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|The Four Nations' Legion|
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
Mike and Kiruya get imprisoned by a unit of guerrilla fighters, who appear to be former soldiers of the URN, as the rest of the Team searches for them and eventually finds them. After escaping their death several times, they arrive at a burnt down refugee and military camp near Full Moon Bay.
All of them had awoken by now and, sitting there and eating some unrecognisable chunks of food, discussing what to do now.
"So... let me get this straight..." Zolu began unbelievingly, not continuing before he had swallowed the piece of what seemed to be bread, "We're here in the centre of a completely burnt-down military and refugee camp, after we've been attacked by a General who's supposed to be our ally, and we plan to get to Full Moon Bay to get to Ba Sing Se to...?"
Everyone glanced at Mike, who himself ate some kind of bakery product, all of them asking the same question: What are we going to do then?. Mike thought on how he could possibly explain his plan to them, but as soon as the chunk of food entered his stomach, he answered, "We should really focus on what's in our way now. It seems we're here in the centre of a mass graveyard, and I'm most certain nobody of us has ever been 'round here... "
Everyone processed the words, while stuffing their mouths with more food, before Zolu replied, grinning, "Well, I actually was."
The attention went from the food and Mike to him, whose grin even widened unwillingly. He decided that it would be best to continue before they wondered why he was grinning so obviously stupid, "The First Division was here a year or so before. The Earth Kingdom's, the URN's and the Water Tribes' militaries had a manoeuvre in this area back then. It's heavily fortified, and there barely is a cliff where there is no submarine pen beneath. Airfields in ravines... I could continue, but I'm too hungry and lazy... "
Two persons didn't seem to join their conversation, instead the two had gone after Mike's reply at their non-verbal question to look for survivors in the sea of ashes. The two were, unsurprisingly, Asura and Malu.
"I think I'll look for the two..." Mike decided.
He had been out for almost an hour, stumbling across the dusty and dirty surface of the huge area the encampment had covered, and realised that in this mostly refugee camp must have lived dozens of thousands. His thoughts went off, and he stumbled over a small metal pipe, which made him curse aloud, almost screaming.
"Shut the... Just try to be as quiet as possible, okay? We're trying to observe!" Malu's voice shot out from somewhere to his right. As he opened his eyes again, he saw the two presumably missing members of their Team crouched on a small, rocky and grass-covered area around a hole with a diameter of several dozens of metres. This, however, wasn't the first thing to catch his attention. First, he looked at the grass, wondering how it could survive the bombing with Napalm, his sight then turning to the enormous Eastern Lake before them. Then, however, he was reminded by Asura that they were trying to observe something below. This something turned out to be a huge cave used as a camp. An ancient wall separated the water from the 'camp-area', and was used as a dock for submarines of a size even Mike had never seen before, being used as ferries due to their enormous dimension, a length of roughly two hundred metres. The entire area below the walls was crawling with soldiers of all the four Nations, transporting goods, or patrolling around to ensure nobody uninvited would come in. Mike took out his binoculars and after a minute of searching, he'd already found twenty snipers watching out for the huge hole alone, and so he, somewhat desperate, asked Asura and Malu the obvious, "Let me guess... After your search for survivors was over, you looked for a way to get in as unnoticed as possible."
All six of them stood at the edge of the cliff, several small rocks crumbled off, falling into the waters far below.
"You still sure this is the best way?" Luo asked Asura concerned.
"Absolutely. Trust me, I mean we've got two waterbenders and two airbenders, what could go wrong?"
"Pretty much everything? Considering the start, if you and Kiruya don't act fast enough, the water will seem like concrete to us. Then, if we don't get out of the water and onto one of the subs fast, we're most likely being captured... Whatever. For once, you can't blame me for a terrible plan," Mike stated as a matter-of-factly.
Asura only signaled everyone to jump, which was an order that was followed by all. Asura and Kiruya both simultaneously bent a huge waterspout from the masses of water beneath them so everyone could use it to slow their fall. All six of them flew into the huge unnatural formation of water, which fell into its previous form after the two masters of it relaxed - more or less at least - again. The six of them landed on the near beach, where Kiruya dried them all at once, refilling the water skin she had carried all the way since Republic City. Malu, Kiruya and Asura all prepared to bend, as the next move required a combination of waterbending and airbending. Everyone prepared to grab on by Malu's glider as soon as the ice bridge to the outbound submarine was finished, which was only a matter of seconds. The glider barely soared through the air, being used by four persons at once, while the ice bridge was used as a backup. Asura and Kiruya got to the submarine their own way, Kiruya using an iceboard, while Asura propelled herself to the vessel. However, it was too late for them, as, according to Zolu and Mike around twenty snipers aimed at them, which made Luo suggest, uncertain but seeing no other option, "I guess we should surrender to them... "
"Here goes my plan..." Asura muttered under her breath.
In charge - once again
The six had been blindfolded, divided and each taken to another place in the underground base to be interrogated. As his blindfold was taken off, Zolu recognized the place he was at. Glancing around, he asked, confusion in his voice and look, "Why am I held captive on my own ship?"
A soldier appeared before him, bent down to be on one level with him and answered, "It's not your ship anymore. The Grand Admiral himself - well, kind of banished - you, thus, the Nemesis is no longer under your command."
The former captain looked around and recognized even the room he was held captive in - it had been his own chamber only three months ago. The huge battleship had seen many fights since then, and it seemed to be merely damaged. The soldier who had spoken before, according to his uniform a waterbender and the new captain, continued, "But there is one thing I do not fully understand... Why is your sister, the Avatar, here? And Captain Luo of the Metalbending Police? And masters Malu and Kiruya? And this one... odd soldier?"
"WHERE ARE THEY?!" Zolu screamed in rage, fearing for his friends, but mostly for his sister, Avatar or not.
"Safe, but on board the ship. Now answer me! Why are they here and who is this other soldier you've obviously been dragging along?"
Zolu didn't answer for a minute, before he smirked. The captain was impatiently waiting for an aswer, one that came ten minutes later. "Why are we here? Simple - We want to get to Ba Sing Se as fast as possible. Who is this odd soldier? Let's say he held great military power just three months ago... His rank is one of the highest ones in the galaxy, or at least that's what he's telling us always. He is a - no, the - Grand Admiral."
The so-called captain walked out of the room unsatisfied, as did a guard Zolu hadn't spotted till then. The guard bore a weapon Zolu recognized at first sight: Mike's Lee-Enfield. The soldier looked at Zolu shortly, unsuccessfully fighting a grin. Beneath the United Forces' sailor helmet, he caught glimpse of a wine-red beret.
The six of their Team were united again, hiding in the ship's armory and - once again - discussing what to do.
"So... were more or less trapped on your ship, Zolu. You should know the way, shouldn't you?" Asura's voice sounded, full of expectation.
Her brother, still wearing the same clothes as when they founded their little Team, looked over his shoulder, and suggested, holding his nose, "We should find the laundry first. I mean, we're beginning to stink. Seriously."
Everyone giggled a little, before they realized just how right he was. All of sudden, Mike stood up and decided, "Well, I'm going to find a bathroom. I've not used one since yesterday. Will someone else be coming?"
All five of the rest raised their hands and crouched off into the direction in which the bathrooms apparently were. Unfortunately for them, a patrol came right in their direction, and, much to Zolu dismay, Asura jumped up, whispering, "I'm sick of hiding!"
The three soldier of which the small patrol consisted were equally startled, but as she asked politely where the bathrooms were, one of the soldiers pointed into a direction, which she followed, thanking him. The others too leapt out of their temporary hideout, startling the three of soldiers even more than Asura before. Without saying a word, Kiruya, Luo, Mike and Malu went after Asura, but Zolu, despite his need of using the bathroom, went off to the bridge above him. First, he walked, but then, he began to run as if his life depended on it. Many of the soldiers recognized him as the ship's former captain, but as he stood before the door behind which the bridge laid, he waited for his companions to catch up. He then opened the metal sliding door, and encountered the new captain verbally.
"Captain, is it? Well, uh, I believe you should now reveal why we were being caught and - more or less - imprisoned."
The waterbender captain turned around, his eyes narrowing. He then began, "What would you do if you had the command over several submarines and one of them was assaulted?"
Zolu looked down, knowing he would have done something similar, but before the captain could launch another verbal attack, Zolu thought aloud, "Still doesn't explain why this 'General' attacked us yesterday... "
The current captain looked at the former one, his thoughts interrupted by the word 'General'. He then answered, "You must mean General Li... He's known for eccentric actions..." before he noticed a piece of paper he appeared to have lain onto the map table before, continuing, "However, I have a message for you. The Grand Admiral had died of his wounds last week during the air raid that also destroyed the refugee camp. Before he died, he managed to write some kind of letter, may it be real or fake. He appointed you, Captain Zolu, to his successor. You're in charge of the entire naval force 'round here, including Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe... Oh, and Fire Nation."
The last word struck him like lightning, so he asked in disbelief, "Fire Nation?"
The captain looked at his new superior and answered, "Look, nobody here in the navy knows much about the topic. The army officers should know more."
The six of went off board, straight towards a huge tent in the enormous sea of tents.
The groaning of a wounded could be heard on the outside, emerging the tent loudly. The six entered hesitantly and shrugging, only to see the source of the groaning: a wounded high-ranked officer, according to his uniform a Marshal of the United Republic, lying on a bed, a healer kneeling besides, seeing no chance for the soldier to survive his wounds. The six fell silent immediately, drooping, when the dying one caught sight of them. He formed his lips to say something, but the words never came. He ordered the healer to help him sit up, which he managed after a minute. He then opened his mouth to breath several times before saying, weakly and silent, "I see you have experience in commanding... I believe that now, I have no other choice than to... to... transfer the command over the troops here to you, young man..." he pointed at Mike, before he continued, interrupted by a few heavy coughs, "... Your task... Your task is not an easy one... But I believe you have little to no choice... You have to defend Ba Sing Se fiercely... And must not fall prey to an air raid, like I did... "
Mike somewhat shuddered as the dying man succeeded to stand up and walk up to him, where he could see the middle-aged man's bullet wounds all over his body, before the Marshal laid his weak, left hand - the right one was missing - on Mike's right shoulder, as he announced, "Well, we've just met, but... You, young man-"
"Grand Admiral Michael Přemysl," Asura interjected.
"-Whatever, you are the commander of the troops of the Four Nations in the area of Full Moon Bay. I believe the help of your allie- I mean, friends, will be necessary."
Everyone was baffled as the healer rushed to catch the falling officer, whose pulse became weaker by the second and who managed a last, somewhat stupid, grin. Mike had to hold his head as he spoke, more to himself than to his friends, "This seems too familiar... "
The Four Nation's Legion
The six of them had managed to get the most of the present soldiers there, beneath the wall, atop which Mike was standing. He still didn't know why the old Marshal had put him in charge, but what he knew was that he was as good at holding speeches as he was on the battlefield, as well as a little information about the troops there: the Earth Kingdom and URN forces had retreated till they had reached the huge cave, their size growing with the distance. The three Water Tribes have sent a rather small task force consisting of each a dozen tanks and aircraft, as well a company of soldiers, while a high-ranked Fire Nation officer, a High General, had led two brigades of infantry alongside heavy artillery, a squadron of modern warships, four battalions of tanks and seven squadrons of all kinds of aircraft into the hands of the Earth Kingdom Military, though he himself had been killed by Fire Lord-loyal troops in the process. His thoughts were cut off as Asura stepped up beside him and nodded, signalling him everyone was ready. So Mike cleared his throat, before he started, "Soldiers of the Four Nations! You have been attacked by two enemies with superior technology, you have fled together in fear of them, you have encamped yourselves here. For what purpose? If you have fled in fear, don't you think the nearing 6th Shock Army would simply crush you? The answer is: NO! Brothers and sisters, the time of retreat is over! From now on, we shall make not one. Single. Step. Backwards. All our lives depend on it, as well as those in Ba Sing Se! We are our only hope, but you are of the Four Nations, you are one people, you must stand for each other, whether they are Earth Kingdom, Water Tribe, Air Nomad or Fire Nation, or of mixed blood. Too often have you betrayed the other Nations, most recently the Fire Lord has done it again. One more step backwards and Ba Sing Se will fall, therefore..."
Mike waited till everyone got what he meant to say, and when this was the case, he screamed, "NOT. ONE. SINGLE. STEP. BACKWARDS!"
Everyone cheered, but he wasn't finished yet, "Our task is not an easy one. Our enemy is superior in numbers and in technological means, but we have something they don't... Spirit. We're one, we're the Four Nations' Legion. We serve all of the Nations, no matter what the cost may be."
Being finally finished with his speech, he shivered and sweated heavily due to his nervousness. As he walked down the stairs, the crowd slowly dissolved itself, leaving them a clear way to the leaders' tent.
The six of them leaned over a huge tactical map of the surrounding area, two radio units standing in the background, one of them used to intercept enemy messages and the other one sending and receiving those of the newly founded Four Nations' Legion. Mike looked at the "south" part of the map, where an army designated as the "6th Shock Army" was marked. He then rushed to the other side, where the Legion was marked.
"Our problem is that we have the numbers of a corps, while the Fourth Reich has an entire army there. The 6th Shock Army is one of the ten - elite - so-called Shock Armies in the Wehrmacht. Each of them consist of infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft - they're like the armed forces of a small country and have a strength of around 150,000 soldiers - twice of our strength. Each of you five have certain abilities which I want to employ for the upcoming battle. I will take the overall command, Zolu already has the command over the naval forces. Asura... I guess we'll found a division of benders. Luo... Ground forces, Malu, obviously, air force. Kiruya... try the naval aviation... Everyone okay with that?"
Everyone nodded, Asura raising her voice, "So... what's our battle order?"
"They're not used to organized resistance... We have the element of surprise on our side," Mike stated, his thoughts continued by Zolu, "... So we raze them to the ground when they expect it the least..." his Kiruya continuing, "... while the naval and air units cut off their reinforcements... "
For a second everyone fell silent, before Asura continued, "...And cut off their escape route..." which was finished by Malu, "...And crush them like a piece of rock between a hammer and an anvil!"
Mike turned to the healer who had taken care of the Marshal before and apparently was a radio operator, asking him, "Do we have bombers? And, not to forget, transport aircraft?"
"Yes and yes, sir, if dive and fast bombers count."
Mike smirked, remembering his actions in the Alpha Centauri system two years ago, answering, "Dive bombers are exactly what we need... "
He then announced, "I will take care of the tank units... Luo, we need mechanised infantry. Asura, you and your... Division, I believe, will parachute here into this... canyon." He pointed at the formation that was marked on the map as well, seemingly the only route of escape for the 6th army. "Malu... Your main objective is to eliminate the enemy's air force, Zolu, you just keep the 2nd Fleet at bay, Kiruya, you assist him." He took a deep breath before they discussed the details. Only half an hour passed before Mike revise the completed plan with his fellows after asking when their troops would be ready, "So... our two infantry divisions and our tank division will attack as fast as possible, just as the artillery and the air force bomb the enemy positions, which will happen at midnight, 31st December to 1st January. In the same moment, the bender division will parachute into the canyon and dig themselves in to resist the 6th effectively. In the meantime, our naval units will bomb their Kriegsmarine counterparts and do as much damage as possible. If everything's going as according to plan, the battle, New Year's Battle, should be over after a day or two. The plan is highly flexible so it can be modified in battle if necessary. So... if there are no disagreements, I believe Operation Nightfall can begin."
The five others then nodded approvingly and ordered the radio operator to contact the units which would execute the operation. Hours passed on this fateful day of the winter solstice, as the divisions slowly marched into positions, the batteries were brought into position and the submarines sped for supplies the huge battle would need. The days of preparation passed, and the Four Nations' Legion would finally take action neared.
Notes and Trivia
- The speech Mike delivers is the first one of three speeches he will deliver, the other two will be mainly based on speeches by Winston Churchill, while this one was based on an order by Joseph Stalin.
- The Four Nations' Legion is somewhat based off the French Foreign Legion, as well as the Allied Expeditionary Force that executed Operation Overlord.
- New Years' Battle, or Operation Nightfall, is planned to be a battle of encirclement, or Kesselschlacht.
- Operation Nightfall is possible to be a reference to Operation: Knighfall, although it wasn't intended to be one.
For the collective works of the author, go here.