Dark Knights and Lost Causes
Despite the warm summer season it was an unusually bitter cold night. Korra paced back and forth on the wooden dock. Her rubber soled black boots thumped a steady beat. Blood started to trickle along her nail beds as they were chewed shorter and shorter in her nervousness. The clock had just struck three when she heard several footsteps along the boardwalk. Turning towards the entrance, she saw three figures, dressed in black, appear from the shadows.
“Oh thank the spirits.” Korra breathed out.
“Hey, Kor.” Opal waved. Flicking her hand back in greeting, she turned to pick up the bag sitting on the bench behind her. By the time she had lifted it and slung it around the group had joined her.
“Alright guys. I’ve got bulletproof vests for all of you. Put them on underneath your shirts, okay?” Reaching into the overstuffed duffle bag she pulled out a dark grey vest. She glanced at the tag. Each had been embroidered with the nicknames Bolin had made for them. Smirking at the name she handed the opal eyed woman the first vest, “Red Baron.” She pulled out the second one and laughed, “Sharkbrows.”
“Really, Bolin. That’s the best you could come up with for me?” Mako frowned, his lip puckered into a pout, “You could at least have done something cool like the Human Torch. You suck.”
“Sorry, Bro. I just couldn’t help it. It was just so fitting.” Bolin chuckled.
Korra reached in and pulled out a smaller one. “The Avatar. Guess that’s me?” She slipped the vest on and did the Velcro straps before pulling out Bolin’s vest. “Last but not least, The Hero of the South.” Korra giggled.
“Thank you, M’lady.” Bolin bowed.
Korra reached into the bag again and pulled out a white box. Inside were four ear pieces. She handed one out to each of her friends.
“Alright. These will allow us to talk to one another if we get separated. But that’s not going to happen. We stick together no matter what.” They all nodded in agreement before putting in their earpieces and strapping on their vests. A silence fell upon them before Korra spoke up, “Let’s go bring down a gang, shall we?”
The Triple Threats’ hideout was disguised as a restaurant. During the day they served a poor rendition of Fire Nation food, but at night it became a lively and thriving underground operation. Korra led the group around back and searched along the wall for the electrical box. Finally she found it. It protruded about three inches from the brick wall and was poorly painted red to try and conceal it among the bricks.
“Alright, Red Baron. You’re up.” She smiled at Opal.
Her short brown bob whipped around her face as she reached into her black cargo pants pocket for a set of pliers. She approached the box and popped the lid.
“Let’s see here… blue wire… where’s the blue wire…” She repeated, “Ah! There’s the little bugger.” There was a quiet snip and the outside lights shut off. Korra jogged around the corner and peered into the window. Everything was dark.
“Nice, babe.” She heard Bolin comment. Opal flashed him a smile.
Ducking back around, she jogged back to the group. Korra held her pointer and middle finger together, looked up and down the alley, and directed the group towards the back entrance. Bolin stepped towards the door and yanked a chain from around his neck. Dangling from the cable was a small silver key. He inserted it into the door. The tumblers rolled with a groan and the door slid open. “Thank you, Hasook.” Bolin muttered to no one in particular.
“You’re up, Mako. Get us into Viper’s office.”
The amber eyed man nodded before taking the lead. It was pitch black, but Mako led them expertly. The group shuffled through a maze of hallways. Left turn, right turn, left, left, right, left. Each held onto the other in front of them, determined not to get lost or separated. It was absolutely silent except for the occasional sharp exhale. Mako stopped outside of a door, “This leads to the hallway outside of Viper’s office.” He whispered. Reaching out he grasped the knob. It didn’t budge. “It’s locked!” His voice came out a panicked whisper.
Opal shoved him to the side, “I got this.” She pulled two bobby pins from her hair. She placed one in her mouth and stuck the other into the lock. Her face scrunched up in concentration. After a moment there was a snap and Opal pulled the other pin from her mouth and added it to the lock.
That’s when Korra heard the voices. Her head snapped toward the end of the hallway. Everyone was frozen in place.
“Oh shit.” Bolin breathed.
A beam of light brushed across the wall.
“Opal, I don’t want to rush you, but could you open the door. Please.” Mako bristled.
The younger woman flicked her attention back to the door. She rustled around with the lock but to no avail.
“Opal.” Mako said again, his eyes glued on the beam, “Opal, hurry up.”
He grabbed her shoulder, “Opal. Hurry up.” He hissed through his teeth.
“Shut up, Mako. I’m trying!”
Korra’s eyes grew in panic as the beam got closer and closer. The runner could make out the gangsters words now.
“Come on Shin. Viper told us to get to his office. Says the backup lights’ switch is in there.” A whiney voice announced.
“Yea, yea. I’m coming Ping.” A secondary sly voice, mumbled.
A click forced Korra’s head around. The door was being pushed open. With as much force as she could manage she shoved the group through the entrance. Turning to shut the door quietly behind her, she could make out the shapes of the thugs turning the corner.
“There coming to his office! What do we do now?” Bolin almost screamed.
Korra pointed frantically at the office at the end of the hallway, “Get to his office now! And hide!” The group pounded down the hall. Bolin was the first to reach the large wooden door. Luckily, it swept open. The burly man stumbled into the room. He looked around before grabbing Opal’s hand and pulling her into the closet at the back of the room. Mako dove underneath Viper’s desk and Korra slid underneath a table with a cloth draped over it. She clamped a hand over her mouth, smothering any sounds from coming out, as she heard the door creak open.
“That’s weird. Both doors were unlocked. Viper usually makes sure to lock at least one of them.” The second voice, Shady Shin, commented.
Heavy footfalls walked past her. The beam of light landing on her table for a moment. Her heartbeat increased tenfold. A small trickle of sweat leaked down her forehead.
The flashlight’s beam moved away. “Where’d he say the light switch was?” Shin asked.
“I think he said it was in the back of the closet. It’s a panel of sorts.” Ping answered. The footsteps retreated away from the runner.
Fuck. No! Fuck. That’s where Bolin and Opal were. She peaked through a tear in the tablecloth. She could see Ping reaching for the handle. There was a small scuffle sound coming from Viper’s desk and Mako’s head crept around the edge.
No. They won’t get hurt because of me!
Jumping out from under the table, she yelled, “Hey! Fuck heads! Come and get me!”
Both thugs turned and looked at her, confusion crossing their dull faces.
“Who the hell are you?” Ping asked, dumbly.
“Your worst nightmare.” She gulped, “Well come on, idiots. Come and get me.” Shin took a step towards her. Korra turned on her heel and booked it out the door. She could hear their shouts of protest and their blundering steps as they chased her. The runner was too fast, they had no hopes of catching her. But as she wound through the halls she became lost in the maze of wooden floors and brick walls. She desperately tried to remember the way that lead back to the office that Mako had shown her. But it was no such luck, she was lost and she could tell Viper’s cronies were gaining on her. She took a sharp left. “Fuck.” A dead-end. Whipping around she retraced her steps. Shadows lurked in front of her and she skidded to a halt.
“Well, well, well. Looks like you’ve got nowhere to go, missy.” Both men took lumbering steps toward her.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Ping reached for her. The tanned woman ducked under his wild grasp and threw a punch. It connected with his nose with a satisfying crunch.
“Ha!” she smirked. Ping fell to the floor, whimpering and grasping his bleeding nose.
Shady Shin turned his gaze from his friend onto her, “You bitch.” He reached to his side and pulled his gun.
“Shit.” Korra mumbled, her smirk erased immediately.
“Yea, not so tough now, huh, Sheila?” he took a step forward, gun pointed at the runner’s chest. Shin moved to grab her, but Korra twirled around his grasp. She launched a fist at his head. It connected just above his brow. He gasped, dropped his gun, but didn’t fall. Korra aimed another blow, but it was easily blocked. Launching her boot clad foot at him, she managed a swift kick to the gut. The thug was quick though and before Korra’s foot hit the ground, it was tightly ensnared in his vice grip. Yanking hard he ripped the young woman to the floor. Falling with a thud, Korra’s chin smacked against the ground. She tried to crawl away, but Shin was on her again. He grabbed the back of her shirt and rolled her onto her back. Lashing out she landed a kick to the groin. Doubling over, Shin fell to the floor, clutching his bruised pride.
Sitting up slightly she moved to make a run for it, but the distinct sound of a gun cocking stopped her.
“Turn around slowly.” Ping growled, Shin’s gun grasped tightly in his hand.
Swallowing hard, she did what she was told. Crimson was streaking down the thug’s broken nose. He held the gun to her face. “You are going to pay for this.” Quickly, he spun the gun around and brought the butt crashing down against her head. Pain erupted from her skull as she collapsed against the ground. She saw Ping help Shin up. Both smirked widely as they made their way towards her. The tanned woman tried to crawl away, but the black creeping in on her vision stopped her.
Groggily, Korra opened her eyes. Something soft was pushing against her back and melting around her sides. Upon further inspection, Korra was sitting in her bed. Her pillow gushing out around her. Her door was open a crack, clothes thrown haphazardly around the room, and three blankets covered her. Turning to look at the clock, her bedside lamp blinded her momentarily and she let out a groan. Evidently, her roommate heard her protest and soon raven hair whisked into the room. Korra blinked blurrily at her. Despite the fuzziness she could tell her eyes were bright red and puffy. She had been crying.
“‘Sami. What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” is what she tried to say. But it came out more like, “Thami. Whas wang. High Crying?”
Asami looked at her. Peridot eyes bore into her face. Anxiety evident on every feature.
“Korra. That was so stupid. Damn it. Look at you. Why are you so good to me? I don’t deserve to be taken care of like the way you take care of me.” she felt a cold cloth press against her face. “What am I going to do with you?” Asami muttered.
Korra managed an almost coherent, “I’m fine” before the wash cloth was pulled away from her face. Asami leaned in close to Korra. Her lips a hair away from her brow. Her warm breath tickled her skin. Every so carefully the heiress planted a feathery light kiss on her forehead. A zap of lightning coursed through the tanned woman. The heiress leaned back and their eyes locked. Peridot and sapphire swirled into a maelstrom of emotions.
“Korra.” Someone called out.
The runner tilted her head at Asami.
“Korra, wake up.” Asami’s mouth never moved. Confusion swept through her, it sounded like Mako talking. Who was calling her? She closed her eyes and shook her head, hoping to clear up her vision.
When she opened her eyes she was back in Viper’s office. Mako, Bolin, and Opal were tied down to chairs next to her. The lights were dim and she could hardly see them. In front of her Viper was leaning against his desk staring at the group. Two-Toed Ping and several other members were standing around behind him.
“Ahh. Looks like sleeping beauty finally woke up. Enjoy you sleep?” he sneered. Korra jostled against her restraints, but her wrists were tied tightly behind her back and her ankles to the front legs of the chair she was in.
“You’re not going to get away with this.” Mako growled.
“But we already have.” Viper laughed demonically and grabbed his slightly pudgy gut. Flicking a tear from his eye is face contorted into seriousness, “Alright, here’s how it’s going to be. You four are going to tell us how you got in, why you are here, and what you were planning to do and in return we won’t hurt you… too badly.” He smirked.
Korra spat on the floor, “We’re not telling you dirt bags anything.”
The gang leader jutted his jaw out and swiped his tongue over his front teeth, a faint ‘thsp’ escaping his mouth, as he looked at the spit near his shoe, “Well then, if you aren’t going to talk, I guess I’ll have to make you.”
A button snapped and he pulled a magnum pistol from his side. “I’m going to give each of you a chance to talk and if none of you do… well let’s just say it’s not going to end well for you.” He stepped towards Korra and held the gun to her forehead. She gave him her best glare as she stared down the barrel of the gun. The crime boss tilted his head, “No?” Humming he sidestepped and did the same to Mako. The detective kept his gaze locked on Viper’s face. Next was Bolin. He didn’t even flinch as the metal pressed against his nose. “Tough group we’ve got here, fellas.” He called to the gang. Korra turned her head and watched as he approached Opal. The younger girl nervously turned her head and looked at Bolin, who smiled faintly at her and mouthed an ‘I love you’. Viper placed the gun directly in the middle of her forehead. The instant it made contact she cringed back. A disgusting smile appeared on his face, “Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner, boys.” He haltered his gun, turned around, and jerked his head towards Opal. Her unnaturally green eyes widened in fear. Two thugs came towards her. The rather dull looking one whipped out a switch blade and began cutting the roped tying her feet to the chair. The other roughly grabbed her by the shirt and pulled her from the chair. The younger girl yelped as he pushed her forward towards the door.
“Take her to the back.” Viper said gruffly.
“Get your filthy fucking hands off of her! You sick sons of bitches!” Bolin bellowed. Fury was glowing deep within his green irises.
Viper chuckled darkly, “Ooo do you kiss your mother with that mouth.” He winked at Shin, who started laughing.
"No I don't. Want to know why? Because you assholes killed our parents when I was three years old!" He screamed.
"Oh stop your blubbering." Shin said. He stepped towards Bolin and with a full swing, slammed a punch into his stomach. The boy doubled over, wheezing for air. Shin quickly brought his knee up and landed a shot to Bolin’s face. Instantly, blood sprayed around him as he howled in pain.
“Bolin!” Opal, Korra, and Mako yelled. The spikey haired boy struggled against his restraints to help his bleeding brother. Korra could see his skin start to split under the pressure of the ropes cutting into his skin.
Shin smirked and then walked towards the dull looking thug and grabbed Opal’s chin, “It’ll be a shame to hurt such a pretty face.” Despite everything the young girl was resilient and stayed silent. Her wobbly bottom lip the only thing betraying her fear.
Korra couldn’t take it. No one else was going to get hurt because of her. “Stop! Please. Stop. I’ll talk. I’ll tell you everything. Just don’t hurt them.”
“Korra no!” Opal yelled.
Shin turned and looked at Viper, who in return gave him a nonchalant shrug. Nodding, he walked Opal back and threw her into the chair, as Korra was being cut from hers. They led her out of the room and entered an even darker room. The two thugs that escorted her there, tossed her into another chair and tied her down. After completing their task they left Korra alone. A few minutes later, Viper walked in. But instead of meeting her, he stood next to the large leather chair behind the desk in front of her.
“I was wondering when I was going to see you again.” A dark voice called from the shadows. Looking around, Korra could just barely make out the outline of a head jutting up from the top of the chair. Slowly, it turned around. She glared at him. The man stood up and walked around his desk. The further he walked into the light the more Korra recognized him. Asami’s words echoed through her mind, “That was when Tahno showed up and tried hitting on me.” The cocky grin that was on his face during all of Opal’s party appeared, “How’s the face, doll?” he asked.
“You little piece of shit!” Korra yelled, “I knew you were bad from the moment I laid eyes on you. It was your plan all along to take out Asami wasn’t it? That’s why you were at the party!”
He held up his hands, “Guilty as charged. I enrolled into the university because my father insisted I lay low while he was in jail. That was when I found out Sato was going there. She was going to pay for what her father did.”
“Wait… your father?” And then it clicked, “Your father’s Lightning Bolt Zolt?”
“Very good, doll face. We’ve got a thinker here. But yes my father is Lighting Bolt Zolt. After he was arrested I inherited the Triple Threats. But he didn’t want his only heir to get arrested too, so he made Viper, here, the fake head crime boss. Quite igneous really.” He grinned, “But enough about me. Let’s talk about why you’re here. I’m assuming it has to do with Sato?”
“I’m not telling you anything. You’re sick.” She yelled.
His mouth curled, “I thought you might say that.” He held out his hand and Viper placed Korra’s cellphone in his open palm. “I figured you would be difficult. I think we need to make a call. Oh and before I forget, after we kill you, we’re finish off little Miss Sato.” He laid the phone down on the desk with an evil grin and pressed the speaker phone button. It rang a few times before Asami hastily picked up, “Korra! Korra where are you? I’ve called like a hundred times. You haven’t been home all day. What’s going on?”
“‘Sami. It’s fine. Everything is fine.” A fist collided with the side of her face and she let out a grunt.
“Now, now Korra. We only tell the truth here.” Tahno growled.
“Korra!? What was that? Who’s with you?” Asami panicked.
Tears were slipping down Korra’s face as she fought the pain, “Sams.”
Asami cut her off, “Korra you only call me that when you are in trouble. Where are you? I’m coming to get you.”
“No!” Korra yelled. She coughed a little as the blood from her broken nose seeped into her mouth, “Sams. I want you to promise me that no matter what you hear you will not come looking for me. Run. Call the police and run.” Tahno silenced her with another blow.
“Ms. Sato. What a pleasure it is to talk to you again.” He sneered. Korra could hear Asami’s breath hitch through the phone. She knew. She knew who it was. “I just thought I would inform you that after I kill Korra here and her three little friends…”
Korra gasped, “No! You can’t do that.”
Tahno ignored her, “I’m coming for you. And I am going to finish what I started. So be prepared Ms. Sato. Sleep with one eye open. Because I am coming. We are all coming for you.”
He nodded towards Viper who pulled his gun out and headed out the door.
“No! Korra screamed, “I’ll talk! I’ll talk! Just please don’t hurt them! You said you wouldn’t hurt them if I talked!” she wailed.
“I don’t recall ever saying that…” Tahno shrugged.
“You son of a bitch! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!” Korra roared. She could feel the rope cutting into her skin as she tried to free her hands to strangle the man in front of her.
Three shots rang throughout the room. Korra stopped and looked at the door. Immediately, water began to pour down her face. “No! No please! Spirits, no! Opal! Bolin! Mako!” she howled.
“Any last words, Korra.” He tested.
“Burn in hell.” She growled. He placed the barrel of the gun between her eyes. The sharp sting of the cold metal jolted through her, but she wouldn’t flinch. She wouldn’t look away from him. If she was going to die, she was going to be staring into the eyes of her killer.
“Korra!” Asami screamed as she heard the gun cock.
“I’m sorry, Sams.” She whispered.
Korra shut her eyes. Visions of Asami flashed through her mind. The echo of the shot rang throughout the room. But she felt nothing. No pain. No… nothing. Slowly, the gun lowered from her head. Snapping her eyes open she saw Tahno stumble backwards. Blood pouring out of the gaping hole in his chest. He clumsily grasped at his wound. He gulped for air. Korra tore her eyes away from his slumped figure and looked at her savior. A tall woman with a small birthmark under her eye was approaching her quickly. She grabbed the hem of her vest and thrust her fist into the hidden inside pocket. Quickly, she pulled out a shiny, golden police badge.
“Let’s get you out of here.” she winked at Korra. Reaching into her vest again she pulled out a knife. With three swift flicks of her wrist, she free Korra from her restraints.
“W-who are you?” she stuttered.
“I’m the woman who has been under cover for three years, trying to bust the Triad. And I was close to doing it, until you and your idiot friends showed up and ruined everything. Now come on we have to get out now unless you want the rest of the Triples to catch us.” She turned on her heel and headed out the door, leaving a stammering Korra in her wake.
Tahno’s groan snapped her out of her revere. She gave him one last glance before she turned to walk away. But the bright light of the computer screen stopped her in her tracks. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a flash drive. Her eyes bore into the device lying in her palm.
“For the Krew.” She whispered, her fingers curling around the cool plastic. Plugging the device into the computer’s tower she began saving all of the files on the flash drive. A bloody gurgle left Tahno’s mouth, “I’ll kill you. You won’t get away with this.” He tried grabbing onto his desk to lift himself off the floor, but he only collapsed further. Korra ignored him and a couple minutes later all the files were saved. The runner headed for the door.
“Rot in hell, Tahno.” She flipped him off and stormed out.
Halfway down the hall, she heard a thump behind her. Tahno was leaning against his office door’s doorframe. His gun was out in front of him. Its muzzle shakily being pointed at her. With all of her power Korra started into a full out sprint.
She heard the blast of the gun. Korra was fast, but the bullet was faster. Searing, fiery, ripping pain radiated through her shoulder and into her chest. The force threw her to the ground. Her left side hit with a sickening crunch. Tahno fell with a dull thud behind her. Gasping through the pain she tried to push herself up, but her left arm gave out. She fell once more, her chin smacking painfully against the ground. The ground was so cool on her shoulder that the tanned woman was tempted to just lie there. But every fiber of her being willed her forward. To get the flash drive to the police. To help Asami. She wouldn’t fail her again. With the rest of her strength she managed to get up, without the use of her left arm.
Every motion was like being drunk. Her head was in a fog, her legs barely lifting off the ground, her arms completely useless hanging by her sides, her hearing completely gone, everything around her hazy.
Somehow, she wasn’t sure how, she made it to the exit. The sunlight blinded her. Stumbling through the door she collapsed on the hard concrete. The minute her head made contact with the ground, everything came rushing back to her. Sirens, police lights, and yells reached her. Sturdy hands were underneath her and carefully scooped her up.
Deep, worried, green eyes bored into her face, “Korra. Are you alright.”
She weakly cupped the burley man’s face and brushed at the blood dripping down his cheek, “Bolin? Is that you? I-I thought… I thought…” She couldn’t finish her sentence, it was too painful.
He flashed her a bright smile, “You aren’t getting rid of me that easily, Avatar.” He winked. “And don’t worry the rest of us got out just fine. That lady saved us.” He pointed towards where she was standing.
Korra looked around as Bolin took her to the ambulance. She spotted the undercover cop standing by Opal. The two were hugging. Korra just managed to make out their conversation as they passed by, they may have looked happy, but their words were terse.
“I can’t believe you guys messed up my three year operation. In one freaking day. One day and the whole thing went to shit.”
“Yea, well if you had told our family where you were going we wouldn’t be in this mess. We would have let you handle it. But no! My sister just had to go and be all secretive and disappear. I mean we didn’t even know if you were alive, Kuvira.” Opal grumbled, tears shining in her eyes.
Kuvira pulled her into another hug, “Hey. I’m not going anywhere. And next time, I promise I’ll let you know.”
Korra closed her eyes. Exhaustion sweeping over her.
“Kor. You need to keep your eyes open, okay? I want to see those pearly blues, please.” Bolin begged.
Begrudgingly, she did what she was told. Her lids felt as heavy as cement. Bolin jerked suddenly as he took a step up into an open and unoccupied ambulance. Immediately, medical personnel were on her, checking her heart rate, blood pressure, and the gaping wound in her shoulder. Mako and Opal suddenly appeared in the ambulance.
“Oh, spirits. Are you alright Korra?” The detective asked worriedly.
“Never better.” She smiled weakly. His amber eyes immediately looked relieved. She reached out for him and he grasped her hand. Carefully she slid the jump drive into his hand. He looked at it with a pondering glance.
“Should have everything you need to take down the Triple Threats. I saved all his computer files on there.”
Mako smiled, “Kor, you’re the man!” he yelled. “I’m going to go get Lin and give this to her. Korra you are going to be a hero.”
The runner looked around at her friends. They were a little beaten up. A little shaken. But alive.
“No. We are going to be heroes.”