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#1 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 09 2012 - 07:52 PM

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Ta-Metru was quieting down for the night, with only the few dedicated and obsessed crafters still at their forges. The realm of the mask makers was one of the oldest sectors of the city - a fiery industry of tools, disks, and Kanohi. The Nuurakh were designed to ensure Metru Nui had a workforce of forgers, but when a Ta-Matoran returned home was at his own discretion. Mirzova had made his usual walk home, taking the usual route and passing by the usual sight of other workers retiring for the evening. His was a life of routine, a fact he enjoyed very much. When life was scheduled, there were never any surprises. Mirzova didn't care much for surprises. He was actually quite satisfied with the topaz Hau he'd been wearing for as many millennia as he could recall. He stepped into his house and shut the door behind him, grabbing the news tablet before climbing the stairs. It was delivered early in the morning each day without fail and, most every day, Mirzova would absentmindedly leave it behind when he left for work. If nothing else, Mirzova always had a bit of new reading waiting on the table after a long day of shaping Kanohi.

 

The Ta-Matoran gently pushed open his bedroom door and took a seat at his chair near the window. When reading became tiresome, Mirzova would sometimes just stare down at the streetlamps and listen for the distant sounds of the machinery hard at work within the Great Furnace. He scanned the tablet, looking for anything particularly interesting. There had apparently been an incident in the Archives earlier that day. Mirzova shook his head in disapproval. While Onu-Metru had a few skilled minds such as the Matoran who invented the Vahki, their fixation on the past was generally looked down upon by the Ta-Matoran populous. Mirzova moved on to the next article, regarding a Ga-Metru teacher's study of the Great Temple and its importance to the city.

 

Mirzova suddenly heard a soft creaking sound and glanced up from the news, listening closely. Was someone in the house? He hadn't heard the door open. He slowly glanced over each shoulder, finding nothing out of the ordinary. Mirzova was about to return to reading when something caught his attention out the window. A lone Nuurakh. Mirzova set down the news and stared down at the mechanical enforcer, their gaze only separated by a clear layer of glass.

 

He was rather familiar with this particular Vahki, assigned to patrol the local area. Like all Vahki, it was part of a squadron, but due to a malfunction sustained at some point, this Nuurakh had been acting erratically for a few months. Mirzova and his neighbors were accustomed to seeing it ambling about on all fours, with no intention of pursuing lawbreakers. Mirzova had even watched a rather bold Ta-Matoran attempt to engage the Nuurakh in battle, pointing and aiming a loaded Kanoka launcher at it. The Nuurakh made no attempt to subdue or apprehend the Ta-Matoran, instead turning and leaving in a manner abnormally casual for a Vahki. Why the other squad members hadn't reported the Vahki was beyond Mirzova, and the Kanohi crafter wasn't concerned enough with a pacifist machine to file a report at the Coliseum. True, Nuparu was always more than happy to repair glitches or errors in his Vahki, but a trip to Onu-Metru was even further than one to the Coliseum.

 

Mirzova felt very uncomfortable about the Nuurakh staring up in his window, looking on with an ominous watchfulness, as if in anticipation. He hadn't broken any laws that he knew of, so what was the problem? Nervously, Mirzova returned to reading the news, eventually falling asleep in his chair. He awoke several hours later, gradually sitting up. His eye immediately caught an article in the news tablet about Great Furnace productivity, but Mirzova didn't have time for that. He set the tablet aside and adjusted his mask into place. Work would be starting soon.

 

Mirzova walked in to his crafting chamber later that morning, prompt as always, and got straight to work. A few hours into his shift, one of his superiors stopped in for a moment. There was a tap near the doorway and Mirzova whirled around.

 

"Nuhrii," he said, smiling. "How is everything this morning?"

 

"Never better," Nuhrii replied, returning the smile in his crimson Ruru. "Did you read the news yesterday? Productivity in the Great Furnace is higher than ever!"

 

Mirzova paused. "Yeah, I read that…this morning, actually. I dozed off trying to keep an eye on this weird Nuurakh last night."

 

"Won't attack lawbreakers? Travels alone?" Nuhrii wondered.

 

Mirzova tilted his head a bit. "How do you know?"

 

"Another one of the supervisors was talking to me about a crafter that lives near you. He went to the Coliseum and intended to take up the issue with Turaga Dume, but the Turaga has been awfully busy as of late. After a repair worker successfully tested the Vahki's motor skills, it was decided that the order-enforcer was still able to perform its role in the city. Besides, what's one Vahki among dozens that doesn't have its head screwed on right?"

 

"I think you'd feel differently if it had been staring into your window," Mirzova replied.

 

Mirzova came home that night as he always did, taking the news tablet up to his bedroom. He sat down in his chair and relaxed, taking in a deep breath and slowly letting it out. Just as he was about to read an interview about a Ko-Metru scholar, Mirzova heard the creaking sound again. It was the same as the night before and once Mirzova looked up, the Vahki was already there. Despite their purpose as law enforcers, Mirzova felt entirely uncomfortable with a Nuurakh staring blankly up into his home. The machine was behaving so bizarre, the fear of it killing him vastly outweighed the fear of it arresting him for some unknown crime. As Mirzova looked into the glow of its emerald visual receptors, he could tell it wanted something. It was on a mission of some kind and Mirzova wanted nothing more than to end it.

 

The Vahki continued to show up for several more nights like clockwork, gazing, waiting until Mirzova was fast asleep in his chair. Each morning when Mirzova would rise, the Vahki was always long gone. It had shown no signs of intending the Ta-Matoran any sort of bodily harm, but after a week of becoming increasingly worried over the robot's unwanted company, Mirzova had enough. He decided to arrive for work earlier than usual—when the supervisors showed up—making his way to Nuhrii's forge and tapping on the doorway.

 

Nuhrii glanced over his shoulder, setting down a couple tools when he spotted his guest and raising an eyebrow at the sight. "Come in, Mirzova. You do know you're early, right?"

 

Mirzova laughed nervously. "Is that a crime now?"

 

Nuhrii took a cautious step toward Mirzova, clearly disturbed by Mirzova's behavior. "In the centuries you've worked for me, I have never once seen you come in early…or late for that matter. It's just a little odd."

 

"I need to ask you a favor," Mirzova said quietly, closing the space between the two Matoran. He suspiciously looked around, making sure no one else was nearby. Confident they were alone, he added in a hushed tone, "I need to borrow your shock blaster. Just for tonight."

 

Nuhrii's eyes widened at the request. "Mirzova, I keep my blaster here in case any criminals attempt to steal Kanohi, mask making tools, or other forge equipment. I've never seen a shock blaster kill a Matoran, but they have quite a kick to them. I don't think it would be wise to let you just take one home. I'm sorry. I think you should go home now, take the day off to clear your head."

 

"The Vahki," Mirzova muttered, his tone sounding slightly deranged. "There's something wrong with that Vahki I told you about."

 

"That's what this is all about?" Nuhrii asked. "One of our mechanical protectors has you all frantic? Listen, I hardly think"-

 

Mirzova pulled the disk launcher on Nuhrii and took a few steps back. "That's a mid-level freezing disk I have loaded in there. Give me the blaster or you'll be the one taking a day off."

 

"Mata Nui!" Nuhrii exclaimed. "Think about what you're doing, Mirzova!"

 

Mirzova fired the disk immediately after, instantly encasing Nuhrii in crystalline ice. Putting the launcher away, he began searching through Nuhrii's belongings. Within a few minutes, Mirzova stumbled upon the shock blaster, hidden beneath an imperfectly crafted Ruru. A small silver weapon, it had enough potency to put down a rogue Vahki - precisely what Mirzova wanted. Keeping the blaster close, Mirzova hurried home before the work day began and quickly closed the door behind him. Leaning against the door, Mirzova slumped to the floor and took a moment to catch his breath. He had just stolen city property and froze his boss. Mirzova tried not to think about what the consequences of those actions would be, opting to head upstairs for a while. The Ta-Matoran only took a few steps into the house before stopping short in absolute horror.

 

Crudely carved into the wall by what Mirzova assumed was a Staff of Command was the word "run." Mirzova felt as frozen as Nuhrii, the icy chill of fear locking him in place. Only his hands had movement, trembling as they held the stolen blaster. The house had been torn apart while he was away, items and furniture haphazardly strewn about the house. Mirzova rushed upstairs with the blaster ready to fire and looked around. His entire bedroom was eerily untouched. Mirzova approached the bedroom door and locked it, deciding to stand before the window for a while. If and when the Vahki returned that evening, the Ta-Matoran would be ready.

 

Mirzova nervously paced the room that entire day, checking the window often, jumping at the slightest sound in the house. In his frantic impatience, he had created a second problem by freezing his supervisor. The other workers would surely find Nuhrii once the work day started, thawing him out and expecting an explanation. If Nuhrii chose not to trust Mirzova with the shock blaster, his house would have more than one Vahki coming to see him. The Ta-Matoran tried to push that thought out of his mind, walking around the room as often as possible. When he walked, it drowned out the quieter sounds in the house. He wanted to be ready for anything, but at the same time, Mirzova was getting tired of being scared by every little sound. Even the low rumble of the Great Furnace was beginning to frighten him. Was the sound really even coming from the massive forge, or was a large squadron of Vahki coming to take him into custody? Mirzova was panicking and the worst part was that he knew it. When nightfall was on its way, he was a wreck - his gaze set out the bedroom window. The Nuurakh arrived as it had in the nights before, standing carefully before Mirzova's home and commencing its nightly watch.

 

"Enough of this," Mirzova growled, charging the shock blaster up.

 

He rushed to the bedroom door and unlocked it, storming down the stairs to his front door. Blaster at the ready, Mirzova threw the door open and took aim at where the Vahki had been. He quickly pointed the weapon the other way, searching for any sign of the robotic enforcer. With no Vahki in sight, Mirzova's short-lived bravery vanished and the fear set in once more. It was only until he narrowed his eyes on a distant streetlamp that Mirzova could see the Vahki heading off into the night. By coming outside, Mirzova had somehow driven the Nuurakh away. That wasn't enough to make him feel safe again though.The Ta-Matoran hurried after the Vahki, stalking it from the shadows. He was reluctant at first, knowing how powerful a Staff of Command was and well-aware that the Vahki could very well catch him by surprise. The Nuurakh finally stopped for a moment, standing beneath another streetlamp and scanning the surrounding area. Mirzova took his chance and lined up the blaster with the Vahki's chest plate, pulling the trigger with a bit of hesitation. The Vahki took the blast directly, screeching out momentarily before collapsing to the ground. Mirzova moved in slowly, quietly prepared to finish what he started. The Nuurakh was twitching under the light, violent spasms erupting from its limbs every few seconds. Mirzova fired a second time, this burst going directly into the Vahki's head. The machine became still, its eyes dimming out to a dark, dead gray.

 

Mirzova curiously examined the Vahki, careful not to touch it and get an unwelcome jolt. It appeared to be as normal as any other, so what did it want from Mirzova? He wasn't sure, but he was confident his nightmare with the Nuurakh was over. Mirzova returned home in silence, never crossing paths with a single Vahki along the way. Nuhrii chose to fault the early morning freezing on personal negligence, believing Mirzova wasn't a serious threat to the city with a little zapper. Without Nuhrii's trust, Mirzova would've been spending the night under Vahki control.

 

The Ta-Matoran tossed the blaster to the floor when he got inside the house, locking the door and heading up to his bedroom with the latest news tablet. He took a seat before the window and set the tablet down, releasing a soft chuckle as he looked out the window. Explanations for his actions could wait until morning. For the moment, Mirzova was satisfied with getting in a bit more reading before bed.

 

During his week living in fear of the Vahki, had Mirzova been paying more attention to the news, he would've been more informed about the missing Archives creature. He would've read about its high intelligence, nocturnal behaviors, its mastery of stealth and silence, gleaming red eyes, and rows of sharp teeth. He would've realized the Vahki was concerned with the silhouette of something hovering over the Matoran each night, patiently, noiselessly waiting for the moment to strike. With that malfunctioning Nuurakh laying broken in the street and nothing left to keep the creature at bay, that moment had finally come.


Edited by Cederak, Jan 26 2014 - 02:21 PM.

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#2 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Aug 10 2012 - 08:21 AM

Very creepy, I have to say! Great story of paranoia here. Metru Nui stories are always a favorite, and you did well here. Funny how fear can drive a person- or Matoran- to do different things. You made it clean and clear about how Mirzova felt with the Nurrakh outside his home, and that made it easy to picture and feel the Ta-Matoran's fear.Arriving early for work can be an odd thing... I found it stuck out at me due to a recent local happening, so it made me look at both Nuhrii's and Mirzova's character. Neither of them like suprises, it seems, and the irregularity of the visit like Nuhrii states, just emphasizes the overall creepyness of the story.This story also hits me because it portrays the Vahki in a good light, in the end... haven't read too many stories about that. Good job!Very creepy story, and very well done!
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#3 Offline Grantaire

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Posted Aug 10 2012 - 06:26 PM

Well, Ced, as I said over chat, this was an excellent story! The favorite part for me would have to be the feel: it smelled, tasted, and looked like Metru Nui. The presence of the vahki, the way everything was worded, it reminded me very, very, very strongly of the 2004 storyline. Great job!The story itself had a relatively small plot, although not a weak one at all. The ending snuck up on you, almost enough to be jarring. But I think it worked well overall.There's not much I can say about the characters, since there really were only two; the vahki and the main character. Both, however, were very well handled, as were the supporting characters of Nuhrii and the rahi. Again, excellent job.The writing style was suburb, and I enjoyed greatly the read. Not only was it flawless spellingwise, but it provided a gripping read, unlike some very well put together writings I have seen that lack in that regard.On the whole, this was an excellent story, and I hope to see more from you, maybe one in chutespeak next time. ;)EDIT:

When reading would become tiresome, Mirzova would sometimes just stare down at the streetlamps and listen for the distant sounds of the machinery hard at work within the Great Furnace.

"When reading became tiresome' would remove quite a bit of the repetition in the current setup.

Edited by Zarayna, Aug 10 2012 - 06:33 PM.

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#4 Offline Aderia

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Posted Aug 10 2012 - 06:34 PM

One question. Why did Mirzova feel the need to take the shock blaster when he had a perfectly functional and effective Kanoka Launcher?That aside, I'm gonna echo a fair bit of what Nick said up there. Realistic creepypasta feeling, great paranoia depiction, I love Metru Nui, and all that jazz.One of the most impressive things was how successful this was as a story. The way everything tied together in a cliffhanger-ish ending. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, I suppose. Poor Vahki, though. It was probably mentioned, but it was refreshing to see a Vahki portrayed as a good guy (at least, in the end) for once. That last paragraph that wrapped up that scary archives beast and everything, it just sent chills down my back. That bit, and the scene when Mirzova found the word 'run' etched into his wall.Another question, actually. Was it the Vahki who trashed the house, or the Rahi? Or both?Also, Nuhrii! Its awesome to see him getting some spotlight, even if he was just a minor character here. I really do miss the City of Legends, even though this story helped a bit. Another plus I wanted to mention, we got a decent look at every day life (more or less) in Metru Nui. We didn't really get much of that through the Toa Metru, with all their heroic gallivanting and all. Teaching the library folks to appreciate the small stuff, good for you!Yeah, overall, a great story (geez, where have you heard that before?) But some things just never get old, right? Keep up the great work =D

Edited by Aderia, Aug 10 2012 - 06:36 PM.

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#5 Offline The Renegade Emperor

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Posted Aug 11 2012 - 02:16 PM

Very good. Choice of words is well done, in my opinion, and the atmosphere is really strong. I could feel to be directly in the scene. I love dark stories like this. And I liked how a law enforcer could have so much power to actually force someone to break laws. A circulum vitiosus, if I recall correctly my Latin skills, a never-ending circle. Very well done. I like the ending, I like the title, I like the writing. I like everything of this! Excellent job, a masterpiece!
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#6 Offline Tehurye

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Posted Aug 11 2012 - 03:58 PM

Very creepy, I have to say! Great story of paranoia here. Metru Nui stories are always a favorite, and you did well here. Funny how fear can drive a person- or Matoran- to do different things. You made it clean and clear about how Mirzova felt with the Nurrakh outside his home, and that made it easy to picture and feel the Ta-Matoran's fear.Arriving early for work can be an odd thing... I found it stuck out at me due to a recent local happening, so it made me look at both Nuhrii's and Mirzova's character. Neither of them like suprises, it seems, and the irregularity of the visit like Nuhrii states, just emphasizes the overall creepyness of the story.This story also hits me because it portrays the Vahki in a good light, in the end... haven't read too many stories about that. Good job!Very creepy story, and very well done!

Nick just about stated it perfectly. I enjoyed it just as much. You did a great job, I can't wait to see more.You described Mirzova's emotion so well that I almost slipped into his character whiel I was reading. I especially felt the feeling of fear after stealing the shock blaster and freezing Nuhrii.And the twist at the end was very eerie... and excellently planned. Almost making it a horror story, but it was more of a mystery/thriller to me.Again, I enjoyed very much! Thank you!

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#7 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 12 2012 - 02:10 PM

Thank you for the reviews and commentary everyone, very much appreciated. ^_^

One question. Why did Mirzova feel the need to take the shock blaster when he had a perfectly functional and effective Kanoka Launcher?

Of the eight Kanoka abilities, none of them really possess the power to finish something off the way a blast of electricity can, at least when dealing with a machine.

Another question, actually. Was it the Vahki who trashed the house, or the Rahi? Or both?

The Vahki. The other "visitor" didn't want to be detected prematurely.

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#8 Offline Velox

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Posted Aug 25 2012 - 02:55 AM

Official SSCC Review. Apologies for the delay, but as you know, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin kidnapped me and wouldn't let me review your story until now. Anyway, I came in here expecting a good story, and you provided. Solid characters, great descriptions, interesting concepts and ideas, a great ending, and of course, as usual, great writing. One thing that I really liked was how you set up the scene at the beginning -- you gave a little background (almost enough so that one would barely have to know anything about Bionicle to understand this story, and that is a great thing) without making the story boring or giving the feeling that you just placed a bunch of unnecessary words in there. You explained the setting enough for someone to understand what's going on (even if they're not all that familiar with Metru Nui, as I'm not all that familiar with it) but kept the pace of the story. Which is something that I think many authors struggle with, especially fantasy stories. But more importantly, what I want to point out is how exactly you began the story. You have proved (and at least for the second time, if not more) that you don't need to start out a story with action or something super suspenseful right away. Instead, you use your writing which grabs the readers attention, even if you do take a paragraph to just set up the story; it still keeps the reader interested. Which is simply a mark of good writing. As I've told you time and again, I really enjoy reading your work. Of course you have improved over the years, and you seem to keep improving. As usual your descriptions were very well-done. I could easily imagine Metru-nui in my head as I read the story, as well as how each character specifically acted, another thing that not all authors can do well. But you have found a balance, describing everything important just enough to give the reader a vivid image without going overboard (for the most part, at least). Throughout the whole story, your writing just flowed well from one thing to the next. Well done.Another one of your strong points seems to be your characters. As with the last short story of yours that I reviewed (Adrinor, I believe, was the character's name), I really enjoyed Mirzova. He's quite a simple character -- again, like Adrinor -- but you have made him interesting, most-likely simply due to your writing (whereas in Adrinor's case, there were other reasons to make him interesting as well). And even though for the first third or so of the story all it is is Mirzova's day-to-day life, again, I didn't grow bored with him; you kept him interesting. Going off on that tangent, I thought the Vahki was portayed well too. As Aimee said, the Vahki seen as a good guy was definitely an interesting take on the robot enforcers of Metru-nui, and I liked that. Simply the idea of it in general was very interesting -- something that I enjoy about almost all your stories; you often seem to come up with very interesting ideas, and the fact that they are written out well just makes them better. As the story progressed and got more tense, having just watched Inception the soundtrack was in my head, but it was very fitting (and of course even without the music in my head there was definitely a sense of urgency). The sense of urgency of Mirzova, needing to defeat the Vahki that was haunting him -- and then the stunning realization that he had caused his own doom. And on that note, the ending especially was well done. I can't say I wasn't expecting something like this, but all the same it was well written and very enjoyable finding out the truth. I almost wish you had written more -- of his actual death/etc. -- but at the same time, perhaps that is exactly why I enjoyed the ending; it left it up for me, saying just enough to satisfy the reader and make it clear of his demise. One thing I think you should have mentioned, though, was the reason that the creature attacked Mirzova specifically -- why him out of all Matoran? I do think you did a good job describing the creature itself, though -- while there are of course many questions left unanswered (what exactly is it, where did it come from, etc.), if you would have explained everything it would have 1) taken the mystery out of it; and 2) simply been too much. You gave the couple sentences that you needed, and that really is all you needed. But again, I think it should have been explained why it attacked Mirzova in particular. On the grammar side of things, there were hardly any mistakes as usual. In fact I only noticed this one:

The Ta-Matoran only took a few step(s) into the house before stopping short in absolute horror.

My only other criticism would be of this line:

Nervously, Mirzova returned to reading the news, eventually falling asleep in his chair.

It seemed to just happen too quickly. One moment he's paranoid and nervous, and the next he simply falls asleep. I know that you didn't mean for it to sound that way (hence the word "eventually") but just because all that happened in the course of a single sentence, it did end up sounding that way. Perhaps I would have added another sentence emphasizing his nervousness and stating how, even though he was nervous, sleep finally overcame him. Overall this was a solid story and an enjoyable read. Nicely done. Posted Image

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#9 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 25 2012 - 03:07 PM

Thank you for the very detailed review, Velox. After going over everything you had to say, waiting for you to get away from Rowling and Martin is entirely understandable :PI will say that you brought up an interesting point about why Mirzova was chosen over any other Matoran. I had to consider an answer for myself after reading that question, and I think this is the best I have for you. It's possible that during its escape from the Archives, the creature fled into Metru Nui and simply chose Mirzova's home as a place to hide from the Vahki. In the process, however, it also found a potential meal, but due to the aforementioned fear of Vahki and being returned to Onu-Metru, it restrained itself until the machine was dealt with. It's a decent theory, and again, the best I've got for ya.Once more, a fantastic critique. Thank you very much. :)
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