Badwill Hunting
Roleplaying Log: Badwill Hunting
IC Details

Daredevil begins to put together how Wilson Fisk got himself out of jail, and what the Kingpin plans to do with his newfound freedom.

Other Characters Referenced: Wilson Fisk, Foggy Nelson
IC Date: January 01, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Oct 2019 02:05
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (Language)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Monitoring Victor Rial in court is an interesting exercise. Given he is the man who just twisted the law into a pretzel to see the Kingpin set free, one might expect to hear all kinds of other crazy verdicts. Maybe not in-chamber bribes or anything, but just the kinds of bad calls that are legally defensible while leading to absolutely horrific results.

There's none of that.

Either he's keeping his nose clean because he just did something really major, or…this is not a habit. Because the decisions he makes otherwise are fair, and even handed. It's not to say that Matt agrees with everything he hears the judge say or do (is it even possible to get two lawyers to agree 100% on anything)? It's that most criminals are not just up and walking free on obscure points of law, even ones that Matt can pinpoint as having ridiculously deep pockets. He mostly seems to uphold lower court convictions, in fact, erring on the side of keeping people in prison. In a few cases this might even be disappointing: some of the cases on appeal are cases of registered mutants rounded up by Sentinels at the fateful protest where they were unveiled specifically to provoke a riot.

He's out. The words have been playing on a loop in Matt's mind for a month. The mantra has become like a low, ever-present static beneath the whirl of the day. It's running during drinks with Fog and brief prep and it was even there when they officially announced their groundbreaking lawsuit on the courthouse steps. And it's especially there on those occasions, rare these days, when he's out at night with the mask.

Matt has tried not to let the news consume him, or drive him to distraction the way so much did last year. Too much is at stake. Too many people have willingly entrusted their fate to him, and millions more will have to live with the consequences of this lawsuit. He can't afford to run off half-cocked, in part because he knows it's exactly what someone like Wilson Fisk will expect.

So, he decides for once in his goddamn life to be careful. To use his native gifts for the kind of work they're actually best suited. Not punching things, but observing things. He tries to spend more time around the courthouse, taking some of the work off of Fog's shoulders. And as he works, and schmoozes, and talks to the cameras, he's always, always listening for what Victor Rial has to say, or do.

That isn't going off the deep end. It's not losing control, or perspective. It's just taking advantage of a natural overlap in their lives. That's what he tells himself.

But what he finds with all those hours of listening fills him with a rising tide of frustration, and leaves him ever more convinced Rial is on the take. Or being blackmailed. Or threatened. Or — for whatever reason — under Fisk's thumb.

But he can't prove it. At least not this way. The only recourse left to him is to expand his scope. He decides to stake out the man's house, at night, in the suit.

And it is at Rial's home that Daredevil finds out what the deal is. It comes in the form of a phone call.

"What do you mean, you haven't erased them? I did everything you asked!"

The voice on the other end belongs to a woman, not one Matt recognizes.

"And now we are asking you to do something else. We need Bianchi out on appeal. You need those photographs to stay off the Internet."

A long pause from Rial.

"You never had any intention of deleting them, did you?"

The woman's voice is coolly indifferent. "Does it matter? It's not really about them getting deleted, it's about them staying hidden. Your choice, your call, but I think you know the truth. We own you now, so you might as well get comfortable."

And there it is. Proof that Wilson Fisk remains Wilson Fisk: ruthless, and utterly heedless of of any obstacle between the world as it is and the world as he'd have it. Proof too that Judge Rial is an unwilling accomplice to Fisk's latest crimes, though not of the sort that would hold up in any court of law.

Of course, comes a voice in the back of Matt's mind as he crouches in a nearbye treetop, hasn't this entire affair been an exercise in evidence and courts of law being utterly inadequate to deal with a problem irrelevant? Isn't that the whole fucking point?

You tried to take him down with the law. You failed. Frank Castle was right. Luke, in the height of his grief and madness over a comatose Jess, was right. There's only one way to stop a man like Wilson Fisk, and you know it. You've always known it.

He pushes the thoughts down, away. He cannot, will not, re-litigate this fight. Not now. Nor is he going to rush into this man's house and try to shake answers out of him. He has information, and that is powerful — a lesson Fisk knows all too well.

Time to gather some more. He slinks back into the shadows, back to Hell's Kitchen. And the next day? He looks up the case files for anyone on appeal named "Bianchi."

The case file for Bianchi reveals a litany of RICO charges. Not nearly as many as Fisk used to have, but enough to make it clear that Ed Bianchi is not a small-time player. 62 years old, he looks like he must be some manner of mob boss, possibly someone who will be able to take over Fisk's illegal operations while keeping Fisk cleaner and more removed from where his money comes from than ever. It took the federal government a good seven years just to build his case, and he did a staggering amount of awful crap during that time, all while weaving in and out of the courts like an expert dancer until the day came when he couldn't anymore.

After all. Fisk is trying to spin a narrative that he was legitimate all along. He'll have to distance himself from it if he doesn't just want to find himself back in court with a new list of charges against him and orders that get him on death row in a prison far from his power base, with all his sympathy evaporated. Even his ability to play the system has its limits.

A little investigation will show the FBI agent is still stationed here in New York. Shadowing her shows that she's pretty pissed off these days herself. She has an active case…an entirely different white collar crime case from someone who is 'merely' embezzling, but she wants to be investigating Fisk. And her superiors keep shutting her down. Putting her back on this other case.

"The Fisk thing is dead in the water," says her boss. "It was fake crap from the supers, and that's that. I need you to work on open cases now, please. No more surveillance, no more warrant requests, none of it."

But just because her boss says she can't do it doesn't mean she can't. She storms out from this meeting, all the way out of the building.

She won't make it further than a block before a familiar voice rasps from a shadowy corner of a side street. "Fisk has pictures over Rial. I don't know of what, but whatever it was is bad enough to flip him."

He steps forward then, allowing some of the streetlight to catch his crimson mask. The red lens winks with reflected light.

"Which is why Rial is about to help Fisk out again," he adds grimly.
Other people might jump. Or say hi. Or any number of other things.

Ruthie gives Daredevil a look, recognizing his voice from memory well enough that her heart doesn't even leap. She turns fully to face him after letting out an explosive, "Shit."

She ducks into the side street with him, all the way, sounding grim as she asks, "What's Rial about to do?"

Full of energy. Full of anger. She paces up and down the alley a little, hands in the very same FBI windbreaker she was wearing the day they met.

"He's going to give Fisk another appeal," Daredevil says, stepping back into the shadow and allowing Ruthie to follow him. He cocks his head to the right, listening for passerby's or eavesdroppers or surprises, but keeps talking as he does. "Not for Fisk himself. But for Ed Bianchi. Fisk needs Bianchi to be the new Kingpin — the man out in front taking the risk and the hits while Fisk does… whatever he's planning to do next. Real estate? Wall Street?

There's frustration in his voice. Fisk's move towards legitimacy is one key piece of the puzzle he has yet to fill. But what he can safely say is: "Whatever it is, it's something he can't do with visibly dirty hands."

"Politics," Ruthie says crisply. "He's got a campaign committee put together. He hasn't announced anything yet, but he's laying the groundwork. After blowing up a huge portion of New York City, Wilson Fisk has decided he wants to be mayor of it."

She exhales sharply and shakes her head. "There isn't much I can do about Rial and his appeal. Even if I found whatever's on the guy I'm not going to get a warrant to search a federal judge's home and that's useless. But I can stick to Bianchi like a fly on shit and see what I can't do to keep his hands as tied as possible. Bianchi, at least, my idiot boss should let me pursue. Unless of course she doesn't."

She swallows, and now her heart does betray some fear. Lowering her voice: "I'm…not sure but there have been a lot of irregularities at the Bureau in the months leading up to his release. I've been trying to decide if I've got the balls to dig into them."

Raw honesty. This woman is all raw, uncut, unfiltered honesty.

It's the last answer he would have ever expected, and yet it makes immediate sense. Absurd as the idea of the Hell's Kitchen bomber running for mayor might seem, politics is the perfect path for a man full of so much naked, unadulterated need for adulation and respect.

Matt closes his eyes and dips his head. Mayor Fisk.

"We can't let that happen," he asserts, setting their north star firmly in place before they even dive into specifics.

The news about Rial is disappointing, but it's not exactly unexpected. Judges are powerful political figures, and any bureaucracy worth its salt won't take one on lightly. He nods once, sharply, when she says she can take on Bianchi. Approval.

But then she surprises him again. He gives her an up nod with his chin. "What kind of irregularities?"

As long as she's talking out of school, he might as well press her.

"It's…subtle," Ruthie says. "Sudden orders that would pull us across town, only for us to find it screwed us out of someone or something we were investigating later. Occasional tech blips that have lost evidence for us. Little things that bother me."

She sighs and says, "I really don't have an excuse for not looking into it. I will. Internal affairs sure isn't. Open and shut investigations every time one was warranted. Meanwhile, my partner shoots a guy in the field and self-defense and they're still holding on to that crap and won't even let him get his badge or gun back. No new partner for me either. See? Little shit."

"Brave, to look into your own," Daredevil notes, wry admiration in his quiet tone. That fraternal code in law enforcement is a powerful thing, and a dangerous thing to cross.

A beat. A cant of his head: "What's your partner's name?"

"Ray. Ray Nadeem. He's a good guy. He doesn't need this shit right now either. Family medical problems, cancelled insurance, it's a big damned mess."

She shakes her head; brave is not how she'd describe herself, especially with as little 'looking into it' she's currently got completed. But of course, now that Daredevil has said that, her resolve firms. Now she kind of has to. She probably would have worked her way up to it anyway, but…nevertheless, Matt has a power to inspire people. In costume or out he has it, for different reasons each time, but all it takes is that note of respect to firm her up, make her ready to do what needs to be done.

"I wish I had better news for you," she says. "What's your next move?"

Ray Nadeem, she says, and he quietly tucks the name away for a later date. Good feds are hard to find, and he trusts Ruthie's judgment — even if she did try to arrest him for multiple homicides, once upon a time.

What's your next move? The corner of one lip curls into a subtle smirk, weary and wry. "Starting all over again. Mapping out who he has his hooks into, and how. There was a woman who shook down the judge. I'm going to find out who she is. And I'm going to make Ed Bianchi's life a living hell."

He did, after all, make a deal with the devil.

Ruthie is silent for a long moment. It's almost possible to feel the weight of consideration; the way tense muscles don't seem to move, making her for a moment something of a living mannequin. Shallow breaths, and high cortisol that masks the brown sugar and shea butter smell of her soap.

"The UPS store on 50th street," she says. She holds out a key. "Check box 42 in 3 days. I may not be able to get a warrant for a phone dump and financials, but I can get them. I'm going to give them to you, since I can't do jack shit with them. Figure out what you need to from them and destroy them."

And now she herself is breaking about 80 federal laws. But there's law, and there's right, and the clenched fist around the key says she's decided which of the two is more important to her. She may have tried to arrest him once, but that was before he produced results her department seemed incapable of producing. "Anything else I learn will be in that box."

They're two of a kind at the moment, even if she'd never know it. For nearly a year, Matt Murdock has kept his scarlet suit in a locked chest, taking it out only when absolutely necessary. The stakes of his current fight were too high, and allowed for no blurred lines between legality and vigilantism. People were counting on him, and on Foggy. It seemed the height of hubris to risk all that.

For a year, he colored within the lines, until Wilson Fisk broke clear off the page, flouting the rule of law to which Ruthie Decontreau devoted her life. Now he was not just going to flout it, but mock it. Mayor Fisk.

Daredevil takes a hard swallow of the bile rising in his throat, and accepts the keys with muted but genuine gratitude. "Thanks, Agent Decontreau. I'll pass on what I know too — be seeing you."

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