New York City is a simple game. Fifty-story skyscraper, mirrored job, rappel to the thirty-fifth floor, no alarms on glass. Once inside, disable after-market motion detectors with aluminum powder spray. No prob. That’s what you get for building a security system on the cheap. Lastly – the safe with a flaw in construction verified by inside contact. Three minutes with torch on weak hinges. Christmas, payday, cake walk. Any two-bit hood could crack this puppy with a coat hanger and a length of rope. Unfortunately for Tommy “The Pubie” McNarahan, he’s barely a one-bit hood; half a bit at best.
Rappelling down the side of the skyscraper with his flashlight in his mouth, Tommy sneezes. In doing so, he drops both his light and cutter. As he laments the loss of both, he is tapped on the shoulder by Daredevil, who tells him, by name, that he really ought to be careful where he throws his trash. Littering is against the law in this town and he, for one, gives a hoot.
Atop the Brooklyn Bridge, a short swing across town later, Daredevil has Tommy tied up. Sitting across from him, he tells him that now he has his undivided attention, what does he say they have a chat, devil to delinquent. Tommy stammers s-sure, whatever he says, just don’t l-let him fall. Daredevil says of course not. At least, not before sunrise. The dawn is spectacular from up there. He promises he’ll love it. They’ll worry about the after, after.
After Tommy utters “oh god,” Daredevil remarks yeah, it’s something up there. Sort of restores your faith in things, doesn’t it. Even a blind man could appreciate the magic of the place. The ghost taste of salt, the song of the gulls coming home to roost. But he digresses. He’s probably wondering why he isn’t halfway to the Hoosegow by now, isn’t he? Tommy utters that he don’t feel so good. Daredevil informs him that instead of the usual him-beating-him-senseless-and-dragging-him-to-the-cops-thing, he thought he’d bring him there and take a chance.
When Tommy asks if he’s going to kill him, Daredevil tells him he needs him to focus there. Daredevil continues that technically speaking, except for being a block-head and playing cat burglar, he really hasn’t done anything worth burdening an already taxes system for. Tommy remarks that he guesses he always was sort of an underachiever. Daredevil then tells Tommy that he has a feeling that this may not be his last attempt. He’s at a cross-roads or a bridge, if he will, between where he’s been and where he’s going. Does he see where the locale helps illustrate his little analogy? He stood on this bridge once, and in a moment of anger, he made a wrong choice. It cost him dearly. But recently, he discovered that though his actions had repercussions, they weren’t as bad as he’d thought. He found out… that he wasn’t a killer. So in the name of karma, he’s decided to pass along the boon, so to speak. Give Tommy a second shot at picking the right path. It may be the more difficult one, he may have to work harder at it, but he guarantees it’s worth it.
He then asks Tommy what he thinks. Excitedly, Tommy replies he gets it. Daredevil wants to be partners. Teach him all he knows so he can be a better burglar, an apprentice. Wow, this is great! Letting out an exasperated sigh, Daredevil proceeds to leave the bridge. As he does, Tommy asks him where he’s goin’ and asks if this is some sort of test or somethin’.
Leaving the bridge, Daredevil says so much for karma. He then thinks to himself that some people just don’t appreciate the power of a good sunrise. On the other hand, some people are such bright points of light that they outshine the sun altogether. People like the woman who he ought to be sharing this good vibe with – Karen. For all she’s been through lately, the station closing down, the attack by Mr. Fear, she deserves a little extra sun in her life about now. After leaving her a rose and a note that says - “dinner tonight, wear something touchy feeley” – Daredevil says never let it be said that he’s not a romantic.
Later, at the prestigious law firm of Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock, where the sun is sometimes afraid to shine; William Gatz asks Rosalind Sharpe and Matt Murdock if they are in a clean room. He means really clean, not City Hall clean, not White House clean, but like Disney clean? That secure? He has enemies…
Pouring a glass of water, Rosalind tells him that paranoid delusions are back in fashion for young upstart millionaires she sees. She then adds that William’s always on top of the trends. William remarks paranoid, he wishes. He says not to be crude, but last week, someone bugged his boxer shorts while he was wearing them. Matt tells William that their in-house security specialist, Misty Knight, has swept the entire building herself. He can speak freely there, he has their world. William asks “his word,” heh.
Turning to Rosalind, he says to her that she never told him her junior partner was a comedian. Rosalind replies that it’s that boyish naïveté that drew him to Matthew in the first place. Believe it or not, sometimes it clinches their cases. William remarks that this isn’t the average case. The way he sees it, it’s a death match on the last level. He has one grenade left, half a clip of ammo, and a dungeon full of blood-thirsty PK’s, no extra lives. Turning to Matt, Rosalind tells him they’re video game references. You don’t get to be the head of the nation’s biggest software company by mixing your metaphors. Matt tells her thanks, he’ll do his best to keep up.
William informs them that the sharks are circling. Corporate barons are preparing for a take-over, the Russians are coming. Rosalind asks Russians? Williams tells her ex-KGB, venture capitalists, sons of czars, he doesn’t know exactly who they are. What he does know is they’re some of the toughest boys this side of the former Iron Curtain, cobbled together in the crucible of the Siberian wastes. These guys could make Sebastian Shaw sweat his shorts.
Listening to what William is saying, Matt notices that he’s making his hyper-senses go nuts. Between his adrenaline level and his heart rate, you’d think Gatz’s life was in danger, not his company. Gatz proceeds to tell Rosalind that the Russians aren’t gonna get to him or Americomp without a fight. He needs the best legal team on the Eastern seaboard and he can’t trust anyone but Rosalind Sharpe. He then asks Rose if he can help him. Shaking his hand, Rosalind states that if she may answer that in his language he just found a triple barred Gatling gun with unlimited ammo. William thanks Rose, he knew he could count on her. As he leaves, he tells Matt that he’ll see him later at Americomp for a negotiation meeting.
Once William finally leaves, Matt tells Rosalind that he wouldn’t want to disagree with her in front of a client, but he doesn’t think he’s the right person for this case. Besides his already taxing workload, corporate hocus pocus is hardly his area of expertise. Rosalind replies that she knows that but Gatz would only accept a partner for his counsel and since Franklin is obviously not a choice, he’s it. She then tells Matt not to fret. He’ll have the whole corporate wing at his beck and call.
Matt asks why not her, he thought they were chums from the old days. Rosalind informs him they were but Gatz is a “chum” from Boston. Point in practice, she doesn’t do work in Boston or for anyone with ties to Boston. She doesn’t even wear red socks, ever. Far as she’s concerned, the city doesn’t exist. Are they clear?
As Rosalind leaves, Matt wonders to himself what is it with that infernal woman and Boston. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think she was frightened of something. But what could put a scare into Rosalind Sharpe?
Just then, Matt overhears Foggy Nelson telling Misty Knight that he’s about ten years old, energetic, and has a great sheen to his coat. What else does she need? Misty tells him he already told him that a person has to be missing to file a missing person’s report, a human person. Foggy exclaims that Deuce (his dog) is a better friend than most people. Misty tells him then maybe he should have considered that when he bet him in a poker game. Foggy states he had a flush. Nothing beats a flush, usually. Walking away, Misty states that if he’ll excuse her, she has some non-pet-related cases to close.
Putting his arm around Foggy, Matt asks him if there’s been any sign of Deuce. When Foggy tells him no and that he can’t believe it, Matt remarks that he’s sure that Mr. Weasel is taking good care of him. He mans, as good as a guy named Weasel can. With a depressed look on his face, Foggy tells Matt he’s not helping.
Elsewhere, in Brighton Beaches, Queens in a nondescript shop specializing in Ukrainian curios, a man by the name of Davidoff informs another man by the name of the General that Gatz is in New York. He’s looking for allies. The General replies that he was under the impression that their maneuvers in Boston were beneath notice. Davidoff tells him that someone warned the American and that there has been a leak in security. He takes full responsibility. The General informs him that his veracity is noted and that he has his oath that if he is unable to rectify the situation within two days, his family will be accounted for. Davidoff thanks him and tells the General that he will not fail him. The General remarks that he knows and recommends to Davidoff that he use some local talent to shake Mr. Gatz up, someone large.
Later, after changing into his Daredevil costume, and making his way to the Americomp offices, Daredevil thinks about Foggy. He’s really broken up about losing his dog. Maybe when things settle down a bit, he’ll see what he can scrounge up on this Weasel fellow. But at the moment, it’s time for him to switch back into his lawyer duds and toe the line for Rosalind’s pal. With any luck, his hyper-senses will give him the ability to decipher corporate-speak without popping a vessel.
Landing on the roof, he states that he’ll first take a sec to scan the area with his radar sense and make sure no unwitting sunbather has taken refuge up there above the smog for…
Just then, Daredevil hears a whirlybird closing in at twelve o’clock. Determining that it wouldn’t do for some flyboy to see him in his skivvies, Matt leaps off the side of the building. As the helicopter gets closer, he notices that the engine on the helicopter sounds shielded, almost running silent. A military chopper? It’s a little too deep into the city for military maneuvers. At that moment, Matt witnesses a large man (Omega Red) drop from the chopper. As he does, Matt remarks that he sure doesn’t look like a fortune 500 powerbroker. When the man drops through the roof and into the building below, he quips that he thinks Gatz’s competitors have just redefined “hostile takeover.”
Making his way back to the roof, Matt looks into the hole in the roof and thinks to himself that he knew Gatz was concerned about more than just this meeting. Score one for hyper-sensitivity and impeccable instincts. Yay him. He just hopes he can renegotiate the terms of this little meet-and-greet before Gatz takes a killing in the market. Dropping into the building, Matt wonders how you play ball with someone who can drop through four floors of reinforced steel completely unscathed? Maybe he’ll call the pencil pushers in corporate. Yeah, that’ll help.
Back at the Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock law office, Foggy is in his office continuing to lament the loss of his dog. Just then, Rosalind walks into his office. When she does, Foggy tries to look like he’s busy. Rosalind proceeds to tell him that he’s embarrassing himself and then tells him that she wants to offer her condolences for the loss of his canine companion. After Foggy asks really, Rosalind tells him no, not one bit. But she thought if she showed some parental concern he might get off his corpulent butt and start working. Instead, she has to resort to the old standby of withholding food. With that, she leaves Foggy’s office.
Back inside the Americomp building, Daredevil calls out to the panicked inhabitants that this is the part where he tells them all to stay calm and proceed to the nearest exit so he’d appreciate it if they didn’t trample the civic-mindedness out of him. Wrapping one of his coils around Gatz’s neck, Omega Red tells him they have much to discuss. Say what he wants to hear, and he may live to have other less dire conversations. Fail, and know the cold embrace of Omega Red.
Intervening, Daredevil tells Red rule number one – he’ll never be invited to the company picnic by choking an invite out of the boss. With that, he tosses a club at Red getting his attention. Upon seeing him, Red remarks that a new player joins the game and he brings his own toys. How charming. As he leaps towards Red, Daredevil thinks to himself that judging by the size of his opponent, he figured it was all right to nail him at full strength with his billy club but he barely even noticed. He then asks Red, charming? Well, he didn’t waste ten years in finishing school to end up rude. Let him show him how politely he can kick the tar out of…
Once he reaches Red, Daredevil is floored with a massive kick to his gut. As he does, Red tells the interloper not to touch him. It’s taking all of his will power to keep the death pheromones that course through his body in check for the sake of the capitalist. But perhaps instead of denying them, he should introduce them to one deserving of their dark attention. On the ground, Daredevil is surprised that Red is so fast for someone so big. Just then, as Red wraps his tentacle around him, Matt notices that a thousand fingers of ice grope out at him through Red’s tentacle, pulling the heat from his body, drinking at his very life force, replacing it with black, cold, nothingness.
At that moment, Omega Red receives a radio transmission. The individual on the other end of the line tells him that their sensors indicate that he has engaged the death pheromones. That is not part of the agreement. Red informs the person on the other end that he is eliminating a minor complication. The person on the other end, tells him no. He will follow the plan to the letter. Secure the target, no collateral victims. Stray from the objectives and consider the deal null and void. This is non-negotiable. Does he understand? Clinching his teeth, Red answers “da.”
Turning his attention back to Daredevil, Omega Red tells him another time, perhaps, he will learn the sweet taste of his touch but for now he will have to be content with merely looking at death’s door without passing through.
With that, Omega Red tosses Daredevil into a nearby desk. When he does, Matt feels his life rush back into his body. He swears he can hear a slight woosh. Smashing through office furniture never felt so good. Matt takes a second to make sure everything is where it should be, tries to place the voice on the radio, Russian familiar, but distorted, can’t place it. Okay, enough with the stalling. Back to work, back to a zombie with unbreakable bones and an unquenchable thirst for death… great. He thinks he’s a little out of his league there but then if he wasn’t, this wouldn’t be half as much fun, now would it?
As he wraps his billy line around Omega Red’s leg, Daredevil hears him scream something in Russian. He knows it doesn’t hurt him but it’s the little victories like ticking off the walking dead that keep him going. As Omega Red with Gatz in tow and Daredevil plummet out the window, Matt lets go of his line, sending it back to their point of egress and he’s in freefall. He adds that he’s gonna be really embarrassed if this doesn’t work. His rep is unsullied for another day however, as his line pulls taut and a cymbal crash occurs as two hundred pounds of him collides with a whole lot of Omega Red. When he does, Matt is able to knock Mr. Gatz free from Red’s clutches. Grabbing him mid-air, Daredevil cushions Gatz’s fall when they land on top of a vehicle below.
Descending down towards them, Omega Red angrily tells Daredevil, agreement or not, he dies by his hand now. Just then, a cannon blast is fired. It echoes off of everything but that is small potatoes compared to actually being its target. Matt wonders if Code: Blue has finally gotten their act together. He’ll have to remember to congratulate them on their quick response… time.
Looking over at a nearby rooftop, Matt is shocked by what he “sees.” He remarks that if he could see, he wouldn’t believe his eyes. He has a hard enough time believing his hyper-senses but the steady staccato heartbeat, the scent of currants and gun oil, the whipping of wild hair in the city gusts – it’s the Black Widow alright and he hardly recognizes her. Since the loss of the Avengers during Onslaught, Natasha’s been walking a tightrope between the light and something much darker. When she fires a flame at Omega Red, Matt can tell that it looks like the rope finally snapped.
As Black Widow hits the ground, Daredevil tells her to hold on. He adds that he’s grateful for the assist but a slightly singed Russian monster is better than none at all, doesn’t she think. Natasha tells him she does not. She then asks him how many times they are going to let villains live, only to watch them kill again. Hearing her response, Matt wonders if it has truly happened. Has Natasha gone so far? No, he won’t believe it. He proceeds to tell Natasha that they can’t stoop to their level. He knows she’s hurting, but…
Cutting him off, Natasha coldly tells Daredevil that he doesn’t know anything. He cannot dissuade her. He cannot “American dream” her into letting this one go. She then tells him to move or die. Undaunted, Matt tells her she doesn’t want to do this, he knows her. As she pulls the trigger on her weapon, Matt hears the sound of the tendons in her forearm tightening. It tears across his heart like a knife but he still won’t believe.
Dodging her gun-blast, Matt engages Natasha in hand-to-hand combat. As he does so, he tells her that’s one nasty peashooter she has there. He’s surprised her aim isn’t better. Ducking underneath his kick, Natasha tells Daredevil to leave before he ruins everything. Matt remarks that they have so much to catch up on. She has to tell him what she’s been up to, where she got her new “do,” and she started to use hardcore military ordinance. They both know she missed him on purpose so why doesn’t she give it up before he forgets they’re pals and has to get all medieval on her in front of the paparazzi.
Matt notices they’re a lot of the paparazzi around too. Natasha’s change of heart is going to be plastered all over the six o’clock news. He then wonders how they got there so quickly. Smacking Matt in the face with the butt of her weapon, Natasha tells him that whatever they had, he can consider it dead with the rest of the heroes. Leave her to her work, lest he would suffer the consequences. Grabbing a pole from one of the nearby cameramen, Matt thinks to himself that shot from Natasha was no love tap. She’s serious about getting him out of the picture so she can finish off tentacle boy. Still, he can’t, he won’t believe it.
Natasha looks at Daredevil and tells him “please, she knows what she’s doing.” Tossing the pole at her gun, causing it to blow up, Matt tells her that’s what he’s afraid of. Even though this Omega Red character is a tough customer, no one’s going to put him down like a dog while he has something to say about it. Seeing Natasha pick herself up off the ground, he sees her pull a gun out. With a look in her eyes, Natasha tells Daredevil the monster is escaping and that he has no idea what he’s set in motion. She has a mission and she will execute that mission no matter who she’s to stop. Standing defiantly before her, Matt tells Natasha that he’d rather see one villain go free than watch her become a murderer. If she really can’t get that, if they’re no longer the woman he calls friend, then pull the trigger. Cold blooded, Natasha tells him “as you wish” and pulls the trigger.
When she does, Matt can hear the air shred in the lead’s path, but he still doesn’t believe it until he feels fire pierce his ribs and shock kiss his spine. Right about then, he’s a believer. As he falls to the ground, he tells Karen not to be angry. He’s going to be… a little late… for dinner…