The Cost of Condos

July 13, 2018:

A number of individuals with stakes in the Hell's Kitchen bombings both personal and otherwise gather to investigate one of the bombs discovered and trade information. A plan of action going forward is worked out.

Titans Tower Lab

It's a makeshift lab because the other lab is still blowed up :(


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wilson Fisk, Six

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

There are a number of ways to get to Titans Tower, though most of them are naturally more difficult than others; the site isn't really meant to encourage casual visitors.

In this case, the route went through a seemingly abandoned warehouse in Long Island (actually owned through a shell game of companies that one might eventually, if they were extremely thorough and/or insane, track back to the Titans Foundation) and then a tunnel under the East River into the Tower's subbasements. From there, an elevator up to one of the aboveground levels where the (mostly still unused) work spaces are found: With the forensics lab still not fully repaired after somebody exploded in it, another lab has been hastily, and expensively, converted to serve instead.

The quiet hum of the air conditioning is all but unnoticeable, as it works a little harder to banish the summer heat with the small crowd that's developed, and the various bits of computer equipment that are all hard at work. One of them is projecting a blue-light, 'hands on' holographic replica of the device from PS 35, because the device itself is… Well, it's mostly disassembled into its component parts, laid out carefully across a pristine white dropcloth spread over the bulk of the floor.

"The police didn't seem especially interested in it at the time," is the vigilante's only explanation for why he decided to make off with the bomb, because really the actual answer goes without saying, doesn't it? He didn't trust them to be able to do the job correctly, so he decided to do it himself. "Been trying to follow the money trail, all the parts had to come from somewhere, especially with all that thermite…"

It's been a harrowing week for Peter Parker.

Whether it be at school or at work or on his other, far more time-consuming 'side job,' there simply is no escaping what happened at Hell's Kitchen — and no way he'd allow himself to, either. Everything at the Bugle has been centering itself around the event like buzzards lunging eagerly on a carcass. Everyone in school talks about it. And out and about, as he tries to help preserve some semblance of order amongst the madness…

… it's impossible not to see the guttered potchmarks that used to be buildings, filled with innocent people.

He's been blamed for it, of course, by some crazy fringe conspiracy theorists (#jjonahjameson). But to be honest, in a much less literal way — Spider-Man blames himself too. He's been spending most of his waking nights thinking of what he could have done differently to have tried to mitigate the damage, save more lives. And when he hasn't… he's been thinking of how to try to make all of this right.

Which brings us to now, in a repurposed, slightly makeshift lab put together for the Titans after the last one kind of sort of blew up. He's sent an invitation to the Tower to a number of people — Jane Foster and Bucky Barnes being amongst their number, on that fateful night — and a few others have gotten ahold of him, too.

The end result is Spider-Man, more quiet than he normally is, hanging upside-down from a web as Red Robin goes through introductions and explanations. With that mask on, it's blissfully impossible to see an expression that would undoubtedly be wearing the young vigilante's heart on his sleeve; it lets him focus on the task at hand without worry. Lets him at least pretend he has some sort of semblence of composure.

"That's something, too, y'know?" he notes at the heels of Red Robin's words, white lenses slitting into an almost thoughtful squint. "We got to the school, and there was like… all of one cop trying to herd a whole crowd of people. Bomb disposal never came, or at least, if they were coming, it probably would've been too late to make a difference, considering how intricately set up the explosives were in the school. So either they never got a call about it…" Or they deliberately didn't show. "… either way, something felt really off about it all."

While Red Robin and Spider-man discuss their findings, Daredevil leans against the opposite wall of the makeshift lab, arms folded across his chest and stubbled chin dipped. He registers neither approval nor disapproval for the Titan's rescue of the bomb; his downcast gaze might signal a lack of attention, or perhaps despondence. He's a Devil of Hell's Kitchen with significantly less of a Hell's Kitchen to protect, after all, and he wears the scars of the last few nightmarish days openly in the lingering soot stains on his crimson, leather-like getup. He hasn't looked this of-the-street since he wore a black sock on his head, and it's about as stark a contrast to the polished presentation of the Titan's Tower — blown-out labs aside — as you can imagine.

Spider-man says something that rouses the red-clad man, and suggests he was listening after all. "Cops turning a blind eye to Hell's Kitchen isn't new," Daredevil offers dryly. "The precinct is famously corrupt. But the bomb squad — that's out of the central office. That's more than your average corruption or incompetence." It suggests reach.

Daredevil angles his attention towards the couple who extended the invitation that brought him to this giant 'T' before turning back to regard the Titans. "So have you found anything?" he asks Red Robin. "On the money trail, or otherwise."

How good are you at identifying bombs? Spider-Man had asked of Bucky and Jane, as Hell's Kitchen burned. The two — one a long-time soldier, then terrorist, the other a scientist — looked at one another, then at Parker.

Cut to now, after being provided the route to come to Titans Tower, where the explosive device in question is being kept. Bucky and Jane had let Matt know, and let the Titans know in turn they would be arriving with an interested party. A small group has gathered to examine the results of initial analysis.

"The trail will be well-hidden, I expect," he says, ignoring the holographic representation in order to examine the actual physical parts with a practiced eye that has seen any number of different kinds of explosive devices over the years. "Especially since I'll take bets on the entire bomb squad having been bought off."

He finally glances at the holographic readouts, perhaps searching for any kind of breakdown on the components of the bomb. Thermite in abundance, judging from the intense incendiary effect and the difficulty in putting out the flames. Bucky is searching for hints of the actual explosives, which he might recognize: in particular any military-grade explosive — C-4, the old standard, or perhaps Semtex, darling of terrorists — that might narrow down origins for the components.

Jessica Jones is definitely here. She is leaning against the wall next to Matt Murdock with her arms crossed. In her leather jacket, ratty jeans, royal blue shirt and combat boots she looks pretty much as she ever did. She has one foot propped against the wall behind her as she stares at the displays. At the moment, she has nothing new to add. She is not a bomb expert, she is not a gang expert, and she has not even been working the case. Following the money hadn't occurred to her, or any other step, because all she could think of was picking up rubble and drawing closer to some of her friends.

She glances at the others though, because while she has no real information to give other than the list of buildings she passed to Daredevil a day or so again, she still is quite interested to hear if this turns anything up.

When it comes to identifying bombs, Dr. Foster is, unfortunately, still within the realms of the amateur. About as long acquainted with explosives, as, well, she's similarly been with the Winter Soldier.

The only mitigating factor is that Jane doesn't need all that long to become an informed expert at most — all — subjects. The fortunate part of being a genius.

The bombing still weighs hard on her, even here, standing small and knotted up tight at every joint she can, noosed up in the shoulders, arms crossed across her chest. In better times, and in a better frame of mind, she'd be much more curious about her first invitation to the Titans' home base, apt to want to explore and introduce herself to its technology — but now, the woman's attention is on a razor focus.

Neither does it occur to her how she stands out against so many masks; just another day for Jane.

Bucky's comment on a paid-off police force makes her fingers curl against her opposite elbows, and her dark eyes study the gutted components of the bomb. Their gaze tics, back-and-forth, like a running scan, as if she were spatially integrating the parts into a moving map in her mind. The ever-ready engineer.

"My first question is if there's evidence they were detonated on a timer, or if it was remotely," says Jane, the shock long past that she can finally think again — ask these questions she couldn't when surrounded by fire and screams. "If it was done remotely, then I might be able to find your source. Signal decay won't matter."

Having been trained out of necessity to be something of a jack-of-all-trades, Red Robin is well aware that there are those who definitely outclass him in various fields: Given that Bucky Barnes has a good eighty years on him and has probably been involved in more bombings than he's had hot dinners (which is a dark thought any way you slice it) the onetime Winter Soldier is assuredly somebody who knows things on the subject of demolitions that even a genius vigilante from Gotham doesn't.

It's Titans work, of course, so rather than his own heavy outfit of leather and kevlar with its humanity-blunting cowl and dramatically swishy cape, the Red Knight is in his more lightweight suit, its inertrite wings coiled away in the small backpack that holds the muon repulsor flight system: Rather than a cowl, he just has a jaggedly designed domino mask on, white lenses still hiding his eyes. A shock of black hair, styled up, is definitely not the dirty blond Bucky and Jane saw him with in Germany the year before - but what were the odds he'd been wearing his real appearance then, anyway?

Also, no voice changer. Just a normal, human voice, albeit with a calm, focused confidence that you don't often see on a college kid, no matter how many ninja death battles he's been in.

(Incidentally, the number is distressingly large.)
"Unfortunately, whoever's responsible knows how to cover their tracks. All cash purchases, and they spread around their suppliers. They probably cleared out every weapons dealer in the eastern seaboard buying thermite for accelerants. They wanted those buildings gone. Demolitions, not your usual themed lunatic terror bombing. The bombs in the school were on timers," the youth affirms to Jane's question. "I'm assuming a uniform deployment here, anyway, so some of this is guesswork. Um, that hologram can be pulled out to show the layout of the complete bomb complex in the school," he adds, gesturing at the floating blue light, assuming as he does that everyone can see it.

Unfortunately, guesswork is often a key ingredient in detective work - sometimes, you need to make the jumps. You just also need to be ready to jump back when your guesses prove wrong.

"Still, the level of coordination involved is… Impressive. Lots of suspicious deliveries, somebody able to exert enough influence to keep the bomb squad from showing up. A lot of moving parts in place in time for the big show. There's just one thing that stands out," he says, raising an index finger. "That's the only bomb threat that was called in. Could be somebody on the inside had an attack of conscience after rigging a highschool to explode… So, if we can find out who made the threat, we might have a thread to pull on."

Reach. Spider-Man's white-lensed gaze tilts Daredevil's way, wearing stains of ashen gray like a soldier's battle scars. The way his brows knit together behind his mask goes as unseen as the way his gaze shifts away, as if to focus on anything other than the lingering reminders of what came to pass. He doesn't know the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. But he knows -of- him. It's hard not to, when you're in similar lines of work. What all this must be like for him…

"So like… it'd take a crazy amount of money and resources and intelligence and whatever else to turn that many people, right?" the webbed vigilante ventures, keeping the hesitance from his voice; maybe it's a little hopeful, to think it's audacious so many people could be so easily flipped, but… "But maybe you get one or two people in, I dunno, key positions there, to jam things up the moment you need them jammed up? Maybe that's worth looking into, right?"

More rope to hang whoever was responsible for this with. If they're lucky.

It's as Red Robin delivers his other information that Spider-Man quiets. He knows he had assumed the bombs were only located in the school; if no threat was sent — he doesn't even want to think about it. Fingers coil with brief, taut tension around that line of sturdy adhesive that keeps him dangling off the ceiling as he considers the information, and the questions.

"They were all set to go off at the same time, across the Kitchen. I… know. I felt it before they went off." He felt it in those frantic few minutes before everything went to hell. Teeth grit behind the mask. "I thought we had… Nevermind. Whoever set all this up, or coordinated all this, really knew what they were doing. Knew exactly where to place the thermite to get the best results, knew exactly how to rig everything up perfectly. We got there with an hour and change to spare on that timer and it was like… we still only disarmed it by the skin of our teeth. Few minutes left. We got lucky." Probably more literally than he knows. Thanks, Domino!

"Does anyone know anybody in the NYPD we can make contact with about that bomb threat?"

Daredevil ignores the manipulable hologram (obviously) and instead listens to them all, still keeping to his arm-folded, downcast repose against the wall. Bucky Barnes speaks with the cynicism of someone well acquainted with the basic pliancy of people: The whole squad must have been bought off. Spider-man, who sounds so impossibly young for a bona fide legend, asks whether it could be one or two bad applies. Red Robin addresses the the practicalities, and with a certain admiration — if not appreciation — for the effort's complexity. Jane Foster, curious to a fault, has probing questions. Jessica Jones, his partner in loss, stays quiet.

Daredevil wants to join her in silence, honestly, for a number of reasons. But there may be answers to be found here among this impossibly strange mix. So he tells the prodigies: "I'm not sure we can trust anyone in the NYPD, honestly, but I'll put in a call to the one person I trust at our precinct. I also have someone who may be able to track the bomb threat." There's a lift of his chin towards Spidey, knowing. "She's a hacker, and a good one."

"It doesn't take more than one or two bad apples to pull those idiots off track," Jessica mutters. Her opinion of the police is fantastically low, and it hasn't grown any higher in the aftermath of the bombings. "Don't even have to pay off the bomb squad. Pay off a dispatcher. A secretary making dick-all a year. Fuck up everyone's vacation and personal time coordination, make sure a few vans are out of commission or at the shop getting their oil changed that day. Voila. Instant foul up, not enough personell, right when you need it. If all you need to do is delay response on the off chance someone grows a conscience."

That's her two cents, but really it's all speculation. The scheme could have gone down any of the ways they outline. The payoff scheme is a difficult thing to track, in any case, and plausible deniability will likely reign, though someone could have screwed something up somewhere.

Even as he looks at the device spread out across the floor, Bucky tries not to think about how many bombings he has been a part of or outright instigated. The number is large enough to be distracting.

Instead he crouches down beside the cloth, keen eyes searching through the components even as the others talk. Jane's uncharacteristic lack of curiosity is taken in somewhat distantly, Bucky peripherally aware of her at all times even as he reaches to carefully manipulate a few of the parts, turning them to more easily identify them.

"People are pretty venal," shrugs the Soldier in response to Peter's doubt and Jessica's dismissiveness, with perhaps the expected amount of cynicism given who he is. "You know how many people I've seen sell themselves for surprisingly low prices? But sure. Maybe it was just a key one or two people. You can snarl the entire subway system by just taking one or two employees out of commission during an existing problem." It is best not to ask how he is so confident of that.

He pauses suddenly, in a revelatory sort of silence. "Indugel," he says, pulling back from the components. "Gel-type blasting agent, ammonium nitrate base. Usually used for civil demolition, but it got use among the FARC insurgents in Colombia." He sits back on his heels. "Still a big black market for this. Comes up through Mexico, out of Colombia."

He shrugs. As for the NYPD? "If we don't know anyone, I'm sure Jane can find a way around that as well," Bucky says grimly.

Jane exhales audibly at the bad news of no remote. Would have been a breeze to map the ion trail on a quantum level. "Manual timers on a lot of explosives means a significant amount of manpower. This is getting more and more appalling to think about."

Her insides churn; easy to blame one psychopath behind so much destruction. Harder to imagine leagues of people complicit, all after the same goal of so much death.

Nevertheless, she goes quiet; this is something of a lapse for Jane. The engineer may know the structures and functions of the device, but hell if she knows immediately how to trace it. It compels a sort of research, or at least a personal expertise, that she's not quite learned. She'd need to do leagues of research even to begin.

But someone who does? The ex-Winter Soldier offers up his wisdom, and Jane listens on, frowning to herself.

"No cop friends that I know, sorry. Maybe a SHIELD agent or two who'd be happy to do whatever the Patriot Act lets them do," remarks Jane. Bucky pits her name forward, and it earns a gentling of her eyes. "I could. But I think Daredevil's recommendation is a one-up on me." She knows exactly who he means. "I'd leave it to them."

Maybe a recent Demon Bear still has Jane a little reticent to be hacking anything.

"I think that agent James named is a strong bet. Chasing it should bear you three options. One, it came in from the mobs, and you can shake them down. Two, it's been stolen from some business, maybe local, considering the volume you'd need and the ease of transporting it. Three," and she pauses, only considering it after a year of Hydra, and their capacity to be wolves in sheep's clothing, "it's not been stolen at all, and some business is not entirely on the level."

"Most of my reliable police contacts are in another city," Red Robin admits, with a faint shrug of his shoulders. It's been a bit tougher making inroads with the NYPD, he's found, for all that there's an ostensible working relationship between the Titans and the city's various emergency services. "I was looking into tracking down the bomb threat myself but people keep telling me I should sleep, so… If you've got a skilled hacker on call, that seems like a solid plan to me."

If there's any prickle to his ego at the idea of letting somebody else handle it, well, it's a small one - more borne out of his very small, easily-missed issues with control than a belief he's in any way the best there is at the task.

"Still, again we come back to demolitions explosives. Even the thermite was something a civilian with demo experience would know how to handle. Gentrification by mass bombing," the young man mutters to himself, pensively. "The 'why' of all of this still seems… I'm going to be looking into who might be getting the contracts for cleanup and reconstruction. Maybe people are going to start selling off now-useless land at bargain prices. Plenty of threads to get pulling on."

You can snarl the entire subway system by just taking one or two employees out of commission during an existing problem.

"Right? The subway is so easy to clog up on technical issues it's just like, why doesn't everyone just swing around — oh. … you don't mean like that."

Awkward silence falls over Spider-Man as he remembers just why, exactly, Bucky Barnes knows so much about bombs and how to knot up entire subway systems.

"Err. A-anyway."

Eager to hop on to the first change of subject he can find, the fact that it comes from Bucky himself is really no nevermind to him. "So it probably didn't have a huge yield on the detonation itself, but the thermite…" Maybe, though, it's not best to dwell on the -how's- of all this, even if his mind can't help but work through the steps. Lenses narrow. "… Something like that can't have a ton of sources in the pipeline then, right? I think Dr. Foster's right — maybe I can help look that up and try to narrow down the options a bit?" Maybe someone in the Bugle might be able to help. But that always runs the risk of exposing himself. But for this? For this, it'd be worth the risk.

And so, Spider-Man drops down off his web-line, flipping in mid-air to land on his feet in a - for once - sensible position. Arms crossing over his chest, his pinky finger taps in an antsy way at his bicep as he stares at that holographic model. "So basically, there's… like eleventy billion moving parts in all of this at least, right? But they all gotta lead back towards one source. And juggling eleventy billion," technical term, "things like this just isn't… like… you'd have to be Brain-o the Supremer," a person he just made up, "to be able to pull that off without making /any/ mistakes or mixing anything up. So like, okay, we all go tug at the threads where we can and see what comes up. Mister Barnes and Doctor Foster have the Ominous Legion of SHIELD and all and maybe one of us knows some black market contacts — like, I dunno, maybe there's some snitch out there with no backbone. That's a thing, right? Red looks up people buying products, I can try to see what I can find about Indugel, Daredevil's got his police contact maybe and his hacker friend…" Wait. Hacker friend. Knowing chin tilt. Jane seems to know who he's talking about too. Hacker. Super hacker. Super duper hacker who knows Daredevil—


A long moment of silence passes by. Spider-Man slowly — s l o w l y — clears his throat.

"Err. I mean. Yeah. Good choice there. A+."

Slow thumbs up… here.

"Just… nevermind. Ignore all that. Ignore me. I know what I'm doing. Honest."

Daredevil has, up to his brief commentary on the state of the NYPD and his offer of a solid hacker, been mostly a quiet observer in all this while the others ask their questions and share their theories. That can't sustain itself with what comes next, for any number of reasons —

Among them the fact that Spider-Man is having a world-class freak out about his (ex) girlfriend. That, oddly, gets his most laconic response. You can't see the eyebrow arching behind that devil mask, but you can probably feel it. "Yeah, her," he says, and turns his attention back towards the others.

In particular towards Bucky Barnes, who provides the first genuine breakthrough of the evening. "The cartel," Daredevil says immediately. "Different gangs set different bombs without knowing the others were doing it — that much we know." Even if, to be fair, it's the first time the laconic vigilante is telling any of them. "Indugel means — or at least suggests — it was the Mexican cartel. Which means someone inside may also be the source of the tip, and a weak link in this whole operation."

That line of thought can't survive long when Red makes his point. "Gentrification by mass bombing," Daredevil repeats quietly, evenly, though the line of his jaw hardens. "What do you mean by that?"

At angry terminator sexvoice Six Jessica Jones turns the full force of her incredulity on Spider-Man. One eyebrow up, one drawn way down, her mouth twisted, one edge of it pulling straight up to her nose while she ducks her chin down and her eyes go tight. "Jesus Christ, Bug," she mutters, shifting against the wall. "Seriously, dude?"

But then Daredevil is bringing attention back to Red's words. Her nose wrinkles up and her brows draw down. She settles down; after a glance at Bucky and Jane, the Titan in the domino mask now has the bulk of her attention.

Gentrification by mass bombing. Bucky glances at Jane, and then towards Daredevil. Though Daredevil can't actually see him doing so, maybe he can feel air currents or something. Or the weight of a gaze. Bucky still isn't entirely sure what Daredevil can detect, in fact.

The point being, Bucky has a fair suspicion who is behind this. Daredevil seems sure, judging by his reaction to Red's comment. Yet at the same time, it's of such an intensely broad and virulent scope that it's hard to picture coming from the man he and Jane faced down… even if they are aware of the previous lengths the Kingpin has gone to in his vendetta against Matt Murdock.

He murdered women just to get to Matt. What's eight thousand lives? Especially if there's an ulterior business motive to boot…?

Spidey's awkwardness in response to his remark about the subways yields a matching awkwardness in Bucky, however. He knows full well why the kid is uncomfortable. Folding his arms, he looks at the floor in momentary silence… a gaze that only lifts again when Jane demurs to hack anything. He tries to catch her eye, looks a little apologetic.

Soon enough the trail leads them to something that seems a little more definite, however. The involvement of an agent known to likely be sourced through the mobs. Mexican cartel, specifically.

Maybe one of us knows some black market contacts.

"I used to know some guys working South America," Bucky says. He doesn't specify why or how. "They might even still be alive."

Jane shares Bucky's glance. Her face is a cool neutral, but her eyes say it all.

Then Spider-Man seems to declare some sort of spider-feelings for Six, or something similarly theatrical, in a moment that she doesn't even want to know. She pinches the bridge of her nose partially for the reason to deliberately distract from Daredevil's reaction, which is probably not the best. Seriously, Sexvoice? She hopes he's not talking about Five.

Back to business, Jane listens on, nothing more to offer from her end of things — uneasily so, for many reasons, her hands are significantly, guiltily tied in the areas which would make investigation easy — taking in the gestating battleplan. Somewhere amidst it, Bucky seeks her eye, and Jane meets the look with her usual patience. She answers his apology with something almost ashamed, a silent look of, 'sorry I can't offer more.'

Of course, the Winter Soldier can — in many, many ways. He offers up contacts, and Jane Foster seems absolutely, utterly unsurprised. And fine with it, too.

You can tell that Red Robin has been working with Spider-Man for a while, because he doesn't outwardly seem to react at all to the wall-crawler's outburst. At this point it's probably just an accepted quirk among the Titans: Red Robin sneaks up on people, Wonder Girl thinks anyone is fooled by her black wig, Spidey kinda overreacts sometimes.

The information about the compartmentalisation among the bomb-planters was in fact a new one by the Red Knight, but he nods pensively both at that and the potential that the evidence was pointing towards Cartel involvement. Like all new information, it gets filed away in the vast rooms and corridors of his mind and memory, that construct of thought that keeps him from forgetting much of anything: The fruits of long, difficult training with a difficult mentor.

But in the short term, in the immediate moment, there's other things to consider. He'd been musing on it before, on what the motive must be, but it was a conversation with other teammates that provided an unexpected perspective…

"You don't plant bombs for no reason," the vigilante says, seemingly unfazed by Daredevil's extremely good hearing - only a brief blip of curiousity as those hidden eyes turn towards the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. "You plant bombs to accomplish something. Distraction, terror, demolition. If it's terror, usually someone would've taken credit for it by now, otherwise what's the point of one of the biggest terror attacks in history? If it's distraction, what could they need a distraction of this scope for? But demolition… Someone wanted those buildings gone, down to the foundations. Scoured from the Earth. One of the other Titans, Iso, said something the other day that I hadn't even thought of: Hell's Kitchen was one of the last affordable places to live in the city. The people who survived, they're never going to be able to afford to live in their old neighbourhood again, even once it's rebuilt."

At this, his attention flickers, briefly, towards Jessica. He restrains himself from asking if she knows whether or not her landlady survived. "It'll be all shiny new buildings, luxury condos and trendy restaurants. Someone, or a group of someones, stands to make an obscene amount of money off of this. Cleanup, reconstruction. Worthless properties on the market, picked up on the cheap and ripe for new development. Eight thousand people dead for the sake of making a fortune."

Outwardly, Red Robin is as always Red Robin. Calm, controlled, focused. An avatar of understated confidence in the face of the impossible.

Probably, Daredevil is the only one who can tell he's furious.

"Oh my god! Hey! I said ignore me! Super clear about that!" Hands come up, palms forward in a position of surrender. Feeling the /weight of disapproval/ from so many different sources on his shoulders, especially the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, and he can't even /see the man's eyes./ White lenses go wide as if saying 'please don't hurt me!' "It's just — "

That I desperately need something to help me cope with all of this so I don't entertain the other, angrier thoughts in my head and this is all that can help.

" — a memory association thing combined with a terrible internal monologue! I narrate almost everything I do! I have a condition!"

Spider-Man quiets after this, however, once more lapsing into that uncharacteristic quiet as if that half-hearted attempt at 'being him' was all he had left in him. His head turns downward, away from Jane Foster and Bucky Barnes, momentary guilt hidden behind the convenience of a mask as he turns his stare towards the table of disassembled parts. Mexican cartel. Using different criminal organizations towards a singular agenda. "Oh yes, we definitely totally already knew that, yep. Absolutely. Common knowledge!"

But it's the way the Devil of Hell's Kitchen talks — the way he reacts — that seems to suggest a singular source. A head of the serpent. A notion that just grows all the more concrete at Bucky and Jane's reaction. Gentrification by bombing. Fingers curl inward into fists he doesn't notice until his glove-covered fingers are biting harshly into his palms. His thoughts drift, to what Kinsey told him that day she handed him a thumbdrive with so much damning, haunting information about it. About the man behind threatening his aunt. About the man behind -everything-. Who owned and operated so much out of Hell's Kitchen. That name he promised himself not to forget.


There's a moment there, where Spider-Man's gaze shifts towards Daredevil in a quietly assessing stare as Red Robin explains the circumstances. A motivation for property. For -property-.

Eight thousand people dead for the sake of making a fortune.

For condos.

And he never even saw it coming.

His ears are ringing. His face feels hot. The entire world feels like it's tearing down around him. "… I'm gonna — I'll see what I can turn up. I'll keep in touch, I've just… sorry, I've gotta — " And off Spider-Man fully intends to walk, from the lab, not sure what he's going to do.

Just that he has to do something. Now.

Unlike Red Robin, he's never been particularly good at hiding how he feels. Even with a mask.

Bucky makes his offer, and Daredevil nods in a way that says, We'll follow up later. Then he turns his attention to the rest of them. If he's rocked by Red Robin's theory for why someone — or some group of someones — murdered eight-thousand people in cold blood, he doesn't show it. The lower half of his face might as be as carefully sculpted as the mask that covers the top while he watches the younger crime-fighters and their reactions.

It's a long beat before he says. "There are safer, easier and less expensive ways to make your fortune," is what he says at last, finally shedding some of that taciturn quality. His tone is even and methodical for a man who goes by his particular moniker. "Even by the standard of sociopaths it's too risky. You don't murder eight-thousand people for money. You say it wasn't terrorism because the bomber didn't claim credit. I agree. But even if you are right about the motive, and I think there's a very good chance you are, the person who did this still shares a kindred spirit with a terrorist. In the end, he did this because he thought he saw something wrong with the world, and thought this atrocity would help fix it."

A beat, before he adds: "Still… I'd keep an eye on the real estate markets. I know I am." Another beat, and then a quieter: "And thank you — all of you — for saving those kids."

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