Repairs, Retrofits and Upgrades

Contention

Asami Sato doesn't lose her temper...except when she does.



Part 3 - This M.A.D. World of Ours

Section 3: "Contention"


Asami growled and furiously buffed the exterior of her new tilty-rotor plane-ship-bird thing. Logic dictated that she should be organizing her thoughts for what was going to be a painful evening, if she had anything to say about it, but she was too angry to care. All she had to do was wait for that inconsiderate, impulsive woman to come knock at her estate's...outdoor open air workshop.

Ugh. Whatever.

She was half a bottle of fire whiskey into her evening's...engineering rampage. So far, she'd taken apart and reassembled the aircraft's entire engine structure. Four or five times. The third time may or may not have been her satomobile's transmission.

The specifics didn't matter. It was put back together again. It was fixed.

Her clothes were smeared with engine grease and oil. Taking her makeup off as soon as she'd gotten home had proven to be a wise move.

The tell-tale jingle of what could only be Naga's saddle came bouncing closer and closer behind her. She didn't turn around because frankly the new bird could use a seventh layer of wax. Or whatever it was she was doing. She might be using soap, as she wasn't paying that much attention.

"Naga, go play, okay? I'll be fine."

Asami scowled into her wax shined reflection. She looked...ew, she looked terrible. All battered and angry and exhausted. Clearly, she needed more whiskey. Asami turned off her...whatever it was. It wasn't a blowtorch, she was sure of that. Anyway, she turned the thing off, walked over to her workbench and poured herself another glass. After much internal debate, she poured a second glass and left it on the table.

"Asami?"

Asami didn't look up, choosing instead to stare into her glass. "Drink."

"I'd rather be fully attentive for-"

Asami jabbed a finger at the whiskey. "That's fifty year old whiskey. Drink or pay for it." She heard Korra pick the glass up from the table. "Good. Now, drink it."

"Fine."

Asami looked up at Korra as she knocked back her drink in one go. She raised a brow as Korra coughed and stumbled back into the table. "I didn't say all at once."

"Well, you implied it!"

"No, I didn't. You just assumed I did. Good job wasting good liquor, Korra."

"Sorry."

Asami gave her a sidelong glare. "You're not," she said quietly.

Korra narrowed her eyes and set her empty glass on the table. "How long have you been out here?"

"I don't know. What time is it?"

"About 10:30."

"Four hours, then." Asami slammed her fist against the hull of her shiny new flying machine. "She has a name now." She took a sip of her drink, now entirely apathetic as to the taste and aroma of it.

"Magnobird? Tigerwasp?"

"No, those were dumb. The Satohawk."

"I liked Magnobird..."

Asami shrugged. "I don't care, you're not marketing. Or advertising. Or PR."

Korra crooked her lips to the side. "You're jazzed."

Asami swirled her drink. "Why thank you."

"No, I mean you're corked."

Asami frowned intensely. "I eat plenty of vegetables, not that it's any of your business."

"Damnit, no, you're plastered!"

Asami scoffed. "Absolutely not. I don't get plastered. I've got an edge going, that's all."

"Tonight you do, that's for sure. Your voice sounds like it could cut my head off."

Asami pinched her brow. "Buzzed, Korra. Tipsy. Between sober and drunk."

Korra screwed up her face. "Oh. I, uh, thought it was typically a bad idea to drink angry. And alone."

"It is," she said casually. "But then, you're why I'm angry, and she's why I'm alone," she hissed. "So that...evens out. Or something."

"You're not alone." Korra walked toward her and reached out, only for her to walk backward. She let her arm hang in the air for a moment before dropping it. "Do you want to be alone? I can come back another time."

"No." Asami gave her a hard look and gripped her glass tighter, whitening her knuckles. "Why were you at the prison today, Korra?"

"You already know why."

"No, I just have a very likely assumption." She narrowed her eyes. "I want you to look me in the eye and tell me."

Korra sighed and ran a hand through her hair absently. "I was visiting Kuvira."

"Of course you were. And why, exactly, did you think visiting her was a good idea? Help me understand your clearly misguided logic." she seethed.

Korra huffed. "I wanted to see if she had information about the vines, okay?"

"Are you the only person she'll talk to?"

"No, she's been very open since her arrest."

Asami downed the rest of her drink and settled the glass on her workbench. "Then why were you there? Why couldn't you just ask someone else to do it for you? Why did it have to be you?"

"I just...needed to be sure."

"Korra, if it were that simple, you'd have told me at the prison. We wouldn't even be having this conversation, so clearly you're not telling me something!" she growled.

Korra opened her mouth, closed it, raised a finger, dropped her arm and grumbled. "You really don't want to know, okay?"

Asami's entire body tensed and she felt bile rise in her stomach. It wasn't supposed to be like that. Everything was supposed to be simple, just once. Just once. She glared at her. "I'm losing patience. What are you hiding, Korra?"

Korra frowned pleadingly. "Asami, please, this is just one of those things that you don't need to know about. I promise I'll tell you everything once it's all over. I don't want to hurt you, and talking about this now is going to do that."

Asami scowled. "You're hurting me already by not talking about this stupid thing! Just say it! So help me, Korra, I'm this close to-"

"This wasn't the first time! I've been visiting her for almost three months," she blurted.

Asami felt all of the anger and rage drain out of her in an instant. It was as if someone had poured a bucket of freezing water over her, drowning her fire. She licked the inside of her lips. The metaphorical knife was resting just against her skin, right under her shoulder blade.

No. No, no. No, not Korra, too. She had no words.

Korra sighed. "I don't think she's evil, just misguided. I feel like there's a real chance she can help fix this mess she's made, and that she really truly wants to. But she can't do that unless we give her a chance, so that's...that's what I've been doing." She crossed her arms. "Trying to understand her better."

And there it was, another deep gouge into her back. It fit so well next to all the others. She'd lost count at how many stab wounds she'd endured. Close to a dozen, at least. "You're trying to make friends with her, is that what you're saying?" she asked quietly.

"Sort of."

"She killed my father, Korra."

"I know, but-"

"She killed my dad." Her eye twitched.

"Asami-"

"SHE KILLED MY DAD!" she screamed, all of her fire and rage surging back to life. The knife kept twisting, but she didn't care. She'd spent too long just enduring it all. Not anymore.

Korra groaned. "Don't you think I know that!? It's why I didn't tell you!"

"She is going to go to trial, they'll convict her, and then she'll be executed. It is that simple. That is the end of the conversation!"

"It's not that simple. It's really not."

"Why the hell not?" she yelled, flinging her arms into the air. "Explain to me how justice is now suddenly complicated for a mass-murdering tyrannical dictator who tried to kill everyone we know and love!"

Korra clenched her jaw. "There isn't going to be a trial."

"Even better!"

"No, Asami, it's...she's not going to be executed. She's going to be 'working' for the United Republic. The politics involved are confusing, but Tenzin assures me that it's the best decision we can make."

Asami's eyes bugged out of her head and slowly advanced on her, balling her hands into fists. "And you agree with this decision? To let her live? That she be given the chance to redeem herself? After everything she's done? After she killed my father?"

"I do. I'm sorry, Asami, but I do."

Asami felt something snap in the deepest, darkest pit of her mind. All violence and boiling rage. If she didn't move, she'd...she didn't know what she'd do. Nothing good, and it wouldn't be worth it. "Fine." She turned on her heel and began stomping across the grounds toward her front door.

"Hey, wait!" Korra followed her, because of course she would. "I'm not asking you to forgive her!"

"Good, because I never will!"

"Okay, well, I'm also not saying you should trust her."

"Won't happen either!"

"But I need you to understand that this is what's best for the world. Can you please try to look at the bigger picture here?"

"You're the Avatar, I get it. The world is out of balance and this is how you're going to fix it," she growled. "Believe me, I understand perfectly well where your loyalties lie."

"Loyalty? This isn't personal! It has nothing to do with you!"

Asami spun on her heel and screamed right in her face. "IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH ME! How can you not understand that?!" She shoved Korra backward. "How do you not see that?!" Her rage is nearly at its boiling point. Everything she'd bottled up, every grievance, every cruel twist of fate started to rise to the surface.

And for the first time in over a decade, Asami couldn't stop it. She didn't even want to.

"Okay, fine maybe that was a poor choice of words!" Korra frowned intensely. "What the hell do you want from me, Asami?! I'm sorry! I'm sorry I hurt you!"

Asami felt her whole body twitch and spasm. "But you're not sorry you did it in the first place!"

"No! I'm not! I did what I thought was right, and you can't just magically change my mind about that! I didn't have a choice, okay?!"

"Oh, that is just the biggest load of shit you've ever said, Korra!" Asami growled and shoved her shoulders again. "No choice? How stupid do you think I am?! You alwayshave a choice, and nobody forced you to go down there and make good with the monster who murdered my father!"

Korra stumbled backward a few steps and looked between her shoulders and Asami, her eyes slowly turning hard. "I didn't have a choice."

"Why the hell not?!"

Korra balled her hands into fists. "I can't...I can't tell you that!"

Asami snarled. "Why?"

"I can't tell you that either! I shouldn't have even told you that I couldn't tell you that I can't...tell you..." She groaned. "DAMMIT!"

"You didn't think it through, did you? No, of course not! You didn't think that maybe you should have at least discussed this with me!?" Asami shoved her a third time, harder. "Just like everybody else! Knife! In the back! Twisting and gouging!

"I didn't stab you in the back!"

"And yet you've offered no explanation or evidence of that! Why should you need to?! You're the Avatar," growled Asami, shoving her a fourth time, and much harder. "What's wrong with you?! Fight back. Fight for your convictions, Korra, because clearly you think you're doing everything right!"

Korra grounded her feet into the earth to counter her stumble and glared straight at her. "I am the Avatar, and whether you like it or not, I am doing what's right."

"And apparently betrayal is the right thing to do in this day and age! Amazing!" Asami cracked her neck and knuckles. "No. You know what? You don't get to stab me in the back like everybody else. I won't let you. This time, it's right in the front."

"I DIDN'T STAB YOU IN THE BACK!" Korra flung her arms up into the air. "And I am sure as hell not going to fight you!"

"Why not?!"

"A thousand reasons! Ten thousand reasons! It should be obvious!"

"Korra!"

"What?!"

Asami bit her lower lip and set her jaw. "I need this," she said softly.

Korra narrowed her eyes. "No, you don't."

"Yes. I do."

"This is insane."

"Don't you think I know that?!"

"Then why? No, you don't have an answer. I know you don't, because I've been there! You want to beat the crap out of something because you just need to." She patted her stomach. "You've got all this rage festering in your belly, and it wants out, so it's either going to leave your body through violence or passion. It's the same as firebending!"

"I'm not a firebender! That doesn't apply!"

"Yes! It does! You're overflowing with rage, and you have no idea what to do with it other than to hit something! I can feel it, and so can you. No matter how angry you are at me, and I am at you for taking this way too personally and refusing to see reason, there's a much better option than sparring angry."

Asami gritted her teeth. What was left of her normal, logical and rational self was urging her to listen. That Korra was right, and had her pegged. But she was just...so angry. So damn angry. "Okay, what is it, then?"

"Angry sex."

Or not.

Asami's eyes widened. "Seriously, Korra?!"

"It is! That's the passion! First you're drinking angry, now you want to spar angry? This is the kind of thing where you can lose control!"

"And you think that I won't in bed?!"

"I know you wouldn't." Korra's expression softened. "And you know that I wouldn't either." She sighed. "Look, if you really want this then I'll go along with it. You need to tire yourself out? I get it. I don't like it, but I get it. I've been there, and I remember...that I wouldn't have listened to me." She frowned.

"You stabbed me in the back, Korra. I really have no intention of sleeping with you right now."

"Okay, all right. You're absolutely sure, then? That this is what you want?"

"YES, DAMMIT!" she said, wiping budding tears from her eyes.

Korra rolled her shoulders and dropped into her stance. "Okay. No bending. First blood?"

"First to yield."

"Okay, then---"

Asami didn't give her a chance to finish. She punched her straight in the stomach and moved to flip her over her shoulder, only to find that she'd been encased in stone from the waist down. She glared down at the rocks and desperately tried to pry them off of her. "We said no bending!" Which was impossible, she knew. But she still had to try. She still had to win.

Korra coughed and caught her breath. "That was before you knocked the wind out of me," she said, wincing. "This was a mistake. I thought you were going to tire yourself out, not actually fight me!"

"Let me go! Right now!" Asami struggled in her prison, reaching out to her. "You can't just do this! Let me go!"

Korra groaned, released her from the stone, and forcibly hoisted her over her shoulder. "No. I'm going to make some tea, and we're going to sit down. And we're going to talk, which I'm pretty sure is what you wanted to do in the first place! No more of...whatever this is!"

Asami growled and banged her fists against Korra's back in vain. "Put me down! Put me down, right now! Do it! Put me down!" She wriggled and writhed, but there was no escape from Korra's arms. "You can't treat me like this! Like I'm some child throwing a tantrum!"

Korra sighed and kicked open her front door. "Well, maybe I wouldn't have to if you weren't doing exactly that!"

"THIS IS A LEGITIMATE REACTION TO THIS SITUATION!"

"No, Asami. It's really not. And you know it's not."


Korra dropped Asami down on her office couch and dodged the pillow she threw at her head. "I'm going to go make some tea. So just stay here and try and cool off, okay?"

Asami crossed her arms and looked up at the ceiling fan. "You didn't win."

"It doesn't matter!"

"It does to me!"

Korra groaned and stomped out of her office. She walked down the stairs and made her way to the kitchen, silently hoping that Mako and Bolin's family would give them some space. Instead of hiding in the hallways and just inside their doors where she can very easily see them peaking. Ugh. She boiled some water, did the thing with the tea probably since she really wasn't paying that close attention due to the whole, hey, Asami just lost her head so much that she knocked the wind out of her. Thing.

Stupid Raiko. It was all his fault. Sort of.

Korra rubbed her tummy as she climbed the stairs and winced. It felt like she get hit by an elephant-rhino. She opened the door to Asami's office with her shoulder, tea tray in both hands, to the sound of ruffling papers. Asami was sitting at her desk, bruised decently enough, sorting through documents with a tired expression. There was a bottle of whiskey next to her, along with a mostly empty glass.

"Jasmine. My favorite," grunted Asami. She didn't look up at her. "First you go behind my back, then you cheat, and only now do you remember how to be conscientious. How very thoughtful of you."

"Just because you're enraged beyond words doesn't mean I'm not going to pick you up when you fall."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah." She set the tray down on the table and poured her a cup. "Always will."

"I don't want any. Whiskey is fine."

Korra briefly considered taking it from her, but decided against it. She had calmed down quite a bit already. There was no point in ruining that. "Fine. I'll save some just in case you change your mind."

"Doubtful. And don't try to distract me. I'm still furious with you."

Korra raised a brow. "You don't sound too angry."

Asami slammed her papers down on her desk and gave her one of the most terrifying glares of her life. Her eyes weren't just hiding flames; they were on fire. She didn't break eye contact as she knocked back the rest of her glass. "I am."

"I can...see that now," she said, pouring her own glass of tea. She sat down on the couch and took a sip.

Asami scowled and returned to her papers. "And you? Why aren't you angry? You were right. I...lost control."

"And I stopped you before you went too far." Korra shrugged. "Like I said, I've been there before, so I can't really be angry at you for it. Sometimes it's the only way to let it out."

"That's hardly an excuse. I tried to take my anger out on you. There are a thousand other things I could have done."

"No, just the one, and you weren't interested."

Asami frowned. "There's obviously more options, but still...yours makes a little more sense in hindsight. I should have listened."

"Probably, yeah. That was a lot of anger, though."

"It was. Is."

"Anger because I hurt you."

"A significant part of it, yes."

"Then it sounds like you were just trying to make us even, then. And vent some pent up rage. Well, initially, at least."

Asami pinched her brow. "That is not how pain works, Korra."

"Pain is pain." Korra rested her arms on her thighs. "Look, I hurt you, you got angry, then I got angry because you couldn't see my side of things. Then you got angrier since I can't tell you why I hurt you, and I'm fully aware of how childish and stupid that sounds, but..." Korra huffed. "Asami, if anyone asks, I did not tell you Kuvira was going to be 'working' for the United Republic. Or that me visiting her was in any way related to that. I was not supposed to tell you, or anyone, that at all, but...well, you ran into me at the prison and…" She sighed. "I couldn't exactly keep it from you then."

"Then why not just tell me the rest now?"

"It would be really bad for the both of us if I did that, also I can't, accurately, since honestly it's super complicated and the only thing I know for sure are the consequences for me talking. About this. So...we didn't have this conversation."

Asami frowned. "Fine. Whatever. It's not like it changes how furious I am with you. Feel like talking?"

"We may as well. I've got nothing better to do."

"Oh. Good." She cleared her throat. "Remember when Mako stabbed you in the back and told Raiko about our plan to get General Iroh to support the Southern Water Tribe during the civil war?"

"Wow, you're going to jump straight to that?"

"You were out of the room. I had time to organize my thoughts."

"Figures." Korra frowned. "Yes. I remember. Why are we talking about this?"

"How did that make you feel?"

"What kind of question is that?! I felt betrayed! Like he'd stabbed me in the back." She blinked. "Okay, this is not the same thing."

Asami looked at her, unamused. "Why? Because my family is already dead? Because your cause is more just than my closure? Because of some mystery reason?"

"I didn't betray you. It only looks like I did, and okay that sounds even worse." Korra sighed. "I went behind your back, yes, and I hated doing that, but we'd be having the same conversation even if I didn't. Maybe not as heated, but I knew you'd take this personally."

Asami grabbed a small letter off of her desk and began folding it. "There isn't another way for me to react. I'm not going to just roll over and accept everything you do as being right on the sole fact that you're the Avatar. That's not how life works. That's not how we work." She finished folding her letter, which was now a paper airplane, and set it down. "Okay, Mako was a bad example."

"You think?"

"Consider this." Asami flattened her lips and leaned over her desk. "What if Zaheer actually did murder your father, right in front of you, and then I start visiting him in prison? I tell you that he's repented and a new man, and he's going to be set free to help clean up the mess he made. How would you feel?"

Korra clenched her teeth. "Like beating the ever loving snot out of you for suggesting such a thing." She balled her hands into fists. "It's not the same thing, though! Kuvirasurrendered. I talked her down."

Asami groaned. "They're principally the same situation."

"No, they're really not! Zaheer wanted to destroy everything, Kuvira actually wanted to help. That's a huge difference!"

Asami smacked her forehead. "Damnit, Korra! We're not talking about this on a geopolitical level! It's about me. This is personal! My dad was murdered. The woman you're befriending killed him. Doesn't that seem wrong to you? At all?"

"Sort of? I really try not to think about it like that." Korra covered her face with her hands. "I can't afford to think small like that with things like this, Asami. I'm the Avatar. It comes with the job. If I start letting everything get to me personally, I'd...I'd lose my mind!"

"And you expect me to live like that? Always thinking of the bigger picture? I think about it a lot, but not when the small stuff matters, and this isn't small stuff, Korra!"

"I get it! She killed your dad!"

"Okay, you know what?" Asami grumbled and threw her paper airplane at her. Perfectly. "Read it. Maybe that will help you understand what I've lost. Maybe you just need some more context!"

"Fine." Korra snatched the letter out of the air and carefully unfolded it. "This is…" The postmark was more than four years ago.

Asami,

I hope you are happy with the choices you've made. Now, benders have taken both your mother and I from your life, thanks in no small part to you and your perverse, misguided notions of morality and justice. This is my fault, of course. I should have raised you better.

Korra looked up at Asami. "Why are you showing me this?"

"Read."

So she did.

I should have been more attentive, and made sure you stayed away from the corrupting influence of the benders who live in this city. I should have brought you into the movement from the very beginning. Perhaps you would have learned the meaning of family if I'd done that, instead of discarding it when I offered you a chance to change the world for the better.

Yet you chose to stand by that firebender, who decided not to stand by you in turn. That is the feeling of betrayal. A small one, but a betrayal all the same. Hold on to that feeling. Remember it. It's what you did to me, it's what he did to you, and it will be what the rest of your so-called friends do given the chance. They will use you and exploit your kindness until you are nothing more than a shadow of your former self. A husk where a woman used to be.

Korra looked away from the letter and wiped away the brewing tears from her eyes. "...this hurts so much more. After getting to know him. And, wow...some of that sort of happened." She felt a stabbing pain in her chest, far stronger than she would have ever expected. Yet, it felt...right. As if she should be feeling it. Maybe it was her eternal desire to empathize with everyone, but...that wouldn't be fair to Asami.

Asami released a heavy sigh. "I know."

The daughter I raised would not have succumbed to this detestable temptation. The daughter I protected for twelve years would not have turned against me in our own home. The daughter I raised would never ally herself with the Avatar; the world's greatest example of inequality.

You have destroyed nearly thirty years of work in a manner of months. Future Industries will fall, and you with it. You will lose everything, just as I have. And since you had the wisdom to throw away the only person left in this world who truly loved you, there will be no one to help you when you are at your lowest point.

You are unworthy of the Sato name. You are not my daughter.

Hiroshi Sato

Korra carefully placed the letter on the table and closed her eyes. "How many more of those are there?"

"Like those? Six. After that, he gets progressively more apologetic and repentant. It took him eight letters to finally sign them 'Dad'."

"Why haven't you burned them?"

Asami shook her head. "I can't. Despite all of the hatred and rage, it's more than I ever had to help me remember my mother." She stared off into space. "There was a point where I couldn't recall what she looked like. What she sounded like. I must have been twelve. Dad took me aside and handed me a record. He didn't say what it was, but he insisted that I listen to it."

Korra furrowed her brow. "You...I didn't see that in the tree."

Asami shrugged. "It skipped over a lot of things, and most of it wasn't my doing. I don't think it was meant to be used that way."

"You're probably right. What was on the record?"

"It was this thirty second recording, apparently a full seven minutes were scratched off, but it was enough." She smiled sadly. "She was singing."

"Your mom was a terrible singer."

Asami snorted. "I know, but it was enough." She massaged her temples. "I...have not been mourning well." She took a deep breath. "I treated him like he was dead before, and I got through that. Somehow, the second time is so much more difficult."

"Maybe it's because you do have someone to help you this time. It might make it more...real, I guess."

"Maybe. It's rare that my anger manifests as, well, real anger. It's normally just productivity and energy. I haven't lost my temper in...a very long time." Asami shot her a threatening look. "But that doesn't mean that this is okay. It's not."

Korra frowned. "I doubt either of us are going to change our minds on this. That letter just made me feel terrible. Didn't really change my outlook." She screwed up her face. "Wait a minute. Asami, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think you're letting your emotions get the better of you."

Asami raised a very unamused brow. "Oh. How surprising. It's not like my anger and grief is unwarranted or anything like that." She sighed. "Why are you so invested in Kuvira, anyway?"

"I would have thought, if anyone could see it, it'd be you." Korra bowed her head and took a shallow breath. "...you really don't know? "

"No. That's why I asked."

"She's me, Asami. She's me if I fell a little too far. If I grew up angry. If I didn't have anyone around who loved me." She gazed up at Asami with a terrified look in her eyes. "She's a living, breathing, example of what happens if I lose control, okay?"

Asami was silent for a long moment. "You think that if you help her redeem herself, you'll prove to yourself that you won't make the same mistakes."

"Yeah, I guess."

"So it is personal for you."

"Don't turn this around on me! It's the best choice we have! This is the only way to move forward!"

"You don't even know if that's true or not! Tenzin just said it was!"

"Well, I trust his judgement! You want me to call him and have him explain the politics?"

Asami frowned. "I don't care about the politics, Korra! This is about you and me, nothing else. Look, I may not be able to stop this from happening, but you're still…" She pinched her brow. "Do you even like her?"

"Of course not! At most, I'll tolerate her. And really, once she's done her job, we don't have to be in the same room ever again, so it doesn't matter! How could I possiblylike her? She killed your dad and tried to kill us!"

Asami's entire face twitched and fell straight onto her desk. "WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY THAT EARLIER!?"

Korra jumped up to her feet and matched her intensity. "OBVIOUSLY, I ASSUMED YOU KNEW THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIKING SOMEBODY AND WANTING TO SEE THEM BETTER THEMSELVES FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THE WORLD!"

Asami massaged her temples. "No, that wasn't clear at all!"

"Oh, well, then I'm sorry! For not...explaining that very well."

"It's...fine, I guess." She closed her eyes for a long moment. "I feel a lot better knowing that you're not actually friends with her."

Korra sat back down on the couch. "That's good."

"Yes. I no longer feel like there's a giant knife in my back. Now it's a slightly smaller knife, so that's progress. I still don't approve of what you're doing, even if I understand the reasoning behind it. Her...'working' for the government. I'm assuming it's some form of community service, or face execution?"

"I can't tell you that."

"Korra."

"I promise to explain all of this the second I can."

"Okay. All right. Was she going to be executed, originally?"

"Well, yeah, everybody knew that. That many well documented war crimes? No question."

"Then my assumption was correct. No, don't say anything. Seriously, don't. I'll never be okay with this." She sighed. "But, at least I understand...your larger reasoning. And the smaller one."

"Yeah." Korra stared at her boots. "I feel like that's enough. I get why you feel this way, even if it's going to drive me up a wall half the time. But I get it, and that's...I think that's the most important part."

Asami nodded slowly. "I...suppose that's true." She reorganized some of the papers on her desk.

For a few minutes, they simply sat in silence. It wasn't awkward, but it wasn't comfortable either.

Asami cleared her throat. "...so you really think Magnobird is better than Satohawk?"

"Actually, Satohawk is kind of growing on me. It sounds intimidating."

"That was the idea, so, I guess it worked."

Korra lied down on the couch. "Hey, know what your next project should be?"

"I do." Asami scribbled a few things down. "An underwater train connecting the United Republic to the Fire Nation."

"That sounds awesome."

"I know. I'm really excited about it. What was your idea?"

Korra shrugged. "It...wasn't as innovative. I was just going to say you should try and make some...chi boosting suit thing, but it sounds ridiculous saying it out loud."

Asami laughed once. "No, no. I actually already tried that one. Didn't end too well. Mako lit himself on fire, Chief Beifong tore up a city block, I could have sworn I told you this story."

"It was in the postscript of one of your letters. I laughed so hard I cried."

Asami snorted. "Yeah. That was an interesting six months."

Korra hummed. "So, if the…"

"Bending Booster Suit."

"Thanks. If the Bending Booster Suit is off the table, what about...some sort of smaller mecha-suit? Like the VarriMechs, but more compact."

"Huh." Asami narrowed her eyes. "How compact are you thinking?"

"I guess only a little bigger than regular body armor? Sort of like the RCPD metalbender uniform, but thicker and with more...things."

"Is this something for benders, or non-benders?"

Korra looked up and shrugged. "Can't it be both?"

Asami tapped the tip of her pen against her lips. "...there's no reason it can't, I suppose. Though finding an appropriate power source will be a problem, not to mention the logistics involved in wiring such a thing so it doesn't electrocute you…" she said, trailing off into rapid fire mumbling and sketching.

"Uhhh, Asami?"

"Hm?"

"Are you actually designing this thing?"

"I am."

"In the middle of the night?"

"Yes."

"Okay. If I fall asleep on the couch it's because I'm tired, not because I'm bored."

"I know, but, before you do, or might...could you..."

"Warm up the tea for you?"

"Yeah."

"Sure."


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