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The Ocean of the Sky


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#1 Offline Cap'n K

Cap'n K
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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 05:37 PM

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VORSPIEL/

/RIESEN

 

Waves crashed relentlessly against the walls of the tunnel, and a stream of Matoran bolted through it. Besides the deafening sound of the sea, the commotion of armor clanking against walls made the shouts of idle conversation impossible to make out. "Hey, watch it..." said Sephra, knowing that raising her voice beyond the groan that escaped her mouth would be futile. The Matoran scrambling to their stations around her battered her from all directions. Despite her prided Le-Matoran agility, she was finding it difficult to stay upright among the furor.

 
Sephra was launched into place as if the Matoran around her were one large monster spitting up a particularly unsavory meal. Not hesitating to watch the Matoran around her apply the electrodes to the flesh beneath their armor, Sephra set to work. The Booster Suits were quite an ingenious invention--of course, nothing surprising coming from the brilliant smiths of Fälsch. Sephra gazed through the protoglass window as she applied a cluster of wires to her right forearm. Easy now, she thought and clenched her fist. The Booster Suit beyond the glass twitched reluctantly for a moment, and finally its huge fingers curled up into a fist. Sephra continued with the laborious process, easing each electrode into her muscle with a satisfying magnetic tug.
 
"Booster Unit!" boomed a voice, almost immediately silencing the clattering armor and small talk made in shouts. The only sound to be heard in the corridor was the waves, and even they seemed to shy away from the imposing presence.
 
"No doubt you heard the alarms sound," continued the voice. Sephra strained on the tips of her toes to see over the masses of Matoran around her gearing up for battle. "And I'm sure you all know what this is about. The onslaught upon Fälsch continues. I'm here today because the enemy has taken... certain measures to advance."
 
The voice drew closer and finally Sephra could discern the shape of the Toa as the crowd parted around her. "Intelligence reports that among the enemy today is a breed formerly unknown to us, a bruiser of monstrous proportions. I haven't come because I doubt a single one of you. I've come to warn you of the grim dangers to come, and to inform you that today I will be taking part in the battle."
 
The silence gave way to a cacophany of gasps, which quickly silenced itself as the crowd regained its reverence at once. Sephra continued to watch the Toa walk her way until she passed for a brief and glorious moment: Kalii, the Toa of Lightning. Despite her career as a defender of the island, Sephra had only caught a few glimpses of Toa Kalii in person. All other depictions of her were drawn from pictures and statues. Every time Sephra saw the Toa, though, she was amazed at how Toa Kalii was truly larger than legend. She carried herself like a true soldier, standing straight and confidently. Toa Kalii took a quick downward glance at Sephra as she passed, and Sephra nearly jumped out of her armor. As the magnificent Toa strode away, Sephra was sure she saw a smile flicker across her mask.
 
"Intelligence has yet to report the origins of this beast, or if there are more to come. Nonetheless, we must take extraordinary precautions. I will fight alongside you today. Other than that, it's business as usual. Carry on."
 
And as mysteriously as she had appeared, she vanished through the sliding door at the end of the corridor. The excitement started to build up again, first a series of mutterings that built into a chorus much louder than before.
 
Sephra stood there dazed for a moment. Toa Kalii was, more literally than not, legendary. Not a single Matoran was ignorant of the many heroic tales that surrounded the Toa, but she was rarely seen outside the Fälsch-Metru, let alone smiling at pitiful, humble Sephra.
 
She was knocked out of her daze as a crass Fe-Matoran nudged her. "Wake up, cross-wire."
 
Sephra scowled. Cross-wired, maybe, she wished she could say, but I didn't see Toa Kalii smile at you.
 
Bottling up the bitterness that the Fe-Matoran had resurfaced in her, Sephra continued to prepare her Booster Suit. The familiar echo of the captain boomed through the corridor as a new alarm began to sound. "Booster Unit, take up arms and move to your stations." The protoglass shield lifted with a tremendous groan, and the line of Matoran marched forth to their Booster Suits. The suits stood magnificently: armored like the Bohrok and coursing with life like the Maker itself. Sephra pounded up the metal stairs and into the cockpit, her electrodes' wires retracting into place in the suit.
 
The Booster Suit shuddered mechanically as Sephra clenched her muscles. She performed all the obligatory tests--arm lifts, leg lifts, head rotations which made the metallic tendons in her neck crackle--and a new loudness exploded into the room.
 
Sephra turned with the rest of her unit and continued the march as the tremendous door to the sea opened and the floor flooded with frothing Protodermis. Straining her eyes, Sephra could see the lines of the enemy approaching on the gray horizon. It almost felt like ordinary routine until a shadowed figure appeared among the fleshy masses. This was... different. Even from bio and bio away Sephra could make out its monstrous shape. It looked like a pillar, straining toward the thunderclouds above.
 
The captain's voice echoed uproar: "Forward!" There was something uneasy about his command... a certain hesitance, as if he feared this unknown monster as much as the rest of the unit. Sephra sat transfixed, watching the thing glide through the sea with an eerie stillness. This only lasted for a second though--she was a soldier, and she couldn't back down now. Sephra took to the waves among her comrades, Jets thrusting and legs pedaling. Even in her heated cockpit, she felt chilled to the core.
 
But despite the frost within, Sephra knew she could take on any challenge. For Fälsch. For Kalii. For the Fe-Matoran and his cruel words, and all the cruel words of the others. She repeated the mantra in her head. I am a giant. Sephra would do this for her people, but above all, for herself.
 
Lightning crackled in the sky and the invasion began.

 

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Edited by Euphrates, May 12 2014 - 11:34 AM.

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#2 Offline Cap'n K

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Posted May 11 2014 - 11:27 PM

AKT I/
/THE MOUTH OF THE BEAST
 
The battle had already broken out in full force as Kalii soared over the violent waves. She watched Matoran in their Booster Suits grapple with the Reisen as the perturbingly massive beast glided through the water. The Le-Matoran she had spotted earlier caught her wandering eye as she surveyed the turbulent seas. Kalii had long admired the Booster Unit's penchant for Matoran diversity, but it was oddballs like Sephra that always caught her interest.
 
Kalii stopped letting her mind drift as she focused on the task at hand. The beast on the horizon only seemed to grow bigger and bigger with every moment that passed. Taking initiative and soaring out to deliver the first blow would allot the Booster Unit more time and energy to battle the Reisen hordes, but would ultimately be foolhardy. Kalii knew she needed a plan if she wished to topple the tremendous monster.
 
As a gray-masked Matoran struggled to stay afloat against the blows of a particularly vicious-looking Reisen, Kalii fired a bolt of electricity at it. The Matoran gave her a reverent nod as he finished off the monster, stunned and charred and looking like nothing but a black ball of teeth and blubber.
 
Time to face the music, Kalii thought, arcing through the air with her Kadin. The monster appeared more and more like a column of flesh stretching up to the stormclouds every second. She might not have a plan, but if she allowed it to draw any closer to Fälsch shores the consequences could be unimaginable. As she soared toward the thing she almost marveled at its grace. A mountain of blubber and eyes, moving so still and unperturbed through the storm and the turmoil.
 
The monster remained unfazed by the blue-clad Toa soaring towards it. This thing is not Reisen, Kalii thought, staring into its soulless and foul profusion of eyes. It is something different. Something far more...ominous. A sign of something terrible coming.
 
It was only when Kalii was upon it that it opened its great maw. If its unsettling face bore any semblance to a Matoran's--eyes up there, mouth down there--it would almost look as if it were grinning. The rows and rows of teeth spun independently, beckoning Kalii to a painful demise.
 
It'll take more than some teeth and an ugly face to topple me! Kalii thought, absorbing the abundance of electical charge from the stormclouds above. This is what I'm made of!
 
Stopping flight mid-air, Kalii allowed the power surging through her to travel in a single beam straight through the mouth and into the belly of the beast. With a heave and a deafening rumble, the monster closed its mouth and squinted most of its terrible eyes. The storm almost seemed to clear for a moment. The sea stood still, waiting to see what this monster would do.
 
Its mouth opened again. The sound of tearing metal rent the air as a horrid roar escaped the huge thing's throat. Kalii covered her ears, struggling to concentrate enough to work her mask. With that same uncanny grace that the monster had used in its swimming, countless arms rose from the water, disturbing the waters unsettlingly little.
 
This place is not yours.
 
The words seared in Kalii's head like a brand. They were not Matoran words, but a thought shared between Reisen and Toa, burning with millenia's worth of flame. Kalii couldn't ponder the omen further--she couldn't even defend herself from the tendrils and their bony fingers. Delicately, not unlike hands preparing for a massage, they reached upwards and under Kalii's mask.
 
"No." Kalii felt the color drain from her body. She felt powerless as gravity took hold of her and the remaining electricity poured out from her body. Everything looked dark and blurry. The hands delivered her almost lovingly, through the air, into the horrible maw. This place... is not... yours?
 
Kalii could not fight the waves of unconsciousness. She was met with a dreamless sleep.
 
At least, for a moment.
 
The first thing Kalii noticed was the smell. How could she have missed it before? It dwarfed the smell of the sea and the rain. The air was rank with the smell of decaying metal.
 
The second thing she noticed was the light. She was surrounded by shadow, laying powerless on rotting layers of flesh. But above her shone this beautiful light, like the moon in a starless sky.
 
Finally, she discerned the shape and the sound. Among the teeth and the stillness, the silhouette of a Booster Suit stood splayed in the beast's lips.
 
"Toa Kalii!" wailed the Matoran. "Please wake up!"
 
The voice brought Kalii back to her senses. Her mask had been forcibly removed. She'd been nearly swallowed by the mutant Reisen, but a Matoran had come to her aid. Not just any member of the Booster Unit, however. Silhouetted against the relative brightness of the storm, Sephra stood, holding open the jaws of the monster with everything in her.
 
It was then that Kalii noticed the pain and the weakness shredding their way through her body. "Save yourself," she hissed through clenched teeth.
 
"Not today, Toa Kalii." The horrible sound of rending metal echoed again, Sephra's booster suit seeming to give way. "Not to say haste wouldn't... be advisable."
 
Kalii, unaccustomed to her body without the power of a Kanohi, staggered to her feet and charged forward. With a roar of her own, she gathered all the static she could into her body. Kalii flung herself at Sephra, wailing and releasing the electric buildup within her.
 
The two soared from the monster's mouth toward the sea below. The Reisen flailed and spat behind them. Kalii held onto Sephra's booster suit for dear life, hoping the damage dealt to the suit wouldn't reduce it's buoyancy.
 
The Great Spirit was smiling upon them, Kalii decided when they landed in the sea with a mighty crash. Not only did they float upon the surface shaken but unharmed, the blue Kadin bobbed in the water next to them. As the waves settled, Kalii perched herself on Sephra's shoulders and dove into the sea.
 
She rose to the surface, putting the mask firmly in place.
 
Still dazed from all that had just transpired, Kalii could only nod. "Thanks."
 
Sephra seemed to be equally shocked by all of this. "Sure."
 
Kalii turned around and gritted her teeth. Expecting to see the beast rearing up for round two, she saw instead that uncanny and graceful movement. The Reisen were floating away en masse, led by the revolting pillar of eyes and teeth.
 
"This place is not yours," she whispered.
 
--------------------
 
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Edited by Euphrates, May 19 2014 - 06:33 PM.

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