Monterary Shock

November 11, 2017:

Daredevil and Six shake down Dr. Shane Parker for information about the Kingpin's super-powered pill operation.

Harlem, NYC

Secrets walk here tonight.


NPCs: Dr. Shane Parker (no relation to Peter), emitted by Kingpin


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's one night after an eclectic intersection of Jessica Jones' friends undertook a daring rescue of the P.I. beneath an abandoned subway line running underneath Metro General Hospital. The venture was a success, with Jones saved from near death, her captors beaten to unconsciousness, and their leader…

…captured? Rescued from what would otherwise be certain death at the hands of the artist formerly known as "Mr. F?" The scientist's status is not strictly clear. But regardless, he's holed up in a dilapidated walkup in Harlem owned by a subsidiary of Rand Enterprises. It's a building just waiting to be knocked down and turned into God knows what, once the owners on either side wise up and sell.

The question is: are the days of its sole current tenant similarly numbered?

For Matt Murdock, it's not an easy question to answer. He's been mulling the fate of the scientist — a man with considerable blood on his hands, who endangered his friend's life — for some twenty-odd hours now, and he's come to no set conclusions. The one certainty he has is that they are due answers about this whole sordid enterprise, and he means to get them tonight. And that's what has him masked and decked in black slipping through a sixth-floor window to the hallway beside their "guest's" door.


The actual room in the building that the scientist in question has occupied has reinforced doors and a security system, both of which were modified yesterday by Six when they deposited him for safe-keeping. Attempts to tamper with the interior windows would have produced a non-fatal but decidedly problematic amount of electrical shock, while a small device mounted to the frame of the door just inside the seam between door and frame would have gassed him with a nerve toxin designed to lay him out flat should he have somehow gotten innovative enough to breach it — unlikely, but possible. Five was assigned the task of monitoring his activities overnight via a wireless camera, so that Kinsey might have the luxury of dressing the wound in her thigh and sleeping the whole thing off for a handful of hours.

She returns at a prearranged time to meet the man who slides soundlessly in through the window in the hall; he'll find her there, leaning into one shoulder with her arms crossed, helmet an emotionless nighted mirror that reflects the shape of him within a rectangle of moonlight. In costume, of course. In costume again, rather. If the leg is giving her any trouble, it isn't evident as she leans away from the wall, prostheses taking her weight with an almost imperceptible sound made by complex elements in movement.

"Any concerns before we begin?"


Dr. Shane Parker is not a brave man. It certainly wasn't courage that had him nearly ODing the PI for fear she'd wake up, or even good math.

He's an audacious man to be sure. Willing to defy morality, laws, and even basic human decency in the pursuit of science and selfishness. He might be the kind of man who has the brains to work out how to get out of a cell like this, but he doesn't have the heart, or any real cause to bolster him. Death waits outside; a gruesome and unpleasant one; he has no idea what waits within but he is sure that it offers him at least a little chance at life.

And thus, Five might well have reported that he doesn't even give Six's well-made precautions the old college try. He in fact just sort of sat in the room, endlessly cleaning his glasses and muttering to himself, looking pale and wan.

Apparently he's only capable of being dangerous when he's surrounded by goons and his victims are unconscious.


Her mask renders her emotionless, but the mesh-wrap that covers the upper half of his head still leaves a stubbled jaw tight with tension — and lips that will work themselves into a faint smile when he sees her. They're both in-character tonight, in a building that's already been established as having various bells and whistles for security and monitoring — it's too dangerous to treat her as anything other than a fellow costumed ne'er do-well. But that faint quirk of his lips at the sight of her standing upright? That at least he can allow.

"What the hell we end up doing with him long-term, for one," the Devil of Hell's kitchen says as he approaches her, tone grim and little above the raspy whisper he adopts on his evening adventures. "But for now? Let's just get as many answers we can and figure out the rest after." And with that, he makes his way to open the door — unless she has her own concerns she wishes to voice.


It's not a thing she'd failed to consider, herself, though she must not have come up with any long-term answers, because the slight turn of her helmeted head in the direction of the door isn't followed with any suggestions. Only qualifications: "Hold him for now. We're about to begin dealing with the man he's ultimately working for, and he has information, expertise. He may have value as leverage, but we'll have to find out how much." Anyone as careful as 'Mr. F' has surely taken steps to insulate one aspect of his organization from another. Cells are a fundamental and very basic element of clandestine operations.

She says nothing else, and doesn't make to stop him in his approach, either. The door's security light winks green for him when he's two feet from it, like an echo of a long-ago walk down a sidewalk with a magically, miraculously convenient series of cooperative crosswalks.

Once he opens the door, she follows him through it.


To Six's eyes, Dr. Parker gives them an extremely nervous glance. Not a remorseful one, by any stretch of the imagination. But nervous. He goes a bit paler. He wets his lips. And he freezes like he's afraid to twitch. What he's heard about the Devil of Hell's Kitchen has him spooked; Six is a complete and unknown quantity to him, and he's a reedy older man pushing 60 who certainly doesn't have fighting skills or even much meat on his bones. He just sort of freezes in the act of compulsively rubbing the lenses of his glasses on his coat, not even pausing to put them back on his face.

To Daredevil's senses, the man's heartrate doubles, the pungent smell of his fear-sweat puts a sharp tang in the air, and his body temperature drops enough to make him seem clammy. He smells of quite a lot of dried sweat too, of hospital antiseptics even now, of dozens of drugs and chemicals, not the least of which the various anesthetics he used. The Devil's rarified senses can of course pick up that deer-in-headlights freezing as well.


Daredevil enters first, in a predatory stalk that carries him in a slow but inexorable beeline towards the good doctor. The masked man's reputation as one of New York's more brutally efficient vigilantes has been hard-won, but at least in moments like these, worth it. "I'm sure you're aware that we're pretty much all that's keeping you from an ugly end at your employer's hands, and that how you deal with us determines what we do with you," the man says, his tone tight and cold. "So I'll just get right to the point."

The strides have closed the distance now, bringing the dark-clad vigilante within inches of Dr. Parker. "How long," he begins quietly, "Have you been working for your — ah, boss. And what did you do for him?"


Six closes the door behind them, and lingers there rather than advancing once it's plain the man is already terrified. Not because she feels sorry for him — he nearly killed Jessica Jones because he'd needed her for some sort of experimentation, a thing likely to rocket him to the top of her short but significant shit list — but because they may need to be able to escalate things. She wants to hold some measure of threatening gesture in reserve: something she learned during her brief stint in intelligence work.

She sinks down into a not-quite-half-kneeling crouch. The prosthetic lower limbs give her a supernatural stillness in balance, useful for the purposes of appearing inhuman.

Silence, too. Daredevil is asking the relevant questions.


"When he bought the company. Back in February, I think," Parker says, pressing his entire body against the wall like he thinks it might do him the favor of transporting him to a tropical non-extradition country with strict anti-vigilante laws. "He ahh… asked me to take the research I've done in new directions. IGH has always been on the cutting edge of science…"

He plops his glasses back on his face, askew, "But we've never been very profitable. In a few short months he got the money flowing again, we've got enough to get everyone paid, for research, and then some. All because of the pills. Well. I mean. The only variety we got working, but he got them out there, distributed, sold."


Daredevil allows Parker to create a little distance between them, to get his back up against the wall. There's a great deal he could say to any number of Parker's points, but instead he takes it all in. The man's pride in his ghoulish work, his appreciation for Fisk's competence in securing funding, through whatever grisly means. It solidifies all the impressions he'd built of the skittish, unscrupulous scientist in those tunnels. This man doesn't look like the Russians Fisk has under his tumb, but for all his literally rank cowardice, he's done just as much harm — if not more.

It's all the masked man can do not to rush forward and grab Parker by the coat lapels as he did the other night. Instead, with only the slightest bite in his tone to communicate his brimming ire, he says, simply: "What new directions? And to whom were your pills sold?"


Kinsey has rarely ever been so grateful for her helmet.

The man is repulsive, of course, for all of the reasons that the masked man grasps, but for Kinsey the revulsion is ever-so-much worse, because it's personal.

There, but for the grace of a career-ending lab accident, go I.

Not that she'd ever subjected human beings to unethical experiments. In fact, the accident destroyed her life because she insisted she be the one in the chair. But her ultimate objective, her goals, the rapt excitement with her work, the fascination with theories and possibilities and certainty that she'd viewed all of the angles sufficiently…

Her veins run with icewater to listen to him speak, because she understands having pride in one's work, only to realize after the fact how dreadfully terrible the consequences could become.

The artificial voice betrays none of her emotional turmoil, ever soft, ever silken. "You must have been given data on the failures in order to recalibrate your work. You must have been able to draw conclusions about his distribution channels based on the demographics."


"Before we'd been on basic versions of super soldier projects, really," Parker says, raking his fingers through his hair. "Dating back to the late 90s, but I came on later. IGH started as a military contractor, but evolved after that. Most of the projects were failures, but that's to be expected. Even Erskine's work produced failures more often than not, and the company chose to take that research in an entirely different direction. I suppose…"

He pushes the glasses up again, even though they aren't really falling, "I suppose if you want to go right back to the start of it they did a lot of research on animals, just trying to provoke beneficial mutations with the company mutagen. At any rate, the company never managed to sell or even create a single soldier under our own control, really."

He inhales deeply. "Then, meet the new boss. He points out that renewable products are the cornerstone of any viable business, points out there are millions of normal humans who feel insignificant and dwarfed by the rise of meta-humans, who are jealous, who want some of that power for themselves. He points out that he himself has trouble with metas from time to time and could use ways to strengthen his men against them. He wanted a way to temporarily give people powers, but only temporarily, so they'd come back for more. Again and again. We have all sorts of varieties, but only the ones that make the customer impervious to pain are the only ones out there on the streets now. And…well. Lots of people buy them, don't they? Militaries. Extremists. Mercenaries, high school and college athletes that wanted a way to cheat without getting caught, people with chronic pain conditions…and while of course I do have access to all the previous work, I'm not really clear on which thugs go around making the distribution effort work, that's someone else's problem."

Every nuance of his tone says he thinks that's a problem that's purely beneath him, too.


Six is not the only person grappling with their past in the present conversation. Provoke beneficial mutations with the company mutagen, Parker says, of IGH's former line of work, and the line cuts the Devil of Hell's Kitchen to his core. Mutagen. Mutant. I'm a mutant. Even if it's not the result of the X-gene, or the Terrigen Mist, something was lurking in the winding helixes of nine-year-old Matt Murdock's DNA that Parker and his colleagues brought out. He'd never really understood what was done to him, or why it affected him the way it had — but framed in these terms, it's a revelation.

Like Six, he does his best not to let it show — and the half-mask and a profile that is often inscrutable even in daylight hours goes some of the distance there. As Parker goes on, as he details Wilson Fisk's cold and calculating business model, he crosses his arms over his chest; his jaw juts. "Why have you been holding back?" he asks. "You've got pills that can give people all sorts of gifts, by your own admission. Gifts people would pay a lot of money for."


Behind that darkened faceplate, Kinsey stares in open-mouthed shock at the figure in the chair, chattering away in the most blase possible fashion about temporary mutations — like genetic manipulation is something that can be turned on or off like a faucet tap. Her artificial fingers curl slowly into her palm, then gradually flex again, deliberately untightened.

She'd meant to save intimidation tactics for later, but the dismissiveness in the man's tone as he boredly refuses to speculate about his data sets is enough to change her mind. She's absolutely soundless in her advance to the man they've taken hostage, but the Devil of Hell's Kitchen will hear her moving, drawing up to the bulkwark that he represents to stand beside him, closer. Not as close as she wants to be. Not as close as she wants to be at all.

"Use. Your. Brain. Race. Age. Genetic predisposition. Unique markers." The pause is brief. "Give me the information for your access to the previous work, then answer his question."


"The boss says anything higher than a 5-7% fatality rate will damage the reputation of his distribution network. Even illegal drugs have to worry about their PR. He showed me some very impressive predictive analytics projects based on the way sales responded to fatalities in the cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine markets. Sales simply drop like a stone almost as soon as more than 8% of the customer base starts keeling over in response to the things. The initial rush of profits would be in the millions, but the operation's inability to sustain them would falter almost immediately, to the point where the losses would overshadow the expense of researching them, creating them, and distributing them."

And yes, he is cold about this as well. He says this, in fact, like he expects them to see why it's just good sense, just great business.

Six's question causes him to swallow and blink. "Oh. Well. Race doesn't matter, age hardly does, though I wouldn't feed them to anyone over the age of 2. 7 if you want to be really safe. Maybe a half of one at 7. A whole one if they were morbidly obese. But now, see, you've hit on the heart of it, haven't you? Unique genetic markers. There is one. We've been desperately trying to isolate the damned thing. There's a lesser version of it too, and there are more people with that, but that's virtually useless. And we need to find a way to temporarily fool the body into thinking the customer has it if we want to stabilize the fatality rates."

Mirroring Daredevil's thoughts, maybe, without realizing it: "We don't know what it is, precisely. My colleagues think it's latent or imperfect X-genes. I think that's bollocks. Our compound shares over 19 unique components with the substance known as Terrigen; clearly these proud few have some sort of altered strain of the Inhuman gene, one that makes them immune to the mists but not immune to direct contact with similar compounds. I'd have honestly killed for a confirmed Inhuman in my lab; it might have helped. All just theory, though, really…we'd have to find it and isolate it to be sure."

He's not lying, says his heartbeat. He would seriously have killed for one.


Maybe half of one at 7, Parker says, and Matt finds his fists clenching and the forearms that band his chest tightening with repressed fury as he remembers young Hunter and the rest of the test-tube children grown in IGH's farm. He lets out a little puff of breath, his lips pulled back tightly into an incredulous half-smile, half-grimace. It takes him a moment to calm down, or hear anything other than the sound of blood rushing in his ears.

When that pang of fury ebbs, "So that is why you were after Jessica Jones?" he asks, tone deathly-soft. "To break this — roadblock of yours.


"Yes. Jones. The first confirmed carrier, the first success story we know of, the only confirmed individual with this marker whose identity and location we know for sure, one of two we've ever found directly, unless the kid from the earlier truck accident didn't die in response to his contact with the stuff. My predecessors lost track of him right away, though. Bah. We didn't even manage to sell her because Kelt interfered. I was brought in as her replacement, though, so I suppose I benefitted from it. My other three samples are just derivatives, leftovers from another failure of a project, and then there's Daedalus-28, but since he got some other thing in his system before we ever got him, we can't be sure. Such a shame. If the boss had been in charge at the time," he says, "He'd have arranged an accident for the Walker women to nip that problem in the bud, sold her with an agreement we could take more genetic material whenever we wanted and used that money to revitalize the whole thing. He's so much better than the moron running things before."

He pushes his glasses up again, his chin tilting up a bit arrogantly. Then he rubs the back of his neck. "Though… in this case I suppose I'm not sure how much I admire the impulse. Even if I hadn't spilled to you people…well. My only hope of mollifying his… temper… over that grab was to get results and fast. I ahh…rather went against orders."

Then he glances back at Six and circles back to an earlier question, grimacing. "Look, all the research…It's all on my thumb drive, the one your damned impervious giant snatched up."


Daredevil listens to the doctor's diatribe — all his waxing on how things would have been so much different and better had he and Mr. Fisk been running the show from the start. It's arrogant and vile, like most of what Parker has to say, and it does little to cool the fire coursing through him. He wishes Parker were more reticent at this point, full of defiance and bravado like the gangsters he's used to interrogating, just to give him an excuse to lay a hand on the man. But when he's divulging so much willingly it seems foolish to change tack.

And so the interrogation continues, quiet and persistent: "Who is Daedalus-28?"


Silent. Unmoving. The urge to grasp the man against the wall by the throat with her unfeeling fingers has passed, though the cool, slick feeling of professionally-induced nausea remains. Six remains still and silent, resisting the urge to fold her arms, a gesture too natural, too human for her persona. Watching, for now. Just watching.


Giving Daredevil no excuse to throttle him, or break various limbs, or pound him into paste…Keeping Six from stabbing him or choking him to death…

That's pretty much Parker's #1 priority right now, so he sings like a little bird.

"The most useful of our thirty samples on-hand, the last of the Daedalus set we've had in there for awhile. Another accidental acquisition. He had some ridiculous name before, an obvious alias. We got him off a bus accident. He's the one we mine for the genetic material that gives us the purples. But if he does have the marker, simply passing adding his genetics to the pills doesn't fix anything. Maybe because the previous substances he's come into contact with corrupted the sample, maybe because he never had the marker in the first place. Without a known, pure, unaltered sample to serve as a control…" He spreads his hands.


The most useful of their samples, acquired from a bus accident, with an obvious alias. Kilgrave. Parker trails off, and for a long beat his chief inquisitor says nary a word, content to let silence fill the air. Then it's one slow step forward, then another, making the black-clad Devil of Hell's Kitchen seem nothing so much like a lengthening shadow as he approaches the scientist. He knows he doesn't have to threaten or intimidate to get Parker to squeal for most any question about Wilson Fisk's mutagenic drug empire, but this one is, for varying reasons, more important than the rest — and Parker will be able to hear the weight of it in the whisper that covers the scant space between them.

"Where is Daedalus-28?"


Parker's breath catches, and he nearly bites his tongue trying to get the words out fast enough.

"The Factory with all the rest! Monterary Shock! He's at Monterary Shock, along with all the other samples, the test subjects…Do you want the address? I have the address."

He rattles off the address, but of course it's one Six already had…

As it is one of the former for-profit prisons listed in the purchase agreements Six grabbed from CGI so long ago.

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