The Hand that Kills, Part 5: Rusty Cage

March 22, 2016:

Matt and Claire take refuge at Lara's temporary abode, but the Hand make it a not so safe spot to lay low

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Lara Croft may be living in a penthouse while her Gotham mansion is being set up, but she sure doesn't dress like it. She's been on the streets, paying contacts for any information on ninjas in red PJs who disappear into thin air. As such she's in jeans, a leather jacket, and a grey hoodie over tank tops, with hiking boots. Her hair is pulled back in a tail and she's not wearing makeup. She looks about as far from British Aristocracy as one can get, as she strides into the top floor well-secured suite.

"Daredevil?" she calls out, as she locks everything back up. The butler, Winston, has the night off so it was empty when the vigilante and his charge arrived. The place is as fancy and one would expect of the Waldorf-Astoria, but it looks like all that is the hotel's doing. Lara's things are mostly books, maps, and relics scattered on the top of the massive dining table, and closets full of equipment more than clothing.

"Miss Croft," says Daredevil. On second look, he's mostly submerged in shadow, facing the floor to ceiling windows looking out at the city. "Thank you," he says ominously, a twinge of worry still in his voice. "This is Claire. I owe her my life, and unfortunately, someone is coming for hers." He nods his be-horned head towards where Claire is, then back to Lara looking grim.

The scrubs-clad woman is still looking a bit off centered, though she's trying to hide it and keep her street tough expression in place. She's somewhere hovering around thirty, pretty in a latina kind of way, all cocoa skin and dark eyes. She's still in scrubs slightly messy from a shift and the crocs to match, so it's fairly obvious what she does. She gives Lara an up and down once and then looks over to the rest of the apartment before gazing back to the casually dressed woman. "…Uh…thanks. I…. really didn't want to be a bother but ocnsidering f*ckig *Ninjas* are real and just attacked us tonight, going home seemed unwise."

Lara strides into the room the two are huddled in and shrugs out of her jacket and hoodie. Some of her scars are visible as she sets the items on a chair and then turns. She moves to Claire and offers a hand to shake. "Claire, I'm Lara. I wish this were under better circumstances but you are welcome to stay here as long as you need. Any friend of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen is a friend of mine." She gives a genuine smile to the woman.

"I think, if they are pursuing her, the hotel's basic security isn't going to stop them. I am going to set up some things." The Brit moves to a closet and gathers up some things. Why the hell she has a bear trap in her penthouse is a question for another time, but she begins setting up makeshift tripwires and traps at every egress into the place. "There is a walk in safe behind a false back in the master closet. Claire, if they get inside, you can hide there."

"We took our time in getting here. I think we might have lost them," Daredevil says, emerging a bit into the light to stand next to Lara before she begins to dig into her penthouse for her tricks of the trade. Trying to make himself useful, he follows her to the closet to help carry the materials. He leaves the actual placing and setting up of the traps to her.

As he's about to turn and head back a second time, he stops and goes completely still. His head comes up towards Lara and gives a slow, half-head shake.

"I was wrong. They're here."

He moves over towards the windows and begins to open the door to the patio. Whatever is about to happen will happen soon.

The British woman's hand is shaken politely, Claire trying to muster a warm, professional smile, as if they were meeting at some sort of work function or even a bar's networking night. "Lara. It…it's good to meet you? I think. I mean, all things considered. thank you… I… I don't know if I'm a friend. I just know how to stitch people up and not ask questions." She gives Daredevil a sideways glance, since he did recently join her list of off the books patients.

The Daredevil is actually tilting his head and seems to feel something, even if Claire can't hear anything. Her heart kicks back up into her throat, dark eyes a bit too wide as she looks between the pair and the indicated closet. "…I…I don't hear anything… Maybe we're wrong?"

Croft pulls a compound bow out of a case, and straps a quiver to her hip, followed by a pump action shotgun and rifle on her back, a pair of pistols on her hips, a combat knife on her thigh, and a pickaxe hanging from her belt. She looks like Indiana Jones after a really bad day. She jumps up to grab the top edge of a credenza and pulls herself up on top of it, settling into a higher vantage point and nocking an arrow to the bow. Strange she relies on that over the guns, but it is the quietest ranged weapon she has.

"Claire, hit the lights." She flips down a pair of goggles over her eyes, night vision. She knows Daredevil doesn't need the illumination either. "Find a hiding spot."

What started as a slow movement toward the patio changes abruptly as Daredevil bolts the rest of the way, and in one movement, leaps up onto the banister between the balcony and the air beyond. Just as his feet come into contact with the metal, the first wave of red-clad ninjas begins to hit.

The first visitor gets a billy club to the gut right when he arrives before Daredevil follows with a smack to the back of the head. The perp falls face first upon the cement and surely has a concussion at the very least.

From there, however, it gets more confusing. Two of them swing on floors above the penthouse, and two more swing below. Meanwhile, no less than floor land on Lara's patio, one even stands upon the railing itself and begins to engage Daredevil in fisticuffs. Looks like they brought a lot more this time.

Hoping they are wrong or not, Claire isn't going to risk her life or their ability to work on her pride. The moment Lara tells her to hit the lights, she leans over and kills all the illumination in the room. She's then going towards that master closet, ducking her frame inside but not quite shutting the door, so she can listen, or escape if she needs.

Lara draws back the bowstring, sights carefully, and lets an arrow fly, followed immediately by another, skewering one of the ninjas on the patio. She keeps her ears open for sounds of the traps triggering at any of the other entrances, so she can turn to face any other dangers. She doesn't expect the traps to kill the ninjas, or even take them out of the equation, they're just there to alert her. "Give me a headcount!" she shouts to Matt, knowing he can tell how many there are in places she can't see.

"I count 12," Daredevil yells back into the penthouse, but then tilts his head slightly as if considering. "11," he adds when removing the one Lara just nailed.

But from there, the conversation stops. A knife is pulled from the waistband of Daredevil's opponent without even a sound to notify the hero of the new threat. Luckily, the change in air currents let's him know what's coming, albeit almost a second two late. Matt leans back heavily and narrowly avoids the blade. As he's hit in a soft part of his armor on the follow through, causes him nearly to fall off the banister. Even though he maintains his balance, he definitely is at a disadvantage.

The two men who landed upon the balcony proper make their way towards the patio doorway and, though they cannot see Lara from her perch, they do so warily. A sai is thrown through the window, shattering the glass, and ends up stuck into the far wall. Seems as though Matt was wrong about his promises that everything would be fine.

Moreover, there's fidgeting at the door. It's clear there's someone outside it. Worse, there's an odd sound emanating from the wall right next to Lara's kitchen.

The nurse is pretty much nothing but a shadow in the closet, a single crack of the door opening letting her see one eye out to the flurry of motions outside. Claire is trying not to be terrified, but through her head runs every hail mary she's ever said in her life and a few other prayers. And promises that she will start going back to church again when her shifts allow. If she can just survive tonight, while these ridiculously prepared heroes around her handle this surreal threat. She winces at the sound of shattering glass, but doesn't dare step out.

Lara snaps a wire lead onto the head of the next arrow, and secures the other end to the light fixture on the wall behind her. Then she fires it, burying it into the building across from the penthouse. A safety line for Matt to grab if he loses his balance. Then she's turning with extreme speed to throw her pickaxe at the broken window and the chest of the ninja trying to come through it. "They're getting inside DD!" she hollers, flipping down from her perch and moving to unlimber the shotgun from her back. She pumps it to ready the shells and levels them at the front door.

Almost as soon as the words are out of her mouth, Daredevil rises up, and even though he has pretty good footing, he uses the line that Lara shoots as a handhold as he drives two powerful feet right into the solar plexus of the Hand operative. The latter flies against the cement wall and is lucky to eat it on the patio instead of however many floors below.

Daredevil attacks the pair of men from behind now, but one of them staggers back past him with an axe in his chest. That'll save a bit of time then. Daredevil reaches around the other's head and gets him into a choke hold, mercilessly pulling the air from his body like a boa constrictor.

Meanwhile the door bursts open and a trio of Handies burst through. The first one trips like a stormtrooper on the original Death Star, causing a bottleneck for the other two.

Thooooom. Thooooom.

The wall by the kitchenette continues to pulsate worryingly.

At the yelling about their attackers getting in, Claire swallows back a grasp of fear that wants to escape her lips. She can't show how scared she is. She has to be brave. She also needs to make a decision about going back to the vault and trapping herself or, just in case things go very poorly, remaining free of it so she can run, dodge, or do anything else needed. As the door bursts open, though, she makes her decision. The closet shuts all the way and she sinks back into that vault, trying to listen for what she can get now over the pound of her pulse in her ears. Wait. That wasn't her ears. That was the wall. It wasn't the kitchenette, but it was attached, and she could feel vibrations. "…what the hell…" She breathes out.

Lara fires the shotgun as each ninja trips over the next, presenting her a new and surprised target each time. "Three down here!" She switches out the shotgun for the pistols as she backs out towards the kitchen and that sound that is really just not good. "Kitchen!" she shouts to Daredevil.

CRASH!

The wall finally caves in after being busted through with an ad hoc battering ram. It looks like a small enough hole, but these lithe ninjas are able to sneak through it pretty easily and before the dust even settles, two of them have entered the apartment with more on the way. Smartly, they have gotten into close quarters with Matt immediately, realizing that they could probably be picked off pretty easily by Lara. One of the earlier foes, the one with concussion, is righting himself behind all of the commotion, looking to get at either Lara or Daredevil from behind.

The sound of a wall caving it is easily heard through the dresser and Claire makes her first mistake, she cries out in surprise. It might not be heard, too muffled by the clothing, dresser walls around her, vault behind. But it might be. She slams a hand across her mouth, shoulders stiffening s she stands there, straight as a board, trying not to panic as silent tears cut down her face. Not seeing things made it worse, somehow.

No good shots at the kitchen entrants so Lara fires her pistols at the concussed one trying to flank them. She puts her back to a wall and begins moving slowly towards the master bedroom. She needs to make sure they don't get behind them, or get to Claire. She aims the pistols above the fight in the kitchen area, aiming at the ceiling above the ninjas, bringing it down on top of them to block the hole hopefully. "Care for flanks!" she shouts to Daredevil.

"Any help is good help," Daredevil responds as he twists his body in such a way that he's able to break his opponent's ribs with a knee-strike. The move also puts him in a situation where he's more in a side-by-side battle, giving Lara a better shot.

The ceiling begins to come down and makes the entrance even more cluttered, creating the bottle neck phenomena once again. This time, the Hand get smart to it and it seems as though that now that the numbers are even, they're no longer willing to fight. They begin to turn tail and make a break for it.

Daredevil takes the time to find the concussed one who lies upon the floor bleeding after being shot by Lara. Ruthlessly, Daredevil steps on his shoulder and the ninja cries out loudly. Matt looks back on Lara, "We've got to get out of here and someplace safe." He twists his heel making the ninja scream out in pain even more. "Shut up," DD says, playing this out for a maximum response.

One, two…three heartbeats. Claire hears no more fighting. But she does here the rumbling voice of the Devil of Hell's kitchen about getting out of there and somewhere safe. A touch shakiky, the nurse pushes the door of the closet open and stares around the destruction of the room. "…Lara…I'm… so sorry…" She breathes out in a bit of shock, never having expected this. Then her eyes narrow on the man the Devil has. "If you twist your toes to the left, you'll dislocate his shoulder entirely." That might not be a warning. Hell, it might be an encouragement.

"On it," Lara barks back. She has her phone in hand immediately as she closes the Master Bedroom door and moves to fetch Claire. She types something on her phone. "Not your fault," she says to the nurse. It's not, really. They were surely going to come after her again at some point since she fought them at the fund raiser.

She gets her messages to Winston who texts back to her. She knows Samantha Nimishura's apartment in the city is still vacant because she took over the lease via a dummy corp to keep it for her friend while she was in jail on assault charges. Her butler is already on the way to open it up and prepare it for the trio.

Daredevil nods to Lara. As little time as they've spent with each other in 2 years, they certainly work well together. And that's saying something, because Daredevil doesn't always care to work with folks.

Though he doesn't respond to Claire, he's leaving that to Lara (as well as the preparations for the escape plan), he immediately twists to the left and separates the shoulder. Only now does it seem time to begin asking questions.

"I'm going to make this very easy on you." Twist. "Who do you work for?" No response. Twist harder. Another scream, but no response.

While Claire initially encouraged the torture, she can't watch it. She's a nurse. The sounds that body makes, well, she knows. She knows how bad it's going to be. Months of PT, probably never getting full use of that arm back. She stares at the Devil and one of the men who tried to kill her and then swallows something back down her throat before abruptly turning away. She won't watch. Her dark eyes find Lara instead, expression entirely professional and determined, "How can I help?"

"He's not going to talk," Lara quips to Daredevil. "I haven't been able to dig up much on these fellows in the red pyjamas (ok so you can't tell she spells it like that from her saying it!), but one thing is consistent. They don't ever give up information to anyone, which is why I am having such a hard time finding any."

At Claire's question she gestures to the master closet. "There are some bags of supplies in there. Grab those and any clothes of mine that will fit you. I have a jump bag ready of my own." Winston has it. He always does.

She moves to whisper into Matt's ear. "Need to clear a path to the basement. Car will be waiting by the loading dock for the hotel's deliveries. Keys behind the front license plate. Being roommates and not being able to cuddle is going to be very unfun," she mutters.

Daredevil can't help but grin wider at Lara's comment, but doesn't respond, only because he doesn't want to say something inadvertent to put his secret in jeopardy. Not sure if any of these hand guys read the tabloids. Matt's not even sure if he himself is in the tabloids or not. Probably not, but caution is good. Where were we? Oh, right. Torture.

"Why go after the girl?!" Daredevil shouts in the face of his victim. Finally, the other man in red cracks. "Part….part of the plan! Soon, New York will be ours and everything that stands in our way will die." Twist. Another scream. "Why the girl?!" "The focal point of all medical assistance to vigilantes in the city? Surely you aren't that stu——GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Daredevil is crabby now and just punches the guy into unconsciousness and breaks his nose.

"Quicker to take the billy club to the down floor? Or the stairs.

"Girl?" Claire cocks a single brow tossing another look of her shoulder. She hadn't been called a girl in probably a decade, but this wasn't a time to worry over it. Especially as they actually give a bit more information that everyone here could have assumed. Even if it confirms that Claire's reputation has gotten around the streets far more than she wishes. She just nods to Lara's orders about the closet and leans down, grabbing the bags and a few things that look like they might fit, or at least have a little give here and there. She shoves them into the supply bags before shouldering each. "Ready."

"I don't think Claire is up for rapelling down a stairwell or building side, Hornhead. Let's take the elevator like civilized sorts, hm?" Lara comments. She grabs a bag or two of her own, mostly weaponry, and heads for the door. With the ninja out, she can outline the plan outloud. "I have a car waiting downstairs. Let's go quickly and quietly to the basement via the service elevator. I have an apartment not in my name, that I've been holding for a friend who is currently unable to use it. We can stay there. There are no trails connecting me to it. It's about as safe as I can do on short notice."

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