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About Aderia

Year 10
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    Emerging Fluidic Master
  • Birthday March 3

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    'Aderia', like you're saying "I dare 'ya!" real casual-like.

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  1. Based on which words you've chosen to capitalize in your topic's title, the only logical conclusion is that they're acronyms, and you're just begging us to figure out what NERDY and LAME stand for. My guess: Nostalgia Empanada Reminds of Distant Youth (visual aid to help picture the empanadas in question) and LEGO's Anthropomorphized Machine Era But that's just my guess. It really could stand for anything.
  2. That the Destral Cycle was a cool spinoff comic or serial about the Makuta.
  3. Yeah, I totally get the pandemic throwing a wrench in your academic plans. I think I'm in a similar boat, my school I was going to start at went online, which was a bummer, but I'd personally rather have it that way than the whole become a petri dish. But yeah, sad solidarity.
  4. Yes, ahh, I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the painting pre-droid-ified, but alas.
  5. Aderia

    2020 Reflections

    Oooooh! I just started the Thrawn trilogy (technically, started Heir to the Empire) for the first time, after liking the Republic Commando series more than I ever thought I would, and then buying way to many used books from the internet and feeling like I'm saving money by buying them used haha
  6. Chapter 18: Recompense “Tell me what’s going on!” Turaga Arrakio demanded, releasing the intercom switch. The indicator light on the control panel blinked off - a dead link. And despite the muffled blaring of alarms and pulsing red light above the entrance to the audience chamber, the security monitor feeds remained still. “Kybrek! Respond!” The only answer was yet another emergency light flaring to life on the panel. The electro-lift warning light. Punching the intercom switch again, Arrakio ordered his officer to report again. And again, nothing. The large reinforced double doors that led from the main corridor to the audience chamber was sealed. Who or whatever had tripped the intruder alert wouldn’t be getting through those doors any time soon. At least, not before the reinforcements would arrive in force. “Lusco! Report!” Arrakio toggled the dial for the tele-con channel for immediate short-range. Lusco and Jaa were posted directly outside the audience chamber, and were he to stand right on the other side and shout, they would probably be able to hear him. But that would hardly be a wise choice, given all the alarms being tripped. “Sir, the electro-lift has been completely obliterated,” the Optimacy officer’s voice came through in static-laden patches, and he sounded out of breath. “No one is hurt, but the entire lift crashed from mid-level to the basement storage units. Jaa is in contact with the ground patrol.” Arrakio heard indistinct shouting of his officers. “We don’t know what it is. Our sensors are going crazy, but our Matoran can’t find anything.” “Get in contact with the power mechanics, and check for any tampering in the security HQ chamber,” he ordered. If Kybrek, his captain, was worth his protodermis, he’d already have his best Matoran on it. The good thing about the Coliseum was that it had the highest technology available in the city to keep it operational and secure. The bad thing was that when that tech was compromised, which up until this point, had never been an issue, the guards lacked the technical experience to get even the most basic functions of the building back up and running. And if the long-range tele-cons were out, there wasn’t even a guarantee that the policing forces would be sending response teams. “Keep me updated on the situation. I’m working on things on my end,” Arrakio released the intercom switch again, glancing over the control panel one last time before sweeping out of the chamber to secure his private chambers. The only lighting, besides the alarm pulsing on the wall and lights warning on the panel, came from the backlighting on the orator’s dais, interrupted by the imposing silhouette of his old valor statue, reminiscent of his days as a Toa. He’d have to see about getting emergency lightsstones for times like this, when the newer, more versatile and more powerful, but less reliable and less efficient electrical lighting was more of a hindrance than a help. But, nowadays, even the Turaga himself would have a hard time getting his hands on a shipment of lightstones. Arrakio grabbed his Rua Staff from his chamber, sure to lock the door on his way out. It was a prototype from one of the more eccentric Onu-Matoran who called it a Verity Actualization Hypno-Komau Idealization staff, after it's Kanohi-based power of rendering the target extremely suggestible - V.A.H.K.I staff, in short, but Arrakio had taken to calling it his Rua staff. Slamming one end of the staff against the doorframe to activate it. The figurehead on the top of the staff glowed to life, and only he could feel the subtle hum of power as it charged up. Just in case. He moved on to the adjacent Great Sundial chamber, first double checking the balcony doors, then returning to the main audience chamber that made up most of the top level of the Coliseum, and where he passed most of his days with his advisors and councilors and concerned citizens. And he saw he now had an audience. He mentally primed his Kanohi, and leveled his staff at the intruder stooping over the control panel along the side of the room. “Step away from the panel,” he ordered in his most authoritative voice. He was having trouble keeping a steady aim, and he realized it was because whatever this intruder was doing, they were slipping in and out of the visible range. “I said-“ “You have no idea what you have there,” the intruder interrupted. She flung an arm toward the orator’s dais, throwing switch after useless switch. Finally, she looked at him, and stopped shimmering through the shadows, with bright green eyes and heartlight flaring to life. She regarded him without fear. In fact, he recognized what burned in her eyes - barely checked rage. “And you have no idea how broken your city is.” "Enlighten me," he invited in a carefully neutral tone. If his homestead and possibly his life weren't compromised, he would have been indignant - the audacity of this interloper, coming into his city, his headquarters, and his home, and tell him how to do his duty. But then again, isn't that what most of the Matoran who came to his audience chamber did, anyways? "Do you have any idea what you have?" the intruder's voice rose in pitch, and she whirled, flinging an arm out at the valor statue on the dais. "Where are the stasis controls?" she demanded. "You're not in any position to be making demands," Arrakio snapped, taking aim with his staff. He'd never had cause to use it before, although he'd come close in some of his council sessions with the more belligerent Ta-Matoran. He fired the staff. The intruder leapt away, impossibly fast, shimmering back into the shadows, but not completely. A shower of sparks temporarily blinded him, and he stumbled back. Three large, gaping, slag-edged slashes had ruined the control panel. He could only track her by the flickering silhouette. Backing toward his personal chambers, he caught movement on the dais. "Show yourself!" He fired another blast from the staff, but it met nothing, the bright energy dissipating against the wall. He could also hear his two guards frantically trying to breach the chamber doors to get to him, now. The stasis cylinder was shifting. No, he realized, being toppled. Focusing his Kanohi Garai, he erased its gravity, ripping it free of its tubing and display wiring. He took a deep breath as stun gas began leaking into the room. A solid kick knocked him flat and drove the air from his lungs, just managing a cry of pain and shock. The stasis cylinder crashed to the floor, sending shards of the outer crystalline casing spinning across the chamber. The intruder reappeared frighteningly close, crouching above him, face twisted in a snarl. "I'll be taking these." And his mask was ripped from his face, and the staff wrenched out of his grip. Arrakio became suddenly, gut-wrenchingly aware of his age and frailty. "Stay down, Turaga. I'm not here for you." And he was roughly shunted back, thumping against the ruined control panel. "I'm here for your captive." "My..." he struggled to a sitting position, fighting the wave of dizziness and nausea that flooded over him in absence of his Kanohi. "What?" "Come on," Erylist whispered, frantically sweeping aside the remains of the stasis cylinder. "Come on!" She cast one more glance at the Turaga, who was struggling to keep himself upright. She'd thrown his mask and staff to the far opposite edge of the chamber, where they'd be safe. Well, safe enough. She'd have to do something about the stun gas leaking into the chamber, thickening the air. "Stop!" the Turaga cried, but his voice was noticeably weakening, shaking. She ignored him, just as he'd clearly been ignoring the real problems in his city. No. Her attention was now on the prone figure lying in the remains of the stasis cylinder. "Seja," Erylist breathed, her voice also shaking. After all these years. The Midnighter knelt at her sister's side, quickly checking her vitals while keeping the Turaga in view. Seja's was breathing slow and shallow, but she was breathing. Checking the fit of Seja's Kanohi, she rolled her sister onto her side, trying to work one of her magnificent, metallic wings out from under the debris of her prison. "Seja, wake up," Erylist begged. Nothing. "I don't believe it," the Turaga was murmuring. He half-stumbled, half-fell a partial step in their direction. "I said 'stay down'," Erylist growled, feinting a lunge toward him. He fell back, and she sunk to a protective crouch between him and her fallen sister. "Tell me where the gasline shut off is." Arrakio laughed, a few cold syllables. "Not here." With a frustrated growl, bordering on desperation, Erylist dragged Seja a few bodylengths to half-prop her up against the edge of the dais. She didn't have the first clue how to stopper the leaking stun gas, flowing freely from both ripped halves of the tubing now hanging out of the wall. "You're out of time," the Turaga chuckled from the control panel. He nodded feebly in the direction of the double doors, whose hinges were now glowing red-hot. "No!" Erylist snarled, leaping up. She fired two exploding darts in rapid succession - one, two, and the door to the Great Sundial room was blasted inward and into oblivion. At almost the same time, the Matoran response team battered the double doors to the audience chamber in, and a dozen Matoran rushed into the room, setting up a perimeter, shouting and responding to commands. "Halt!" a Ta-Matoran commanded her. A Cobalt knelt by the Turaga's side, and one of his Optimacy operatives carefully fitted his Kanohi back on to his face. "Careful," he wheezed, getting to his feet and leaning heavily on the Matoran for support. The combination of getting his mask back and the stun gas escaping the room seemed to do him wonders. "She's a shadow-crawler. Don't let her out of your sights." And they collectively leveled their weapons at her. Erylist didn't recognize the weapons, but they looked higher-caliber than concussive Crast blasters. She crouched low, taking as much in as she could at once. She ignored the commands to surrender and drop her weapons, eyes flickering to the high windows ringing the chamber, the arched ceiling struts, and ever so briefly out through the sundial room. As long as their attention was on her, they seemed content to ignore her sister. And she was going to keep it that way. "I know you'll find this hard to believe," she spoke slowly, gathering her concentration, and looking each of them in the eye as she turned slowly. "But I'm not your enemy." "That's rich!" another Fire Brand snapped. "What about that Le-Matoran accomplice of yours that was seen fleeing the Coliseum right before the alarms went off? Would he say the same?" "I don't know what you're talking about," she told him in as even of a tone as she could muster. Before any of them could respond, she leapt up with a shout, pulling up her shadow cloak, swinging up into the vaulted ceiling struts. Pandemonium spread below as she rained shattered glass down on them, taking out multiple windows with her stolen Crast blaster from the Kuma-Kava hunt. Airflow and exit points - her two priorities. A few of their own shots sizzled past her, and she dumped more concentration to maintaining her shadow cloak as she saw one of the energy bolts sizzle through the reinforced ceiling strut effortlessly. All the Matoran were shouting at once. "Where is she?" "Don't! You'll bring down the ceiling on us!" "We can't just stand here!" "Look for her shadow!" the Turaga's command rose above their confusion. She'd already made it past them, into the Great Sundial room. "There! There! The balcony!" The shouts followed her there, but she'd already managed to deeply score the glass door leading to the balcony by the time they'd spotted her. Unable to hold her concentration any more, she gave up her cloak. She stowed her plasma-edged knife, and again drew the blaster, charging straight back at the Matoran and swinging the muzzle of her blaster wide, forcing them to duck. Vaulting over them, she fired her very last dart, and the balcony door shattered, glass flying everywhere. Erylist stood up slowly from where she'd taken cover, behind the great gnomon, the fin of the Sundial. But she found she was rooted to the spot. "Was it worth it?" Turaga Arrakio stood in the ruined doorway between the audience chamber and the sundial room and locked eyes with her, his Kanohi Garai alight. His tone was flat and chilling. He pointed his Rua staff at her, his guard Matoran still keeping their weapons trained on her, but standing clear. They all knew what it could do. "Was this all worth it?" he repeated, advancing toward her. She regarded him in silence, meeting his unrelenting gaze with her own, still unflinching. Behind him, she saw her success beginning stir. The faintest edge of a smile crept onto her face, despite herself. "Duck," she whispered, and she hit the floor. A scream that had been trapped for thousands of years and a searing, vengeful psionic lances ripped through the air and drove the Matoran and Turaga to their knees. With fierce, avian Suletu glowing, Seja, the vindictive seraph of the southern isles, rose from the remnants of her prison. She flexed her two pinions, testing the air, then crouched and stretched tall once, twice, as though she couldn't quite believe she could move, finally. Erylist began to rise, slowly. "Seja..." she whispered, reaching out to her sister. Seja's blood-violet gaze locked onto Erylist's, and the Midnighter cried out, breaking eye contact and clutching her head. Seja's unrelenting Suletu attack battered at her mind-shield. "Seja! Stop!" Erylist pleaded, squeezing her eyes shut. "It's me!" The harsh scraping of Seja's talons on the flagstones, and whistling rustle of her razor-edged wings through the air was the only warning Erylist had, as Seja broke into a sprint, straight toward her. Erylist dove aside just in time, and scrambled to the balcony, staring hopelessly after the dark winged silhouette fleeing into the night sky. Review Topic
  7. This makes me believe that Bionicle could do well as a TV series and that I'd love it (coming from someone who hasn't gotten around to those netflix G2 episodes yet/may not ever). Amazing work (as usual), and I wish I knew more about 3D animation so I could compliment you more in depth. The music also really stuck out to me, even in such a short piece - from the heroic theme to the foreboding theme at the end, really good choice there. Haha, and I'd forgotten about Kongu referencing Matau's left/right dilemma, an old favorite. Love seeing your stuff here!
  8. So I saw this post elsewhere on the internet about a dude who bought so-so paintings from thrift shops and added Star Wars elements to them. My best friend (who sent me this mug from previous blog entry) came to surprise me right before COVID hit, and we went thrift shopping, and I got a painting (pictured above, but without the star wars stuff). Said friend was an art major in college, and now I have an awesome star wars painting hanging up!! Definitely going to treasure it forever. I love that the droid is picking the flower Update on the Ko-Koro Express - gift went over well, my folks loved it, but the pup, Dakota (sometimes goes by Dog-kota) felt insecure. But fear not, he was promptly and repeatedly assured that he is still a good boy, just sometimes a noisy boy.
  9. So this has been an ongoing side project for a friend at work, as aforementioned. It was pretty time consuming to transfer the information to blog format, so for those interested, I have a dropbox link to where I've uploaded lessons II through VI, for your convenience. Also I attached the combined PDF to the blog entry, but I'm not sure what that actually does? Hopefully, I'll be able to keep making these, as I've rather enjoyed it! Overview of the lessons (again, I must reiterate the disclaimer that this is not by any means pedagogically sound, just meant to be informative and hopefully interesting) Lesson 1 - (also found here, previous blog entry) basic syllable structure, introduction to tonal system and what Pinyin is. Lays out different types of Chinese characters and how to begin making sense of them. Lesson 1.5 - Explanation of Radicals, collected from around the internet and various textbooks, and includes a list of the most common radicals and their forms as they show up in different characters. Can help one feel more comfortable looking at characters, hopefully being able to recognize different parts of otherwise unfamiliar symbols. Bonus: small section on Chinese words in Avatar: the Last Airbender, from off the top of my head. Favorite is the Dai Li agents, which I actually didn't realize was a play on words at first. 带dài means to wear, as in, an article of clothing, and 笠lì is one of those pointed bamboo hats. Alternatively, 代理dàilǐ means 'to act on behalf of, serve as agent or proxy'. Lesson 2 - Goes over character stroke order basics (there is a proper stroke order, and while it's impossible to enforce one follow it, Chinese people will definitely judge you if you have bad stroke order XD source: was judged). Basic dialogue introduction and vocabulary to go with. Introductions, nationalities. Basic verb introduction and classifier introduction. Also introduction to numbers and saying when your birthday is, as numbers open up basically the entire calendar to you. This is the longest lesson. Lesson 3 - prepositions, more basic dialogues (greetings) that would be useful for small talk, like "good morning", "How is work" , "I'm tired" etc. Simple question formation. Lesson 4 - family words, and there are a TON, and not all covered in the lesson. Family based dialogues and sentences, like "this is my mom/dad, this is my younger/older brother/sister." Also some holiday vocabulary. Lesson 5 - More verb stuff. There's a review of how verbs in English work, and a comparison to how they work in Chinese. Kind of a more detailed repeat of the verb section from Lesson 2. Also affirmation/negation basics. (because there's not really one way to say 'yes' or 'no', it depends on the verb used) Lesson 6 - a big list of the common verbs and question words, and example sentences and their translations to look over. The largest influx of new vocabulary is here, without huge explanations about that vocabulary (probably will expand on this in later lessons), but for the diligent, I hoped to provide some new words to pour over on their own initiative. As a bonus here, this is the most complicated Chinese character - their version of 'antidisestablishmentarianism', so to speak - not used in everyday life and more of a fun language factoid than anything else. (source: Helpful wikipedia) This is biáng, and it's a type of noodle. 'biángbiáng' noodle, is what I'm pretty sure they're called. So you'd have to write this baby twice XD From various internet sources (also Chinese teacher blogs) , it's that broad flat type of noodle, and the character is an onomatopoeia for the sound made by stretching/smacking the noodles, but also a visual pun because it's so tangled. The simplified version of the character has 42 strokes, the traditional version has 58. I have no desire to learn how to write this character. But, if you want to learn it, the good news is that you'll master a good chunk of other characters that biáng contains while you're at it. How To Impress Your Sister with Chinese Parts 1-6.pdf
  10. Seems like Su-Matoran have built in sun glasses, so that automatically makes them cooler (but not literally, because heat?) Counterpoint: canonically, and I believe BS01 mentions this - Ta-Matoran are known for their tactical and mathematical abilities. The only thing we know from the canon about Su-folk is that Zaktan eats them. Sooo... yeah.
  11. I hope you don't mind, I'll reply to both of these at once because I feel kinda weird replying to my own topics haha. Thanks so much for not only reading, but also taking time to reply!! So happy! For this story: Yeah!! I love Krahka and her abilities, although I think she definitely has the potential to be completely overpowered. I had a good time re-reading The Darkness Below recently, and there was this little part at the end/epilogue when Turaga Vakama explained that he and his team went back to their own Metrus briefly after defeating Krahka before going to the Coliseum to present the Great Discs to Turaga Dume. I love finding those little niches in the canon to fill in the blanks, even though writing canon characters hasn't been my forte. I'm really glad you enjoyed! Haha, and yes, I had a good time throwing Takua in there. I originally had them actually go chute-diving, but how chutes actually worked was tripping me up, so that got cut XD Also, there was originally a third section with her and Pouks and Hordika Onewa, and he tells her about the island they found above (another wistful place above), but it started focusing too much away from Krahka. I think there was a topic at one point asking something along the lines of 'what was Turaga Dume actually like?', and I was like, "wow, good point, I guess we don't really know." So, voilà. And I'm really glad you picked up on the change in tone. I was worried, because it was definitely supposed to be sudden, because that's how a lot of scary things happen (or, I picture them happening), but it's always a trick to convey that over writing. Eheh, and I also had qualms about that first/last line, because canonically, I'm pretty sure they don't actually take off masks to sleep, but a few articles I read on building suspense is to start with a sense of routine/familiar and then jolt out of it. Again, really glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again for the feedback!
  12. Although I'm not familiar with G2, what you have looks great so far! Solid character bios and setting. It'll be cool to read about them and how it all fits together into your worldbuilding! Keep up the great work!
  13. Chapter 17: Spire’s Call “It’s literally impossible to do this wrong,” Excelian told her through gritted teeth. He was as calm as someone with two jags of shrapnel sticking out of his upper arm could be. “Literally, just stab it in.” He was lying about the simplicity of the procedure, but he knew his student was in no state of mind to realize. “There’s no place to stab it!” Erylist’s voice, several pitches higher than normal, shook, and she hated it. “Wherever armor isn’t,” he hissed, more from pain than frustration, but it was a close call. “You stab with knives just fine, what-“ “This is the opposite of that!” The syringe darted back and forth between his neck and collar-armor. “It’s impossible to do this wrong,” Excelian repeated, tilting his head back and squeezing his eyes shut. “Just stab.” And she did, although he made the mistake of glancing at her. He let out his breath involuntarily as the painkiller immediately took the edge off the pain. “There.” She fell back, ripping the syringe out of the crease where neck met shoulder as she did so. “That wasn’t so bad.” “Erylist.” He spoke sternly. “Hm?” She was very deliberately inspecting the medical device in her hands and not looking up. “You don’t inject medication with your eyes closed. Ever.” Her eyes flicked guiltily to him, and then down to the shrapnel still piercing his armor. “Yep,” Excelian nodded, answering her unformed question. “Now those.” She visibly shuddered. “Next time we should start with medic training,” she laughed weakly. “Get it over with.” Their training mishap that had resulted in this particular injury had led to her first impromptu medic practical. She’d had the generic talk-through that all operatives were oriented with, but this was new, the ‘doing’ part. “I’m never training anyone ever again,” the former Avohkah Tamer assured himself and his student. He’d once commanded impressive non-elemental lightning powers, as well as being able to run at speeds rivaling the Avohkah Rahi he’d taken to calling himself after. Then, one day, inexplicably, his powers were just gone. He’d tried to back out of his position as one of Helryx’s operatives, once it was clear his powers weren’t coming back any time soon, but she wouldn’t let him. He said it was because he knew too much and he was a liability, but the Toa insisted it was because he could still function as a key operative. Which turned out to be training the rookies. He’d dropped his code name and resurrected his original ‘Excelian’, which was no less ostentatious. Tossing the needle aside, she took a deep breath and was at his side once more. “What do I even do?” She was staring at the puncture wounds in horror, slit-pupils dilated with anxiety. “Firm grip, one at a time. Yank straight out. Have a patch ready. Organic wounds tend to leak.” “Great Spirit,” she muttered, then cursed. “Eyes open?” He intoned it as a question but one with only one right answer. “Eyes open,” she echoed, affirmative. She grasped the top piece of metal gingerly, placing a steadying hand on his shoulder. Whom she was steading, she wasn’t sure. A moment passed, then another. “Do you want these to rust into place?” he turned as slightly as he could to look at her. She shook her head, but said nothing. “I’ll count you down, okay?” No answer, so he repeated more firmly, Okay?” “Okay.” “Okay. Three. Tw- Hey, eyes open?” He had to check. “Eyes open.” She almost sounded irritated. “Three, two, one,” he counted fast. She yanked. Someone screamed, someone roared, hard to tell who emitted which. True to form, she was now dutifully pressing a sterilizer pad, two layers of gauze, and a metallic patch to the wound. “Good. You did good,” he told her through the new rush of pain. “Up for one more?” “Yeah, I-“ she glanced down at the piece of metal she now held, dripping with a few types of fluid that clearly didn’t want to mix. And promptly fainted. With a sharp intake of, then held, breath, Excelian secured the biopatch over his first wound, and stretched for the second patch. It was excruciatingly just out of reach. Two months ago, when Helryx had first shown up with the somewhat unwieldy and willful Midnighter in tow, he knew it would be a long year of training. Maybe it would be a long several years. He gritted his teeth and removed the second shard himself, and patched it quickly. He sat back for a few moments, absorbing and adjusting the radiating pain, and letting the medication dull it to a manageable level. He checked his student’s vitals, just in case. She was fine, of course. “So, you’re not a medic.” He helped her up as she began to stir out of her faint. “I’m not a medic,” she agreed, guiltily eyeing Excelian’s very bandaged arm. “And that was just misfire in a training exercise.” 'Imagine an actual combat situation,' but he left that last part to her intuition, as she clearly felt bad already. “I know,” she said sullenly. “But you ran around gutting half the Steltian syndicates for a few decades with no problem?” He regarded his student skeptically. “Fixing things is a lot harder than gutting them,” she insisted. He didn’t seem convinced. “Never pegged you for a queasy one, you know.” “Neither did I,” she grumbled. “I’m just going in for recon and retrieval. This is excessive.” She gestured to his mangled arm, the training yard littered with various weapons, the chest of medical supplies. “This is a stepping stone,” he said, although they’d been over this many times. “We’re stretched too thin across the inhabited islands. You’re getting the bare-bones training, and then coming back to complete it when you’re done.” “I-“ she began. This was, in fact, what she’d been gunning for, for as long as she could remember. Finally a fully-fledged member of Helryx’s secret order, like Armonger and Seja, her brother and sister. They’d been swept up straight from the ruins of the Hand of Artakha, and Erylist had been left behind. Not good enough. But apparently had been deemed valuable enough to keep on a roster for their convenience. And part of her had wanted to turn Helryx’s offer away out of spite, when they’d come to her on Artakha with an offer. But aspiration won out over animosity, and here she found herself on Daxia, being broken down and built up past limits she didn’t know she had. Yes, determination to prove herself a worthy agent drove her, but there was more than that. The opportunity to right the failings of her past - to retrieve Armonger and Seja from somewhere they were being held in the city, according to their intel. Guilt fueled the determination. With the more frequent natural disasters plaguing more and more islands, the Order was indeed short on operatives. They began picking their way across the training yard, heading for the barracks. “Well, I won’t be dueling Matoran, that’s for sure.” She kicked aside a Feltrehk staff, which fired blasts of brief time-disjunction to disorient a target. “No, but you’ll be going in blind. Nobody’s heard anything out of the Great City for years - our own agent included. Best be prepared.” They reached the gate to the barracks. “So, tomorrow? Here?” she asked. She preferred traditional combat training, as opposed to running through common guerrilla scenarios tweaked for urban environments that they’d been doing. “No, tomorrow is a crash course in biotech and devicing on the go, in the south wing.” He pointed with his good arm. “You just don’t want to get shrapneled two days in a row,” she accused him. He smiled tiredly, admitting she was right. “Just get some rest.” And clapped her on the shoulder in dismissal. Erylist pulled herself back to present. It was hard to believe that it was just over a year ago, she’d left Daxia. And, it turned out they were right. The intensive training that she’d thought was overkill was not enough. She tossed aside the half of a vivisection blade from the Makuta’s lair that had embedded itself in her calf in the explosion, which had reminded her of that day in training with Excelian. The relatively happy reminiscing had been the only thing to keep her from passing out as she patched herself up. Indeed, she’d learned basic combat medicine, and she still hated it. But it worked. She sat in a frozen cave of Ko-Metru - remote and far away from any Matoran, in case she’d been followed. It was more of a crevice, but it had an entrance and a separate exit, and that was all she needed for now. There were layers and layers of issues plaguing the city. She’d suspected she’d mined out more than she could manage when she arrived at her predecessor’s hidden base of operations and found it ransacked, and no sign of him. Erylist began a mental checklist of what she’d need to do to move the base of operations, because clearly her current hideout in Le-Metru wasn’t safe, and she’d been a fool to think it had been. Now, with a Makuta potentially on her trail, she had to take extra caution with every breath. It was a matter of gauging how much Mutran was willing to expose himself to the city. There was something that Makuta Mutran had said that was nagging at the back of her mind. "They’re killing each other off, and their own Turaga can’t do anything about it." Hadn’t those been the exact words? “Can’t”, not “won’t”, or “isn’t doing”. Perhaps it meant nothing, but it wasn’t sitting right with her. In retrospect, she should have tried harder to get to the Turaga when she’d first arrived. But the revelation that her shadow cloak didn’t fool mechanical systems had made her wary, too much so. The resulting chase by a combined force of Fire Brands and Conservators through half the city, also in her first week, hadn’t helped. No, if she really, really had tried, perhaps she could have made it into the Turaga’s audience. But, from what she’d gathered, it would have probably landed her in the basement-jail of the Coliseum indefinitely. But the time to chase the mutant Rahi around the city and forge information networks with Matoran groups was past. She’d have to log the connections she’d made for any future operatives who might come to the city after her, and most definitely get a message out about the Makuta’s involvement - perhaps even call for backup. The Order hadn’t answered any of her other transmissions, the routine reports once a month. The unscheduled, urgent transmission she began drafting in her head, though, hopefully would change that. She set a makeshift trip-wire at both entrances to her hideout and lay back for a long overdue rest. It was time to have the Le-Matoran make good on their deal with her, and have them get her to the Coliseum. Because as she began to drop quickly, the looming silhouette of the Coliseum rose almost immediately, urgently, ushering her into her slumber. Larker had checked Erylist’s hideout two days ago, but he was shocked and disappointed to find it completely cleaned out - any evidence of her existence expunged. He felt he knew her well enough to not worry - she was fine, and if she didn’t want to be found, that was her prerogative. She’d turn up if she decided to turn up, but otherwise, she’d take care of herself. But he didn’t know what he’d tell Tengi, who wanted to get in contact with her. So he’d gone about his last delivery of the day somewhat perplexed. Between his deliveries and freighter instructionals that Kesian had arranged, he actually had more free time than he’d ever planned. So seemed the case with much of Le-Metru’s workforce. The only deliveries not within Le-Metru were to Po-Metru. Ko-Metru never needed anything, except the occasional telescope part or something scholarly like that. Test drivers had no new classes of vehicles to drive, since demand for new types of transportation for new types of products was nonexistant. With the Kuma-Kava safely off the streets, he got Subi into a local Ussalry just in time. The nipper was overdue for a molt, and although Larker’s daily routine was low-stress, Ussals needed a good, uninterrupted stretch of a few days for a healthy molt and recovery. Larker was surprised at how acutely he felt the nipper’s absence. But perhaps it was more. Kesian had warned them all to lay low for a while, and it had been a week, and he’d only caught a glimpse of Kesian in his nights in the Wherehouse. Emyk was nowhere to be seen, and neither was their Ko-Matoran friend - Aulto, if he wasn’t mistaken. He never expected to become a regular at the Wherehouse, but he passed evening after evening there as the week wore on. He also had a nice pouch of winnings from playing caps and pins in the mixed company of the Wherehouse. Of course, he was also there to poke around groups of Po-Matoran for potential deliveries or contracts, and was usually joined by Rofto, who was keeping his head low and making use of himself in a custodial capacity. “You don’t bad-miss your friends in Ta-Metru?” Larker asked him one night, sorting though a modest heap of widgets he’d won in a round of ‘cills. “Sometimes,” Rofto admitted, sipping a cup of some kind of plant-mash from a street vendor above. It had an earthy scent, and Larker couldn’t decide if it was pleasant or not. But it definitely hung in the air. “But people are nice here.” “Maybe that’s for the better, then. Last I heard, the Cobalts are still hot-hunting for whoever bombed the Great Temple.” Larker regretted bringing that up, because Rofto immediately deflated. “I know I can’t stay here forever,” the Ta-Matoran said glumly, staring into his cup. “But I can’t go back to my old life.” Fear of his late employer turned his posture a bit more rigid. “What about the quarries? I’m sure they’re looking-searching for people,” Larker suggested. He’d considered picking up part time duties as a mine-runner, if they’d take him - simple, mindless, running the raw protodermis that was mined from the quarries to the assembler’s villages and sculptor yards. It didn’t pay much, and it could be physically demanding, but it was work. “Haven’t you heard?” Rofto was looking at him closely, trying to tell if he was joking. “What?” “There’s a snipe infestation in the whole quarry network, they’re all shut down.” “What?!” Larker repeated, more incredulous than anything. That would explain Emyk’s long absence and the increasingly disgruntled Po-Matoran he saw both in the streets and here in the evenings. “Yeah, one of Epena’s mines breached an Archives wall trying to expand, Rofto told him. “They swear it was an accident-“ “Of course they do,” Larked put in. “-but the next day, the same type of snipes that took down the northern sculpture fields were wreaking havoc in all Epena’s mines. Some of them have moved on to Emyk’s now, and Keturi’s is probably next.” “The Archivists let them loose?” Larker guessed. “Well, they say it was an accident, too. Or, just that the snipes were contained in the maintenance tunnel section, and it was Epena’s fault his miners let them loose.” “What are they doing to smother-stop them?” If left unchecked, the giant, mutant sand snipes would easily level half Po-Metru. “Well, last time, they had the help of the Cobalts.” “Ah,” Larker said, understanding. There would definitely be no help from the water-sisters, not these days. “The Garrison is doing the best they can with lures and avalanches, but it’s not going to be enough,” Rofto fretted. It was a sadly unique spectacle, having a Ta-Matoran worried for the well-being of Po-Matoran, Larker realized. “What about that branch of enforcers that was training Kavinika wolves? Can they help?” “No, that was the Cobalts, too,” the Ta-Matoran sighed. “Well, maybe you can start training a Kavinika,” Larker suggested, half-joking. He closed up his widget pouch and stood to leave for the night. He’d landed a spare-parts delivery from an remote assembler’s village to a Moto-Hub for tomorrow, so he’d have to get an early start, as the route would take him across most of the city. “Maybe,” Rofto chuckled. He, too, rose, waved goodbye, and slipped into an empty seat at a table of Po-Matoran and Le-Matoran who were just starting a new game of caps and pins. Larker stopped by the Ussalry to drop off treats for Subi, make quick inquiries as to when would be best to pick the Ussal up, and was on his way. The Ussalry attendant, unfortunately, told him that Subi had yet to begin the molting process. "Subi thinks I'm made of widgets," he grumbled. "And that I can rent-pay for an Ussal stall here all week." He handed over his week's winnings from the Wherehouse and was on his way. When he got back into his cargo-hauler, he almost jumped out of his armor because Erylist materialized in the cargo-hold, right behind him. “Larker, I need your help.” She spoke in a low, urgent tone, and sounded exhausted. “You’ve had a bad-busy week,” he said, turning to face her. She did indeed look worse for wear. “Wish I could speak-say the same.” “No, you don’t,” she half-laughed. She sounded exhausted. “Trust me.” “What kind of help do you want-need?” “The immediate kind,” she said, clutching onto the side of the carrier as he reversed out of the Ussalry lot. “Just drop me off in the Coliseum roundabout. That’s all I need.” “Now?” He looked at her, incredulous, and shifted into forward gear. “Yes.” It was completely out of his way, there was no guarantee he wouldn’t be stopped by an enforcer’s patrol, and if he were, he had no cargo to say he was on a delivery, save for the out-of-sorts Midnighter. He could always say he was on his way back from a delivery. She continued after he said nothing. “Just drop me off, and go straight home, and keep your head down for a while. Don’t go out at night, after this.” “Is something bad-wrong?” he asked over his shoulder, concerned. She didn’t seem like the type to spook easily. “Nothing worse than usual,” she laughed nervously, an attempt at nonchalance that was more unnerving than not. “And if you see Tines, let him know I’ll be dropping by soon. I hope.” “Sure thing. Say-speaking of, Tengi needs to see you.” He U-turned around in an intersection and headed for a highway ramp leading to the heart of the city. “Tengi?” she asked, distractedly, fiddling with some darts, trying to fit them into their compartment. “You know, water-sister? Skiff-sailer,” he listed off. She definitely knew who Tengi was. “Right, right,” Erylist murmured distractedly. She’d fixed on the outline of the Coliseum against the night sky, approaching steadily. “Tengi. I’ll find her.” “Okay.” Larker pulled off to the side of the highway and turned to her. “What’s going on?” he demanded. “Keep moving!” She cried, turning invisible, but said, “Go! It’s not safe!” “Well, if it’s so bad-scary out here, I should turn this thing around,” Larker reasoned, reaching to throw the gear-shift lever. He waved away a fellow Le-Matoran who drove by and had slowed enough to ask if he needed help. “I know, I’m sorry.” She reappeared, crouching as low as she could, and glancing around at every shadow. “I’m sorry,” she repeated. Her voice shook. “I need someone I can trust.” “What happened,” he asked again, almost in awe of what had changed her into this skittish, paranoid shadow of herself, hunkering in the bed of his hauler. “I, um,” she stammered, whipping her head around to glance over the edge of the elevated highway. “Past caught back up to me,” she finished lamely. “The less you know, the better.” “What, did you short-change a mob-Matoran or something?” he wanted to know, trundling back onto the highway, headed again for the Coliseum. “Not exactly,” was all she said. Somewhere, she’d picked up a Crast blaster, and was fiddling with the ray concentration settings. “You know how to point-shoot one of those?” he asked, a bit nervous having an activated weapon out while he was driving. Odds were, she’d picked it up during the Kuma-Kava chase, but he couldn’t totally rule out that she’d mugged a patrol for it. “More or less. Point, shoot,” she said, her voice steadying a bit as she gripped the weapon. “Hopefully won’t need it.” “Erylist?” Ninety-nine percent of the time, a direct hit from a Crast blaster, even on the highest setting, wasn’t lethal. Concussive, sure. Cause irreparable, eventually lethal internal damage from the right distance and angle, though? Yeah. Able to knock someone, say, a Turaga, from the highest balcony in the city? Definitely. Punch him through one of the reinforced windows to plunge to his death below? Most likely. The list went on and on, the more he thought about it. “Hm?” “I-“ he was sorry to ask this, and hesitated. But he had to know. “You’re not going to kill-snipe the Turaga, are you?” She barked out a short, one-syllable laugh, and said, “No.” Which was relieving, but then added, “I’m not planning on it.” Which left it a bit open ended, and he drove on uncertainly. “You know, the traffic circle won’t get you safe-past the mechanical eyes,” he said, after driving a few mio in uneasy silence. He was hoping to deter her. “And there’s no telling what’s wait-watching on the inside” “That’s okay,” she said, hefting the blaster again. “I just need to be fast.” She seemed to be gaining a bit of her old confidence back as they drew closer, and as whatever plan she had in mind loomed more and more inevitable. They’d only passed a handful of other vehicles, although he’d seen no enforcement patrols on the highways. Ever since they’d centralized in their own Metru, as opposed to around the Coliseum, the Coliseum sub-district had been virtually empty. “Larker,” she spoke up again, sounding as sure of herself as when he’d first met her. The highway circle around the base of the Coliseum came into view. “I’m not going to kill anyone.” Then she muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, “Those days are behind me.” So Larker just nodded. He merged onto the abandoned traffic circle and said, “Stay low-down. I’m taking you in.” She drew up her shadow cloak, not even leaving her own shadow behind. Larker shifted gear once again, guiding the hauler to the inner ring of the circle. The unfair edicts against Le-Metru, the stretches of time with no work available, his people running low and dropping in the streets because they were driven away from the feeding point - it all seemed to propel his hauler down the ramp that much faster, straight to the base of the Coliseum. It was against his better judgment. but also because all of the unfair edicts against Le-Matoran suddenly jumped to mind, he took a delivery ramp that led directly to the base of the Coliseum. “I’m picking up a bad-broke piece from the last Moto races,” he told the Ko-Matoran at the gate. The Phase Dragon logo and his badges got him through the gate, and he carefully backed into line with one of the cargo ramps. It was only because he was attuned to the balance of the hover-hauler that he noticed when the Midnighter, invisible, leapt from the vehicle. To his surprise, though, she appeared briefly at the side of the vehicle, in its shadow. “Thank you. You didn’t have to do that. But I’m glad you did.” She patted the side of the hauler in send-off. "You should get out of here.” And disappeared once more. Larker sat in the loading dock for a few more minutes, thinking of worst-possible-scenario contingencies. He should tell Kesian to falsify records that he, Larker, had been fired a few weeks ago, in case things went badly. That way, at least the company wouldn’t have a direct tie to the illicit delivery he’d just made. He needed to figure out a story to explain, in case the Ko-Matoran at the gate detained him, explaining why he got his pickup date wrong. But as he pulled away from the loading ramp, he knew that it wasn’t himself he should be fretting for. Review Topic
  14. Agree, but I usually pair it with the inner Hordika turmoil from '05. Yes, I also associate Linkin Park with Bionicle for the same reason, I think. Also why I associate Roodaka with Evanescence (I'm pretty sure there was an old AMV with Cloud Nine and Web of Shadow clips, but can't find it now). I think I'd choose What You Want or Everybody's Fool, though. But I still like the combination. Dark Horses by Switchfoot for Voya Nui, although I don't entirely remember how the whole thing went down with the Piraka versus the Toa Nuva/Toa Inika. I can picture Takua wandering around Mata Nui with On My Way, playing in the background (you know, that happy adventure song from Brother Bear because Phil Collins is amazing). There's a lot that could like potentially kinda fit, but not exactly, you know? Cool to see everyone's music tastes, definitely. It's turned out to be quite a trip down memory lane, listening through the songs I liked (and still do) when I was getting into Bionicle for the first time. Didn't realize how strong the association was, wow.
  15. Aderia

    Christmas is Cancelled

    Merry Christmas, and we'll all have a grand old time being alone together for the holidays. But I'd much rather that than accidentally give Covid to relatives as a gift instead of, you know, joy and stuff. Social responsibility oh yeah
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