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"Finally getting some answers to all the mysterious shaking and sinking around the city, the mayor's office confirms that unpermitted construction around Midland Circle is to blame. Oddly enough, I'm told the implosion actually settled the ground again, meaning we're off to a more stable start today."
Trish Walker on Trish Talk[src]

The New York City Earthquake was an event disguised as a 4.6 magnitude earthquake that caused Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand to come into conflict with the Hand.

Background

Rise of the Hand

"They didn't want to heal. They wanted immortality. Power. To never face death... To regenerate themselves again and again. The elders saw this as an aberration. And so, like Lucifer from heaven, the five were banished from K'un-Lun forever."
Stick[src]
During an unrecorded period of time, the Order of the Crane Mother began studying Chi in an attempt to unlock its secrets and harness it for good. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Order, five members – who would eventually become known as Alexandra Reid, Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami, and Sowande – sought to harness chi for their own personal gain. They were eventually caught and banished from K'un-Lun for their crimes.[6]

The five members proceeded to return to their respective homelands, each building a criminal empire that grew and flourished.[6] They eventually reunited in East Asia after discovering that a substance found in the bones of dead K'un-Lun dragons contained the secret to immortality.[7]

It was then that the quintet combined their resources into a single organization and began calling themselves the Hand.[8]

As the years passed, the five "fingers" used their newfound power to search the world for dragon bones, finding them buried underneath cities such as Pompeii and Chernobyl. In excavating the bones, the Hand inadvertently caused the destruction of the aforementioned cities and possibly more.[6]

By the 21st century, the fingers had risen in prominence as well as notoriety. While Alexandra Reid was known throughout Manhattan as a respected socialite, Madame Gao was considered to be one of the most powerful drug dealers in New York City.

On the other side of the world, Sowande had established himself into an African warlord and gunrunner while Murakami elected to work from Japan in secret, using Nobu Yoshioka as his representative for making deals with Wilson Fisk.

As for Bakuto, he set out to manipulate Danny Rand into becoming a member of the Hand only to lose his life during a battle with his former pupil Colleen Wing. Unbeknownst to the two, Hand agents retrieved Bakuto's body and brought him back to life.[9]

A Death Diagnosis

"I'm dying. My red blood cell count has dropped precipitously and almost every one of my major organs is close to collapse. Is that still the case?"
―Alexandra Reid[src]
In 2016, Reid started realizing her body was shutting down due to the lack of Resurrection Elixir. While preparing for an MRI scan, Reid's suspicions were confirmed during a conversation with her physician, who told her it was only a matter of time before she died and that her vast resources would not be enough to find a cure.

Reid agreed to continue undergoing tests but secretly began to worry about how her newfound "illness" would affect the Hand's plans to continue searching for the substance.[10]

A Change in Plans

TheDefenders101-Reid

Alexandra Reid awaits the New York City Earthquake

"How soon can we begin?"
"Three months. Then we move to the final phase."
"That won't work. Not anymore. We need to move faster."
―Alexandra Reid and Madame Gao[src]

The same day as her MRI scan, Reid met with Madame Gao in Central Park and learned that they could begin excavating the dragon bones buried beneath New York in three months. Reid, however, insisted they hurry the process, not mentioning her terminal diagnosis.

Despite Gao's insistence that this divergence would bring unnecessary attention, Reid insisted that they adapt before leaving Gao to inform the other fingers and make the necessary arrangements.

That night, while informing Reid that all the arrangements had been made, Gao made one last attempt to make her co-founder change her mind. Reid, however, did not listen and gave the order to proceed.[10]

Earthquake

TheDefenders101-MattNYCEarthquake

Matt Murdock feels the earthquake

"The mayor's office confirmed this morning, it was a 4.6 magnitude earthquake. A shallow one, actually, centered in Hell's Kitchen. I'm told seismologists are looking at a fault line on the Hudson to see if it could be the source of the problem."
Trish Walker on Trish Talk[src]

In Hell's Kitchen, Matt Murdock was preparing to open a beer bottle in his apartment when he began to sense an approaching disturbance. At that exact same moment, an earthquake struck and caused the apartment to shake. This prompted Matt's senses to go into overload, making him unable to ignore the people in distress.

TheDefenders101-JessicaNYCEarthquake

Jessica Jones feels the earthquake

Jessica Jones, who had previously been hired by Michelle Raymond to find her missing architect husband John, also felt the tremors while investigating Raymond's Manhattan apartment, which was filled with dozens of crates containing explosives.

TheDefenders101-784512

Danny Rand and Colleen Wing return to New York City in time to feel the earthquake

Meanwhile, having returned to New York City following a failed mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Danny Rand and Colleen Wing were in the process of emerging from a Rand Enterprises helicopter when the tremors started to increase in size and in strength, causing blackouts throughout the city.

In Harlem, Dolores Miller was visiting the spot where her oldest son Sean died when the tremors hit and caused a street light to fall to the ground. At the last minute, Luke Cage, who had been conducting an investigation into Sean's death as well as the deaths of several other Harlem children, ran over to her and caught the street lamp before it could pin her to the ground.

As chaos ensued throughout the five boroughs, Reid, who was observing from a rooftop building, noticed that Elektra was standing behind her and told her New York was nothing more than a city that would eventually fall, as would many more in the near future.[10]

Aftermath

This section requires expansion
"Those tremors that shook up the place, they're nothing compared to what comes next. The Hand's done it before. Pompeii, Chernobyl. Events the history books like to call catastrophes, just cover-ups. 'Cause New York is next. And the only thing keeping Manhattan from crumbling to a pile of dust... is the four of you."
Stick to the Defenders[src]

With the city roaring with shouts and sirens, Matt Murdock took to the rooftops to survey the immediate area. Hearing teens looting a nearby shop and its owner armed with a loaded shotgun, he hurried to the scene and took out two men prepared to kill them.[10][11]

Walking to her car, Trish Walker found it had been damaged in a sink-in collapse. When she reported on the incident on Trish Talk, her superiors cut a call with a geologist, whom informed her that it was no ordinary earthquake.

Colleen Wing and Danny Rand returned to Chikara Dojo upon sunrise to find that the building was intact from the quake. They conversed over their chase for answers on the Hand's whereabouts and what Shaft had told them in Cambodia.

Luke Cage and Claire Temple took to the streets of Harlem to aid mildly injured civilians and remove blocks that that had chistled off of structures in their search for answers about White Hat.

Misty Knight managed to reach her captain Strieber and was informed that they were given a tip from Jessica Jones on the discovery of explosives in John Raymond's Apartment. After stealing a document on his last project, she sought for answers on the owner of the lot.[11]

References