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2 mos ago
I dropped a clear thumbtack on the floor and now my carpet is holding me hostage.
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3 mos ago
Remember: it's important to plug in the appliance you want to use.
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2 yrs ago
bbcode and I about to throw hands.
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2 yrs ago
Please stop inviting yourself to take lunch with me. I actually enjoy my thirty minutes of alone time.
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Mahz mentioned me. I can die now.
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Bio





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guess i'll just step on you.
08.02.22.13:46


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Most Recent Posts



Age. 31
Gender. Male
Residence. Middle Ring
Occupation. RSF Officer

Element. Water
▅▅▅▅. ▅▅▅▅
Form. Water
Level. •••
Chi. •••

_______________________________.. . . . . .
______________________________________________________________________________..... . . . . . . . . . .
Who am I?
Captain of the Lotus Security Force.

Why are you here?
I was given to the state by parents fearful of the repercussions that would have been levied upon them had the Republic discovered their child a bender on their own. My ‘gift’ was revealed to me at a young age, and so the decision to hand me over was done early in my life. The LSF is all I’ve really known.

After completing the bulk of my training at a young age, I was allowed ample time to visit my family and watch my younger sister grow up. Vasra was a child of possibility from the start. A younger sister with a drive and hope in her eyes that out shined everyone around her and it showed. Not just at home but at school as well. She was smart. I would have preferred to remain by her side as she continued to grow but as I turned 18, my life would become a tool for the LSF. Time spent at home slowly declined until, to make things simpler for myself and those trying to create a life for me as a cover, I decided it was best to join the Republic Security Force. During the day, I patrol the Lower Ring, protecting what shred of civil order remains. My real job, however, is Captain of the main operations unit of the LSF where I am in charge of holding together a team made up of some of the most dangerous benders left in the world and making sure that the broken family they’ve been forced to create is one that is as secure for them as possible.

Despite what many believe, we are not all monsters. We care for the people of the Republic. We care about the future and protecting that future. We care about preserving the peace so carefully crafted by the Red Lotus and their promise of a better tomorrow. Most importantly, we care about each other, or at the very least the sentiment is something I try to reinforce with each member of my team. Some are more receptive to it than others but at the end of the day, as long as the job is getting done and everyone is still playing for the same team, that’s all that matters.

As one of the oldest members of this group, I was given the opportunity to train with many LSF hopefuls. We spent copious amounts of time learning together. Learning each other. Finding ways to push and to challenge the other so we can find a more perfect version of ourselves. Some of it was for a want of power. Others just wanted to make it out of the program. The rest simply didn’t want to die. The few that survived to graduation have garnered a respect from me that no one else has. There was no small amount of sacrifice necessary to complete the training we did, and there is no one else who’d I trust to have my back in the field than the people with me now.

What is your opinion on Benders?
They have to die, and eventually, when and if no more benders exist, I will go too. It’s what’s necessary for the world. What’s necessary to protect my family and to protect the fragile peace we have.
_
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_______________________________.. . . . . .
??? · |@Exit] & |@KillamriX88] Collaboration??? · @Exit & @KillamriX88 Collaboration
______________________________________________________________________________..... . . . . . . . . . .
KillamriX88   
Chae-Won was confused. Either this was a dream, or everything else had been a nightmare. The cynic, however, told her this was all real and someone was fucking with her. Somehow.

Things just didn’t add up.

She moved to the side of the bed and picked up a slipper, shaking it and tentatively reaching inside. Nothing. No tacks or needles. OK, so it wasn’t something like that... so far. Being far too petty, she abandoned the slippers there and went to the dresser next.

Her goal was the potted plant of all things. She picked it up, put it under her arm, and… wait a minute. She stopped and held the plant out in front of her. Something felt wrong.

If she was being spied on, she figured they already knew what she could do, so there was no reason not to try. She tried to bend the soil in the pot.

Nothing

“OK. What the fuck?

She scowled angrily at the pot, but took it with her anyway. She could still smash it over someone’s head if she had to. So, silly as she might look, she carried the potted plant in hand like an impromptu companion.
Exit   
To her right, a darker hallway led to a door that was slightly ajar. There was a sound she could hear coming from that direction resembling cracking wood. The pops were soft and muted through the walls and there was no smell of burning material typical of a large scale fire. It was gentle, not unlike a fireplace.
KillamriX88   
Chae gripped the pot by its rim in one hand and carefully pushed the door open with her other, carefully peering inside to see what, or who, awaited her.
Exit   
Through the door, the room opened up. A tall ceiling embedded with lights brightened the space beyond where a comfortable looking gray couch waited. It faced away from Chae toward a set of floor to ceiling windows overlooking trees standing too close together. It was impossible to see through the thick foliage to what was on the other side, especially considering the light layer of fog surrounding them.

The floor around the couch was made of concrete and seems cold to the touch, but the fireplace set in the wall to the left invited warmth. On the center of the couch was a head of short black hair. It bobbed side to side but remained facing forward and hadn't noticed anything was amiss. Chae narrowed her eyes and stepped into the room.
KillamriX88   
There wasn’t much use in avoiding a confrontation here. She hefted the potted plant as she approached the couch.

“OK, you have five seconds to convince me not to throw this at your head. Where the hell am I?” she asked the individual on the couch.
Exit   
”Hu- WHA! HEY!”

From the other side of the couch, a small boy swung around to face Chae, his green eyes staring up at her in surprise. He scrambled back along the couch, but even as he began to retreat from her, the fear that had started to creep across his face turned to anger. ”WHUAT DA HECK, LADY?! Yuh got a few screws loose er whut?!

He was wearing a plain white shirt over white shorts and had on white slip one shoes. Besides that a skin that seemed slightly pale, little else stood out besides the emerald irises.
KillamriX88   
She had a moment of self doubt. What was a kid doing here? That said, she wasn’t about to start questioning herself just yet.

“Maybe I do! Now answer the question! Where the hell am I? I wasn’t here when I…” Saying she’d “gone to sleep” didn’t quite fit. “When I was last awake…”
Exit   
”I dun know! Dun hit me cause YoURR da one confoosed!” He picked up a pillow and tossed it at her, aiming for her head. The throw was weak. ”Didn’t yuh see da paypa’?”
KillamriX88   
As the pillow landed at her feet after bouncing harmlessly off her, she pondered his response. Paper? Newspaper? No, but there had been something with a label on it. Dusty Hotel? That didn’t seem right.

“Dust… uh… Duster? Duster Hotel?” She blinked. “OK, great, that’s a name. What-?” She took a breath and sighed. This was going nowhere. She put the plant down, starting to feel really silly at this point, and instead put her hands on her hips. “Look, is there anyone else here? Someone clearly brought me here and I wanna know who. And why.”
Exit   
The boy's eyes snapped to the left and the right of the room, still wide with surprise. ”Uh. Nope. Juss us here, crazy lady.”
KillamriX88   
Chae-Won pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. This was absurd. “Are you always alone? Did you even know I was here before now?” The hell kind of hotel was this?!
Exit   
”I wusn’t always alone, but isss been a while…” The boy seemed to relax some, his wide eyes beginning to squint at Chae-Won as if he were studying her. ”Yurr actually da furst in a while.” His eyes slowly turned to confusion and his face twisted up at her. ”Why are yuh here?”
KillamriX88   
Chae-Won was beginning to get a very weird feeling about this place, but she couldn’t explain it. Something was very… wrong? Unusual? She couldn’t pick the word that fit best. Nothing quite sat right.

“I… lost a fight against some very bad people. I thought they’d taken me here. They must have, but then… that doesn’t make any sense. Um, my name is Chae-Won. Sorry I scared you. What’s your name, kid?” she asked him. Either something had happened while she was out, or this was a very elaborate prank and they had a fucked up sense of humor.
Exit   
”Chaaaaay woooaaan.” The kid nodded his head. ”Nice tuh meet yuh, Chaywon. Thanks fuh not killin’ me with da plant. I’m…” He suddenly paused, his brow furrowing and his eyes drifting off momentarily as if he seemed lost or had forgotten what he wanted to say. Then he blinked and his eyes returned to Chae’s. ”Peng! Heh… almost forgot.”

”Yuh hungry? Yuh was out fuh a while.”
KillamriX88   
He’d almost forgotten his own name? What the hell was going on here? With everything that had happened, she couldn’t help but be on edge. Every little thing felt like a warning bell.

“Nah, I’m, uh, good for now…” she told him. “Hey, how about you give me a tour of the place, huh? Since I’m here, I might as well have a look around if that’s all right.”
Exit   
”Sure!” Peng stood up and walked around the couch. He then spread his arms wide and did a spin. ”Da main room! Yuh can sit here and relax. Sumtimes they play movies.” He pointed toward the ceiling in front of the window where a small crease was visible. ”Da screen drops outta there… And ova here.” Peng began walking away from that side of the room, back in the direction of the door that led to the bedroom Chae had been in. Across from that door was a space that was very obviously a kitchen. There was a faucet and a basin sitting in a dark wood countertop with nothing else around it. The space above the counter was limited as well since the wall jutted out at an angle before climbing steeply toward the ceiling. A person of average height would have to bend down to place their head within the space. The design was slightly awkward. On either side of this sink were what looked to be cabinets. However, on closer inspection, these cabinets were sealed shut. In front of the sink was an island of similar wood make and in the center of the island was a rectangular depression.

”This da kitchen! Yuh can wash yur hands here…” He pointed at the faucet. ”...And yuh can get some food here.” He pointed at the depression in the island.

Walking around the island, he moved toward the hall. Along the left wall were a series of doors, five in total, all of them similar to each other and each one closed save for Chae’s. At the far end of the hall was a door that was different from the others. It was solid black and there was no obvious knob or handle. On the right, a long window that stretched the length of the wall to where the hall turned into the kitchen provided soft light to the more enclosed space.

”These are da rooms. This one is yurs now. Dat one next tuh it is mine.” He stepped in front of it and blocked it with his body. Yur... not allowed inside. The others are empty but are always locked. Trust meh, I’ve tried tuh get inside.”

”Anyways… that’sssss it! Any questions, Chaeyun?”
KillamriX88   
Chae-Won didn’t answer. She’d finally figured it out. She just wandered back into the main room and fell onto the couch, burying her face in her hands. Hotel her ass.

This was a prison.

She took a deep breath, letting her hands drop, folding them together between her knees.

“Hey, kid. Peng.” She almost didn’t want to ask. Maybe if she didn’t, she could try to live in denial. “How did you end up here?”
Exit   
Peng followed Chae back toward the couch and eventually found a spot a few cushions away from the woman. ”Well… uh…” Again, the same lost look from before found the boy again. His eyes wandered to the windows. ”I… dun really remember. It’s been so long now. So long… so long…” He turned to Chae. ”Yuh said you were fightin’ some bad people? Why?”
KillamriX88   
He didn’t look that old, but she supposed that to a child that young even a few months might feel like a long time, and who knew how long he’d been in this place.

“There are people known as benders…” she said. For all she knew, this kid was one too. “Something happened, and it forced a lot of them out of hiding. Some of them didn’t even know they were one. Benders or not, they’re still just people, but the ones I was fighting… they say that’s wrong. They were willing to hurt people just because of that, including someone I care about. I didn’t let them, but it meant I couldn’t follow him. I had to stay behind, and then they got me,” she gave him the simplest version she could manage. “If I had to guess, there’s a similar story behind why you’re here.”
Exit   
”Is he safe now?”
KillamriX88   
Well now that was the question wasn’t it? She was mostly certain he’d made it away, and that they’d had no method to follow him, but now what?

“I… don’t know,” she said, sounding distant.

He wasn’t ready.

“I was supposed to take care of him.”

A meek, mute boy with two personalities; they’d drop him the second they could get rid of him.

“He… needs me…” Her hands clutched tightly at her knees. “He won’t know… what to do out there…”

Had she really protected him at all?

Exit   
”Well at least yur ina safe place.” Peng said, his voice slowly becoming warped. Suddenly, Chae began to feel sleepy.
KillamriX88   
She hadn’t eaten anything, drank anything, and Peng seemed fine, so she had no idea how or why. There was nothing she could do about it.

If anything, maybe it meant she’d get more answers soon.

“I… wouldn’t be so sure about that.” She just let her eyes close and… waited.
Exit   


After a moment, another unfamiliar voice pierced the silence. "Thanks for coming." Nelu said."You can open your eyes now."


_______________________________.. . . . . .
Moon Residence · |@Exit] & |@canaryrose] CollaborationMoon Residence · @Exit & @canaryrose Collaboration
______________________________________________________________________________..... . . . . . . . . . .
Exit   
The rest of the ride saw Jack in his usual silence and An in the backseat with her eyes glued to the monitor in front of her. Bits of cracker and cheese had collected on her worn clothing and the board had almost been completely consumed. Shinobi news was covering her missing day and a half, laying out events as they happened and the effect they had across the entire city. When the newscast got to Li and her statement, An erupted in hysterical laughter.

Roughly half an hour later, the craft began to descend and as they broke through a thin layer of clouds, the Moon residence appeared. It was a large abode surrounded by acres of green land, the exterior of which was very clearly designed modern and lavish as was the norm in the Upper Ring. Walls were tall and straight and alternated between a cloudy gray, black and a dark wood finish. Some of the walls were replaced by windows that stretched from the ground to the roof. Portions of the roof itself were flat and gardened, adjourned with trees and shrubbery that matched those planted in the surrounding grounds. The lawn was cut in half by a brook that wove in between, and sometimes underneath, winding walkways and the garden, and was interrupted at regular intervals by a small waterfall. From the above, it was easy to see the fish swimming around in the various ponds.

There was a path that led from the side of the home out to a platform where Jack put them both down. They landed next to another vehicle. One that An would definitely not have seen anywhere else; A craft that was nearly completely black and was both angular yet sleek. Some of its edges were lined in a thin sliver of gold. It looked rather expensive.

Jack was out of the car first and quickly walked around to An’s side to open the door for her. ”Welcome to the Moon residence.” He said as he helped her out of the vehicle.
canaryrose   
An stepped out gingerly, staring at the massive estate in front of her. She resisted the urge to gape or exclaim in wonder, simply standing there with her hands crossed in front of her. She had never been invited to the Moon residence and, until they had entered the inner Upper Ring, had expected they’d be returning to the office. That signalled that this was much too private to speak about there. This was no work matter- it was personal. Suddenly very self conscious, she dusted the crumbs off her shirt. Her hair and dirty clothes, however, couldn’t be taken care of easily. And she was pretty sure she somewhat smelled. It seemed that someone had dragged her prone body across the asphalt at some point.

She had grown up in the Upper Ring, it was true, but her family home was practically a hovel compared to this grand estate. She glanced at the car for a moment in a bit of confusion before turning to Jack again. She didn’t know much about cars. “Thank you. Where is she?”
Exit   
”Follow me.”

Jack led her away from the landing pad and up, toward the side entrance of the house on an inclined path that took An over a small bridge and through a part of the garden. It was a short path but it was obvious from just this stretch of the walkway that every inch of the grounds had been meticulously curated; made to feel as if one was somewhere else entirely. There was no Ba Sing Se here. Just the quiet murmuring of water, the sound of the whistling wind threading through branches and leaves and the call of birds somewhere in the sky. The air here was unbelievably clean, even when compared to the Middle Ring. It was fresh and rejuvenating and every breath was crisp and cool.

The glass door that was the side entrance was opened for An and Jack motioned her inside before stepping in himself. Inside, An was greeted with vaulted ceilings and a panoramic view of green, lush landscape and distant mountains beyond the outer wall. Hardwood floors wrapped around a large planter where a tree provided some shade. Toward the center of the room was a sofa and rug and coffee table sitting on top. To An’s right, the room opened up to more living space and a dining room and beyond that, a doorway into the kitchen. Stairs around the corner wrapped around a small tree that led to the second floor and a landing that was visible from the first.

A familiar voice drifted down from above.

”Yes, Daddy. I understand… Just please be careful.”

Jack motioned for An to take a seat on the couch as he moved toward the stairs to fetch her host.
canaryrose   
An sat down, her posture board straight. She folded her hands on her lap and gazed at the extravagant living space in front of her. Being in this room felt extremely uncomfortable. She was somewhere she shouldn’t have been, seeing things she shouldn’t have seen. She didn’t wander as Jack went upstairs, although she did barely suppress a giggle upon hearing Vyska call her father “daddy”. Being with Chu Hua for four years had not made her more polite.

She took a deep breath. Even the air in the house was so much fresher- but she had been in jail for the last day and a half, so she was maybe at the wrong point to make comparisons from.
Exit   
”She’s here?... Thank you.” Vyska’s voice continued to drift down the stairs, her voice somehow still louder than Jack’s despite her whispering.

”No, it should be fi-... Okay, okay.”

After a moment, footsteps echoed from the second floor gradually getting louder until a tuft of blond hair appeared from over the landing edge. It moved toward the stairs and disappeared again, only for Vyska to appear at the bottom. Jack was following behind her.

”An!”
canaryrose   
“Vyska.” An stood from the couch as soon as the young woman’s foot touched the first floor, practically standing at attention. It was far more serious than she usually was, but this was far more serious than her life usually was.
Exit   
Vyska walked over, keeping some of her composure although it was still obvious she was relieved. ”It’s good to see you… although…” Her eyes drifted across An’s body from head to toe, recognizing the state she was in after more than a day of being away from home and without proper self care. She stopped only a few feet away from her, hesitated for a moment and then stepped up to give the woman a hug.
canaryrose   
An's brain short-circuited. She hesitated, but eventually returned the hug, giving Vyska a light squeeze. She noted the hesitation but couldn’t blame her- She knew she didn’t look very clean.
Exit   
”You look like shit.” Vyska confirmed before stepping away again and releasing An. ”And smell like it too.”

”And I know you’re probably really confused right now about why I paid your bail and had you escorted here and we do have a lot to discuss. But right now, I’m sure you could do with a nice bath and some real food?”
canaryrose   
“I…” An looked dazed as Vyska released her from the hug. They didn’t hug. They just didn’t, it was unprofessional. What on Earth was going on? “Thank you. I don’t know- wait, do I really smell that bad?” An gave herself a sniff. It really was that bad. She made a face. “Yes, I’m… well, confused is a gross understatement. A hot shower and a hot meal would be nice, though. But please don’t let me take advantage of your hospitality.” She lowered her eyes from Vyska’s to the floor. Her voice sounded shy, almost chagrined. An hated not knowing things, but she hated being helpless even more. It would be rude to refuse Vyska’s hospitality, though, and she didn’t know what else to do but accept the offer. What she really wanted to do was find out what was going on. But apparently, Vyska wouldn’t do that until she stopped smelling.
Exit   
”You’re not taking advantage of anything, I promise you. I-...” Vyska shook her head, dismissing the direction the conversation wanted to go and focusing on what was more important. They had time. Enough of it at least for the time being. ”There is a lot going on. For now, let’s get you into something more comfortable.”

Vyska led An up the spiraling staircase and down a hall only a short distance. The interior decor changed only slightly as the open feel of the previous space became more enclosed. The wall on the right became jagged rock as if it had been cut right from the side of a mountain. Soft warm light drifted down from the crevice created between where that wall and the ceiling met. The source of the light could not be seen. Breaking up the long stretch of black stone were a number of bamboo trees. To the left, a heavy looking, wooden door had been cut into the gray wall. Vyska walked up and opened it and ushered An inside.

Inside, the space opened up once again. Large ceiling to floor windows on two sides of the room offered a view of the distant horizon. The central portion of the ceiling too was opened up to the sky where the sparse white clouds were joined by the canopy of trees planted on the roof. A large king sized bed was pushed against one of the windowed walls and opposite the bed was a door that led to a well lit bathroom. Through that door, a glass cubed chamber could be seen with what looked like a slanted roof and a hundred nozzles attached to the surface. Next to the door leading to the bathroom was a cobalt, marbled wall with rectangular shaped outlines cut into it.

Most of the room was colored black and gray including the walls and the bed sheets. Highlights were wooden and there were sparse plants situated around the room to bring in some green and make an otherwise cold looking room seem more alive. Despite the color temperature, a carpet that was overly soft and a personal fireplace that was currently shut off helped to bring in some warmth.

”This is the guest room. Anything in here is yours to use as you please. There are fresh clothes in here…” Vyska moved to the wall and tapped one of the shapes that was cut into it, coaxing the drawer out of its nest. The interior of the compartment was outlined in a soft white light allowing anyone to easily see what was inside. ”Everything should fit.” She said, tapping it again so that it slid shut. ”There is also water in the cooler that is the nightstand. Again, take whatever you need and please take your time. Someone will be outside your door if you need anything else and when you are ready, they will lead you to the dining room where we can eat and talk.”
canaryrose   
“...Thank you. I won’t be long.” Once again, An wore a stunned and grateful look on her face, but she at least tried to smother it this time. This “guest room” was larger than the master bedroom in her own apartment, and certainly larger than the one her and Chu shared at her parents’ house. An watched as Vyska closed the door behind her, relieved to hear no click of a lock, and then turned to the bedroom. The bed was calling her name, but she didn’t have time to nap. Instead, she moved towards the dresser, picking out an outfit and smoothing it out on the bedspread before walking into the bathroom and locking the door.

An took a very long, very hot shower. She blow-dried her hair, washed herself, and started to do her make-up. Vyska had her favorite shade of lipstick, which was extremely surprising. But when she was staring at herself in the mirror… It was all too easy for her to cry now, when she was alone. The sobs came, wracking her body as she cried for the first time in a day and a half. She had tried so hard to get Chu and her out alive, but all she had done was maybe save her fiancee’s life and potentially doom herself to decades in prison. It was all so fucked. She was so fucked.

...

40 minutes after Vyska led her to the guest room, An opened the door to see the face of an attendant staring back at her. “I think I’m presentable now. Could you take me to Miss Moon, please?”

An had changed everything about her appearance. Now, a sheer white collared blouse was half- tucked into sleek black slacks, which in turn were tucked into low black stilettos. The blouse was left half-out, the right side hanging down like an arrow. It was intentional. She had tied her now-clean black hair into a high ponytail and had applied a red lip and a bit of eyeliner. There had been plenty of T–shirts and robes in the dresser, but An had wanted to appear professional. And maybe it helped her to put on that armor. Her eyes were still puffy around the edges, but she had tried to conceal that as best she could with foundation.

The attendant nodded shyly and led An down to the dining room, back down those same luxurious stairs. An had to hold onto the rail because of her heels, but she descended easily and emerged onto the ground floor, following the girl into the dining room.
Exit   
A table large enough to seat eight had settings for only one. Opposite where Vyska was seated and in front of a waiting chair, from left to right, were the dinner and salad fork, a plate with a black cloth dinner napkin pulled through a golden ring and a dinner knife and a spoon. Above the forks was a smaller plate with fresh warm bread sitting on top next to a small butter knife and a small portion cup holding butter. Above the spoon and knife was a water glass already filled and chilled and next to that, an empty wine glass.

Vyska was sat in front of her own glass of red wine and a laptop that was open and facing her.

The attendant ushered An toward the open seat.
canaryrose   
An sat down, seeming comfortable in the fancy setting. “Sorry I took so long,” An said. “The room was very nice. Thank you.”
Exit   
”Of course. And don’t worry about the time. I’m just happy you were able to make use of it." Vyska clasped her hands together and raised her eyebrows as she regarded her guest. ”What would you like to eat? We can make you anything.”
canaryrose   
“Whatever you’d like is… fine,” she said, raising her brows slightly. “I’m not picky.” She felt sweat bead on the back of her neck. She took a sip of the water.

She decided to bite the bullet. “Vyska,” she said, voice dropping. “I’m sorry to be rude, but I need to cut to the chase or I am going to combust. Not- not literally- you know what I mean. I committed a Class A felony twenty-four hours ago after my fiancee turned into a firebender and lit a stadium on fire. I might be being investigated for worse things, too. I should’ve been terminated by the company immediately, not… bailed out of jail and personally escorted to your estate. What is going on?
Exit   
Vyska nodded at An and then gave the attendant a signal with her hand. The attendant bowed and left the room, walking through the doorway leading into the kitchen and disappearing. When they were gone, Vyska’s eyes drifted back to An’s. The far off, professional expression having long left her face for something else.

”Did she make it out? Chu?”

Jack appeared in the other room where his figure became silhouetted against the windows. He paced slowly, staring out into the vista of the surrounding grounds, making himself known but otherwise easily blending into the background.
canaryrose   
An immediately started sweating more, tightening her hands underneath the tablecloth. So this was what this was about. Of course. Should she play dumb? Should she tell the truth? “I… don’t know.” She left it at that. It was both the truth and a lie. She really didn’t know what had become of Chu after she had left her and Kanna in that tunnel. She hadn’t even let her kiss her one last time. That settled in with an awful regret.
Exit   
Vyska’s eyes lingered on An for a few moments before they dropped to the wine glass in front of her. She seemed to be tossing something over and over in her head, as if weighing the response she was given. ”I want to apologize, An.” She began, not looking up. ”At the time of me calling you a few days ago, I already knew you had used the tunnels to help Chu escape. And with Kanna. I had the card usage and the footage. What I didn’t know was your plan, but after what we saw on the news, I knew the danger you were both in, so I sent Jack to get rid of the footage and to help you get out.” She bit her lip.

”It was inevitable that the RSF would be at my facility. Mostly for rescue, but I knew there would be others who'd be more interested in finding a reason ‘why’ and I also knew that if they went digging through my records, they’d find a connection to Chu.” She gestured at An. ” Sure enough, shortly after I sent Jack away, a man arrived who I’d never seen before with a badge I didn’t recognize and authority I didn’t know existed. He had me try and contact you, and, well… I half expected or hoped you wouldn’t pick up. But then you did.” Vyska smiled slightly. ”Let’s just say he wasn’t too happy with the ‘I’ll send someone over comment’ but...” Vyska shrugged. ”His instructions weren’t very clear.”

”Luckily, RSF response was slower than expected and Jack told me no one was in your apartment when he got there. But it’s obvious the call stalled you and I’m assuming you wanted to leave.” She paused again, this time her eyes searching for any acknowledgment to what she was sharing. ”And I know what I’m saying doesn’t make any sense. ‘How do I know what you wanted to do with Chu and why would I help you?’, right?”

”Vyska…” Jack had moved a little closer now and was leaned against the wall. His arms were crossed and he was staring at Vyska intently. Vyska only closed her eyes and tilted her head away from him, her face scrunched ever so slightly as if she were trying to squeeze his voice out of her head.

”What’s going on is I need to know… I need to know that if there’s a chance that she’s alive and you can help her, would you? And I need you to be honest with me. You’ve committed a felony, yes. But we both know which of your crimes is greater. One puts you away for a long time but the other will get you killed.”

”Are you willing to die for her?”
canaryrose   
An met Vyska’s eyes, a look of shock and horror blossoming across her face. It made sense. They knew. It was clear in her eyes that An knew everything she was saying was true, that Vyska knew everything. She squinted her eyes shut tight for a moment, thinking. Vyska was clearly on her side. Unless this was some elaborate trick- no. No. It wasn’t. An’s brain was working slower than normal, but she still thought she knew how to discern between truth and lies. Vyska was telling the truth. She had done An a favor, true, but she still knew too much. Why had she deleted that footage? Why had she helped her? She couldn’t figure it out.

An opened her eyes, meeting Vyska’s again with a flat stare. “You know I’ve never done anything without a reason,” she said, fingers raising to clutch her water glass. Her hands shook minutely. Would she be willing to die for Chu Hua? It was a loaded question. Would An be willing to die for anything? “Yes,’ she breathed. She almost looked stunned that these words were leaving her mouth. After that, they spilled out, a torrent of emotion. “Yes. I would. I think I’ve already proved that, don’t you? I helped her escape knowing that it would get me killed, and I did it anyways. I love her.” She touched her engagement ring, a white stone adorning her finger. “I love her so much I shot a cop so I could run with her. Does that prove it? I don’t know if she’s even alive, but I would do what I did a thousand times over.”
Exit   
”Yeah. Well… sometimes things change when the threat becomes very real. Then you start rethink everything you knew about yourself; who you are and what you're willing to do.” Vyska began pulling on the edge the glove on her hand.

”Vyska.” Jack said again, more firmly this time. He’d uncrossed his arms and was now standing straight, his hand already reaching into his jacket.

”She’s been through enough uncertainty, Jack. She needs someone she can trust too.” Vyska answered back. She pulled the glove completely off and revealed the burn injuries covering her entire hand. There were red marks over parts of her skin that had peeled away, mostly across the entirety of her palm and climbing the inside of her fingers. They looked fresh, though how fresh was hard to tell. For someone who would have suffered burns only a couple days ago, the injuries seemed to have healed too fast.

A candle stood on the table nearby. Vyska passed her hand over it and watched as flames poured from her palm over the wick, lighting it. Her eyes darted over to An, measuring her response. Jack watched as well, ready to move the moment An reacted the wrong way.
canaryrose   
An didn’t make a sound. Her entire body, though, tensed, as if she was preparing to run at a moment’s notice. Her mouth parted, her eyes widened. It was an involuntary response. Vyska was…

A firebender. An stared at Vyska with a newfound understanding and a blossoming horror. “I see. Well. That’s… certainly not ideal.” Her response was measured, although her heart beat like a rabbit’s in her chest. It didn’t bring everything into clarity, but she finally understood as she looked between Vyska and Jack. Vyska hadn’t helped her because they were coworkers- Vyska had helped her out of a sense of kinship.

An leaned forward, taking Vyska’s burned hand in her own. She turned it over in her unblemished one, examining it.. “You’re like her, then,” she murmured. Her eyes flicked to Jack’s. “Don’t worry. I can’t exactly run to the RSF and tell them our boss is a firebender, can I? I’m assuming copies of that footage still exist somewhere.” It was true- knowing each other’s secrets was like some sort of shield. Neither of them could reveal the other’s secrets without worrying about the safety of their own. “Her burns were worse than this,” An commented, finally releasing Vyska’s hand. “I don’t understand why you’re showing me this, Vyska. Why?” Her voice finally betrayed a bit of fear then, of Vyska or of the consequences of this, she wasn’t sure.
Exit   
”Because what I’m about to ask you to do is going to be impossible if we can’t trust each other.” Vyska said, still slightly stunned that An had found it in her to reach for her hand the way she had. Jack too had nearly shot the woman, but Vyska had thrown him a hand sign from under the table. Still, his hand was firmly wrapped around the grip of a pistol in his jacket and despite what An had said, his eyes remained glued to her.

Vyska began pulling the glove back over her hand. ”Right now, all I have is Jack… and a clue that might involve you, but I can’t rely on you if I think you’ll sell me out… and I need you. The same way you need Chu. I can get you to her. More than that, I think I have a way to make it safe for you two to be together… but we’re going to need each other to do that.”
canaryrose   
An’s heart skipped a beat. “You can trust me,” she said. “You’re right; I could sell you out. Information like that could get me out of this mess. But you know too much about me. And I can’t say I have very warm feelings towards the Republic right now.” Was that too close to treason? An wasn’t sure. “Plus… I think I owe you my life. If you hadn’t bailed me out, I’m sure they would’ve wanted to do more than chat.”

“What is it? What do you need me to do?”
Exit   
Just then, the attendant returned holding a platter under a cloche. They set it down on the table in front of An and removed the lid, revealing a piece of meat that had been cut into a perfect cube. On top sat a golden, caramelized onion that had been chopped and shaped into a lotus. Underneath the steak, was a small bed of vegetables and a streak of white sauce that smelled of garlic that had been pushed in a wide arc away from the rest of the meal.

The attendant bowed and then left.

”Enjoy the fox antelope and when you’re done, you’re going to help me find the Avatar.”

DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [RD-PRS] 《》 After Noon 《》 @Exit

▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇
Christina moved behind Emilia without so much as an ounce of hesitation, pulling a glock and a blade from her hip and following after her bloodstained shadow. Once the doors had been opened and the first few Stiggies had been dropped, Christina stepped through as well, ignoring the drifting cloud of pitch black smoke billowing from the corner and stepping up to the next infected corpse.

Its head twitched in her direction and as she closed the distance between it and herself, it lunged. Both arms swung in wide arcs with fingers out as if it meant to dig through her ribs and pull out her lungs. However, before that arc could close, she'd stepped inside it screaming something feral and drove the knife in her hand into its chest and down to the hilt. With her weight behind the strike, she too managed to shove the infected into the nearby wall. But that wasn't enough to stop it. For her effort, she was awarded an annoyed, hollow grunt in response. A coughing up of the essence of the life it had already lost. The shell of the man it once was ignored the sliver of metal cutting into its flesh and continued to flail against her. Its maw opened wide and its teeth bared down toward her neck. Christina pivoted, shuffling half a step back and pushing her elbow into the fiend in an attempt at keeping its jaw at bay while also keeping it pinned where it was.

"What the fuck are you?" She whispered through clenched teeth as she stared into its hollow eyes. However, there was nothing in there to answer her back. There was no light or life. No emotions. Just a void that... felt hungry. Angry. Sick. Teeth continued to snap at the air inches from her face, biting at her breath. Christina replied by shoving the barrel of her gun into its mouth and painting the wall behind it black.

...What in the fuck is happening here?...

Summary
Christina follows the others to assist in the rescue attempt and manages to route one of the Stiggies.
Two Days Ago...


_______________________________........
Chu & An's Apartment · |@Exit] & |@canaryrose] CollaborationChu & An's Apartment · @Exit & @canaryrose Collaboration
____________________________________________________________________________.
canaryrose   
Knock knock knock.

An’s body tensed as she heard the sound at her door. She looked up from her laptop screen, hand gripping her pistol before she went to the apartment entrance. It had been about thirty minutes since she had left Chu Hua in the tunnels, and though she logically knew that Syn-En security wasn’t going to abduct her, she was still nervous. Any delays in their plan could mean she wouldn’t be able to join her fiancee and her fiancee’s ex-girlfriend outside of the city in relative safety. The city was one little mishap from the brink of collapse. She needed to get out while she could, and this was an unfortunate convenience.

As she stood at the door, debating whether or not to open it, she ground her teeth. Fucking Vyska. She liked her younger boss, true, but could she be more useless at a time like this? An should have been with Chu Hua right now, not staying at the apartment to ensure that no one realized she had left. And Chu Hua… that still pulled at her heartstrings. How had she never known or even suspected the woman she loved was a firebender? And why, oh why, had she lost her shit at the worst moment possible? An would’ve been lying if she said she didn’t resent that. They had to leave their lives- their very good lives- behind all because Chu burst into flames on live television. But she could shout at Chu about that later. Right now she had to ensure she wasn’t arrested.

Cautiously, An opened the door a sliver, sticking her head through the small crack but not much else. She kept one hand extended with the synergy pistol behind the door, finger on the trigger. “Hello? Can I help you?”
Exit   
Jack stared back at her through the sliver of space between the door and the frame. ”Is she here?” He asked, simply. His silver eyes regarded her with a blank stare that was ever hard to read.
canaryrose   
An knit her brows, her stance relaxing a bit once she realized who it was. She knew Jack, of course. Vyska was rarely seen without her bodyguard. Which meant her bodyguard was rarely seen without her. She hadn’t expected him to show up here, without his charge. “Who?” she said in an innocent voice.
Exit   
"Your fiance. They're coming." As he spoke, his eyes swept what little of the interior of the apartment he could see. ”RSF”.
canaryrose   
Goddamnit. An scowled deeply, partially for Jack’s sake. She had thought she had more time. But in a few minutes, RSF would come storming in through their doors, and she didn’t want to be here when that happened. The desert would be better than the inside of a prison cell, after all.. “Well, she’s not here,” An told him, almost snippily. “I… haven’t seen her, since… well. You’ve obviously seen the news. I got away from there as fast as possible.” She opened the door fully, stepping aside to allow him full vision inside. She was clearly holding the synergy pistol, although it was now neatly held at her side, no indication that she was even thinking of raising it. “You can check if she really wants to know, but if the police are coming, I doubt you want to be caught here. I’ll be okay.”

The apartment looked extremely out of array. If one knew An well, they’d know she was neat and organized to an almost obsessive degree. Every report she had ever turned in had been immaculate, every meeting planned out to the minute. This didn’t look like that. There were clothes strewn across the floor, items out of place, frames without their pictures. Her laptop was open on the counter with a notepad set next to it. There was a very full backpack sitting on the barstool next to it. An cringed when she saw it from Jack’s perspective, but she had no need to clean. If all went as it should, she’d never see this apartment again.
Exit   
”...Shit…” Jack whispered under his breath. He checked the time on his watch and then gave the room another scan. ”Was the girl here?”
canaryrose   
“Not sure,” An lied. It rolled off her tongue easily. “I said I haven’t seen her.”
Exit   
”Well you have a minute to make it look like you were the only one making a mess in here. When they get here, they’re going to want to question you and they may not do it here. But you’re not a Bender so you’ll be fine.” He nodded toward the gun. ”Don’t answer the door holding that.”
canaryrose   
“Got it. I won’t.” She moved towards her backpack, zipping it away. “Exactly one minute until they’re here?” She busied herself with looking like she was cleaning, looking at Jack quizzically. Her hands shook minutely, her gaze drawn to her bag. She needed to go.
Exit   
Jack reached for the door and began to close it. ”It’s going to look suspicious if you run.” He called out before it shut.
canaryrose   
“Well, of fucking course it will,” she muttered as soon as the door closed. She launched herself at the bag, pulling out the gun again and throwing on a mustard yellow cotton jacket. She put her laptop in the bag, reluctant to part with it. She slung the bag over her shoulder, moving towards the window. She left her phone on the counter, left, and then doubled back. With a quick pull and a grim look, she snapped it in half. Hesitating, she did the same to her work laptop, violently throwing it on the floor and stomping on it. She then poured a glass of water over the computer. Of course it would look suspicious if she ran. But she had no other choice. An knew she had committed the kind of crime that could never be forgiven, and being caught would mean that at best she’d live her life in a prison cell. If she didn’t run, she’d never see Chu again.

She had wasted precious time destroying her tech, but she didn’t want anyone to see her messages or her work. They were too… private. An smoothly opened the window and stepped through, squeezing her small body onto the fire escape and then descending rapidly. She had to get to the tunnels quickly and quietly. No one was on the streets right now, so any movement would be suspicious. She’d have to use the back alleys and, even then, keep an eye out for any rogue benders or, worse, police. After her apartment was found empty they’d search for her. She needed to be gone by then. She took off speed-walking down the street, keeping one eye cast over her shoulder.

As soon as An left, she heard sirens. They were faint at first, but she knew they were for her, and she kept walking, albeit faster. Then they were loud- unbearably loud- and a black SUV with darkly tinted windows came barreling down the street. Fuck. Think fast, think fast… There was only one place to hide, and only seconds to do it. Her heart beating like mad in her chest, An threw herself and her bag behind the dumpster, making a racket as she tried to wedge as much of herself back there as she could.

Oh God, please don’t look back here. Jack was right- it would be very suspicious if she was caught running. Her eyes darted around the alleyway, settling on the truck. She couldn’t breathe.
Exit   
The SUV skidded to a halt not far from the fire escape An had just used. Two men jumped out of the vehicle, one of them holding a rifle in their hands and the other a pistol. Unlike those found in the Lower Ring, the RSF of the Middle Ring were much better equipped. Besides their tactical gear looking better maintained, it was also clearly upgraded versions of their lesser counterparts. One of the major differences between the officers of the two divisions of the city were the helmets they wore. It encompassed their entire head, encasing them in a protective metal shell that made them seem all the more intimidating.

From within the SUV, a voice came over the radio. ”The room is empty.”

”I have a fire escape in the back that’s been used.” The officer on An’s side of the street called out. He began looking up and down the alleyway, glancing past An’s direction. Unluckily for him, the trash bins were keeping her obscured. ”No visual on the suspect.”

He then waved a hand at his partner who took off toward the opposite end of the alley, away from An. The one with the rifle began moving toward her.

The radio from within the vehicle answered again. ”Two block perimeter being set.”
canaryrose   
An wedged herself farther behind the trash bin, trying her hardest to make as little noise as possible. Two officers… possibly more in the front? In the house? Around the block? She wasn’t sure. They weren’t searching for her, but she had screwed herself over by running. A woman hiding behind a trash can would be incredibly suspicious, but she also couldn’t just come out and surrender. Despite knowing it was an awful idea and she didn’t even know how to use it, she gripped her pistol even harder. She wouldn’t come out. She could wait them out, right? But Chu would be gone by the time they left, and the city would be shut down… she needed to get out of here as soon as possible, but she couldn’t. Barely breathing, An glanced around, desperate for any way out of her situation. There was none.

She made a barely audible grunt of frustration. She’d just have to try booking it, then. Not now. When they weren’t looking.
Exit   
”There’s no one down here!” The other officer called out from further down the alleyway. The one closer to An turned around and began walking around the dumpster to see if there was anything on the other side.

”I’m not seeing anyone either…”
canaryrose   
With a gasp, An scrambled around the dumpster to the other side, facing the alleyway. She flattened herself against the dumpster, waiting to dart right back to the other side.
Exit   
Once again, a voice could be heard from within the SUV coming from the radio. ”Everyone hold your positions. We’re sweeping the building. No one enters or leaves. Vanguard are on site.”

”Ten four.” The officer closest to An moved between the building and the adjacent dumpsters but didn’t see anyone. However, the second officer had turned around and hadn’t made it more than a few steps back to the SUV when he noticed that just beyond it, something was crouched next to the same dumpsters his partner was standing next to.

”H-hey… Hey!” He called out to her. ”Don’t move!”

The first officer, confused, begins to circle back around the way he came, still unable to see An.
canaryrose   
He saw me. FUCK! An’s eyes darted around, wide with panic, and she made a split second decision. She stood, hurling her backpack at the officer who yelled out at her, and ran the opposite way down the alley and towards the street as fast as she could. She still clutched the gun in her hands, unsure what to do with it, but she knew she couldn’t be caught.
Exit   
”Runner in the alley! She’s got a gun!”

As both men took off after her, a shadow appeared on the ground ahead of An, drifting in from the side as if something from above was coming in over the rooftops. The silhouette against a blue sky moved into position above the upcoming intersection.

”Stop running!” The officers called out from behind her.
canaryrose   
An did not stop running. Rather, she sped up as she rounded the corner onto the main street, pumping her legs even harder as the cops started to chase her down the thoroughfare. At this point, she was panting, too terrified to notice the ominous shadow laid out in front of her. She, unlike her fiancee, was no athlete, and could not run for very long. It was clear in her panicked movements that she had no clue what she was doing. If she could just lose them…
Exit   
Ahead of An, a humanoid metal figure dropped out of the sky, cracking the pavement beneath its feet. It shouldered a rifle and pointed it at her and began taking steps in her direction.

”Halt, citizen.”

Just beyond it was the entrance to the subway system.
canaryrose   
An stopped in her tracks, staggering back, heaving. Wild eyes flicked between the robot, its rifle, and the subway entrance. She was so close. Only a few more yards, and she’d be able to escape. But this thing… well, it would stop her by any means necessary, even if that meant killing her. But An had a gun that could stop anything in its path. But destroying it would be unthinkable. An act of violence larger than any she had already committed. She’d not only be a suspect, but a wanted woman.

She didn’t care. All she needed was to get to Chu Hua. An raised her pistol and shot the robot in the face.
Exit   
The bolt of plasma melted halfway into its head, destroying circuitry and spraying bits of red hot metal and sparks into the air around it. Its arms immediately went limp and it dropped its rifle as it took one more step forward before collapsing on the ground. It wasn’t completely dead. The metal frame continued to twitch and move as whatever corrupted processes tried to resolve itself despite being unable to do so.

However, although the android had been taken care of, the two cops behind her had caught up in the time it had taken her to find her resolve. One of them tackled her from behind, although he hadn’t maintained control of An’s firearm on the way down. His arms were simply wrapped around her waist as he threw her to the ground. The second was only a few steps behind.

”Synergy gun!” He started screaming as he ran up.
canaryrose   
An went down, not physically strong enough to resist, but maintained control of her pistol on the way down. She kept it close to her chest, pressed between the asphalt and her as she gasped for breath. The shock of firing the gun for the first time combined with being tackled to the ground by a much heavier, armor-clad man meant she was dazed, not thinking straight. She hadn’t even seen them coming, how focused she’d been on what she had to do. The usually smart, strategic woman was reduced to flailing limbs and screams. “Get… OFF!” Holding onto her gun, her only sense of control, and keeping it close, she tried to twist onto her back, to where she felt she had a better vantage point. Her usually calculating, sometimes mirthful eyes were wild and panicked, her movements shaky. “Leave me alone!”
Exit   
With a final push against the pavement, An managed to twist herself around and free her pistol. Without thinking, she raised it up at the man and prepared to pull the trigger, but as the gun came up, the officer on top of her released his hold around her waist, brought his arm up to palm the side of the gun and push it away, and then struck her arm just above her elbow. Immediately An’s grip on the weapon relaxed and the gun fell harmlessly to the side. She turned her head in a panic as she watched her only chance of escape tumble away from her. The next strike from the man was felt just behind her ear and above her neck and suddenly, An’s entire world became darkness.













Present Day...


_______________________________........
Ba Sing Se · MorningBa Sing Se · Morning
____________________________________________________________________________.
"Good morning and welcome to seven o'clocks on Shinobi News. Our top stories today...

Ripples in the aftermath of the accident at SynEn's energy facility two days ago, continue to be felt today. The massive explosion that rocked the entire Lower Ring destroyed several blocks of the industrial sector killing many and injuring hundreds more. Factories in the area have been put offline for an indeterminate amount of time which has further hampered life in the Lower Ring. Tensions continue to rise in the wake of heavy loss of life and with many out of a job, some speculate that the sudden outburst of violence following the explosion will soon return. The RSF continue to struggle to maintain order while emergency crews continue to work 'round the clock, digging through the wreckage for any more survivors.

Meanwhile, tensions across the city are equally strained after many bore witness to the sudden appearance of Benders, everywhere and in all rings. In the minutes following the SynEn accident, these... people made themselves known, attacking anyone and anything around them in an attempt to create as much chaos, death and destruction as possible. I'm sure everyone remembers the scene that unfolded during the championship game. Seen here again... Chu Hua, once beloved Stickball star, exposed as the monster she truly is when she went on a rampage on the field, and, the heroic moment when Li attempted to stop her."

...

"I tried to warn them. She has been suspicious from the day I met her. She was always sweating and hot to the touch and angry all the time and during the morning training sessions in the winter, she never complained about the cold! But I'm telling, they willfully ignored my warnings because she's their 'star stickball player'. She's only that good because she's a f***ing Bender! But with her and that traitor Kanna gone, we all know who's actually the best...

...M-me. It's me. I'm the best."

...

"Li stated only minutes after putting her life on the line for her teammates. Thankfully, quick responses from RSF patrols in the area limited the destruction caused by similar Bender appearances saw to the arrest of many of these individuals. Of course, we'd like to warn everyone and remind you all to remain vigilant. Any Benders that have escaped have likely gone into hiding. Please stay safe and report any suspicious Bender activity to the hotline below.

As of now, the investigation into the accident continues. Unfortunately, the Moon family could not be reached for comment at this time.

In other news, King Wu is preparing a gathering in the Upper Ring where he intends to address the nation. Many of the most powerful families and some of the most important people in Ba Sing Se are expected to meet at the palace later today in what is speculated to be the rescheduled gala in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the end of the Great War. Afterwards, it has been confirmed that a meeting of the King's cabinet of advisors will convene for what is to be an emergency session.

More on this later, but first, here's Bob with the weather."

"Thanks Bill. Weather forecast today is sponsored by Cactus Juice... 'Cactus Juice! It's the quenchiest.'"



_______________________________........
Holding · |@Exit] & |@canaryrose] CollaborationHolding · @Exit & @canaryrose Collaboration
____________________________________________________________________________.
Exit   
”I apologize for the wait.” Nelu began as he entered the room. He shut the door behind him eliciting an audible mechanical ‘click’. ”I know they aren’t very good at keeping the people they hold fed. Can I get you anything? Water? We got a cafeteria too although I’ll admit the food is not the best.”

He placed the folder down on the table. It was a few pages thick and the label read ‘An Tamura’.
canaryrose   
An looked tired. She glanced away from the man entering the room, trying to keep a composed expression. “Just water, please.” Her voice cracked, and she let out a little cough. Her head was still pounding from the knock out blow earlier, and while she did feel marginally better, being in a crowded cell for at least a day didn’t help matters. She couldn’t believe she had ended up here. An from two days ago would have simply laughed if she had even been accused of being a criminal, but now… She had given up on leaving the city as soon as she had woken up in handcuffs and simply started to focus on staying as alive and as free as possible.

She met Nelu’s eyes with an untrusting, unflinching gaze. She was sitting up straight in her seat, hands folded in front of each other as if she was not wearing cuffs. She of course was- they were very uncomfortable- but it was good to project as much confidence as she could. She didn’t say anything else.
Exit   
Nelu nodded at the glass before turning back to An. Despite her situation, she was holding her head high, preserving her dignity in opposition of the cage she’d been thrown into. It was admirable, and the strength she conveyed despite her situation was clear not just to him… but to the rest of the RSF. There were few who were capable and willing to attack Vanguards. Typically they were Benders or criminals without much to lose. An was neither. She was no Bender and if her records were accurate, she had plenty.

He sat down. ”Let’s start with the obvious. You uh… shot at an officer. In the face.”
canaryrose   
“That’s a lie.” An maintained her poker face. “Next?”
Exit   
Nelu smiled as if amused though not condescending. It was as if he almost respected the lie. ”The Vanguard unit you-...” He waved his hand. ”You know what… We can just skip the surveillance and eye witness reports and the repair bill on that and skip to why you’re really here.” Nelu opened the folder, thumbing past the first few pages and flipping to the center of the stack. A picture of Chu Hua was paper clipped as if bookmarked.

A knock at the door interrupted Nelu before he could continue. It opened and an officer stepped inside and placed a water bottle in front of An before he left the room and sealed it.

”Did you see the game?”
canaryrose   
An was quiet for a few moments as she struggled to open the water bottle, twisting the cap futilely. It was difficult to get a grip on the water bottle with her hands cuffed so close to the table and, finally, she grunted in frustration and brought her mouth to the bottle to bite off the cap. It was vaguely humiliating, and she took a moment to compose herself, finally drinking greedily from the bottle. She hadn’t eaten or drank anything in the last 24 hours, so it was a welcome relief. It was, however, awkward to drink with her hands as close to the table as they were.

She put down the bottle and crossed her arms, staring at the picture of her fiancée on the table. It was very clearly a press release photo, but it made An’s heart leap all the same. “As far as I know, I was arrested for destroying a Vanguard unit, resisting arrest, and evading arrest,” she said, a cautious tone in her voice. She didn’t think they’d be this blatant so soon. Did they have the footage yet? As far as she knew, most of the databases were private. It couldn’t’ve taken them this little time… No. They just really wanted to know about Chu. “Not because of who I’m engaged to.”

“I saw the game, yes. All twenty minutes of it. But you’re not asking me that to get my opinion on the plays.”
Exit   
Nelu shook his head and then rotated the folder so that Chu was now right side up in front of An. ”Did you help her escape?”
canaryrose   
An’s heart slammed against her ribs. “No.”
Exit   
”Okay.” Nelu flipped the page. Another picture was clipped, this one of Kanna. ”Kanna Wu. Looked like she was taking care of your fiancée for you despite being on the opposite team. Did you run into her?”
canaryrose   
“No, not after what happened on the field.”
Exit   
”What were you doing in the tunnels?” Nelu asked, firing again.
canaryrose   
“I…” This she hesitated at. She’d have to craft a convincing answer and stick to it. “Going back to my apartment,” she answered, truthful but rather simplistic.
Exit   
Nelu paused as well when he picked up on the slight hesitation, but he didn’t press. He sympathized. The past day had been tough, not just on her but on everyone including himself. Everyone was tired. Confused. Betrayed and hurt. Truth and lies and their recollection was blurred too easily, especially when someone hadn’t been allowed time to recover from trauma.

Between that and the show of strength An continued to put on despite the hole she was in, he knew that no matter how hard he pressed her in that room, he wouldn’t get any of the answers he really wanted, if she even had them. He couldn’t continue his line of questioning. It’d get both of them nowhere so he relaxed.

”Look... Before you shot an officer, you weren’t in any trouble. The truth is, Chu is arguably the most well known Firebender we’ve seen in the world in years. And this Firebender has a lot of fans. I would know being one of them. I mean I really thought they were going to take the championship this year. We all did.” He shook his head and waved his hand dismissing the tangential thoughts. ”But now that she’s a Bender, it’s important that we bring her in and do this right. There’s people in the Upper Ring who are trying to set a new precedent with our proceedings, seeing as how whatever happened to our city is… turning people into Benders. People who weren’t before. These people don’t deserve the same judgment as those who have been hiding. They’re victims of something they had no control of. With your fiance, we want to make sure she’s protected. That the people know there is another option so we can get those people help. That’s what we’re trying to do here. Why you’re here. So we can start that process.”

”If you didn’t help her escape, then you don’t know where she is and we can help find her. And maybe you’re terrified of her now, but I promise you, your fiance is still in there and we can help if you help us.”
canaryrose   
An noticed him relax, and allowed herself to relax from a constant stream of denial, too. She folded her arms, allowing herself to droop a little. Her eyes were still wary, though. She let the silence extend for a moment. This man sounded genuine, but what he was saying made no sense. She turned it over. Chu Hua did not fall into that category for one, but, more importantly, it was difficult to believe him. This “soft” thing was completely at odds with everything she had ever heard about their policies. Narrowing her eyes, she scrutinized his expression. There was so much she knew that he either didn’t or was blatantly lying to her about. It made her uneasy. “I can’t help you. I told you I don’t know where she is, and even if I did, I think… what- what process?” She rubbed her arm, staring at her cuffed hands in total confusion. “You know what? I haven’t made my phone call yet. Could I do that now?”
Exit   
Nelu paused again, tapping his finger on the picture as he regarded An with curious eyes. Neither of them were being a hundred percent truthful and neither of them would divulge what the other really wanted to know. Unfortunately for Nelu, that meant for now, his hands were tied. An wasn’t a Bender and as far as he was concerned, her involvement with Chu’s escape was minimal. Too small to be worth wasting hours for. There were other fish he had to fry and one was already waiting for him. One that didn’t have someone else watching their back. An had friends in high places.

Nelu shook his head and sighed. “You can take that phone call outside actually. The uh… Moon family posted your bail already and are agreeing to handle your court proceedings. Apparently you’re needed back at work.” He scratched his forehead, his frustration and exhaustion showing through the cracks in the wall of his professionalism. ”I would suggest not adding anything else to your felony charge, Miss Tamura.” He closed the folder and stood up. He reached into his pocket and fished for a key before reaching across the table and unlocking the cuffs around An’s hands. They were folded up and put away and the folder was tucked under his arm. ”That means don’t shoot anymore cops until your court date.” He moved toward the door. ”And we’re keeping an eye on you now so try not to look like you’re about to run.”
canaryrose   
“I-” An looked vaguely stunned. She hadn’t been expecting anyone, least of all the Moons, to post her bail. She hadn’t expected to have bail available to her. Did they really not know she had helped Chu escape? A wall of relief hit her all at once as she massaged her now free wrists, glancing toward the door. “... Okay.”
Exit   
Nelu knocked on the door, waited for the bolt to be released and then stepped out, leaving the door open. Jack was standing outside.
canaryrose   
An stood and walked cautiously out the door, trying not to sprint out of the interrogation room. She stared at Jack in stunned relief. He stared back. She glanced at the cop standing behind them. Slowly, determining this wasn’t some awful trick, she let herself exhale. So she wasn’t that fucked. Still, she couldn’t believe that they were just letting her go. “Good morning. Afternoon? I’m not sure how long it’s been.” She folded her arms around her body, gripping herself hard. “Can I just… go? Or is there something else?” She addressed Nelu.
Exit   
Nelu shook his head. ”None at all.” He then turned to Jack and gave him a nod. ”Please thank Miss Moon for her time yesterday. If we have any further questions we’ll be in touch. Can you find your way?”

Jack nodded to which Nelu dismissed himself and took off down the hall without saying anything further. He was staring at his watch as he left.

”Please follow me, Miss Tamura. Miss Moon is waiting for you.”

...

An was led out of the station and to a waiting car parked on the side of the road. Once they were both inside, all pretense was dropped and as Jack spoke, there was a bit of disappointment obvious in the tone of his voice.

”I told you running was a bad idea.” He commented from the front. He pulled slightly on the steering wheel in front of him and the vehicle began to ascend, lifting off the ground gently and rotating away from the curb they had been parked at. ”They had nothing on you. Just documented use of your card in the tunnel which had already been logged in the system. Cameras were scrubbed and despite the mess, there wasn’t much in way of evidence left in your apartment. Not more than what I could get rid of. But a felony is going to be a little harder to take care of.” He looked at An through the rearview mirror. Despite the way she had been holding herself together, it was clear the past 24 hours were having an effect. ”You must feel like shit.”
canaryrose   
An held her head in her hands, glad to finally be out of a jail cell. Her head was hammering, her thoughts spinning. Why had they bailed her out? What the hell was going on? “I do,” she agreed, scowling. “I’m… any chance you have anything to eat in here? I’m fucking starving. Bastards forgot to feed me.”
Exit   
Jack hit a button on the center console and the middle seat in the back slid open to reveal a cooler underneath. There were a number of glass bottles of ‘Cactus Juice’ and next to that, crackers, meats and cheeses presented An with her own personal charcuterie board. The set was completed with a small bowl of black truffle honey that could be drizzled onto whatever combination of snacks was put together. ”The juice is her guilty pleasure. They bottle them like that just for her.”
canaryrose   
“Holy shit. Um. Thank you?” An almost wanted to ask if it was okay with Vyska that she was touching her things, but she was so hungry that she didn’t care. She hadn’t realized this was her boss’s personal car. An reached out and started piling things into her hand and eating them practically whole. This whole situation struck her as strange. She wasn’t nearly important enough for all this and she couldn’t quite figure out why she was being treated so well. She didn’t touch the Cactus Juice, giving it one sniff and deciding that, although she desperately needed one, a stiff drink would be for later.

How much did Jack know? She detected some chagrin in his tone, and a blush deepened in her cheeks. She had been an idiot. Shooting a cop wasn’t one of her proudest moments. “I…” She gulped. “I ran because it’s worse than what I told you. Much, much worse than a felony. And if they find out… well. I didn’t think anyone would help.” She raised her head, staring out the windows at the cityscape. Her entire body felt like one massive bruise, her throat still dry, her stomach practically a bottomless hole. She was exhausted. Her life had been turned upside down and her future had been stolen from her. She drummed her fingers on the window, thinking. If she hadn’t still been desperately trying to keep herself together, she would have burst into tears by now. She wanted Chu. She felt it in her heart, an awful ache that she knew would only worsen with time.

“How much do you know?”
Exit   
“Enough… but I’m sure you’re more interested in what Miss Moon knows and why she’s taken such an interest in you.” Jack looked at An through the mirror again. ”It’s about thirty minutes before we get there so feel free to take a nap. You might need it.”

”There’s also water behind the juice.”



_______________________________........
Meeting with Sato Hitoshi · |@Exit] & |@Mistress Dizzy] CollaborationMeeting with Sato Hitoshi · @Exit & @Mistress Dizzy Collaboration
____________________________________________________________________________.
Mistress Dizzy   
The rest of yesterday had been rough for Jin. Between returning to the city and assisting with getting the escapees sorted, visiting Yi and Kata in the infirmary, and fighting a wicked migraine on top of it, they honestly could have waited a day to meet the big boss. Jin’s head still hurt a bit, and their back and shoulders were sore from the unfamiliar bed in the barracks they'd slept in last night. But- orders were orders.
Exit   
Elevator doors opened to a simple gray room basked in soft light. A single desk sat at the other end where a woman waited behind a monitor that obscured her from the neck down. Two chairs were situated to the right, both of them of simple make and design: A darker gray fabric wrapped around an armless, angled frame with legs that folded into the seat and backrest. They didn’t seem terribly comfortable. Lighting crawled up the walls from a crevice in the floor and a single sky light filled the rest of the space with white ambience and drew a soft white square on the ground. As the both of them walked toward the desk and under this light, their shadows danced beneath them.

”Take a seat Dermok.” The woman began. ”Takashi, he will see you now.”

To the left, an outline of a door appeared in the previously blank gray wall. This rectangular shape depressed fully and would slide open once Jin had stepped in front of it. The woman motioned for her to do so.

”Sato is not as intimidating as he may seem. You’ll be fine.” Nelu smiled at Jin and gave them a reassuring nod.
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin looked back at Tarnelu, with a panicked glance that absolutely screamed 'Help!'. But they didn't say a word. They simply strode to the door and stood in front of it. As the door appeared and opened, they took a deep breath before stepping through.
Exit   
The next room was very different from the last. The mundane gray interior was broken by a display of lush green at the center of the room. A circular platform was raised a foot off the ground and within it, a tree stood tall and burst at the apex, throwing branches and leaves in a near perfect arc out and away from the trunk. It cast a shadow, inside of which lay a few rocks, small bushes, flowers and a creek that seemed to spill from a crack in the exposed roots of the tree. It babbled gently, cutting the silence in the room with an ambience that was soothing. Despite being buried deep within the earth and being trapped within a cage of concrete and metal, the space was peaceful. A slice of another world brought to life in a place where nothing else was meant to live.

”Can I get you some tea?” A rather rough and strained voice called out to Jin. To the right and standing in light drifting from the center of the room was an elderly gentleman. He wore a black changsam over white pants and sandals. As he turned to face Jin, the features of his face slid out of the shadows of the room, revealing a complexion that was… different. One eye was shut. The other glowed an eerie orange. The right side of his face from the cheek bone down to below the jawline was of metal make, covered in black that was cut at sharp angles and connected to complete the symmetry of his features. This synthetic skin crawled along the edge of his face, over an ear that was not there and over part of his scalp where it drew a hard edge along his hairline. Some of the surface was exposed, allowing some of the wiring and moving parts under the ‘skin’ to be visible. It was hard to tell if this was by design. These pieces moved as he spoke again.

”It’s freshly brewed.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin pulled their attention from the tree in the miniature oasis, head whipping at the sound of the voice. They didn’t startle physically, but their eyes flickered at rapid speed from the shut eye to the glowing one, the two halves of the face, the metal and circuits within, even the clothes.

Questions, dozens of them, flooded their mind, each fighting for attention. Who was this man? How had he lost his face? Who had done the masterwork of metal that replaced it? Could Jin meet that person, too? On and on.

Realizing a full second too late that they were staring, they stood at attention so firmly that they felt a pop in their spine.

"Yes, sir. Tea sounds good, sir."
Exit   
”Please. There’s no need to be so formal.” The mysterious man moved toward a table as a ring of warm light appeared from a crease in the room's walls. On the table was a pot that he promptly picked up and began filling a small cup with. Warm liquid poured from the spout pushing steam into the air, tinging it with a faint taste of roasted rice. When it was filled, he replaced the pot and carefully picked up the cup, turning around and walking it over to Jin. He handed it over to them.

”Just ‘Sato’.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin was seriously wondering how this room worked. They haven’t seen tech like this before. It was beautiful. What other people saw in fine art and plays, Jin saw in high level technology. “Um. Thank you, sir.” They took the cup and blew the steam away, taking a careful sip. It tasted rich. Even Jin could tell it was probably incredibly expensive. It still needed sugar, but Jin wasn’t about to say that.

“Ah, Mr. Sato? Why am I here? N-not that I’m not honored! I mean, I’m just- I’m not- in trouble or anythin, am I?” Jin’s mouth was running faster than their brain, and their hands were currently occupied. They didn’t know how to stop the flow.
Exit   
”Not at all. Just the contrary.” Sato smiled as warmly as he could, the parts of his mouth that were still flesh curling as he nodded reassuringly to Jin. ”We’d yet to meet and after hearing how well you did during your first joint mission, I decided it was time to speak face to face. Dermok… he continues to sing your praises, as he’s done since you’ve joined. His faith in his decision to choose you over the other candidates was not misplaced.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin relaxed somewhat, exhaling slowly. While they hoped they’d have some kind of warning if they were ever in that level of trouble, it was good to have it confirmed. From the moment they’d stepped into the room, there had been a careful, and unconsciously calculated distance between Jin and the nearest door. Now it seemed that some measure of trust had been earned. The sniper stepped in a little closer, taking another sip of the tea. “Does Cap- er, the Captain really say all that? That’s… nice.” They bent their head to sip the drink, eyes shut briefly to block the steam.
Exit   
Sato nodded and then turned his gaze toward the tree. As he did, the sharp contours of metal plates marking the outline of his cheek was put under the light from the center of the room. The word ‘Varricks’ was etched into the corner of one of the metallic surfaces. ”Do you recognize it? He asked regarding the tree.
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin's green eyes roamed the tree. They had always found a sort of beauty in nature. Where some saw wildness, they saw precision. Doctor Sylara Li, the engineer that had fostered their mind in LSF special training had said something quite profound once: “Numbers are all over, Jin. Nature is anything but chaotic. Look at the ripples in a pond, or a snowflake, or a shell. Spirals, hexagons, perfect ratios. Over and over and over. Whatever spirits put this planet together were mathematicians.” Jin had always thought the last bit smacked a little too close of spiritualism for a scientist. The rest of it, though, had opened their eyes.

“It’s a beautiful tree, Mr. Sato. But I don’t know too much about nature. So I don’t recognize it.” Their glance darted to the old man. “Should I?”
Exit   
Sato shook his head. ”No, and very few would. Spiritus mortis. The last of its kind I’m afraid. First discovered nearly two hundred years ago in the dirt around the Republic City portal. It was originally mistaken as nothing more than the roots of weeds and cast aside; turned into mulch for what little nutrients could be squeezed from it and for years, that was its legacy. Feed for other flora. Forgotten and tread upon by those without curiosity. Without eyes that seek.” Sato began walking slowly around the platform in the center of the room, inviting Jin to follow and allowing them to see the tree from all angles.

”It wasn’t until some years later that a closer look revealed that the roots were not roots at all. This tree begins life as a sapling sprouting from a seed buried in the dirt and remains that way. Buried. It must be dug up and moved. When given light, the sapling grows into what you see before you.” Sato raised his hand at the tree. ”A trunk of white gilded by a crown of the brightest pink… A most elegant display of beauty that begins life in the darkest of places. It is seldom given a chance to taste sunlight but given a sliver, it will grow. It will grow despite what little it is given.” His hand fell to his side and he suddenly stopped, his eyes focusing on something in the dirt. ”What’s more, once it has taken root, the seeds change. They give birth to something else entirely.” Sato reached across the platform and in between a number of long blades of grass, plucking out a miniscule black bead. This bead sat pinched between two fingers as he carried it over to a bowl at the edge of the room. Inside were similarly shaped and colored seeds. It was deposited with the rest ”Of course, if no one bothered to look… if no one bothered to give it a chance, it would have never become what it is now.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin paced behind Sato at a polite distance, examining the tree. The more Sato talked about it, the more sense the topic made. Jin wasn’t a fool; they understood the metaphor. Something overlooked, chewed up and not seen for what it truly was. An elegant description of an awful situation.
Exit   
Sato turned to Jin again, the light in his eye regarded them more heavily than it did before. ”You know… in another life I was once a child in the Lower Ring myself. It is… a difficult life.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin stopped in their tracks and stared at Sato, absolutely stunned. "Waitwaitwait- you? Holy shi- uhhh, I mean," Jin took a hurried gulp of tea and started over. "Mr. Sato, sir. That's huge."
Exit   
Sato smiled, amused at their surprise but continued. ”I didn’t have the Honeybee, but I did have… people and when you’re born to so little, you find what light you can. Family, allies, steal and kill if you must. Anything to survive. It is never easy… especially when you are not touched in the way the others in your team are.”

”Are you getting along with them?”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin gazed up at the brilliant pink petals, picking out the fractals in the placement with distant eye. It was difficult, tracing back the memories. There was no one to reminisce with, after all. Some of it was only remembered in a haze of pitch-dark, sweaty nightmares. Some of it was burned into their brain, so deep down that every layer showed the scar.

Jin wasn't sure which was worse.

"In Basic, everyone thought I'd burn out. Even I did, for a while." A faint, wry smile tweaked Jin’s lips. "Turns out, spite makes me work harder. No one saw me graduating top ten 4 years later. Then, the LSF… I don’t know what the Captain saw in me, but I’m glad he saw it." A flash of pride lit their eyes. “Us Low Ring Roaches don’t die easy, do we?”
Exit   
Sato chuckled lightly. ”’Roach’. That is a name I have not heard in ages. But yes… The things that we are capable of, if only others were not so quick to condemn us to crueler fates by virtue of our birth.” His smile held as his eyes drifted off to some far off memory. ”And to think of all we’ve had to rise above just to be something else. To be born new.” He looked again at Jin. ”You and I are very much alike, Takashi. We… our strength is not found the same way as it is for the others. We do not command the elements. We have but our hands and our minds to do our bidding. But you… you have an ingenuity they do not possess and I suspect you may see the world differently. The way the world truly is. How it should be. Which is why I believe I can entrust to you a task that may be too difficult for the others.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin grinned, the smile fading slowly as they reigned in their mind. While this visit was going to be something they’d remember for a long time, having a mission always made focusing much easier. They drained the teacup and nodded. “What do you need me to do, sir?”
Exit   
”Nothing.” He said simply, offering to take the empty cup. ”For now. But when the time comes, I will send for you and that is when I will make my request known. Today, however, I simply wanted to meet. Thank you for the honor, Takashi.” Sato bowed his head slightly.
Mistress Dizzy   
“Okay.” The usual RSF operating procedure, a lot of hurry up and wait. Jin handed over the cup, and saluted smartly. “The honor’s mine, Mr. Sato. And I mean that.” They turned, heading toward the door. Almost there, they paused, tipping their head slightly. Jin went very still for a few moments, before approaching the tree in the center. There, they stuck a hand in the grass and dug out a black bead.

“Is this what you were looking for?” They held it up to the light, curious.
Exit   
Sato watched Jin carefully, the lens around his glowing eye twisting and the light dimming as he focused on the hand holding the seed. For a moment, he didn’t say anything, but the moment passed and half a smile found his lips. ”Ah. I must have missed that one.” He nodded toward it. ”Keep it. You may find it useful one day.” He turned and began walking toward the tea set to replace the cup Jin had used. ”Just not as tea.”
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin grinned. It gave their face a surprisingly childish look. “Thanks, sir.” Momentarily fishing in their shirt, they pulled up a little cloth pouch on a leather strand. Opening it, they gently dropped the seed inside. Then they dropped the pouch back into hiding beneath their clothes. They went for the door without another word, and saluted once more before leaving for good.
Exit   
Outside, Nelu was patiently waiting in one of the seats, and in the middle of shifting around uncomfortably. When he saw Jin enter the room, he smiled and immediately got to his feet. ”How’d it go? Not so bad?”
Mistress Dizzy   
“Nah. You were right.” Jin smiled back, saluting Nelu before relaxing. “He wasn’t scary at all.” Their eyes flicked to the woman behind the desk. Their voice dropped to a low murmur. “Apparently there’s a task for me. But I don’t know what it is yet.” They shrugged. “Typical.” They started walking for the door, shooting back a question at Nelu without turning around. “Do you really… talk about me to other people like that?”
Exit   
”Do I wha-”

”Dermok.” The lady behind the desk called after him calmly. When Nelu turned around, she gestured for the door, signaling that it was his turn. Nelu nodded.

”Right. My turn.” Nelu said, mostly to himself. He took a deep breath, steadying himself and forcing whatever blood was rushing to his cheeks to settle before he turned again to Jin. ”Sylara finished your tadpole so go check in with her. I’ll see you later.”
Mistress Dizzy   
“Oh, ok. I’ll check in with her. Bye, Cap.” Jin only looked back after the door shut behind Nelu. Then they, too, left.

...

Exit   
"Sato."

"You were right." The elderly man had by now moved to the side of the room where the bowl of peculiar seeds was resting. Behind him, Nelu beamed. "But... that does not excuse what you are attempting to do with the Earthbender. They will not turn easy. Not now." And just as suddenly as his spirits were lifted, Nelu was returned to the subject at hand.

"It's already being done."

"Incompletely. She has spent too long with her powers and those powers will be seen as a gift. It is difficult to change a narrative that is already written and believed."

"It won't matter if she's completely under control."

"Heh." Sato plucked a bead out of the bowl and held it up in front of him, peering at it as if for the first time. "'What is control if not truth.'"

"'And what is truth without a lie.'" Nelu recited. "The Earthbender is not why you wanted to see me. Neither is Jin."

"The King. The king has forgotten his place and grown soft. Conflict from the accident in the Lower Ring has made him nervous. These... Benders 'aren't the same from before the war. They're people.'" Sato placed the bead in a mortar as he spoke.

"Well the man has only known peace and a life inside a palace. Everyone in his circle looks like a friend." Nelu paused for a moment as he recalled what he'd shared with the Tamura woman. "So he's actually going to go through with it?"

"That seems to be the case, and because we lost one of ours during the incident, we no longer hold a majority of the seats at his table. We no longer have control."

"What will you do?"

Sato picked up a pestle and placed it within the mortar and against the bead. With some pressure, the seed burst into white grains. "What will you do with the Earthbender?"



_______________________________........
??? · |@KillamriX88]??? · @KillamriX88
____________________________________________________________________________.
Prompt   
Chae-Won awakens, lying on her back on a rather soft, comfortable mattress. Above her, a plain gray, cement like ceiling stares back. On all sides, plain gray walls. To the right is a stained wooden door that is slightly ajar and past it, white bathroom tiles are visible with a white fuzzy floor mat lying on top. To the left is a window with white sheen curtains drawn and outside, clear blue skies. The sounds of birds chirping can be heard. Past the foot of the bed and against the wall is a stained wood dresser about five feet tall and mounted to the wall is a large monitor. On top of the dresser is a remote with no buttons or markings and next to that, a small plant in a white pot.

The room continues around the corner although what is down there is not currently visible.

There is a nightstand next to the bed, and on it is a tall asymmetrical cuboidal shaped lamp, a free floating digital time display, and a pen and notepad. 'Duster Hotel' is written at the top of the notepad and on the side of the pen.

The bed itself is neatly made, beneath Chae, with two white pillows at the top and gray sheets tucked nearly perfectly underneath her. On the floor next to the bed is a pair of fuzzy gray slippers.



_______________________________........
LSF HQ · @TheLSFLSF HQ · @TheLSF
____________________________________________________________________________.
Nelu was exhausted. It had been less than a couple days after the raid on the abandoned rest stop and already the team had new orders. Despite having been given time to rest, that day had seen to him buried in what he believed was the worst part of his job. Everything, even the things they did in secret, had to be documented and that meant paperwork. Logging the Benders they had captured, recording their names and occupations and where they lived. Tracking where they were being transported too based on their level of threat and deciding how best to handle their incarceration. Then there was the paperwork covering the injuries they sustained and the damages and losses to equipment. When that was done and filed, Nelu finally carved out some time to pay both Yi and Kata a visit. Yi had been discharged fairly quickly what with how minor his injuries were. Kata, however, remained under for some time. His injuries had been more severe and combined with the fact that he'd passed out from the exertion alone, it was no surprise he'd need the time to recover. Thankfully, despite Kata's condition when he had arrived, Nelu had been informed that he was stable and would be cleared for their next mission.

Their next mission would be a little different from their last with the team this time split into two. He and Jin would be traveling into the Underground to investigate reports of a gathering of the remaining surviving Benders, a gathering headed by one of the more powerful gang leaders of the city. Word was, the individual, whoever they were, sought to protect and train them to create for themselves an army with which they could take complete control of the Lower Ring and possibly push back against the Middle and Upper. The Underground was dangerous, especially for those who were unfamiliar with the criminal underworld, but given Jin's extensive knowledge from their youth and Nelu's experience in the area as an RSF officer, they were the two most ideal candidates for the operation.

Zhen and Katakuri would be tasked with attending the Gala in the King's palace. With vacant seats of power and a King whose direction could no longer be easily determined, LSF control over the city had become threatened. Friend and foe had to be re-established, threats identified and appropriate courses of action decided upon. Both Zhen and Katakuri were men and women of renown in their other lives and would blend easily into a crowd of well-known faces.

All of this information along with helpful bits of insight on known individuals who could be involved were displayed over the center table. Nelu would explain the situation and various assignments as the team filed in.
Prompt:
After the raid on the abandoned rest stop, the team was given a day to rest before being called in again. Opening posts for chapter two may include a flashback post of your character's exploits any time before or directly after the raid and may also include what was done during the day of rest.
CS updates and post from me by tomorrow at the latest. o7


_______________________________........
Si Wong Desert · AfternoonSi Wong Desert · Afternoon
____________________________________________________________________________.
"I. Am. So sorry."

Sumire had removed her helmet and was carefully replacing the 'not-sumire' bobblehead that she had removed earlier, concealing once again the button that was underneath as quietly as she could. Tension from the back had filled the rest of the cabin and she refused to be the one to break it. Outside and under the hood, smoke was coming from the engine, both from the beating it had taken from the elements and the speed boost Sumire had forced through it. It could still run, but judging from the noise it was making before they stopped, it was any wonder how much longer it would last. Thankfully, the gas levels were still somewhat good at a little over half a tank. If they were careful and didn't run into any more sandstorms or killer Benders, they could cross a significant stretch of the remaining desert before they ran out of steam. Possibly the whole stretch if they were lucky.

By now the storm had passed, presenting the group with clear skies and nothing but miles of sand in all directions. The tower they had run from was nowhere to be seen and neither were their pursuers. However, in the distance on the horizon was what looked to be a shape jutting out of the sand like a massive rock. Other than that, there was little else to see. Sand rolled across the desert sea in light waves, glinting sunlight as it glided away. The sun stood at its highest point in the sky, beating the ground in heat. Clouds were sparse and their shadows chased after the wind, too few and too fleeting to find any solace from the sun's fire.

In the back of the Kyoshi, a layer of blood had pooled under the cold body of Kanna.
Prompt:
A little less than an hour has passed since the Kyoshi escaped from the abandoned outpost. The sandstorm has just cleared and the engine needs to rest.
@Prisk

I'm good with whatever. Whatever you think would service the story.
In Code Vein 13 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay


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__Howling Pit · [&.FunnyGuy] [&.PigeonOfAstora] [&.Daxam]Howling Pit · @FunnyGuy @PigeonOfAstora @Daxam
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Before the other thrall could recover, a hole suddenly opened up in its chest. Its rot smeared all over the flat of a blade as it dug into its flesh, rendering it visible. After a moment or two of struggling against its invisible aggressor, what remained of its life gave out and the thrall eventually stopped thrashing about. The blade was removed smoothly from the cavity it had left in its chest just as the body began to decompose. The knife too began disappear into the ether, slipping into transparent swirls of dust until it was no longer visible.

Dirt on the ground depressed into a footprint and then another and another with each step connecting a path that lead up to and stopped next to one of the remaining thralls on the ground. The one at her foot was missing its leg. Within a few seconds, it had been pierced through the back and had begun turning to dust.


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Outside the tower · |@Exit], |@Fiber] & |@Mistress Dizzy] CollaborationOutside the tower · @Exit, @Fiber & @Mistress Dizzy Collaboration
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Exit   
"Carefully..."

Nelu clasped his hand around Yi's wrist and slowly pulled the pilot out of the cockpit. Despite the damage sustained to the Firefly, Yi remained mostly unharmed. True to his skill, he'd managed to land the craft without seriously injuring himself and would be walking away from the landing with only minor cuts and bruises. The bird however was inoperable and could not be salvaged, which if Yi was being honest, hurt him more than any physical injury could.

By now, any surviving Benders had been cuffed and were lined up against the toppled tower and on their knees. The restraints around their wrist restricted their use of chi, removing the threat of bending for the time being. The Vanguard patrolling nearby made sure that none of them entertained the notion of trying to flee although the explosive collars around their neck was deterrent enough. All in all, about fifteen people had been captured. They would need a whole other transportation vehicle to take them all back.

The group didn't have to wait for long. A second aircraft similar to the Firefly arrived to take Katakuri and Yi back to HQ to be seen for their injuries. 141 joined them as well, obediently collected in yet another cage without fuss. Although not injured, he'd need a good wash to get the blood and sinew cleaned off his armor. Jin, Zhen and Nelu stayed behind with their prisoners to ensure no more were lost and more importantly, to keep an eye on a certain, still unconscious Earthbender.

"Did they give you a hard time?" Nelu asked Zhen after joining her from the line of prisoners.
Fiber   
Zhen paced back and forth in front of the line of prisoners, ignoring her minor injuries. Her tattered cloaked blew in the wind, and she said “One subject was notable, the rest were not. The earthbender in question displayed abilities indicative of some level of self-study, competent but not overtly familiar to any of the classical earthbending tradition, along with an as-of-yet novel ability to manipulate glass. If he was still with us I would love to see what the Old Man would have to say. Remember when he used to break our bones as fast as the medics could fix them?”

”Made us learn fast.” Nelu replied. ”Although I think I just learned that I don’t like my bones being broken. Which one was the Earthbender?”

Zhen silently pointed at Chae-Won in the line up, the only one of the prisoners had the marks of having been in a prolonged fight.
Mistress Dizzy   
Jin had Mifeng dismantled and slung around their back, and was beside Captain Nelu, simply waiting. They had their sidearm, a modified standard synergy pistol, within easy reach. Just in case one of the benders decided to get cute.

Though they hadn’t said anything, their head was starting to throb. The speed calculus on the second airborne shot from earlier had set a pain going just above their left eye. All that for a whiff.

Things were dying down, and with them, Jin’s focus was starting to drain. Even though they had practiced and trained and practically beaten their brain into submission, there was a limit to how long they could narrow the scope.

“Hey, ma’am?” Jin gestured to Zhen, not wanting to use her name in front of the prisoners. Even if it was a fake one, info was info. “I’ve been thinkin about that thing you said earlier.”
Fiber   
Zhen saw Jin and was glad that they were mostly unharmed. Exhausted, sure, but there would be time to rest. More importantly she was excited that Jin had showed interest in their earlier conversation “You have? Would you like to talk about it more?”

“Yeah. I think I get it. Sorta? Maybe there isn’t a measurable center of momentum between knowing, and not knowing. Like. Maybe it’s just binary. You know, or don’t.” Jin shrugged. “What I really wanna know is: who’s writin the definitions, and why?” Their thoughts tumbled out, a bit disjointed, like a kinked hose. “Every time I run into people who wanna box stuff up like that, it’s not ‘cause they wanna know what’s in the box. They wanna leave stuff outta it. And that stuff is usually people they don’t think measure up.”
Fiber   
Zhen said “So, the concept of knowledge is irreducible, that is to say that it cannot be decomposed into individual component concepts? I don’t know if I would take the same stance but I must commend your approach. There are so many problems in philosophy that just dissolve when you think rationally and refuse to give in to nonsense and imprecise definitions. Those snares can destroy the greatest minds and condemn whole civilizations to ignorance. New growth cannot exist without first the destruction of the old.”
Mistress Dizzy   
After listening to Zhen, Jin piped up again. Their hand dove into a pocket, pulling out the metal ball from earlier. “I know that line. Guru somebody or other, forever ago.” They began to roll the ball over their fingers without dropping it, a quick handed trick. Their other hand dangled loosely around their pistol.

“Hey, you know what I don’t get?” It seemed Jin was on a new topic. “When the people who write these phil-o-sophy books are writin, who’s doin the real shit? Like. The cookin, the cleanin, the laundry. Fancy thought is great and all, but what about the people who actually make the world work?”
Fiber   
Zhen paused before answering “I think everyone can benefit from the knowledge of philosophy, even if they cannot create new works themselves. It is very important to see the world without lies, no matter who you are. We are better than we were in the past, our meritocratic system ensures that even intellectuals must show aptitude and produce work that benefits society, otherwise they will have to find another profession quite shortly. Modernity has eliminated much toil, we have far more excess resources to support these endeavors than our ancestors did, and further progress will see machines capable of even more of those laborious tasks. We’re far removed from the days of Guru Laghima and his cohort of air nomads living a life of pure intellectual speculation from birth while the serfs in the foothills spend their lives laboring in the fields.” She was a flustered by Jin’s question, wishing she could talk about her own works or her foundation without revealing too much about her identity.
Mistress Dizzy   
The ball picked up speed over Jin’s gloved knuckles. “Huh. I don’t know what a surf is, but I can guess it’s a fancy word for a poor bastard who has to work for a living.” Jin’s green eyes narrowed, squinting at Zhen. For several moments, there was an intense focus behind the gaze. “We ain’t as ‘removed’ as you think. Plenty of people work for other people. Y’ever think about food?” They gave Zhen a slow, up and down searching look. “No, you probably don’t. Someone has to grow that shit. It ain’t easy. It comes from a seed smaller than a BB,” Jin’s fingers pinched together “-and if anythin fucks with it - bugs, too wet, too hot, too- you get the fuckin picture, it’s dead. You don’t eat. Multiply that times about 10000, no one eats.”

Jin scowled, the ball finally stalling in their palm. “What if one of those surfs is breakin their backs out there, but they have the right answer to your question?” It would be clear to anyone who knew Jin’s background where that argument had come from.
Fiber   
Zhen had a long answer, the kind she loved to give at the start of a lecture.

“I think a lot about food. I think about how one acre of those seeds used to produce about four hundred and fifty pounds of food, and how modern techniques allow us to produce twenty times that. I think about how they had to save almost a third of their seeds merely to have enough to replant for the next year, now it is below ten percent. I think about how many in the Lower Ring subsist on inadequate diets, how lack of protein cripples the brain, how vitamin A deficiency blinds children.

I think about how the agricultural sector covers less than a tenth of the city and is expected to feed the rest, and to keep pace with the ever growing population.

I think about how over seventy percent of the Earth Kingdom’s population used to be farmers, barely managing to sustain themselves and the rest of the Kingdom; today the majority is free to pursue other endeavors.
I think about how all plants must ingest Nitrogen, and how our pitifully inadequate natural sources Nitrogen have been replaced by massive plants running on the Yang-Li process, how eighty percent of the nitrogen inside us comes from that, and how that technology was unknown until less than two hundred years ago and not feasible until the advent of synergy.

I think about how all plant life must feed on the sun, but our traditional staple crops can only manage to capture one or two percent of it’s energy, and even under laboratory conditions have never been able to get above five percent, while some Algae species have a photosynthetic efficiency of twenty percent.
I think about how prototypes show that a single tank of algae the size of a water heater could feed thirty seven people a nutritionally complete meal every day, and how we could fill towers full of them, blanketing whole blocks, feeding them Synergy powered lights instead of the fickle sun. I spend a lot of time and resources to try and make that one happen, but isn’t even my only cause. I’ll have to discuss some of the other initiatives further some time, but make no mistake, just because I can’t plant or harvest doesn’t mean I don’t think about where food comes from. I want to liberate us from what has held down a thousand generations before us, not to perpetuate old notions of higher and lower statons.”

Mistress Dizzy   
Jin silenced as Zhen spoke, eyes half closed. The metal ball went back into motion as they gently tossed it up and down. Once the woman's soliloquy wound down, there was a silence from the smaller soldier. Then their eyes flew open, the green irises bright with emotion. "Ma'am. I actually believe you wanna do somethin good. And I'm willin to give you a pass cause we're on the same squad." Then they paused, a distinct look of disappointment flashing across their face. "If you took a quarter of the time you spend thinkin about a problem, and put that into doin something real about it, we might actually be somewhere."

With that said, Jin walked off. It seemed the conversation was over.
Prompt:
The second transport arrives soon after to pick up the prisoners and the remaining LSF. Chae-Won is taken to The Duster Hotel.

End Chapter One.
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