Kanohi deep-dives: The Mohtrek is too good

I’ve been thinking about this mask a lot recently, and came up with some ways to work around its draw backs, while also giving it some unintended uses. With enough discipline, this mask could be one of the very most powerful.

Random injuries

One of the biggest draw backs of this mask, is that the wielder will occasionally acquire injuries from future battles. While there’s no way to outright ignore this, you could mitigate the danger of it. Assuming the wielder can pick which moment in the past they take themselves from, which seems to be the case, you could very easily just find a moment of peace, and always take yourself from that moment. It would work even better if you have access to healing in some way, so injuries wouldn’t be a problem.

Predicting death

The next idea I though of is controversial. Looking through some old topics about the Mohtrek, one idea I saw was to send your past self a message. Memories are lost when a past self is sent back, but injuries stay, meaning you theoretically could cut, or brand a message into your past body, and send it back. Obviously this would be a huge problem, but maybe this other take on the idea might work out, and would be more difficult to write an excuse for ignoring.

Let’s say once a year on the same day, you summon yourself from exactly one year ago, cut their arm, and send them back. The only thing the past self would have, is a small cut, and the knowledge of their own existence one year from now. Do this everyday, and you could predict the day of your own death, assuming you stay consistent.

Wiping yourself from existence

It’s said that if a summoned past self dies, then the wielder of the mask ceases to exist, and an alternate timeline is made. A decent concern

Now let’s revisit the idea of consistently pulling yourself from one moment in the past. If you do this forever, then in theory you would never have to worry about accidentally wiping yourself from existence. If you only ever summon from one exact moment, then if they ever were to die in a future case of you summoning them, you would know from the very first time you bring them to the future. You could also summon from a more distant moment in the past each time, but that would make it more difficult to keep them otherwise healthy, unless self healing is a natural ability for them.

Loss of memory

An early idea I had, which also would require choosing specific moments in the past, would journals. Give each past self their own journal, and let them record all the events they’ve been going through when summoned, stash them away somewhere safe, and once you summon them again, they can simply read through all the things they would have otherwise forgotten.

These are all of my current ideas for the Mohtrek. I’ve been working on a character who uses one, so I wanted to work through the ideas that could make it stronger. If I’ve got something wrong, let me know, I don’t want to design this character poorly.

Maybe I’ll do more of these if other masks spark my interest.


I’ve thought about some of these same ideas. Specifically, why a Mohtrek user couldn’t scratch messages to the past in their armor. I have a theory, which I’ve been meaning to elaborate on at some point, though it could be contentious.

Essentially, my idea is that a Mohtrek user totally could do this, but Bionicle is set in a 100% deterministic timeline. In other words, it would only be possible to send messages to the past that you already received in the past. Or, to put it another way, any message that you would send to the past, you would have already received. Thus, it would be impossible to actually change the past. For this reason, Bitil typically doesn’t bother with something like that.

I think this theory is interested because it actually meshes pretty well with other things we know about time in Bionicle. Destiny and prophecy are very important, and for the future to be predictable, time would seem to be, at least to some degree, on a set path. Similarly, Bionicle had a famous No Time Travel rule (though this mask kinda violates it…). You can’t get more No Time Travel (even with this mask) than if time can’t be changed anyway.

EDIT: BS01 notes that it is possible for one of the past duplicates to be killed, which would eliminate the present version by extension and create an alternate timeline. Of course, that’s what would happen if a past duplicate were killed, whereas the implication of what I just suggested is that such a course of events would never actually happen (the past version can’t be killed because they were never killed originally, which is what allowed the present version to exist in the first place). Shrug


I’ve never quite understood the (somewhat vague) wording of how Greg explained this, since wiping yourself from existence would lead to the Grandfather paradox: if you get wiped from existence, then you can’t exist to call yourself to the future and get wiped from existence, and you therefore never get wiped from existence, which means you exist to wipe yourself from existence… and so on.

The only explanation I can think of that fits with Greg’s explanation and makes sense with Bionicle’s alternate universe rules is this:

If a past self is killed in the present, the present continues as normal, with the present version continuing to exist, but then an alternate universe is created in the past (or, to be more accurate, was already created in the past) which splits from the current universe in the moment that the past self that was killed was taken from: in Branch A (the “home branch”), the being continued to live as normal, continuing to the current present. In Branch B (the “alternate branch”), the being randomly dropped dead from unexplained injuries at that instant in time, and that timeline continued with this new development.

I think this technically means that that single “frame” of existence simultaneously exists in both realities, and with both versions of the being in the same spot. Maybe something cool (or painful) would happen then.

Here’s another idea: by using the Mohtrek with an Olmak, you could basically do a “video game save”: right before going into battle, summon a version of yourself from a few seconds ago, and then kill them. They should be okay with this, since you were them just a few seconds ago, and you were presumably okay with this then, since you were planning it.

Then, according to my theory of alternate realities presented above, this will create an alternate reality that diverges from your currently reality just a few seconds ago. Now, if anything goes wrong during whatever you’re about to do, you simply use the Olmak to jump to that universe and take the place of the version of yourself that just died: you don’t need to worry about the alternate version of yourself (since, by definition, they’re dead), and the universe will be essentially the same as the one you just left since it only diverged very recently, and only because you died (which you basically just undid by going to that universe).

Jumping to that universe should also be easy (according to another theory I have), since it is very close to your original universe on the Dimensional Surface.

Dimensional Surface Theory

The way I imagine the Dimensional Surface is as follows. Imagine the timeline is like this, just a straight line of things happening:

Then, whenever an alternate universe diverges, it splits like this:

However, since there are basically an infinite number of decisions being made a basically-infinite number of times per second (remember according to Melding Teridax, something as simple as randomly choosing which way to turn can massively affect the future), there gets to be a lot of timelines really quickly:


Here, we can see the Dimensional Surface beginning to form; it can be visually seen that the “bottom” timeline is physically further away from the “top” timeline on the screen, as its first divergence happened longer ago compared to the other timelines. (Of course, the Dimensional Surface is not a physically thing, just a visualization of the alternate universes.)

Of course, these visually are oversimplified: there would be a massive number of branches at each point, rather than just two. Note that, in this visualization, each endpoint represents a unique timeline, with the endpoints together forming the Dimensional Surface, shown below in red:


Of course, this surface is still only one-dimenional, but the concepts carry over into higher dimensions.

Now, if you are familiar with the mathematical concepts involved in calculus, you may recognize that an infinite number of points infinitely close together (as would happen with an infinite number of timelines being generated in each infinitesimally small amount of time) can reasonably be compared to a surface:

(This image was pulled from Google; the idea is that the “branches” would all be below this surface, with time flowing “up”. Then, each point on this surface corresponds to a unique timeline.)

So this brings me to the summary of my theory: I propose that the multiverse can be visualized as a time-surface that is analogous to the standard time-line, with physical distance on the timesurface being analogous to interdimensional space between dimensions.

The, in summary, it would be easier to travel to a dimension the less time ago it diverged.

If you’re willing to play with some interesting concepts, this theory could also lead to ideas such as the curves of the Dimensional Surface having something to do with how time flows in different dimensions. It could also recontextualize this line from Reign Of Shadows:

Vezon walked between worlds.

At least, that’s how he saw it. Lately, it seemed like every step he took left him somewhere completely different.

What if, in addition to walking through physical space, Vezon is also “moving” along the hypothetical Dimensional Surface, with each infinitesimal physical movement also moving him an infinitesimal amount on the surface, therefore taking him to an infinitesimally different dimension?

That bring me to another thing that I was considering asking Greg, but decided against: how does the Mohtrek work in alternate universes? Can you call past versions of yourself across dimensions, or does it call past versions of your alternate self?

The way I see it, there are four possibilities:

  • The mask works as normal, summoning part instances of the prime version of the user

  • The mask summons past instances of the alternate version of the user from the dimension they are currently in

  • The mask summons past instances of the prime version of the user, but can only pull them from the time they have been in the alternate dimension (eg. it can’t pull instances across dimensions)

  • The mask doesn’t work at all

Can you come up with any other ideas?

I fully subscribe to this deterministic line of thinking, but there are other reasons to send messages to the past besides changing the past.

For example, say Bitil is storming an enemy fortress. Then, a message suddenly appears on his armour, warning him that there is a trap ahead, and to take an alternate route. So he goes to the alternate route, succeeds in his mission, and calls the past version of himself to the present to leave the message that he (the present version) has already received.


This is definitely the best theory so could see happening, although it really is just adding another benefit to this mask. The fear of getting any version of yourself killed seems necessary. I think that how things would generally play out, is that even a summoned self from seconds ago would still want to live, and return to see their future. Something like this would prevent continuous summoning to carry out suicide missions. This would also make the “save point” idea far less powerful.

It does all hinge on the idea of past selves acting more like individuals than parts to a whole though.

The more I think about it, the more interesting it gets. If you summoned a past self to create a save point, and they would rather be sent back to continue there lives, then the summoner would have to forcefully kill themselves. You could create some strange character traits by doing this.

I feel that the simplest way to do this, would be to say you can only summon yourself if the past version had their origin in your original universe. Each alternate version of you is treated like a separate character.

If you are from dimension A, and you go to dimension B, you can only summon the dimension A variants. It would be the same if dimension B you came to dimension A. They could only summon the version of themselves that originated in dimension B.

After that, you’d have to decide whether or not you could summon through dimensions. So if you go from A to B, could you summon past selves who are in A? I would think not, as that would give the Mohtrek a power that doesn’t seem inherently controllable.

Cruciferous’ theory on how destiny plays into all this certainly makes sense, but I don’t think it’s an idea that makes a story compelling. If destiny is set in stone, and there’s nothing you can do to change things, then why do anything at all? Why fight if the end result is the same? If a reader knows this, it can take away suspense, like watching a movie for the second time.

A logical way to make sending messages back in time pointless, but a bland way to tell a story.


I’m not sure if I agree with this; all past instances are the same being, and would act the same. This is especially true when the instance is from just a few seconds ago, and knows that they are about to be summoned a few seconds into the future.

And keep in mind, the present self (aka the “continuing self”) would never actually experience death; they would commit to death (which would basically just mean “close your eyes for a few seconds”), but then they would only ever be the one do the deed.

While this does still require an… interesting… personality to do, I don’t think the past selves would ever develop a will to live.

What exactly do you mean by “originated”? I assume you mean “the being that is originally from that dimension”, but it could also mean “a being from any dimension that existed in the other dimension at the time they are summoned”.

In other words:

Say that Version A goes from Universe A to Universe B. Then, Version C travels to Dimension A. Are you saying that Version A could summon past instances of Version C from Dimension A? Or still only past instances of Version A?

I agree with this. If it were up to me, I would say that the Mohtrek can only summon past instances of the specific version of the user, and only from the dimension that they are currently in.

Note that this would also weaken the usefulness of my “video game save” idea, since going to a new dimension would cut off access to all your past instances from the current dimension.

Though it could be cool to see a dimension-hopping character who has a whole setup that involves creating useful instances of themselves whenever they go to a new dimension.

Again, it doesn’t make it pointless. You doing/affecting something in the past can still affect your present and future, even if you don’t know exactly how. It just means that it also already happened in your current present. Sure, everything might happen the exact same way that it did the first time, but it only happened that way the first time because future-you was already affecting things as well.

My Bitil example from above is a perfect example of how this works:


By sending the message to past-Bitil, present-Bitil was able to affect the events of his own past, even though they still happened exactly the way he experienced them.

There are also plenty of ways to do this in a way that keeps a story entertaining (even though that isn’t the priority of in-universe characters). Even if the story is being affected by future-versions of characters that have come back to assist in their own past, the reader doesn’t have to know that that’s what’s happening.

Another option is to have characters affect a past event that neither they nor the reader have ever seen before, or to keep the reader in the dark on how a character affected the past, so it can be a surprise in the character’s future (for the reader, at least).

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I just don’t know why a past self would cooperate if they’re about to be killed for it. What would be their motivation for helping out if they get no benefits from it. It would have to be a sacrifice or forced kill in my mind.

I’m not getting this. What is “committing” to death?

I think we’re in agreement about this, I worded it poorly the first time, and seen to have got it right the second time round, as you understood that one.

What I’m getting at for this, is that if it was Bitils destiny to capture a fortress, then if he ran into a trap or not, the fortress would still be captured, and all other events would essentially transpire the same, since destiny that will happen in a few minutes has to stay consistent with destiny for 100 years in the future.

Now destiny could be a bit looser, and the exact means and character roles could be interchangeable, making things more like prophecy. Maybe all destiny would state is that Bitil will capture the fortress at some point, and he could affect when that happens, but it will happen eventually. Destiny might also say that the fortress will be captured by a makuta, but not say which one.

I do agree that there are ways to keep things interesting in a story even when you know the outcome, but it does have to be finely crafted, and likely use time and time travel as a core theme. One example being Interstellar.

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I disagree with this: the fortress was only captured because he avoided the trap. If it’s “predetermined” that he would capture the fortress, then it was also predetermined that he’d avoid the trap.

A deterministic timeline doesn’t just mean that a few key events are destined to happen no matter what: it means that every single decision and action is set on the single timeline of that universe, but every “future” event still depends on what happens in the “past”.

I know that this might sound contradictory, but my take on it is that, even though everything is “predestined”, it still depends on character’s decisions in the moment, and those decisions are also predestined (but still depends on what the characters choose to do).

Look at it this way: If you were to read Bionicle Chronicles 1 right now, Tahu makes various decisions of his own free will, yet those decisions can’t change the outcome of Bionicle Legends 11, even those that story depends on what Tahu does in Chronicles 1. Even though everything was predetermined (or prewritten in this case), Tahu’s decisions still affected his future.

You can apply this concept to the real world as well: our replies in this discussion were created entirely by us in these moments, yet they’re the same replies that someone would have seen if they looked into the future from the 1800s; we are free to write whatever we want, but it’s all still on the one and only timeline that will ever exist in our universe, which is the same timeline that all events have ever happened on, and ever will happen on. We have the free will to make any decision we want, but, no matter what, there will only ever be the single final choice on the timeline.

I liked the way Tenet handled this kind of thing as well.


I get what you’re saying about all this now, I think about the future in that same way often times.

The way I would view a deterministic timeline, is one where free will essentially does not exist. The example would be like driving from point A to point B. You’re starting position, and you’re ending position are already determined, but how you get there can change.

Whereas how I view the world as we know it, is more like having two people, with one living ten minutes in the future. Although what the one person does is completely up to them, none of it will surprise the person ten minutes ahead.

I can’t see a way to include free will into a deterministic time line as I’ve described it. As I think through this though, it might really just be a matter of description, with the only real difference being free will, or what would amount to a program

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Man I hate the mohtrek. Why couldn’t the design team make something simple like duplication? You can still say none are the real Bitil if the power transfers to a clone after the original dies and then the become the original.


But doesn’t that mean that, even by your own definition, free will does exist, since you can change the events?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding the term, but I didn’t think anything could change on a deterministic timeline.

I look at it like this: even though everything is “predetermined” (as is, every action, decision, and moment in time already exists on the timeline simultaneously), it is all “determined” by the free will of everyone along the way.

Anyone can choose to do whatever they want, but each moment in time can only ever happen a single way, and that single way doesn’t change, no matter what time you are looking at it from.

It’s the same as your “ten minute” idea, but with a larger scope: rather than two people simultaneously existing ten minutes apart on the timeline, there are an infinite number of people simultaneously existing on the timeline, each at a unique moment in time.


No, you’re right, that description was bad.

Here’s a better way to distinguish them.

A non deterministic time line would be like this. Take two people, A is able to see ten seconds into the future, and B is just normal. A tells B that in ten seconds their hand will be pointing up. B says back “What if I point down in ten seconds?” A replies back “Then I would have seen that.”

B still has free will, but A can see what decisions B is going to make before they make them.

A deterministic time line would be more like if A knew which direction B’s arm would be pointing, because A wrote out B’s destiny. B is just a program, executing as intended.

Seems like you’re deterministic time line is what I would define as non deterministic. By your description, it’s deterministic not because someone has already decided what everyone’s life is going to be, but because the future is set in stone, and anything you do to try and “change the future” was already taken into account by the future itself, making it akin to destiny (A.K.A. a future that’s already known)


Yes, that’s the feeling I’m getting as well. I agree with the version of events where A tells B that, if they pointed down, then that’s what they would have seen.

This is this point I’m trying to convey, which I understand to be the definition of a deterministic timeline, though I’ll admit that I’m not super solid on that definition.


Considering you started this topic, let me give you a roundown of how incredibly powerful Mohtrek is if the user is skilled and creative enough to use it to its full potential.
It can summon past selves from any moment of choosing which opens up wide possibilities. Many beings change forms over the course of their life and Makuta are some of the most frequent changelings because they are shapeshifters. Bitil can summon versions of himself with various different forms and/or equipment depending on what is most suitable for his current situation. Need to retrieve something from the ocean? Summon past self in a aquatic form. Time to brawl a big Rahi? Use few past selves with gaint stature and big protosteel claws.
The ideal way to capitalize on this is to strive for as many different and powerful forms as possible, so that the repertoire of helpers gets wider as the time progresses. If we think outside of Makuta, Toa Mahri for example could summon their Inika selves to make use of their unique abilities Tahu can summon versions with Nuva powers or original Gold masks. Any Toa can summon past selves with various different Kanohi they wore in the past. Turaga with noble Mohtrek can summon their Toa forms.
In its most extreme, if you gave Mohtrek to Mata Nui not only can would you have an army of Ignika wielding warriors, but an army of Great Spirit Robots.

Another thing is that the Mohtrek allows for informational time travel. Specifically one could carve a message into the armor of their past self and then send them back to warn them in the past despite the memory loss. Not only is it evident from the description of the mask’s power,but has even been explicitly confirmed to be possible.

Mohtrek has always been my favorite mask because it is extremely powerful, but not in the braindead vaguely broad way such as “power to control all matter”, but in a very clever way where you have to think about it and come up with smart uses. That’s where the mask shines. It is the most powerful ability in pure potential, but you have to work for it.


I just realized that, despite what I think we all assumed, I don’t see any source explicitly saying that duplicates summoned from the past can’t summon more duplicates themselves, if they are also wearing the Mohtrek.

The more I think about this, the more this mask seems very strange. Most masks have weaknesses or drawbacks that seem to be imposed by physical limitations of the masks themselves. The Mask of Growth can’t grow to more than 50 feet, for example. Kind of like a car that tops out at 100 mph - the motor just can’t go faster. By contrast, the Mohtrek apparently has secondary abilities (memory erasure) unrelated to its main ability that seem to arbitrarily make it less convenient - like a car that can way past 100 mph, but the radio will only play country music if you do. It’s almost like it was originally much more powerful, but someone - the great beings? Artakha? The writers? - attempted to weaken it. Plot twist: The G1 Vahi and the G2 Mask of Time are two parts of the same mask, but there are more. Artakha found the Mohtrek and put a limiting effect on it so it would be less dangerous. It came into Bitil’s possession sometime after the raid on Artakha, but he never discovered what he really had.

If you do, might I suggest the Mask of Possibilities? The mask with absurdly open-ended powers and NO ONE’S TALKING ABOUT IT


This is something I’ve thought about, but whether it’s possible or not, it actually doesn’t matter all that much. The present version of the user can already summon as many past versions as they want, so its not like they need their past selves to summon more. The only advantage that would give is dividing up the required concentration (BS01, although uncited, says the more past versions summoned, the more concertation required).

What we know is this:

  1. If the user loses concentration or dies, the mask deactivates, and all the past versions they summoned disappear.
  2. If a summoned past version dies, the user ceases to exist, meaning the mask deactivates, and all other past versions disappear too.

If the user summoned a past version of themselves that then summoned more past versions of themselves, that doesn’t change the two points stated above. This is the main drawback of the Mohtrek. You can have a near infinite army at your immediate disposal, but if even just one version of yourself dies, you all do.


Not sure if this has been asked, but do you get to choose if your duplicates are from future or past?

They have to be past. The Mohtrek can only pull versions of yourself that already exist.

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I can’t think of any reason why they couldn’t, as they can presumably use other inherent powers, and can be summoned even if they aren’t wearing the Mohtrek. I would assume that it compounds stress though onto just the originals mind, although that doesn’t even really make sense, since using other powers would theoretically also bide for the minds attention.

Oh they totally can. Though then you run the risk of multiple nested alternate timelines if one of the past versions dies.

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Alternate timelines are constantly being created. There’s an alternate timeline where I didn’t accidentally double-post two minutes ago. It’s not really a matter of “risk” at all.

Anyway, the Mask would have been way better if it didn’t have the Time Travel element to it. Just make it a Mask of Duplication, with the clones not being fully sentient, but if you kill one you kill them all.

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