Author: Katkiller-V PM
As anger and fear continue to reign, both species struggle to find a way to cease the battles that rage upon Pandora, for both know that the next war, could be the final war.. Chapter 31: Void's Truth, is now up!Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Jake S. & Parker S. - Chapters: 36 - Words: 181,129 - Reviews: 443 - Favs: 187 - Follows: 177 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 12-01-10 - id: 6522145
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Guess what boys and girls. Avatar ain't mine.
Chapter 29: Thundering Rain
Date: 9:58, November 15th, 2174
Location: Southern Lands, Pandora, Alpha-Centauri A System
The rain felt good. It was cool, refreshing, cleansing. It washed away the blood, made the pain fade into dull aches.
He chortled to himself a bit, feeling his chest protest painfully at the motion, "If it ain't rainin... we ain't trainin... heh..."
Well Jake. I guess this was a bad idea after all. Neytiri is gonna kill you.
Above him, lightning flashed, highlighting the massive face staring down at him.
"What... are you looking at... bitch?"
The toruk was staring at him with far too much intelligence for a simple beast, its massive form stretched between massive trees. He didn't know where his ikran was. Hopefully he had gotten the hell out of here, last thing he wanted was for his old friend to pay for his pride.
Heh.. pride. That's all this was..
It had sounded better in his head. After all, he had done it before, twice, doing it again had seemed like the natural thing to do. After all, what Na'vi would refuse to heed the council of toruk'makto? And not just any toruk'makto, but the only one in history to have ever ridden the great beast more than once. So he and his ikran had traveled south, following the old rivers, passing over the delta.
He could remember the countless campfires glowing in the distance, the growing army arriving from the southern continent and islands, come to complete what their northern cousins had started.
"Idiots... never even fought 'em before.." he glared up at the massive striped flier, talking to the intelligence he knew lurked there. "You're gonna get them all killed."
Fangs slowly extended, a deep growl shaking the air.
More choked laughter. "You gonna kill me now? Kill the guy who saved you?"
The growl grew deeper, but his foe didn't move.
Pain slashed through him as he began to shift. Rolling his body back and forth slowly, he tested his various limbs. Quite a few felt bruised at least, and he thought at least one of his ribs was broken.
He tried to move his left leg, and nearly screamed. And the left shin. Dammit. Neytiri is gonna beat me to within an inch of my life.
And he knew that he probably deserved it. Hell, he was probably lucky that his brain wasn't much at the moment.
It had taken nearly a week of waiting and high-level flying before they had found a toruk flying alone, probably looking for an easy meal near the massive camp. Diving from above, landing on its back, all of that had gone according to plan. Once he had made the bond though... it had been rough the first time he had tried. That particular toruk had taken a bit of convincing to fly with him. The second time had been easy, he hadn't even had to search for his partner, she'd simply shown up at their camp on the eve of battle.
But this time.. the damn thing had rejected him so utterly that he had been barely conscious when it flipped its body around, hurling him from its back. The impact of a massive set of claws had accelerated his descent, slamming him into a tree with bone-crushing force, and after that things had gone black.
"And now here I am..."
The beast said nothing, simply staring at him with its four eyes.
Groaning, he heaved himself into a seated position. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he pushed himself backwards slightly, moving enough so that he could rest his back against the trunk of a tree. Once there, he simply closed his eyes, breathing as shallowly as he could.
They remained like that for a while. The rain gently falling as he rested, waited. As the toruk stared at him.
He felt himself grow tired, the pattering of the rain lulling him towards sleep.
Probably got a concussion... can't risk sleeping... grimacing, he reached out, tapping his broken shin, and choking down a cry.
Hours passed. More flashes of lightning in the sky. More flashes of pain to save off sleep.
Eventually a new noise broke the quiet, massive wings beating, the toruk abandoning its makeshift roost to take to the skies once more, leaving him where he sat. He watched its shape rise into the gray mist, the rain obscuring its colorful form after a few moments.
He stared into the clouds where it had vanished for a while, until the sounds of smaller wings brought his head around.
"Hey... thought you'd got smart...run out of here.."
His ikran bounced into the ground, cawing quietly at him in admonishment. It crept closer, nudging his arm with his head and cawing again.
"I'll be all right.. glad you came back.." he smiled at his companion. "Dumb idea huh... you're the only guy I should be flyin' with.."
A loud snort seemed to indicate approval at that statement.
"All right.. give me a second." This is gonna be awkward. Twisting his torso around, he bit down on a few more screams as he hauled himself up by the bark. Careful to keep all his weight on his right leg, he waved for his friend to come closer.
When he did so, he carefully made the bond, using his thoughts to explain what he needed to have happen.
Getting on was another painful adventure that he could have really done without. Eventually, after much muted cursing, and sympathetic groans from his ikran, they managed. He had to sit awkwardly, trying to keep his legs in the right place, and gripping on tightly.
Let's go, partner. Let's go home... and never leave again.
Date: 10:12, November 15th, 2174
Location: Tartarus, Pandora, Alpha-Centauri A System
Nikolai Kozlov glanced up at the clouds. Rain had been falling constantly all morning, drenching everyone and everything.
Casually he raised his flask to his lips, felling the biting liquid within fill him.
"Bit early for that, isn't it?"
Glancing to his left, he rose the flask in salute. "Good morning Parker. And it is never too early for Vodka."
That managed to draw a snort from his friend. "That's what you always say."
"That is because I am always right."
Another snort, then the other man turned to watch as well. The workers had set up a massive tarp over the construction site, keeping the rain out of their way as they dug deep into the soil. They'd already reached the proper depth, the team leader was deep in the pit gesturing around as he explained what he wanted to happen.
"What do you think of the plan?" he rumbled after a time.
"Could work. Probably the best we can do under the circumstances." the smaller man gave a shrug, "Better than launching a full scale attack."
"Hn. True." his eyes looked over the civilian's working. "Are you're people ready?"
"They'll fight. They've got no choice."
"But are they ready?"
Another shrug. "The guys and girls who went through the last round are. The others are less so, but the vets are trying to bring them up to speed."
He nodded slowly. That was to be expected.
"You're people out on the outer lines?"
He gave another nod. "Got them filling in the trench lines. Prochnow's are digging the new ones."
"Bet that's a messy job."
"Da." Messy was a bit of an understatement. There was mud everywhere, on everything, and on everyone. His people were in good morale despite that, however, they liked the idea of a thicker defensive ring around their base. "They'll have that done today, then we start working underground."
"Heard about that. I'll have a few teams working with your people down there, make sure everything goes smoothly."
"Good." Not that he didn't trust his people, but they weren't engineers. He was about to ask who would be handling that when he noticed something in the distance behind Parker. "What's going on with her?"
The Administrator twisted around behind him. "Oh, her."
In the near distance, now located next to the old Apartment Complex, was the pair of connected prefab shelters that the good doctors had dragged over. Lights inside indicated that at least one, but probably both, of the scientists were working. But what had drawn his attention was the female Na'vi sitting on the roof of one of the huts, her soaked clothes clinging to her body, her entire stance reeking of depression.
Parker shrugged, "She's been that way ever since she spent the day at her tree, and Patel says she won't say much about what happened."
"That's strange." he frowned at her for a few moments, then let his legs begin to carry him towards her.
"You going to talk to her?"
"Da" He paused, glancing behind him. "You coming?"
"No, I have to get back inside, go over the bunker designs again." even at a distance his irritation was obvious. "Apparently someone made a few conversion errors, and that someone is not going to enjoy this meeting."
Feeling not the least bit sorry for whatever luckless engineer had made the error, he nodded his goodbye before resuming his trek.
It took only a pair of minutes to arrive before the pods, and he stared up at the Na'vi, her eyes still blankly staring into the distance.
Sighing, he shook his head, looking for a ladder.
Hauling himself up the wet structure, he shook his head to free some of the drops from his exo-mask. The woman still didn't seem to notice him, so he carefully moved along the rooftop, glancing up as lightning split the sky with a dull crack.
"You look upset." he rumbled, once close enough.
He looked at her more closely. Her hair hadn't been done, the usual beads missing. It was long enough to actually hide the braided queue that was normally easily visible. The posture was a deep slouch, something he hadn't even known that a Na'vi could pull off.
"You look like shit." he tried again.
"Your people unhappy with you?"
The woman had either forgotten English, or severely wanted to be left alone.
"No... you would be far more emotional." he thought things through slowly, frowning. "You're unhappy, but not because they dislike you being here. Which means you don't know what has upset you."
That got a response, her head slowly turning, slack face darkening into a scowl.
He stared blankly at her.
He cocked his head slowly, saying nothing.
Her scowl deepened. "Go. Away."
"I have no desire to speak with you on this matter."
"Because the matter involves me, or because it does not."
Her lips pulled back, revealing her fangs. "Neither."
"Hn." he thought that response through for a moment. "It is all of us then."
The tell was small, just a slight twitch of an ear. To someone who had spent plenty of time playing poker with Maria Thomes, she could have been screaming.
"What happened there?"
Her ears slid back, lips revealing even more of her impressive teeth.
Not intimidated in the least, he remained where he was, blankly staring at her.
She kept up her threat display for a short while longer, before it slowly began to fade as his complete non-reaction seemingly began to get to her. Her snarl slowly turned into a slight biting of her lip, her drawn back ears flicking back to normal while her tail began to swish across the rooftop beneath them.
"Why are you helping me?"
He thought about that for a moment, then shrugged. "You helped us, and you are our guest. It would be impolite to not help you."
Her expressive eyes deepened into another frown.
"I have no ulterior motive, huntress. I am helping you because I choose to."
She started at him for a while more, then spoke quietly, "How do I know that you speak the truth?"
He cocked his head, "How do I know that you are truly upset?"
The frown returned, and he slowly turned away from her. "Speak with your friends below you, huntress. That is what they are for. And do not doubt their friendship with you, they risked their lives to try and prevent war, and have done all they can to aid you."
Not bothering to wait for a response, made his way back to the ladder, returning the ground beneath him.
Glancing over at the tarp-covered pit once more, he sighed, pulling out his flask once more. Another sip of his drink later, he began to walk towards the outer perimeter, to help his troops move mud from one place to another.
Date: 12:46, November 15th, 2174
Location: Tartarus, Pandora, Alpha-Centauri A System
Hauptmann Johannes Werner stared out of the old room at the top of the old Apartment Complex. He couldn't see as far as he usually did, the rain left everything a dull gray after a certain distance. What was visible to him was the same sight he had seen for the last several days; frenzied activity.
Everyone is working their asses off, trying to prepare Tartarus once more for war.
For a man of war such as himself, the barely controlled chaos below was almost.. comforting. Reassuring in a way. It told him that everything that could be done, was being done, and that when the enemy arrived, they would not arrive to find them weak.
Groaning, he turned away from the scene, shuffling over to a nearby couch and collapsing limply into it. He had no doubt that his entire company was doing the same thing into their beds in the next building over.
Finally wrapped up the modifications to the armory bay, and got all of those bloody trucks sealed inside, and who knows when we're going to get around getting the AMP suits in a new building. The old workshop can only hold half a dozen at most..
That had been a long and rough job. They had had to tear apart the entire interior of the massive structure, tossing the AMP gear outside and covering it in tarps. When that had proven to not be enough, the catwalks running around the interior edges also had to go, which at least gave them plenty of metal to work with to work on a new AMP bay of some form. Once everything had been taken out, they had then had to pull the massive trucks inside, parking them often with just inches to spare on all sides.
Hell. The damn things barely fit through the doorway as it is. Getting them all out of there will be rough.
Of course, with that done, the civilian drivers had stayed behind, taking the time to do maintenance on the massive machines. Once they were done with that, the heavy doors would be sealed, protecting them against whatever came. He had hoped that he and his people would then be able to finally take some personal time to unpack their gear and set up their quarters, but that had been dashed quickly.
Instead we got ordered underground.
The base was quickly becoming a maze of construction beneath the ground. A dozen new tunnels were shooting off towards the outer lines, while yet another was stretching towards the new satellite facility. Beyond that, dozens of new armored shutters were being installed, along with explosives, to seal them one way or the other, should the enemy reach the underground.
Hell. I remember when I got here, the only tunnel that existed connected the Apartment complex to the Ops-Center.
Yawning massively, he let his body sink deeper into the couch. He had eight more hours until he and his people had to be up and running around again. Which left plenty of time to grab some sleep.
Figure six hours of sleep, wake up around eighteen hundred, gives me a few hours to grab some food and track down Selfridge to get a status update before he vanishes for the night.
Typically, the lights picked that moment to flicker to bright life, causing him to groan and throw an arm over his eyes.
"Oh. Sorry, didn't know someone was in here." They flicked off again.
He sighed. "It is fine, Herr Spellman."
"What are you doing in here in the dark anyway?"
"My quarters, amongst others, were converted into a storage room for equipment while they dig. This was the first open couch that I could find."
"Oh, well that makes sense."
Sighing to himself once more, he glanced over at the scientist. "Is something wrong, Herr Spellman?"
"Well," he got a slight shrug, "Besides all of our assistants being drafted into the workforce, and besides the Colonel and Selfridge breathing down our necks about what Jake's up to, and besides Pay'ral avoiding everyone, the no, nothing's wrong."
"Sehr gut." he closed his eyes again, "If nothing is wrong in six hours, please find me and we may speak then."
"That's not..." a long pause. "I'll think about it. Sorry to have bugged you."
The door slid shut again.
He thinks too much sometimes... better to just listen to the thunder and the rain.
With a soldier's ease, he slipped into a deep sleep.
Date: 14:29, November 15th, 2174
Location: Omatikaya Kelutral, Pandora, Alpha-Centauri A System
Tun'txampay stretched slowly, her aching muscles protesting against the exaggerated movement, and then settled back against the kelutral. Giving the beautiful vista before her another long look, she slowly closed her eyes and relaxed even further.
After returning from her hunt in the morning, she had climbed to the branches of the great tree, finding a small area free of ikran to relax in. She had been drifting in and out of sleep ever since, enjoying the quiet rain and the peace that it seemed to bring.
Even the young hunters have been calmer these last pair of days...
That was no small relief to her. The less that particular group acted up, the better in her opinion. It let her focus on things that were actually important to her new clan, such as hunting and tracking.
"You always come up here, sister." Neytiri's voice came from behind her. "Why is that, I wonder?"
Her lips pulled back into a small smile as she felt her friend slowly take a seat beside her. "It reminds me of the cliffs.. being able to stare into the distance until the horizon."
"Hmm." Neytiri hummed softly, her body shifting as she settled in.
"How are your lessons with your mother going?"
"She says that I am more wise than I think I am, but still enjoys making my head hurt at times."
Tun chuckled, "My mother was the same way. She would test me by having clan-members pretend that the strangest things were happening, just to see how I would react."
Her friend laughed as well, "I only met her once, but I could see her doing such things to you. My mother respected her wisdom, but often complained about the manner in which she imparted it."
They both laughed again at that, remembering better times. They spent a good while trading stories of their elders, remembering them as they were in life. The strange manner in which Tun's mother acted, the quiet humor that Eytukan could inject to diffuse situations. How Sylwanin would go after anyone who even thought about looking at Neytiri.
"She and Tsu'tey were so protective of me..." the other woman mused, "They treated me like a young child, even when I grew older."
"I remember her only a little," she murmured, gazing upwards as lightning flashed. "She only visited once, but she was full of fire, always moving, always talking, always trying to protect." that reminded her, "How are your daughters? I have not seen them in some time."
"You have been hunting nearly continuously, it is all right." a hand patted her arm, "They are well. Both miss their brother terribly, and worry over their father. My mother and Ninat are with them now, trying to teach them to weave."
She smiled again, "I can't imagine that going well."
"Well.." Neytiri seemed embarrassed about it, "It is an important skill for our clan, they'll learn to calm down and put themselves into it eventually."
"Once they're done throwing the threads around?"
"Yes. Once they're done with that."
More lightning flashed overhead, thunder rolling through the air.
"Peyral.. seemed upset when she left."
She sighed, nodding, "I know. I fear we failed to put her mind at ease."
"We did..i could feel it, but I could not find the right words to rid her of her troubles." Beads clicked as her friend lowered her head, "I spoke with my mother about it, and she told me not to worry, that her situation is unique, even for her. That not even the she could have told her the proper answer, and to trust that Peyral would find her own answers as she lives with the sky people."
That drew a slow nod from her. "Your mother, I think, is correct. She struggles with who the sky people are, what they do, and how she should view them. We cannot help her with that, tainted as you still are by anger," Neytiri bristled slightly, but accepted the point, "and I by sadness and regret. We must trust that she will be able to find her own path. Perhaps the strange wisdom of the sky people may even help her."
"I have a hard time believing that, sister."
"I know," it was her turn to pat the other woman on the arm, "But always remember, though they may be insane, that does not mean they do not have their own wisdom. Norm'spellman and Max'patel are proof of that."
A long, blown-out breath answered her. "I know sister. They are.. good friends, despite their origins. They will not let her fall alone."
"Come," she groaned quietly as she rose to her feet, rolling her shoulders and arms, "Let us go find your children, their wisdom will make you smile."
Her friend chuckled, rising more slowly on her own, "I had not heard the antics of young children referred to as wisdom before. Are you sure that the sky people did not rub off on you?"
A barking laugh emerged from her throat, "Perhaps it has. It may not be a strange wisdom, but their smiles will ease your heart. And your mother and friend will thank you for relieving them of the wisdom your girls are attempting to impart."
The chuckle turned into a laugh, a fist lightly impacting her upper arm. "Enough of your wisdom Tun, let us go."
Still laughing, the pair descended into the tree.
Date: 16:17, November 15th, 2174
Location: Tartarus, Pandora, Alpha-Centauri A System
The rain had finally gotten too bad, even for her. Though it had been steady for most of the day, in the last hour it had really started to come down, wind driving it to lash against her skin.
Shivering, Pey'ral carefully hopped down from the roof of the strange metal huts that her friends were still within. Turning, she made her way to the small entrance, biting her lip as she carefully remembered which of the tiny buttons to poke with her finger.
After a few taps, the metal clicked, propelling itself open. Carefully moving inside, and pressing more of the buttons, she felt the air moving over her skin, its texture changing slightly to become breathable for the toktors within. Once the false wind stopped, the second door swung open for her, revealing a frowning Max'patel.
"Wow. You're soaked."
"Yes." she shivered again, "The rain is becoming bad."
He switched to English as well, "Yeah. I guess I hadn't noticed."
She wanted to roll her eyes, but was far more interested in getting to the other room to lay down.
When they had brought the two structures from their old camp to Tartarus, the three scientists had insisted on re-arranging the gear inside the containers so that she could fit and move around. ON top of that, they had also removed all of the old cots and beds, and that gave them just enough room to shove in one sized to fit her.
"That way you can relax in here, and not have to head to the medical wing to find a bed your size." Katrina had told her with a grin. She had thanked them quietly for that, knowing that the woman was still trying to atone for her previous actions. In a way, she was grateful for that, but at the same time... she wasn't sure what to think about anything.
Max brought her back to the present, "Are you going to bed? You might want to change first."
This time she did roll her eyes at him, "I know. Your clothing is no longer strange to me."
He laughed, a hand reaching up to run through his hair. "Sorry. Habit."
She managed a small smile, "It is fine." she glanced around, "Where is Norm?"
"He had to ask Katrina something, she's underground helping somewhere so he had to go inside to find her."
Underground. At one point, even the mention of that word would have made her shiver in terrible memory, but now she merely nodded, turning to carefully move through to the other room.
"He should be back in a bit if you want to talk with him." his voice carried after her, and she called back her thanks.
Do I want to talk with him? Do I want to talk with Max?
What the strange warrior had talked to her about was still stuck in her mind.
And why am I acting this way... I am a huntress of the Omaticaya, I've fought against things my grandfathers could never even imagine.. and here I am, unsure of myself and my... friends.
Reaching her 'room', she turned to carefully close the door leading to the tiny hallway. Once she was sure it was closed, she glanced around before remembering where the proper button to lower the shutters on the windows was.
And now their ways are rubbing off on me..
Only once she was sure that everything was shut did she carefully begin to peel off her clothing, glaring at the dripping cloth as she did so. It had become strangely comforting to her, the soft cloth wrapping around her.
But when its wet, its useless.
Glancing around, she located the extra set of Grace's old clothes that they had found for her, and carefully began to dress herself. Keeping her tail still enough to fit through its place was as challenging as always, especially in the tiny space she had to move around in.
After she managed that, and had the shirt in her hands, she paused, glancing down at herself, at the scars that now covered her.
Deep line in the stomach. Young Tsu'tey.
A small circle on her left arm, near the shoulder. The battle against the other sky people.
Another one, right arm, near the elbow. The tunnels.
Four long lines along her side, starting above her waist and stretching down into her pants. A nantang's claws, when I was young and foolish.
A single long line, starting near her heart, going across her right breast. Sparring with elder Tsu'tey. We thought the blades were dull.
Sighing, she shook her head, loose hair rippling along her back. Drawing her gaze away from her own flesh, she pulled the shirt up and over her head, careful to keep her tswin from being stuck inside the back.
Her eyes traced the strange letters on the cloth on her chest.
Shaking herself, she went through the same ritual as she had before changing, opening the door, letting the shutters swing open to reveal the pounding rain.
Crawling into the bed, she let herself sigh, enjoying the comfort that it provided. Colorful blankets, given to her by the 'assistants' when they had to resume their normal duties, she pulled up for their warmth.
Now only if they could provide warmth upon my spirit as well..
What was she... she had fought against her own people, against tawtute seeking to help them. At first, she had thought it was the same as what Jake'sully and Tun had been forced to do, fighting to prevent his son from attacking them, and bringing the cold fury of the aliens down upon them all. But the more she thought about it, the less she believed that to be true. She hadn't been fighting to prevent an attack, to prevent further war. She had been fighting.. to prevent them from escaping, killed those who had only been trying to give others time to flee.
On some level, she knew that she had done the only thing she could have done, that she had done what Jake'sully would have told her he would have done.
But knowing and feeling... have become two different things. Perhaps this is what the sky people feel...a heart and a mind, split apart, at odds with one another. Doing what you know is correct, but feeling that what you are doing is wrong. What would Unil think of what I am now...
She closed her eyes on that memory, recalling the smile of her beloved, the way she could always make her laugh.
She would... she felt herself relaxing slowly, she would tell me that all things happen, and all we can do is live our lives as best we can. She would not want me here, wallowing in my own sadness, cutting myself off from those who want to help me... I should talk to...
Her thoughts were broken off as her body yawned.
Maybe... once I wake up...
Next up is Chapter 30: Sudden Silence
Here's the next chapter for you all, hope that you are still enjoying, even with the massive break since my last set of updates.
In this chapter, we saw what Jake attempted, and how everyone else is coping as events begin to unfold. It's a bit more introspective than most, hope it goes over well, I enjoyed writing it. In the next chapter, characters will begin reacting to what happened in this and previous chapters, and serious efforts to prepare for the defense of Tartarus continue.
- S058: Don't worry, that's going to be explored over time.
Please, please, please Review! I live off them!