A Friendly Warning

July 08, 2018:

Matt rings up Luke to give him a warning about Owen.

Cellular Ether

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Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Owen Mercer, Danny Rand, Wilson Fisk, Jessica Jones

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It’s not long at all after Luke sends out that video detailing his footwork alongside Danny Rand that he’ll get a call on his from a unlisted 332 area code. It’s definitely not one of the numbers that Luke texted earlier that day.

“Hey,” comes what is unmistakably Matt Murdock’s voice, identifiable even over the din of excavation and ongoing repair in his beleaguered neighborhood. “Uh, I got your video, and I need to flag something for you all.”

A beat. “You alone?”

“Hey, man.” Luke greets once he recognizes the voice, only answering the unrecognizable and risking a telemarketer because of the recent developments on things. Though last time he answered a call like that, he was lying supine in the street outside his burning bar, and the caller was Fisk.

“Uh, I can be.” Comes the answer and the unmistakable sound of Luke clunking through a room and clicking a door shut. “S’up.”

There’s a long beat on the other line, and then: “So, look,” he begins, which is never a good beginning to any conversation. “Jessica told me about the head’s up Owen got. I went to talk to him to hear it for myself — and I dressed up for the occasion.”

He grimaces on the other end of the line, and Luke can probably hear it in his voice. “He didn’t say much, but what he did say made it really clear that he is not being straight with you. He’s holding something back, and I’m pretty sure it’s big.”

“Yeeeah.” Luke says, no doubt rubbing at his bald head with his free hand as he draws out the word. “It was the morning after the bombing and neither of our heads were on straight. I could have pushed him further but I started seeing red so I backed off and got him back to Dee’s. He took off before I could take another crack at it and now he’s not returning my calls or texts after he said we should talk. I can try again, but now he knows I’m after these Princesses which might give him the motivation to finally pony up.”

Luke is already on top of it, or seems to say so, and Matt lets out a quiet, relieved exhale. Still, when he speaks next there’s a note of skepticism: “You know him, so you may have more luck than me. But when I started pressing him, he started throwing beer cans and boomerangs my way and made a run for it.”

Another beat while Matt drums his fingers on the windowpane of his office, feeling the warmth of the sunlight on his fingertips and listening to the roar of the cranes and excavators outside. “I tried to remind him of the stakes, how many people died. And he seemed to say that’s why we shouldn’t go ‘poking the hornet’s nest.’”

“Which means there’s an open question as to whether he’s leading you in the right direction at all.”

There is an exhale through Luke’s nose that huffs up the mic on his phone, frustration at its finest directed at Owen. “Did he ding the digs?” Which is a subversive way of asking if Owen did any damage with his shots at Matt. To the rest, there’s an almost verbal shrug in his words. “I don’t know, man. Whatever I’m shaking down is big, so if it’s not Fisk there is another player shouldering into Manhattan with these designer drugs. If it’s a dead end to him, it’s still a shot at whoever this Kingpin is, which means we can get heroin off the streets. Do we have any other leads?”

Did he ding the digs? Luke asks, and Matt’s lips quirk at their corners. “No, he didn’t want to hurt me, and he probably could have if he wanted to,” he assures Owen’s former employer and friend. “He just wanted to get away from me.”

He digests that bit about the leads they are finding, the scope and scale of the operation. “Anyway, it makes sense that Fisk would turn to another designer drug after Monterary Shock. He needed capital to pull off what he’s trying now.”

Trying now, Matt says. It suggests a plan in motion; the destruction of Hell’s Kitchen as a means rather than an end.

“Mm.” There’s a noise that rumbles from Luke’s throat, part sated that Owen didn’t mean to hurt Matt and part still displeased it went down like that. He’s been really trying not to judge Mercer, but that doesn’t mean he can support his actions either.

“What are you thinking is his game?” Luke hasn’t drawn any conclusions about what happened in Hell’s Kitchen other than the obvious ploy to really kick his friends where it hurts.

There’s a pause. “I don’t love talking about it on a cell line like this,” Matt says slowly at first. “We know he has hackers.”

Another pause.

“We — need to get the team together,” says a man who, to be fair, hasn’t acted like there’s a team in three months. “There’s someone I can bring who can lay out what I think is a pretty good theory as to Fisk’s game. And there are some ways we can start to push back. Just — tell Danny to keep some cash free.”

One more beat. “A lot of cash.”

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