Race to Zaofu
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Book Five: Growth



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Chapter Four: The Bridge


Team Avatar makes their way to Zaofu, but they may be too late. Kala and Jiro have plans to tear the city apart.

Future Industries Airship

Team Avatar, Lin, and Tenzin were together in the central area of the airship. Asami stood at the nearest radio, the light of dawn a mere glint in her eyes. Tenzin stood by her side, asking a question. Bolin played with his fingers. Mako sat and talked with Lin over his job, but Korra was outside beside Naga, the only one looking at the fallen city behind her. Tenzin approached her.

"I talked with Asami like you asked."


"I'm afraid we still have a bit of time before getting to Zaofu," Tenzin told her. "What's your rush?"

"It's just that I have this feeling. Like I'm supposed to be there."

"Well, if it makes you feel better, I told Jinora to try honing in on our energy when we're closer in range."

"I just hope we're not too late in case anything happens."

"You and me both," Lin intruded.

"Even though the airbenders are there, Zaofu was left vulnerable to attackers not too long ago. It's not like they put up new domes."

"They don't plan on it either," Korra said. "I visited Zaofu a while back. Su took into account that the riches at Zaofu should be spread out, and creating new domes would create a natural resentment towards the city. The Kuvira incident really took a tole on her decisions."

"While you guys worry about Zaofu, I'll be radioing Varrick," said Bolin.

"I don't think he wants to be bothered with you," Mako suggested. "He's got Zhu Li to do the things."

"I refuse to believe that."

"Of course you do."

"Bolin, I'm afraid you'll have to put that call on hold. There's a problem with the ship," said Asami.

"I thought the ship had already been prepped," Bolin whined.

"Pilot just said that the control circuitry is malfunctioning," Asami explained.

"Can't you just fix it?" Bolin whimpered.

"Well, it's not just a matter of rewiring a new control panel. We're not close to Zaofu or Republic City. We'll have to make due with what we have . . . And I know what we can do."

"Mako! Give me a headcount!"


"Because if we're going to live, I'll need a headcount."


"Lin, Korra, and Tenzin, go to the bow of the airship to the second level. Metalbend the outer shell open. The control circuitry is heating up now that it's not being properly maintained. Airbend the wires and keep them cool. Lin, there's supposed to be a fan there. Metalbend until you can get it back working."

"What caused this?" Tenzin inquired.

"I don't know, but it had to have been done before we took off. I don't think it's one of mine," Asami told him.

"What would make you think that?"

"Well, my company isn't stationed in Republic City, so the team that I bring with me usually has access to the few resources I have there. If they wanted to sabotage us, we'd be dead by now."

"Including the prep crew, there's 13 on board, but I don't think whoever did this wanted us dead," Mako assumed.

"Bolin, tell the captain to do whatever he can to get this thing moving upward."

"Don't you think we should go down?" Mako intruded.

"If I try landing this thing, it'll never get back up, which is where you come in, Mako."

"What else do you need?"

"You're going to help me with a project I've been trying to finish."

"Is this really the time to be catching up on your bucket list?"

"Trust me. Now come on!"

Mako followed Asami to the second level of the airship. She led him beyond a door into a secret control room. She then pressed a button, causing sirens to echo throughout the airship. "Now, why am I here?" asked Mako frustratingly.

"Because of Varrick."


"Yes, Varrick. At his wedding two years ago, he talked to me about something he wanted my, well, how he put it, 'our' company to launch a new type of airship, one that could launch a number of mecha suits quickly and efficiently. So . . . . I quickly thought about escape pods, or, in that case, launching pods that could act as secondary ships. Anyway, I need you here to help me finish it."

"You haven't even finished it?" he said furiously.

"Well, he told me at the wedding, which made me easily forget about, so it wasn't at the top of my priority list. I needed you to give me a headcount so I can know where to detach the pod."

"So, this thing was never designed as a pod to escape?"

"Precisely. That's where I need your firebending. Go to the thirteenth outline in the ground."

"Then what?"

"Melt it."

"Melt it? Do you even know what you're doing?"

"No! I don't know. Does that satisfy you? Now Bolin and the pilot, and they've done their part. Now we have to use what time we have to get to safety. Now, melt the floor!"

As instructed by Asami, Mako melted through the floor until he could see the sky below him and feel the strong wind against him.

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