British Columbia, where Wolverine a.k.a. Logan sits slumped on some steps leading up to a cabin. His body is covered in scratches and blood, his clothing shredded, his claws are outstretched, also covered in blood. Blood pools at his feet. Bullet shells are strewn around him. He gazes up to the cloud-covered sky. There are scents on the wind - gun smoke, blood. No sounds - only silence. But pain in his hands. He stands up and lumbers forward, away from the half-destroyed cabin, Logan hangs his head and enters the dense forest - which is littered with the bodies of soldiers.
‘Sounds like you ain’t found me that miracle… Logan remarks to Reed Richards a.k.a. Mr Fantastic, inside the Baxter Building, home of the Fantastic Four in New York City. Examining an x-ray of Wolverine’s skull, Reed points out that they wouldn’t call them miracles if they were easy. ‘God help you if you ever get a serious concussion. The usual procedure calls for removal of a small section of the skull to relieve the pressure. But with this adamantium…’ Reed’s voice trails off, as Logan assures Reed that he will watch himself. Logan then asks Reed to lay it out for him. Reed rubs the back of his neck, before turning to Logan and informing him that he has lost his healing factor, but the problem is that everything Logan does, his entire physical structure, is built around the fact that he can rapidly heal from almost any injury. ‘Or… you could…’ Reed points out. Holding up an x-ray, Reed reports that Logan still has his strength and speed, which is good, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to move with all that metal inside of him - but that is the only good news.
Reed explains that Wolverine’s bones are mildly radioactive from various exposures over the decades. ‘Didn’t you tell me once you were present at Nagasaki?’ Reed asks. Logan remembers the explosion, ‘Yeah’ he replies, frowning. ‘Yes, well. You’re a prime-candidate for heavy metal-related leukaemia’ Reed announces, telling Logan that if he doesn’t get endocarditis from the bacteria he pulls into himself every time he uses his claws.
Reed reports that he can solve this for Logan, that he can speak with Tony Stark and Hank McCoy, but Logan interrupts, informing Reed that he has already seen Tony and Hank. ‘You’re the last genius on my list, Stretch. No offense’ Logan adds. ‘None taken. We’ve never been that close’ Reed replies, adding that doesn’t mean he wants to see Logan die. ‘You’re important, Logan. The things you’ve accomplished in your life… the world needs you’. Reed declares that he can reactivate Logan’s healing factor, he knows he can, but that he needs time. ‘You have to stop fighting. Hole up somewhere’ Reed instructs Logan.
Logan rubs his wrists and replies ‘That’s the problem. Word’s gonna get out. Don’t know how, don’t know who, but it will. And then they’ll come hunting. Open season’. Reed points out that Logan doesn’t have to invite it. ‘And for God’s sake, Logan, please…do not use your claws’.
Logan’s bloodied claws suddenly retract into Logan’s hand. His mouth twitches. ‘Hands’ he thinks to himself as he walks out of the forest, and approaches a small costal settlement. He walks into Eric’s Pub - something he recalls doing many years earlier. ‘Hey, Logan - been a little while since you’ve been in. you want one?’ the man behind the bar asks.
Some patrons in the bar are going about their business, as Wolverine smells the bar funk and stale beer. ‘Sure. Give me the whole bottle, no glass, and a couple clean bag rags… and your phone’ Logan tells the bartender, who remarks that it sounds like a solid afternoon. On the television in the bar, the news reader can be heard saying: ‘- the missing plane containing the French Olympians is just the latest in a string of disappearances of high-profile athletes. At this point -’, while Wolverine pours some alcohol onto a cloth, he can smell rotgut.
Logan wraps the cloth around his hands, leans back in the chair and picks up the phone. ‘Logan! My God, I was just thinking about you!’ a voice can be heard on the telephone. ‘Yeah?’ Logan asks. ‘Yeah. You know Battlestar?’ the person on the other end of the phone asks. ‘Battlestar - Cap’s guy?’ Logan asks. ‘Yeah. His shield was stolen. It’s made of adamantium. Made me think of you’ the person Logan is speaking to explains. Logan looks at the bottle of alcohol and tells the person he has called that he has nothing to do with that. ‘Just because it’s adamantium -’ Logan begins. ‘I know that. Look, Logan, it’s okay for people to think about you. It’s okay for people to care about you’ the person on the other end of the phone tells him, adding that they are glad he called, as no one has heard from him in ages. ‘Are you all right? Where are you?’ they ask. ‘I’m good. Just needed to hear a friendly voice’ Logan replies, before pausing. He then hangs up the phone, as the person he called starts to say ‘Well, sure… but -’.
Logan turns to the bartender and asks for a glass after all - one for the road. ‘And I got one more favor to ask’ Logan adds. ‘What’s that?’ the bartender enquires. ‘Some people might come looking for me. Chances are this is the first place they’ll check’ Logan explains. ‘Friends?’ the bartender asks. ‘Probably not’ Logan replies, before he leaves the bar.
Time passes, patrons come and go - and as the bar is nearly empty, the bartender looks up as someone calls out ‘Hello there. Four beers, please’. ‘You… you want anything in particular?’ the bartender replies. ‘Doesn’t really matter - as long as it’s American’ a large muscular man with an American flag painted over his face grins. He is accompanied by three unimpressed men in army clothing. ‘Pretty sure I got something down here’ the bartender replies as he reaches under the bar and grabs a shotgun, bringing it to the bar with four bottles of beer. ‘Remington’s an American brand, isn’t it?’ the bartender asks. ‘Ohhh, hey now - no need for that’ the large man replies. ‘Let’s hope so, pal. That’s sixteen for the beer’ the bartender announces. ‘Ha! Capitalism at work. I love it’.
He then puts down a one hundred dollar bill onto the bar. ‘There. Good old USA moolah, from Nuke to you’ he remarks, introducing himself. ‘I said sixteen. What’s the rest for?’ the bartender enquires. ‘For this’ Nuke declares as he grabs the shotgun and breaks it. He leans into the bartender and announces that they are looking for someone - a short, mean son of a bitch who calls himself Logan. ‘We know he was in this town, and this is his kind of place’ Nuke remarks, adding that there is a chance the bartender might have seen him. ‘Yeah, I’ve seen him. He’s gone. But he said you’d come’ the bartender responds. ‘Honestly, friend, you’re running a little late’ he adds. ‘I do not care. He say anything else?’ Nuke asks. ‘You really like touching other men’s guns, don’t you?’ the bartender tells him, as Nuke still holds onto the weapon. Nuke frowns and leans in closer to the bartender, ‘I’ll ask one more time before I start taking fingers. What did Logan say?’ Nuke demands. The bartender replies that he didn’t say nothing - ‘He just left this’ he reveals. Putting a map onto the bar, with a note from Logan that reads “Come on then you cowards” and a red X marked on the map.
Soon: ‘You see anything?’ one of Nuke’s companions asks as Nuke stands on a boat and looks through some high-tech binoculars at the island that was marked with an X on the map. ‘No’ Nuke replies, before instructing his companion to take the RIB and go check the boat that is tied up at the jetty. ‘Check the - come on, Nuke’ the man complains. ‘Yeah, Henry. You get to check the boat. Spencer and Hynes will cover you from here. They’re both ex-delta snipers. You got nothing to worry about’ Nuke assures Henry, before asking ‘Now, you want to get in the damn RIB or you want me to toss you overboard so you can swim in? You’re doing it, either way’. A short time later, Henry is in the RIB, some sort of inflatable boat, and stations it at the jetty. He steps onto the boat, ‘Don’t see anything, Nuke’ he reports via communicator. ‘Everything seems qui-’ Henry begins, before the boat explodes. ‘Yeah, well. That’s why you only send one guy to check the boat’ Nuke mutters, before the boat they are on starts to rock. ‘He’s here! He’s out here!’ Nuke tells Spencer and Hynes. ‘Of all the -’ Nuke begins, before they all leap over the side of their boat. ‘I know this guy, boys, it’s simple. Get to shore or die’ Nuke declares.
The trio start to swim for the shore, when suddenly, one of them is pulled under, and the water around him turns red. Nuke looks back, as his third companion suffers the same fate. But, Nuke makes it ashore, ‘Oh…you son of a…pretty good, Logan. That was pretty good’. But, as Nuke looks up at the shore ‘Oh no’ he gasps as the beach is littered with bodies of soldiers, ninjas, AIM operatives and other assorted warriors. Nuke is on his hands and knees, and a shadow looms over him. ‘Half those guys took each other out trying to get at me. And the rest…decided they’d rather fight than have a conversation’ Wolverine explains. Logan smells beer, dome wax and friend food as Nuke glances back. ‘Not me, Logan. You know me. I’m always up for a little tête-à-tête’ As his muscles tense, Logan tells Nuke ‘Uh-huh. This is your contract? You put out the kill order?’ But Nuke claims that he didn’t, and that he is just trying to earn living. He then leaps up , and grabs Wolverine by his neck. Logan feels the pain, as Nuke spins him around and tosses him through the air - Logan lands with a loud KRACK against a rock - pain is everywhere.
Nuke lumbers towards Logan, ‘Ain’t my contract, but I’ll be happy to take you in. payday’s huge, too. Biggest bounty I ever saw’ he reveals. Nuke informs Logan that the word is out all over the world - everyone is talking about it. ‘But I got you. Good old Nuke’. Nuke adds that it is the American dream - one big score and he is knee-deep in candy and kitty until his dying day. ‘Logan? Come on, brother, that hit was nothing. Not for you’ Nuke calls out as Logan has not moved from where he hit the rock. Nuke pauses, before calling out ‘You think ol’ Nuke’s stupid? I know you. You’re gonna pop back up, swinging those damn claws in my face’ Nuke calls Logan a hairy midget as he remarks ‘If you’re dead, I am going to be so damned - you aren’t faking, are you? I hate that. Are you faking, Logan?’ Nuke shouts. Logan struggles to get to his feet, ‘No. We ain’t done, either. Not yet. I still got those questions’ Logan utters. ‘Let’s have that tête-à-tête’ Logan suggests to Nuke, who smirks - but before Nuke can attempt to punch Logan, the X-Man slams his own head into Nuke’s, drawing a lot of blood. Logan then cracks their skulls together - more blood, staining the American flag painted onto Nuke’s face.
Nuke does not look very happy - another skull crash, and another and another, more blood, and eventually, Nuke’s flesh is peeled away, revealing the cyborg structure in his face. ‘American dream, my ass. This is Canada!’ Logan snarls. His head hurts, but he continues, leaning over Nuke, he asks him who put out the contract - who wants him dead? Nuke manages to reveal that the contract is not for Wolverine to be dead - the contract only pays out if he is alive. ‘Capture, not kill. You’re money, walking, talking money. But the bounty goes down the longer it takes to get you. It’s a race’ Nuke explains. Logan pauses, ‘They’re just gonna keep coming. Anywhere I go…’ he tells himself. ‘Guys like you, not caring who gets in the way, who gets hurt, who dies’. Logan puts his fist to Nuke’s throat and tells him that if he wants to get out of this alive, he has to do two things. ‘What?’ Nuke asks. ‘First, spread the word. Tell every son of a bitch thrill-killer I ain’t no damned prize. Come after me, you die. Kill anyone trying to get to me, you die’.
Logan continues, declaring that Nuke is the last guy he ever lets walk away. ‘Make sure they understand. All of them’ Logan declares, before announcing the second thing: ‘Tell me…right now. Who?’ he demands. Nuke reveals that the contract came out of Madripoor. ‘Who?’ Logan roars. ‘Lady who runs that whole Poison City. Owns everything, has everything doesn’t need nothing - except the Wolverine. You know her name. The Green Queen’ Nuke reveals. Logan looks less than happy - he knows her indeed - Viper!
And, in Madripoor, Viper reclines on a large throne-like chair, holding a large chain that leads to the collar wrapped around the neck of Sabretooth!