Mr. Selfridge, I am very disappointed.
You have betrayed the company's trust and lost a vital business asset. However I am a man who believes in second chances. You have until the Venture Star gets back to Earth. It is in your best interests to make that time count. Based on your report I will consider if you should remain a part of the company or not.
Selfridge had read the message countless times now. It didn't get any better with subsequent readings. He was currently in his Hell's Gate office, along with the remaining scientists and a couple of soldiers. The traitor Jake Sully's monkeys were keeping him and his staff under lock and key until the ISV Venture Star came back on its rotation. He'd used the time to send a simple text message to the RDA head office back on Earth. It had taken a long time for the message and its reply to bounce between comm buoys to Earth and back, but it had done it. Now all he needed was some way to fix things.
Selfridge sighed. At least he had some privacy. The monkeys were only guarding the airlocks. He suddenly had an idea. Selfridge pulled a drawer open and picked something out. He stood up and walked over to the holographic display in the centre of the room and inserted something.
"S-sir, what are you doing?" a scientist asked.
"Finding ourselves an ace in the hole," Selfridge replied. An image flickered to life. It was the footage from a bulldozer cam from what felt like a lifetime ago. It showed Corporal Jade West firing at the camera with one of the blue monkeys beside her. Selfridge pushed the fast-forward button. The scene switched, this seemingly from a POV shot. There was a small Na'Vi in view, looking at the camera.
"How's your arm?" it asked in near-perfect English. The camera dipped and an arm came into view, covered in a cast and SecOps armour. A human hand rapped on the cast.
"I'll be getting this off soon," Jade's voice said, crackling slightly from the poor recording quality.
"What is that?" a soldier asked.
"Our friend Miss West here has been consorting with the enemy," Selfridge replied, fast-forwarding again. "Her brother went to the late Colonel about it, who came to me. We decided to make the most of it and plant surveillance on her. She's been streaming video live to my office ever since."
"But why are you looking at it now? We've lost."
"Nope. We haven't yet. Weren't you listening when I said 'ace in the hole'?" Selfridge went on. "She's not here. I checked around. She's MIA. Now, my best guess is that her blue monkey friend let her stay here. She's in with the savages even without an Avatar. She can give us intel. We find her and we find the last foothold we have on this planet."
"But sir, we're done. It's over. W-"
"I am not going to let those flea-bitten savages beat us! If there is even the slightest chance then I am taking it! Capiche?" Selfridge snapped. The scene was now the battle for the Tree of Souls. Jade watched a Thanator explode and bent down to pick up her rifle. Something knocked her off her feet and sent her sprawling. The camera dipped down and showed the Na'Vi arrow through her stomach. Selfridge clenched his fist and turned away.
"How do we get intel from a dead woman?" the soldier wondered aloud. Selfridge turned back. The exopack-mounted camera was now on the ground. A native was cradling Jade's body. It picked up her exopack and her body and moved off. Selfridge fast-forwarded, his interest piqued. The native eventually laid the body at the foot of the Tree of Souls. The exopack rolled off Jade's body and came to a rest on the ground, her body only just in frame. Selfridge suddenly remembered something Dr. Augustine had said.
"Alright boys, I've got a plan." Selfridge said, rubbing his hands together. He moved towards the door, snagging an exopack as he did.
"Where're you going?" someone asked.
"I'm goin' to ask for the body of a fallen comrade."