|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet|
|Conquering From Within|
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 encounters the Dai Li several times in Ba Sing Se, before Earth King Ruyi orders them to put their "investigation" on ice and to rather help defending Ba Sing Se against exterior threats by testing the first (Earth Kingdom) jet fighter.
The bombs and the agents
The machine guns mounted in the front of the aircraft's body rattled and shot bullets at the bombers they were aimed at. The pilot, a young woman hailing from the Earth Kingdom, narrowed her eyes and concentrated on commanding the squadron behind her. The man at her right flank transmitted a suggestion to split up the squadron to ease their "bomber hunt", but after the of their most experienced pilots had departed to follow their own ways and prevent the bombers from reaching the Lower Ring, the squadron was weakened so much she, Princess Shen-Lin, didn't intend on weakening it further, as she believed it to be suicide. A single of these bomber units she was fighting counted up to twenty bomber aircraft, and was accompanied by one or two badly equipped fighter squadrons, which were flown by pilots with little to no experience. Now, the most modern and best equipped fighter squadron opposed a bomber unit and was defeating it within minutes. With Malu and Mike dealing with the enemy fighters by rotating to evade bullets and getting above, beneath and between the fighters, which overpowered the inexperienced pilots fast and eventually led to the last two crashing their aircraft into each other. The less experienced pilots of the small jet-propelled squadron were left the easy prey - the bombers themselves, which were, in fact, flying fortresses. Machine guns and engines could be heard everywhere around as the "Buffalo Squadron" circled and shelled each of the bombers, one by one. After quarter an hour, the last of the bombers hurled its fuel burning, its freight exploding and, of course, smoking towards the fields and, in times of war like these, military camps, of the Agrarian Zone below, as dozens of fighter squadrons all around the Lower Ring engaged the bomber units in combat and struck back at once. The Buffalo Squadron however rushed to assist the AA-emplacements below in fending off the few bombers that got through and now poured their - partially explosive, partially poisonous - freight at the poor and many citizens of the Lower Ring. As they watched their radars - a new installation as well - eagerly, only a single pilot of theirs could spot something, a bomber which had gone through and hurried to destroy it, only transmitting the words, "Let's see what this jet-driven tin can has got... "
The pilot who hailed from the Fire Nation, but a bender of all elements, rushed with her aeroplane to the single enemy aircraft and released a burst of her machine guns', which hit one of the bomber's two engines and therefore, demobilised the aircraft. It sailed down, preparing to release its freight before another machine gun burst hit the bombing bay and detonated the explosives and, in rapid succession, the fuel and the other engine as well. The entire bomber was torn apart, four parts falling among the corpses and smaller debris the explosion left behind. The entire Buffalo Squadron followed and emerged from the smoke cloud, returning to the airfield they had come from. At once, the Fire Nation had been restrained at once, but it was a worthless victory, the last twitch of a dying giant.
The Dai Li agents stood in line, listening to the instructions their leader was giving them. It had been a week since the last Fire Nation bombardment, and things were returning to - more or less - a pre-war state. This organisation was about to bring war back to the impenetrable city. Thirteen of their best members have been sent into the Fire Nation to collaborate with Fire Lord Olizon and give Rong updates about the League's troop movements, but the Dai Li were many in numbers, had outposts in the entire Earth Kingdom, and there, in a vast bunker beneath Lake Laogai, were all of their kind gathered, which were around five-thousand, and yet, they needed every support they could get, such as of the 501st. Their greatest threat seemed ridiculous, but was, though few in number, very dangerous: the Team, who were the leadership of the Four Nations' Legion, and now were also a squadron, the Buffalo Squadron. There were only seven of them, but these were more dangerous than any other enemy of the (dis)honourable organisation of the Dai Li. But what their leader explained now was not to be hindered, the most any enemy could do now was delaying the inevitable. An old stratagem was planned to be used for this: Create something from nothing. Ringing false alarms nonstop to eventually demoralise the enemy and overrun him. Raids at factories, military emplacements and camps of all kind over months to create despair and, when the time comes, to gain control over the city.
"Because we're earthbenders, we can wait, we have to wait for the right moment to strike, and when it comes... ," the Earth Kingdom's Crown Prince closed, earthbending a boulder from the ground high into the air, "...We strike and are victorious!"
A few agents applauded at the idea of the impenetrable city in their hands - again. And this time, no power could loosen their control. Just after the speech, pairs of agents took off and emerged the bunker all around the lake in the covering darkness of night, the only light being the moon's. But this little light was enough for the little Team hidden in the shadows to see properly and get ready for battle.
After a short interrogation of a pair of Dai Li officers, the seven departed to their house in the Upper Ring, where they, once again, debated about what to do.
"They're trying to spread fear, and to demoralise the people even more... As if it was possible..." Shen-Lin spoke from her experiences in the Lower Ring.
"How about... Wait... If they're targeting factories and-" Zolu started, but Luo interrupted with a simple, "Their sole presence frightens the people."
"Then we must do everything in our power to prevent them from patrolling... We must patrol ourselves. In pairs, just like them," Malu suggested, which was met with general acceptation. In about an hour, they organised a shift operation for them, according to which always a pair of theirs was leading the Buffalo Squadron and a pair was patrolling the city, searching for Dai Li. The first ones to patrol the night-time city were Mike and Asura, who were forced to drink two extra cups of coffee and then were thrown out with their equipment, when they began a little, awkward conversation.
"So... seems the two of us are stuck with each other..." Mike stated, snickering sarcastic.
"Yeah... What's so bad 'bout it?"
"Oh, nothing, it's just... nothing."
Before the Avatar could respond, Mike had walked off into a direction he had no idea of where he would get walking there, so she followed him, always ready to fight off any threat, back-to-back with Mike, who simply walked as ever, rifle ready, but looking like he was most likely not to use it. As they passed the wall between the Middle and Upper Rings, entering the former, the two started a conversation since nothing unusual had happened at all.
"Hey, still there?" Asura joked to finally break the silence.
"Unfortunately yes... "
"Well then, you wanna talk 'bout something?"
"Not really... "
"You don't give me a choice... So... I always wondered how you're a Grand Admiral already, I mean, you're as old as me, and yeah... "
Mike fell completely silent for a minute, before he began telling, "It all began when I attended university for the first time, when I was eighteen... I studied astrophysics and was kind of short of money, and, together with the compulsory military service, it led to me joining the Space Navy. During my long holidays, I had my hard military training, which completely accomplished with the equipment I own today. After four years of studying, the so-called Fyell' Shan War that had raged since my birth and started as a border conflict, was closer to Earth than any before, and the European Space Fleet was the last one still undefeated. By that time, I was a commander aboard the HMS Nemesis and held a doctor's degree in astrophysics. However, then, the Battle of the Alpha Centauri System came and the old Grand Admiral, all old high officers in fact, died and left me and the three of my companions to lead the Fleet during battle. In fact, we led all remaining space forces of mankind for the rest of the war and defeated the alien Empire of the Fyell' Shan. Y'know, I just determined the outcome of a war, nothing much."
Asura remained silent to process the information Mike had told her for a minute and then asked him, much more serious than before, "Do you think you can do it again?"
Mike walked in front of her and turned around to watch her into the eyes, answering, "I do everything in my power. I promise I will find a way to."
As he saw they were halfway to the Lower Ring, he asked her, "What about you? Y'know, being the Avatar and stuff... "
"Oh, you really want to know? It surely isn't a story like yours, Dr. Přemysl..." she replied, blushing a little before she cheerfully began after receiving a nod from the Grand Admiral, "Well, it all started eight years ago, on my sixteenth birthday. I was the second Avatar to be revealed the true identity after two who was told much earlier. However, I was almost, no, I was worshipped. Y'know, in that time, Olizon rose to power in the Fire Nation, the Dai Li resurfaced and several uprisings shattered the world a little, but none of them seemed to require my... assistance. It was fairly hard for me, as I've barely been away from home, not to talk 'bout being in other Nations... And then I had gone to Air Temple Island, then to the Southern Water Tribe, which seems to be the source of waterbending instructors for all later Avatars... Oh, and then to back to Republic City where I met Luo, who taught me, as did Malu and Kiruya before. The funny thing is, Luo's a descendant of a previous Avatar's earthbending instructor. However, you know what it's like to be to other Natio- Of course you do, silly me."
"True, of course I do. It's not like the state I've been born in, the Federative Republic of European Nations, has four official languages and dozens of different nationalities... No, seriously, I know what you mean. Oh, and, by the way, when's your birthday?"
Asura stared at him stunned, blushing a little again and asking astonished, "Why do you want to know that?"
"Just curious... Mine's the first of September. Dammit, I just realised I was born exactly two-hundred years after the Second World War began."
"I was born on that day as well, as it seems, and that in the year three-hundred after Sozin's Comet... Seems to be precisely the same day... "
"Must be coincidence..." Mike yawned casually as they approached the heavily guarded entrance to the Lower Ring, identifications ready to be shown. Two soldiers approached them and demanded to show identifications and tell intentions. After the two had deciphered Mike's passport, Asura answered their question for intention with a simple fact, "We act on behalf of Earth King Ruyi."
The two soldiers exchanged worried glances as they signalled to open the gate and let the two of them into the Dai Li-controlled hell the slums of the Lower Ring were.
The two agents who were hidden in the rubble at both sides of the street both saw the two enemies approaching, a male wearing a green uniform and a red beret, Grand Admiral Michael Přemysl, and a female in a red tunic, bending earth just for amusement, Avatar Asura. The two agents had the element of surprise on their side and struck fast, their rock gloves hitting the two targets as planned, enchaining them and knocking them over in one. The two enemies of their organisation were thrown into a wooden box attached to one of their lorries unconscious, to be taken to their underground base beneath Lake Laogai, where the penalty they had deserved was about to be determined.
The conspiracy's long arm
The Avatar was thrown into one of the many cells, still bound, while the Grand Admiral was nowhere to be found, although his voice could be heard down the corridor, demanding to reveal what was going to happen. Fools. Think I'm no earthbender, eh?, Asura thought, loosening the rock gloves and searching for a way to open the metal door before her, as a pair of agents came up the corridor, which urged her to hide. This is gonna take forever.
"The severity of your penalty will be determined," the expressionless agent answered Mike.
"Penalty? What crime for? Oh, right, crimes against the state and stuff... Right?" Mike sarcastically replied, receiving a rock glove into his face from the organisation's head, Crown Prince Rong of the Earth Kingdom, who led them into a map room at the bunker's heart, deep beneath the lake's surface. Across a map table, which showed Ba Sing Se, the League's, the Allies' and the Dai Li's forces in and around it, sat all leaders of the little alliance of which the Dai Li was the heart and head. The leaders of the 501st, the Dai Li and a militaristic political party which was communistic and nationalist at once, had gathered around and were discussing how they should treat the powerful Grand Admiral. Mike felt extremely uncomfortable and had to stand, bound and guarded, and looked around. There was the General who had attacked the Team in his tunnels near Full Moon Bay, General Gao who seemed different than when he had provided Mike the help to evacuate the Legion, and many others, some demanding to brainwash him, some to execute him and others to torture him, and many other possibilities to "punish" him. After fifteen minutes, it became too stupid for Mike to wait any longer, and so he cleared his throat louder than any before, and, after seeing he had everyone's attention, he spoke.
After ten minutes, no agent or any kind of threat had passed Asura's cell, and so she decided to try something she was unsure of her ability to accomplish it. She pulled water from thin air, bent it through the bars to outside and into the keyhole, put her hand at the inside side of it and used her humble seismic sense to see if her watery lock pick was in the right shape to open the lock. After several corrections, it was, she froze it and turned it using, as before her bending. The door opened and she hurried herself to get out of the cell she had been contained in, and intended to find Mike as well, detected a telephone they would have to use later on the way, and made it - undetected - to a map room, where the heads of the Dai Li and their allies had gathered. Mike stood there as well, and was clearing his throat, before he spoke.
"Why all this rivalry, comrades? Why torture a potential ally?"
"You are no ally of ours. If you were, you would've killed the Avatar already!" one of the "Alliance's" leaders interrupted Mike.
"It all is part of my plan. All I seek is, as you do, power. I am on your side, as long as I get my part: Europe. I will help you in taking over this impenetrable city, as long as you help me taking over Europe and - of course, I couldn't help you otherwise - free me of these bonds of dirt... I offer you my services, but I want to see something in return. This way or another: I'm on your side."
Everyone in the map room seemed to believe him, even Asura who stood at the door, jaw dropped in shock. Everyone but Rong. Nobody noticed it at first, but slow claps were resonating from the back of the room, being accompanied by Rong's voice, "Very good, very good indeed. If it wasn't for my seismic sense, I would've believed you."
Mike's expression changed to a sarcastic smile as he said, "Worth a shot," and his bonds dropped by the power of an earthbender by the door. Asura, he thought before running out of the room, being chased by an angry mob of highly trained soldiers. Asura handed him his rifle, as she ordered him, "C'mon, let's get movin'! I've found a phone on the way, but I need someone to guard me!"
Of course. Because someone of these incompetents and Shen-Lin is awake now., Mike thought as he punched an incoming agent in the face while Asura dialled their house's number.
Luo was the only one awake save for Shen-Lin, and was trying to get his eyes shut, to finally sleep. He already had dozed off as a ringing telephone destroyed all his hopes of getting sleep that night. He stumbled down the stairs only to land on his face, before he got up again and answered the phone that had been ringing for five minutes then.
"Nobody's answerin'! Fu- oh, hello, who is it?" Asura's voice sounded, sounds of battle in the background.
"It's me, what is it?" Luo yawned.
"Uh, could you please pick us up? Y'know, at the Dai Li headquarters."
"At the mention of the secret police, Luo was fully awake and answered with a confident "yes" before he hung up and got himself dressed properly while Shen-Lin, having overheard the whole conversation, started the car.
Two hours had passed and the two companions were getting exhausted and near one of the bunker's many entrances. An alarm rang and pairs of agents searched the underground structure, effortless until one pair of them had sighted the two former prisoners. Mike was running low of ammunition as they were chased by half of the organisation, and both were too exhausted to fight as cracks appeared in the corridor's concrete ceiling, before a head popped out. Luo's head.
"Oh, there you are, sorry we're kinda late! C'mon, hop up!"
The two raced to the hole in the ceiling and grabbed on Luo's hand, who dragged both of them up and shot them up at the surface with an earth pillar. There, Shen-Lin was waiting in the car and drove off. As they passed the Inner Wall into the Lower Ring, Luo asked curiously, "And what did we learn about the mysterious organisation today?"
It was, as always, Mike who answered. "Well, we learned that they indeed control the city already. They've infiltrated even the government, they're conquering from within. Oh, and, we never enter the Lower Ring that fast again."
"Why?" Shen-Lin asked as the answer laid in front of them.
"Because of this!," Asura cried, pointing at a propaganda poster of a Dai Li agent saving "the Earth Kingdom poor", something the Lower Ring citizens were catching on fast. Whatever they were about to do, it was already happening at an enormous pace.
Notes and Trivia
- In this fanon at least, the beginning of the Second World War (1st September 1939, quarter to five a.m.) and the end of the Hundred Year War are exactly on the same date.
- Federative Republic of European Nations. That's a hell of a name. Oh, and the four official languages would be English, French, German and Russian.
- The bombardment of Ba Sing Se has finally stopped. Well, kind of.
- The Team will stay in Ba Sing Se for a looooong time.
- As indicated by the time used instruct the Team to the jet fighters, these are really simple to fly.
For the collective works of the author, go here.