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|A Fellowship of six|
Air. Water. Earth. Fire.
After a long, fulfilled and yet exhausting life, Avatar Korra passed, being succeeded by Sari of the Earth Kingdom, who died early and almost didn't play a role in history.
The current Avatar is Asura of the Fire Nation, who mastered the elements quickly.
Although she thought she would never play an important role in history, she was proven wrong when the black ships arrived. The first one came in peace, but all the following carried a deadly cargo: WAR.
A war even the Avatar and her allies can barely end.
But the question is: Will there still be a world to save?
Previously on Avatar: The War of the Worlds
After Team Avatar had lead the Air Nomads out of Republic City, they become aware of the long way that lies between them and the shelter they are headed to, the impenetrable city of Ba Sing Se. However, after a skirmish in a small, Fire Nation occupied bunker, Malu finds a letter in there and finds out that her parents are missing. The letter causes the Air Nomads to change their destination: From now on, they want to get to the Southern Air Temple, where another part of their people lived for seventy years. Malu, however, only wants to end the war after the assumed loss of her parents and therefore, travels with Team Avatar.
As all the others went to bed, or better, their sleeping bags, Malu stayed up to guard them. She sat in front of the campsite, poking the logs in it with a small stick. She thought over what she had gone through in the last twenty-four hours. Her parents who were missing, the assault on the bunker, the division from the rest of her people. As she heard a stick crack under the weight of a foot behind her, she turned around in a fighting stance, barely scaring the person who caused the disruption of her thoughts. A by now familiar voice, a male one, spoke, "So... you could just turn around now, couldn't you?"
A man in a khaki-green uniform, wearing a wine-red beret, walked into the campfire's light, carrying firewood and two firearms, a rifle and a revolver: Mike.
"Couldn't you just... go back to sleep?", Malu asked, already annoyed by his presence.
"Why 'back'? Also... You didn't tell me anything about your parents who went missing. I actually could've helped you."
"Right... An Admiral wants to help me with my lost parents... I don't see any way you could... you could... help me...", she managed to say, before she started sobbing and continued, "You think I'm weak! You think I can't bear it on my own! But I am strong, I can bear it!"
"Are you sure? I've seen your strength, but on the battlefield. Anyone can be helped. Come on... "
Malu looked at him as he put the firewood in place, while continuing, "You are strong, in the same way as your people. But losing your parents... is... well, let's say there's no one in life like your parents. Believe me, I know how true this is... I... "
"Wait. Did you hear that?", she cut him off.
A silent swooshing could be heard from a small lorry parked on the road's edge, off which soldiers jumped. Unlike in the days before, these did not have red flames on their helmet's sides, these had green circles with a quadratic hole in its midst, as well as their uniforms looked different. Armed with bolt-action rifles they began to march into the woods Team Avatar hid in. Two more lorries arrived and unloaded their human cargo. Mike and Malu tried to put out the campfire, which still burned, but only made it grow and grow.
"I only wanted to help you! Look at the mess we're in now!", Mike shouted, drawing the soldiers' attention on them.
They planted bayonets on their rifles and surrounded the small camp. One of them, a Lieutenant, shouted, "Surrender! Or else you will be shot into pieces!"
"Do you want to try it?", Malu challenged them.
"Well, little lady, would you - Wait! You're an Air Nomad! But... What is your little boyfriend here?"
Malu and Mike looked at each other, both raising their right eyebrow, before Mike stated, "What I am, you want to know? Hm, I'm... just one of the highest military commanders you will ever meet, the Grand Admiral of Europe, and - technically - a royal as well. Nothing great. By the way, what's your mission?"
"Mission? What? Why?"
"Nobody sends troops into a forest without a mission for them."
"Uh, well, okay, We're the first unlucky Earth Kingdom support for the United Forces. We had the mission to take out a nearby bunker and recapture it from the Fire Nation."
Malu looked at Mike, both knowing what bunker they meant. The conversation ended soon after, and as they were out of hearing range, Mike asked her, "So... Do you want help now or not?"
Malu accepted his offer, but still was unsure whether to trust him or not, but began to accept the fact he was an ally and not an enemy. But other than he had thought, he could not help her very much. She was different than Anna, whose mother had died giving birth to her, while her father was killed in action. Malu really was strong, but used her strength to bury the experience. After a while, he shook his head and stated, "I think... you should go to bed now. If you can't sleep... ask me. I know what it's like."
Malu stood up with a sad and angry expression and left for one of the tents they had set up the day before. Mike reloaded his rifle and thought about what he had done wrong, saying, "It worked with Anna... Why shouldn't it with Malu?"
A little acceleration
In the morning, Mike looked at the expressions of the five others who just had stood up. Every one of them looked terrible, which caused Mike to assume that they had slept bad.
"Had everyone slept well?", he asked with a little sarcasm in his voice.
"Well? Have you?", asked Malu, who was the only one who looked pretty normal.
"Sleep? Sleep is for the weak!", he screamed maniacal. Just a few minutes passed until all remnants of the camp were either packed, eaten or obliterated. All of them now saw how insane the idea was to get to Ba Sing Se by foot. The many hours passed slowly, but the way did not seem to get shorter. A lorry full of Earth Kingdom soldiers passing by almost every thirty minutes, later even armoured cars and tanks, trying to reinforce the troops in Republic City from the outside. As the sun reached its zenith, a volcanic mountain came into sight, and after an hour of walking, a small village at its bottom. Though it seemed to be small and remote, this so-called Makapu village was bigger and closer than any of them had thought. A single power line and a single road, non-bituminised, lead to the settlement. Two guard posts could be seen, both being occupied by URN soldiers who were reloading their assault rifles. From the village's other end, two squads of Fire Nation soldiers were closing in, answering every resistance with bullets. Team Avatar rushed into something that was supposed to be a field, however it was a graveyard - of vehicles. They hid behind a turned-over lorry, where Mike began to speak, "Alright, listen up. I think these villagers would give the one who would save them everything, and I believe there's still an intact car. Therefore, I suggest we eliminate the Fire Nation troops. Two squads of ten nonbenders and one firebender each. Should be no match. I'd say I draw their attention while you... demobilise them. With your gloves, and before that, with your bending, or in the case of Zolu with a freakin' sword. Dismiss!"
Every one took their positions and, again, waited for the opening, which would be a shot of Mike's rifle. He ducked behind a car, realizing it still was intact, aimed and shot, before ducking again. As he got up from his position a few seconds later, he encountered two squads of Fire Nation soldiers, handcuffed by earth or water, ready to be electroshocked. Zolu was fighting with one of the nonbender soldiers whose rifle he already had sliced in two before he drew his glove. A few villagers who got out of their houses called the six who formed a fellowship, "We have to thank them somehow! Whether way it shall be... "
Zolu looked at the others for a second, before the car got into his sight.
"How about you... speed our way to Ba Sing Se up a bit... by borrowing us the car?", he asked, knowing the villagers would agree.
An hour later, Mike was driving the six of them out of the village on the gravel road, using the last working car of the village, a small military one. As one of the Fire Nation showed up on the bottom of the valley, Zolu stated, "Wouldn't it be better if... you know, I drive? You guys... you have bending. And you, Mike, you're the best sniper ever, I believe. So let me drive the car."
Mike seemed to agree, as he jumped out of his seat only to land just behind Kiruya on the cargo bay. Zolu did so as well to get control of the car and drove, even if unintentional, right towards the now parking Fire Nation car.
"Well I suppose you've done greatly this far!", Asura screamed, shooting a fire blast at the car, which exploded and got out of the way. Her brother looked at her with a murderous expression for a moment, before the jolty ride reminded him to give the road in front of them more expression than the little sarcasm his sister loved to use. Mike took out his binoculars, which, like his whole equipment, was over two-hundred years old, and constantly observed the back for any hints of the enemy. A few minutes passed and everyone relaxed, however, before Mike shouted out, "Uh, there's a... Whole convoy coming up! I see three cars and two lorries full of Fire Nation soldiers... three cars and four lorries... Wait! Two of them, a lorry and one of the cars stopped! The others try to hunt us down as it seems..."
Just as he finished his sentence, a bullet penetrated the deck lid, and another one pierced the front shield. Mike immediately took rifle and aimed at the driver of one of the lorries, before a car got near them and one of the soldiers opened fire. Just as this had happened, a stream of water struck down the soldier, while an air blasts pushed the car into a tree. The lorries remained a problem, but the first one of them soon was eliminated by Luo, who rose an earth pillar in front of it, into which the lorry crashed. Predictable as they were, they now tried to surround Team Avatar and destroy their car with hand grenades. For this, the remaining two lorries and the one car sped up. The car managed to get in front of them, while the lorries were on both of their sides. Asura stood up and shot a huge fireball at the car, before Luo divided it with his metalbending and Malu crashed the two halves into the two lorries. As all of them had sat down again, Luo stated, "There's an Earth Kingdom base near, one of the really big ones. If we get there, we'll be safe for now!"
Zolu looked at him, pointing at a Fire Nation tank right in front of them and saying, "But we need to get around THIS first!"
The tank lowered its gun's muzzle to shoot the car into pieces, and as if they knew what was going to happen, all of them jumping out of the car and rolling to the side. The car crashed into the huge mass of the heavy tank, not leaving anything, not even a scratch. Luo jumped right onto the tank, grabbing only a grip on the turret, as opposed to he thought he would tear a whole armour plate away, stating, "Damn! The armour's too thick, I need help!"
The rest of them jumped up and tried to open the hatch, but failed as they even left blood on its grips. This was high-end Fire Nation technology. Asura was the only one who had ever senn such a thing and knew right where to strike. She ordered all the others to take cover in the nearby forest and got on the tank's front part. She could hear the gun being reloaded and aimed exactly at the muzzle, before she released a fire jet, which ignited the shell in the cartridge chamber and propelled her a few metres away, before the shock wave reached her and threw her into the close-by boulders. The tank almost looked like before, the only differences being the colour, which now was partially black, and the turret, which was blast off. Asura's hand reached for help as she was almost buried alive under boulders weighing tons. The others rushed to help her and got her out just seconds later. The fellowship of six walked to the point where the Fire Nation troops had divided and stole the car, as the sun was setting. Everyone was injured in some way or, at the very least, exhausted. Mike, who was driving now so Kiruya could take care of Zolu, said what everyone was thinking, "I guess we just reach the Earth Kingdom base now. Enough action for today."
A Military Report
Luo gave Mike the directions as they drove on an on, but it appeared everyone became tired and Malu even doze off. As Mike himself was confronted with the need of sleep, he maneuvered the car carefully into the forest, eager not to crash into one of the trees, before even he surrendered to an overpowered enemy, sleep. But as he slept well, Malu had problems sleeping well because of her recent loss. As Mike had offered her in the night before, she woke him. As she was sure of his attention, she walked off into the forest with him, so no one could be able to hear them. Wanting to know what was going on, Mike asked, "Well? Why have you freed me from the claws of sleep?"
Malu looked at him sad and tired, answering, "I had troubles sleeping. I had a dream... a nightmare about my parents. It was... horrible. I-"
"Well, I have a question for you: Why do you take it so... easily that you lose your parents?"
Malu did not respond immediately, but when she did, Mike saw her eyes shining in hope, "I- I haven't given up hope they're still alive. I mean... They are the two greatest airbending masters I know, they know how to defend themselves. Also... I know it sounds like I'm insane, but I think... No, actually, I know... they're still alive... I somehow can feel it... No, I'm just insa-"
"No you're not. I know what you mean... If you think they're still alive, they are. Remember: Even if the situation seems hopeless, there always IS hope. The same goes for this one. No matter what, never give up hope. It's like this war. We may seem we have lost, but the tide can turn anytime - as long as we have hope. You hope your parents to be alive as long as they are, and even if they're not, you need to carry on, they will live on through you."
Malu thought on what he had just said for a few minutes, before whispering, "Thank you.", and going back to sleep.
Mike sat at the driver's seat and soon doze off, just like the rest of them before.
"Go! Surround this Fire Nation scum!"
"On it, sir!"
"Go! Go! Two of ours for each of them! Go!"
Team Avatar awoke to the sound of these, finding themselves surrounded by squads of Earth Kingdom soldiers who all aimed their guns at them. Their leader, a Captain, shouted into their faces, "You've got no chance to escape! We've got you surrounded! Surrender!"
"We're not Fire Nation! We're-", Asura started, before her brother cut her off, whispering, "So what are we then?"
The Captain, who had heard this, spoke, "So you're Fire Nation... how obvious. Unlike the rest of you... good disguises."
"These are no disguises!", Kiruya shouted, streaming water before the Captain's face.
"Yeah, she's right!", Malu agreed, hovering an airball over her hand.
"I don't even look like Fire Nation!", Luo stated the obvious, raising a boulder near the car.
"I'm not even from this planet!", Mike said silent, which revealed itself to be a mistake, as the Captain took him by his collar and asked rhetorically, "So you're even worse than Fire Nation?"
Mike gulped, but Asura drew the Captain's attention, as she bent all the elements at once, saying, "See? I'm the one and only... Don't you see now? None of us serve Olizon or... What was the name again?"
Mike rolled his eyes, stating, "Johnston."
The Captain let Mike down and commented, pointing at the two nonbenders of the group, "But yet, the question remains what you two are... "
Zolu looked the Captain into the eyes and said, "Captain Zolu of the United Forces' Navy. Captain of the Nemesis, son to Admiral Fusu and Nora of the Fire Nation, brother to Avatar Asura."
Before the Captain could say something, Mike introduced himself, "I am Michael of the royal house of Přemysl, Grand Admiral of the European Space Fleet, and, apparently, member of this Team Avatar."
The Captain thought about what he just had heard and told the six, "Come, the Colonel is expecting you!"
Confused, Luo asked, "Colonel? Are we near this... base?"
"Near? You are right in front of it!", the Captain stated as the forest revealed a huge camp surrounded by fences of barbed wire and machine gun posts. The six walked into the huge complex, or more like through it, as they almost ran straight to the central bunker, in which the Colonel was. The door of steel opened before them, they walked in and found themselves in a more-or-less modern communication and command centre, in whose midst the Colonel stood, overlooking a map of the surrounding area. Everywhere around the table in the centre stood radio devices, laid documents of the enemy as well as own and ammunition boxes, too. The elder man looked up to the six younger ones and spoke, "Well, who do we have here? Avatar Asura, Captain Zolu, Captain Luo, Grand Admiral... What was it again? Ah, right, Přemysl, masters Malu and Kiruya. Very well. I have a captured Fire Nation report which should be interesting for you..."
He handed them a sheet of paper which was written all over, on both sides using - to Mike's surprise - the Latin Alphabet. Confused as he was, he asked, "How does it come you use the Latin Alphabet?"
The Colonel laughed a little and answered, "Look, it's used only by our militaries. First, it was used by the Fire Nation one and now, it's used by all of ours."
Mike started to read aloud before anyone had the chance to ask him for it, "Army report No. - No, I'll skip this part - Two members of the Air Nomad community of Republic City were spotted on their way to Air Temple Island! It appears they are... Wait, What? Councilwoman Sakya and her husband Lobsang! Malu, do you know what this means?"
Everyone was baffled as they heard this and even wanted to see it themselves, but as only Mike and Zolu were able to read the report, it became more or less superfluous. As they were invited be the Colonel, they stayed overnight and got supplies and left on the next morning with a new optimism, especially in the case of Malu: her parents were alive, and the war could still be won - at what cost was another question.
Notes and Trivia
- Well, I think I might use the word "well" a little often.
- As pointed out in his conversations with Malu, Mike had an experience involving his parents that somewhat changed his life.
For the collective works of the author, go here.