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|Goodbyes, Part Two|
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
The Team begins to say goodbye to Avatara, Malu and Luo already having bid farewell to their respective parents. Kiruya and Zolu and Asura yet have to do this, on their journey's second day.
Worse than Russia
Malu hugged her parents one last time, whispering, "I'll miss you..." before she ran off to the Valkyrie, in which the rest of the Team was already waiting. The sun was just rising as the young airbender got in the spacecraft and turned around to face her parents with teary eyes, only to wave a last goodbye, before she closed the ramp and seated herself beside Mike. Their next stop was currently coated in utter darkness - the Southern Water Tribe. It was home to - one couldn't believe it when told - one million people, and had prospered just before the URN had fallen, before the world had been once again engulfed by the fires of war - now, it was up to the Water Tribe to once again prove themselves. But their climate and terrain was on their side - it was far worse for any technology than any place in Siberia, in all of Russia. Not that Mike cared - the Valkyrie had endured much worse, but his confidence diminished when he caught sight of dark storm clouds far to the south.
After a few hours of flight through thunderstorms and heavy rain, perpetual ice formed the ground beneath them. He adjusted their course to the east to fly to the main settlement in the Southern Water Tribe, and soon caught sight of fortifications the Tribe had built to fend off any potential threat. Potential threats like the Valkyrie. The AA-guns took aim and opened fire, their shells and muzzle flashes being, besides the Valkyrie's propulsion, the only lights in the darkness of the snowstorm that raged. Mike couldn't rely on any instrument on board the whole ship, and had to evade on wild guesses, spinning the Valkyrie wildly around through the stormy, soon ending polar night. All of his companions shrieked when they saw the ground fast approaching, and Malu pulled the spacecraft upwards just in time, its rear end streaking the icy ground and being hit with an ice spear sent by a surprised waterbender, which briefly jammed one of the two turbines. When it was broken out by the green jet of gas that shot out of the turbine, the whole spaceship shook and turned slightly to the right, which made it impossible to evade a shell coming from beneath. It detonated at the nose and caused Mike to think of something new.
"Fuck it! We have to land out in the tundra, or we'll crash-land!" he shouted through the noise of the spaceship slowly conking out. Mike accelerated it to get away from the settlement and into the frozen tundra. By a small cliff, he landed the spacecraft safely below a solid wall of rock, where the wind wasn't as quite as strong as out in the plain.
"I need to repair the instruments and the hull and stuff out there, to get us moving again. Outside it's fifty degrees below zero... Sometimes I really wish I was a firebender... " Mike spoke, dressing his coat over his uniform, taking his gloves and a toolbox, alongside a few pieces of metal and a power set to repair the damage the single shell had done.
"We should've sent a message that we're coming, but no, we don't learn from mistakes we've done the day before... " Kiruya complained as she took her own, thick coat to wear. After only three minutes of repairing, Mike returned inside and stated, "The damage was just cursory, only the plating was severely damaged. I think we now can continue our journey on foot - again." He put the toolbox, the remaining pieces of metal and the power unit on the floor, taking his rifle instead. All of them had put on their winter gear by now, and were moving out into the unforgiving cold, where, from afar, a man watched them through his binoculars, readying his submachine gun and his skis, as well as his two comrades.
"Enemy aircraft crew moving northwards. On our way to detain them from reaching the city. Over," the soldier, a sergeant, radioed to the headquarters. They were just an ordinary ski patrol, two armed with rifles and one with a submachine gun. After reloading their respective weaponry and cleansing it from ice, the three pushed themselves forward, gaining speed, until racing down the hill they were standing on.
"Hey, what's that?" Luo asked, pointing at three moving points near the horizon, and getting Mike's binoculars borrowed, "Oh, wait a second, those are... That's a ski patrol! We're saved! Well, or dead... "
"Then we better not choose the second option!" Mike shouted, walking northwards, down a slope. Everyone followed him, and were followed by the three soldiers only fifty metres behind. The patrol quickly gained on them, but were not able to reach them. Two more patrol hurried to help from both sides after the first one's leader had made use of his walkie-talkie, and behind them, three tanks drove up from the town visible in the distance. Three submachine guns, six rifles, six machine guns and three forty-seven millimetre guns now were aimed at them, and everyone waited for the 'fire' command from the middle of the three tanks, but it never came. It's commander, a man in his fifties, looked at the Team, and realised something. Right when all of his soldiers wanted to fire, he climbed out of his tank and shouted, "Stop it! Don't you see who this is?"
Kiruya smiled at the sight of the man and ran up to him, hugging him tightly.
"Lads, that's Chief Nakua, my dad, if you didn't notice!" she spoke happily after releasing her father from her grip. The soldiers decided to go back to their duties and patrol the area, as the man, revealed as Chief Nakua, offered, "Well, you're friends of Kiruya's, so I assume it's safe to take you with me... Hop on!"
"Sorry, I've got to fetch my spacecraft, if you would please wait half an hour and lend me a pair of skis..." Mike denied the Chief's offer as he sped off to get the Valkyrie. After only fifteen minutes, the camouflaged spacecraft landed just by the Chief's tank, and followed it inside the city of ice.
"So... you were the leadership in New Year's Battle? Impressive, but it had little effect. Anyway, what will you be doing now?" Lukka, Nakua's wife and Kiruya's mother, asked as she and her son, named Lubak, put the food on the table they were gathered around.
"No one congratulated me on my victory when I led the naval-" the nonbender began, but was silenced by his father. "We all congratulated you, but your actions didn't destroy a whole army."
"So, to get back to the question, we're just dropping by for lunch and... " Kiruya paused to swallow one of the sea prunes. " ...to say goodbye. We're leaving this world for another, to end the war."
The rest of her family looked baffled at the news, but the Team simply continued to eat the disgusting meal before them. After the three had stared at Kiruya for half a minute, she said, without even rising her eyes to meet theirs, "You get used to it travelling with him... "
Mike rose his head for a second, saying, "Hey there!" before returning his attention to the food. After five minutes, everyone had finished their meals, and inside the house, the mood had darkened a little. Goodbyes that could've been the last ones were exchanged between the daughter, her two parents, both benders by the way, and her nonbender brother. After another two minutes of goodbyes, Kiruya emerged from the house, and walked right to the Valkyrie to get inside. When Mike started the engines, she still stood at the ramp, waving a last goodbye before getting to the turret, while Luo moved to the radio. Flying northwards in the clearing storm, towards the land of the setting sun, the Fire Nation, their last stop on Avatara, before leaving for Earth.
A History Lesson
Activating the autopilot, Malu was the last of the six to gather for a quick history lesson.
"So, to make a long story short, I will only focus on the past two-hundred fifty years, skipping most of the rest," Mike began his lesson. "So, around ten-thousand years ago, agriculture was first practiced. Five-thousand years ago, the time of civilisations began. Then, all through antiquity and the medieval times, as well as early modern period, nothing important happened. Well, nothing that is important for us. Then, around three-hundred years ago, the age of imperialism began, when - mainly European - powers began to conquer territory overseas in large scale. They've already done it three-hundred years before that, but now it matters for us. Then, the major powers of Europe, began arms races and founded alliances, and when Austria-Hungary's heir to the throne was assassinated, it declared war on the country the assassin originated from - Serbia, which was allied with Russia, which was allied with France and the United Kingdom. So Russia, France and the UK declared war on Austria-Hungary, and Germany, and later also Bulgaria and Turkey, declared war on Russia, France and the UK, and, later Italy. The war became known as the First World War, and raged from 1914 to 1918."
"Sorry to interrupt, but how many lives did it cost? Couldn't have been many, I mean, only four years..." Zolu asked.
"Around fifteen million people, Zolu! The peace afterwards was extremely unfair and helped to rise nationalist powers all throughout Europe. In 1933, the so-called National-Socialists, or in short, Nazis, took over the government in Germany, and, after annexing Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938 with the inhabitants' support, attacked Poland, France's and Britain's ally, in 1939. Then, a year later, the neutral states of Denmark and Norway, and the Benelux states and France. Fortunately, they couldn't invade Britain and focused on Eastern Europe. The Balkans were quickly subdued in 1941, before Unternehmen Barbarossa started, the German attack on the Soviet Union. They couldn't take Moscow, and when their ally Japan attacked the USA, the USA declared war on both. In 1942, the Axis, who were Germany, Italy, Japan and a few minor allies, were at their peak of power, but in the city of Stalingrad, Germany lost a whole army, and soon slowly retreated from Russia, while Italy's success in North Africa founded on the German Afrikakorps diminished. In 1944, the Allies landed in France, had half of Italy under their control and great parts of Eastern Europe. Then, in the next year, when Berlin, Germany's capital, was battled for, the dictator of Germany, the Führer, which, by the way was only a title, committed suicide and soon thereafter, Germany surrendered. Japan, Germany's ally, was finally subdued when two nuclear bombs fell on two of their cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and destroyed them almost completely. The results of this war, the Second World War, were devastating: sixty million people dead, and forty million of them civilians, seventeen millions of these murdered by the Nazi regime for their ethnicity or religion. The Nazis had lost the war, but their idea couldn't be extinguished. And the invention of nuclear weapons, which lead to the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the USA never were openly at war, only in proxy wars. Then, after the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991, came the Age of Unification, first unified was Europe, in the European Union at first, then in a dictatorship and then, after a coup, another dictatorship and a civil war, a republic. Then came the Colonisation Era, in which our solar system was colonised, before it ended with the first faster-than-light flight, which began the hyperspace era, in which mankind spread - and still spreads - among the stars and fought a total of three wars against alien races, which it all won. But on Earth, in the USA to be exact, an economic crisis erupted and caused both right-wing and left-wing parties to grow immensely before the 'states broke apart in a Second Civil War. In the East, a General named Johnston had joined a certain party named "National-Socialists", and took control over all of the USA, before he was officially elected President afterwards, and transformed the USA, a democracy - Well, more or less - into the most effective dictatorship of all history. And now, he holds more power than any single man before, and we are to battle him. He's clung onto power for the last twenty-five years, he won't give up on it easily, well, not at all. He's got all of Earth most of the CHP, the Confederation of Human Planets, under his control, and is currently working on the ultimate weapon, one with the power of destroying a whole planet at once - the Antimatter Cannon. We must end this war before he can finish the weapon, just wanted to give you some background knowledge. So could anyone enlighten me about Avataran history?"
A few minutes of silence followed as everyone tried to take in what Mike had explained to them, before Asura volunteered to explain their history to him.
"Well, where can I begin? Better before the Hundred Year War. So, yeah. Avatar Roku and the later Fire Lord Sozin originally were friends, but later, Sozin established colonies in the Earth Kingdom, which caused Roku to almost kill Sozin. Later, twelve years after Roku's death, Sozin attacked the other Nations, starting with the Air Nomad Genocide, which only one known person survived. Well, however, the Fire Nation took over much of the Earth Kingdom, and almost exterminated the Southern Water Tribe due to repeated attacks to take their benders, but struggled repeatedly to defeat the Northern Water Tribe and the Earth Kingdom at Ba Sing Se. In the last year of the war, however, the Avatar returned in the form of Aang, the last airbender, who had been frozen in an iceberg. He fended off another almost successful invasion of the Northern Water Tribe, and later failed to defend Ba Sing Se from a coup. In the Fire Nation, he led a failed attempt to invade the capital and defeat the Fire Lord, and later defeated Fire Lo- I mean, Phoenix King Ozai and restored peace to the world. A friend, Zoku, Ozai's son, became Fire Lord. But when it came to the Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom, the world almost was consumed by war again, because the Fire Nation wanted to keep them, and the Earth Kingdom wanted them back. So anyway, from these colonies, the URN was founded. Until Avatar Korra's time, nothing much happened, because then, Anti-benders called "Equalists" rose in Republic City and briefly took control, before they were defeated. Later, the spirits mounted an invasion on the mortal world, which she dealt with as well. In her later life, famines and civil unrests erupted, eventually leading to the Earth Civil War and the brief establishment of the so-called "People's Republic of the Earth Continent". This was the last one, before the lost Avatar, Sari, who didn't take being the Avatar serious and died at the age of eighteen. Till now, the greatest disruption of balance was when Olizon, who had grown up on the streets of Republic City and was of Azula's, who was Fire Lord Zuko's sister, line, killed the whole Royal Family so he had the sole claim to the throne. Where it has lead is known."
Mike had seated himself in the pilot's seat again, and everyone had assumed their assigned positions when the shore came into sight.
The Price of Treachery
Asura and Zolu both gasped shocked when they saw their parents' estate. Fusu and Nora could be seen battling a firebender, one who bent blue fire, Olizon. Nora, clad in a red version of the Kyoshi Warriors' uniform, charged at the Fire Lord with her fans ready to be thrust into his body, but the monarch shot a lightning at them. Nora threw her fans forward to Olizon, attracting his lightning, and shot it back at him. He redirected it at Nora's husband Fusu, who evaded the strike only narrowly and then continued to try to get closer to Olizon with his Jian sword. His wife had drawn her katana and made use of her shield as well and was gaining ground against the Fire Lord's continuous bombardment of fireballs, but did she not anticipate that Olizon was about to make use of one of the most powerful bending attacks of all time, combustion. He clicked his fingers, creating a spark, and then thrust the hand forward, index and middle fingers outstretched. A ray of heat shot at Nora, and exploded upon contact with her shield, flinging her through the air and against a wall, knocking her out. Fusu, who could've cut one of Olizon's arms off now, was too horrified by the attack on his wife, and was struck by a fireball in his stomach, and, much alike his wife before, was tossed around, only that he had enough strength left to crawl beside his dying wife.
"This is the price for treachery, fools!" Olizon shouted upon the victory over the two enemies of his as he went to the convoy he had come with, overlooking the spacecraft floating behind him. Mike turned the Valkyrie and fired his cannonry at Olizon while landing it in the centre of the yard, halfway between Asura's and Zolu's parents and the gate. The two sibling sped out to their severely wounded parents and kneeled beside them in their last moments. Nora spit blood as Asura took one of her hands, as she did with her father's. Kiruya rushed to the gathered family, pulled out her water from her water skin and attempted to heal the two, but she looked into the two siblings' eyes, which were filled with expectation, and shook her head. There was nothing she could do for them. She walked away slowly before Fusu cleared his throat of a bit of his blood and then spoke. "Zolu... Asura... You have... made us proud. You aren't the little children I remember you... as, you have become... true warriors... You have to be... strong now... We don't have much time left... "
Zolu looked horrified at the look of his great ideal, his father, dying, and took his free hand, squeezing it tightly. He wanted to be with him and his mother in their last moments. A single tear escaped, and rolled down his cheek, followed by another. He was strong, strong enough not to cry. "Zolu... you are... a true... warrior..." the aged swordfighter and Admiral whispered before he coughed up blood and stopped talking, his whole body failing him.
"Asura... " Asura looked into her mother's eyes with her own teary ones, hoping that there would be a miracle. But there wasn't. "...please, promise me... that you'll be strong now... I know you can, you're the... Avatar... and the best of them at that..." It was hard for Asura to keep her determination alive, but it still shone in her amber eyes, although tears streamed down her cheeks. "Be what you've always been: strong... " Before long, the couple's breath ceased, and Zolu laid his hand on Asura's shoulder. She let her head hang, her hands still clinging onto her parents' ones. But then, all of sudden, her eyes lit up, shining a bright bluish white. Zolu, as well as everyone else, moved away from the now floating Avatar in her air sphere. Mike took it upon himself to calm her down. "Asura, please listen to me! I know what it is like, to lose your- " He could never finish his sentence, as Asura shot a fireball after him. Zolu knew it was his duty as a brother to calm her and help her, but he himself was petrified, until he convinced himself to move after a minute. Asura meanwhile threatened to lay waste to the entire castle, but once Zolu began to talk, her will to destroy ceased. "Please Asura, they were my parents, too! I know how you feel, how much it hurts! Please, just snap out of it before you kill us all!"
Asura's eyes went back to normal and she landed on the paved ground safely, before Mike hurried to catch her falling. She was extremely exhausted and wept for her loss as she was carried away to the Valkyrie. The ramp closed and the Valkyrie took off, to Earth, after the last goodbyes. Only that these truly were last goodbyes.
Notes and Trivia
- Lubak is just Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, reverse.
- Yes, that's all! I'm tired!
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