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The Islander

Altacosmos Chronicles

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#1 Online bonesiii

bonesiii
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Posted Feb 09 2012 - 02:52 PM

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This is an Altacosmos Chronicle, a standalone story set in its own Bionicle dimension, no need to read anything else. :) This series was inspired by Takuta-Nui's Etymology series; for more, see my new Tapestry of Time Collection Topic (also links to TN's collection topic). This story is inspired by things BZPers have been saying for years, and an idea the Story Squad batted around but couldn't really do anything with canonically.

The Islander

"Those were the days," Macku said wistfully.Kapura listened to his old friend's reminiscing patiently, as patiently as he could considering he was supposed to leave soon.As patient as he could was very patient indeed, for he had practiced."How do you stand it?" she asked him. "Going out there far and wide here? Spherus Magna is so huge. So open, unbounded. So easy to get lost."Kapura thought for a moment. Why did he take this job, searching for lost remnants of Bara Magna technology, now mostly obscured by the new plant growth the Great Spirit had gifted the reformed planet with? It wasn't an easy task."The job is not easy," Kapura answered. For that was the answer, for him.Macku shrugged. "I like a good challenge, too... but... I dunno... don't you remember what it was like? The Company? It wasn't that it was hard, or that we were somebodies. It was... that we got to travel the island together. Just us, not part of this massive confusion, this new government, all these other species..."Kapura glanced at the clock on the shop's wall. His boss would not appreciate too much practicing right now.But he was calm. He could move slowly enough to get to work quickly enough. He had no doubt of that."Maybe," Macku continued when he didn't comment, "you have actually become a Matoran of the great continent. I haven't.""You live here," Kapura pointed out. "What else are you?"Macku frowned slightly. Kapura thought the expression carried a subtle tone of intensity despite its slightness. There was a hardness, a coldness, to her eyes that he didn't remember seeing before.When she answered, her voice was distant, strained, as if reaching his ears across a great distance – across a great ocean."I'm still an Islander."

* * * ^ * * *

Kapura was a few seconds late to work after all.Macku had abruptly closed her shop, refusing to explain why to him, and ran out. There was a glint in her eye as she ran, a touch of... madness? Hope?He hadn't expected their conversation to so affect her. His surprise made his heart race, and that meant he couldn't slow down enough.But his boss had forgiven him and now here he was, out in the unexplored jungle with five others – two of them Agori, one a Glatorian, and one a Skakdi. Eyes running over every patch of growth, every spot of greenery, looking for a metallic glint.What did I say to set her off like that?He'd brought up the Chronicler's Company, and the war with the Bohrok. Another team working for his boss had recently been putting together a study on the Matoran Universe, and they'd made discoveries regarding the Bohrok, so he'd brought that up. She'd asked about it a little, and then started talking about the old days.Glint behind a bush.Kapura turned his mind away from Macku and got back to work.

* * * ^ * * *

"The Board recognizes Macku, a Matoran from Metru Nui."That voice echoed out from the Great Forum. A voice Kapura had heard many times before. Vakama, his own village's elder, who now served the Spherus Magna government as an advisor and discussion organizer. A voice Kapura had not expected to say that.This great stadium was where citizens could meet, once a week, to discuss proposals to help adapt to life in this brave new world. The leaders had the wisdom to realize that the best ideas sometimes came from the lowly, and ever more so when it was those like Kapura, out on the front lines of the exploration.Kapura himself had presented an idea here once, but the board had responded to it much like most proposals – it was deemed not worth the effort, and good reasons were given that he had not thought of.He looked over the many heads in the crowd, trying to spot Macku.There, walking up to a podium angled to partly face the crowd and partly face the Board – thirty leaders representing the major species.Macku held a few tablets. She set them on the podium, and stood silently, her eyes flickering over them. Finally, she looked up at the Board."I... uh... have an idea..." She coughed a little. "Um... There was this... uh..."Kapura grimaced. This kind of hesitation was common for citizen proposals, but it was embarrassing when it was someone you knew."There was a team," she said. "They were studying the Bohrok, or more specifically the records of them.""You're referring to the findings on the Great Spirit's camouflage system," one of the Board members said. "They were presented here yesterday; there is no need to summarize.""Sorry, sir. But... you call it a 'camouflage system.' I... I call it... well... home, sir.""Could you please get to the point?" another Board member said. "You are referring to the island your people lived on for a thousand years.""Mata Nui.""It has been demolished by the Bohrok, and its pieces are somewhere, I suppose, in the ocean to the south now. It's gone.""I know," Macku said, sounding distant again. "But... does it have to stay that way?"The Board members looked at each other, as a chorus of murmurings ran throughout the crowd. Kapura narrowed his eyes. Was Macku suggesting what he thought she was?"My island wasn't just a victim of a cataclysm like other places," she said. "Not like the places inside the Great Spirit. It's unsafe to ever go back to those. But my home... it is not just one place.""Again," the same Board member said, "what are you driving at?""Mata Nui was a creation of that same system the team reported on yesterday," she answered. "That system is still there. It could be... moved."Macku glanced back down at her tablets. "According to a study done two months ago of the ocean, there are places where it is shallow enough. The island could be... remade. It wouldn't be... quite the same... but...""What is the purpose of this proposal?" another Board member demanded. "We have all the land we could ever need, for a long, long time to come. There is no need for an island."Macku looked like she'd been struck in the mask. "But... sir... 'need'... I... And I'm sure others... we miss...""We do not know if it's possible to extract the system safely," still another member said, "and we do not know how the Bohrok would react if we did. It's likely their programming would cause them to try to 'clean' such an island, even though it wouldn't be relevant to their original purpose. This would only give us another problem to fix, and that is exactly the opposite of what these proposals are for.""And," another added, "it's not economically viable to extract it, even assuming the Bohrok would not care or could be secured in their sleeping mode.""Or to transport it," the original impatient one added. "That same report you are referencing said that this system is huge – the core system was fairly small compared to the whole robot, but in order to form the island it needed to tap into pipes reaching across the entire face of the robot, and possibly beyond.""But perhaps," Macku said, "just the core system would be enough to make... maybe a small island.""For what purpose?""I... Well... it's the sort of place I for one would prefer to live.""Why?"She just stared at them. Kapura wanted to shake his head at this. What had gotten into her? Did she really think they shared her perspective? Firstly, most were from Bara Magna, and island life was nearly the opposite of what they were used to... and secondly they were living in the real world, not a dream world where your own nostalgic wishes could come to fruition just because you wanted them to.But Kapura did not shake his head.Not because she was his friend. He was not worried she would see, or that anyone else he knew would. He was just one face in the crowd.Not because of his skill at patience.But because he honestly found himself wishing this could happen.It was true. He missed Mata Nui. Or the life of an islander. He missed the familiar bounds of the ocean. It was like a comforting embrace of a great protector, something you could count on.He missed... fishing. He hadn't done that much, but whenever food was scarce, he had lived less than a mile from the beach. It was an option he had once grown so accustomed to he'd taken it for granted, and now he was hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.On the other hand, there were plenty of rivers, and fish were becoming more common in them."Well?" the impatient Board member asked."I..." Macku sounded sad. The crowd was murmuring again. One of them shouted at her to finish up; there were important things to get on with.Kapura watched her look over the crowd, as if seeing them for the first time. But he knew from his one time at that podium that the crowd was always on your mind there. It was impossible to ignore them. She was just realizing that nobody out there saw her perspective... that was why she was sad."Maybe mere... practical needs... aren't... you know... the most important thing?" she ventured after a few more seconds. "Maybe those of us... Maybe it's enough that I want to live on an island again?""It is not enough," the impatient one answered. "Do you have anything else to bring up? We need to move on.""Uh... no, but please--""Mata Nui is gone," the Board member said. "Get used to it. Vakama, please call the next citizen."The elder looked very concerned for Macku, but he had a job to do, a list in front of him, so he slowly looked down at it and read the next name.Macku didn't walk away from the podium until the Skrall walked up, frowning at her. People in the crowd laughed derisively.As she walked away, Kapura could only think of one word to describe her expression, her body language. Not dissappointed, not dismayed, not heartbroken.Crushed.

* * * ^ * * *

It was a month later, and Kapura had nearly forgotten Macku's strange idea, when, at night, he heard the clanking footsteps outside his hut.There was a loud rushing noise at his door, like the sound of the waterfall in Ga-Koro. Kapura felt a spray of water droplets raining sideways through the gaps and hitting his muscles.He sat up, alarmed.The door came off. Water crashed down all over his floor.Against the dim night sky beyond, he saw the silhouette of a Bohrok.Kapura concluded he was dreaming.Just a dream.You can wake up now.The Gahlok stormed in, followed by two more. Ran right towards him.Kapura was calm. It was just a dream.The three robots walked next to his bed.He took a deep breath, and smiled. He must have been dreaming fondly of the island again, and then thought of poor Macku, too embarrassed to open shop for a whole week after her humiliation. Something one of the Board members had said about Bohrok had inspired this dream, obviously.One placed a hand roughly on his arm.Another a handshield over his mouth, as if to suffocate him.It felt real.But he was very calm.He did not make any quick movements.It was just a dream, nothing to get excited about.The Bohrok jerked him out of bed, turned, and dragged him towards the door.Even if it wasn't a dream, Kapura considered slowly... best to remain very, very calm.This dream is too weird, he thought. I'd rather be somewhere else.And so the air twisted. The Bohrok and the walls of his hut seemed to get larger, move away, and he seemed to shrink, while curling up upon himself.He slipped down into the hole in space and came out the other side, in the forest he had been focusing on.Where he'd seen that glint of metal the day Macku had started acting so strangely.He expected the metal to still be there, since it was a dream, but it wasn't there.It had been a vehicle – a broken-down Bara Magna Cendox motorcycle, half-buried in sand, and then seven-eighths buried anew by plant life. The team had put it on the collection wagon and wheeled it back to New Atero.Kapura looked closely.Yeah, it was gone. The hole they'd dug to get it out was clearly visible even in the starlight.Kapura's heart started to race then. He was glad he'd thought it just a dream... he might not have been able to escape if he knew. But it didn't make sense that Bohrok would try to kidnap someone.Something else disturbed him... something he now realized he had seen out of the corner of his eye, outside his hut, just as he'd started to be where he was not.Not something, someone.Someone short. Either an Agori, a Turaga, or...Or a Matoran, like Macku.Watching the kidnapping. In grim approval.

* * * ^ * * *

The sun was high above by the time an exhausted Kapura made it back to New Atero. He'd been utterly unable to slow down – probably because he'd been running.And probably because he'd been afraid to go home that quickly.Guards of all kinds stood around the city, looking tense and alert.One spotted him and shouted to the others.Eleven guards ran towards him. One of them he recognized as Toa Tahu."Kapura?" the red Toa shouted before he was really in earshot.He nodded, too tired to shout back.It was real, and they thought I was taken.

* * * ^ * * *

Kapura was glad Vakama had asked him to sit before telling him...The elder had hobbled to the edge of the city, having heard from a messenger of Kapura's arrival, and met the Matoran halfway.It happened to be at Macku's shop, so the Turaga directed him inside.Now Kapura realized that wasn't a coincidence. Vakama knew the shop would be empty.Because Macku was gone.So were Tamaru, Kopeke, Taipu, Onepu, Midak, Marka, Amaya, Kai, and many others.All kidnapped, very quickly, all at the same time or close to it, by beings clearly wielding elemental powers, judging by the messes they'd left behind. Fire, water... the usual types... except for the Acid..."But sir," Kapura replied, "I am sure... I saw her.""What? Who?"He hesitated. Maybe he had been half-dreaming. Surely Macku wouldn't... couldn't..."Who?"De-kranaed Bohrok could be given voice commands, he realized. And the Matoran of Mata Nui all knew it. Any of them could have sought out some Bohrok, made sure their kranas were gone, and ordered them to kidnap the others.And the handshield over his mouth hadn't been to suffocate him. It had been to prevent him from speaking – from ordering the Bohrok to stop.Only Macku had been focused on the Bohrok.Mata Nui... if she woke even just one up...Impossible. Macku was no fool. Sure, she could be disobedient, he had heard – from her – but she wouldn't do anything like that.He thought back to the look on her face, that day at the Great Forum.Maybe she would. Maybe... something had snapped in her mind."Who?" Vakama repeated.Kapura held open his hands helplessly... and gestured at the shop's walls around them.

* * * ^ * * *

The next night more were taken.Not just Matoran. Agori, Glatorian, even some Toa.More Bohrok tried to take Kapura, but he was calm.So he was in the forest again.And then he was back, in the Great Forum. The empty dark stadium.The sun rose, and he found himself standing in front of Macku's hut. He heard the news shouted everywhere.Some broken hulks of Bohrok caught in the act by wary guards littered the streets.None of them had Krana.Kapura had kicked open Macku's door amidst all this confusion. He was no longer calm.He'd hoped to find a tablet or two.Nothing like this.She'd turned the stone walls of her home into massive planning tablets. Inscriptions covered them, mostly diagrams and maps.He recognized all of them.Some were schematics of the camouflage system.Some were the routes to the ocean from New Atero that had been established by survey teams.Some were depth finding maps of the ocean from those teams, although highly incomplete, as it was a big ocean.Others were written notes describing plans.But the one that disturbed him most covered one entire wall.These looked much different from the rest – they were hastily inscribed, and unlike the others, all furniture and shelving had been roughly thrown aside to give maximum wall space.It was a chart of everywhere Kapura had been for his job.And everywhere else Macku knew him to have visited.It was a How-To guide designed for just one thing – to teach her Bohrok just one thing.How to give him nowhere to go.

* * * ^ * * *

Kapura moved very quickly.Kapura ran.Trees were a blur.He leapt and rolled as needed to get past the ground foliage without slowing. Held his arms over his mask protectively whenever he lost his footing, and then pounded them on the ground to push himself back up.He couldn't be where he was not, because he could only go somewhere he knew well. So he had to run somewhere he'd never been.Well, that wasn't strictly true... He remembered standing up in front of the Board, proposing that he help evacuate the Matoran Universe of its Rahi species by studying a map and being where he had never been before. He believed it possible, but Vakama had spoken up, urging him not to try it.He wished now that he had studied the map anyways. He was too obedient, it turned out.On the other hand, any place in the Matoran Universe was probably a place he was more likely to run into Bohrok, but he didn't really know that. The sensible thing to do was to strike out randomly into the wild of Spherus Magna. Don't even study the maps made so far – go where nobody had yet gone.But Kapura refused to believe Macku had really gone insane. There had to be more to it. She must be in trouble somehow. Someone else must be forcing her to do this.It might not have anything at all to do with her former plans.Or maybe... maybe unlike Kapura, she hadn't been content with "no" and had continued studying. Trying to make an even better proposal, one they couldn't turn down. Maybe she'd gone to look at the system herself, and some enemy might have found her and forced her, somehow, into this kidnapping plot.So he would not abandon her.That was why he could now look up and every once in a while through the trees catch glimpses of the massive cliff looming – the body of the giant.

* * * ^ * * *

It was being cleaned.The forest of Spherus Magna.A line of it, headed south.Or at least that's what Kapura thought he saw. He heard the sounds of branches brushing together, and loud rumbling noises. And something... huge... was moving behind them.He crept closer.Wait.The trees...They...They weren't being knocked down, or burnt... they were being...Well, moved.He did not see any Bohrok.What he saw was a massive machine, with a huge wooden structure tied under it, acting like a sled, and behind it, several huge metal pipes.Closer still.A long chain of pipes, in fact. It looked like it might be most, or all, of the pipes from the giant robot's face.He did not see Macku, but he did see two figures standing atop the machine.They looked like Toa.One was black. The other green.Why would Toa be doing this? Macku had been the one...He risked going closer.The machine was so huge, it was hard to tell for sure, but he thought he recognized Onua.The earth under the machine was moving. Part of it was sliding backwards towards the pipes. The earth under it was sliding forward.The green Toa appeared to be controlling the trees, making them bend a little as the Earth moved them to the right and left. No branches snapped off.Ground foliage also moved aside and piled up.Where the machine and the pipes had passed through, this Toa brought the trees and other plants back roughly to where they had been.It wasn't being cleaned... it was being made to appear that nothing even close to this huge had come through here.Why?And where was Macku?Should he show himself to these two Toa?Onua was trustworthy. He didn't know the Toa of Plants.But something told him Macku was somewhere else, and might be in trouble... and things here might very well not be as they seemed. The Onua he knew would not have gone off to chase a crazy dream like this, especially it not even being his own dream.A Makuta, maybe?Anything was possible, so he kept himself concealed.

* * * ^ * * *

The great cliff was just ahead, and Kapura was sure he heard screams.Not just one voice – many.He smelled acid too.And he saw round shapes moving behind ground foliage.Trees ahead had been cleared. And he saw something...hanging... something big... from the side of the giant body.But he dared not come closer on the ground, so he looked up and around, hoping to see a tree a little higher than the rest.Spotted one and crept that way.It had a wide trunk, resting on what seemed to be a piece of the back of the giant's head with a thin layer of dirt atop it. The roots reached down over this into the sandy ground. He grabbed one and climbed carefully over the stone, and then up the trunk, digging his hands in tight to vertical grooves in the bark.As he climbed, the screams got more frantic. He heard other noises – great crashings of stone and metal, and saw a cloud of dust rising.As soon as he reached the lower split trunk, he stood there and looked up. Saw a branch much higher up he thought would support his weight, and would give a good view.Focused, trying to calm himself.The world twisted, and he fell through nothingness onto the branch.Looked towards the giant.A massive, makeshift cage. Filled with Matoran, Agori, Glatorian, and Toa. Powers raging in battle against the bars, and failing.The whole thing suspended by a single massive cable from a hole much higher up in the side of the giant.The crashing?Massive machines breaking out of the base of the giant, farther up towards the head.The smell of acid?A lake of it, directly under the cage.A lance of fire was eating away at the cable.They would all be killed!Kapura focused on the cage. Hard.But it was so hard to calm, knowing the stakes...The cable snapped."NO!!!" he shouted, leaping off the branch without thought.He fell into the trees, and lost sight of it, but he heard the terrible, terrible screams. Louder louder louder, then a great splash, a metallic wranking, gurgling screams, loud hissing...Silence...Silence except for the continued crashing of those strange machines...He bounced off branches and hit the ground hard, but he barely noticed. Immediately he stood and ran through the trees, heedless of his own danger, with no plan, only a driving need to try to help, despite how impossible it had looked. Maybe... just maybe someone was still alive...He knew he could not calm down now, knew this was suicide....But he had to try.And then there was a silhouette. A tall being... a Toa?The Toa leaped out of a bush right in his path and tackled him.Clamped his hand over Kapura's mouth. Kapura saw the color gray.Someone else moved nearby. Someone colored lime.And then a blindfold was over his eyes, and he was being tied up.Kicking, screaming – now muffled as a gag was placed on him – he was dragged across the ground.

* * * ^ * * *

The Krana-less squad leader watched from atop the giant robot with approval as one more Matoran was dragged towards the acid lake.A red one.Was it already dead?It wasn't moving. It let itself be dragged.No, its heartlight was flashing.Slower and slower.Apparently it had been knocked unconscious.It would die soon, no matter. The squad leader surveyed the breaking out.The machines the Bohrok had been hard at work making were now totally out of the Matoran Universe.It was time to begin the final stage of the New Program.The squad leader turned aside and climbed into the giant machine he had flown up here.Like all the others, its upper portion was made out of a Metru Nui skyscraper, filled to the brim with components from airships. Below, it had two huge legs borrowed from Metru Nui walking vehicles. In the front, a Lehvak stood on a balcony, plugged into an amplifying machine. Four Bohrok of other elements walked through the machine, making sure it continued to function according to the New Program.In a windowed room at the top, the squad leader opened its empty braincase and plugged itself into the machine's controls.Activated the hovering technology. The giant bipedal machine hovered over the far-huger giant robot, surveying the army under the leader's command.They were moving into formation around the robot now.The two last Bohrok dumped the red Matoran into the acid. That was that – the rest would fall later. Those Bohrok went to their machines, and joined the formation.Normally the squad leader would send a mental command to begin now, but the first thing the New Program had required was that they destroy their own krana, so his only option was to simply open fire himself.One by one the great machines fired acid at the giant.

* * * ^ * * *

Kapura was almost calm. He tried, and tried, and tried, to be where he was not. But he could not focus on any place, knowing murderous Bohrok might be waiting.He had passed through new areas on his way here, but he hadn't studied them well enough.He tried to focus on the ground in front of that tall tree, but... well... he sensed that he was already there.It wasn't working, so instead he struggled against his bonds.He tried to shout out for his captors to explain themselves, but only muffled nonsense came through the gag."Quiet!" someone nearby whispered.Macku?"You're supposed to be dead now, so be quiet."Supposed to be dead? Had Macku been trying to kill him?He struggled even harder against his bonds."Kapura! It's alright, you're safe now! You're with me! And Matau and Krakua. Relax!"What?He stopped moving.He heard Turaga Matau's voice, talking to another person, high above him. In the tall tree, he realized."You'll be quiet now? Nod, and I'll free you."He took a deep breath. He was safe. He had to be. Macku... she wouldn't have snapped, not like that. They knew something, something about the Bohrok, and hadn't had a chance to tell him."Let me do it," another voice said.Tahu!"Yes, sir," Macku said.The blindfold came off.There was the Toa of Fire, his patron Toa, kneeling in front of him. "Keep your voice low," Tahu said as he removed the gag."What's happening?" Kapura blurted.Tahu looked grim. "The end. If we don't move fast. Even if we do... many are going to die. There was no other way."Motion above.As Tahu untied him, Matau and Krakua climbed back down the tree."His illusion is done," Matau said. "The Bohrok are turning to the giant now, just as we much-hoped.""Why would you hope such a thing?" Kapura asked."They're destroying the only evidence," Krakua said."We shouldn't talk about it here," Tahu said. "Suffice it to say, Macku found out first, and warned us.""Found out what?""Come, we'll talk on the way." Tahu turned away from the robot, and sprinted through the trees. Kapura and the others followed.Ahead, Toa Takanuva joined them. "Gali and Pohatu are there," the Toa of Light said. "It's started.""What's started?" Kapura demanded."My idea," Macku said. "The island. Bedrock for it, far from the coast."He understood even before Tahu told the story, though he didn't understand why.Someone had tampered with the Bohrok, and Macku had found out, because she'd disobeyed and went to the giant, to have a look at the camouflage machine herself. They were going to destroy everything.All the land."Why?" Kapura cried out – though he kept his voice down. He heard great echoing crashes behind him. The robot was collapsing. Soon the Bohrok would turn outward and rampage across the land."I think it was Makuta," Takanuva said. "Maybe before he even came to Bara Magna, before the great battle.""I saw the Bahrag's bodies," Macku said. "There was a crushed Exo-Toa near one.""He must have sent some to execute them," Tahu agreed. "And reprogrammed the Bohrok.""But... Makuta's dead.""I think he worried that might happen," Tahu said. "And he was... well, you know what he was. So twisted, so... hateful...""Revenge," Krakua said. "A contingency plan. It won't help him now, but it wasn't about that. If we did beat him... he couldn't stand the idea that we'd live on in peace. He had to make his final mark on our world."Kapura was at a loss for words. So he just ran in silence... until the big question came back to mind."The others... in that cage...""Illusion," Matau said. "They're alive, boat-building on the ocean shore.""The screams were my power," Krakua said."That's why I told them," Macku said. "There was only time to tell those who could help.""But why? Why fake all those deaths?""Because the Bohrok can never know," Tahu said, "can never even suspect there will be an island.""But... the inscriptions... the schematics, plans... Macku's wall...""Invisible when she showed them the map of your travels," Matau said, pointing to his mask. "And now destroyed by Pohatu.""Why didn't you tell me?" Kapura demanded, turning to Macku. "I can... I can be... And maybe I could bring others...""I tried, but I couldn't just tell you in the town. Those we can't bring..." She couldn't finish the sentence, tears coming to her eyes. Through a sob, she exclaimed, "There won't be room for them all! Not a word of this could be spoken in New Atero!""She pretended to help the Bohrok," Tahu said. "Kidnapped all of us, and then the Bohrok turned on her and put her in that cage with the rest of us. She told us all. It wasn't easy sneaking out of there with them all watching, keeping the illusion and the sound up through it all.""Tell me about it," Krakua said, touching his ear and wincing."So the others... in New Atero..." He looked around at all of them, slowing to a jog. They slowed too. "You're just... giving up?""No," Tahu said. Now he stopped, and the others did too. They all faced Kapura."You're going to more-free," Matau said.

* * * ^ * * *

Buildings crashed.Echoing over the screams.Kapura stayed calm.It was the hardest task he could have ever imagined. To grab someone's hand, someone doomed by a falling ceiling, a ceiling that would kill Kapura too. To stay calm as they screamed, tried to run, to get him to let go.To fall into the hole in existence as the rubble above fell just above them.To come out, in the peaceful silence of a familiar sandy beach.But there was something about that beach... Something about that island.So comfortable. He'd missed it so much. A lot more than he'd allowed himself to realize.A peace overwhelmed him, knowing it was back. A pervasive peace that infected those whose hands he grabbed, from those corners of New Atero he knew best.The island would be extremely crowded once the boats arrived. But maybe the Bohrok would go back to sleep once it was over. Maybe he could save...But he couldn't think about the number.If he did, he couldn't stay calm.

* * * ^ * * *

Kapura stood in a forest.Once he had stood in this same forest. The trees were even in the same arrangement.Then there had been a fire.He'd loved that forest so much... it had been beautiful even as it burned. A dance, he'd once called it, the Great Takara.That was who he had been, who he had forgotten.He's stayed in that forest for a long time afterwards, so in love with its memory, trying to pretend he still saw its beauty in the ashes.Now that it was back, he cried. He put his hand to his mouth, and sobbed loudly through it. Alone in the forest, where none could see or hear.Was it tears of joy? Tears over what he'd just been through? Mourning all those who he'd failed to save?Yes. It was all that.He had remembered who he was. He was someone who cared about all of that. He'd found his familiar boundaries, and learned that just surviving wasn't the point. It was about much more than that. A shared experience, a world they all enjoyed together. A world of life and beauty and peace.A world filled with his friends, and with strangers he might someday get to know, might not, he might not always like as much as he should, but people he really cared about, somewhere inside, and he wouldn't forget it, wouldn't ever again be dulled to it again.And that care made him right inside. Made him be what he should be, wherever he was.He knew who he was.He was an Islander.The End.

Edited by bonesiii, May 22 2012 - 04:40 PM.

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#2 Offline BULiK

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Posted Feb 09 2012 - 07:08 PM

Wow, oh, wow.... that was amazing. it was felt so real that.... it was just amazing!Like all of your stories, The characters feel so real, and the secrets keep you wondering until the last minute. I like how you considered all of these things that I never thought of, like the buried tech, the bohrok, and the plan seemed so much like makuta's plans; having a failsafe if his ultimate plan didn't work. The reality of it; the massacre the bohrok did, is always saddening, but the reminiscence when kapura looks at what happened, its one of those beautiful moments that you really connect with.
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#3 Offline QuestionMark

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Posted Feb 09 2012 - 09:57 PM

Bravo.Firstly, I'll get some technical things out of the way. I recall having read some of your stories a couple years ago. I never got very far in the Paracosmos, but if this is an example of a typical story for you nowadays, then I can tell your writing skills have sharpened immensely. You have a very interesting "staccato" style, stating everything in brief terms and dividing them up among several paragraphs. It isn't easy to make that style work effectively, but you do. At first I thought you were writing that way because you were writing from Kapura's viewpoint -- his portrayal in MNOG makes me think his thoughts probably run together that way. That's how unique it seems to me. It would never have occurred to me to omit pronouns in so many places, but it does seem to loosen up the narrative something wonderful.This whole style makes the story run very quickly, but at the same time you get across a lot with only a few words, which made me want to read it slowly just to take it in. That kind of compact expression is a real treat to my eyes, and you should be proud of it.But the proficiency of its execution just makes it easier for me to be enamored with its contents. You enjoy the theme of presenting a mystery and then unraveling it, don't you? That seems to be your whole motivation for writing the Paracosmos, if I'm not mistaken. In this case it proves quite intriguing, with every bit of evidence meticulously but fittingly presented to the reader at a suitable, easy but not prolonged pace (your writing style helps to ensure that). But to be honest none of that would be important to me, except that there's a crucial "something" to this story that makes me love it most of all: emotional subtlety. That's another skill you must have acquired through persistent practice.Even more than the middle section, I adore the way you begin and end it. Starting to read, I thought immediately, "He's done it. He's captured the characters perfectly, exactly as they truly are." And I don't mean as they are in the canon, but as they are as self-consistent written personalities. I clicked with Kapura and Macku instantly. I understood Kapura from the vantage point of the main character, with his thoughts laid out. But I received just as much about Macku through the impressions he received from her -- just from the details you chose to elaborate (over other details you could have elaborated, an example of your remarkable sense of brevity) and the way you portrayed them. The emotions you subtly conveyed through the simple choice of words were startlingly clear: Kapura's simultaneous patience and unstated impatience, Macku's indirectly implied internal anguish. The interaction between the two rang true -- their individual emotions mixed, giving the scene itself an emotional quality. An unforgettable one.I felt terribly for Macku -- the understated magnitude of "I'm still an Islander" really got to me; "quiet tremulous desperation" is perhaps the most powerful emotion possible in writing -- but I thought at first that this was going to be a story solely about Macku's feelings on the subject. I was a bit disconcerted when it seemed as if you were going in a different direction altogether, using this setup as a mere jumping off point. But as it turned out you were going for something even deeper -- not just the Islander in Macku, but the Islander in Kapura, and in turn the Islander in everyone. And suddenly the whole first section of the story has a much wider, more purposeful significance. I really appreciate the fact that you saw fit to put a message like that in your story, or a message at all. And it's not just that -- the final section rings with so much sincerity, telling Kapura's story and his loss and retrieval of his identity. That's something I can really identify with. It's not just something you designed to get a point across, it's truthful, to the character you created (and that I've had the pleasure to follow) and to life itself.Bravo.I felt I had to get the beginning and ending out of the way first. Everything that occurs in the intervening space is also remarkably well done -- from the sense we get for Kapura's use of his ability, which I personally enjoyed; to the "dream" segment, which portrayed him especially well, as well as built up a lot of intrigue; to the frenetic pulse that seems to weave through the story till its climax, that subtle string of panic going through Kapura's mind. The speed with which things accelerate increases this emotional impact -- particularly that impressive bit leading up to Kapura entering Macku's house, which just goes to show, again, how much you personally can convey through so little in such short space. And finally there is that evocative scene with Kapura rescuing the citizens, that contrast between frenzy and peace.The risk of writing in such a style as yours is twofold: you may sometimes go with saying too little, or you may say too much at certain points and have it stick out all the more because of the sparsity of the rest of the text. I have observed neither detriment taking place in this story -- to your credit. While I'm sure it isn't perfect, I certainly am unable to find fault.It's stunning how you've managed to take the imagery of an island and apply it to a broader context -- it's not about life on an island, but the lifestyle of living on an island, that connection between the inhabitants and the personal state of mind associated with it. "He'd found his familiar boundaries" -- perhaps, even in a world as wide and complex as this one, we all can. Beautiful. This is a story, as well as a lesson, worth cherishing.I hope Kapura and Macku live on happily in their old home. :)~QMark
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#4 Offline TLhikan

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Posted Feb 10 2012 - 08:39 PM

This is very well written. A question: Does Kapura have an actual power that allows him to travel from place to place?
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#5 Online bonesiii

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Posted Feb 12 2012 - 09:53 PM

Wow, oh, wow.... that was amazing. it was felt so real that.... it was just amazing! Like all of your stories, The characters feel so real, and the secrets keep you wondering until the last minute. I like how you considered all of these things that I never thought of, like the buried tech, the bohrok, and the plan seemed so much like makuta's plans; having a failsafe if his ultimate plan didn't work. The reality of it; the massacre the bohrok did, is always saddening, but the reminiscence when kapura looks at what happened, its one of those beautiful moments that you really connect with.

Thanks for those kind words, Bulik. That sums up wonderfully what I really hoped to convey, but as always didn't dare to hope I had actually pulled it off. ^_^

Bravo.Firstly, I'll get some technical things out of the way. I recall having read some of your stories a couple years ago. I never got very far in the Paracosmos, but if this is an example of a typical story for you nowadays, then I can tell your writing skills have sharpened immensely. You have a very interesting "staccato" style, stating everything in brief terms and dividing them up among several paragraphs. It isn't easy to make that style work effectively, but you do.

First of all, uber-thanks for the amazingly in-depth review, QuestionMark! And for the kind comments as well. ^_^Yeah, I never liked the massive paragraphs in places in my earlier stories, and am really still learning how best to avoid it (the wallotext phenomenon). I have to credit one of my fiction-writing profs for many tips towards what you called the staccato style. :)FTR I do intend (eventually) to revamp some of the early stories and repost them on the new forum, mainly fixing the monster paragraphs and some wording problems. (And checked with HH; that is okay as long as it's altered.)Anywho...

You enjoy the theme of presenting a mystery and then unraveling it, don't you? That seems to be your whole motivation for writing the Paracosmos, if I'm not mistaken.

Mystery is definately my favorite "writer's tool" or theme. To me it makes stories feel more real; like the characters we don't have a narrator to explain what is really going on behind the scenes like many stories do give the readers insight into. We have to explore our mysteries the same way the characters do, so if as readers we must do this, we connect with them more, IMO.

But to be honest none of that would be important to me, except that there's a crucial "something" to this story that makes me love it most of all: emotional subtlety. That's another skill you must have acquired through persistent practice.

That helps, yeah. But I didn't practice as much as other people have told me they have. My strategy has always been, since I was a young child, to carefully and always observe people. Later I have figured out more detail about my philosophy about this, and it's basically that with a lot of observation of real psychology and those real-life subtleties, I'm slowly building a subconscious library of understanding.Then when it comes time to write, you need to put conscious thought into one track, and in another try to turn it off entirely and tap into your "educated intuition." It feels like learning a kind of pure honesty, as if (as other authors have put it and I agree) the characters actually live in my mind and I just step aside and let them behave how they naturally would. The conscious thought just guides the behind-the-scenes logic of what's going on and checks for inconsistencies, but the vast majority of it is done through intuition only. :)And of course reviews like this majorly help build the "library." ^_^

I was a bit disconcerted when it seemed as if you were going in a different direction altogether, using this setup as a mere jumping off point. But as it turned out you were going for something even deeper -- not just the Islander in Macku, but the Islander in Kapura, and in turn the Islander in everyone. And suddenly the whole first section of the story has a much wider, more purposeful significance. I really appreciate the fact that you saw fit to put a message like that in your story, or a message at all

Yeah, I try to always have a messsage. Mystery and message, my two favorite tools, although the mystery is easier than the message. Glad it worked for you. ^_^

The risk of writing in such a style as yours is twofold: you may sometimes go with saying too little, or you may say too much at certain points and have it stick out all the more because of the sparsity of the rest of the text. I have observed neither detriment taking place in this story -- to your credit. While I'm sure it isn't perfect, I certainly am unable to find fault.

Well, if I may play self-critic, I did catch one fault and editted in the fix; that Macku showed the Bohrok that wall about Kanoka's locations, which would obviously ruin the secrecy of the island 'cuz other walls showed stuff about that. Was easily fixed with illusion, though -- and it could still be confusing, because left unstated was this: Macku must have been free to go alone while pretending to work with the Bohrok, and recruited at least Matau on her own. So at least once she broke her later rule that it couldn't be spoken of in the city. And maybe with Krakua too.Also there are other little nitpicks yall could ask about, at least some of which I have an answer for but felt would clutter the story if actually added. But all that said, if you feel just the right amount was said, awesome. ^_^

It's stunning how you've managed to take the imagery of an island and apply it to a broader context -- it's not about life on an island, but the lifestyle of living on an island, that connection between the inhabitants and the personal state of mind associated with it. "He'd found his familiar boundaries" -- perhaps, even in a world as wide and complex as this one, we all can. Beautiful. This is a story, as well as a lesson, worth cherishing.

Once again, thank you, and I will also cherish the memory of that review. ^_^ You encapsulated a lot of what I was trying to communicate, far more than I dared hope I had.The connection of the island to the lifestyle is an observation I must give partial credit to many other BZPers on (this is one of the things meant by that line in the intro). As many people have noted, the later storylines, while wonderful in that they opened up a whole wide world, sometimes felt like they lost that... indefinable something I have instead tried to use this story to define. :) That can depend on perspective, character, fan, etc. but the take I used here was that it was true for Kapura -- not necessarily a comment on canon or other characters, but him.And I think something like this definition has been there in many fans' subconsciouses about Bionicle's changes over the years, but never given symbolic imagery. So that's where I came up with the idea to make being an islander (even once Kapura will eventually move back to the continent) the image to tie it to. :) And then, it just felt right that it had to be a commentary on something much more basic; life itself. Because it was never about the land or the trees, but about people, and it's a strength he can carry with him when he leaves the island later.

This is very well written. A question: Does Kapura have an actual power that allows him to travel from place to place?

I was hoping for this question. :happydance:My approach here was to separate the question into two different questions -- yours, and "what does Kapura believe." I will answer the second, but I decided to purposefully not answer what is actually true. MNOG and Greg have always been cryptic about it, and personally, I dunno why, but in this case I like it that way. So I made it cryptic here on purpose.(Also note: the Paracosmos portrayal is almost certainly irrelevant to this story, because that Kapura was tapping into Unknown technology which doesn't exist here, and the Event may have altered him.)Something I have noticed, and loved, about MNOG Kapura was that he studiously avoids words like 'teleport', instead describing it in the ways I borrowed here; like be where he is not, and slow down enough to move fast. He also calls it a "secret art" which strongly implies he is tapping into something beyond him, though possibly he is different than others in order to be able to.In his own words, he is appealing to concepts that real-life scientists describe in much less poetic terms of quantum mechanics, which is a deeper level of physics than the superficial nature we are used to, and where things like being where you are not are possible. Kapura does not know Matoran-language equivalents of these scientific-style terms (and likely there are none) so he is not bogged down with their blandness, and he views it as much more meaningful.

Edited by bonesiii, Feb 12 2012 - 09:56 PM.

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#6 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Feb 15 2012 - 01:24 PM

Reading through this story I have to compliment you on your characters. They were dead on. Completely how I would imagine them and during the first act I was completely compelled to finish this story, which isn't as long as it looked. My heart went out to Macku as well. Your story was not only about the memories of people, but ours as well. It made me miss all the old adventures that the Matoran and Toa had on that island over ten years go. I can give this part almost a perfect score.For negatives, I felt like the pacing was a little off, and I had to reread some of the descriptions of the Giants and kidnappings to understand it, but over all it worked and didn't require too much detail. Having it from Kapura's POV was awesome by the way and really brought the story along. These problems were kinda minor though, and didn't distract me from finishing it.As for the story itself...Alright, I really enjoyed the first act. It set up an emotion for these two characters and I "needed" to see how this would play out. Also it spoke that something big was about to happen, something that was going to finish how they felt about leaving their home and where they stood on it now. My main problem though, was the last few parts of the story. I felt like Makuta's failsafe was genius, but my only complaint is I couldn't understand why the citizens of New Atero didn't just fight back against the Bohrok. Maybe I lost something along the way, but wouldn't these new beings be more then enough against the Bohrok swarms? After all it isn't like there are just six Toa any more. You'd have everyone on the Spherus Magna defending their home. AND rebuilding Mata Nui, wouldn't that take a lot of time and end up being a large sacrifice to all the other people of New Atero and the planet as a whole?Besides that plot complaint/confusion, your writing style is excellent and characters were amazing. Truly can't wait to read your next SS. ^_^
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#7 Online bonesiii

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Posted Feb 15 2012 - 03:04 PM

Reading through this story I have to compliment you on your characters. They were dead on. Completely how I would imagine them and during the first act I was completely compelled to finish this story, which isn't as long as it looked. My heart went out to Macku as well. Your story was not only about the memories of people, but ours as well. It made me miss all the old adventures that the Matoran and Toa had on that island over ten years go. I can give this part almost a perfect score....Having it from Kapura's POV was awesome by the way and really brought the story along....Alright, I really enjoyed the first act. It set up an emotion for these two characters and I "needed" to see how this would play out. Also it spoke that something big was about to happen, something that was going to finish how they felt about leaving their home and where they stood on it now....Besides that plot complaint/confusion, your writing style is excellent and characters were amazing. Truly can't wait to read your next SS.

Thanks. ^_^ For the praise and some astute criticism, which I'll reply to now:

For negatives, I felt like the pacing was a little off, and I had to reread some of the descriptions of the Giants and kidnappings to understand it, but over all it worked and didn't require too much detail...These problems were kinda minor though, and didn't distract me from finishing it.

Are you referring to the machines the Bohrok made and drove? Not the giant robot? But noted.

My main problem though, was the last few parts of the story. I felt like Makuta's failsafe was genius, but my only complaint is I couldn't understand why the citizens of New Atero didn't just fight back against the Bohrok.

I'm sure they did, but Makuta ensured the Bohrok would throw an overwhelming force at them, namely the amplified acid power. It's implied that Macku must have seen a demonstration of this power, so she would know it was way beyond a fair fight. That was one of the many things I could have added in the talking while running part near the middle-end, but I just felt it was on the verge of becoming a big "hey let's explain things" section and would lose its emotional impact. So I tried to imply it by the fact that all these Toa and Turaga and the like know what Macku knows, and they all agree it's an unwinnable fight.

Maybe I lost something along the way, but wouldn't these new beings be more then enough against the Bohrok swarms?

As they were in 2002, yes, but they're not like that anymore. Keep in mind Makuta was well aware of all the beings inside himself and on Bara Magna (not sure about Bota Magna though). And really, how do you fight what is in essence a massive wave of acid? The safest fight is to hide somewhere they won't think to look.Also, keep in mind the Bohrok swarms you're thinking of were operating under the old programming, which made them hold back the lethality of their power except possibly as a last resort, instead trying to Krana beings so they could help in the cleaning. Even the unaided swarms, especially the Lehvak, could probably kill a lot of people if they attacked fast and furious with all they had.

AND rebuilding Mata Nui, wouldn't that take a lot of time and end up being a large sacrifice to all the other people of New Atero and the planet as a whole?

Do you mean the recreation of the island of Mata Nui? If so, my bad that I didn't put a reminder of this in-story (logically Macku probably should have mentioned it in the Forum), but Greg has confirmed that (once you get the machine in place and the pipes set up, which the six Toa Mata could do easily and quickly with their elemental powers) it's basically instant.Basically, it was the only option they had left. If everybody stayed and fought they would have all died, and fairly quickly too.Admittedly another option would have been just taking the boats out on the open ocean and floating there for a long time as a boating community (similar to something we depicted in the EM on the Tyrant planet), but survival would be much more difficult long-term considering storms and the difficulty of fishing only for food. So the best option was to make some more land on which other types of food and grounded homes could exist. :)But I'll try to look back over it and see if I can make some of this clearer in-story without getting to lengthy. ^_^

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#8 Offline Tanma

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Posted Feb 25 2012 - 03:38 PM

Another beautiful story. You know, I don't recall either reading a story from Kaparu's point of view, he tends to be overlooked it seems. Nice to see him get a protagonist role. I think you also had him as a character in Twisted Island, but that was a long time ago. Long enough for Endless Blue to be deep in chapters anyway. I will have to check that story out sometime. The simple word Islander seemed to carry enormous weight, maybe because of memories of Bionicle's early years. Perhaps the fact the two central characters had their biggest airtime in 2001 also creates this feel, along with the return of the Bohrok. Who can say. Either way it is yet another great tale.
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"Danger is the anvil on which trust is forged"-Jaller(Jala)
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#9 Offline TLhikan

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Posted Feb 25 2012 - 08:21 PM

This is very well written. A question: Does Kapura have an actual power that allows him to travel from place to place?

I was hoping for this question. :happydance:My approach here was to separate the question into two different questions -- yours, and "what does Kapura believe." I will answer the second, but I decided to purposefully not answer what is actually true. MNOG and Greg have always been cryptic about it, and personally, I dunno why, but in this case I like it that way. So I made it cryptic here on purpose.(Also note: the Paracosmos portrayal is almost certainly irrelevant to this story, because that Kapura was tapping into Unknown technology which doesn't exist here, and the Event may have altered him.)Something I have noticed, and loved, about MNOG Kapura was that he studiously avoids words like 'teleport', instead describing it in the ways I borrowed here; like be where he is not, and slow down enough to move fast. He also calls it a "secret art" which strongly implies he is tapping into something beyond him, though possibly he is different than others in order to be able to.In his own words, he is appealing to concepts that real-life scientists describe in much less poetic terms of quantum mechanics, which is a deeper level of physics than the superficial nature we are used to, and where things like being where you are not are possible. Kapura does not know Matoran-language equivalents of these scientific-style terms (and likely there are none) so he is not bogged down with their blandness, and he views it as much more meaningful.

Ahh....Mundane ole' TLhikan always interpreted that as just "I'm good at pacing myself". :P-TLhikan

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#10 Offline Takuta-Nui

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Posted Oct 15 2012 - 05:25 PM

I read this story and had to take a couple days to let it sink in. Wow.I feel like this had the same kind of impact that I've always striven for in my own Etymologies, where a scene is set that is very familiar, yet clearly far removed from the comfortable world of the present. Brief mentions of the new government and other ‘alien’ elements such as the nameless and description-less Board members that rejected Macku’s proposal contributed to that distinct sense of inexorable and almost tragic change in the way the world is. It became very emotive very quickly, and the theme of the island really worked well to reinforce this - feeling as though one is a small mass against a vast sea of change. Scary, yet reassuring. That’s what they longed for.Another thing I loved was how Makuta’s contingency revenge plan simply made so much sense. The way Tahu and Krakua explained it made me go, “Of course! It’s inconceivable that Makuta would do anything else.” That lent so much plausibility to the story and made it much more real. Then I was able to invest myself into the story even more, hoping for their success. It’s a skill to take what a reader will already know from the canon, and to drop just enough reminders and hints to allow them to figure out the chain of causality leading to these events, and I think you displayed that brilliantly here.Finally, I think that the only thing I can suggest for improvement would be to have used the word “yearn” at some point. That’s what this was all about - a yearning for something like home. It’s a powerful word. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary here after all, since you established that feeling so well in other ways. Just my thought.I enjoyed this very much, both as its own story and as a reminder of where we left BIONICLE. Hopefully that story will be resumed some day - I think that’s what we all yearn for. :)
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