Well Played, Mr. Five

June 01, 2018:

Five slips his leash and calls one Fisk, Wilson Grant.

Wilson Fisk's Limo

Plenty of computers under that hood, son.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: James Barnes, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…


Kinsey Sheridan's lab has looked better. The sleek, futuristic landscape bristling with holographic displays is suffering an overabundance of organized mess: every available surface is littered with glittering pieces of metal and silicon, half-assembled (or disassembled?) prostheses and other objects with functions less clear. Amidst all of it, on the cot she keeps there for the purpose, Kinsey is sleeping — finally. It doesn't come easily of late, as the half-empty bottle of pills on the desk nearest her head can surely attest. Her dreams are uneasy, but they're hers alone, and that is because-


…Five is out on business.

"Fisk, Wilson Grant. Good evening." Smooth tones, soothing, serene. Masculine, convincing, but still audibly synthetic. "You may call me Five. I am here to negotiate."

To say that Fisk is surprised to receive a phone call from someone who addresses him in this fashion would be an understatement.

His massive fingers shift their grip on the phone. In his other hand, his diamond tip cane gets gripped a little more tightly. He does not like surprises. The man shifts, his charcoal-grey perfectly tailored suit blending effortlessly with the shadows in the back, unconsciously seeking more concealment behind tintend windows and the spots where New York's ever-present lights don't quite succeed in piercing the night, despite their best efforts. He is alone, save for his bodyguard Claude.

Still, outwardly his voice is most pleasant. The seething quality is always there, but he could be any businessman. "I am always happy to entertain negotiations. What do you seek?"

Aside from the voice emanating from the phone, there are no other indications of Five's presence — though, of course, the AI is probing the rest of the vehicle, ever-curious.

Toddlers tend to be.

"On May third of last year you obtained a large quantity of classified data from one Agent Vernon LeGrasse of the DEO, now deceased. In the year since you have no doubt fully decrypted and copied that information for your own purposes. I require copies for my own purposes. This places you in an advantageous situation, as you are unlikely to lose anything material in cooperation."

It's a Rolls Royce. It's got scanners to sweep for bugs, always active. It's got all the latest ridiculous automation features, all the safety features, all the bluetooth bells and whistles. Like any modern car it's got enough computers under the hood to make Five a danger to one Wilson Fisk, or at least a possible inconvenience.

"Interesting," Fisk muses. "Hypothetically, if I did have such a prize, would you be offering anything in return? Or would you be inviting me to name my price?"

He's always down to deal, truthfully, but he sounds cautious, wary as one might expect. Five could easily be an undercover cop trying to get him to incriminate himself, and while he's sure his lawyers could deal handily with such a thing he didn't get where he was by being rash. Thus, he equivocates. Speaks in hypotheticals. Does not jump too soon.

One of the benefits of being what Five is, is that Five doesn't require a great deal of time to arrive at decisions. There is a thoughtful pause in answer to that question, but it's measured in thousandths of a second.

The rest of that second is spent subtly tweaking the temperature of the air conditioning upward by two degrees.

"I am very curious as to what you think your price ought to be, Mister Fisk."

Does Fisk notice? Tough to say.

But he says thoughtfully, "You are knowledgable about data and computer practices. You tracked my phone, something few could do, and you speak in synthetic, computerized tones. Might I be given to understand that you are some sort of hacking expert? Capable at getting at information nobody else can get to, perhaps? Or few others?"

Because before he knows what to ask, he has to know what this Five can do. And it has not escaped him that he wants the same data the woman calling herself Six wanted off that train a few years ago. So he offers a stab in the dark. Maybe this is Six herself, and maybe it's not, but Wilson Fisk notices the potential connection right away, and uses it to inform his actions.

"Few others," Five repeats, and somehow the synthesized voice that belongs to him manages to convey that this is confirmation.

Whether it's because Five's learned something about this kind of conversation from Kinsey, or because the machine intelligence simply isn't inclined to small talk, that is the limit of his response.

This suits Wilson Fisk.

"Very well. Tell me this. I would like to provide you with a name. I believe this person is breaking the law. I believe he has broken it a lot. I want as much evidence as possible to show he has done so after his most recent trial date. If you could get me even one solid piece of evidence with your vast command of digital resources, then I would be happy to turn that data over to you in an equitable exchange. Information for information. Would you be amiable to such an arrangement?"

He pours himself a glass of red wine, abandoning his grip on the diamond-tipped cane.

"That entirely depends upon the identity of the individual," Five decides, as probability calculations provide him with likely targets based on the information the Defenders have collectively obtained.

Some of those targets present more problems in the considering.

"Please understand, Mister Fisk, that negotiation is not my only recourse, merely the most potentially expeditious and least likely to draw attention, reducing collateral damage. Some tasks may not fit within the current cost-benefit analysis for negotiation."

"James Barnes."

He doesn't speak to cost-benefit analysis, or the implied threat. He takes his shot, noting only,

"We are negotiating, Mr. Five, which means we may discuss several unworkable and untenable solutions before we get to a mutually agreeable point. However, you cannot blame me for going straight to the thing that I would find most useful at this time. Good negotiations take time. I much doubt we will have to resort to collateral damage. Keep the door open and I'm sure we will get to an arrangement we can both live with. Negotiation may not be your only recourse, but that does not change the fact that it is expeditious."

There is a great deal more to consider in that proposal than Fisk can possibly understand.

Barnes means very little to Five. In fact, the only memory Five has of Barnes is of James Barnes yelling at Five during Kinsey's so-called 'exorcism,' as he stripped the artificial limbs off of her body. That this occurred on the tail end of a traumatic experience — just one of so many others — matters little enough to the AI on the phone.

On the other hand, part and parcel to that memory, is the memory of Jane Quantum Bloody Magician Foster slipping into Kinsey's mind and mucking around with Five's bits.

"I'm afraid at the present moment that exchange would not be equitable for me, Mister Fisk, due to other factors in play. Rest assured I have no intention of informing your target of your request." There's a pause. "Do you have another unworkable and untenable solution for us to consider in pursuit of a mutually agreeable point?"

Fisk contemplates that for a long moment. So, he doesn't want to go after James Barnes. Too high profile, too dangerous.

Well, there's certainly other things that are useful to him.

"I have a bank account in the Caymans where you could deposite two million from wherever," he says lightly. A commodity is a commodity, a sale is a sale, cash is cash. This isn't his avenue towards nailing Barnes to the wall, then he'll need another. For now?

Well. Good old fashioned, cold, hard cash is still something Wilson Fisk cares about a great deal.


Just like that. No pause. Not even a micro-pause of a half-second.

"Provide me with a better point of contact. I will send you information pertinent to the secure exchange, utilizing an escrow intermediary of my own choosing. While your ownership and subsequent disposal of the unfortunate Agent LeGrasse is an impressive testament to your reach, you will understand that it presents problems of confidence in our transient partnership. Also, please note: I will need to verify the contents of the data transfer before authorizing the release of funds."

"The use of an escrow fund is acceptable to me."

He offers a direct line, and says, "This will be my direct line for the next 15 days. I trust we can get our business completed within this amount of time."

Wilson Fisk takes a slow sip of his wine, content with the exchange. So far this smells legit, not like a set-up, and he is content enough with the transaction. "A pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Five. I am confident you will find the data to your utmost satisfaction."

And he is, because it is absolutely the real, unaltered deal.

"Likewise, Mister Fisk. Until such time as the exchange is complete, may I suggest you increase your personal security measures? Men are so rarely aware of the full extent of their own vulnerabilities."

There is time enough for the line to *click* as Five's material presence withdraws from it, before — in a shocking demonstration of drama, or a moment of impulsive spite or, as is probably the most likely, an economical way to underline his earlier threat and emphasize the truth of his parting words — Five drains every last bit of juice out of the Rolls Royce's battery.

It's inconvenient at worst, but if nothing else it says volumes about the things he could have done, and did not.

The Rolls Royce pulls to a stop. They weren't going too fast anyway, New York being what it is, but Wilson Fisk raises one slow eyebrow.

And then he starts to laugh. A low, rich laugh. It is really rare that anyone who tries to deal with him earns his respect. But this did. The business was amiable, the threat carried out with something to back it (for once), and it was just enough force to get his attention without forcing Fisk to respond in any way in order to avoid looking weak.

"Claude," Fisk says pleasantly. "Order me another car and then handle roadside assistance for this one."

He raises his wine glass in silent salute to the night.

"Well played, Mr. Five. Well played."

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