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Lick The Sky

Kakaru Metru Nui Reboot

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#1 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jun 29 2012 - 12:10 AM

[color=#336699;]A body falls through the air, caressed by millions of sparkling glass shards spinning idly in the soft breeze. Stunning crystal towers rise flawlessly to meet him and vanish overhead as his body disappears into the darkened streets.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]Posted Image[/color]

[color=#336699;]Chapter One: Cold Fish Sandwich ][/color]

[color=#336699;]The hum of the transport chutes across the balcony, the whirr and clank of the Vahki patrols down the street, the roar of airship engines overhead. Morning in Le-Metru again.Sunlight crept through slotted blinds, glimmering over widgets and broken masks scattered across the floor. Kakaru mumbled as the light stung his eyes and begrudgingly pulled his feet from the covers. He adjusted his green Kakama and idly kicked a gear across the room, watching it spiral in on itself. Wub wub wub wubwubwubwubwubbbbb. His cold fingers gripped the edge of the bed as he sat up and gazed around the room, letting his eyes focus. Chiseled tablets of outdated prophecies, maps of the chute systems and lists of black-market shops lined the walls in disarray. Copies of his papers from the Ga-Metru college were scattered across the table in the corner, pinned down by empty mugs and dead lightstones. He'd only failed one class last semester on Practicality versus Aesthetics in Ga-Metruian Architecture because he thought the current transport system could have been more effective and he wrote a strongly-worded thesis saying just that. The door to his left was barred by a thick metal pipe, a practice he picked up to keep the Vahki patrols from going through his room while he was away.Kakaru stood up, bracing himself against the desk to keep from falling over. He blinked several times and reluctantly opened the blinds, setting the moody room ablaze with white light. He walked to the freezer and pulled out a cold sandwich from four days ago. As he broke off a small portion to munch on he stared out the window at the chutes running large cargo crates. Huh. Large, industrial, molten protodermis spill marks, heavy soot, travelling east on chute five from the lower levels, tagged with inspection papers from Onu-Metru. That means it's most likely mining tools being sent to the forges for repairs. Nothing of value.Kakaru finished off his sandwich and snatched a paper from the wall, checking his references for the day. One functional mask of illusion with mottled yellow-black design, to be traded to a crafter in southern Ga-Metru. Mahi dung, the closer to the Coliseum the worse Vahki patrols got. That one would be hard. Next item. Three small refined protodemis obelisks, lifted from a market stall in the City of the Carvers, to be resold to a collector not two kio away by the Atrium. That one he could hit on his way out, easy.And... that was it? Kakaru shrugged. He could have sworn he managed to haul away more than that last time. Then again, he was risking a lot in the first place. There had been several threats against Turaga Dume by an unknown Matoran faction and the Vahki had doubled their efforts to find them after an actual assassination attempt during a Grand Kolhii match. Kakaru smirked when he thought about it. He had nothing against Dume, but one had to admire the guts of those guys to try taking out the Elder in broad daylight during a public event.Kakaru folded the list and tucked it under a stone tablet. He opened the front door, latched a small wire to the inside, and shut it again as he walked out, pulling the string taut. If anyone tried forcing their way in to confiscate evidence that he was a petty thief, they'd be cremated by six pounds of volatile protodermis before their hands left the knob. Maybe a little extreme, but it was better than being caught. The law was everything in this city.[/color] 

[color=#336699;][ [color=#336699;]Review[/color] ][/color]


Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:35 PM.

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#2 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Sep 22 2012 - 02:42 AM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Two: The Horror in the Mundane ][/color]

[color=#336699;]"You should smile more."The voice hissed in Kakaru's ear and he instinctively leaned away from it, pressing his pen just a little harder into the page. He missed two key figures and set his implement on the page with deliberate calm. "Aren," he began, not bothering to turn around, "I would love to know what our mentor has to say, so please shut up." Kakaru quickly began writing again, then jumped back and improvised the data he missed.Aren sat back in her seat and picked up her own pen, tapping it on the counter and smiling to shrug off the blunt response. She had bright eyes with a sickly yellow tinge, bloodshot and sunken. Her smile was weak and halfhearted, but never forced. Kakaru hated her and she knew it; her behaviour was verging on the psychotic and within the year she would be confined to a private asylum in Onu-Metru. Yet she always showed up for class, never took notes, and pretended that she would remember facts when the time came to use them.Even now Kakaru could hear her hum as she pretended to look busy; the eerie drone of the tune making him cringe. There was something about it that made him incredibly uncomfortable, evoking the feeling that there was something incredibly important that he had forgotten to do. Images with no strings floated to the front of his mind; of flight and clouds, steel rooms and infinite white walls, a daemonic industrial machine.Kakaru sighed and tried to ignore it. Aren went back to her work."The process of combining two diametrically opposed disk powers in one forge," the teacher went on, "is not to be attempted in any uncontrolled environment or during elemental storms..." [/color]

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]The streets were illuminated in the post-rainfall chill, the light of the moon glinting soberly off every slithering drop from signposts, walls, and the stoic figures of the morning vahki patrols shut down for the night in the alleys. Kakaru resisted the urge to shake the satchel of widgets in self-content. He had pawned off every artifact between classes with no delays or unfortunate encounters. The three obelisks proved no problem; he sold them for a fair price to an unpopular carver in the lower Le-Metru area. Undoubtedly he was planning to sell them as his own, hoping nobody would notice.On the way back from Ga-Metru he managed to swipe at least one other piece of equipment that could land him in jail and possibly executed for insurrectionism. The local rebel group had sabotaged a protodermis chute to detain a shipment of patrols, and one of the tin-walkers was lying cracked open on the street. Regardless their intentions, the faction could easily be convinced to pay a large sum for a Vahki Command Unit control chip. He swiped the card from the Commander's shattered skull before the drones even had time to set up a perimeter to scare matoran out of. This card could theoretically turn the drones against Dume if used properly.As if sensing this thought, a dormant unit chirped and flashed its eyes as Kakaru passed. Kakaru nodded with an overly-condescending smile but gripped his satchel a little tighter. [/color]

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]Aren pulled her notes from her satchel and began arranging them in two piles. One was for the class on Theoretical Inter-City Architecture Appreciation: Redesigning the Coliseum From the Ground Up, the second was on Crafting and Forging in a Practical Context. The latter pile was taken to look busy in class. She gathered them up and wrapped them around a heatstone, waited until they burst into flame, and threw them out the window.The air was calm above the docks, though the water seethed below like a dormant Muaka. The sunset seemed to boil the water on the horizon, a shimmering red mosaic framed by the deadly clouds. Storms rarely made it inland, but Aren always felt a little queasy as she barred the shutters and threw an extra blanket on her bed. The power of the natural elements unchecked was a terrifying thing.[/color] 

[color=#336699;][ [color=#336699;]Review[/color] ][/color]


Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:31 PM.

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#3 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Oct 07 2012 - 02:59 AM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Three: Fall from Grace ][/color]

[color=#336699;]Arenethas awoke with a chill as a bolt of lightning lit up the room, receding and crackling back across the clouds like a lingering laugh in the air. She found herself clenching the sheets, back flat against the wall. The dream tossed itself about in her head, the horror gradually wearing off, but not so much that she could fall back asleep. Instead she sat up, waiting for the sting of the images to fade as she opened her hands and pulled the bunched-up sheets from the foot of the bed. She let out a deep breath as a low roll of thunder ushered reality back into the darkened room. [/color][color=#336699;]They weren't just dreams, they were genuine nightmares. Not the kind that could be laughed off in the light, but ones that only became more terrifying the more reality revealed itself. Beyond the power of the Toa, the nightmares unveiled the power to erase existence, and she knew how incredibly real it was. Her stomach rolled at the thought and she bit her tongue. She didn't feel like going to college tomorrow.[/color][color=#336699;]She uncovered the lightstone by her bed, pulled out a tablet, and began writing.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

 

[color=#336699;]"You know, you shouldn't be so hard on her. Some matoran just don't care about their investments." The Ko-Matoran turned his back to an open-air display case and fluidly slipped several figurines into his bag without a sound. Kakaru trudged along beside, glancing across the open market with one finger on his satchel. Ko-Metru, besides being the most prestigious accumulation of scholars and astronomers, was also the most well-renowned for their crystal craftsmanship. Sure, if one wanted durability over aesthetics, Po-Metruan carvers were far superior, but nothing could match the care and attention to detail that a single scholar could bring to a sculpture. Figurines produced by them were coveted by many larger areas across the districts and even used as currency in some underground establishments.[/color][color=#336699;]"I, for example," Ruhui went on, intentionally avoiding any gesture towards his bag, "take great pride in my skills and what I invest in. I make the most of what I can and it does me well. But she doesn't take notes in class and fails the tests. That's her choice. What's the class, the one you took last year, that Ga-Metru Coliseum architecture junk? You failed that because you took something away from it that they didn't want you to. Maybe she's doing the same. She might have a little different motivation."[/color][color=#336699;]Kakaru shrugged. "I just don't like her. She's nice, but it's like she's just not supposed to be around. She doesn't fit in Ga-Metru."[/color][color=#336699;]"Yeah, to you. Whatever, Kay. I guess I'd have to meet her to say for sure, right? I'm just sayin', she seems nice."[/color][color=#336699;]"Next time we hit Ga-Metru I'll introduce you. She'd be overjoyed."[/color][color=#336699;]Kakaru asked the next shopkeeper for directions and made a show of pulling out a map and explaining the transit lines while Ruhui lifted another ornate muaka from the stall. Kakaru thanked the keeper for the directions and quickly lost himself in a crowd, tripped over a tangle of cables, and fell into an alley. Ruhui had already made his way up the wall to the roof and gestured politely back at Kakaru.[/color][color=#336699;]Kakaru pushed off the wall, grabbed a pipe, and quickly scaled the length up to the roof. They traded the contents of their run, divvying up the figurines according to who had the fastest selling route. [/color][color=#336699;]A vahki chirped behind them. Both of them whirled around to the spider-like figure eyeing them curiously.[/color][color=#336699;]"Rooftop runners. Scanning." [/color][color=#336699;]For a single, tense moment, neither of them moved. The Vahki seemed unsure of its next step and Kakaru was thinking about the odds of survival from an eight-story drop into an empty alley.[/color][color=#336699;]"Unauthroized materials detected. Execute directive: apprehend."[/color][color=#336699;]A disc materialized in the Vahki's launcher as it twisted itself upright. Its staff hummed ominously. It took a step forward. [/color][color=#336699;]Kakaru tossed his satchel at Ruhui and jumped.[/color] 

 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]"And you found these in his house?" the Turaga slowed his pace and picked up the evidence marker next to six pounds of volatile protodermis. Next to it, strewn across the cold stone table, were wrinkled papers, widgets, maps, and illegal paraphernalia both for and from thievery.[/color][color=#336699;]"Correct," the Vahki Commander Unit chirped. "The evidence is empirical. He is an insurrectionist."[/color][color=#336699;]"No. Most likely just a thief. An extreme one, to the point of blind idiocy, even. But still just a thief."[/color][color=#336699;]"So..." The Vahki's eyes flashed blankly.[/color][color=#336699;]"I can't give you permission to kill him. He's not an active threat to me of the city." The Turaga stopped and smirked as his fingers hovered over the control chip. Whoever this thief was, he was good at his job. "You should keep a tighter watch on him though. He clearly knows the holes in the system and how to exploit them, so he'll be a test case. Don't interfere with his work, and report back to me with a list of the stolen goods so I can compensate the owners. Protect him. This order is in effect immediately." He gestured to the doorway and made a motion with two fingers to indicate he wanted the door shut.[/color][color=#336699;]"Congratulations, thief," Dume mused to himself. "You've betrayed your thief-brothers by trying to help them, and it's not even mid-morning. I hope your day is going well."[/color]

 

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Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:37 PM.

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「どこに行けばいいんだ・・・」「タ・コロ村はもうおしまいだ・・・」タ・コロ村の村人達


#4 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Oct 08 2012 - 09:53 PM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Four: Explosions are the Answer ][/color]

 [color=#336699;]Many things go through one's mind when falling from a great height. First, as the glass shards spiral in the air tipped with blood, is the thought that maybe leaping through a glass projection-billboard is a bad idea. The second, as the dark floor of the alley opens up below like a hungry mouth, is how much further eight stories is in reality rather than theory. The third, as windows rush past and railings scrape bone, is how fragile the body truly is. None of these thoughts, however, can prepare one for the mixed shock and regret of being snatched from the air by a Vahki ricocheting across the walls, then being set carefully back on the ground with no explanation as glass shards rain down on the streets, popping like firecrackers.The Vahki chirped with a nod as its suspension creaked and hissed with the impact of the fall. Kakaru gaped at it. It seemed to smile, ever-so-slightly, and simply walked off.A feeling of horror flooded Kakaru's mind. His work relied on the exploitation of the system, the predictability of the patrols and their behaviours. If he couldn't trust them to follow routine, who knows what else they had been doing? There was nothing to keep them out of his house, nothing to keep them from outright throwing him from the edge of a roof on a whim. But- what just happened?Kakaru's legs shuddered and he slumped against the wall, speechless. He dragged himself out of the shadowy passage, heedless of the glass crunching underfoot and the thousand needles of pain that shot through his body. Ruhui had their entire day's haul, even if Kakaru just decided to make him the scapegoat. He needed to check Ko-Koro first. If the stash wasn’t there, it was back home to lie low for a while, maybe to start carrying around that EMP he kept stashed in a false drawer. That was practically imperative now, actually.Overhead, the transport chutes hummed. Kakaru mentally pinpointed one and traced it back towards the nearest station. That one went across the Ko-Metru/Le-Metru border and dropped off only a few kio from his home. He knew it was a civilian chute; only dormant patrols were allowed to cross checkpoints through the lines. They couldn't trace him.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]Ruhui's roommate, Nukoi, opened the door at Kakaru's call. He wore a grey Huna and his bluish armour had marbled streaks of grey in it as well. There was a slight narrowness to his eyes that always gave his words a colder lilt than he intended. The two of them had been introduced several years ago when Kakaru was a scholar in the Great Towers. Nukoi was aware of Kakaru's unusual occupation but always shrugged it off as a bad decision that wasn't his problem.The only time Kakaru remembered Nukoi getting genuinely angry was when he tried to sell an artifact to the scholar; a minor disk of power he nicked from a locked forge. Nukoi recognized the craftsmanship, that of an apprentice scholar who made a name for himself in the towers by his unnecessarily elaborate disk designs, and he snatched the disk from Kakaru's hands accompanied by a few choice words, then slammed the door. That was the last Kakaru heard of it and they went back to neutral terms the day after.Nukoi's Muaka kitten, Oen, came to the door and tangled itself around Kakaru's feet, mewling loudly. Kakaru picked it up with a smile and handed it back to Nukoi, who let it crawl onto his shoulders where it sat contentedly."So, uh," Kakaru started awkwardly. "I hear Ruhui isn't back yet? Heh."Nukoi shrugged. "It's not my business where he goes or when he comes back. The Great Beings govern our destinies, so who am I to trouble myself with them?"Kakaru nodded, then cleared his head and switched to a blunter tactic. "We stole a few items from some stalls and got caught by a Vahki patrol outside fourteenth Market. I threw my satchel at him and jumped off the building. I'm trying to find him and get my stuff back."Nukoi raised an eyebrow. "You jumped off the building. What in Mata-Nui's name possessed you--""Poor self-control! It happens!" Kakaru blurted. "Have you seen him recently or not?"Oen flinched and leaped off Nukoi's back."No, I haven't. Best of luck finding him though."As Kakaru walked away, Nukoi added: "Thanks for not selling me anything."[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]Even before he rounded the bend to his apartment, Kakaru could tell something was wrong. It was clear from the corner-eye glances from passing matoran, the tight-lipped nods for greetings and hunched shoulders. He had seem it many times before, the way everyone tried to mind their own business and act like everything was normal to avoid attention. There had been a Vahki incident nearby.His walk turned into an awkward falter, then broke into a backpedaling run at the sight of his home split clean open like a tin can. Pieces of his belongings were scattered onto the walkway and into the street, muddy papers fluttering idly. At least two Vahki were stationed on nearby rooftops with a clear view of the front door (or where it used to be) and two more were walking around the streets, glancing into the alleys and making empty gestures at anyone foolish enough to look up as they passed.Kakaru took in deep breaths, watching his house from a shop doorway, pretending to look occupied by awkwardly grabbing at where his satchel should have been. The shattered lightstones spilled across the street sparked and flickered, casting eerie, sporadic shadows over the building facades and creating schizophrenic specters of passerby's silhouettes.Wait. Was that what he thought it was? Risking his cover, he stepped out of the doorway and leaned closer to the rubbish on the streets. A single metal cylinder stood upright amid the widgets. Unless you knew what one was or were looking for it specifically, it would be easy to miss. Kakaru's tight grimace spread into a grin.It was his EMP.[/color]

[color=#336699;][ [color=#336699;]Review[/color] ][/color]


Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:54 PM.

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「どこに行けばいいんだ・・・」「タ・コロ村はもうおしまいだ・・・」タ・コロ村の村人達


#5 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Oct 11 2012 - 12:22 PM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Five: That Which Does Not Belong ][/color]

[color=#336699;]Kakaru quickly lunged towards the grenade. He snatched it up and strode towards his apartment with a renewed bravado. If he could lure the Vahki back in, he could take out several of the tossers at once. At this point he knew he was wanted anyways, may as well improve his reputation with the underground.He stepped into his room, his finger twitching against the trigger. A dormant patrol in the corner chirped and stood up, craning its neck to get a better look at him.Wait for it. There are more around here."Intruder detected. Scanning."Wait for it."Target confirmed. Execute directive:"Kakaru could hear other Vahki clambering down from the rooftops, swarming in. Just a little more..."Yield."Huh?The Vahki stepped back and the clatter in the street stopped suddenly. It hummed for a moment, then without a word, stepped around Kakaru, leaped into the streets and clambered off, followed quickly by the other patrols. Kakaru dropped the EMP, too confused to think. He staggered about the room for a minute, trying to get his bearings, then gave up and flopped into bed. He dreamed of nothing.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]The purified protodermis halls of the Great Temple were quiet, deep, and somber. Pillars stretched to the ceiling, disappearing into the shadows. Several hushed voices echoed like snakes through the deserted halls. Dume exchanged words quickly and quietly with a pair of astrologers, then thanked them for their advice and handed them each a small pouch of widgets.Dume pinched his brow and walked into the central chamber. It was true that the stars could tell the destinies of every matoran in Metru-Nui, but if the astrologer's information was correct, the information was incredibly troubling. The thief, a Toa? Certainly the Great Beings' judgement had not faltered? To give such power to one with so few morals...The Turaga recalled the days of his power and shuddered at his careless actions. Maybe using the matoran as a security test case was a bad idea.Yes, something had to be done. There must have been a mistake on the part of the Great Beings; this was the third time he had confirmed the Thief's destiny with the astrologers.But to interfere with the will of the Great Beings...How troubling.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]Aren stacked her papers to the side of her desk and set down her ink-feather as someone rapped on the door. She opened the door to the limit of the bolt and chain and peered out into the early morning at a teal noble Ruru. She knew who it was; she had heard Kakaru talking about him before on occasion."Ruhui? How did you know I lived here?"Ruhui faltered for a second. "What do you mean? You've always lived here. Listen, Kakaru-- No, nevermind. That's not important." He bit his lip and glanced around the streets. "Look, it's not really safe to talk here. What's wrong with your door?""Oh! Sorry." Aren closed the door, disengaged the chain, then opened it all the way. "Here, come on in.""No no, that's not what I meant. Okay, uh, it took me a little longer than expected to lose the patrols. I just came here to lose the satchel. Just take it. I'll be going undercover from here on out, so don't try to find me."Aren looked down at the satchel in her hands. The name Kakaru was burnt into the strap."Um," Aren started. Ruhui disappeared into the streets before she could say anything."This isn't my satchel."[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

 [color=#336699;]Kakaru awoke to the rumble of a large transport going through the chute by his window as always. The room was freezing and sort of damp. He sat up, arching his back with a crack. His finger were stiff and he fumbled for a moment as he untangled the strap of his satchel from around his neck and arms. He cracked his neck, glancing out the window then out the gaping hole in his front wall. Oh yeah. I should probably pick my stuff back off the street, he thought.He tripped over the bent curb of the doorway and hit his head on the railing with a loud crack. He reached up and adjusted his mask, a dark-greenish Kakama-shaped thing, as he described it. Most people didn't care, but he had studied pictures of normal masks, and this one was slightly different. The fins seemed a little shorter and the eyes a little wider. It wasn't quite a Kakama, though it looked the same for all practical purposes. He traced his fingers around the edge of the mask and noticed a hairline crack running through the slits of the gills and up to the corner of the eye. Well, it's not like it was functional anyways. He shrugged it off and went down the stairs, gathering papers and widgets as he went.Woah wait what. Kakaru stumbled off the last step, jerked his satchel off his shoulder, and tossed it to the ground. Where the Karzahni did that come from? He stared at it for several breathless moments and it seemed to stare back casually, smiling stupidly as though nothing had happened.Nothing. No hint as to where it had come from or how he ended up with it again. Kakaru gibbered as the events of the previous day started to float back into his head. As he tried to sort through everything, one thought stuck out: I'm late for class.Kakaru ran off towards the chute transit, screaming and flailing his arms. Papers skittered in his wake.[/color]  

[color=#336699;][ [color=#336699;]Review[/color] ][/color]


Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:46 PM.

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「どこに行けばいいんだ・・・」「タ・コロ村はもうおしまいだ・・・」タ・コロ村の村人達


#6 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Oct 16 2012 - 01:18 AM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Six: Off the Record, On the Radar ][/color]

[color=#336699;]"I remember you."Kakaru sat in class, slumped against the back of his seat, arms folded limply. He had none of his notes with him, and his satchel was filled with the useless junk he had scraped from the street. He chose to sit in the back of the room instead of two rows from the front as he usually did. Aren sat one row ahead of him. She leaned on the back of her chair with one arm to make eye contact with Kakaru and rubbed her bloodshot yellow eyes with an open hand. A grin split her face wide.The streets outside the class were quiet and pristine as usual. Storms cycled around the east coast of the island often, running from Le-Metru to Ga-Metru often in the space of a single day. Today, however, the blue skies were silent. White clouds floated idly in the air, mingling with the vapour from stone stacks on the horizon. The trickle of water was constant from twin fountains in the courtyard, each splitting three ways into deeper canals under the city. Their professor's words seemed to mingle in a grey drone as Kakaru's gaze floated across the skyline. There was no way he was going to learn anything today. He sighed and turned his attention to the Ga-Matoran in from of him. Aren seemed a little surprised. She leaned back in her chair and lowered her head a little more to avoid the professor's gaze."The first time I met you. That was six years before you decided to attend here, right?"Kakaru made an indistinct gesture with his left hand. "Sure. Does it matter?""No, not really. I remember you were carrying something though. It was a small stone wrapped in cloth. Didn't you tell me to keep it?"Kakaru blinked several times and grimaced at the memory. The stone was the first thing he had ever stolen after he was forcibly shown the doors of the protodermis refinery for-- no, that wasn't something he cared to remember. When they dragged the body out of the elemental compressor unit, the way those eyes still quivered, lifeless... he had waking nightmares about that.He had spent seven years in stasis in the Vahki cells for that. It was an accident. When he was finally released, he swiped the stone as he was gathering his belongings; It was sort of revenge against the system at the time. As he tried to come to terms with his new life he decided it was no longer worth it to carry any kind of memory from that place. He met Arenethas for the first time in the Atrium a week later and passed off the stolen stone as soon as possible."You kept it. Please tell me you kept it." Kakaru sat up a little more."Why did you become a thief? You didn't sell the stone. You knew it would have been worth it."Suddenly they both became aware of how quiet the room had become. The professor at the head of the room simply shrugged. "What you learn and how you do it is your choice, but your time would probably be served better elsewhere today.""I'll show you," Kakaru mumbled to Aren. He slipped out the door by the back, letting the door bang shut behind him.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]The protodermis chutes hummed quietly as they passed underneath, their feet clicking on the tiled floors of the transport hub. Gazing upward, enormous towers climbed into the clouds outside the domed glass ceiling. Gold highlights rimmed the reddish-steel architecture of Ta-Metru, a hint of the District of Water's attention to aesthetic value seeping into the borders of the otherwise industrial sector. Vahki squads marched dutifully around the chain-fences to the forges, though their green eyes were fogged with dark factory residue and their joints creaked audibly with grit. The patrols were in high demand and brought in for maintenance far less often than those in the other Metrus.Kakaru sat down on a bench in the middle of the concourse and smiled. Weakened guards were easy to avoid and easier still to lose."It wasn't anger. It wasn't even because I couldn't find a job. Honestly, after an incident like that, who would hire me?""What incident?"Kakaru faltered. "Accident. I said accident. That's not-- no, I can't say. Look up the account in the Archives and think what you want, but you can't hear the story from me."Aren shook her head. "That's not what I want to know. It was an accident anyways, right? So why did you become a thief?"A vahki passing behind them stopped at Aren's words, scanned the two, and took an awkward step back, resuming its march a little too quickly. Kakaru's mouth went dry, his heartlight beating a little faster."It's, ah, that." Kakaru nodded at the staff-wielding golem. He gathered his thoughts and continued. "It's the patrols. Look, it used to be personal, I used to just be angry at the system. But then I started watching it, noticing the holes. Why are petty thieves and accidents deemed worthy of prison, when they guards seem to overlook assassination, slander, blatant exploitation of the system? I admire those who tried to kill Dume in broad daylight not because they have the guts to do so, but because they're intentionally ripping open a hole in our lives and showing us how unstable everything really is. Maybe they'll find the hole and patch it, but sooner or later they'll start showing up everywhere. Matoran will take notice. And then, perhaps, revolution." Kakaru made a wide gesture and let a laugh escape, echoing around the busy hub. "The guards that beat back trivial mistakes and hunt down Matoran who threaten Dume's rule will find themselves under fire. The forges and repair centers will fall apart and the mechanized army will fall. We can take control of our own destinies and our city once more.""I'm not sure we can handle our own destinies, and I don't know that some of us want that responsibility. That's the thing, Kakaru. I'm terrified of that kind of power, the kind that gives one the ability to control nature, existence, even our destinies. That's the kind of power you want to accomplish, the power of the Toa. But they're the corrupt ones, and only when they relinquish that power to become the Turaga, our leaders, that they become wise and truly worth of respect. We need someone like that to guide us. That's why we honour Dume and his decisions.""Look where it's gotten us. Through subtle acts he has given us the gift of oppression. I hope to use my own subtle acts to turn the city back around again. Do you remember the tales of the six Turaga who used to govern this city? What happened to them after Dume showed up?"Aren bit her lip. "I don't know. They left."Kakaru stood up. "He killed them, Aren. Do you know why Toa don't kill? It's not a noble act or a code of honour. The Toa are sworn to protect the Great Spirit Mata Nui. If they kill they become useless to him and he relinquishes their power. But once you're a Turaga, what do you have to lose?" He took a deep breath and let it out. "I steal to encourage others to remember what laws we are bound by. Unity, duty, and destiny. That means we can't blindly follow a corrupt leader. We don't serve him alone, and that' certainly not our destiny. But i think I've said enough. Congratulations, Aren. I'm not usually this talkative."In the silence, the sounds of the station grew around them once more."Now you know." Kakaru sat back down and traced the crack down his mask.Aren grinned. "Thanks for talking. It's been a while."Kakaru motioned towards the double gates to Ga-Metru. "We didn't talk. We were in class and I told you to shut up so I could listen.""And I returned your satchel when you weren't looking. Here's hoping that stone will serve a greater purpose as well."Kakaru whipped open his satchel, agape. The stone sat at the bottom of the bag amidst crumpled papers and small widgets. He looked back up and began to speak, but Aren was already gone.[/color] 

[color=#336699;][ [color=#336699;]Review[/color] ][/color]


Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:48 PM.

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#7 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Dec 26 2012 - 06:15 PM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Seven: Target Practice ][/color]

[color=#336699;]Immunity. The ability to move freely without fear of unnatural consequences or retaliation. The knowledge that one could do no wrong, ethically if not necessarily morally. Kakaru hated the word and its awful implications for his career. Two weeks had passed without event. Although still wary of the vahki, Kakaru's methods had begun to feel shoddy and pointless. The tin-walkers seemed to go out of their way to cover Kakaru's tracks, and he was forgetting to look over his shoulder as he slipped artifacts from their stands. This, if anything, was a clear sign of absolute corruption. The hole was so large that he couldn't help but expose it, and everyone seemed so aware of it that stealing was losing its impact. If Dume was trying to make a point by protecting him, it was working. "Six widgets, premium." The shopkeep looked Kakaru stiffly in the eye, making it clear that stolen goods were only welcome at half the price. Kakaru let out a controlled breath with a slight glare, but pushed the disk across the counter regardless. It was the eighth shop he had tried that morning, and it was the easiest trade. He slid the meager pile of widgets off the counter with an open palm and slunk back to the chute transit hub.  The day was going awful. Nobody was willing to buy black-market items from a thief that practically had the Turaga's own guard force following him around. As he approached the Atrium line, a vahki deliberately shifted to the side to allow him past. Kakaru yanked his satchel off and flung it at the vahki with an incoherent scream. It bounced off the vahki's head with an empty clank. Widgets scattered across the floor. "Oh, just get out!" Kakaru yelled. "You've made your stupid point, Dume! I hope those rebels have your head by now!" Kakaru picked up his bag and threw it again, then scraped up the widgets and bounced them off the golem's skull one by one, punctuated by assorted curses and inventive metaphors. The guard blipped questioningly as the Le-Matoran finished off his tirade with one last cutting remark. "You're all horrid!"[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]Kakaru's apartment was just another reminder of how absolute Dume's influence was, patched up and polished to an unnatural, sickly sheen. The new lightstone fixtures looked out of place next to the fading, flickering one of his neighbours. His apartment was far from conspicuous anymore. As he stepped back in the door, the frustration became unbearable. His maps and lists were hung back on his wall with meticulous attention to detail. The  artifacts were all in disarray on his shelves, his papers were in their disgruntled piles, and even the volatile protodermis was placed carefully by the door. Overwhelmed, Kakaru grabbed the sheets off his bed and scooped everything from the table into them. He began grabbing crystalline figures and delicate masks, tossing them onto the pile without prejudice. All the maps came off his wall, and he threw the rest of that frozen sandwich on top for good measure. He picked up the sheet by the corners and dragged it out to the back balcony, then hoisted it over the edge. "Dume!" he screamed at the glowing coliseum on the horizon. "I will not be patronized! I'm not going back to normal!" The sheet crashed into the transit chute, his belongings scattering and disappearing into the gloom below. His voice echoed across the alley, mingled with the hum of the chutes, then was silent. He dragged himself back inside, picked his satchel off the floor and grabbed the length of wire from the volatile protodermis, trailing it behind as he walked out the front door.[/color]  

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]"He's gone dark. The patrols were shutting down as he crossed the border into Onu-Metru and they couldn't track him. His apartment was destroyed." The Vahki Commander Unit stood at attention in the entrance to Dume's office as it gave its report. The silence that followed the end of its report was filled with the ticking of a small desk clock and the slow shift of Dume's chair as he stood up. "Great Spirits," Dume breathed. "How closely were you monitoring him?" "The patrols tracked his every movement to keep him safe and did not interfere." "How close?" The Vahki hesitated, and its higher sentience and a Commander Unit shone through for a moment. Higher drones could speak and be spoken to, and through years of observation developed a basic understanding of emotions. The one it showed at that exact moment was the one it had learned by observing matoran about to be put in stasis for an indefinite period. Despite this, its programming forced him to respond. "We escorted him, to be absolutely certain of his safety." Dume slammed both fists on his desk. His lightstone lamp jumped, wobbled, and fell to the floor in pieces. "It doesn't do any good to have a test case if he knows he's being monitored, does it? He's not going to show us the weak points in our security if we give him the reigns, is it? He has no motivation to find ways around us if we let him do what he wants! " He walked around his desk and began to pick up the pieces with shaking hands. "What is he carrying now? Is there any other information you've botched up?" "Patrols in Ta-Metru saw him carrying an artifact that was stolen from the stasis facility in Le-Metru eight years ago."  Dume exhaled heavily through the nose. He remembered the incident far too well, and his reactive memory prompted him to finish the Commander's sentence without thinking. "He's carrying a toa stone."[/color] 

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Edited by Kakaru, Feb 17 2013 - 09:51 PM.

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#8 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Feb 17 2013 - 04:21 AM

[color=#336699;][ Chapter Eight: A Change of Heart ][/color]

[color=#336699;]Aren rubbed her eyes, trying to avoid her own gaze in the mirror. The sickly yellow sheen over her eyes had grown steadily worse and her breaths came in short and shallow to compliment her reduced stamina. She kept attending her classes anyways, hoping the other scholars wouldn't notice her physical condition by a marked absence.Her class' numbers had begun to drop steadily, students trickling into medical crash-courses as open fighting between the rebels and elite Vahki squads increased. Safe routes for commerce were established through the old canals as barricades were erected in the streets. Graffiti littered the once-pristine architecture. The entire city was heartbreaking to see; the most peaceful sector in all of Metru-Nui degenerated into a warzone where slaughter and smoke had become common.The most horrifying part wasn't the mechanical roar of Vahki swarms overrunning rebel outposts or even the nightmarish screams that followed, however. It was the silence that began to drive them all mad. The sickening sound of a Vahki reporting its last kill and the squelch of the bodies being rounded up for processing, the footsteps fading into the alleys, knowing that the only thing to remember her sisters by would be a bloodstain in the morning. That was what she hated most.So as a depth charge rattled the foundation of her block and the windows burst around her, Aren clenched her teeth and closed her eyes, squeezing the tears out as she thanked the Great Spirits for the noise.[/color]

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]"Our little security experiment has taken a turn for the worse, I only wish I could have foreseen it. Great Spirits help me if the Scholars were right, he will use the stone and he will be forced to come out of hiding in a matter of days. There's nothing we can do in the meantime that won't make the situation worse."The Turaga gripped the stone railing, staring out over the southwest districts. In his mind's eye he could almost envision the thief's hideout, the insurrectionist's hands coiled around the stone, power coursing into his arms--Dume shook his head and spoke deliberately, hiding the weakness in his voice. "The situation has changed. Consider him an active threat to me and this city. When he comes out-"The elder stopped, trying to force the words out but finding no strength. His throat felt clogged by emotion. A great moment passed as he simply watched the sun touch the horizon and dip below. He needed to say it. The city had suffered too much for his cowardice before, and it would not do so again even if it broke him."When the thief comes out, kill him."The Vahki nodded and left, the great doors clicking shut with an echo. Dume put his head in his hands and began to sob.[/color] 

[color=#336699;]-=][=-[/color]

[color=#336699;]"I'm carrying a Toa stone and I'm legally as good as dead. I'm practically immortal.""You're also living on my couch."Kakaru smirked, understanding the irony in Nukoi's tone. He had taken up residence in the common area between Ruhui and Nukoi's rooms for the past couple days. Ruhui had been missing ever since the rooftop incident and only a cryptic note pinned to his door left any indication of where he had gone; the shiny miru he had nicked from a forge shipment was left by the door with a note to pawn it off as soon as possible. Kakaru didn't bother to sell it. His satchel was empty save for the wrapped stone, cleared of all his own possessions as well as the stolen ones. He didn't need his reputation in the market again, not now. He needed to stay hidden. With luck, Dume would tell the Vahki to go back to normal and Kakaru could come back someday soon."Why were they watching you?"Kakaru made and abstract motion with his hand. "Who knows. I think they were trying to shut me up, to discredit me? Like, they knew I was stealing to get everyone to see how corrupt they were, so they were exaggerating it to make me seem stupid? I guess it worked, but that's the thing-""I didn't actually care, I was just making conversation," Nukoi mumbled under his breath. Kakaru didn't notice."That insurrectionist group, the one based out of Ga-Metru that tried to take a hit on Dume? Apparently they wanted to recruit me, so they were watching too. And suddenly they're escalating the conflict in the open since they noticed that the Vahki didn't care about me. So now Dume's got a way bigger mess on his hands up north. I guess the entire thing just works out for me."Nukoi scraped a small portion of food into Oen's dish. "Don't you have a friend up there? A classmate or something? Ruhui mentioned her once or twice." Oen leapt of Kakaru's lap and padded happily over to the dish. Kakaru paused for a moment, then tentatively shrugged. "I'm sure she's fine. I just hear rumours about these little scuffles, nothing else, right? I'm sure it'll all go back to normal."Nukoi raised his eyebrows but said nothing.The moon of the late solar cycle shone through the latticed crystal windows, casting a web over a news tablet detailing the list of casualties in the northern sectors. A Vahki patrol marched by far below, relaying combat reports and increased security commands, and both of them knew that things were most definitely not going back to normal. Kakaru's stomach churned inexplicably."I've got an evening lecture I need to be at," Nukoi said. "Kakaru, not that it's any of my business, but soon we may not have the luxury of small talk like this, any of us. Think about what you really want. Not that grand theological tripe we all love to spout, I mean what's really important. If you knew what was going to happen tomorrow, would all this 'power against the system' really matter?" Nukoi shrugged and closed the door behind him.Kakaru sat up and stared around the room with a long sigh. The silence was only intensified by the sound of Oen and his foodbowl. He picked up Ruhui's stolen miru and traced the smooth lines with a finger, contemplating his next move. Yes, he had somewhere to be as well. Just one visit, just to be sure.[/color] 

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Edited by Kakaru, Feb 19 2013 - 03:48 AM.

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