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Air. Water. Earth. Fire.
After a long, fulfilled and yet exhausting life, Avatar Korra passed, being succeeded by Sari of the Earth Kingdom, who died early and almost didn't play a role in history.
The current Avatar is Asura of the Fire Nation, who mastered the elements quickly.
Although she thought she would never play an important role in history, she was proven wrong when the black ships arrived. The first one came in peace, but all the following carried a deadly cargo: WAR.
A war even the Avatar and her allies can barely end.
But the question is: Will there still be a world to save?
Previously on Avatar: The War of the Worlds
As the war on Avatara rages on, it reaches out further, from the Fire Nation Capital, where a group called The Black Sun begins to forge plans against Olizon, to its Earth Kingdom counterpart, the impenetrable city, which experiences the first attacks in more than two centuries, as well as the return of the Dai Li, who are collaborating with the Fire Nation.
In the meantime, Team Avatar travels to Full Moon Bay to get to Ba Sing Se nonetheless.
The invisible enemy
The dry, now snowy woods were all quiet except for a few animals running through then and now, until a - in these surroundings deafening - noise could be heard, resonating in the entire area. The noise had been a shot, fired from a bolt-action rifle, which now was being reloaded.
"Why do we hunt for food anyway? Couldn't we just... gather it somewhere 'round here?", a female voice whispered, which, too, seemed much louder in these surroundings.
"I thought you were Water Tribe! You know, ...used to meat. Also, can you tell me what plants yield fruits in Winter?", a male voice, the one of the hunter, spoke.
The Water Tribe girl remained silent, before coming up with an argument, "You know, Malu is Air Nomad, and therefore vegetarian... "
The hunter, who appeared in a military uniform, shushed her so he could get to a - now dead - hog. He took his bayonet out of its scabbard, as well as a few pieces of old cloth, before cutting the dead animal into pieces and wrapping those in the old cloth. He tossed his female partner a few of these packages before whispering, "I guess we come back later... but fast, or it'll freeze... "
"I'm still not sure if this is a good idea, Mike, but... Whatever. Let's get back to the camp."
The seemingly single soldier in the bushes moved, as well as a few others around him. Two squads emerged from the bushes, following the two slowly. One of them, according to his uniform a sergeant, fast instructed the soldiers, "Alright, listen up! Squad two, you stay by the dead hog and lay a trap if we fail. We, squad one, will try to catch them before they reach their camp. Remember: We need them alive!"
The two dozens of soldiers all nodded simultaneous, and departed, one dozen to follow the hunter, who appeared to be named Mike, and his female Water Tribe partner, while the other dozen rushed to the dead hog to set up a trap. The first squad moved as one with the surroundings, allowing them to attack surprisingly and to move fast. They soon had caught up with the two and soon surrounded them.
"Even if I disagree with your... way to get food, I think we should've taken the whole hog with us. We would only need to go once and we would have more food."
"Listen, Kiruya. I know we could have done this and that, but we already have done something different! Now stop to annoy me!"
The two had stopped, and as Mike decided to continue their little journey to their camp, Kiruya cried out, "Wait, Mike! You don't know what you're walking into!"
But it already was too late. A small, inconspicuous dart soared through the air and struck Mike into the neck. Kiruya recognised the effects immediately, as she had seen it often enough. Shirshu-spit darts. One of the same kind was sent flying at Kiruya as well, but she had frozen it before it could strike her, however, as four flew at her at the same time, she had no chance to eliminate them all and collapsed at the ground. The squad of trained guerrilla fighters jumped out of the bushes and dragged the two unconscious further into the forest, towards their headquarters.
Luo and Zolu arrived at the small camp with bunches of firewood. Two of the three tents they had set up around now were glowing from the lights inside, their inhabitants, Malu and Asura, sitting around the empty fireplace in the centre.
"Have Mike and Kiruya arrived yet?", asked Zolu hungry, noticing the setting sun.
"No, and it's been four hours since they had gone... ugh, hunting.", Malu answered worried, before whispering, "Disgusting... killing an animal for food... "
Zolu, Asura and Luo looked at one another a little confused about Malu statement, before Luo, who, despite the low temperatures, walked barefoot, decided, "Well, I'll go to find them then... "
Zolu set up the firewood so his sister could ignite it, as Luo walked off the same way as Mike and Kiruya did four hours before. He followed the obvious tracks they had left behind, and after two kilometres, he found a single cartridge case and a dead, frozen and - obviously - cut-open hog a hundred metres in front of it. He continued to walk cautious towards the dead animal, and soon found himself encountered with two shirshu-spit darts aimed at him, which he encountered with two small rocks each, before pinning the dozen soldiers, who had hidden themselves to ambush Mike, to the trees behind them with earth spears. Luo raced back on an earth wave within seconds, and as he arrived there, Asura asked, "And? Did you find 'em?"
"No, but I found who had taken them... They were ambushed by guerrilla fighters. Looks like we've gotta make a little expedition. Pack everything, and yes, even the firewood and the tents. We can't afford to lose them"
They looked at one another, before they began to do as ordered and, after only half an hour of packing, walked off into the enormous forest before them.
As Mike awoke again from his unconsciousness, he found himself being dragged through an underground corridor, lightened by torches. The frozen mud of the floor was rough, which caused Mike to moan then and now. He opened his eyes and saw that, besides the fact he had been captured, Kiruya was missing. So he asked the guerrilla fighters who were dragging him, "Wait... Where is Kiruya?"
As expected, the soldiers shushed him, and after another two hours off dragging him through the underground tunnels, he was released, with only one problem: he was released into a cell, but in the time in which he was not handcuffed nor the cell door was shut, he ran towards the latter and kicked the two soldiers aside. The two got up fast and pursued the escaping, unarmed Grand Admiral, one of the two shooting him with his assault rifle, the other one kicking rocks in his direction. As he ran on and on, he didn't pay attention to which direction he was running, nor did he care, which eventually led him to a dead end. The two soldiers both prepared to attack him, before he was town into a much chute to jis right by a water whip. He had no other choice than to crawl to its origin, which turned out to be very familiar to him.
"Kiruya! How'd you make it?", he asked happily.
The four remaining of Team Avatar gathered where the squad of soldiers still hung pinned by the trees. The four of them interrogated the corporal, who began to talk, startled by the Avatar's presence, "Uh... Well... I... didn't... I didn't know the Avatar was your... ally, I thought you were enemies! We're... We're just former soldiers of the URN who went underground and... yeah... "
The four looked at one another, Luo letting him and the others down, who all were just as startled as their leader, who answered their request after their headquarters' entrance's location with, "Follow me!"
The two were crawling through the - despite the sub-zero-temperatures - wet chute, which seemed to be planned to be used for the sanitations of the underground base. The entire base seemed to hunt the two of them down, just a waterbender and an unarmed nonbender. Searching for a way out of the chute and out of the base, Kiruya, who was crawling in the front, chose to try to find a way up. Her efforts seemed to be half successful, as they found themselves in a similar situation as Mike before, having found a way out of the chute, which appeared to be a future toilet. Kiruya melt the ice in the mud, from which the entire complex seemed to be built, and pushed it out so she could slip through, with Mike following seconds thereafter. The two found themselves in a poorly illuminated chamber, belonging to an officer, their equipment lying atop a table in the room's centre. Kiruya went off to get it, but was stopped by Mike, who placed his hand on her shoulder, warning her, "Wait! It could be a trap!"
Holding her back, Mike walked towards the so obviously secured equipment, walking extremely slowly and carefully. After half a minute, he stood a metre before the table and found the trap he was looking for: a tripwire, connected to two landmines, one at each end. He looked careful for more wires, and stepped beyond it as soon as he was sure this was the only trap so far. He ordered Kiruya to come to the other side of the wire, where the two divided the equipment again. Just as Mike had reloaded his rifle, the door of the room they were in opened.
The four barely were welcomed, the entire underground base was searching for someone who appeared to have infiltrated the complex. The squad escorted the four as if they had been defenceless to the canteen, which appeared to be the only larger room in the base besides the storage rooms. They now were being monitored by dozens of soldiers and only allowed to go outside the canteen only if they had to use the bathroom, which they only were allowed to do escorted - they were treated like prisoners. The four now discussed what they were about to do, which began with Asura stating, "So... What are we going to do? I mean, we can't just sit here... We have to find Mike and Kiruya. And now were - de facto - imprisoned by the guys who... kidnapped the two."
"I have a feeling that the two are closer than we might think... ", her brother spoke up.
"Well, this is something where I can help... I think I sensed the two before... ", Luo thought aloud.
"We still need to get out of this room, I have a plan for this... ", Malu started, continuing silently, "...I could fly over their heads, while you, Asura, create a cloud of steam... or something similar to temporarily distract them, which also is the reason I will fly over their heads... However, we later just check every exit we can find and maybe, we'll meet the two there... "
The four looked at one another, nodding, before Asura decided a few minutes later, "Let's do this!"
Malu took her glider staff, opened it and thrust herself up into the air, gaining every soldier's attention, while Asura created a huge steam cloud, which temporarily blinded the soldiers as well as themselves, so they had to follow the sound of Luo's voice. As they had gotten out of the canteen, the four notice that the cloud of steam wasn't there anymore and that they were pursued by several soldiers wielding non-lethal weapons, such as electrified gloves. The remnants of Team Avatar sprinted off into the corridor which led to one of the two main exits, but were urged to turn left due to two soldiers that appeared in front of them out of the nowhere. Luo catapulted them through the corridor's wall into a chamber, where the four remained undetected. Noticing an air shaft made from wood hanging from the ceiling, Malu opened it with an air blast and crawled into it. The others followed, and seconds thereafter, the door was burst open, as the four were already gone. After a few minutes of crawling through the narrow shaft, they left it again above another corridor. This one, however, lead directly to the base's commander's chambers, in fact, they left it just before the chambers' door. Zolu crept to the door carefully, before he opened it as slow as he had crept forward.
Mike prepared to shoot, but the person at the other side of the door had unsheathed a sword he recognised well, the so-called Space Sword. He lowered his rifle, asking, "Guys! What the heck are you doing here in the middle of the night?"
"Happy to see you, too.", Zolu said, already annoyed by the Grand Admiral's presence. The others, however, were indeed happy to see each other again. This was before the sound of running soldiers filled the frozen and muddy corridors. Around sixty soldiers surrounded them, waiting for their superior to come. The manhunt was over, Mike and Kiruya were finally found.
Team Avatar stood there, unable to move without being shot. The crowd of soldiers divided itself into two, letting their superior march through. The high-ranked soldier, a General Lieutenant according to his uniform, walked hastily towards the six, to Zolu and Asura to be exact. He was a black-haired giant, one Zolu had never seen within the United Forces.
"What do we have here? Six... brats trying to plunge our base into disarray? I see... You three all should face execution!", He spoke with his deep and sinister voice, before Mike spoke up, "Brats? YOU call US brats? Who are you to say that? I believe you don't know who we are!"
"Oh, I know who you are very well, Grand Admiral Přemysl, you are just the Avatar and a few... allies. I had to deliver you to Full Moon Bay, but your recent outbreak has changed my mind... "
Mike knew they had to do something, and ordered the others to cover their ears, since what he was about to do now was deafening. He took two grenades from his backpack unnoticed, a stun grenade and a smoke grenade, before he threw the former into the mass of soldiers, while the latter released its smoke right before them. A deafening bang could be heard, while smoke poured into the entire tunnel network. The Team, as well as the General, soon regained the senses and got up. Mike was the first one to spot the General getting up again, however, Zolu reacted faster and electrified him with his glove, unsheathing his sword as well. He now led the Team on their way out of there. Zolu ran down a corridor, ordered the others to follow, before he spotted a sign on the frozen wall, a directory to be exact, on which "Emergency Exit-Supply Delivery" could be read. The six ran the way following the directories, before Luo spotted something.
"I don't think we're alone anymore, there's someone coming up - damn fast!"
Just as he had finished the sentence, the General's silhouette could be seen racing towards them at an enormous speed. The benders took their stances, Zolu took his sword and his glove, while Mike fixed the bayonet on his rifle, as the General stopped, being confronted with Malu - verbally.
"Surrender already! You're outnumbered!"
"First of all, I won't be for long, and second, I believe you're already beaten."
Asura whispered something that seemed to be "We'll see 'bout that...", before she unleashed the power of all the four elements at him. Seeing he had ducked beneath, she saw much faster bending would be needed - air and water. Zolu prepared to strike him another time with the glove, but was confronted with the frozen ground's rigidity. Mike tried to pin him down with his rifle, but, again, was too slow due to his tiredness, leaving it to the benders, who seemed to struggle as well. Kiruya attempted to whip him in his face, but, despite her rapidity, found herself confronted with the ground as well. Luo used the three as distractions and now rained dozens of small rocks on the General, before he sped up to Luo and found himself pinned down by two metal cables. The three standing helped the three fallen ones up and together, the six ran further, before arriving at a place that surprised them by its mere existence: an underground train station, which seemed to go to one of the many military camps around Full Moon Bay. The six chose one of the small locomotives to get on, but were even more surprised - and shocked - by what they saw as they departed into the dark railed tunnel: The General. Asura fired up the steam engine, but somehow, he managed to catch up with them, which urged Zolu to something completely new: he held his sword in the same hand as he wore the glove, which created an electrified sword. The General revealed himself to be a sword fighter, but he seemed powerless against Zolu's blade, which cleanly cut the General's blade off, only leaving a handle. The rail tracks now went at the surface under camouflage nets, which seemed to be to the General's advantage, as he swung over to their locomotive using one of the nets, but soon was confronted with the fact the Grand Admiral of Europe was aiming his rifle at the General's head. He leapt off to the front part of the locomotive, but his problem designed to be the landing, as Mike appeared to have shot his foot rather than his head, which urged the General to roll over the locomotive, and, eventually, on the ground. Asura sped up the locomotive a little, while Kiruya announced, "If there aren't any injured, I'd love to sleep!"
After a few minutes, just Mike, who apparently didn't need much sleep, and Asura who had to keep the fire of the steam engine alive, were the only ones who still were awake, as well as the only ones who witnessed as they arrived at something that used to be a refugee and military camp, but now, a fire, which left nothing behind but ashes and corpses, was spreading.
"What is this?", asked Asura horrified, referring to the destruction caused by the fire.
"Napalm.", Mike answered, even more horrified than Asura.
They had technically arrived at their target, but now, all they found were ashes. Full Moon Bay was about to fall, despite its heavy defences and burn, just as the camp they had arrived at.
Notes and Trivia
- The guerrilla fighters are completely modelled after the Vietcong, in their appearance, their headquarters (the Vietcong had tunnel networks around Saigon), as well as their railway, which is modelled after the Ho Chi Minh trail.
- The finale of Book one will be around Full Moon Bay (just a little spoiler... ).
For the collective works of the author, go here.