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May 30, 2016
Alex, Korra, and Mako infiltrate The Revelation.
"What in the name of all that is holy did you do?" Asami asked as Alex walked in. With his scorched clothing and soot covered face, he was a sight to behold.
"You think this is bad, you should have seen the other guy," Alex replied as he began to strip off the burnt articles of clothing.
"You were just going to Air Temple Island for a visit with Councilman Tenzin. What, did they have fire defenses or something?"
"No, but Avatar Korra lives there so that's probably the next best thing." Asami's expression turned to one of horror.
"You got into a fight with the Avatar?"
"No, well not yet, but no. I got recruited into tracking down one of Kelly and Korra's friends that had gone missing," he explained.
"And this led to you getting set on fire how?"
"I sorta needed a quick recharge after getting drained fighting chi blockers, and I got shot with lightning," Alex said, his hand rubbing the back of his head. Asami's expression turned murderous.
"You did WHAT?!"
"Hey, I didn't know that Mako was gonna do that! Hell I didn't even get a say in the matter!"
"Damn it, Alex, you know the risks! You know what happens if you overcharge! What if you had..." she paused as her expression turned to one of puzzlement, "wait did you say Mako?"
"As in Mako, Captain of the Fire Ferrets, that Mako?"
"I don't know. We were out looking for his brother, Bolin, before I split off to come back here and get some new clothes," Alex said. Asami let out a girlish sequel.
"It IS. You met Mako, I can't believe it!" Alex almost slapped his forehead in realization. His girlfriend was a massive Pro Bending fan, and her all-time favorite team was the up-and-coming Fire Ferrets. The very same team that Mako and Korra played on.
"Asami, as much as I know how exciting this is for you, I gotta get changed and get back out there," Lee said. That seemed to snap the heiress back to reality.
"Oh, yeah, you're right. Just be careful," she said with a hint of worry. Alex smiled and kissed her forehead.
"And get me an autograph!"
Alex spent the remainder of the night combing through any sort of underground contacts he had on what the Equalists were doing. By the time the sun was starting to rise over the eastern mountains, the only things he had come up with was something called 'The Revelation' that was taking place somewhere in the Industrial District near the docks.
The courier sighed in frustration as he stopped by a small street vendor and got himself a tea. He drank the warm liquid with a grimace. Iced tea had always been a preference over hot tea. But it worked in a pinch when coffee was lacking. Knowing that he wasn't going to find anything else, Alex headed to the trolley station.
By the time he arrived, he found Mako and Korra sitting on a bench with a pile of posters at their feet. They both looked tired, and frustrated.
"I'm guessing by your looks that you've had about as much luck as I have," he said as he tossed his cup into a trash can.
"The Equalists are holding something called 'The Revelation' tonight at nine," Mako said, showing him the one of the fliers. Alex looked the flier over. It depicted Amon holding his open hand aloft like he was expecting the viewer to give him a high five.
"All I got was that this little Revelation thing is being held somewhere in the Industrial District, near the docks," he said.
"Which only narrows our search area down to like ten square blocks," Mako sighed.
"Why didn't they put a location on these things?" Korra asked, frustration in her voice.
"Think about it. If you were leading an underground resistance movement to the current government establishment, would you want just anyone off the street wandering in to your little shindig?" Alex asked. Korra couldn't help but shrug at that kind of reasoning.
"Then the information has to be on these fliers somehow," Mako said. Alex nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, but don't over think it. They'd want something that a passerby wouldn't notice, but common person off the street could figure out without too much effort." The firebender turned one of the fliers over and took notice of the image on the back.
"Hey, let me see that," he said, standing and holding his flier next to Alex's. Sure enough, the two images fit together like a puzzle.
"Son of a bitch," Alex said. Mako quickly grabbed up two more fliers, completing the puzzle. Holding the now small map over the station's much more detailed map of the city, Mako searched until he found a match. Sure enough, it was a location not far from the docks in the Industrial District.
"Bingo. That must be where it's going down," Mako said. He glanced back at Korra, who gave him a confident grin. Alex, however, let out a large yawn. He had been up all night and was exhausted.
"I don't know about you two, but I say we get some shut eye before we go charging in there. If last night's little fiasco taught us anything, it's that we'll need to be wide awake and on our toes when facing these guys," he said.
"Alex is right. You two go get some shut eye, I'll go scout this place out. We'll meet there before this thing starts and slip inside," Mako said.
"Get us something that will help us blend in too. I don't know about me, but Mako's a big time pro bending star, and Korra was literally on the front page last week. You go in there like you are now and someone is bound to recognize one of you," Alex said.
"I'll handle that, I got enough, um, sleep in the park," Korra said, her cheeks turning a shade of pink. Alex cocked his eyebrow at her, but left it at that.
"Alright, I'll go get some sleep. We'll meet up there before all this starts."
A gloomy gray sky hung over the city as Alex quickly made his way toward the meeting point. He had gone back to the mansion, updated Asami on what was going on, taken a very long nap, and then zapped himself by grabbing a pair of clamps attached to a car battery. It wasn't his first choice in getting a quick power boost, but it worked in a pinch.
Korra had done well on finding them some disguises, finding a pair of trench coats for herself and Alex, as well as hats for all three of them. The courier turned his hat over in his hands a few times. It was a dusty old brown Indiana Jones style fedora. He couldn't help but grin a little as he placed the hat on his head.
"What?" Korra asked, noticing his grin.
"Nothing, just wondering when I get my bullwhip," he replied. The Avatar gave him a look of confusion.
"Why would you need a bullwhip?" Alex started to reply, but then realized the futility of trying to explain it to her at this point in time.
"I'll tell you later. Now, let's fix a few things up," he said before reaching out and snatching Mako's scarf from his neck.
"Simmer down, it's not going very far from you," Alex said before he wrapped it around Korra's neck. This time both of his companions were giving him confused looks.
"Why do I need this?" Korra asked, tugging slightly on the scarf.
"Come on, you two, use your heads. What kind of boyfriend doesn't give his girlfriend his scarf on a cool night like this?" The two benders looked at each other before back at him.
"But we're not dating," Mako said. Alex face palmed.
"We know that, but THEY don't. You two will attract less attention if you head in acting as a couple."
"And what about you?" Korra asked.
"I'll hang back a few minutes and head in by myself. Once we're all inside, we'll find Bolin and get the hell out of here." With that, he sent his two companions on their way. Alex leaned against the corner of the alleyway they had been hiding in, watching as the two made their way to the door. As they walked, Korra took hold of Mako's arm like a girlfriend shivering against the cold. Alex grinned slightly at the sight. She caught on a lot quicker than he gave her credit for.
He watched as they approached a rather large man guarding the door, hand the man a flier, and then slip inside. Tugging his hat down a little further on his head, Alex slid his hands into his coat pockets and started walking toward the bouncer. The man was huge, easily towering over his six-foot frame by almost half a foot.
"This is a private event, no one gets in without an invitation," the bouncer said while crossing his arms. Alex looked the guy up and down quickly. In a normal fistfight without his powers, he probably wouldn't stand a chance against this guy. But with his powers, he had no doubt he could wipe the floor with him.
However, he wasn't here to start a fight, just blend in.
Rather than say anything, Alex held up a flier between two fingers, presenting it to the man. The bouncer took the flier, looked it over, and then smiled and stepped to the side.
"The Revelation is upon us, my brother," he said. Alex gave a half smile and tipped the brim of his hat.
"Thank you kindly." The courier walked inside. It didn't take him long to find Korra and Mako standing on a balcony overlooking a rather large warehouse. Machinery lined both sides of the room, while the far end was dominated by a stage and floodlights with Equalist posters. The amount of people, a crowd easily numbering in the hundreds, was cause for him to let out a soft whistle.
"Well, this complicates things," he said.
"I knew a lot of people hated benders, but I've never seen so many in one place. Keep your eyes open for Bolin," Mako said before he led the way into the crowd. They quickly brushed their way toward the front of the crowd, taking care not to cause too much of a disturbance and draw attention to themselves.
"Please welcome, your hero, your savior, AMON!" cried out an unseen announcer as a large panel in the center of the stage slid back, allowing light and smoke to pour out of the floor in a dramatic fashion. A platform raised seven men into view. The first was Amon himself, flanked on his right by the Lieutenant and on his left by a man wearing an outfit similar to Amon's, only lacking a mask. The two of them stood next to four men wearing ordinary Equalist uniforms.
A spotlight shone down on Amon, and the crowd went into a cheering frenzy. The Equalist leader stood silent for a moment, soaking in the cheering. But when he stepped up to the microphone, the whole place went silent. Everyone was eagerly awaiting to hear what he had to say.
"My quest for equality began many years ago. When I was a boy, my family and I lived on a small farm. We weren't rich, and none of us were benders. This made us very easy targets for the firebender who extorted my father. One day, my father confronted this man. But when he did, that firebender took my family from me, and then, he took my face. I've been forced to hide behind a mask ever since," the Equalist leader said, starting his speech.
"Oh man, he is stroking the sympathy card, big time," Alex whispered while crossing his arms. Mako and Korra shared a worried look. None of them were sure where this was going.
"As you know, the Avatar has recently arrived in Republic City," Amon continued. Many in the crowd began to boo at the mention of the Avatar, and Korra pulled the scarf up a little and hunkered down between Mako and Alex a little more. Amon, however, held up his hand for silence.
"My brothers and sisters, I'm here to tell you tonight that the Avatar is not who you think it is. The bending regime that controls this city will have you believe that the Avatar is a teenager from the Southern Water Tribe. But that is a lie, she is no more than a propaganda tool made up by the Council to try and keep control over the city." Korra's composure turned to one of anger. She started to stalk forward, but Alex caught her wrist and held her back.
"'Why would the Council make up such a lie?' you might ask. The answer is because they have no control over the TRUE Avatar. A man who has pledged himself to the cause of equality. Please welcome, Avatar Taun," Amon said, gesturing to his left. The man who had been standing just behind him stepped forward and lowered his hood. Both Alex and Korra's eyes went wide with surprise.
Standing on the stage before them, side by side with Amon, was Doctor Tannan. To demonstrate his abilities, Tannan shot a bolt of fire into the air over the crowd before bending a water whip from a canteen and snapping out any embers floating in the air. The crowd looked on in awe, and Korra's rage melted for a moment.
"How did he..."
"He's faking it. He steals people's chi, and by extension their bending abilities. He's no more the Avatar than I am a fairy princess," Alex hissed. Tannan stepped forward and took the microphone that was offered to him.
"My friends. My name is Taun, and as you have clearly just seen, I am the true Avatar. For thousands of years, benders have held an unnatural advantage over their fellow man, causing imbalance and by extension war and hardships. I have spoken with the Spirits, seeking a way to end the world's hardships. And they have told me that the time has come to put an end to mankind's suffering by removing bending from the equation all together. They led me to this man, to whom I have pledged my life to following. As the True Avatar, I tell you that Amon's cause is Just!" Alex felt Korra tense under his grip, like a cat readying to pounce. He quickly readjusted so that his grip was tighter.
"I know you have been wondering, 'what is The Revelation?' and have probably assumed that Avatar Taun is your answer. You are only half right. In order to bring about this new age of Equality, the Spirits have granted me the power to take away a person's bending. Permanently," Amon said. Korra's eyes went wide with surprise, and many people in the crowd around them gasped as well.
"That's impossible, there's no way," Korra said.
"This guy's insane," Mako added. Alex, however cocked his eyebrow at his two companions.
"You two failed in history class, didn't you? Taking away a person's bending? That's the trick Avatar Aang used to end the Hundred Year War," he said. This earned him a surprised look from Korra and Mako.
"What? I so I did research to try and find out what causes me to shoot lightning, sue me."
"And now for a demonstration. Please welcome Lightning Bolt Zolt, leader of the Triple Threat Triad, and one of the most notorious criminals in Republic City," Amon said as some foot soldiers led Zolt and four other Triad members out onto the stage. The crowd began to boo Zolt, who despite being tied up was still standing tall and proud.
"Ah, boo yourselves!" the Triad leader shouted.
"There's Bolin," Korra said, nodding toward a very scared looking teen at the end of the line up. She started to move forward again, but this time both Alex and Mako held her back.
"Wait, we can't fight them all, we need to be smart about this," Mako said.
"You got a way of sneaking one guy out from the view of hundreds of eyeballs without being seen, I'm all ears," Alex said.
"Zolt has amassed a fortune by extorting and abusing non benders. But his reign of terror is about to come to an end! Now, in the interest of fairness, I will give Zolt the chance to fight and keep his bending," Amon said. With that, The Lieutenant cut Zolt's bindings while Tannan raised his hood back over his head and stepped back as well.
"You're gonna regret doing that, pal!" Zolt shouted before he began to shoot fireballs at the Equalist leader. But Amon easily danced around the blasts, closing the distance between the two. In an instant, Zolt threw out his hand and shot a massive bolt of lightning forward. But by now, Amon was well within touching distance. He grabbed Zolt's extended wrist and turned the man around before forcing him to his knees.
Deadly arcs of electricity danced about all over the stage, and Alex found himself staring with his jaw slightly agape. That kind of power was...tempting. Like a cool drink of water to a man in a desert. The courier quickly blinked and shook his head. "I have a serious problem." They watched as Amon brought his thumb down on Zolt's forehead. The arcs of lightning flying from the man's fingertips turned into a massive gout of flame before sputtering out completely. After a moment, Amon released his grip and allowed Zolt to fall forward on his face. Groaning, the Triad leader sat up and threw his fist at Amon. But nothing happened.
"What...what did you do to me?"
"Your firebending is gone, forever!" Amon declared before he turned to the crowd, "The Era of Bending is over, a new Era of Equality has begun!" As the foot soldiers began to untie more Triad members and force them to face Amon, both Korra and Alex turned back to Mako.
"If we're going to do something, we'd better do it now," Alex said.
"I know, I know," Mako replied.
"So then does that mean you have a plan, Team Captain?" Korra asked.
"Oh my God, you don't have a plan, do you?" Alex asked.
"I do too! You see those machines? They're powered by water and steam, if you can create some cover I'll be able to grab Bolin without being seen, then we can duck out of here," Mako said, nodding toward a large set of metal pipes protruding from the far wall.
"And what about him?" Korra asked, tilting her head toward Alex. The courier bit his lip in order to keep from coming up with a retort.
"He goes with you. If anyone catches you, he can provide backup."
"I don't need backup, Mako."
"This place is crawling with Equalists, Mr. Hockey Mask is going through the Triads faster than a fat guy with chocolate cake, and said masked man's number two guy is a God damn chi vampire, so save arguing with your boyfriend for later and let's go," Alex said.
"He's not my boyfriend."
"Today's headline: 'No One Gives a Damn'." Korra sighed in frustration before wishing Mako luck and slipping away into the crowd with Alex hot on her heals. The two quickly made their way into a side hallway filled with gauges, valves and pipes. Korra quickly grabbed the nearest wheel and gave it a quick spin. Instantly a jet of steam began to shoot into the air.
"That's not enough," she muttered before she began to turn another valve.
"Exactly how much is enough?" Alex asked as he began to spin a valve of his own. The hallway was slowly beginning to fill with steam.
"Hey, you two," It was the bouncer from the front door.
"Is there a problem, my brother?" Korra asked.
"What are you doing back here? This area is off limbs."
"Well, actually we're here to pick up an order. Two large pepperonis and a calzone, the name's 'fuck you'," Alex said, stepping forward slightly. The bouncer's face turned sour as he drew a wrench from his back pocket. He gave the tool a quick twirl before he swung at full force, fully intending to take the courier's head off.
Alex quickly ducked, allowing the wrench to sail overhead and rebound off of a pipe. As the bouncer drew the wrench over his head, Korra quickly caught the tool's teeth with Mako's scarf. With a quick yank, the tool was torn free from his grip. Rubbing his hands together quickly, Alex placed both of them on the man's back before he could react.
"Clear!" A sharp crack filled the air as Alex let off a pulse of electricity, launching the bouncer forward through a large set of pipes. Steam instantly flooded the hallway from the damaged machine, causing Korra to smile.
"Thanks, this is plenty," she said before she began to twist her arms around. The steam reacted to her movements, coiling around her like a ghostly white snake. After a moment, she thrust her palm forward, and the steam violently exploded outward from the machines into the main room.
Panicked screams filled the air as steam flooded the main room.
"We need to get out of here," Alex said, moving away from the cloud of whiteness to the best of his ability.
"Why? Let's go find that faker of an Avatar and show him what a true Avatar can do," Korra said, slamming her fist into her palm.
"Korra there is a lot of steam in the air right now, and to be honest, I have no idea how well steam conducts electricity."
"You're saying you'd let him go?"
"I'm saying I don't want to throw a bolt and electrocute everyone in the building! Now we came here for a reason, let's do it and get out of here like we planned!" Alex snapped. Together, the two of them took off for an exit. Kicking open a door to an alleyway, Alex spotted Bolin and Mako laying on the ground, being stood over by The Lieutenant. Gritting his teeth, the courier charged forward with a yell.
The Lieutenant twisted around, dodging Alex and applying both of his Kali sticks to his back. He yelled out and sank to his knees as the electric current from the sticks flowed into his body.
"You benders need to understand, there's no place for you in the world anymore," The Lieutenant said. He fell silent when he noticed Alex was laughing. To his amazement, the courier actually stood back up and faced him again.
"Please sir, may I have another?" Alex asked, faking a cockney accent and supporting a large grin. The Lieutenant was dumbstruck. No one had ever been able to stand up to the power of his sticks before.
"How did..." he never finished as a slab of earth suddenly erupted under his feet and launched him into a wall.
"I wouldn't count us out just yet," Korra said before she whistled. Alex wasted no time in grabbing one of the sticks The Lieutenant had dropped before he jumped onto Naga's back behind Mako and Korra. Bolin, however, was grabbed up in the hybrid's mouth and dragged as they galloped away.
"I want...to be..on...your back," Bolin said in vain.
"It's the False Avatar!" The Lieutenant shouted pointing after them as several chi blockers began to give chase.
"Let them go!" Amon ordered as he appeared on a balcony overhead, "she's the perfect messenger to tell the city of my power."
The ride back to the Pro Bending Arena was silent, or as silent as it could be with Bolin constantly begging to be released from Naga's mouth. When they finally arrived, the massive hybrid let the saliva soaked earthbender fall to the ground like a used chew toy.
"Oh, I need a serious bath," Bolin said before he shuffled off to their apartment. The trio watched him go before dismounting from Naga.
"Hey guys, thanks for helping me find Bolin," Mako said. He and Korra had ditched their disguises a long time ago, but Alex kept the hat and jacket. It was a decent replacement for his burnt up hoodie.
"No problem, man, that's what friends are for," Alex said.
"You consider us friends? You've barely known us for a full day," Korra said. The courier shrugged.
"Kelly is my oldest friend, and she's somehow manged to befriend you so perhaps there is hope for us. What do you say, Avatar Korra? Friends?" Alex asked as he held out his hand. Korra looked at his hand for a moment. Sure, the guy infuriated her to no end. But he had also proven himself to be more than useful over the past twenty four hours. Useful, and loyal. And his brand of humor was one she could get use too.
"Friends," she said taking his hand and shaking it.
"I'm gonna turn in, thanks again," Mako said before turning away and waving over his shoulder. The two waved after him before standing in awkward silence for a moment.
"You wanna catch the ferry back to Air Temple Island with me? I know you were there to meet Tenzin before we dragged you into this," Korra said. Alex looked past her toward the Island. The temple's main tower rose like a spire of light out of the dark sea.
"Not tonight. I've had too much fun for that. I think I'll take Mako's lead and turn in. Say hi to Kelly for me," Alex said, bidding farewell to the Avatar. As he started toward the Sato Mansion, Alex drew the baton he had stolen from The Lieutenant. It was made of metal to conduct electricity, but the handle was rubberized so as to not electrocute the user.
With a little tinkering, and a few modifications, he could make this an excellent weapon for fighting with his powers. And after everything he had seen tonight: Amon, the Equalists' rising power, Tannan, he had a feeling he was going to need it.
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