The sky is a deep purple as Alex “Havok” Summers pilots a small bi-plane across it. He tells his companion, Scarlett McKenzie, that there is a thunderhead building, so they will need to circle around the storm, which will use a lot of fuel. Scarlett asks Alex if he can get them as far as Merida, as she has a friend who might take them a bit farther, for a price. She notices another explosion down below. ‘Real faint, but you can see it...like a little firecracker’ Scarlett remarks. Alex tells her that the CIA is doing their job very thoroughly, to which Scarlett reminds Alex that the spy he fought said the Russians have his friend in the Soviet Union – the Carpathian Mountains. ‘So why did he try to kill you?’ she asks. Alex explains that the CIA seems to think Wolverine has gone over to the Russians, and they probably wanted to stop him from going after him. Alex adds that the CIA aren’t known for their subtlety, and declares that if is not going to work, for if Wolverine is in Russia, he is sure as heck not on vacation – and he is going to get him back.
A lone figure rushes across the ground below the plane – it is Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, his naked body shrouded in the darkness, he sees the plane is heading north, so supposes that it can’t be going far – the airport at Merida, perhaps. But, he knows that a plane that size could land anywhere, while wondering where they would head after that. ‘That’s the question, isn’t it?’ Logan tells himself, while deciding that Alex’s scent indicated that he took off in that plane with his heart racing, and that bitch who shot them in the first place is with him. Logan is able to tell that Alex is full of adrenalin, but that he isn’t scared. Wolverine comes to a stop and squats down, picking up his backpack, while realizing that Alex hasn’t got a clue he is in danger, so the woman must be disguised. ‘Probably thinks he’s saving her from a fate worse than death. Just his style’ Logan tells himself.
He is pleased that his pack survived the explosion better than his clothes did, which saves him the trouble of stealing some new ones, as he puts on his costume. It feels good to be in fighting gear – real good. Putting on his gloves, Wolverine realizes that he was mad before – but now, he is really pissed, and unsheathes both sets of claws, before retracting them, and pulling his mask down over his face, ‘They’ve kidnapped Alex...even if he doesn’t know it...and whoever has him, I’m gonna get him back!’ Logan thinks to himself, before noticing something to the left – downwind from the hospital, masked by the smell of cordite, he almost missed it.
What Wolverine sees – or rather, who – is a man, down in amongst some trees, speaking into a radio communicator, he announces that there is nothing else to report, as target Havok has been safely removed and is now en route to Merida, while the mutant named Wolverine entered the “hospital” just before the explosions. ‘Unquestionably, he is no longer among the living’ the man boasts. ‘Can you confirm?’ a voice asks over the radio communicator. ‘Say again?’ the man asks. ‘We need a body, comrade. Wolverine is notoriously difficult to kill. We need confirmation’ the voice explains. ‘You mean you want me to -?’ the man begins, ‘- enter the ruins and locate him’ the voice orders. ‘I do not think –’ the man begins, when suddenly, a hand is pressed onto his head – ‘No, sweatski, Ivan. I’ll make it easy for ya – you can find a body right now’ Logan declares as he unsheathes two claws from that hand – which pierce through the man’s skull and out his eye-sockets.
The person on the radio communicator hears the commotion, ‘Nikki! What’s happening?’ they call out. ‘Your last transmission was garbled’ they remark. Logan picks up the radio transmitter and speaks into it: ‘So’s Nikki, bub. But listen up. I’m gonna make this one real clear. Whoever you are, you’ve tried to kill me twice. I know you got Alex. I’m coming for him. And if you still want to find me, then just keep looking over my shoulder. Because sooner or later, that’s where I’m gonna be’ he warns them, before noticing a helicopter in a nearby clearing, and then he crushes the radio in his hand.
‘He’s destroyed the radio’ exclaims General Meltdown, a misshapen man, while his companion, Dr Neutron states that this is an unexpected move on the part of the opponent, and suddenly, the game is in jeopardy, which he finds interesting. ‘This means that Wolverine is alive’ General Meltdown declares. ‘And still tracking Havok and Quark’ Neutron points out. ‘This blows the whole thing!’ Meltdown declares, adding that they don’t need interest, they need results. Neutron smiles and tells Meltdown to fear not, as the game is far from over. ‘Our White Knight is merely in danger. I must consider our next move carefully’ he decides. Meltdown turns and lumbers away, muttering that if they lose their “White Knight” then they lose the game. ‘Remember that, Neutron! We must act quickly... or all will be lost!’ he declares. Neutron just smiles.
Back in Mexico, Wolverine has climbed aboard the chopper and has started it up. The blades start to spin through the air, while he sees that dawn is arriving, which will help him get his bearings. He knows that every second counts now, deciding that it is a cinch that whoever ha Alex is going to get him out of here as fast as possible. Logan tells himself that Alex is heading for Merida, it is probably because he is making a connection to somewhere a long way from here. ‘I’ll bet my last beer that little bimbette is leading him by the nose’ Logan thinks to himself. ‘Don’t start counting any chickens, lady. Alex may be too young to know any better, but old Logan’s been around the track more than once. I’m gonna burn yer ass... and yer friends’, too!’ Logan threatens as the chopper takes off.
In Siberia, specifically the Gulag, beneath the Insane Asylum that is General Meltdown’s secret headquarters, the elevator shaft plunges ten thousand feet through solid rock. There, down a steel-walled hallway, surrounded by a series of radiation proof shields, is Meltdown’s lead-lined workout room – the one place in all the world where he can put restraint aside and simply be himself. The strange-looking being lumbers through the corridor towards his workout room, ‘That a capitalist pigmy should learn of our plans is inexcusable! That he dares defy the might of Mother Russia and live is unforgivable! That he dares threaten us is unendurable!’ he shouts, before a computer-generated voices bids him good evening. ‘What’s good about it? Raise the radiation column!’ Meltdown booms. ‘At your command, General’ the computer responds, and a small column raises from the floor before him. ‘Ah!’ Meltdown smiles.
Radiation flows around him. ‘Better...much better...’ he remarks, before telling the computer ‘Enough!’ and ordering it to activate the holo-graphic firing range. The computer activates the holo-graphic firing range, and states that the level difficulty is medium. ‘A tank! Ha!’ he laughs as the hologram tank appears before him. ‘A tank is nothing to me! A minor annoyance!’ General Meltdown declares as he fires energy at the hologram, destroying it. A guided missile cruiser appears and he sees it out the corner of his eye. ‘Bah! It burns as paper at my touch!’ he boasts as his energies disintegrate the hologram. He decides that he must speak to Dr Neutron about reprogramming the range. ‘Let me test my power at a level of difficulty that will stretch my abilities to their maximum!’ he orders the computer. ‘No need to, Sir. I felt a brief warm-up period was necessary’ the computer responds, as a hologram of a city appears. ‘A city! That is more like it!’ Meltdown declares.
General Meltdown casts energy towards the hologram, announcing that his control over his power expands as he practices, and decides that, had he enough power, he could destroy the world. ‘Sir! Your energy level!’ the computer warns General Meltdown, who leans against the wall, ‘Ugh. Too angry. Got...careless’ he replies, announcing that he must replenish his power, but that even in this concentrated for so much of the energy is lost to him. He declares that he needs concentrated, controlled radiation in a form he can readily absorb. ‘Neutron says that Havok is the tool we need!’ Meltdown adds, stating that Quark is bringing them that tool, while wondering if they can use him, as the very power that makes him so valuable to them neutralizes Neutron’s brainwashing techniques. ‘He’s the perfect little hero, not like Wolverine. Havok is no killer. What can we do to enrage him to the point where, blindly... unthinkingly... he will try to destroy me?’ Meltdown asks himself, while wondering also what they will do about Wolverine.
The computer informs Meltdown that there is a call for him, so Meltdown instructs the computer to put the call through. It is Dr Neutron, who announces that he has devised their counter response in this turbulent game, and that it should prove quite interesting.
Meanwhile, half a world away, a bi-plane lands at Merida airport, which is not the most modern of airports, but Alex “Havok” Summers has not been flying the most modern of planes. He and his companion, Scarlett McKenzie, leave the plane and walk towards a hangar, as Alex asks Scarlett what is going on, as there is nobody around. Scarlett explains that it is siesta time. ‘Sounds great, doesn’t it? We could both use the rest’ Alex remarks. ‘Yeah, you been real sick and fought that spy and flew that plane all night long through a storm...’ Scarlett replies, before telling Alex that she has to freshen up. ‘You mean girls still really powder their noses?’ Alex asks. Scarlett suggests that Alex stretch out on the bench and try and get some rest. ‘Good idea’ Alex replies, as he goes over to a bench in the hangar and lies down. Scarlett tells Alex that she will call her friend and tell him where the bi-plane is, and will ask another friend about the jet. ‘Great, Scarlett. You do that. I guess we’re real luck that you have so many friends...’ Alex replies, before falling asleep.
Scarlett goes into a glass booth with a phone inside it, ‘Dr Neutron? Quark here’ she reports in, before exclaiming ‘What? Wolverine’s taken out another operative? So even the explosion didn’t kill him’. Scarlett remarks that this is not surprising that Alex refused Wolverine was dead then. ‘Perhaps you’d like to...reconsider our plan. Alex...I mean Havok...he’s beginning to be a bit suspicious of my...friends and the ease with which his plan to rescue Wolverine is proceeding’ Scarlett explains, before stating that she can easily confuse that suspicion by arousing his feelings of personal jealousy. Scarlett tells Neutron that she understands the jet will arrive in a matter of minutes, and tells him to spare her his concern, boasting that she will not fail him, as her quarry is well in hand. ‘You see, Alex trusts me. He doesn’t suspect that he is the one who has, in effect, been kidnapped’ Scarlett points out, adding that she has played her part much too well for that, before telling Neutron that, as a gesture of good faith, she wants to suggest a way in which Wolverine can be put to good use. ‘It begins with the dress, which I am now wearing, and which i will leave behind in the ladies room. It shall be the bait that we will ensnare our relentless pursuer...’
Scarlett enters the bathroom, and sits down on a chair. She removes her dress, and is wearing only panties and stockings. She looks into the mirror and touches her reflection, then leans over in the chair clutching herself.
‘Wake up, sleepyhead. I got great news’ Scarlett tells Alex as she leans over him, touching his hose. She is wearing a trench coat and informs Alex that her friend Charlie left a message and said he would be more than willing to take them wherever they want to go, as long as they pay for the privilege. ‘Only thing is...we can’t ask too many questions, okay?’ she tells him. Alex sits up, ‘Hey, that’s great! Almost... too great, Scarlett. The first guy...’ his voice trails off. ‘Joe’ Scarlett replies, ‘...loans you his plane. The other guy agrees to fly us to Poland. Why would your...friends go to all that trouble?’ Alex enquires. ‘I was afraid you’d ask me that’ Scarlett responds, before informing Alex that she is going to tell him the truth, but he has to promise he won’t get mad. ‘A long time ago...Joe...it’s his bi-plane...Joe and me, we were...real close’ she claims. Continuing, Scarlett remarks that the way Joe started throwing money around, she thought he was running drugs, and he told her he wasn’t, but she thought he really was, so she stopped seeing him.
‘But... well, when you were in such bad trouble, I had to do something, didn’t I?’ Scarlett remarks, claiming that she didn’t tell Alex because she was ashamed, and was real worried. ‘I thought maybe if you knew how I got the plane, you might not wanna use it’ Scarlett adds, before assuring Alex that Charlie is different, that it is nothing personal with Charlie, and all he wants is the money. A jet has landed up ahead, and Scarlett hands Alex a coat, telling him that it is Charlie’s plane. She adds that it will be colder in Poland. ‘Scarlett...’ Alex begins, his voice trails off. ‘What?’ Scarlett asks. ‘Nothing’ Alex replies, putting the coat on, he follows Scarlett towards the plane. ‘Fancy little jet you got there’ Alex remarks to Charlie, who reveals that the jet can make Mach 2 and squeak beneath the radar like a bug under the floorboards. ‘I don’t work cheap, guy. That’s how I can afford the best’ Charlie explains. ‘Like Scarlett told you, I have connections in Poland. Other...businessmen. I got people can take you where you wanna go...for a price’ Charlie declares. Alex pulls out some money and tells Charlie that he seems real well connected. Charlie claims that he is an entrepreneur dealing with other entrepreneurs and that it is a dog eat dog world. ‘You don’t get nowhere, unless you know who you can trust’.
Soon, the jet has taken off and flies across the cloudy sky, while Alex and Scarlett sit in some seats. Scarlett remarks that Alex looks so grim, and tells him that he shouldn’t, because they did it. ‘We got away from the CIA guy, and we’re going to Poland, just like you wanted’ she points out, adding that she just knows they will find his friend. ‘You arranged most of it, Scarlett. I seem to mainly be along for the ride’ Alex replies. Scarlett asks Alex if that is what is bothering him, and tells him not to be silly, reminding him that he flew the plane through that awful storm. With almost sadness in his eyes, Alex replies ‘But you got us the plane, Scarlett. You didn’t have to – not...like that’. Scarlett tells Alex that she would do anything for him, adding that getting the plane was the easy part. Scarlett then pulls out a cigarette and asks Alex if he will light it for her. ‘But Scarlett, you don’t smoke...do you?’ Alex enquires. Scarlett replies that she doesn’t, and explains that she borrowed it from Charlie, before asking Alex not to light it with a match, but with his hand? ‘Like this?’ Alex asks as he raises a hand, and emits a small amount of energy, which indeed lights the cigarette.
Scarlett points out that anybody can hire a plane, but that nobody else in the world has that plasma generation power, which is what is going to be important when they get to Poland, and find Alex’s friend. Scarlett adds that that will be hours from now. Alex puts a hand on Scarlett’s face and tells her not to worry, as he thinks they can keep themselves amused. ‘Yeah. But Alex, what’ll I do with this cigarette? ‘Scarlett enquires. Alex calls Scarlett “honey” and suggests she stub it out, and later, if she wants it again, he can light it up for her all over again.
Meantime, the brooding Siberian skies threaten another barrage of snow and ice, but the mood inside of the Asylum is self-congratulatory – almost triumphant. Meltdown informs Neutron that Quark is on her way with their White Knight, and they have a plan. ‘Indeed she is, Meltdown. Though I fear she may be losing control’ the skinny Dr Neutron replies, sitting on a chair. ‘Of Havok?’ Meltdown asks. ‘No, no. Of herself’ Neutron responds. He explains that during his conversation with Quark, “Scarlett” emerged. He tells Meltdown that she is calling him “Alex” – so their Scarlett is beginning to care for him more than she knows. ‘Then “our Scarlett” is a fool’ Meltdown responds. ‘Folly, folly, indeed. Such warmth in her voice, when she spoke of him, Meltdown. Such...regret’ Neutron reveals, adding that he could almost fall in love with Scarlett himself. He adds that impersonating Scarlett makes quite a change for their diamond-brilliant Quark, and suggests that perhaps, in some way, Scarlett releases Quark’s true self? ‘We cannot allow her to betray –‘ Meltdown begins, but Neutron tells him to calm himself, as they need not fear betrayal, yet, as Quark remains dominant. ‘Quark fears what Scarlett is forcing her to become. She’s fighting it, with all her strength and intellect and icy courage. And so...Quark has given me this brilliant plan... which will solve our Wolverine dilemma...and break poor Scarlett’s heart’. Neutron then announces that their pawn is arriving in Merida, even as they speak.
Logan approaches someone at the airport, who tells him ‘Si, senor! I have seen just such a couple as you describe’, and informs him that they wished to take passage immediately but all flights are filled, so he sold them tickets for the morning and directed them to the hotel Chicen Itza. ‘It is – you know – mostly for turistas’ he explains, adding that the woman is very beautiful. ‘And her legs? A man could die happy if he –’ the man begins, before Logan interrupts, telling him to spare him the gruesome details, before asking for the same directions. ‘But -?’ the man behind the ticket counter begins. ‘There’s another 10,000 pesos in it for you, bub’ Wolverine offers the man, warning him that his next offer will not be so generous. ‘A privilege to serve you, senor. It is at the end of the Street of Dreams’ the man explains, and Logan trudges out into the rain, making his way along the street. ‘A perfect place for a romantic evening, no?’
‘A perfect place for an ambush, more likely’ Wolverine thinks to himself, but decides ‘We’ll see who’s the ambusher and who’s the ambushee’. He locates the hotel, but there is no sign of Alex – although he can smell her. The scent is the same he caught mixed with the plane exhaust, and it is coming from the cabin around the side. He walks over there, and finds the cabin locked. ‘But I always carry my own pick-lock’ Wolverine jokes as he unsheathes one claw, and uses it to lever the door open as he shoves a finger in the lock. He rattles the lock, then opens the door. It makes a loud creaking noise, and the first thing Logan sees inside is the woman’s dress. ‘Drenched in cheap perfume. Somebody must think I got a cold’ Wolverine thinks to himself, before seeing that the place is empty – no Alex, no bad guys, no girl. He realizes he is due for another chat with that airport clerk, but hears a humming sound, and drops into defensive mode, releasing his claws, but it is too dark to see anything. He doesn’t smell anyone else in the room, but the noises continue. ‘Machine oil’ Wolverine realizes.
Suddenly, ‘NO!’ Logan shouts as a machine attached to the ceiling suddenly opens fire at him – shoving tasers with barbed tips into Wolverine’s body. He cries out in agony, and tries to rip them out before he is electrocuted, He struggles, but is unsuccessful, as the tasers retract slightly, leaving Wolverine hanging motionless from the ceiling. Two men enter the room, ‘The electricity is off, comrade Dubinsky’ ‘Excellent. The General will be pleased’ Dubinsky remarks as he holds a large helmet towards Logan. ‘And so will Dr Neutron’ he adds.
At that moment, Dr Neutron reclines in a chair, a chessboard in front of him, cigar in hand, ‘Check! You and, General, have reached excellent board position. It is time to launch our offensive’ Dr Neutron states. Dr Neutron points out that unless Havok sees the body, he will refuse to believe that his friend is indeed dead – and they cannot provide him with the body unless Wolverine cooperates with them and dies. ‘So we will allow Havok to provide himself with irrefutable evidence...and with the evidence that you, General, are responsible’. Dr Neutron suggests that Havok’s response should be entirely satisfactory, that he believes Havok will energize Meltdown to full capacity in somewhat under a minute.
While in Merida, Dubanski and his comrade have placed the helmet over Wolverine’s head and put bandages around his claws, they have put him in a coffin-like box, and are about to put the lid on.
Dr Neutron tells General Meltdown that in the meantime, thanks to Wolverine, they shall be able to learn a great deal more about the effects of photonic quantum brain wiping. He explains that Havok’s energy sensitivity made him a poor subject, but that Wolverine’s remarkable resiliency makes him an excellent choice for a full powered experiment, thereby providing them with a great deal of data they might never obtain from an ordinary human. He states that in the end, of course, whatever damage Wolverine may sustain will be of little consequence, since he is already as good as dead. He instructs Meltdown to notify Dubinsky, that they are to adjust the helmet to radiate a total brain-wipe, leaving only the instructions that they require.
Meantime, in Poland, the Western Carpathian Mountains, Scarlett and Alex are on horses, following another man on a horse through the mountains. He tells them that the place they wish to reach is more than a day’s journey. ‘Do we really have to ride horses, Alex? I mean, this is the Twentieth Century!’ Scarlett complains. ‘Just think of them as one step down from your bi-plane, honey’ Alex replies. The guide tells Scarlett that if the KGB have truly for her friend, then there is only one place they would have taken him – that it is just across the Soviet border and to approach it by car would alert the sleepless sentries. ‘Only this way can our journey remain secret’ he assures them. The guide adds that it is an ancient fastness, evil in legend, evil indeed. ‘Few enter, none return’ he warns them. ‘Swell’ one of them replies.
Three days later, dusk, Alex, Scarlett and the guide sit on their horses and stare up at a large, sprawling building with no windows. Alex tells the others that nothing has moved in or out of this place in the last twelve hours. ‘Whoever...or whatever was here is gone now’ he decides. Scarlett comments that it looks just like Dracula’s castle, to which Alex jokes that they will take along their wooden stakes, before telling Scarlett to come along, as they need to get a closer look. Addressing their guide as Janos, Alex asks him if he thinks the KGB has abandoned this site, but Janos is riding his horse in the other direction. ‘Janos?’ Alex calls out. ‘Maybe he thinks the vampires haven’t left. Maybe they haven’t!’ Scarlett exclaims. Examining the ground, Alex tells Scarlett that if the count and his wives are still around, they have updated their approach, as there are tire tracks all over the ground, and they are fresh. He then notices a couple of empty Jerry cans. ‘Alex?’ Scarlett calls out. Alex tells Scarlett to remain here with the horses. ‘Maybe this place is empty, and maybe it isn’t’ Alex remarks. Scarlett asks him if he is going in there, and Alex points out that they probably weren’t too inconspicuous back in town, but that he can’t afford not to go, for if Logan has been here, dead or alive, he must know.
Entering the dark facility, Havok starts to emit a small amount of energy to light his way. ‘I have to know. I won’t be long’ he calls back to Scarlett, but, making his way through the complex, he finds nothing – no signs, no sounds. ‘The place’s completely deserted’ Alex realizes, deciding that except for the tracks outside, it doesn’t look like anybody has been here in years, least of all the KGB. Alex wonders why Janos would have lied. He doesn’t want to leave Scarlett alone much longer, but he still hasn’t had a chance to search the great hall beyond. He decides to take a quick look around, when suddenly, he feels that something is not right. ‘Maybe I’ve hung around Logan too much, picked up some of his sixth sense for danger’ Alex suggests to himself, realizing that he best play this one cautiously – and quiet. He kneels down and puts a hand to the ground, releasing some plasma tendrils through the flagging under either side of the door frame. ‘And if I’m wrong, I can always apologize to the count later’ Alex jokes
An instant later, ‘WHA -?!’ Alex gasps, standing up, the door is smashed down, but not courtesy of his power – it’s Logan, who growls, and leaps towards Alex. ‘DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!’ Logan booms. He is naked save for a pair of briefs, and he looks savage, uncontrollable. ‘LOGAN!’ Alex gasps. ‘It’s me! Alex! You’re alive!’ Alex calls out, telling Logan that he is glad to see him. ‘You all right? Where’s your – Logan? Alex remarks, realizing something is wrong as he rushes over to his friend. Logan unsheathes his claws, ‘DEATH!’ he shouts as he slashes Alex across the left side of his face. ‘EYYAAHHH!’ Alex screams, before collapsing. ‘He’s trying to kill me! He sounds like a zombie! They got him! They got him! But how?’ Alex wonders. ‘How can you brainwash a guy whose healing factor ought to reconstruct any damage you did to him?’ Alex asks himself. He tries to get up, but Logan lunges at him again. ‘DEATH! DEATH!’ Logan declares, wrapping his arms around Alex’s neck.
Alex wonders what the hell is going on – and how he will live to find out. ‘DEATH! DEATH!’ Logan booms as he slams Alex’s head against a stone wall. ‘My head!’ Alex exclaims, realizing that Logan is about to kill him. He worries what Logan will do to Scarlett in the state he is in, while telling himself to concentrate, and Alex manages to release a charge of plasma energy, knocking Logan backwards. Alex clutches his head while realizing that he has to think fast. ‘If Logan’s been brainwashed permanently, I’ll never be able -!’ he begins, while Logan sits up, ‘Alex? Alex is that you? You okay?’ Logan asks him. ‘Logan! You...you know me?’ Alex replies. ‘Sucker’ Wolverine smiles as he moves closer – and skewers the surprised Alex. ‘ARRRHHH! Logan!’ Alex screams, before collapsing. ‘Say goodnight, Gracie!’ Logan suggests, raising bloodied claws – but before he can bring them down, Alex manages to spin around, and blasts Wolverine at close range with the full force of his plasma energy. ‘NOOO!’ Alex screams again.
Part of the facility is destroyed, leaving Alex to hold Logan’s motionless body in his arms. ‘Logan! Logan!’ Alex exclaims. ‘Oh no! No! No! No! No’ he says over and over. ‘Alex?’ Scarlett calls out as she moves slowly towards Alex. ‘He’s dead! I’ve killed him, Scarlett! This was no accident! Somebody set it up. Somebody’s responsible for this horror!’ Alex tells Scarlett, before swearing to Logan that he will find who did this to them both. ‘And kill him if it’s the last thing I do!’