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A Tale of Two Paths

expanded multiverse aethion izumal kiasu laro

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#1 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 01 2012 - 08:07 PM

A Tale of Two Paths

PrologueListen again, friends, to our legend of the BIONICLE.Five hundred years ago, a Great Mask of Power called the Kanohi Olmak, an artifact that granted travel through the dimensions of existence. After being lost by a toa warrior in a battle, it was trapped floating through dimensional space.But as it traveled, it struck a barrier of an unknown power, shattering and melding the dimensions together into a ring of seven planets separated from each other and a mysterious eighth planet by a destructive energy called “Bluespace“. This collection of universes -- a “Multiverse” -- became known by its inhabitants as Aethion.Aethion is constantly threatened by the force known by most of the Multiverse as the Olmak Effect, which warps physics and is slowly tearing down Aethion. But for some, the Olmak Effect is merely an afterthought, as equally dangerous challenges face them at every moment… Chapter 1: "Clash over Atohune"Ga-Toa Laro hurled one powerful bolt of water towards an orange-armored Agori below. After wiping his eyes, he responded with three wooden darts towards her mask, convincing her to rush farther up the ladder. She scrambled up a few more rungs, focusing only on her goal.That goal was to reach Alarist, to get some help for one of her tribe‘s agori. During a border dispute with the very tribe whose territory she was trespassing in, the agori suffered what could be a lethal injury, if not assisted quickly. Unfortunately, her small tribe had no one skilled in healing any species with as much organics as agori, so they had to fetch help from somebody on Alarist. Unfortunately, the tribe they had the dispute with was the one in possession of the Alarist Olmak Totem, and they were not going to allow a toa from her tribe anywhere near the spirit they hosted.She had been able to get a head start on them by using a Noble Kanohi Huna, but now it didn’t look like that head start would matter much.About thirty feet left to the top. Laro thought to herself. Thirty feet from Alar --Her thoughts were stopped short by a shock up her back. A le-matoran had thrown a wooden dagger into her back, and it had wedged itself in the gears in her back, immobilizing her mechanical parts. As the gears tore through the knife, she screamed mentally -- since her immobile mechanical parts prevented her from opening her mouth.In a sudden start, her gears shredded through the wooden knife, and her mechanical parts whirled to life again. With new energy, she continued climbing, with the orange agori hot on her heels. She reached the top shortly, and hauled herself up onto the platform.“There it is!” Laro exclaimed, dashing for the Olmak Totem. Sure enough, it was marked for Alarist, and she was only a few feet from it now. In her eagerness, however, she failed to notice an anomaly open until the last moment.“Get out of here!” yelled the orange agori. “Don’t you see that you’ve angered him?” He said, referring to the spirits that lived in the towers and controlled the blue energy.“I have no choice!” She replied. “One of your tribe caused the trouble when he attacked one of our agori.”The agori said nothing, and instead leaped over the edge of the tower, grasping one of the rungs below. Laro turned to see a large flaming stone shooting out of the blue energy. She dove to the ground, just avoiding the flying boulder. The rock flew over the tower, and stopped spinning long enough for Laro to recognize it. It was one of the flying metal chunks that those from the Shattered planet called a spacecraft.She didn’t have much time to observe it, however, thanks to a zealous attack by the orange agori and the le-matoran that pursued her earlier. As the orange agori hit her from behind in her legs, the le-matoran hit her high from the front, knocking her over the edge of the tower.Laro’s thoughts went silent as she tumbled through the air. What is there to think about? she asked herself. After all I don’t --She blacked out shortly from the impact. When she could see straight again, she pulled herself up, and found herself on the back of the Clysmax spacecraft. Desperate to get back to the top of the tower, she opened a hatch of the craft, hoping to somehow pilot the flying "rock" to the top again.

***

“I don’t take passengers!” called out Kiasu. After having her ship torn apart and transported to Atohune by the OE anomaly, the last thing she needed was a hitchhiker.“Sorry, I have no other options.” the visitor, a toa of water, said. “I need to get to Alarist.”“Well then you’re out of luck.” said Kiasu. “The only place I’m headed to is Ga-Clysmax.”“Please, matoran. One of the agori in my tribe is injured, and none of us know how to heal agori or glatorian.”Kiasu was about to respond that her ship was going down, but she was too distracted at the moment.“Forgive my apparent carelessness, Toa,” Kiasu said in her typical sarcastic tone, “but my steering fell apart in the first anomaly, and there’s a second one waiting for us!”Both toa and matoran closed their eyes in fear as the ship spun into the anomaly. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 02 2012 - 01:31 PM.

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#2 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 01 2012 - 09:49 PM

Chapter 2: "Dimensia"Kiasu screamed to herself in her mind. She had gone through this before, she couldn’t stand going through it again. Strangely enough, the toa was handling it quite well.“What’s the matter with you?” she yelled at the toa. “Don’t you realize what can happen because of these anomalies?”The toa sat there, (or rather floated, since there was no gravity in dimensional travel) and calmly rested in the air with her eyes closed.“What’s the matter with you?” Kiasu shouted again. She knew that most water-affiliated beings (aside from herself) believed in peace and tranquility, but she couldn’t believe this toa.“We will arrive safely.” the Toa said. “The spirits may be angry, but they will not harm us.”Kiasu’s face contorted with rage beneath her mask. “You people still believe in those things?” she screamed. “It’s this wretched universe that causes all that, you Atohune kolhii-head!”The toa finally opened her eyes at those words. She slowly turned her head towards Kiasu, as if trying to keep her movements even with the slow rolling and tumbling of the craft through dimensional space. She still appeared calm, but that seemed to make her angry to Kiasu, even without saying a word.“You don’t know what this is like, but I do.” Kiasu said, even as she struggled to bring back a collage of painful memories. “I’ve been through this before.”The toa nodded, showing no fear or concern at all, which only infuriated Kiasu more.“Years ago, I was forced through another anomaly by a horde of Ko-Clysmax fighters. My ship was shredded by the anomaly, and it tumbled slowly through dimensions, much like this one is now.” Kiasu then looked away from the overly calm Ga-Toa, in order to calm herself down, then continued. “I arrived above Barrawahi, and crashed instantly in Iron Hawk territory. They salvaged the ship’s computers -- the only part functioning at the time -- and captured me. Since I was from Ga-Clysmax, they turned me in to Ko-Clysmax, where I was imprisoned for several more years before I escaped.”Kiasu looked back up at the toa, who now was frowning and staring at the constantly moving walls of the spacecraft. “I’ve never experienced the life of a warrior like you.” she said.Kiasu’s rage died down quickly when she heard that, and turned into curiosity. “You, a toa?”The toa nodded and explained. “My tribe is one of the smallest on Atohune. I am the only toa in my tribe, but I have never had training in a fight, because before this day, we never had any troubles with other tribes. We could live in the worst areas of Atohune, because my power could prevent droughts for our small tribe. However, one of the major tribes wanted the land we were on to camp their tower upon, and my turaga refused, since we were boxed in at the time by several other major tribes. That was the only time I had to fight, and it didn’t last long because one of the other major tribes moved shortly afterwards. I admire you and yours. You are heroes, who are willing to risk their lives for their home.”Kiasu had forgotten the anger that had filled her moments before, utterly surprised that this toa, one of a species of heroes, would admire her. She stuttered, trying to say something else, but the toa spoke first.“If you are right, and this journey results in imprisonment or worse, I do not want to finish in an argument with another being. It would bring dishonor to myself and my tribe.”Kiasu nodded. “You’re right. It would mean the same for Ga-Clysmax and myself, too, I guess.” She had to force the last few words out. It was not natural for a cocky fighter pilot to swallow their pride. “I apologize. Should we survive, and land on some planet where we can get back to our planets, I suggest we stick together, until I can be sure you can reach Atohune, and you are sure I make it back to Clysmax.”The toa nodded. “Then you should remember my name. I’m Toa Laro,” She said, extending her fist in the traditional toa salute.“Kiasu.” the Ga-Matoran replied, knocking her smaller fist against Laro‘s. “May the wind ever be beneath your wings.” Noticing Laro’s confused look, she added “It’s a fighter pilot’s way of saying ‘good luck’, although it originated with the Le-Matoran.”“Ah,” Laro said. “Does it normally take so long?” she asked, changing the subject.“No, it’s not supposed to.” Kiasu replied. “Most stories say that it takes no more than five minutes, but this is taking at least seven.”Kiasu took a closer look at their surroundings. They were flickering wildly, as if a computer system was failing. “Wait a minute… Oh, no…” Kiasu’s eyes widened at the realization. Urgently, she grasped the seat belt of the pilot’s chair and fastened it around her. Urgently, she turned towards Laro and was about to yell back for her to buckle into the co-pilot’s seat, but the breath was knocked out of her by the sudden increase in speed. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 02 2012 - 01:30 PM.

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#3 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 02 2012 - 01:30 PM

Chapter 3: Land of the EnlightenedKiasu woke up on the air above her pilot’s chair. She up through the windshield of the craft, and despite the fact that the world around her was spinning, she could tell from the overly blue-colored environment outside that she was still in an anomaly. What’s the matter? Two anomalies in a row?It took her only a moment to realize what actually happened. Olmak Effect anomalies created intense amounts of energy that were known to cause extreme weakness or temporary amnesia, as well as dizziness. She must have been hit by some of the energy after she and Laro talked, and that was why she was unconscious in the first place. Her theory was confirmed when she found herself unable to move her limbs. She called out to Laro, hoping that she had received only a minor case of amnesia instead of the weakness that hit Kiasu.No answer came. “Laro! Where are you?” she called again. Still no answer. She was about to try one last time until Laro floated out of the back of the craft, her head in her hand. Kiasu gave a weakened smile and called out again to Laro. “Laro, is your head okay?”Laro looked puzzled. She pointed at herself as if she was asking “Me?” Kiasu’s face fell. It would be more difficult than she had hoped, as Laro’s amnesia was so extensive that she had forgotten who she was. Fortunately, though, it was only temporary.“Laro?” Kiasu asked again. This time, the Ga-Toa nodded. Either her memory was already starting to return, or she simply recognized that Kiasu was calling her Laro. “Laro,” Kiasu repeated, “Do you remember who you are?”Laro nodded again, prompting Kiasu to continue. “You’ve gotten a case of amnesia. Your memory will return quickly, but you need to protect your head until you’re fully recovered, otherwise, the rest of your memory may never come back. Do you understand?”Laro nodded again, making it obvious she didn’t want to think too much. Her head was still in quite a bit of pain. Kiasu lowered her voice to make it easier on Laro’s audio receptors and continued. “Now, Laro, sooner or later, we’ll be coming out of this place.” Kiasu gestured towards the Bluespace outside. “When that happens, things will start to get a little crazy. You need to get into the co-pilot’s seat and strap yourself down. Hopefully, my strength will be back by then, and I land without us looking as bad as the ship. Now I may not be ready, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Now, sit down in the chair and strap yourself dow—“Kiasu was suddenly hurled into the windshield as the craft jumped forward in speed like a Tanuuk slave in a Deathwing attack. This time, as she blacked out, she knew it was for real.

***

Laro watched as the little being, whom she now knew was named Kiasu, bounced around the craft. Laro herself was busy clutching the chair of the “ship”, as Kiasu called it. Something was nagging at her though, something that urged her that it wasn’t right to leave this little one unconscious as they left the blue place. But that would leave Laro open to the blue stuff that was tearing the sides of the ship off. It was a battle between two instincts: self-preservation, and one other that she couldn’t understand or put a name too. But an explanation came flowing in with a memory, like a flood of revelation…

***

Laro looked down as the elder of her small tribe, A Ce-Turaga, spoke. This wise being held knowledge by the droves of all kinds, but especially of the kind that toa needed to know.“Laro, I have seen things, I wish I had never seen, but had to.” the ancient ruler began. “I have heard things I wish I had never heard, but had to. And I am not the only turaga who looks on their days as toa with pain. But with that pain comes the blessing of accomplishment and the joy of helping those weaker than you. I began on Alarist, where I fought the criminals of the Alarist Underground. I did it all in the name of two things, the first being our code, the precious pact that every noble toa vows to uphold.”“The second,” the Turaga continued, “was the symbol of all a toa lives for. They are the reason we are called heroes, even when other toa may serve evil on Barrawahi or Ko-Clysmax. They are the matoran. They were, are, and always will be the species we fight and die for above all others. They are why I came to Atohune, became a turaga, and founded this tribe. Although I no longer served the matoran in the way I once did, as a Ce-Toa fighting the evil of Aethion, I desired to serve them in another way, as their leader and teacher. As a mother figure. As a friend and a confidant.” The turaga looked up at Laro. “Do you understand?”Laro solemnly nodded, and the turaga smiled. “We are a small tribe, and you will be able to have the privilege of not needing to be a warrior. You will not be one of those toa like I was. You will be a toa of peace. You will have the pleasure of serving the matoran and agori of this tribe as I do now, but you will never have as much of a bond to the agori as the matoran. They are your reason for existence, never forget that.”Laro smiled and gave a mental thank you to her Ce-Turaga mentor. Her turaga only smiled, but that was enough for Laro.

***

Laro jumped forward and grabbed Kiasu even as the ship whirled down towards the planet. She shoved the Ga-Matoran into the seat and strapped her in. All of a sudden, a strange breeze drew a cloud straight through the side of the ship and out, towards a massive silver tower. The wind would not drag the ship to the tower, but it did get Laro. As she fell out of the ship, she splashed a cold parting burst of water at Kiasu, waking her back up.

***

Kiasu shook her head, knocking the excess water off. Why do I have water all over me? Did we crash into an ocean? She asked herself. Looking out the side of her ship, she saw the answer, and it filled her with terror. “LARO!” she screamed, grasping out through the bizarre cloud as if it would make some difference. Toa Laro was miles below, falling towards a city made of silver.A minute later, Kiasu realized what she just saw. “A city of… silv – silver? But that means Laro’s in…” Kiasu broke down again. It was a bizarre feeling. She was a fighter pilot. She knew no fear. She knew no weakness. Yet she felt as weak as ever now, and although she had only known Laro for a minute or so, she felt like she knew the toa from her origin. She felt like she lost her dearest friend, and perhaps she really was. But she had lost her now, and in the Enlightened City, the home of undying evil. However, there was a chance she could get her back. It would take a lot of work, but eventually she would learn the skill of hacking from somebody, somewhere, and she would get her back.

***

Laro woke up in an alley. That was all she could think about. She knew she was a Ga-Toa, which meant she had the power of water, and she knew her name was Laro. It ended there. She felt something hard on her face. She grabbed it and took it off. As soon as she did, her arms felt weak, and it seemed like her energy was drained to its halfway point. It is uncomfortable, but I shall wear it anyway.After twenty minutes of sitting in the alley, Laro finally decided to get up and examine the world around her. For a solid hour, she walked along the silver walls until she came upon a tall being with tubes attached to his head.“Good morning.” He said, never turning from his work, which appeared to be removing trinkets from garbage.“What are you doing?” Laro asked, trying to see around the massive being.He blocked her view and answered “My job.” He then added, “Which is not something you should be worrying about.”“You sound nervous.” Laro said. “So am I. I don’t know what this place is.”The large being stood up at that and turned around to face her. “Ah, so you’re new.” He said, with a look of relief on his face. “I’m Statorak.” He held out his hand for her to shake, but she didn’t understand what it meant. Statorak grumbled something and then continued. “I’m not the person to ask about this place, but if you just wander around for a while, you’ll come upon another toa in silver armor.” He said, leaning down to her level. “Either that, or they’ll find you.” Statorak chuckled and then continued. “You just talk to them, and then you’ll know why you’re here, and what ‘here’ is. Okay?”Laro nodded and waved as she walked toward the door. Just as she was about to leave, Statorak called back. “Hey, toa!”Laro stopped and turned to face the giant. “Yes?”“Prepare to be enlightened.”

***

Kiasu sighed and turned around.“Hello, there!”Kiasu jumped. She had just barely survived a trip through an Olmak Effect anomaly, and then a crash after that. Now someone had the nerve to sneak up behind her and practically shout with a voice that was far too cheerful for the mood she was in now.“What’s the big idea?” she said, looking up at the visitor. For a moment, she thought she was talking to a large bird. Then she checked again and recognized that it was some sort of Le-Matoran with feathers running up and down his arms.“You, my friend, have just crashed on Izumal. You cannot enter the city, and thus, your only hope is to become a criminal to survive.” The Le-Matoran replied. “And just so you know, we criminals are the good guys.”“Are you a hacker?” Kiasu asked. Perhaps I’ve found someone who can help me learn.“Indeed. I am Akla, a member of a small team of hackers here.” The Le-Matoran said, drawing a smile from Kiasu. “If you’d like, I can take you to our leader. He’s a Ko-Turaga codenamed ‘Wise One’.”“Yes, I would like that.” Kiasu replied. With that, Akla turned and walked deeper into the caves, signaling for her to follow. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

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#4 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 02 2012 - 08:40 PM

Chapter 4: "The Camp"Kiasu was getting frustrated with Akla. This bizarre matoran-avian hybrid seemed to enjoy clambering up slick protometal cavern walls using the strange barbs growing out of his hands and feet. Kiasu didn’t like it as much as he did, needless to say.“Do you mutants always travel while defying gravity?” Kiasu asked with a look of frustration.Akla scowled. “Not a mutant. One of the beings I was combined from had evolved into a birdlike version of himself. He is the being I share most attributes with.” Akla helped Kiasu climb into the tunnel and then added, “So don’t be calling me a mutant, you got it?”Kiasu only rolled her eyes, which earned a slap on the back of her head by Akla’s barbed hand. After rubbing her head, she scanned around. From all she could see, this was a dead end.“There’s no way out.” She told Akla spitefully. “Something tells me you don’t have a right to be as cocky as you are.”Akla only smirked. “You’re one to talk. Something tells me you must be blind.”Kiasu was about to ask why, until the Le-Matoran shoved her forward. She shrieked as she stumbled forward, finally noticing a tunnel entrance right beneath her feet.“That,” Akla said from the tunnel entrance, “Is why you don’t have a right to be so cocky.”Kiasu had already hit the bottom of the tunnel hard. Moments later, Akla crawled back down the wall and then helped her up. “Now, if you’re willing to treat us like hosts, we’ll treat you as our guest.” He led Kiasu farther until they emerged into a large protosilver cavern. Seven protometal huts sat within, with protogold paths in between them. Several beings, including a few Glatorian, some Matoran, and an unusually large elite Skrall were conversing, most of it occurring near an odd protosteel dome in the center of the cave.The elite skrall walked over to Akla and mumbled something, and the Le-Matoran whispered back to him. The skrall glanced over at Kiasu and then walked back to the dome in the center of the cave.“Come along,” said Akla, “But don’t draw attention to yourself.”Almost before she opened her mouth, Akla placed his finger over it, as he knocked on the door of one of the huts. He walked in and shut the door.As Kiasu waited, she skimmed over the area. Nothing peculiar was happening, but the skrall seemed to be keeping a close eye on her. An agori and a glatorian noticed her as well, and started to walk over until they noticed the skrall smacking his club against his palm. They quietly turned around and didn’t stop walking until they were in another one of the huts.Shortly afterwards, a turaga with a Mask of Conjuring came out, all the while mumbling what sounded like coding. He didn’t seem like the typical turaga. He seemed agile and young, as if he was still a toa. If this was Wise One, his codename was rather misleading.“Wise One?” Kiasu asked.“One and the same.” He replied with a grin. “And you must be Kiasu, correct?”“Yes, I am.” She replied.“Excellent. Just go ahead and walk on in.” Wise One said, gesturing towards the door. As she walked in, Wise One signaled to the skrall, who followed her and Wise One into the hut.Inside, it was a hub of activity—if hubs of activity could consist of only three beings. Akla was tinkering with a bundle of wires as the skrall joined a skakdi with an earth claw in assembling a massive computer chip.“So,” said Wise One, drawing Kiasu’s attention away from the others, “You may not have noticed, but I used my mask to read your mind a few seconds ago and saw how you got here. You were a fighter pilot for Ga-Clysmax, right?”Kiasu nodded, surprised that the turaga had even used his mask. “Were you programming your mask as you came out?”“Yes, I did. What was so unusual about that?” he replied.“It’s just that you did it so fast, and yet it was accurate.”“Yes, I’ve had a lot of practice.” Wise One replied, but that was all he said on that subject. “Also, it seems as if you lost a friend when flying in, is that right?”Kiasu looked at the floor. She still couldn’t understand why she felt so about Laro, after only a brief meeting in an anomaly. “Yes. She fell out of the ship while I was unconscious.” She sat up again, remembering what she had come with Akla for. “But I’d like some help. I want to learn how to be a hacker, so I can rescue my friend from the city in the future.”Wise One frowned. Rubbing his mask for a moment, he answered her. “Actually Kiasu, we’d be happy to help -- if we could.”“I don’t understand.” Kiasu said.“You see this cavern is a home for several hacker groups. Under normal circumstances, no hacker group would risk being so close to each other. The problem is, we are not true hackers. In the past, we left our computers behind for the Agents to destroy, rather than be jailed in the city. We figured we’d have a better chance later, since sooner or later, all hackers eventually get a hold of computers.”Kiasu grinned and jumped up from her seat. “I might be able to help. When my ship crashed, my computers were still mostly intact, so I hid them in a cave before an Agent showed up and destroyed the rest of the wrecked craft.”Instantly, Wise One jumped up and clamped a hand over her mouth before she said more. “Shh. Another element of danger in this camp is what happens when a group does find computers. If more than one of the groups looking for computers finds out about their existence, a war between groups starts up. The last thing you want to do is make noise about it.”Kiasu nodded, and pried Wise One’s hand away. Wise One sat down and thought for a while before continuing. “I’ll tell the others about it tonight, and I’ll also introduce you to them. Congratulations, Kiasu. You’re now our top prospect.”Kiasu’s eyes shot open at that. “Top Prospect” was a term used by some professional Space Kolhii players for an amateur that could possibly play as a pro for their team at one time or another. It seemed strange to hear of such a term so far from Clysmax. “Have you ever been to Clysmax?” she asked Wise One.“My dear,” Wise One replied, chuckling, “I’ve been everywhere from Horizon Castle to Wiki-Nui Museum to Lake Aerospace HQ and back. Chances are if there’s a landmark in the universe, I’ve been there.”“In the meantime,” he continued, “You can have yourself a good meal of fish, before I call the others for your introduction.”An hour or so later, Wise One checked on her again. “You ready?” he asked.Kiasu nodded and then followed the turaga to the area where most of the work was being done. It was obvious a lot had been completed in that time, as the skakdi and the skrall had already finished half the macrochip by now. Akla had assembled five bundles of wire now, and was hooking them up to the macrochip.“I thought you didn’t have computers.” Kiasu asked Wise One.“We don’t have central processing units or anything like that. We do have macrochips, however.” He replied. He then raised his hand and began. “Attention all. Please look over here.” Once he had everyone’s attention he lowered his voice and told them about how Kiasu crashed on Izumal and that she knew where the computers from the ship were hidden. “Now, you all need to be very quiet about this. Make sure you leave the hut every once in a while to dispel any suspicion that the other hacker groups may have. Meanwhile, we’ll be building something out of these parts to help mine out the computers, and then we’ll come back and build our computer systems before we leave the cavern permanently.” He then gestured to Kiasu and continued, “In the meantime, familiarize yourselves with the newest member of our group, Kiasu.”The skakdi was the first of the two she hadn’t met to introduce himself. He was large, with black armor and a big smirk-shaped grin. His most distinguishing feature was an Experimental Industries/Weapons Science Earth Claw in place of his right arm, but it appeared he was left-handed, so she figured it didn’t handicap him outside when shaking hands. He also seemed good-natured for a skakdi, which was unusual. She could also spot Rockfoot clan markings scratched over some Atohune tribal designs.“Welcome, Kiasu.” He said happily. “I’m Artesano, but you should call me by my codename, Craftsman.”“Nice to meet you, Craftsman.” She hesitated for a moment before asking “Are you from Barrawahi or Atohune?”“Actually,” Craftsman said, “I spent most of my life on Promathus, but yes, I originated on Atohune and my final days were spent with the Rockfoot clan on Barrawahi.” He chuckled for a bit, as if remembering some days of glory from his past before he spoke again. “So, now that you know where I come from, from where do you hail?”“Ga-Clysmax.” She replied. “I was a fighter pilot from the Lake squadron.”“Heh. You know, I always considered us allies, if only that we had the same enemies in Ko-Clysmax and Iron Hawk.” Said Craftsman. “Anyhow, I’ve got some more work to do on the macrochip here, so you might as well talk to someone else now. Nice to meet you!”Kiasu waved and walked up to the skrall, although she wasn’t absolutely sure that was such a good idea. “Hello.” She said, extending her hand timidly. The skrall glanced at her for a moment, but didn’t answer. Kiasu decided to be quiet for a while, but about five minutes later, she tried again. Once again the skrall ignored her, but she persisted this time.“What are you working on?” she asked.This time the skrall acknowledged her, obviously glad to show off his work. “I’m building the bulk of the macrochip while Craftsman works on the wiring. By the way, I’m Romus, codenamed Macrosteel.” He then turned back to his work. Kiasu noticed more markings on his armor as well, but these ones appeared to all be from Red Skull, another Barrawahi clan.She waved to Akla, since she had already met him, and walked over to Wise One.“Met everyone?” he asked. He was apparently focused on some diagrams scattered across a table. From what Kiasu could see, they were of some sort of weapon.“Yep,” she replied, “I’ve met Craftsman, Macrosteel, and Akla. All three.”“Well, then you haven’t met everyone yet.” Wise One said, never turning from his diagrams.“But who else is there?” she asked.Wise One finally got up out of his chair and looked at her. “You’ll find out in the morning. In the meantime, Akla will show you where you can sleep for the night.” He turned and motioned for Akla to come over. “Good night.”“Good night, Wise One.” She said, following Akla out the door. The Le-Matoran brought her to a small hut that appeared to be uninhabited.“Good night, and welcome to our group.” Akla said. Kiasu thanked him and he then left for the main hut again.Kiasu let out a great big sigh of relief as soon as she sat down on the lower bunk of the two beds, but she didn’t stay there long. She soon walked over to a large protogold desk with a silver top. She examined a small shelf to the lower right and found a stack of unused notebooks and a bundle of thornax ink pens. She opened up one of the notebooks and began to write.Wise OneKo-Turaga from… Kiasu paused a moment. Everywhere, or so he says. He’s the leader of this group, and has a talent for programming and an excellent memory, which clearly shows whenever he uses his Mask of Conjuring. He seems friendly enough, but he seems unusually energetic for a turaga. If you heard his voice, but did not see him, you would think you were talking to a novice toa, ready to save a planet or two.Kiasu looked over what she had written, and then turned her thoughts to the Le-Matoran, Akla.Akla, Codename UnknownLe-Matoran from… Once again, Kiasu had to pause. She had not yet learned where Akla had come from, but he had the personality of several of the pilots she flew with on Clysmax. Clysmax, perhaps. He appears to be a jack-of-all-trades around here, and also sounds like Wise One’s right hand man. He’s cocky and I wouldn’t trust him completely. Still, I don’t know him hardly at all, despite having to follow him through some tunnels all day. He looks weird too. He’s got feathers running up and down his arms, and strange barbs on his hands and feet that let him crawl all over walls and ceilings as if he had a Mask of Floortilting. Speaking of masks, his is shaped like a noble Huna.Kiasu scanned over her Akla entry. Akla was still a mystery she’d have to figure out, but that was only a secondary objective. She picked up her pen again, and continued.Craftsman, True Name ArtesanoOnu-Skakdi native to Atohune, but he claims to have spent most of his life on Promathus and Barrawahi. He does most of the work with microscopic wiring and so forth. It seems his vision power might actually be microscopic vision, but I don’t know about any of his other powers. He also has an Earth Claw from Experimental Industries and Weapons Science in place of his right forearm, probably to replace a limb lost on Barrawahi or Atohune. He also has several tribal and clan markings from his days on Atohune and as a member of the Rockfoot clan on Barrawahi. He’s different from most skakdi in that he isn’t warlike or brutal. He’s more jovial and friendly than anything else. Of all the group, he’s the one I feel most comfortable about.This time, Kiasu didn’t even stop before writing the entry on the skrall.Macrosteel, True Name RomusElite skrall that appears to be from the Red Skull clan on Barrawahi. He works on the large, heavy work, like moving and building macrochips. Aside from that, I don’t know much, as Macrosteel seemed cold and unfriendly unless he was talking about his work. He seems to be a good, hard worker, but considering the fact that his armor sports Red Skull emblems, my opinion of him is still tentative.With that done, Kiasu wrote down what had happened that day, starting from breakfast on Atohune to the beginning of life on Izumal. By the time she was done, the light of Izumal’s sky had vanished, and so she finally went to bed. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 24 2012 - 01:12 PM.

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#5 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 05 2012 - 10:26 AM

Chapter 5: "Dream of the Past"Laro walked into her home, which was familiar as ever, yet she had never seen it before. She had become familiar with everything on Izumal in the past few hours, thanks to the once-alien technology of the city.Statorak was right. She thought to herself as her new nanite suit slipped off of her and merged with the nanite walls of her home. The experience is… Enlightening.Unfortunately, even the advanced technology of Izumal could not make sleep unnecessary, and so she would have to have a night’s sleep before exploring the city and starting on the job given to her by the city officials. She was especially eager to locate the hackers she had learned of, and test the abilities of her nanite suit. After all, she was unable to use it in the sport that offworlders called “Thunder”, so its full capabilities would have to be used on the hackers.She stretched, but stopped when she felt an injury in her back, and pulled out a sharp chunk of something from her gears. She held in up for examination to find that it was a small, jagged needle of wood, and she could feel several others still embedded in her back. Wood splinters? There’s no wood anywhere on Izumal. How did that happen? She thought about it for a moment more before simply shrugging and deciding to ignore it.In thirty minutes, she was asleep, but it was not a comfortable sleep. Every time she began to shift into deep sleep, it felt as if something was intruding into her mind. It would fight forward, shifting her dreams from her true life to the Tribal planet, Atohune. Her mind’s eye would at one moment see the protometal landscape of Izumal, and the next it would see a thick, lush rainforest.Despite her attempts to stop this bizarre intrusion, Laro’s dreams were overtaken by some other mind. For the next few hours, she simply tried to stay awake, which seemed to keep the other mind out, but eventually, that battle was lost as well, and Laro slipped into the shoes of another.

***

Laro found herself on Atohune, inside a small, crude tent. Of all the unenlightened planets to have a dream about, why would it have to be this one? Laro thought, simply disgusted with the way the tribal beings lived.Laro tried to turn her head, but unfortunately, since this was someone else intruding on her mind, she did not control the dream. Eventually, the eyes she was looking through began scanning the tent, looking for something. A blue armored hand reached out and grabbed a stone tablet, a chisel, and a small piece of glass that was crudely fashioned into a mirror. As the mirror was raised, she saw the mask of the being she was seeing these things through, and was struck silent to see that the body she was viewing the dream from was herself, but in matoran form. I’ve never been a matoran, and certainly not one of the tribal beings. Laro thought to herself. But if that is me, why am I not in control?She would have to worry about those things later, however, as the Tribal Laro walked out of the tent and into a camp containing nearly twenty of the same kind of tents. Tribal matoran and agori waved and smiled at Laro as they went about their work. Disgusting, filthy work that nanites could do a thousand times better and a million times cleaner. Enlightened Laro thought.Suddenly, Tribal Laro received a mental message from someone. Or rather, a simple mental emotion that could be interpreted as a message, to one who understood how the sender felt. In response, Tribal Laro walked into the largest tent in the small nomad camp to see a Turaga of Psionics—the sender of the mental message—and a blue and gray armored Agori in a heated discussion.“Who’s this, turaga?” the agori asked.“She is the Chronicler of our tribe, Laro.” The Turaga replied. “I sent for her since this discussion is extremely important to our tribe’s wellbeing, and should be recorded.” Enlightened Laro was startled at the information (although she already knew it was likely) and nearly woke because of it. It is me? Why am I there?“If you listen to reason,” said the agori, “Then it will simply be a relocation of a nomad tribe. Nothing important.”“If not?” The turaga asked boldly.“Then this could be the last record your chronicler ever writes about your tribe.” He said, glaring right back into the turaga’s eyes. “You know all the tribes of Atohune give the Olmak Towers top priority. Anything and everything else is secondary. Your tribe’s current location—and if you are unwise, its existence—is included.”“And you,” the turaga said to the iron agori, “know very well that all the other Olmak Tower processions are keeping us from moving, and the tribes holding the towers are far more hostile than yours. If we were to make an attempt at relocating, they would wipe us out immediately.”“Then you should be happy we are giving you a warning. Interesting spots that the towers have not yet been are few,” the agori said, “and this is one of them.”“I have already stated that we cannot move without being wiped out. We are a small tribe, and any fight your tribe would consider a “border dispute” would be a holocaust to us.”“And I, Turaga, have already stated that your tribe must be gone. The Towers take priority.” He turned to Tribal Laro and said, “Write this down, Chronicler. The Tower will be here in two weeks. The tribe must relocate by then. Good day, Turaga.”As the agori left the hut, the turaga slumped down in a chair and looked at Tribal Laro. “If the other tribes realized the dangers of bringing towers too close together, we wouldn’t even have this predicament.”“What’s wrong with that, Turaga?” Tribal Laro asked, triggering a mental roll of the eyes from Enlightened Laro.“The Olmak Totems, when brought together, enhance the Olmak Effect’s destruction greatly. Its power can—oh, I forgot,” the Turaga said, seeing Laro's even more perplexed expression, “You’ve never learned the science of the Olmak Effect, have you?”“No, Turaga, I don’t remember learning any such ‘science’.” Tribal Laro replied.“Perhaps I should tech you of it sometime.” She said. “I can’t imagine how much more peaceful it would be like if the people of Atohune knew what the people on Alarist, my homeworld do. But then again, the simplicity and peace of Atohune would be lost to the crime and complexity that grips the Central world.”Tribal Laro obviously looked confused. “I don’t quite understand, Turaga.”“You don’t have to, my dear, which is one of your benefits. My days as a toa on Alarist contained much knowledge and many memories that I would rather forget.” The Turaga stood back up and pulled a map out of the makeshift desk in her tent. “But now to the present, Laro, for that is what truly matters right now. You have a mission…”

***

It was there that the dream stopped, yanked away from Laro by whatever force had caused it. She sat up in bed now, pondering what it might have meant, but, as is typical with dreams, the details melted away from her mind the longer she stayed awake. Eventually, all of the dream had been forgotten, except the turaga’s last words.You have a mission… :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 24 2012 - 01:12 PM.

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#6 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 06 2012 - 03:22 PM

Chapter 6: "The Excavation"Kiasu felt something weave into her mind at what felt like midnight. It was a prodding voice, demanding that she awaken. Kiasu, of course, did not feel like obeying. She simply rolled over and covered her ears. Unfortunately, this was a relentless voice that hands over ears could not hinder, but still Kiasu ignored it.Suddenly, a piercing headache struck her, and she jumped out of the bunk. “Okay!” she cried, “Why should I be awa--” Her sentence was muffled as some sort of hand covered her mouth.The voice spoke again, this time insisting that Kiasu should not struggle. Kiasu once again disobeyed, and received another attack, this one so powerful that it hurt to think. After that mental attack, Kiasu fell limp for a moment before pulling herself up to see two red eyes glowing about four feet above her. The voice repeated its order not to struggle as the hand grabbed her wrist and led her through the blackness of darkness so thick it was almost tangible. As she walked and followed the guidance of the hand, Kiasu heard the voice speak again, this time commanding her not to speak.Is there anything it does want me to do? Kiasu thought to herself in a sarcastic tone. Her mental retort was quickly answered with another headache, though smaller than the previous ones. She groggily rubbed her forehead as the voice continued to lead her. After about five minutes of walking, a light suddenly turned on, and the hand took its grip off. Wise One was snuffing out a match that was used to light the gas lamp sitting next to him as Akla and Artesano draped the windows with the dark gray blankets from the bunks. Kiasu looked behind her to see Romus scanning the area outside the door with a Phantom Rifle, probably getting ready to fire on anyone who may have been watching Kiasu follow the voice.Thinking of the voice suddenly caused Kiasu to look around for it. She looked all over the room, but as tired as she was and with the limited light, there was no way she was going to find anyone that didn’t care to be found at the moment. For a moment she thought that the voice might have been Romus, but it seemed awful high-pitched compared to the deep, rumbling bass voice of the hulking Skrall. Then again, she had just woken up and besides, Romus was the only one of them that had red eyes anyway. She would have asked him about it if he hadn’t been busy with a Phantom Rifle, and if Wise One hadn’t guided her over to the lamplight where Akla and Artesano had already walked over after covering the windows.“Welcome, Kiasu.” Wise One said. “I apologize for having you wake up so early, but it is necessary if we are to excavate those computers you spoke of, and also vital to our survival on Izumal. The seemingly excessive secrecy is also important, as, in the hacker world of Izumal, newly discovered computers can turn a once peaceful village of would-be hackers into a miniature Barrawahi.”“So you did bring me here? Who was it that led me, Romus?” Kiasu asked, gesturing to the Elite Skrall with the Phantom Rifle over by the door.“Ah, no.” Wise One said. “That was the final member of the group that you did not meet, and that probably would prefer that you didn’t. That is her way, after all, but being roommates, that will clearly be impossible.”Wise One pointed to a corner where a cloaked, toa-sized being was sitting. The being rose and walked over to Kiasu, and then the voice entered Kiasu’s head again.Hello Kiasu. I am the Voice. It’s a seldom-used codename, however, and my true name is even more seldom used. Of course, that is simply because my existence is meant to be kept as secret as possible. I take it that you are good at keeping secrets? Otherwise, you may very soon find yourself out of Izumal, and into Karzahni.Kiasu was frozen for a moment, obviously intimidated by the Voice--or rather the Voice’s mental powers.“Leave her alone, Voice.” Wise One said, rebuking the cloaked being, who kept using her powers to petrify Kiasu. Wise One waited a few moments before he mumbled for a short while, and then his Mask of Conjuring glowed, as a strange force suddenly knocked the Voice backwards, breaking her concentration.“I apologize, Kiasu. Firstly for waking you so early, secondly for the Voice’s behavior, and lastly for the fact that you’re going to have to room with her from here until the day we either escape or are captured by the Agents.” Wise One said. “The Voice is a little tempermental, as you can see, but it’s none of your fault. It’s more that she had a disagreement with Macrosteel being the one to handle the Phantom Rifle she built, and it’s well known how female skrall get along with male skrall.”“I understand, Wise One.” Kiasu said.“Thank you, Kiasu. Now, concerning those computers--” Wise One began, “What’s the situation? We need to know what status they’re in, where they are, and how to best get them out, although that last part we have a good idea of how to execute.”“They’re in that cave at the end of the tunnel Akla found me in. They shouldn’t be too difficult to find.”“Oh yes they should.” piped up Akla, feathers ruffling as he pointed towards nowhere inparticular. “That tunnel was brought down recently. The ship above it that Kiasu crash-landed in was obliterated by a Io-Toa Agent who also softened the protogold and protosilver it was sitting on top of. A cave-in then ensued, burying whatever computers are hidden down there.”Wise One rubbed the chin of his mask for a short moment before turning back to Kiasu. “Could they still be intact, do you think?”“Maybe,” Kiasu replied. “but they’d have to be repaired, most likely.”“Something we can easily handle.” Artesano replied.However, we need some way to dig undetected. Said the Voice. All the beings in the room besides Romus turned to face the cloaked being in the corner, so apparently she was speaking into all of their minds. A Hagah Plasma Cannon will easily take care of that, but that means we’ll need to take parts from the macrochips and our other weapons to build it.“A Hagah Cannon?” Kiasu asked, surprised. “Even if you do have the parts, who knows how to build such a thing.”“The Voice used to work as a weapons technician at a factory on Promathus. She’s can build basically every weapon that comes out of there, so long as she has the materials.”And sometimes even without the right materials, though they malfunction often. Such as this Hagah Cannon probably would. But that’s something we can easily handle.“That sounds good to me, Voice. You and Craftsman can get started on the cannon. Macrosteel will continue watching the door. Avian--that’s Akla’s codename, just so you know, Kiasu--and I will focus on keeping the other hacker groups in here from suspecting anything. Kiasu will stay here. Her arrival has already got the other groups suspicious--so much that it’s best if she stay unseen.”The group’s members all nodded, with the exception of Romus, who was still watching the door.

***

As it turned out, everyone but Akla and the Voice had gone to bed before the Hagah Cannon finished being built. It had taken longer than expected, as the Voice had to do a lot of improvising before she could build a working model due to a lack of parts. It took the entire day, forcing Artesano and Romus to take shifts watching the other camps, although during the daytime they simply went outside and intimidated anyone suspicious--not a difficult task for two natives of Barrawahi. Since they had been up all day watching the door, it was decided by Wise One that Akla would watch the door the next night, since his birdlike eyes made him almost a better sniper than the two Barrawahi warriors.Kiasu was asleep when the Voice finally came back in. The skrall was obviously worn out, as she was stumbling slowly into the hut. Kiasu kept one of her eyes open to see the Voice take off her cloak and hang it on one of the bedposts on the other bunk. Kiasu then noticed something unusual, at least for a female skrall. The Voice was wearing armor under her cloak, something female skrall never wore, believing that it was unneeded due to their psionic powers.I hear your thoughts. Why shouldn’t I be wearing armor--anything that can make it harder for our enemies to fight us is worth having, and the pride of my power does not fit in that category. One of the very, very few things I ever learned from Macrosteel. Now go to sleep. It is too late to talk, particularly when we have to wake up so early tomorrow.Kiasu was about to ignore the Voice once more, but remembered what happened last time she decided to pipe up out of turn. Kiasu turned over and went back to sleep, dreaming about what had happened to her in the past few days, and having nightmares about what might have been happening to Laro in the Silver City.

***

Kiasu once again woke up through the bidding of the Voice, surprised that the Voice had awakened so early after getting to bed so late.Why should you be surprised, matoran? You were a pilot, weren’t you? Abnormal sleeping hours are expected in both the occupations of pilot and hacker. At least a hacker on Izumal should expect it.Kiasu simply continued following the Voice through the cave, wishing she felt the warmth of the sunlight that had been in the cavern the first time she came, when something suddenly came to her mind. Sunlight? How is there sunlight in a cave?Her answer came soon afterwards from the cloaked figure leading her. In the center of the cavern ceiling is a protoglass dome containing the equipment necessary to generate warmth and light to make it feel as if we were outdoors. The machinery amplifies the power of the lightstones and heatstones inside the glass, creating light for the cavern. I designed it along with a few of the other hacker groups a few decades ago.You’ve been here for decades? Kiasu asked, somewhat stunned.If you are to be a hacker here, you have to get used to being an exile. The only other option is going to the city to be brainwashed with what they call enlightenment--and what we call evil. The Voice said bitterly, showing her disgust with the city inhabitants of Izumal.They soon entered the other hut, where Romus was hoisting the Hagah Cannon on his back, while Artesano calibrated it. Akla was busy fiddling with what looked like a greenish-silver, feather-shaped blade. Wise One was the only one not doing anything at that moment, outside of welcoming the Voice and Kiasu inside.“Hello there, you two.” Wise One said, guiding them towards the Hagah Cannon. “The actual digging should be easy, so long as no Agents are lurking close enough to hear the cannon in action. The hard part will be getting in and out of this cave during the day without the other groups noticing. My Mask of Conjuring should help by programming it to work as a Noble Mahiki, but I’m not sure if a noble-level power of illusion would be able to hide us all, so we’re going to need the Voice’s help in keeping the other groups unaware of our departure.”I’ll see what I can do. replied the Voice.“Good. Meanwhile, Kiasu and Avian will guide us to the computers. We’ll write the word ‘Voice’ in Matoran along the tunnels we travel, so you’ll know where we are as you cover our tracks.” Wise One said. “We’ll have to leave soon--before the lights turn on in the cavern. That way, we will only have to come back in the daylight, rather than both to and from.”Over the next hour, Wise One’s group got ready for the expedition. Dawn was about half an hour away, and so they needed to get moving quickly. Wise One was the first to exit, using his mask to hide himself behind an illusion of even darker shadow. He scanned the area, and saw only a few night watchmen still outside the huts at this point of day, but none of them were actually awake. They were all propped up against the walls of the huts, slumbering. Wise One then signaled for the others to exit the hut and follow him, while the Voice stayed behind and used her mind powers to create illusions in the night watchmen’s minds, keeping them asleep. Akla then led the small procession through the tunnels, with Kiasu helping. The group marched in a winding, twisted path through the tunnel system, which only grew more contorted as Akla was forced to take detours from the tunnels that went straight up, since none of the others had his bizarre wall-climbing abilities. Every once in a while as they traveled, Wise One would take a small carving tool and scrawl the codename of the Voice into the wall, and then run farther up to get back with the group. After a while, the tunnel reached a strange formation of metal, which had obviously melted over the end of the tunnel.“Here’s where we start blasting.” Akla told Wise One.“Good. We’ll wait for the Voice to arrive, before we try to operate this makeshift cannon. Meanwhile, Avian, use your sense-feathers to try to detect any Agents on the surface.” Wise One said.Kiasu watched as Akla’s feathers suddenly began vibrating, as if he was ruffling them like many birds did. She looked over to Wise One. “What’s he doing?”“Avian’s feathers aren’t for flying--something that disappoints him--but rather, they give him the ability to detect what is occurring in his surroundings, much like a fabled sixth sense. If he exerts all his mental strength he can detect what is happening in an entire village, but it puts him into a trance.” Wise One explained.Akla soon turned back towards the others telling them that the surface was clear. Romus gave a soft groan as he laid down the plasma cannon, and then Artesano rechecked the calibrations, and adjusted them as needed. After a short while, the Voice arrived, silent as usual, outside of mental communication.Are we ready? she asked Wise One, although everyone could hear it in their heads.“Yes, Everything is set.” Wise One said. “Fire away.”The Voice walked up to her creation, and looked towards Artesano, receiving a nod. Kiasu guessed that she had probably asked Artesano mentally whether the cannon was set correctly. With that, the Voice fired the first blast, and the excavation began.

***

It was late in the afternoon when the computers finally had the last chunks of protosilver and protogold chipped off of them. They were rather damaged, but not beyond repair, even with the limited resources that they had. Romus and Artesano slowly hefted the computers out of the cave. They started following the trail of ‘Voices’ that Wise One had put in the wall after the Voice got a head start on the rest of the group. Wise One led the rest down the tunnel, with Akla and Kiasu close behind, assisting Artesano and Romus with hauling the computers whenever they could, although Romus was insisting he could still carry the computers himself along with the cannon without help, including Artesano, but the Skakdi wouldn’t hear of it.As they approached the end of the tunnel, Wise One signaled for them to quiet down. “We may be lucky enough to get back after it gets dark, when most of the others go back inside.” he said.They ended up reaching the hut without drawing attention rather easily, and they all made it to bed that night except the Voice, who was selected to be the night watchwoman. Kiasu happily walked to her hut when she noticed a piece of paper nailed to the door. After tearing it off she walked inside to see more papers nailed to bedposts, the desk, the chair, and about everything else in the room in some somewhat orderly yet completely mad arrangement. She took a glance at each of them, including the one in her hand, and realized they all had the same thing written on them.Dear Kiasu,This is a summons to appear in a hearing of your crimes as interpreted by the Judge. You will receive a fair trial and verdict from the members of the Jury, after which your punishment will be given by His Honor the Judge.Signed,The JudgeKiasu scanned over the note in her hand once more. Whoever the Judge was, and whatever ‘crimes’ he thought she had committed was unknown to her, but one thing was sure. Someone knew who she was, where she lived, and probably did not want her to enjoy her time on Izumal. Of course, it could just be a prank by Akla, or something like that, but she still didn’t feel comfortable.Kiasu laid down, hoping that when she woke up the next morning, she’d hear Akla asking her how she enjoyed his prank, but she still worried, for this sort of thing had all the signs of the work of madness.

***

Kiasu woke to the gentle nudge of someone’s hand on her shoulder.Ugh, Voice. What time is it? Kiasu asked, drawing herself up drowsily and turning to look at the Voice, although her groggy eyes were too clouded to recognize the Voice at the moment. Slowly, her vision began to clear, and she was about to mentally repeat her question when she suddenly realized that this being wasn’t wearing a cloak. It was a pastel blue color, as tall as a Glatorian, with a sleek helmet with three prongs coming off of the back, and also bore wild orange eyes and held a small, hand-held energy cannon towards her head.Kiasu suddenly became alert, sitting straight up as this seemingly crazed Dendrokan simply held his weapon pointed at her head. Unable to reach any weapon, she grabbed the nearest object within reach--her pillow--and hit the Dendrokan upside the head with it. She sped away from the Dendrokan and went out the door to find Romus or Artesano. Remembering Wise One’s warning about drawing attention, she tried to walk through the cave as casually as possible, before entering the safe refuge of the main hut.Wise One turned to greet her as she entered. “Ah, Kiasu. Glad you’re adjusting to our schedule. I thought we might give you a rest, but it’s good that you woke in time to help. Now…”“Someone broke into the other hut!” she said, interrupting Wise One.“Who?” Romus said, as he held up a macrochip Artesano was working on.“I don’t know. It was a Dendrokan, and he was crouching beside my bed with some sort of handheld energy cannon.” Kiasu replied.Wise One looked to an empty corner of the hut and rubbed the chin of his mask in thought. “Describe the cannon.” He said.Kiasu brought the cannon up in her mind, along with the image of her grinning, wild-eyed invader. “It was about two feet long, colored orange and gray, and had several glowing blue modules, including two glowing blue parts near the back of the weapon that resembled insect wings. It also had a sight, and seemed to have been tinkered with quite a bit.”Wise One nodded and frowned. “It’s a Judgement Cannon. Relatively rare throughout Aethion, and only one group on Izumal is known to use them. It’s not good news.”Kiasu was about to ask him who, but Wise One spoke first. “Was your hut covered with several notes, saying you were summoned to some sort of court?”“Yes, there were.” Kiasu said, pulling a crumpled note out of a slot in her armor for storing small items. She flattened it out and handed it to Wise One.Wise One read the note and crumpled it again. “Everyone!” He said, turning Akla, Artesano, and the Voice from their work, as Romus had been paying attention from the start. “I’m afraid Kiasu has drawn the attention of the Judge, and one of the Jury has invaded the camp twice. We’re going to have to leave the caverns sooner than planned. Since this is on such short notice we’re going to have to assign Kiasu a temporary codename now. For the course of this operation, everyone will call each other by codenames only, since it will be much harder for both the Judge and the Agents to locate someone with a name that isn’t real. Kiasu will be known for now as Prospect, and once we’ve been set up and gotten off the trail of the Judge and Jury, it’ll probably change. In the meantime, get everything into order so that we can get out of here, and set up shop quickly enough that the Agents won’t find us.”All of the hackers nodded and turned back to their work as Kiasu walked over to Wise One. “Who are these people?” she asked.Wise One looked over to her and then walked to his desk, pulling out a map of known Izumal hacker and anti-hacker camps. “It is believed that the Judge was once an Izumal agent who went mad after going through an anomaly and landing on Promathus. He abandoned his life as an Agent and bought an element key of Psionics, using it to turn himself into a Toa of Psionics from whatever element he previously had. In addition, he learned how to build Judgement Cannons while he was there, and memorized the technique. He would eventually find a way to travel back to Izumal through anomalies and lived as a fisherman on the coast of Izumal, while stealing Izumal technology to upgrade his judgement cannons.” Wise One took a pause and flipped the map over to show her a diagram for an upgraded judgement cannon, pointing to a special module. “He discovered how to use nanites to turn the cannons from a weapon that could simply influence the decisions of beings, to a weapon that could outright control their minds. His madness would eventually escalate to the point where he believed himself to be some sort of sacred being, and that for anyone to travel through anomalies to Izumal was a crime, as he had developed the notion that it was something only he should do. He then began using his cannons to take control of the minds of the first 12 interplanetary travelers he caught, and they became the Jury, which is simply the name he gives to his twelve goons. The Dendrokan you met was one of them. Over the decades, they have turned themselves into a group whose main goal is to kill all new beings who travel through anomalies, while taking control of the minds of all who try to help them. Fortunately, none of us drew their attention when we were trapped here, but with your arrival, we all are in danger.”“I understand.” Kiasu said. “What am I going to do in the meantime, though? What if the Dendrokan comes back.”“Firstly,” Wise One said, “The Voice will no longer be our night watchwoman. It’s better she stays with you at night, since to her, a madman’s thoughts ring out like they were screaming them. Secondly, we’re moving out of here tomorrow night, once we get all the macrochips and computers ready to move, and ready to cloak us as we move.”Kiasu nodded, and then asked “Anything I can help with?”Wise One scanned over the other hackers, to see how they were progressing in their work. “You should probably give the Voice as much help as you can. She’s trying to get the cloaking device to work when we‘re carrying it out of the cave.” :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 24 2012 - 01:13 PM.

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#7 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 07 2012 - 05:52 PM

Chapter 7: "The Commander in Chief"Laro stepped into the hover platform and directed it to one of the city's agent posts. Her mind was unable to get off of the dream she had a week ago, and the last words spoken by the Turaga."You have a mission." What mission? More importantly, why was I a matoran stuck on a banal jungle world, not even knowledgeable of the primitive trinkets the unenlightened call "cutting edge".Within a moment, Laro was already there. She stepped into the room and greeted her trainer who was studying a map of the area of the continent outside the city. Turaga Kalte was in his Nanite armor that made his thin frame look more formidable, and enhanced his abilities. He maintained a straight face at all times and carried himself in a way that could be described best as mechanical. For decades, the city had given him the duty of weeding out the hackers who continued to plague the city, and for decades, he had cut cybercrime on Izumal to the lowest point in decades. Yet, he was utterly obsessed with bringing more down, and some on the city circle began to think of him as somewhat extreme, and that he might be straying from the enlightened way. Yet, his record was as lustrous as a diamond and twice as tough, and the skeptics couldn't find a path around that."Laro." Kalte commanded, not turning from his war room map. "Send these two toa through the course." Kalte was referring to the series of tight turns, barriers, deathtraps, and nanite superweapons that led to a tiny gold disc marked with Izumal's symbol. Kalte threw his new agents in on the first day. Their armor protected them, but they didn't know it when the steely turaga cast them in the gauntlet.Laro nodded towards the recruits and they followed her to next room, where the entrance to the course was. "Go through. I'll be watching your progress."They shot inside and began twisting through the maze. The first, a Ba-Toa, used his gravity powers to drag the weapons downwards, away from himself. He was not a master at flight, but adrenaline and terror of each weapon that trained on him gave him the ability to overcome. The second, a Toa of Shadow, was confident and breezed through until the first of the deathtraps. Unable to think clearly, when his thoughts were on himself, his armor was crushed and abandoned its failed wearer, who would rise and be made an ordinary citizen once he awakened. The Ba-Toa continued, and through some miracle, reached the end of the course sucessfully, and was utterly thrilled when it all was over. He was completely unscathed, and he stood tall when Kalte walked to the course.The turaga looked at the Ba-Toa, unimpressed, and then into the course."Why is my course still in one piece?"The Ba-Toa was stunned, he almost opened his mouth, but started stammering, and chose to pipe down quickly."The shadow toa went down because he was confident, but stupid. You are skilled, but a coward." Kalte spat. "The kra-toa was shot down because he knew his power, but not how to use it to his advantage. You knew how to use your power, but you allowed the course to dictate your actions. You will be nothing to me." Kalte turned to Laro. "Run the course the right way."Laro immediately stepped into the entrance room and flew into the course. The agents were taught to allow no obstacle to bring them down, because to ignore the obstacle is to challenge it and lose. To avoid it is to not have challenged it at all. Laro on her first day had recognized the goal of this teaching. An agent neither goes around obstacles nor treat them as nothing.An agent knocks down obstacles.Laro in her nanite suit rammed through the walls, destroyed the weapons, and crushed the course. and as she emerged, Kalte almost seemed to smile. Almost. Suddenly the floor melted away into stairs and the Ba-Toa walked out, leaving Laro alone in the room as Kalte retreated back into his own world where all that mattered was bringing down criminals."These fools I keep getting. I get the leftovers of the recruits anyway, and these are the top prospects." Kalte siad. At first, Laro thought he was talking to himself, until he addressed her directly. "Laro, if we are to truly be enlightened, we must rid ourselves of crime. Always it is a reminder to those who are enlightened what an easy path the way of the other worlds can be. The activities of Team Cipher have lured the veterans of my group to the errands the ruling circle needs done. But we are going to tear into these parasites before I let some Olmak-chasing team of misfits on some unenlightened world ruin our world from afar."Laro stayed silent. Kalte ranted like this often--another of his behaviors that put the ruling circle on edge--yet he committed no crimes, nor any mistakes, so they were unable to act on their disease."Laro. In the coming weeks, I am going to be starting a campaign like no other, to absolutely revolutionize the way we fight crime here. You are new, but you have natural skill and ability. I am going to need your help. To start, I will need you to run things here with the other new group of agents, while I work on this project. Stay in contact. It is vital that you follow my instructions to the letter, and must take this as more than just keeping house while I work on my plan."Laro was taken aback momentarily, and was about to speak until Kalte stopped her. "You should not question me. Just focus on the task at hand and remember...You have a mission."Laro perked up for a moment, remembering the words to her dream. Maybe it was some sort of vision. A turaga's words resonated in the dream, and now a turaga says them while I'm awake.Or maybe I'm just thinking too much.

***

Kalte walked through the hallway when audio began playing from the walls."Kalte. We are displeased." the voice said. Kalte growled softly, recognizing the voice of one of his superiors. Here I am trying to do the only job nanites can't handle and they won't stop fussing. Enlightened, my eye."Why did you reject the two new recruits?" they demanded. Kalte knew it was coming. For years, he had adopted this world's way of thinking and followed the rules and thus, was allowed the finer things of this world. He could handle that. He could handle anything thrown at him, because, as he trained his agents to do, he tore down all things lesser than himself. It was the ruling class' ludicrous extremes of enlightenment that was the only thing holding Izumal back. He did not voice his opinions, because he knew talk was their game. He would have to show them that his way worked best before he could tell them about it."They did not have the skill. You can't send me every being the Olmak Effect creates hoping he will replace the agents you turned into errand boys.""We are concerned. Your behavior has not been exemplary of an enlightened being, and some of us are worried that you are walking to close to the edge.""And with Kalte, it's more like running full-speed on the precipice of a cliffside." said a different voice, which got the hotheaded turaga of iron steaming behind his Kanohi."I have unmatched success and have not deviated from the enlightened way." Kalte said with a feigned calmness. "If my determination comes off as disrespect or some other unenlightened trait, I deeply apologize." Kalte said, before entering his office. If the ruling circle had anything else to say, it would have to wait.Kalte's office was deep in the city, and was completely made of the protogold that served as the foundations of the city, primarily because the utter lack of nanites inside afforded him a palace of privacy in a city that granted him none. His nanite suit drifted off as he checked a map on his desk, which was far more detailed than the one upstairs. Here, it had every known hacker camp on the map, as well as the anti-hacker camps that currently was limited to the ones hiding in the cave of ill-equipped, would-be hackers, and the group of madmen led by the being calling himself the Judge.In the past week, the cave's group had been reduced by one team, according to Kalte's sources, as one of them had found computers leftover from the wreckage of an unenlightened being's ship that crashed. One of his agents was supposed to have disposed of it, and the pilot, but apparently he had failed at both. Why can't the brass take him? Kalte thought spitefully. However inefficient the Io-toa's failure, it could not be called inconvenient. Rather, it gave Kalte the perfect target for his plan. It seems more and more, that if you want crime disposed of, you have to do it yourself. Kalte then reestablished contact with his insiders. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 19 2012 - 04:27 PM.

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#8 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 14 2012 - 02:37 PM

Chapter 8: "The Turaga's Treasure"Laro was going crazy. At least, she felt like it. She could not pull her mind off of her dream, and she couldn't understand why on Izumal she should care.It didn't even make sense. It placed me in a pitifully primitive world, yet it still felt... natural. She shook her head as if to knock the idea off of it. I'm too tired to worry about that right now. She yawned and lied down. In recent days, she had been unable to sleep deeply, always thinking about the vision, or dream, or whatever it was that she had. But she couldn't put it off now--all she wanted to do was sleep.To just close her eyes.To rest.Like I could before...

***

Laro awoke in the middle of the jungle, and this time it was only her. She was about halfway to the middle of nowhere. Had it been anyone else, they would have turned back a day into the journey, dismissing her mission for a fool's errand. But for a chronicler, this was everyday life. A turaga would place their faith in you if you had faith in them, and send you off for some trinket that may or may not exist, be it a mask, or food, or anything else. And more often then not, I find it. Laro thought, remembering the time past when her Turaga asked similar things of her.But this time, it seems, there's something more she has on her mind. Laro thought. Her turaga was facing adversity on all sides, from the tribes who wanted her to move out of the region the other totem-bearing tribes had hemmed them into. If we stay penned in much longer, we will be unable to access any water, and we can't risk war with the surrounding tribes.Laro put her thoughts aside and continued on into the jungle. She had been navigating by the position of the neighboring planets, using a lightstone and a machete to travel through the forest. No wildlife had attacked her yet, but then again, she had spent most of her journey near the territory of the totem tribes, and the animals generally stayed away from them. She was on her own now, in uninhabited territory.Or at least she thought she was. Every once in a while, she thought she heard a strange noise, like a breeze, but at the same time, not. She tried to keep moving quickly, and not think about it, but just in case, she kept her machete in a defensive position when she wasn't slashing branches out of the way.After about two hours of this nervous march, she suddenly heard something she knew couldn't possibly be her imagination. She remembered it from earlier, before the turaga told her of her mission. She quietly approached the voice and listened:"...stuck in the middle of the totems. I've been bluffing that the turaga of my tribe will attack if they don't move, but the superstitious simpleton is concerned it will anger the 'spirits'." the voice said spitefully. Laro had arrived now on the entrance of a small cave that the voice had been resonating from. She put away her lightstone to avoid attention, and peered in. There was a glatorian and the orange agori that had threatened her turaga speaking to a little silvery being with a single, rectangular glowing eye. It had been the agori that was speaking before, but now the glatorian spoke."Sooner or later though, their tribe will have to move. The other tribes have control of all the accessible water supplies. As long as they can be kept from water, they will have to move or fight.""We can't wait too long." the one-eyed being said. "If they aren't out of there by the end of the week--an Alaristian week--do anything you can to steal those totems and get them together. Zuruk's Enigma line is the biggest moneymaker on Promathus right now. If we can learn what he knows, then we'll be the ones making the fortune. The incident at the museum cost us more than I care to say. We need funds."The agori was speaking again, but suddenly Laro heard another of the noises she had heard on her journey, closer than before, and her hand slipped. The Glatorian heard, and suddenly commanded "Gadget. Hide." The Glatorian emerged from the cavern with the Agori close behind. The first thing they checked was a Koreti hidden in the grass. As they searched, Laro lightly stepped towards the forest again, less than two bio from the glatorian and agori. Suddenly, Laro heard the noise again, and the glatorian whirled around, and quickly caught Laro sneaking off. Her position revealed, Laro rushed towards the two and slid, kicking up a huge cloud of dust into the air, it blinded her enemies, and she was about to flee, when suddenly a mass in the air turned into the brown color of the dust cloud, and she realized what had been following her through the jungle.Quickly, she ran into the cave, as the dust cloud pushed itself into the glatorian's mouth and nostrils. The agori finished wiping the dust from his eyes as he took a machete out of the koreti, and walked toward the cave mouth until the glatorian fell to the ground, choking. He rushed to his companion, trying to help him breath again, but the glatorian fell unconscious anyway.Laro had retreated into the cave, and searched for an appropriate hiding spot. She huddlied into the corner, and was readying her machete when she noticed some writing next to her. She tried not to pay attention to it, instead focusing on staying alive, but the natural curiosity of a chronicler made that impossible.Only a being with the heart of a hero can breach these walls.What is the--She leaped up from her hiding place as the rock she had been sitting on began screaming for the glatorian."Gadget?" the agori exclaimed, running into the cave, as Laro stabbed Gadget's eye. He quickly found Laro and drew his machete. "You. You're the chronicler for the nomads. I know you couldn't have known what I was up to, so I suppose your turaga sent you for water and you happened to find us. Pity you came all this way to die."The agori charged, and swung his blade at Laro's head, at about shoulder level for the agori. Laro blocked and their blades locked, but the stalemate could not last long. The agori was far stronger than Laro, and she would not be able to win. She disengaged and spun out of the way, and as the agori recovered she threw her lightstone at him, stunning him as it shattered and flashed. She rushed up into the clearing as the agori regained his sight, and sped out of the cave. She laid still in the tall grass, as the agori scanned the clearing for her.Suddenly, the glatorian awoke and painfully pulled himself up. "Jarix!" the agori exlaimed. "The matoran belongs to the nomads. She's somewhere in the jungle. Come on!"The agori began slashing at some ferns until he realized his companion wasn't doing the same. "Jarix. Are you home?" The agori said. "Jarix?"Suddenly Jarix struck his former friend and grabbed him by the neck, and thowing him into a tree. The agori gasped and looked at the Glatorian as if to ask why Jarix had turned on him, but the black armored glatorian simply growled and attacked again, punching the agori until he was unconscious. He roared and they wandered off into the jungle, slowly being consumed and controlled by a Manas-Vae, the vaporous predator that had choked him to death before.Laro waited for nearly ten minutes to make sure the cloud monster's victim had left, before getting out of the grass and tying the agori to a tree with the strongest vines she could find. She then entered the cave, and read the inscription on the wall to its fullest.Only a being with the heart of a hero can breach these walls.What is the reason a toa exists?Laro looked and the ground to find runes with Matoran letters on them. She turned them over in her hands as she thought about the question. Her turaga had often told her, as chronicler, about why heroes exist, often illustrating them with tales of her team of toa on the grand world of Alarist. And more often than not, her stories had one motive: "A toa exists for one reason. Other species find it foolish, and many toa scoff at the idea, but we lived--we fought--we gave our lives either in death, or as a turaga, to protect the matoran. Toa exist because of..."Matoran. Laro realized. This cave was the goal of her mission. Somewhere in here, she would find the item she was sent for, stashed away by her turaga ages ago. She hurriedly placed the runes in their places, spelling the word: :m: :a: :t: :m_o: :r: :a: :n:.Laro heard something move behind the wall, and a quiet noise that she couldn't quite place gradually grew louder and clearer, as she recognized the sound of rushing--Water! Laro turned and ran, just before the flood of water bashed down the rock wall that she could have been hit by and flooded the cavern. She took a deep breath of air before the chamber flooded completely and swam down beneath through the hole where the wall had been. She looked up as she entered the other chamber to find light, and rose up.She took a breath of air after breaching the surface, and climbed up on the rocks inside the cavern. She turned and smiled in relief.The Toa Stone. This stone was priceless on Atohune. The larger tribes almost always had a matoran in their ranks destined for the power of a toa, and with it, they could bargain for the right to leave the area and end the danger they were in right now. All she had to do was take it and deliver it to her tribe.She opened up her pack and reached for the stone, half turned to leave the cavern and return to her tribe. Then, as she touched it, the stone glowed and Laro--

***

..awoke. Her breathing was short, and hurried. Unlike before, she had been utterly absorbed in her dream, without any division between the minds of Tribal Laro and Enlightened Laro. She knew that her dreams had to have some significance, but she was clueless as to why. She had to learn, however, but she doubted anyone in the city would want to help. If she was going to solve her dream, she would be on her own.Suddenly, one of the walls in her room turned into a nanite screen with the mask of one of the city council on it. She would have to learn why she was having these dreams later. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Sep 24 2012 - 01:14 PM.

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#9 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Sep 23 2012 - 09:31 PM

Chapter 9: "Ambush"Two weeks now had passed since Kiasu had crashed on Izumal, and so far, no mad jurists had attacked yet. They had sucesfully set up camp using the computers from her ship, and had made several small raids that had both gotten them some much-needed food and also given Kiasu some much-needed training. Hacking was rather like a virtual dogfight. Every second, highly sophisticated Izumal technology was trying to shut you down, while you ducked and weaved through security to make the score. Except it was with sets of code rather than aircraft. Kiasu had proved to come to it rather naturally because of that, while those who were less used to technology, like Romus and Artesano, more or less bludgeoned through security, which meant that they had to restrain themselves to low-level targets. Akla was on the computer next to her, attempting to shut down some security systems so Kiasu could bypass it and steal some nanite mental shielding technology. Wise One was looking over her shoulder. His goal was to advise her, and help her learn to escape any snarls she came across, but after the first week, he had little to say to her. Kiasu focused on the screen and the lines of code in front of her. Wise One, the only one of them really capable of programming any of this Izumali-level tech, had developed a device that could exploit a rare weakness in the nanites' systems and discover the last password entered in a particular program. By the end of the day, the nanites would adapt themselves to close that loophole, but in the meantime, Wise One's team would raid like mad. It's a little easier to do that when you've got madmen after you. Kiasu thought to herself. Kiasu also had not heard anymore of the Judge or Jury since the incident in the old cave. Originally, she had been nervous as a startled cat, but after they had set up camp, Wise One had not seemed concerned, though he was quite reluctant to permit her to try to steal the mental shielding nanite program she was going for now. Wise One's main concern was learning the location of the other hacker camps on the continent, which he had been doing by tracking their signals from the other camps into the city. Kiasu had once asked Akla why Izumal did not use the same technique to find camps, but to her surprise, Akla did not know anything about it. When the two asked Wise One, he gave some long explanation that not even Akla could make sense of , even after spending five hours trying to solve the equation on paper (though that was Kiasu's work--Akla lost patience after five minutes). Eventually, she gave up, though Kiasu had asked the Voice to look it over. Kiasu turned her thoughts to the task at hand. Wise One's program had worked its magic as she broke through, but suddenly a warning message came up, stating that a virus had been encountered. "Quick!" Wise One exclaimed. "Cut the power!" The Voice, who had been in the corner, flipped a circuit breaker on one of the macrochip walls and suddenly all electricity shut down. How did they find the program? It should have taken hours for them to find it, let alone adapt to fight us."It doesn't matter now." Said Artesano. "We need to move. Agents will be here in moments." Wise One flew into action, grabbing his map of the outlying camps that he had been making so far. "Macrosteel, pick up the chips and Craftsman, get the computers. Avian and Prospect will take the goods we've gotten so far, and the Voice will maintain our stealth systems. I've got a new position for us in mind, but we need to hurry." Within two minutes, the entire camp was on the move towards an eastern position, but for trying to avoid agents, Wise One was not setting a very cautious trail. He acts as if we aren't in any danger at all! Kiasu thought, somewhat flustered. As far as I'm concerned, we aren't in danger. The Voice thought. Kiasu was startled somewhat by the mental intrusion. She still wasn't quite used to having her thoughts being read like a book. Why not? On Clysmax I saw what those people could do. They may not kill anyone, but we could be stuck in one of their prisons for who-knows-how-long! We all know. On Promathus I saw the same on Smog News. But firstly, my cloaking device will not malfunction--the password program Wise One and I created was a freak accident--and secondly, Wise One programmed his mask to send decoy electronic signals all over the area we used to be. Even with their nanite suits, the agents will be delayed searching there. Yeah, for all of two seconds. Akla's mental voice quipped. Since she met him first, she learned that his sense feathers allowed him to break in on any mental conversation the Voice held, which Kiasu was sure was the reason he was missing a few of his feathers. What if they can track us? How do we fight them? Kiasu asked. Usually be turning in the other direction and running. Akla joked, smirking. I don't run from fights! Kiasu stated angrily. I never tucked my tail as a pilot, and I'm not going to do it as a hacker. Then you'll be a very brave jailbird. This time, it wasn't Akla that gave the retort. It was the Voice. You don't. fight. Agents. It never works. Ever. You'd be wise to listen, Kiasu. Wise One "spoke" this time, having programmed his mask for telepathy. I've had the opportunity to fight Agents before. Instead, I used my Mask of Conjuring to escape. My team who refused to come with me are all imprisoned now. A protodite never fights a Kanohi Dragon. They just stay out of sight.Kiasu found she couldn't argue with that, and so she finally kept her thoughts to herself, when suddenly, Romus laid down his macrochips and clubbed Artesano to the ground. The Voice struck back at him with a mental blast, but he didn't even seem affected, and took down the Voice next. Akla clambered onto Romus' back, to distract him, but was shot by some sort of energy blast. Kiasu darted, dodging a fireball aimed at her, and she saw the source. Twelve beings, two toa, a titan of some sort, four matoran or agori--Kiasu couldn't tell--three glatorian, and the dendrokan that had attacked her earlier, and all holding the same sort of weapon. Suddenly, a gold and blue toa landed in front of her hand stood still. He wore a Komau Nui, and an odd black robe. He walked towards Kiasu and smiled. This court-- a mental blast ripped through Kiasu's mind, and knocked her out. Is now in session. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 19 2012 - 01:39 PM.

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#10 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Oct 17 2012 - 10:07 PM

Chapter 10: "Unlocked Doors"Kiasu awoke inside a small prison cell, will little to no lighting.No doors, no windows. That can only mean nanites. The agents must have tracked us down and captured all of us after the Judge's gang took us out.Kiasu's head fell, but her hands kept searching for some way out of the cell, motivated by her fighting spirit, though her head knew there was no escape from the inside. She ran her hands over the smooth, silver surface, and for a moment, felt somewhat insulted. All this was nothing more than a metal box. Apparently, that's all these nanites thought it took to contain a typical matoran. Unfortunately, they were right. Without a computer, she was not going to be able to break out.After a few more minutes, she finally gave in, and sat down solemnly on a black bench alongside the wall. Suddenly, her seat groaned and rolled over, revealing two red eyes and a wide, glowing Skakdi grille."Ugh. Who's there?" Artesano pushed himself up and rubbed his head, which bore a bad scrape from one of the spikes on Romus' club. "Oh. Kiasu. They got us did they? Were they the Agents or the Judge and his legal eagles?""It was Romus that got you, under the influence of one of the Jurists' Judgement Cannons," Kiasu replied, "but I think that the Agents might have gotten the Judge after his band captured us.""Yeah. These are nanite walls, but the Judge used to be an agent, supposedly." Artesano said, trying to sound reassuring. "Maybe he still knows how to use nanites?""Maybe." Kiasu sighed.They were silent for a few minutes more until Artesano spoke again."So the Judge got Romus with one of his cannons. Did they get anyone else, or did they just have Romus take down everybody?""After he knocked you out, the Voice tried hitting him with a mental blast, but it didn't do much. Before she could try anything else, Romus nailed her too. Akla jumped on his back since it was the hardest place for Romus to hit him, but one of the Jurists hit Akla with a blast from their cannons. I dodged a fireball from one of the toa, but then a ce-toa wearing a black robe found me and knocked me out with a mental blast. I don't know what happened to WIse One."Artesano nodded, grunting in acknowledgement, then silence again for a while longer. He gazed at the walls for a while, before he began waving his finger in the air as if writing something with it in mid-air."I don't think we're in the city." he commented."How do you know that?" Kiasu asked, not all that interested. I'm still stuck in here, and the Judge wants me dead. Either way, I'm not going to see Clysmax unless we get out. I might not even see Izumal's skies."This prison. It's supposed to adapt to whoever's inside. For you, a protometal box makes sense," he paused as Kiasu passed an insulted look his way. "Face it, Kiasu, you're good behind a computer or an aircraft, but without it, you're kinda' stuck."Kiasu just rolled her eyes and leaned her chin on her palm."Anyhow, for someone like me, it should be trying to find a way to prevent any escape by way of my Earth Claw. Granted, I'm not even sure if it can break us out, but that's beside the point. This prison should be accounting for every remotely possible method of escape. This is just a nanite box.""Can you crack this thing with your claw?" Kiasu asked skeptically."Probably not.""Then why are you raising my hopes?" Kiasu stood, and out of frustration slammed her fist on the wall. "I'd give an arm and a leg to get out of here, but I'm not about to dangle hope between my eyes just to feel better. I'd only feel worse in the end."Kiasu turned around to see Artesano prying at his Earth Claw. "If we're lucky, it may only take an arm." Artesano said. "Can you unscrew this panel on my claw?"Kiasu walked over and started trying to grip a tiny bolt on Artesano's claw. It was microscopic, but strong as protosteel. "You get this from Weapons Science? It's really well-made for having made it from Barrawahi until now.""Actually, no. I didn't have a right arm for much of my time on Barrawahi. The Voice made it for me when I arrived on Izumal and joined with the anti-hacker camp that she and Romus used to run with before we met Wise One."Kiasu lost her grip and then tried again. "So you met Romus and the Voice before you ever met Wise One?""Actually, I met Romus before that, on Barrawahi." Artesano said with a sparkle in his glowing eyes, hinting of what must have been his "glory days" before Izumal. "There's a great story behind it, but that'll have to wait for some time when we aren't breaking out of a prison cell."Kiasu's grip slipped again and she groaned placing her face in her palm. "See, there we go again. You give me an idea like we're gonna break out of here, and now we learn that that we can't get a grip on that silly bolt!" She said, throwing her arms into the air.Suddenly the wall opened up and someone else was thrown into the cell, before the wall quickly sealed again."Who is that?" Artesano asked, turning his Earth Claw back on."It looks something like the Voice, but without her cloak." Kiasu said. "Let me see." Kiasu focused her mental strength and "felt" for the part of her mind that she usually heard the Voice speaking from. Suddenly, she heard a sound no louder than a whisper. She pinpointed her thoughts on that sound until it grew from a whisper, and then to a cry, and finally to a full-blown, high-pitch shriek.Kiasu pulled her mind away, but now the Voice had someone else to share her pain with, and the Skrall focused on Kiasu, who slapped her hands over her audio receptors in vain."Kiasu?" Artesano asked. "What's the matter?""I don't know!" Kiasu screamed, almost crying. "She's screaming, and I can't stop hearing it.""Talk to her! Whatever they've been doing to her, her powers are making her think it's still happening. Talk her down!"Kiasu tried to ignore the shredding screams inside her head and "spoke" in the most soothing voice she could muster in that situation. Voice. It's alright. It stopped, it's over.Get them out! the Voice cried in the first actual words she had said since entering the cell.They are out. You need to settle down. You're with Craftsman and I now.Who? Who's with me!Artesano and Kiasu. The siren-like noise was subsiding, but it was still rending her thoughts in two.I'm going to kill them! They won't be safe all the time. They have to turn around sooner or later!Suddenly the shrieks spiked again, and Kiasu gave up. Bending down to the Voice's ear she screamed as best she knew how. "Wake up, kohlii-head and make that bunk! If this was an air raid siren you'd be dead by now!"Kiasu got up to find that the screams had become a wimper. She turned to Artesano to see him staring like a Kikanalo at a new gate."What was that?" He asked, stunned."The worst day of my life. I woke up fifteen seconds late that morning in boot camp and my drill sergeant must have spilled his breakfast or something.""Heh. Never seen that before." Artesano chuckled."I thought you were in an army?" Kiasu asked, with a raised brow."Rockfoot is mostly just a bunch of angry farmers." Artesano said, continuing to tinker on his arm. He looked up to see Kiasu trying to hide a smile. "Don't laugh. Have you ever fought a bunch of angry farmers?"Kiasu grinned before remembering her situation, and fell back into a somber mood. She looked over at the Voice, who had pushed herself up and leaned her back against the wall. Great. Now the painful ringing is all in my ears instead of my mind.Sorry, Voice, but I don't care to share your pain. Kiasu joked. The Voice showed her disdain by a scowl."Voice," Artesano interjected, looking up from his project, "do you have anything on you that can open this?" He said, tapping the armor of his Earth Claw.The Voice gave a slight groan--inaudible of course--and opened a hidden compartment in her armor, pulling out a small device that looked something like a handle without a blade. The Voice held it up and clicked a switch on the side, and a glowing blue energy emerged and formed the business end of the Voice's pocketknife. She clicked it again, turning it into a file. Again, into a tiny pair of scissors. Again, this time into a screwdriver. She handed it to Artesano, who brought it near to the resilient screw. The screwdriver's head changed shape to match the flathead screw, then adjusted its size to fit as well. Artesano smiled and kindly gave a silent thanks to the Voice, for the sake of her aching ears.What were they doing to you back there? he commented as he unplugged some wires and pulled out a computer board.The Voice ignored him, giving only an aggravated glance at the Craftsman.This is not simply out of curiosity. Neither of us have encountered the enemy since we were captured, nor have we seen any of the others. We don't even know what happened to Wise One.The Voice ignored him.Kiasu frowned and almost said almost rebukefully We need to know. We might be able to escape and get our camp set up on our own, but without Wise One, none of us will be able to install the programming without him. You only know weapons tech, and Artesano and Romus are hardware guys. Akla and I might have a knack for operating computers, but neither one of us can do what Wise One can do.The Voice gave another mental groan, conceding that she should at least share what she knew, even if she didn't care to think about it. They decided to use their Judgement Cannons on me. Tried to get me to spill something about other camps. Aside from the fact that we don't know anything anyway, having just gotten set up, I can't even tell them anything with their mental shields.Wait, Kiasu said, confused, why didn't you just tell them? You know, with your mouth?The Voice adjusted her position on the wall and grunted, this time audibly. It was an unpleasant noise, throaty, coarse. I worked as a spy and industrial saboteur for one of the smaller companies on Promathus. In order to stay in business, we were essential to any kind of success. In order to keep us quiet, they made it so that we were unable to speak. Some compensated for it with obscure sign language, but I used my mental powers.Kiasu waited for the story to continue, but received only silence. For being called 'Voice' you sure aren't one to talk.Artesano chuckled, and placed a remade computer board back into his claw. "That's how she got her codename. Akla thought it was funny, and refused to shut up until Wise One made it official."Artesano then shut the panel on his Earth Claw, and stood up, though his arm was still crippled. He pulled some wires out and "plugged" them into the nanite wall. "Kiasu, come over here." He gave her asmall keyboard from a miniature gadget-like programming device that he had attached to the claw. "This will take two hands to operate, and I don't think the Voice is in any shape to think too hard right now. It should be simple, but you'll have to work fast, since the nanites will adapt if you take too long, even without Enlightened-level security protocols."Kiasu nodded, and turned on the device. the nanites instantly reacted, wrapping around the wires, but the tiny screen attached to the keypad quickly began warning that the nanites would reject the interference soon. She began typing in lines of code that would break down the nanites prison programming. The programming they had was weak, apparently to avoid straining their stretched-thin power source. That must be why this thing hasn't adapted to make it harder for us to break out. The nanites were fighting back, trying to rebuild the programming she was tearing down. Suddenly, they stopped, and instead a timer set to ninety seconds flashed on screen, designating the time before the nanites would be resistant to this ramshackle hacking computer. She rushed to program the nanites to open up, and her fingers started to shake nervously. One minute. Artesano began to glance at the screen, then to the wall, then back. Thirty seconds. Kiasu didn't dare turn to see what the Voice was doing. Fifteen seconds.Suddenly, she broke through, and the silver walls melted away. Ten. Artesano then yanked his claw from the wall, picked up Kiasu and put her on his back before grabbing the Voice and dragging her out of the room. A moment later, the walls rushed like a silver wave and sealed the room behind them. Kiasu dropped from Artesano's back as the Voice pulled herself up from the ground. For a few seconds, they admired the openness of the walls in this hallway, and the freedom that they felt, before they remembered. We just escaped from a prison inside a prison on a prison planet. We have to keep moving. The Voice said, as she led the way down the hallway.

***

Laro soared over the silver and gold landscape of Izumal along with two other agents towards the Court, a base of one of the anti-hacker camps on the planet. Kalte had known about it for a while, but he allowed it to continue operation since it preyed on hackers instead of the city. Or so he said. For whatever reason, the city did not know, and somehow had come to the knowledge without getting it from Kalte. Now they were bypassing their own chief policing agent and sending his aide to do the dirty work Kalte didn't want done.She couldn't understand what Kalte would be willing to hide from the council. Security in Izumal was more than solid enough for Kalte to be able to discuss policing issues with the council. Which means Kalte doesn't trust someone on the council, or the council doesn't trust Kalte. But how could anyone get to either of those high offices if they can't be relied on?Within minutes, however, she would be at the Court, and hopefully she would get to the bottom of this.

***

The Judge stormed into the room as the nanite screen activated. The Ce-Toa would have liked nothing more than to tear it off of the wall."What do you mean, 'the agents are coming'?" He said, pointing a finger at the screen in malice."The council sent three of the agents to investigate your operation." Kalte said, with an equal amount of fury. "They had gotten a copy of my map, and bypassed me, going straight to my aide.""You said you would keep them out!" The Judge shouted. "If you think I'm going to keep up this 'mad avenger' act to save your mask, you've got another think coming. This was your operation, and I'm not about to take the fall for it. I'm all for justice, but if I'm going to go to prison for enforcing the law the right way, I'm taking you with me."Kalte glared at the Judge with an uneasing calmness, and whispered "I am the most powerful agent in this city. It will take every agent loyal to the council to defeat us, and if you rot in any prison, it will be in ours for betraying us. The council will burn before they see me in their prisons."The Judge and Kalte stared each other down for nearly a minute straight, before Kalte spoke again. "Now, you will go on with the procedure, but hurry it up as fast as you can and get yourself out of there and to my outpost on the coast. Make it as much a fusa court as you can.""Why don't we just kill the entire group? I can even have the jury take each other out of the picture before the agents arrive." The Judge asked."Because it took me decades to get my insider on that team, and even longer to get them out of the cave." Kalte stated, perplexed by the Judge's ignorance. "We can't afford to let that much progress go to waste. Just take out the Ga-Matoran. She's a prodigy, and eventually she will find the viruses we've been planting in the hacker computers around the area. She's as much a danger to our operation as those agents coming your way. Now get it done. I don't want to have to deal with you the hard way, Judge."The screen flicked off, causing the Judge to smash one of he tables nearby in fury. Suddenly the screen displayed an ETA of twenty minutes for the Agents who would be leaving the city shortly. He stepped out of his quarters and rose into the chair of his courtroom. "Sergeant-at-arms." The Skrall from the mole's team snapped to attention. "Bring out the defendant." :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 19 2012 - 01:40 PM.

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#11 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 03:37 PM

Chapter 11: "Close Enemies"No, no, no, NO! Kiasu yelled at herself in her mind. Granted, It was hard to say no to a brute like Romus, but still, they had come so close, just to wind up back in the pit. The room was utterly, completely dark, except for a light on the Judge's podium, and the light from the eyes of the biomechanical beings in the room. She looked over to her left to see a faint silhouette of Artesano. "Craftsman," Kiasu asked. "Are you home?" "Yes." I guess we now know why they still wanted me to have a free will. I must be your attorney or something." "Great. I've got a tribesman-farmer-fighter as my lawyer." Kiasu said, though both she and Artesano knew it made no difference who her advocate was. Suddenly the lights raised slowly to a glow bright enough to make the Judge and his Jury plainly seen, but faint enough to maintain the puissance of the grand courtroom. The Judge smiled as he spoke to the sergeant-at-arms, a mind-controlled Romus. The Jury was filled with indifferent drones for the most part, except for the little green chief jurist who stroked his pet featherblade with a spiteful smirk on his mask. Akla nodded at Kiasu, acknowledging her attention, though it was no friendly sign. Lastly, Kiasu looked to the prosecutor's desk, to see the familiar Mask of Conjuring of her mentor. He looked back over and, unlike Akla, gave her nothing but a cold, hard, stare. Romus, who seemed to be doing double-duty as the clerk and sergeant-at-arms began droning off the formalities when the obviously tense Judge eagerly told Romus to skip it and asked the Jury for a verdict. Kiasu didn't bother listening, but Artesano wasn't going to have it. "Objection!" He shouted, casting a finger point in the direction of the Judge. "No evidence has been heard." The Judge grinned at the foolishness of the defendant's representative. "Does it look like I care. Overruled, and sit down counselor. You're just a formality. You should be thankful your neck isn't on the line. Now please, just shut up." Artesano sat down and went back to tinkering on his Earth Claw, as Wise One stepped up and began, of all things, closing statements, but Kiasu once more didn't have the heart to listen to her friend try to get her killed in this death panel calling itself a court. Whenever she did listen, she heard words like "vile", "witch", and other cruel terms that though she knew were empty of meaning, still stung her to her heart, because it was still Wise One saying those things. She tried to fit logic into it, but she instead just closed herself off and covered her ears.

***

Laro and her group arrived outside the building and examined it quickly. It was made of protogold and protosilver, but had one of the hacker cloaking devices inside. "It's going to take more than elemental powers to break in." She told her partners. "Should we just bash through?" One of them asked. A rookie. Only a few days into it, but like most people on Izumal, hacker or enlightened, he would learn quickly. "No, we could kill someone that way. Find a way inside, and then we'll arrest whoever's inside." Laro said. She flew closer to the building when suddenly, it melted into the ground , indistinguishable from the rest of the landscape. "Hold it," she ordered, "this building is built with nanite technology." She flew back up, searching for some sign of where the building actually was. How did these people get nanites? They're not even a hacker camp.Unable to find any sign of the building, she ordered the Toa of Silver with her to begin extracting the nanites from the building. And then we can learn what in Aethion is going on.

***

"Yes!" Artesano whispered as he closed his earth claw. Kiasu did not notice, still covering her ears as Wise One spoke. Wise One walked next to the jury box, and was obviously near the end of a short, but ruthless closing condemnation. Romus was focused on him. The Judge was focused on him. The Jury was focused on him, and the only person truly paying attention was the Voice, tucked into the corner of the room. "..as you all now should see, there is no alternative but death, for this miserable criminal unworthy of the privilege of justice. Thank you." Wise One bowed to the Jury, finishing his hate-fueled diatribe. He was about to return to his booth, when suddenly, a viscous crunch of kanohi against protogold desk tore through the room. "Objection!" Artesano shouted once more from atop the Judge's desk, his left hand holding the cracked Kanohi Komau of the Judge. Romus threw his club, and Artesano dodged, pulling the Judge down from his desk as he charged Romus and dealt a hard left hook to his friend's helmet, knocking the unprepared skrall's headgear off. Now all the attention was turned towards the Judge, who was placing his Kanohi back on his face. "Macrosteel, handle Craftsman, until the Jurists can get a good shot off." He gestured for Wise One to come to him as he held a knife to the Turaga's neck, slowly walking out of the room. "And Akla! Do me a favor and perform the execution of the prisoner." The Judge and his hostage began walking out of the room, when suddenly chair shot through the air and disconnected him from his hostage. As he recovered, he used his own power to telekinetically smash any other pieces of furniture in the room. "Change of plans. Jury, give the lady skrall another serving of what we gave her earlier. As the Voice fled into the back room to find cover from the Jury and their Judgement cannons, the Judge made his escape with his willing hostage. Enough! Kiasu dashed towards the Judge really without a plan, but first was tackled as the Judge stepped through the nanite door. She turned around to see a smiling green bird-matoran stroking a feahery little centipede. "Akla, wake up! You don't want to do this!" "News to me." Akla said, as his featherblade flashed with light as it turned into its weapon form. "To tell you the truth, you don't know how long I've waited.""Akla, stop!" Kiasu pleaded, backing away. "This isn't you! It's the judgement cannons. Stop!" "Wrong!" Akla said, making a thrust towards Kiasu. "But also right. Let me give you a little science lesson. The Jury's cannons don't control the mind, but they are far more influential than normal Judgement cannons, in that they reformat one's personality." Akla made a quick flurry of attacks before continuing. "Granted, they can only work with what materials they've got. And so now, all the little annoyances, like your wiseacre attitude when we first met, your striking affinity for hacking which made me second banana in Wise One's eyes, and all the other little things all seem more and more prevalent the more I think about them. And so I'm going to oil that squeaky wheel and straighten out the wrinkles you've made in our group." Akla then acrobatically shot to the ceiling, before falling behind her and making a stab towards her back which she narrowly dodged. It stung even without striking her, if only because of the symbolism. Kiasu scanned the room around her. Romus was in a viscous fight with Artesano, using Red Skull tactics that could kill Artesano if he ever landed a blow. Artesano recognized it, and knew that a defensive strategy would not work. He would have to match Romus aggressive strategy and hope the Skrall was sharp enough to avoid the deathblows. The Voice was hiding somewhere in the room, but neither Kiasu nor the Voice's pursuers could find her yet. Akla then regained her attention again as he attacked again, but this time, Kiasu countered with a move that was meant to disarm an enemy. Akla turned around, and chuckled. His featherblade clung to his hand, and he charged again, as Kiasu tried to develop a new strategy. So, I can't disarm him, and his blade gives him an advantage I can't match. As Akla swiped his blade at her, without really thinking about it, she grabbed the nearest object--a chair leg that the Judge had forgotten to destroy when the Voice had attacked him. Just in time, she blocked Akla's attacks, but he put quite a dent in the malleable protogold rod. I can't make a habit of that. There aren't enough left in here. I need something to even the odds. She then remembered the pocketknife that the Voice had given Artesano so he could turn his Earth Claw into a computer. If he's still got it, I can work with that. As Akla continued attacking, she dodged and countered, narrowly avoiding the le-matoran's blade a couple of times, but slowly moved their fight over to the Judge's desk, where Artesano and Romus were still deadlocked, the skakdi's Earth Claw wrestling against the might of the elite skrall. Artesano was to the far side, with Romus directly behind her, and Akla was on the ceiling in front of her, poised to dive down at the hemmed-in ga-matoran. "Macrosteel!" she shouted, startling the huge skrall, who reflexively swiped behind him with his club and nailed the diving Akla into the nearby wall. Kiasu slid in between Romus' legs and pulled Artesano aside, away from the Judge's stand. "Craftsman, I need the Voice's knife." "Personally, I could use your help like that again. Macrosteel is not pulling any punches." He said, as he handed her the knife. "Thanks. I'll see what I can do once Avian's down." "Don't take your time." Artesano called out as he ambushed Romus and pulled him down from the Judge's stand. Kiasu nodded and then searched the room. There was no sign of Akla, now, and given his wall-crawling ability, he could be virtually anywhere. She walked while circumspectly keeping her guard up, when suddenly, a green blur shot out from a vent in the floor and thrust his blade towards Kiasu's throat. She rolled out of the way, but Akla didn't let up, attacking again and again and cutting some of her organic tissue, until she countered one of his attacks and cast him over the unused witness stand. She raced behind it, knife ready, and blocked the furious attack from Akla. Now he was going all out, in a furious spinning blur of green armor and feathers that made the previous psychological games he had been playing earlier seem like some sort of slow, yet deadly, dance. He was truly angry now, after having been maneuvered into a trap by her earlier. Unwilling to stay on the defense, Kiasu struck at Akla, making a move for his dominant arm, but before she could even come close, Akla had maneuvered out of the way and slashed her weapon arm. I forgot about his sense-feathers. She thought to herself, wincing. Perhaps the aggressive approach isn't best. Akla tore into the fight again, but this time received a painful response as Kiasu used a melee defense technique to knock his mask off. There's my advantage. He's got street smarts and a knife that I can't take off of him, but I've got military training. The Le-Matoran rushed to retrieve his mask again, but as he did, Kiasu took advantage and slashed some muscle in his shoulder, taking much of the strength from his arm. She pinned him to the ground and hit his head hard with the handle of her knife, knocking him unconscious. Sorry, Akla. She stood there for a short while, a feeling of guilt in her heart as she looked down, realizing that her new family had been torn in half now because she had drawn the ire of some madman, with one of her friends at her feet because she herself had sliced his arm open and knocked him out. I will fix all this. I was the cause of all this. I'll be the end of it, too. She turned towards Romus and Artesano's fight, hoping to help Artesano safely stop Romus, but she kept thinking of what the end result would inevitably be: one friend standing over another's body. It stung more than any wound she had sustained. I... I--can I? Her stomach turned, unable to decide to help Artesano take down Romus, even if the Judge had a hold on one. At first she thought it was something in her head, or the terrible thunder of the fight between Artesano and Romus. But suddenly, the building began to shake, and the silvery walls of the courtroom melted away, leaving only a golden frame. She looked into the back room, where she saw the eleven unconscious bodies of the Jury alongside that of the Voice, armor cracked, and all of their weapons shattered. But it was the silver-armored hovering trio that caused her to freeze. Agents. She turned around to see both Romus and Artesano flattened by a silver blur, as another melted away all other nanites in the room, besides the Agents' armor. Unable to move, she simply stood still and looked straight forward, where one of the Agents floated in front of her. "Where is the Judge?" the Agent asked. "What was your business with him?" Kiasu saw no reason to argue. These three had just brought down fourteen beings more powerful than herself, so she would be better off convicting her captor to the Agent. "He left with my friend as a hostage. He was conducting a mock trial before he planned to kill me, by controlling the minds of my friends." Kiasu was unsure of what to expect, and simply slumped her shoulders and waited for whatever was next. Stillness. Kiasu looked up to see the Agent in an almost trancelike state. The other two were carrying out bodies from the building, which Kiasu guessed was so they could bring down the Judge's base. She looked back up at the Agent as the other two left, when suddenly, the agent spoke again. "Do you know who I am?" Kiasu's first reaction was an expression of surprise and confusion. "Excuse me? "I know my name, I know what I've been told, but I don't know who I am." she said, contorting the puzzle, rather than clarifying. "I know dreams and nightmares of the past, totally unrelated to who I'm supposed to be, but you--I know you." Great, from one madman's hands into another's. she thought at first until she noticed the voice, and the mask. "Laro?" The agent almost fell backwards, nervous and terrified. "Go. Get out of here. I will tell the others I took care of you. Get somewhere safe." Kiasu for a moment was overjoyed, but remembered her team. "No. My friends were captured by the Judge as well, and I won't leave unless I have them with me." Laro turned it over in her head quickly. "Alright. Tell me who they are, and I'll take them safely back here after we've brought down the building." Kiasu was unsure of whether to trust the agent. But given that the if she is manipulating me, the result is the same, I might as well. "The elite skrall, the skakdi, the Le-Matoran, and the female skrall are all of us that are still here. There's a turaga who was our leader, but the Judge escaped using him as a hostage." Laro nodded. "It will be done, but I will need to talk to you again." She then pulled a small device from her armor, and brought it into contact with Kiasu. As soon as it touched, it melted into her armor, and then the agent started floating away. "Now go. I will find you when we need to speak again." Before Kiasu could ask any questions, the agent was gone, so she did the same. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 20 2012 - 03:44 PM.

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#12 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Oct 26 2012 - 05:59 PM

[color=#696969;][font="'palatino linotype';"]Chapter 12: "Kalte's Project"[/color][/font]Laro finished placing the ga-matoran's friends next to their cloaking device, as well as the technology that she figured belonged to them because anti-hackers like the Judge and Jury would not have used computer systems. Except for those stolen nanites.But stolen nanites were unimportant to Laro right now, because she now knew that the city that they came from and that she fought for had lied to her. She did not come into being on Izumal, though she had no idea how she did get on the "Enlightened" planet. Rather, she was from Atohune. Her dreams, which she had tried to dismiss as nothing more, she realized were memories, solidified as such when she saw the ga-matoran in the shattered Courtroom. I don't remember who she is, but I know that I have met her before. She's the key to the truth. She slapped her forehead, suddenly realizing I didn't even ask her name!She soared back towards the city, trying to rationalize. Maybe the city didn't know? Maybe they, like I, did not know I came from anywhere else. After all, it was Statorak that first found me, and he thought I was a new being. What reason would he have to lie? Laro began slowing down, to help her slow down a racing mind. How would I even know this matoran? She has Clysmaxite insignia, and supposedly, I was from Atohune. She shook her head in frustration. No, I know I'm from Atohune. They were dreams before, but now I remember them as strongly as everything that has happened today. I was a matoran on Atohune, and my turaga sent me to her cave with the Toa Stone so I could help us escape the totem tribes. But that's all I remember, and nothing from between the time I arrived here and the time I became a toa.She continued on toward the city, changing the subject from the argument with herself to something she could agree upon. What about the Judge? He had city-level technology inside that building, and his Judgement Cannons were transformed from devices of persuasion to machines that could warp a mind permanently to fit his wishes. And he still has that turaga with him.She finally arrived in the city and floated into her home as the nanites melted away for her. She lightly landed and was about to let her nanite suit flow off of her into storage when she turned into her dining room to find Kalte sipping a hot drink and tapping his fingers on the table."Sir, why are you here?" She asked. She had seen virtually nothing of Kalte outside of video for the last few weeks, and it was even more unusual for him to come to her rather than sending for her. The only thing that wasn't surprising was the fact that the irreverent agent of the law had invaded her home."You know that little raid the council had you pull today?" he asked, before taking another sip of his drink."Yes, it was an anti-hacker camp run by a supposed former agent caling himself "the Judge"." she replied. She knew it was the wrong answer before she even said it, but Kalte still wanted her to say it just so he could correct her."Actually, yes." Kalte said, and Laro was genuinely surprised. Kalte suddenly deactivated every nanite in the room, causing her little apartment to melt away, leaving a magnificent view of the silvery Izumali skyline. "I never thought I would see the day when confidential information was better shared for all the world to hear, rather than in the closed quarters of a household." He took another sip and then continued. "The project I've been working on." He handed her a document that detailed a small portion of the plan."Over the past year, I have been working to establish a framework of insiders in the underworld, and the Judge was one of them. He was my most loyal agent, and he was willing to give up the comforts of the city to serve as someone who could locate camps, attack them using his modified judgement cannons, and bring them around to the Enlightened point of view. But first, he would work with my other insiders to form a map of known camps, so we could prepare for a bohrok-like cleansing of the continent from criminals." Kalte leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Unfortunately, the council jumped the gun, and sent you out behind my back to take out the Judge. They now have an old version of the maps my group has made, and have been sending out agents to raid the locations on the map.""Why don't they know about the operation?" Laro asked, laying the plan on the protogold table."Technically, they don't have to. As their appointee to direct crime-fighting efforts here, I am the only one that needs to know. But the main reason is that anything that I discuss with them goes into the city's network, and anything that is in the network can be found by the hackers. That would foul up the entire operation. So far, the only information exchanged in this process has either gone through the comm system that the Judge had set up until your group shut the Courtroom down, or by pen and paper--the hardest thing to track in this city." Kalte finished his drink and laid the cup back on the table. "Any other questions?""Yes," Laro said, remembering that the Judge and his hostage. "When I interrogated one of the Jury," she lied, not wanting to expose her only link to her past, "she said that the Judge had been trying to have a matoran killed, and took a hostage in order to escape his 'defendant's' friends. If he was your agent, why would he be trying to kill someone?"Kalte scowled, with vicious menace that she had never seen from him before, not even in his worst tempers. Without indicating in his voice a hint of the anger that was on his face, Kalte answered, "The Judge was assigned to capture and imprison a hacker who posed a threat to my insider on that hacker's particular team. If one of the Jury told you he was going to kill or threaten the life of anyone, you are wrong." He rose from his chair and swiped his plans from off of the table. "I don't want to hear any more about that. Remember, none of what was said here leaves this room, or you will be exiled for obstructing the law." Kalte summoned the nanites to return as he flew out of the building and towards his headquarters.This place is evil. Laro thought to herself as the wicked turaga departed. I need to find Kiasu, and I need to find her now.Kiasu! That's her name! :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:


Edited by LewaLew, Jun 03 2013 - 08:50 PM.

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#13 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Jun 03 2013 - 08:46 PM

[color=#696969;][font="'Palatino Linotype';"]Chapter 13: "Schism[/color][/font]"Akla groaned and pulled himself up from the gold and silver plain of Izumal. He quickly shut his eyes until he adjusted to the light, and then let them focus and clear up the foggy image in front of him. In front of him was Craftsman and Macrosteel, both of whom had gigantic dents in their armor. They're not fighting. Macrosteel must have used a judgement cannon on him.Think again. the Voice said, as Akla whirled around to see a blast of energy strike him squarely in the head, and instantly, he fell to his knees, remembering all that he had done the first time he had been warped by the cannon.Kiasu lowered the cannon and turned to the Voice. "Did it work?"Suddenly the telekinetic skrall used her powers to rip the judgement cannon from Kiasu's hands and snap it in half violently. Yes, for the last time.Kiasu waved her hand over her shoulder, signaling that they should leave. "We've got to set up camp again as best we can, until we can find Wise One.""We don't even know who the Judge really is, let alone where he would go now that his courtroom is a pile of molten precious metals." Romus commented. "And without Wise One, we won't be able to do any sort of hacking. Only he had the software skills we need. I think we would be better off searching for the Judge the old-fashioned way.""I would agree," Artesano added, "except that the Agents destroyed all of the evidence of where he might have gone.""I might have a way to solve all of those problems," Kiasu said, as they began walking as far away from the former Courtroom site and the city as they could, "but I don't think any of you will take kindly to it."Akla was about to make some sort of quip, but he gave it up; it was too soon after his artificial change of heart for him to be quite as chipper as he usually was."The reason we were left behind when the Agents raided the Courtroom was because of the leader of their team." Kiasu said, pulling some cooked fish that she had caught for her friends when Laro had sent her away so the Agents could destroy the Courtroom. "She's not one of the enlightened. She's a friend of mine who came from offworld with me when I came here by anomaly. She fell out of my plane and into the city before I crashed outside the caves."Then why is she an agent? the Voice asked in a tone that could not even be described as skeptic, but rather outright accusatory. And why are you affiliated with her?Kiasu was about to answer but Akla butted in first, obviously a little more concerned about avoiding any agent confrontations than self-pity. "Something tells me you happened to tell this agent where you were going to be, am I right?""Not exactly. You see--""If it's even slightly the case, I am skipping town." Akla said. "I'd rather go back to the cave to fight again than to spend the rest of my days in a nanite birdcage.""But she's not one of them!" Kiasu insisted. "She had some sort of amnesia, they probably thought she was new!"Just as well. If she's been "enlightened", then she's not whoever she was before. If she has some way of finding you, I'm with Akla."Now let's give it a chance." Artesano said, once again playing the part of Kiasu's advocate. "Think about it--why would an agent put us back out there just so they could capture us again? They could have just as easily rounded us all up with the Jury and hauled us away.""I don't think so." Romus interjected. "In Red Skull, we would sometimes allow prisoners to go free to catch more. The Agents might be using us as bait to catch the Judge and Wise One."Kiasu couldn't think of any other way to argue her point. "Will you be going with the Voice and Akla, then?" she asked Romus."No." Romus replied unhesitatingly. "I have no reason to distrust your judgment. While they may be setting a trap with us, I'm more willing to rely on someone I can afford to have faith in, than an assumption that the Agents are same sort of cutthroats Red Skull are.""She is an amnesiac." Kiasu reminded them. "I need to fi some way to restore her full memory, if possible. The problem is that I don't know how to do it. There's nothing left from the plane that I can try to use."What you need is a Mask of Memory. The Voice stated."I don't know if you noticed or not, but we don't have any of those. How in Aethion are we going to get one?" Kiasu said.Don't ask me, I'm not staying."They have some of virtually every kanohi in the city." Akla mentioned."Maybe so, but they're all in the city. It's not as easy to steal as a computer system--if you call that easy." Artesano mentioned, before suggesting "I don't suppose you would know how to get one.""Nope." Akla said. "But I do know someone who does.""Who?" Kiasu asked, slowing down to walk alongside Akla."He's a Steltian. Goes by Statorak Furax." Akla said. "He collects items from the city that hackers can't steal from their keyboard. I used to be one of his competitors before I entered the cybercrime community.""How do I contact him?" Kiasu asked."You don't." Akla replied, then turned his head to face her. "Statorak has been under the radar for a while. About the time you came around the agents had high activity around his area, investigating a crash or something--might have been your friend. Anyway, he won't let anyone except old friends (using that term lightly) contact him.""Would you count as an 'old friend'?""In the 'lightly used' definition, yes. But then again, I'm going to be back in the old cave, laying low." Akla said. "And you have a date with the Izumali authorities.""Couldn't you just give me a hand contacting this 'Statorak' before you go?" She asked. "You don't have anything to lose by just putting me into contact with him. The agent wouldn't come this quickly anyway.""Wrong. The agent could be there tomorrow, or could wait a thousand years." Therefore, I won't be there tomorrow, or a thousand years from now. You can't predict an agent." Akla was growing frustrated. "I'd give you a hand, but I'm not going to throw my life away doing a favor for someone who doesn't have enough sense not to throw hers away too." Akla turned to Artesano and Romus. "You guys know. The agents may not kill, but Matoran can live for a very long time otherwise. I'm not sure of whether I want to test my sanity in a prison for 100,000 years.""And you think Macrosteel and I do like the prospect?" Artesano asked rhetorically. "Kiasu's our friend, and why should she make up a story and deceive us? I've got her back, just as she's got mine.""I don't owe anything to anyone!" Akla nearly shouted, throwing his arms in the air. "You guys are my friends, but so was the last camp I ran with. You don't see me running around doing favors with insane risk for them, do you?""Now you're wrong." Romus said. "Kiasu made sure the agent left us behind and risked imprisonment to come back and wake you and me out of the Judge's power. I'd say that was a pretty large amount of risk for an unsolicited favor. You and I--all of us--owe plenty, Akla."Akla ruffled his feathers and glared down at his reflection in the gilded landscape. He clearly was burning inside at the mention of the Judgment Cannons and what he did while under their influence. He didn't say anything more, and remained silent for the next hour, not mentioning anything about the favor or the agent.Soon, they arrived at the location Wise One had intended for them to go. "Close enough to the ocean for catching fish," he had said, "but close enough to the city to maintain a strong wireless connection when hacking through their systems."I'm leaving for the cave. The Voice said. Are you ready, Akla?Akla frowned and kicked a silvery pebble down one of the nearby hills. "I'll go ahead and help them set up shop first. Least I can do.""I'll say." Romus commented, pricking once more at Akla. The Le-Matoran didn't say anything.Kiasu stood from her work on rebuilding one of her old fighter computers and installing it into the wall of the macrochip. "Just out of curiosity, Akla, how long would it take to get a hold of Statorak Furax?"Akla suddenly grew angry, ruffling his feathers again and pointing at her mask. "I already told you, I'm not going to stick around here for that!""Well, as it turns out," Artesano butted in, "Kiasu and I have already gotten the computers up and running. And since you are staying anyway to help us set up, I thought instead you could go ahead and give her a hand with finding Statorak.""It could take hours to get a hold of him. The agents probably have been tracking us, hoping we'd hook up with a larger camp or something. I'm not staying. I'll just help tune up a couple of macrochips, then leave."Romus shoved the pieces together to form a neat little structure just big enough to hold all of them and the computers. "Craftsman and I have got the macrochips. If you're going to help at all, then help where you're needed." The skrall stood up from his work and turned to Akla, casting his finger out towards the horizon over the continent. "Otherwise, get out now."Akla's feathers began vibrating more than ever as his anger swelled. He hated being lectured, and even though he tried to hide it through anger, the guilt he felt could be seen through his mask."I'll try once. Then we'll be even. If it doesn't work, then I'm done, and I'm off with the Voice." Akla surrendered. he walked over to one of the computers and began establishing a link that bounced through a series of communication systems all over Izumal. Eventually, it reached an Izumali home phone, with the video disabled, for security purposes. "Figures it would work first time." Akla mumbled."Hello, who is calling?" the party asked."Alka." Akla said. The reverse of his name apparently served as a codename back when he worked in the city as a thief."What is your business?""Collection." Akla replied, referencing the business he was trying to contact."What do you collect?""Old Kanohi, if Memory serves." Akla said, emphasizing the word "Memory"."How much?""Depends on the quality. Do you have any high quality product that you'd like to have taken off someone's hands?" 'High quality' meant 'Great Mask' Kiasu guessed."There's a few prospects. I can have you take one off my hands." The party on the other end gave him an asking price and a location that would need to be 'worked on' before they could finish the deal. "Alka, one more thing. Featherhead?" the voice asked."Furry." Akla replied."Okay, that should do fine. Call you back when the item's collected." Then he hung up."What was all that?" Kiasu asked. "I could guess most of it, but what on earth does 'featherhead' and 'furry' mean?""Insults we used to throw at each other when we were competitors. I called Furax 'Furry', and he called me 'Featherhead'. We use those names to make sure we're talking to who we think we are." Akla weeded through the system to save some files concerning the 'item'. "Statorak will need the location listed here shut down so he can break in and steal the Roku for you. After that, you make the payment, and he sends one of his crew on over with the item.""Will we need any of the coded stuff for that?" Kiasu asked."No. You're going to be hauled away by agent by then." He said, getting up from his chair. "But should they wait, yeah, just greet him with the name 'Alka' and when he says 'Featherhead', reply 'Furry'. That should be all.""And you?" She said, almost pleading for him to stay with the group."Good as gone." He said coldly, picking up his bag and walking off with the Voice.Kiasu sank into her chair, as two of her friends abandoned them. No Laro, no Wise One, and now no Voice or Akla."G-Goodbye." she cried out halfheartedly to the departing pair, before closing her eyes and, suddenly realizing her weariness, fell asleep. :mirunu:Review Topic :mirunu:


Edited by LewaLew, Jun 03 2013 - 08:51 PM.

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#14 Offline Lewigi

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Posted Jul 10 2013 - 09:31 AM

[color=#696969;][font="'Palatino Linotype';"]Chapter 14: "Statorak Furax"[/color][/font]Kiasu woke to the smell of cooking fish, as usual, but for the first time since she arrived on Izumal, the Voice's bunk was not only empty, but made, as yet another reminder of what had happened the previous day. She walked into the next room where Artesano was cooking breakfast as Romus returned to his bed for his sleep after his nightwatch shift. With only three people left, nightwatch was more stretched out than usual. She sat down at the computer desk as Artesano rose from his miniature stove."Good morning." He said, brushing off his claw. "You feeling better? You must have been beat. Slept solid as a rock the entire night.""I'm fine." she replied insincerely.Artesano frowned and checked the fish again. "Well, I guess since you're in such a good mood, I can go ahead and tell you that we still don't know where Wise One was taken. I cannot think of anything new to try, so we might as well work on teeing up that raid for the Steltian. If your friend comes, it will be good to have the Roku on hand." He flipped the fish in the frying pan and took in the warm smell."I don't know, Artesano." Kiasu said, turning to the computer. "What if Akla's right, and I'm just pulling you and Romus into a trap set by the City?""You weren't thinking like that yesterday." Artesano replied. "Akla and the Voice are taking a big risk also. The computers are still back here. They could be stuck in that cavern for who-knows-how long.""But they know it'll be shorter than a life sentence in prison." Kiasu said. She paused and looked down at her hands on the desk, then clenched them, "Why am I even the one in charge all of a sudden! Why can't Wise One be here!"Artesano looked up from his cooking and shrugged his shoulders, seeing he was unable to help. "I don't know, but you don't have to take up that burden. But you have the plan, and as far as Romus and I are concerned, it's as good as any. Our leader is Wise One, and until we find him, all of us, you, Romus, and I, will work as equals, simply following the same idea.""You make it sound as If you came from the Brethren instead of Rockfoot, chatterbox." Romus said, with one eye open. "I'm all for it--but I'm all for sleep, too.""Sorry, Romus." Kiasu said, smiling as she watched the huge Skrall roll over on his creaking bunk. She leaned her chin on her fist and gazed at the screen in front of her. "Whatever, Artesano. But I still feel uneasy about it. This plan is what caused us to split. That kills the first of the Three Virtues right from the kickoff. I don't find anything worthwhile in that.""Perhaps it's just the third at work?" Artesano suggested as he began slicing the fish."Destiny?" Kiasu asked skeptically. "From what I've seen, Destiny is unjustly cruel on Izumal.""It does not matter." said Romus, groaning somewhat from the continued conversation. "Whether we have chosen Destiny's path or not, we have a Duty to Wise One to continue it. This friend of yours, if she is not too far gone, could give us the resources to find Wise One and perhaps even escape Izumal." He said, for the first time referencing the eternal hope that all criminals on Izumal held like a heatstone in the winter. Suddenly, Kiasu felt an even greater burden than before. They're not just sticking with this for my sake. They're hoping for escape as well. she thought solemnly. This is about more than Laro and me now."So, having said that," Romus continued, "how about you dutifully complete your destiny of helping Furax--and try to do it quietly. Many thanks."Kiasu nodded kindly, and then began breaking into the city's network.

***

Kalte walked into the golden chambers that, in his absence, had been so unkindly raided by the council's goons to undermine him. Upon returning to the city, one of the council had railed against him with a furious invective, but like with most things, Kalte rolled with the punch and kept his fury invisible to the council. It wasn't even a setback. Simply a warning shot, but his margin of error was slipping. Everything concerning his project would have to be kept far more secure, considering the anger that had been stirred up by the discovery of one map with secret criminal installations containing his informants on it. Fortunately, they could not realize that he had moles in the camps simply from that map.Laro was another problem. While she was trustworthy to follow orders to the letter and keep secrets, he was not sure if when push came to shove if she would side with the council or with Kalte and his covert orgaization. She's nowhere near as devoted to our cause as the Judge, but then again, she doesn't know what our cause is just yet. Not completely.He scratched his finger across he table, trying to determine what to do, before shaking his head and turning to other concerns. The Ga-Matoran in the group the Judge captured--she's still on the loose, and we have no idea about to where she escaped with her friends. And as long as she's there, our network could be exposed to the other targets, and the mission will have to be scrapped. She must be the first priority.Kalte rose and walked out of the door, where he summoned one of the nanites to contact the Judge. He's going to finish what he started. 

***

Statorak Furax and his 'boys' gathered outside the warehouse. It was a nearly antique old building, since it still had macrochips in its frame, although silver nanites sealed it tight."Stat!" one of his team quietly called. "Are the clients on schedule?"The steltian's tusks swayed in the thug's direction as he replied, "As far as I can tell. If Featherhead is anything like I remember him, he'll seem to be late for the party right up until the point you realize that he's robbed you blind.""Well, that's great, except I plan on robbing these guys, not getting my pockets picked by the birdbrain you used to compete with."Statorak was not bothered by his crew's attitude. If they weren't cantankerous, I'd have to start worrying about whether they were trying to start something.The mob continued talking as Statorak signaled to keep the noise low. He opened up a handheld Izumali computer from before the nanite age, and connected with the hackers. Shortly afterwards, it beeped to confirm that they were ready.Slowly, the silvery walls of the buidling began to ripple like a pool in which a finger had been dipped. As they stirred more, the wall began to peel away like parting waters, and slip off of the macrochip frame to allow Furax's crew to swarm inside."Search for a Mask of Memory," he instructed, "and after that you can liberate what you want at your own risk." Furax himself walked to several crates that were locked in a macrochip safe, and fired a Rhotuka spinner that could cause low-level electronics to be reprogrammed to fit his needs. The computerized locks snapped open and the Steltian threw open the box to find a small collection of old, but still functioning Kanohi masks. But no Roku. He shut the crate and continued to the next box when one of his boys yelped in surprise, and the entire mob turned to look at the startled thief. Before him was a hovering silver being, wearing a Mask of Concealment. She must have been waiting since before we started the raid. Furax thought to himself, clenching his fists.The agent, a Toa, continued hovering with her arms crossed in front of her. "What are you lot doing down here?" She asked rhetorically."Would you believe we're here to fix the plumbing?" said one particularly dim mook."No.""The A/C?" he tried again."No.""Howzabout the elec-""Shut up, stupid!" interrupted a thug who followed up with a potent blow to the ribs of the agent.Within seconds, the mob all scattered as the agent took out several of the deserters, leaving the foolish assailant nursing his broken hand. Furax, however, took advantage of the distraction to pick open another safe in the next room. He opened it as a loud crash from the other room reminded him that his crew wouldn't last long against the agent, and he looked inside. Nothing. Another safe. Nothing. Yet another. Still nothing. He ditched the room, preferring to stay on the move. As he approached another safe, he noticed a warehouse worker's apron not unlike his own, and put it on as he opened the safe to find his quarry. He took out the Mask of Memory and tucked it underneath a piece of macrochip that had been torn off of the wall, and laid on the ground in the most uncomfortable position he could, took his mask off, and pulled some rubble on top of himself. All that was left was to play dead--or unconscious at least.The agent took down the last of his crew and landed on the ground to inspect the damage. The fight had been quick, but the age of the building made it weaker to the kind of power an agent had. She used the nanites in her suit to put the building's nanites back online, and then stepped over to the pile of rubble where Statorak was laying."It seems you got yourself in quite a mess." She commented, before lifting the pieces f rubble off of him. "What did these people want?""I don't know." Furax said as the agent helped him up from the floor. "I'd guess they were looking for something they could sell to one of the criminal camps." he stated quite honestly. "What most of the city tosses down here in basements is treasure to the thugs who can haul in some pilfered credits through the black market.""I've heard. So why were you helping them?" she asked with her hands on her hips. Furax suddenly grew nervous, and stayed silent as he tried to think of an answer. The agent reached over and took his handheld device from his belt. "I just so happened to be getting some interference from a signal when I was upstairs. Came down to see you and your gang waiting outside for access."Statorak was stunned. Note to self: Do background checks on clients to make sure Agents aren't on their tails. He stood there, unsure of what to say. What can I say? This agent was watching everything we did. He turned the predicament over in his head a few more times until something in the toa's voice struck a chord. He looked closer at the mask, but he couldn't place it."Are you going to answer my question?" the Toa asked. When Furax still didn't respond, she turned her head to the side in slight frustration. "How about an easier question. Name?"Furax still measured the look of this agent closely, but with the nanite armor, he could not know the element or even the true shape of the toa. Whoever this is, I've spoken to them before, and not as an agent. Perhaps... "My name is Statorak Furax. And believe it or not, I am a worker in the city's waste system."Suddenly the agent flinched, and Statorak grinned inwardly. She tried to regain her composure, but she still seemed a totally different being when she spoke again. "Statorak Furax?""One and the same." he replied. Now he was standing tall over the Agent, rather than the other way around."Did you meet a toa in the streets about a month ago? A Ga-Toa." she asked."Maybe. Why do you ask?" Furax said coyly."Did you?" She asked more strongly, not willing to give any more until she got something back."Come to think of it, I probably did. What's it to you?""I...I--I was that toa." She stuttered. "You told me when we met that I should 'prepare to be Enlightened'. What did you exactly mean?""You know more about it than I do." Statorak mentioned, feigning disinterest. "If you haven't noticed from what you've been watching me do, I don't care much for this city or what you call 'Enlightenment'. Do you feel 'enlightened' since the city took you in?""No... not really." Laro said. "Initially, I thought so, but since then, I've had dreams. I've had feelings. I've met people from my real past, from before Izumal.""Wait," Furax stopped her, "you're not a native?""No. I think I came from Atohune. I have memories from when I was there, but they stop short."So. That's why she's so rattled. 'Enlightenment' is unraveling for her. "Why were you tracking this group I was corresponding with?" He was fully in control now. No reason not to ask."I met someone from their group. I know her. Her name is Kiasu. But I don't remember anything else about her.""So, outside of your time on Izumal, do you remember much of anything that hasn't come to you in a dream or when being triggered by seeing this 'Kiasu'?" Statorak was starting to understand this situation, and it might just keep him out of prison."No. Not that I can speak of as of yet." Laro said. Now she was practically quivering. The stern 'enlightened' shell that had been built over her by Kalte was proving to be increasingly feeble."If I remember correctly, there was a ship crash out of the sky, and I was in that alley searching for some parts I thought I saw fall in that area." Statorak brushed himself off and picked up the Kanohi Roku from the ground. "I think your friend has figured out what I have. You must have crashed from that ship, and a fall on the silver-paved streets of Izumal could dole out some bump on the head. Your hacker friends--they hired me to acquire a Kanohi Roku, and if you really did lose your memory, this mask should be able to bring it back."Hope glimmered in Laro's eyes, as she gazed at the Kanohi in Statorak's hand, which was also her first clear path to the past. "So, may I have it?"Statorak smirked. "No, I don't think so. I was hired to find this. Me and your friend made an agreement. I and my buddies are supposed to make the delivery once this arrives at my workplace, However, since you seem to be so concerned, maybe you could help me make the delivery right away, and leave me and my boys to roam free."Suddenly the toa rose back up into the air. Her posture was far stronger, and any semblance of the whimpering amnesiac she had been playing before was gone. Shoot, Stat. Strung you along like a fish on line. Furax began to back away, when suddenly the agent grabbed him and tore off into the sky. 

***

"Well, now it's official," Romus said almost carelessly, "the Agents are tracking our every movement, and are so concerned about little old us that one came down from the city to put the hurt on Furax's gang."Kiasu watched the Skrall, who was leaning over her shoulder to read a message from one of the steltian's goons. Their raid had been botched when an agent--presumably the one tracking Kiasu and her friends, according to the description--took out the entire band and swept Statorak himself into the air. Romus walked away and drew out his weapons."What, you're going to try to fight the agent?" Kiasu asked, shocked."If I must die or rot in a prison, I'd rather do it fighting." He said. "I ought to wake up Artesano. I'm not sure how he would feel about it--he's only a Rockfooter, after all--but I think he would prefer to give the agent a sweat. How about you?" He said, brushing off his club.Kiasu was not sure about that one. Firstly, she was just a matoran, and a pilot at that. The melee combat she did know was intended for fighting other matoran. But her main reason was that she still had faith that Laro wouldn't turn against her. After all, Laro was the one that recognized her, and there was no reason for Laro to betray her now rather than after the fight at the Court, enlightened or not. "I... I don't know."Romus ran his hand across the surface of his club. "Well. If an agent's coming, you've got either that, or 'surrender or run'."Kiasu rubbed her forehead. Where are you, Wise One? I'm in over my head. She treaded over to the computer desk and sat down, staring at her reflection in the screen. She heard Romus step outside, and listened to the breeze flow through their ramshackle macrochip building. The cool, crisp air wafted through, pleasantly soothing her turbulent thoughts as it brushed across her. Then, like a cannon blast in the silence of night, the quiet winds were blasted apart by a resounding explosion of sound, shaking the hackers' base. She rushed out of the building to see Romus in a fighting stance as a silver dot rocketed towards the surface. Unflinching, the Skrall rose his club above his head, and as the silver bullet sped onward. His muscles tensed and his club thrust downward to strike the enemy, just before the threat came to a sudden stop just out of reach of Romus' weapon."Laro, what are you doing?" Kiasu asked, arms spread in shock. Laro, who was gripping the wrist of a Steltian with a grime-covered apron, descended to the ground and grabbed the Skrall's club, tearing it from his hands and casting it off towards the ocean. When the skrall grabbed her by the arm and attempted to wrestle the agent to the ground, Laro responded by overpowering him with the help of her armor, and cast him to the side. She then turned her attention to Kiasu, casually walking up to the Matoran, and reaching down towards her, until a massive blur of black armor knocked the agent into the side of the hacker's building, and laid down a series of punches, but the agent responded with a torrent of water that stunned the brute and allowed Laro to tear him off and pin him to the ground. He continued to struggle, and eventually, she grew tired of dueling Romus, and dazed him with a nanite-enhanced blow to the head, and she looked back up at Kiasu.Kiasu began to walk backwards, as the Agent approached. This could not be the same Laro. Laro was calm, timid, and extremely naïve. Now living in the city with the most advanced technology in Aethion may have changed her as far as her knowledge and her skills, but it could not have changed her heart. But what could Kiasu do? The agent had downed the most physically powerful being she had met until this point. She was a Matoran--the weakest of beings, and even with military training, she was less than a protodite versus the power of Izumal. Unable to fight or flee, she simply kept walking back."Furax, the mask?" Laro suddenly asked, looking over her shoulder to the Steltian."Excuse me?" Statorak said, furrowing his brow."The Kanohi Roku. This is the camp you were in contact with, right?" Laro gestured towards Kiasu."Sooooo, you do want me to give them the mask?" The Steltian cautiously began to hold forth the Kanohi, keeping his eyes on Laro."I thought you asked me to bring you here." She stated, spreading her arms."Wait, wait, wait, wait." Kiasu interrupted, grabbing Laro's arm. "If you are still here to help, why did you hurt my friend?""He attacked me. Why shouldn't I have? Didn't you tell your friends about me?" Laro said, pointing her finger at Romus' slumped body, as if to say 'his fault!'"Yeah," Kiasu answered, "but do you blame him? You're an unidentified agent on a supersonic beeline for the people the City wants you to lock up for eternity. What would you do?"Laro shrugged. "Okay, perhaps I was a little heavy handed, but my superior trained me that way, and I really still don't know what's going on. I'm sorry.""Thank you." Kiasu said, smiling up at Laro."Wonderful. Now where's Featherhead?" Furax interjected.Kiasu's happy thoughts were dampened by the mention of Akla. "He's... he's not here. He did tell me to call you 'Furry', though.""Well, that's the right nickname, but what in Aethion happened to the little twerp?" He asked.Kiasu swallowed and looked down. "He's...um... he left. He didn't believe me when I told him Laro was friendly.""Well," Statorak said, "I frankly wouldn't blame him, judging on what I just saw. Anyhow, here's the item. It works just like any other Great Kanohi. As long as a memory is somewhere inside, this'll bring it to the surface."Kiasu took the Roku from Statorak's hand and ran her finger along its rounded, wheel-shaped edge. "Well, the rest is up to you Laro."As Kiasu handed the mask to her, Laro willed the nanites in her armor to peel away, so she could remove the Huna she was already wearing. She placed the Roku on her face and activated it. Suddenly, like a reel of film, she saw her life literally flash before her eyes. She slowed the images down until she could understand what she was seeing, starting from the beginning, when the Olmak Effect brought her into being on Atohune.Kiasu watched as Laro was enraptured by whatever she was seeing. She grabbed Laro and led her inside to sit down. Statorak Furax followed her in, and now Romus was waking up from the beatdown Laro gave him. He groaned and hefted himself to his feet. He took off his helmet and rubbed his head where Laro had delivered the knockout punch, then looked through the doorway to see Kiasu, the Agent, and the Steltian sitting in the base without any visible casualties."Excuse me if I don't remember everything quite right--I did just get my head bashed in--" he said, trudging into the room past the mangled macrochip wall, "but I thought we had concluded that the people in the silver armor were the bad guys."Kiasu smiled and led Romus to a seat. "Yeah, that was a misunderstanding on our part.""So what's the Agent doing now?"Kiasu gestured towards Laro. "She's using the Kanohi Roku to restore her lost memory from the crash when we first arrived on Izumal.""You're sure she's not hostile?" Romus asked, rubbing his head again."Well now, I wouldn't say that," Statorak said, grinning, "but she's on your side.""And you, steltian?" Romus said. "Have you any more interest in this affair?"Furax stepped forward to shake Romus' hand. "I thought you'd never ask. No, I'll be getting on my way, but I'd appreciate it if you kept my name out of this. If the agents get wise to you guys, who knows what they'll do, but they will be more inclined to focus on the rogue in that case. Either way, I wish you well. If you see Featherhead again, knock him around a few times for me. Oh, but I'll need my payment too, just a reminder."The steltian walked past Romus. At first, he was suspicious. Furax might tell the city's officials about them. On the other hand, he'd be out of business too. The skrall chose to let the thief leave, and he stepped over to Kiasu and Laro."What's she seeing. Do you know?" He asked Kiasu."I wouldn't know. She might be starting from the beginning. It'll take a little while." Kiasu replied."Make sure she keeps it quick. If her superiors realize she's sleeping on the job, they may find us." Romus looked over the Ga-Toa thoughtfully. "I think while our guest is napping, I will go wake Craftsman."Kiasu nodded as Romus walked to the bunkroom, always keeping his eyes on Laro."Be careful, Prospect." Romus warned. "This place has a manner of warping minds. I'm your friend. I trust you. But she might not be a friend anymore." He stepped through the doorway, and Kiasu turned her eyes back to Laro.Frankly, I still don't really know who you were before we met anyway. Romus may be right. But we fought through a near-death experience together. That tends to leave a mark on anyone. But are you still the same person I remember from those few minutes of peril? Kiasu sighed, and walked to the computer desk, leaving Laro to become reacquainted with herself. :mirunu: Review Topic :mirunu:


Edited by LewaLew, Jul 10 2013 - 09:57 AM.

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