Do Androids Dream of Electric Vigilantes?

February 03, 2018:

While patrolling the area around Kinsey's garage, Daredevil comes across not one but two of Tony Stark's robots.

Gotham Bay -- South Point


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Six


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Gotham is a hellish place by all accounts, and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen isn't helping matters any. The sun has set, the lighting crashes in the sky in the distance and the dark streets of Gotham teem with villainy and crime.

And crazy baddies in spandex.

Even more than New York. Its like a black hole for them.

Thankfully the streets around a specific garage have remained /mostly/ clear. Mostly. Either by luck or design, its hard to tell.

The Devil's sences can tell the second that changes.

A low hum of some kind of mechanical object. Flitting though the air, a tiny little round drone. One engine battered and sputtering inn and out of life. The other blaring full blast…which…really isn't that loud or powerful all things considered. He's not a big drone. Hardly bigger than a fist really, with a single blue glowing optic in the front and a pair of stubby wings where the engines are. One sputters out for a second that sends him careening into the side of an alleyway, batting more scrapes and dings to the carapace.

It seems to shake and right itself…looking back the way it came down an alley…

And a mechanical scrape of a different and more sinister timbre echos from the blackness behind him, causing Ace(the little drone) to hover backwards in surprise.

Kinsey warned him, the first time he came to visit her garage, that this wasn't an unsafe neighborhood in an unsafe city. And it makes sense, positioned as it is near the waterfront, which is always a beacon for various forms of skullduggery. At the time, she'd been warning him out of concern for his handicap, ignorant of its nuance or the gifts that at least somewhat offset it. She didn't know how little he had to fear.

For all Gotham's hellish reputation, a rooftop is a rooftop, a fire escape is a fire escape, and he navigates the ones here just as fleetly, decked in his shadowy, unassuming blacks. The quiet is if anything disquieting for a man who tonight hunts distraction as much as wanting to help those in need. His not insignificant powers of attention are cast all around him, searching for — what? A cry for help. The mutter of conspirators. The cock of a pistol.

Instead, it finds — a sputter, a blast, the sound of scuttling and scraping of metal along brick and concrete. It's not what he expected, but it's strange enough to investigate: to send him sliding down the fire escape and making a bone-jarring land with both feet into the alleyway. These days, with Stark Tower still smoldering and mechanical beings of all sorts causing mischief, it's worth investigating even the plight and problems of a modest drone. Matt approaches it warily, footstep-by-careful-footstep.

Then, when that harsher scrape is heard in the distance, he casts his considerable powers of attention that way — while reaching for the metal batons sheathed at his calf.

For most people the darkness in the alley would be an obstacle. Impenetrable and immutable. Hiding the terrifying noise and its maker. But to Matt, well its not an obstacle at all. He sees the noise, what's making it, and possibly wishes he hadn't.

There is a Stark drone. Well. It was a Stark drone at one point. One of the Iron Legion. Created to protect the world. Now turned to something from its nightmares.

Wires hang exposed from rents in its chest plate. One arm seems to have been replaced with some kind of blade or claw. Black /something/ leaks from the skull like mess of its head as it twitches spasmoticly, like a mechanical paradoy of the living dead.

Its eyes burn with shadowy magic. Something that he's seen before, from the Demon Bear.

"Sourrrrceeeee…find…sourceeeeee." It hisses as it claws fowards, metal grinding against metal with every step.

The little drone? It sees him alright and zips behind it. Peering our from around Matt's shoulder at the horror dragging itself towards them.

There is a soft burst of static from the drone, as if its compiling something before, in Tony Stark's voice unfortunately, it simply says: "Help!"

Well shit.

Of all the victims Matt Murdock was expecting to defend on the streets of Gotham, one of Tony Stark's lesser drones was least among them. And of all the threats he expected to defend against, a disembodied, zombiefied Iron Man suit ranked pretty far down too. Where's the goddamn Joker when you need him?

Matt hefts Jane Foster's batons in either hand while dropping into a fighting crouch, teeth clenched. Help! the little droid says, in its maker's voice. Pretty sure this is stretching the attorney-client duty of loyalty, Stark. But he will help, anyway, both because that's what Matt Murdock does and because he is at least a little worried that the 'source' the drone is speaking of might be located just a few blocks away, several floors underground, inside a skull he's decidedly protective of.

How hard can it be, to fight a robot? In his line of work you look for points where minimum effort will produce maximum pain. You go for joints and ligaments; the unprotected belly. When you can, the head. And while there's no pain to be felt here, there must be weak spots. It's just a matter of finding them. "I knew I should have brought those rocket boots when I went out," he mutters to himself. And then, to the drone behind him: "Stay back."

Then he's rushing forward, into the fray. This being, however damaged or misshapen, will be undeniably stronger and sturdier than he is. His job then, is to be faster and less predictable. Batons sing through the air as hurtles into a zig-zagging sprint to close the distance and tries for a few quick testing blows aimed at the oozing breach in its head and the mechanical elbow of its unbladed arm.

The little drone does a barrel roll. Which obviously means 'OK' in drone speak because it does just that. Stay way back from the monster that is stalking down the alley towards them.

He rushes forwards the batons swing and the creature doesn't even try to evade. Up close its obvious that its not a full suit, its a robot. Damaged but still somehow functioning. Fixated on its last command.

A command to find a new master.

A new source.

The baton /cracks/ against its metallic skull. The second slams against the elbow. There is a shower of sparks as the machine lurches sideways into the wall of the alley. More sparks trail around the elbow as the arm jerks spasmodically for a second. It just lies there for a moment before slowly that head turns to stare at the Devil of Hell's Kitchen.

"Soooourceeeee…not you…."

Almost negligently it seems to aim a swipe at Matt with that bladed hand as it tries to raise to its feet. That blade not quite as fast as the martial artist, but strong. So strong. Strong enough to dig furrows from brick and mortar.

The robot swats at him with its blade arm, as if it were swatting a fly — it may be that negligence which saves Matt in the end. With a sense of the world that gives him something that skirts the edges of precognition, he hears the arc and trajectory of the sword coming, and wisely opts to evade rather than parry with one of his batons. Even if he managed it, an impact of that force could send him reeling. No, instead, he flips up and over the fallen robot to take up the space behind him.

Don't let him get up, don't let him gain momentum. That's how you beat him. It would be true if this were a living foe. But this creature, immune to pain and motivated by code or dark magic? Who can say? It's all he's got, and so — he swings, this blow aimed for the juncture where the steel head curves into a neck.

"Have any idea what it's talking about, pal?" he shouts over the zombie-bot, in the direction of the little drone.

The bobbing little robot bobs again. "Find Kinsey. Find Kinsey. Help." It burbles towards the Devil as it stays away from the fight going down in the back allies of Gotham. "Supposed to help." Its obvious he's stringing words together to 'talk'. "Help Kinsey."

The robots head whips around at the name. "Source!" It roars as it starts to shove itself to its feet again only to be slammed in the back of its head. Something snaps and the head falls to the side at an awkward angle. Like a broken neck, held on by the last few rivets and bolts of this creatures dark magic and will.

But that roar might have just convinced Matt who it might be after.

It aims a backhand towards the masked fighter then, struggling to get free as it flails at him with its unbladed hand. Intending to knock him back and away.

Not /that/ bothered by a broken neck it seems.

The small drone and damaged, deranged robot each confirm a suspicion Matt had already formed. It was too much of a coincidence, to see Stark's creations in a different city, a different state — but just blocks away from a woman who shares her own strange brand of kinship with both of them. Of course the lumbering iron suit is after her, or perhaps whatever bit of Jane Foster's code is or was inside her. As for the drone? "Stark send you?" he asks the thing, voice carrying up and over the now virtually headless robot —

—which is now trying to strike at him again. He leaps backwards to evade the blow — luckily. For all that it's on its last legs, it only has to hit me once and it's game over. The masked-man keeps a tight grip on his two batons as he asks a question of his new-found ward. "What should I be aiming for here?!" he asks the little drone, and he almost can't believe he's doing it. "Head? Chest? What's gonna put this thing down?"

The little drone bobs in affirmative at Matt's question. "Help. Help. Stark help." Though then, as Matt backflips away from the monster robot it buzzes over to him. The question causes it to do yet one more barrel roll even as the monster makes it back to its feet and starts it advance again.

Then it flits up, ahead of the beast and towards a electrical box attached high on the side of the building. Where it barrel rolls again. Bobbing there.

"Shock! Shock!"

"Oh, god," Matt says when the drone gives its answer as his hands tighten around the twin batons. "I hope to hell these gloves really are insulating." He quickly holsters those batons in the holsters at his calf and comes to a rise in the face of the advancing robot. He cricks his neck to one side, then the other, hearing the popping sound loudly in ear.

"Here goes nothing, R2."

Then it's another hard sprint towards the now-risen, now-advancing robot. Instead of coming in for a blow this time, however, he'll try to roll hard and fast past him, under the cut of any swing of the blade and, on his way past, grab some of the wires the warped machine has trailing behind him and bolt towards the electrical box.

Man Without Fear, or Man Without Sense? You be the judge.

Its hard to tell which it is for Matt tonight, he can feel energy coursing up his arms. His gloves heat up almost instantly. It doesn't stop his heart though, it doesn't stop him moving. But it is defiantly not present.

The robot itself doesn't know what he's about, but again that bladed arm swipes at him, slightly more intent now even as he dodges by.

At least it doesn't understand at first…

By the time he's most of the way too the box though he hears a roar and the sudden pounding of metal feet as the thing gives chase, barreling towards him even as he reaches the box itself.

The drone? Is now playing the Star Wars rebel theme.

He's rooting for you Matt!

Matt feels the heat from the gloves, feels it coursing up his arms, those tendrils of electricity that stand the hairs on his arms on end and send his breath hitching in his chest. Any electrician worth his salt would call him a madman — playing with live wires while ungrounded. But for now it's just unpleasant — and he can handle unpleasant, or so he thinks as he barrels towards that box, the robot's own forward making his job — for the moment — even easier. No dragging required.

The box has a sign on it. It says: DANGER. HIGH VOLTAGE.

Good thing he can't see it. He rips open the top lid as fast as he can, and tries to cast the snapping, popping wires into tangle of wires and outlets within it. With as much force and precision as he can even as he tries his best to then let it go before that moment of hoped-for explosive connection connection. If he can manage it, he'll try to scramble backward in the face of the robot's charge.

So many things happen at once.

It requires superhuman levels of precision and timing to avoid a deadly dose of electricity. He can almost /feel/ it reaching for him. For any non-grounded conduit. For an embrace of shocking and blinding pain. Fingers go numb, hair stands on edge as he teeters on a knives edge for a moment…

…and then lets go.

As he lands, scrambling backwards the circuit completes. Blue white lightning arcs from the box to the machine, smoke and sparks twisting from every part of the corrupted marvel of technology.

The magic fades from its eyes…its limbs grow uncontrolled…

…which unfortunately means its hurling directly at Matt.

At speed.


Sometimes, during these mad bouts of improvisation, Matt stumbles on one elegant solution that takes care of every problem he's facing at once. That's more the exception and less the rule. The fact is, most of Matt's life as a vigilante involves turning many-tentacled problems into more manageable ones. It's five mobsters against one; how do we neutralize two quickly and even the odds a bit? In that light, knocking down TWO problems, like surviving almost certain electrocution and shutting down the killer A.I. hunting his girlfriend, is a win!

But it still leaves the dead-eyed, defunct robot hurtling towards him on its own momentum. "Aaaaahh!" Matt says as he tries to hurl himself sideways out of the way. He's fast, and used to… well… throwing himself madly in the air. But best case scenario he's going to hit that brick wall that lines the alley, and that is going to hurt like hell in its own right.

He does hit that wall, and it does hurt like hell, but likely less hell than a robot falling onto of him would. It doesn't get up again either, lying face down. Unmoving. Just a robot in an alleyway.

In Gotham.

Filled with supertech…

…the little drone, battered and beaten flowly floats over to Matt and peers down at him. Then to the robot. Then back to him.

Then it does a barrel roll.

…and plays the first strands of 'Eye of the Tiger'

Those strands are the first things that penetrate the fog of pain that surrounds Matt Murdock as he lies prone on his side next to the wall just rammed at full speed. His shoulder, ribs, and hip ache fiercely, his head rings. But for all that? He still chuckles. "Dad's favorite tune," he quips, spitting out some blood into the alleyway, tasting the slick, coppery remnant on his own lips. He groans as he puts either fist on the ground and pushes himself up to a crouch beside the little drone.

"Thanks for the assist," he tells the machine gruffly but genuinely, because his definition of who and what machines are has expanded significantly over the course of one very strange year. "Come on. Let me return the favor, and get you to who you're looking for. Then we'll call Stark to get this shit cleaned up. Sound good?"

Ace does a barrel roll. With is basically a thumbs up for him.

Apparently, he approves.

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