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Author Topic: The Heart of Ba Sing Se (An Inspector Iroh Fic) (PG) (4-19-08) updated!  (Read 5184 times)
Shadowcat
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Thanks Agnikai!

Shadowcat7x
« on: Dec 12, 2007 02:34 am »

Author's Note:
Hello All! This story is an AU (alternative universe) and is based on the Inspector Iroh Universe that the Artrix created. Definitely check out the comic before reading this, believe me you'll be happy you did. Plus you'll actually understand what's going on. This fic is not canon to the comic.

Find Inspector Iroh at the ASN forum
or at the Deviant Art Page

Title: The Heart of Ba Sing Se
Rating: PG, sometimes PG-13
Summary: Inspector Iroh receives a phone call from an Earth Kingdom girl named Bee. She has new information about the man who murdered Lu Ten. This leads Iroh and Zuko deep into the heart of Ba Sing Se and sets Iroh on the path of truly uncovering the mysterious night of his son's death.

Enjoy!
***


Introduction:

The heart of Ba Sing Se is a flashy, gaudy place full of neon lights, violent secrets and powerful benders. Where unknown to the rest of the city, pleasures exist and can be bought, depending on what you have to give; tournaments decide the fates of hundreds; and the mighty are worshiped like the avatar himself. It's pretty black and white at a first glance. But if you've been around long enough, most things tend to fudge their colors.

I work as a detective. Digging where the Dai Li and the Kyoshi Squads won't. There are places and there are people who are untouchable in this city, and I may be the only fool out here trying to bring them down.

My nephew, Zuko has been my young partner for several years now. He's got a hot head, and I can see a lot of his father in him; he thinks he has to prove himself to the world. But unlike his sister, Ba Sing Se's favorite reporter, the beautiful, the infamous Azula, Zuko's got much of his mother in him, Agni bless her soul.

We're fire benders in a kingdom full of earth benders, and many folks here tend to not like us on general principles, (hundreds of years ago our kings were tyrants and we tried to take over the world) and many of us still do act like superior humans, as much as we've fallen.

Almost a decade ago, my son, Lu Ten was murdered. He had been following in my footsteps as a bright assistant peacekeeper detective for the agency. The corruption here at the bureau became clear to me in the more disturbing details in the case of his homicide. Some of my colleagues have left because of it. But I stay. I stay on for what some call foolish hopes and dreams. All I want is to make the city a better place to live.

It's a dirty, seedy job, but as long as Zuko has my back, the cases move smoothly, and I can have my ginseng, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
« Last Edit: Apr 19, 2008 03:19 am by Shadowcat » Logged

radcat101
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Back from the dead


« Reply #1 on: Dec 12, 2007 05:46 am »

Dang, That's a really good beginning! can't wait to see more
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coinmanmat
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 12, 2007 07:32 am »

awsome an Inspector Iroh fic, I just love The Artrix's Inspector Iroh comics.
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Kishi
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Duuuuuuuude...


« Reply #3 on: Dec 12, 2007 09:22 pm »

Nicely done. I like how you're working to give this a sort of noir air. That's awesome and good as far as I'm concerned. ^_^
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Shadowcat
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Thanks Agnikai!

Shadowcat7x
« Reply #4 on: Dec 13, 2007 02:58 am »

Dang, That's a really good beginning! can't wait to see more
Thanks! Smiley
awsome an Inspector Iroh fic, I just love The Artrix's Inspector Iroh comics.
Yeah, they rock!
Nicely done. I like how you're working to give this a sort of noir air. That's awesome and good as far as I'm concerned. ^_^
Thanks! I was trying to go for a shorter sentence stylish approach, unusual for me. I hope it's fun to read.

On with the show!
***

I had a mysterious phone call last week from a young girl named Bee, an EK girl. She was panicked, and was whispering, perhaps in fear of those around her who might be listening to her call. She gave me a warning. Nothing more. Not even enough time to trace the call.

There's going to be a deal going on down at the Chameleon Bay Docks. I'd known about this for weeks, but it wasn't my case, so I left it alone. I've heard several of the city's major players were going to meet. Jet and his gang will most certainly be there. Maybe the Rough Rhinos will make an appearance. Probably some fire nation punks will attend, and underground earth benders. Pretty much the norm for the dark side of Ba Sing Se.

But the girl did say something to pique my interest. That an archer would be there. The best in the entire earth kingdom. One famous for using poisoned arrow bits. The same kind of shafts that had taken Lu Ten's life.

I never did find out who this archer was, only heard the name, Longshot.

He was going to be there. This Friday. I'd spent months, years following Lu Ten's murderer, unable to let the killer rest. This man, this Longshot was the one who killed him. But it's almost like he's a fairytale. No one seems to know who he is. A name with no identity, no history, and no voice is hard to track down.

For a while, I thought I was on the right track. I followed leads back to the notorious criminal boss, Jet. He and his Freedom Fighters have been plaguing this city for years with their aggressive violent acts in the name of sovereignty and free will. It was believed that Longshot was one of Jet's mercenaries.

I tore into Jet's crew and headquarters at various locations around and under the city. I roughed up more juvenile delinquents then I should have. Not myself, I went into a rage. I would find my son's killer, this Longshot, even if it was my dying move.

Disabling Jet's lieutenants was an undertaking no one's ever accomplished before, I sent more than half of them to cells, most of them were out the next night. It took Jet himself to stop me from nearly annihilating his whole scheme of operations. I never did find this Longshot, but I guess it goes to show you just how much one determined man can accomplish.

I was in a broken state after that. My life had all but fallen apart. My son was dead. I was temporarily suspended from the force. But Zuko and Azula were still young then. And I was their only living relative. It was then that my life and my perspective on everything changed.

Long ago, our world was one that faded in and out of the mists of the spirit world. We had a guardian, the avatar, a master of all four elements, and the mortal world's link to the realms beyond our reach. Nowadays, no one knows if the avatar still exists, many believe him to only be a part of legends and myths. The spirit world slowly faded into obscurity.

And yet, even now people have experiences that they have trouble describing to their friends and family members. They see things they aren't supposed to be seeing. In small, subtle ways, the spirits send us messages. We just have to be observant, and in tune.

For me, they gave me far more than a delicate message or shrewd sign. They took me into their world. I don't talk about what happened to me the year following my son's death, because of its sacred nature. To make a complex series of events simple and pleasant, basically, when I returned to my normal life, I was a new man. I was ready to be the full time guardian for Zuko.

My niece, Azula, soon desired to leave us, and attend boarding school. Oh, she'd come home for holidays and summer vacations. But I'll be an air bender before I ever understand that girl.

Even when she was a child, her victorious presence was overwhelming, and her desire to succeed was paramount over anything I tried to teach her. She wasn't just stubborn, she was determined to be an unforgettable face in a city of unremarkable people. I watched her grow up, exploit, manipulate, and abuse everyone she came in contact with, whether a blood relation or not. Eventually she became the heartless, striking power she is today. Her cold perfect beauty, and her intense charisma captured the viewers attention. And the city loves her.

But Zuko grew up under my care. Zuko was always a quiet child, I think on account of his awful scar covering nearly half his face. Wherever he goes people stare. He used to shy away and hide behind me in public places when very young. He was teased and tormented far more than any child should ever have to endure.

And yet, at the same time, I began to see qualities emerge in him that gave me great hope. He was bright, even if rashly impulsive; he was honorable, even if aggressively so. He had a more than decent understanding between wrong and right.

However, when he reached adolescence, he became less talkative, and spent as much time away as possible, his attitude was heated and he was constantly irate with me, with school, with everything. He began smoking. It appeared as though all those years of childhood suffering had finally caught up with him and he reacted destructively. It wasn't until he ended up at the station in handcuffs that I truly realized what kind of path he was following.

From then on I took a firm hold of his life. I know it made him even more enraged toward me. I began to make him accompany me on cases. At first he refused to have anything to do with what I made my living at. But soon, his inherent curious nature and his strong disposition of right and wrong resurfaced and he became even more engrossed in detective work than even I.

What started out as a faulty connection between us developed into a trustworthy partnership. He's bold, and eager, and even attempts to crack a joke now and then. He's far more serious than I ever was and has a nasty temper, but is full-heartedly devoted to taking down the bad guys and making Ba Sing Se a better place to live.

In every way that matters, he is my son. There are few others I would trust my life with.
« Last Edit: Dec 13, 2007 03:06 am by Shadowcat » Logged

storm-of-insanity
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THE Iroh and Zuko fan


« Reply #5 on: Jan 01, 2008 05:19 am »

I'm LOVING this! Iroh + Zuko + smattering of angst + crime fiction +fanfiction = Pure and utter win Cheesy
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Racheakt
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 01, 2008 10:30 pm »

Hmm, this is interesting... I see you've got potential, thats for sure.

Not much else to say right now, I think I'll reserve judgement until the story gets past the prologue.  Keep working on it.  I'll be keeping an eye on this as it goes.

Keep up the good work,

Racheakt
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The Artrix
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 18, 2008 05:10 am »

First off, I know it took me way too long to comment on this, although I must note that I have read this just as you posted the notification in the Inspector Iroh thread (which is now stickified, partially thanks to you). Now that I have some time to burn, let me share my thoughts.

Although it seems as if Iroh is a private investigator in this particular story, it's still very true to the original universe. It looks like you wanted to be more true to the traditional crime noir genre, complete with the second person narration and the overall dark tone of language.

I also like how you portray Jet's gang, and how Longshot is shrouded in mystery. It's actually not very far from his actual silent-type personality. You neatly dealt with the Avatar issue by turning into something that isn't as blatantly obvious than in the actual series, as something that only a few still understand. It goes well with the Lu-Ten-being-assassinated scenario.

It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to the next chapter, that is, if that was your intention. You definitely have a well rounded premise here.
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NeeNee
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We will not be quiet.


« Reply #8 on: Mar 31, 2008 12:06 pm »

oh, wow! I LOVE this one! Shocked I absolutely adore the dark, dry tone you're using, it fits the concept so very well. you brougt this universe to life with your words in a truly impressive manner (I don't care if it isn't your idea, you wrote it). and the part about Zuko's youth almost made me tear up. :'(

now, if you can pull off a convincing detective story (not easy Tongue), I will like it even more, cause I love detectives.
you have me waiting. Smiley
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Shadowcat
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Thanks Agnikai!

Shadowcat7x
« Reply #9 on: Apr 19, 2008 03:18 am »

I'm LOVING this! Iroh + Zuko + smattering of angst + crime fiction +fanfiction = Pure and utter win Cheesy
Lol story math. Thanks!
Hmm, this is interesting... I see you've got potential, thats for sure. Not much else to say right now, I think I'll reserve judgement until the story gets past the prologue.  Keep working on it.  I'll be keeping an eye on this as it goes. Keep up the good work, Racheakt
Thanks! I hope you like what's to come!
Although it seems as if Iroh is a private investigator in this particular story, it's still very true to the original universe. It looks like you wanted to be more true to the traditional crime noir genre, complete with the second person narration and the overall dark tone of language.I also like how you portray Jet's gang, and how Longshot is shrouded in mystery. It's actually not very far from his actual silent-type personality. You neatly dealt with the Avatar issue by turning into something that isn't as blatantly obvious than in the actual series, as something that only a few still understand. It goes well with the Lu-Ten-being-assassinated scenario. It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to the next chapter, that is, if that was your intention. You definitely have a well rounded premise here.
Thanks so much Artrix! Of course, I only wrote it because you came up with such a fun alternate universe to play with!
oh, wow! I LOVE this one! Shocked I absolutely adore the dark, dry tone you're using, it fits the concept so very well. you brougt this universe to life with your words in a truly impressive manner (I don't care if it isn't your idea, you wrote it). and the part about Zuko's youth almost made me tear up. :'( now, if you can pull off a convincing detective story (not easy Tongue), I will like it even more, cause I love detectives. you have me waiting. Smiley
Thanks for your comments! I love a good detective story too, this is my first one so we'll see if I'm up to the challenge. Smiley

Okay – sorry it's been so long since the last update! But since it's been so long, I'm pretty sure the tone might be a little different. I apologize for the inconsistencies.

Alrighty, enjoy!

***

Those who come to the DLID are in need of help, many times in need of desperate help. The first thing you see when you walk through those plexiglas doors is the brilliant Mai, our loyal desk sidekick. And it may make you want to turn right back around, no matter the dire straights you've fallen into. Her motto seems to be compassion is something for other people to dish out, and nonsense is something you had better left at home. I call her brilliant in the sincerest terms. The girl is a genius, she graduated at the top of her class from Northern Fire Nation University, is the daughter of a well respected politician, and has trained with the best of the cadets. And yet, she chooses the desk job.

Her dour face glares at us over the top of her monitor as we walk in. She has straight cut bangs across her forehead, which match the pattern of her straight laced eyebrows and constant line of a mouth. She has the thinnest lips I've ever seen, and a long sharp nose. But her cheekbones are high and prominent giving her face a cold elegant beauty. As Zuko and I get closer I think I catch the smallest glimpse of her lips curving into a smile and the faintest blush upon her pale cheeks. I think, no, I know my nephew is completely oblivious towards the girl's affections.

Zuko rests his elbows on the high desk barrier and I go around to pull papers out of my box. I look over my shoulder at the girl to make sure her focus is elsewhere. Namely, on Zuko. I start rustling through a stack of papers and exclaim,

"Good morning Mai, you look lovely today."

"Whatever. Long Feng called again. Don't you guys have cell numbers you could give him? I'm not your personal secretary."

"Ah, but then we wouldn't have a reason to come see your delightful face every morning."

"Please." I can just hear her eyes roll backwards in their sockets as Zuko asks her what Long Feng wanted.

While Mai is distracted by him, I switch around several forms detailing the Chameleon Bay Docks case, and slip a few into my coat. She'll notice right away of course, her desk is by far the neatest, most ordered workspace in the entire city. But I don't think she'll call it in. At least I hope she won't.

***

I told Zuko I had obtained all the necessary paper work for a transfer to the Chameleon Bay Docks case. Which wasn't a complete lie. I mean, the papers were in my pocket. But somehow, I had a hunch my superiors would disagree with me taking on such a big operation involving the Freedom Fighters. But I had to be there. I had to.

We hopped onto the Friday morning bison and flew over to the Chameleon Bay Docks. What was once a glistening port busy with trade and prosperity from nations all over the world, was now one of the most deteriorating locations in the entire earth kingdom. Most of the actual remaining docks were now just rotted wood, lapped by the green oily bay waters. The warehouses were either empty or inhabited by persons and businesses that no DLID agent dare uncover.

The foulest operations and exchanges went on down here. Beyond your average drugs and firearms, these were illegal services and substances for sale that didn't just make people go mad, but gave them bending abilities unseen and unheard of in the entire world. And it would slowly poison people as well. The weapons here were created for the purpose of torture, plain and simple. How long can a man survive, as one by one, he loses his sight, speech, and limbs? You'd likely find out soon if you were involved in the dealings here. And it didn't matter to the powers, the movers and the shakers of the city what end of the receiving line you were on.

It was time to scout the area out before nightfall. I had on a navy blue sweater with holes in it, dark sunglasses, and a fitting cap. Zuko's scar was harder to conceal, but hopefully the dark tonight would hide it from suspicious eyes. He wore a faded yellow jacket full of wear and tear. We blended right in with some of the local Bay thugs. 

We joined a group of men who were tossing bones, as substitutes for dice. We mingled seamlessly into their ranks, as we waited for a bossman who'd require our services transporting who knows what.

When one appeared I immediately kept my eyes on my feet. I recognized him. And he'd know me if he cared to look closer. One of Jet's lieutenants. What was his code name? The Duke? He stood half a head shorter than me with big sable eyes and a floppy brown hat too big for his head. He was the youngest of Jet's men, barely a juvenile when I put him away last time.

I try to push back emotions of regret and anger that boil their way to the surface. Mostly, they're directed at me. If I had been in the right mind back then I could have made a difference in this kid's life. Instead of making him more determined to fight for Jet's cause. I felt my lips rise in a snarl with rage for Jet. He'd taken promising, talented kids and transformed them into soldiers and criminals.

So it wasn't just the fact that Longshot, my son's murderer, was making an appearance tonight. It was all about taking Jet down, or at least hampering him any way I could.

We lifted heavy sienna wood crates onto a docked ship. When we were done The Duke paid us each 600 coppers then told us to come back this evening at 11:00pm. The men began to scatter, and I too turned to go when I heard Zuko ask,

"What'll we be transporting then?"

I cringed. Drawing attention to ourselves was the last thing we needed. The Duke had already started walking away when he stopped abruptly, then slowly turned around to face my nephew.

"How many times do I have to tell you? The deal was no questions. Do you have a problem with that?"

Zuko was almost two heads taller and about thirty pounds bigger than the younger boy. If you don't know him, let me tell you that my nephew is a quick tempered, dignified, proud young man. But thank goodness for once in his life he decided to take a step back and play the role of the subservient goon.

"No, no problem, sir."

"That's better. 11o'clock tonight." The Duke turned swiftly and hurried away.

Zuko glanced at the small boat we had just loaded up that sailed slowly out of the bay. "I wonder what kind of illegal cargo we just helped send off to corrupt the city."

"Don't worry, I copied down all the information when no one was looking. It's headed toward a southern earth kingdom bay. We'll catch it before the shipment does any harm."

"How did you do that without him spotting you? That guy was watching me like a messenger hawk the whole time."

"All the thugs keep their heads and eyes downcast. Never once did they openly stare at the bossman, or ever directly ask him a question, except for you."

"I was trying to do detective work. Was I that obvious?"

"Yes. But at least you provided a distraction and no one caught me doing a little investigation of my own. Don't worry, undercover work is difficult, it'll come to you with time."

It turns out that we had been transporting illegal fire arms to an underprivileged southern earth kingdom port. But dangerous weapons were nothing compared to what was coming that night. We didn't know it but we were in for a ride.
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NeeNee
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We will not be quiet.


« Reply #10 on: Apr 20, 2008 09:41 am »

sweet! Grin more please!
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storm-of-insanity
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THE Iroh and Zuko fan


« Reply #11 on: Apr 20, 2008 10:00 am »

I love your sig Cheesy

Neat description of Mai Cheesy
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tokogawa
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« Reply #12 on: Jul 09, 2008 04:37 pm »

Very nice Noir style. I love the direction things are going in and the whole way you've grafted the Iroh story into this universe. A great amount of color is given to the characters and you give a lot more back story than I would have, but thats needed in what is by and large an Iroh story. He's revisiting his past and that line gives him a reason to retrace it in whole from Lu Ten's murder until now.  ZUko seemes perfectly in character and so does Mai. Azula has yet to be shown in much detail and Iroh is perfect. I trust you to keep  up the good work.
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