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|Looking For a Lifeline part 1|
February 171 AG
Meg & Tsura
September 13th, 2013
However, since she had done this for Jei several times before, Tega knew the roads by heart now. She still didn't like being on the south bank since it was still out of her comfort zone, but she had accomplished what she came here to do and was getting ready to head back to the bakery.
As she loaded the last of the logs into the trunk of her Satomobile, Tega brushed the loose dirt off of her hands and shut the trunk. She then momentarily paused to preen her long, ashen hair. Everything was paid for, everything was loaded in the trunk, now she just had to deliver everything. Tega walked around the side of the vehicle and got into the driver's seat. She buckled herself in and quickly adjusted her mirrors before she was ready to go. Something had caught her eye in one of the mirrors, though: was that a—person? Oh my Spirits, I think that is a person! Tega's mind thought frantically.
She didn't try to distinguish the humanoid figure from the dark alley backdrop, but she considered using a payphone to call for help. First she would need to figure out the exact situation—what if they were dead? They weren't moving, that was for sure. Tega was too trusting as well, if this was someone dangerous things could go south (pardon the pun) really fast. Of course, she could defend herself, possibly better than anyone she could call.
Tega immediately unbuckled her seatbelt and pushed open her Satomobile door. The worry was clearly visible on her face as she ran toward the alley. "Hey!" She called, "Hey! Are you okay?!"
The person appeared female. Willowy, make-up smeared all over her face, and slumped against a wall struggling for breath. Tega knelt down next to her, quickly assessing the situation. There was a lot of blood, mostly from the woman's head. The red matted her dark hair and stained her blue top. Tega wasn't sure how extensive the woman's injuries were, but she wouldn't be able to tell in this dark lighting. "Oh my La," Tega swore, as she struggled to determine the extent of the woman's wounds, "You're hurt. Let me help you. Can you walk? We need to get out of here."
Whoever had done this had tried to kill this woman. It had probably been some Agni Kai members—they were the biggest threat in these parts—and if they figured out she was alive, then Tega could almost guarantee that they would be back to finish the job. Tega noticed a trail of red leading right out of the alleyway. Blood. That would make her an easy target. She repeated herself, unsure if the injured woman could even hear her—but with a head injury like that, it was doubtful, "We need to get out of here!"
If she would let her, Tega would lean over and wrap one of the woman's arms over her shoulders to help her to her feet. Tega didn't mind if she got blood on herself. She could clean it up later if she had to. Right now what mattered was helping this woman. She was still conscious and still breathing—and both were good signs—Tega just hoped she had found her in time.
The woman gasped weakly as sudden movements struck needles of pain in her bones. What was happening? What was happening to her? She leaned heavily against whatever was holding her arm and keeping her from collapsing, and she took staggering steps forward. The woman didn't seem able to see where she was going. Well, at least she was walking—er, sort of. It was more like shuffling. That was good—not great—but good. Tega tried to hurry her over to her Satomobile parked in the lot. What would Jei say when she brought this beaten woman to the Bakery—worse what would her co-workers say? Yuu was always so tidy and Tega was sure she would hear something from him about the blood all over the right side of her green dress—perhaps something akin to "You look more like you work in the Butcher shop than the Baker shop." Tega rolled her eyes. And of course if Emi was working today Tega was sure she could count on her to be the voice of reason while Jei ranted. Tega could be totally wrong, but it was interesting to try and envision the reactions of her co-workers prior to getting there—at least then she could somewhat prepare herself for the barrage of urgency that was to follow.
Tega brought the woman over to the passenger's side of her Satomobile. Fortunately she had a blanket in the front seat and she wrapped it around the woman. The purpose of this was two-fold: one, it would help to staunch some of the bleeding, and two, it would prevent blood staining the upholstery.
Once Tega had buckled her in she rushed around the other side of the vehicle and strapped herself down. "You're gonna be fine, just hang in there a little longer!"
It was important to keep the woman's brain activity going so she didn't slip into a coma—or, you know, just straight up die in Tega's front seat. So Tega kept talking to her. "I'm going to take you to the Bakery. I think my friends can help. If I knew who you were I'd just take you to the medical center, but, I mean," Tega had already started the vehicle and was now driving away, "how awkward would that be? 'Yeah, I don't know I just kind of found her'. And, I mean, no offense or anything, but I don't know you—and I can't guarantee that the medical center would be your best option."
Tega tried to give the woman beside her a friendly smile, but she wasn't sure if there was supposed to be a response there or not. She refocused her attention on the road. "Agh!" she honked the horn a few times and stuck her head out the window, "Hey! Learn to drive or get off the road, Moron!"
People who were road hogs or too slow really pissed her off. Not only that, but this was a state of emergency! Why was everyone just driving so slow today! She weaved around a few of the slower moving vehicles by crossing over into the lane of oncoming traffic—okay, so maybe that wasn't entirely legal, but no one got hurt! Tega didn't even notice that she was now severely going over the speed limit—until she heard the sirens.
Tega peered into the driver's side mirror. "Damn it. Why?" she groaned as she began to slow her Satomobile and pull over.
What was that called when everything that can go wrong does go wrong? Oh, right: Murfei's Law.
He drummed his fingers against the steering wheel, scowling somewhat as the beginnings of a headache thrummed at the base of his temple. His life was so different now compared to the fast-paced lifestyle that probending had afforded. There was no adulation from throngs of cheering people and at best a rare pat on the shoulder for a job well-done, but even those were few and far between. The new line of work he had found himself in was all but thankless, and with none of the prestige and respect afforded to the metalbenders he worked alongside with. There were days that he thought he would surely die of boredom, subjected to the tedious rigors of redundant patrols in less than desirable areas of Republic City, and this day was no different. Today he played traffic cop, issuing the odd parking ticket and moving violation. He'd so far given at least six of them, and the morning had barely started. Terrific.
Mako yawned at that, his eyes tearing just a bit, he rubbed at the corner of one as his gaze scanned over the early morning rush ahead of him. And it was then that he caught sight of the newest offender. He grit his teeth somewhat, a thoroughly unamused expression curling his lips into a frown.
"This dame's got balls of steel... Must have somewhere important to be, eh?" He muttered, pulling the Satomobile into the next lane over and smoothly accelerating until he was practically feathering the bumper of the opposing vehicle. With a flip of a switch the lights and accompanying sirens of the police cruiser he had been assigned came to life. He watched approvingly as her caution lights came on and the woman pulled over. Coming to a gliding stop, he put the patrol mobile in park and collected a notepad with pre-printed citations and a pen. Shoving open the door, he stepped out of the vehicle and shut it behind him as he strode authoritatively over to the woman's driver side window.
Tega, being the huge probending fan that she is, immediately recognized the officer as none other than the former captain of the Fire Ferrets. So he was a police officer now? That was quite the career leap. Tega wasn't sure that she could respect him as an officer, either. She would try, but it would be difficult for her to accept.
Not only that, but wasn't he younger than her by a few years? Is the police force in such dire need of officers that they are willing to hire any mook that walks into their station to apply for a job? Not that she thought that Mako lacked competence (though one could never be sure after seeing him take so many hits to the head in the probending ring), but Tega just felt he was too young and possibly inexperienced to have taken up such a job.
She had to admit however, that patrolling wasn't too much of a job. Mostly it involved sitting around and being bored out of one's mind—Tega, of course, having personally experienced this when she was part of the Kyoshi Warriors. So maybe traffic cop suited Mako alright, she supposed, but she didn't know him. Maybe it didn't suit him at all? She wondered idly what his family thought about all this.
One thing she did know was that she didn't have time to waste being questioned for something as trivial as speeding when someone's life was on the line. And since he was close friends with the Avatar, Tega was sure that if she calmly explained the situation to him, he would understand the urgency.
Not even bothering to look at her, he brandished his notepad and pen and held out an expectant hand. "License and registration please." He demanded evenly. The firebender had been through this dog and pony show before and had no desire to prolong the discomfort for either of them; she had obviously been speeding, and there was honestly no good reason for it. Or was there? Languorously, he twitched his golden eyes towards the interior of the car and then immediately did a double take.
There was a woman slumped in the passenger's seat, obviously bleeding and beaten and clearly unmoving. He jerked back, dropping the notepad and pen and immediately put up a flaming fist, jumping into action mode faster than a shake of a koala-sheep's tail. If this wasn't reason enough to conduct an arrest than he didn't know what was.
She had opened her mouth to speak, but before she had a chance his eyes had spotted the woman in Tega's passenger seat. Immediately the threat no longer became a speeding ticket and instead transformed into a one way ticket to prison.
"Ma'am, I'm gonna need you to step out of the vehicle and put your hands where I can see them. No funny business because believe you me I am NOT in the mood for games." He barked, his tone brooking no room for argument as he yanked her door open and then rummaged through his utility belt for a pair of tethers.
Nonbender oppression aside, he had obviously jumped to conclusions—this would be that inexperience-thing she had been thinking about earlier. Now Tega was met with a dilemma. If she obeyed his command and exited her Satomobile she would likely be subject to a search where he would find her Kyoshi Fans hidden in a spring lock under her sleeves. She would be immediately booked and then... well, Tega decided that wasn't happening. She refused to take a black mark on her record.
Her other options were to attack him—which although she was pretty confident that she could get away by doing so, she also knew that would count as assault of an officer. Or she could just ignore his threats and floor it. Somehow, avoiding arrest seemed like a much lighter sentence than the others—Tega was pretty sure that was what she needed to do. She could try to explain her actions later. Plus, she would not have to face a guilty conscience then.
All of this thought process had only taken her a matter of seconds, and in those seconds Mako had ripped open her driver's side door to prompt her cooperation. It wasn't until that moment that the weak voice of the woman beside her had caught her attention.
"Damn..." her breath hitched in her throat with a cough, "copper."
She was still alive! Tega's heart was overjoyed, and her resolve became that much stronger. On that note, Tega flipped the switch that would shift the vehicle's gears and with a few screeches and the smell of burnt rubber, she sped out of the firebender's reach—her door still wide open. She haphazardly made an effort to close it. She couldn't afford to have any damage done to her poor Satomobile. Why was it so hard for people to believe that there were still good in those who were just everyday citizens?
Tega frequently glanced behind her path using the vehicle's mirrors to keep a watch for the firebender officer's position. She could give him one thing, that Mako definitely had moxie.
Tega looked over at her passenger. She was so glad that the woman had spoken! It might have been weak, but Tega could tell that from everything this woman had been through that she was a fighter. She could definitely get through this; she just needed a little help.
The baker smiled at her passenger, still dodging other vehicles that were on the roads as well as taking multiple back alley shortcuts. She had taken the woman's comment to mean 'Oh the nerve of that cop! Can he not see that I am dying over here? He thinks he has time for a police report? This is life or death, man!'
"Well, you sure don't hold back your feelings," Tega chuckled, "I don't think verbal assault of a police officer can really harm our present situation, though. We're already in a whole mess of trouble as it is."
Running through a red light, Tega had significantly screwed up the flow of traffic and created a sort of blockade at the intersection. Gridlocked. If Mako was still on her tail, then that would surely slow him down.
The driver bit her lip in thought. She had originally planned to take this woman to her friends to try and help her, but it seemed that in light of the popo chasing her down, she would need to alter her course slightly. "I'm real sorry about all this, Miss. I think, given that we're running from the law now, it might be better for us to run toward the medical center. I know I said I wouldn't, but plans change."
Tega glanced in her mirror again to see if the ottercat had found the meermouse yet.
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