It had been about thirty minutes since Masuko and Lariska landed the airship on the Northern Continent. Thirty minutes of walking through unremarkable and mediocre Matoran villages and forests. It wasn’t boring, though… more like eerie. There was no sound whatsoever. From the howling of the wind and roar of the tides to the chatter of traders and songs of birds, this place was completely silent. And still—Mata Nui was it still. There was literally no motion except for Masuko and Lariska.
After this long period of nothingness, Masuko spoke up. “Before we find a place to camp out, you need to tell me about the coin. It was part of the deal.”
“Deals can be broken,” Lariska said grimly.
“Yeah well this one won’t be,” Masuko said.
Lariska was silent for a few indignant seconds, then finally said, “Okay… it started a while ago… a bit before you yourself found the coin…” She reached into a pocket on her belt that held her knives. In it was a small book-shaped object about the size of an index card. She opened it up, revealing writings on the inside. “This is the mission log of a Dark Hunter named Chaser,” Lariska said, “Read it, you’ll find all the answers I know so far in here.” Masuko took the book and flipped it open curiously. Inside was a sort of journal.
“Who wrote this?” Masuko asked.
“The recruit… then later Chaser,” Lariska replied.
Masuko started to read, and soon became enthralled.
If you are reading this text, then you are in danger. You must be in some way affiliated with an artifact of sorts… a coin. It is dangerous, and if you or someone you know has this coin they are not only endangered, but also are in fact the threat themself. May Mata Nui have mercy on the soul of whoever owns this coin…
I don’t fully understand this coin yet, but I am sure it will be the death of me. I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but it will happen someday, whether it is directly because of it or because of something it has made me do. You see, I found this coin in the middle of the wilderness, and I soon became fascinated with it. After a few days I started missing time. I would be doing some random thing one minute and then suddenly I would be somewhere completely different. Just yesterday I walked out the door and after I blinked I was in the middle of the market.
I have also been finding numerous dead objects in my home. Not people… yet… but small animals and insects, all disfigured terribly. I have tried to rid myself of the coin, but it keeps somehow making its way back into my possession. Hopefully further entries will explain to you this phenomena which I don’t yet understand.
Masuko read on, and eventually he got to day sixteen.
It’s gotten worse and worse. I am afraid I might go insane if this keeps happening. People have started accusing me of having started major altercations and assaults. I am missing time more and more and for longer periods. I still don’t know what’s going on, and I am truly afraid of what the future may bring.
When Masuko got to day 24, he noted that the tone had changed dramatically. Even the handwriting was different—more rushed… but as he read it, he realized the story had taken a dark turn.
Mata Nui save me! It’s only gotten worse and worse! I’m afraid to leave my home lest I hurt somebody. I have been charged with many crimes; even now I suspect local authorities have me under surveillance. I’m probably dead by the time you’re reading this. I’m afraid that any minute now I may black out again and k—
I did it. I killed someone. He’s dead. They’re coming for me now.
After day 24 it seemed that this mysterious being no longer kept the date.
Hahaha! All gone! They’re all gone now! I’m the last man alive on this island. May the Great Beings bless my blissful soul I have never felt so happy. All my cares are gone. I can do anything; I have the entire island to my coin and myself. Oh my beautiful coin! Oh how I love it! It has helped me so much, it does the dirty work and I thrive on the results. I know what you’re thinking; “Oh it’s not fair to the poor coin! It has to do all that and you’re being lazy!” I thought that too, so I asked the coin. I told him I was being selfish and mean, and that maybe we should switch jobs for a while. But he told me that we didn’t need to switch jobs and that I was being a very generous person. He said he liked doing the dirty work and that it makes him happy. It makes me happy to. Now my coin and me can be happy forever without any other living soul to bother us! Hooray!
I haven’t written in you for a while Mr. Book. I’m dreadfully sorry for dropping you in the woods a couple months ago. It wasn’t personal, just an accident. One can only carry so many treasures, and I didn’t want to drop any one of my dead critters on the road, I had only named them the day before. But now I’ve found you. How are you? Oh really? That’s great! Here, have a cup of (Masuko couldn’t read that part because it was covered with a suspiciously colored stain.) Did you like it? Why thank you! I made it myself. I learned it from my brother Kallus. Do you know where he is now? Guess where. Go on… guess. Nope! I’ll tell you. He’s off to Artahka! You see, he got his arm cut off, so he’s going there to get it put back on. Isn’t that wonderful! I hope he brings back gifts! And Matoran! I love those wonderful little people, I just want to skewer them on a shishkabob and eat them right there uncooked!
Mr. Book! There are strange people following me. Coin got one of them, but there are still three more. He says he’ll get another one tomorrow, and if they still follow me he’ll get the rest. I love coin, he’s so helpful! Don’t you think so? Good, I’m glad you see how great he is, it would be a shame not to notice just how kind he is!
This is Chaser. I am a Dark Hunter. I was sent on a mission leading three others to go and find a strange reportedly schizophrenic being and attempt to recruit him. At the cost of two of my three companion’s lives, we finally sedated him. We were forced to kill him, lest he do the same to Lariska and me. The Shadowed one seemed to be aware of his insanity and therefore pardoned our failure.
Among the being’s possessions was a coin. It was embossed with a picture of his mask on one side, and on the other side was the same picture only the mask was beaten and worn. For reasons I still do not understand, I was inexplicably drawn to take it for myself. When I did so, I promptly experienced the same “missing time” as described by him earlier in this book. After that, the mask on the coin was a Kanohi Hau… my mask is a Kanohi Hau.
Things started to change for chaser too around the sixteenth day. However he was only notably getting crazy on the nineteenth day.
I keep killing people during training. The other Dark Hunters don’t care, it happens all the time in training at my level, but I see it differently. I fear becoming completely insane and out of control like my predecessor. I tried passing it on to somebody else, but it seems to make its way back into my possession like it did with the one before me!
Masuko kept looking and soon he got to day 31.
I’m barely holding it together. It’s taken all my strength and I know I will soon snap! I have obtained knowledge of what the coin does - what it was meant for - in my nightmares, but nothing on how to control it. I am making my way to an isolated island to inevitably let go of my grip forever. First, though, I will finish the purpose of this book that the being before me had started it for. This coin was originally developed as a weapon. I don’t know who made it or when, but it doesn’t take an expert to know it doesn’t work. What the coin does is it latches itself to a host and creates a duplicate of them. It stores the duplicate of them in the form of data inside of itself. When a host dies, the data dissipates, and it must move on to a new host. This duplicate of the host is exactly the same except that it has a maddening lust for bloodshed. The coin replaces the duplicate with the host when deemed necessary, then switches them back around when done. The only problem is that it has a mind of it’s own and it’s uncontrollable. The coin has a side effect, too. Constant use of it causes insanity and desensitizes you to everything. Wait I’m there now. I have decided to plant charges on the rocks around me in a clearing and blow them up. I didn’t want to do this, but I can’t let anyone else get hurt…
The rest of the book was blank, and that was when it all came together. The blast must have launched the coin into a tree and that’s where Masuko found it. “Wait!” Masuko said suddenly, “How come my coin doesn’t keep activating like it did with them.”
“That’s what I want to find out,” Lariska said, “Have you had any injuries lately?”
Masuko thought hard, then realized what it must be. “A concussion! A bit after I got the coin I hit my head on a rock during a battle. My skull just fully healed a bit ago. Maybe it has put pressure or something on some part of my brain up until now that keeps the coin from sensing when I’m in distress! Maybe there’s still some pressure there so it’s harder for me to change.”
“Of course,” Lariska said, “from the way Chaser worded it I always thought that the coin itself scanned the environment, but maybe it’s triggered by emotion.”
Without warning, an explosion blasted behind them. Masuko cursed as he realized it had probably surprised him enough to trigger the coin. When the orange glow cleared, Lariska got up and looked at her fallen companion.
“Masuko?” she asked, fearing both the coin and whoever had caused the explosion, “is that you?”
“No.” It was Masuko’s voice. As smoke cleared Lariska could see Masuko’s face. But it wasn't really him; it was somebody else... it was his duplicate. “Call me… Masquerade….”