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|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet|
|Goodbyes, Part One|
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
After a brief parting from the Team, Mike saves the five from certain death with the Valkyrie, and reunites with them shortly thereafter, uncertain about their further course.
The Status Quo
Mike replayed Olaf's message over and over again and kept listening to the information about the antimatter cannon while the five others slept on the steel floor. Outside, it snowed heavily while Mike used the on-board computer to obtain as much information about the Fourth Reich's capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction. After what had seemed hours, he came to the conclusion that it was impossible for any state on Earth to produce weaponry of such massive power - even for the Fourth Reich and Europe. He leaned forward so his nose almost touched the display and he looked over any industrial sites which could produce anything in the direction, and afterwards, he checked all spaceflights from and to the Fourth Reich, and formerly the USA, under Johnston's rule.
"Impossible," he whispered, when from behind a dozy voice asked, "What's impossible?"
"Oh, nothing. Just checkin' on something."
The person who had spoken leaned in to observe Mike's actions, and turned out to be Malu.
"On this... Radio-thingy?"
"Computer. It's called a computer."
Once he had mentioned the one word, questions of the ones just awoken were asked and Mike had to begin to explain what stuff it was around them, and how it worked, as far as he could at least.
"And that above and behind you is the hyperdrive. It's technically an ordinary propulsion, only that it opens a portal to another dimension, another version of this universe, one that is much more compressed, things are 'closer' to each other. So, inside there one can travel immense distances within no time. How the portal itself is opened is a mystery to scientists and was researched on just before the war. I've got my doctor title for a theory about it..." the Grand Admiral finished his brief explanation of everything. Only pausing to take a breath, he changed the topic immediately.
"I guess we must continue our journey to end this war. I've already got a plan how to do it, but for that, we must reach Earth, my home world, which is ten-thousands of lightyears away. It might be the last time you see your home - if there's anything you want to do, say it now - it could be your last chance."
"Why would we leave to Earth?" Asura asked bluntly.
"'Cause Johnston's not gonna come here. The farthest he will go would be space to command his space force. We have to go to the beast's den to kill it."
The three girls shook, but then thought how often they had done it already.
"So, this could be our last chance? Well then, I... I'd like to visit my parents one last time... before we leave," Malu said, all others agreeing.
"So, everyone to their parents? Well, what's the route? Gaoling, Southern Air Temple, Southern Water Tribe, Shu Jing, if I remember it correctly...?"
Two noble guerrillas
The Team stood there, in the estate's garden. It was a lavish estate, and huge to boot. It laid in Gaoling's historical centre and was the Beifongs' home since their family's founding, and now it was the seat of one of the most successful guerrilla armies one could imagine. But: rifles' muzzles, levitated boulders and soldiers blocked the view. For minutes, no one had moved, except sometimes to cough, or to once again demand the Team's immediate surrender. Snow covered much of the garden, and the cold - thirty-five degrees below zero - took on everyone's health. From behind, a woman clad in earthbender armour walked in, obviously being the soldiers' superior.
"What's going on? Explain!" she shouted, blowing a streak of grey hair out of her face.
"These six individuals landed their... aircraft-" a soldier aiming his rifle began, but Mike interrupted, "Spacecraft!" "Alright, spacecraft there in the garden, and we surrounded them just to make sure, ma'am."
The woman narrowed her turquois eyes when her they met Luo's emerald ones, and she stormed to him.
"Where are your manners? Pooping in on us uninvited, unannounced, even not saying hello?" she spoke reproachful.
"Well, let's say your men had surrounded me too fast to do any of these, ma'am, or should I call you mum?"
The woman's expression softened as she lunged at Luo to hug him. "And you didn't fight 'em? You're no Beifong..." she joked after releasing him. After a short smile, her expression became serious again and she pointed at the Team's members, "But you five still owe us an explanation, Asura, uh, Zolu, uh... Malu, Kiruya! And who would you be...?"
"Michael Přemysl, Mrs ...?"
"Noda. Noda Beifong. It's not nice to meet you at all."
Mike couldn't help but laugh at Noda's honesty, but everyone else, who knew her already, ignored it.
"Come inside, it's too cold and snowy for an earthbender family reunion... and you five," she walked off to the enormous house before them, "How did you get here without being shot down anyway?"
The servant, a soldier as all others in the house, poured tea into the eight cups for all the ones present at the table. Kung Beifong, Noda's husband and Luo's father, overlooked a map of the city and surroundings while taking sips from the cup he held. His brown eyes went over streets and boulevards, over alleys and avenues, and he bent an earthen figure to move a few corners ahead. There stood Luo's tea cup. Kung fought hard to hide his grin. Luo was talking to Kiruya and therefore, distracted, so he earthbent the tea cup to spill its yield in the police officer's face. He looked at his father, and asked rhetorically, "Seriously dad? Seriously?"
His father just smiled and turned to the other five ones sitting by the map table.
"So... How have ya been doin'?"
All of them exchanged glances and agreed, "Strangely well... "
Kung nodded and turned to his - thanks to Kiruya dry - son.
"I guess you didn't come to stay, did ya?"
Luo shook his head with a rather sad expression and replied, "No, it's a farewell. Since it could be the last time we see each other."
"Don't say something like that, you know how hard a Beifong is to kill!" his mother tried to comfort him.
"Are you two siblings or something? 'Cause you sound very alike." The bold question was asked by Mike.
Kung and Noda looked at him as if he were crazy, before Noda was answering, "Of course not! One just kinda grows similar to the people one has to deal with every day for almost thirty years, idiot!"
Mike found out to better shut his mouth onwards and rather stayed out of this conversation.
"Seems like you've got a lot of work to do here, leading a guerrilla army..." Zolu stated as he went through a pile of reports from the frontline, not that something in any kind similar existed. "Fourth Reich convoy ANL-235GAO completely destroyed, provisions, ammunition, weapons and several tools captured. No survivors. Sounds pretty neat. Or this one. Fourth Reich AA-unit spotted moving from... some backwater village.. to... another backwater village... to be used as artillery to bomb Gaoling. Crew killed, equipment including AA-weapons captured."
"Well, could be going better. But: we've got the area free of artillery and tanks of any kind. We have earthbenders. And know the terrain we're fighting in. So, bad for the Fourth Reich."
Mike decided to smile at the man's determination, but when a radio operator somewhere called, "Incoming! Enemy rocket artillery in position and about to fire!" Noda decided, "I believe it's safer for you to leave now. We have to deal with bombing now. Again. So, goodbye and a safe journey!"
The Team could only wave goodbyes, except for Luo who hugged both his parents at once. "Please... Luo... release me... I'm suffocating..." his father winced just before Luo hurried off to man the Valkyrie's turret, and jumped into the now hovering spacecraft. Waving one last goodbye, the police captain got into his place as the ramp closed and the Valkyrie rode on to the Southern Air Temple.
"They still didn't tell us how they got here," Noda complained.
"How? The area is free of artillery, including AA-defence," Kung assured his wife, and added after the first of the missiles detonated, "Well, was."
Of sheep and slaughterhouses
General Lobsang of the United Forces stood in the improvised bunker just below the Southern Air Temple, his headquarters. He was one of few nonbender Air Nomads, and furthermore, a brassard of red colour decorated his right upper arm, the character for 'equal' imprinted in black colour - he was an Air Nomad and an Equalist at once. His wife, Sakya, a powerful bender and the former Air Nomad representative of the Republic City council, walked in in her yellow and red robes, and most of the present officers, mostly assigned to operate radios and radars, glanced at her briefly before returning to work. She would have walked up to him and kissed him on the cheek like she always did, but this time, one of the officers - by a radar - interrupted them.
"Sir! We've got an incoming aircraft! I currently am checking its 'digital signature'... It's similar to the Fourth Reich's, but the suffix is another... "
Sakya only understood half of what the officer had said and already ordered, "Shoot it down! We can't be cautious enough!"
The Valkyrie sped over the sea, headed westwards to the Southern Air Temple. The sun was setting already and illuminated them with a warm, orange light.
"You sure that they'd let us stay overnight?" Mike's voice still was filled with concern. "Or that they'd shoot us down?"
"I assure you, my people are peaceful and hospitable! Stop worrying!" His co-pilot spoke, but Mike quickly shot an argument back.
"Well I've seen a different side of yours... "
Malu rolled her grey eyes when the island they were headed to, but something was off - since warships anchored off its shore, and AA-guns were set up. AA-guns which opened fire on the spacecraft in the sky. With a reaction time only an airbender could have, Malu shot the Valkyrie up, following the rocky slope in front of them, the spacecraft spinning to evade the shells.
"What did you say about your people being peaceful and hospitable again?!" Mike screamed to be heard. A single, seemingly big-calibre, shell had exploded on the ramp and caused it to open. Due to Malu's audacious manoeuvre, Mike had fallen out of his seat and now clung to ramp's edge. "Don't just stand there, help me!"
Asura climbed down to the opening where the ramp had been closed before, and stretched out her hand to reach Mike, but fell out as well when Malu evaded an incoming fighter which attacked them. Asura, who now clinged to Mike's foot, shouted. "Better don't try to get us up, you'll just slip and hang on my foot!"
Mike, however, made use of a different diction. "Malu! Fly this fuckin' thing down again, then it'll be possible to climb in!"
"If you can hold on until we passed the ridge..." was the airbender's reply. " ...once we've reached the Patola range... "
"Sir! They've passed our coastal defences and are headed for the Air Temple!" The officer's voice was calmer than one would expect.
"And that's where benders come in handy..." Lobsang said, looking to his left. His eyes met his wife's, which were filled with determination. " ...send out an Airbender Squadron."
"Alright, as you wish..." Malu said annoyed when she nosedived the Valkyrie just past the ridge so Asura and Mike could get in.
"Well then, Luo, watch the ramp - you're a metalbender, you have an advantage here. Zolu, you man the turret," Mike assigned the others.
After a flight of five minutes, several orange-clothed airbenders shot down from above, chasing them and trying to get in through the open ramp. Luo, not knowing whether to strike or not, asked, "Guys! Do something before I kill one of 'em!"
Malu decided to stand up and take her glider. She walked to the ramp, where a few airbenders already were chasing them on their gliders, one getting hold of the ramp. When he had managed to get up onto the ramp despite the wind, he found an Air Nomad glider being aimed at his head by a young woman in the yellow and red robes of an Air Nomad.
"If you want to shoot us down, then you have to shoot me down as well."
The Air Nomad thought about what she had said, before he beckoned the rest of his unti to him. All of them bowed to Malu as she returned the gesture, before she got an idea anyone of them could have had before.
"Sir! We've got an incoming transmission from the aircraft we failed to shoot down"
Lobsang walked over to the radio, his wife only shortly afterwards, and both awaiting a sound to come.
"Can I speak to General Lobsang and Councilwoman Sakya now?"
The two looked in each other's eyes. They recognised the voice.
"In fact you are talking to us right now."
"Well then, uh... Hey mum, dad! It's me, Malu! Coming home, kinda. We will land... You'll spot us if you crawl out of your bunker. See you 'round, in a minute!"
Looking into each other's eyes, the two smiled. Running off out of the bunker and out. In the sea of dimmed orange sunlight, they could easily spot a camouflaged air-, or rather spacecraft. It flew over to the courtyard the two Air Nomads were standing in, and began to descend. From it belly, alighting gear unfolded, letting the Valkyrie finally land. From there, thirteen Air Nomads quickly emerged, followed by a former Metalbending Police Captain, a United Forces Captain and his sister, the Avatar, before a waterbender emerged, who was the first to be greeted by the aged couple.
"Hey Kiruya! Haven't seen in a while, eh? Where's Malu?" Lobsang's lips were curled up in a smile just when an airbender jumped out of the spacecraft, followed by a rather messy Grand Admiral. Upon the sight of her parents, Malu decided to hug them both at once for half a minute, before the two welcomed the other guests.
"So... since you're the third Team Avatar in existence, and you were the leadership of the Four Nations' Legion at New Year's Battle, you would be Grand Admiral Michael Pre.. Peremi... Prshemi... "
"Přemysl. The name's Přemysl."
"...Přemysl! Well, anyway, welcome! If you wouldn't mind following me, we will miss dinner otherwise," Lobsang finished the welcoming and lead the group into the vast Temple, headed to the former chamber of the Council of Elders.
Sakya and Malu had raced ahead and prepared dinner. The others had given their best not to fall behind, but none had succeeded. When the six of them had reached the room panting, Sakya chuckled at the fact that now, after three decades of marriage, her husband still was trying to keep up with her.
"Dammit! You beat me every time!" he stated when he seated himself to a table in the chamber's centre.
"Hey, stop blaming me, you're the Equalist who decided to fall in love with an airbender!" Sakya chuckled again, while she stuffed her mouth with a piece of tofu.
"Equalists? I thought these were some anti-bender organisation?" Mike asked as he eyed the food in front of him suspiciously.
"Oh, we were, but after meeting her, I managed to direct them into political ways, and off the militaristic," Lobsang spoke, rubbing his bald head, "I think I should shave my head again... "
"I also couldn't believe that the Air Nomads really fight in a war... Isn't that against your principles?" Asura was who spoke this time. She could have never imagined the Air Nomads fighting for more than survival, like they did during the Invasion of Republic City. An uneasy silence followed, before Sakya cleared her throat.
"It is, indeed. But strictly following our every principle already cost us too much. It is why only the runaway Avatar, Aang, survived the Hundred Year War. It makes us extremely vulnerable, and weak. We were like sheep walking right into the slaughterhouse. We were credulous until it was too late, and too passive. Too peaceful to act first. But now, we are not sheep walking into the slaughterhouse, in good faith. Now, we fight back. Now, we make a difference, even if we don't fight alone - we have the remnants of the United Forces with us, not to talk about Earth Kingdom guerrilla and the Water Tribes. We stand with them instead of being slaughtered."
Everyone had paused to eat and now slowly began. The food consisted of tofu and rice, and a few kinds of vegetables, but it were rations, just like everyone in the temple got to eat. After a minute, everyone had finished, and stood up from their cross-legged position.
"Mind me leading them to their rooms?" Lobsang asked, his wife nodding and leaving for the commando bunker afterwards. "So... You will stay overnight, you've got no other choice. We've got plenty of empty rooms anyway, so if you would mind following me... "
Having got no other choice, the Team followed the General into the vast complex. The last sunlight faded over the Temple, and dusk took evening's place. Mike looked out of the room's glass-lacking window into the sky as he tried his best to sleep. Somewhere out there was his home, which he hadn't seen in more than a year - much could have changed by now. But then, he shook these thoughts off - they were going there tomorrow anyway. Drifting off into deep slumber after a few minutes, he didn't notice a single spaceship visible in the sky above.
Notes and Trivia
- My laptop's battery is running low, I won't write anything here, except for this.
For the collective works of the author, go here.