IC: Arkom looked up at the sound of the three entering his office. "Hello," He said, a bit dully, and it was only then that the newcomers saw the death of their turaga's toll on the Regiment Commander.
His eyes were crossed with veins. Speech came softly and in a plain murmur, not cool or in a biting chuckle as was so typical of him in the past. Arkom's kanohi appeared darkened in great splotches, as though stained with sweat or perhaps tears. His mouth was a dreary line in his face. He seemed smaller somehow, shrunken into himself and without the presence he had just hours before. He didn't move, just sat there and looked vaguely in the direction of the other Ussalmatoran.
"Tarnok," He said abruptly, looking into the eyes of the soldier. Then he turned to the others and briefly glanced at them as well down the line of their assembled bodies. "Uyism. Komisk. Gavarm."
Arkom paused, gaze mirroring Gavarm a little longer. His glance soon moved back to encompass the group.
"Let's get real here. **** is going down and none of it spells anything good for our koro. You've felt the grip of a political iron fist, heard of Xa-Koro's destruction, seen the turaga die-Mata Nui bless his soul-," He prayed before continuing. "And you can see it too, can't you?
"'It' is that our era is dying. This world's gears are shifting. And as of right now-," He gave a long, hard stare to Tarnok,"-It looks like those gears could crush our village if we aren't careful. The military is being cut so that it will be smaller than what it was before, our leader has died, and even as we speak, several boats full of warriors sail around the island, preparing to strike more powerfully than their Xa-Koro brethren did at Le-. We are falling apart while new menace rises."
"Which is why," Arkom continued, "I have gathered you here today."
He looked out over the room again. All hushed, waiting for more speech. Silence reigned unchecked for several moments.
"I may not have always had the best relationship with you, 7th," He admitted. "I'll give you that I have attacked your commander in more than one way; that I've sent you on the hardest of all missions; that I've staunchly refused to let any of your accusations of evil in people, and, conversely, praise of good mean anything to me. I've done a lot of wrong there.
"But right here and now, I'm not going to ask for forgiveness for that, because I don't know if it'll ever come and I'm not going to expect you to." He raised his head slightly, staring up at the ceiling to beseech the heavens. His face was firm and seemed nobler now than the tired and aged visage it had appeared just minutes before. "What I am going to do is ask that we set our troubles aside and work together."
He looked back at the assembled Ussalmatoran. Again, his gaze came over each one in turn.
"This is our koro's darkest hour. There are few I trust to stand by it, fewer still to be effective in protest against the spreading shadow on our land. But you, 7th Squadron, regardless of whether I think you were right in action or not, have always showed a commitment to fighting for your koro. I need not mince words with examples, but if you so desire, look upon your teammates' burns marking their battle against the assassin of our late turaga," He said with a hint of pride. "Always, you have striven to do Duty to this village and all other civilization on Mata Nui.
"Yet now doing our Duty is not enough. Divided and riddled with strife, we are only fit to do more harm to our village than good. Thanks in no small part to us, we will only further tear our guard system apart with internal conflict as we have been steadily doing for years."
He sighed and looked down. Shame filled his visage with his words as he described the quandary that his own work had created.
Then he looked up. His eyes were hard suddenly, no longer guilty or confused. He drew his full height up and stood straight.
"We must now obey the virtue of Unity. To defend our koro--nay, our very island--from encroaching destruction, it is necessary that we put all our differences aside and join as one. TOGETHER, we can dull conflict inside our home. TOGETHER, we can stave off the external threat of the dark god. TOGETHER, we can at last find and complete our Destiny."
"And even we may only fight alongside each other a short while, even if we fall in the field of battle or by some alien subterfuge, even if we need more than bonds of fellowship to truly defeat the foe once and for all," Arkom swore, "We will yet have accomplished what we sought to do moreso than we could otherwise if we act TOGETHER.
"That, gathered guardians of our island, is my proposition." He sighed again, but this time it looked to be more from the heaviness of his speech than true tiredness. His gaze became flint.
"What say you? Shall you join me in defense of Le-, Ta-, Ko-, Ga-, Po-, and Onu-Koro in their time of need? Will we be remembered as heroes who made total their Unity, Duty, and Destiny-," The flint struck Tarnok, "-Or bickering fools who could not remove themselves from the past and trapped themselves inside the vicious cycle forever, dooming their society to annihilation?" Arkom's eyes shortly followed to Uyism before they returned to the whole room at last.
"The time for either fight or flight is now. The choice is yours."