|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet|
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 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 load: WAR.
A war even the Avatar and her allies can barely end, one that threatens to consume the worlds involved.
And the question everyone asks is: Will there still be a world, a mankind to save?
Previously in Avatar: The War of the Worlds
Ba Sing Se falls, and the Team has yet to escape and have to leave Shen-Lin behind.
A flight in hell
The three-engined transport aircraft was rolling on the runway while the sun rose over the walls of the now conquered city of Ba Sing Se. Its crew had had too little sleep and were driven solely by the hope to get out of the once-impenetrable city. They had had to leave one of theirs behind on the day before. Suspicions amongst the airfield's new personnel, who all were of the Fire Nation Air Force and had no knowledge of a flight commissioned for that time of the day.
"Radio them, I want to be assured that I can shoot them down!", a man of the rank of a Major commanded in the Tower.
"As you wish sir!", a woman by a radio unit answered his command and established a connection to the plane's radio.
"Mike! Someone's radioing us! What should I do?", Kiruya asked while covering the radio's microphone with one hand.
"Don't know! Say that we return to our base after we had delivered provisions and ammo!", Mike shouted after he had checked if the aircraft was of the Fire Nation.
"And if they don't believe me?"
"Well, then, good question... Luo to your left! Aim! Fire when Kiruya gives the command!"
"Roger that", Kiruya and Luo spoke simultaneously.
"Sir? Major? The background noise and the time they took to answer seems to confirm your suspicions!", the woman on the radio reported.
"Let me hear... ", he leaned over and took the radio's headset, "Everything alright. Just one thing: what's your flight number?"
"Oh damn... Flight number? We should work on our escape plan more properly... ", Kiruya stated as Asura looked for any kind of flight number in what seemed to be a log.
"Nothing, sorry... ", Asura stated as she returned to her post at one of the triple machine guns.
"Try "FNAFTF 4269"... maybe they'll buy it!", Mike screamed through the engines' noise while they still had not come closer to their escape.
"FNAFTF 4269? Almost neat. But they're too fast to be stopped by tank... AA-guns, open fire!"
"Luo! Fire, dammit! They've got us zeroed in!"
Bullets sore through the air, penetrating the Tower's windows' glass in the process, and finally hitting their target, the Major. He got hit by one in the right upper arm and by one in the left shoulder before he tried to duck to shield himself from bullets, but little did he think of the glass splinters and he slipped on one, while the radio operators and other personnel ducked behind their apparatuses and mostly escaped the bullets fired from the taking off aeroplane. When the fire had ceased and was replaced by the AA-gun's, the personnel checked for injuries, and one of the higher-ranked ones ran over to the fallen Major, intending to take his pulse. When he could feel none and noticed his superior's uniform covered in blood, especially the chest, he bluntly stated, "Dead."
The heavy aircraft rose from ground while the cartridge cases kept being ejected from the double machine gun Luo manned.
"Gotta reload! Sorry for the break!", Luo shouted when the airfield's AA-gun opened fire on them. Shells pierced the bottom of the plane's body and the wings a few times and urged both Zolu and his sister to evade them when they did so, but did little to affect the flight, or so every of them thought. No problem had appeared when the first of four walls to pass did beneath them, when the sound of engines roared up behind them. Three fighters opened fire, one of the literally, and began to draw circles around the heavy aeroplane. Almost instinctively, Malu nosedived the aircraft, giving Luo, Asura and Zolu the chance to strike the three fighters, but also giving the three propeller-driven-aircraft the chance to strike them severely. Fireballs of orange colour almost would have struck Asura's cupola at the aeroplane's body-side, but she decided otherwise.
"Asura! What are you doing? Do you want yourself to be reincarnated?", Mike shouted as he took notice of what she was doing. She opened one of the three doors the aeroplane could be left through and climbed out of the aircraft, before she lunged at one of the three fighters which had come close to theirs. Mid-air, she shot a fireball at the pilot, which shattered the glass and burnt the pilot's head. She landed just behind the cockpit and swiftly looked for the next aeroplane to take out that way. She found it just a few dozens of metres behind theirs tail, which was formed by Zolu's machine guns. The latter fired at said fighter, which turned out to be the one specialised for benders. She propelled herself with firebending to reach the plane, and, unlike before, showed off a cold-blooded weapon of hers, one that even technology couldn't outmatch. She moved her arms, middle and index fingers outstretched, in a circular pattern, and sparks of electricity followed her movements. After she joined the two lightings, she got hold of the aeroplane's yaw rudder. The immense energy in her left hand made her shake, and so she released it before she lost hold of the aircraft. The whole plane was electrified and unordered nosedived while Zolu managed to shoot down the third of them. Like a rocket, Asura sore back to the still opened door and climbed in again, closing it before anything could escape the aircraft due to their increasing height.
"Wait... Just what did you do to the second one?", Mike wondered, before Malu explained, "Well, let's say Asura has always been very gifted in the arts of bending, she is one of the greatest firebenders worldwide even."
Soon thereafter, snow began to fall like on the day before and the aircraft broke through the last layer of thick clouds and into the utter cold above. The sun had reached its zenith, and a few, loose clouds above them, as well as the thick ones beneath made the view stunning, and their plane untraceable.
They had spent hours flying to the southwest from Ba Sing Se, and now had reached a forest they had travelled in almost a year ago, when Mike noticed something after having looked at the instruments.
"Uh, guys, remember that AA-gun in Ba Sing Se that hit us a few times? Well, let's say that the tanks are a little leaky... "
"How much longer till we crash-land?", Luo wondered, climbing out of the cupola he had spent the past hours in.
"Well, I'd say- ", Mike began, but never finished. The bullets had not only struck the tanks. The engine exploded while the wings were cut down by mighty trees, the glass cupolas were shattered and the hull perforated and bent, the aeroplane's body shaking like a house during an earthquake. Silence then followed.
The cold of winter
Mike awoke again, the wreck the aeroplane had become covered with a layer of ice and snow. His vision was blurred, his body shaking because of the cold. He had only few minor injuries, but the shock and the crash had taken their toll. He stumbled, almost slipped, past the radio unit to the turret Luo had manned. Or rather, what had remained of it and laid all across the rear part of the body. This was when he slipped and almost would've crashed into the rear turret, if not something had caught hold of his foot. It was a pale, cold arm, reaching out from the belly turret Asura had operated. The Avatar pulled herself up onto the slippery metal floor, hindering herself in slipping by bending the ice. She got hold of Mike's hand and supported him on his way to the door just by the radio. Or rather, to the opening the missing door had left behind.
"C'mon, let's get outta here... Where are the others anyway?", Asura spoke, glancing around in the partially burnt and snow-covered forest.
"In one case I know the answer. Just let me get inside again... ", Mike answered, his breath escaping in small clouds as he warily walked the plane's body down to the rear turret. In his uniform of a captain of the United Forces, Zolu seemed to struggle to get himself out.
"You jammed?", Mike asked shortly, his voice resonating within the whole aircraft.
Zolu looked up with hopeless and tired eyes as the Grand Admiral examined the bent metal around him.
"If we pull this one out, and you are fast, you can get out... ", Mike theorised when he saw that everything that truly jammed the Captain was nothing more than - his Lee-Enfield.
"I'm ready... ", Zolu assured his friend as he got hold of unmoving parts of the aircraft's hull around the turret. Mike nodded, and pulled out his rifle as fast as he could, and the metal parts above, amongst which was an ancient sword, came rushing down. Zolu pushed himself out within a split-second, and caught his sword out of the pile of debris. With both bearing no major injury and having got their respective weapons back, Zolu and Mike helped each other up to the gaping hole the door had left. Both jumping out they decided to scan the perimeter alongside Asura, who had waited for them to come out. First, they went at the other side of the crushed aeroplane, and immediately found what they were looking for: three tents had been set up around a campfire. Their tents.
"So where did you get this delicious instant meal from anyway?", Mike asked as he stuffed roast duck into his mouth, using his bayonet.
"Well, there was this Fire Nation camp. It was no army encampment, and no prisoner-of-war camp. There were Fire Nation soldiers and - mainly Earth Kingdom - civilians... I just decided to break in subsurface and get some from the soldiers, since I also saw the civilians doing compulsory labour... ", explained Luo, shoving pieces of komodo chicken into his mouth without the use of any cutlery.
" ...and being executed.", added Kiruya, who then continued to eat the rice she had managed to loot with her chopsticks.
Mike took another piece of roast duck before he swallowed up the piece and spit it back in the tin can he used as a plate, stating, "That was a Concentration Camp you've seen there... I knew the Johnston had established many in his own lands, but in those of his... allies?"
Everyone looked at him, Asura asking curiously, "What's a Concentration Camp?"
"People of a certain ethnic group and/or of a certain religion are dragged into a Concentration Camp for, mostly, forced labour. And extermination."
Their eyes widened as he added the last word.
The simple yet complex question escaped Malu's lips, and was, at first, answered by silence.
"Well, I asked the same question when I first heard about such... It's not simple: for their ideology. That means they kill, for example, Jews, who are a religious group, for their, in this case religion - just because they hate them. And by them I mean all the fellow-travellers, who blindly follow the rules of some, for example, party. It's quite difficult to explain, and absolute nonsense."
They fell silent for a few minutes as they remembered how all of this had started, with the Bombing of Republic City, and how many lives they had ended, one way or another. After seeing the sky's colour turning from orange to a dark blue, they decided to save the rest of their food for later and go to sleep, in a dark, cold night of the arrived winter. In September.
Mike shuddered when the last of his companions entered their tents. He had to, no, chosen to guard them at any time of day. And so, he lacked of sleep in the past six weeks. At first, he had slept during daytime and guarded them in the cold, long nights, until they got tired of carrying him sleeping, and so he slept as little as possible, until in the past week, he had completely given up sleeping and had been awake for seven days straight. He was clad in mainly looted clothes to keep himself warm, and had enough firewood to keep the campfire burning the whole night. He moved closer to the fire and took off his gloves to warm his cold fingers as he remembered the final test of his training to become a true Space Navy officer: a journey from Tiksi on the shore of the Arctic Ocean of Siberia to Irkutsk near Lake Baikal - on foot. His lips formed a smile underneath the bandana he wore to protect himself from the cold when the memory of Olaf, Anna and himself fending off wolves in the woods of the Taiga. The three had been the first to complete the task. It was a cruel way of training, but in reality, none would have mercy, not ever. Or so Mike had heard. He himself had always been as merciful as he could in the current situation. When the next memory, one of his first meeting Anna and Olaf as exchange students at the Prague University, came to his mind, his eyelids fell, and no matter how hard he had tried not to let them, not to fall asleep, he did exactly that now.
Zolu stepped out of the tent he shared with Malu, and stretched. His yawn may have startled some animals around him, but not the man sleeping by the barely burning campfire. Zolu shook his head and blinked with his eyes to see if it was real, and when he had decided that it was, he walked up to his the Grand Admiral, and cleared his throat.
"Well, what do we have here? Sleeping on duty, Mike?", a voice boomed, a slight trace of sarcasm noticeable.
"Ugh... What?", was all Mike could manage to say as he opened his eyes and stretched his arms and legs after a few hours of sleep in a cold night of winter. He looked up as he smelled freshly brewed coffee and noticed Zolu standing before him. Still tired, he sat himself upright and asked again, this time in a demanding voice.
"Sleeping on duty, Mike, really?"
His voice changed to a shrill questioning one, as he said it one more time.
"Sleeping on- "
"SLEEPING ON DUTY?! Oh yes, Captain Zolu, Grand Admiral Michael Přemysl is allowing himself to sleep!"
"You were sleeping while guarding us... You risked our lives by doing so!", another voice sounded. It was Asura's.
"When you became tired of carrying me when I slept, I accepted it. That was okay, I know how annoying it can be. But now? I haven't slept in ONE WEEK just so you can sleep well in your warm tents! I was out here in the cold all the time! So tell me whose life was risked! So tell me: who has more right to sleep: me or you? Oh, I forgot, if I sleep, who would guard you? No one! Because you're too lazy to guard your own asses!", Mike screamed in rage. Shortly thereafter, he realised what he had done, and added, much calmer, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have- "
It was too late. Zolu unsheathed his sword and ordered, "Leave. Leave us and never come back."
Mike looked around in the faces of his - former - companions. All of them nodded with their eyes narrowed.
"Well then... ", he began, and sighed heavily before he continued, "I'll take no provisions with me... So that you at least can survive longer... Farewell."
Mike and the Team parted their ways. Mike to the north to get to a road and hitch a ride to Republic City, and the Team to the south to get to Gaoling, one of the guerrilla strongholds in the Earth Kingdom, never to meet again. But as always, fate had its ways to deal with things.
The Fire Nation lorry rattled over the road to the west. It had carried provisions to an outpost near the Serpent's Pass and now was on its way back to Republic City. Besides letters and remnants of the provisions, a well-known allied soldier was carried, sleeping. It had taken him one week already, but now he was coming closer to his destination. The mountains around rose, as well as the snow - and the temperature. The oceanic climate of the United Republic was heavenly compared to the continental one of the Earth Kingdom, or so would have Mike expressed it. He shook his head. He had slept ten hours without interruption, and that each day in the past week. He was completely relaxed as compared to the week before that when he opened his eyes. The whole time of the week, he had travelled as a stowaway by lorry, headed to one special place a mere hour out of Republic City. He scanned the mountains closely, he seemed to analyse every single millimetre of them. As he started to recognise the first mountains, he pulled out his two guns and readied them. A little more than a kilometre away he could already spot the cave or mine entrance he was looking for, and thus, decided to continue the plan he had forged in the past week. The window between in the cabin's back shattered as two muzzles broke through it, aiming at both the driver and the co-driver, while a voice sounded from behind.
"Yeah, if you could please stop right here and I don't have to waste two bullets, that'd be great... "
The two soldiers who manned the lorry rose their eyebrows but decided to drop their stowaway off wherever they were. He climbed up between trees to the snowbound entrance and dug a way in. Inside was the camouflaged spacecraft, waiting to be flown again. Mike walked to its rear and took out a key from one of his pockets. As soon as he had manually unlocked it, the rear ramp opened and made it possible for Mike to enter. The Valkyrie, ready to blast some to Valhalla. Mike turned everything on by switching levers as he walked to the radio and looked for a message. And there was one, sent from the Red October.
"Let's hear what it says... "
"Mike, if you are hearing this, really listen carefully. If you consider coming back to Earth soon, the Aryan League's blockading the whole Solar System, a jump directly to Earth would be suicide.", Olaf's voice sounded and paused for a while. All of sudden, it continued. "And there's something about the Germania, a weapon. We've both seen one and destroyed it as well. By the size it is, it would be capable of destroying an entire planet of the size of Jupiter. Oh, and we disabled it for a while, but it won't last long. It is... an Anti-matter cannon... "
Mike's eyes widened after the message had ended. Johnston had the power of destroying whole planets. Not just making them uninhabitable like nuclear weaponry, no, destroying it completely. He decided not to think about it and started the engines after having closed the back ramp. Green flames shot out of the twin engine at the rear of the Valkyrie as it levitated and then burst through the snow covering the entrance. With enormous speed, the fighter-bomber flew above the clouds and then shot off to the position Mike supposed the Team to be.
Asura looked up into the skies when she noticed two dots in the distance coming closer.
"Guys... I don't think they're friendly!"
All of them looked up and decided not to be an easy target as a not moving group, they ran apart and didn't stop moving until they got cover. The two dots were fighter-bombers of the Fourth Reich and painted in grey, the swastikas in a light blue, and the bottom side in white. Levitating above their heads, they zeroed the five of theirs in and released their missiles to get them out of cover and then hunt them down with their cannonry. But when the missiles were fired, bullets from a third fighter-bomber detonated them mid-air. It was painted in a summer camouflage and had roundels of gold, blue, white and crimson, and, as well, was the flame released by the engines green and not blue. The Team ran while the fighter-bomber dragged the two enemy ones behind, only to turn around and shoot a missile at them. The missile hit one and urged it to return to the airfield they had started at, but it was hit by another one and exploded, while the second aircraft confronted the light spacecraft head-on. Its cannonry fired at the European fighter-bomber without avail while the latter fired a few round from its forty-millimetre main guns and hit the turbine, causing it to burn. The Team beneath, however, had gathered in a group again, and the pilot decided to at least bring his job to an end and fired two missiles before his aeroplane exploded in a fireball. However, the Team was lucky to have Malu, who swung her staff from below and blew a wind at the missiles that changed their course and banged in a few dozens of metres distant from them. The shock wave still knocked the Team over, but now they at least had a perfect place for to camp for the night. Their mysterious saviour in the camouflaged fighter-bomber flew to the north and vanished only seconds later.
"Phew, let's set up a camp! I'll call it a day!", Zolu declared when he had noticed just how fast everything had happened. The others agreed and went down in the crater the missiles had laft behind.
Mike walked up to the crater's rim, his Webley loaded. It was in the middle of the night and he noticed that no one of theirs had bothered to set up a tent or to guard them in the night. His lips formed a smile as he pointed the revolver he wielded up into the sky and he pressed the trigger. The shot must've been heard kilometres in the distance and the Team shot up, every one of them awake and ready to fend off any possible attackers - almost.
"Always have someone to watch your back.", Mike explained. Everyone turned around only to see him standing there, holding the Webley and the Valkyrie behind him.
"So I guess I owe you an apology, eh?", Zolu asked when he caught sight of the spacecraft.
"I forgive you. But only once. So, off we go? To the stars and beyond? To Earth, my homeworld? And to victory?", Mike spoke in front of the impressive sky, full of stars.
"I'm sorry, but what did you just say?", Asura asked, a little dizzy.
"Nevermind. I'll explain tomorrow.", Mike answered, "Just get in the fighter-bomber."
And so, the Team had reunited in the Valkyrie, the ship that won a war, and was likely to do so again.
Notes and Trivia
- Nothing to write here, I'm too tired.
For the collective works of the author, go here.