The Great Archives, also called the Archives, were a massive underground facility in Metru Nui whose purpose was to catalog records and samples of every item and creature in Metru Nui's history. Based in Onu-Metru and staffed by Onu-Matoran, the Archives consisted of multiple levels, from the public upper levels in Onu-Metru, to the restricted lower levels and maintenance tunnels that sprawled underneath the city, far beyond Onu-Metru's borders. Prior to the Great Cataclysm, the Archives contained a large number of living Rahi specimens kept in stasis or confinement. Vahki routinely subdued dangerous Rahi that appeared in the city of Metru Nui and delivered them to the Archives for study and preservation.
The Archives originally occupied only Onu-Metru, eventually expanding downward and beyond its borders after years of expansion. By the time of the Great Cataclysm, the Archives extended under every metru and were expected someday to stretch all the way to the sea. The Archives were severely damaged in the Great Cataclysm, during which huge numbers of Rahi confined there were released into Metru Nui, making the city extremely dangerous. The Archives lay largely abandoned until the Matoran returned to Metru Nui a thousand years later, at which point the Onu-Matoran went to work restoring it, and the effects of the Staff of Artakha later repaired it. The Matoran later abandoned the Archives along with the rest of the Matoran universe after the defeat of Makuta Teridax.
Toa Whenua defended Onu-Metru, site of the Great Metru Nui Archives. Here could be found samples of every creature and tool ever sighted in the city.
The Archives boasted a unique security system. Each door had three hidden levers whose location was changed every day. They had to be thrown in the right combination for the door to open, and that changed every day as well. Every Onu-Matoran believed it to be the perfect protection against intruders. The south entrance of the Onu-Metru Archives had this feature, as well as a Matoran guard posted by the door.
The main floors of the Archives extended for a great distance in every direction. When they had taken up most of the space in the metru, work had begun on the lower levels and subbasements. The Archives then occupied the subterranean depths of the city, extending far beyond the boundaries of Onu-Metru. Even then, the Archives were not considered "finished." As more exhibits were added, Onu-Matoran workers continued to dig deeper and deeper down to find space to house them. Over time, they and the archivists became so accustomed to the dim light underground that the brightness of the twin suns was hard on their eyes.
On the outside, the Archives looked dim and imposing. Inside, it was a vast treasure trove of every creation that had ever walked Metru Nui. It was a living museum, where every Rahi beast, Bohrok, and creature was part of a living record. Inside their protodermis stasis tubes, they were alive but suspended in time forever.
One of the oldest exhibits in the first of the Rahi wings as one entered the main floors was a Nui-Rama captured in flight, its stasis chamber hanging from the ceiling high above. All around, archivists scurried back and forth pushing their transport carts. Transport carts were used for moving exhibits of all sizes through the subterranean, protodermis-lined tunnels. Located in this wing was an exhibit of a Kane-Ra bull, Tehutti's pride and joy. In the next exhibit hall were more Rahi, even larger ones, and carvings of those that had either eluded capture or whose displays had been moved into storage. On this floor was also a display of parasitic krana, which made archivists like Whenua shudder.
Ta-Metru artifacts, such as hammers used in Ta-Metru forges, belonged on one of the sublevels of the Archives.
Any shipment, no matter how large or small, had to come through the outer dock. The Matoran who worked here were both smart and brave. It was their job to make sure every "exhibit" was ready to be placed in a stasis tube, where its life processes would be slowed to a crawl. If one of the creatures intended for archiving happened to wake up, it was up to the dockworkers to put it back to sleep again.
A Gukko once got loose in the Archives and brought down half the exhibits in sublevel three.
When looking for Tehutti, Whenua fell down a hole into the sublevels and sub-sublevels of the Archives, and then farther still. He found himself far below the lowest levels of the Archives. Despite spending a lifetime working there, even he had never been this far down before. He had heard rumors of a level far below the surface where exhibits that had proven potentially dangerous were placed for safekeeping. The hallways down here were even darker and more narrow than the ones above. Lightstones were few and far between, since no one spent much time here. A heat vision Rahkshi once roamed loose down here. This level also had a Muaka pen, where food was sent once a day from the upper levels through a small chute. This level was known as the storage level.
Passes to the Onu-Metru Archives were available.
Onu-Metru was best known for the Archives, which took up most of the district and extended far underground. The Archives contained tools, artifacts, and samples of virtually every creature ever found in or near Metru Nui.
Damek guarded one of the entrances to the Archives. Here, a set of three levers needed to be flipped in the right combination to unlock an elevator. Beside the elevator was a panel which indicated what level the elevator was currently on in the vast, subterranean Onu-Metru Archives. Eight levels were shown on this display, the topmost of which was for the entrance level.
The archives contained records of every creature that had ever been, or that had yet to be, on Metru Nui. Actual Rahi were kept on display to serve as these "records."
Tehutti used a transport cart to carry exhibits from one part of the Archives to another.
The Archives had a Rahi Receiving Dept. and a Receiving area.
The Onu-Metru Archives covered almost the entire surface of Onu-Metru and extended well underground and beneath other Metru.
The most fearsome creatures ever to appear in Metru Nui were preserved in the Onu-Metru Archives, still-living exhibits to be studied by Matoran scholars.
The Onu-Matoran found an insectoid arm when digging sub-level 6. They were not able to identify it, and it was not from a Bohrok.
The Archives were so vast that even an experienced archivist could get lost in a section he was not familiar with. The Archives contained hundreds of thousands of doors holding exhibits.
The place where Whenua and Nuju looked for a Great Disk had a darkened hallway lined with creatures kept in suspended animation. A connecting corridor around a corner stretched as far as the eye could see. Each side was lined with doors four times the height of a Toa. The doors were thick, strong, and locked tight to prevent their contents from escaping. Some of the creatures kept here seemed able to resist the archivists' efforts to put them in stasis. It was not unusual for these doors to be completely unmarked; one of the rules of the Archives was, "If you have to ask what's behind the door, you aren't meant to open it." Only the Chief Archivist had keys to this level, and he was willing to send the Vahki after any intruders. Archivists tended to avoid this section of the Archives.
The Great Archive was located in Onu-Metru.
The Onu-Matoran digging machines, and the workers who operated them, took special care to make sure the outer walls of the Archives were reinforced against the sea outside. The deeper they dug to create new sublevels, the greater the pressure from the liquid protodermis outside. The sea had never posed a serious threat to the existence of the exhibits in all of Metru Nui's recorded history, before BIONICLE Adventures #3: The Darkness Below.
The area below the sub-levels was a risky place. It was a dark and fearsome section full of "exhibits" deemed to dangerous for display. Going here was frowned upon by archivists and the Vahki.
There were Rahkshi on display in the Archives for Matoran to see.
The Ga-Matoran of Ga-Metru often had need to visit the Onu-Metru Archives, where they still managed to find the relative quiet to which they were accustomed.
Onu-Matoran often used Macku as a guide when they were searching for aquatic Rahi beasts to add to the Archives.
The Archives were expanded to their modern size under Turaga Dume's leadership.
Some chutes ran below the surface to reach different levels of the Archives, but many of the subterranean chutes were in bad repair and too dangerous to use. Few Le-Matoran wanted to go down below and fix them.
Most Onu-Matoran worked in the Archives, although they did not see it as a job. They loved helping to preserve the history of Metru Nui and would brave any danger to protect the institution. It was very rare that a Vahki had to force an Onu-Matoran to go back to work; given the choice, some would never have left their exhibit halls.
The Archives were the largest single institution in all of Metru Nui. They encompassed most of the surface of Onu-Metru and extended underground for multiple levels. As of story year 2004, after years of expansion the Archives stretched beneath almost all of the city. This massive museum was filled with artifacts and specimens of every Rahi ever found within the city limits. What the Knowledge Towers were to prophecies and written records, the Archives were to everything else. All available space in this building was taken up by Kanohi masks, disks, art objects, and strange and bizarre creatures. The upper levels of the Archives were open to the public and frequently visited by groups of students from Ga-Metru. The lower levels were restricted and were the site of research and experiments. By far the most popular attractions in the Archives were the various Rahi on display. These creatures were captured by the Vahki and brought to Onu-Metru, where crews of Matoran put them into stasis tubes. These consisted of two separate casings: inner and outer. Once inside, a variation of Kraahu stun gas was used to put the Rahi into suspended animation. This was not a perfect system. To keep the Rahi from perishing, the gas used needed to be very weak. This meant that if the inner casing were cracked, enough air would leak in to awaken the Rahi. More often then not, the Rahi would then break free and go on a rampage until it was finally subdued by Vahki Rorzakh. For this reason, great care was taken to ensure that Rahi tubes were not damaged in transport. The nature of the gas also made it difficult to hold extremely large creatures in stasis. These were kept in cages or cells in the sublevels, along with creatures deemed too dangerous to have anywhere near the public levels, regardless of whether they were awake or not. Many Onu-Matoran did their best to avoid being assigned to work on these lower levels. Beneath the lower levels was a network of maintenance tunnels. These tunnels were so dark and confusing that the Onu-Matoran nicknamed them the "Fikou web," after the tangled strands woven by the Fikou spider.
As of story year 2004, the Archives held Rahkshi, Bohrok, a Two-headed Tarakava, a Mutant Ussal Crab, and many other unknown creatures. Rahkshi appeared at various times and in various places in Metru Nui. A small number were captured by the Vahki, but many more escaped and may have been hiding beneath the city. Bohrok once discovered by Onu-Matoran miners were on display in the public levels, while the krana also found in the nest were held in the lower levels. Once in a while, Matoran encountered strange mutations of Rahi, such as the Two-headed Tarakava and the Mutant Ussal Crab. Many of the creatures in the lower levels of the Archives had never been identified by the Onu-Matoran. These included a Rahi that seemed to be made completely of smoke; another that could look like virtually anything, including its cell; a large insectoid that could create a thick crystalline nest for itself in a matter of moments; and microscopic protodites, which had escaped their containment long before mid-story year 2004 and had been loose in the Archives ever since. Also included in this category were the massive sea beasts once kept in the Archives for study and later banished from the city.
Vahki Rorzakh protected the Archives.
The highly dangerous street sport "Kanoka toss" was a favorite in Onu-Metru. Onu-Matoran took the game one step further, going down to Archive sub-levels to play "Kanoka toss in the dark."
The Great Archives were open to the public every day. Visitors were restricted to the top five levels only. Here one could see exhibits of Matoran art, a wide variety of Rahi in stasis tubes, samples of ancient Matoran tools and carvings, and much more. Guided tours were available and highly recommended, not only because they were informative, but also because it was easy to get lost in the Archives. Sub-level access was permitted for archivists only, due to the number of dangerous creatures housed down below.
As of mid-story year 2004, that week, there was a special Po-Matoran "Rahi Sculptures" exhibition on Level 2 and an "Art of Mask Making" display on Level 4.
The Archives were open to the public from one hour after suns' rise to suns' down. Visitors were asked to confine their visit to the public levels only.
Part of Whenua's job was to sort through items in a pile of artifacts. Some were slated for immediate exhibit, others would be sent down to the sublevels, and still more were too damaged to be of any use. These would be sent to Ta-Metru to be melted down.
There was an unfortunate practice of not putting signs on the doors of dangerous living exhibits like the mutant Ussal crab.
Muaka spent days asleep in unused portions of the Archives and then emerged to prowl Ko-Metru at night.
The Tahtorak resided in the unexplored area beneath the Archives maintenance tunnels.
Ussal crabs were a common sight in the Archives, where they helped their masters move stasis tubes and other heavy objects.
The Archives were the living museum of Onu-Metru which extended far below the surface and below many other metru as well. Here could be found virtually every tool, artifact, and creature of Metru Nui's past. It was staffed by a large number of Onu-Matoran.
Rahi kept in the Archives were held in stasis for safety purposes. Each Rahi was placed inside an inner stasis tube which was surrounded by a clear casing. While in the stasis tube, their life processes were slowed to an extreme degree. They were alive, but not aware, and could remain in that state for thousands of years. Damage to the outer case would not affect the Rahi, but damage to the inner case would cause it to awaken.
The Archives were known to contain levels, sublevels, and maintenance tunnels. Some sublevels featured creatures considered too dangerous to exhibit publicly. The museum could be accessed through a number of entrances, all of which were guarded. The locking mechanism was a series of hidden switches that had to be hit in a certain order.
Creatures known to have been in the Archives included Rahkshi, the Two-headed Tarakava, the Ussal hybrid, a Nui-Rama, a Muaka, and the Archives Beast. Krahka and other creatures lived in the maintenance tunnels beneath the Archives.
The Rahaga used the Archives as a base for years prior to the coming of the Visorak and hid the Avohkii there. A massive earthquake later shattered the Archives, releasing all of its exhibits into the city.
The Chief Archivist was the administrator in charge of the Archives. Only the Chief Archivist had keys to certain sublevels of the structure.
The Archives were located in Metru Nui. It was a museum/zoo featuring every creature and artifact in the city. The quake during the Great Cataclysm shattered the Archives, freeing the Rahi imprisoned there. Following their return to Metru Nui, the Onu-Matoran were hard at work rebuilding it, although it would take a great deal of time to complete the work.
The Great Archives were filled with exhibits of Rahi beasts, carvings, tools, and other things that Onu-Matoran and Ko-Matoran scholars might study.
Any wild Rahi caught in the city were sent to Onu-Metru to be placed in the Archives.
The Archives were a massive underground museum as large as the entire city of Metru Nui. Exhibits included virtually every tool, artifact, and creatures ever seen on Metru Nui. The Archives featured so many levels, sub-levels, and winding passageways that it was easy for a visitor to get lost. The chance of escaped Rahi roaming the halls made the Archives a dangerous place to work.
Most of the written artifacts, prophecies, etc. were kept in the Knowledge Towers rather than the Archives.
- In The Search for the Mask of Light, the shrine to the Mask of Light is located in the Great Temple. BIONICLE Encyclopedia stated it was in the Archives, which was the correct location.