Habeas for Superheroes

By Izzy

Part 3: Day One

She wasn’t quite clever enough, and Matt did momentarily awake when she slipped out from under his arm. But when he didn’t move to get up too, she whispered to him, “Just stay there, baby. Rest for a little longer,” and he actually appeared to listen for once. By the time she was eating a quick breakfast in the kitchen mostly consisting of leftover takeout, Matt’s breathing from the bedroom sounded even.

Karen’s article about the disturbance at Rand Enterprises was already up on the Bulletin’s website:

Mysterious Break-In at Rand Enterprises
Identity and Motives of Daredevil-like Figure Uncertain
By Karen Page

Some said it was Daredevil, now looking to make the expansion of his area of operations permanent. Others insisted it had to be the Iron Fist. One person wondered out loud if Luke Cage had taken something to make him shrink, though one thing everyone agrees about the culprit is that he wasn’t anywhere near the known height and weight of Harlem’s bulletproof hero. They generally agree it’s a man too, although that didn’t stopped some people from bringing up the possibility of Jessica Jones. No one seemed to be suggesting Spider Man out loud, and he still doesn’t venture out of Queens that often, but no doubt at least some people are thinking it, especially as a couple of accounts claim the mystery man could stick to the ceiling.

Ultimately, however, the identity of the mysterious man that appeared in the corridors of the sixteenth floor at Rand Enterprises last night is the least of the questions everyone is left with. The police cannot even absolutely confirm it was he who left the hole at the corridor’s end behind, though it’s hard to believe otherwise. He attacked nobody, doing no worse than creating that hole and scaring the living daylights out of a few employees. Nor did he steal any objects, although as this is going to press, Rand has just stated they believe several computers on that floor were broken into, while giving no further details.

“I almost feel like this could’ve been anything from a prank to an assassination attempt,” says Rand CEO Ward Meachum. “We’ve had both at this company in the last month, believe it or not.”

Foggy wasn’t sure if she did believe it or not. Idly she wondered if Ward had had any idea of what was really going on; she had no idea whether or not Danny would’ve told him.

What no one seems to think of, but is certainly very possible, is that this wasn’t even a superhero at all, but rather, someone wanting people to think it was, and be thus all the more afraid of them. Granted, if it was, the culprit was not the most competent of people. By the time the crowd that gathered outside was starting to disperse, no one sounded very afraid when they spoke of the intruder. It helps that most of the ones who whose names came up as suspects currently have positive reputations. When whoever broke into Rand Enterprises last night didn’t even hurt anyone, it’s easy to think they didn’t even intend to.

It was hard for Foggy to surmise whether that was actually true, or Karen wanting to believe it was; she still got like that, sometimes. Something to ask Matt about, maybe, given how much he heard.

Ultimately, for all we know, it could have even been Iron Man who broke into Rand Enterprises, or possibly some robot or unoccupied suit under his control. Tony Stark has barely been seen publicly since the public confrontation and combat between the Avengers, but he certainly has the ability to blow holes in the wall, stick to the ceiling, and hack into computers, and no doubt he could do these things with a remote-controlled robot as well, not even necessarily an intelligent one like Vision. As has been the case for most of the last month, Stark has not been available for comment.

After that paragraph, Foggy didn’t really read the final two paragraphs of the article, which were basic summing up and a couple of quotes from the scene. Instead she texted Karen, You really can’t leave Stark alone?

Karen’s response came as Foggy was putting her jacket, listening to Matt groan himself awake in the other room: Can’t. Sorry.

Unfortunately, they really couldn’t talk about anything more specific over a phone that could at any time be seized, possibly even for a bogus reason. Foggy even considered deleting as much as they’d said, before deciding that would look even more suspicious.

Besides, she didn’t want to bother Matt with it yet. Especially not if he praised Karen for it.

So instead she just texted, Think anyone from Rand will join Colleen Wing’s classes? Colleen Wing was currently in the process of getting her new dojo opened, and, if nothing else, she had a number of family and friends of various vigilantes already looking to enroll as students, Foggy and Karen both among them. Foggy doubted she’d ever be a very good fighter, but having any kind of training at all had in the most recent days felt more vital than ever.

Think there might be a few anyway, Karen texted back. Though probably not Ward. That was kind of a pity, Foggy thought, if only because it would’ve been amusing.

That Afternoon

The footage dropped when Foggy was in the middle of a meeting with a woman who had been arrested for heckling Ross. She had forbidden her from checking her phone before the meeting began, just in case of this exact scenario; she’d really wanted to get through it.

She’d even gotten Sasha to mute her phone, and she’d done the same with her own. So her first awareness that it had probably happened was due to a substantial increase of noise outside her office, which she forced herself not to react to. After all, she wasn’t supposed to have any more idea of what it could mean than Sasha did. Less, maybe.

Except then Marci managed to ruin it by hammering on Foggy’s locked door and yelling, “Foggy! Foggy! Foggy Bear! You need to drop whatever you’re doing and come watch this now!”

“No, I don’t!” Foggy yelled back. “Whatever it is, it can wait…” she leaned over enough to look at the computer clock. “…sixteen more minutes!”

“No, it can’t! Bruno, can you go find Cheryl? If someone doesn’t unlock this door I’m going to break it down, I am not kidding!”

Well, that was a stronger reaction from Marci than Foggy had been anticipating. Not mention it was so out of character for her that she really had no choice but to stand up and go to the door, though she wasn’t unlocking it if she could help it. “Look,” she sighed, “I don’t know what new aliens have shown up and abducted the real Marci Stahl here…”

“What’s happened?” No good, Sasha had put two and two together when she knew what kind of specialist Foggy was. “Have they arrested someone? The Daredevil? They’ve arrested Jessica Jones already, so their doing that again wouldn’t be that big a story, would it? Although I suppose at this point Luke Cage being arrested again could go either way.”

“You know better,” Foggy told her, because she really was supremely unimpressed at that one.

And Marci took that as permission to provide further answer, as she yelled, “Seriously, Foggy, it’s up a higher level, as in, Wanda!”

From Sasha’s reaction, Foggy could tell it was hopeless anyway, so she went ahead and hastily unlocked the door and pulled it open with a, “What? Have they finally said where the hell she is?”

“Oh, it wasn’t them,” was her grim reply. “I think it might have been some disgruntled employee of Stark who was able to get their hands on footage from that suit of his, which was just uploaded to YouTube by a newly created account. Not many details about the account yet, but I do hope whoever it was, they covered their tracks well enough to get away with it.”

She was looking and talking in a way Foggy had honestly never thought she’d see from her again. It was the way she’d done back at Columbia, when she’d gotten started on some wrong she was planning on making right when she took over the legal world. “Take a look,” she said, and she already had the video loaded on her phone.

Knowing what it contained did nothing to the indignation that flooded Foggy when she got her first look at Wanda. The straitjacket was painful enough, but the vacantness of her expression, the kind she’d seen a handful of times in the months after Pietro’s death but had now thought over with, left her wanting to go all Daredevil herself on anyone and everyone responsible. The footage wasn’t long; the way it cut off just as Stark started talking to Sam made Foggy suspect one of them had said something Stark didn’t want to make public knowledge. Maybe something to do with whatever had delayed his return to the States? Or related to where Rogers and Barnes were right now? Foggy didn’t care.

Cheryl joined them just as the clip finished. “Looks like your friend needs your help,” she commented; they’d half-planned out a script that morning. “Though how’s she supposed to ask for it?”

“Well, she clearly can’t,” said Marci. “But, well, Wanda Maximoff has no family left alive, right? And aside from you and Matt, her friends have all recently either turned on her or are in the same situation as her, so…”

“Yeah,” Foggy agreed, glad for the easy cue. “Useful thing, I suppose, when your lawyer and your next friend are the same person, same as they initially were in Hamdan. That doesn’t really count as representing yourself, right?”

“Well,” said Marci, “honestly, you’ll have a fool for a client anyway. But that doesn’t change that they don’t have the right to do this to her, or to any of them. And if you happen to know any family or close friends of any of her fellow three inmates? I’d like to have a word with them.”

“Don’t you have Mrs. Wilson’s contact information from that time?” Cheryl gave Foggy a meaningful look. Of course, there’d long been a story going around the firm that Daredevil had asked his pair of lawyer acquaintances to give their Avenger friend a call when he’d wanted to work with them. The version that included him dramatically stalking Matt was one Foggy tried to encourage.

“Woah, Sam Wilson’s married?” Marci looked stunned. “I admit, I’ve never really followed the Avengers…”

“No,” replied an unimpressed Cheryl. “Darlene Wilson is his mother. I met her once. She’s a good woman. Much nicer than you.”

“Lots of people are much nicer than me,” shrugged Marci. “It’s okay; I’m going to be there to help her.”

“Well!” While Foggy had been distracted, Sasha had gotten her own phone out, and Foggy could now hear the video playing from it. “You know what, Ms. Foggy? I’m not taking any plea bargains. I won’t give an inch to Thaddeus Ross. I want to drag him into court and make clear I have every right to be outraged at him.”

“That’s not really your job, you know,” Marci pointed out to her. “You’ve got the perfect right to save your own skin.”

“No, it is my job. I’m going to make it my job, because it’s the right thing to do.” There was definitely a little bit of a sneer at Marci in there, though Sasha was wrong if she thought it was going to bother her any.

“Well, if you want,” she shrugged, then said to Foggy, “I’m actually not doing this sheerly out of ideals, by the way. I’m also looking to raise my profile and put a crowning achievement on my resume, and also get one over Hogarth. All while being the good guy, even.”

“Guess we don’t have to doubt your sincerity, then,” replied Cheryl, who was already leaning over Foggy’s desktop, looking for the email address.

Sasha was looking at her very disdainfully, and while she knew Marci wouldn’t care, Foggy didn’t want to hear it. “Look,” she said to her, “before you say anything else in front of a lawyer that’s not yours, why don’t you go home right now, think about everything, see if you still feel the same way about all of this tomorrow morning. Cheryl, we’ve got most of that free, right?”

“Are you really going to have it free?” asked Sasha. “Sounds to me like you’re about to become a much busier woman.”

“You’re still my client; I’ll find time for you. Besides, I can do most of the immediate paperwork and other things tonight.”

“Found Mrs. Wilson’s email address,” Cheryl announced. “Sorry we don’t have her phone number.”

“I’ll ask her for it,” said Marci, as Cheryl wrote it out on a post-it and handed it to her. “Hey, Foggy, do you want to grab dinner with me tonight so we can coordinate plans? Invite Matt, maybe, since he’ll probably want in on this?”

“Good idea,” said Foggy. “You good for eight?”

Marci was, and when Sasha too had her next meeting scheduled in, Foggy managed to get her to depart after five more minutes or so, Marci having headed back to her own office already. By then Cheryl had already loaded something else up on Foggy’s computer: “Gitmo habeas petitions, the ones filed for the detainees once they got their lawyers. You know I read through ten of these things? They really do all say the same thing.”

A Little Later

It was past six when Foggy finally got home. Matt had agreed to come to dinner, and not needing to cook it had led to his taking a nap; she could hear his steady breathing coming from the bedroom. She might have to skip a shower, she thought, to avoid waking him up.

Except maybe he really had needed to catch up on the heavier sleep, she thought a moment later, when the sight of the coffee table brought her up short. When she’d gone to work that morning, it had been covered with several old receipts, three different folders, two hers, one Matt’s, and some papers related to her painkiller prescription. Now, all of those were carefully piled up on one end, and where they had previously sprawled, there lay two documents, set out neatly next to each other.

One of them was in braille. Foggy picked up the other one and read: I, Natalia Alionovna Romanova, next friend on behalf of Mr. Clinton Francis Barton, hereby authorize Mr. Matthew Michael Murdock to act as counsel on behalf of Mr. Barton in the state of New York and anywhere else where he is licensed to practice law.

It was less than an hour ago Foggy had officially filed suit against the President demanding habeas for Wanda. It wasn’t even public knowledge yet, though she had texted Karen to tell her it was done. But of course Natasha had probably guessed that was what they were doing, and that it would be Foggy acting on Wanda’s behalf, and thus Matt who was available for Clint.

She woke her husband up with the braille copy. He was able to confirm Romanov had been there by smell, though it took him about a minute. “She has the least scent of anyone I’ve ever met,” he commented. “Unnerving, really.”

The third petition was newly filed when they walked into the restaurant Marci had chosen. Thankfully not too upscale this time, though she had deliberately picked a place with no TVs in it. Foggy did one last check of the news on her phone right before they went in, and found no real further developments. A few more people had commented, and the government still hadn’t.

They told Marci just after sitting down at the table she’d already grabbed. “Oh, you poor things,” she sighed. “You do realize as soon as you reveal how you came into possession of that note they’re going to show up at your apartment with a search warrant.”

“We’ll be prepared,” said Foggy, trying to make it sound light. It was okay, she told her hammering heart. Matt could go out right after this and find someone to keep his costume safe until after they’d come and gone. They had more than enough allies, now, for things like that.

“Anyway,” Marci continued, “I’ve asked around at HC & B, and I don’t think we’re going to find our fourth lawyer there. But I’ve emailed some of my other friends, and I think Jennifer might be willing to join us. You remember Jennifer Walters? Was in our Civil Procedure class second year, might or might not have been related to Bruce Banner? Owned that piece of snot…what was his name? Thomas? I don’t remember. But she owned him in class that one time, I remember that.”

“Yeah, I remember her,” said Foggy. “She went back to LA, didn’t she?”

“Well, the two of us still email each other sometimes. She even asked me after the whole Fisk thing happened if I wanted to find a job in LA, though I don’t think she was that serious about it. But ten minutes after I’d sent a bunch of people emails telling them I was suing Ross for habeas, she emailed me back asking if all four prisoners had lawyers yet. I’ve told her Scott Lang doesn’t have one. I think the guy’s native to San Francisco, so she’s someone who can represent him immediately, if his case starts in California. Speaking of which, do we even have any idea what state Barton was a legal resident of? Wilson became a legal resident of New York last summer, and it’s the only State Maximoff’s ever lived in.”

“Romanov really should’ve told us that,” Foggy sighed.

“Actually, that whole thing is strange,” said Matt. “I’ve started looking for any record of what Barton’s been up to since he apparently stepped down from the Avengers about a year ago. So far, it’s looking like he went completely into the wind. I mean, I haven’t looked very far yet, but there are no accounts of anyone ever seeing him. The guy’s been an Avenger since the start; that doesn’t happen with any of them. They show up in any town and show their face in public, and someone tweets. Every time. It’s especially true with Rogers. I could tell you what towns that guy’s been in for half the time for the four years that have passed since they fished him out of the Arctic. But it’s true for all of them. There were plenty of Clint Barton sightings before his retirement.”

“Still,” said Foggy, trying to ward off the uncomfortable thought they now all had to be thinking, “he’s probably the least descript of all of them. If he wanted to live quietly, he might have be making maximum efforts to go unnoticed. I mean, many of the jobs and skills listed in his S.H.I.E.L.D. file are the kind that would have required him to be really good at that.”

“I don’t know,” said Marci. “I mean, when you consider we had two other Avengers vanish off the face of the Earth at the same time, and only one of them had a home to go to in another dimension or whatever Asgard’s supposed to be in…”

“You really think,” asked Matt, “that my client, Bruce Banner, and Thor were up on some top-secret mission that is still something nobody knows about? Even though he showed up in Germany accompanied by neither Banner-in either form-or Thor? Even though two of the original Avengers publicly expressed their support for the Accords and willingness to cooperate with the authorities, and as far as we know haven’t breathed a word about this to any of them? One of whom is close enough to Barton she’s now claiming next friend status for him?”

“I think,” said Marci, “that so long as it’s even a possibility, it’s also a problem. Especially if they’ve been interrogating the poor guy in that prison and he’s refused to give any information up.”

“That is all too possible,” said Foggy, as another ugly thought hit her: “You know, by all accounts, Ross is kind of obsessed with tracking down the Green Guy. If he thinks Barton knows where he is…”

The thought that Ross could be interrogating Clint Barton at that very moment, taking out his rage over the leak in ways that probably stretched international law at best, demanding information the man might or might not even have, was a sobering one. Foggy thought about their history from as little as ten years ago, and wondered if her country would ever again be what it was supposed to be.

“If he is doing anything to him,” Matt finally said, “and we get out hands on even the slightest shred of evidence about it, then I will make Ross pay for it, one way or the other.”

His voice was dangerously low on that last one, and Foggy wished she could be sure whether he meant that as himself, or as Daredevil.

“Yeah, give him hell,” Marci agreed; she had no idea, of course. “We wreck his image enough, maybe our likely next president will decide against keeping him on after all. I think that really would be a terrible punishment for him. Banish him to Fox News.”

“Banish them all to Fox News,” Matt chimed in, which made Marci smile. The wicked one, which Foggy refused to believe his senses couldn’t somehow detect, and oh no, Matt and Marci on those rare occasions when they combined forces were even worse than Matt and Karen when they did. That they were joking in this particular instance didn't meant they would be on the next one. How could Foggy have thought this a good idea?

“Worse,” she was saying. “Banish them all to talk radio. We’ll file a joint motion as soon as we figure out the justification. Never have to see any of their ugly mugs again. Seriously, Murdock, you have no idea how much you can become repulsed by those, am I right, Foggy?”

“I’m not cooperating with you two,” Foggy said immediately, because really, she had to.

Unfortunately, Matt was smiling back, and saying, “Then do we really want to float the suggestion that Ross be forced to hide his? The government might realize we’re giving up a valuable weapon and not oppose us.”

“Oh, Ross won’t let them do that,” shrugged Marci. “Men like him always have way too much of an ego to allow such slights. Though the real question, I suppose,” and she got a little more serious here, “is just how much of an ego does he have, and how much nerve? Would he have the nerve to…to use enhanced interrogation techniques on a group of superheroes, and the ego to not do a very good job of hiding it?”

She sounded almost excited, as if she wouldn’t mind such a crime being committed, so long as she could be involved in making the perpetrator pay for it. Foggy remembered words she’d once said to Matt, but at least he’d never been that. “We shouldn’t rely on that,” she forced herself to say. “And remember, we already have one abuse of Wanda on video, and I’d really rather we get that one stopped as soon as possible.”

“Any other motions?” Marci asked. “I want to compel Stark to testify in person. How do you think he would react to that?” Her grin came back.

So did Matt’s, as he said, “Hey, he was the one who was talking on the news about wanting to be more open. Which makes me wonder why we still don’t know who that Spider-Man in Queens is; seriously, does even the government know? Or is Stark allowed to know in their place?”

“Well, that would be technically legal under the Accords, if he was under sixteen,” said Foggy, because that was one provision, at least, put into place to protect very young Inhumans. “But would Stark have really dragged him to battle other superheroes in Germany if he were that young? Even when Stark was a weapons-dealing asshole, he wasn’t that kind of asshole.”

“No,” Marci agreed, “just the kind of asshole that doesn’t see the laws as applying to him even when he’s actively advocating for them.” She was undisputedly right in a way, even if they couldn’t exactly tell her that. “Who else do we call? I suppose Romanov would be kind of complicated, now, and from what I can tell of events, I think Rhodes may honestly not have much testimony to give. The robot, though, definitely. And then there's the new King of Wakanda.”

“No way he’s in the country,” said Foggy. “Probably never came here, just gave his statements in Germany and then flew directly home. I mean, doesn’t a new King always have work to do at home, anyway? Even a figurehead would be kept busy, and from what I’ve read of Wakandan law, he isn’t just that. And we could certainly never force him to come back if he didn’t want to.”

"So if the judge tried to compel him,” said Matt, “that could abate proceedings.”

“You’ll want to wait on it,” sighed Marci, and she didn’t really sound like she even disagreed. “Unless he suddenly does come here. Which honestly wouldn’t surprise me at this point. It’s the Avengers, after all. Sometimes it’s felt like crazy things happen in relation to them every other week.”

“And more than that recently,” Foggy agreed. “Seriously, guys, where do you think we’ll be at this time tomorrow?”

“Worry about it then,” Marci replied. “Make our plans now.”

To Be Continued...