Hello readers, some of you may be pleased to hear that after a long hiatus, I am officially taking up The Great Journey and The Great Journey 2 again. While I do have ideas to complete the story and will try my hardest to do so before the end of summer, I am first going to go back and edit all of the chapters to fix spelling, grammar, and other errors that I deem need changing. I apologize for the extended delay but hope I can make my story that much better. Oh, and I don't own any of the characters except for Austin.

To those of you who don't know who I am, my name is Austin Bourne and I am a Private First Class in the United States Marine Corps. I'm just an 18 year old kid fresh out of high school looking to take on the world and make it a better place. And this is my story.


It started out like any other Tuesday, only this time it wasn't. I had just started my second month of my tour in Iraq and was assigned my first real mission – we're to extract a high-profile target and transport them safely to the target destination some 20 miles east. Finally, a chance to show them what I'm made of I thought to myself. I made haste to grab my gear and pack up.

"You're not gonna need that" Kurtis "KC" Miller hollered at me as I hesitantly dropped my armor plates. Kurtis can only be best described as the unit clown. He always made us laugh with his odd sense of humor, though sometimes he would take it too far and we would just groan and shake our heads. Kurtis, like me, joined the marines straight out of high school. He reminded me of a young Forrest Gump in that all he ever talked about was wanting to save up so he could buy a fishing boat and go deep-sea fishing everyday. I met Kurtis in boot camp and although many people say we bicker a lot, we instantly became best friends. Lucky for us, we were assigned to the same unit.

"Why not?" I asked in confusion. The last thing I need is to get shot in the back because my lazy friend told me not to bring plates.

"Because, dumb-dumb, we're only going on an extraction mission to make it seem like our government actually gives a shit about the people and is trying to help rebuild the nation. We'll be there and back quicker than you last in bed and that's saying something." Why that little-

"Leave him alone KC!" bellowed Staff Sergeant James Smith. "And stop acting like you're hot stuff when this is your first real mission too." That shut Kurtis right up and he went back to packing his stuff up. Screw it, I put my plates back in and loaded up the rest of my magazines.

"All right men listened up!" Joseph Allen yelled as well all turned around and tuned in to hear what our CO had to say. "Our mission is simple, we go in to extract the target and transport him to the safe location so he can give a speech or some shit. Now before you get your hopes up that this is going to be all sunshine and rainbows, our person of interest is located in Fallujah." An audible groan could be heard from those of us tuned in. Great my first mission and it's in one of the deadliest cities in Iraq. "Shut it I don't want to hear it! Intel reports minimal activity going on, but knowing the laws of the universe, nothing ever goes our way so be prepared for things to get hot. Now make any final preparations you need to make as we're leaving in 5!"

I made my way to the first Humvee I saw and as I was about to get in, Kurtis swooped in at the last second and shut the door on my face. "Sucks to suck loser. I think there's one over there with Searg." I turned around and much to my dismay, sitting in the passenger seat was Searg. Why you little shit.

"I'm gonna get you back for this you know" I barked at him as I made my way to the other Humvee, the No-Fun Humvee as it's known on base, and strapped myself in.

Today seemed like a calm day, nice almost, as we cruised down the road. We sat in silence as Searg likes it that way, I guess it's so that we pay more attention to our surroundings.

"All right boys, we just pulled into Fallujah," I heard over the comms, "stay frosty and keep a look out for anything that might kill us."

I saw the building where the target was located and saw him exit the building with armed guards flanked on both sides. At this point both vehicles stopped and everyone, myself included, stepped out to greet the man. Kurtis and a few others, who were ahead of us, just made contact with the personnel when all hell broke loose. Crack! In the blink of an eye, a bullet tore through the chest of the man we were supposed to protect. Bullets started ricocheting all around us, coming from rooftops, down the road, it seemed like everyone in this god-forsaken town wanted us dead. I was frozen in place. No matter how hard my mind wanted me to move, my body wouldn't cooperate. That's when I noticed a grenade that landed just mere feet away. Before I could react Kurtis pushed me away to safety. Then the grenade exploded, launching Kurtis' body.

"Kurtis!" I screamed. If he or anyone else said anything I couldn't tell, the ringing in my ears was drowning everything else out.

It was at that moment that a fire lighted inside me, and the gears in my head started turning; my training trained me to be an elite soldier so it's time I better damn well start acting like it. You bastards are gonna pay! I picked up my standard issue M16 off the ground and started engaging the Taliban fighters. I saw one diving behind cover and fired 3 round his way. The first one missed him by a foot, second one hit the ground next to him and dirt was sprayed up. The third bullet hit home and struck him in his upper back and he fell down motionless. I didn't even have time to react to the fact that I had just killed for the first time in my life as bullets were raining down. I need to find Kurtis.

I was running around looking like a chicken with his head cut off in search of my best friend. "Kurtis!" I screamed again, but all I was met with was the deafening silence of gunfire. That's when I felt a tug on my pants. I looked down and there I saw the bloody and battered body of the man we were tasked with to protect. He was barely clinging on to life as he attempted to communicate with me.

"T-take this c-case." He spoke softly, barely above a whisper. The case was a rather large one made out of what appeared to be bulletproof metal as indicated by the dents in it.

"W-what is it?" I asked as I took the case from the man's hands.

"M-m-make s-sure it ends in the r-right hands." With that he took his breath and his lifeless body fell down.

"This was a goddamn trap! We need to get out of here now" shouted Searg.

"Everyone fall back and get in the Humvee! Bourne, man the 50!" yelled CO Allen. I started booking it back to the vehicle and was going to be the last one in when I saw an enemy pointing an RPG right at my direction. I was about 50 feet from the vehicle when time came to a halt. The fighter pulled the trigger and the projectile lunged sporadically at me. I clutched the case to my chest and braced for impact. The rocket exploded and my body lurched backwards. When I got up I was disoriented and confused.

"Searg, Captain, hello, anyone there?"

I look around yet I see no one, as if I am alone in the dark fabrication of my mind. Then I see it. Right in front of me is a floating oval shaped thing that has mist emanating from it. I sit there contemplating what it could be, and then, all of a sudden, it starts sucking in everything in its path. I struggle and try to fight it, though it is impossible to do with all my gear on. Ultimately it is a battle I can't win and I get sucked into it.

"Bourne!" screamed Allen.

"What the hell happened to him?!" yelled Smith.

"I don't know but we need to get the hell out of here! We already lost Miller and Bourne, Rodgers and Hiro are bleeding out, we can't afford to lose any more lives. Get us out of here Ramirez!" Allen barked.

"You got it Cap!" replies Corporal Ryan Ramirez. Ramirez slams on the pedal and maneuvers the vehicle though the battered streets while a hail of bullets ping against the armor plating.

"Wherever those two are, God help them." Muses Allen as the vehicle makes its way out harm and begins the journey back home.


The royal Princess Azula awakens from her long sleep after a long and hard night. She walks out of bed and starts to get ready for the day ahead. First she puts her hair up in the traditional matter, and then she calmly puts on her royal robes. Suddenly a rasping noise comes from the door.

"What do you want!"

"Excuse me princess, but your father has called for your presence in his chambers."

"Very well inform him that I will be there shortly."

"Yes your highness."

Azula walked with pride in her step as she made her way towards her father's chambers. As she walked down, she scowled at the servants, soaking in the fear from their eyes. She enjoyed it, as much as a young child might enjoy playing with a doll. She didn't want love, no, love wasn't good enough for the great and powerful Azula; fear is what she demanded and fear is what she got.

Entering her father's chambers she bowed in the traditional method. "You asked for my presence father?"

"Ah Azula you are finally here, sit down. As you know we are continuing our persistent journey of finding the Avatar and winning the war altogether. However, things are rash and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find him. That is why on the day of Sozin's comet I will launch my invasion of the Earth Kingdom and when I defeat the Avatar once and for all, I will wipe that tiny and weak excuse of a people off the globe for good."

"That is most excellent news father; then I will be able to defeat that treacherous brother of mine and show him who the most powerful bender truly is."

"Indeed. I have planned a ceremony tonight in honor of what will be our greatest improvement on mankind. Think of it as an early celebration of what is to come. Now hurry and go get ready for this grand festival of ours, and don't be late!"

"Yes father." And with that the princess left to return back to her room. She had a long task ahead of her to make herself perfect for tonight's affairs, and she was going to be perfect, like she always was.

Later That Night…

The crowd of the Fire Nation, citizens and soldiers alike, gathered around into the plaza in front of the great palace to hear what their leader had to say. The palace was decorated with large banners of the Fire Nation symbol, lanterns and grandeur paintings of great people, past and present, instilling a sense of pride in its people.

"Ladies and gentlemen, loyal subjects and those fighting to preserve this great nation, tonight we have gathered here not to honor a great event in our past, but to honor one that is in our future. We are on a path towards greatness where we will become the most dominant people on the planet. You will be called upon as you have in the past to step up and represent this wonderful nation of ours. But tonight is a celebration of the people. Let the festivities begin!"

With that the crowd roared and music started playing. Ozai turned around and scowled, "Spirits I hate these things, Mako remind me why I'm doing this again."

"Because your highness, as one of your personal advisors it is my job to make sure your goal of global domination to come to fruition. This will inspire the people to be more adamant about fighting for our cause. The enemy is starting to gain some ground and we need to fight back with more fervor."

"I'd much rather just imprison those traitors and kill their families if they refuse to fight for me!"

"Heh heh, you see your highness, it is much better to be loved and feared than just feared. The people already fear your rule, but if a small part of them feels like you are going to give them a better life, than they will fight that much harder."

"Fine do what you must, as long as there are bodies to die in the name of greatness. Azula, come, we are done here. We have much to plan."

"Yes father" was all Azula replied. They started making their way back into the palace when a sudden bright flash lit the night sky.

"Azula why did you use lightning, you could have killed me!"

"Father it wasn't me I swear."

Huh where am I? And who are all these people?I had no idea what was going on, only that I was wearing the heart of war and covered in the grime of battle in front of what looked a giant crowd of people gathered for some sort of event.

"Guards! Attack the intruder at once!"

What the hell is he talking about, I'm not an intruder! It was at that time that I noticed that I was no longer carrying the chest, yet for some odd reason, I still felt a burning sensation there. Three men dressed in armor with spears rushed at me ready for the kill. I fumbled with my sidearm as the men drew closer, come on come on you stupid thing. I managed to get it loaded right as they surrounded me, lucky for me the shot was impossible to miss and I downed one of them. Time slowed down as the man fell down as I killed for the second time; the other two guards looked on in horror to see their friend's life taken away in the blink of an eye. They then resumed their task of capturing me and I fired three more round, 2 shots missing entirely and the third striking one of the soldiers in his lower abdomen. I thought I was going to have a reprieve from the attackers, but as luck would have it, three more rush in to take his place and I'm quickly outnumbered again.

"What are you waiting for! Kill the earth-bender!"

Earth-bender? What is this guy talking about?The people who were initially partying and enjoying themselves were now screaming and running for their lives. I think they're on to something. I started running to make my haste when a solider cut off my path. I ran at him and using the moves taught to me, I kicked hard at his knee, shattering it, and sent him a vicious uppercut, instantly knocking him out.I plan for my next move when fire, WOAH FIRE! This isn't good.I continue running when I sense an attack from behind and swiftly dodge a fire ball that was launched from the soldier's… foot? I turn around and cast a multitude of kicks and punches at him. We trade blows and I go in for the final strike to dispose him from the battle.

Right before my punch connects, I feel something emanating from deep within. Like a great power that wishes to be released. All of a sudden I felt a spark and then fire shot out of my hands and into the man's chest.

"What the hell was that?! How did I do that?! Fire just came out of my hand! What is wrong with me?!" I was in such shock that I didn't even see one of the guards come from behind and tackle me. Another one lifted up a sword and prepared to strike me down. Well it was a good life, hopefully they make this quick. I closed my eyes and braced for the blade's impact, but the overwhelming voice stopped everyone in their tracks.

"Guards STOP! This man is no earth-bender, no, he is one of our own. Take him to the dungeon where he can be questioned further!"

Author Notes: Well what did you guys think? I know some of you would rather me just continue the story from where I left off but there are a few reasons why I'm doing this. First, there are story ideas that I wanted that in order for me to pull off, I needed to make changes to the original earlier on. Second, I have been reading my story over again and noticed a bunch of errors that have been bugging the crap out of me and I simply can't continue on with the story until I'm content with it as possible. Thanks to everyone who has been along with me on this journey and those who have just hopped on. I appreciate the support immensely. Until next time!