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"Unfortunately, our magnificent city has endured several villainous acts of terror and evil that I'm has frightened you just as it has frightened Ming and myself as well as our three kids-"
"Did you hear that? Our Chief is scared!" One protestor let out this cry to be followed by more jeers from angry sign-bearers.
"Our children are in danger!" one woman shrieked.
Gulong proceeded. "I understand what every family is feeling. It is only natural to be shaken, but I promise that our police force has not flinched and will never cease to fearlessly fight crime wherever it exists under my watch-"
"The recent deaths, including one of our beloved Administrator, are tragic, and the damage is horrifying but-"
"The criminal is still on the lose!"
This statement was followed by a furious chant. "Hey! Ho ho! Chief Gulong has got to go! Hey! Ho ho! Chief Gulong has got to go!"
"You cannot silence us!" one man shouted as the police tried to contain the protest.
"I can assure you that this recent streak of crime is coming to an end. Today, I'm announcing my-"
"Resignation!" The outburst was responded to by laughter and cheers from the protestors.
"My new Preserve Our Greatness campaign that will," he started to get flustered as the mob mocked his cliche plan name. "THAT WILL CRACK DOWN ON ALL EVIL IN OUR CITY. I have instructed my officers to launch an all-out attempt to find and capture those responsible."
Not too far away, in a dark, damp room, the Isha were gathered around a radio listening in on the Chief's words.
"What do you guys think?" asked Sangti.
"Do you think they'll find us?" worried Soza.
"Shhh!" Kimma put one finger over her mouth. "Listen!"
Gulon's conference continued. "Please, settle down. I assure you. I believe in our city. I believe in the hearts and minds of- I have never been more confident that- Trust me we can- FINE! You don't want me?"
"Then I resign." Immediately, the area erupted in cheers. "Officer Lao Beifong will succeed me as was originally planned for the future."
At this moment, Onjing joined his followers and unplugged the radio.
"My lord," Zhouray started. "What does this mean for our plan."
"It means acceleration. You are all aware that our brother in the United Republic Council was elected Chairman last month?"
The group nodded.
"Odd that out of 100 members, we need only one to have influence, and this one happens to be the brother of Mayor Shara and lifetime friend of Chief Lao Beifong."
The others in the room smiled, knowing where Onjing's thought was going.
"The Council is going to vote, and the Mayor and Chief are going to execute their decision. I tell you now that the Avatar is about to be removed from our way.
Two Hours Later
Icicle whizzed through the air and penetrated three training dummies on the other end of a frigid room.
"Well done Avatar!" exclaimed the unusually giddy Councilman Keric. Brek had never seen the man so happy.
"It seems like I've finally got ice down," Brek replied.
"I knew you had it in you." The two were interrupted as a page entered and approached Keric.
"Sir, the Chairman has ordered an emergency vote in City Hall immediately."
Keric was confused. "What, on the zoning regulations we were debating earlier?"
The page shook her head, also puzzled. "It seemed much more urgent than that.
The Waterbender was irritated, but he understood that he had to leave. Throwing on his jacket, he turned to Brek. "Keep practicing, I'm needed at a Council meeting. It's an emergency of some sort."
"Maybe I should go," Brek suggested, "as the Avatar."
Keric paused and thought about it. "Let's not make this any more complicated than it has to be. Besides, I want you to perfect your Waterbending ability."
It took no more than fifteen minutes for Keric to arrive at City Hall via limousine. When he stepped out the vehicle, there were no members of the press and no police officers, which struck him as odd. He saw a few other Council members arriving as well, but each one looked equally as clueless.
"Councilman Keric! Do you know what's going on?" A middle-aged woman who had been Keric's ally on many issues walked beside him.
"I haven't the slightest idea. I don't understand. If this is an emergency, why don't we have any security. A Council member is usually an unsafe position during an emergency."
The woman chuckled. "You? Keric? Afraid? Don't tell me it's so."
He wasn't afraid; he was curious, but he didn't respond to his friend. In sharp contrast to what the Council's grand meeting room was usually like, filled with useless chatter, it was dead silent. In the center of the room was a large podium. Behind it was a large United Republic flag beside smaller flags of the Earth Kingdom, Water Tribes, Air Nomads, and Fire Nation. Facing the display were ten rows of ten seats each, 100 seats in total. As always, Keric took a seat next to the middle-aged woman, who represents the Fire Nation at-large, and older man who represents Ba Sing Se. The 18-year-old woman representing the Southern Water Tribe's second district looked incredibly nervous, but more experienced Council members like the man from Omashu seemed uninterested and bored.
A short man walked slowly to the podium and brought the microphone to his face. "Ladies and Gentlemen the Chairman of the United Republic Council." As custom, 99 members stood as Keric's least favorite politician walked to the podium. The reason the Waterbender got so infuriated during this process was because he learned that in the olden days, each member of the council, and there were only five, was treated equally.
"Good afternoon my fellow members. I apologize for the abruptness of this meeting and the lack of details, but our business today is urgent."
"Just cut to the chase!" The outburst came from the Council's most outspoken member, the famed representative of the Fire Nation's eighth district.
Ignoring his longtime opponent, the Chairman continued. "We now know who is behind the recent rise of the group known as the Isha: the Avatar!"
Gasps and mumbled flew across the room, and Keric glanced around in utter disbelief. "Surely, you don't believe him!" he said to his colleague, who merely turned away.
The Chairman banged his gavel and instructed everyone to settle down. "Please, we must remain calm. This information has been confirmed by our highest intelligence offers. The Avatar is responsible for the destruction in the Fire Nation capital, the Southern Air Temple, Ba Sing Se, and here in Republic City. He can also be directly linked to the tragic massacres in both Water Tribes.
Finally, the man from Omashu's attention was caught, as was everyone's, particularly those whose constituents were affected by the attacks. Keric stood up, outraged. "The Avatar is hardly responsible for any of this! You say he helped kill the Fire Lord and Lady? Then why does the Fire Nation's princess travel with him?"
"Do you have proof of this?" The Chairman shot back.
Another woman stood. "Even if she was with him, perhaps he kidnapped her!"
"That's absurd," retorted Keric. "He fought in his hometown for the rights of non-benders. In fact, he's been fighting the Isha at ever corner. His own girlfriend is a non-bender!"
"Or is she? I bet it's a trick!" After a large man said this, most others nodded in agreement.
Keric was furious. "I can bring the Avatar and his friends here! Princess Zola and will be more than happy to testify on his behalf!"
"We don't have time for that," the Chairman argued. "Mayor Shara and Chief Beifong have already agreed to scour our city in search of the Avatar, but they felt that since he was a world-wide figure, we needed the Council's approval. That's why I am ordering an immediate vote- no time for debate."
"Fine!" Keric shouted. "No way will we vote in favor of such a ridiculous claim!"
The Chairman smiled. "Very well. All those in favor raise your hands."
Keric's jaw dropped as 97 members voted for what he considered to be the worst decision made in history. The only three opposed her himself, the middle-aged woman, and the man from the Fire Nation's eighth district.
The Avatar's friend began to storm out of the room, but he Chairman stopped him. "Now hold it right there, Councilman. You said you knew the position of the Avatar. That's abetting a criminal! All those in favor of holding the Councilman in contempt?"
The vote was the same. 97 to 3.
- In The Legend of Korra, the United Republic Council has five members. It has expanded to 100 to include not only an at-large representative for the Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, both Water Tribes, and each Air Temple, but for large metropolises as well.
- Chief Lao Beifong is meant to be related to Lin and Toph Beifong and is named after the character from A:TLA.
- Chief Gulong's "villainous acts of terror" is directly from President George W. Bush's response speech to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
- This is the first time in the Avatar world that a limousine is seen.
For the collective works of the author, go here.