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|More from AvatarAang7||Crime/Drama||M||None yet||No update page|
|Woman With a Plan|
"Where is he operating from?!" Lin was playing the 'bad cop' this time around, which was kind of her favorite. The scars she had been left with on her face after the assassination attempt by the Red Monsoon Triad definitely helped her scary image, and in turn, interrogating people. Right now, she was working on some street kid punk, who apparently had information on The General.
-"I don't know! I swear I don't! Everything I know is a rumor, heard it from some friend who heard it from some hooker!" Good. He's panicking, which means he's going to spill any second now.
Lin backed off a few paces, letting Saikhan take this one. "That's okay. You just tell us this rumor, and we'll consider letting you go."
The petty criminal was about to break down into tears, bringing a slight smile to Lin's face.
-"He has a coffee place on 87th. I heard someone had to bring in something for the place and saw what could be drugs."
Lin hit the table with the flat of her hand, startling her suspect badly. "That's not good enough! We are considering letting your offenses drop for information, give us something better."
-"Alright! Alright! It's between Taku and Omashu, but I swear, that's all I know!"
She looked over towards Saikhan, who nodded. She reached over, undoing his handcuffs while the suspect gave her another panicked look. "Don't leave town," she snapped, ushering him out the door.
Once she and Saikhan were back at their respective desks, they each plopped into their chairs with a content grin on their faces. "I told you this joker would pay off," Saikhan said, his smile slowly changing from content to smug.
"Don't get ahead of yourself. You go and stake out that coffee shop, see if there's anything unusual going on. I'll go over the files from the Red Lotus case again, see if there is something we missed."
Saikhan nodded and walked off to do just that. Lin sighed again, pulling the box of files to her they had accumulated over the years. The guy they had just finished interrogating was a lucky break, someone who had ties to the Red Lotus, apparently someone who sold a bit of drugs left and right for them. Those were a dime a dozen in this city, so not really worth pursuing right now, not when he presented a gateway to get The General.
It was still thin at very best. A vague lead, but she was doing what Tarrlok had told her: chase down every last one. If the captain was right, this could mean a breakthrough in their case against the drug kingpin in the Dragon Flats. Yeah right. And perhaps tomorrow, you'll invent a magic-powered car and start shitting rainbows.
-"Iroh heard what you did and what I did. We're fucked."
She isn't trying to sugarcoat it, that much is for certain. Jinora loudly sighed. "Damn. Do you know if he put a kill order out on us yet?" It had been three days since she had shot Zaheer, and Korra had spent the time trying to gather intel on what Iroh knew from contacts she could still trust. Apparently, her remark of him knowing everything that goes on in the Dragon Flats turned out to be true, because he knew everything she had done that night.
The very distinct lack of gunmen showing up at either of their doors to kill them was a good sign, though. With a little bit of luck, they might just get away with this. And when has luck ever worked in your favor?
Korra hesitated. "I don't. Though I think the chances of him doing that right now are slim. As long as we keep quiet, I think we might just be alright. After all, you and your family are still here, and Iroh knows that. He uses them as leverage over us, remember? We'd do anything to protect them."
It was true. The Gyatsos were all the leverage he needed for them to keep their mouths shut, but it still didn't feel quite right to Jinora. Makes sense though, he is a criminal after all. No such thing as honor among thieves. "I don't know Korra. I just have a bad feeling about this."
She sighed too. "I know, and so do I. I'm quietly working on something in case things go bad, but it's really just a backup. Like I said, we just keep our heads down for now." The words hadn't left her mouth or her phone rang. "Speak of the devil," she groaned, and answered. "Wolfbat." Ah, so it's Tahno. Jinora couldn't quite make out what he was saying, but it wasn't good, judging by Korra's worried look. She put the phone on speaker, and now the younger girl could also hear it.
-"Detective Saikhan," Tahno said. "It appears you know things we'd rather you didn't." A phone rung on the other side of the line, and they could hear something rustling. "Lin Beifong," Jinora heard Tahno read aloud, the ringing still continuing. "The Iron Lady is looking into us boys, we should be honored." Laughter broke out, and it had her very worried.
"What is this, Korra?"
-"I don't know, he just told me to listen up."
They turned their attention back to the phone, where a woman they didn't know spoke up. "Saikhan, where the hell are you? You haven't called in."
-"They got me, Lin. I'm fucked."
Jinora's eyes grew wide. "They're going to kill him! Tahno, don't do it!" It had no effect, so chances were, the phone was muted on the other end.
-"Detective Beifong, here's a tip for you: stay away from The General, and you might end up in better shape than your partner."
-"What do you think you're doing?" Beifong asked.
There was no answer, which worried Jinora immensely. The silence only lasted a few seconds, before it was broken by a gunshot. She put her hand over her mouth in shock, knowing that Tahno just executed a police officer. Judging by the sound of things, Tahno had taken the phone off speaker again, and was now just addressing them.
-"You sold us out."
"Tahno, that's ridiculous, we didn't sell you out!" Jinora yelled.
He laughed. "So I'm supposed to believe it's a coincidence that you end up out of the loop, and two days later, a cop shows up checking out the shop?" She didn't say anything, knowing that he wouldn't believe it either way. "Keep this up, and you're next," he threatened, before hanging up.
Jinora fell back into her chair with her hand over her mouth, knowing that everything they had just discussed was now pointless.
Korra seemed to share the thought, as it took her quite a while before she managed to tear her gaze away from her phone. "We're fucked."
"So that's it? We're just dead men walking now?"
The older girl's face hardened. "No. I'm not just gonna bend over and pull my pants down to my ankles. Like I said, I have a plan, and I'm going to put that into motion first thing tomorrow."
"Do you think we need to warn my family?"
Korra took a while weighing her options. "I think it's best if you stay with them for the time being, but keep them in the dark on this. Iroh's still a soldier, killing civilians isn't his MO. Mind you, he will do it if he thinks it's necessary."
Jinora thought for a moment. "Why don't I just tell them this, and we leave town?"
The older girl decisively shook her head. "Won't work. I'd bet you any money that Iroh is somehow keeping tabs on you. Chances are you wouldn't even make the Silk Road Bridge if the five of you try to skip town. Kai, Asami, and Opal, they might be able to, but not you."
"We could use Kai. We need all the allies we can get."
-"He's just a boy Jinora, and you want to pit him against a former Yuyan commando? We might as well ask him what song he wants on his funeral, because Iroh would destroy him." She briefly paused, seeing if her message would sink in with Jinora, which it did. "Don't worry, I have a plan. Meet me tomorrow at ten in The Triangle Club. Get Kai over there as well, it's the only place I have more ears in the walls than Iroh does, so we should be able to talk things over in private."
The following day, Jinora did as she was instructed, waiting by the back entrance of The Triangle Club, and was now quietly smoking a cigarette while she waited for Kai to show up. There hadn't been much communication between them since that night, but he accepted her invitation nonetheless. Seeing his damningly handsome smirk again put a slight smile on her face when Kai finally came walking up to her.
-"Babe, I'm gonna be very honest with you, I would not have thought your idea of a romantic date would be going to a strip club." Kai wasn't even trying to appear anything other than utterly sarcastic.
"Well, you know me," Jinora chuckled. "I somehow always manage to surprise you." She awkwardly shuffled with her feet. "Kai, I'm sorry for what I did to you. What I made you do. You were completely right when you said that I shouldn't have tried to do it with you."
He gently cupped her cheek, looking straight into her eyes. "Water under the bridge. I agreed to it as well, so don't think for a second that you forced it on me somehow." He was silent for a moment. "Do you regret it?"
Jinora looked away and sighed. "I... Yes. I mean, it's not you, it's just the timing. I just wanted to do something stupid, and I used you for that. I suppose that, you know, eventually, I would have wanted to do it with you..." Kai cut her off by pressing a gentle kiss on her lips.
-"You are a big dork, you know that?" he asked, his trademark grin appearing on his face again. "I still want to be with you, no matter what you say. We were both at fault, shall we agree to that?"
There was a very sincere look in his bright green eyes, the color of couldn't even be distorted by the ugly lighting of the emergency exit. "Sounds great." She took the last drag of her cigarette before killing the butt on the ground. "I take it that by now, you heard what I did?" The Airbender hesitantly asked.
-"I've been wondering how much of it is true," Kai calmly replied. "Rumor has it you killed the entire Red Lotus single handedly. Knowing you, that's not what happened."
She sighed. "Well, as it is with all rumors, there is a core of truth in them. I didn't kill all of them, that's exaggerated." She paused for a moment. "That being said, I did kill one of them. In the head, up close and personal."
Kai rubbed his chin in thought. "Is that why you went ahead and got drunk and all?"
"Yeah. I wanted to make myself feel better, and I used you for that. It was stupid, and I am so, so sorry for it Kai."
-"Like I said, water under the bridge. I don't necessarily like it, but I'm not a saint either, and I do understand that dating a drug dealer brings certain risks. Besides, you don't look like you have the bloodlust or something."
"You're right. I don't want to feel like that ever again."
-"Good. Now on to something else that's been bugging me: why the hell are we standing outside a strip club?"
Jinora smiled, and smacked her flat hand against the door a few times. "We'll explain it in a minute. Let's just get everyone together." At the perfect time, namely as soon as she was done talking, Korra opened the door.
-"Took you long enough. Come on, I already found the brothers and Opal, the only one still missing is Asami." She walked through the little back room Mako and Bolin always used, and picked up a rather large and heavy looking duffel bag on her way into the club proper. Jinora was curious as to what her unofficial older sister was carrying, but there was no way she could ask like this, because the music was damn near loud enough to make her ears bleed and Korra was making double time through the crowd.
Ultimately, she was stopped by Bolin, who shouted something into her ear, and she gestured to Kai and Jinora to follow them to the private-room area of the club. This should be good. Kai seemed a little zoned out, which made her feel a little jealous, but it wasn't as if she hadn't prepared for that. The Airbender simply took his hand, and dragged him along with her.
When they got there, Mako was arguing with the actual bouncer, who didn't really seem convinced until the rest of them showed up, all looking like they meant business. Korra ushered Jinora and Kai inside, where Asami was too focused on giving her current patron a lap dance in order to notice.
It was once again proving to be a good night for Kai, because from her naked back, she had already removed her bra, giving the overweight forty year old what he paid for.
-"What are you doing in here?!" he yelled out as soon as he noticed the three of them.
-"Playtime is over, get out." Korra's voice wasn't leaving anything to the imagination: she meant business.
He, on the other hand, didn't seem pleased at all with this. "Fuck you, go get your own girl."
Korra rolled her eyes, and pulled out her gun, aiming it square between his eyes again. "I'm not gonna ask again, now get the fuck out of here." Asami meanwhile, was standing with her back literally pressed against the wall, Jinora handed her back her bra, because Kai was clearly very uncomfortable with the topless girl standing in the corner.
The man stood up, walking out of the room, and as soon as Asami had clasped her bra closed again, she slapped Korra in the face.
-"Okay, I probably deserved that," The Avatar deadpanned.
-"What are you doing here, and what's important enough to get me into a shouting session with Varrick?"
Jinora decided to take responsibility, and stepped up. "That's all because of me. I fucked up, and now we have a few things to explain, so we need to talk."
-"Shall we go somewhere a little more... quiet?" Korra proposed, and held the curtain to usher Asami out of the room. Jinora and Kai followed them to a more quiet part of the club, though not by much, where all seven of them gathered into one relatively small room.
It was a weird sight, that much was for certain. Two strippers, both of them in what basically amounts to underwear, two bouncers-slash-muscle for hire, a petty criminal, and two drug dealers. Expecting a bad punchline in 3... 2... 1...
-"Guys, I'm afraid we have some bad news," Korra began. "Jinora and I fucked up big time, and now all of you are in danger. The General has put us on a kill list, which means that he might try to use you as leverage because we care about you." She briefly fell silent, and Jinora took over.
"Kai, Opal, and Asami, we need you to leave town for a few days. We either succeed, in which case the coast will be clear, or we fail, in which case we die. Either way, when the shooting stops, you'll be safe again."
The disbelief was dripping of all three of their faces. "We can't just leave!" Asami protested. "We have a job here, Varrick would kill us if we took off out of nowhere!"
-"Look, I can talk to Varrick," Korra offered. "He might be crazy, but he's not reckless with other people's lives."
Kai didn't think it was a good idea either. "I can help, I know how to fight."
-"You got your ass put in the hospital by a sixteen year old girl, how the hell are you expecting to take on a former Yuyan commando?" He turned his head away, realizing that Korra was sort of right there. "Anyway, do you have anywhere you can go?"
They all looked at each other, but none of them seemed convinced. "I got a few relatives in the Fire Nation, but it's been years since I've seen them," Asami said.
-"I think I can do better than that," Opal offered. "I have some distant cousins in Zaofu, but I never had the money to go see them."
-"Good, then you go straight there, I want you on the first train out of this city," Korra ordered. "Now for the other half of the plan, I kind of need you to step out of the room," she told the three of them.
The Fabulous Dealing Brothers threw each other a meaningful look, knowing that they would be involved in Korra's plan somehow, and waited silently while the others left the room.
"You better have a good plan, Korra," Jinora said, not the least bit convinced that she did.
Her unofficial big sister smiled. "Of course I do, don't you trust me anymore?"
-"Ahem," Mako interrupted them. "Korra, not to be a dick here, but you sent Kai away because you don't want to feed him to Iroh, which is fair enough. But what in the world makes you think that the four of us losers can take on a soldier, a commando from the best unit in the world, nonetheless?"
-"Because we're not going in for hand-to-hand," Korra said, unzipping the duffel bag she brought with her. "We split up, and I'm giving you this," she said, taking something out of the bag. Jinora's eyes grew wide when she saw what it was. "Mako, for you, I got an M4A1 Carbine, nice and compact." She racked the chamber, checking to see if it was empty, before handing it over. "And for you Bolin, I got a Remington 570 shotgun, with deer slugs. You can easily kill a man at range with this thing." She repeated the safety check with that gun as well, before handing it to the younger brother.
Mako was speechless for a bit. "This is military-grade hardware, how the hell did you get this?"
She bashfully nodded. "I kind of had to make a deal with the Agni Kai Triad. These guns, and the promise that once we killed Iroh, they could have part of the territory. We'd have to give up everything from 105th up, but that's a small sacrifice to make." Korra took another deep breath. "Mako, I want you and Bolin to actually kill him. There's a big deal going down tomorrow at noon in Hou-Ting Park, and Iroh is typically there himself. You kill him, everyone who is with him, and the guys he's making the deal with, and you can walk away with the drugs and the money. That'll be your payment."
-"And what about you?" Bolin asked, looking up from playing with the shotgun.
-"Jinora and I will take the den," Korra continued. "There's most likely someone there as well, someone he trusts. Educated guess says Tahno, so we're going to have our work cut out for us. Then we'll take his money and his paperwork so that we can take over the entire business once Iroh is dead."
Jinora was surprised. The way Korra laid it out here, this might just actually work. "Korra, I don't want to be rude here, but if this all works, I'm out afterwards. I never want to be seen with these sort of things again," she remarked, gesturing to the guns.
-"I know, and I'm not asking you to. I'm gonna give you a share of the money, and you can retire in peace."
The Airbender chuckled, because it was a little early to be thinking about retirement. "Okay, then this sounds good."
-"Hold on a sec," Mako objected. "How do you think we can get close enough while carrying these things? And what about a backup plan?"
-"You don't. I know that deal, it's always on the north side of the park. You can get to the roof of the buildings there, take him out from a sniping position. The range on that ammo is at least 300 meters, so it won't be the hardware if you can't make the kill shot. But I have faith in you, and I think you can definitely make the shot. As to the backup plan, that depends on me and Jinora succeeding. If we have his money and his administration, he's got no room to maneuver. And no matter what, I expect you to at least take down a couple of his goons, which means he won't be able to make a fist like he used to."
The brothers gave each other another look and nodded simultaneously. "Alright, we're in," Bolin said, a grin growing.
Jinora felt a wave of reassurance wash over her that the brothers were in. We might just actually have a shot here.
For the collective works of the author, go here.