Jake and Neytiri sat together in the wreck of the mobile lab for several minutes, content just to be with each other. The click-hiss of his rebreather unit keeping him supplied with clean air was a welcome sound.
Finally, Jake reluctantly dropped his hand from her face and said "We should get moving, we need to know what's going on."
Neytiri did a perfunctory scan of his body to check for wounds – and only then realized that something was wrong. "Jake, your legs, you're hurt!" She started to panic and lifted him to check more thoroughly.
He laid one hand over her lips and said softly "Mawey," using the Na'vi term for "calm." She looked at him with concern and he explained "It's an old battle wound. My legs on this body do not work."
Neytiri was appalled. "Could your Tsahik do nothing to heal this wound?"
Jake replied "They could have healed it, but they chose not to. It's not important now."
Her eyes went wide with shock; she laid her ears back and hissed like an angry cat. "What kind of healer worth the name would see such a wound and not heal it?!"
He smiled; it was comforting to see her indignation on his behalf. "It's a long story. I'll tell it to you some time." Jake needed her to focus, and repeated "Right now, we need to find out what's going on."
Neytiri stated "The battle is won. Eywa's children came and defeated the Sky People forces. The warriors will be rounding up the survivors now."
Jake said "We need to make sure we get them all, get them off the planet, make them leave."
Neytiri spat and said angrily "There are many who think that lives are owed, for the lives they took." Her tail whipped back and forth furiously; it was clear she had a great deal of sympathy for that position, having lost her father.
He needed to cut that off at the pass and took a shot in the dark. "Would Eywa approve of that?"
Her face and tail immediately fell, and her ears drooped. "No."
Jake redirected her line of thinking. "I need to get back into my dreamwalker body, fast. I can't make tsahaylu with Toruk in this body. We need to gather the clans and clean out the Sky People's base, make sure we get them all."
Neytiri had another concern. "We need to get you to safety. Your face-shield will not last forever, and your Na'vi body sleeps outside and is vulnerable."
Jake thought for a moment. "I can't use the link here, too dangerous even with the rebreather. Let's see what Max is up to. Can you get my chair for me?"
She solved the problem by simply picking him up and helping him sit in the chair as he directed, then followed him as he wheeled down to the end of the lab. He turned on the comm panel, prayed – and got lucky. "Max!"
The fuzzy haired scientist and the entire lab team were displayed on the monitor. "Jake, you're alright!"
"Yeah, what's the scoop?"
"Quaritch pulled everyone who knew one end of a gun from another out of here for his own freaking personal war. As soon as the goons were gone I put the whole lab into lockdown. We're all safe here. What the hell's going on out there?"
Jake didn't have time. "Later, Max. Listen, the mobile lab's fubared and I need to link, fast. If I can get to you...."
The scientist's satisfaction was massively reassuring. "I'll have a link warmed up and ready for you when you get here."
"Outstanding. I'll be coming by banshee, land on the roof of the building. Will that be a problem?"
Max shook his head "I'll brief a couple of my bigger techs and have them on the roof door to hold it for you. The perimeter alarms will go off when you come in, but there isn't anyone left who could do anything about it before you make the roof, if you boogie. Keep your eyes open as soon as you see the fence and you should be able to get in fine."
At that moment, the comm link on Neytiri's neck made a very welcoming squawk. "Neytiri, this is Norm, are you there?"
She touched the stud at her throat as Jake had showed her. "Yes, we are here! Both of Jake are here with me, he cannot move. He has the face-mask, but it will not last."
Jake added, "We're at the mobile lab, Norm, we need help. Quaritch wrecked the place, and I need to link back in. Max has got the base's lab secure, but I'm going to need two ikran riders to get me there."
Neytiri added "We will need help quickly; there is a dead palulukan outside and it will not be long before scavengers come."
Norm's voice was firm "Right. My avatar's down; it got badly hit, but I think we can save it if we move fast. Thank god you introduced me to the clan before everything hit the fan! I'll speak to the Omaticaya and let them know where you are. Hang tight, we'll be there in a jiffy."
Neytiri signed off and spoke to her mate firmly. "I will bring your dreamwalker body in here where there is shelter, while we wait."
Very shortly they heard the high whooping calls of Na'vi approaching through the woods. Neytiri went to the wrecked window and responded in kind, helping them locate her.
The Na'vi were nonplussed when she emerged from the lab carrying what appeared to be a very injured Sky Person. Neytiri quickly explained that this was her mate in his Sky People body, and that his Na'vi body slept inside.
Jake quickly told the riders what was needed. His wheelchair was brought out and folded up. Neytiri helped secure Jake's human body to the burliest of the ikran riders; another took his wheelchair, and they were off.
They were at Hell's Gate within the hour. Neytiri had translated Jake's description of the lab building to the riders; they had no problem identifying it, especially with the two techs waiting for them. The rider that Jake was tied to pulled his queue free of his ikran, grabbed Jake's useless legs, jumped off and simply ran with him through the open door.
The techs led the way to the link room. Max was waiting and gestured the Na'vi over to an open pod. He helped untie Jake and get him into the bed. The hunter spoke as Jake lay down. "Toruk Makto, we stay. We guard you."
He nodded and thanked them, "Irieyo," and turned to Max. "These guys are gonna stay and guard me. Just be polite, leave 'em alone and you'll be fine."
"Kay Jake, get going." Max went to the main console and started up the link as soon as Jake had pulled the clamshell shut.
Neytiri's face was a study in relief when Jake's avatar opened its eyes. He wasted no time in getting up and taking her hand to lead her out of the wrecked mobile lab. Several Na'vi with direhorses were waiting; they mounted and headed for the Tree of Souls.
They were nearly there when they came upon a terrible scene. Mo'at knelt on the ground with a horribly wounded Tsu'tey. Bullets riddled his chest, but they looked almost benign compared to what else had been done to him. Jake had to fight to prevent himself from being overcome with nausea. Some of the Omaticaya with them were unable to. Tsu'tey's queue had been cut off, near the base.
He looked up at Mo'at. Her sorrowful face said it all. She had bound his wounds, but there was no hope.
Jake knelt, and Tsu'tey opened his eyes. Pain saturated the olo'eyctan's voice. "I See you, Jakesully."
He responded formally, "I See you, Tsu'tey te Rongloa Ateyitan."
The dying warrior asked, "Are the People safe?"
He could at least give the man that much comfort. "They're safe."
Tsu'tey weakly clutched the stump of his severed queue. "I can never ride again, or bond with my woman – or hear the voice of Eywa. I cannot lead the People. You will lead them, Jakesully."
Jake recoiled. He didn't want this. "No. I'm not officer material."
Tsu'tey didn't even blink. "It is decided. Now do the duty of Olo'eyctan. Set my spirit free."
He responded with revulsion, "I'm not killing you."
The warrior replied in a softer tone "I am already dead."
Jake flatly refused. Whatever differences they had, the man didn't deserve this. "No."
The dying Olo'eyctan insisted. "It is the way. And it is good. I will be remembered." His voice got weaker, and thick with emotion. "I fought with Toruk Makto, we were brothers – and he was my last shadow."
His hand clasped Jake's in a fierce grip. The Toruk Makto looked to the Tsahik with agony in his eyes – to see her nod sorrowfully.
Jake drew his knife and leaned over Tsu'tey, his shadow falling over the man, and spoke in Na'vi "Forgive me, my brother. Go now to the Mother Spirit." There was a swift movement, followed by a final, gratefully exhaled breath.
Tears blinded Jake as he led those around him in the prayer for the dead, and his were not the only ones. When it was done, there was a long moment of silence. Then Mo'at reached down and gently removed the Thanator-claw neckpiece of the Omaticaya Olo'eyctan from around Tsu'tey's neck. With no words, and a simple movement, she placed it on Jake's.
It felt like it weighed a ton as he got up. The others stood respectfully. He took the quietly crying Neytiri's hand and looked at his clansmen. "Come. It is time to make those who do not respect Eywa leave our world."