"The Tempest" is a sequel of "The Invasion" although it can also be read as a standalone story. You do not need to have read "The Invasion" to understand what is going on, although I recommend you do so if you are interested in details of the events that led up to this story, or if you want to know more about the history of certain characters that appear in later chapters of "The Tempest".
I find it somewhat difficult summarize what this story is going to be about exactly. On the surface it may seem like another human versus Na'vi story. Looking deeper, this story also includes elements of mystery that will eventually play a key role in the plot. These elements were first introduced in the previous story "The Invasion".
This story is written for entertainment purposes only. All copyrights belong to their respective owners.
Keep in mind that English is not my first language and so I do not claim to have corrected every mistake yet. If there are any inconsistencies in this story, let me know and I will correct them.
Chapter 1: The return to Pandora
A year had passed since the defeat of the invading machines on Pandora. The RDA had sent them in 2154, in response to the forced retreat of the human expedition. At that time, the primary goal had been to keep its investors and shareholders pleased. The killing of indigenous life forms was considered unfortunate, but it would have been necessary to ultimately pave the way for a new human expedition to Pandora. However, the RDA had never gotten the chance to organize something like this, because soon after the interstellar vehicle had left Earth, the details of the mission had been leaked to the public. The result was that its company shares had dropped significantly. The main reason for this was not that they had planned to murder the indigenous people. The real reason was that RDA had put their trust in aggressive artificially intelligent machines, which were known to have been involved in the killing of innocent humans and a subsequent government cover-up.
However, this scandal had not stopped humanity as a whole from returning to Pandora. It had become clear that the unobtanium was more than just a way to make profit; it had become vital for the future of humanity. Right now, an interstellar vehicle was entering orbit around Pandora. It did no longer have RDA logos painted on its hull. These had been replaced by logos that consisted of a white circle with a black dot in the middle, which was surrounded by black lightning sparks. The vehicle had been renamed ISV Scouter. It transported two modernized shuttles, and a few orbital cargo containers. Even before it had stabilized its orbit, one of the shuttles was released and promptly fired its engines. Minutes later, it began to enter the atmosphere of Pandora.
Inside the main loading area of the shuttle, a team of twelve soldiers was waiting to begin their mission. Their uniforms reminded of those used by the SecOps of the RDA. However, they were not associated with either of these organizations. They belonged to the organization simply known as the Tempest. While strapped into their seats, most of them were just doing their own thing for as far as they could, with an old school rock 'n roll song playing in the background. Major Lockwood was reading a book and scratching his bald head. Two others were bickering like an old married couple. The first one was called Ralf, who was a stocky and short individual. The other one was called Charlie, who had a gaunt face and sunken eyes. He was trying to impress and amuse Ralf by reciting some of the urban legends he had heard about their Leader Wilhelm Torr. Ralf always had the tendency to criticize and ridicule whatever Charlie bragged about.
According to Charlie, something had happened on one of the occasions that Wilhelm had been invited to a dinner party with various senators and other politicians. While they were enjoying the party, they were interrupted by a cowardly eco-terrorist who had apparently gotten past security, and who claimed to have placed a bomb somewhere in the building. When Wilhelm got up from the table to teach him a lesson, the eco-terrorist realized who he was dealing with, and quickly ran for the door. Wilhelm, of course, pursued him. In a panic, the terrorist foolishly fled to the roof of the building. Naturally, Wilhelm could corner him there. When Wilhelm ripped off his own shirt to show his muscled physique, this was enough to intimidate the terrorist into surrendering. However, when Wilhelm grabbed him by his jacket collar to take him to security, the terrorist tore off Wilhelm's black armband with the Tempest logo. The terrorist thought he had the last laugh by dishonoring Wilhelm like this, but he was surprised to find a tattoo of the Tempest logo underneath it. With the look of disbelief still on the terrorist's face, Wilhelm simply punched him in the stomach, which caused him to fall down unconscious. After this incident, all security personnel assigned to politicians was replaced with personnel of the Tempest.
When Charlie finished the story, Ralf pointed out that he didn't mention what happened to the bomb. Charlie then insisted that the bomb was merely a bluff of the cowardly terrorist, but Ralf believed he was simply making up shit as he went along. When Charlie refused to acknowledge this, the two of them started throwing insults at each other, until Charlie was hit in the face by a book. Everyone suddenly stopped talking. Major Lockwood was the one who had thrown it and he was now eyeing them both like he was about to kill them. He did not say a single word. Luckily for them, at that instant the jump light turned from red to yellow, indicating that they had to begin their mission.
The music was immediately switched off. All soldiers unbuckled themselves from their seats, put on their breathing masks and began preparing the rest of their equipment. Soon, they were all lined up and ready to jump. Major Lockwood would be the first one to step out of the shuttle and now reminded his soldiers that they had to land on the target area. If they didn't manage to do this, they would be on their own for at least several hours, possibly even days. He then tapped few buttons on the miniature control panel on his wrist, and the cargo bay door promptly opened itself. The air inside the cargo bay was instantly replaced with the air of Pandora. The major now had a magnificent view of the Hallelujah Mountains region, but he did care how it looked. The only thing that was on his mind right now was the mission. It was crucial for the future of humanity.
The instant the light turned green, the major jumped from the shuttle. The others quickly followed, one at a time. After having jumped, each of them opened their parachutes at a certain altitude. All of the soldiers looked like they were well trained and knew how to handle themselves, even Ralf and Charlie, despite their earlier unprofessional bickering. Without much effort, all twelve of them landed on the target area, which was one of the floating rocks. Major Lockwood then reminded them via the intercom that they should only engage Pandoran creatures if they posed a threat to the mission. This was a direct order from the Leader. Both Ralf and Charlie were eager for some action however. Charlie loaded a magazine with depleted Uranium rounds into his sniper rifle, while Ralf attached a belt of ammo to his portable minigun.
Some of the soldiers didn't carry heavy weaponry in their backpacks. Instead, they carried a wide variety of tools and components. A team of four soldiers now began assembling some sort of device out of the components, which was completed only minutes later. With his specialized scanner, major Lockwood had already located the exact area they had to use it on. While they moved the device into place, the rest of the soldiers kept an eye on the surrounding environment. So far, no direct threats had been detected. Once activated, the device used its miniature tank threads to crawl over the ground. It made the same wide circle several times, until, the entire floating rock started shaking. A cone shaped rock with a length of five meters began to emerge. It had been cut free by the device using a high energy laser. Since the cone contained a higher concentration of unobtanium than the rest of the floating rock on which the team had landed, it had the tendency to drift upwards. Before it could float too far away, however, a net was thrown over it. Once the cone had been tethered to the rest of the rock, it was fitted with a proper harness to airlift it away, while major Lockwood contacted the shuttle.
Before the shuttle had returned to pick up the cone, a flock of banshees had drawn nearer. If they would get too close, they could pick up members of the team and throw them off the rock. Using his scope, Charlie confirmed that they were wild banshees without any Na'vi riders. Major Lockwood gave permission to engage them. Ralf's smile widened and he admitted that he was curious to see how almost seven years of being frozen had affected his accuracy. But Charlie's weapon had a far longer range, and thus he was the first one to fire a shot. One of the banshees was hit near the neck and it immediately began to panic. Charlie complemented himself on the fact that the first shot he had fired in seven years was a direct hit. But Ralf considered him a cheater. According to him, a sniper rifle was only for pussies. It would take a real man to accurately fire a minigun. This remark earned him a sarcastic response from Charlie that Ralf could indeed hit his target about ten times if he fired a thousand rounds with that thing. Ralf's only response to this was some unintelligible muttering. He then proceeded to fire three short bursts, followed by a long burst that completely ripped through one of the banshees. After this, he made a remark that he did indeed need more rounds, but at least he managed to kill his target swiftly, instead of just wounding it and attracting its attention. Charlie now intended to finish off the banshee he had hit in the neck, firing three more times. He too managed to bring his target down. The two of them did not stop until all the banshees of the flock were killed.
A few minutes later, the shuttle returned. The surrounding sky was free from any threats, so it was safe for the shuttle to hover over the floating rock. The harness of the cone was then attached to the steel cable of the shuttle's lifting mechanism, which had been specifically installed for this mission. Soon, the cone had been lifted into the cargo bay of the shuttle. The soldiers and the equipment were the next priority. Less than a minute later, the cargo bay door was closed and the shuttle resumed its course. It returned to space again, without even having landed on Pandora. Once in orbit, it docked again with the ISV Scouter. All they had to do now was to wait for the rest of the fleet to arrive.
Two days later, six more interstellar vehicles arrived from deep space. The first one to arrive was the ISV Provider, which primarily transported personnel and the most important colonization materials. It was followed by the ISV Protector with its containers filled with defensive weaponry and equipment. The ISV Conqueror was the third to arrive. It transported additional personnel and weapons. Not long after, the ISV Tractor arrived. It was a heavily modified ISV which was designed to tow a large space station. Once the vehicle had stabilized its orbit, the space station was released to orbit Pandora on its own. The fifth to arrive was the ISV Refiner, which was also heavily modified. It had an onboard unobtanium refinery, which was designed to work in space. When it arrived, the shuttle containing the unobtanium cone immediately left the ISV Scouter to dock with it. The last one to arrive was the ISV White Walrus, which was named after the nickname of the Leader of the Tempest, Wilhelm Torr. It transported the Leader himself, as well as the other commanders and the council of the United Nations.
Hours later, the shuttle transporting the now refined cone undocked with the ISV Refiner and headed for the large space station. The station had begun revolving around one axis to create artificial gravity. It had also begun expanding its solar panels and mirrors. When everything had been expanded, it looked like a giant rotating Tempest logo if viewed from certain angles. Once the shuttle had docked with it, the next phase could begin.
The ISV's now began releasing their shuttles and containers. Most of the containers were essentially single-use reentry craft, which were piloted manually by humans. Their goal was to land near the site of Hell's Gate to provide all materials and equipment required to set up a new permanent base on Pandora. In contrast, the shuttles mostly carried personnel and provisions and were designed to be reusable.
The old base of Hell's Gate was deserted and destroyed, which the Tempest had expected. However, the analysts aboard the space station had already determined that the structural layout of the base had been modified, most likely by the artificially intelligent machines the RDA had sent. The machines themselves did not appear to inhabit it anymore, though. Nevertheless, as a safety precaution, the detonation signal for the explosives installed in the A.I. mainframe was sent. At least the RDA had been smart enough to include this safety measure in case the machines were still active when humanity would return. Without the mainframe, the individual machines would be relatively helpless, according to old reports.
The numerous landing containers and shuttles soon attracted the attention of nearby Na'vi clans. However, a defensive perimeter was quickly set up, as well as an audio broadcast system. The voice of the Leader now sounded through the speakers. It was a prerecorded message that was intended to inform the Na'vi that they came in peace and that they were willing to set up a truce with them. To discuss the terms, they were instructed to send their representatives to a designated area outside of the defensive perimeter, where representatives of the Tempest were willing to receive them. The message was broadcasted in both the English language as well as the Na'vi language, which the Leader also appeared to speak fluently.
Around this time, the personal shuttle of the Leader finally landed in the middle of the area surrounded by the perimeter. Major Lockwood was waiting outside of it to welcome him. When the door opened, six of Wilhelm's elite guards emerged first, after which the man himself became visible. Major Lockwood kneeled before him. Wilhelm towered over of his troops with his impressive height of around 2.20 meters. He was dressed in a beige uniform with a cape. Around his left arm, he wore a black armband with the Tempest logo. Unlike his elite guards, he had a face mask that showed his face very clearly. It was somewhat scarred, but his facial features were still very recognizable. His eyes were bright blue and he had a large and bushy white-haired mustache. His nickname "White Walrus" fitted him well. Despite the fact that he was only in his late fifties, he needed a staff for support while walking. The staff was decorated only with a silver and black emblem of the Tempest on top of it.
Wilhelm now addressed the major with his first name Vincent and gave him permission to stand up. The two of them walked side by side, as Vincent informed his Leader of the progress they were making. Wilhelm was pleased to know that everything was proceeding as scheduled. He then praised Vincent for his results, especially the quick retrieval of the unobtanium cone. Prior to landing, he had been informed by commander Nitschke that the TS-1 orbital weapon system was now fully operational…