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The Avatar & The Engineer

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When she awoke the following morning Asami was at first confused by her surroundings until she remembered that following the attack on the arena she came home with her father rather then return to Air Temple.

 

When her brain registered that it was morning Asami wanted to remain buried and isolated in her bed sheets. After the last night’s events she couldn't imagine what the headlines were or what was being said on the radio. No doubt both were flooded with eyewitness accounts of the events or editorials about how this generation's brave Avatar let herself be distracted by a silly game instead of the threat of a terrorist and his followers hell bent on reshaping their world as they see fit.

 

Mentally Asami vowed never to play a probending match ever again. The simple fact that a game official could turn a blind eye to cheating if the price was right already soured Asami on the sport.

 

A loud buzzing sound made her jump and for a split second she associated it with the electrically-charged weapons that the Equalist had been carrying. But it was only the door buzzer.

 

"Breakfast is served Ms. Sato," said her butler via the intercom, a new addition to the room since she had left.

 

"Be down in a moment," she called out. She pushed the covers off her. There was no point in moping in bed all day and she was rather hungry.

 

As she got dressed she glanced around her room. All the signs of a preteen girl remained as the room had been maintained since her departure many years prior. Little bottles of perfume on the vanity, no doubt some were her mother's. She had no clear memory of ever wearing it in public or at school. She kept the bottles around to remind her of her mother.

 

On the wall above the vanity was a poster of the futuristic swashbuckler Captain Harrlock. Sadly she has not yet come across a dashing adventurer as she had long ago hoped and Mako was no way in the same league.

 

She frowned when her thoughts naturally turned to the brothers. They had lost the tournament and thus the prize money and no doubt the arena has become a crime scene at this point, which would make living there difficult.

 

She threw on her robe and headed downstairs. She had an idea but needed her father's approval first.

 

 


 

 

It was mid afternoon when Korra arrived at Future Industries. One of the benefits of being her own boss with only having to answer to Hiroshi is that she ran on her own schedule in terms of what time she came in and what time she left as long as the work got done. Today her mind was anything but work. Luckily the car was finished with minor tweaks needed. Instead there was something else to focus on and the more she thought about it, the more it made her feel nauseous. The fact alone that she had what was technically evidence hidden away in her apartment made her stomach knot.

 

She ducked into her workshop when she could privately collect herself. "You can do this," she said quietly. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled a small clear bag. Inside was the small electrical circuit that made the device which took down an entire police force the other night, function.

 

The only identification on the circuit was some small print that read: 27B/6. No other information was present.

 

As Korra headed down towards what employees dubbed The Tool Shed, a large warehouse space where everything from nuts and bolts to electrical wiring and spark plugs was kept, she pondered whether or not what she was doing was completely stupid. She could wait a couple weeks to a month and then start making inquiries, instead of literally hours after a massive terrorist attack, to avoid raising any suspicion. But she knew she couldn't wait that long. Not with that Equalist glove hidden in the ceiling above her closet.

 

She had to know.

 

But what then? Her headache got worse as contemplated the different scenarios if her company was or was not involved in the design and/or manufacturing of the Equalist's' tech. If so: who was involved? Was it a small group? One person? Everyone?

 

If Future Industries had connection what would she do about their glove? Her initial response was to dump it in the river. She could send it anonymous to the police. Or she could dismantle it piece by piece and dump all over the city.

 

Focus!

 

The Tool Shed was corded off by a large metallic wall, which only those with the proper clearance, as well as a key, could enter. Cut into the wall was a counter where parts could be ordered. Korra approached the window and hit a button mounted on the desk that sounded a loud buzzer. A minute later the man in charge of the Tool Shed, nicknamed the Keeper of the Tools, Yutaka Ito approached the counter. Ito was in his 50s, slick backed gray haired, always carrying a large amount of writing utensils usually stuffed in his pockets or behind his ears.

 

"Korra," he said approaching the counter, "What'll it be? Hopefully that new engine didn't explode on you."

 

Korra rolled her eyes. "No. It didn't. Matter of fact it's done well in tests we've done so far." A year ago Korra had an engine fall apart on her during testing. The engine was a bit more powerful than Korra had thought. So much it shook off its casing and spewed parts all over the workshop.

 

Future Industries wasn't immune to workplace gossip and the best kind of gossip were failures rather than successes.

 

"Okay, okay," said Ito holding up his hands, chuckling. "What can I help you with?"

 

Korra pulled out a folded list with various items, including the circuit 27B/6, were jotted down. Some of the items were ones Korra actually needed. "My shopping list," she said it to Ito.

 

Ito took the paper and scanned its contents. Korra noted a certain look on his face when his eyes were about half way down the page. It appeared to Korra as a look of worry.

 

Ito looked up at her and smiled. "Be back in a few."

 

He disappeared off amongst the rows and rows of towering shelves. Korra sat down on a nearby couch and started scrolling through a magazine, not really invested with what was written on the pages. She was now analyzing the look on Ito's face leading to an internal debate with herself questioning if there was a look even to begin with or simply a manifestation due to her own paranoia brought on by a combination of work related stress.

 

Before she could fully consider whether a trip to the company shrink would do any good, which no doubt would've led to the thought that maybe he's in on this conspiracy as well, Ito returned with a cart full of boxes.

 

"There you go. All the things to make your little cart go vroom vroom or whatever it is you're working go vroom. Perhaps a personal device," he said with a grin.

 

Korra smacked his arm. "Dirty old man. You're too old to know about stuff like that."

 

"I may be up in years but trust me I have some knowledge in that particular area."

 

"Maybe I should give up on the whole Satomobile engineering gig and focus on electronic feminine products," said Korra sorting through the boxes on the counter, "I'd make enough money to retire."

 

"Yeah well don't forget about me when you're sitting on a few million yuans."

 

"Ah-huh. Yeah. Sure," said Korra in a monotone voice, "Ito I'm missing my circuit."

 

"Oh? Which one?"

 

"Circuit 27B/6."

 

"There's a simple explanation for that: don't have it."

 

"Out of stock?"

 

"No I mean it doesn't exist. Either you read something wrong or someone is pulling your chain."

 

Play it off. Korra huffed. "You're kidding me. Are you sure?"

 

"I know my circuits Kor and we don't have it."

 

"And no one else has it?"

 

Ito pulled a giant book the size of the Republic City phone book. This was for ordering parts outside the company's stock. "You can look for yourself. I can tell you that I've never heard of a circuit 26--"

 

"27."

 

"Right. 27B/6."

 

Korra flipped through the book angrily. "For some certain morons upstairs' sake it better be in here. I'm in no mood for this."

 

"Who was it," asked Ito, "I can have a little chat with them."

 

Korra hesitated. She covered it by huffing and shaking her head. "Don't worry Ito. I'll take care of it."

 

Sure enough there was no listing for circuit 27B/6. She checked once again before closing the book.

 

"Well then, they have provoked the polar bear dog. Now they must pay."

 

"Want me to help," asked Ito.

 

"Best stay out of this Ito," said Korra gathering up the boxes into her arms, "This could get messy."

 

Korra didn't know how to feel when she returned to her workshop. She decided to take her mind off and decided to work on the car for a couple hours instead. It worked. She hadn't noticed time passing until Hiroshi walked into the workshop around three.

 

"Beautiful," he said looking over the car, "Absolutely beautiful. Outstanding job as ever."

 

"Needs more tweaks," she said washing her face.

 

"Well naturally," he said gliding his hand along the side of the car, "How soon can we have it on the track?"

 

"I can test it tomorrow," she said."

 

"I'll have it loaded up and sent to the track. Asami is spending the week at the house. Would be great to give her demonstration of what we've been doing with the Satomobile division."

 

Korra was glad her back was towards her boss. "How is she?"

 

"Surprisingly good. Given what happened last night. Being in her home I think helps. She called me about an hour ago asking if her teammates can stay over until they find a new place."

 

"What did you say?"

 

"Well naturally it was hard saying no to her. It's a universal thing between fathers and daughters. They know how to tug at the heartstrings. I'm sure your father would understood."

 

Korra smiled. "Oh he does."

 

"Tell me something Korra. You know those boys. How good are they around expensive things, notably antiques?"

 

"You don't have to worry about Mako. Bolin on the other hand--"

 

"I'd better make a call then. You'll be happy to know I've given your friend Mako a position here."

 

Korra paused. She hadn't thought about Mako at all that day. She was hoping for a nice clean break but now with him working in the same building. "Yay," she said in a monotone.

 

"Trouble in paradise?"

 

"More like I have discovered that paradise is only seasonal." She turned off the faucet and wiped at her face.

 

"Do you want me to say that we have no job positions at this time."

 

Korra shook her head. "Oh no. Please give him the job. He'll probably make better money working here then when he was probending."

 

Hiroshi scoffed. "No doubt. Bunch of con artists and thieves in that sport. I'm just as rattled as you are about last night but I am thankful that Asami won't be taking part in that silly sport anymore and she's home again."

 

"You know she'll have to go back to training with Master Tenzin."

 

"Yeah I know," said Hiroshi running his hand along the steering wheel. "Sorry. Didn't mean to get all Mopey Dad on you."

 

"It's fine," she said brewing some tea.

 

"So now that you and Mako are on the outs as it were, you think him and Asami--"

 

"No chance," said Korra firmly, "I mean I wouldn't be surprised if he asked her out but I don't see her going out with him. She once told me I was too good for him."

 

"I'm becoming more reluctant to let him stay in my house," said Hiroshi in a low voice.

 

"He's not bad sir. He's just a little...not fully matured yet. He's very protective of Bolin and has worked hard to ensure the two of them get by. Relationships on the other hand not his strong suit."

 

"Well if you could get it across to him I won't have my daughter be his second shot at romance."

 

"I'll do my best sir."

 

"Right. Well I'll leave it to you. Having lunch with Varrick in half an hour."

 

"Varrick? About what?"

 

"Spirits know. Not looking forward to having him talk my ear off."

 

"His assistant is pretty cute though," said Korra with a grin.

 

"Don't get any ideas," said Hiroshi pointing his finger at her, "Less connections between me and Varrick the better. Besides I'm pretty sure that those two... You think they're--"

 

"Fucking? Yes. Yes I do," said Korra with a straight face before breaking out in a grin.

 

Hiroshi tried to keep his composure. "Well I wouldn't have used those exact words but--"

 

"In the sack? Bumping privates? Babybending? Parking the pink Satomobile--"

 

"Yes Korra," said Hiroshi exasperated, "Wait. 'Parking the pink Satomobile'? My car is now a euphemism for sex?"

 

"Yep," said Korra brightly. Hiroshi shook his head and started polishing his glasses. "Take that as a compliment. Your car is so well known its part of modern slang."

 

"Thank you Korra I feel so much better," said Hiroshi sarcastically.

 

"I actually feel better than this morning." Korra meant it. She had forgotten about the anxiety and dread she had been feeling since she smuggled the Equalist device home and her investigation of the company that employed her. She felt guilty for assuming that Future Industries had a hand in Amon and the Equalist.

 

"Well I'm glad about that. Everyone has been so edge lately. Not that I blame them. I understand that someone thought it would be funny if sent you on a little goose chase this morning."

 

All those good feelings immediately disappeared as Korra felt her stomach sink. "How did you know about that?"

 

"I stopped by Ito just a while ago."

 

"Ito is over aggregating," says Korra, fiddling with some parts on her workbench, "It's no big deal."

 

"Well I think it's pretty rude considering what you witnessed last night," said Hitoshi taking off his glasses to polish them. Korra noted this was the second time in the last few minutes in which he had polished them. "Anyway I'll let you get back to it. Why don't you stop by the house this weekend? Take a break from work. Bring the roadster along. I'm anxious to see it tear up the asphalt."

 

Korra gave him a smile. "I'll see. Give my best to Varrick."

 

After Hiroshi left Korra continued working. When five o'clock rolled around she washed up and headed home. She didn't even bother with the stashed glove. Instead she took Naga to the park and tried her best to put the whole thing out of her mind, which was hard to do since every newsstand in the city had headlines about the previous night's events.

 

The city streets were quieter than usual apart from large quantity of police vehicles patrolling the streets as well airships hovering above.

 

She passed city hall and saw a large gatherings of press. She couldn't see who was speaking but she when was in range to hear what the voice was saying she could immediately tell who it was.

 

Tarrlok

 

She backtracked with Naga to find another route to the park. Whatever he was saying Korra didn't want to hear any of it.