Prologue and Chapter One
I hold no rights over any copyrighted material. All characters and creations belong to their original owners. The fandoms that I am using are: Avatar, and Doctor Who.
The story is not
written in play or screenplay format. The transcript format in the prologue is supposed to be one of those Jake Sully speaking to the camera things they do in the Avatar movie. The rest of the story takes place after Avatar ends. So keep reading past the prologue!!!!
--000--PrologueRDA Archives: Transcript from the Mining Colony on Pandora, 2154.
Jake Sully: There was a festival today, something to do with the celebration of life. Neytiri told me they do this every year. She said they celebrate the fact that they are free and have always been free, and that they don't have to hide the way they did during the Days of Necholod.
I asked her what the Days of Necholod were, but she just gave me that look she always does, you know, when I've said something really stupid. Apparently, there never were any 'Days of Necholod'. That was the reason they were celebrating.
They spent most of the day singing songs and telling stories. They call them the "Songs of Never", because the events they discuss never really happened. There are the songs the kids like—those are the ones about evil demons falling from the sky, trying to destroy all life using dark magic. The kids all joined in. Every time the demons used their evil magic, the kids would all shout, "Scar! Scar!"
Grace Augustine: Ska'a. It means destroy, or wipe out.
Jake Sully: Yeah. That's the word. Ska'a. There was a lot about ska'a. I think the demons came from Ska'a. Or somewhere that sounds like that, at any rate.
There was this other word that kept coming up. I don't know what it means, but it seemed really important. Krrtiranyu. Any idea?
Grace Augustine: It's got to mean something like "Time Walker", but I don't have any idea what that could refer to.
Jake Sully: I don't know. I asked Neytiri, but she said it was hard to explain. She said I wouldn't understand even if she told me. This krrtiranyu thing came up in almost every one of the stories, though. All the older kids are expected to know about it. I asked why, but of course, it's obvious why. It's sacred to Eywa. I mean, I probably should have guessed that.
At the end of the day, I asked Neytiri why they would tell stories about things that never happened. She said the events might not have happened, but they are a part of Eywa, and that makes them real. I think maybe it's some kind of moral tale, to try to teach the kids respect for nature. I asked Neytiri if that was what she meant, but she looked at me like I was an idiot, and said she'd meant exactly what she'd said.
I learned one of the Songs of Never—one of the ones about this krrtiranyu. I wrote it down on this paper, here, hoping that I'd be able to work out a translation later. If I work it out, maybe I can see how to get the Na'vi to leave Hometree, but I don't know. I'm starting to wonder if there isn't something deeper to all this. Something we can't even begin to understand.
--000--Chapter OnePandora, 2155. One year after the destruction of Hometree.
It was Norm who first informed them of the approaching ship. "It doesn't even make sense," said Norm. "It takes at least five years to even get a signal back to Earth. They shouldn't even know they need military backup for another four years."
"Which means these guys don't know that things have changed," said Jake Sully. "That'll make things easy for us. We'll let them know things are different—that the company's bankrupt and they're not getting paid—and they'll probably just turn around and leave without giving us any trouble."
"I told them that when they established radio contact a few minutes ago," said Norm. "They informed me that they were aware of the current situation, and that they requested our immediate surrender. Apparently, the RDA is determined to squeeze every penny out of a bad situation."
Jake Sully swished his tail around, the way he always did now when he was irritated. Because he had only acquired the tail a year ago, the action often caused more chaos than it was worth, but he still liked doing it. It reminded him that he was different now, and that he had a new life and a new purpose.
"Right," he said. "I'll round up the others. We'll be on high alert. When are they scheduled to touch down?"
"I have no idea," said Norm. "The ship has some complicated cloaking device that I can't make heads or tails of. If they hadn't radioed in ahead of time, I'd never have known they were there at all."
Jake felt his head spinning. "But that means…"
"Yeah," said Norm. "They might be here already."
Those words echoed through Jake's head during his flight back to Fe'nantang, his new home. With Hometree gone, the Omaticaya clan had resettled around the Hallelujah Mountains, and as he guided the Turok around the floating landscapes, he wondered if he'd ever be able to make this journey without smelling the sulfur and fire and death of the battle he had fought here.
Neytiri ran over to him before he had even landed, and before he could open his mouth to tell her what Norm had said, she gave voice to all of his worst fears.
"There's been a sighting," Neytiri told him. "An unknown tawtute in the forests by the remains of Hometree."
Jake's eyes went wide. So much for the last shred of hope that he could talk these guys around. There was only one reason for an unknown human to be wandering around that area of the forest, and it wasn't to study the local wildlife.
"Norm was right," said Jake. "They really have come back to pick up where they left off."
He dismounted and turned to Neytiri. "Summon the others," he said. "It's time to drive these humans out just like we did before."
But of course, things were never that simple. Not on Pandora.
The scout pointed over to the abandoned schoolhouse. "He went in there," the scout told Jake, "but he's been wandering around the forest for about a half a day now. I'm not sure why the animals haven't attacked him yet—they've been circling him since he arrived."
Neytiri peered in through the window, and made a face. "He doesn't look like a tawtute," she said. "He doesn't have…" she touched the area around the edges of her face, miming the exopacks that humans required to breathe whenever they ventured onto the surface of Pandora.
"That's not usually what humans look like," said Jake. "Norm said they had some fancy new space ship—maybe they brought different kinds of exopacks, too." He joined Neytiri by the window and looked inside.
The man was definitely human. Pink skin, no tail, probably tallish by human standards (although short compared to the Na'vi), very thin, dressed in a brown pinstripe suit, a long, tan trench coat, and red sneakers. Nothing terribly remarkable about this particular human either—he was youngish, with spiky brown hair and a rather boyish face, and, at the moment, a pair of black glasses perched on his nose. No weapons that Jake could see (although that didn't mean anything), but Jake figured he could take him in a fight. Hell, Jake figured he could have taken the guy down in a fight even back when he was in the wheelchair.
No exopack, though—not in any way, shape, or form. Nothing to even indicate that he had an exopack on his person, either. The suit was tight fitting; there weren't a whole lot of places he'd be able to hide it. And technology couldn't have changed that much since the last time Jake had been on Earth.
In retrospect, that should have been the first warning sign.
Jake raised the gun he'd taken with him, and gestured for the others to follow him into the schoolroom. They weren't being stealthy or cautious about their advance, and with the amount of noise that they were making, Jake had assumed that the man would swing around, brandishing a sidearm. But the man didn't turn around. In fact, he didn't seem to notice that they were in the room at all. He just stood beside a table, flipping through a picture book as if he hadn't a care in the world.
After a minute of waiting for a reaction that was never coming, Jake cocked the gun. "Hey you," he said. "Hands up and turn around slowly."
The man didn't put his hands up. He just dropped the book back onto the table, took off his spectacles, and turned around, a charming smile on his face. "Hope you don't mind, just popped in to…" the man said, but he trailed off as his eyes landed on Jake's gun. He raised one eyebrow. "Now, that's definitely not right," he said. He stuck his hands in his pockets. "That actually work?"
Jake waved the gun in a vaguely threatening way, but the man seemed no less fearful than he had been when he was reading that picture book—the Three Little Pigs? Jake cleared his throat. "It can still blow off your head if you don't cooperate," he snapped. "Hands up. Now!"
The man gave a small, annoyed sigh, and put his hands up in the official gesture of surrender. Jake felt a little bit better.
"Now, what are you doing on Pandora?" he demanded.
"Pandora?" the man asked.
"Yeah, Pandora," said Jake. "You know. The planet you're on? Pandora?"
If anything, this pronouncement seemed to make the stranger even more annoyed than before. His eyes darted over to the Na'vi who were congregating behind Jake. He gave them a sideways smile, and pointed at Jake.
"Bit thick, this one. Isn't he?" the man said, in fluent Na'vi.
Neytiri's eyes grew wide. Jake's jaw dropped. Judging by the silence that pervaded the room, the others were similarly flummoxed.
And then everything seemed to happen all at once.
Neytiri cried out. Jake spun around, just in time to see one of the younger Na'vi loose an arrow from his bow—probably more from fear of the unknown than from any coherent thought. The arrow whizzed past Jake's arm, heading straight for the stranger's heart, and at this range, there was no way the man would be able to duck in time.
And then there was a crash, and the splintering of wood, and Jake was thrown to the ground with a force that took the breath right out of his lungs. He turned around, gasping, and then blinked. A large tree branch had fallen through the roof, splitting the schoolhouse in half and landing only a foot away from Jake. The arrow that had been headed for the man's chest was imbedded in the fallen tree branch.
That man must have the luck of the devil.
"He's gone," said Neytiri, dragging Jake to his feet. "The tawtute! He's run off." She didn't have to tell Jake what that meant. He knew exactly what that meant. The man would find the others in his party and warn them. Jake cursed. He'd been hoping to use the man as a hostage, maybe figure out some way to broker an agreement and avoid the upcoming battle. But without the man, there was little hope left.
"Split up," he told the others. "Find him!"
And they did, darting into the trees as swiftly and gracefully as they had the first time Jake had seen them. Jake got up from the floor, and looked for Neytiri, but it seemed that she, like the others, had gone off in pursuit of the unknown human. He went over to the tree branch, staring at it. It was so completely improbable that it would just happen to snap at that moment…
But Neytiri had told him at least a thousand times that Eywa didn't work like that. She didn't take sides, didn't rock the boat. She had only intervened once that Jake knew of, and that had been when the entire planet was at stake.
A flash of tan distracted him. Jake's head shot up, and he caught a glimpse of a tan trench coat darting through the forest. Jake left the schoolroom, and immediately started running after it, but it disappeared. Then he saw it again, out of the corner of his eye, and kept running. Jake chased the guy, as best he could, through the forest. Normal human guy like that — Jake wasn't really sure why the guy kept outrunning him. He stopped, looked around. He'd lost him again. Damn. But, no, wait, there he was again, that tan trench coat, darting across a tree trunk which spanned a violent river.
Jake ran to the river, his feet pounding on the tree trunk, when he slipped, and realized that there was no possible way he could catch himself in time. The gun fell from his hands and landed in the water below. He felt the rush of wind around his ears, and prayed the water was deep enough that his injuries wouldn't be too bad, and even though he knew it was futile, he reached out to grab at the air in some vain hope that he'd find a vine or branch that he could hang on to. And then his hand caught on something. He clutched at it, as he felt himself stop falling.
It was another hand. A human hand.
He looked up, and found himself staring into the deep brown eyes of the man he had been chasing. This man—this skinny, insignificant human man—was somehow managing to support his weight without breaking a sweat.
"Up you come," he said, in his cheerful, British sounding voice. "Sure you can find some leverage, what with that big tail of yours. Blimey, they didn't half splice you up, did they? Didn't even think to link the alternate potentiality vectors, makes you a bit fuzzy round the edges. Bet she'll love it, though. New challenge. Always loves a challenge, clever young thing like her."
Slowly, with the help of Jake's tail, the man managed to lever Jake up onto the tree trunk, where Jake nearly toppled over again, but caught himself just in time.
"Woah!" said the man. "Easy does it. One step at a time. You'll be paralyzed from the waist down if you keep this up."
Jake stared at the man as the two made it to the other side of the river. He felt his breath coming more rapidly than before. "What… how… who…?" he asked, raising his hands in the air. He swallowed, then tried again. "It's not that easy to kill a Na'vi, you know," he blurted, before he had time to think.
The man quirked an eyebrow at him. "I know," he said. "What makes you think I want to kill you?"
Jake spluttered for an answer, but couldn't work out how to vocalize one. It was something about the man's eyes, something that made Jake want to cower in fear. He could see so much death in those eyes, so much darkness.
"Do you often feel like people are trying to kill you?" the strange man asked. "Is this persecution complex a recent phenomena or just since you got that new body?" He gave a sudden grin. "Humans. Basic double helix DNA, about 2.6 nanometers wide, based on alternating phosphate and sugar residues. Four bases: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, following a basic three dimensional structure across one potential reality vector. Bit of a challenge, working out how to gain that molecular resonance thing you have going in the native life forms, but, well…" He trailed off, the lightness draining from his face. "War's over, at any rate," he muttered. He paused, letting the wind run through his hair, rustling the leaves on the trees surrounding them. Then, out of nowhere, the man laughed—a light, musical sort of laughter, and all his darkness vanished. "Oi, cheeky, that's what you are."
Jake looked around, trying to work out who the guy was talking to. Of course, he might just be talking into some sort of hidden radio, but why would human genetics be important to a group of soldiers? And what did he mean, the war was over? Had Earth been involved in some war he didn't know about while he'd been away? Or had these soldiers already begun their attack somewhere else on the planet, and believed the hard part was over?
"What war?" asked Jake, trying to keep the anxiety out of his voice.
The man examined him carefully, and there was something ancient in those brown eyes, now, something very old and very sad and oh, so dangerous. Jake caught himself shuddering. Then the man beamed, and offered his hand. "Hello," he said. "I'm the Doctor."
Right. 'The Doctor'. Codename, perhaps? Some special agent? Maybe the result of a genetic experiment to create a human who could breathe the air on Pandora? Jake shook the hand with trepidation. "Jake," he said. "Jake Sully."
"Nice to meet you, Jake Sully," said the Doctor. He nodded at someone over Jake's shoulder. "And who's your friend?"
Jake looked behind him as Neytiri stepped out of the bushes, a bow and arrow in her hands. She was staring at the Doctor with a look of anger on her face, and a clear threat in her eyes.
"Neytiri?" he asked. "What are you doing here?"
Neytiri glared at the Doctor. "He is like the Turok," she said. "I've seen what he has been doing to you."
"No," Jake protested. "I was chasing him. I just sort of slipped, and he…"
"I saw," said Neytiri, drawing her bow up and pointing an arrow at the Doctor. "I saw him run ahead and wait for you to catch up. He drew you away from the others the way a hunter draws an animal from its herd."
"Oh, brilliant," said the Doctor. "Agile, harmonically balanced, and clever to boot. Oh, well done. Very well done."
A woodsprite glided along the wind, its glowing pink tendrils pulsing in the breeze, as it drifted towards the small group. Jake remembered when he had first encountered these woodsprites, back when Neytiri first found him. He remembered how they had surrounded him, covering him from head to foot, a sign that Eywa had favored him.
The passing woodsprite landed briefly on the Doctor's shoulder, and the Doctor gave it a gentle pat. "Don't let it get to your head," he admonished, brushing it away.
The gesture made Neytiri almost growl with anger, and she advanced on him, brandishing the bow in much the same way that Jake had his gun. And just as before, the Doctor didn't seem in the least bit afraid.
"You breathe the air," said Neytiri. "You can outrun a full grown Leytrinsi. You caught Jakesully as if he weighed nothing." She scowled at him. "A tawtute cannot do these things!" she shouted.
"You're right," said the Doctor. "They can't."
Neytiri faltered at this. She let the tension in the bow relax, as her hand dropped to her side. "You…" she said. "You're not…"
The Doctor gave her a smile—a real, genuine smile, a smile that was warm and gentle, like the sun drifting amongst the clouds. "No," he told her. "I'm not."
"He must be some sort of experiment," Jake said. "Or a mutant or something."
The Doctor gave an exasperated sigh. "Oh yes," he said. "Definitely thick." He looked Jake over again, as if trying to dissect him with his eyes. "I can't imagine what she sees in you."
"I have lots of good qualities, I'll have you know," said Jake. Then, after seeing Neytiri's offended countenance, he added, "and she
has a name, you know."
"Yes, she does," said the Doctor. "And that name is Eywa, not Pandora. Try to get it right."