|More from Jacob13Kyle||Action/Adventure, Romance||PG-13||Here||No update page|
May 30, 2016
"Come on, man, I'll give you money, I'll give you my car, just leave me alone!" the triad mugger yelled as he ran down the alleyway. A bolt of lightning suddenly struck the man in the middle of his back, causing him to scream out before he fell face down. His body twitched uncontrollably as the electricity coursed through his system.
"Enough of this running shit," Alex said as he appeared next to the man, panting heavily from the chase. Reaching down, he gripped the Triad member by the hair and lifted his head up.
"Now that we got that out of the way, you mind telling me what's up with your bosses hiring extra muscle?" he asked.
"Word on the street is that all the major Triads are gearing up for a turf war," the mugger said. He screamed again when Alex gripped his neck and let off a small shock.
"Alright, Alright! The Equalists have been snatching people all week, the bosses are trying to shore up their defenses, now that's all I know!" Grabbing the mugger by the back of his shirt, Alex dragged him to a nearby telephone pole and proceeded to handcuff him to it. With a quick jab, he sent a jolt of electricity into the man, knocking him out.
"There, that should hold your dumb ass until the cops show up," Alex said as looking over his handy work. Using his phone to check the time, the courier cursed under his breath and took off at a run. He was running late, very very late. Maybe, if he was lucky enough and quick enough, he could salvage what was left of this night.
"You're late," Asami said without looking up from the car engine she was working on. Alex paused for a moment to take in the sight before him. His girlfriend was wearing a white shirt, tan overalls, and was covered with grease. This version of Asami was one that he loved the most. It showed her true self far more than any fancy evening dress could.
"I got dumplings for my dumpling," he replied, holding up a sack and flashing a cheesy grin. The grease stained heiress looked up and smiled. Setting her tools to the side, she gave Alex a quick kiss before taking the bag from him.
"For being completely hopeless, you sure know the way to a girl's heart," she said.
"What can I say? I'm know what the ladies like."
"Uh huh, sure. So, how was your day?" she asked as she pulled out a dumpling and popped the whole thing into her mouth.
"I finally got a proper answer about why the Triads have been muscling up lately. I figured it was cause of a turf war or cause the Avatar is in town. Turns out that the Equalists have been kidnapping Triad Members."
"I thought the Equalists only did protesting," Asami said through a mouthful. Alex simply shrugged.
"Amon decided to take his little revolution to the next level I guess."
"So what are you gonna do now?"
"Now I guess the next thing to do is find out what exactly the Equalists are doing with a bunch of bending street thugs."
"And how do you plan to do that?"
"I don't know. I guess I'll do what I always do and wing it." Asami cocked her eyebrow as she dug for another dumpling.
"You just guess on what you're doing most of the time?"
"Well, it's not like there's a handbook for being a lightning powered vigilante floating around out there." The heiress couldn't help but nod at that kind of logic.
"So what else do you just happen to 'wing it' on?" she asked before biting into another dumpling.
"Dating you, mainly." Asami choked and Alex slapped his hand over his mouth, his eyes wide upon the realization of what he had just said.
"What's that suppose to mean?"
"I've never had a girlfriend before you, alright? I don't know what to expect or what exactly is expected of me," he quickly explained, realizing that he had just wandered into a proverbial minefield. Asami flashed a predatory smile. She loved it when Alex was unsure of himself like this, it made him look cute.
Of course, the fact that his tardiness tonight had almost ruined the plans she had didn't help. Unlike Alex, Asami had a couple of boyfriends under her belt before the dirty blonde, gray eyed teen had stumbled out in front of her moped. She was experienced enough to know what she wanted out of a relationship, but that didn't mean that her relationship with Alex came without its own set of firsts.
The electrical powers wasn't as big of a deal as one might have expected. Her first boyfriend had been a firebender who worked at the city's power plant, so lightning flying from the fingertips wasn't exactly new. But the fact that Alex was from a different world all together was something else. And he was smart, smarter than anyone else that was included in the social group that was the closest thing the heiress had to friends.
There was also the fact that, unlike the others, Alex never once looked at her and saw a dollar sign. He knew just how wealthy she was, and yet he still insisted on spending what little of a paycheck he had in order to treat her like a princess, refusing to let her touch or even see the check whenever they went out to dinner. All in all, Alex saw her for herself, not her money, and acted like a gentleman toward her to the best of his ability at all times.
Casting a glance toward the couch that rested against the far corner, Asami gave a small smile. The night was still young, and they still had plenty of time to do what she had originally planned for that evening. Setting the dumplings to the side, she grabbed him by the front of the jacket.
"Well then, if that's the case, let's see how good you are on 'winging it' in the make out department," she said. Alex couldn't help but grin as he realized his girlfriend's intentions.
"I am at your command, Ms. Sato."
"Shut up and kiss me, lightning rod."
"Now I know why anime characters turn into bumbling idiots after kissing a hot girl," Alex muttered to himself as he missed a step and almost fell flat on his face. The sky was starting to turn red with the dusk, so he quickened his pace.
His make out session with Asami the night before had gotten extremely intense, so much so that the event hadn't strayed far from his mind all day. The night had ended with them on the couch, Alex shirtless and Asami's overalls undone. Despite wanting to go further, the two of them agreed that they weren't quite ready to take to the next level yet. Although now that they had made it this far, Alex couldn't help but wonder what next time would have in store for them.
Shaking his head to clear it of any thoughts or fantasies involving his current love life, Alex began focusing on his current task at hand. He was currently climbing the long steps of Air Temple Island, seeking the guidance of the one of the city's most revered spiritual leaders on what to do about his developing abilities.
As the only Airbending Master in the world, and by default an expert on things bending and spiritual related, Tenzin seemed to be the best choice on who to consult about this issue. The fact that Air Temple Island was home to the largest collection of books and texts outside of Ba Sing Se university was a bonus.
What if his case wasn't the first one in the history of the world? What if his abilities wasn't a result of the lab accident, but rather some rare anomaly that only occurred once every few generations? What if he wasn't the first one to come to this world? What if there was a way for him to go home? In all, Alex simply didn't know enough to try and come up with some answers.
And answers was something he desperately needed right now. As he reached the top of the stairs, another question crossed his mind.
Did he really want to go home?
It was enough to make him stop and stand in place, pondering the question. Back home he had been a self-imposed outcast, choosing to be a loner with only a close friend rather than hanging with the popular and social crowd. After high school it all looked like it would go down hill from there. College life, with more of the type of people he found annoying, was what he had to look forward to.
But here, things were different. Things were interesting. Sure, he had these powers, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Here, he had an amazing girlfriend, a couple of good friends, and a world filled with strange and endless possibilities just at his fingertips. After all of this, did he really want to go back to the way life was before?
"Hey, tough guy, let us help you. Three pairs of eyes is better than one." The sound of the voice snapped Alex back into reality, and made his blood turn to ice. It was a voice he had only hoped to hear again when it was being broadcast over the radio, not in person and this close at that.
Looking toward the scorce of the voice, Alex spotted several large wooden planks all arranged in a circle. Many of them were spinning rather slowly, like a windmill on a lazy day. Next to the planks stood three people, two young women facing him and a young man facing away from him. Just beyond them were two young girls in airbender attire eagerly whispering amongst themselves as they watched the trio. The eldest looked to be about ten years old.
As he looked, Alex realized that he recognized both of the young women standing near the gates. One of them was Avatar Korra, and the other was his long lost friend Kelly. Alex blinked once, then twice, and then rubbed his eyes to insure that they weren't playing tricks on him. Months of searching the city and having people search the world from Omashu to the Fire Nation, and here she was less thirty yards away.
"Kelly?" he asked. The trio turned toward the sound of his voice, and Kelly's eyes widened to the side of dinner plates.
"Alex!" the bi-speckled teen cried with glee before racing forward and tackling her friend in a bear hug. Alex took a half step back from the force of the tackle, but managed to keep them from falling over. He returned the hug in earnest. All of the anxiety he had felt over the past months of not knowing her fate melted into relief and joy and the discovery of her being okay.
"Hey, look out!" came the shout of the guy who they had been talking to. The instincts that Alex had developed from being a courier, street fighter, and vigilante kicked in as he quickly shoved himself and Kelly apart. In the next instant, a small set of gardening tools sailed through the spot where their heads had been, flying past them and out over the cliff side into the harbor. The two friends watched the tools fall before looking back at the others.
"What the hell, Korra?" Kelly asked, sending a death glare toward the Avatar. Korra quickly threw her hands up in surrender.
"Don't blame me, I'm not the walking magnet."
"I didn't do anything magnet wise!"
"Something magnetic happened, it was powerful enough to almost pull my buttons out of my shirt," the guy said, placing both hands on his torso to further his point. Alex held up his hands in a t shape, stopping Kelly from coming up with a retort.
"Okay, time out. Introductions first, then killer gardening tools, deal?" Everyone nodded at that.
"Alex, this is Mako and Korra, guys this is Alex Chambers, my friend I was telling you about," Kelly said, gesturing between everyone. Alex and Mako shook hands, while at the same time they sized each other up. They were about the same height, and Alex was a little more on the broad side than the firebender. Alex was also a couple shades darker than Mako in skin tone, and his buzz cut dirty blonde hair was a far cry from Mako's black hair.
Korra in the meantime was doing her own sizing up of the courier. He seemed familiar to her somehow. Maybe it was his voice, or his posture, or maybe it was the black hoodie he was wearing. It all suddenly clicked, and a fiery rage surged through the Avatar's veins.
"YOU!" she snapped. Her voice was so filled with rage that both Mako and Kelly quickly took several steps away to get out of her path. Even the airbending girls vanished into the bushes to avoid her potential wrath.
"You're that yahoo from the alley my first day here, aren't you?"
"You and I still have a duel, firebender boy, get yourself ready!" Korra snapped, assuming a bending position. Alex's eyes went wide with horror and he quickly threw up his hands in surrender.
"I told you then and I'm telling you now, I'm not a bender!"
"Bullshit! You shot lightning, I saw you!"
"Korra, KORRA! He's telling the truth! Alex came from the same place I did, he can't bend, it's impossible!" Kelly shouted, throwing herself in between the two.
"Then how can he..."
"Maybe if you'd stand down for five minutes and let him explain you can get an answer!" Everything was tense for a brief few moments as the Avatar refused to back down. Then, finally, she lowered her fists.
"First things first, what the hell was that with the gardening tools?" Alex asked pointing out over the cliff where said tools had gone. Kelly blushed lightly and looked at her feet.
"After the accident in the lab, I wound up in the Southern Water Tribe. Some White Lotus sentries found me in a snowstorm and gave me shelter, which is how I met Korra. Everything was normal at first, but then I found that I could do stuff like this," she said, holding up her hands. A coin levitated in between her palms without any visible force supporting it. After a moment, she let the coin stick to one palm, and then sail across the gap and stick to the other. Alex raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"Magnetism?" he guessed. Kelly nodded.
"I barely had any control at first and got mauled by a couple of trash cans, but overtime I learned how to use it. I showed Korra, and then Mako and Bolin. Today was the first time something like that has happened in months," she said, looking down in shame, "I thought I had more control than that." Alex cupped his chin in thought, and an idea suddenly popped into his head.
"It...may not have been entirely your fault," he said. Kelly looked up and gave him a puzzled look, one that was shared by Mako and Korra.
"What do you mean?" Rather than answer, he gestured for Mako to come closer to them.
"Your buttons reacting to anything right now?"
"No, they're just sitting there like they're suppose to."
"And what happens if I do this?" Alex asked before he reached out and took Kelly's hand. Instantly the buttons on the firebender's shirt stretched outward toward the bi-speckled teen. Even Alex felt the various metal objects on his body shift toward his friend. He quickly released his grip, and the pull vanished. Everyone blinked in surprise.
"What the hell?" Mako asked.
"That's what I thought," Alex said.
"What was that?" Kelly asked.
"Korra wasn't lying when she said that she saw me shoot lightning, and you're not the only one who developed new abilities," Alex explained as he held one of his hands up. Arcs of electricity danced between his fingers and over his hand, causing the other three to take a hasty few steps back out of caution.
"Magnets are powered by electricity. The more electricity a magnet has access to, the more powerful it is," he explained before lowering his hand again.
"So you're saying that your powers make Kelly's powers go haywire?" Korra asked.
"More like acts as an amplifier to them, if I had to guess. The only way to find out is to experiment, and from the looks of things that's not something we have time for right now."
"He's right, the sun is going down and we're still no closer to finding Bolin," Mako said.
"Who's Bolin?" Alex asked.
"My brother. He wasn't at our place when I got home from work today and I figured I'd find him here, but as you can see no such luck. We were just getting ready to head into the city to look for him."
"Damnit, that reminds me. We promised Tenzin and Pema we'd look after the kids tonight," Korra said.
"You three head into the city and look for Bolin, I'll stay here and watch the kids," Kelly said.
"Korra, I know you're miffed at Alex, but frankly he's better suited for the task than I am. He's been in the city a lot longer, probably knows more places to look, and if what you say is true he'll be handy in a fight if it comes to that. Besides, after almost getting my head taken off by a shovel I'd rather not be anywhere near any metal right now," Kelly said.
"Hey wait a minute, I never agreed to this. I got my own reasons for being here..."Alex trailed off when Kelly turned and glared at him. Korra raised her hand to argue, but saw the look in her friend's eyes and let out a sigh. Neither one of them were getting out of this.
"Fine. We'll take Naga, she's a great tracker." Mako and Alex shot a glance at each other.
"When you said tracker, I should have known this is what you were talking about," Alex muttered. The three of them were riding on Naga's back with Korra upfront, Mako sandwiched in the middle, and Alex on the back.
"Your best friend is a polar bear dog...somehow that makes perfect sense," Mako said.
"I'll take that as a complement, city boy," Korra said proudly. They rode into the wide open square in front of the Central City Station. At the heart of the square stood a statue of Fire Lord Zuko, a gout of flame producing from his raised hand.
"This is Bo's usual hangout," Mako said in puzzlement as the three of them slid from the saddle. The earthbender was nowhere in sight. Instead a few kids were playing around the base of the statue, and Mako led the way toward them.
"You guys seen my brother around here?" he asked. One of the kids, a boy with messy brown hair and faded hat, sniffed.
"Maybe. My memory is a little...fuzzy. Maybe you can clear it up," he said, holding up his hand and wagging his fingers. Alex crossed his arms and raised his eyebrow.
"You saying broken fingers is gonna clear up your amnesia, Skoochy?" he asked.
"Broken fingers means no Bolin, Chambers" the kid replied, not even bothering to look at Alex and wagging his fingers again. The two teens looked at each other before Mako fished into his pocket and pulled out the pink bill of a yuan.
"You're good, kid, a real pro," he said with a hint of irritation.
"Yeah, I seen him. He was preforming some kind of monkey rat circus around noon, and then..." he trailed off and held up his hand again. Mako wasted no time slipping him another bill.
"Shady Shin showed up in his hot rod and flashed some serious cash. Bolin left with him. Word on the street is that all the Triads are muscling up for something big. Now that's all you're getting out of me," he said before sprinting off.
"What was that all about?" Korra asked.
"Sounds like there's a turf war brewing, and Bolin's about to get caught right in the middle of it," Mako said. Alex however was shaking his head.
"I'm not so sure about that. The Triads have been recruiting more lately true enough, but I don't think it's for a turf war."
"Why, what have you heard?"
"Roamers and whispers, really. But in either case, we'd better find Bolin fast."
"So then where are we going?" Korra asked.
"The Triple Threat Triad Headquarters. It's not far from here," Mako said as the three of them quickly climbed onto Naga's back.
"Triple Threat Triad? Weren't those thugs you beat up on my first day in town with them?" Korra asked as they rode.
"Yeah, that sounds about right," Alex replied, thinking back to that day.
"Why would Bolin be involved with...whoa hey easy Naga!" Korra shouted. The polar bear dog had suddenly changed course to chase after a small red and white creature about the size of a squirrel. The massive hybrid chased the little creature up a street lamp, where the trio got their first good look at it.
"That's Pabu!" Mako said in surprise. Korra quickly yanked back on the reigns, pulling Naga off of the hunt.
"Naga no, Pabu is a friend, not a snack." The fire ferret snaked its way down the lamp post before sniffing the snout of the polar bear dog. They touched noses for a moment before Pabu hopped onto Naga's head and scampered to Mako's shoulder.
"We'd better hurry," the firebender said, rubbing the ferret's head. They took off again, quickly arriving at the front of a large looking restaurant. Alex crossed his arms as he looked the place over. It blended in well, which was why he hadn't found this place yet during his nightly outings. But there was something off about it, aside from the fact that it was the headquarters of an underground criminal organization.
"Something's not right, there are usually thugs posted outside," Mako said as they slid from the saddle. The firebender moved up to the door in a cautious manner, like he was ready to expect anything. Korra, however, simply strode up to the door, kicked it off its hinges, and then walked in like she owned the place. Alex walked in behind her, and what he saw made him have electricity crackle along his forearms.
The whole place was ransacked. Tables had been flipped over, food was scattered on the floor, and a few decorations had been messed up. All signs of a decent sized fight that had taken place not that long ago. The sound of a truck engine starting reached the trio's ears. They quickly looked at each other before sprinting through the place to the back door. Korra once again kicked the door open, reveling a truck surrounded by figures in gas masks sitting on motorcycles. Just before the door on the back of the truck closed, they caught a glimpse of the Triad members inside.
One of them was Bolin.
"Bolin!" Mako shouted, drawing the attention of the figures nearby. One of them threw a canister toward the trio.
"Grenade!" Alex cried, shoving his companions aside and throwing out his hand. A bolt of lightning sailed between his fingers and the canister in the blink of an eye. The canister was launched into the air before exploding into a sickly green cloud of smoke. They shielded themselves as bits of partly molten metal rained down around them. The Equalists wasted no time, using the cover to speed away. Korra quickly brought her fingers to her mouth and whistled.
The trio jumped onto the hybrid's back and took off after the Equalists. Mako shot bolts of fire after them, but the Equalists were skilled bikers, easily dodging the blasts by swerving back and forth. Korra quickly lost her patience and thrust both of her fists upward. The ground beneath one of the bikes instantly buckled and launched the vehicle skyward. But the rider kept his calm, easily sticking the landing like the whole thing had been done on purpose.
The chase continued like this until they sped out into the wide open space of a square. Three of the motorcycle riders suddenly slammed on the breaks, spinning their bikes around and throwing bolas at the charging polar bear dog. The hybrid's legs were suddenly bound together, sending her and her riders sprawling to the ground.
Alex groaned as he sat up, and then quickly realized that he was no where near being out of the woods yet. A single Equalist was sprinting towards him before kicking, flipping into the air, and intending to bring his foot down on Alex. The courier quickly brought up both hands and released a bolt of lightning. Instantly the Equalist was launched backwards, his body arcing with electricity before he landed a short distance away.
Hopping to his feet, Alex was suddenly beset by another Equalist. Before he could react, the woman had stuck his arm three times with quick jab like punches. Instantly the arm went dead and dangled useless at his side. The courier watched in surprise and horror as electricity arced all along his dead arm.
He had no control over it now.
The woman came in for another strike, but this time Alex was ready. He lept back, dodging her strikes for all it was worth. Seeing an opening, and hoping for the best, he swung his dead arm around and clothes lined the Equalist with it. A loud pop filled the air as the electric charge passed between his arm and the woman's gas mask. Her legs flew into the air as she was sprawled out on her back.
Alex yelled out in pain, not from the discharge, but from the fact that his arm had collided with some running at full speed. He shook the dead limb about like it was a rag doll, attempting to both wear off the pain and regain some control. On the ground, the woman let out a groan before she shook her head and got back to her feet.
She used Alex's distraction to get in close and land several strikes on his other arm and torso. Instantly he fell onto his back and stared at the night sky, his body completely paralyzed from the neck down. Glancing down at his body, the courier saw electricity now dancing all over his body.
"Oh, son of a..." Electricity exploded outward from his body in all directions in a single large discharge, leaving Alex drained and on the verge of conciseness. He was only vaguely aware of the sound of tires squealing and engines roaring as the Equalists made their escape. As he fought back sleep, he realized he could also hear Korra grunting in frustration.
"I can't bend, I can't bend!" she said, panic growing in her voice.
"Relax, it'll wear off. Those were chi blockers, Amon's henchmen," Mako said.
"Amon? That anti bending guy with the mask?"
"That's him. What do chi blockers want with Bolin?" Mako asked. Alex heard a gasp.
"Oh spirits, Alex!" Korra's concerned face appeared in his line of sight. For the first time since they had met, Alex realized that Korra was showing genuine concern for his well being.
"What's wrong with him? Why isn't he getting back up like we did?" she asked, looking at Mako.
"Discharge...drained..." Alex managed to say. He was tired, so tired. And to go to sleep would be so easy...
"Alex, look at me, what do you need?" Korra asked, snapping her fingers to get his attention.
"Electricity...lot of it..." The Avatar vanished from his line of sight, and for a moment Alex thought that she had left him behind. Then, there was a flash of light and a clap of thunder, and the courier suddenly felt like he had been injected with a million shots of adrenaline.
"Whoa, that's tingly!" he shouted as he shot to his feet. There were so many volts passing through his body, he felt like his teeth were vibrating. Looking around, he realized what had happened. Mako had shot him with a bolt of lightning in order to power him back up.
"Are you okay?" Korra asked.
"Of course I'm okay, never felt better, why do you ask?" Alex felt like a kid on a sugar rush, and had to force himself to remain calm and not talk at a ridiculous speed.
"Because you're kinda on fire," she said, pointing toward his shoulder where the lightning had struck him. Alex looked down and saw his jacket and shirt were smoldering.
"Shit!" he exclaimed before he set to spinning in a circle and beating on his shoulder repeatedly in an effort to put out the embers. Mako watched this for a few moments before he spoke up.
"Well, we lost them. Anyone else have a plan?" he asked.
"Let's split up. I'll get some new clothes and ask around, see where they might have taken Bolin," Alex said as he finished putting out the embers.
"There was an Equalist protester in the park the first day I got here, maybe he knows something," Korra said, patting Naga's snout as the hybrid walked up to her master, having easily freed herself from the bolas that had tripped her up.
"That's good. We'll check out the park, you dig around and see what you can find. We'll meet up at the trolly station over on Kyoshi Drive at noon," Mako said. Together, he and Korra climbed onto Naga's back and rode off into the night. Alex stood there and watched them go for a moment before patting his smoldering jacket again.
"Wait till Asami hears about this."
For the collective works of the author, go here.