Raid at Monterary Shock

December 02, 2017:

After months of footwork and dangerous battles, a team comes together to put an end to Wilson Fisk's illicit science experiments. The finale to Tigers and Flies.

//Monterary Shock Prison, New York //

A former for-profit prison about 30 minutes north of the city.

Characters

NPCs: Various badguys, emitted by Kingpin

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Moterary Shock was — and in a very real sense still is — a prison, even if corrupted from its original purpose. Barbed fences, watchtowers, strong walls, and no end of guards. Normally all those defenses are meant to keep people from getting out, but this night a motley crew has decided to break in to this one instead.

They're only an hour north of New York City, but it's far enough upstate to put the Devil of Hell's Kitchen out of his natural habitat. He creeps through the shadowed foliage outside the southwestern corner of the complex, nearing the edge of the clearing at which point he'll enter the guard towers' line of sight. He takes step by slow, prowling step, waiting until he hears that unmistakable sound of the lights at the five watchtowers to shut off at once — the signal to begin.

Only then does he rush forward, keeping low to the ground.

*

Three and a half minutes from request for extraction, is what Six told them: it'll be five minutes for the Valkyrie to reach the Prison from the closest location she believes she can safely bring it without tipping anybody off. Five minutes may not sound like a long time, but when your boots are on the ground in a hot zone it may as well be an eternity.

As their synced watches tick down toward the moment they've agreed to set their plans into motion, she's physically ensconced within the unlit belly of the VTOL craft, nestled within the molded contours of the pilot's seat, helmet on — but her mind is miles away, at the prison. Amplified via wired connection with the Valkyrie, she's slingshot herself out into the prison grounds, and flits through the network of cables powering everything, waiting for Five's go-ahead.

When it arrives, all of those spotlights die at the same time, and the heavily-secure gate begins to sedately slide open, as promised.

*

Luke swore he'd never see the inside of a prison again, and here he is waltzing right up to the front gate voluntarily. Chalk it up to Doing the Right Thing. The big man cranes his head, looking into the darkness at the unseen forces that are gathering to do their part and he pops his neck once. Twice. Feeling the vertebrae pop like little firecrackers up his spine. Lights out. Thanks, Six. "Here goes nothing." It's as much warning as the rest of the team is going to get that it's go-time from his end. He's at the outer fence in a matter of moments, his long stride eating up the ground quickly. The chainlink is ripped open as easily as wrapping paper, the metal pinging away from the frame as he makes a Luke-sized hole and strides right through it towards the main entrance. It's only a matter of time now before he's spotted. Which is the plan to distract from Daredevil slipping through the open gate on the opposite side.

*

Advance scouting, silent takedowns of sentries, and dismantling of manned watchtowers has been the bread and butter of James Barnes' work for many years, stretching back even before his tenure as the Winter Soldier. This was his duty back in the war, and it comes back to him with the comfortable fit of an old glove.

"Yeah, just leave that to me," he said, before taking Jane with him to handle the three closer of the five watchtowers in question. The remaining two, farther afield, were left to Gwen, quicker and more agile.

Once the spotlights go out, the Winter Soldier goes up, scaling the first tower with a speed and silence that is not human. He was told no killing, so he doesn't: he's come equipped, as always, with a unique sedative of Jane's formulation made to act much more swiftly — and last much longer — than the norm.

Unless he meets resistance, he will do the same for each of the other towers.

*

Spider-Woman keeps her eye on the first tower she is meant to subdue. Perched on a rooftop and keeping to the shadows. However, Spider-Woman is not dressed in her typical white, pink and grey, should anyone actually recognize that outfit. She has, instead, borrowed a costume. To some here it will be instantly recognizable: blue, red and black with a black spider across her chest. It seems as if Spider-Man is here and not Spider-Woman.

It took her quite a few tries to get used to Peter's version of his web-shooters, but she's confident in how to use them now. As soon as the watch ticks to the proper minute, she swings to the proper tower toward the back, aiming for the opening and leaping through with surprising speed and accuracy.

Without a word, she webs each of them to the walls, making sure they have no access to alarms or weapons and then knocks them each out before swinging to the second tower. She relies on speed rather than stealth.

*

It's a different look for the famous astrophysicist than usual — dressed in all black like the world's most petite ninja, clad in clothing meant for movement, soft-soled shoes, her dark hair tied back, and a sharp, focused set to her face that is someone long in business mode. It's probably one of those side effects of living with an ex-assassin and super-soldier for nearly a year, but Jane leaves the tech to the other expert and merely wraps an arm around Bucky Barnes's neck, hitching a ride as he pulls them both up into darkness.

As Bucky sees to the first guard and (non-lethally) dispatches, Jane slips to check the communications console, zip-tie the body's hands, and hand Barnes over an air rifle — loaded with her tranquilizer cocktail.

"Bet you can't two for two from here," she murmurs to him, a lilt in her voice. The smile in her eyes already knows the answer to that.

*

Across town, another kind of war is being fought.

Danny Rand has been making a true effort to actually understand how his company operates. It’s been a huge learning curve, considering he didn’t exactly have a conventional education in K’un L’un and hasn’t even really figured out Netflix and smartphones yet. Thankfully, attorney Jeri Hogarth has some very patient interns who were willing to break down the whole process with him and really teach him what he needs to know about corporate finances.

Although it’s Danny’s signature that actually removes the funding for Dartmouth Pharmaceuticals, Hogarth (aka J-Money) set up the dominoes that the signature knocks over. It was set up in such a way that the pen stroke springs a trap that chokes off funding. Fortunately, the bad guys had relied on the complicity or the incompetence of people at Rand to allow the funds to flow freely. That is the exactly the sort of thing that Danny has been trying to root out since he re-took control of his family’s company.

“All right. It should be ready to send,” says Jeri Hogarth as she finishes pulling a handheld scanner over the document with Danny’s signature. An intern types away on the laptop, confirms the scan, then nods as she hits ‘send.’

“Are we good?” asks Danny as he fidgets in a plush conference room chair.

“We are…good,” says Hogarth. “Dartmouth Pharmaceuticals has approximately five dollars to its name.”

Danny balloons out his cheeks, then pulls out his phone. He fires off a text to the crew that says simply, ‘The lights are off.’

And now he waits for the inevitable calls. He’ll be watching closely to see which board member calls him first.

This is not the role the Iron Fist is used to playing, but sometimes the battle can be fought from a conference room instead of a boiler room - and sometimes with the stroke of a pen instead of the strike of a fist.

Here at Monterary Shock, of course, a more traditional battle begins. Six turns her own set of lights off.

Nobody at all notices Daredevil.

But Luke Cage draws immediate fire from the watchtowers closest to the entrance. They don't even notice, of course, the way their bullets ping right off his body, shell casings hitting the ground with soft ping-ping-pings against the crushed gravel covering the ground out here near the entrance.

No significant opposition at this one; two guards down to the Winter Soldier. The only real opponent here is time, perhaps.

Gwen meets no opposition either. Four down in the first several seconds of the conflict.

The front doors of the building open. Three guards come streaming out first; running with preturnatural grace and speed. These are definitely pill poppers, and if they are no Quicksilvers they're certainly quite a bit faster than most. Of course, they're running out to shoot at Cage, which they still, in these first few seconds, have not yet figured out as a fool's errand. Given a moment, their strategy will certainly change, but in the darkness they can't even tell for sure why the whole guard tower shots fired thing isn't accomplishing what they need and want to accomplish.

*

As he races inside under cover of darkness, Daredevil senses each of the pieces coming into play. The powerful and relentless footsteps of Luke Cage, and the sound of bullets thudding uselessly to the ground after striking unbreakable skin. The light banter between Bucky Barnes and Jane Foster as they do what he does best. The Spider-woman doing her own swift work, punctuated with the sound of unconscious bodies dropping to the floor.

This was the easiest part though — springing the trap with the advantage of surprise. The rough equivalent of a sucker punch. And now, Wilson Fisk's men have a chance to punch back. And man do they punch fast. They're closing in on Cage even as Daredevil is making to stealthily flank them. He keeps to the shadows, beneath Bucky and Jane's darkened watchtower, and lines up his target: one of the three guardsmen descending on Cage. Before they have a chance to change up their strategy he's hurling one of his twin batons straight at the head of the one in front before rolling into a dive towards the shadows. He plans to be gone before they even realize what's happened, or even tell from which way the metal rod flew.

*

From within the grid of wires that laces through the compound like veins and nerves, controlling everything, Six has a clear view — through the eyes of the liberal number of cameras scattered throughout the facility — of what's happening, including the trio of guards.

"I'm locking down the interior security doors in the facility now," says that smooth, synthetic voice, piped across the earpieces. "It won't stop them if they pill up, but it should slow them down. I'll open the doors for you as you go."

And so she does. All throughout the prison, doors become completely inoperable and unresponsive.

*

Luke really should just start showing up to these things naked. Think of the beneficial psychological advantage that would present! Bullets start eating up his clothing, perforating his hoodie and even his jeans, leaving searing holes in the cotton fabric but the metal jackets just crumple against his skin and litter around his feet. "Somebody order pizza?" The big man quips as the doors open, spewing out the trio of pill-powered guards. He takes a few more steps forward, then chooses to stand his ground there for the moment instead of trapping himself at the mouth of the building. It'll only be a matter of time before they realize their current shots are ineffectual and his fists close in anticipation.

*

Bet you can't two for two from here, Jane says.

Bucky gives her a withering look. Taking the rifle from her hands, he sights, aims, fires. Four times. Four remaining guards.

He hands her the rifle back. "Let's get those four tied up and then get back down to the party," he says, offering her his arm to do just that. He'll carry her, swiftly, from tower to tower, before circling back around to drop down to the main melee with Murdock and Cage.

*

Spider-WomanMan flings herself at the other two guards. In short work, they are webbed and knocked unconscious. Once that is accomplished, she practically leaps out of the last guard tower. With a last minute attaching of a web, she practically slides to a stop right behind those running forward with supernatural speed.

A flick of her wrist swings out a lasso meant to grab one by the ankles. With a pull, she can hopefully knock that one out of commission. Unlike Spider-Man is usually, the person in red and blue is strangely quiet. There are few quips about how awesome that was and how he is totally great at being a cowboy due to his lasso skills.

*

Taking back the air rifle, Jane reflexively slips herself into its long strap, slinging the weapon to her back. Even in the dark, there is little hiding her shit-eating grin, and the brief, indulgent way she bites her bottom lip.

"That was pretty hot, Barnes," she says, a laugh crept into her low words, reaching out to take his gentlemanly arm.

In seconds, the super-soldier has them both airborne, the wind watering her eyes, the velocity only serving to widen the reckless grin knifed along her mouth. Should breaking into a prison be this fun? Seems so for Dr. Foster.

Back with the group, finally let down to her feet, Jane looks wind-whipped but half-way sobered, ready to take the open route in.

*

The towers are now devoid of guards. Six can indeed see four more guards rapidly popping a couple more pills and doing their best to handle the security door. Strength first, but they might get more creative here in a minute.

Meanwhile, Speedy #1 gets THWOCKED by the Devil. Down he goes. Speedy #3 gets lasso'd by a Spider-Person. Speedy #2, the Man in the Middle, spots the Winter Soldier's descent to this melee. He turns and starts firing at him instead, zipping off to the side to give himself some space, using all that speed to his advantage.

A wind rises, it's not a fun wind. Cause it carries corpse stench from the giant pit at the back of the property. Not that this will particularly hamper Our Heroes, but…you know. It might not be particularly pleasant, either.

*

"Nice work," the Devil of Hell's Kitchen gravels to the small but growing gathering as he emerges from the long shadows cast by the prison wall. He bends down to one knee to snatch its baton where it lays behind the bruised and bloody temple of the man it laid low. He makes to rise, pausing mid-way through as he is — of course — the first to catch that singular whiff of mass-graves. He swallows and grits his teeth as any inward pleasure over their well-executed plan is snuffed out.

"What are you seeing inside, Six?" the man in black asks through the mic.

*

"There are four guards inside taking pills and attempting to open one of the security gates en route to your position." Six's consciousness slips out of the camera with a view to the door, doing a circuit of the facility in search of other pertinent information. It takes virtually no time at all, but for Six time is twisted out of true, and the shock of her discovery makes the sense of urgency that much worse.

"Ten guards in cell block A are mobilizing. Five are taking a lot of pills. The rest-" Her helmet suppresses the sound of her gasp.

"They've started to execute the prisoners. Lowest floor."

*

Luke Cage is still getting used to this 'team' mentality, but he's nonetheless amused as the Devil drops one of the advancers with his baton, and the other literally has his feet swept out from underneath him by Spider Gender Bender. This leaves the third zooming off and turning to a more tender skinned target. "Oh hell no, come back and fight me like a man." It's no fun when they don't even try to go toe to toe with him! He starts stalking in that direction, putting the muscle in his legs to work to drive his momentum into a sprint even though speed isn't really his gig, but he's determined not to let Bucky get swiss cheesed by this mo fo. Jones threatened her pals reanimating his corpse if /he/ died. Imagine what she'd do if he let Bucky bite the dust. With the man turned to fire at the Winter Soldier target, Luke merely plucks him up by the shoulders and tosses him like an empty cardboard box towards the solid prison wall. It's not deadly force, but it certainly should immobilize the fellow for a good long while so they can tend to … oh god …the ones executing prisoners. Suddenly the stench makes sense.

*

The Winter Soldier really doesn't look like he's concerned. He kept eyes on all three opponents in the field before he jumped himself down in the middle of it, much less brought Jane in, gauging their speed and adjusting for it. When the third turns towards him he's already moving. He turns his left side towards the gunfire in the direction of the man's run, watching the movement of the gun's muzzle and anticipating shot trajectories, glancing each one off his left arm as they come in.

If the last one gets deflected at just the right angle to ricochet back in a bid to shatter the man's ankle, well, that's not a LETHAL wound, is it?

It gives Cage time enough to catch up and deal with the man. The Soldier straightens up and steps forward, his features tightening as the smell hits his senses. While they aren't half as keen as Matt's, they're still sharper than an ordinary man's, and it doesn't make the experience pleasant.

They're starting to execute the prisoners, Six relates over the comms. The Soldier flicks a glance left at Jane, a blank sort of look, then moves to catch up with Murdock.

*

Letting go of her lasso, Spider-WomanMan straightens and gets back onto her feet just about when the rest of the guards are quickly taken care of. The stench of death is not what she recognizes. It smells bad, for sure, but she doesn't realize it like Luke or Daredevil does.

However, as soon as it's been announced that there are prisoners being executed, she's immediately moving forward. Quick and eager, she easily moves right behind Daredevil. In fact, she runs forward to pass him by to get keep moving. They're a team and they're well functioning, but there are people dying below them and they need to get to them quickly.

*

Probably the after-shocks after the weirdest year of her life, Jane shares Bucky's absence of concern. Someone starts firing shots the Soldier's way, and she merely turns her head, dark eyes bland.

Between his metal arm — built by her — and Luke Cage, the problem is solved in seconds.

Fed the same instruction into her own earpiece, Jane catches Bucky's glance. She tilts her head and lifts her shoulder.

With little more, she follows after the rest with a covering glance back, one hand on the strap of the rifle.

*

Into the building. The security doors to the east and west in the foyer are still closed tight; no need to open them right now. The one dead ahead? Well. The folks on the other side have finally figured something out…

Because with a shriek and a groan it comes up and out of the concrete and goes flying out towards the party. Daredevil can smell the unholy reek of those combat pills. It's like they each took five apiece instead of one. There are four of them, now, with the help of this concoction, they're all hopped up, at least for the short term, into people who could match Cage or Barnes for sheer strength.

They're also bugfuck. They're not even bothering with guns at this point. They charge in with their batons. Gwen raced ahead, so she's going to get someone attempting to slam it into her gut and bean her over the back with it. The others need a moment to get somewhere useful enough to start fighting.

*

When Six relays what's happening to those prisoners, Daredevil lets out a raw groan, suffused with shock and rage. Your plan, your fault, a voice inside tells him, but he shoves it aside. Focus. He pushes himself to a rise and stalks towards the doors, even as Spider-Something races ahead of him. "We're going in, Six, you can ope —"

But she doesn't have to, because the door comes flying off its hinges and at the heroes. The man in black sidesteps it and grits his teeth as he hears, smells, the approach of the guards. He knows he can't match them toe to toe, but he can provide assists where they will count, and move with a finesse that these roided-out thugs can't manage. He clenches the metal batons in either side of his hand and charges, quick behind Gwen and prepared to give her backup — aiming his swing for the head of the guardsman trying to put his own stick in the woman's gut.

*

In reality, Six is far from the action, at very little risk barring a rude eviction from the network or discovery of the Valkyrie, though she and Five are monitoring the sensor arrays that bristle over the VTOL's sleek shell against any such eventuality. But for her, wired directly into the rooms and flitting from camera to camera, the feeling couldn't be further from remote or distant. She winces absently as the door she'd locked is hurled down the length of the hallway, then pulls out of that camera, out and away along electrical impulses to the one upstairs, where the rest of the guards have had more ample time to prepare. And what she sees there-

Oh, my god. She's too horrified in the moment to say or even think what she'll realize later, which is: This is just like what happened to that Orsino guy in the really terrible Dragon Age game.

What she thinks in the moment is, instead, WHAT IN THE ENTIRE FUCK?

"I think I've just discovered an unanticipated side-effect of the pills not accounted for in my laboratory tests," says the emotionless synthetic voice, soft as silk. "The aforementioned guards upstairs from you appear to have…merged…"

*

The others are as eager as Luke is to get into the prison and stop the execution of the subjects within. Subjects. He was one. He was referred to as one. And now this version of the experiment is in the 'destroy the evidence' mode. Cage tries to forge ahead of the others and become their human shield but he's not fast enough, as the batons come out and Gwen suffers the brunt of the first blow. "I can try and hold them off." It's perhaps a false sense of security, with those drugs coursing through their veins, but Luke wants to buy the others time to stop the death of the captives. After all, the guards might be suped up, but their batons aren't. It'd be like a hurricane driving a chopstick, the latter is going to splinter or bend on the big man, even if he's going to /feel/ it this time. Do the others pop the pill for resilience too? Luke is about to find out as he drives his frame into one, slamming a fist upwards into someone's jaw. "MERGED?!" Is the nearly shouted word.

*

The Winter Soldier doesn't know the exact weight class of these new additions, but he's pretty sure of his own. With a glance at Jane, he moves ahead with unnatural speed, overtaking Cage and Murdock as they defend Gwen, surging towards the three guards still catching up. He turns at the last moment, swinging with all the strength of his left arm to cannon a hook into the forerunner and — with any luck — send him sideway into the others.

The guards upstairs have merged, Six says.

The Soldier doesn't respond, doesn't bat a lash, doesn't seem to care. He's focused on moving around the three guards. They might be strong, but are they as agile as he is?

*

As the guards rush toward Gwen, she attempts to get out of their way. With her enhanced speed and dexterity, it's something she expects to be able to do. The enemy in front of her is huge and she thinks she'll be able to take him. However, while she manages to sidestep some of that first guards momentum, the second smash downward clips her and with all the strength behind it, she goes careening toward the wall with a smash.

"Who's on first base…?" she mutters to herself woozily even as the others rush in to engage.

*

"Dude," Jane winces, one eye squinting briefly against the sudden volume of Luke's voice through her earpiece, "don't have to shout. You're doing a Grohl on my eardrums."

Receiving the Soldier's glance with an uptick of her mouth, Jane shoulders up the rifle, prepared to cover the movement of those on vanguard down its long barrel. This is the consequence of life with James Barnes, and his training bleeds through the movement of her fingers, the way she aims, the way she breathes, trying to tag tranqs into the pilled-up heavies with silent, surgical shots.

Lining up the next, Jane explains: "And Heterotypic cell fusion isn't exactly impossible. Vectored in via sendai virus. Or you use polyethylene glycol." Her voice is low, matter-of-fact. "I mean, this is what you use on a single cell in a laboratory condition, and not so much a living organism. But if you have a chemical substance that's undifferentiating the cells in your body? Probably didn't account for binucleation."

*

Daredevil's finesse is definitely something 'roided out thugs can't manage. And a headshot with a baton is still a headshot. He doesn't go down— though it would have been nice, but he does stagger a little bit. Sadly it's after Gwen takes the shot, but it sets him up for something else, perhaps. It's a start.

They can hear the shots behind the security doors leading into Cell Block A, to the west. They're still at it in there, the 5 guards, calmly shooting human beings like they're dolls or dummies.

The baton does splinter on Cage. He drives his body into one and punches him. The guy staggers, then turns around to try to bodily haul Cage up and slam him into the ground with all of his might. Which is. At the moment. A stupid amount of might.

That leaves only two for the Winter Soldier to maneuver himself around. And it's child's play for the assassin to do just that. They are rushing forward, one trying to catch Daredevil with a meaty fist right in the face, the other pressing further into the hall…perhaps with designs on Jane Foster. But Jane Foster shoots her tranq darts, and however roided up he is, the multiple ones will certainly topple them eventually. One falls before her like a tree trunk, his face hitting the pavement inches from her shoes.

*

Even with all this pandemonium swirling around them, Daredevil's attention is hundreds of feet away. He can hear the shots fired, the entry of bullets into soft tissue, the jolt of unconscious bodies on the gurney. Each shot spurs him on. Faster, we need to get there faster, he thinks as he drives the baton that just bounced off of the back of the guard's head into a knee-shattering blow directed at his stunned opponent.

Of course, centering one's attention somewhere other than the immediate field of battle has its liabilities. See the way a powerful fist slams into the side of Daredevil's very human head. Murdocks are famous for being able to take a punch, but sees stars supernovaing behind his eyes, bursting a million capillaries at his temple. The force causes him to stagger back into a wall, numb for a moment —

Gunshot. The sound breaks through the ringing and the fog. There goes another. And Daredevil shoves himself away from the wall and back into the fray, only a hint of a stagger hitching his step.

*

Kinsey — not Six, but Kinsey — wants so badly to talk to Doctor Foster about…everything. Her focus is and always has been engineering; she finds her way through peripheral fields as necessary, but none of them will ever keep her attention the same way. 'Probably didn't account for binucleation' is almost enough, on its own, to open the floodgates. It's almost the punchline to a joke, in fact, if one could look at the outrageously aggressive cancer and rampant tumors infesting the lab rats she exposed to the mutagen as a joke.

Now? Is decidedly not the time, not least because it's important to keep the comms clear for important information. Soon enough she has other things to keep her focus: she watches Matt slammed backward into a wall on the business end of someone's fist, and her fingertips — organic and inorganic both — tighten into the arms of her seat.

*

"Merged…" Luke's voice drifts off for a moment, likely because he's busy engaging in an epic version of fisticuffs, "Sort of demands a raise in volume." Thank you very much. He can't even wrap his brain around the thought that a bunch of guards are now one mega-guard, much less the techno-mumbo-jumbo that Jane just spewed because - oh wait - he's being pile driven into the ground. That's new. Cage, meet concrete. Concrete, Cage. It actually cracks slightly on the surface beneath him with the might of the force and fact that Luke's body doesn't give. But once upon a time, he was in the marines. And then a cop. He knows how to leg sweep a mutha-…another mental dollar goes in the swear jar. He's scrambling up to follow through, and hopefully put the lights out with a well dropped elbow.

*

The Winter Soldier glances around in the wake of Jane dropping two of the opponents. There's one still tangling with Matt and Gwen; he doubles back, silent amidst the greater chaos, a dark streak moving between combatants.

The only sound he makes is the sound of his left arm, spinning up, a whirring metallic hum that presages his strike. He pistons a hit straight for the back of the neck, at the base of the skull, a killing hit on most humans. On these… probably, at best, a knockout or stun. Still, it will serve for the purpose.

Perhaps he saw Murdock get absolutely clocked in the face, earlier.

*

And one roid-raged, pill-rollin' brute comes skidding up at Jane's feet, taken down just in time by her darts.

Raising the barrel of her rifle, she looks down, affording one moment's glance down on the unconscious man. She gives his forehead an appraising tap with her heel, head tilted, brown eyes half-shuttered. No response. Out like a light. Defenceless.

The fight's going on. Not like anyone would notice Jane giving the body a good, unnecessary kick straight to the face. Asshole.

Checking for the Soldier, a smile shadows her mouth to catch him at work — artful as always — as the rest finish clean-up on the room. Shifting the rifle to her back, she ambles forward to catch up.

"Daredevil?" she asks, concern couched in her voice. Any concussions?

*

Knees are funny things for sure. No matter how big, how strong, or how awesome a person is, they remain a weak point. Hit the knee, they go down, and Daredevil does. Seconds after that the Winter Soldier is there, taking him the rest of the way down, ensuring he won't be a threat.

Luke's leg sweep and follow-through combo do the trick. That puts the final two pretty much down and out for count.

Gwen, meanwhile, is just as down as the men, a little too hurt from her encounter with them. She'll be safe enough here, with everyone down, and the gunshots continue.

Once the door opens, courtesy of Six, they'll see them. Five men who don't seem to have taken any pills, but who have definitely been working their way down the line. The smell of blood is cloying even to unenhanced senses; the smell of GSR residue joins it. And then there's the thing that comes down the stairs to join them on the lower floor of the cellblock.

Which smells like a cat went into someone's armpit to die.

It walks with thunderous, ponderous motions, six legs, uncounted arms, multiple heads, large enough to fill the hallway almost, large enough for the head to brush up the ceiling, trailing slime and goo wherever it walks. It roars, a discordant sound, each a different pitch from five separate mouths, bass, soprano, tenor, everything in between, shrieking.

*

"I'm alright," Daredevil murmurs in assurance to Jane. He may, in fact, have a concussion — but it wouldn't be his first. "Shouldn't have wrecked that armor in Wakanda," he says, half-joking. He blows out a breath and shakes his head quickly. "Come on, I hear the guards and the prisoners and —"

He pauses. "Uh, something else, too." And then he's moving quickly forward, doubly determined to operate at 100, even if he's feeling less than. That determination — and a sudden resurgence of anger — drive him through the doors to where the five gunmen are butchering their comatose prisoners… and where one foul-smelling monstrosity is tearing its way towards them. Matt Murdock has probably never been so glad that he doesn't have eyes to see it. And he lets those who have special talents deal with it. His attention, and his ire, are turned towards the ordinary men killing their less-than-ordinary test subjects.

Against super-soldiers, he's at a disadvantage. Against five regular guys brandishing — what? Guns? They'll never know what hit them. He's a flurry — a punch to one, a chokehold for the second, while he deals a high kick to the midsection of the third.

*

"This is the last opposition remaining in the facility," Six says over the open line, and this is the point at which her focus splits. There's nothing more she can do for them but keep an eye out for reinforcements at this point as the Valkyrie's darkened interior begins to change, tiny lights in the cockpit winking to life, the fuselage thrumming as systems spool up and come to life. "Making preparations now for inbound flight."

*

Oh man. Oh man. Hearing the term 'merged' is one thing, but to see the amalgamation in the physical is quite another thing. It'll definitely be something to tell the grandkids. That is. If they survive. Luke can't focus on anything else, but the mass of limbs and voices of discontent. It's a moment of absolute WTF, to be sure. And then he's running, running towards the Winter Soldier without really giving it much thought. Because if he did? He might think this is the dumbest idea of ideas ever. "Throw me!" He bids the other man, without having time to give explanation, he's bracing for impact.

*

Jane checks for him, and in passing the Soldier leans down and gives her a light hello-there kiss. "Good shooting," he says. "Someday you'll catch up to me." His mouth curls in a grin. "Next century."

He gives Daredevil a look too, an appraising sort of glance, though his answer to Jane seems to satisfy both of them as to him being all right. "You break it, you buy it, Daredevil," he says. "I'm sure it only cost a couple million."

There's no time for banter, though — prisoners are dying, and there's one more area to clear. It's the last opposition, Six informs them, which the Soldier keeps in mind when the doors open and the MERGED thing comes into view. It ROARS, with all of its faces, dripping unfathomable slime, and smelling ungodly. The Winter Soldier is starting to wonder whether that 'no killing' clause is still in effect when suddenly he hears Luke Cage approaching. THROW ME, the other man insists.

The Soldier really only needs a few seconds to think about this, because, well — why the fuck not? "You're invincible, right?" he replies. "Well, time to test that — "

He turns, his left arm whirring with a shriek of working servos, bracing to take the momentum of Luke's dead-on run. His metal hand clamps onto all 400-and-change pounds of Luke Cage with a secure grip, and with a sharp swivel he FLINGS the other man straight up. One invincible, unbreakable cruise missile on a crash course straight towards all those faces.

*

Talk of Daredevil's poor head, and his still-broken armor — something like guilt presses a line between Jane's eyebrows. She opens her mouth to answer —

— and instead gets blinded by a drive-by Winter Soldiering, all into a heartbeat drawn into a kiss, a compliment, and a punchline. "I'm happy with good enough to shoot you in your smart ass."

Her eyes track back to Matt. "Soon," she promises, far more gently, sotto voce.

And then, not much more time for words — or anything else. As Daredevil rushes to engage three more men — men thankfully less of the /enhanced/ sort — and the Soldier is gearing up to deliver the biggest fastball special this side of Westchester, Jane double-takes, but catches two more men rounding on the group, guns in hand.

Quick as a snake strike, she snaps up her rifle to land one darted shot at one, follows through for the next — and empty of extra ammunition.

Fortunately, Dr. Foster didn't arrive empty-handed. She sets her jaw, and sprints forward, just as — suddenly, mysteriously, the hum of a moving field comes from the ballerina flats she wears. Energy lashes free from their soles, though surprisingly with no fanfare, no heat, nothing that suggests use of chemical propellant — rockets her up and forward like a bullet in herself, as she rounds to slam the stock of her rifle to the second's head, landing in a half-controlled skid-turned-tumble.

Rocket ballerina flats, mkII: test flight successful.

*

Daredevil takes out three guards, a whirling dervish of fury, fists and feet. Guns clatter, they hit the floor; their killing spree cut short. And then there is Jane, the smallest and most routinely underestimated one of the bunch, trained by the Winter Soldier herself to become far more dangerous than anyone imagines. And stylish. In rocket ballerina flats, mkII. Points for style.

But let's talk about this Magic Luke Missile for a minute, shall we?

The Winter Soldier's aim is true. Super soldier force with a 400 pound unbreakable object hurled with all his might into an unstable cancerous merged cellular crazy mutant thing that's dripping goo.

Good news. That'll do, guys, that'll do.

Bad news.

Luke's body barrels into, then through, then out the other side of this thing pretty much exactly like…like…like a missile. It explodes. The effect is a lot like what happens when you have a sick kid on a top bunk that's a little too close to the ceiling. The…gory, gooey, slimey remains hit the ceiling, splatter across the cells, hit the wide-eyed faces of the 68 or so prisoners who managed to live through this event, splorches down the hall in a backwash of shit that smells just like the thing did.

It slimes them. It slimes them all.

But it slimed Luke worst of all; there's probably not a bit of him that isn't just SOAKED IN IT.

This narrator bets that Six was never so glad to be the one to stay in the VTOL.

But. The facility? With all of its prisoners, both meta-humans and test subjects, including one Zebediah Kilgrave? Is theirs.

*

The exchange between Luke Cage and Bucky Barnes was background noise to the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, who was enmeshed in his own slightly-more-mundane but still ferocious battle with the three thugs. So when his senses pick up first Jane Foster and then Luke Cage soaring through the air, it's all he can do to look up from his busy job of punching the prone form of his final opponent into thorough unconsciousness to "look" up and pay attention to his flying friends…

…and the gallons of flying bodily fluids that follow Luke's impact. He's as doused in mutant-guts in the ugly aftermath, another outfit in a long line rendered unusable: even if it weren't for the rips and tears, he'd never be able to get the smell out to his satisfaction. He rises slowly, breathing through his mouth in a vain attempt to ward off some of the stench, and after a moment's survey of the mad scene, he puts a hand in his cargo pants and draws out a small flip-phone.

A quick text fired off, and then he's turning to the shell-shocked survivors of the massacre they just interrupted. "You're all going to be okay," the masked man says to the crowd. "The authorities are on their way right now. They'll be here soon to shut this place down — and to make sure you're taken care of."

*

Yeah, guess they're about to find out about that invincible thing. In truth, Luke really doesn't know his own limits in full, but there is no time like the present to figure it out. There isn't even a split second to double-think this decision before Bucky picks up what he's laying down and clamps on to launch him at the mega-meta. He only has enough time to curl his head in and wrap an arm around his skull before he goes launching into the ACTUAL face (faces?) of danger, becoming a Cage-shaped cannon ball.

A cannon ball that creates quite the SPLAT!

Luke tumbles beyond the mutant mass, hitting concrete in a tangle of ineloquent limbs as he bounces off the ground like a stone skipping across a frozen pond. He's uninjured but that doesn't mean he's /unscathed/ as he sits up, absolutely dripping with gooey cellular matter. He flicks out his arms to the side, flinging sloppy mess off in every direction and then mopping a hand down his face to scraaaaaaaaaaape slime off.

"So that happened."

*

Unfortunately, while Jane is doing some rocket flats-enabled martial arts, the Soldier is a little busy using Luke Cage as a projectile weapon to take note. However there's not much to be missed, in all honesty — he taught her all of that. He knows quite well what she is capable of now, and what she looks like doing it.

What he hasn't seen before, in contrast, is what happens when a flying Luke Cage, hurled at supersoldier strength speeds, impacts a monstrosity.

The answer is an explosion. Unspeakable gore rains down from the epicenter of that catastrophic event, hitting… everything. Everyone. The disgusting ooze splatters the Soldier too, though he doesn't look too put out about that, because THROWING LUKE CAGE THROUGH A MONSTER was just one of the most satisfying things he's done all week.

Shaking himself like a wolf, he trots back towards Jane, who is doubtless also absolutely disgusting. There is really only one thing left to say at this juncture. "So… not tonight?"

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