Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2

Issue Date: 
May 1988
Story Title: 
Tender Loving Lies

Walter Simonson & Louise Simonson (writers), Jon J Muth (Havok art), Kent Williams (Wolverine art), Bill Oakley (letterer), R S Bozeman (designer), Margaret Clark & Steve Bioccelate (editor, Archie Goodwin (editor-in-chief), Alex Jay (logo design)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine interrogates the locals in a town on the east coast of Mexico for information about the men who attacked him and Havok. He gets several leads, which take him from one man to another. From the first man, he learns that the Russians are involved. Wolverine’s inquiries lead him to the cousin of one of the men involved in a helicopter crash that is tied up in the arrival of the Russians. He learns little from the man, and pretends to leave, so he overhears the man ringing someone to let him know Wolverine was here. Wolverine quietly gives the cousin instructions about what to say, such as revealing the hotel where Wolverine is staying, and spares his life. Wolverine wakes later that night to find someone setting some explosives - and barely escapes. But he tracks the assassin down, and learns that Havok is being kept at a place called Distant Haven. Meanwhile, Havok wakes in a hospital, to find himself recovering from being infected with the Bubonic Plague. A red-haired nurse called Scarlett McKenzie devotes her time to looking after Havok, who is unaware that she is actually the enemy. Her comrades are ordered to keep an eye on Havok, but they are confused as to why he only appears as a blurry image on recordings and monitors. Scarlett contacts her comrades in Russia to update them on Havok. General Meltdown informs her that the equipment they need as part of their plan involving Havok should arrive at Scarlett’s location in several hours. Meltdown is then informed that the inspector is going to make a visit to this asylum that he lives in. Meltdown goes to visit his colleague, Dr Neutron, who also lives in the asylum, and they discuss Scarlett - whom they call Quark - and her involvement with Havok, as well as hinting at their plans. Back at the makeshift hospital, Havok is watching recordings of protests against nuclear power plants in Israel. Scarlett visits him, and tries to talk him into staying at the hospital when he tells her that he wants to leave. She acts scared when Havok uses his power to destroy the television, but she then makes a pass at him. When Scarlett meets up with the scientists, she prepares another dose of sedative as he is resisting what they are giving him. Havok and Scarlett grow closer, watched by other men involved in this plot. With Havok still determined that Wolverine is not dead, they devise a plan to feed him false information - that someone else has been asking around about Havok. Scarlett soon tells Havok that she has tricked this apparent spy into coming to see them. The “spy” arrives, asking about Wolverine, and revealing that Wolverine’s death was faked. The “spy” tells Havok that they believe the Russians have kidnapped Wolverine, and he demands to learn what Havok knows. Havok knows nothing, and the men battle, but Havok takes the “spy” down. Havok tells Scarlett that they need to leave, and decide to go to Poland, where the “spy” said he was going. Later, Havok blasts his way out of the complex, and they leave on the scooter Scarlett arranged for them. They drive to the bi-plane, which she claims she has borrowed from a friend. Not long after they leave Distant Haven, Wolverine arrives, and knows Havok was here, as he picks up his scent, as well as that of a woman, masked by perfume. He hears a noise, and then is caught up in another explosion, which tears off his clothes and some of his skin. He hands in a pond, and soon realizes that the scent of the woman is the same scent of the woman who shot them! He follows her and Alex’s scents to the air strip - but once again, he is just too late, as they have taken off. Wolverine roars into the night, calling out to Havok, who is piloting the bi-plane, thinks he hears something, but Scarlett tells him it is just the explosion below and that she knew he was in danger, so they are lucky to have escaped.

Full Summary: 

A cantina on the eastern coast of Mexico. Less than a week ago, it was the scene of a brawl to end all brawls. Today, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan is back, and he wants just one thing – information. He slams one of the locals against the bar declares that the men he and his friend fought followed them back to their hotel room and attacked them. ‘Where can I find these men?’ he demands. ‘I do not know, senor. They were strangers here’ the local claims. ‘Strike two’ Logan tells him, but the local asks him not to hit him again, as it is the truth, before revealing that the fat man’s cousin was with them, and he knows him, explaining that he lives on the edge of town. Other locals look on inside the tavern, as the man Logan has pinned to the bar informs him that it is a small shack near the railroad tracks.

Soon, the cousin of the fat man is in his shack, watching television, when the door is suddenly kicked down. ‘What izzit?’ he calls out. ‘You remember me, bub?’ Logan asks, standing in the doorway. The cousin claims that he never saw him before in his life. ‘Nope? Take a closer look’ Logan suggests as he moves into the room, and the man backs up against his bed, looking very frightened. ‘You came with your fat cousin and a bunch of other yahoos. Jumped me and my friend in our hotel. My friend was shot. Kidnapped. I’m going to find him. And you’re going to help me’ Logan declares, while the cousin claims that he knows nothing. ‘I’d hate to think that was true’ Logan tells him. The man announces that his cousin is not a bad man, while reaching for his gun. Logan sees this, and unsheathes two claws. ‘Don’t even think it, bub. Violence breeds violence, eh?’ he remarks, before pressing the two claws against the man’s hand, drawing blood. ‘Now tell me... about your cousin’ Logan orders.

The man replies that his cousin is not a bad man, but that he was offered a lot of money to come and harass the Americano. ‘He says to me, come with us and earn your share. Easy money. So I come, too’. He adds that his mama always says his cousin is bad company, but he went with him anyway. Logan unsheathes the claws on his other hand and raises them above his head, asking where the money is now. The man motions to the table and tells Logan that some of it is there. Logan confiscates it, telling the man that it is blood money – evidence. As he collects the money up though, a coin falls to the floor. ‘What’s this?’ Logan asks picking it up. The man and reveals that the coin was amongst his pay, that it is not Mexican, and the men who paid them were foreigners. He adds that his cousin said they arrived in his village by chopper, probably from one of the coastal resort towns. Logan asks for the name of the town where the man’s fat cousin lives, declaring that he is interested to learn how this stranger happened to pay with a Russian coin.

Meantime, somewhere in a hospital room, ‘Pulse steady. Heart rate increasing’ a hospital staff member announces as they check the vitals of Alex “Havok” Summers. ‘He’s coming around’ someone else points out. ‘W-who -?’ Alex asks as he looks up in the hospital bed. ‘We’re doctors. You’ve been gravely ill with a particularly virulent strain of Bubonic Plague’ one of the doctors reveals. ‘Plague...? I remember being... shot. Girl... shot me’ Alex tells them, before asking about his friend. One of the doctors explains that Alex was found by the side of a cliff, and that he had been shot with an infectious pellet. ‘One would kill a normal man. Your friend had been shot with fifteen of them’ he reveals, announcing that he was dead when they found him. ‘No! That’s impossible!’ Alex shouts, adding that his friend isn’t normal – he is strong and can heal. A nurse steps forward as Alex struggles to get up. ‘I’m sorry, but he really is dead. I’ve seen his death certificate. I can show you, if it’d comfort you’ she offers.

The nurse then announces that she can tell Alex where his friend is buried. Alex leans back and declares that it makes no difference, that it is impossible, his friend can’t be dead, he heals. ‘Your patient’s becoming hysterical, Nurse McKenzie. Sedate him’ a doctor orders. McKenzie holds up a large syringe, ‘You’re still real sick, Sir’ she tells Alex, adding that he has to rest if he wants to get better. ‘After all, you are my special patient from back home in America... and I’d just hate it is anything bad were to happen to you... after all of the... loving care I’ve lavished on you here’ she tells him, before turning to leave the room, she tells Alex to sleep well, and that he will feel better when he wakes up – she promises.

Entering the corridor, McKenzie sees several men in trench coats waiting for her. She tells them to come up to the roof where there is no chance they can be overheard. The men follow her, and one of them asks ‘When will we leave this converted ruin? It gives me the creeps’. On the rooftop, McKenzie tells the men that they will leave when Havok is totally, entirely under their control, and not a moment sooner. ‘Watch him carefully’ she orders. One of the men explains that will not be an easy task, as their video cameras don’t register his presence – they merely get a ghostly haze, nothing more. ‘Some bizarre effect of his mutant physiology? Or something else?’ one of the other men enquires. The third man declares that whatever it is, it will make observing him difficult once he is fully alert. ‘Observe Havok as best you can’ McKenzie orders the men. She turns and starts to make her way down off the rooftop, ‘When he awakens, make another visit. Suggest that he watch television and make certain that, when he does, the program is subliminally enhanced. Remember, the sooner we turn him to our side, the sooner we can ho home’.

Shortly, McKenzie is in some sort of communications room, and taps a code into a keyboard. ‘Yes, Quark. What is it?’ a voice can be heard via a monitor. McKenzie – Quark – announces that the mutant Havok has awakened, that she has sedated him, but they can only observe him directly. ‘Yes, yes. As you reported’ the voice replies, adding that Dr Neutron has suggested that the measurement of minute variations in the air currents along with constant volumetric monitoring of the air within his room, converted into pictorial representation by computer technology should give them a usable visual approximation of his movements. He tells quark that the equipment Dr Neutron has devised should arrive in several hours. McKenzie thanks the man, and assures him she will make certain that their guest sleeps through its installation.

The man McKenzie was speaking to is of a strange appearance. He is in some sort of cell, a single camera focused on him enabling the communication with McKenzie. Suddenly, ‘Excuse me, Sir. The Inspector is due for his annual visit to the asylum tomorrow’ a voice calls out. ‘To the devil with it! Why now? Now of all times! Perhaps this is a result of the recent shakeup in the politburo’ he wonders, before lumbering over to the cell door, past another person, he suggests that they must make the best of it. ‘Ply him with a little vodka. The fool has a weakness for vodka’ the strange man reveals. ‘Ah... this vast, wretched corrupt bureaucracy. The influence of the decadent west’ he remarks, before unlocking the cell from the inside, and lumbering out into the corridor. He leaves the cell door open, and mutters that the Inspector’s visit will serve as a reminder of why he chooses to live this way, and why he must continue his struggle against Gorbachev and Glasnost, and those fools in the supreme Soviet who believe that they banished him here.

Making his way through the asylum, the strange man decides that it is a pity quark can’t be here, as she is such a genius at handling people – perhaps as much of a genius in her way as Neutron is in his. He decides that he must visit Neutron to see how their plan progresses, now that they have the ability to focus a reactor’s immense power within their grasp. He opens the door to another room within the asylum, ‘Neutron! Dr Neutron! It is I!’ he calls out as he enters the room. ‘Good evening, comrade Meltdown. Enter freely and of your own will’ Dr Neutron responds. The room is brightly lit, as the strange-looking Meltdown lumbers towards Dr Neutron who is sitting at a desk, playing chess. ‘For shame, Dr Neutron. A decadent indulgence of a disturbingly Western sense of humor’ Meltdown replies. ‘A wise man, comrade Meltdown, knows his enemy’ Neutron replies. Meltdown remarks that there are times he feels Neutron has studied them too well.

Smoking a cigar and looking down at the chess board, Dr Neutron, a middle-aged man, points out that quark understands the uses of humor, ‘So beautiful, so brilliant’ he adds, before remarking ‘A pioneer in the study of the effect of assigned roles on human behaviour herself, assumes a role. Becomes in effect, a subject worthy of her own study’ he continues, ‘My keeper... and yet, so easily suborned. A woman running an asylum, who becomes one with the inmates’. Dr Neutron declares that there are delicious contrasts, that it is rich, so rich. ‘You treat her... all this... as a huge joke’ Meltdown remarks as he leans over the desk. ‘On the west, comrade. Remember that’ Neutron tells him, adding ‘To whom you will deliver the devastating punch-line, nyet?’ He adds that their little queen has taken the white knight, but that is only the first step. ‘She must use the subliminals delicately. He must never suspect what is happening to him’. He moves a piece on the chessboard, pointing out that they must consider the implications of Quark’s conflicting roles as both savior and destroyer, that they shall have to monitor her progress. Meltdown agrees, and tells Neutron that they must monitor both of them carefully.

Back in the makeshift hospital, Alex is watching a news report about thousands who marched in protest of the opening of the nuclear reactor in Israel, too similar in design, many citizens felt, to the Russian Chernobyl facility. Though the devastation surrounding the partial meltdown at Chernobyl was the direct result of a nearly incomprehensible series of human errors, the public in Israel is not convinced that a nuclear facility of this kind is safe or wise. Alex’s eyes move from the television to McKenzie, who enters the room. ‘Well, hello in there, handsome. How’s the head?’ McKenzie asks. ‘Pounding’ Alex replies, to which McKenzie comments that it looks to her that he is feeling a whole lot better. ‘Just seeing you, Miss McKenzie, makes me feel – forget it’ Alex begins as he drinks from a glass of water. McKenzie asks him what is wrong, to which Alex tells her to forget it and forget him, that he can’t get involved, that it wouldn’t work. ‘But... why?’ McKenzie inquires.

‘Let’s just say I have a history of unsuccessful relationships’ Alex tells her, pointing out that he will be leaving soon. Sitting on a chair beside the bed, McKenzie tells Alex that he can’t leave, as he is still real sick and the plague killed his friend. ‘Please. It could kill you, too!’ she tells him. Alex asks McKenzie why she keeps saying that, and declares that his friend isn’t dead, that the Bubonic Plague wouldn’t kill him, almost nothing can kill him. ‘And if he isn’t dead...then where is he?’ Alex asks. He presses one hand to his head, while the recording playing on the television states that troops swarm toward the Angola Borders and both countries assume a war footing. ‘Oh, my head! Get out of my head!’ Alex shouts, sitting up, he fires a blast of plasma energy at the television, ‘SHUT UP! Why can’t you just SHUT UP?!’ he shouts. McKenzie stands up, looking scared – or perhaps pretending to look scared – she exclaims ‘The TV! Gone! Fried!’

Addressing her as Scarlett, Alex tells her that he didn’t mean to frighten her, but the TV was hammering at him, and he couldn’t stand it. ‘Stand what?’ Scarlett asks. ‘I... don’t know. But it felt like the pictures...were hammering inside my head’ Alex explains. ‘And... how did you...?’ Scarlett asks. Alex informs her that he is a mutant, that he was born with the ability to convert solar energy to plasma, and he can fire it from his finger tips. He admits that it is not generally a useful talent, but assures her he has it mostly under control. ‘I don’t know what happened just then’ he adds. Alex turns away from Scarlett as he tells her that his friend, the one she says was killed, has a similar power, only it zaps germs and heals wounds, that it is a healing factor. ‘No plague could have killed him. Don’t you see, now, why it’s impossible?’ Alex asks. Reaching out to touch him on his back, Scarlett replies that if his friend can do that to germs, then she sees his point.

Alex is being watched on camera, his appearance indeed ghostly, as Scarlett tells him that she didn’t mean to act so scared, that it was involuntary. ‘I was just...surprised, that’s all. But now I understand’ she adds, while informing Alex that she nursed him while he was real sick, so she knows what kind of man he really is. ‘I believe you, now. Really’ Scarlett announces. Her hand touching Alex’s shoulder, she tells him not to worry, that she will find out what she can about his friend, while adding that if those other relationships fell apart, she thinks it was all those women’s fault. ‘Because you really are maybe the most... most special person I’ve ever met’ Scarlett declares.

Soon, in a laboratory, ‘You saw?’ Scarlett asks a scientist, who replies that he saw the computer simulation, but that it was clear he destroyed the television. ‘Yes, and he should never have been able to do that’ Scarlett points out, while adding that he should have believed them about Wolverine. ‘He should never have felt their subliminals. I hadn’t realized he was so...energy sensitive’ Scarlett remarks, announcing that he is the most interesting subject, while pointing out that he has obviously been trained to resist mind control, so they are going to have to increase the second dosage. She holds up a vial with a green liquid in it.

Meanwhile, at a small heliport on the south eastern coast of Mexico, Wolverine has arrived. He sees a burnt out chopper on a building roof, but the scents are masked by the reek of smoke. ‘They covered their tracks. Did a real thorough job of it, too’ he remarks. ‘But not thorough enough’ he decides, before flicking his cigar onto the ground, and making his way to a cantina, where he tells the bartender that he needs a brew – and some information, as he is going to be heading out of town and needs a chopper. The bartender tells Logan that it is too bad, as the heliport burned only last week. ‘Ferdinand who owns the taco stand, his cousin was killed in the fire’ the bartender reveals, adding that sometimes Ferdinand helped his cousin, so perhaps he can tell him where he can find another.

At the taco stand, Wolverine listens as Ferdinand reports that it was a sudden fire, a fuel explosion of some kind. ‘My cousin, God rest his soul, he was killed. The owner, too’ Ferdinand explains. Logan tells him that some strangers were here, right before that, Russians, who rented the chopper. Logan swigs some beer and asks Ferdinand if he knows where they went. Ferdinand replies that he doesn’t, so Logan offers to make it worth his while if he can find out. ‘Just tell me where you are staying, senor, and I will gladly ask around’ Ferdinand replies. ‘You know, here and there. I’ll check back with you’ Logan tells him as he leaves the empty beer bottle on the taco stand and leaves.

Ferdinand glances around as he picks up the telephone, ‘You said I would be pad for information concerning anyone inquiring about the helicopter’ he says to the person he calls, announcing that a stranger was just here, only he doesn’t know where he is staying. Suddenly, there is a SNIKT, and Wolverine puts his hand over the mouthpiece, while Ferdinand remarks ‘What do you mean, then the information is useless’, while Logan quietly instructs Ferdinand to tell whoever he is speaking to that he mentioned the Hotel Marimba, or warns him that he will be getting a second mouth. ‘Gently, now’ Wolverine adds. Ferdinand, wide-eyed, does as instructed, and adds ‘Yes, you are right. I should have said so earlier. I thought…yes, senor. I am not paid to think’. Logan then uses his claws to slice the phone cord, and tells Ferdinand that he will have no trouble slicing the cord and that it will be just as easy to slice his neck. Logan adds that right now, he is in a good mood, but suggests Ferdinand doesn’t press his luck. He warns Ferdinand not to call the person he was speaking to again, and orders him to get him another brew.

Not too far away, ‘Come on, Alex, lean on me!’ Scarlett tells Alex as she helps him walk through a corridor in the “hospital”. Alex is using a cane, and Scarlett suggests that they just go to the end of the corridor, explaining that Alex has been in bed so long that he needs to move around, to exercise a little to regain his strength. ‘You practically tried to tie me in the bed…until this morning. What’s the hurry now?’ Alex asks. Scarlett claims that she didn’t want to tell him until he was better, as she was scared it might worry him. ‘What might worry me?’ Alex asks. Scarlett adds that it might even set back his recovery, before informing him that a man has been asking questions about him. ‘A man? My friend?’ Alex asks. Scarlett replies that she doesn’t think so, revealing that this man is tall and mean and has a funny accent.

Scarlett continues, informing Alex that word is, he is a foreign operative, a spy. ‘Can you imagine? A real spy!’ she exclaims, revealing that when she came here from Oregon with the Peace Corps, even when she decided to stay here to work for a while, she never ever thought she would be meeting a real spy. Scarlett remarks that it is said that half the tourists here are really spies, agents from all over the world. ‘and now I’m afraid that…well…even this hospital might be involved in some kinda cover up or something’ she tells Alex, before they reach the end of the corridor, and tells Alex that they should go back, as they don’t want to overdo it the first time out. ‘Scarlett, about this man -?’ Alex begins, to which Scarlett tells Alex not to worry about him, at least until he is better. She promises to talk to him and try and turn the tables on him, to find out what he wants, and whether he knows anything about Alex’s friend with the healing power.

‘You just concentrate on getting well, okay?’ Scarlett asks Alex, who smiles at her, ‘So it’s you and me together against the world, huh?’ he asks her, remarking that he has had more experienced partners in his life, but that he has seldom had one as beautiful, unaware that he is still being watched on monitors. ‘How is it progressing?’ one of the scientists asks. Another replies that it is difficult, for no matter what drugs they use, Alex persists in his belief that Wolverine remains alive and in need of rescue. He explains that Quark has decided to use that strong belief, rather than oppose it, to try and twist it to their ends. ‘It could be dangerous’ one of the other scientists points out. ‘Not as dangerous as the alternative’ the second scientist remarks, adding that Quark says that to subject Havok to enough drugs and subliminals to make him a willing partner to their plan would kill him - and that is precisely what they must avoid.

The scientist continues, remarking that Havok is right, despite their best effort, Wolverine is alive and on their trail. ‘The greatest delusion we have going for us is Havok’s own need to love… to be effective… and his conviction that he must save his friend’ the scientist tells his colleagues, pointing out that this is in contrast to his distrust of affection and fear of betrayal, apparently the after effect of a recent traumatic shock, so Quark has created a scenario which will turn his needs to their purpose. ‘Meltdown wants him at the designated reactor, primed and ready to kill…right?’ the scientist tells the others, announcing that Quark’s plan will give him a reason to go there - and an enemy to destroy.

Night has fallen, and Logan is curled up in bed at the Hotel Marimba, on the outskirts of town. It is no longer the season for tourists, and its single gringo guest - Logan - has turned in. He hasn’t been too careful during his stay in Mexico. He has made enemies. It is one of the things he does best. A carp drives towards the hotel. It snaps a twig as it drives over it, and comes to a clunking halt, before the car door slams, and loud feet can be heard moving towards the door. Logan is awake now, and stares at the door. There is silence, then more thumping about, before the person returns to their car, and drives off. When he is some distance away, an alarm starts to sound. There is more noise back at the hotel, before the man in the car presses his finger down on a trigger, and the hotel explodes. ‘Do svidaniia, comrade Logan’ the assassin smiles to himself.

Later, the sun rises, and the assassin sits on the car, as he radios in to his superiors: ’This is Fireworks One, calling Distant Haven. Fireworks One calling Distant Haven. Come in, please, over’. A second later, Distant Haven replies. Fireworks One asks how things are progressing down in Yucatan, how their tourist is. ‘Enjoying his rest cure. Stick to your business, Yuri’ Distant Haven replies. Yuri addresses the person he is speaking to as Quark, and tells her that his business progresses efficiently, announcing that there was an explosion last night at the Hotel Marimba, most spectacular, that it levelled the fleabag hotel, and the rubble burned all night. Suddenly, there is a SNIKT noise. ‘Huh?’ Yuri remarks. ‘Yuri, what is -?’ Quark can be heard saying. Yuri reports that he heard something, a lizard, probably, as they over-run this forsaken place. ‘At least they eat insects’ he mutters, before reporting that he watched the site until dawn and all that is left is embers.

Yuri informs Quark that no one emerged alive, and remarks that if stories of his metal skeleton are true, he should like to see the face of the local mortician when they finish sifting the ashes. Yuri tells Quark that he will return to the Haven this evening by plane. ‘Good. We will be waiting -’ Quark’s voice can be heard, when suddenly, Wolverine leaps forward, knocking Yuri back, and putting a dent in the car. ‘Distant Haven’s closed, bub. Trashed by the hurricane of ‘38! Logan declares as he presses his hand against Yuri’s face, while Yuri reaches for a gun. Quark’s voice can be heard screaming over the communicator: ‘YURI! YURI! What is -’ she calls out, while Yuri manages to utter ‘Logan!’, before screaming as Logan shoves his claws into his face.

Blood spurts everywhere, and Logan skewers Yuri in the stomach with his claws, asking what is going on at Distant Haven. He pulls his claws out, they are dripping in blood, Logan then forces his claws back into Yuri, and holds him up in the air, ‘No, don’t try and tell me’ Logan remarks. He frowns, then retracts his claws, and Yuri’s body falls to the ground. ‘I’ll find out for myself’ Logan mutters as he turns and starts to walk away.

Meantime, Scarlett quietly tells Alex that she did like he said, she took that spy’s money, pretended she was bought, and could sneak him in here. ‘It worked, Alex. We actually tricked him. He’s here!’ Scarlett declares. A door slams open, and a man dressed in black, his face hidden by a wide-brimmed hat, ‘I don’t have much time, Summers, so we’ll make this short and sweet’ he declares, announcing that he is looking for a man named Logan, he asks Alex what he knows about him. ‘The doctors told me that Logan was dead’ Alex replies. The “spy” pulls a gun from his bag and declares that they have checked and his death was faked. ‘Normally, I’d enjoy dancing with you about this, but this is a matter of national security’ he claims. Scarlett looks on as the “spy” holds the gun up. ‘National security, well, well, well. Whose security has old Logan jeopardized this time?’ Alex asks.

The “spy” tells Alex that this is no laughing matter, that his government knows that Alex was traveling with Logan for a time, before announcing that they believe the Russians have kidnapped him. The “spy” puts a hand to Alex’s throat, and declares that the Russians have taken Logan to a secret location in Poland, in the Western Carpathian Mountains, and brainwashed him into working for them. He demands to know what Alex knows about this. ‘Tell me, or -’ he threatens, but Scarlett rushes over, ‘No! Stop! He’s sick! Leave him alone!’ she calls out as she tries to push the “spy” backwards. ‘ENOUGH!’ the “spy” shouts as he punches Scarlett back. Alex goes over to her, and with his back turned, the “spy” raises the gun. ‘We aren’t in the States, Mr Summers. We have a little more flexibility here in the observation of the individual’s rights!’ he exclaims.

Havok ignores the man’s comments as he asks Scarlett if she is okay. ‘Yeah… uh… I think’ Scarlett replies. ‘Good’ Alex tells her, announcing that he is also opting for a little more flexibility in the observation of the individual’s rights, as he spins around and punches the “spy” in the face, causing the “spy” to fall backwards, as blood splatters from his mouth. ‘You…you hit him. He’s out cold’ Scarlett declares as she goes over to Alex, who replies that where he comes from, they learned self defense alongside reading, writing and arithmatic. Alex looks at Scarlett and sees that she is shaking. He puts his thumb to her lip, remarking that it is bleeding. Scarlett tells him that it is nothing. ‘It’s just that I’m not used -’ she begins, before Alex wraps his arms around her, ‘It’ll stop’ he assures her.

Their faces move closer together, before Scarlett pulls away. Alex informs her that he is leaving tonight, and will take her with him. ‘But how can I just…leave? I’ve got -’ Scarlett begins, but Alex interrupts, telling her that this guy is probably CIA, so if she is still here after he takes off, they will send more boys like this one here. ‘They’ll take you apart, doll’ Alex tells her, to which Scarlett points out that if he is CIA, then he is working for their country. ‘Can’t we just…you know. Just tell him the truth?’ Scarlett asks. Alex points out that they are not sure what the truth is, but decides that they are sure as heck going to find out. ‘He said Poland…so that’s where we’re going’ he announces. They turn to each other, and Alex tells Scarlett that they will wait for night and then leave, before asking her if she can get them some sort of transportation.

Several hours later, the “spy” has been tied up, while Scarlett opens a door, telling Alex that it is dark, and admitting that she doesn’t have a car, but has something better. She quickly closes the door, telling Alex that there are people in the corridor. Alex tells her not to sweat it, as they are not leaving that way. He then fires a blast of plasma energy towards the wall, announcing that they are going to leave these people a little something to remember them by. ‘That should keep them too busy to look for us until we’re long gone’ Alex decides. He takes Scarlett by her hand and leads her out into the open ground. ‘A motor-scooter?’ he asks, surprised when he sees the small scooter ahead of them.

Scarlett points out that this isn’t the States, and she doesn’t have a car. She explains that a scooter is better for going over the dirt roads. She adds that she still can’t believe it - the hospital lied, the CIA is part of their own government. ‘It doesn’t seem right they’d pull guns on innocent people and hit them and threaten them’ Scarlett remarks. They get on the scooter and drive away, as Alex tells Scarlett that she just hasn’t been around long enough, before asking which way to go. ‘Right here. Off the main road’ Scarlett replies, revealing that there is an air-strip, and she got them a plane. ‘You weren’t just bragging or something when you said you could fly?’ she asks him. But, as they approach the air-strip, Alex sees the plane up ahead. ‘What the heck?’ he asks her. Scarlett tells him that it is a bi-plane, that it is the best she could do and that it belongs to a friend. ‘I told him we’d be careful with it’ she adds, asking ‘We will - won’t we?’

Behind them, muffled by the trees, the sounds of the scooter have already faded into nothingness, swallowed by the distance and the night. And in the silence, Distant Haven squats silently on the hillside - but only for a moment - as Logan arrives. He sniffs the air, then realizes that the place is empty - but only just. ‘Half an hour earlier and I’d have caught ‘em here!’ he tells himself. He figured that they were expecting him, waiting here with guns blazing, but didn’t think they would take off. He wonders what the scam is, as he sees that the ruins have been partially converted in to a hospital. He knows they kept Alex here, as his scent is strong, but acrid, like they have been drugging him. Logan sees the hole in the wall and realizes that Alex has fought someone, blasted his way out through the wall. He picks up the scent of blood - and a woman. ‘She was with him! Scent muffled by her perfume!’ Logan tells himself, when suddenly, he hears a ticking sound, and makes a run for it.

An explosion soon follows, which Logan is caught up in. His clothes are destroyed in the flames, but he falls down the side of the slope, and lands in a pond, which puts out the flames around his body. He floats in the water for some time, before rising, his naked body standing up in the water, Logan is angry at himself. ‘Careless, stupid bastard! Knew they’d be expecting me! Shoulda figured on a bomb. Blowing things up seems to be their style’ he decides, lamenting his lack of clothing and some of his skin being burned off, but knows his skin will heal, so it is the least of his problems. Logan sniffs the air again, realizing that Ale came here, on a scooter of some kind, and the woman was with him - again, that scent, masked by cheap perfume, but the same - the lady is the same. ‘Bitch who shot us. She was here! She’s with him now!’ Logan tells himself.

Getting out of the water and onto the land, Logan knows that Alex’s scent is normal, he is not worried - meaning he doesn’t know this woman is the one who shot them. Logan sees tyre marks in the dirt road and follows them, knowing he has to stop this woman before she gets whatever she is after. The moon shines down through the night sky, as Logan continues to follow the trail up into the mountains. He smells something, petrol, and hears the rumbling of an airplane take off. ‘Damn! Too late!’ Logan realizes as he arrives at the runway. ‘She’s gotten away! And he’s going with her willingly! But in a bi-plane? What the hell dos she think this is - World War One?’ Logan wonders, before his voice booms through the night: ‘ALEX!’ he shouts.

Up in the plane, Scarlett looks down to the ground, while Alex asks her if she hears something. Scarlett replies that she heard something a while back - like an explosion. ‘I heard that, too. I meant just now -’ Alex explains, before looking down, ‘Holy cow! Would you look at that?’ he tells Scarlett as they fly over the remains of Distant Haven, still on fire. ‘There was an explosion, or at least there’s a fire!’ Alex tells Scarlett, who replies ‘Oh, no! Alex…what you said musta happened! Those spies musta found their friend and they got mad and took the hospital apart!’ As the plane flies off into the night, Scarlett tells Ales that she knew he was in some terrible danger, and this proves right. ‘Thank Heaven you got away in time’….

Characters Involved: 

Havok & Wolverine (both X-Men)

Scarlett McKenzie / Quark II

Dr Neutron

General Meltdown




Ferdinand and other Locals

Story Notes: 

This miniseries takes place between Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #245 and #246, between Wolverine (2nd series) #16 and #17, and after Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #25-31

The Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown limited series was released on the Marvel Comics imprint Epic Comics.
Due to Roma’s spell (see Uncanny X-Men #227) the X-Men at this point cannot be properly perceived by electronic devices.

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