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Chutes are long cylindrical tubes made of liquid protodermis held in place by a sheath of magnetic energy. Magnetized protodermis flows through the chutes at high speed, carrying with it Matoran and cargo on their way to and from different metru.

 

This definition is reported in the BIONICLE: Metru Nui - City of Legends guide.

The fact that chutes are made of liquid protodermis is reported in numerous other sources, including the Legends of Metru Nui movie. Furthermore, on numerous occasions, characters are described as swimming within the chutes.

 

However, this raises a fundamental question: how did the passengers of a chute breathe?

 

BIONICLE: Encyclopedia Updated offers the easiest answer:

 

 

Passengers were required to hold their breath while riding in a chute.

 

The discussion could end here; except that this doesn't make any sense.

 

To begin with, chutes were the main means of transport in Metru Nui. Now, it's true that Matoran may be able to hold their breath longer than humans (this has never been explicitly stated, though some scenes in the storyline seem to suggest it) and that chutes are very fast; nevertheless, as multiple scenes show (again, see for example Legends of Metru Nui) chute passengers spend a significant time inside the chutes and it seems odd that they would manage to hold their breath the entire time (the storyline sources also never speak about them not being able to breathe). It is also strange that the main means of transport in the city of Metru Nui would be one where passengers are at constant risk of drowning.

 

In addition, two scenes, respectively in Mystery of Metru Nui (when Matau is trying to get out of a tampered chute by creating a cushion of air to slow him down) and Trial by Fire (where Matau is recovering the Le-Metru Great Disk and must create a cyclone to escape a force sphere), seem to state that there is air within the chutes.

 

 

Matau was not famous for deep thought and concentration, but he managed some now. He forced his will on the air in the chute, making it form a thick cushion to lower his speed. Little by little, he could feel himself slowing, but would it be enough?

 

 

There was no time to let the winds build up slowly. Matau pushed his powers ot their limit, forcing the air around him to swirl violently. Suddenly, he was in the center of a whirlwind which sucked the breath from his lungs. It was an open question whether the implosion would end his existence or suffocation would do it first.

 

Now, while there might be bubbles within the chutes, it hardly seems possible for Matau to accomplish these two feats with just that air available. So where does the extra air come from?

 

My only idea is that somehow there is air dissolved within the liquid protodermis of the chutes and that it is released when a passenger breathes in or when a Toa of Air calls upon it. How this would work, however, is anyone's guess. I welcome thoughts on the whole matter.

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It's definitely a good question. My headcanon has always been that the chutes are actually a thin wall of liquid protodermis filled with air: the liquid protodermis serves as a barrier to keep the chute intact and flowing, but the actual substance that travelers ride in is air.

 

But as for an explanation that actually fits the official canon, I've got no idea. Your idea seems as good as any.

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We've discovered a good reason to always carry a Kaukau around! :D :kaukau: Public Transportation! :P

 

In regards to your questions though, I always assumed that Matoran's lungs were by default stronger than the average human, so I just assumed they could hold their breath for quite awhile, with the Ga-Matoran being able to do so even longer.

Now, as far as where Matau got the air, I always thought that Toa of Air could create air just out of the blue (take Kongu in the Pit for example, one might argue that he was using the air bubbles from the airweed, but that wasn't always available to him, and he did quite a few feats with air fighting the Barraki, so I just assumed that Matau created the air inside the chute. http://biosector01.com/wiki/Air


 

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Very good question. Maybe the Liquid Protodermis doesn’t fill the Chutes. They just form the shell of it, so people can breathe on the inside of a Chute. It’s like an aquarium zoo where people are in a tunnel, and the walls of the tunnels is made of glass with the water outside the tunnel, so people don’t put their heads in the water.:)


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Given that I've written stories involving chutes, I'm surprised that I've never really thought too hard about this.

 

Perhaps there's some property of liquid protodermis that allows Matoran universe beings to breathe in it, or at least when its in its pureist form. I believe it's been stated that although the silver sea is generally regarded as liquid protodermis, a large percentage is still just water. Or, to go even further, maybe the magnetized properties of the chutes separate the protodermis enough for air to slip in, but still dense enough that it feels like a liquid to riders. So that way Matoran / Toa can still drown in the ocean but breathe in the chutes, although they're technically swimming in both.

 

But it could also explain the reason for a Kaukau mask, because in most of the series water breathing was not necessary for most tasks. And even tho the Toa could only use the Kanohi, maybe the Matoran could create discs with that power (combining a shrinking, regeneration, and removes poison) and used them to temporarily grant themselves water breathing capabilities while spending a long time in the chutes.

 

Edit: And weren't there vehicles that could be used in the chutes? Perhaps those were used for longer journeys, and the "breath-holding" was for shorter trips? :shrugs:

 

:music:

Edited by xccj

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_breathing

 

I've seen a picture of this in a biology textbook before, I think.  There's a mouse in this beaker full of liquid (I think perfluorocarbon), and it's alive and breathing inside the beaker.  Maybe the liquid protodermis in the chutes is a kind of liquid that can be used for liquid breathing?


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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_breathing

 

I've seen a picture of this in a biology textbook before, I think.  There's a mouse in this beaker full of liquid (I think perfluorocarbon), and it's alive and breathing inside the beaker.  Maybe the liquid protodermis in the chutes is a kind of liquid that can be used for liquid breathing?

Cool, I had no idea such a thing was even remotely possible in real life. Seems to me this is a pretty good explanation: after all, if it can happen in the real world, I see no reason why it shouldn't be possible in the BIONICLE universe.


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Perhaps there is some kind of oxygen tanks that Matoran were suppose to use at chute-access stations? And they would wear these when they traveled by chute.

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Metru Nui is a very technological place, I don't think they would have much problem in developing a breathable type of liquid.

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I've always imagined that there're air pockets within the chutes (would also tie into the invention of Air Launchers in Mahri Nui, which was originally meant to be a means of transportation). Also explains why Chute Stations exist because Matoran can safely enter the chute through an air bubble.

 

As a sidenote, the way I see chutes is kinda like drinking soda through a straw  :P


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My assumption was that Matoran simply didn't need to breath for the duration of the average chute trip. They are half-mechanical, after all, and there are real-world animals, including mammals, who can hold their breath for lengths of time that seem long to us.


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