Consequences

Arun

Chapter 1: Dies the Planet

Disclaimer: I don't claim ownership of Avatar, the movie, or the characters therein.

Warning: This is not proofread. Readers be warned.

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The nickel-iron asteroid was 21 kilometers wide with a speed component that was many times the speed of sound at sea level on Earth. It was formed over billions of years and as testament to its great age, its surface was specked with numerous impact craters. Silhouetted against the bright skies of the planet Polyphemus, it made for a very pretty sight as it steadily crept closer to its rendezvous point with the moon Pandora. The hundred million Na'vi who called Pandora their home did not know it yet, but the last majority of them would not see another sunrise or sunset.

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It was a bright day full of song and spring on Pandora, but a time of consternation for the Omaticaya. The great leader Jake Sully's mate and tribe's shaman Neytiri was at death's door from disease, and with her backup having fallen prey to a Turok a season back, there was no suitably well-trained replacement to assume her duties after she died.

And while the tribe grieved over their leader's misfortune, the people were also anxious for the future. They'd all heard world-mother Eywa's cry of pain and confusion two days earlier and they knew that the dawn of a new time of troubles was upon them.

Jake Sully sat on the innermost circle close to his sick wife and led the prayer to the tree of souls. He opened his mind to the world-mother and immersing himself in her, prayed for a cure for his mate and hope for his people. He knew full well that Eywa would never honor his selfish request to protect his wife, but nonetheless, it gave him a sense of peace to try his level best for Neytiri. Otherwise, he would never be able to sleep with the knowledge that he hadn't tried all he could to save her and the baby inside her womb.

The awed shout of one of his people brought Jake Sully out of the reverie and he followed the fellow's gaze up into the sky. He saw the steadily growing entrails of a large something burning up on re-entry and his lips thinned. It seemed that more of the annoying human animals were coming back to reclaim Pandora for their own…

Well, Cpl. Jake Sully had beaten them once before and he was going to do it again. Pandora belonged to the Na'vi and the World-Mother and woe betide any human who tried to take it from them. This time, he would simply have to do it without his sick wife riding beside him.

It wasn't until he saw the brilliant second sun rise into the evening sky that Jake realized what was about to happen to him and his tribe mere hours in the future. And with that realization came deep dark despair for he knew that though hailed a hero of the people, his actions against the humans were ultimately responsible for the fiery death that was rushing toward them even now from beyond the horizon.

Actions always have consequences and he'd turned a planet that was the only known source of the strategically important mineral Unobtanium against humanity, after all.

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Chapter 2: The Man Who Killed a World

Notes discovered among the personal effects of R. Adm. Deepak (Ret.) after his death on June 30, 2201

As the old saw goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." And if there were ever a bunch of souls with better intentions than Jake Sully and his jolly band of researchers and turncoats, then Satan would win Heaven for sure.

My name is Deepak. I'm a retired Rear Admiral and have served as the Chief of Operations for RDA Corp, the successor of RDA Mining Corp, for the last fourteen years. I have a beautiful and loving wife, three kids, seven grandkids and a dog named Joe. I have many friends and they tell me that I'm a kind and gentle soul. I'm a law-abiding citizen and I do a lot of community work. As an example, I award scholarships worth 50 million dollars for higher education for deserving kids from poor families each year.

And having said all that, I'm also the greatest mass-murderer in the history of humankind. I'm responsible for the deaths of 100 million (estimated) Na'vi and the extinction of that sentient race. If you're so inclined, you can also throw in the extinction of an estimated ninety percent of all life on Pandora.

Let me start from the beginning so that you understand the chain of greed and more importantly, stupidity that led to the extinction of the first sentient race of aliens discovered by humanity and my own personal damnation.

Humanity discovered FTL in 2051 ACE. Seventy-two years later, on June 17, 2123, the survey ship Magellan reached the star system where the moon Pandora orbited the gas giant Polyphemus. The crew of the Magellan made contact with the intelligent authocthons, the Na'vi. This was a great discovery in itself – this being humanity's first contact with another sentient race – but the survey mission found something even greater. They discovered the mineral Unobtanium.

RDA Mining Corp was started to mine this mineral whose unique properties, scarcity and remote location have made it the most strategically important and by virtue of that importance, the most expensive material ever. It costs a tad over 12 million dollars to mine a single kilogram of the stuff and sells for 20 million dollars on the free market. To give you a better sense of the scale of the monies involved, RDA Mining has mined 1000 tons of pure Unobtanium every year for the past thirty-five years.

That, I think you'll agree, is a hell of a lot of money. And with such wealth at stake, you'd think that RDA would have employed the smartest minds on Earth and taken every precaution to protect their golden goose. Well, if you thought that, you'd be wrong.

From the very beginning, if there was anything that could be done wrong, the executives at RDA Mining did it. To start with, even though the planet was home to the Na'vi, RDA Mining did not negotiate mining terms with the indigenes. In the first decade after they started operating, RDA Mining also excluded other enterprises from establishing their own operations on Pandora using a complex system of profit sharing – the which sums went towards cost of mining, – political lobbying and bribes. Nor did they undertake any significant study of Pandoran ecology or xenobiology, which deprived them of knowledge that would prove crucial during the Sully Affair. Then, compounding their initial mistake, they used open pit mining, unmindful of the damage inflicted on the local ecology. In every way, their actions thumbed the noses at the indigenes and pissed off the authocthon tribes in the neighborhood – The chief among these tribes being the Omaticaya, the adopted tribe of the traitor Jake Sully. They also ignored the first rule of planetary warfare – who controls the orbitals controls the planet – and neglected to install orbital stations over Pandora. And finally, they hired the idiots Col. Miles Quaritch and ret. Cpl. Jake Sully as the officer in charge of planetary security and as avatar operator, respectively.

The rest, as they say, is history. Jake Sully defected to the Na'vi and led the native uprising against the sole mining colony on Pandora during the infamous Sully Affair. Col. Quaritch's inexperience at operations – he'd been a civilian relations puke for most of his career – came to the fore at this point and compounded problems. He went to war with the Omaticaya, ignoring intelligence regarding the planetwide intelligent bionetwork of trees the indigenes called Eywa and used tactics worthy of a two-year old against the Na'vi. Quaritch also did not use the artillery and mortar teams under his command during his campaign, which is perhaps the biggest indicator of the man's failings as an officer. In this unfortunate milieu, Sully made contact with Eywa and made the dispersed intelligence hostile to all humans. We know this from his final journal entry, where he warned his human brethren to stay away from Pandora, detailing how he'd won the bionetwork to his cause.

Thus, what was an unfortunate incident in relations between a bunch of local tribes and RDA Mining, turned into an interstellar diplomatic disaster with the planetwide intelligence Eywa belligerent towards humanity. We know this because I led the expedition of 2161 that tried to make contact with Eywa and the Na'vi, negotiate peace between our peoples and secure mining rights.

The expedition ended in failure as every lifeform on Pandora was hostile to us. We lost over a hundred marines in the initial landing party and failed to make contact with the native intelligences and the traitor Jake during the six months we spend in orbit over.

I had often wondered what went on through Jake Sully's mind as he set this sequence of events in motion. The magnitude of the consequences of the disastrous expedition for humanity could not be overstated, after all, given the importance of Unobtanium's applications. Earth had made contingency plans for such a worst-case scenario, of course and was already preparing for it when we left it six years earlier. But we'd hoped that the situation could be redeemed peacefully for the sake of the Na'vi. Unobtanium was a strategic resource and we mankind had to have it at any cost, after all.

Faced with a hostile planetwide intelligence that controlled all non-sentient life on Pandora, we were left with two extreme choices and no hope for compromise. We could either leave Pandora alone, which would have immense consequences back on Earth. In the middle of the largest depression in history - thanks to the effect the Sully Affair had on markets back home, - relations between the foremost powers had started deteoriating when we set out on our expedition and any widespread conflict involving the powers that be would have claimed millions of casualties.

Or we could take the Unobtanium by force. We controlled the orbitals, after all, and while the traitor Sully seemed to have overlooked this crucial fact, it essentially put us in control of Pandora.

So, I made the obvious choice and carried out my orders. And while the command was a hard one to give, my loyalties lay with my own kind and I was prepared to do what was best for them. Thus, when our expedition left Pandora as our failed mission drew to a close, we left behind a bunch of rockets installed on twenty asteroids, the smallest of which was three kilometers long and two kilometers wide, and the largest more than twenty kilometers long and nearly as wide.

As no thorough survey had been conducted of the Polyphemus system and the rockets wouldn't fire until our ship was six months into our voyage to Earth, we could even maintain plausible deniability back home.

When our failed expedition reached the Solar System in 2167 and the unclassified parts of our peace mission was announced to the world, a coalition of governments assembled a fleet of ships to secure the Unobtanium through force of arms on Pandora. This was mostly for show, for I'd gotten my orders for the expedition of 2161 from these same governments. Still, appearances had to be maintained and the fleet left Earth in early 2168.

Arriving at their destination, the expedition of 2168 discovered a world laid waste by multiple asteroid impacts and encountered zero resistance in pursuit of their mission to secure the precious mineral. The once lush world brimming with life was now denuded of plant life. A few shrubs and trees could be found here and there, but that was about it of the once luxurious forests. The bionetwork Eywa was dead and the Na'vi extinct. Research has since shown that the precious few survivors of the initial impacts of the latter had succumbed to famine, disease, war and predation in the decade between the Extinction Level Event and the arrival of our fleet. Thus, humanity became the uncontested masters of Pandora.

To this day, only a handful in the highest echelons of power as well as the dozen or so spacers and special operations people who were involved in the execution know of the role humanity played in the events of 2164 on Pandora.

Knowing what you do now, you might be wondering about the first paragraph in this journal entry where I cursed Jake Sully and his bunch of bleeding hearts for paving the path to hell when I have confessed here that it was I who personally damned a sentient race. In case you are, I'll list all the things that the traitor did wrong with the best of intentions that led to 2164:

1. Deplorable though were the decisions that the Head of the Mining Operation Parker Selfridge and Quaritch made, their actions were illegal and in direct violation of the mining charter. Sully could have gathered evidence of their actions and pleaded the indigene's case with the concerned authorities after returning to Earth. This process could have taken a decade – due mostly to the transit times between Earth and Pandora – and a few Na'vi tribes may have suffered at the hands of the miners, but it would have preserved the peace between our peoples. There is no doubt that Sully acted personally to defend the Na'vi, demonstrating great courage, but he wasn't thinking far ahead enough and this was his first error.

2. After defecting to the Omaticaya, Sully organized the Na'vi tribes for war to protect the Sacred Tree. He shouldn't have done this for the following reasons:

a. The Na'vi with their technological inferiority had no hope of winning a straight up war against the human mining colony, but that was precisely how Sully planned to fight his. Luckily for him, he had the idiot Quaritch for his opponent. (We'd already examined Quaritch's many failings earlier.)

b. The Na'vi had no great stores of food and what there were for the Omaticaya burned down with their tree. As a people they hunted their daily meals and lacked the logistical wherewithal to support large concentrated populations (this was the primary reason for the small size of their tribes.) When Sully united the various tribes for his war, he did not understand that he had at best a month to win the war before his army started running out of food. Fortunately for him, the idiot Quaritch ignored this factum as completely as Sully himself did.

c. Neither Head of Mining Selfridge nor Col. Quaritch had any intention of targeting the Sacred Tree until Sully set camp around it and started using it as a base camp for the neighboring tribes he was gathering for his war.

The first two points combined together meant that Sully had no chance of winning his war against a capable, well led force. As luck would have it for the Na'vi, the opposition commander was as big an incompetent as the traitor. And the last meant that there needn't have been a war to defend Eywa in the first place at all since RDA Mining Corp had already destroyed the one node it had set eyes on.

3. Finally, Sully turned planetwide intelligence Eywa against humanity. Again, he did this with the best intentions in mind, but this is perhaps the greatest of his sins and his most crucial mistake. The reasons are:

a. Unobtanium was stratefically important to humanity and Pandora was the only known source of it in the explored galaxy.

b. The revenue from Unobtanium made up a small but significant fraction of Earth's economy. No government would stand anyone who obstructed the resource responsible for such wealth.

c. RDA Mining Corp was a publically traded company and had a capitalization of 80 trillion dollars. The collapse of RDA Mining Corp's stock price triggered an economic recession. Millions upon millions individuals went bankrupt as did gigantic banking corporations and Earth's economy tottered on the edge of the precipice for a decade.

d. Unobtanium was crucial to Earth's space industry and thus, critical to humanity's long-term survival.

Considering the above points, denying Unobtanium to mankind was tantamount to declaring war on us. Thus, when Sully fed poisonous untruths to Eywa – with the best of intentions to protect Pandoran ecology – and turned the planetwide intelligence against us, he escalated an incident involving an interstellar mining company and a local tribe of indigenes into a war between two sentient but technologically disparate races and gave possession of a strategic resource for the former to the latter. He did it in such a way that there was no hope for compromise or communication between the two cultures.

In a sense, Sully was to Pandora was Paris was to Troy and this is why I blame him. He betrayed the trust placed in him by both the Na'vi and mankind for the love of a female and doomed one people to the abyss. I know that my soul is damned to hell for being the assassin of the Na'vi, but when I contemplate my actions on that fateful expedition, I wonder what would make a suitable punishment for Sully and his friends for forcing my hand on that mission…

Corporal Jake Sully, traitor, bleeding heart, moron, dumbass, may you rot in hell forever for what you did to the Na'vi!

Author's notes:
I watched Avatar with my wife yesterday and I liked the movie. Without doubt, it is a visual masterpiece. But my mind boggles at the stupidity demonstrated by all the characters in the movie. Please leave reviews.

This fanfic, you guessed it, is an attempt at realistically portraying what could happen when a backward culture controlling a resource worth 20 million dollars a kilogram tries to deny the same to a technologically vastly superior culture that needs it badly (why else would the resource be worth so much money otherwise?) when the latter controls the orbitals while bearing in mind that wars – genocidal ones – have been fought over much less throughout history.

Still, before you judge Deepak as a heartless, insane murderous psychopath masquerading as a productive member of society, put yourselves in his position. The collapse of a company that is the sole source of such a resource as Unobtanium – it is implied that this is the case at the end of the movie when the humans are boarding their shuttles with armed Na'vi watching them – is portrayed to be will have very adverse effects on the economy and your way of life. The uncertain times that follow such societal tumult may trigger wars that'll cost millions of lives across the world. Keeping these in mind, ask yourself this simple question: Why should you and yours have to suffer through so much because an unthinking idiot turned an entire culture against yours over one mistake? You have the same right to live well as he and his people do, after all, and if he feels nothing about damning you and yours for the good of his people, why should you?

That said, here's a list of other things that I found funny in Avatar. I hope you'll have as much fun reading them as I did writing.

Why does everything on the planet have a neural interface? What's the evolutionary prerogative for a land based herbivore and flight capable carnivore to have a compatible neural interface with to date communication protocols with the Na'vi? Is this evidence that life on Pandora was engineered?

Why does everything glow? Bioluminescence requires energy and there's only so much of it in any ecosystem. So, unless it offers an advantage in attracting mates/prey or evading predators, genetic mutations that lead to it will be less competitive than those that don't and will therefore lose the evolutionary race. And yet, everything on Pandora glows…

Was Quaritch such an idiot that he did not fortify the mining base with trouble brewing on the horizon with the locals? I mean, his people are several thousand years more advanced than the Na'vi and more organized, too, and he says a group of 20000 will overrun the human base if they charge enmasse. Didn't he order the construction of ditchworks (or whatever they call those), the clearing of killzones, the laying of mines and generally fortifying the base? All he'd have to do is hold out for a week or two and any "army" of Na'vi would melt away as the neighborhood ran out of food.

Why the hell did the humans fly so low when advancing into the area with the flying mountains? Why not fly as high as possible until the very last moment so that none of the Pandoran forces could range on them at all?

For that matter, why use explosives to off the Sacred Tree? Why not simply crash the big re-entry vehicle at supersonic velocities in a ballistic trajectory?

Why do the armored suits have glass canopies and not even bullet proof canopies at that?

Why were all the human soldiers standing and shooting in the forest with their torsos completely exposed to Na'vi archers?

Why does Sully think that its better to live as a pre-historic people with all the curses that come with it – uncertainty over next meal, disease, reduced lifespan – is better than living in the modern world with all that entails (education, freedom to choose your life, medicine, security, health, wealth, etc)?

What kind of a freak and a pervert is Sully to fall in love with an alien? I mean, I can understand it if he'd permanently transferred to the alien body, but that wasn't the case. He was controlling the Na'vi avatar using his mind through a remote connection, and did not do a real transfer until the very end after the miners leave. So, does this mean he's into beastiality? And does this also mean that we can expect a duck/goat lover for a hero in a movie in the near future?

And finally, why didn't the human miners do their mining with tunnels. Surely, for a mineral worth 20 million dollars back on earth, they could build whatever support was needed to support home tree underground and then mine out the reserves?

There, I've had my say! And a bigmouthed one it was too! LOL Byebye!