Tehutti rolled his eyes as Mavrah came running into the study.
“Tehutti! Come—come see this!”
Mavrah tried to pull Tehutti from his seat, but Tehutti refused to budge.
“Calm down!” Tehutti snapped. “What are you going on about now?”
Mavrah beat his hand against the table in excitement, saying, “I’ve found it! I’ve found a remarkable specimen! You have to see it!”
Tehutti could not bring himself to care about Mavrah’s ramblings any more than usual. His job of going over these tablets, however, had become so tedious that the lines appeared to be running together. After quickly making sure there were no Rorzakh around, he set down the tablets and got out of his seat.
Mavrah dragged him down the hall to an elevator and pressed the button to summon it, bouncing excitedly as they waited.
“You’re embarrassing yourself,” Tehutti said. “You know that, right?”
Unfazed, Mavrah’s eyes continued to gleam with energy. “You’ll understand once you see it! Oh, Tehutti, it’s so magnificent! It’s unbelievable!”
What’s unbelievable is how you can jump continuously like that without gears flying out of your body…
The two of them stepped into the elevator when it arrived. Mavrah pressed the button for the lowest available sublevel; his movement calmed a bit so as not to rock the lift, but his foot was rapidly tapping. Just as the noise was about to drive Tehutti insane, the doors opened, and Mavrah dashed out. The leader tugged on Tehutti’s arm hard, creating a sharp pain and nearly dislocating his shoulder.
“Ouch! Hey, careful with that!”
“Sorry! Just hurry! It’s this way!”
Tehutti shook his head and ran faster to avoid having his arm torn off. Mavrah always did this whenever he discovered something: he would get overexcited, grab the nearest friend he could find, and drag them away to join in his elation. Usually, he turned out to be mistaken. Even though he had been right a few times, Mavrah hadn’t even been able to secure an exhibit with his name on it yet, but oddly enough he did not seem discouraged by this.
That didn’t make sense to Tehutti. An Archivist wasn’t really an Archivist until he had at least one exhibit to his name—that was just how things worked in Onu-Metru. Of course, there was only a limited amount of history to study and Rahi to catalogue. It was very difficult to pass the criteria for a new exhibit these days.
His frustration now amplified, Tehutti asked, “Just how much farther is this, Mavrah? How much time do you think I have to waste?”
Mavrah grumbled, “It’s not a waste of time…not much farther, okay?”
“At least tell me what it is.”
“No, you have to see it!”
The sublevels were extremely bare, especially compared to the rest of the Archives. A few doors lined each tunnel, but most were locked, and even some of the Archivists who had the keys still weren’t sure what was inside each chamber. It took a few minutes before Mavrah finally came to a stop before a bend in the tunnel.
“Alright, are you ready?”
“…No. Maybe you should drag me around a bit more until I am.”
“Oh, shut up. Just take a look at this!”
The Onu-Matoran both stepped around the corner. Trapped beneath a transparent container (with a pile of rocks on top to keep it from being moved) alongside the tunnel’s side was a Fikou. However, this was a Fikou unlike any Tehutti had ever seen. It was about the size of his fist—not an entirely uncommon size—but a spiked tail extended from its rear, and even from this distance it could be seen glowing with an eerie magenta light.
“…Oh,” was the first word that came out of Tehutti’s mouth.
Mavrah beamed with pride. “See?! What did I tell you?! A bioluminescent Fikou with a tail! Nobody’s ever recorded one of these, which means I discovered it! And that’s not all—take a closer look.”
Tehutti cautiously approached the trapped creature, which stood its ground and thrashed its tail back and forth in response. Further observation revealed that the Fikou had scales covering its body, and its head looked more like an ice bat…well, a three-eyed ice bat.
“Remarkable…” Tehutti said. “Can you even still call this a Fikou? It’s like an entirely different species.”
“I guess we will need a new name, won’t we?” Mavrah mused. “Maybe the ‘Mavrah spider’? I sort of like the sound of that! Haha, this will get me an exhibit for sure!”
The Fikou kicked the glass, but the Matoran paid its aggression no mind. Turning back to his friend, Tehutti said, “I guess so…congratulations, Mavrah.”
“Don’t be jealous, Tehutti, I’ll give you a footnote in my report. Help me get this thing to the upper levels, alright?”
Tehutti sighed as Mavrah began to clear the rocks off the top of the container. He turned around just as the last stone was removed, and watched as the Fikou suddenly backed up against the side opposite of where Mavrah stood. The container slipped out of Mavrah’s grasp and over a ridge in the ground, causing its edge to bounce up and provide just enough space for the Rahi to slip free.
“Grab it!” Mavrah shouted as he lunged.
The Fikou evaded his grasp, causing him to hit the ground and dislodge his mask. Before he could replace it, the Fikou spun around and used its tail to deal a blow to the Onu-Matoran’s temple, sending him sprawling.
Tehutti stepped forward and kicked the Rahi into the wall. While it was still stunned, he grabbed the container and slammed it down, capturing the creature once more. Keeping one hand firmly in place, he grabbed Mavrah’s mask and placed it back on his friend’s face.
“Mavrah? Mavrah, are you alright?”
Mavrah stirred. He sat up slowly, muttering, “Tehutti…? Ugh, what happened?”
“The Rahi escaped,” Tehutti explained. “It struck you in the head…does it hurt?”
Rubbing his wound, Mavrah said, “Rahi? What Rahi? How did we get here?”
Mavrah’s eyes settled on the Fikou. He reacted with awe, shouting, “What the…?! Wow, amazing! A bioluminescent…Fikou? Or is it something different? Incredible!”
He scurried up to the container, observing the Rahi with fresh interest. Confused, Tehutti said, “Um…you don’t remember it?”
Mavrah shook his head. “Last thing I remember is…sorting some receipts and ticket stubs with Whenua.”
“…Mavrah…that was yesterday.”
“Yesterday? But it feels like I was just there…”
It was then that Tehutti noticed venom dripping from the Fikou’s tail. As he figured out what was happening, he knelt and looked directly into Mavrah’s eyes.
“Mavrah…I think, when this Rahi attacked you, it injected you with some venom that wiped some of your memory. About 24 hours worth, I would guess.”
Mavrah thought for a moment. “…Oh…then we’d better be careful in transporting it upstairs.”
Tehutti shook his head. “You still want to get it upstairs?”
“You don’t? With a discovery like this, you’d really make a name for yourself!”
“You found a remarkable specimen, Tehutti! I’m sure they’ll want to put it in an exhibit right away. Wow, your first exhibit…I’m a little jealous.”
Tehutti’s gaze drifted to the Fikou. That’s right—he doesn’t remember discovering this thing. Now he thinks I’m the one who found it…
After a few moments of silence, Mavrah asked, “Tehutti? Something wrong?”
Tehutti grinned. “No…nothing at all. You’re right—we should get this upstairs. Thanks again for offering to help me.”
“You owe me for taking a hit, though.”
“Of course, Mavrah.”
The two of them began to carefully move the container, goading the Fikou along. Tehutti found it difficult to concentrate. He was far too excited that he was finally, finally going to get an exhibit with his name on it.
Mavrah walked in to find Tehutti with his head in his hands. “What’s wrong?”
Tehutti didn’t respond. A message from the Head Archivist was lying on his desk, so Mavrah quietly pulled it closer.
We thank you for submitting the Fikou specimen for further review. I must inform you, however, that earlier we received a correspondence from a Ga-Metru school. Apparently, a group of students was conducting illegal experiments with energized protodermis and created several mutant Rahi, including a bioluminescent lizard-Fikou that found its way out into the city. We believe this specimen you discovered to be the escaped subject. Given this new information, I am afraid we cannot put the Fikou up on display, as it is both unnatural and the result of illegal activity. It is my dearest hope…
Not needing to read the rest, Mavrah set the tablet down and looked back to Tehutti. “I’m so sorry, Tehutti. Maybe you’ll have better luck next time.”