“Hatred is gained as much through good works as through evil.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
At Avengers Tower, Daken is standing in Norman Osborn’s office overlooking the city. Osborn informs him that he’s an Avenger now and asks him if he knows what that means. It means, Osborn continues, answering his own question, he’s a hero. Of course they both know he’s not a hero but that’s their little secret; it’s all about perception. In they eyes of the world, he is Wolverine. But more importantly, he’s his Wolverine.
Upon hearing that statement, Daken grits his teeth. Making himself a drink, Osborn asks him if he knows what a hero is. Daken asks does he mean like Spider-Man. Osborn is not pleased with that response but is able to compose himself and say good example. As he obviously knows, he has a very long history with Spider-Man. He’s studied him exhaustively. In addition to what he’s witnessed firsthand, he’s combed through hundreds of hours of news footage. And he’s never seen him do, or say anything like this. Turning on a monitor, which shows Daken wearing Wolverine’s brown and tan costume, slashing a thug to pieces while he tells a lady clutching her child to ‘move you stupid bitch!’ Osborn tells him that was charming. Looking over his shoulder, Daken tells him that he tries.
Later, standing on the roof of Avengers Tower, Daken thinks to himself that it’s good to be on top. He’s been kept in hiding his entire life. Truth be told, he’s still hiding behind Osborn, behind that mask. The difference is, now he’s hiding in plain sight. They can see him but they don’t know what he is. Norman can keep on talking. He can rub anything he wants in his face. He’ll take it with a smile for he’s got his own plans.
As he makes his way through the busy lobby of Avengers Tower, Daken sees a man by the name of Barry being drug out of the building by two security guards. They tell him that was stupid while Barry protests that he didn’t do anything. They state that they have his security card on record and that it was used last night to access top secret personnel files. Barry replies that can’t be right. The guards tell him that computers don’t lie and that those red flags went up like it was the fourth of July. Barry tells them that he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t do something like that. They know he’s married, has kids, and just bought a freakin’ apartment. He can’t afford to lose his job.
They ask him how he can explain it then. They add that they’re on his side and to help them help him. If he tells them somebody stole his clearance card, they’ll believe him but they need to know where he was last night and who he was with. Was he with anybody last night? Looking at Daken, smirking as he walks casually by, Barry hangs his head in shame and tells the guards he was alone and that he accessed the files – he just wants to get this over with. Continuing to make his way down the hallway, Daken passes by a young blonde agent and smiles at her, piquing her interest. Daken proceeds to think to himself that Osborn only thinks he knows everything about him. A quick look through his file says otherwise. He has no clue about his other mutant abilities; how he can affect emotions through scent. And once he’s gained control of their emotions, their bodies tend to follow quite eagerly.
As Daken sits around a table with the rest of his fellow Dark Avengers – Ares, Hawkeye (Bullseye), Captain Marvel (Noh-Varr), Sentry, Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), and Spider-Man (Venom) – he thinks to himself that he has to assume Norman’s files on the others might also be incomplete but he knows enough and only one of his pawns might be a problem, the Sentry. He’s a lapdog, psychopath, and quite possibly the most powerful man in the world. But he’s not the smartest. The game is always simple when you break it down. People need to be broken down too, deconstructed into essential parts. Learn what makes a man or woman tick and you own them.
Osborn tells the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents in the room that he’s provided everyone they need in the files they’re holding. He orders them to study it and know their places. The people they’re dealing with at tonight’s gala have a low tolerance for screw-ups and they want them fat, greased and happy. One of the agents begins to ask about the guests but is cut off by Osborn, who informs him that he has another meeting soon with the president and again tells him to read the file.
Daken knows that the guests at the gala will be arms manufacturers, men and women who hold contracts with the United States government, contracts that Norman wants for Oscorp. It is all highly illegal. The fine, upstanding agents of H.A.M.M.E.R. would have to take action against Norman if they knew the truth. When the guard doesn’t ask any more questions, Daken sees Osborn enjoying his power. He’s the big man on top, surrounded by his dogs. It’s the only reason he calls these meetings. But dogs bite and all of this could be his right now with just one word.
As Osborn speak, Daken sees the young blonde-haired agent whom he met earlier standing behind Osborn, clasping her rifle by her side. Their eyes meet… and she smiles slightly before looking away.
Concluding the meeting, Osborn tells everyone that they are dismissed, save the Avengers, whom he instructs to sit back down. Very soon, Osborn is alone with his team, except for the blonde-haired who continues to stand behind him. Osborne tells his Avengers that he wants all of them looking pretty and dangerous tonight. So be in costume, or don’t even bother showing up. Thinking better of his statement, Osborne points to Daken, adding that that’s not an option.
Speaking up, Moonstone asks if this party has anything to do with the weapons warehouse they raided in Hong Kong. Osborn tells her to just be there, and leave the big thinking to him. Venom then asks Daken how the old lady was. Did he eat her and her kid for supper? He bets his claws make good chopsticks. Daken calmly tells him that, being half-Asian, he can’t help but feel a bit insulted by his racial insensitivity. But then again, he is a moron so he’ll forgive him. Bullseye adds that he’s half-Asian and half something else and asks him what it’s like to have Wolverine as a father. With wide eyes, Daken tells him that he wouldn’t know.
Leaning over towards him, Venom mocks him and says that he’s getting all choked up. Smiling, Daken quickly chops him in the neck with his hand and tells him yes, he is. While Venom tries to gather himself, Daken asks Osborn where they were. Getting up, Venom goes to attack Daken but stops when the Sentry speaks up and tells them all to stop, shocking all of the Avengers in the process. Venom proceeds to call Daken a snotty son of a… Bullseye mutters that he knows what he means but not to worry. He doesn’t think he’ll last. Matter of fact, he guarantees it.
Standing up, Osborn tells his Avengers that they have six hours before the party and to not be late or do anything stupid. Once he leaves, Daken says to Bullseye, calling him by his name of Lester, that he’s been meaning to ask him something. What’s it like to kill your father? Bullseye informs him that it was awesome and, for fifty bucks, he’ll kill his too. Daken says to him “what a bargain” but he wants to know: did he kill his father because he touched him or because he liked it?
Enraged, Bullseye takes one of his arrows and throws it through Daken’s shoulder. After Venom notes that that was slick, Bullseye makes his way over to Daken and tells him that’s his only warning and to not even pretend like he’s dying. As he goes to leave, Bullseye adds that he may think he has everybody fooled, but he knows what he is. Once the rest of the Avengers leave Daken alone with the young blonde-haired guard, she helps him to his feet and out into the hallway. Daken then tells her to wait and pulls the arrow out of his shoulder with relative ease. In shock, the guard asks him if there is anything he wants her to… Daken tells her to take him to bed. Looking into his eyes, she asks if there’s anything else.
A while later Daken lies awake in his bed where the female agent lies next to him, naked. Walking over to where his father’s brown and tan uniform is kept under glass, Daken stabs it with his inside claw, breaking the glass. Waking up, the woman says wow, she can’t believe she slept with Wolverine. Popping his claws, an annoyed Daken tells her to get out, he has to get dressed. He wouldn’t want to be late to the party.
At the gala that evening, Venom asks Ares if he’s seen Hawkeye, to which Ares admits that he has. On the other side of the room, Moonstone mentions to Daken that she hates these things. Daken tells her no she doesn’t. She just doesn’t like being treated like a freak. But they’re all freaks too. Every one of them is in costume, wearing a mask. No one shows their true face ever. Masks hide reality, or they become who they pretend to be. Moonstone says to him that she did not expect anything like that from him. Taking a drink off of a nearby passing tray, Daken tells her that’s him.
At that moment, Bullseye shows up with two attractive ladies on each arm, a dark haired one and a blonde. Upon seeing him, Moonstone tells Daken don’t. Daken tells her of course not, he’s not worth it. As he walks by, the women by Bullseye’s side are enamored with Daken talking about that they’ve heard he was an animal and about his healing factor.
Daken knows that so much of what they do is unconscious. He knows Bullseye is so easy. Just one trigger, one whiff of the pheromones he released and he’s furious, jealous, confused. He’s been doing it to him for weeks now, triggering emotions he didn’t even know he had. He doesn’t know why he reacts so violently to him, but it happens at the worst times, when he least expects it. And Bullseye hates it. He wishes he could kill him, he can taste it in his scent, all the fury. Ticking, ticking, ticking like a bomb waiting to go off.
As Bullseye smooches the blonde with great passion and leaves with her, the black haired one turns her attention to Daken. She walks over to him and tells him she and him, she doesn’t care where. Cozying up to him, she tells him that she wants him to make her scream. Daken says to her that he would love to, she has beautiful bone structure. He whispers to her that it wouldn’t take many cuts to expose it and it would definitely make her scream. Frightened, the lady hastily makes her way away from Daken.
Once she does, Venom walks up to him, puts his arm on his shoulder and tells him that he was just “de-nied” and that he’s such a loser. Daken turns towards him and says that it does seem he’ll be sleeping alone tonight unless possibly he’s…. Taking his hand off his shoulder, Venom asks him what did he say?
Before Daken can answer, two guards rushes over to the front door and tells the new arrivals they’re sorry, but this event is by invitation only. The Thing, flanked by Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and an injured Human Torch replies that they didn’t get his R.S.V.P., let him send it again. With that, he punches the guards out and asks where Norman Osborn is. Emerging from the crowd, Osborn asks Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben if there is something he can help them with. Reed replies yes actually and holds up an arrow. He tells him that he can explain why he found it in Johnny’s leg.
Immediately, Osborn looks over at Bullseye. Bullseye looks back at Osborn and then Daken and states that it wasn’t him… Tipping his glass to Bullseye, Daken thinks to himself maybe not. But as an extremely paranoid man once told him, “it’s all about perception.”