The Northern Air Temple
Written By: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
Directed By: Dave Filoni
Storyboard By: Dave Filoni, Miyuki Hoshikawa, Justin Ridge, Ian Graham
Animation By: DR Movie
(Opening shot of the roof of a building, screen pans up to reveal a small group of people seated on benches. It is night. Aang, Katara and Sokka sit on the first bench to the left. Some children kneel on the ground in front of the benches. They are all listening to a man sitting in front of the fire that burns in the center of the gathering.)
Storyteller (from o.c. at first as the camera pans up): So travelers, the next time you think you hear a strange large bird talking, take a closer look, it might not be a giant parrot, but a flying man! A member of a secret group of air walkers who laugh at gravity and laugh at those bound to the earth by it!
(Cut to Aang, smiling.)
Aang: Aren't airbender stories the best?
Katara: Was it realistic? Was that how it was back then?
Aang: I laugh at gravity all the time. Haha! Gravity.
(Cut to a wider shot of the three on the bench. Suddenly a pair of hands holding an open hat appear in front of Sokka. The hands shake the hat and the jungle of coins is heard.)
Storyteller: Jingle, jingle!
(Sokka searches his coast, but when he opens his hands there is only some lint and a bug. The bugs legs wiggle a few times, accompanied by a sound effect. Cut to wide shot of the three seated on the log, the storyteller in front of them.)
Storyteller: Aww. Cheapskates!
(Aang runs over to the storyteller who is facing another audience member as he seeks more donations.)
Aang: Hey thanks for the story!
Storyteller (thrusting hat at Aang without looking at him): Tell it to the cap, boy!
(A copper piece falls on the ground, which Momo picks up and deposits in the cap. The storyteller pats Momo.)
Storyteller: Aw, much obliged little bat thing!
Aang (Momo climbing back up to his shoulder): It means a lot to hear airbender stories. It must have been hundred years ago your great grandpa met them.
Storyteller: What are you prattling about child? Great grand-pappy saw the air walkers last week!
(View slides over to a very old man who waves at Aang.)
Great Grand-Pappy: Heya!
(Cut to a daytime sky shot of clouds rushing by. The camera pans up to reveal Appa's underside, the sun above him as he flies. Cut to a side view as Appa flies just above puffy white clouds, snow capped mountains in the distance.)
Aang: Hey, we're almost at the Northern Air Temple! This is where they had the championships for sky bison polo.
Katara (sitting down next to Sokka): Do you think we'll really find airbenders?
Sokka (whittling): You want me to be like you, or totally honest?
Katara (folding her arms): Are you saying I'm a liar?
Sokka: I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing basically.
(Cut to Aang, looking ahead and smiling.)
Aang: Hey guys, look at this!
(Cut to shot just near Appa, who flies them all away from the camera towards what is obviously the Northern Air Temple. It sits atop a sheer peak similar to its sister temple down south. Unlike that temple, however, there are people or things flying around this one. Cut to a closer shot of the temple. Smoke rises in lazy pillars from a couple places among the spires. Around the temple fly many gliders. Cut back to Aang, Katara in the background. Aang's smile turns to a slight frown.)
Katara: Huh! They really are airbenders!
Aang (leaning back and folding his arms unhappily): No, they're not.
Sokka (appearing in the far background with Momo and pointing ahead): What do you mean they're not? Those guys are flying!
Aang (from o.c. as the camera returns to a shot of the temple and its gliders): Gliding maybe, but not flying. You can tell by the way they move. They're not airbending. Those people have no spirit.
(As he finishes, Katara and Sokka almost get their heads taken off by a glider as it passes over their heads. The glider pilot laughs. Cut to a close up of the glider. A teenage boy wearing amber goggles and seated in a glider built out of a wheelchair laughs and wheels his craft around for another pass at Appa. Cut back to the kids.)
Katara (pointing to the glider): I don't know, Aang. That kid seems pretty spirited!
(The wheelchair glider makes another pass. Aang looks at him and gets a competitive look on his face. He jumps into the air, unfolds his glider and takes off. The other gliders now fly in formation around Appa. Katara falls backward, crashing into Sokka.)
Sokka: We better find some solid ground before it finds us!
(Cut to Appa landing gracefully on one of the temple's outer terraces. Then cut back to the boy glider, still laughing. He soars upward, Aang coming into the frame beneath him, an unhappy expression on his face. Aang flies upward as well and comes up just behind the his target. Shift to an overhead shot of some Air Temple residents watching the game of "tag" going on in the sky from the terrace where Appa landed.)
Audience Member: Go Teo! Show that bald kid how it's done!
(Back in the sky, Aang continues the pursuit. Teo hits his brakes, loops backwards and ends us behind Aang. They twirl around each other in a controlled dive. Cut to a side view where it is clear that the gliders are neck and neck with each other.)
Teo: Hey there! You're pretty good.
Aang: Yeh, I know. But I can do more than fancy gliding!
(Aang breaks his descent, turns and shoots straight upward. He comes back to the one of temple's towers, let's go of his glider, and starts running along the side of the tower. Then he produces an air scooter, jumps on it and rides it along the outside wall of the tower, his glider still running along side of him. He lets the air scooter die and then jumps back on his glider and soars back into the sky. Cut back to Teo, who is impressed.)
Teo: Wow! I don't think I can do that! But here's a good one...
(He releases a cord on his glider and a cylinder on the back of his glider begins to leave a trail of thick grey smoke. Teo manipulates his glider through loops and arcs, leaving the grey trail behind him. Cut to a view from the audience down on the Air Temple terrace. Teo has made a picture of Aang's face, arrow and all, with a sour expression. The crowd laughs. Cut back to Aang on his glider, Teo coming up beside him.)
Teo: What do you think?
Aang (clearly not enthused): It's great.
(Aang lands next to Katara and Sokka, folding his glider. Teo lands his glider right behind, skidding only a bit before he applies his hand break and come to a stop. A bunch of kids come up and detach the glider from his wheelchair. He then wheels over to Aang and his friends.)
Teo: Hey! You're a REAL airbender! You must be the Avatar! That's amazing! I, I, I've heard stories about you.
Aang (looking embarrassed but happy): Thanks.
Sokka: Wow! This glider chair is incredible!
(Two girls bring the glider setup back for Sokka to inspect.)
Teo: If you think this is good, wait until you see the other stuff my Dad designed.
(He begins to wheel away, Sokka and the others following. Cut to an overhead shot of the three moving with their new friend through the huge main gate of the temple. Cut to a view from inside the entrance as the walk in. When they reach the main chamber, it is quite unlike that seen in "The Southern Air Temple." This room is dominated by a jumble of steam-powered machinery with many wheels, gears and pipes. It is not pretty. A beautiful statue of an airbender monk (who looks somewhat like Gyatso) is seen in a recessed portico in the wall, but it too seems dirty and befouled as does the rest of the room. Shafts of sunlight do filter in, but the steam and dust make it look shadowy.)
Sokka (running forward): Wow!
Teo (proudly): Yeh, my Dad is the mastermind behind this whole place! Everything's powered by hot air. It even pumps hot air currents outside to give us a lift when we're gliding.
(As he speaks a woman walks over to cage which she gets into. She pulls a rope and steam power lifts the cage up to a higher level where she exits.)
Aang: This place is unbelievable.
Teo: Yeh, it's great isn't it?
Aang: No, just unbelievable.
(Aang's walks out of the frame, clearly saddened by what he has seen.)
Katara: Aang used to come here a long time ago. I think he's a little shocked it's so... different.
Sokka: So better!
(Cut to Katara walking over to Aang in another part of the room. The Avatar is looking at a mural. Cut to the mural. It was surely once breathtakingly beautiful. Now, it is gritty and dirty. Worse, many of the figures and shapes in the mural have been destroyed since many pipes now and enter and exit the wall here.)
Aang (sadly from o.c. as the camera pans the mural): This is supposed to be the history of my people.
(Katara walks over and puts a hand on his shoulder, but he walks away over to a huge statue that once had a fountain attached to it. Now the fountain basin is full of green industrial looking effluence that bubbles and spirits. The statue then emits a cloud of black smoke from its mouth, scaring Aang. Katara comes up behind him.)
Aang (as the smoke erupts from the statue): Ugh!
Katara: I'm sure some parts of the temple are still the same.
(Fade to some time later where we see a long shot of the kids and Teo walking across a narrow, suspended pathway from the main temple to a satellite temple building. Cut the four now inside the satellite building. They are in the main courtyard, which looks untouched. Airbender statues still reside here.)
Aang: It's nice to see even one part of the temple that isn't ruined.
(Cut to Aang and Katara staring up at a huge recessed statue of an airbender monk. Suddenly, from o.c.)
Voice: Look out!
(The statue disintegrates as a wrecking ball smashes through it. Aang and Katara fall backward with flying debris and dust. Everyone coughs. As the dust settles, many figures can be seen through the hole the wrecking ball just created. One of them walks forward, a middle aged man with a bald head and weird, patches of pointy hair on either side of his head. His right eye has a red monocle. He wears a green tunic mostly covered by the white smock or apron of an artisan.)
The Mechanist: What the doodle! Don't you know enough to stay away from construction sites? We have to make room for the bathhouse!
Aang (assuming an airbending stance): Do you know what you did? You just destroyed something sacred! For a stupid bathhouse!
The Mechanist (waving a hand in front of nose suggestively): Well, people around here are starting to stink.
Aang (pointing at the Mechanist): This whole place stinks!
(Aang strikes the ground with his staff, sending a gale back through the hole in the wall. Cut to a long shot of the outside of the satellite temple building. The wrecking ball and its entire rig are blown off the building's rock foundation and falls into the crevices below. Cut to a shot from underneath the falling rig, where the rig seems to fall right into the camera. Fade to commercial break.)
(When the show returns, a brief opening shot of the temple's exterior, festooned with smoke, is replaced by a return to Aang's showdown with the Mechanist.)
Aang: This is a sacred temple! You can't treat it this way. I've seen it when the monks were here. I know what it's supposed to be like.
The Mechanist: The monks? But you're 12!
Teo: Dad, he's the Avatar. He used to come here a hundred years ago.
Aang (advancing on the Mechanist with each question): What are you doing? Who said you could be here?
The Mechanist (turning away): Hmmm... doing here... A long time ago, but not a hundred years, my people became refugees after a terrible flood (he gestures for effect to show the size of the flood, then stands behind his son's wheelchair). My infant son, Teo, was badly hurt and lost his mother. (Sniffling to hold back tears) I needed somewhere to rebuild and I stumbled across this place. Couldn't believe it! Everywhere pictures of flying people. But empty! Nobody home! Then I came across these fan like contraptions!
(He puts his hands out and extends his arms as if they were wings and makes flying motions across the courtyard for emphasis. He stops in front of Aang, who still looks angry.)
Aang: Our gliders.
The Mechanist: Yes, little light flying machines. They gave me an idea. Build a new life for my son, in the air! Then everyone would be on equal ground, so to speak! We're just in the process of improving upon what's already here and after all, isn't that what nature does?
(Cut back to Aang, still unhappy. His friends are teary eyed behind him at the Mechanist's story.)
Aang: Nature knows where to stop.
The Mechanist (looking through the hole in the wall he just created): I suppose that's true. Unfortunately, progress has a way of getting away from us. (He looks down in some sadness, then lifts his head back up to look at something o.c.) Look at the time!
(Cut to a view of a three candles burning brightly on a stone pedestal. Each of the three candles is separated neatly into different sections. Next to the pedestal a large mallet rests, head down. Then cut back to the Mechanist turning to speak to a scribe behind him.)
The Mechanist: Come the pulley system must be oiled before dark.
Sokka (approaching the candles): Wait, how can you tell the time from that thing? The notches all look the same.
The Mechanist: The candle will tell us. Watch.
(The candle flame snaps four times in a row.)
Sokka: You put spark powder in the candle!
The Mechanist: Four flashes, so it's exactly four hours past midday, or, as I call it, four o'candle!
(Sokka laughs. Cut to a frontal shot of the Mechanist, pleased that Sokka is interested.)
The Mechanist: If you like that, wait till you see my finger safe knife sharpener! (He holds up his left hand. Three of the fingers are made of wood. He detaches them and tosses them to Sokka.) Only took me three tries to get it right!
Sokka (after catching the fingers): Aaahhh!
The Mechanist: Follow me!
(Sokka and the others run after The Mechanist, leaving Katara, Aang and Teo alone.)
Teo: Hey Aang, I want to show you something.
(Fade to a long, overhead shot of the three walking deep in the bowels of the Air Temple.)
Aang: I just can't get over it. There's not a single thing that's the same.
Teo (stopping and scooping up a little black and white striped hermit crab): I don't know about that. The Temple might be different, but the creatures that live here are probably direct descendents of the ones that lived here a long time ago.
Katara: You're right. They're kind of keepers of the temples origins.
(Teo gave the crab to Katara, who now passes it to Aang. He smiles.)
Teo (from o.c.): Besides, there's one part of the temple that hasn't changed at all.
(Fade to the group walking down a long corridor of the Temple. Huge Air Nomad swirls are built into mosaics in the floor. Camera pans down to where they all stand in front of a door. Then cut to a view from behind the three showing a clear shot of the door. It is huge, made of wood, and it is dominated in the center by a woodcut comprised of three wooden air symbols protruding from its surface and which are arranged in a triangular pattern. The symbols are attached to tubes that end in two horns near the bottom of the woodcut.)
Katara: Hey! It's just like the one in the other Air Temple.
Teo: Only an airbender can open it – so inside it's completely untouched, just the way the monks left it. I've always wondered what it was like in there.
Aang (lowering his head): I'm sorry, this is the last part of temple that the same as it was. I want it to stay that way.
Teo: I completely understand. I just wanted you to know it was here.
(Aang turns and starts walking back down the hall the way they had come. Cut to a brief exterior shot of temple, followed by a shot of Sokka and the Mechanist walking down a dark, narrow stone staircase. They hold lanterns that glow light blue, but don't put out much light.)
Sokka: These lanterns are terrible! I can't see.
(He stops and opens one. Inside the jar is packed with fireflies. One escapes.)
Sokka: Why would you want to use fireflies for light?
The Mechanist: Hey! Close that up! They'll get loose. Fireflies are a non-flammable light source.
(They continue, coming to a door whose edges are blocked with some kind of caulk. The Mechanist feels around the caulk-like insulation, looking for leaks. He turns to Sokka.)
The Mechanist: Cover your nose and hold your breath.
(Cut to a black screen. Suddenly a panel slides open and we see Sokka and the Mechanist's eyes looking into the camera.)
Sokka: Okay, so you brought me all the way down here to see an empty room.
The Mechanist: Wrong.
(The panel slides again, cut back to the two on the other side of the door.)
The Mechanist: It's filled to the brim with natural gas. Came across it my first time here. Unfortunately, I was carrying a torch at the time. Nearly blew myself and the whole place even more sky high. (Screen pans up to show his scraggly eyebrows) Thought my eyebrows would never grow back! Anyway, there's a vital problem that needs solving. From time to time we have gas leaks and they're nearly impossible to find.
Sokka (checking his part of the door for leaks): So this place is an explosion waiting to happen?
The Mechanist: Yes, until I figure out how to locate something I can't see, hear, smell or touch.
(Cut to an exterior shot with gliders flying through the sky. The screen begins to pan down.)
Teo (from o.c.): The wind will carry you. It supports something inside you – something even lighter than air, and that something takes over when you fly.
(When the screen rests, Katara stands at the edge of the terrace, holding a glider with both hands. Teo is to her left, Aang behind her to the right with Momo. She leans the glider on its side.)
Katara (looking over the side of the terrace in fear): I've changed my mind. I think I was born without that something.
Teo (laughing): Impossible! Everybody has it.
Aang (from o.c.): Spirit.
(Cut to a wider shot of the three.)
Aang: That's the something you're talking about.
Teo: Yeh, I suppose it is.
(Cut to a panning overhead shot of the terrace area. It rests on the three from a spot maybe a hundred feet overhead. Katara is now ready for takeoff, Teo ready behind her.)
Teo: Are you ready?
(She jumps off anyway and screams on her way down, Teo behind her. Her screams turn to delight, however and she gains control of the craft and begins to fly, Teo right with her. Cut to a shot of Katara gliding, the Temple in the background. Aang glides into the shot.)
Katara: I can't believe I'm flying!
Aang: Just make sure to keep your mouth closed so you don't swallow a bug!
(Cut to a close up Momo flying beside her, the air in his area sparsely populated with bugs. He opens his mouth and eats one.)
Katara: Teo was right about the air! All I had to do was trust it. Let it carry me.
Aang: Even though Teo's not an airbender, he really does have the spirit of one.
(Cut to a long shot of Teo back on the terrace, his glider detached and off to the slide. Aang glides in and folds up his glider.)
Aang: I've been thinking. If you wanna see what's in that room, I'd be happy to open the door for you.
Katara (her voice echoing from o.c.): Wait! How do I land this thing? What if I land (swallows bug) – eh! Blech! Yech! Bug! Bug! That was a bug!
(Cut to a quick exterior shot of the Temple, then to the Mechanist's workshop. He bends over some plans on his desk while Sokka knocks over some junk in the background.)
The Mechanist: I said don't touch anything! (Sokka loses control of the stuff he is trying to stop from hitting the ground and the junk falls all over the floor.) Oh, don't worry, that experiments old and that egg was just part of last week's lunch.
Sokka (sniffing the air): Ugh! Week old egg smell!
The Mechanist: Quick! Find that egg!
(Both begin crawling on their hands and knees to find the egg. Cut to Aang, Katara and Teo at the Temple door once again.)
Teo: I can't believe I'm finally going to see what's inside.
(Aang then airbends two jets of air, one from each arm, into the horns at the bottom of the woodcut. The air runs through the tubes and one by one flips the air symbols from the blue sides which had been showing, to the maroon sides which had been facing the interior of the temple. As each turns, it flips another mechanism on the outside of a door, clearly all three of the symbols had to trigger each of their mechanisms in order to unlock the Temple door. Cut back to Sokka and The Mechanist's search for the egg.)
Sokka: How could something that's so small you can't even see it make such a big stink!
The Mechanist (getting an idea): That's the solution to our problem!
(The both crawl around to face each other, forgetting to stand up in their excitement.)
Sokka: If we put a whole mess of rotten eggs in the cellar where the gas seeps up...
The Mechanist: The gas will mix with the smell of rotten eggs...
Sokka: Then, if there's a leak...
The Mechanist: You smell rotten eggs! Then you just follow your nose to the place where the smell is coming from...
Sokka: And plug up the hole where the gas is escaping!
Both: You're a genius!
(Suddenly a large bell starts ringing.)
The Mechanist (getting up and running): Something's wrong I've got to go.
(Cut to a shot from inside the Air Temple sanctuary as the doors open, revealing Aang, Katara and Teo. They walk in and are horrified. Cut to a myriad of shots of the interior of the Temple sanctuary. It is filled with evil looking war machines and torture devices. The camera affords a zoom in close up shot of Aang's face.)
Aang: This is a nightmare.
The Mechanist (entering behind them): You don't understand.
Aang (turning and pointing a finger at him in anger): You're making weapons for the Fire Nation!
(Cut to a zooming close up of the the Mechanist, Sokka behind him. Cut to commercial break.)
(Shot opens with an overhead shot panning down. Cut to a close up of the Mechanist, Sokka over his shoulder behind him.)
Sokka (angry): You make weapons for the Fire Nation!?
(The Mechanist looks down in humiliation. Cut to Teo and Aang.)
Teo: Explain all this! Now!
The Mechanist: It was about a year after we moved here. Fire Nation soldiers found our settlement. You were too young to remember this tale. They were going to destroy everything, burn it to the ground. I pleaded with them, I begged them to spare us. They asked what I had to offer. I offered... my services. You must understand, I did this for you!
(Teo turns his head and his wheelchair away. The Mechanist turns and walks back down the hall. Fade to the Mechanist back in his office. He is playing with a balloon driven by a candle in a basket below it. There are two eggs in the basket with happy faces on them. He lets the balloon go and it rises toward the ceiling. Behind him the door is heard opening. Cut to Aang and Teo in the doorway.)
Aang: When are they coming?
The Mechanist: Soon. (He looks at a clock candle which sparks once.) Very soon.
Aang: You can't give them more weapons.
The Mechanist: If I don't give them what they want they will destroy this place.
(The balloon has floated over to them. It catches on fire at the end of the Mechanist's sentence. It falls on the floor and the Mechanist moves to put out the flames by smothering it with a towel.)
Teo: How can I be proud of you when your inventions are being used for murder?
The Mechanist: I need some time to think. (After a pause, a little tinkling bell is heard.) You need to leave! Go!
Teo: We're not leaving!
The Mechanist (shooing them behind some stuff): Then hide, quickly!
(The Mechanist then pulls a lever and a wheel built into the floor begins to turn rapidly. A trap door in the floor next to the wheel opens and steam rises through the opening. A man in Fire Nation garb rises through the opening. He is standing on a square of wood that becomes flush with the rest of the floor when the elevator completes its movement.)
Emissary: You know better than to keep me waiting. (He approaches the Mechanist) Give me what you owe us so I can be on my way. (The Mechanist looks down) Well? (Putting his face in the Mechanist's face) Is there a problem?
The Mechanist (motioning out the door): No, right this way.
(The emissary begins to move to the door, but it is shut by a blast of air from Aang. He lands in front of the closed door. Cut to a frontal shot of Aang, obviously angered.)
Aang: The deal's off!
Emissary: The Avatar!
The Mechanist: Aang, don't get involved!
Emissary (pointing at the Mechanist): If I don't get what I came for the Fire Nation will burn this place to rubble!
Aang (striking the emissary with an air whip): Get out of here! You're leaving empty handed!
Emissary (pointing at Aang): Then the destruction of this temple will be on your head.
(Cut to the emissary going back down the elevator. Aang closes the trap door with a blast of air. Cut to a long, exterior shot of the temple, then a panning up shot much closer in. The camera reveals the kids and Teo on the same causeway to the satellite building they were on earlier.)
Sokka: This is bad! Very bad!
Katara: Aang, what are we gonna do? How can we possibly keep them all away?
Aang: I'll tell ya how. (Pointing to the sky) We have something they don't. (Screens moves fast to open sky where a few gliders are moving) Air power! We control the sky. That' something the Fire Nation can't do. We can win!
The Mechanist (from o.c.): I want to help.
Aang (smiling): Good, we'll need it.
(Cut to dusk shot of the Temple's exterior.)
The Mechanist (from o.c.): We finally got the war balloon working, thanks to Sokka.
(Cut to view of the Mechanist's office. It is full of people including his son and Katara, Sokka and Aang.)
The Mechanist: This boy's a genius!
Sokka: Thank you. You're a genius!
The Mechanist: Thank you!
(Cut to Aang and Katara who look at other strangely over this self-congratulatory exchange.)
Sokka: See, the problem with the old war balloon was you could get it airborne, but once you did, it just kept going. (He demonstrates with a model that goes up and hits the ceiling.) You could put a hole in the top, but then all the hot air would escape. So the question became, how do you keep a lid on hot air?
Katara (to Aang): Ugh, if only we knew.
(Aang, Teo and Katara laugh. Cut to Sokka working with another model, but this balloon has a mechanism to open and close a lid on its top.)
Sokka: A lid is actually the answer. If you control the hot air, you control the war balloon. (He demonstrates by pulling a string connected to the lid that opens and closes it.)
Katara: Hmm. That's actually pretty smart.
Sokka: Okay, we've got four kinds of bombs. Smoke, slime, fire and...
The Mechanist: ...stink. Never underestimate the power of stink!
(Cut to an exterior shot of the lower terrace. Many temple residents look out over the edge. The music has become threatening, reflecting the nervous anticipation on everyone's faces.)
Little Girl: They're coming!
Teo: Are we ready?
Katara: Yes, but where's Sokka with the war balloon?
Aang (jumping off Appa and opening his glider as he lands): We'll have to start without him.
(Momo lands on the top of Aang's glider. Cut to Teo smiling and putting on his goggles, then cut to an overhead shot of the terrace. It has now become a landing strip. Two rows of gliders stand ready to launch. Aang and Teo near there head. Teo gives a thumbs up, then Aang begins the launch sequence. He flies off, Teo behind and then the rest. The deck crews cheer as the gliders launch. Cut to a wide shot of the gliders taking off in formation from below. The screen pans down to the switchback path up to the Air Temple. It is choked with Fire Nation soldiers climbing up it. Up above, Aang and Teo dive, the other gliders in tow. They break through the cloud deck and start dropping various bombs on the surprised soldiers. Many fall off the path into the crevices below. Cut to a Fire Nation officer giving orders.)
Officer: Take them out of the sky, now!
(Cut to wide shot. The entire line, visible on two different switchbacks, of Fire Nation soldiers lowers their spears. They are bombed by gliders. Aang jumps off his glider onto a switchback just above the most advanced part of the Fire Nation infantry column. As he jumps he creates and air scooter. He rides along the length of the switchback, dumping huge amounts of snow and ice on the soldiers below. When he reaches the end of the switchback, he kills the air scooter and jumps back onto his glider which is gliding by. The avalanche he created continues to drop downward, engulfing row after row of soldiers. Those left begin to run back down the switchback path.)
Aang: We've got'em on the run! We need more slime!
(Cut to Appa floating motionless above the cloud deck. Katara hands bombs to gliders who pop up over Appa and then disappear back into the combat zone. Suddenly, several huge spikes shoot up through the clouds, narrowly missing Appa. The spikes are attached to chains that disappear, taught, into the clouds. The spikes embed themselves deep into the rock near the Temple. Cut to Appa flying hard to avoid the grappling hooks being thrown up all over the place.
The camera follows the chain back down the sheer mountain face. As it pans down, the squeaky wheels of tracked vehicles can be heard. Then, Fire Nation tanks roar onto the screen. With two, huge spiked wheels at each end, these heavily armored vehicles are using the grappling hooks to allow them to scale the cliff face. The gliders drops bombs on them, but they have little effect.
Aang flies up to the cliff face, sticks his glider staff into the naked rock, and pulls out one of the grappling hooks. The tank it was attached to begins to drop like a rock, but it fires another grappling hook straight up, narrowly missing Aang. It catches on the rock above, yanks taught, and the tank slams back into the mountain face and begins its climb once again.
The tanks climb the cliff face and gain the small plateau area at the base of the Temple. The firebenders in the turrets begin to fire blasts of flame, which the gliders avoid. They drop more bombs, but they are ineffective against the Fire Nation armor. One firebender gets slimed right as Aang drops into the center of an advancing platoon of tanks. Aang literally blows them away (and upside down) with blasts of air, but their central cabins of the tanks just flip over and they begin advancing again. The shoot more fire blasts at Aang, who avoids them. Cut to Katara on Appa flying next to Teo, all surveying the battlefield.)
Katara: Those things are unstoppable!
Teo: I think I know how they work. I remember my Dad tinkering with the counterbalancing system. Something to do with water. Works great, huh?
Katara: Water? Can you get me close to one?
Teo: No problem!
(Cut to Aang facing off alone against five tanks. They shoot fireball after fireball at him, but he bats them away. They advance on him steadily. Teo swoops into the picture and deposits Katara next to Aang. She assumes a bending stance, concentrates, and stops the forward momentum of one of the tanks with ice. Then, presumably bending the water within it, the tanks big wheels fall off. Cut back to Aang and Katara, where a grappling hook has grabbed Aang's staff. Katara lifts the tank up with a wall of ice and it falls over, broken. They have disposed of two tanks, but a full dozen now bear down on them. Aang jumps in front of Katara and starts batting away fire blasts. The tanks close in. Aang and Katara are suddenly blocked by the massive bulk of Appa who lands in front of them, roars, and tosses aside the two point tanks. Aang and Katara jump on Appa and he takes off. They survey the battlefield and it is clear that the situation is not good. Broken down tanks dot the battlefield, but most are still advancing, now closely supported by infantry formations. Cut back to the landing field terrace where Katara, Teo and Aang are in hasty council, with Momo in the foreground.)
Teo: We're out of bombs!
Katara: Come on, Sokka, where's that war balloon?
(As Katara speaks, the war balloon rises behind her in the background. The balloon is red and decked out with a Fire Nation symbol. It's removable top and tail fin give it a vaguely blimp like shape. The Mechanist and Sokka ride in the basket below the balloon. The basket also contains the coal burning plant that provides the heat for the balloon's air. Attached to the basket are four huge sacks of material used for ballast. The balloon moves out over the battlefield as the enemy armor advances below. Cut to a shot of Sokka and the Mechanist in the basket.)
Sokka: Hey, why aren't they shooting at us?
The Mechanist (cut to a view of the Fire Nation symbol): The insignia! They think we're on their side!
Sokka (cutting a rope with his knife): Then I guess they won't see this coming.
The Mechanist: Bomb away!
(Cut to a long shot of the balloon and the enemy troops and tanks underneath. One of the ballast sacks drops and blows in a huge explosion of slime on the ground. Sokka drops the other three bombs. The slime washes most of the infantry away, but the tanks continue. They reach the next cliff to scale and begin to use their grappling hooks.)
Sokka: Oh no! That was the last one!
The Mechanist: Wait a second, (he sniffs the air) you smell that?
Sokka: Rotten eggs!
(Cut to an overhead shot of the balloon. They are passing over a crevasse.)
Sokka: There! That's where the gas is escaping!
(Cut to a shot from below the balloon looking up at Sokka's face. He gets an idea. Cut to a shot of the tanks scaling the cliff, Air Temple residents working furiously up top to dislodge the grappling hooks. Cut back to Sokka who begins to ready the balloon's coal-burning plant to be thrown overboard.)
The Mechanist: What are you doing!? That's our fuel source!
Sokka: It's the only bomb we've got!
(The throw the coal furnace over board into the crevasse. It hits the sides on its way down. Cut to a few shots of the advancing Fire Nation soldiers and tanks as well as a few shots of the nerve-wracked defenders. Then shift to a long shot of the Temple, which is suddenly buffeted by a series of enormous, fiery explosions at its base. The coal furnace has ignited the escaping natural gas. The Temple is covered in smoke. When it clears, the grappling hook chains dangle in the breeze with nothing attached to them. In the distance, the remaining Fire Nation troops are running back down the mountain. In the foreground, Aang and company watch the enemy leave.)
Aang: Look! They're retreating!
(Suddenly the war balloon enters the frame on a clear downward trajectory.)
Sokka: We're going down!
Katara: No! Sokka! Hold on!
(Aang springs into action, unfolding his glider and taking off in one smooth action. Cut to the descending balloon. It's hot air is cooling rapidly. Sokka swings his boomerang around attached to a rope.)
Sokka: Get ready!
(As Aang flies by, Sokka throws the boomerang. It catches on Aang's foot, pulling Sokka and the Mechanist clear of the falling balloon. Aang flies them back up, while the balloon continues to fall. Fade back a long shot of the main terrace of the Air Temple, the cut to a close shot of Aang and his friends. Behind Aang is a circular stone bench on which Katara and some of the black and white hermit crabs sit.)
Aang: You know what? I'm really glad you guys all live here now. It's like the hermit crab (he picks one up from the stone bench.), maybe you weren't born here, but you found this empty shell and made it your home. And now you protect each other.
Teo: That means a lot coming from you.
Sokka: Aang, you were right about air power. (Pointing to the sky) As long as we've got the skies we'll have the Fire Nation on the run!
(Cut to a wide, long shot of the terrace as gliders fly by. The crowd cheers Sokka. Then cut to a wide shot of Aang and his friends as the camera pans right. The shot stops on the Mechanist who turns towards the camera and looks down, troubled by something. Fade to a shot of snow covered trees as the camera pans down. When the pan stops, a group of Fire Nation soldiers stand around the fallen war balloon. The are heating the air in the balloon, causing it to refill. Cut to a frontal shot of a Fire Nation commander flanked on each side by a guard.)
Commander: This defeat is the gateway to many victories.
(He smiles, then cut to the resurgent Fire Nation symbol on the side of the balloon as it finishes refilling. Fade to white.)
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