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|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet|
|Liberation, Part One|
3: Turned Tides
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 end the worlds involved.
Now, more than ever, ending the war is urgent, for that for both sides it is either victory or death, for that this war could be the end of all of mankind.
Previously in Avatar: The War of the Worlds
Malu helps Zolu overcoming his parents' deaths, while Mike helps Asura with the same matter. Weeks later, Mike proposes his plan to liberate Europe from occupation, starting in Berlin.
Arzowa helps to conquer Ba Sing Se after leaving the Black Sun during their rebellion.
During a secret mission with the battleship Red October, Anna and Olaf discover the League's forces teaming up to form a blockade on the Kepler 22 system.
The Team had arrived at Pariser Platz, before Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. A huge crowd had gathered on that fateful twenty-fourth December of the year 2164, snowfall covering everything in a white coat. The crowd swung flags of black, red and gold, which was the German one, and, in its centre, a few Israeli ones, white and blue in colour, the symbol of the Magen David in its centre. The Brandenburg Gate was barricaded with walls of sandbags, machine guns resting upon them, operated by Wehrmacht soldiers from Europe itself, under the command of the Reich's officers. None dared to shoot at the thousands gathered on the Pariser Platz as the Team had hurried to the Brandenburg Gate's base, where they stopped.
"A'ight, so, everything set up?", Mike whispered, getting hold of the gate's column.
"O' course, the radio station will be transmitting it everywhere between Baku and Reykjavík, Lisbon and Moscow on all wavelengths. But you still have to address the people on the, uh, Pariser Platz with solely your voice.", Asura declared as the Grand Admiral climbed up the column while adjusting tiny microphones by his collar. The man climbed up the structure, whose columns were decorated with red, white and black swastika flags, and the Reich's emblem mounted before the quadriga. Mike had prepared himself a speech, based on several older ones he thought of as brilliant. He arrived on the top of the huge structure after a long and exhausting climb, and now had to scream his speech as loud as he could. The snowfall had ceased when he began.
"It seems like an eternity since it began, the war, and yet it had only lasted for a year. A year of fierce fighting on land, on the seas, in the air and in space. A year of murder. Of the murder of Jews, Communists, Slavic people, and many, many more. A year occupation and suffering, of hunger, fear, oppression, loss and pain. And yet we Europeans stand tall. We are beaten and famished, but we stand. I these times of utmost despair, our true nature comes out, our true selves. Not only do we always stand tall, but also do we stand to protect those suffering from persecution. I see descendants of SS-soldiers protecting descendants of holocaust survivals - people of Germany, you have truly proven yourself in times of need. You could greatly gain from joining the Wehrmacht, but instead you do not only not do so, you even stand against them. That is our greatest quality. We Europeans are a hundred peoples speaking a hundred languages, and yet we truly are one. It matters not if you are Russian, German, British, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Romanian, or of any other, smaller nation like I myself - we stand united, even if we don't understand each other. In these days, we relive a form of tyranny we thought to be dead and forgotten for at least a century, and yet here we are, rebelling against one of the most vicious ones - so-called National socialism."
If he would've had the chance, he would've taken a sip from a glass of water, but his sweat had to do as he looked at the sheet of paper he had learned by heart in the week prior.
"We all have seen the horrors of war in the past months, be it on the battlefield or here, at home, by being harassed or worse by the occupation force, and the insufficient supply with food, executions and deportations and the like - we all suffer from it. That is why, people of Europe, we have to end it as soon as possible! But be aware, that without victory, there is no survival, and thus, today, it is more true than ever before, it is, for both sides,"
The crowd remained silent, but also did the machine guns.
"Be aware that, mein Führer, when you bomb our cities and burn our crops, your crimes will come back to haunt you, that our armies will not hesitate to do the same to your people's cities, to your people themselves, but more important to you yourself, mein Führer!"
Everytime he addressed Johnston, he said it with a sarcastic undertone.
"A very well-known man once spoke:"
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender."
"And did we? No. Even though all of Europe and much of what lies beyond has fallen under the grip of the vicious Nazi apparatus, even though Moscow and Vienna have fallen, even though England has been successfully invaded the first time in over one thousand years, even though all of our lands, our home countries, have fallen, we shall not flag or fail."
"We shall fight in our cities, we shall fight in the vast fields and forests in between, we shall fight in the air and on all the seas, we shall fight for our freedom and regain it at once!"
"I call you, people of Europe, to the arms! If woman or man, if Russian, Germany, British, French or Turkish, if General or farmer, I call you to the arms all the like."
He paused shortly to regain his breath from screaming and, as he could see many in the crowd arming themselves with sticks, stones, flags, and assault rifles alike, he finished.
"I call you to the arms, people of Europe! For our freedom, for our home! To the arms!"
He rose his fist as he screamed, and walked forward to the swastika emblem.
"The Liberation... "
He readied his foot.
"Of Europe... "
He struck. He kicked the bronze-cast emblem off the gate as Asura shot a fireball to ignite the flags.
The crowd was dumbstruck at the bold action, and the soldiers were also. The officers commanded the soldiers to fire at him and the crowd, but at that time, many of the soldiers, Germans like the whole crowd as well, had ripped the swastikas off their uniforms and started firing at their commanders, while the crowd's flags were used as spears, impaling those who dared to oppose a free Europe. Only a few seconds later, gunshots and screams could be heard all over Berlin, blood of the Reich's soldiers and their collaborators staining the white snow cover. Mike now wore a face of doubt, if it had been right to bring the war into his home. A hand was reassuringly laid on his shoulder. He looked over it and noticed that Asura had landed before the quadriga with Malu's glider. Having grabbed on as she had taken off, he could survey the inner parts of the enormous city. Hunters and soldiers, priests and students, doctors and industrial labourers - all kinds of people were on the streets, driving the occupation force out. He knew it, all of them knew it, even without the overview he had. The Great Battle for Europe had begun.
The Royal Plaza
The Minister looked at the Fire Lord in confusion. "Your majesty! That could be the end of your reign! Arzowa is almost unstoppable, of course, but if she has anything to do with the Black Sun- !"
"Silence, fool! Did you even hear yourself? She and the Black Sun, of course... NOT! Nonetheless, I will put the reigns in your hand as long as I am on Earth. Only be sure no new rebellion arises and those damn guerrillas are dealt with!", Olizon spoke as he walked off to the space yacht Johnston had sent to bring him to Washington. Zhang Asano, the minister of State-security, was in charge of the Fire Nation as soon as the spacecraft had left the surface. He walked to the throne room, unaware of the fact that the twenty-three year-old Arzowa had been eavesdropping. She joined the minister on his way to the throne room, and sat herself at the throne's right side, the minister directly beneath it. He announced the establishment of the first extermination camps in the Earth Kingdom. Okay, now that is just... wrong... , she thought to herself as she saw just how many were to be established. It was noon, and thus, the meeting was only of short duration. Arzowa decided to take walk. She walked past many of the Reich's soldiers and cringed at the sight of every single one - they were an occupation force, that was a fact no propaganda poster could ever change. She strolled into the Harbour City through one of the few tunnels connecting it with the Royal Caldera City, doubting her decision not to help the Black Sun when they rebelled more with every step. All around her, members of both the Royal Procession and the Reich's strange black uniformed special units rounded up supposed resistance hideouts, dragging out beaten-up people, men, women, and children alike, pulling the conscious ones after a brief questioning up against the wall - men, women and children alike, pulling the unconscious ones in lorries to ship them to concentration camps. She decided to fasten her pace, alike her heartbeat, when she heard crowds scream. She headed into the screams' direction, to the Royal Plaza, and just propelled herself up onto the battle tower. From the stone railing, two huge flags hung. Both red of colour, one bearing a white circle with a black swastika in its centre, the other a black, stylised flame framed with gold. On the plaza below rolled the lorries filled with supposed resistance fighters to the harbour, and a crowd cheering on the traitors finally getting their justice. How despicable and dishonourable... , she thought of her own people as she watched them. But then, she clenched her fist and thrust it up into the air, an enormous stream of fire shooting up, illuminating the area in an eerie blue light for a short time. It was enough. This was the time to strike.
Many looked up at the tower in confusion, but returned their attention to what they had been doing before.
"I, CROWN PRINCESS ARZOWA, COMMAND YOU TO STOP!"
To add authority, she shot a lightning over the heads of the crowd, into the harbour's waters.
"I believe we all remember that day well, the day of betrayal. The day our shells and bombs laid waste to the bustling metropolis of Republic City. The day our troops landed on the shores of Yue Bay and marched forth to, once again, bring destruction upon the world. The day of betrayal of the other of the Four Nations. I ask you: do you remember that day?"
Many in the crowd nodded, not daring to speak a word. Arzowa knew where the speech was going, but had no idea how, but not a trace of nervousness could be spotted. She continued.
"More than a year has passed since that day, a time in which we murdered, tortured, enslaved and worse. I ask the soldiers: Do you feel satisfied when your rifle's buttstock smashes a child's skull? Do you feel like a hero when you put up a woman against the wall, a woman who tries to protect her infant?"
"I ask the civilians: Does it feel good to see thousands of men, women and children being shipped off to their certain deaths, people who were likely your neighbours, who had a more or less happy life before the war... Does that feel good?!"
The silence became deafening.
"Is this what our great nation is meant to be? Is this the Fire Nation's true form? Is this what we want it to become?"
A single girl in the crowd, a mere eight years old, answered, barely audible, "No."
Her parents wanted to slap her for that kind of defiance, but a soldiers guarding the lorries repeated the word. "No." A few more did so, before the whole crowd agreed on it.
"We are past this age, ever since Fire Lord Zuko's reign, we're past it. And yet, here we stand, watching quietly as our dear government and its militaristic arm execute a genocide. We all fail to see nowadays, that we all are, no matter of nation, one people! We murder our brothers and sisters overseas, we betray them, stab them in the back! And we only watch?"
The crowd repeated, like before the simple word. "No."
"But there is the wicked occupation force of our so-called ally, who orchestrated all of this war. I now as all of you, people of the Fire Nation, I will ask you simple questions."
"Do you want genocide?"
As anticipated, the response was a "No."
"Do you want total war for a cause that is wrong?"
"Do you want occupation?", she cried out as four soldiers of the Reich's special unit approached her, sub-machine guns ready.
Defiant, the crowd yelled, "NO!", as the Crown Princess burnt the soldiers to ashes with two streams of blue fire.
"Do you want your very own people to be murdered, tortured, or worse?"
"DO YOU WANT THIS WAR TO END?"
The crowd remained silent for a second, but then, after all had looked into the small girl's direction, they nodded to each other and yelled, "YES!"
"DO YOU WANT THE REICH, THEIR SOLDIERS AND THEIR INFLUENCE OUT?"
Both Arzowa and the crowd remained silent, before Arzowa had thought of a good end.
"What our Generals called the Battle for the Earth Kingdom is over. I expect that the Battle for the Fire Nation is just about to begin. Upon this battle, the fate of the Four Nations depends. This battle will decide whether the Four Nations survive, or are destroyed. We must direct all our fury and might against the enemy, for he knows the land was well as we do. We can make a difference. We can redeem our Nation for their dishonourable actions in the past year. If we succeed, the Four Nations will liberate themselves and each other and thrive as they did long ago. But if we fail, we and our whole world shall be plunged into the darkest of ages of tyranny and pain. So make sure we do not fail, and make sure that, if our Four Nations shall last another thousand years, men and women will still say: This was their finest hour!"
Upon the last few words, Arzowa had readied herself and now, she had lit the two flags. As they burnt, the soldiers armed the crowd and opened fire upon attacking Wehrmacht soldiers. The Battle for the Fire Nation had begun.
Raiding the Blockade
The mighty HMS Nemesis flew through space soundlessly, towards the edge of the Kepler 22 system. It was followed by four other equally powerful battleships, each of them being flagships of a Grand Admiral, afterwards coming all the "ordinary" battleships, followed by the cruisers, and then frigates, corvettes, destroyers and many minor vessels more. Hundreds of capital spaceships flew towards the space between the star systems, where a blockade had been established. It was the greatest naval unit gathered ever since the Fyell' Shan War had ended. This rather bold move was being led by two of the so-called heroes of Alpha Centauri: Anna Visconti and Olaf Janssen.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe you all know our plan. We're going to execute a classical Trafalgar manoeuvre. Two lines of battle, attacking a single one from its side. The two Asian fleets and the Gliese 581 fleet will form our right line, our European Fleet, the Kepler 22 and the Gliese 370 fleets will form the left line. Our mission is as simple as it is important - and impossible. We're going to defeat the Aryan League's forces, board the Bismarck, Stuart's flagship, and capture him alongside the ship's on-board computer's hard drive. With the Supreme Commander of the League's Armed Forces captive and knowledge about all their past and planned movements, our victory in this war is foreseeable.", Anna explained, a three-dimensional map showing the planned movements. A single ship were they to encounter, a battleship and flagship of one of the mightiest commanders alive, but only one nonetheless.
"But ma'am, it's only one ship, and no others of theirs near. That won't be impossible.", an officer stated, his uniform indicating his rank to be Vice Admiral.
"I really wonder how you got your position... There is only one ship now. There will be hundreds in a matter of minutes.", Anna declared as she walked to the front part of the bridge, overlooking the frontal batteries. The fleets assembled themselves into formation in order to cut through any enemy defenses like two sickles, only to get to the Bismarck to board it. The tactics of both the Battle of Trafalgar and of the Battle for France were combined. The HMS Nemesis fired her front batteries a single time, the shells being detonated early by the Bismarck's missile defence system every ship was equipped with. The green laser shot through the shells' hulls and heated up the charge enough for it to detonate. Only a minute later, both the American Fleets, the African, the Oceanian, the Solar and those of 55 Cancri and CoRoT-7 all arrived in full strength to guard their commander's vessel, forming, as anticipated, a line of battle, a formation that hadn't been used effectively for centuries. Everything works according to plan., Anna thought, managing a smirk. Take that for attacking a planet just because you can! Soon enough, the League's ships opened fire upon them.
"All energy to the shields! Fast! They're our only hope to get through this!", she screamed as the first shells' detonations were noticeable. The Nemesis, in the left line's vanguard, got shelled heavily, but the bluish layer of energy around the ship protected it from the greatest damages. Slowly and under the heaviest fire the Nemesis had seen since the Fyell' Shan War, the Allies' space force made its way to the enemy's. When in range of the enemy AA-cannonry, the Nemesis lowered her shields and opened fire. The mighty seven-hundred fifty millimetre shells of the Nemesis' main guns detonated upon contact with the enemy's ships' hull, tearing a gaping hole into such. On both flanks, two battleships breeched the enemy lines, the Nemesis on the left one and the Caliph on the right. From this moment on, the operation went smoothly like a knife through butter. From the moment the Nemesis and the Caliph had breached the line, many of the League's ships had to stop firing to prevent hitting ships of their own, and thus, were rendered useless by the Allies' shells and missiles. A few ships began retreating to some other position, eventually entering hyperspace. But most stayed, trying to guard the battleship Bismarck, which was thrown into battle as the flagship it was meant to be. The four cruisers Churchill, Nelson, Victory and Invincible sped forward and sunk the last ships guarding the Bismarck. If they were to strike, they had to do it now, while the League's forces were in utter disarray and before their flagship could enter hyperspace. Anna had given Ahmad, who just had arrived with his Caliph, the command over the mission while she was part of the boarding party. She rushed to her cabin and opened a closet. Taking out a prohibition-era Thompson sub-machine gun and its ammunition loaded in drum magazines, she noticed Olaf standing in the door, his "trench gun", a Winchester shotgun, and his handgun, a FN Hi-Power, ready. She examined him and asked, "Ready to kick some butt? Or rather, shoot it?"
"Always.", was his answer before they took off to the hangar to board a gunship to take them to the Bismarck. Their very own Battle was just ahead.
Notes and Trivia
- Mike's speech is inspired by Churchill's well-known We Shall Fight on the Beaches and Garibaldi's To Arms, All of You!, while Arzowa's was inspired by Churchill's Their Finest Hour and, ironically, by Goebbels' Do You Want Total War?. I guess I like Churchill's speeches.
For the collective works of the author, go here.