-Downtown Republic City-
Korra followed the thug’s directions, knowing that fear begets honesty. As she neared the far side of the bridge, she noted distinct differences from the area she had just left. There was no trash on the street, no low life eyeing her from the alley and… none of the street lights were on. She also didn’t see anyone on the streets, which she found very strange. As she walked further down the block, she began to hear shouting in the distance. It was unintelligible, and sounded more like a crowd than individual voices. Deciding to investigate, Korra followed the noise. It slowly became a rumble, steadily increasing in intensity as she got closer. Korra picked up the pace as her curiosity grew. She cut through an alley where she could see people on the other side. She was nearly running by the time the crowd came into view. People filled the streets from building to building. Hundreds of them, all shouting towards a group of men in uniforms who stood behind barricades. She assumed they were Republic City’s police force. One officer standing on top of a Satomobile, using a microphone to shout over the crowd.
“All non-benders, return to your homes immediately.”
“Yea, as soon as you turn our power back on!” A man in the crowd shouted back. That got the crowd even more riled up, nearly drowning out the officer’s reply.
“Disperse, or you’ll all be arrested.”
“You benders can’t treat us this way!” Shouted a woman. The crowd got even louder, drowning out the officers next words.
Korra watched as two men approached the blockade. One was shorter, more stout and square jawed, with a very receded hairline. He wore a police uniform and was listening to the other man. The other was clearly from the water tribe, with long hair, tanned skin and blue eyes. He finished whatever he was saying to the shorter man, and they stopped just behind the Satomobile where the officer was still trying to disperse the crowd. Korra made to move closer as the short man shouted up to the officer with the microphone. Get out of here. Korra broke off, moving towards the edge of the crowd. She knew something was about to happen, and was not about to get caught in the middle. She glanced back over her shoulder, and saw the officer stand back up, and bring the mic up to his mouth.
“Arrest these Equalists!” He shouted.
Korra was almost to the edge of the crowd when chaos erupted. People were running in all directions, making for alleys or just blindly running away. She shoved her way through, not bothering to be gentle. She was a few steps from the alley she was aiming for when she felt someone grab her ankle. She turned, aiming a kick before she even saw who it was, but she barely got a glimpse before she was pulled off her feet. She reached for her ankle, even as she was dragged across the pavement. She saw now that it was a wire wrapped around her leg, and it was pulling her towards the police line. All around her, people were being rounded up by the police. Most were penned up by the barricades, while the rest had been grabbed by wires like her. As she came to a stop at the feet of the officer who grabbed her, a second wire wrapped around her torso, locking her arms to her sides. She watched as the people trapped by the barricades were picked up by the earth beneath them, and loaded into trucks by the handful. The rest were being unceremoniously tossed in the back of another truck. The same officer who had dragged her across the street moved to pick up Korra. Feeling rather undignified and very annoyed, Korra aimed a kick at the man's jaw.
She caught him completely unprepared, right under the chin and he immediately slumped to the ground, unconscious. The wire pinning her arms loosened, and she quickly wriggled out. Two more officers approached, much more warily this time. Korra was about to show them who they were messing with. No bending. She had already failed at keeping a low profile, but she couldn’t let them know she was the Avatar. Korra drew her knives instead, eyeing the officers as they closed the distance.
“She’s armed!” One cried, sounding alarmed. The voices owner was clearly nervous, she doubted he’d seen much action yet.
“I noticed, rookie.” The other one replied flatly. He was clearly more seasoned, she could tell by the way he moved, subtly maneuvering to block off her escape.
Korra decided to go for the veteran first. She made a dash for the alley, as he was still moving to cut her off. The veteran thrust his hands out, shooting both of his wires at her, one high and one low. Korra leapt over one, and deflected the other with her knife. As soon as her feet touched the ground again, she pivoted towards the man and rushed him directly. She heard wires pass just behind her as the rookie was too late to adjust for her sudden change of direction. The veteran took a wide stance as he drew his wires back in. He and Korra both knew they wouldn’t retract in time. He launched a series of rocks to slow her down, and Korra gracefully danced around each of them, even as she continued to close. The veteran calmly conjured up a wall in her path, which Korra the pushed off of, changing direction toward the alley again. She heard wires whistling towards her, and quickly spun around to deflect them. One bounced off her blade, but the other caught her forearm . She was about to cut it, but a third wire wrapped around her other wrist. She pulled against them, but the wires just got tighter. Her knives were pulled from her grasp, and a wire wrapped her arms to her sides again. Korra stopped struggling, and settled for glaring at the two officers.
“This one’s had training.” The veteran stated. He stepped behind Korra and handcuffed her. He was not gentle, and the cuffs bit into her wrists sharply.
“Yea, she was pretty good.” The rookie replied, “Fast too.” The veteran handed him Korra’s knives.
“What’s with these?” He asked, “Chi blocking doesn’t quite do it for you?” Both officers chuckled. Korra just glared at him.
The veteran shoved Korra forward, towards the last truck. “Not bad rook.” He said, “First day out, and you helped bag an Equalist. Just don’t let it go to your head.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it sarge.” The rookie replied as he moved to pick Korra up. He was met with a knee to the face as Korra vented some of her frustration.
“Ah fuck!” The rookie clutched his nose, blood dripping from his hand. Korra didn’t have time to smirk at him before she was slammed to the ground head first. Her ears rang as the sergeant leaned over her.
“Put hands on any of my men again, and I won’t hesitate to bury you. I will fuck you up, just test me.” He hissed directly into her ear. “Got it?”
Korra nodded once, still dazed. The veteran picked her up, and threw her in the truck, slamming the doors behind her.
“Have the medic look at you. We’ll get her to the station.” She heard through the doors.
Korra sat up, and tried to make herself comfortable on the bench. She felt someone get in the truck and start the engine. She was startled as the truck started moving, almost falling off the bench. Korra had pictured her first time in a Satomobile being much different.
-The Next Morning-
-Republic City Police Station-
Korra awoke to the sound of footsteps outside her cell. She glanced up to find the sergeant who had arrested her, along with the bald man who had ordered the arrests.
“Sleep well?” The sergeant asked sarcastically, “Good. We have questions for you. On your feet face the wall, hands against it above your head.”
Korra stares at him without moving, her face expressionless, yet defiant. He stared back for a few seconds before he spoke again.
“I’m giving you a chance to play nice, girl. I suggest you take it.”
Korra simply held her hands out in front of her, together. Again, she and the sergeant stared at each other. The battle of wills was finally interrupted by the bald man.
“Just cuff her sergeant, so we can get on with it. We have other suspects to question.”
“This one is different, sir.” The sergeant responded, “She’s well trained; she already injured two of my men.” Korra smirked at that, which both men saw.
“Just get her to interrogation. I don’t care how.” The bald man looked Korra in the eyes as he said that last part. She just kept smirking at him, though her arms were crossed now. He turned around after a moment, and disappeared down the hallway. Once he was gone, the sergeant let some length of his cables drop from his gauntlets to the floor.
“Last chance to do this nice, girl.”
Korra rolled her eyes, and held her hands up again. The sergeant bent the cell door open, and shot a wire around her wrists. The second wrapped around her ankles, forcing her legs together. Korra stood awkwardly for a moment, trying to regain her balance. Before she got the chance, however, she found herself picked up and tossed over the man's shoulder.
Korra thrashed angrily for a few moments, attempting to strike him with her knees and elbows, but it had no effect through his armor.
“Put me down asshole!” She cried, “I was being perfectly cooperative!” She stopped struggling and settled for holding herself in a comfortable position, while trying to retain some dignity.
“You brought this on yourself, girl.” The sergeant replied, “I’d rather not have to lug you around, but you seem to enjoy making things difficult.”
Korra’s only reply was an exasperated huff. It wasn’t far until they passed through a doorway, and she was unceremoniously dumped into a chair. Her hands were almost immediately cuffed to the table, before the cables restraining her were pulled away. Korra closed her eyes and took a moment to center herself; now was not the time to lose control. She listened to the sergeant walk out of the room and shut the door. She opened her eyes and studied the room. It was small, with only the table she was cuffed to, her chair and the one across from her. The door was on her left, and it had a small window through which she could see the back of a helmet, she assumed the sergeant, standing guard.
Less than a minute later the guard stepped away, and the door opened again. In stepped the water tribe man she had seen last night, who seemed to be in charge of whatever this operation was.
“We’re a little short on time,” he said, “so I’ll keep this brief. You have information that I need, and I have the means to detain you indefinitely.”
Korra gave nothing away as the man paused to observe her reaction. To his credit, he didn’t seem at all surprised by this.
“If you decide to talk, you can be out of here within the week. If you choose to be difficult, however, your stay will be much longer and far less pleasant.”
Again the man stopped to let his words sink in. Korra merely continued to stare into his eyes, unblinking and expressionless.
He gave a tired sigh. “My patience is wearing thin. I’m giving you a chance at redemption here, an opportunity to aid Republic City against the Equalist terrorists. What I need are names, locations, numbers. Who are your leaders, where do they train and recruit? How many men are at their disposal?” He demanded.
Korra laughed in the man’s face. She couldn’t believe how desperate the police must be. They didn’t have a clue what was going on either, and that amused her to no end. At least she had the excuse of arriving yesterday. She took a moment to regain her composure. The man across from her looked less than amused.
“You think I’m an Equalist?!” She exclaimed, still not quite believing he was serious.
The man stood up, knocking his chair to the ground as he slammed a fist on the table. “You were apprehended at an Equalist rally, where you attacked multiple officers, injured two of them, and then attempted to flee on foot!” He snarled.
“They attacked me first!” Korra replied indignantly. “And whatever the Equalists are, it has nothing to do with me.”
“So you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?” The man stated, “I find that far too convenient to believe. No, the way I see it, you are an Equalist agent who was attempting to incite a riot amongst the non-benders of Republic City. When things went wrong, you attempted to escape.” He smirked, “Or perhaps you sought to buy time for your comrades to escape. Quite noble, for a terrorist.”
Korra frowned at him, not liking the direction this was taking. The man before her was clearly delusional, caught up in his own personal power trip and a vendetta against these Equalists. “I’m not an Equalist. I only arrived in the city recently. I really don’t-“
“Then who are you?!” He interrupted, “Why did you come to Republic City? Why now? Who can verify your story? Because I don’t believe a word you say. Give me something tangible, or you’ll find yourself right back in a cell!”
Korra went for a different approach. “My name is Mai.” she replied softly, “I came here to find work. My mother has been very sick and my family can’t afford the treatment she needs.” She swallowed her pride and did her best to play up the pleading and desperation. “I swear I’m not here to cause trouble, I just have no idea what’s going on.”
She only got a scoff in response. “It's disappointing that you’ve decided to waste my time.” The man said as he stood up, “Of course, we will have to detain you until we can verify your claims. The security of Republic City must come before individual comfort.” He made his way out the door without another word...