Cast of Characters
- Akiri Hewkii, Played by Lloyd: The White Wolf
- Ishi Polzin, Played by Kughii
Chapter 7, Plans and Pizza
Notice: the beginning of this chapter was lost in the dataclysm. In summation: Ishi Polzin arrives in Po-Koro and finds Akiri Hewkii in the Po-Koro cemetary. While meeting up with Hewkii, Ishi remembers the destruction of the Ta-Koro hospital, revealing the importance of the two silver engagement rings he wears on his left hand, along with the Ta-Koro widget he carries.
LICK: Akiri Hewkii and Ishi Polzin “Jam”
The small bottle clinked as it bumped against Hewkii's foot. He had not moved when Ishi had begun speaking. Part of him was frozen in worry that he'd been found in such a vulnerable state. Another part was trying to come up with a reply. Yet another part wanted to tear open the bottle and read its contents immediately.
Instead he stood straight, and turned. He looked over Ishi in the beating rain, not flinching or looking away. After examining the other Matoran, he met Ishi's gaze and spoke with a heavy sigh.
"I don't expect you to understand why I grieve." Hewkii said. "Turaga Onewa was like a father to me, and losing him was a wound in my soul.
"But...you are correct. I cannot commune with his spirit, and he is passed now. We shall have to do what we can in the here and now." He bent down and picked up the jar, lifting it in Ishi's direction. "Thank you for this." He said. "I will not let your risks go in vain.”
“I’d suggest not opening that until you’re someplace dry then,” Ishi responded calmly despite the itching thumb of Hewkii’s around the metallic rim. “Know someplace?”
Hewkii would not be foolhardy enough to open it in the rain, naturally. That was a given. "Not my hut." he said. "That would be too conspicuous. As I'm sure you're aware, there are a number of unoccupied huts in the village--we can use one of those.”
“Then lead the way.” His sodden coat lingered faintly in place well after Ishi had moved, the hem acting with a mind of its own in the downpour. The natural archway of stone cloistering the cemetery in its hidden canyon provided a reprieve from the rain, but once on the steps into Po-Koro the water fell on the matoran’s shoulders with the same fury as before.
Hewkii headed into the village first, passing by the gate guards alone and trusting that Ishi would follow in his own time. Once he spotted the other Po-Matoran, he passed through the rapidly dissipating crowds, making his way to an area that had been particularly hard-hit by the Rahkshi attack, leaving it depopulated. He selected a hut and hurried inside, shaking off the rain.
"I hate water." He muttered to himself.
Hewkii had disappeared down the winding staircase in the fissure. Ishi remained, the rain continuing to remind him all was not well. /Why did I do that/, Ishi wondered, his feet splashing down the flights of stone hewn steps with a leisurely pace. The sentinels standing watch by the koro’s side entrance let him by without question: what was Ishi but one soaked matoran returning from the land of his dead kin? The dull weight of widgets already in their pockets aided in the lack of vigilance.
He turned toward the southern portion of Po-Koro. On the fringe, closer to the newly erected walls of the city lingered the decrepit hovels of an older style. Domed adobe huts stood weathering away, some with shattered roofs.
I’ll have to ask why Hewkii hasn’t renovated this portion. It’s a complete rat’s nest for thievery, Ishi thought then chuckled at the candid realization of his actions. Focusing on the surroundings, Ishi quickly made his way through a mental game of guess the house Hewkii’s in before settling on a decision and entering, pleasantly surprised to be alone. He shook like a hapaka, the water flinging off his coat in great swathes, rendering the semi-spherical walls with splashes of darkened plaster. The coat soon peeled off his body and was run out in the primitive sink. Compared to the apartment he shared with Nichou the place was a sty. “We’ve come a long way in only four months. Wouldn’t you say so, Hewkii?”
"It depends on how you look at it." Hewkii replied, from the doorway. "Technology, architecture, those sciences which care not for the whims of Matoran...they have advanced apace. But in the realm of politics and those things related to it, we have unquestionably regressed.”
There was a long, drawn out hum of agreement as the brown and gray matoran rigged his damp coat over the only window. The soft thump of water on leather echoed subversively beneath the pattering on the stone roof. “No one followed you? I know how to avoid a sleuth well enough, but you can never tell with ex-athletes. Sometimes the fan-girls just have to get in touch.”
Hewkii chuckled. "I've been dodging attention for three months now. I'm getting better at it. Besides, there's no one out there. I checked.”
"Well, there could always be a toa of sound wearing a huna," Ishi postulated while turning back to face Hewkii, a beaming smile on his face; "but then that would just mean whoever sent them is desperate.”
This earned a chuckle from Hewkii, part bitter and part amused. "Indeed." He glanced down to the bottle in his hand.
“Those are gonna be fun, I’ll admit,” He said, Ishi’s eye followed Hewkii’s actions. “Go ahead: open it. It’s nothing much, really.”
Hewkii nodded and broke the seal on the bottle, unrolling the parchment.
Ishi watched with dry amusement as Hewkii’s face slowly contorted into frustration at what was written. The two pages crinkled in the Akiri’s hand, glass hanging limping in the other. Finding a semi-stable kitchen stool to sit on, Ishi made himself as comfortable as he dared and began.
“Those are encrypted notes. I’ve spent thirty years developing my own language. It’s never been heard or seen by anyone else until now. Honestly, I’m surprised more informants don’t dabble in conlanging. Oh, that basically means to do what I did. Unlike matoran, it’s a devised language created artificially without a historical development of thousands of years to bench upon. What you’re looking at is an entire book of matoran letters on two pages. It’s complex, of course, but I can translate all of that for you in a heartbeat.” Ishi paused his train of thought, reacting quickly to the question beginning to bud on Hewkii’s brow; “yes, I know. How can you trust that these are one hundred percent correct records from the Ga-Koro naval yard as opposed to, say, my hotel bill written after too may bula berry wines, yes? If I’m going to be completely open with you; you need to be completely open with me. A friendship is built on a mutual sharing of information, even if only a business friendship. How deeply has Po-Koro really sunk into the pile of mahi dung known as politics?”
A small smirk crossed Hewkii's face, and he nodded. "Very well." He said. "It's hard to quantify how badly off we are, but I will try. Ta-Koro is hunting for the bomber. Ga-Koro doesn't trust us an iota, despite my efforts to promote trade on that front. Onu...are Onu. Staying out of things and profiting from the misery and mistakes of others, as usual. Ko is an enigma, honestly. We lack any reliable intelligence about their intentions." He said. "Ta, right now, are our biggest problem. I am fairly certain the Sentinels have a combat doctrine which will deter any insufficiently motivated army and force a pyrrhic victory on a sufficiently motivated one at worst. Unfortunately the Sentinels have proven reluctant to follow any kind of system aside from the crudest hierarchy, which makes higher-level planning difficult, if not impossible.
"At the moment my Captain is in Ta-Koro, doing what I don't wish to imagine. I suspect spies in the ranks of the Sentinels. We are behind in technology and the only way we can do so is by dealing with the devil a second time." He said.
“That’s certainly deeper than I’d anticipated. Honestly, I had only heard briefly about the monorail bombing via the Daily, so it’s almost fate that we’d wind up on the same side,” Ishi said after releasing a built up sigh at the list of incumbent problems. What has Hewkii been doing these past three months; he wondered. Obviously he hasn’t opened a book on foreign policy, if they even have books on foreign policy. A foot slipped underneath the stool, toes tapping thoughtfully as Ishi rectified a solution, head ever so slightly bowed. The rain took forte, filling the space between spoken words with a dramatic interlude, allowing the two men to recede into their own thoughts. Finally, Ishi’s hands rose up and clapped, the sharp sound jostling Hewkii back to attention as the smaller matoran said; “I’ve got it!”
Hewkii's eyebrow arched as his attention turned from trying to decipher this "conlang" back to the eccentric Matoran. "A plan?”
“It’s marvelous! So simple, so beautiful, so utterly grisly. When can we start? I want to start right now.”
...He needed a better word than eccentric. "It works better if you explain. I don't have telepathy."
There was a pause as the matoran standing triumphant and excited on the wobbling stool realized he’d forgotten to mention the actual plan. With a roll of his eyes he replied,“Oh right. You’re normal,” and stepped back onto the dirt floor, moisture in the air leaving little flakes of mud sticking to his heels.
“Well, where to begin,” Ishi began, tapping a finger to his lips while nibbling the bottom thoughtfully. “The thing is I’m going to need your trust like you trusted me with the information. I can make this plan work, but you have to do exactly what I say. Exactly.” Ishi emphasized the words consonants like they were life or death. “We’re going to have to pull out all the breaks on this one. It starts with a body; where could someone get a fresh corpse in your koro?”
"The Sentinel morgue." Hewkii said. "I believe they just brought in the corpse of a Ta-Matoran Sentinel they found alongside the railroad tracks with some of the false documents I have salted through our records.”
"So, you're used to falsifying your own information? Good… Good," Ishi said then beckoned with a finger for Hewkii to come closer, eyes wary eyes shifting. "Come closer for the rest.”
Hewkii raised an eyebrow and leaned in. Ishi wasn't so much eccentric as slightly crazy.
“Oi, Nichou, you here?”
Ishi managed to get the apartment door open without dropping the bottles in his hands. Wrapped underneath a thin sheet of metal were pizzas, a pair of Papa Podu’s Signature X-tra Large. Stepping quickly into the kitchen he placed down the food and beverages on the small folding table serving as their impromptu dining room. With a contended sigh he hung his coat up on the back of the door and then knocked on the closed bedroom door. “Hey, Nich’? I got back: let’s par-tay!”
Unfortunately, the minor Dataclysm ate the following sub-plot: Nichou and Ishi had their pizza from Papa Podu’s while playing a drinking game. During the night, Ishi got his roommate to write a cypher in vegetable ink on a sheet of parchment, which was then slipped into the briefcase of the sentinel mole who had been found dead next to the railway line. There were no witnesses to the espionage, and the cypher became part of the evidence available for the monorail bombing.