On Heaven's Wings on a Hellish Ride
By: Kari Retzlaff
DareDevil #2


He is called the man without fear, and yet at times, he feels as though he is a man without friends....

[[ 6:30 AM. Saturday.]]

Amongst the buildings standing orderly about the streets of the city, he sits perched upon one of the gothic ledges of the Headsmen Building as a few cars slowly poke down the abandoned city streets. He watches them ever so vigilantly. It's one of the few things he can do to keep his mind off his current troubles.

He can hear the smallest footstep from six stories up from the massive ledge that overshadowed the sidewalk from the few early rising commuters, hidden from naive and the innocent. He wouldn't have it any other way.

Some carry small leather briefcases with such neatly pressed suits, that it would make someone wonder how one could walk with such rigidity. Others jog along with racing hearts and small beads of sweat trickling down their cheeks as they prepare for the upcoming New York Marathon. All seemed peaceful as the rising sun glittered off of the dew covered glass that covered most of the downtown buildings. The sun itself seemed to almost dare any ominous cloud to walk within the path of splendid golden rays.

But clouds do form even on the brightest of days, and a dark one appeared over the horizon as the sound of woman's scream filtered through his alert ears.

His body tensed and his back straightened as he tried to pinpoint the sound. The sound of footsteps too heavy to human registered him to an even greater sense of attentiveness as he swung his billy club down at the ledge underneath his feet and watched the thin wire wrap itself around the protruding piece of concrete in silence. Without even so much as a second thought, he jumped with the other piece of the club gripped firmly in his red-gloved hands, his eyes like poisoned-pin darts narrowing down upon a bullseye.

As he swung freely through the air, he spotted the disturbance. A young blonde woman screaming as a bald, almost prehistoric looking man, had tightly placed both of his hands upon her arm and began to pull with all of his might. The man didn't even have time register what happened as Daredevil felt flesh give way underneath the soles of both of his boots, and landed with great agility. The large man tumbled into six full trash cans, which spilled their contents upon him, leaving him a crumpled mess.

"Don't mess with the lady." Matt Murdock uttered as he pulled his billy club back to him.

The man's eyes flashed with a mechanical glow as he growled and slowly climbed to his feet. "This mutant is now in the custody of Operation: Zero Tolerance." He said in a mechanical tone as an orange blast flew from his hand and hit Daredevil squarely in the chest, catching him completely off-guard, and throwing him several feet back. He skidded across the concrete on his shoulder, tearing his costume and lacerating a small part of his skin that burned like fire.

"That injury should have had him unconscious." Matt muttered to himself, as he pulled himself to his feet, clutch his bleeding shoulder. "Karen must be getting to me. I've to got to keep focused."

"The man had to be a mutant. How else could he have fired that blast." Matt thought to himself as he flipped out of the way of another orange blast, careful to put too much weight upon his injured shoulder. "But what is Operation: Zero Tolerance?"

The man glanced down as he felt the wire of the billy club wrapped around his ankles as the woman ran off in a panic. Fire emerged from the other man's feet in jets as he began to rise from the ground, lifting Daredevil high into the air as well.

"Blast it. He isn't even human!" Daredevil exclaimed, thinking aloud as he gripped the other end of his billy club, and held on for dear life as the Prime Sentinel held him in the air by small wire. He could feel his own heart race as the buildings below him got smaller and smaller, reminding him of the toys he used to play with a child.

"Humans could not take care of mutant menace, so enhanced humans must prevail where normal humans have failed."

"You're not even human. Robo--"

Matt was cut off by the sound of fire sizzling from the Prime's hand, severing the wire around it's ankles, and sending Matt into free fall. Without his billy club, he fell helpless toward the earth, flailing both his arms and legs as he watched the Prime Sentinel grow smaller and smaller as the distance increased.

Matt landed back down on top of the roof of local radio station, blacking out for moments. As he slowly awakened, he found himself with a splitting headache, and the Prime Sentinel landing near his feet. "Prepare to be eliminated under the jurisdiction of Operation: Zero Tolerance."

Matt watched as a glow began form on both of the fists of the Sentinel in a surreal slow motion. As he prayed what he thought would be his last prayers, the ironic thought that he would reach heaven before Karen hit him with an almost spiteful humor. As the blast was released, each second seemed like hours as the glowing ball of fire crawled closer to him. He couldn't move a muscle. His body felt like lead....This was the end.

A last-second primal urge suddenly filled Matt's body with energy as he dived out the way at the last moment, causing the blast to hit the radio tower behind him. With low creak, the tall tower began to wobble, causing it rock back and forth. The Sentinel glanced up as the shadow from the tower fell upon it, followed by the tower itself.

A furious fountain of sparks and scrap metal flew into the air, causing Daredevil to shield his face as the final explosion occurred. As he looked down at the robotic body, he gasped horrifically as he found the remnants of human flesh and pools of blood scattered among the wreckage.

"Forgive me, Lord. What have I done?!"

He collapsed on his knees, suddenly feeling his body's weightiness as his legs, now tucked underneath him, moved to either side. He dipped his finger into the blood and stared into the crimson liquid almost as if he expected it to stare back. He had to get out of there. He had to get home.

[[ 2:30 PM....Matt's apartment.]]

Dark. It's dark as the devil's soul....Or at least, the man who's soul has the feeling of dead weight. He searches for answers he knows he cannot find so he buries himself in his work like the devil envelopes himself in the shadows of the grave.

He placed his hands upon his temples and began to massage them vigorously as he leaned over the messy coffee table, strewn with manilla envelopes and files. "What is Operation: Zero Tolerance?" Matt asked himself as he blankly stared down at the stacks of papers before him.

Matt fell back onto the plush couch as he raised his hand to forehead, running his fingers through his red hair. Was what he did wrong? Was he guilty of murder? Was he the devil he had always presented himself to be?

No, no....he was merely a robot....No, he was more than that....he was a robot with a human soul. The rememberance of the Prime Sentinel's beating heart painfully echoed through his mind, like a ghost bent upon haunting its prey. It was alive....it was once a man....! His heart beat was not racing as though a man who was fully conscious of his actions. He wasn't in control....Wasn't there another way?!

He sat there for a few silent moments with the sound of man's beating heart echoing it's tell-tale song in his mind and staring out into the darkness until his highly perceptive ears picked up a TV news show from the floor below.

"In today's news, the Government funded mutant containment program, Operation: Zero Tolerance--"

Matt suddenly bolted upright.

"-- was brought to halt under Senator Robert Kelly's declaration of it unconstitutionality. Here is Senator Kelly's thoughts on these latest developments...."

"Senator Kelly...."Matt muttered to himself as he leaned over, resting his elbows on his knees, so deep in concentration that he face showed the strain within deep crevices.

"Great People of the United States, a great wrong has be wrought upon our nation on the basis of fear and hatred, that has not been matched since the days of the Civil Rights Movement. The government, partially under my directive, set in motion a program of genocide unto which many Americans, both mutant and not, were unreasonably and brutally murdered! My greatest appologies are not enough, but I can assure you, I've seen the error of my way--"

Matt recognized a woman's voice, probably a woman from the press.

"Senator Kelly, what of the leader of Operation: Zero Tolerance? Are you just going to let him escape unpunished?"

There was a long pause before Matt heard Kelly respond to the young woman.

"Unfortunately, we have yet to find someone who will prosecute Bastion under a court of law."

"But Senator!"
The woman's voice yelled through the crowd, with a sense of urgency. " What is the delay in finding a prosecutor for this man?"

The clip closed and Matt relaxed once more upon his couch. "What is the delay in finding a prosecutor?" Matt muttered cynically, through gritted teeth. "Bastion probably has men everywhere, stalking every leading prosecutor in the country, manipulating them with the safety of their own lives. No man would risk the safety of his family for such a case." Matt said to himself, glaring up at the ceiling fan until his face finally relaxed and a small smile crept across his face. "Unfortunately for Bastion, I have no known family."

He is a devil for seeking revenge upon this man? Or his he an angel serving justice where justice is due. Perhaps, it would be better to percieve him as an angel....For justice is blind.

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