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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
The Allies' victories in the Battle for Europe, the Battle for the Fire Nation and the Battle of the Kepler 22 system turn the tide in the favour of the Allies.
The Parliament of Europe
The Team stopped in the middle of the road. The Ringstraße here in Vienna was a busy place, now the European government had reorganised itself after the Liberation. The six of them were headed to the parliament, where the European Parliament held its first session after the one year and two months of occupation. Mike had written a speech and intended to hold it before the parliament for a very certain reason - he wanted to invade the lion's den, Washington D.C. All he needed for the invasion plan all six of them had worked out was power over the armed forces of the Federative Republic of European Nations, or however the parliament decided to name the monstrous republic now. The command over all of the forces was something the parliament could grant - but only for nine months, and with a two-thirds majority, and Mike was determined to get it. Normally, members of the military were forbidden to submit motions directly, but he was more than just a simple military. He himself had seen through the release of many of the members of the parliament, and so these would likely vote in favour of him. As they seated themselves behind the many rows of the huge assembly room while a man labelled as "Y. Nikolayevich" held a boring speech about economic damages the occupation had caused, Mike explained how the parliament worked, "So, remember when I told you of the political structure of the FREN? Well, someone needs to govern it, and all municipalities, districts, cantons, provinces and federal states have elected leaders, but if they never meet, the federal states would grow apart and the FREN would've failed in its original purpose. So, in the parliament, the different representatives meet. Each province sends one representative into the Lower Chamber, and each federal state one into the Upper Chamber, the Council of Europe. The one currently speaking is the representative of the province of Moscow, and of the federal state of Russia. They sit divided into parties, of which the most popular are the right-centre European People's Party, the left-centre European Labour Party, the right-winged European Liberal Party and the somewhat left-winged Greens. The head of government is the Prime Minister, he-"
He was interrupted by the one he talked of clearing his throat, signalling him to begin. "Mr Přemysl! I believe your illegal action of personally submitting a motion to the parliament of the Federal Republic of Europe will better come with a good speech to defend this monstrous demand!"
Mike stepped forward, and representatives of over fifty federal states, which were divided into more than four-hundred provinces, stopped whatever they had been doing before and directed their attention to the uniformed man walking up to the podium. He cleared his throat and spoke.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe the sheer speed Europe has been liberated and reorganised says something about our peoples' competence. Two months prior, the Liberation started in Berlin, and of course also elsewhere, and today we have gathered for the first session of the parliament after the occupation of fourteen months. Our troops are fighting for control of Siberia, and, at the side of our brothers-in-arms, for Central Asia and the Middle East. Our navy started an offensive against the Leagues' navies just a week past, and are faring greatly, since they have retaken, amongst others, Bermuda and the Falkland Islands. The capture of the former left us with the potential to strike back. Bermuda is our only possession near enough to the Boswash agglomeration to launch an invasion - which is my goal. But for that, I will need all the support and power I can get - not that I intend to coup you. I will need to order over all the armed forces of our republic available, and for that, I want you to vote for the enabling act. We all know that with laws of that name, crimes have been enabled, crimes we are reliving now. I intend to bring an upon the Nazi regime for good, and that as fast as possible. We all have suffered from the war in some way, and I believe we all want it ended, and that you understand the urgency of the military operations I and my fellow companions have planned out. I now leave it to you and the Prime Minister, Mr Oliver Rantanen, to decided whether you want to entrust me with power over all of our armed forces available or not."
He left and the Prime Minister, a Finn, looked into the crowd of representatives, seeing that most of them accepted it. He decided it was question if they dealt with it or not, and so they voted.
Mike walked out, followed by the rest of the Team.
"So, what's the plan now?" asked Malu, a little overeager.
"We must call a meeting of the Allies' military leaders, without agreement of theirs and their support, our little Operation Phoenix will be impossible."
"Still, I'm a little worried about what the Prime Minister said to you just after the vote. That part were he said But remember that our secret service is not military, and will not hesitate to liquidate you in the case you intend to act against the laws of the Federal Republic of Europe. I didn't sound really nice to me," Asura stated, the worry she mentioned in her eyes.
"Not to worry, we only want to invade the most secure capital of the human race, not betray Europe," Mike stated, chuckling a little, heading to the Valkyrie. It was time for a war council.
The Parliament of Kepler 22b
"Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives, councilors, chairmen and -women, I came here today with a very certain intention. All of us either participated, observed or at least heard of our recent crucial victory over the forces of the Aryan League, the enemy we share. We still stand united, but only hold the very planet we are standing on, its surrounding systems and its own. How can we call ourselves Allies when we can't even stand up to help our own brothers and sisters in the Gliese 370 and 581 sectors? The answer is: we can't. Yet. That is reason I have come here today. To plea for you to pass a certain office onto me, the office of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, only established in times of utter despair and with a two-thirds majority in the parliament. I have served the Allies as the commander of our Space Force for more than one year already, only barely escaping with my life several times, and intend to spread the reach of my command to the ground forces as well to take back the planets we couldn't reach in time. I believe many of you are unable to return to their home worlds as they are occupied and guarded by the Aryan League, and understand that it is even more crucial than our recent victory to have a unified leadership of our forces to win the war at last. We don't fight for our own survival anymore, we fight for our allies' - and for mankind's. I now let you choose for yourselves and the people all over mankind's colonies, and I beg you to... Choose what is right," Anna spoke before a thousand representatives in the neo-gothic parliament of Kepler 22b, or Dvadseddvije. All the men and women considered long and Anna went outside, using the faked urge of having to make use of the toilet as an excuse. She stood outside the parliament building, leaning against one of the neoclassical columns, Olaf walked up to her and asked casually, "How did it go?"
Anna didn't reply verbally, instead she shrugged and twirled her dark brown hair around her finger, trying to hide her nervouseness. Olaf decided to go inside to see the vote's result, and came back only a few minutes later, his face bearing his normal cheerful attitude again. She didn't need to ask what the result was as he replied, "Only four dissenting votes!" and flung his arms around her neck. She tried fighting it for a second but found herself inable to it physically, so she striked back verbally, "Olaf, you can stop to hide your assassination attempts behind hugs now!"
They both chuckled a bit before he released her from his grip. "Alright, let's get down to business! Call the marshals, the admirals, just everyone! You owe me that for not punching you in the face on multiple occasions!" Anna ordered, a smile having crept on her face.
The Four Nations' War Council
Arzowa walked through the corridors of the Fire Nation Royal Palace, accompanied by High General Muto and the Dai Li agent Seon Anjong, who, besides her, were the last living members of the Black Sun. They hurried to the throne room, where six other commanders, who had arrived in late morning by plane, already were waiting. It were General Lobsang and his wife, Councilwoman Sakya, Chiefs Nakua of the Southern and Antoku of the Northern Water Tribes, respectively, and the couple leading the Earth Kingdom guerrilla forces, Generals Kung and Noda Beifong. Arzowa seated herself at the throne's base, cross-legged, Muto to her right, Seon staying in the background. "Let's skip all the 'It's an honour to... ' rubbish and get down to business, shall we?" she asked rhetorically, the Beifongs sighing in relief. Kung took the freedom to sum up their situation. "So, basically, we hold the Fire Nation, the Southern Air Temple Archipelago, both Water Tribes, and certain areas in the south-western Earth Kingdom, including Gaoling, Omashu and Kyoshi Island. It is only a month past our honoured princess' liberation of the Fire Nation was completed, and that turned the tide in our favour, if only a little. We now have a total of fifty million men - and women - at arms, only counting infantry. Around thirty five million are Fire Nation military and militia, six million soldiers counts the remnant of the United Forces, while the Water Tribes can, combined, muster one and a half million soldiers, as our guerrillas count between seven and eight million. Our naval forces are, with six fleets of around seventy vessels each, even superior to our enemy's in numbers, as are our aerial forces, which count around three-thousand aircraft of all kinds. The enemy has around one hundred ships in the Eastern and Western Lakes, and around seven-hundred aircraft. Their ground forces count, as of now, seventeen armies of one hundred thousand men each, plus the Dai Li, the 501st and several other units, with a total strength of half a million men, controlling Ba Sing Se. All in all, it's a relative stalemate."
For a minute, the room was completely silent. Then, the leaders began whispering options in each other's ears, moving figures representing units on the map table before them around, considering their options. Arzowa decided to do her consideration another way. She stood up and stepped on the low table, walking towards a part of the map depicting the eastern Fire Nation. She took a few of the figures in the shape of the Fire Nation insignia, which stood for divisions, and moved them to Republic City. Deciding they were too weak, she took two divisions more and two figures in the shape of the Water Tribe's insignia from the North and added them. Satisfied with the result, she walked in the south and took half of the Southern Water Tribe's forces and a few divisions of the United Forces' remnants, which were depicted by figures shaped like the URN's insignia, moving them near Kyoshi Island, to "reinforce" the Earth Kingdom guerrilla forces north and east of the "landing area". By then, the room had fallen silent again, watching her movements. Then, she moved everything back where it had been before she touched it and began anew, this time, she transferred the aerial units there first, depicted by small model aircraft in the colour of their respective nation. Then, she moved a few naval units, mainly submarines and aircraft carriers, to the mouths of the rivers rising from the Eastern and Western Lakes, before moving the ground units again. She then continued to "widen" the "bridgeheads", while in the south, she let the "liberation" progress faster due to the guerrilla forces, until the southern "expeditionary force" stood near what depicted Serpent's Pass, while in the north, the figurines stood before Ba Sing Se and she had moved all the naval units to annihilate the Reich's forces in the Lakes. Satisfied with the outcome, she moved everything back to its starting point and seated herself under the throne again. Every of the other commanders watched her expectant for a while, and she began to wonder why. Then, it came to her mind that it was because of her rather unusual actions on the map table.
"Well, I was just thinking about an invasion, or rather, liberation of the occupied parts of the Earth Kingdom. First of all, we would have to assemble and train two separate invasion forces, each about half a million men strong, if we have enough landing crafts of course. One would consist of Southern Water Tribe forces, the remnants of the United Forces and an expeditionary corps of the Fire Nation, while the other would be assembled from Northern Water Tribe forces and Fire Nation units. The first one would land near Kyoshi Island to aid the Earth Kingdom guerrillas and trigger uprisings all over the Kingdom by drawing attention to itself. Its main objective would be to liberate the Earth Kingdom. The second would land in and around what used to be Republic City and start a campaign towards Ba Sing Se. Before the landing, of course, we'd need preparation. Thus, we would have to position naval forces at the mounds of all three rivers rising from the Lakes, to keep the Reich's naval forces from aiding their ground units - I would recommend submarines and aircraft carriers, the latter so we'd have mobile airbases for striking the enemy positions with fast bombers - we couldn't afford to bomb them for months, they'd know something was coming up - that way, they'd only have a few hours to prepare. Why Republic City, you may ask - Because it has important transport connections and is one of three locations worldwide the Reich can ship supplies and troops in from space and can get them to the front within less than a month. So... that'd basically be the plan... I guess..." the Crown Princess spoke, finishing her little explanation in an awkward tone. The other commanders discussed it briefly before Lobsang turned to face the future Fire Lord and stated, "We'll make the best of it."
Deep beneath the Moscow Kremlin, the Allies' highest military commanders - on Earth - had gathered. The Allies were the Federal Republic of Europe, the Middle Eastern Union, the East Asian Federacy and the South Asian Federation - and Japan, which recently had switched sides, ordered so by their Emperor. Even though, most of the gathered were Europeans. There were seventeen Marshals of said Republic, each commanding an army group, eleven Admirals having the power over one fleet each, and fourteen Air Marshals, who did the same with air fleets. The other members of said alliance had sent a total of twenty-five commanders, of whom ten were in service of Japan, three of the Middle Eastern Union, one representing the South Asian Army in exile, the other eleven from the Federacy of East Asia. A few others, who had no direct affiliation with any of these militaries, like the Team, except Mike, were also present. All were seated around a huge, digital map table showing the whole Earth.
"And thus, our Operation Showa will make use of 'island-hopping', to bring the Oceanian Commonwealth to its knees. The control of the Pacific is, obviously, the main objective of this operation..." an Admiral of Japan spoke, before Mike, as well as his companions lost track of what he had been talking. A minute after he had finished, the Marshal of the Iberian Peninsula began his speech. "Fellow commanders, to make a long story short, our troops will land in Morocco, in the area between Tangiers and Ceuta, i.e. the Moroccan coast of the Strait of Gibraltar, to aid local resistance fighters. Its codename will be Operation Da Gama, and its objective is to re-establish Middle Eastern rule in Morocco- "
Mike stood up, only noticed by the Team, and came again, after the Marshal had finished his speech, a bottle of beer in his hand, opened, and another for his friend and colleague, Jan. He seated himself again as another Marshal began his speech. His accent was slight, but still indicated him as French, as did his little speech. "We have planned to land troops of the French Army Group on the coast of Algeria with the same objective as Operation Da Gama, only applied to Algeria. Our Operation Bourbon will later continue, similarly as Operation Da Gama, to aid in fighting the Africa Union once the Shara Desert is passed. ... "
Mike lost it at this moment and shifted his attention to his bottle of Czech beer, which became emptier after every speech's begin. Operation Caesar of the Italians and Operation Alexander of the Balkans Army Group had the same objectives as the prior two, applies to the respective landing area, which were Tunisia and Tripolitania for Operation Caesar, and Cyrenaica and Egypt for the troops from the Balkans. The Western Turkish Army Group planned on marching southwards, downstream along Euphrates and Tigris, and down the Levantine coast, naming it Operation Suleiman, while the Easter Trukish-Caucasian Army Group intended to free Kurdistan and Iran in Operation Dario. The Russians had only one operation to execute, and that one was already in action for the past three weeks - Operation Molotov, the recapture of Siberia. Then, an Admiral, the de facto head of the European Navy spoke up. First of all, it was a woman. Of Mike's age, on top of that. A redhead with freckles all over her skin, wearing a dark blue uniform, who looked, to phrase it moderately, beautiful. Asura noticed Mike having emptied his bottle and paying attention, and also a glass full of a somewhat brownish liquid before her. "That's Sally O'Brien, Admiral of the British Fleet. One of two people to ever beat me in a drinking game," Mike explained, causing Asura to rise an eyebrow, "She's Irish... "
She spoke of the recent capture of Bermuda and the Falkland Islands, and proposed operations concerning the Suez Canal, and similar, before the de facto head of the Air Force rose his voice. Asura noticed a glass by his glass of water, smaller and filled with a transparent liquid of which she didn't think as water, since the glass was much smaller. "Air Marshal Paul Miller, half Russian, half German - Bavarian, actually - commander of the highly-esteemed Siberian Air Fleet, and the other person to ever beat me at drinking games, and the only human alive able to beat Sally O'Brien at such," was all the information Mike provided about the bald man in a white uniform who held a speech about successful bombing raids, air supremacy and the like, before Mike saw his opportunity to propose his plan. Operation Phoenix. He cleared his throat and began.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I today have summoned you to propose a plan, to end the war more swiftly. At the pace we currently are waging war against the League's forces, it could continue for years, decades even, until the last village in Africa or Asia is liberated, until the people of Latin America have shaken off the yoke of their dictatorship, until our Space Fleet has defeated the last ship of the League's space force. Or it could be the other way 'round, the fact that the League still has a chance to win is omnipresent. Of course, we could wait until the Space Fleets have arrived, but we can't rely on them. We must rely on ourselves to bring Johnston down, and the recent capture of Bermuda made it possible. With Bermuda under our control, the East Coast is in our reach. I - and my fellow companions - have worked out a plan, Operation Phoenix, to end the war before it worsens itself. It is divided into several parts, of which the first is Operation Richthofen. It is the aerial preparation for it, and has a few main objectives, on for each of the three phases. First of all, air supremacy in the area of the East Coast is required. Then, bombing raids will focus mainly on the arms industry, but also all other kinds of industry. I don't want to bomb cities and kill - presumably - innocents, but I do want to demoralise them. Operation Richthofen will finalise in a bombing raid that has to happen within one single day. It will focus on the electric power supply, such as intersections in it and, of course, power stations. And, along the East Coast, the repeated dropping of EMP-bombs is crucial, to render any troops there immobile. In the following night, four operations will begin, being finished in the night after that. Operation Kutuzov, the capture of Alaska, relies on the success of Operation Molotov, Operation Yamamoto, the capture of Hawaii, requires the availability of a Japanese naval squadron and a capable landing force. Operation Ericson will be the capture of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, executed by British and Nordic paratroopers, and Operation Columbus by Spanish, French and Italian paratroopers, will be the capture of Cuba and the Bahamas. All four Operations have the objective to capture important air bases, and to secure flanks of the two major operations by hindering parts of the Kriegsmarine to stream out of their ports. On the day just after these four are accomplished, a huge fleet must be ready, as well as an army of airborne troops and seaborne ones alike. Operation Nelson will be the naval part, and include our Polar and North Sea Fleets to secure the sea between Greenland and New York, while the British and squadrons of the French will secure the coastlines of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. South of that, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Fleet will secure the coast southwards, mainly concentrating on blockading the Strait of Florida. Once in this order, all batteries available will open fire on any enemy military installation and unit in range, before Operation Wallenstein begins. It will consist of a simultaneous aerial and naval landing. Since we will be in a shortage of landing craft due to the landing operations in the Mediterranean, we will have to tend to airborne landing. Airborne units of the two German, the British and the Central European Army groups will land in and near important seaports in Delaware, Maryland, northern Virginia and southern New Jersey - to secure them for the seaborne landing, which will be executed with ordinary vessels, such as military transport ships - and the city of Washington D.C., which is the current whereabouts of the Führer, Johnston, and his colleague, Fire Lord Olizon. The main objectives of Operation Wallenstein are to secure a bridgehead in North America and, which is much more important, the capture of Johnston and Olizon. Hence the Reich still - or again - works basing on the so-called Führerprinzip, Johnston's capture would leave them lacking of a leader, as his right-hand man, propaganda-minister Stuart, is busy fighting our Space Fleets, and thus, ease our fight against them. And even if the invasion should fail - which still is improbable, since they would have to encounter the British and the Central European Army Groups, with divisions from the two German Army Groups - would Operation Richthofen likely cripple their industry and power supply for months. So, in a sort of way, it's a win-win situation, the only condition being that the first operation is executed well. With these words, I leave the decision whether we shall execute it to you."
Many shrugged, lacking of a better option, and it seemed decided when Admiral O'Brien said, "Why not?"<be/>
The four had gathered in another room in the enormous bunker, the five others of the Team staying in the background. Jan and Mike held their respective beer bottles, Sally held a glass of Whiskey, and Paul a glass of Vodka.
"Still nice you volunteered to overlook and command the several operations we've planned out..." Mike stated, referring to what the other three commanders had done only minutes prior.
"Friends don't let friends do stupid things... alone, ain't it true?" spoke Sally in her slight Irish accent, before Paul said, with a faked Russian accent, "That is true," before adding, only to make it sound more Russian, "comrade."
The lot shared a laugh, while Asura and her brother cautiously tasted beer, whose bottle Mike had opened, hoping they would drink it. After Zolu had tried it first, and shrugged when Asura had asked him how it had tasted, she bent the beer out and tried it herself. "Not bad... really not bad..." was her reaction to the alcoholic brewage, before handing it over to her former masters, who almost gratefully took sips from it as well. They began recalling all those moments they'd lived together, and laughed about them together. They deserved a moment of peace before they had to go back to training. And as always, trouble would reach them in any way.
"If I may, out current situation is the following: We destroyed about fifty capital ships in the recent battle, and ourselves lost only three. The enemy had to lift their blockade on our and the Solar System, as they are currently reorganising their Space Fleets to strike back. Still, only our system is free of their ground troops. All other colonial sectors are occupied. About the Solar System and the planet Avatara, the situation is very unclear," Grand Admiral Saûd exclaimed. The digital map table in the room's centre showed a fourth of the Milky Way galaxy and the current frontlines, own forces in blue, enemy ones in red. The commanders around were mainly wearing red uniforms of the Space Navy, all from Commodores upwards. Anna spoke up to break the thoughtful silence, "Our recent capture of the Bismarck's hard drive and our almost successful capture of propaganda-minister Stuart made the League very cautious. We know of every move they will make until the end of march. Their occupation forces are stretched very thin, and rarely fully trained. This makes them a very easy target. I and Admiral Janssen here-" she paused to point at Olaf, who was working on getting the information off the hard drive and to show it on the table, "-have worked out a plan on slowly working our way to total victory in this war, Operation Aurora. Our space force will be split in two parts, of which one, clearly the more powerful and more numerous, would face the League's equivalent, it will be our main force, consisting of most of our armed spaceships. The second on the other hand, will have a different objective, which would be to liberate all other planets from occupation. It will consist of outdated - and then, when the operation is executed, modernised - spaceships, as well as transport spacecraft, and one very special spaceship... the Red October. This task force will also receive all the gunships, and include at least an army group of airborne troops. While the first task force, Task Force A, will chase and battle the League's space force, Task Force B will take the almost defenceless planets. The operations of Task Force A, Operation Aurora Borealis, will start as immediate as possible. Operation Aurora Australis, the one of Task Force B, will have to wait, since I don't believe that we have five-thousand gunships and trained, airborne troops in full strength of an Army Group ready. Thus, we must train soldiers for the operation, not for anything in particular, but for the execution of such operations in general. Also must we manufacture four thousand gunships, so that they can land on the planets. So if there are any helicopters, tilt-jet or -rotor and/or VTOL aircraft left outside of museums, convert them into their space-able complements. The operation will be based on island-hopping, an allied strategy from the Second World War used in the Pacific, meaning that our troops will land, preferably at night, and take the respective planet back, while the modernised warships and the Red October orbit the planet and defend as long as possible against potential counter-strikes. But there is reason for us to hurry: as we can see on the map now," she pointed at two planets of the map which now showed half of the Galaxy, "Europe and the Fire Nation have liberated themselves from the League's grip. Which is why we must get there before they do, or rather must we keep them busy so they it doesn't come to their mind that they could aid their ground troops - no matter where, we must keep them from any planet that is fought for. So, to make a long story short, Operation Aurora Borealis' main objective is to keep the League's space forces at distance from any planet, and eventually defeat them, and Operation Aurora Australis is all about taking back the Colonial Sectors, planet by planet."
As she had finished, all the commanders pondered about, and after a few minutes of consideration, many started to agree.
"See? Easy as fuck. Now let's get back to work," were Anna's last words before leaving the bunker, her destination being the Nemesis. The tides were turning.
Notes and Trivia
- The European Operations are mainly named after important persons from history, such as Vasco Da Gama, who was the first European to reach India by sea, the Dynasty of Bourbon, who ruled France from the 16th century onwards, Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman dictator and conqueror of Gaul, Alexander the Great, who made Macedon an empire by conquering the Persian Empire, Sultan Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire, under whose reign the Ottoman Empire flourished and besieged Vienna for the first time, Dario, which was the name of several ancient Persian kings, Vyacheslav Molotov, who was the foreign minister of the Soviet Union during and immediately after the WWII, Manfred von Richthofen, who was the most successful fighter pilot of the First World War, Mikhail Kutuzov, who commanded the Russian forces in the Napoleonic Wars, Isoroku Yamamoto, admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy in WWII, Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America, Leif Ericson, Viking and first European to discover America, Lord Horatio Nelson, commander of the British forces at the Battle of Trafalgar (British naval victory over Napoleonic France), and Albrecht von Wallenstein, an Austro-Czech general on the Catholic's side in the Thirty Years' War. Operation Showa was named after the Shōwa period of Japan, from 1926 till 1989.
For the collective works of the author, go here.