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The Destruction of Hometree

Assault on the Tree of Souls
SamsonScorpion.jpg
Conflict:

Pandoran War

Date:

August 22, 2154

Place:
Outcome:
Belligerents
  • 15 Na'vi clans
  • Pandoran wildlife
Commanders
Strength
Casualties
  • Many Na'vi warriors
  • Many ikran and direhorses
  • 1 Samson (Trudy's)
  • 1 thanator
  • Trudy Chacon
  • Tsu'tey
  • Seze
  • 1 Valkyrie shuttle
  • 1 Dragon Assault Ship
  • Nearly all Samson and Scorpion aircraft
  • Most, if not all, AMPs
  • Majority of ground units
  • Miles Quaritch
  • Lyle Wainfleet
  [Source]

The Assault on the Tree of Souls was a pitched battle that occurred on Pandora on August 22, 2154, and was the final major confrontation in the escalating conflicts between the human mercenaries serving the Resources Development Administration (RDA), and the allied forces of the indigenous Na'vi clans. It started as an attempted preemptive strike by RDA's SecOps forces led by Col. Miles Quaritch to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, in response to the rapidly growing Na'vi military presence led by the newly ascended sixth Toruk Makto, the rogue avatar driver Jake Sully, who had in a matter of days recruited over 2,000 warriors from fifteen different Na'vi clans to fight the RDA. Sully was informed about Quaritch's plan of assault by a sympathizer he left behind inside the RDA, and the Na'vi alliance set up an amphibious ambush in the floating Hallelujah Mountains and the jungles below to intercept the RDA forces.

Although the RDA's superior firepower initially routed the much larger Na'vi forces with ease, the unexpected intervention of Pandora's ferocious wildlife quickly turned the tide against them. The humans were overwhelmed and suffered heavy casualties, forcing the survivors to retreat to Hell's Gate. The Na'vi quickly reorganized their offensives and forcing the human headquarter to surrender, resulting in the forced withdrawal of all remaining RDA colonists from Pandora.

Prelude to the battle[]

The RDA attacks Hometree

Following his failed attempt to prevent the destruction of the Omaticayan Hometree, Jake Sully, with the assistance of pilot Trudy Chacon, escaped from Hell's Gate along with Grace Augustine and Norm Spellman. They relocated the Site 26 link shack to near the Tree of Souls. Using his avatar to accomplish tsaheylu with a great leonopteryx, Jake became the sixth Toruk Makto and consequently regained the trust of the Omaticaya clan. He asked the clan's members, who had taken refuge at the Tree of Souls, if they could save Grace, who was dying from a fatal gunshot wound sustained during their escape. The Omaticaya people attempted to perform an emergency consciousness transfer on Grace, but she succumbed to her wounds before the ritual could be completed. Before Grace died, she told Jake that she was with Eywa.

Enraged by the death of Grace and the brutality of the RDA, Jake convinced the Omaticaya to fight back against the humans in defense of their culture. Jake then sent them to liaise and recruit warriors from all other Na'vi clans across Pandora to wage war on the RDA.

Within just days Jake had amassed an allied force of over 2,000 Na'vi warriors outside of Hell's Gate — an action that did not go unnoticed by Colonel Quaritch, as RDA satellites noted the activity with growing concern. Quaritch quickly devised a pre-emptive strike to eliminate the threat and deter any future Na'vi resistance. This plan involved rigging a civilian Valkyrie shuttle with improvised daisy cutters made from pallets of mining explosives, to be dropped as cluster bombs on the Tree of Souls. Quaritch expected this demonstration of the RDA's power would dissuade the natives from further resistance. A full mobilization was then ordered across Hell's Gate.

Warned of Quaritch's war plans by Max Patel, Jake prepared to intercept the RDA airfleet with an ambush at the Hallelujah Mountains, where the strong magnetic vortices among the floating mountains would interfere with radar scanning and render auto-targeting ineffective, as well as the dangers of manual flying in an unfamiliar environment. The Na'vi warrior would also have the advantage of agility, superior numbers and the element of surprise.

The night before the battle, Jake approached the Tree of Souls to plead with Eywa for help, asking her to examine Grace's memories for the polluted urbanized Earth in order to understand what the RDA mining would do to Pandora. However, he was told by Neytiri that Eywa only assists in the balance of life on Pandora and is unlikely to intervene.

The Battle[]

Initial ambush[]

Na'vi cavalry (Akwey)

Quaritch's air fleet arrived near the Tree of Souls in the early morning, centered around the Valkyrie shuttle which was loaded with improvised cluster explosives and had Hydra machine gun emplacements on both the ramp and the roof. Escorting the vulnerable space shuttle were a large squadron of Scorpion gunships led by Quaritch's Dragon Assault Ship (with Quaritch personally overseeing the operation), complemented by dozens of Samson transports armed with door guns and missiles. When came within four kilometers of the Tree of Souls, Quaritch had his Dragon and the Valkyrie deploy ground forces into the forest, which consisted of over a dozen AMP suits accompanied by a few hundred infantrymen dropped off by the Samsons and the Valkyrie.

Jake, driving his avatar remotely from the relocated Site 26 link shack, rode his great leonopteryx and commanded the Na'vi aerial forces (made up of hundreds of ikran riders on mountain banshees) along with Neytiri and Tsu'tey. The ikran riders hid among the higher cliffsides of the Hallelujah Mountains and waited for the RDA air fleet to arrive. When the RDA fleet came into view, Jake ordered his riders to start diving and attack from above, with himself serving as a spearhead firing a machine gun from atop his leonopteryx, while other Na'vi riders followed to tear through the RDA fleet by surprise. At the same time, hundreds of Na'vi direhorse riders mounted a frontal forest charge against the RDA ground forces, with Norm's avatar riding alongside them with a machine gun.

The Na'vi cavalry assault turned out to be a disaster. The AMP suits' radars detected ground movements when Na'vi approached within 500 meters, and the RDA infantry and AMP suits quickly formed firing lines to unleash a devastating hail of fire towards the incoming Na'vi warriors. Although the direhorse riders managed to pick off several individual human infantrymen with their battle arrows, the combined rapid firepower from the AMP autocannons and infantry small arms soon slowed down their momentum. The Na'vi charge soon collapsed into disarray when Scorpion Gunships arrived to provide air support. Norm's avatar was shot during the chaotic retreat, causing him to severe the avatar link in pain. He abandoned the Site 26 cabin and fled into the forest on foot carrying nothing but an exopack.

3D Version: red/cyancross-eyedNeytiri attacking humans in the air

Despite the Na'vi aerial forces having some initial success in destroying several RDA aircraft - primarily due to the element of surprise - they also quickly succumbed to the SecOps' superior firepower. The RDA Scorpions, despite being put at a disadvantage thanks to the flux vortex, were still effective in pursuing the ikran riders with machine guns and rockets, while Samsons and SecOps troops aboard the Valkyrie acted as aerial gun platforms. Sully's great leonopteryx was targeted specifically by Quaritch's Dragon Assault Ship, and was saved only by the brave actions of Trudy Chacon, who drew the Dragon's fire with her rogue Samson using the floating mountains as cover. However her Samson was no match for the heavily armed Dragon. Just after a few exchanges of fire, it was damaged and destroyed. Tsu'tey made a valiant effort to halt the Valkyrie shuttle's bombing run, jumping off his ikran to board the shuttle's loading ramp and managing to kill several SecOps soldiers before being shot repeatedly and falling to the forest canopy below. Neytiri was also fired upon and pursued through the forest by a hostile Samson, and was shot down by ground fire from an AMP suit controlled by Lyle Wainfleet, sending her crashing hard into the ground. With her ikran dead, she found herself trapped right in the path of the advancing RDA ground troops with no way of escape.

As the battle seemingly turned in the RDA's full favor, Quaritch ordered the Valkyrie to proceed with its bombing run.

Eywa Intervenes[]

Neytiri is saved by titanotheres

Neytiri, now surrounded by advancing RDA troops, prepared to make her final stand, though Jake, flying high above, begged her not to. Seconds before she was about to give away her position by shooting arrows, the ground began shaking. Wainfleet, detecting large movement ahead of him, ordered the RDA ground forces to halt and regroup, not long before he and his men were caught completely off-guard by the unexpected appearance of herds of hammerhead titanothere and sturmbeest charging directly at their lines. Firing in futility at the creatures' immensely thick frontal armor, Wainfleet and the other AMP operators were wiped out by the ferocious stampede, while the surviving human infantry were routed, pursued and torn apart by rampaging viperwolves. Still shocked, Neytiri realized that Eywa had heard Jake's prayer at the Tree of Souls and had summoned the Pandoran wildlife to aid the Na'vi. Suddenly a lone thanator emerged, startling her but did not attack her, and instead offered itself to her as a mount.

Jake Sully leaps onto his toruk after throwing a grenade into the Valkyrie's air duct

Simultaneously, the RDA air fleet was overwhelmed by thousands of wild banshees, which destroyed most of the human aircraft escorts and forced the survivors to flee. Some RDA aircraft were boarded by the creature, causing the surviving troops to panic. An embittered Quaritch ordered the Valkyrie shuttle to press on towards the target, hoping to still destroy the Tree of Souls despite the horrific losses. As the shuttle prepared to start its bombing run, Jake jumped onto its hull, mowed down the crew of the roof machinegun nest and threw a grenade into one of the air intakes, before leaping back onto his toruk. The grenade destroyed an engine, sending the shuttle spiraling into a nosedive towards the ground, where its explosive cargo detonated inside.

After destroying the Valkyrie, Jake attempted to destroy Quaritch's Dragon using the same tactic. However, Quaritch spotted Sully's riderless toruk, pulling the pilot's yoke to the side and rocking Sully off balance. One of his grenades bounced off the Dragon, but the other snagged and detonated on the hull, breeching it and exposing the crew to the toxic atmosphere. Sully, left hanging off a missile launcher, pulled off a missile from its rack and prepared to throw it into a rotor. Quaritch saw him, blew an escape hatch, and emerged onto the hull to shoot him off with his sidearm, but was too slow to save the ship. Despite being shot, Jake still managed to throw the missile into the rotor as he fell into the jungle below, giant canopies and vines breaking his fall, as the out-of-control Dragon floundered and spun groundwards. Quaritch, with his shoulder on fire, quickly entered his AMP suit and jumped out of the assault ship moments before it crashed onto the jungle floor, its unused ordnance detonated in the wreckage landing behind him.

Jake & Neytiri vs. Quaritch[]

3D Version: red/cyancross-eyedNeytiri protects Jake from Quaritch.

An enraged Quaritch pressed on in his AMP suit and searched the jungle, eventually finding the Site 26 link shack containing Jake's human body. As he prepared to fire upon it, Neytiri, riding the thanator, attacked him from behind, but Quaritch saw them through the rear mirror and evaded the pounce. They then struggled violently, and though Quaritch's primary weapon was broken, he managed to kill the thanator by viciously stabbing it in the chest with his AMP's combat knife, trapping Neytiri underneath the beast's corpse.

As Quaritch was just about to kill Neytiri, Jake arrived and the two fought, with Jake picking up and using the AMP's rifle bayonet to deflect Quaritch's knife blows. He eventually broke Quaritch's combat knife, and impaled the bayonet into the AMP's cockpit windshield. The shattered cockpit shield leaked air and interfered with Quaritch's vision, forcing him to don an exopack and eject the cover completely. Now fully exposed, Quaritch taunted Jake, and, with no weapons remaining, turned to attacked the link shack in order to make Jake "wake up". He smashed through the cabin window and crushed Norm's vacant link unit, exposing the human Jake to the deadly Pandoran atmosphere. The avatar Jake attacked Quaritch with his Pandoran dagger, narrowly missing the neck, but his avatar neural link started to black out as his human body began to suffocate from the air leak. Quaritch's AMP then pulled up the avatar Jake by his queue as Quaritch himself prepared to slice Jake's neck with Jake's own dagger, but Neytiri freed herself and shot Quaritch twice with poison arrows, killing him.

The human Jake could no longer maintain the avatar link and was force to exit his link unit, desperately reaching for an emergency exopack, but lost consciousness before he could grab it. Neytiri, still trying to wake up Jake's avatar, realized that Jake's human body was inside the link shack. She entered the cabin, found the paraplegic human Jake lying down unconscious on the floor, and put the exopack over his face. Jake began to regain consciousness and eventually woke to fully secure the exopack. Neytiri saw that he was alive, and as Jake said the traditional Na'vi greeting "I See you", she began to cry with joy and said the same in return. This was the first time she saw him in his much weaker human form.

Aftermath[]

3D Version: red/cyancross-eyedThe humans finally deported after the battle.

Following the decisive defeat of the SecOps, a mortally wounded Tsu'tey entrusted the Omaticaya leadership to Jake before dying, legitimizing him as the next Olo'eyktan.

The Hell's Gate facility, now lacking any fighting forces, was overrun by the triumphant Na'vi, and the remaining personnel surrendered unconditionally. Under Jake's supervision, the natives forced most of the remaining humans to leave the planet on the remaining Valkyrie shuttle, which presumably ferried them to the ISV Venture Star and taken back to Earth. A small number of human sympathizers from the Avatar Program, including Dr. Norm Spellman and Dr. Max Patel, were allowed to remain on Pandora.

Jake, feeling that the war is over and Toruk Makto was no longer needed, released his toruk into nature, before returning to the Tree of Souls, where the Omaticaya successfully performed a permanent consciousness transfer from his human body into his avatar body.

Gallery[]

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