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About Time

shadows epic

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#1 Offline Alex Turner

Alex Turner
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Posted Jun 08 2013 - 07:41 AM

Rolling hills, lush green fields. What was once the condemning desert of Bara Magna was now a tranquil expanse resting under a star-filled sky. Where the relics of bygone warriors once lay, beautiful flowers bloomed.
 
However, some things never changed about the landscape. Namely, the frequency of bizarre things falling from the sky. Tonight was no different.
 
A perfect sphere of solid, protective metal, once a cocoon, now an empty shell. Over time it had been slowly drawing closer in its orbit around the planet, through the bleak vacuum of space, and now its path had reached the point of no return. It began to gain speed, falling faster and faster until it became a magnificent ball of flame, rocketing across the night sky and soaring among the stars-
 
-before it came crashing back down to the very ocean that had evicted it all those years before.
In the crashsite, below the waves, it stirred, the sides of the sphere’s body clicking out of place and drawing away to form claws, limbs. Two-toed silver feet planted themselves into the sea floor, and a mechanical figure began to take shape as it rose upon two unsteady legs. The pincers on its arms clicked together a few times as the creature’s sensors began to function once more. At last, the misty depths were illuminated by a pair of thin, slanted, ruby red eyes, which snapped open and darted around viciously in search of something, anything, that might tell of where it was.
 
Nothing.
 
The creature began to walk, taking shaky steps after what felt like eons without use of its legs. Bug-like, it staggered along the ocean floor, beginning its long trek to the nearest landmass. It didn’t know where it was, and it didn’t know why, but the fact that it was still functioning meant only one thing: it had a mission to complete, and, as before, it would relentlessly carry out its one and only task.
 
Free the Bahrag.
 
Lehvak-Kal had returned to Aqua Magna.
 
-     -     -
 
“I don’t care what safety measures you put in, you cannot let that ship lea- What do you mean it’s already left?!” After a garbled response from the other end, Traxin slammed the phone down in despair and buried his face in his hands.
 
Guard duty, no matter how much modern technology you were armed with, was possibly the least exciting job in the entire military. You could have a gun that shoots rainbows and an eyepiece with a billion different functions that can cook toast, but none of it’s any fun if you’re just going to stand there doing nothing with it.
 
This is exactly why Traxin pitied the guards, wherever he went. He always gave them a friendly smile in place of the usual stern respect most military men gave, in an attempt to comfort them in their post of pain and suffering.
 
Meanwhile, he had what was often thought to be the most exciting job available, not just in the military, but in the city. He was a member of the Secret Service. The one problem with working for the Secret Service, however, was that it was secret, and nobody could know how about all the unbelievable things he had done. As such, when people asked what he did for a living, he had to tell them he was a guard. It killed him a little bit every time he had to say this.
 
Now, though, he had just been informed that someone lower down on the chain of command had made a huge mistake. They had allowed a ship full of wide-eyed amateurs to set off into the endless ocean with no clue where they were going, thinking they were off to colonise some new land. Traxin knew that the entire crew of this ship would never be seen again, and now not only would he have to release a cover story, but he would also have to take the full-frontal assault from his own commanding officer.
 
Leaning back in his chair, the Ta-Matoran spun around and gazed out of the window from behind his Huna, with sullen eyes. In their time on this new world, the peoples of the Matoran Universe and Bara Magna had created a utopia. A police force guarded the city now, crime had hit an all-time low, and technological advancement was reaching previously unheard of peaks. All of this was bad news for him. Now, instead of raiding terrorist hideouts and bringing power mad tyrants to their knees, he was stuck behind a desk, making phone calls and getting yelled at by people.
 
“Quite the achievement, isn’t it?” Said a slimy voice from behind him.
 
He whirled back around to see an Onu-Matoran with a purple Kualsi standing in his office. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
 
“No,” the Matoran said, cocking his head, as if he was a judge and Traxin was being tested. “My name is Zarrus, Traxin.”
 
He was about to introduce himself in return when he realised this stranger already knew his name. “Who are you, and how do you know my name?”
 
“I know a great deal about you,” the Matoran replied, casually. “I know that you’re tired of life but afraid of dying. I can bring you the excitement you seek, with your consent.”
 
Despite how appealing this offer seemed to be, Traxin was skeptical about the reliability of this stranger. “Who do you think you are, exactly? You waltz in here, knowing far too much about me than is healthy for you, and then expect me to accept your already shady offer without telling me the first thing about it! I would like you to kindly get the heck out of my office, if you please.”
 
“I’m sorry you feel that way, Traxin,” the Onu-Matoran turned to leave as Traxin began to walk around the desk to confront him. “If you wish to double back on you declining of my offer, here’s all you need to know.” Without turning around, Zarrus tossed a card over his shoulder, which Traxin caught absent-mindedly.
 
He stared after the mysterious character long after he had gone, in contemplation of what had just happened. At last, he remembered the card, and gave it a thorough inspection.
 
No secret explosives, no acid packs, no razor-sharp edge, nothing. Only one side was even printed, which read simply:
 
Bygone Industries
Mr. H. Zarrus
Wester Drumlins
Visiting Hours: 18:00-06:00
Tel: 06010 210 602
 
-     -     -
 
With the rise of modern technology and the increasing popularity of scientific advancement, sacrifices were made, and a certain breed of person was now dying out: The gentleman scientist.
 
The thought always go Trakuda’s spirits down. Perhaps all the things scientists made nowadays were more sleek and innovative, but they lacked the retro charm that decorated the Ko-Matoran’s library, and indeed the rest of his home. The entire structure was like a vast palace of wit and cleverest-man-in-the-room-ism, even down to the maroon armchair and polished walnut table that he sat at now. Opposite him, however, was something that didn’t quite fit with the rest of the house. For being a gentleman scientist certainly didn’t stop Trakuda from playing chess with a robot.
 
This was how he dealt with intruders. The mechanical ‘marvel’ had been caught trying to break in through the kitchen, and had failed miserably. Whatever anyone would want with his kitchen was beyond him, but he couldn’t care less about who wanted to steal from him. What he did care about was proving that the human brain could never be defeated by a machine.
 
Unfortunately, he was doing rather unsuccessfully. Four moves in, and neither side had lost a piece. It was getting tense.
 
It was the robot’s move. Queen to Knight Six. Trakuda smiled. His smile broke into a grin as he reached out. Then laughter, as he took the queen and replaced it with his king.
 
He leaned back in his chair, grinning maliciously at the clunky excuse for a being in front of him. “Even simple one-dimensional chess exposes the limitations of the machine mind,” he gloated.
 
But then the robot made its next move, and Trakuda realised he had made a horrific mistake. Bishop to Queen Six.
 
The robot looked up at him from the board. For a moment he thought it was going to smile. “Check.”
 
“What?!” Trakuda exclaimed, frantically scanning the board in search of an escape route.
 
Machine mind computes mate, in six moves.”
 
“No, no, no, no-“
 
BBBBRRRINNNGGG!
 
Trakuda’s heart skipped about seventy beats before he realised it was the telephone. Thank the Great Beings.
 
Leaning over the board with narrowed eyes, he pressed his forehead against the unfeeling machine’s and growled, “I’ll be back. This isn't over.”
 
With that, he got to his feet and strode into the next room to pick up the phone. “Hello?”
 
“Trakuda! It’s Traxin,” buzzed the deep voice at the other end.
 
The Ko-Matoran was ecstatic at the sound of his old companion’s voice. “Traxin! Hasn't it been a while! I’m so glad you called, I need a bit of help with-“
 
The Ta-Matoran cut him off. “Not now, old friend. I have a proposal. For... An adventure.”
 
Now we’re talking, thought Trakuda. “An adventure, you say? What kind of adventure? What’s it all about?”
 
“Well,” the voice said, the grin almost audible through the phone. “It’s about time.”
 


About Time

by Wotsiznaim


Edited by Wotsiznaim, Jan 05 2014 - 09:07 AM.

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But that place on memory lane you liked still looks the same / But something 'bout it's changed


#2 Offline Alex Turner

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Posted Jun 15 2013 - 06:16 AM

Chapter 1
 
Wester Drumlins was a five-storey house just outside the city. It was cradled by a once grand cliff face, that had now been eroded into a vicious claw of a rock formation. A long and winding road cut into the rock and slithered up beneath a canopy of trees to the main building at the top of the cliff. The house itself hadn’t been inhabited, or inhabitable, for years, although it hadn’t been explained why by any officials. Rumours about the place were in high frequency, however: Some said it was haunted, others that it was built to house some secret experiment.
 
Trakuda, however, was barely interested in all the information he had on the house itself. What he really cared about was why Traxin had summoned him to this specific place, at this specific time, on this specific day. In the past, he and Traxin had only encountered each other by chance, as they lived in close proximity to each other, and often got caught up in the same events and misadventures. People tend to bond surprisingly well in life-threatening situations. For example, the two of them, despite one being of ice and the other of fire, and their personalities, morals and very lives differing so much, they still found they could work together in situations that would destroy them alone.
 
So, why had he asked to meet Trakuda in such a strange location? All of his thoughts - as he made his way up the unnecessarily long driveway - came back to this question.
 
Thankfully, his wait for the answer had come to a close. Upon knocking on the door it seemed to jolt in reaction to contact with him, as if it was being snapped to life from a deep sleep. A cloud of dust, gathered from years of disuse, coughed out of the door’s cracks and seems, and the huge wooden slab swung on rusted hinges to reveal  very little more than more dust, and more darkness.
Taking one last scan of the courtyard, Trakuda spied a mysterious figure in the deceased overgrowth to the right of the house. They were clad in a pitch black cloak adorned with some kind of faint grey markings, which curled to a point in various places, and rode the being’s form with perfect symbiosis. The Ko-Matoran frowned, and considered approaching the person, although wasn’t sure he could leave the halls of Drumlins unattended. However, after another brief glance at the building’s interior, the figure was gone, and the moment was over. Logging this strange encounter for later, he drew a lightstone from his armour, and stepped over the threshold.
 
 
Time had treated the house of Wester Drumlins with contempt. Every staircase and hallway felt as if it was going to collapse at any moment; the books were rendered unreadable by damp conditions; all kinds of vermin and critters called the place their home, scurrying around when nobody was looking. Traxin had been appalled the first time he had come at the state of it. He knew it was uninhabited, of course, but not that it had been decimated beyond any condition safe for living in.
 
The room he now sat in – on the most stable chair he could find, after much searching – had a thick cloth weaved from cobwebs and dust across all of its furniture. Just about visible through the coating was a mantelpiece and a broken mirror, lined with various decorative objects; a bay view window looking out over the courtyard through torn curtains, heavy with years of neglect; a small chest of drawers, atop which lay a pile of ruined books; a wardrobe, which was locked and keyless; and, in the centre of the room, a long table, with four rather neatly arranged chairs, which appeared to have been arranged rather recently.
 
This, Traxin knew, was because of the meeting Zarrus had arranged for this evening. Two of the chairs were for them, and the other, in Zarrus’ words, “are for a friend of yours, and a friend of mine.” No specific friend had been specified, so Traxin had assumed he was free to choose. Thus, he had called up an old companion of his, Trakuda. Meanwhile, the identity of Zarrus’ guest was as secret as the identity of himself.
 
The sound of the building’s very infrastructure straining against the wind had become nothing but background noise in the short time he had been here. However, he knew the difference between the slow, groaning creak of a house past its time, and the sudden, clunking creeks of metal feet striding up stairs.
 
At first he thought it was Zarrus, the first arrival, which would make sense, given he had organised it. But then, looking at the one functioning object in the room, the clock, he saw that it could only be one.
 
“Trakuda,” the Ta-Matoran greeted, rising from his seat to greet the arrival. “I knew you’d come.”
 
The other smiled. “How could I resist? Time, you told me. You know that’s one area I’ve always only dreamed of researching. It’s odd, though, that you asked to meet me in such a... Charming location.”
 
Traxin chuckled slightly. “Yes, well, we have both been invited by a particularly strange individual. He seems to have a taste for the theatrical, since he told me little about himself last time I was here. He also told me next to nothing other than the morsel I told you.”
 
“Fortunately,” the Ko-Matoran said, turning his head as he listened to an approaching sound, “it seems the wait has come to an end.”
 
“Indeed, Trakuda,” announced a voice. Both turned to see the Onu-Matoran swagger into the room and take his seat at the end of the table, slapping a trio of files onto the table. The pristine, dim navy of the files looked rather out of place here, yet the abuse Zarrus’ armour showed seemed considerably more fitting in the deathly environment.
 
“Who are you, exactly? And how do you know my name?” Trakuda demanded, leaning on the table in front of Zarrus.
 
“Believe me, I still wanna know the answer to that myself,” came Traxin’s backing from nearby.
 
Zarrus smiled calmly and waved both of them to their seats. “Fear not, you two. Let’s not be hasty. The knowing will come. We only await our final guest – when they arrive, we may begin.”
 
Trakuda sat in the seat to the Onu-Matoran’s left, and Traxin, although less compliant to sit when ordered by a stranger, took the one to his right, opposite his friend. The two exchanged looks for some time as they waited.
 
 
It took quite some time for the final ‘guest’ to be present, and even when they did arrive, they did not show their face. They stepped into the room silently, with no other present daring to break the silence the being induced.
 
They were robed in grey, their face hidden beneath a tall canopy of a hood. The robes themselves were rather unremarkable and blank, the only notable feature of the being at all being that they had completely white, skeletal hands which almost glowed with their purity of colour, or lack thereof. They matched a Toa in height, although none of those present cared to notice this – they were too in awe of this stranger’s almost ethereal presence.
 
At first, Trakuda assumed this to be the mysterious person that had been watching him outside. Both had the same kind of haunting feel about them, and both were completely covered up by their robes. However, upon comparing their style of clothing, he determined they were different individuals, and, he hoped, unrelated.
 
“Now that we are all assembled,” Zarrus snapped the two of them out of their trances, “and sitting comfortably,” he added, with a respectful nod to the newcomer, who blankly took their seat, with no sign that they had even noticed anyone else was in the room. “I believe we may begin.”
 
 
As he explained then, Zarrus was the only remaining member of a group of Matoran scientists called the Bygone, who were dedicated to researching one area of science carefully avoided by all others: Time. The others were all picked off one by one by rival scientists, who were after their research notes. The Bygone, Zarrus claimed, were very close to a cataclysmic discovery that would change their world forever. He faked his suicide, to drop off the map and lay low, so this invisible enemy of his fellows could never find him. He also adopted the false name which he had told them, although he did not reveal his real name, just in case. Apparently, this was also the reason for his shadiness in their summons, and his lack of details until this point, when he was sure he could trust them.
 
Traxin was beginning to understand why they had been gathered, at last. “So, you’ve called us here so we could finish the job your guys almost did back then?”
 
“Not quite,” was his response. “I have called you here so that you can accomplish the goal I discovered when I finished the work my late brothers started. They’re here for a different reason, however, which I will get to shortly,” he added on the end, nodding to the hooded one opposite him.
 
Before Traxin could ask anything, Trakuda had cut in. “Care to explain, now, how you know so much about us?”
 
“I was actually just coming to that. These files,” he gestured to the pale blue folders in front of him, already becoming assimilated into the room’s dusty skin. “Are everything anybody knows about you. I’ve read it all, of course, except that in black ink. I’d ask what in sanity’s name you got up to to get such reputations, except that I know what’s good for me.”
 
The two Matoran of fire and ice exchanged mischievous grins, before turning their attention back to Zarrus.
 
“Speaking of what I know is good for me, I hereby deem this meeting concluded.”
 
Both Traxin and Trakuda were immensely confused at this abrupt ending, so confused, in fact, that it numbed any curiosity in the files that were being handed to them. However, no amount of confusion and shock could numb what came next.
 
Rising to his feet, Zarrus extended his arms out to the sides and closed his eyes, as if about to embrace some colossal impact. Flames then leapt and danced across the table, reaching out from the cloaked figure’s hands. They flickered and pranced across without a single thing to stop them; years of desolation had turned the entire house into a giant tinderbox. The two of them barely had the chance to snatch up the files and leap out of their own chairs before the entire surface of the table was consumed.
 
Then, rigid as a statue, Zarrus dropped straight forth into the torched surface, colliding with it with audible force, then igniting faster than the table itself had. His entire body was incinerated almost instantly. Trakuda knew, almost immediately, that he must have planned this in advance and coated his armour in some kind of flammable liquid, but put this conclusion from his mind for now. There were greater things at stake.
 
Traxin was already taking the lead, dashing out through the doorway as the rest of the room caught fire. Trakuda followed, hurdling the raging flames that used to be a table and sprinting across an already unstable landing after his friend. Their path through the winding staircases of the house took them directly under the room several times, and each time it was clear the fire was spreading faster and faster from its source.
 
Several columns and shards of burning wood collapsed to try and block their path, but they did not waver, and pushed on through. Trakuda was conditioned for cold. Heat to this extent was unbearable for even non-ice beings, but he could hardly think, let alone breath, as the flames smothered him from all angles. Only the thought of fresh, cool air, of getting out of here alive, of Traxin, his friend, of the robot, still sitting at the chessboard, waiting for the game to be finished, spurred him on to keep running, to keep going because while things were traumatic and close to death now, they would be fine later.
 
Traxin, meanwhile, who had lived in a volcano for 1000 years of his life, was right at home in the thick of a burning building. It was he who cleared the less lethal objects, he who made the path to get them out. He was almost certain they were being followed, presumably by Zarrus’ killer, but he daren’t turn around out of fear of what he would see. Instead he kept his eyes focused on his path, and soon, the door was in sight, invitingly left open.
 
Now he turned, quickly glancing to make sure of Trakuda’s safety and to assess the environment behind them. A silhouette was just about visible through the smoke, carrying something large. Before he could determine who or what it was exactly, there was a cry from his companion, “Traxin!” Wailed the Ko-Matoran. “The door!”
 
Whirling around, Traxin saw the fire scrambling over itself to reach and destroy the doorway ahead. “Oh no you don’t-“
 
Thinking fast, he grabbed Trakuda, lifted him with the strength of a soldier, and threw him over the threshold and onto the hard stone ground outside. One last glance over his shoulder later, he had followed his friend and thrown himself out too, just as the doorway caved in, burning tinder crashing in its place.
 
Trakuda gagged for breath, smoke and ash erupting from his lungs as he wretched on his hands and knees in the chilled night air. It had been late evening when he had entered the house. He hadn’t realised how much time had passed.
But the fun wasn’t over yet.
 
In a colossal explosion of orange and black and red and grey, the entire front of Wester Drumlins house exploded. Everything within 10 square meters of the door was torn apart and flung to the farthest reaches of the area. One or two trees were caught in the blaze, but the flame failed to spread further than their neighbouring vegetation.
 
And there, standing in the thick of the house’s death throes, was the cloaked figure. Except that they were no longer cloaked – the fabric had been burned away and was still aflame, but the being didn't appear to feel the heat. Instead they used their free hand to tear the cloak from their body, and toss it back into the blazing ruins around them. Apparently they weren't aware that the two Matoran were still watching, awe-struck.
 
Her armour was aglow, a brilliant white aura humming around her, the air in her presence filled with energy and light. Her facial features were hard to make out in the odd light of the fire, but it was clear she was wearing what looked to be a Kanohi Iden, and that there, held in her arms, was the mutilated, unrecognisable corpse of Zarrus.


Edited by Wotsiznaim, Jan 05 2014 - 09:08 AM.

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But that place on memory lane you liked still looks the same / But something 'bout it's changed





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