Vote here for your favorite Find the Power story; entries have been randomized. Please MAKE SURE YOU READ ALL ENTRIES BEFORE VOTING.Voting begins now and will end on July 4th at 11:59 PM EST. Entries that do well will move on to the Find the Power Final Poll, which will be posted at the conclusion of the 10th round preliminary poll.
"Find the Power"
Just yesterday, I was a handsome Av-Matoran. Now, I'm a monster. A small, green and black Matoran thought as he sat down in his cave. What will I do now? Both sides hate me. All I can do is sit here and fight my own battles. "Hello Kranos." A familiar voice said. "Made a decision yet?" "No." Kranos replied flatly. "And it doesn't matter what you think. You're dead." "Oh come on. If I were dead, then how could I be here?" The voice said, stepping out of the shadow. "Zek, you died five weeks ago when the Makuta first attacked. I know because I saw you roll off that cliff and plummet into the swamps below. No one could have survived that." Kranos said. "And yet, I am here." Zek said. "No, you're not." Kranos said, annoyed. "You're just a figment of my imagination." "Oh really? Prove it." Zek said, snickering. How Kranos would love to pick up his sword and stab this ghost. But that was the evil talking. Five weeks ago, the Makuta began their assault on Karda Nui. Zek, Kranos, Kirop, Radiak, and Gavla had all been struck by Shadow Leaches, creatures that sucked the light out of you, leaving nothing but a shell full of darkness, hate, and evil. Zek had rolled off of a cliff in his agony and fallen at least forty-thousand feet into the swamps below, where the beasts that dwell down there would feast on his flesh. Kranos had ripped the leach off of his face before he lost his mind. At least, not all of his mind. Kranos' body had changed, but his mind was in a state where a perpetual conflict existed. A battle between good and evil; light and darkness. How easy it would be to let the evil take over, but Kranos would not allow that to happen. He would fight to find the power to keep the darkness at bay until he could find a cure. "Well? What are you waiting for Kranos. Kill me." Zek said. "I can't kill you. You're not real Zek." Kranos said. "Nice try, Makuta." He finished as Zek disappeared. "You're right, misfit. You can't kill him. But I can kill you." The Makuta said as he dropped from the cave ceiling. "This will be extremely fun. But I'll give you one last chance to side with the Makuta." "Why would I do that after what you did to me?" Kranos said, drawing his sword. 'What I did to you? I made you stronger, faster, deadlier. I made you perfect." The Makuta sneered. "Perfect? I'm anything but perfect." Kranos said, edging closer to the dark entity. "Well then, it's been nice knowing you, Kranos." The Makuta said. It was a fierce battle between Kranos and the Makuta. Kranos would go in for a low blow to the Makuta's legs, but the Makuta parried easily. The batle raged on and on for half an hour, twisting and turning. Both sides determined to win. But in the end, with a sword though his thigh, Kranos fell. "Farewell, Kranos. My work here is done." The Makuta said as he flew away. White was in the edges of Kranos' eyes, he knew that his time had come. Thank you, Makuta. Kranos said, he didn't even think that he would ever say those words. But the Makuta had ended his suffering and helped Kranos find the power to follow the light. As Kranos lay still on the cold, hard ground, he closed his eyes and greeted Zek on the edges of reality. -------------------------------------
Onua rose slowly, feeling the power of his mask flood his limbs as he pushed himself upright. The Pakari had always granted him strength far beyond the normal limits of any being, and even now it continued to do so. In fact, rather than being damaged in any way by… by whatever had just happened, it seemed to have grown in power, if that were possible – he felt as though he could lift the island itself as easily as any of the others could a pebble.
He called upon the power of the Miru—
He cleared his throat. The power of the Miru—
Nothing. So their little bath had destroyed his other masks? Quickly he reached out for his Akaku – nothing. Hau – nope. Kakama – still no. Kaukau? There wasn’t any way to test it here, but he expected the result would be the same.
He glanced down at himself for the first time. His form was bulkier, stronger, more powerful even than it had been before, which was certainly saying something. Sleek silver armor covered his body, accentuating every rippling muscle. He tapped the plating on his forearm softly – he doubted anything would be getting through that within the next millennium or three.
He examined the hand he’d just used. Minutes ago, powerful claws would have erupted from his fingers at a thought, but this, too, had changed. Simply a hand, he thought, flexing his fingers. How could he protect his koro without—
Slowly, instinctively, his hands drifted to his back and were greeted by cold, hard metal. He withdrew the weapons, examining them. Some kind of complex machinery – a long shaft fitted with a belt and dozens of sharp metal blades. Maybe he could…
The weapons roared to life, the blades dissolving into a blur and reappearing moments later as he mentally shut them off. Certainly these would be far more efficient at tunneling through the earth than his claws had been. And with practice, they would be deadly in combat.
He finally looked up, taking in the dark cavern. His fellow Toa were, like him, mesmerized by their new forms. Tahu had gotten his hands on some new blades, blades which were now engulfed in fire and whirling about in a flurry of flashy maneuvers. Pohatu was repeatedly vanishing and reappearing in another corner of the cavern before Onua could register he’d moved at all. Lewa, like Tahu, had been engrossed by his new weapons, a pair of swords that he was clearly more than eager to learn to use. Kopaka was simply leaning against a wall, looking on in disapproval – typical.
Gali had focused her attention on something else. She stood at the center of the cavern, gazing at an object that seemed to hover in the air. It was a cube, a cube carved with odd symbols and glowing with blue light. Onua made his way toward it cautiously, both apprehensive about the object before him and worried that Pohatu might not be watching where he was going and run him over.
Within a few moments the rest of the Toa had gathered. Lewa was the first to speak.
“So, uh… what’s the deal with the glow-bright cube-thing?”
No one had an answer. They stood in silence for a few moments before Kopaka extended his arm.
“Wait,” Tahu interjected. “We have no idea what—”
The Ice Toa silenced their leader with a glare as cold as his homeland and snapped his arm forward, his hand tapping the cube and then retreating to its place at his side.
A brilliant flash of light flooded the cavern and the Toa backed up as one, Lewa aiming his new blades at the cube. Tahu angled his for Kopaka, a curse on his lips. Ah, priorities.
A moment later the light had cleared, and, oddly, the cube seemed to be missing a side. A side, Onua realized suddenly, that Kopaka held in his hand.
“What—” Pohatu began.
Kopaka cut him off. “It’s cold,” he said, gazing at the square of stone. “Cold even to me. It houses power.” He looked up. “My power.”
Immediately Tahu stepped forward, touching the cube and claiming a piece as his own. The remaining Toa followed suit, Onua stepping forward last. Reluctantly, he grabbed the only side left. What Kopaka said was true – he could feel his own power emanating from the symbol in his hands. Should something like this really be removed from its proper place?
But he said nothing.
"The Process of Invention"
Turaga Dume,As per your request, I'm sending you updates with regard to the Metru Nui mass transportation system you have requested me to design. I've spent the last several weeks contemplating various methods. I've decided that ground based transportation will not do-- the Metrus are far too varied in terrain. Since Matoran are made of metallic components, I've figured we can use that combined with an electromagnetic field can propel ourselves along tracks. I've done small scale testing that this does work. Granted my small scale designs would result in Matoran death and island wide blackouts if I took them to large scale, but I'm still working on it. I move on to large scale modeling next week.-Your humble servant, Tuuri. Turaga Dume,Large scale modeling has proved extremely unsuccessful. My current setup consist of three rings, each containing six electromagnets. The only thing I managed to do was almost start a fire-- too much power is required for the electromagnets. You suggested in your reply that I abandon my ring transportation and instead design new hovercraft. I respectfully disagree that this is more efficient. They will keep Matoran waiting, and they will be slower than my rings. I also feel that this method provides more opportunities for scientific breakthroughs. Anyway, I'm reducing the number of electromagnets to draw less power. I hope it works. Most Noble Turaga Dume,With all due respect, Turaga, I'm not sure why you're so opposed to invention. Without dedicated craftsman we wouldn't have such a luxurious, beautiful city to reside in. Through innovation we can open up doors for future projects. If my system works we can create an entirely new industry! Doesn't that sound better for the city than relying on upgraded existing technology? I apologize if I'm out of line, but I hope I can convince you to let me keep trying the project. Anyway, I've finished constructing the new electromagnets and will test shortly. I will update you soon. Turaga Dume,Reducing the number of electromagnets did indeed draw less power, but it created a much less stable field. Any object I put into the rings has a good chance of flying out, which means Matoran deaths. On a tangent, I've also been thinking about what you said, about innovation versus resourcefulness. I confess I didn't think about the benefits of boosting existing industries rather thank creating new ones, and I concede that you have a point. I'm honestly not sure what to do here. In the meantime, I'm going to investigate the potential for hovercraft I have a meeting with a Protodermis Engineer in Ga-Metru next week and she'll be sure to have some ideas of what materials work best. Turaga,When touring the Ga-Metru refineries I was introduced to purified liquid protodermis. I think I may have solved my problem! My next letter will not come for a while, but when it does it will either have designs for rings or hovercraft! Turaga!I solved the issue! Turns out that pure protodermis has similar properties to metals, as does the substance in liquid form. I won't confuse you with details, but basically by using four electromagnets I was able to create a field between two rings that carried along the protodermis, acting as a barrier, stabilizing the previously unsafe field. With your permission I'd like to build a full scale test model at the Le-Metru racetrack. I will use myself as a test subject. Turaga Dume,Thank you for coming yesterday to oversee the full scale test! I've enclosed the full report of how I felt while riding the chute system, but the important part is that I think this will be an easy system for Matoran to use. With your permission, I will present my idea to formally launch the project at the committee meeting next week. Tuuri,You have accomplished much over the past year, and you have a lot to be proud of! Your report was thorough, and I have no doubt the committees will be satisfied and will approve the project. I heard that Lhikan even took a test run through the test chute and found it an enjoyable experience. I foresee your system greatly improving communication amongst our great city, and I hope that you will continue to use your creativity to better Metru-Nui. For finding the power to persevere beyonds failures and doubts (of even myself!) you have my utmost respect and appreciation.-Dume -------------------------------------
“Isn’t this just the best?” “…” “There’s really nothing better than being under constant threat of death.” “…” “Indeed, this is a fine morning for the suicidal. Why, if I wasn’t having so much fun, I would violently eviscerate myself!” Yrena tried her best to ignore her companion, but her patience was running out. In addition to making her even more nervous than she already was, Wofke wasn’t being particularly quiet (Not that he ever was…), and the danger of being heard was not negligible. “Please be quiet. You’ll get both of us killed!” “Gosh, I sure hope so. This wait itself is just killing me.” “Shut up! Someone will hear you, and we really will get killed.” “Oh darn, I guess I’m not being loud enough HEY PEoporghghg” “Why would you do that?! Do you really want to die?!” “Of course I do! After all, I let you of all people drag me here!” Yrena let go of him. He was being difficult and selfish, and he knew it. “Just…you know just how important this is.” “Yeeees! Finding the artifacts is so important enough that the Turaga thought it apt to offer two healthy Matoran sacrifices to the Great Spirit.” “This wasn’t their choice, and you know it. Toa Nuroka chose us.” “Doesn’t matter. So long as we still get to die, I’m fine.” Yrena sighed. Wofke was being terrible, but she knew it wasn’t fair to blame him for panicking. For as long as they’d known each other, he never once had been interested in heroics. It had always been her who had been most involved in the affairs of the Toa. She was fascinated, and longed for nothing more than to be one. Wofke had been a simple sculptor. His life began and ended with his work in his workshop. He and Yrena were lifelong friends, but their interests were completely dissimilar. When Toa Nuroka disappeared and the Turaga revealed that the two of them were Destined to be the next Toa, Yrena saw all of her dreams fulfilled. Wofke, in turn, saw his peaceful life fall to pieces. His life, as far as he was concerned, was already over. Could he really want to die? Yrena wouldn’t accept that. Unfortunately for them both, the Toa Stones required for their conversion had been stolen and hidden away when the Toa vanished. To receive their future power, they first had to find it. As they found themselves entering the Dark Hunter-infested canyon, it was only natural that their emotions would be on edge. But Wofke was practically delirious. “Say, dear friend, what says the map? The sooner we can find ourselves in as many little pieces as possible, the better.”Yrena had been given a special stone map crafted to detect Nuroka’s energies even if he was gone. Unfortunately, it wasn’t overwhelmingly accurate. “As far as I can see, we’re close. They should be somewhere in that general direction,” she said, pointing. “But chances are high they’ll be hidden and closely guarded. We can’t just walk in” “I don’t see any guards. I better go look for some in that general direction” As he ran rashly into the cave where the Toa Stones were located, Yrena tried to call him back, but decided it was futile. She ran to follow him and found himstanding alone, the surrounding area devoid of any sign of life. “Well, bummer. It doesn’t look like anyone is here to chop off our little Matoran heads. That is one disappointment I could have done without. “Wofke, you’re a moron…but it seems like this was the best opportunity we could have hoped for. Come on, help me look.” Then she noticed him already holding the two stones on his hands, looking at them as if mesmerized. “How odd…they were just barely buried. What a poor digging job.” “You found them! Wofke, this is great. Now we can leave this all behind!” He was looking hard at his stone, his expression unreadable. “I don’t want to die either, Wofke.” “That’s good.” “I don’t want to die,” she repeated, pointing at a mound of sand he now saw concealed the body of Toa Nuroka. “Not like him. Not ever.” “Oh. So he died.” “He died the day he became a Toa.” “And us?” “I guess…we’re going to die soon, too. That’s what finding this power meant.” “Oh, joy.” “But I think it’s fine.” “How can any of this be fine?” “We’ll be together. Just like now.” -------------------------------------