Figured I'd post a topic both for my own reference and maybe to get a bit of feedback.
Theme 1: A Dark Hunt
This was not inspired in any way by Person of Interest; I have no idea what you're talking about. Originally this didn't have a title.
The Toa’s body crumpled to the ground as I withdrew my blade from his back – the hunt, at last, was over. It had been a particularly challenging one – yes, that’s right, challenging, even for me. Hunting down someone who’s gotten his hands on an Olmak is no easy task. My partner would never admit to finding any assignment the slightest bit difficult, but I understood the value in recognizing my weaknesses. If I could understand them, I could conquer them, learn to succeed in spite of them. It was why I would be alive far longer than he would.
Well, actually, that’s not the real reason, I guess. See, this mission had two parts. I knelt down beside the fallen Toa and wrenched the Olmak from his face; that, naturally, was our primary objective. The mask housed considerable power, power the Shadowed One wanted to ensure was in… competent hands. Phase two, well…
“Excellent work,” came my partner’s voice from behind me.I turned, rising and giving a nod of appreciation. “Likewise,” I replied. He had concealed himself in the underbrush, using the powers typical of his species to cast an illusion over the clearing, distracting our quarry while I finished the job.
“Lemme see that,” he said, gesturing to the mask. “The sooner we get out of here, the better.” We had planned on using the Olmak to quickly return to Odina – my partner could access the mask’s power; I could not.
I tossed the mask in his direction. The moment he reached out to catch it, I lunged forward, my blade stopping an inch from his throat. To my surprise, he barely reacted, only raising an eyebrow in surprise. “What’s this?” he asked. “Treason?”
“Hardly,” I said. “I’m told you’ve been compromised, that it’s my job to retire you. Personally, I’m not too thrilled about it, but you should’ve considered the consequences before you betrayed us, yeah?”
Suddenly he—Laughed? “Something funny?” I demanded.He shook his head slowly, still grinning. “They told me the same thing about you.”I barely had a half-second to process the information before the Olmak in his hand exploded, a fireball large enough to engulf the entire island.
Theme 3: The Chronicler
I think I could've done better with this one, but I like it well enough.
"Preserving the Past"
Hey, uh. I don’t have much time to talk, so I guess I’d better make the most of it. Oh, yeah. Guess I’d better introduce myself, sorry. Name’s Greil. Not a Toa, no – I look like one, yeah, but I come from a species native to the Southern Islands. Which isn’t really that important, I guess. What matters more is what I do; I’m a… historian, I guess you’d say. The Matoran call me a Chronicler, or at least most of them do. I’ve been a lot of places, seen a lot of things. All of it’s recorded in that book over there, or at least the parts that aren’t in that one. Or any of those in that stack. Or… yeah, you get the idea.
That’s not really what I’m trying to tell you about, though. Yeah, adventures are cool. Watching history unfold before your eyes is something that never gets. But, see, it’s all there. All in those books. Feel free to read about any of it, if you like. Just bear with me for a few minutes here, all right?
See, as you can probably tell, I’ve got a thing for the past. Recording it, documenting it. Crafting a chronicle of our existence so the deeds we do won’t be forgotten. Like, uh… hang on a second, let me just… Yeah, here it is. Volume Six, chapter forty-three – “The Deeds of Toa Hydrac.” His exploits were the stuff of legends while he was alive. Now, though? You ask the people of his village about him, and all they have is vague recollections of a Bo-Toa who protected the island a while back, “or something like that.” A piece of the past lost. Events that may as well not have happened for all the thought they’re given. See how fragile the past is? The mere passage of time destroys it, melts it from our memory.
So yeah. That’s what I do. Preserve the past. Guard it, protect it. If I don’t, it’ll just vanish, and we’ll never recover it.
Wait, wait, I’m not done. ‘Cause, see, that’s not all there is to the past. Tell me – what’s the point of preserving it, huh? Why do we try to remember everything that happened before now? To honor the heroic deeds of those who came before us? Just for completeness, to have a full record?
Both of those have some merit, yeah. That’s what I had in mind when I set out on this quest, this endless, lifelong journey to record what’s happened in this world we call our home. But see, there’s something else that I realized.
Ultimately, the past is gone.
I mean, think about that, really think about it for a minute.
The past means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some recall the deeds of their heroes, wishing they could someday mirror such feats. But the thing is, you’ve got your own life to live – you can’t live it if you focus on the past.
Many live in regret of the decisions they’ve made, wishing they had done things differently. Wishing things had turned out better. But the things you’ve done – they’re gone! Because they’re in the past. When it comes down to it, living in regret doesn’t really make sense at all, does it? ‘Cause really, since you can’t change the choices you’ve made, what’s left to do but go out there and make better ones, yeah?
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: It’s good to remember the past, but don’t let it distract you from the present.
Well, uh. Looks like that’s all the time I’ve got. Like I said, feel free to check out those books. Or maybe you could go out there and live your life. I don’t really mind either way; I’ve got some things to take care of…
It’s up to you.
Theme 5: Find the Power
I didn't think this one was anything special when I wrote it, but it wound up winning its category. Go figure.
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.
Theme 7: The Order
This was fun to write. I probably could've gone for a bit more detail in the ending, but it was past midnight and for some reason I decided getting some sleep would be a good idea.
"In Which Artakha Almost Gets Me Killed, Multiple Times"
Screw Artakha. I hate that guy.
Man, most of the people in this universe don’t even think he exists. Spirit knows how bad I wish they were right. Dude has an insane superiority complex; thinks he can boss us around, do whatever he wants, just because the Great Beings made him out to be some kind of god-figure. Which, by the way, he’s not. OOOOOOH, look at me, I’m Artakha! I can use telepathy that’s a little bit stronger than anybody else’s! I can teleport anywhere, not just to places I can see!
Yeah, sure, he builds cool stuff. Seriously, though, who cares? Give me a mask that shows me exactly how to make whatever I want and I’ll do the same thing! So basically his powers are being a little bit better at reading minds and at getting places than most people are, and he can wear a mask. Amazing.
Seriously, this guy is infuriating to work for. Like— Okay, I could rant on and on about this, but I’ll just give you an example: the crystal serpents. Ol’ Arty thinks he can make rahi all by himself. Guess what, he can’t. Creates these giant crystal snakes that kill anything that moves with some heat ray thing. But of course he’s too conceited to admit he failed and decides to – instead of killing ‘em off before they murder anyone else – release the things into the wild where they can laser anybody they like! And since he’s too busy designing (read: copying a design from his mask of) some upgraded kanohi thing, he tells me to take them out and set them free.
And then, a couple centuries later, when he’s getting worried that “Northie” (as he calls the one that lives on the north coast of the island) is sick or something because there haven’t been any reports of laser-induced death from the north in a while, guess what he does? He figures that I should go check on him, since I was so good at not getting melted by heat rays the first time he had me deal with them.
Yeah, so, after the thing ambushed me and lasered my left arm off is when I called it quits. Just triggered my Kualsi – what do you know, I can teleport too – and landed behind the thing and crushed its head in with my warhammer before it had any idea where I’d gone.
Stole a boat, ditched the island, blah blah blah. Got the Ghosts to build me a new arm – those guys are so much better than Artakha, seriously, their craftsmanship is almost as good and they’re actually reasonable, imagine that. Settled down in the Southern Islands, found people there who actually appreciated my skills and whatnot. Started up a good business building stuff that a mask didn’t churn out the blueprints for.
‘Cept then yesterday some guy in a Sanok comes knocking on my door and tries to put a dagger through my heart. Artakha’s behind this somehow, that piraka. No way to prove it, of course, but… Spirit. Met up with one of my old contacts, a merchant with his ear to the ground. Says the guy after me’s with the Order. I know Arty had some dealings with them a while back, but why he wouldn’t have just gone with the Hunters if he wanted me gone is beyond me…
Eh, it doesn’t matter. Either way I’m probably dead.
Screw Artakha. I hate that guy.
Theme 9: Paradise
This is probably my favorite of the Bionicle stories I wrote. I was still kind of surprised that it won its category, though. I also had "Paradise" by Coldplay stuck in my head for like four days.
"Passing Through Paradise"
The sun blazes down, scorching the back of my neck. The sand beneath me is blistering; I feel as though I’m walking barefoot on a frying pan. My mouth burns; my throat is dry as cotton – it’s been forty-eight hours since I poured the last drop of water in my canteen through my chapped lips. The pack on my back seems as heavy as an obese kikanalo; with every step I take it threatens to pull me to the ground. But I trudge on.
Where I’m going is not important – all you must know is that this desert lies between me and my destination. I have lost count of the years I’ve spent out here, pushing ever onward towards my goal. Years? you question. Yes, I know. It amazes me as well, sometimes, when I pause to contemplate it. I am no Toa; I claim no great powers to ease the path before me. I am but a Matoran, a single, weak being alone in a sea of sand. But my goal lies ahead, and I must reach it. And because I must do so, I will.
I reach the crest of the dune and halt for a brief moment to observe the landscape. Sand. More sand. And, off in the distance, a small dark speck.
It is not until hours later that the speck becomes a narrow swath of green in the midst of the endless tan. An oasis. A sliver of paradise in a world of endless pain.
It is hours still before I reach it, but at last the sand turns to grass beneath my feet. The foliage radiates from a pool of water, deep and clear. I unshoulder my pack by its shore, dip my canteen into its depths. The water is cool and pure, life in the midst of death. I fill the vessel and seat myself beneath a towering palm, the tree shielding me, protecting me from the merciless sun. As I drink I dig my feet into the ground, relishing the feel of grass between my toes.
I finish off the canteen and turn to the tree, wrapping my arms around its long, limbless trunk and pulling myself upwards. I manage the climb on willpower alone; my strength, certainly, is not sufficient to carry me to the top. I draw my knife and cut free a cluster of bananas before dropping to the ground myself. I peel one of the fruits and eat it slowly, enjoying the sweetness that fills my mouth and the fullness that barely begins to fill my belly. I continue in this manner for the remainder of the day – drinking, sitting, climbing, eating. At dusk I curl up on the ground, grateful to be able to sleep on the soft grass rather than my coarse bedroll.
The next morning I wake, bathe, and begin again my routine of eating and drinking. I have gone long without water and longer without food; my energy must be replenished. I search the rest of the oasis, finding nuts, berries, and more fruits. No rahi have made their homes here, it seems, which is somewhat unfortunate – meat it would’ve been nice to have a bit of meat. Nonetheless, I gather what I can and return to the pool.
The next day, too, follows a similar pattern, but with the added task of drying and preserving any food I can find. By the end of the day my supplies have been replenished.
I wake the following morning and bathe quickly before refilling each of my canteens. I take a final sip of the pool’s cool water before shouldering my pack.
An hour later the sun is again scorching my neck; the sand is again blistering my feet. My throat is again dry and my lips are again chapped. Again my pack threatens to drag me to the ground. Paradise is behind. My goal is ahead.
THE END. Feedback is appreciated.
Edited by Baltarc, Dec 06 2013 - 06:58 PM.