The Axe, Part 5

July 14, 2014 Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson visit Lara Croft with updates on the Rhys Bale case.

The Wistoria

Lara Croft's temporary headquarters while in the United States.



  • Winston
  • Foggy Nelson

Mood Music:

The Axe, Part 5

After some pleasantries, Matt and a shorter, pudgier man with curly hair and cheerful exposition are led into Lara's penthouse office. Matt carries only his cane, but Foggy Nelson carries a backpack, two briefcases, and several rolled up poster sized pieces of paper.

"Wait here while I get Miss Croft," the pair are told, to which Matt gives a nod. When they're alone Matt raises an eyebrow.



"I like the way the wood smells."

"You would."

"Shut up, she's coming."

Lara doesn't keep them waiting long. The young explorer is dressed for business in a simple grey tweed pencil skirt and a navy blue sleeveless blouse, with modest heels. Her hair is in a loose bun at the crown of her head. "Mister Nelson, Mister Murdock. Please have a seat, Winston will bring us some tea shortly." She sits in the fancy leather chair behind the desk. She has reserved the penthouse at the Waldorf in NY for her office there.

Matt takes a seat while Foggy begins to set things up. He crosses one charcoal pant leg over the other and unbuttons his matching coat with a black dress shirt underneath. Foggy meanwhile is dressed as if someone shot his coach, skinned it, and made it into a suit. Small beads of sweat lace his brow as he begins setting up the easels.

"Here's what we have. So far," Matt says, getting right down to business, taking just a moment to readjust the sunglasses he wears.

"Rhys arrived in Gotham on the afternoon of July 10, from Portugal. He'd stayed there a few days after his trip to Eastern Europe-Lisbon specifically."

"I hear it's great this time of year," Foggy says as he puts up a placard that charts Bale's whereabouts from the time of his return to the time of death.

"It is," responds Matt before continuing.

That night he hung out with some big wigs-specifically Alan Scott from GBC-who held a small party for his return. So far, I've eliminated Scott from consideration and we're working on the others at the party. After he got home he contacted an escort service that specialized in exotic mutants, specifically a Charlie that he had developed a relationship with."

"When he died, Bale had drugs in his system-something specific to the mutant community called 'The Smooth that doesn't really show up in non-mutant areas."

Matt pauses, letting Lara have a chance to talk before he continues.

Lara listens contemplatively as Rhys movements are explained. "Him and his damnable escorts. The man had the libido of a teenage boy, I swear." She sighs and rubs at her forehead briefly. "Have you been able to locate this Charlie? I admit I do not know much about mutants and their abilities. I've had my head buried in old books and older tombs for the last few years."

"Oh," Foggy says with a bit of a scoff, "Wait until you hear about Charlie's 'gift'."

Matt gives him a raised eyebrow and Foggy backs down. "We haven't, yet. We're thinking of setting up a sting of some sort, at least to get to talk to…" he pauses. "Them, before the cops get to him. NYPD's investigation is being led by Mark Roosevelt. The same Mark Roosevelt who apparently had a file on Rhys for the past 8 or so years." Foggy flops the envelope down on Lara's desk with a bit of a booya-like gusto.

"A few months ago, Rhys had made a withdrawal for 25 thousand dollars. For what, we're not sure. And as far as the Axe, we haven't found a trace of it."

"What is Charlie's gift?" Lara asks, her expression turning confused as the pronouns become altered. She reaches for the file and opens it, scanning it with a scowl. "Was Rhys mixed up in something bad? Why would the NYPD have a file on him?"

"Switch hittin in the middle of the game," Foggy says as Matt's sigh is almost audible.

"We believe that Rhys was eccentric in many ways," Matt says diplomatically. "As far as the file, it's not clear why. We had it lifted from NYPD, but there's no rationale for why it was started. About 20 years ago or so, Rhys was picked up for narcotics use, pled down to avoid jail time, but maintained that he was innocent and framed by the police. He wrote letters both to Internal Affairs, as well as the Daily Bugle. It didn't go anywhere, but it's a lot of work for someone who got off with a slap on the wrist and a three week treatment program."

In the file, which is pretty thick, there's information about movements, bios on family members, who he was dating, you name it. It's pretty superfluous. Mark Roosevelt seems to be the main one who was taking down the information.

"Narcotics? I know Rhys was a lecher and liked a good time, but I don't think he'd risk dulling his mind with those. The one thing he loved more than sex was being an archaeological genius. That doesn't work well if you're a drug addict." Lara frowns deeply. "Do you think someone in the police department was trying to force him to do something?"

"We honestly don't really know. I have a source in the NYPD, the only person in the building I trust to be honest, who is working that angle," Matt says as Foggy is busy setting up a projector. "We're thinking that our next, best bet is to set up a date with this Charlie and figure out what they know. And there's one more thing."

"Lara." It's the first time he's used her first name. "If you found a priceless artifact, where would you store it? For some reason, Bale chose USTOR-it in Harlem.

Foggy shows the video on the wall. It's security footage from last night showing a man in a black hoodie and jeans, opening up a locker and pulling out a 3 foot bladed weapon. He closes the locker quickly and walks just as quickly towards the exit when he passes a bystander. As the latter turns to regard the hooded man, a projectile seems to fly from his hand and the elderly gentleman falls to the ground holding his eye."

"It was a damn toothpick," Foggy says, still shocked despite having seen the video a handful of times.

"I certainly wouldn't store it in a place like that, which might be precisely why Rhys did. He must have known someone wanted it, so he put it somewhere he didn't think anyone would look," Lara says grimly. She blinks over at Foggy. "He disabled a man with a toothpick? How is that even possible?"

"The toothpick hit the man right in the eye. Pierced it straight through," Matt says shaking his head in disgust.

"So, to me we've got a few angles here: The police, the mutant hooker, and the Axe itself. I've got Detective Sara Pezzini working on the police, but she's in a bit of a jam at the moment."

"She's suspended," Foggy interjects.

"She's on leave," Matt corrects. "But she's got enough contacts within the department to keep going. We haven't got much on the tooth pick guy, so we're thinking about the mutant angle. Wonderin if you'd like to come along-see how the other half lives."

"I would, Mister Murdock. Thank you both for your hard work on this. Rhys was, at the end of the day, a friend and a colleague and the world is a sadder place without him." Lara closes the file and hands it to Winston who magically appears with tea. "Please make copies of this for me," she informs him.

"Already done. These are the copies," Foggy says with a double eyebrow raise that might come off a bit weird. "We're good like that." Nelson begins to gather his things while Matt's attention turns back to Lara, "We'll give you a date and time. We need to find someone to be the duck-It's probably best that I bring the suit and don't need the personal attention. You might want to bring cover too."

Lara arches a brow at the mention of the suit, and looks from Matt to Foggy and back again. Does everyone know? Curious. "I'll wear something less conspicuous," she promises.

"If you could wear something l-"


Foggy chuckles under his breath, "I'll meet you back at the office, Matt." He gathers his belongings and winks at Winston as he makes his way for the door, leaving his tea behind.

"Sorry about him," Matt says when he gets out of ear shot. "Pretty girl walks through the door and his toenails end up scratching his tonsils."

Lara watches Foggy leave and then turns back to Matt. "So, he knows who you are at night as well? You really are terrible at keeping a secret identity, Matthew."

"Can't be good at everything," Matt says with a chuckle. "Foggy's alright. I've known him since college. He's my best friend; wouldn't tell a soul. He's known for a while now."

"You never told me how you knew? Blind guy swingin from the rooftops-bit of a curveball, innit?"

"Indeed," Lara quips, sipping her tea. "I suspected when you mentioned you had reasons to accompany me on my journey when I hired Daredevil. Then when you didn't react to the Pliosaur in the cave on Baffin Island, I realized you actually could not see it. Because no one, in their right mind, would not respond to that sight." She tilts her head to one side. "How do you do what you do? Are you truly blind?"

Matt brings the tea to his mouth and takes a sip before setting it back down. He chuckles, almost scoffs at the question. "Am I sure I can trust you? You know all this about me and I know so very little about you, Miss Croft. You're like…minus 3 right now in debt with our secret sharing."

"That could be because I have very few secrets, Matthew. But I'll play this game. I'm actually staying in the States to avoid my relatives. We've been in constant court battles over my family estate since the death of my father." Lara smirks and folds her hands on the desk. "Your turn."

"I'm fully blind, but my senses are so acute I can sense a three dimensional version of everything in this room. What I have is better than sight." Matt rests with his back in his chair and gives a wry grin, "I can't tell what color your eyes are but I can sense the way your hair spills out from your band in the back or tell the style of soap you use." Matt tilts his head, "Evading family? Grass is always greener for all of us, I'm afraid. My family is dead. Never gave it a second thought that we might not get along had they lived to see me today."

"Hazel. My eyes are hazel," Lara notes. "So, you have sonar of a sort? Like a bat does?" she asks. "Is Batman blind too?" Well hey, someone had to go there, right? "Why on Earth did you decide to become a vigilante? You're clearly highly educated, with your own law firm. You do good in your day job." She slides a finger across the desktop, not an antique like in her various homes, just whatever the hotel provides. "My parents were amazing people whom I loved more than life itself. They died when I was sixteen, and I inherited everything, much to the displeasure of every relative that came out of the woodwork for a piece of the estate."

"Wish I was able to see them. Despite my gifts there are still drawbacks. Blind spots." Matt shakes his head, "You know, I'm not sure? I'm not sure that I even really believe there is a Batman. As far as why I usually keep it close to the vest, but you're an inquiring sort-I like that about you-and it's easy enough to piece it together once you have what you have, so I'll save you the trouble. I come from the Kitchen, and all that it entails. My mom died when I was a kid and my father raised me. He was a boxer and beat people's faces in to put food on our table. Mob wanted him to take a fall. He wouldn't and it got him killed. I do what I do for justice." He chuckles, "I might seem educated-good at what I do, but I'll always be from the Kitchen." Matt shakes his head sadly at how money might rip a family apart. He'd always thought that if he'd had family, things would have been perfect. "Well, if you have a long lost sister, I'm sure Foggy would love her phone number."

As the joke goes a bit stale, Matt looks at her seriously, "I'm sorry about your parents."

His phone goes off, "Excuse me."

"Yeah. Yeah, I'll be right there."

Back to Lara now, "If you're free in the future I'd love to continue this discussion. As for now, I've got to go."

"Let me know when you need me," Lara says with a nod, "And perhaps we can finish this discussion in less formal circumstances sometime." With that, Winston shows the man out.

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