AN- So, yeah, I probably shouldn't be starting a story right now but I recently saw Avatar, and thought it was a really good movie. However, the one thing that I didn't agree with was the death of Trudy, and the lack of viewpoints on the part of the SecOps personnel. No doubt not all of them shared the gung-ho attitude of Quaritch, and some might have switched sides if given the chance, like Trudy. This story will hopefully explore the period of time after the battle through one of the SecOps troops and Trudy. Reviews would be much appreciated, and I'm willing to incorporate reader thoughts and ideas into the story, if at all possible.

Disclaimer (this applies to all further chapters): I do not own nor ever will own James Cameron's Avatar.

PANDORA SUCKS

"I fucking hate this goddamn place!" These words were hissed by one Sergeant James Harrison as he wedged himself deeper under the log and the small hole that he had found there. The moment he had seen the Titanotheres charging through the jungle, he had realized that his best chance at survival was to take cover and to not move. Moments late, his decision proved to be the right one, as the hammer-headed monsters crashed through the SecOps firing line like it didn't exist, destroying the heavy AMP suits with ease. Cursing, Harrison reached out and grabbed a light machine gun by its strap and pulled it towards himself.

He was just about to leave his hiding place and follow after his retreating comrades when the sound of growling caught his attention. Wedging himself under the log even further, he watched with a dry mouth as Viperwolves ran over the top of the log and moved into the undergrowth, snarling and barking with malicious glee. Moments later, a new cacophony of screams permeated the air, automatic gunfire getting cut off abruptly. Closing his eyes, Harrison wished fervently for the day to end. Even if they were losing the fight on the ground, they had air supremacy, and the gunships would be coming back for them.

"Fuck!" he snarled as he activated his emergency beacon, hoping that it would get through the flux. Squirming deeper into the almost nonexistent hole, he relaxed, drawing on his Marine training. He knew how to stay still for hours, waiting for the opportune moment to move…to strike. Right now, he faced death if he went out into the jungle, whereas he was relatively safe here. He just had to be patient, he just had to wait. Clearing his mind, he relaxed. Moments later, his trance was interrupted as a Thanatore bounded into the clearing with a snarl. Not unusual in its own right, but the Na'vi who was riding it was definitely out of the norm.

Slowly, smoothly, he drew the light machine gun to his shoulder, and centered the sights directly on the Na'vi's back. Automatically, he regulated his breathing, one breath in, let it half out, finger tighten on the trigger, caressing it to the breaking point, and…

He released. The Na'vi shouted something, and the Thanatore ran off into the jungle, snarling fiercely. He sighed, and lowered the light machine gun. How easy it would have been to kill the native, even if he would have died in the end. He knew full well that the light machine gun wasn't strong enough to kill an enraged Thanatore, but it would have been one less Na'vi warrior in the fight, possibly saving one of his comrades. But he was so sick of the fighting.

His job on Pandora was simple. Provide security for mining operations and scientific expeditions. He had not signed up for genocide, which made him a less than happy participant in what was being called the Battle of the Tree. He scoffed silently. It was no battle, it was a massacre. He was glad that no one else on his Samson had noticed that he wasn't cheering along with them, and he had wished fervently that he had been on the one Samson that had peeled off from the formation and flown back to the base by itself. The screams of rage and fear from the dying would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life, as well as the sight of Na'vi being killed by the falling tree regardless of gender or age. He had watched helplessly as a group of children were crushed by a falling limb.

Then word of the Na'vi gathering had circulated Hell's Gate, and not many of the SecOps personnel were surprised. After all, they had pretty much destroyed what was a city. On Earth, that would have elicited a massive counter strike. It was also not surprising that Colonel Quaritch wanted to stamp out the uprising before it swelled to the point where the human camp would be overwhelmed. A lot of the soldiers weren't happy about it, himself included, but you couldn't change the past, might as well do what was necessary to survive. If he survived this fight, he might be able to finish his term and get back to Earth in one piece…he could only hope.

The smell of burning aviation fuel and metal broke him out of his thoughts, and he paused for a moment, wondering what he should do. However, the possibility that there was a crashed gunship nearby goaded him into action, and he finally left his hole. Quickly finding some dead soldiers nearby, he offered apologies as he removed their exopacks and moved off towards where he could see a plume of smoke climbing through the thick canopy of the jungle.

The jungle was silent now, no sounds of battle in the heavy air, and Harrison moved as quietly as he could, avoiding areas that would make noise should he walk through them, such as piles of leaves, Helicoradian plants (which were referred to as 'shoop' plants, due to the sound they made when they withdrew into their tubes) and thickets of brush. He knew he wasn't as silent as a Na'vi hunter, but he was far quieter than humans generally were. He ceased thinking, and instead became as a predator was. Aware of his impact on the environment, and the impact the environment had on him. His breath hissed as he breathed into his expect. The oppressive heat of the jungle clung heavily to his body, sweat running between his shoulder blades and down the small of his back, and the wet patches around his armpits grew with each passing minute.

This he ignored, and instead looked, listened, and felt the environment for any clue that could mean he was being hunted by either Na'vi or one of the many creatures populating Pandora. Despite what he expected, he made it to the crash site without being attacked by anything. Sunlight beamed down onto the burning Samson, the hole in the foliage clearly showing the path the aircraft took on its fatal plummet, and he ran up to the craft, heart plummeting as he noticed the cargo bay was completely engulfed in fire. Then he noticed several oddities. Firstly, the cockpit was filled with smoke, tendrils escaping into the air through several bullet holes that had torn into the canopy, but it didn't look like the fire had reached that part of the craft yet. Secondly, blue and white paint had been smeared across the vehicle, and it looked almost like one of the banshees that the Na'vi rode. Harrison ignored that and quickly unsheathed his knife, using the saw-tooth edge to cut through the thick plastic, going from bullet hole to bullet hole until he had a man sized hole.

He backed away as the smoke poured from the opening, the air inside the cockpit clearing up enough to reveal a female pilot wearing an exopack…he had seen her around the base…Chacon, was that her name? Shaking his head, he climbed into the still smoky cockpit and cut away her harness, and hoisted her out of the smoldering Samson. Getting her to a safe distance from the burning aircraft, Harrison gently lay her down, pressed the clear button on her mask, and after it stopped hissing as the pressure equalized and the condensation on the inside of the mask cleared away he wiped away the soot and other particles that had gathered on the outside of her mask. His heart froze in his chest.

She had face paint on, the same blue and white that was emblazoned on her craft, and several things that the sergeant had been trying to ignore came clamoring to the front of his mind. She was human, so he felt more than obligated to save her, but now there were questions to be answered. Why was she wearing war-paint like the Na'vi? Why was her craft riddled with bullet holes? Why did it look like a missile detonated against the rear of her Samson? Just whose side was the feisty pilot fighting for. Until she woke up, he would be left alone with his thoughts. Making sure that he removed her of her sidearm, he moved slightly into the brush, and made sure to watch her as much as he watched the surrounding jungle. When she woke up, there would be many questions asked, and God help her if she didn't feel like talking.