Madripoor, specifically, Lowtown, during the night, the city is lit by brilliant lights, and at the Princess Bar, people start to gather outside. ‘Move along, friend. We wouldn’t want this to get ugly’ the bouncer tells a man who tries to enter the bar. ‘Perhaps another bar. One more appropriate to your means’ a woman suggests. ‘No. This is the right place’ the man trying to gain entry declares. A small broach on his lapel has the image of a snakehead with a green tongue. ‘I have an appointment’ he announces, running his finger near the broach. ‘V-’ the bouncer begins. ‘Hush’ the woman declares, and they both bow and let him enter. ‘Of course, Sir. Accept our apologies. Please go ahead’ the woman tells him as the man walks past them.
The man, with tattoos covering his arms goes over to the bar as people mill about, he asks the bar tender ‘What happened to this place? Last time I was here, you could actually afford to get a drink’. The bar tender smiles and replies ‘You know…Madripoor. Someone decided they could make a few ringgits charging the Hightown folks an arm and a leg to pretend they’re having a dangerous night out down by the docks’, before pointing out that this gentleman doesn’t seem like he is here for that. ‘No .I’m meeting someone’ the man replies. ‘Had a feeling. He’s back there’ the bar tender replies, motioning to a curtain. ‘Hnn’ the man with the tattoos mutters, before walking over, he pulls the curtains back, to find a bearded man with sunglasses sitting in a booth, with each arm wrapped around a woman, several bottles of wine on the table before them. ‘Hey, man. Have a seat’ the bearded man declares.
The man with the tattoos introduces himself as Koro. ‘And you seek the Emerald Queen, a woman who most in Madripoor avoid at all costs’ Koro remarks, telling the well-dressed man that he plays a dangerous game. ‘Ain’t a game. This is business’ the man replies, as the woman get up to leave. ‘So we’ve heard, apparently. You have something to sell, and you think Viper will buy’ Koro states. The well-dressed man detects a sourness to his words. ‘Uh-huh. I’ve been waiting around this damn town for weeks. Now, it’s hard not to have a good time in Madripoor, God knows…but if Viper’s not interested, I’ll just move on. And you can explain why she missed out on the item in question, Koro’ the well-dressed man points out. Koro takes a seat in the booth, as the well-dressed man states that he hears Mystique is running Madripoor these days, which is why he came to Viper first, figuring she would be trying to move up - a motivated buyer. ‘But I’m sure Mystique would love to get her hands on this, too’ he adds. ‘You have it with you? You are a brave man, my friend’ Koro replies as he looks at the bag placed next to the well-dressed man. ‘Eh, been called worse’ the man replies, adding that if someone wants to take it, they are welcome to try.
‘Can I… see it?’ Koror asks. The well-dressed man picks up that Koro has an accelerated heartbeat. ‘Sure’ the man replies, handing the bag to Koro. ‘Gods…’ Koro utters when he unzips the bag to find Iron Man’s helmet inside. ‘That’s a Mark IX. The only versions more recent than this live in Tony Stark’s head’ the man reveals. ‘May I… may I…?’ Koro asks. ‘Knock yourself out’ the man tells him. Koro lifts the helmet up and remarks that there are, of course, certain provisions, like they would need to verify that this is not some clever fake - everything in Madripoor is counterfeited. ‘Try it on’ the man suggests, detecting increased sweat on Koro. ‘You tell me? Real enough for you?’ the well-dressed man asks, as he senses Koro’s heart pounding, as Koro puts the helmet over his head, and peers out of the curtain at the people in the Princess Bar - the sensors in the helmet picks up various readings, including scanning every weapon that they are carrying, while identifying persons of interest - such as Kristoff Vernard, who stands back, hands in pockets, gun in his suit jacket, and watches the people in the bar.
Another is known - lawyer Mallory Book, who smiles as she leans into a man who puts his arms around her. Mallory is carrying a weapon, as is the man who holds her - only the helmet identifies the man as Raven Darkholme - Mystique - and she is also carrying a weapon. ‘This is…incredible. The tactical advantage something like this would grant…what is your price?’ Koro enquires. ‘No offense, Koro, but I didn’t come here to deal with an underling’ the man declares, adding that if Viper wants this, she will have to deal with him in person. Koro tells the man that he may come to regret his insistence, but nevertheless, agrees to take him to the lady.
Shortly, in Hightown: ‘This is the one who has been seeking an audience. He has what he claims. I verified it myself’ Koro declares as he and the well-dressed man stand before Viper in her throne-like chamber. The well-dressed man smells cyanide, arsenic, strychnine, belladonna, botulinum, tabun and batrachotoxin, as Viper frowns. Her guards line the room. The man also smells something - someone - else. ‘Hey, darling’ he calls out to Viper, who suddenly leaps up, ‘Koro, you idiot. Don’t you know who this is? He’s worth a thousand times more than that damn helmet!’ she exclaims. ‘What? Who?’ Koro asks. ‘Yeah, sorry about that, Koro. Viper and I have a history. Used to be married, even’ the man reveals as he removes his glasses. ‘Ain’t that right, gorgeous?’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan asks Viper, who shrieks ‘TAKE HIM!’
As Koro runs away, the ninjas move swiftly towards Logan, who drops the bag, and then his glasses. He blocks a sword and knocks the ninja back as his glasses break on the ground and the bag hit’s the ground with a clunk. Another ninja tries to strike Logan, but he grabs the ninjas arm, pushing it to one side, while shoving the fingers of his other hand into the ninja’s eyes. He kicks a third ninja in his arm, then smacks his fist down on the back the ninjas head, before shoving the ninja back, and elbowing another in the face - while grabbing that ninja’s arm and forcing his sword through another ninja that approaches him. Logan then looks around at the ninjas strewn about the room, before turning to Viper: ‘So… let’s talk’ he tells his ex-wife. ‘Fine. How did you get the helmet?’ Viper replies.
Logan edges closer and explains that Stark owed him. ‘Hell, at this point, ain’t a guy out there doesn’t owe me their life… or want me dead. Both, sometimes’ Logan adds, telling Viper that she doesn’t, but the word is that she put out a contract on him not to kill - she wanted him alive. ‘You miss me, I get that. But there are easier ways’ he tells her. ‘Don’t flatter yourself’ Viper remarks. Logan declares that people are dying, and asks Viper why he is here. ‘Now’ he warns her, while smelling the thick, cloying poisons - and something else. Viper holds a very large, thick chain which seems to lead to something in another room, and she gives it a small pull, while telling Logan that he is here because she is the best there is at what she does. ‘Now, what I do isn’t very nice, of course - I know killers and I run killers’ Viper declares. She informs Logan that a client came to her, he was new, but he was willing to pay so much - a ridiculous amount, even for a target like Logan.
Viper continues, revealing that he hired her and then she subcontracted, put the word out - no more than that. Viper adds that he is keeping her busy, as it is quite a little project he has got going - hijacked airliners, kidnappings, robbing museums - he even wanted a statue of the Hulk, if you can believe that. Logan frowns and tells Viper ‘Enough screwing around’ before raising his voice and demanding to know who the client is. The chain clinks, ‘Easy lover. I’ll tell you. You just have to earn it’ Viper declares. Logan glances over to where a large figure connected to the chain lumbers into the chamber. ‘Beat my dog, and I’ll tell you everything’ Viper assures Wolverine, as Logan smells death, blood, grave dirt - Creed - it is Sabretooth!
‘I believe you two also have a history?’ Viper states as Logan removes his coat and steps towards Creed. ‘Nothing but’ Creed replies. ‘How’d she get you?’ Logan asks his hated foe. Creed stretches his hands and mutters that he screwed up, got himself pinched, and Viper came, got him out of prison. ‘After that, about what you’d expect. She did her “Viper thing”!’ he points out. Viper smirks as she declares that if Creed is a good dog, he gets the antidote each day, and if he is a bad dog, he dies. ‘It’s been fun. A nice display of strength for the mouth-breathers around here - my pet monster. But now I think I’ve found a better game’. Viper announces that she wants someone to die here - right now - she doesn’t care which. ‘The one who lives gets what they want. Go’ she tells them.
Logan remembers another fight with Sabretooth - one that ended with his adamantium claws shoved up through Creed’s skull. This battle doesn’t end the same. ‘Eye!’ Logan utters as Creed slashes Logan’s left eye. Logan falls to the ground, covering his face as blood pours out, he crawls over to the bag, opens it, pulls out the Iron Man helmet and presses a button on the inside of it, before tossing it across the room. ‘What’s this supposed to -’ Sabretooth starts to say as he catches it - and then it explodes. But, Creed still stands. ‘Not enough, Logan. Not for guys like us’ he points out, before leaping towards Logan, roaring. Logan smells burning and sweet, and as Creed pushes him to the ground, Logan hears a familiar sound - SNIKT - but it is Lady Deathstrike who lunges at Creed, forcing him off Logan, ‘KIII-YAH!’ she screams, as Creed hits the ground. Deathstrike then shoves her razor-sharp claws into Creed’s body and runs them upwards, gutting him, blood sprays everywhere.
‘No, Deathstrike’ Logan utters. ‘Why?’ Deathstrike asks. ‘He’s been poisoned. He’s chained, for God’s sake. When it happens, it’s not going to be this way’ Logan tells her. Deathstrike pauses, as Sabretooth opens his eyes. ‘Hnn’ Deathstrike utters, before she slices the chain that is around Creed’s neck. ‘Your weakness has saved you. Go. Live’ Deathstrike tells Creed, who sits up. Creed frowns and mutters that Wolverine is always being the big hero. ‘Saving my life. Hnn. He ain’t any different from me. Never has been’. Creed adds ‘He just wants to kill me himself one of these days. Ain’t that right, Logan?’ Logan ignores the question, and still covering his injured eye, declares ‘You heard the lady. Go’.
Wolverine removes part of his torn shirt and wraps it around his wounded eye, ‘Viper?’ he asks. Deathstrike reveals that Viper has gone, that she slipped away as soon as she appeared. ‘Yeah. If anything, she’s a survivor. Dammit’ Logan declares. ‘She was going to - dammit. Why are you here, Yuriko?’ Logan asks. Yuriko Oyama tells Logan that she is here for him. ‘You, too? Can’t say I’m surprised. Guess I’m valuable. Well, you win. Don’t have much gas left in the tank for another fight’ Logan admits. But Yuriko tells him that he misunderstands, as the contract he refers to - he is not the quarry. ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ Logan asks. Deathstrike looks worried and informs Logan that she is named as well - any others - anyone like them. ‘I would have thought Creed too, except Viper apparently was able to keep him for herself, off the list’ Deathstrike adds.
‘They are hunting us, Logan’ Deathstrike declares. ‘Viper said something about a client - some sort of plan. Do you know -?’ Logan asks. ‘No. Not yet. I only know this - I came here from Japan. I learned of the contract, of the list, from another hunter. Very deadly. I barely escaped with my life’ Yuriko explains. ‘Who?’ Logan asks her. ‘Ogun’ Deathstrike announces. ‘Lord. Ogun’ Wolverine utters. ‘Yes. That is why I tracked you here, to Madripoor. I thought we might put aside our differences, work together to discover the truth and defeat our enemy’ Yuriko claims. ‘This is very bad. I hesitate to say this, but I need your strength, Logan. I -’ Deathstrike begins, before asking him why his eye doesn’t heal. ‘And why did you now use your claws in the fight with Creed? What is the matter with you, Logan?’ Yuriko asks.
Suddenly, she realizes: ‘Ah, I see. You are defective. You cannot help me. But perhaps I might exchange your life for mine. There is honor in that, is there not, Logan-san? You die so another may live?’ Yuriko asks. ‘Ahh, come on’ Wolverine tells her, as Deathstrike readies her claws - but, suddenly, - ‘You know…’ a voice calls out. ‘… really wouldn’t’ a woman declares as she appears behind Deathstrike, and phases her hand through the surprised Deathstrike’s chest. ‘Hey, Kitty’ Wolverine smiles.