THE AGENT CRISIS
Creva’s eyes slowly opened. Some part of his still partially-asleep mind registered his alarm clock ringing again. Almost automatically, he dragged himself close to the bedside table. Hands fumbled while searching for the alarm clock; found it; shut it down.
He blinked. Do I really have to get up?
Of course he did. Yet that knowledge didn’t make him any happier.
A few seconds later he gave up and lifted himself off the bed of his hut. A few steps forward and he reached his table. He quickly prepared and ate a light breakfast. It didn’t take him much longer to find his public transport ticket and get his small pack ready. A glance outside his window then revealed dark clouds covering the sky. He sighed and grabbed his small umbrella. Then he was ready. He opened the door and found himself in a narrow street, one of the hundreds that connected every location in Bz-Koro.
It took ten minutes for Creva to reach one of the larger streets. By that time, the rest of Bz-Koro had started to wake up. Creva preferred to get up slightly earlier than most people: it allowed him not to rush things.
Some minutes later the bus reached the bus stop where Creva was waiting. A medium-sized walkcraft, it connected the area where Creva lived to the nearest transport hub, from which the Onu-Matoran would take another transport to work. It wasn’t the quickest route, a private vehicle would have made the trip faster, but Creva had never felt the need for one. Public transport was just fine for him.
He boarded the walkcraft and found a seat. The bus line was never very crowded. He opened his bag and took out a small Gadget. It wasn’t the most common model, it was much smaller, for instance, and had no legs, but it still provided enough services for Creva’s standards and in addition the Matoran considered it easier to carry around.
He turned on the screen and accessed Hanashi News. An image appeared on it, the image of a semi-collapsed Forum Plaza. Creva took a small pair of headphones out of his bag and connected them to his Gadget. Then he put them on.
“Last night, an Olmak Anomaly materialized inside this Forum Plaza,” the reporterette was saying. “It immediately came in contact with its floor. Unfortunately, it turned abruptly into a matter-shredder at that very moment. Even though it lasted for a split second, it was enough to destroy most of the Forum Plaza and severely weaken the ground surrounding it, causing several buildings in the vicinity to partially collapse. The entire area has been evacuated until these can be stabilized and repaired. I am told that Toa of Stone and Earth are at work at this very moment to do so.
There are no casualties, though there have been several wounded, eleven seriously. There hasn’t been such a destructive Olmak Anomaly in Bz-Koro for nearly half a year. In a few minutes I’ll be joined by an expert to discover what should and will be done to avoid this kind of damage in the future.”
Creva turned off the Gadget and groaned. The Onu-Matoran worked in a government department subdivision which monitored and kept record of Olmak Effect damage on the Island of Time in Bz-Koro. He would undoubtedly be assigned this episode. Though perhaps, given the scale of the destruction, he could convince his boss to let a few more colleagues help… Such thoughts were temporarily banished at Creva’s arrival at the transport hub. He got out of the bus and made his way through the busy station to his next transport.
Half an hour later the Onu-Matoran reached the floor of the giant multi-floored hut where he worked. It was almost completely occupied by a large open office containing several rows of tables. Creva went to his post and sat down. Most of his colleagues still hadn’t arrived. Suddenly one of his friends, Warin, strode inside the room and took a seat next to him.
“Hey, there,” said the Glatorian. “Did you hear about the Forum Plaza?”
“Yeah,” said Creva. “Who do you think the boss will assign it?”
“Let’s see…” said Warin, as if actually thinking about it. “Could it be… you?”
“Great. You really know how to cheer someone up.”
“Oh, relax. It’s not that bad. Sure, it’s going to be at least 1000 Orbs of damage, probably more, but who cares?”
“If I get it, I’ll be sure to ask the boss to assign you to the task as well.”
“Good luck with that. We’ve all got a lot of work to do ourselves and she knows that.”
Creva didn’t answer.
“Oh, come on, cheer up! Listen, I’m taking a trip to the Island of Duty to hear what they’re saying at the Olmak Effect Forum this afternoon. Want to come along?”
“I’ll think about it.”
Meanwhile, more of their colleagues had started to come in. Half an hour later, Creva’s boss, a Turaga of Blue Energy called Yudra, walked out of her own office and called for Creva to come with her.
The Onu-Matoran cursed and did his best to ignore Warin’s grin.
It was worse than he had thought. Creva had to go on the site itself, spend hours talking at various people, file in a monumental report and, last but not least, get drenched by the rainstorm that had come about.
Eventually he managed to get back to his post and relax for a few minutes in his chair. Then he finished his report and delivered it to Yudra.
“Good job, Creva,” she said. “It must not have been easy.”
“It wasn’t,” confessed the Onu-Matoran.
“Go back to your post and resume your duties, but don’t concern yourself with anything major. For today you’re finished.”
“Thank you, Turaga.”
As the Olmak Effect was a very important issue in all Aethion, Bz-Koro had more than one Forum Plaza devoted to the topic. The discussions were quite similar in all of them, though there were some small differences. The Forum Plaza on the Island of Time, for example, mostly dealt with the scientific aspect of the Olmak Effect.
However, the one Creva and Warin were interested in was the Forum Plaza on the Island of Duty. Since that island was mainly devoted to rules, laws and the Bz-Koro government in general took place, the Olmak Effect was discussed mostly in relation to how it was handled by the Bz-Koro institutions.
When Warin, Creva and two other colleagues of theirs walked into the Plaza, they found it quite crowded, in spite of the still-falling rain. Creva guessed it was due to the rumors about the Bz-Koro government wanting to create a new department devoted exclusively to the Olmak Effect. It would bring together many divisions and subdivisions currently affiliated with other departments, including theirs. Sure enough, most of the Plaza was occupied by a large crowd of people standing in front of a lone speaker.
“… and it would also mean having more money at the new department’s disposal. This would allow the government to deal with the Olmak Effect more efficiently and with fewer bureaucratic procedures. We’ve known since Creation that Olmak Anomalies would increase over time and yet until now this emergency hasn’t really been dealt as such. We have a handful of departments that have trouble coordinating together every time there is a real incident. This new reform will solve the problem.”
Creva and Warin positioned themselves at the back of the crowd. Warin whispered:
“I may have something to say. I’ll go closer. What about you?”
“Not today. I’ll just listen.”
“Do you mind if I cite today’s episode and your work on it?”
“Go right ahead.”
A Ga-Matoran had started speaking.
“I disagree with what has been said until now. Though it is true that the Olmak Effect is dealt with by different departments, I think this organization works perfectly. We hear about more and more incidents, but there actually isn’t anything else we can do about it. Everything is being handled to the best of the government’s capability. On the other hand, creating a new department in this situation would only be detrimental to the efficiency of the system. If there is an incident while everything is being re-arranged, the response will be slow and ineffective. Let’s not waste time and money…”
The problem with this kind of discussion, thought Creva, is the lack of any real data. Instead of quoting official information, people say things which they can’t prove to be right or wrong. That said, a new department would probably help, though the transition would be chaotic…
A Turaga had taken the stand. His low voice could barely be heard amidst all the whispering going on in the crowd. The Forum Moderator called for silence.
“I believe that whether this department is right or wrong isn’t the real issue here. The Olmak Effect is increasing and soon enough it won’t matter how Bz-Koro, or for that matter any other government, will be handling it. The only solution is preventing the incidents from occurring. There must be an effort to stop the Olmak Effect once and for all, or at least to predict it. The planets, good and evil, should come together to achieve this…”
The cessation of the Olmak Effect would cause me to lose my job, but ultimately the Turaga is right. The situation can’t go on like this. Though what he’s saying seems slightly off topic…
A Dendrokan was now speaking.
“I wouldn’t speculate on how to stop the Olmak Effect. However, I agree on the fact that our efforts must be more widespread. The problem is universal. Olmak Anomalies teleport people between planets, so a single department on Bz-Koro isn’t enough. There should be one organization for the entire Multiverse, or at least that part which is allied to us.”
I see the logic. Though creating such a thing would be enormously complicated.
The next speaker made no real contribution to all the discussion, instead accusing the Bz-Koro government of not really caring about all the Olmak Effect issue. He felt Bz-Koro didn’t do enough to help its citizens transported to hostile planets. However, his story partially justified this hatred. He was a Bz-Koro citizen who had been teleported by the Olmak Effect to Tanuuk thirty years before. He had labored as a slave for twenty-six years before managing to escape through the then-unguarded Alarist Olmak Totem. Creva’s feelings of sympathy seemed to be mirrored by the Forum Moderator in charge of the Plaza. Despite his behavior, the Moderator didn’t really have the courage to stop his speech.
After that, the speeches gradually became more similar. After some time, the Onu-Matoran felt like each new speaker was simply repeating what someone else had already said. Listening really wasn’t worth his time.
I have to go.
It was almost Warin’s turn to speak. He had listened to the other speakers and gradually decided what to say. His speech wouldn’t be too long, but it would certainly contribute to the topic. Then he spotted Creva walk toward one of the Forum Plaza’s exits. It was strange. He would have expected the Matoran to stay and hear his speech, or at the very least tell him before going away.
The Glatorian sighed. He’d have liked to speak, but for Creva to walk off like this meant there was something important going on. He tried to make his way to his friend. It was difficult, people kept getting in the way. Eventually Creva vanished behind the wall of the Forum Plaza. Warin thought about returning to the discussion, but at this point he would cause even more disturbance by trying to do that and he would have to wait much longer before managing to take the stand.
Finally he got out of the crowd and headed for the walls of the Plaza. He quickly reached its end. Creva was already outside and was walking rapidly.
“Hey, Creva!” he called.
The Onu-Matoran didn’t turn. Warin was surprised.
“Creva!” he called, louder this time.
Still the Onu-Matoran didn’t stop or even turn.
He must have heard me.
Warin tried to catch up with Creva. What could be happening? Creva wasn’t known for ignoring his friends.
Creva turned into a small alley, disappearing from Warin’s sight. The Glatorian started running.
He turned. Creva wasn’t there. He had disappeared.
The Glatorian sighed.
What could he be up to?
Anyway, it was useless. If Creva didn’t want to talk to him he saw no point in trying to find him. After some time he would call the Onu-Matoran at home and try to understand what had happened.
The discussion in the Forum Plaza seemed to be approaching an end. Warin decided it would be useless to return. He walked away, heading for home.
Edited by Toa of Italy, Aug 28 2012 - 05:30 AM.