * ^ * * *
The great cliff was just ahead, and Kapura was sure he heard screams.
Not just one voice – many.
He smelled acid too.
And he saw round shapes moving behind ground foliage.
Trees ahead had been cleared. And he saw something...hanging... something big... from the side of the giant body.
But he dared not come closer on the ground, so he looked up and around, hoping to see a tree a little higher than the rest.
Spotted one and crept that way.
It had a wide trunk, resting on what seemed to be a piece of the back of the giant's head with a thin layer of dirt atop it. The roots reached down over this into the sandy ground. He grabbed one and climbed carefully over the stone, and then up the trunk, digging his hands in tight to vertical grooves in the bark.
As he climbed, the screams got more frantic. He heard other noises – great crashings of stone and metal, and saw a cloud of dust rising.
As soon as he reached the lower split trunk, he stood there and looked up. Saw a branch much higher up he thought would support his weight, and would give a good view.
Focused, trying to calm himself.
The world twisted, and he fell through nothingness onto the branch.
Looked towards the giant.
A massive, makeshift cage. Filled with Matoran, Agori, Glatorian, and Toa. Powers raging in battle against the bars, and failing.
The whole thing suspended by a single massive cable from a hole much higher up in the side of the giant.
Massive machines breaking out of the base of the giant, farther up towards the head.
The smell of acid?
A lake of it, directly under the cage.
A lance of fire was eating away at the cable.
They would all be killed!
Kapura focused on the cage. Hard.
But it was so hard to calm, knowing the stakes...
The cable snapped.
"NO!!!" he shouted, leaping off the branch without thought.
He fell into the trees, and lost sight of it, but he heard the terrible, terrible screams. Louder louder louder, then a great splash, a metallic wranking, gurgling screams, loud hissing...
Silence except for the continued crashing of those strange machines...
He bounced off branches and hit the ground hard, but he barely noticed. Immediately he stood and ran through the trees, heedless of his own danger, with no plan, only a driving need to try to help, despite how impossible it had looked. Maybe... just maybe someone was still alive...
He knew he could not calm down now, knew this was suicide....
But he had to try.
And then there was a silhouette. A tall being... a Toa?
The Toa leaped out of a bush right in his path and tackled him.
Clamped his hand over Kapura's mouth. Kapura saw the color gray.
Someone else moved nearby. Someone colored lime.
And then a blindfold was over his eyes, and he was being tied up.
Kicking, screaming – now muffled as a gag was placed on him – he was dragged across the ground.
* * * ^ * * *
The Krana-less squad leader watched from atop the giant robot with approval as one more Matoran was dragged towards the acid lake.
A red one.
Was it already dead?
It wasn't moving. It let itself be dragged.
No, its heartlight was flashing.
Slower and slower.
Apparently it had been knocked unconscious.
It would die soon, no matter. The squad leader surveyed the breaking out.
The machines the Bohrok had been hard at work making were now totally out of the Matoran Universe.
It was time to begin the final stage of the New Program.
The squad leader turned aside and climbed into the giant machine he had flown up here.
Like all the others, its upper portion was made out of a Metru Nui skyscraper, filled to the brim with components from airships. Below, it had two huge legs borrowed from Metru Nui walking vehicles. In the front, a Lehvak stood on a balcony, plugged into an amplifying machine. Four Bohrok of other elements walked through the machine, making sure it continued to function according to the New Program.
In a windowed room at the top, the squad leader opened its empty braincase and plugged itself into the machine's controls.
Activated the hovering technology. The giant bipedal machine hovered over the far-huger giant robot, surveying the army under the leader's command.
They were moving into formation around the robot now.
The two last Bohrok dumped the red Matoran into the acid. That was that – the rest would fall later. Those Bohrok went to their machines, and joined the formation.
Normally the squad leader would send a mental command to begin now, but the first thing the New Program had required was that they destroy their own krana, so his only option was to simply open fire himself.
One by one the great machines fired acid at the giant.
* * * ^ * * *
Kapura was almost calm. He tried, and tried, and tried, to be where he was not. But he could not focus on any place, knowing murderous Bohrok might be waiting.
He had passed through new areas on his way here, but he hadn't studied them well enough.
He tried to focus on the ground in front of that tall tree, but... well... he sensed that he was already there.
It wasn't working, so instead he struggled against his bonds.
He tried to shout out for his captors to explain themselves, but only muffled nonsense came through the gag.
"Quiet!" someone nearby whispered.
"You're supposed to be dead now, so be quiet."
Supposed to be dead? Had Macku been trying to kill him?
He struggled even harder against his bonds.
"Kapura! It's alright, you're safe now! You're with me! And Matau and Krakua. Relax!"
He stopped moving.
He heard Turaga Matau's voice, talking to another person, high above him. In the tall tree, he realized.
"You'll be quiet now? Nod, and I'll free you."
He took a deep breath. He was safe. He had to be. Macku... she wouldn't have snapped, not like that. They knew something, something about the Bohrok, and hadn't had a chance to tell him.
"Let me do it," another voice said.
"Yes, sir," Macku said.
The blindfold came off.
There was the Toa of Fire, his patron Toa, kneeling in front of him. "Keep your voice low," Tahu said as he removed the gag.
"What's happening?" Kapura blurted.
Tahu looked grim. "The end. If we don't move fast. Even if we do... many are going to die. There was no other way."
As Tahu untied him, Matau and Krakua climbed back down the tree.
"His illusion is done," Matau said. "The Bohrok are turning to the giant now, just as we much-hoped."
"Why would you hope such a thing?" Kapura asked.
"They're destroying the only evidence," Krakua said.
"We shouldn't talk about it here," Tahu said. "Suffice it to say, Macku found out first, and warned us."
"Found out what?"
"Come, we'll talk on the way." Tahu turned away from the robot, and sprinted through the trees. Kapura and the others followed.
Ahead, Toa Takanuva joined them. "Gali and Pohatu are there," the Toa of Light said. "It's started."
"What's started?" Kapura demanded.
"My idea," Macku said. "The island. Bedrock for it, far from the coast."
He understood even before Tahu told the story, though he didn't understand why.
Someone had tampered with the Bohrok, and Macku had found out, because she'd disobeyed and went to the giant, to have a look at the camouflage machine herself. They were going to destroy everything.
All the land.
"Why?" Kapura cried out – though he kept his voice down. He heard great echoing crashes behind him. The robot was collapsing. Soon the Bohrok would turn outward and rampage across the land.
"I think it was Makuta," Takanuva said. "Maybe before he even came to Bara Magna, before the great battle."
"I saw the Bahrag's bodies," Macku said. "There was a crushed Exo-Toa near one."
"He must have sent some to execute them," Tahu agreed. "And reprogrammed the Bohrok."
"But... Makuta's dead."
"I think he worried that might happen," Tahu said. "And he was... well, you know what he was. So twisted, so... hateful..."
"Revenge," Krakua said. "A contingency plan. It won't help him now, but it wasn't about that. If we did beat him... he couldn't stand the idea that we'd live on in peace. He had to make his final mark on our world."
Kapura was at a loss for words. So he just ran in silence... until the big question came back to mind.
"The others... in that cage..."
"Illusion," Matau said. "They're alive, boat-building on the ocean shore."
"The screams were my power," Krakua said.
"That's why I told them," Macku said. "There was only time to tell those who could help."
"But why? Why fake all those deaths?"
"Because the Bohrok can never know," Tahu said, "can never even suspect there will be an island."
"But... the inscriptions... the schematics, plans... Macku's wall..."
"Invisible when she showed them the map of your travels," Matau said, pointing to his mask. "And now destroyed by Pohatu."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Kapura demanded, turning to Macku. "I can... I can be... And maybe I could bring others..."
"I tried, but I couldn't just tell you in the town. Those we can't bring..." She couldn't finish the sentence, tears coming to her eyes. Through a sob, she exclaimed, "There won't be room for them all! Not a word of this could be spoken in New Atero!"
"She pretended to help the Bohrok," Tahu said. "Kidnapped all of us, and then the Bohrok turned on her and put her in that cage with the rest of us. She told us all. It wasn't easy sneaking out of there with them all watching, keeping the illusion and the sound up through it all."
"Tell me about it," Krakua said, touching his ear and wincing.
"So the others... in New Atero..." He looked around at all of them, slowing to a jog. They slowed too. "You're just... giving up?"
"No," Tahu said. Now he stopped, and the others did too. They all faced Kapura.
"You're going to more-free," Matau said.
* * * ^ * * *
Echoing over the screams.
Kapura stayed calm.
It was the hardest task he could have ever imagined. To grab someone's hand, someone doomed by a falling ceiling, a ceiling that would kill Kapura too. To stay calm as they screamed, tried to run, to get him to let go.
To fall into the hole in existence as the rubble above fell just above them.
To come out, in the peaceful silence of a familiar sandy beach.
But there was something about that beach... Something about that island.
So comfortable. He'd missed it so much. A lot more than he'd allowed himself to realize.
A peace overwhelmed him, knowing it was back. A pervasive peace that infected those whose hands he grabbed, from those corners of New Atero he knew best.
The island would be extremely crowded once the boats arrived. But maybe the Bohrok would go back to sleep once it was over. Maybe he could save...
But he couldn't think about the number.
If he did, he couldn't stay calm.
* * * ^ * * *
Kapura stood in a forest.
Once he had stood in this same forest. The trees were even in the same arrangement.
Then there had been a fire.
He'd loved that forest so much... it had been beautiful even as it burned. A dance, he'd once called it, the Great Takara.
That was who he had been, who he had forgotten.
He's stayed in that forest for a long time afterwards, so in love with its memory, trying to pretend he still saw its beauty in the ashes.
Now that it was back, he cried. He put his hand to his mouth, and sobbed loudly through it. Alone in the forest, where none could see or hear.
Was it tears of joy? Tears over what he'd just been through? Mourning all those who he'd failed to save?
Yes. It was all that.
He had remembered who he was. He was someone who cared about all of that. He'd found his familiar boundaries, and learned that just surviving wasn't the point. It was about much more than that. A shared experience, a world they all enjoyed together. A world of life and beauty and peace.
A world filled with his friends, and with strangers he might someday get to know, might not, he might not always like as much as he should, but people he really cared about, somewhere inside, and he wouldn't forget it, wouldn't ever again be dulled to it again.
And that care made him right inside. Made him be what he should be, wherever he was.
He knew who he was.
He was an Islander.
Edited by bonesiii, May 22 2012 - 04:40 PM.