Welcome to the review topic for The Perfect Cage, the second epic in the Kuambu Saga – the second Saga of three – in the Bionicle Paracosmos fanfic series.
As always, I don't expect reviews but they are greatly appreciated, especially telling me theories you come up with as you're reading, constructive criticism, which parts you liked best, and asking any questions you may have. I cannot always answer questions without giving away future plot but sometimes I can.
In every Paracosmos story I write I try to experiment with different approaches. Here's a little insight into the approach here compared to past stories.
In many of my earlier stories I had only a few POV threads, often alternating chapters with just the main protagonist's POV and various side characters. In the first one, The Sword is But the Focus, Kopaka was the protagonist, and the main side character with POV in it was Nijire. Also, the second short story, Emissary of Earth, took place during that epic, and it was from Onua's point of view. This story takes those same characters but flips the order, so Onua is the main protagonist, Nijire the second, and Kopaka a third. (I consider Kopaka to be one of the top two protagonists of the series as a whole, so he will get more in later stories.)
Later stories moved away from the alternating chapters format, mixing different threads in each chapter. I also experimented with having more threads. This culminated in the first episode of the Kuambu Saga, Endless Blue, my longest work yet, with a huge number of threads. To keep it easier to follow I split it up into five Parts with ten chapters each, focusing on different side threads in each one.
This time I set out to write just these three threads in the whole story, although there is one exception later on.
It is also long, with almost as many chapters as EB, though the chapters are shorter (about 12 pages in my word processing program, versus about 20). I did not begin with the idea of splitting this one into Parts, but because it's easier to write long stories in multiple documents as the computer gets slow when a single massive document is open, I started splitting it into ten-chapter “slices.” As it turned out, the plot kept just happening to fit dividing these into five Parts, so I've decided to use that system for this one again. There are some thematic differences in each of the Parts, though nothing like EB had.
So, each Part is ten chapters each, not counting the prologue and epilogue, except Part Five is just 8 chapters. Some of the chapters that end or begin a Part are longer than the average; about 16 pages.
Just FTR, the epic that comes after this one has been written for a while – I wasn't sure when it would take place, but now have made some minor edits to put it as the third Kuambu Saga story. It has been retitled Falling Sun, and I'll probably post it immediately after this is fully posted. It's much shorter, and is purely from one character's POV (a new character).
Here's a summary of past story, mostly focusing on Endless Blue, in case anyone wants it. This should all be clear eventually to a brand-new reader in-story, but this is an option.
The series began, with the Hidden Enemy Saga, or the Rahunga Saga, taking place during the Paracosmos equivalent of Bionicle's 2001 story, the Coming of the Toa. The six Toa battled the Rahi, retrieved hidden Kanohi Masks of power, and investigated the mystery of why the Rahi were being infected faster than they used to be. It turned out that some 'Tohunga' (as Matoran were called in the Dark Time when the evil Makuta's influence was over the island of Mata Nui) willingly followed Makuta, using the hatred-based black liquid mutagen rahudermis to transform into larger, more powerful versions of themselves.
Two secretive organizations were also discovered around this time.
The apparently good 'Unknown' shapeshifters, who mystically guided a Ta-Matoran mapmaker named Hujo on a quest to find a Blue Fire Staff, and whose leader, Caroha, was later revealed to have accidentally spawned the Paracosmos. She was once a Ga-Matoran scientist in the original Bionicle 'Cosmos', but she touched a strange shining blue liquid she called chronoserum... and the next thing she knew the Paracosmos existed, a corrupted, expanded version of her world.
There is also the malicious Third Faction, who has a more gray-area philosophy of morality but seeks to dominate the Paracosmos, led by another shapeshifter, a female named Arakra. The Captain of the Rahunga, after tempting Toa Kopaka to join Makuta, finally decided to abandon the murderous Brotherhood and instead join the Third Faction, who did not kill. He unleashed ghostly enemies who, to make a long story short, led Hujo to discover Caroha's secret. They also introduced the Toa to an island due east of Mata Nui – Kriitunga Island.
The inhabitants of Mata Nui were almost drawn into a war with the Kriitunga, but eventually a shaky alliance was formed.
But at the same time, a larger threat of the oceanic surface realm was alerted to the presence of Mata Nui Island, and sent their fleet to anchor off of its southern coast. Little is known about them except their name – Kuambu, that they often fire projectiles called Kuamor spheres with various powers, and they have a powerful Empire throughout the Aqua Magna ocean.
The reptilian sea Captain, Bhukasa, who was friends with the Toa, led a quest to learn more about the Kuambu, but he was soon caught up in a deadly struggle with the Lone Captain, a rogue Kuambu ruling a single ship who had a personal vendetta against Bhukasa. Meanwhile, the Toa raced to stop the Third Faction's meddling with the Bahrag, and then to stop the Bahrag themselves. It was discovered that the Bohrok of the Paracosmos have several mysterious purposes besides Cleaning the island. One of those, the Lone Captain tried to take advantage of, risking mass genocide.
It was discovered, by Hujo (and he kept it a secret, known only to a few others) that the Paracosmos Matoran Universe – the realm of undersea domes – was very different from the Cosmos one.
The giant Great Spirit robot of the canon Bionicle was here, with domes containing places like Metru Nui, but there were far more domes as well. These formed a vast web which connected like chains to the giant robot. Should Mata Nui wake up, the Bohrok would need to sever these chains. If he was taken over – say, by Makuta – he would remain chained to the planet.
But there was a problem with this system; the Bohrok would need to go down into the ocean to cut these chains, which were the tunnels connecting the giant robot's domes with different domes with islands in them, and this would flood the Matoran Universe. Now, Bhukasa's people – who had since gone extinct except for him – had a strange type of technology that used black metal with computer programming and various powers contained in it. One of these, it was learned, had long ago helped the Unknown create systems that removed sections of the ocean, making walls of golden light and converting the water inside to air.
When a Hole in the Ocean was opened, the Bohrok would cut a 'chain.'
But the Lone Captain tried to prevent a system of doors from going down over the two sides of the tunnels, to force the Matoran Universe to flood when the golden walls eventually disappeared and the ocean rushed back in. Thankfully, Bhukasa and others brought him to defeat, and the doors were shut.
On his journeys during these events, Bhukasa gathered a small crew, including two beings he had known in the past; Toggler, a shapeswitcher from an icy island, and Sairiph, a small winged being with many powers. Both seemed to be of questionable morals, though Bhukasa learned the truth of Toggler's past in the final chapter of Endless Blue and forgave him his past crimes. Sairiph's true motives remain a mystery.
Several other events happened that had yet to be resolved.
First, a tiny parasitic being called Haywire possessed the Po-Matoran chef named Korau. A wandering mutant Kriitunga fooled him into being trapped on the coldest part of Toggler's homeland. The cold would make Haywire leave his host, but what she didn't tell them was that it would be free to leave and attack the rest of Toggler's people. The Toa learned of this deception too late, and Korau was not yet freed. He was frozen alive, but could be thawed.
Secondly, a Matoran mercenary of the Kuambu suddenly left their service, apparently having remembered her forgotten past, and convinced two Po-Matoran, the carver Hafu and the scout Kuhauha, to leave with her. They had taken a tablet from a group of pirates, which contained all the major events of the canon Bionicle storyline – which the Paracosmos would inevitably always mirror to some extent, as the main characters had learned. For unknown reasons these three Matoran fled the scene and have yet to contact anyone else.
Of greater concern, the King of the Kriitunga was trapped by mysterious forces in a Kuambu prison on his island. Due to the Kriitunga's laws, a trapped King is no King at all, and so the political situation there has become unstable.
Another group of Toa was encountered who Bhukasa had known once; they had all fallen into comas by being hosts of Haywire. Bhukasa found a way to Awaken them, and they achieved their destiny of stopping the pirates. Now these Toa have remained with Bhukasa as crewmembers, while considering what to do next.
Makuta Teridax had been believed to be killed for a while. Rathoa and the other Rahunga had been tasked with reviving him via his mask if this would happen, but Rathoa betrayed him, taking the mask, using another mask to mentally enslave some other Rahunga, and tried to take over the Brotherhood in Teridax's place. He also used yet another mask he had invented to convert himself into a Makuta, so he believed he would be qualified for the position.
However, the Brotherhood revealed that Makuta was not actually dead; some of his antidermis had been teleported away by a mysterious being named Vaurukan, and was now held prisoner on Vaurukan's island. He had known this would happen, and contrived a faked death at the hands of the Toa in order to test the loyalty of his Rahunga. For his treason, the Brotherhood put out a kill order on Rathoa, and the remaining loyal Rahunga set about preparing a rescue mission for Teridax. Rathoa grudgingly joined forces with Toa Onua, who agreed to help him find Makuta first and prevent the Rahunga from freeing him.
Most importantly, during the events unleashed by Rathoa, the six Bohrok Kal had also formed a shaky alliance with the Toa. They had apparently disbanded the alliance as the Toa tried to capture the Bahrag, abandoning their allies. Their status is currently unknown. Those like Hujo, who know how events went in the Cosmos, know that it is from the Kal that the next great threat may be expected, but what Hujo cannot yet know is the role of the Kuambu, and of Vaurukan, or of the many other strange beings and things in this realm...
Edited by bonesiii, Jan 21 2013 - 01:01 AM.