Chapter Two: Ethical Boulders
Karzahni’s patience was beginning to wear thin.
And he was quite the patient one; being unaffected by the passage of time and not shackled by the limits of lower creations really allows one to take things nice and slow.
Well, it should theoretically; two-thirds of the trio have disproven that without question. He didn’t have an itch to create, nor have the irresistible urge to control. In his eyes, Karzahni was much more calm than his brothers, despite being a God of Chaos and Causality.
The irony was always amusing.
But now the eldritch brother sits before a small empty chair, dwarfed by his massive size, with his eyes slowly becoming more and more narrow.
“I have been sitting here for two hours”, he hisses to himself, “yet she has not emerged from her cell.”
He said to be ready to wake up early; he had given precise instructions on how the day was going to go. Voriki, with a death glare plastered to her face, had given a reluctant confirmation.
“And yet the chair remains empty. I must see to thissssss-”
Karzahni’s sentence becomes drawn out and distorted as his form bends over onto itself, limbs mashing together and condensing into a long serpentine form. He weaves his body into tighter and tighter coils until he is the size of small python. He begins to slither his way to her cell.
“How annoying; I thought I was going to have more time to start working on the second project, but this subject decides to be inconsiderate of schedules…”
He makes his way down a small corridor, lined with multiple metal doors. It is quiet; only one resides in his cells, with the rest empty and locked away into the stasis of benign care.
At least for now of course.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
He slides his body up the door until he reaches a narrow viewing port. He sees Voriki lying on her slab of stone, her body softly rising and falling with each breath. Her face is relaxed, no longer clenched with anger; her bright teal eyes are hidden in another world, leaving the eyeholes of her mask a dark sea.
“She appears to be still asleep,” the deific viper whispers to himself. “Perhaps the physical tests these past few days had exhausted her; I’ll make a note of that.”
Karzhani makes his way to the sleeping Matoran, climbs up the rock and onto her body.
His small pointed skull draws close to her mask.
“It is time to wake up, Voriki. You are making my plans fall into turmoil and-”
Being a Great Being, few things can surprise Karzahni. Especially with the mask power that he had been burdened with.
But those clear blue eyes resurfaced within the dark abyss, her hand snatching his snake-like body at ludicrous speeds. Similarly to how lightning strikes the earth.
He feels the grip tighten around his neck as Voriki slowly stands up and glares at the snake.
Karzahni’s body limply sways around in annoyance.
“You weren’t asleep at all; you were just gambling for an opportunity to attack me,” the Great Being assesses. “You’re quite devious, little one.”
The grip gets tighter.
“Yes I am,” she smirks, “and now you’re in my grasp. And I feel like today would be a great day to test your durability.”
He chuckles, “You don’t actually think you can do damage to me, do you?”
Voriki grins darkly, “Only one way to figure that out, eh? I wonder; how well will your small body handle being crushed underneath my bed?”
Karzahni rolls his eyes and sighs, causing Voriki’s grin to slightly waver.
“As much fun as it would be to see your futile attempts to harm me, you have wasted enough of my time already this morning and sabotaged my plans for the rest of today.”
Suddenly, his lower body thrashes around violently, slowly swelling in size. She raises her harm to block his writhing lower half. With a sickly sound, his enlarged tail and lower body peels apart to become a massive crab claw. Curling underneath him, it latches onto Voriki’s body. She snarls in protest as Karzahni’s upper body sprouts multiple legs that clamor to the floor.
“It’s time for some tests.”
With a shout, Voriki is dragged from her room and disappears into the God of Chaos’ realm.
This day was not going as Voriki had predicted.
She had known that she probably wasn’t going to be able to do much against the eldritch monster, but she wanted to get back at him somehow.
But alas; it completely backfired.
Being dragged down that hallway, she was sure she had sealed her death. Karzahni would tear her into pieces and label her as a failure. It would be like she never existed.
Voriki sat in the chair, watching carefully as Karzahni explained today’s test. He had returned to what she assumed was his true form; a skeletal humanoid torso with a mass of tentacles for a bottom half.
“... so instead, you will be answering a series of hypothetical questions,” he casually instructs the matoran.
This also was strange. What was the purpose of this test?
“So; first question.”
He leans himself against the wall, his hands folded on his… lap?
“Let’s say that there is a trolley heading down the tracks, and-”
Karzahni stops, peering down at the matoran.
“I beg your pardon?”
Confusion has spread across Voriki’s face, “A trolley. I don’t know what that is.”
Karzahni raises his eyebrow in skepticism before it clicks in his head.
“Ohh right. My apologies; wrong timeline.”
Her face becomes more unsure, cautious of the Great Being.
Karzahni clears his throat, “Ok let’s try again; there’s a… boulder, rolling down a hill. Still with me?”
Her deadpan glare resumes, “It’s not my fault you don’t make sense, but yes I’m good.”
“So it’s rolling down this path, which at a point splits into two,” he continues. “Down one path, a matoran is tied to a post. The other, five matoran are tied down.”
“Ok…” says Voriki slowly.
“Now you have a chance to choose the boulder’s path. Whichever path it rolls down will result in the death of whatever’s in its way. The question is the following; which path will you send it down, and why?”
She raises her eyebrow.
“Can I stop the boulder? Or destroy it?”
“No. A choice must be made.”
She frowns, “Isn't stopping the boulder a choice?”
Karzahni shakes his head, “Not in this scenario.”
“Tch, that’s stupid!” scowls Voriki. “Why does someone need to get-”
“Let’s try another question.”
The matoran exhales sharply, and leans back in her seat.
The Great Being taps his chin, “You pass by someone who is in severe need and you are able to help them at little cost to yourself. Are you morally obliged to do so?”
She folds her arms.
“I guess, yeah.”
Karzahni hums to himself.
“Next question,” he continues, “You have a very close friend. You know that someone has been seriously injured as a result of criminal activity undertaken by them. You live in a place where the guard is generally trustworthy. Are you morally obliged to inform them about your friend's crime?”
Voriki brows furrow in thought, breaking away her glare at the eldritch being. Karzahni patiently observes the thinking matoran.
“... this person my friend hurt,” she slowly starts, “were they a good person?”
He raises an eyebrow, “Will my answer determine how you answer yours?”
She sneers, “Well yeah! If they were bad, then... maybe I’d keep it secret.”
He smirks underneath his mask, “And if the person was innocent?”
The daggers resume their assault from her teal eyes.
“My closest friend wouldn’t do that, Otherwise they wouldn’t be my friend.”
Karzahni let’s out a soft chuckle.
“That’s an interesting answer. Next question.”
The two continue on for another hour or so, a number of sneers, snark comments and confusion passing between them both.
“Now the final question.”
Voriki idly looks to the side, a bored expression on her face.
A devious grin spreads across his face.
“You can save the lives of ten innocent people by killing one other innocent person. Are you morally obliged to do so?”
She rolls her eyes, “You already asked this question, remember? It’s like the boulder one.”
He shakes his head, “My my, aren’t you a clever matoran.”
“You already know my answer then,” Voriki snaps, facing the Great Being.
Karzahni rubs the side of his long mask, sighing in a disappointing manner.
“It is naive to believe that you can save everyone, you know. Often times, I’ve seen people attempt to be perfect heroes; but upon their first failure, break down into nothingness.”
She frowns, “What’s a hero?”
“A hero is someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”
Voriki sits in silence, deep in thought.
“I’ve always seen heroes as a nuisance; always getting in the way of nature, stuck behind some self-righteous belief to beat the evil in their lives. Yet it is a fruitless endeavor; there will always be those who succumb to their inner demons, and no matter how self-less the intentions, they will always fall to the most important rule of all.”
Voriki looks up the the towering god.
Karzahni bends down the the matoran, red eye meeting with her light blue ones.
“That in this world, you will never be able to save everyone. In this world, your fate has already been decided, and you cannot change the causality of time. In this world… it’s killed, or be killed.”
Voriki stands up, shoving the chair back. It sharply impacts to the floor, echoing throughout the hall.
“You’re wrong!” she yells, “There’s nothing useless about trying to help others! Even if you can’t stop all the evil in the world, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!”
Karzahni’s eyes have widened in surprise.
This was unexpected.
“You know what!? One day, I will be a hero,” she vows, her eyes burning with determination. “And when I do, I will make sure that you and everything you ever were are wiped away from this world!”
Her shout blasts through the building, as if it were powerful enough to send a fissure through the world. Her eyes gleam with defiance, fists clenched tightly, her body perfectly still and without fear.
Karzahni is silent. His tentacles are almost motionless on the floor, his multiple eyes focused on her.
“... yes. You’re much more interesting than I anticipated.”
Suddenly, his body sucks up into the air and folds itself into a green colored blob. Two wings spurt out of the body, and large eyes- one red and one green- emerge towards the front.
“That is all for our testing today. You overall have your morality in a “normal” perspective, though a bit too optimistic. Feel free to return to your cell, or whatever pleases you. Just don't break anything.”
With that, he soars past her and down a corridor. He rounds a corner and disappears.
She stands there, panting with hands shaking from adrenaline.
But one thing runs through her mind. A seed that will take root in her soul forever.
I just keep on trucking past the canon event horizon, huh?