Defenders: Dark Mirror

September 12, 2018:

After a harrowing two years of facing off through proxies and trading blows, the Defenders corner Wilson Fisk and the last and most dangerous of his supporters in an abandoned subway station deep beneath New York City. The finale to "You Know My Name."

The Abandoned City Hall Subway Station, NYC

It was pretty, once.


NPCs: Claude, Mimich, Gabriel, Ikari

Mentions: John Constantine, Zatanna Zatara, Azalea Kingston, Tony Stark

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own, and the enemy's." -Napoleon Bonaparte

It has been a long road, one of nearly two years, that brings the group known on the streets and— on some level now, by their own choice— as the Defenders to the abandoned City Hall subway station deep beneath New York City's streets. A long road chasing a man who wanted to be little more than a massive, nameless shadow cast over everything he named as his demesnes. A man who has within his massive body an even more massive void, whose tentacles extend beyond the Hell's Kitchen he so recently destroyed.

Likely, his ambitions, too.

But the Defenders have been a thorn in the side of one Wilson Fisk. Dismantling his networks. Pointing SHIELD in the right direction. Separating the honorable wheat of law enforcement, the courts, politicians, and the media aside from the chaff who serves him. Dismantling drug operations. Destroying gangs whole cloth. Taking his best friend and his only confidante off the board so that he became more mentally unstable. Eroding the confidence his remaining supporters until very little was left. Ensuring he had fewer and fewer places to run.

Of course, it has been a battle. Fisk's opponents have seen their neighborhood destroyed, and their livelihoods threatened. They have stood in the rubble with thousands of dead bodies and have inhaled the acrid smoke of this man's hate. They have seen people killed in their own names. They have endured beatings, torture, torment, and temptations. The possibility of losing everything, including one member of the team who might still leave the world in the flatlined siren croon of an EKG meter that has lost the heartbeat.

The stakes have soared for both sides, and one way or another the conflict will be decided here. Because if the Defenders fail to defeat Fisk here, now? There's now way he won't see every one of them destroyed. He can't afford to do anything else.

So it is probably not much of a surprise that the team finds every conceivable entrance to this beautiful (in a darkly decrepit way) location surrounded by a forcefield that pulses with magic. It reeks of ozone and shrieks with the strangest song: as if a Heavenly Choir had opted to sing vileness, or as if the damned souls in the Pit had opted all at once to open their mouths and sing a holy anthem. It feels solid to the touch and yet slithers beneath the hand as if one had decided to reach out to grasp a bundle of writhing snakes. It leaves a sweetness at the back of the mouth, right against the tonsils, that is simultaneously disgusting, as if someone had dipped garbage in chocolate and had decided to feast upon it. To the sighted, it also carries a mother-of-pearl sheen; to those with senses capable of actually seeing and feeling more about magic than what is readily evident to human senses hums with intense power.

They've known, of course, that Fisk got himself some serious allies. Some access to magics he should not have had access to. Some helpers that are a cut above. It seems like he really is pulling out all the stops, milking those associations for all that he's worth, to keep himself safe tonight, to delay, and perhaps earn more time to prepare for, this inevitable clash.


It's been just days since Matt Murdock stumbled, exhausted and injured, into Danny Rand's mansion following his brutal stay on Wilson Fisk's yacht. He seemed half-dead at the time, but despite some mottled skin on the line of his jaw and a still-busted lip, he seems as ready for this fight as he'll ever be. He moves with purpose through the shadowy corridor of the subway tunnel, right up to the point where the shifting currents of energy sing their dark song to his senses.

He grits his teeth. "Fisk leveled up," he rasps. "I knew he had some mage friends, but…"

But it's too late to turn back now. SHIELD is raiding Fisk's companies, seizing assets, making arrests. The dragnet has been drug. And who knows what Fisk is doing behind that magic wall? Planning an escape out of the country? To some other dimenson? Who knows what this man is capable of anymore.

His scarlet-bandana'd profile turns to Luke, then to Emery, then to Danny. This one is above his paygrade.


Watching Owen load up his gear into it's various holsters, catches and straps it is a miracle that he doesn't jangle when he walks. Sure Matt can probably hear it, but to most anyone else his ridiculous amount of gear doesn't seem to make a peep as he moves through the tunnels. Unfortunately for his companions his mouth is not as silent.

"At least it's not the sewers but still would it kill someone to operate out of a luxury hotel on a beach somewhere with a Sport Illustrated photo shoot or womens beach volleyball tournament? I mean don't get me wrong boys, yer-"

The quip about abs and asses dies on his lips though as they come up to the magical barrier. He flips something on his mask to confirm that it's not a conventionally generated forcefield and his lips snarl in disgust.

"Maybe we should have brought Foster. She c'd turn us all into demonic beasts and we'd break that down in no time flat… probably murder a shit ton of people too, but ya know, at least we'd be through this."


This…is not the kind of sight to see when you're trying to regain your confidence. Danny's ballistic body armor that Owen made for him is still looking pretty new. He's the least beat down both emotionally and physically of all of them by the endeavor. He's sustained injuries, yes - but to reputation and to pocketbook. And really, he had a lot of both of those to spare. But the ninja has also not landed many solid punches to Fisk - not since that pen stroke all those months ago - a pen stroke that sealed so many fates.

He approaches the barrier and runs his fingers over the mother-of-pearl surface. He withdraws his hand, hairs standing at attention along the back of his neck. "It seems like Fisk isn't above dark magic. Not that anyone's…surprised by that." He smacks his lips as the taste of ancient and moldy Valentine's chocolate floods his senses.

He looks down at his hand, then flexes his fingers. "If I could…I might be able to…" Although he hasn't really fully admitted it out loud, none of the self-styled Defenders have seen him ignite his fist in months. And then, "That's a bad plan, Owen."


"Don't look at me, man. I punch things. I don't know a helluva lot about forcefields, except they don't take kindly to punching." Luke mutters as Daredevil cants his head in his direction. It's a good sign, at least, that Cage is more 'present' than he has been lately, and isn't just barreling straight into things with his head lowered and his shoulders squared. A leather clad hand squeezes Danny's shoulder in a silent show of support, the material of his gloves squeaking with the movement. It's an odd garment for the man to be wearing, because it's not like he has to protect his hands from cracking and splitting. No, it's to protect his fingerprints this time around or perhaps distort the size of his hands should they leave bruises around Fisk's neck.

If the glove doesn't fit, you have to acquit. Or something.

Thankfully Nelson & Murdock has better defense strategies than that. If it comes down to it. "I have Jess' phone. Maybe she has some doodad in it." Luke offers before saying an aside to Owen. "Next super villain we take down should be a cocaine mogul in Belize."


When he was asked to join this…effort? Emery was in the middle of baking a fruit tart. His basic response to the request of his presence starting with '…ah so you want pancakes after teh battle?' and then when it was better explained he just wiped his hands off and shrugged with a 'Of course Master Matt…'.

He's a butler, not a superhero, so there is no mask and there is no suit. There's just hours of prayer, thumbing through rosary beads as he prays for each of the people, young enough to be his children (or even grandchildren wtf). Then there's finding his sheathes and holsters and such.

Many knives, an elegant back sheathe for a sword, his glock in a back holster…and god knows what else he has on him as he follows the others, dressed in a pair of military issue black cargo pants, tucked into boots and a black leather coat that has to keep getting repaired but fits like a muskateer's coat, falling to about his knees.

His thumb is clicking through the strand of rosary beads wrapped around his fist as the approach the wall and his features are shadowed by the the brim of his wide brim fedora like hat. There is a long pause though as his eyes glow faintly in the shadows and he takes a deep breath and then another. "Danny…" He starts out carefully and then approaches him with the rosary, his hand shaking slowly. "Wrap this around yer fist and focus…concentrate will ye? I need ye to pull all that chi from the stick that's been up yer arse, and channel it into that fist…" Then he reaches out to place a hand on his shoulder. "SANCTE Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium…" People who went to Catholic school might know the prayer. 'SAINT Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.'..

"Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude…'" He continues to pray softly in latin… 'May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.'


While the rest of the Defenders focus on the shimmering, magical ward enclosing the presumed last bastion of Wilson Fisk, Six — wearing the prototype suit of powered armor based on her own costume — has her back to it, and to them. Within the silent, featureless enclosure of that sleek helmet, her HUD phases through different spectrums of light, monitors frequencies, pings their surroundings with the occasional radar pulse: she's watching. Keeping an eye on things difficult to keep eyes on, as they accumulate in a small knot, vulnerable in their proximity to one another.

She hasn't said anything since they assembled in force. Whether that's owed to tension or habit is difficult to say.


Owen's quip about Jane Foster's murderously dark magic has Matt rolling his eyes in irritation behind his mask, though he isn't sure whether it's irritation at Owen or some lingering sentiment at Demon-Bear'd Jane. He reaches around to rub one gloved fist at his stiff neck as he mulls. Zatanna, maybe, or…

And then an armed-to-the-teeth Emery is making his recommendation. Matt angles himself towards Emery and Danny, lips parting when the butler seems to indicate that Danny has been having issues with his fist, or his chi, or whatever. It's been a while since he's seen Danny in a fight, it's true. Beyond that, he knows precious little about what the 'Iron Fist' can do.

"Can't hurt," he says over the low din of Latin he recalls from any number of lessons at his orphanage. That's categorically not true, but anything is better than turning back here, at the last.


Making a silent 'Hell yea' face at Luke when he offers to go busting up South American drug cartels, Owen at least tries not to be distracting to whatever Emery and Danny are working on. He glances over at the silent Six and takes a page out of her book to actually pay a little more attention to the area around them than to making inappropriate jokes for once.

His own mask is far more limited than whatever tech Six is working with, but maybe his time spent in secret lairs will come in handy, who knows. He starts poking around to see if there's an 'off switch' somewhere. Hey, ya never know.


Danny tries to stand there, looking all solemn as Emery does his priestly blessing. He waits until he's finished with the Latin and then he goes, "…will…will that still work if I'm a Buddhist?" There's a sheepish note to his voice. He looks down at the rosary dubiously, then slowly coils it around his fist.

Tension almost visibly constricts Danny. He rolls his shoulders back and stares at the glowing barrier. He starts to moves in a series of Tai Chi-like movements. It's a crisp ballet of centering. Slowly, there's a faint glow along the veins of his forearm. He flexes his hand again, then curls it into a fist.

Although it's far from the glow bright enough to illuminate the darkness, something is happening. He's very still for a moment, body coiled, fist held out to his side. Anyone who has seen him truly meditating (which includes several of those gathered) knows that this is not the Iron Fist at his most centered and powerful. This is a man who has barely grasped his power and knows it might slip through is fingers at any moment.

But like a candle in a rainstorm, he also knows it could go out at any moment. So he summons all the power he possibly can, then recoils and strikes at the barrier with a sharp howl from his diaphragm. The yellow energy is weak, but perhaps the heart of the dragon blessed with holy words will be enough to break the dark magic.


Luke takes a step back as Emery hands Danny the rosary and starts his prayer. It makes the big man as uncomfortable as the magical barrier they're facing, and he flips his hood up as if that will add another layer of protection as they gear up to pour in if this should work. 'Can't hurt', Matt says. Yes it can, Matt. It can hurt real bad. "Duck and cover!" Luke warns as Danny strikes, knowing what that fist can do, but not knowing how the barrier is going to react. He steps in front of Six. Just in case.


Danny Rand, boosted by Emery's holy power, strikes the force field with the guttering flame of the iron fist that gives him his name. The golden glow strikes true, and for one moment it looks like it's not going to get the job done. It's like a normal person hitting a solid wall.

Until it isn't. Golden cracks start corisucating through the mother-of-pearl. The choirs now mingle with the sounds of a dragon's roar. The energy roils in angry counterpoint, but it's enough. The good news…the entire thing shatters.

The bad news, the energy all needs somewhere to go. And it chooses its target in a spiteful rage. The corrupted power slams fully into Danny Rand. It's like a plug has been pulled, not just on the energy of the iron fist, but on all his chi, leaving him weak and fatigued and a little sick. He can tell the energy doesn't linger, but the effects certainly will. This one heroic summoning of this thing he has been unable to summon may just be the only contribution he can make tonight.

The tunnel (and there is only one, making it obvious where to go) awaits.

Chances are whomever set that field will have felt that.


It's like putting out said candle with a deluge. Danny slams backwards, barely managing to keep on his feet as the corrupted energy passes over and through him. He drops the rosary to the ground. For a moment, it seems like he might be okay, but then he stumbles and drops back to the ground. He shakes his head a few times, trying to clear the suddenly tunneled vision. He swallows down the roll of nausea in the pit of his stomach. Cold sweat drips under his mask and down his face.

He struggles to his feet and stares down the open tunnel. Realization hits him as sure as the nausea. The fist is definitely out of commission, and his chi has been scrambled by that outpouring of dark energy. He's gone from an asset to a liability.

"Go. Go get that son of a bitch. I'll make sure no backup comes in behind you. Whatever that is knows your coming. Go." He tries to catch Luke's eyes. "Remember. Protect." He reaches out to steady himself on the wall.


That Irishman is focused entirely on Danny during all of this, murmuring softly in Lain and taking deep, even breaths. When he has to step back, he's still praying, crossing himself and just staring at the wall. When that fist makes contact, he closes his eyes and exhales shakily before nodding slowly to himself. He makes his way to Danny's side momentarily, giving him a quick chin-up then a wink. "That's me boy…" A hint of pride in his eyes. "All the meditation herbs ye want and some apple dumplings after…" His eyes glow again slightly in the dark and he stumbles forward a bit, bowing his head and then looking back up slowly.

There's a subtle shift to how he holds himself and his accent his missing, replacing by a more polished and even British voice. "It is not the the specific faith you follow that makes you strong, its just having faith itself." That's Samael for 'good work'. Kneeling he retrieves the rosary and pockets it.

Then he's pulling his Glock from his back holster and flicking off the safety as he holds it at the ready, prepared to follow.


Six may not be saying much, but she's still paying attention to the ongoing debate behind her. Like Daredevil, she knows very little about the Iron Fist — the man or the, er, Fist. The slight tilt of her helmet to take in Owen's probing examination of their surroundings, and the following glance over her shoulder as Luke's hulking shadow falls across whatever sensors bristle in that metallic skin she's wearing, turns into a full-body rotation at last — exclusively so that she can watch Danny do whatever it is that Danny does. She's only seen it once before, in the hospital, when they'd been scrambling to rescue Jessica Jones, and Danny punched his way straight through the floor.

Magic isn't cement, granted. But his fist isn't exactly a fist, either, insofar as she's able to tell.

She lingers behind Luke in spite of the power armor, but tilts her head so that she can watch, as a tiny, spherical drone disengages from some hidden spot in her suit, hovering silently behind her, a splinter of her consciousness separated out to monitor behind them.

The energy that blows back from the strike sends the little drone in the air wheeling like a swatted bee. Six ducks her head, helmet shielded by Luke's back — not that she's sure it would matter, but the last time there was a magical detonation like that it had left her unconscious on the floor of a gala, and then superglued to the ceiling by Spider-Man. It's not an experience she's keen to repeat.

With the way clear, however, she begins to make her careful way forward, turning the full suite of her augmented perceptions toward their way forward.


The tunnel opens up into the station proper, a wide gorgeous expanse with a stained glass window ceiling up at street level. The train tracks are empty and dusty from disuse.

A sort of basecamp has been set up here, all out of keeping with the rest of the area. Where once people would have milled about waiting for trains there is furniture. Computers. Various things for the comfort of those down here.

But none of the people down here are availing themselves of it. They have spread out in a loose semi-circle, waiting for their guests.

It's no assortment of gritty nineties superheroes, but it's certainly something.

In the centre: Wilson Fisk himself, his massive bulk swathed in a snow-white suit, his hands folded atop a diamond-tipped cane. The bass drum of the symphony of heartbeats Matthew Murdock can hear.

To his immediate right, something that gives off no heartbeat at all, but which to Matt's hearing instead sings with the same unholy-holy song of the forcefield. To Six's senses this thing exists on the higher end of the electromagnetic spectrum, both too hot and too cold, simultaneously, to be human or to make any sense at all. This individual is immediately identifiable to Emery, or perhaps more properly to Samael. The vessel is so androgynous it would be hard to put a pronoun to it (it's actually female, but it only looks that way literally half the time), blonde and pale and dressed in a pale blue suit, but the archangel Gabriel shines out from behind her eyes. And if there is something about the angel that is massively depowered from the norm, the heavenly creature is still powerful enough to be a threat.

To his immediate left, a man in the full regalia of an Aztec warrior. This, too, has no heartbeat for Matt to pick up on, but he can pick up on something else. The power, the menace, the crackling ozone-magic of him, all in vaguely humanoid shape. Very similar to Azalea Kingston, though it is not her, nor Xi'hunel, nor whatever hybrid she became after John Constantine, Zatanna Zatara, and Tony Stark saw her healed. Very possible this thing was summoned as a counter to the woman, but she is missing, presumed dead in the bombings. To Six, this thing is just way too hot on the electromagnetic spectrum, straight up.

To Gabriel's immediate right, the baritone drumbeat of a man in black armor, with black horns, and black eyes. The faux-Daredevil. Ikari. With something very different about him. Daredevil can sense it right away. He smells just slightly different, as if things have been permanently altered about him at the genetic level. He has a katana out and ready to go, and Daredevil will hear his stance shift in the split second before the Defenders manage to make their way into this chamber, much like his own might were Matt to hear a group of enemies approaching.

Finally, to the left of the Aztec, a non-descript man in a suit and Coke-bottle glasses. His name is Claude, and while he's no James Wesley he's been fulfilling the "close enough" role for some time. A mere tenor, but trouble. First, because Six can detect his heart rate, pulse, and adrenaline are all now through the roof. Second, because Daredevil smells a smell he knows well. Someone has taken the last of the IGH stock. And seems to be fine, because those who are going to decay start smelling like decay pretty quick. This guy just smells like trouble.


The blowback from Danny Rand's unstoppable force meeting a not-quite-immovable object staggers Matt backwards and rings his bell. For a few moments his world on fire goes on the fritz, but only for a moment. "Thanks, man," he says to Danny, quiet but entirely sincere, after he's taken a hard swallow and shaken some of the cobwebs loose. "We'll — be back in a few minutes."

Or we won't at all.

Six leads them forward, which surprises him, though it probably shouldn't after her upgrade. He stalks forward, his metal kali bastons in either hand, as they emerge from the darkness of the abandoned subway tunnel into the beautiful but long-abandoned abandoned station. He turns his head towards Emery when he hears the click of the glock, and is about to make a request to keep the body count at zero. But then he registers the inhabitants of that station, those with heartbeats and those without. Something in his heart sinks, and stills his tongue.

"The one on the far right is the one who made the force field," Matt whispers to the group with grim certainty. "Not human. Not — alive, as we know it. Luke and Em, you have point there? The one on the left is, uh, hopped up on IGH."

But for the benefit of the broader room, and with the full knowledge that Fisk and his company can see their approach perfectly well, Matt raises his voice. "There's a warrant out for your arrest, Fisk," he calls out, voice echoing in the cavernous space. "One Police Plaza isn't too far. Want an escort on your way in?"


When the barrier blows, Owen's head snaps back to and after bracing to be blown away by it he focuses in on Danny. He starts to make some wise crack but stiffles it. He instead just gives a solemn nod at the instruction to go kick some ass.

Moving through the tunnel most of the group is hyper tense and focused. Owen besides jonesing for a cigarette seems rather relaxed by comparison. Coming out into the open area, he surveys the group and listens as Daredevil gives a run down. But then a lit cigarette appears in his mouth, so that he can exhale smoke and exclaim.

"Holy shit! It's Boys II Men! What'dya say, one song before we start beating the crap out of each other?"

Okay, they don't actually look like the best boy band ever to grace this earth, but Owen's got to get a crack in somewhere. Well that and he winks at Fisk, the big man himself and calls out.

"Heeeey guuurrrl."

But despite the quips and the poking, Owen's armed for a fight. In one hand a black boomerang, in another a light blue. He doesn't have the scanning tech or super senses to figure out his opponents but he's got plenty of boomerangs and he intends to find out what works the old fashioned way. Trial and error baby.


Luke's mind immediately leaps to: 'Oh great, we killed the white boy billionaire.'

"Danny!" The man's real name lurches out of Cage's throat with the panic, forgetting to use his superhero pseudonym. He makes a half start in Rand's direction as the man gets back to his feet, but his friend is telling them to go.

And for Luke to protect.

A lump is quelled in Luke's throat by a heavy swallow and a firm nod he musters up that's as much for Danny's benefit as his own. He then twists around, lips peeling back from his teeth revealing the pearly white line of them like tombstones all meant for one Wilson Fisk.

Stalking after the others as they pour into the chamber with Kingpin, he takes a position at the flank of their pack, ready to intercede. Not because he's the 'alpha' in any sense, but because he's the shield. He doesn't know what half of Fisk's entourage is capable of, but he knows they can break, and that's all that matters. "On it."


This is what happens…when they walk into that chamber, Samael is murmuring softly under his breath in Latin, raising the gun and prepared to offer cover fire. Samael does not make quips. Samael does not curse. Samael starts beseeching yet another angel…

"O FORTITUDO Dei, sancte Gabriel, qui virgini Mariae incarnationem unigeniti Filii Dei annuntiasti, laudo et veneror te, o electe Spiritus, et supplex oro.." Translation:O STRENGTH of God, Saint Gabriel, thou who announcedst to the Virgin Mary the incarnation of the only-begotten Son of God, I praise thee and honor thee…

Then everyone comes into view, his eyes flick from one person to another as he's sizing up the opponents and then fall upon Gabriel, and his prayer dies on his lips. Buh-Link. It is straight up Emery that breaks through with the. "..O elect spir-WHAT the FUCK are ye doing here?" He gestures towards the angel with his gun. "Seriously…who pissed ye enough enough to align with Pimp Daddy BBW over tere?"

Then Samael yanks back the reigns with that accent, and he just holsters that gun and draws his sword from its sheath in a fluid motion, bowing deeply. "If you all would be so kind to deal with the unholy, demonic, and otherwise filth…and not draw the wrath of his elect holiness, the Archangel Gabriel…that would be much appreciated."


The first — and last — time that Kinsey took the suit she's wearing out for a test drive, she'd gotten a message from Tony Stark while she was in-flight, on the way to Foggy's apartment building, to deal with 10+ GUNS.

"Call if you need help. Try not to bounce off too many buildings, your armor isn't as thick as mine. And there is a protocol in the system called 'Lancer.' Don't activate it unless you have something you really want to break. Like. A meta. Or a tank." A pause. "I'm pretty sure it won't explode."

A great deal of testing subsequently went into turning 'pretty sure' into 'mostly sure.' She would have preferred 'very sure,' but these things take time.

Playing her eyes, and all of her other built-in, extrasensory senses across the field of their opponents, Six is aware that using something of that magnitude down here, in a confined space, is last-resort territory. Bring-the-ceiling-down-and-bury-them-all territory.

She runs a check on those systems, anyway. Leaves them running hot in the background.

Any temptation to open her mouth is quelled by Daredevil taking point on the spoken end of things, but several additional small drones tumble like marbles out of the carapace of the suit, joining the first in a softly whirring cloud just behind her.


"Tempting as the offer is, Mister Murdock," Wilson Fisk says in his low, seething growl, "I think I intend to go with Option B. The one where my allies and I grind your allies, and you, into a fine red paste. Without the obligatory solo, I'm afraid, Mister Mercer."

"Samael. Lovely to see you. Quite amusing to see you, really," Gabriel says, arching an eyebrow. "Quite the dilemma, getting beseeched and all by the opposite party. What to do, what to do."

"You'll hold to your pact," Fisk hisses at Gabriel, which only seems to amuse her further.

The angel holds his thumb and forefinger apart. "I've had a little wizard problem. Which has led to a little wing problem. And it has indeed pissed me off. Not with any of this lot, you understand, not directly. It's caused me to have to make some maneuvers. Sorry about that."

But the drones produce a sort of signal. Everyone is suddenly moving.

The massive bulk of one Wilson Fisk is springing into action faster than he has any right to. That diamond-tipped cane is coming straight towards Daredevil's jaw.

Claude abruptly is pulling Owen's trick. That is, he launches into a speedster's run, even as he pulls a gun. He is now firing at Owen. At damn-near Owen speed.

Luke, warned off the angel, gets the attention of the God instead. The Aztec pulls out an obsidian club of some sort and tilts his head. "Mmm. Your skin. It's very hard. I guess I will have to solve that."

The Aztec's club is now burning with some sort of divine fire as it swings down towards one Luke Cage.

Gabe shrugs and pulls his own blade, a silvery thing as he squares off with Emery. "How's the whole…screaming voices of recrimination and woe in your head thing working out, anyway?" Of all of them, he seems to be taking this the least seriously, for better or for worse.

Finally, maybe Daredevil's double decides he has similar taste in women, maybe not. But suddenly the Black Devil leaps, flips over her head, and is attempting to slice through her drones with that katana.

In short, it's on now.


Talk of the Archangel Gabriel has Daredevil snapping his head over in the direction of Emery and Luke, and you don't need to see his sightless eyes under that makeshift mask to know the deep levels of 'WTF' contained within them. He'll leave who takes on the… angel… working for… Wilson Fisk… to others.

There's plenty more to deal with, after all. Because Fisk is saying he'll grind them into paste and leaps into action. Daredevil's teeth teeth bare in response — revealing one missing premolar, a victim of his last run in with this 'Black Devil' that's leaping towards Six.

He'll get to Ikari soon enough, for sure, but for now it's Fisk that's leaping towards him with startling speed and single minded brutality. But this time Matt isn't bound to a chair. He is, despite his broken and bound rib, his nimble self. He crouches low to miss that jabbing blow and, instead of going for the man's well-padded and likely armored bulk, directs one of those bastons towards Fisk's knee with all his own startling speed.


The first throw is not at his opponent. No, Owen launches the light blue boomerang at Fisk, hoping to encase him in ice. It's a bit of re-purposed tech from Mr. Freeze that Owen's been tinkering with for some time. Of course even if it hits, who knows how long it would stop or even slow the big man down.

"Quick Draw McNerd is my dance partner, apparently."

The quip comes out likely too fast for anyone to appreciate it, as Owen finds himself having to hustle to keep up. It's not a good sign. His speed is limited, and Owen's going to guess he's not lucky enough to face off against an equally hampered two-pump chump as Luke would say. But he manages to avoid the gun fire at least and get a throw of the black tipped boomerang off. It's the gravity-rang. Again, he's focused on keeping people from moving, especially the speedster.

With this throws loosed, he sprawls and rolls, hoping to make his motions erratic and harder to target. He's not quite a good at it as his ex, but he's hoping it's enough to get him time to put Fisk between his would be shooter and his not-so armored or bullet-proof body.


Oh. An angel. That's totally cool. Yeah, you go ahead and take care of that, Emery. Luke will just be over here, fighting someone that should have been sacrificed in a pyre in front of a pyramid a long time before now. "Where did he get these guys?" He growls under his breath, "Some sort of super villain mail order bride catalog?" But then there is a fiery club being swung at him. Luke likes his skin the way it is. No really. He does. It doesn't occur to him there might be magical implications to the blow, he just raises his forearm up in a block to absorb it as he steps into the Aztec and brings his right fist up underneath his jaw.


At his core, the urge to drop to one knee and blather something about being unworthy to stand in Gabriel's presense, or something about the burden laid upon him by the angel's brother is willingly taken, or how the name he's been gifted he knows he has failed. But there is no time for that, Samael is in Emery and Emery is in Samael and they are one, no matter how he tries to disconnect it in his brain. The Irishman just adjust his grip on his sword, flipping his coat back to draw his parrying dagger, fingerless gloves wrapped around each hilt in preparation for the dance to come.

Emery's glance flicks between Gabriel nd Fisk and then over to the others and back to Gabriel. He bows his head politely, eyes glinting a bit when he sees that sword. Its silvery. "Oh ye know, it has its moments. Between those voices, and the all ye can endure torture sessions from all the souls I've been made to reap over teh years, I'm pretty sure by the time I'm 200, I'll be talkin' to me best friend Bootsie the invisible bear." Samael has given the reigns to Emery. He purses his lips in an air kiss and adjusts his stance. Confident that he can take down…an Archangel…ahaha, no. But. He can keep him occupied. "I beseech ye…not the ass or the face, I've got 2 dates tomorrow with twin male models and a barrista to bang on Thursday…"


So much for the easy route.

Fisk declines to go peacefully — of course he does — and inadvertently, those silent drones of Six's seem to give the signal for the chaos to begin. She has just enough time to be concerned about Matt, still recovering and now beset by Fisk himself, before she's being engaged, too.

While Kinsey may be taking pointers from one Matthew Murdock in the boxing ring these days, she's by no stretch of the imagination ever been combat-heavy. In a vehicle? Sure. Yes. But hand-to-hand…? No way.

The Stark-Industries-Built suit can leave her with some assurance of physical safety under moderate assault, but in a war of attrition she would surely, surely lose. She'll have to be more proactive than that if she wants to avoid having said suit peeled open like a sardine can by a katana, which — really? People are using those unironically??

Fortunately, as Matt Murdock (re?)discovered in the boxing ring, Six doesn't rely on combat conventions to stay in the game.

Six cheats. That suit is jam packed with nasty surprises.

The drones move at the speed of her thoughts, expanding as a cloud. Maybe one or two of them fall, split by a blade, to clatter on the ground, but the others spark, arcs of electricity leaping between them in a shifting, whirling net of fucking ouch, eager to swarm her would-be assailant.

As she turns, something in her artificial arm clicks: a dart loaded with something chemical, rolled over into a firing chamber. The spread of her fingers spits small, sharp claws from the tip of each.


Tag-teamed, Wilson Fisk has himself a problem very fast. He takes the shot to the knee. It staggers him, though it doesn't drop him. He responds by trying to bash that diamond into Daredevil's solar plexus, seconds before the ice-er-rang encases about half of his massive body in a mini-glacier. His face is still free, and though his lips turn blue he roars with rage. He shifts to start slamming his cane into the ice, instead.

Meanwhile Owen throws this gravity-rang, but the temp-speedster runs across the wall to avoid it. It might cause someone else a problem though, depending on where it lands.

Luke blocks the club like he's blocked a trillion things before. But the club doesn't shatter. And while his skin doesn't break, the godly force of the divinely imbued weapon travels to crack through his skin. The bone beneath shatters. And while Luke gets the god's jaw, the thing merely gives a feral grin, his eyes literally blazing red. "You dance with Mimich, Sky Serpent, boy," he says. "The sorcery of sea shells shall not save you now."

Meanwhile Gabriel stops, and grins. "Bootsie! Ha!" And the rest of what Emery says makes him chuckle. He steps in, blade whirling, but Emery might notice something right away. While he's fast, he's fighting well below capacity. And as he steps in close, he murmurs something in the Irishman's ear.

Ikari likes dirty fighting. He likes it a lot. Something almost admiring crosses the lower half of his stubbled face as he backflips out of the way of those drones. His armor catches most of those needles, but one hits the exposed flesh in his face. He plucks it out, frowning at it, his assault momentarily halted by worrying about what chemical just got injected into his bloodstream.


Fisk tries to repeat a familiar play with Matt by sending that diamond cane towards the man's solar plexus. On the ship, the hyper-sensitive vigilante into a paroxysm of pain. Two things save him this time: Owen's boomerang, and the fact that he very rarely falls for exactly the same trick twice. He dodges enough to where the cane catches the slope between his shoulder and chest rather than his midsection.

That hurts enough, but it's not nearly debilitating. And certainly doesn't prevent him from making his counterattack — a singing baston headed straight towards an immobilized Fisk's temple. It's a good clean shot on a stationary target, and a chance to knock out the mastermind mid fight.

Dimly he's aware of goings-on around them. Ikari — the man who murdered so many of the women Matt Murdock protected — squaring off against Kinsey and slashing at her drones. The sound of Luke's bone cracking beneath that Aztec god's club.

Time to help either, both, soon. But Fisk first.


Fighting speedsters seems to somehow be Owen's lot in life, at least since he picked up the dirty much maligned mantle of his dead father. He dives again out of the way as more bullets try to puncture his frame. Setting aside tricks for the moment, Owen simplifies.

"You slippery little dweeb. I'm going to get my 'End of the Road' if I have to beat it out of you."

Two regular ol' weighted boomerangs flyout with speed that would easily overwhelm a normal human, and hopefully enough to catch this hyped up yahoo off-guard. The irony of Owen facing a drug-laced speedster is for now lost on him, but maybe later they' realize how closely the Bizarro Defenders hold a dark mirror up to them.


That is something that Luke hasn't experienced in a very long time: true pain. There is an audible snap (And crackle. And pop.) accentuated with a harsh punctuation of a scream that rips out of Luke's throat. His left arm falls down and away, useless at his side as the pain radiates all the way up through his shoulder. The broken bone inside can't press through the skin, so the pieces just grind together in their fleshy enclosure, his forearm able to bend at unnatural, limp angles. But he can't stop now. "Funny, you don't look like a Mimi." He growls through the clench of his teeth, his booted foot lifted and stomped down towards the Sky Serpent's thigh and knee. Sorry guys, he's a little singularly focused. Don't need a meat shield at the moment please, kthnx.


…what ever is whispered in his Emery, the Irishman doesn't seem to react to at first, playing it off as he gasps. "…ye told Mary she was knocked up as a virgin with that mouth?" Buhlink, as he spins and twirls, parrying dagger and sword being used to block and parry blows where appropriate, knowing that he's being toyed with. He whistles sharply. "Captain Bent Dick!" He knows he's busy though… but…"Do ye remember that rap?" He takes a few steps (runs) a bit away from Gabriel and hits a sway, gesturing with his swords. "My hoes be bringing me hoes, now I got more hoes than a golf course…with ass like a soft horse, i get em with game and never with all force…" He pauses. "Ye know the next line? Bring it home!"

He's got a plan, he really does. A look back to Gabriel as he is panting softly, looking down at his own poor armor and back up. "Ye look more like a Tupac fan though…"


The chemical agent is a fast-acting sedative, meant to render individuals incapacitated the moment they're struck. No sedative would be of any use to Six in the field if it had a reaction delayed enough to allow the victim to raise the alarm. Of course, Six hasn't the benefit of Matt Murdock's senses. She isn't aware that something about Ikari has been fundamentally changed at the genetic level.

It probably wouldn't have changed her approach if she did. With the rest of the room erupting in to mystical chaos and violence at speeds not even she can track (and rap for some reason??), it seems to her that the man in front of her might be capable of anything. She knows very little about the man she recognizes must be Ikari.

What she knows is that he's the man who nearly destroyed Matt Murdock's faith in himself. Whose cruelties extend to things like killing women rescued from horrifying situations.

So much of their fight against the machinations of Fisk has entailed soul-searching as to the nature of who they are and what they do. How does one defeat wickedness, without being wicked in turn…? Kinsey's had a lot to say about that, lately, to various individuals. She's had Opinions.

Hopefully she remembers them, because she's taking the opportunity of Ikari's hesitation to launch her suited self toward him, clawed fingertips splayed for a vicious swipe.

It's only the sudden scream from Luke that threatens to throw it off — a hesitation, a moment of shock. She's never heard the man make that sound and, given what she knows about him, has absolutely no idea what could fucking cause that. It's just a wobble, just a beat of uncertainty..


Fisk's arm snaps up, the cane coming in to high block that baton away from him rather desperately. It's a powerful blow, though not as powerful as it would be if he had all 500 of his pounds behind him. This leaves him still very much half-encased in ice, with gritted teeth and rage building behind his eyes. He no longer speaks. He no longer banters. He's just getting absolutely mindless as he all but tries to rip his bulk free from the ice. Some of it cracks and shatters away from him. The man is strong.

Meanwhile, Claude may have most of the speed, but not as much as Owen. And he sure doesn't have the practice. Suddenly a boomerang has taken him in the noggin, cracking his glasses and stunning him. He puts his hand to his head, even as he lets out some wild, blind shots, mostly meant to keep everyone off him. Of course, it does rather have the effect of dangerously filling the air with hot lead, but he's not in good shape, of a sudden.

The Aztec staggers a little under the weight of Luke's powerful blows. They're almost matched, though he's a bit stronger. His knee doesn't break, but he starts favoring it…even as he tries to swing that club for Luke's midsection, still glowing with that divine fire. "I will eat your heart to feed the sun," he tells Luke with a snarl.

Meanwhile Gabriel and Emery continue to dance, and she quips, "I did a lot more with that mouth. How exactly do you think…well, nevermind. Mixed company and all."

As it happens, most of the changes don't do a thing against chemical sedatives. But…that's not to say that Six's works. Much like the Man in Black of an entirely different story, he spent years building up immunities to various poisons and toxins. He's moving a little slower, but it doesn't drop him. Six launches himself at her and then has that moment of hesitation. Smoothly he pivots on one heel. Viperlike, gloved hands reach out to grab her, taking her off balance, whereupon he flings her into the nearest wall, with the katana flipped in his grip so he might attempt to bring the hilt of it towards the faceplate of her helmet seconds later.


"I'll never let a ho pimp me!"

As far as battle cries go, it lacks a certain amount of gravitas. Though wrought with meaning to Owen in that Fisk did in fact try to manipulate him into doing his bidding, it doesn't quite stir the noble blood.

Regardless of the lack of inspirational words, the lyrical retort is to let Emery know he's on the same page, er song. He pulls a boomerang to throw only to catch a stray shot from Claude in the arm. A precious second or two is wasted in pulling another boomerang from his bolero like holder and flinging it.

Wait… what color was that one?

The boomerang is headed for Fisks' cane hand. Hoping to knock the cane free from Fisk, but the flaming boomerang wouldn't have been his first choice. Especially with Daredevil in such close proximity.

"My bad double D!"

Owen clutches his bleeding arm to himself before pulling his trusty knife to fend off Claude. It too springs into flames, because flaming blades are always preferred. He doesn't throw yet though, gritting his teeth instead trying to block out the seering pain in his right arm.


Fisk rebuffs Matt's blow, and goes some way towards prying himself free of the ice. It should be signal for him to redouble his efforts, take the man out of the game for well and good. End this cycle of attack and counter-attack.

But then Matt hears the sound of Kinsey's souped up suit hitting the subway wall, and much of his capacity for rational thought falls by the wayside. He can't let Ikari hurt another woman, most of all this woman.

He vaults away from Fisk with a grunt of frustration — which incidentally spares him that flaming boomerang — and leaps into the air to aim a spinning kick towards the back of the faux-Devil's head…


One of those blind shots from Claude's gun clips Cage in the shoulder, but that he doesn't even flinch at. It merely tears a nice hole in his hoodie and collapses in on itself before falling harmlessly away with a quiet 'tink tink' on the ground unlike the blood it draws from Owen. He tucks the hand of his injured arm into the kangaroo pocket of his hoodie with a yowl, the best adaptation of a sling he can manage mid-combat.

"I've seen Indian Jones, motherfucker. You can't morumsickerum me." Luke spits back to Mimich, twisting this time as the club comes in towards his midsection. He learned his lesson - albeit painfully - the first time he merely tried to block the blow. This time, Luke is twisting away from it, trying to get a good grip on the man's wrist that wields it instead, looking to wrench that appendage until he can return the favor of a broken bone or at least a nicely dislocated shoulder and try and disarm him.


Message delivered and received, Emery thanks whatever forces in the universe made him equipped to speak Owneese, as continues to meet each blow and swing with the finesse and grace befitting his years of training, and he takes blows..yes, that coat is going to need patching. But the moment that boomerang is thrown at Fisk, he back flipping out of the way and throwing himself into a dive/slide for the stick should it fall…


Success hinges so often on the smallest moments. The most modest of mistakes.

Kinsey is reintroduced to that hard fact of life at approximately the same moment she's introduced to the wall, bodily flung. The suit's embrace is such that she feels it as a very slightly cushioned impact, rather than the bone-crushing, jarring, disorienting moment it could've been.

No, the bone-crushing, jarring, disorienting moment happens after that, as Ikari pivots the very long, very slender blade around to ram the hilt into the faceplate of her helmet.

It's made of stern stuff. The hilt doesn't leave behind so much as a scratch or a smudge. But it doesn't need to, really: it bounces her head roughly against the ground, and no amount of cushioning can mitigate the effect of that — because it's not really about her skull, or the suit, so much as her vulnerable, nano-netted brain and her metahuman connection with the suit's systems. The HUD briefly scrambles in her mind's eye, a flare of jittering, jagged white light sending a cramp into her eye sockets that has her squeezing her lids shut even as she folds in half to defend herself, bringing her legs up and in, suited hands curling into a tight grasp on the katana's hilt.


The flaming boomerang knocks the cane free…and has the net effect of melting the rest of the ice just enough to free Wilson Fisk from it. With that gone, he snarls. Emery's got it, and he knows how important it is. He also likely knows why that became a target. So he pulls out a pistol that looks, in his hand, a bit like a toy gun. But it's not. It's a .45 Desert Eagle, and it's sending a far less crazy set of bullets through the air, this time in search of the butler's flesh.

Owen brings out a flaming blade, and Claude tries to get a bead on him with his gun, only to realize he's out of bullets. He throws the useless weapon aside and pulls a not-flaming knife of his own. Somewhat less disoriented, he charges towards Owen, still faster than a speeding human but not faster than a speeding Owen.

The preturnatural way Ikari is suddenly ducking Matt's foot may seem awfully familiar to the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. But with Kinsey grabbing his katana there's no fancy counter-strike. He can see he's getting really close to getting either his head bashed in or stabbed by his own blade (which he lets go, leaving it in her hands). Instead he ducks, rolls, and skids to the center of the room. He gazes around, taking the measure of the way the fight is going. He sends a baton of his own up to the stained glass ceilings, sending a shower of beautiful glass raining from above, treacherous, dangerous, and possibly a prelude to his decision to cut and run. It would certainly fit his pattern when he doesn't like the odds.

Luke abruptly turns the tide on an Aztec god though. There's a crunch as the creature's wrist snaps, as his flaming club of obsidian falls from limp fingers and winks out. Blazing eyes widen and he snarls, "Impossible!"

And Gabriel? Well, seeing as how that cane is in Emery's hand he in fact flicks his fingers. Which means the bullets fly off their trajectory to ensure they don't go anywhere near Emery. He arches an eyebrow at the butler expectantly.


Ikari's ability to sense a blow coming from behind him with such precision is uncanny, and uncannily familiar. But Matt doesn't have enough time to process it. He's kneeling, briefly, to check and make sure Kinsey isn't completely incapacitated — he remembers that conversation in the gym about her vulnerabilities all too well. He places a hand on her helmet briefly and then…

…flies right back to where he was. Going after Fisk. Sidestepping jagged, deadly daggers of glass with uncanny accuracy, striking out at the thick wrist which holds the gun firing at Emery. Fisk's knee survived a blow from that baston. Will another, more fragile joint?


It's not so much about how fast Owen is. He's plenty fast. It's about timing his speed in a way that's useful. He only gets it for a burst at a time so he has exactly half an inhale to wait before triggering his speed burst as Claude rushes at him. He side steps the clumsy swing and counters with his own blade to the soft inside of the arm holding the knife. His other hand is useless, so instead Owen just goes for the trip, flicking his foot up to catch Claude's ankle. Owen's own body is leaned back enough to look in horror as Fisk draws and fires at Emery.


But the shots seem to fly away of their own accord? Owen still in the midst of his speed burst watches confused as the bullets speed off in various non-Emery directions.



That crunch. Definitely satisfying on some feral level. Impossible, Mimich says? "You haven't met my friends." Luke hisses as the ceiling above them opens up in a rain fall of glass. He merely tilts his chin down so no errant pieces strike his eyes as they fall around him. This time the ball of his ham fist comes crashing down from above, swinging in a heavy arc like a strong man with a hammer down towards the Aztec's skull. Hey, the dude's a God, so that doesn't count as deadly force, right? He needs to incapacitate this guy, because those gunshots are becoming increasingly unsettling.


The moment his hand curls around that cane, Emery knows he has left all of his flank exposed, its not the wisest of moves, but it had to be done. He rolls up into a crouch, sheathing his sword behind him and gripping that cane. The shout of No gets his attention. There is a look over his shoulder at the bullets he knows are coming and he braces himself.

No pain. No smell of his own blood. A look slowly goes over to Gabriel before everything comes out of what felt like slow motion to him. But its really split seconds as he wastes no time running and sliding to his knees before Gabriel, offering the cane with a hint of tears in his eyes. "I willingly became a guardian to these people. I failed the one who carried your touch, I know only the barest piece of your grace flows through me veins…but please dun let me fail these people too."


The resistance on the hilt of the katana disappears in those first fraught few moments of Six's daze. Seconds after that it clangs as it hits the ground, released. There's no way to know whether or not Kinsey is alright at a glance, which is likely the suit functioning as intended, to some degree. Her heartbeat is fast, but regular. Most of the rest of her biological signals are virtually impossible to discern: the suit is hermetically sealed.

She does rise, though, and after a moment of awkward hesitation, bolts forward after Ikari. That her armored foot lands on the brittle blade and shatters it may be a happy accident, but could easily also have been spite.

She's not saying one way or another. There's a sudden boiling radiance in the air, just before the jets of the suit ignite and turn her into a dark bullet.


Matt's baton comes down hard on Wilson Fisk's wrist. It shatters. The gun drops. Fires into the wall. A bit of rubble hits the floor.

Owen trips Claude, and the man's face slams into the floor. He groans, his knife spiralling away. He seems to have hit his head hard enough to be well and truly out; once from a boomarang, twice from the floor.

Speaking of well and truly out, Luke Cage manages to slam his big ole ham fist into the Aztec's head. The thing hits the ground, hard. Blood pools under its face. And something strange happens. This ember-laden smoke comes pouring out of his mouth, and it goes spiralling up through the broken window and out into the streets of New York City. What is left is an unconscious human man in a jean jacket and jeans, face down on the floor, weaponless, with the build of a body builder but quite possibly with no idea how he got here or what's going on. Hard to ask, because he's out cold.

Gabriel takes the cane with an incline of his head, and he truly would have just split. But Emery's entreaty catches his attention. He glances about and says, "You and your friends did quite well on your own…"

This is about the time Ikari tries to baton out of there through a grapple through the open window. Six, dark bullet, slams into him, and he falls right back to the ground, hitting it hard enough to knock himself right out, suit and all.

And so Gabriel looks into Emery's eyes and says, "And so I grant you a different boon. Because they are under your protection, should my affairs cross paths with theirs I give you my word they will take no permanent harm from me, even if they attempt to stop me."

Not a bad boon to give, really, all things considered. The archangel is simply gone seconds after that.

Meanwhile, here is Wilson Fisk. Staring about at allies who are either down for the count, abandoning him, or attempting to abandon him only to end up…subsequently down for the count. His wrist broken. His gun on the ground. Suddenly very outnumbered and outgunned. And he is well aware that some of these people wouldn't weep tears to see him 'accidentally' die in the middle of an armed conflict. He bares his teeth in a fury, but looks over to Matt Murdock.

"It seems I shall be accepting the escort of you and your friends after all, Mr. Murdock. I surrender."


I surrender. After two years, two years of fighting, and seeing so many lives lost in the course of the battle, the Kingpin's words strike Daredevil with all the force of the massive cathedral bells at St. Patrick's. It takes him a moment to process, much less respond.

It's over. It's finally over. We won.

But respond he does, bringing himself up to a full rise, despite his overwhelming weariness and the renewed burning sensation in his ribcage. "Come on then," he says, holstering his baton at his calf and reaching over to grab the larger man's forearm, just above the break. "We'll get you out into the light of day, and your new life. There's a whole city full of people ready to learn all about you, Wilson Fisk. Let's not keep them waiting."


The sight of the black smoke roiling out of the downed man's mouth makes a shiver crawl up Luke's spine and then telegraph out to his other limbs, reminding him with a renewed sear of pain about the state of his left arm. The unconscious victim of the Aztec inhabitance is given one last eyeballing to make sure he's staying down before Cage's head swivels around to check on the others and then locks on the surrendering Fisk. The wounded black bear of a man starts stalking in that direction, his growling sneer renewed. He's never actually seen the Kingpin face to face, he's only ever been the voice on the other side of a telephone, delivering bad news in that disgustingly formal tone of voice.

Cage'll be damned if this is over and done with without at least getting to stare the man in the eyes.

Before anyone can stop him or ward him off, Luke is pressing right up against Wilson Fisk with the iron wall of his chest, his face dangerously close to the other man's so he can feel the heat of his vitriolic words.

"Know this. You're walking out of here because you're not worth sullying our souls with the filth of your death. And every night while I climb into my comfy bed next to the warm body of my girl, I'll fall asleep with a smile on my face, knowing you're fighting for every scrap of breath you draw in prison that isn't laced with fear. And that it was a gift. From us." And then the big man is stepping aside to let Murdock escort Kingpin out, Luke becoming the hulking shadow just behind.

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