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|Meet the Parents|
The tutoring turned out to be necessary. Asami might suck at history, at least her judgment of herself is good. They had been at it for a couple of weeks, and it was Friday. They had their little schooling sessions three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Last lesson of the week, which meant Korra would round up a subject. This week: Operation Barbarossa.
Korra had set on giving Asami a small test, making sure she actually remembered their lessons. "How did the Soviets manage to hold back the Germans?"
-"With the Scorched Earth tactic."
"Correct. How were they able to conduct this so easily?"
-"By shipping the heavy industrial machinery east, into the Ural Mountains and burning everything that couldn't be taken. From there, Stalin managed to build a new army to finally beat the Nazis back at Moscow and Stalingrad."
"Almost, but what was the actual turning point in the German invasion in Russia?"
-"The tank-battle of Kursk. From there, the Germans only went on the defensive."
Korra smiled. "I gotta hand it to you Asami, it actually sunk in. Wouldn't have said it at first, but it did." Good job, you basically just called her an idiot.
But Asami brushed it off. "I'll take that as a compliment, coming from you."
"I guess that's it for today then? I haven't really prepared anything else."
Asami thought for a while. "Wanna stay for dinner? My father is coming back home from a business trip in Europe, we always eat at home when he does."
A fog of doubt enveloped Korra. "Dinner? I don't know, my parents are expecting me home... sort of."
-"Don't be ridiculous. You have a phone, right? Plus, it's six in the afternoon, traffic is murder right now. If you're going to drive home, it'd be an hour before you make it. You're staying here, and that's an end of it."
Well, could be worse. Sato has staff to cook dinner for him, and him coming home probably means it's a good chance of a feast. Plus, means I get to spend a little more time with Asami. "Alright then. But when was your father coming home?"
"Shouldn't be too long. I'll tell the staff to make some extra, wouldn't want you to go hungry."
They went down to the lounge, where Asami sat Korra down on a god-ugly massage chair, but oh sweet baby Jesus was that good. The Sato popped off to the kitchen, so Korra had a moment to herself in the comfort of the softly buzzing chair. She pulled her phone from her pocket and texted her mother. "I'm staying at Asami's place for dinner. I'll call you when I'm leaving here." When she hit sent, she realized it was more of an announcement than a question. D'oh well. It's not like they can do anything about it from there.
A text came back from her mother, confirming Korra's thoughts. "It'd be nice if you asked instead of told us. Don't stay out past ten."
Korra just sighed and put her phone back into her pocket as Asami came back with a drink in either hand. She handed one to Korra and sat down in the chair next to her, and activated the massaging... things.
-"I know these chairs are ugly as the night, but just sitting in them like this makes it all worthwhile for me."
"Hmmmm..." Korra couldn't bring herself to say anything more intelligent. She'd spent the entire afternoon on an moderately uncomfortable chair, and at school going from the ground to chairs that seemed to be designed to be as uncomfortable as possible. Now though, with a drink in her hand and her chair giving her a massage, she finally got around to relaxing.
They just sat there for a while, while Asami flicked on the television, not caring about what was on, when her father finally came home. She took Korra to the hall, where she finally laid eyes on Mr. Sato.
He was a large, barrel-chested man, with somewhat of a gut and a large mustache. His hair showed thick streaks of gray pulling through, and his mustache was already discoloring as well. He was dressed in a well-tailored suit, befitting a man of his means.
-"Hi dad." Asami opened. They gave each other a hug.
-"Hello Asami. I've missed you." His voice was surprisingly soft for a man of his size. When they let each other go, he looked at Korra. "And who is this?"
-"This is Korra. I invited her to stay over for dinner."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Sato." Korra extended a hand, as she walked up to him.
-"Please, call me Hiroshi. Only my employees and competitors call me Mr. Sato." He shook her hand and quickly eyed her up, before gesturing to the rest of the house. "Shall we go to the dining room? I am quite famished."
They did just that, and Hiroshi sat down at the head of the table, Asami and Korra on either side.
-"So, Korra, Asami has told me a lot about you. How is bumping her up a notch in history going?"
"Actually, it's going quite well. It's a slow process, but it's sinking in."
The opening course soon came. It was a very delicate white fish, served beautifully carved up, with finely sliced vegetables on the side and a sauce so fluffy, Korra was kind of surprised it didn't float away.
-"So dad, what was this trip about? Making sure your money is being put to good use?"
Hiroshi laughed. "Sort of. I had a meeting with the major contributors to the ITER, and then I went to England to see how JET was doing. They made some significant progress."
Asami nodded understandingly, but Korra didn't know what it was all about. Why do I feel like I have been living under a rock all of a sudden?
Hiroshi must have picked up the thought, because he started his explanation. "Future Industries is one of the biggest contractors in the nuclear fusion project, which is a joint venture of over twenty countries."
Asami mouthed a quiet 'here we go' to Korra, at which she couldn't help a small smirk.
Hiroshi didn't notice it and continued his story. "JET is a fusion reactor in England, currently operational and doing research. I'm almost tempted to pull the plug on that one, their last success was nearly twenty years ago. ITER is currently under construction in France, now there's a beauty. She isn't done yet, but in a few years' time, she'll be up and running, and then we'll have infinite, clean energy before the next decade is over."
He kept focused on Korra, who looked over to Asami. The latter couldn't resist mouthing 'what have you done' at her guest. She's right. I gotta stop this guy, because he damn sure isn't going to stop himself.
"Hiroshi, may I interrupt, but I don't know anything about fusion and stuff. Haven't we been powering our country with nuclear energy for years?"
-"Nuclear fission, yes, but nuclear fusion is much better. Korra, tell me, you're a historian, do you know about Little Boy and Fat Man?"
"Of course I do. The nukes dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading the Americans to claim falsely they won the war."
Asami gave her a strange look. "Falsely?"
Korra tried to set her mind at ease. "We'll get to that later."
Hiroshi continued. "And would you happen to know about Ivy Mike and the Tsar Bomba?"
Another glance at Asami caught her mouthing 'don't encourage him'. Korra couldn't help a giggle.
"I wouldn't know about Ivy Mike, but the Tsar Bomba was the biggest bomb ever detonated. It was the peak of the Cold War."
Hiroshi went back into tirade mode. "Well, those dropped over Japan were fission bombs. They had a lot of radioactive fallout, killing people even today. Ivy Mike was the first hydrogen bomb, and like you said, the Tsar Bomba, actually code named Ivan, was the biggest bomb ever. They used nuclear fusion to power their explosions instead of fission. It's clean, and theoretically limitless. It's how the stars work. Basically, what we're trying to do is put the sun in a bottle, providing the world with a clean, infinite source of energy."
"Sounds like a noble motive. But I take it there's something in it for Future Industries as well?"
He smiled. "Very perceptive. Yes, if all goes to plan, Future Industries gets a stake in the energy network of the future. That would mean a high infinite stream of profits into the company. Doesn't sound bad, does it?"
"Well, you're at least honest about the whole 'evil business conglomerate-thing'."
Hiroshi laughed. "Yes, well, since the whole world knows about it anyway, why lie? It would only make for awkward dinner conversation."
Asami broke them up. "Weren't you trying to keep the whole 'evil-ness' of Future Industries to a minimum?"
-"Of course I am, but who really trusts the big corporations?"
Now it was Korra's turn to laugh. "I guess no one does. But I hope I'm not the only one at this table who sees the irony of that."
The Satos both grinned at Korra's remark.
They continued the pleasant dinner, having pheasant with cranberry-sauce as a main course, and strawberry ice cream with pepper and honey as a dessert. It was all delicious. This was a good idea. And to think that my parents have spent the evening breaking their jaws on under-cooked meatloaf... Shit, my parents!
Korra glanced at the clock on her phone, which read 9:27 pm. Half an hour to get home. That should be enough.
He directly raised his hand to stop her. "I told you, Hiroshi to my friends."
"Alright, Hiroshi, I'm really sorry, but I have to go. I promised my parents I would be home by ten and it's currently nine thirty." She stood up. "Thank you for dinner, it was delicious."
He stood up as well, and so did Asami. "Well, thank you for your company. It was my pleasure."
Korra moved towards the door, and Asami went with her. "I'll see you out." Once out of earshot of Hiroshi, Asami went in again. "Listen, you heard that Bolin broke up with Eska?"
Korra was surprised. "No, I didn't. Mako and I haven't talked that much over the past couple of weeks, he was constantly busy with you." If you were planning on trying to convince her that it doesn't bother you, you're doing a real fuck-up job.
Asami shared the thought, it seemed, as she careened back a little. But she regained herself quickly enough. "Well, that was a week ago, and he has been struggling with it. Mako and I decided it would be best to take him out tomorrow night and have some fun. I'd like to ask you to come."
"I don't know, the whole party-scene isn't really my thing."
-"No, we're just going into town, have a drink, try to get Bolin to move on. Nothing major. It's gonna be fun."
Korra thought for a while, and they reached the front door. "I'm going to have to ask my parents, so I'll ask them, and let you know. Deal?"
Asami looked slightly disapproving, but did a fairly good job hiding it. "Deal. See you later."
"Bye." Korra walked to her car, which was parked just out the front door, next to Asami's Bentley. As soon as she got in, she let her head slam on the wheel. Why does it bother me so much that Asami is going out with Mako? I don't have any grounds to judge him and even less to judge her. She fired up the engine, and started to drive home. But the thought just wouldn't leave her mind. It wasn't that she had a crush on Mako or anything, he was just a good friend. Korra never wanted anything more to come from it, and to her knowledge, neither did he. Maybe it's just that his relationship with Asami used up time he could have spent with Korra, but that seemed unlikely. They had gone through periods where they didn't see each other that much in the past, not out of spite or anything, but just because they were busy. Or at least, Mako was. Korra made sure never to be too busy for Mako, but it never put so much stress on her before.
By the time she pulled into her own driveway, she hadn't yet finished contemplating on the subject, but tried to work it out of her head anyway. Korra glanced at the clock in her car. 9:51. Perfect. She opened the door, and walked to the living room, where she found her parents on the couch watching TV. Her father looked up as Korra walked in.
-"That came out of nowhere."
"Really? I'm finally making friends out there and you shoot me down at the first chance you get?"
-"That's not it. I mean that we prepare dinner for you, and at the last minute you suddenly announce that you're not joining us."
"And I assume that by 'we' you mean mom? Because you never cook. Fuck, I'd be surprised if you know how the oven works."
-"Watch your language! That is no way to talk to your father."
Korra took a deep breath, and looked at her mother, who had dug herself in on the far corner of the couch. "I'm with your father. You could have let us known sooner."
"I didn't know sooner! I texted you the minute Asami invited me! And it was really nice, thank you for asking. I met Hiroshi Sato, and he was very kind." Which is more than I can say for either of you.
Senna stood up. "Korra, calm down, we're not angry, we were just a little surprised."
"Well, you're doing a bang-up job convincing me otherwise," Korra said silently through her teeth. Her father hadn't heard it, but her mother did.
-"Do you really want to blow this out of proportion?"
"I'm not blowing anything out of proportion. I just had dinner at a friend's place, so what? I'm trying to build something of a social life. Which, I should probably remind you of, took two caps to the knee the moment it was out of the gate, thanks to you."
Senna was slightly taken aback by Korra's callous response, and her eyes darted back and forth between Tonraq and her daughter, looking for a clever retort. Korra beat her to it when she stayed silent just a little bit too long.
"Now Asami invited me to go out with her tomorrow, and I'm going. Mako and Bolin are coming too, so don't worry about me."
Tonraq stood up as well. "Korra, you don't just get to tell us what we will and will not let you do. This is something you should discuss with us."
Korra was kind of shocked. "Discuss? What's there to discuss? Going out for a drink with a couple of friends? Seems pretty normal to me."
-"Not the way you're bringing it here. We are your parents, Korra, and you..."
Korra interrupted him. "Maybe, but your acting more like prison wardens. When was the last time I did something like that? Never!" It fell silent for a while as both of her parents realized she was right. "I'm going. And there isn't a damn thing you can do to stop me."
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