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Internment


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#1 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Dec 11 2012 - 03:18 AM

Vican sank to the ground in despair, head in his hands. The Le-Matoran wasn't sure how long he had been here, or how much longer he would be here. The past few weeks, or months - he could no longer tell - had been spent in this cold, dank, damp, cell barely the size of a small room. He was flanked on his left, right, and back by cold concrete walls, and in front of him were the bars made out of pure shadow. The cell was large enough to allow him to move back and forth a few paces, but little else. Beyond the bars of shadow, there was a large rectangular chamber, with stasis tubes containing strange creatures and vats of curious liquids lined up against the walls. Two lightstone fixtures provided a dim illumination, shrouding the entire chamber in an aura of eeriness. A single table stood at the other end of the room, with a collection of fearsome looking scalpels and knives neatly arranged on it. The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Makuta - the Mask of Shadows - was carved onto the far wall of the chamber. The room had a single entrance - to his right, beyond the bars of his cell, Vican could see a metal doorway, leading into a dark corridor. Since he had been imprisoned here, his captor - the Makuta calling himself Mutran, had often materialized in that doorway, inexplicably and unexpectedly, often to check on the twisted creatures in the stasis tubes, scarcely ever acknowledging Vican's presence. There were no footsteps to herald Mutran's presence, he just kind of appeared and vanished into that one doorway at will, as if the shadows in the corridor beyond had suddenly and randomly chosen to coalesce themselves into a physical being, who just as quickly dissipated back into the darkness. 

 

Someday, thought Vican, when the Makuta lets his guard down, I will slip through these bars somehow, run through that doorway, and find my way home. 

 

Initially, when he had first been taken captive, Vican had tried to keep track, mentally, of the cyclical passage of day and night that was certainly happening outside. Soon, however, he had given up, surrendering himself to the perpetual twilight that defined the atmosphere of this chamber. The world outside - his past, his friends, and the former existence he had once led outside the cell as a free Matoran, were slowly fading from him. His former life and home now seemed like a distant abstraction to him, an idea rather than a reality. 

 

At some point during his incarceration, Mutran had thrown a huge, disgusting six-foot leech into the cell with him. Although Vican had resisted, the creature had latched on to his mask. He had experienced an odd feeling of dizziness, as if the strength was being sucked from him, and had collapsed, drifting into unconsciousness. When he had awoken, both Mutran and the creature were gone. 

 

I wonder what it did to me, thought Vican, and what it is turning me into. 

 

Perhaps as a consequence of contact with the leech, or because of some other phenomenon, Vican had noticed subtle, minute, but definite and disturbing changes to his body. The green hue of his armor had blackened considerably, and although he had no mirror, Vican was certain his mask had mutated in some way as well. 

 

No matter what he does to me, Vican thought, I will not crack. 

 

He heard the sound of something moving to his right. Vican raised his head, and saw that Mutran had once again appeared in the doorway of the chamber. Muttering something under his breath, the Makuta walked over to one of the stasis tubes pressed the button to release the trapped creature inside. Through the cloudy, frosted glass of the tube, Vican could make out a faint shape, but was unsure of what it was.

 

The device whirred, as the glass portion of the tube slowly retracted itself into its casing, then suddenly ground to a halt. The machine was jammed. Mutran grumbled, then swung his arm, almost casually, and smashed the glass to pieces. The creature inside dropped to the ground, squirming amidst pieces of shattered glass and preservation fluid. Mutran grabbed it by the neck and hauled it to the table on the other side of the room. The creature then let out a terrifying scream, in the almost unmistakable pitch of a Matoran voice. Vican averted his eyes and covered his ears. He didn't want to hear, or see, any of this. Whatever that thing was, whether it was or had once been a Matoran, he didn't want to witness what horrific fate awaited it. 

 

The screams stopped abruptly as Mutran brought the creature to the table. Cursing, Mutran held his hand against it for a moment, then threw it to the ground. 

 

"Stupid thing's dead," he muttered, "I knew it was an unstable hybrid." 

 

Vican couldn't take any of this insanity anymore. From what he had seen, Mutran was prone to random instances of violence and cruelty, and he was worried that if the Makuta was ever in an unhappy mood, he would not hesitate to kill Vican and use his body for experimentation. It was at this moment he lost it. 

 

"Let me out!" he yelled, even though he was fully aware that the Makuta had no obligation to listen to, let alone act on, his wishes. 

 

"This isn't what I agreed to! I agreed to be your servant, your lab assistant, to go places with the Brotherhood, to be free." 

 

Mutran, still facing the other side of the chamber, uttered quietly, "this is freedom." 

 

"No it isn't!" said Vican, "how do I experience freedom, when I'm trapped in this tiny enclosure, fearing for my life!" 

 

The Makuta slowly turned to face him. 

 

This is it, thought Vican, I'm finished. But perhaps death is preferable to perpetual imprisonment. 

 

To his surprise, the Makuta made no threatening actions, only stared at him with those cold, hollow eyes. Then, in a smooth motion, Mutran waved his hand in the direction of Vican's cell. 

 

In an instant, Vican's surroundings melted and shifted, his cell and the chamber around him disappearing. Everything became a blurry whir of green and brown. Slowly, calmly, his vision cleared again. Now, instead of his cell, he was sitting in a corner of his room, back in his home village. Emerging from his house, he saw that the sun shone beautifully in the sky, and the trees were greener than they had ever been. All around him, his neighbors, friends - fellow Matoran, went about their business, happy. There was no cell to restrict his movement, no chamber to confine him. He was free again. Everything seemed to real to be true. 

 

It is to real to be true, Vican realized, I'm not really here. This is a vision, a hallucination.

 

The village Turaga was gathering everyone in a the central square to give a speech of some sort. Vican merrily hopped over to listen. The Turaga spoke about the Three Virtues, about Unity, Duty, Destiny, and service to Mata Nui - all the principles the Matoran had been taught since birth. 

 

As Vican listened, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw Makuta Mutran, looming above him. 

 

"Mighty interesting, isn't it?" the Makuta said sarcastically. None of the other villagers seemed to notice the presence of a huge dark being in their midst, making the already surreal scene all the more unbelievable. 

 

"Listen to this old man speak - about his 'virtues', and 'service'," Mutran slowly intoned, pausing, "do you think this really makes you free?" 

 

"Yes," said Vican firmly, "it does. I am free to go where I want to, to do the job I want to" 

 

Mutran laughed, "but what is the point of your movement? What is the point of your job? To serve the 'three virtues' you Matoran cling to? Are you not a tool to that end? And if you are, how can you be truly free?" 

 

The world around him suddenly melted again, even as he screamed to return to the vision of his home. When everything cleared, he found himself sitting on a beach, that stretched out as far as the eye could see, with clusters of palm trees swaying slowly in the wind. Behind him was a tall mountain, densely covered in thick forests. 

 

Great, another vision, he thought. 

 

As he stood, he heard a chattering noise behind him. Turning around, he saw a single red Bohrok fire a jet of flame at one of the trees. As the target was consumed by fire, the Bohrok turned and began hunting for another tree to destroy. 

 

Turning, Vican realized that the greenery on the mountain had vanished, replaced by a sea of Bohrok, systematically destroying all natural features that still existed on the landscape. 

 

"See those Bohrok?" Makuta Mutran appeared behind him once again. The horde of Bohrok rushed towards them, and Vican braced himself for the inevitable impact. None came. The Bohrok simply rushed right through their bodies, as if the two of them were ghosts spying on the living. 

 

"They serve the will of Mata Nui mechanically, sacrificing their lives to a purpose they do not know, a goal they cannot comprehend themselves. They have no minds, no autonomy, no sentience. Are they free?" 

 

Vican had no answer to that. 

 

The world around him warped yet again, and Vican found himself on the back of a Kikanalo beast, running at full speed on a flat wasteland, towards what appeared to be a huge drop into massive canyon in front of them. Vican pulled on the reins as hard as he could to stop the creature, but it did not slow down. Curiously, he noticed the saddle of the creature had a tag which read "Mata Nui". 

 

This time, Mutran manifested himself as a shadowy tentacle that appeared on the ground to his right, extending itself further as it kept pace with the Kikanalo. 

 

"Your universe, and your way of life, is coming to an end, Matoran," Mutran's disembodied voice spoke from the tentacle. "A steep drop, from which you will never be able to recover. A Master Plan even I cannot stop is going to wheel malevolently into place. You have two options - you can continue to live 'freely' by these doomed virtues, which fate assigned to you and you had no control of. Or you can exercise your true freedom - to choose to define your own destiny based on your own principles. Jump off the doomed creature that is Mata Nui - it might hurt, but it will be an fulfillment of your own freedom as a sentient being." 

 

Vican jumped, just as the beast threw itself off the cliff. The split second before he landed on the ground, the scene around him disappeared once again. 

 

He now found himself lying in a prone position on the cold, concrete floor of his cell. Mutran was standing where he had been - at the other end of the room. 

 

"This is what you volunteered for," the Makuta said quietly, "a chance to not be used as a mere tool, to protect a Great Spirit who probably does not even know your existence, a Spirit who you likewise have never seen before. This is a chance for you to be exist, not as an instrument, but as an individual who made a conscious choice about his destiny. This is true freedom." 

 

Vican noticed that the bars confining him to his cell had vanished. He took a tentative step out of the cell into the chamber. Mutran handed him a broom.

 

"Clean this mess off my floor," he ordered, pointing to the dead creature and the shattered bits of stasis tube glass on the ground. 

 

"Yes, sir" said Vican, walking over.

 

It was in this manner he spent the subsequent months, in his new home, serving Mutran's every whim and fancy. He never thought about escaping into the doorway to the dark corridor beyond. For, within this chamber, obeying the orders of his Makuta Lord, never seeing the world outside again, he thought of himself as truly free. 


Edited by Karzhani the Utahraptor, Dec 13 2012 - 08:25 AM.

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Internment - Ask Makuta Returns


#2 Offline fishers64

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Posted Dec 12 2012 - 07:13 PM

This story here is pretty neat. I didn't think that Makuta Mutran would actually give a vision to Vican to put him on his side, but that makes sense - and the creepy concept of freedom as Mutran sees it made this interesting to read. One minor nitpick is the first paragraph, which I think should be broken up, like this: 

 

Vican sank to the ground in despair, head in his hands. The Le-Matoran wasn't sure how long he had been here, or how much longer he would be here. The past few weeks, or months - he could no longer tell - had been spent in this cold, dank, damp, cell barely the size of a small room.

 

He was flanked on his left, right, and back by cold concrete walls, and in front of him were the bars made out of pure shadow. The cell was large enough to allow him to move back and forth a few paces, but little else. Beyond the bars of shadow, there was a large rectangular chamber, with stasis tubes containing strange creatures and vats of curious liquids lined up against the walls. Two lightstone fixtures provided a dim illumination, shrouding the entire chamber in an aura of eeriness. A single table stood at the other end of the room, with a collection of fearsome looking scalpels and knives neatly arranged on it. The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Makuta - the Mask of Shadows - was carved onto the far wall of the chamber. The room had a single entrance - to his right, beyond the bars of his cell, Vican could see a metal doorway, leading into a dark corridor.

 

Since he had been imprisoned here, his captor - the Makuta calling himself Mutran, had often materialized in that doorway, inexplicably and unexpectedly, often to check on the twisted creatures in the stasis tubes, scarcely ever acknowledging Vican's presence. There were no footsteps to herald Mutran's presence, he just kind of appeared and vanished into that one doorway at will, as if the shadows in the corridor beyond had suddenly and randomly chosen to coalesce themselves into a physical being, who just as quickly dissipated back into the darkness.

-------------

 

Makes it a little easier to read. :)


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#3 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Dec 14 2012 - 06:16 PM

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]I see that Mutran apparently knows the same vision-inducing trick that Teridax does. At any rate, this tale is a good specimen of the short story, though I think the point of the shadow leach was that Vican didn't need a big speech to convince him to work for the Brotherhood of Makuta. Oh well, maybe Vican's leach was still in the expirimental phase. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]As a fan of Vican, I appreciate how well his emotions and character are portrayed. However, I'm also partial to the Dr. Frankenstein/Igor dynamic that Mutran and Vican have, and I would have liked to see more of that. Mutran is certainly the existential type, methinks, and I have a feeling that he may have once had a feature in political cartoons, what with the lable on the Kikinalo's saddle and all. I have the feeling that the allegory didn't need that feature, and that Mutran's speech was enough. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]Overall, I'll give this story and 8/10 rating, and I say to you, friend, this short story is a job well done. :)[/color][/font][font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;] [/color][/font]

 

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]:akaku: X-Ray :akaku:[/color][/font]


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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Dec 19 2012 - 12:20 AM

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Official SSCC Review[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]So let me start off by saying that right off the bat I was pleased with this. The imagery in the first paragraph was very well-done, and definitely captured my attention. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Shortly after, though, there was a slight hiccup with the flashback (not technically a flashback, perhaps, but the explaining of past events). One problem with flashing back is that the voice can easily become chatty, as it did here. You've got great description and diction at the beginning, but then when you go back and explain about the shadow leech, it's almost as if there's nothing wrong any more. It's true that it's the narrator speaking and not Vican himself, but it still seems to be from Vican's perspective, and the tone of the story definitely changes. It's definitely hard to explain a past event without reverting to that "narrator, chatty, 'telling-a-story'" voice, but just something to keep in mind.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Anyway, now just for a few specific comments. Since the quote boxes are wonky, I'm just going to bold the original passages instead of quoting them. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Since he had been imprisoned here, his captor - the Makuta calling himself Mutran, had often materialized in that doorway, [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Should be another dash after "Mutran" instead of a comma. Or a comma instead of the first dash, but I like the dashes better.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]There were no footsteps to herald Mutran's presence, he just kind of appeared and vanished into that one doorway at will,[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Doesn't fit with the diction of the rest of the paragraph/story -- "he would appear and vanish" or something would be better than "just kind of."[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Someday, thought Vican, when the Makuta lets his guard down, I will slip through these bars somehow, run through that doorway, and find my way home. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]This was a little weird to me. You say that Mutran only is there sometimes (albeit unexpectedly), so technically he lets his guard down every time he leaves. I get what you're saying, but perhaps just re-word that. "When I'm sure he won't randomly appear" or something to that extent. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]and although he had no mirror, Vican was certain his mask had mutated in some way as well. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Can't Matoran take off their masks? Not for long, sure, but I feel like if I went through that experience, I'd "hold my breath" for a few minutes to examine my mask. Of course I could be wrong, as I'm a little rusty on my Bionicle knowledge, but if I recall correctly that's possible. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]No matter what he does to me, Vican thought, I will not crack. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]When I first read this I thought it sounded weird (and that you should use "break" instead of "crack"), but now I realize that you actually did mean crack -- as in, go insane. Because Mutran's not torturing him for any information, so he can't "break." Even so, this threw me off the first time I read it. Perhaps just go more in-depth with Vican's feelings here, how he will not let himself lose his sanity. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Vican could make out a faint shape, but was unsure of what it was.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]I'd explain the shape he saw, even if it's just a word or two ("humanoid shape" or something).[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Vican couldn't take any of this insanity anymore...It was at this moment he lost it. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]The paragraph surrounding this again goes back to somewhat of a chatty voice. I know that this is supposed to be his thinking and everything, but I just feel like the emotion was lost here. It gets too descriptive-y, when it should be more emotional. Don't get me wrong, description is great -- I'm a huge fan of description -- but there's a "time and a place," as it were, and there's also a "how." Just keep in mind Vican's emotions through this. While the narrator may not share the emotions, you want the tone of the story to. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]The last sentence I quoted was just another nit-picky thing. I guess in a way you could say it's "telling instead of showing" and while you don't always have to show instead of tell -- in fact, it'd be bad to, and there definitely are times when you should tell things -- here would be a place that you should show that he lost it, instead of just telling us. I think it's also just the wording. If you wanted to keep it, just "He lost it" or "Vican lost it" would sound better, IMO. "It was at this moment" just doesn't seem to fit. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]"No it isn't!" said Vican, "how do I experience freedom, when I'm trapped in this tiny enclosure, fearing for my life!" [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Period after "Vican" and capital "H" for "how."[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]This is it, thought Vican, I'm finished. But perhaps death is preferable to perpetual imprisonment. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]This would be another good place to play with the emotions more. I can imagine Vican would be having a lot of emotions and thoughts right now, and it'd be great to add those in.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Slowly, calmly, his vision cleared again.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Not sure "calmly" is a good adverb to describe "vision."[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]"Yes," said Vican firmly, "it does. I am free to go where I want to, to do the job I want to" [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Missed a period. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Mutran laughed, "but what is the point of your movement?[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Should be a period after "laughed" and a capital "B" for "but" -- a person can't "laugh" something (it could be "Mutran said, laughing" but I think just putting a period after laughed is fine). [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]"This is what you volunteered for," the Makuta said quietly, "a chance[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Seems like that's two different sentences, so there should be a period after "quietly" and a capital "A" for "a chance." At least, I think it'd be better that way (otherwise, I believe the comma after "for" should be a colon instead, if you're keeping it one sentence). [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]----[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Overall not a bad story. The idea behind it is interesting, definitely. Stories like this are always fun to read and write -- playing with a person's emotions and experience in times like this. I think the biggest thing that bugged me, though, was the ending. I get that Mutran gave some good points, but I would've liked to have seen more conflict inside Vican. The things Mutran said may or may not have been true, but all the same, I feel like VIcan would've questioned it. Questioned if Mutran was telling the truth. And also questioning if that was freedom -- serving evil. It was his choice, yes, but would Mutran really let him be free? Maybe at that moment, but for how long? These are all questions that I think Vican would be having (and more -- "freedom" really is a thought- and question-provoking idea). The ending itself wasn't bad, it's just how it got there -- Vican can still choose what he did, I just would've liked his reasoning and thought process to be fleshed out more. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]I think the title plays into the story well. I don't think Vican really is free, even if he does believe it himself, therefore truly being in a state of internment. Plus of course the literally mirror of the word with the story, and Vican being in a cell. So definitely a good title choice. The characterization was pretty well-done throughout, with the exception of the few parts I pointed out that I would've liked to see expanded. Still, for the most part I had a good idea of "who Vican was," so well-done there.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Overall, again, this definitely wasn't a bad story. In fact, I enjoyed it. You're definitely good at writing (the writing style was enjoyable to read), and you've got some good descriptions and dialogue, and the idea is an interesting one. Well done, I look forward to more. [/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=#000080;]Posted Image[/color][/font]


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#5 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Jan 06 2013 - 01:56 AM

Thanks Velox for the review. Sorry I didn't see this earlier ><  

 

 

 

Overall not a bad story. The idea behind it is interesting, definitely. Stories like this are always fun to read and write -- playing with a person's emotions and experience in times like this. I think the biggest thing that bugged me, though, was the ending. I get that Mutran gave some good points, but I would've liked to have seen more conflict inside Vican. The things Mutran said may or may not have been true, but all the same, I feel like VIcan would've questioned it. Questioned if Mutran was telling the truth. And also questioning if that was freedom -- serving evil. It was his choice, yes, but would Mutran really let him be free? Maybe at that moment, but for how long? These are all questions that I think Vican would be having (and more -- "freedom" really is a thought- and question-provoking idea). The ending itself wasn't bad, it's just how it got there -- Vican can still choose what he did, I just would've liked his reasoning and thought process to be fleshed out more. 

 

 

Interesting point. This is something that I realized I needed to do more in the story - show the progression of Vican's thoughts as he was drawn further and further into Mutran's warped conception of freedom. Thanks for pointing it out. 


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Internment - Ask Makuta Returns





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