The Balance of Power
Visions and Awakening
Cool, mysterious, silent.
It surrounded her, making up the very environment that she walked amongst. Korra couldn't make out where she was, for how could she or any person in her position? The mists that covered the landscape made it all appear to be completely indifferent, every square inch no more distinguishable from the rest.
"Hello?", Korra calls out, finding herself wondering through the mists.
"Is someone there? Anybody?", Korra calls out once again, her only answer being that of the silence that surrounded her.
Suddenly, two humanoid figures appear in the distance, causing her to slowly make her approach in the intended direction. When she got within distance of the two humanoid shadows, their physical appearances were revealed to her. Taking her time, Korra's arctic-blue irises take in every detail of these two humans.
One was a man. He was tall, at least seven-foot-three in total height. His body was that of a warrior, muscular and solid in stature, dressed in nothing more than a pair of black pants and footwear. His hair was long and raven-black in color, its length passing his shoulder blades. The most unusual features to Korra, however, was his gray-white skin, bright azure-colored eyes and the dark tattoo-like markings that were etched on his forehead.
It was when Korra was finished gazing at the man did she turn her attention towards the other being, who is revealed to be a woman dressed in clothing that seemed to long predate the four nations. She was stunning beautiful, her skin fair and delicate, her lithe build no more than five-foot-eight in height. Her eyes were of a fiery crimson, the opposite of the man's cool azure irises, much like her fiery reddish-brown hair that was tied in a ponytail.
They were seemingly oblivious to her presence, not even bothering to spare a glance at the female Avatar. Korra could only keep glancing back and forth at the two, her mind becoming filled with countless questions. Who are they? Why are they being shown to me? What connection could I possibly share with either of them?
Before she could even go forth and ask either of the two beings anything...
Gamma World, New Mexico
Operations Base of Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Within One of the Rooms
Korra's eyelids snap open as she quickly rises from the bed cot, her breathing slightly labored as she tried to make sense of her vision. Then she remembered... Hiro-Kala. He said that their pasts were connected, that there was some long-forgotten history or story involving one of her past Avatar descendants and those of Hiro-Kala's Oldstrong Shadow People. What could it be? What were her visions trying to tell her?
However, these questions and her vision are soon set aside once Korra remembers what happened to her. She had been defeated by Hiro-Kala; deceived and banished from her world and her universe by the insane Oldstrong. She remembered everything, at least until she lost consciousness in the void of space while surrounded by the stars of an endless universe. But how did she get here? And for that matter, where is here?
Her eyes scan the room, investigating everything within her sight. She was resting on a comfortable bed, that much was certain. There didn't seem to be anything too unusual, just a dresser and a few cupboards and what appeared to be some advanced form of a radio situated on a metal stand. The flooring and walls were made of metal, so if she desired to escape, she could most likely manage to bend her way out. But she didn't wat to escape, but what she did want was answers.
Where was she? What is this place? Who found her and taken her in?
Suddenly hearing the sound of approaching footsteps, Korra races out of the bed cot and presses herself against the steel wall as she awaited for the individual to enter the room. The door opens, revealing none other than Skaar, who instantly noticed that the young woman whom he'd been watching over wasn't lying on the bed cot anymore. Startled by this realization, he was about to turn and search for her only to be grabbed by his brown leather coat and roughly slammed against the steel wall by Korra herself.
Korra didn't waste any time in getting up close and personal with Skaar, her face just mere inches away from his own, their eyes locked as if they were in a trance. She took in his unique appearance; the irises of his two eyes were green, but the sclera around the irises were pitch black instead of white, which was unusual even to someone like her. His hair was long and raven black in color, easily as long as her own as it passed his shoulders. His body was fit, yet he wasn't particularly muscular for someone who couldn't be no older than sixteen, his flesh an unusual gray-white in color.
When she examined his clothing, it appeared that he wore similar footwear to her own and a mere loincloth, which was the only material on him besides his brown leather jacket. When she pressed her hands against his shoulders in order that he remained against the wall, her arctic-blue eyes noticed four large tribal tattoos that marked his right shoulder and upper arm. He ceased his struggling for the moment, staring at her with his jade-hued irises, as if he were stunned and intrigued by her appearance.
"You're awake.", Skaar said, becoming lost in her arctic-blue eyes for a brief moment.
"Who are you? Where am I? Tell me! Now!", Korra demanded, getting in closer as her nose and forehead touched the Son of Hulk's very own.
"Uh... okay.", Skaar replies in an uneasy tone of voice, feeling a strange heat enter his pale gray-white cheeks.
"Well? Are you gonna tell me, or not?", Korra almost shouted after a few moments of silence, her patience wearing thin as she narrowed her eyes at the young man of whom she was in close proximity with at the moment.
"Calm down. You're safe. My father found you. He brought you inside our base.", Skaar answered, grabbing her wrists and removing her hands from his jacket with surprising strength, strength that one might not expect from someone of his physique.
"Well, that answers some of my questions. Except who you are, of course.", Korra remarked, taking a few steps back as she tried to calm herself.
"Skaar.", He utters in a voice loud enough for her to hear.
"Huh? What'd you say?", Korra questions, confusion evident in her voice.
"Skaar. It's my name.", Skaar answered, looking away from her as if he was afraid of how she'd respond to hearing his name.
"Oh... nice to meet you, Skaar.", Korra replied as the realization finally struck her.
"So... what's your name?", Skaar asks, raising a curious eyebrow as he focused on the beautiful young woman that stood before him.
"Korra. My name is Korra.", Korra answered with a warm smile.
"Are you hungry?", Skaar asks.
"Yeah, a little.", Korra admits, a low rumble coming from her stomach.
"C'mon. Follow me.", Skaar replied, walking over to and opening the door.
"Wait! Where are you taking me?", Korra asked, arching a suspicious eyebrow.
"We're going to get something to eat. Food is in the kitchen. You said you were hungry, didn't you?", Skaar retorts in reply.
"Well, yeah, but could you at least tell me where I am?", Korra responds, taking a few steps until she there was a mere diminutive gap of space left between herself and the son of Hulk.
"It can wait. You can speak with my father later. Until then, I'll stay with you.", Skaar stated, a smirk forming on his features.
"Okay, you talked me into it.", Korra sighed, her posture becoming more at ease.
"Heh. Knew you'd see it my way.", Skaar remarked, walking out the door with Korra following right by his side as they made their way through the base.
Seated in a chair at the table, Korra watched closely as Skaar raided the refrigerator. The first thing he pulled out was a large piece of cake on a plate and a plate full of sandwiches, all of which looked very delicious. He set them on the table right in front of her before reaching into one of the three compartments to retrieve what appeared to be a large frozen drink. Unlike the other food that lay before her, she could not detect any unpleasant smell from the slightly frozen beverage, unless one would consider the sweet scent of the beverage a deterrent.
"Okay... what is this?", Korra questioned, curiously eyeing the beverage.
"It's a milkshake. Go ahead. Try it.", Skaar persuaded her, taking a seat directly beside Korra.
Lifting the drink to her mouth, Korra takes a quick sip. She is surprised to find out that the milkshake is actually pretty tasty, definitely something that she'd have to have more of in the future. Without saying a word, she gulped some more of the milkshake down before resuming to devour the sandwich and piece of cake in a similar manner that a starving Polar Bear-Dog would feast.
While Korra continued to eat to her heart's content, Skaar merely watched on, his green irises watching her every move. This did not go unnoticed by the female Avatar. She didn't mind, yet she couldn't help feeling curious as to why he gazed at her in such a manner. She found it amusing, if just a tiny bit odd. Then again, she arrived from out of nowhere and into his life, so she really couldn't blame him. Still, that didn't mean she couldn't have some fun with him.
"Admiring the view, eh, Skaar?", Korra asked with a teasing, devious smile.
"Huh? What?", Skaar uttered in confusion, trying to retain his composure.
"Uh-huh. That's what I thought. You were staring at me.", Korra indicated with a knowing smirk.
"N-No, I wasn't.", Skaar denied, temporarily averting his gaze from that of the beautiful young woman.
"Oh, yeah? Well, I think you were.", Korra chuckled, taking great amusement from the whole situation.
"No, I wasn't! I was just... thinking.", Skaar lied in a soft growl.
"Mind telling me what you're thinking about?", Korra probed, leaning her face closer until the tip of her nose almost touched his own.
For the first time in his life, Skaar didn't know how to respond. He could feel the heat, the blood rushing up to color his pale gray-white cheeks with a blush, while his body seemed to be frozen in place. He slaughtered entire armies with ease, battled demons, monsters and gods... he even challenged Galactus himself, yet none of those threats could compare to this. None of those confrontations made him feel this way.
It was frightening and exciting all at once. He never felt this way towards anyone or anything. What made her so different? He could not deny that Korra was beautiful, but was it more than that? He found himself gazing deeply into her sapphire irises, almost losing himself until he finally came to his senses.
"I... Uh... I'm gonna go get my father. I'll be right back!", Skaar said before rushing out of the kitchen, much to the surprise and amusement of Korra.
"That was fun. I'll have to do that to him more often.", Korra mused to herself, settling back into her seat to finish off her milkshake.
She was about finished when she heard the door open, meaning that Skaar has most likely returned. Korra turned around while remaining seated, but what her eyes focused on was someone that clearly wasn't Skaar at all. Standing a few feet away from her, blocking the door, was a monstrous creature. She felt her heartbeat increase as her eyes widen in fear and realization that she was literally trapped in the kitchen with this monstrosity.
The creature was huge, standing nearly eight-feet tall, and reptillian-humanoid in overall appearance with the exception of it having three digits on its hands instead of five that ended with a sharp claw on each. The beast's body was completely covered in dark azure-blue armor plating, the only bit of clothing on its body being a pair of khaki shorts. Its eyes were of a fiery orange, their glow seemingly shining against the two webbed gill-like appendages that were attached to the sides of its face. The creature smiled at her, revealing a mouth filled with dagger sharp teeth similar to those of a piranha-snake.
Little did she know that this creature was actually quite friendly, despite his fearsome appearance. His name is Rick Jones, and he's a longtime friend of The Hulk/Bruce Banner. After being experimented on by MODOK and The Leader, Rick Jones has been transformed into a blue-armored behemoth. A super-strong and powerful, yet friendly and heroic creature going by the name of A-Bomb!
"What's up?", A-Bomb greeted with his usual playful and charismatic grin.
"Ahhhh! Monster!", Korra screams at the top of her lungs, nearly falling out of her seat at the table.
"Huh? Monster? Where?", A-Bomb inquired in confusion, quickly scanning the surroundings.
"You! Big! Blue! Monster!", Korra stated, pointing directly at the azure-armored gamma brute.
"Me? A monster? Nah! That's can't be me! I'm too cuddly to be scary. Then again... I've got to admit... I haven't looked in the mirror for the longest time...", A-Bomb said in a joking manner, placing his clawed-finger on his chin in a mock thinking pose.
"Get away from me!", Korra shouts, quickly rising out of her chair and slowly walking backwards towards the door.
"Was it something I said? Does my breath stink? I knew I shouldn't have had that tuna salad! Tell me, do I got something in my teeth?", A-Bomb asks, taking a few steps closer to the female Avatar.
"Stay back!", Korra yells, narrowing her arctic-blue irises while raising her fists as she got into her fighting stance.
"Whoa! Chill out! I'm not gonna hurt ya! I may look dangerous, but really I'm just a big, blue...", A-Bomb began to speak, his words soon cut short in an most unpleasant manner.
Out of fear and a sudden rush of adrenaline, Korra lashes out and punches A-Bomb right square in the nose with her fiery right fist. The azure armored powerhouse staggers back in surprise, allowing Korra to rush out of the room and out of sight. A-Bomb soon takes notice, yet for some reason he decides not to pursue the young woman. She was frightened and intimidated by his Hulked-Out form, not that he blamed her. He'd just have to show her his human side later, but until then Rick was busy with the pain his nose was feeling at the moment.
"Ouch! Ow, Ow, Ow! Right on the button! Ooh, man, that hurt! Yeow, for a girl, she can really throw a punch!", A-Bomb mutters to himself, rubbing his nose with the palm of his hand.
The Training Room
"I don't like it, Jen.", Red She-Hulk proclaimed, swinging her right fist and smashing it against the adamantium punching bag.
"Oh, Betty, would you relax? She's just a kid.", She-Hulk replied, continuing her yoga exercises.
"Yeah, well, wasn't it a kid that started that whole war between the Avengers and X-Men not too long ago? For all we know, she's some alien princess that'll drag us into some kind of war in another universe or something!", Red She-Hulk retorts, striking the punching bag again and again.
"What happened between the Avengers, the X-Men, Hope and the Phoenix Force is entirely different than this, Betty. Besides, you should know that Bruce wasn't going to let SHIELD, or anyone else for that matter, get their hands on the girl.", She-Hulk said calmly, trying to reason with her crimson counterpart.
"He should have left that kid out there and walked away.", Red She-Hulk growled, taking another hard punch at the punching bag.
"C'mon, Betty. Can you honestly say that you would've let that girl out there? That you wouldn't have taken her in if you were the one who found her?", She-Hulk questioned, walking over and placing a gentle hand on her friend's shoulder.
"No.", Red She-Hulk answers, releasing a heavy sigh to calm her fiery rage.
"Just give the girl a chance. Who knows? You might actually like her. Besides, if I do recall, didn't you once tell Bruce that you've always hoped to have a little daughter of your own?", She-Hulk remarked, handing a bottle of water to Red She-Hulk.
"Hmph! Shows what you know, Jen. I never said that at all!", Red She-Hulk scoffs before taking a long sip from her bottle of water.
"Sure you didn't, Betty.", She-Hulk chuckles as they continue to make their way to the metal door of the training room.
"What is her name, anyway? The girl that Bruce found, I mean?", Red She-Hulk inquired, her glowing eyes making contact with the emerald irises of Banner's female cousin.
"We don't know. She might be awake by now. Want to stop by and introduce ourselves?", She-Hulk offered, a smirk gracing her lovely jade features.
"Fine. But if she throws the first punch, I'm taking her down!", Red She-Hulk stated in a mock-serious tone of voice.
It was just when Red She-Hulk nearly reached the door that it swung open, much to her and Jen's complete surprise, and in rushed none other than Korra. She couldn't stop herself in time as she ran directly into Red She-Hulk, her head being cushioned by Betty's soft bosom as she crashed her body into that of scarlet-skinned female powerhouse. Slowly, she lifts her gaze in order to look up at the two seven-feet tall super heroines, her eyes widening in a mixture of awe in regards to their beauty, yet intimidation of their sheer size and formidable feminine physiques.
"This her?", Red She-Hulk inquired, arching an eyebrow.
"Yes.", She-Hulk confirmed.
"Pfft. She doesn't look like much.", Red She-Hulk scoffs, glaring down at the female Avatar.
"Hi. I'm Jen. And this is Betty.", She-Hulk said in a gentle, welcoming tone of voice.
Korra took a second to look over the two giant women, taking in every detail of their individual appearance. The green female, the one she presumed to be called Jen, was wearing a white tank-top t-shirt and a pair of purple sweatpants, while her long greenish-black hair was held back in a ponytail. The red female, the one who goes by the name Betty, was wearing a black tank-top t-shirt with a matching pair of black sweatpants, her pitch black hair with a long red stripe running through it remaining loose and free of resistance. Out of the two, Betty was clearly the more intimidating, while Jen seemed to radiate kindness and compassion.
"Now that introductions are out of the way, get your hands off my chest!", Red She-Hulk snarled, the result of her outburst frightening an already bewildered Korra.
With a scream, Korra lashes out and blasts Red She-Hulk in the face with a torrent of flames, temporarily blinding the crimson amazon. Taking advantage of the situation, Korra quickly grabs Red She-Hulk's arm, and by using a combination of her martial arts skills and the female Hulk's own mass against her, and judo throws the scarlet-skinned powerhouse into She-Hulk. As the two female Hulks crash to the floor, Korra takes the chance and races out of the room at top speed, wanting to get as far away as possible.
"Nice job, Betty. You scared her!", She-Hulk scolded, getting to her feet.
"Whatever! She blasted fire in my face!", Red She-Hulk exclaimed, her anger getting the better of her as she rips the metal door off its hinges before marching out the door in a attempt to pursue the elemental bender.
Korra made sure to keep running after her run-in with the She-Hulks, sometimes looking back over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't being followed. It was an action that she would soon regret! When she ran around the next corner, Korra smashes against a solid, muscular, eight-foot tall scarlet red body. The force of her impact knocks her down to the floor along with the bottle of water that she swiped from Red She-Hulk,which proceeds to spill all over the metal flooring. She looks up at the being, her arctic-blue irises locking on to the fiery gaze of the Red Hulk, his massive form towering over her like a demon from a nightmare.
"Where do you think you're going?", Red Hulk demanded, slowly and menacingly walking towards the young woman who was back on her feet in a flash.
"I... I... I...", Korra stuttered, slowly backing away even as the Crimson Titan continued to advance.
"You weren't trying to escape, were you? 'Cause let me tell you something, that's not gonna happen! Not as long as I stand in your way!", Red Hulk snarled, reaching out with his giant right hand to grab her by the throat.
Thinking fast and acting even faster, Korra uses her waterbending to summon the spilled water on the floor into the air before using it to strike the Red Hulk in the eyes. Upon contact, the water freezes into ice, blinding the Crimson Titan who staggered back in surprise. Korra took this chance to flee, not even looking back as Red Hulk tried to claw the ice from his eyes.
Red Hulk lets out an inhuman roar, rage coursing through his mind and body. This was humiliating! He was trained in combat, served decades in military service, yet he was now just out-smarted and outmaneuvered by a female teenager! He forgot the oldest rule in the book. Never underestimate your opponent. If he ever got another shot at that girl, he wouldn't make that same mistake again!
"GRRAAH! I'm gonna kill that kid!", Red Hulk roars, his rage increasing thus causing his body to emit extreme heat in order to melt the ice that blinded him.
Finally, after what felt like hours of running from hallway to hallway, room to room, Korra found her way outside of the base. She stopped for a few seconds to take in the scenery, her eyes scanning the surroundings. The terrain was dry, like a desert, and virtually devoid of plant life aside from some cactus scattered about the area.
When she raised her gaze towards the sky, Korra instantly took notice of the massive, green, energy-based gamma dome that seemed to be as endless as the blue and white skies. Normally, she would ponder on such a unnatural setting, but right now all that mattered to her was escaping from this place. Not waiting another second, Korra uses her airbending to propel her as she soon reached top speed, her legs carrying her as fast as they would allow.
Suddenly, once she reached a good distance from the base, she stopped dead in her tracks as a thought of realization entered her mind. What about Skaar? She unintentionally left him inside there. She left him in a base full of monstrous freaks. Sure, he was different, but he was kind to her, a complete stranger, even after she roughed him up a bit. He was her friend, and to be honest... she liked him. Could she really leave him there?
Closing her eyes and releasing a heavy sigh, Korra turns around, a look of determination gracing her visage as she opened her eyes. It was then that she made her decision. She was going back to the base and rescue Skaar. She would do it... or fall trying. Either way, she wasn't going to leave him behind.
Unfortunately, Korra wasn't going to make it that far.
From out of nowhere a massive form smashes into the earth, the force of the shock waves sending her and chunks of strata crashing back to the dry earth. She slowly gets to her feet just as the dust begins to settle, revealing a giant figure standing within the crater. The monstrous brute slowly approaches, his shadow alone engulfing her.
Eight-feet-eight-inches tall. Two thousand pounds of solid muscle and bone. Emerald green flesh and matching jade irises. The only bit of clothing adorning the creature's body being that of a pair of purple-black shorts. Right now, Korra was facing the strongest being ever to walk the earth, and arguably one of the most powerful creatures in the entire universe... The Hulk.
And there was nowhere she could hide.