Author's Note: Boy, writing a fic two weeks after a movie comes out is really just asking to be jossed. There may be things I missed. There may be a lot of mistakes: I've only seen the movie twice. But good world-building bites me hard, and this is the result.


Dear Mom,

Norm Spellman stopped, and stared again at the flashing cursor on the screen.

Even after sending the press release by superluminal, Ameera had told everyone to message their families to tell them what happened. To have any chance at all, they'd have to counter whatever story RDA came up with. And God only knew the Consortium would come up with a duesie.

Technically, he could - and probably should - be sending a vid. He told himself that it would be better as encrypted text, that Cynthia would remember the old algorithms they'd devised as kids and that his message would be more secure this way. She would make sure his words got to the rest of the family.

That was his story, and he was sticking to it.

Dear Mom,

That part, he'd gotten down.

Dad's was easy. He'd be proud, in fact. Hell, he and Janis - sorry, Dr. Rainsong-Spellman - would be throwing benefit dinners for the Na'vi in his honor. Their Berkeley cohort would fight for invitations to help the cause. They generally did.

Actually, he should remember to tell Ameera that. It might prove useful.

Cynthia would get it. She always did. That was no small comfort.

Robert wouldn't. He never could. And Norm couldn't bring himself to care.

And Mom? Mom would be a hard sell. There were too many years (before the divorce) spent juggling the bills to keep the lights on. And after, when she was making ends meet, she watched her ex marry in to semi-idle luxury.

She'd never wanted him to go into Pandoran xenology. "Why couldn't you study something practical? Something useful to people, instead of a bunch of blue savages? Why can't you be more like Robert?"

"Why can't you be more like Robert?" Boy, if that didn't sum up his childhood. Not that he was bitter.

Actually, that ancient little twinge surprised him. As a source of bitterness, it had recently been eclipsed by the blinding supernova of Jake Sully's galling ascendance. He was over that, though. Really, almost entirely.

Well, he had reason, didn't he? Sully just rolled in and got accepted by the Na'vi before he could even spell "Omaticaya." How many years had Norm given to the study of the Na'vi and Pandora? The hours spent poring over the grammar and pronunciations of that insanely complicated language? The years of schooling and mountains of debt?

He began to laugh. That was at least one advantage to having betrayed your entire species: he could tell the student loan people to go fuck themselves.

Actually, it wasn't like he'd had a choice. Growing up in a grey cube, in a grey city on a dead world, the images he'd seen of Pandora's beauty had grabbed him and never let him go. Blue skies and green plants and iridescent waters haunted his dreams. He couldn't will those away any more than he could stop breathing.

That more than anything got him over his jealousy. He could die of the bitterness, or he could work through it and learn so much more than he'd ever thought possible, could understand more than he ever could have dreamed. And, once you scratched that jarhead surface, Jake was a good guy. A lot like Tom had been.

And none of this musing was getting his letter written.

Dear Mom,

He sighed.

Dear Mom,

There will be no more unobtainium from Pandora. Get used to the high energy prices. There won't be any more treatments for riverblindness and the new Pandoran protein packs? Forget about those, too. Enjoy that spirulina! You were right: I really do love those blue savages more than I love my own family.

In the interests of interplanetary diplomacy, he erased that bit. But that left him stuck at the beginning.

Dear Mom,

I can never come home again.

That was the heart of it, really. Amongst the Na'vi, banishment from the clan was the worst punishment imaginable. They treated the Terrans who stayed with the sort of cautious kindness usually reserved for the terminally ill. (Mind you, he'd traded on that a few times, to get lifts to places he'd desperately wanted to see. What could he say? He was only human.)

If he only had his avatar, it wouldn't be so bad. For most of the rest, living in the confined spaces and going out only with the rebreathers weren't new circumstances to them; hell, a lot of them came from the colonies on Mars and Luna - compared to exosuits, the masks amounted to nothing at all. And the esprit de corps amongst the émigrés was still high: they were converting the military base to a home, and working on plans to deal with the oncoming fallout. But he'd run free on this planet, breathed in the fresh (if humanly lethal) air. For a few short months, he'd achieved his lifelong dream.

And he lost that, too, the day they'd driven the Terrans off Pandora.

Dear Mom,

I can never come home again.

I need you to understand why. We did this with eyes open, knowing full well what it meant for us and everything back on Earth. None of us wanted martyrdom. I wish to hell that there had been another way.

But there wasn't.

They're not savages. I've told you that before. They are sentient beings, and this planet, and all of its resources, is theirs. You taught me right from wrong, Mom, and if we'd let RDA go through with their attack, we would have been thieves and murderers. It will make things harder, and for that I'm sorry.

But what we did was right. And if that makes me a traitor, so be it.

I love you, and I always will.

Love,

Norm