In the shadows of the barren Carpathia Mountains, Alex “Havok” Summers stands over the body of his friend and teammate Wolverine a.k.a. Logan. ‘Logan attacked me in the castle, but he wasn’t Logan anymore...he was Wolverine’ Alex tells his companion, Scarlett McKenzie, who huddles into her trench coat. The confused Alex continues, hand on head, ‘...berserk, babbling...talking non-sense! He was trying...no holds barred...to kill me!’ Alex declares, certain that Logan was brainwashed, that someone was using him like a pawn. ‘Someone wanted him to get to me! But I got to him instead!’ Alex declares. ‘He was my friend...and I killed him’ Alex remarks. ‘Why? I keep asking myself why...and it doesn’t make any sense! Who would want me dead...and at his hands?’ Alex asks. ‘What the hell is going on?’ Blank-faced, Scarlett replies that she doesn’t know, and reaches out to take Alex’s hand, suggesting that if they look around, there might be something, some clue.
In amongst the rubble of the facility, Alex points out that the place is a mess, and that they will never find anything here. ‘But...they were just here! They brought Logan here! So they must have left something’ Scarlett remarks, suggesting that they just look. Suddenly, Scarlett falls. Alex calls out to her, concerned, but Scarlett tells him it is okay, that she just tripped – when she notices, laid out in front of her, a piece of paper. ‘Alex – look! See? I have found something...only...what is it?’ Havok crouches down besides Scarlett as she sits up, as Alex points out that it looks like a map, with overlays, and wonders what it is doing here. ‘And what’s it a map of?’ Scarlett asks. They see the nuclear symbol on the map and Havok supposes that somebody meant to get rid of it, to burn it, and tells Scarlett that it is hard to make out, but from the latitude and longitude, he would say it is somewhere in India.
‘And the overlays?’ Scarlett asks. Havok tells her that he doesn’t like it, that he thinks it is a nuclear reactor. A type similar to the one that blew at Chernobyl in the USSR! Scarlett maintains her blank expression. Havok holds the overlays up and informs Scarlett that it is complete with power output tables, thermonuclear reaction charts and stuff about plant security. He adds that the notations suggest that it is due to be shut down for annual maintenance in a few days, which means it will be operating with a skeleton crew and a reduced level of security. ‘This might explain why somebody wants me out of the way’ Alex suggests, telling Scarlett that whatever skulduggery is being planned at the plant, his mutant ability to absorb energy could stop it. He adds that perhaps they wanted him out of the way permanently, but that they wanted it to look like an accident, no embarrassing questions or official investigations.
‘So that’s why they shot you with that plague virus...’ Scarlett points out. ‘And when that didn’t work. They decided to use Logan. A simple case of murder. Totally unconnected with whoever’s fulfilling the strings’ he declares. Remaining with her neutral expressions, Scarlett tells Alex that is diabolical, and asks who. He tells her that he doesn’t know, but that whoever they are, they will be there, in India, at the nuclear plant. He puts the overlays and map into his coat pocket and announces that he is going to be there as well. Scarlett hugs herself and asks Alex if he thinks the CIA is behind it, reminding him that there was the agent at the hospital, and wonders what the CIA would gain by sabotaging a nuclear power plant. Alex puts an arm around Scarlett and they start to walk, as he tells her that he is not sure anymore that it was the CIA. ‘Things aren’t always what they seem to be in this business. I think there’s a piece of the puzzle missing... but what?’ Alex adds. He remarks that all he knows for sure is that whoever they are, because of them, today he is burying his friend – and is going to pay them back in spades.
Soon, Alex has dug a grave, and wrapped Logan’s body in his trench coat. He carries his friend over to the grave, although Scarlett points out that it seems awfully shallow. Alex tells her that Logan won’t mind, and that they have got to move fast. Scarlett asks Alex if he will be cold without his coat, to which Alex remarks that it is the only shroud he has got to bury Logan in. He stands over the grave and tells his friend to rest in peace, before suggesting to Scarlett that they get out of here. Walking towards their horses, Scarlett tells Alex that this will sound weird, and reminds him that Logan is a mutant. ‘He has that healing factor. What if...’ her voice trails off, as they get on their horses and start to trek on, while Alex tells her that Logan’s healing factor doesn’t work when he is dead. ‘God forgive me, but I hit him full power. Nobody survives that’ Alex declares.
Far away, in an asylum in Siberia, De Neutron leans back in his chair, bottle of alcohol at his side, he tells the misshapen General Meltdown that their spies report Havok has fought Wolverine and killed and buried him. He adds that without Quark’s quick action, their little pawn might have missed their carefully planted clue, and points out that as it is, Havok has been persuaded to rush to India to stop their “sabotage” of the reactor there. He remarks that, thus far, Quark’s plan has succeeded. ‘Here’s to a brilliant plan...and a brilliant lady’ Dr Neutron declares, raising his glass. ‘And a brilliant conclusion to our plan, Dr Neutron. Havok will save the day by absorbing the plant’s escaping radiation. He will power up, and blast me with his plasma!’ Meltdown declares. He boasts that he will be energized to full power, and a new day will dawn for the Soviet Union – and the world.
Dr Neutron reminds Meltdown that Havok is a hero, that he will not try to take life lightly. ‘When you face him, he must see you as the ultimate threat...so that he will be driven to attack you with the full force of his power’ Neutron explains. ‘The ultimate threat, Neutron? That should not be difficult. I helped him kill his friend, remember?’ Meltdown replies. ‘Then enjoy yourself in India, comrade’ Neutron announces, while moving a piece on the chessboard resembling General Meltdown closer to the piece resembling Havok. Dr Neutron states that the outcome of this game should be most interesting, as Meltdown and Havok are well placed for final confrontation. ‘But quark has been as seduced as Havok by the gentle character she plays...a question mark’ Dr Neutron points out, before remarking that at least Wolverine appears to be out of the play, and will not affect the outcome of the game.
Meantime, ‘Where the hell am I?’ Wolverine thinks to himself. He smells the earth around him, pressing in on him, and realizes there is almost no air, but that he is wrapped in Alex’s coat. Logan pops his claws, ‘Buried alive!’ the thinks to himself as he tries to scramble upwards. He detects that he is not buried deep, but just below the surface, meaning the guys who buried him knew about his healing factor, and meant to get him out. He wonders what happened, and how he got here, before recalling being attacked in Mexico, having a helmet shoved over his head – and then nothing – until he woke up in a castle. ‘Brain a blur’ Logan tells himself as he digs himself free of the ground. Logan’s memory starts to come back – he remembers fighting someone no holds barred, slamming their head against a wall trying to kill them, and realizes that it was Havok. He recalls Havok blasting him, that he could have burned the flesh off his bones – but that Havok held back just enough. ‘Healing factor kicked in... just like he knew it would... into overdrive’ Logan tells himself.
Logan is relieved that his healing factor not only healed his body, but his mind, also. Logan wonders where Alex is now, before pulling a piece of paper from the jacket pocket – Logan realizes that it is a map of India with the location of one of their reactors. ‘So. Looks like bright boy thought of everything!’ Logan tells himself. After examining the paper, he shreds it, and decides that Alex has not thought of everything: ‘Spy-bitch is still with him. Scents all over, mixed with his’ Logan realizes, while wondering if she knows that he is still alive. ‘Doesn’t matter...nothings gonna save her... nothing!’ Logan thinks to himself angrily, as he starts to run.
Meanwhile, in India, the district of Maharashtra, not far from the Tarapur nuclear reactor. A hot wind blows across the land. Dust devils spring to life, spin their way across the arid countryside and die. And though not every dusty pillar contains a devil, still the very air whispers of death. Dust billows into the air as Alex, wearing his Havok costume, and Scarlett drive a jeep across the sand. Alex tells himself that Scarlett is everything he has ever dreamed of in a woman, that it is like he has found his personal salvation. But he knows he can’t tell her about Logan, not while he still doesn’t know what is going on – if something goes wrong, Scarlett won’t be able to tell anyone what she doesn’t know.
At the same time, Scarlett thinks to herself that perhaps General Meltdown won’t kill Alex, as he is so young, and trusting, and strong. ‘Maybe Havok will kill the General and Alex and I will be free! If only...’ her thoughts trail off, before telling Alex to look up ahead. ‘My God!’ Alex utters as he sees the nuclear reactor on fire.
Havok declares that it looks like the bad guys are here already, and points out that the Geiger counter is starting to climb, meaning they may have breached the containment building, but that it may not be too late. He starts to tell Scarlet that he wants her to stay here, but Scarlett shouts ‘No way, Jose!’ as they drive closer to the sprawling nuclear plant engulfed in flames. Scarlett tells Alex that if he is willing to die to save these people and the world, then she is coming with him. She adds that she has faith Alex will not let either of them die. ‘Besides...you’ll need me to keep a lockout for whoever’s behind this while you put out the nuclear fire’ Scarlett points out. They see some bodies, and Alex tells Scarlett that they are dead. ‘It’s horrible. They look as though they have been burned from the inside out’ he explains. ‘Listen, Scarlett –’ Alex begins, but Scarlett tells him to hush, and that it doesn’t matter, as she is still coming with him. ‘You’re the bravest woman I’ve ever met’ Alex tells Scarlett, before announcing that he thinks he is in love with her. ‘Finding you... it’s like a miracle’ Alex utters. ‘It is a miracle’ Scarlett replies, before they kiss.
Entering the flaming building, Scarlett is wearing a radiation suit. Havok tells her that he doesn’t suspect the guard will mind that she “borrowed it”. ‘But are you sure –’ he begins, to which Scarlett interrupts and tells him that it doesn’t seem damaged. ‘As long as I’m not in here too long...’ she adds. ‘Okay’ Havok replies, before explaining that he is starting to absorb the energy and radiation being released by the reactor, and asks her not to get too close. Havok announces that it doesn’t look good in here, as whoever got here before them as has pretty well destroyed the control room. He had hoped that they would be able to scram the control rods back into the reactor, but it doesn’t look like it. ‘Now it looks like I’ll have to enter the reactor myself’ Havok informs Scarlett, suggesting that he might be able to return the rods to their shut off positions manually. ‘Oh, Alex, please, let’s get away from here! I’m frightened!’ Scarlett calls out. ‘I know, honey, So am I’ Alex replies.
As they approach another part of the reactor, Havok tells Scarlett that there is no time left to get help. ‘Look at the color of the core. We’re getting close to a meltdown’ he explains. Alex tells Scarlett not to worry, assuring her that he won’t let her down. Scarlett starts to climb down a ladder, following Alex into the core, ‘This is my plan. I know what will happen. I can’t –’ she thinks to herself. Alex is busy with some of the rods, as Scarlett calls out to him. There is a brilliant light glowing behind them, but Havok tells Scarlett to get back. ‘Keep away from here!’ he calls out. ‘There’s nothing you can do’ he tells Scarlett as he holds some of the rods up Alex explains that it is like Chernobyl, that the rods have buckled, they won’t slide into their casings. ‘You haven’t tested them all’ Scarlett replies. ‘Maybe if I try –’ Scarlett begins as she holds up a rod, but Alex tells her not to, that this won’t work. ‘Get out of here, Scarlett!’ he shouts. ‘Out in the air. Out where you’ll be safe’.
Havok goes over to Scarlett, who asks him to come with her. Havok tells her that he can’t. ‘Don’t you see? Without the control rods to absorb the neutrons, the chain reaction is getting stronger with every second. The core is close to prompt critical’ Havok explains. He starts to run off further into the reactor, ‘But I’m a human control rod. I can absorb all that energy...maybe’ he calls back. ‘And maybe you’ll die!’ Scarlett calls after him. Havok explains that if he goes further into the core, he might be able to stop the meltdown and points out that lives, the safety of an entire country, is at stake here. ‘It’s a chance I’ll have to take!’ he declares.
Stopping further inside the core, Havok extends his arms, and finds the radiation intense. He doesn’t know if he can hold the power. ‘Might go prompt critical myself’ he realizes. ‘Hey...no problem. I can hold it easy. Maybe...too easy...’ Havok thinks to himself as the radiation is easily absorbed into his body. Suddenly, Havok sees a strange figure moving about through the plumes of radiation. ‘Who -?’ he calls out. ‘The name is Meltdown, tovarich!’ General Meltdown booms. ‘You’re responsible for this destruction?’ Havok asks furiously. ‘With a little help from my friends’ Meltdown replies, before asking: ‘It’s warm in here, is it not, comrade Havok? The core emanates a rather... pleasant glow’. ‘You... brainwashed Wolverine... wanted me dead... and by his hand!’ Alex exclaims as he leans forward to casts a powerful blast of energy towards Meltdown.
General Meltdown raises his arms, ‘’And you’ll see me dead... as payment for all of this?’ he asks, adding that is good, for in truth, he does deserve to die. ‘So fire away, little man! Kill me... if you can!’ he boasts.
Watching from the edge of the core, Scarlett thinks to herself that it is not Meltdown who will be killed. ‘This is the payoff. Meltdown will be powered to the ultimate... will become a walking reactor... the most powerful being this world has ever known!’ she realizes, knowing that Meltdown’s word will be law – that his friends will prosper beyond their wildest dreams. That Havok will die, and Scarlett will die with him. ‘Come, capitalist pig! I hardly felt that! Strike a blow for God and country. Surely you can do better’ Meltdown calls out, trying to encourage Havok to release more energy. Alex realizes that his foe seems unaffected by his plasma, meaning he is no danger to him.
Alex wonders why Meltdown set Wolverine up to kill him. ‘Why did he want me to die?’ he asks himself. Meltdown continues to absorb the energy Havok casts at him, while thinking to himself ‘I forced him to kill his friend! I caused this devastation! And he attacks me...as Quark planned’, but Meltdown decides that Havok still fights like a self-proclaimed hero – cautiously, desiring justice, but not his destruction, without the ferocity, the reckless abandon he must demonstrate if Meltdown is to attain his full potential.
Suddenly, Scarlett removes the head covering of the radiation suit, ‘Alex... my love... he is more powerful than you can imagine! And fighting him will only make matters worse! Run! Get out while you still can! He’s death!’ Scarlett declares.
‘Scarlett! My heart! What are you doing here?’ Alex calls back as he continues to fire energy at Meltdown. ‘It’s too dangerous! I said I’d keep you safe... you believed me!’ Alex reminds her. ‘Did she indeed?’ Meltdown calls out, while thinking to himself that Quark has solved his final problem. ‘Neutron was right. You are magnificent’ he thinks to himself, before telling Havok that he should be wary of promises that he is unable to keep. Meltdown then releases a blast of nuclear energy at Scarlett, striking her at close range. ‘SCARLETT!’ Havok screams, a look of terror on the hero’s face.
The nuclear energy continues to pour into Scarlett – until she is vaporized. Wide-eyed, Havok suddenly roars ‘NOOOO!’ and looking at his own hands, he then increases the energy that he attacks Meltdown with. ‘Die, you monster! Die! DIE!’ Havok shouts furiously as the energy is released in a frenzied attack. ‘Aaaahhh!’ Meltdown replies, smiling, looking relaxed. ‘At last!’ he declares as the energy flows into him. An exhausted Havok collapses to the ground, while Meltdown looms over him and tells him that he and Quark have done him great service. ‘And I feel that I have come to know you as my own son’ he adds, while regretting that their personal acquaintance will be so brief, for in a few more moments, he shall drain the remainder of Havok’s energy. ‘At which point, I will being to generate my own power...and your usefulness will end’ Meltdown declares. ‘Who...who are you?’ Havok calls out.
‘Wake up and smell the coffee, Alex... it’s the big bad wolf himself and this is what he wanted all along’ a voice calls out. Meltdown turns in the direction of the voice, and finds a set of deadly claws before him. ‘Wolverine! It can’t be!’ the shocked Meltdown calls out. Logan tells Alex that he did good, real good, but that he thinks this place is getting ready to blow. Logan asks Alex to see if he can hold the core in check while he has a chat with “chuckles”. ‘Logan...the radiation’ Alex calls out. ‘That’s yer job, buster. You gotta soak it up like a sponge before this part of India becomes history. But one on one with laughing boy? That’s my job’ Logan tells his friend. Wide-eyed, Meltdown exclaims ‘It can’t be you! I saw you die!’ and suspects that this is some trick of Havok’s to confuse him. ‘You’re dead!’ he declares. Logan lunges at Meltdown, ‘Yer right, pal! But I got better! Which is more than you’ll be able to say when we’re finished!’ Logan warns him, slicing into him, Meltdown falls backwards. Logan continues to slash his claws into General Meltdown.
Meltdown gets back up, as the cuts close up like water behind Logan’s blades. ‘It’s like fighting me, except that he doesn’t even seem to feel it! He’s just standing there as if –’ Wolverine thinks to himself, before Meltdown lashes out at him, cackling with laughter, he pushes Wolverine backwards with a force of nuclear energy. Although most of his clothing is destroyed, Wolverine is fine. ‘Nice try, Chuckles...but yer gonna have to move faster than that to nail me!’ he tells Meltdown. ‘You are quick, Wolverine. Quicker than I. Your speed against my power. But in the end, power is everything!’ General Meltdown declares that he was wrong to fear Wolverine, and boasts that he is already beyond Wolverine’s ability to harm, much less kill him. ‘You were right to call me “Chuckles”. As they saw in America, he who laughs last...laughs best!’ Meltdown remarks as he continues to fire the nuclear energy towards Wolverine.
Wolverine realizes that his foe has the range, and realizes he has to get down. But as he makes a move, radiation strokes his left arm, ripping skin and flesh from him. There is a hissing noise and Wolverine growls in pain. The remains of his clothing falls off, save for his briefs. ‘MY ARM!’ Wolverine declares. ‘So your bones resist even the force of my nuclear blasts, Wolverine? They are wonderful, but they will not save you when your body has been vaporized!’ Meltdown boasts, explaining that he has become a living nuclear reactor and therefore, speed cannot save Wolverine. Logan wraps his tattered coat around his scorched arm, and agrees that it is speed against power. ‘And if I don’t take the initiative, he’s gonna fry me’ he realizes. ‘So I’d better do some initiating! And fast!’ Logan jokes as he moves quickly towards one of the rods lying on the ground. ‘You’re grasping at straws, Wolverine! I shall polish your skeleton until it gleams like silver and hang it in the highest tower of the Asylum!’ Meltdown boasts.
Sorry, bub! That sounds like too much exposure and too little skin! Why dontcha take one of these home instead?’ Logan replies as he hurls that reactor rod towards Meltdown – piercing him through his chest, the rod is firmly lodged in him. ‘UHHH!’ Meltdown calls out, but Wolverine realizes that the rod doesn’t seem to be slowing him down. ‘Maybe I guessed wrong?’ he wonders. ‘A simple “spear” Wolverine? When even your claws couldn’t stop me?’ Meltdown calls out, stating that this is the final council of desperation. ‘I can generate enough heat to melt any missile, including a boron rod!’ he boats, as he places his hands on the rod and the part of it sticking out of his chest is vaporized. ‘Well, at least it gives ya something to do!’ Wolverine replies, before pointing out that he is doing a lousy job of it, as he only melted the end. ‘So we’re gonna keep going ‘til you get it right!’ he declares, as he throws another rod at Meltdown, striking him in the chest once more.
Meltdown cries out again as the second rod pierces him, ‘That...HURT!’ he then shouts, before asking Wolverine what he thinks he can accomplish by this face. ‘Let’s just say...I like to fill my spare time’ Logan replies as he throws another two rods at General Meltdown, then two more. ‘How can this be? I...I feel...’ Meltdown utters as nuclear energy radiates around him, then slows – ‘The spears! Dampening down my reaction!’ Meltdown calls out. ‘I’m not longer absorbing energy from Havok!’ he shouts. ‘That’s the general idea, laughing boy’ Logan declares, before lunging forward, he starts slicing Meltdown with is claws, and asks him why he thinks they call them control rods. He continues slicing General Meltdown and tells him that they can now get down to it on more even terms. ‘Nooo!’ Meltdown exclaims, announcing that he must gather all his energies for one final detonation and destroy the rods – this plant and all who are in it. Wolverine strikes him again, and this time, draws blood. ‘I’ve hurt him now’ Logan tells himself.
As Wolverine furiously attacks Meltdown, the nuclear-fueled villain is unable to think. He knows he has to concentrate, while Wolverine sees that Meltdown is getting thinner and thinner. ‘Concentrate...’ General Meltdown tells himself, before asking Wolverine to stop. ‘This isn’t fair...’ he utters, as Wolverine’s claws start to pass right through the villain, until he is vaporized by the nuclear energy. ‘He...he’s gone’ Logan declares, before turning to Alex. Logan sees that with Meltdown no longer draining energy from him, Alex is at near full capacity, and the reactor is still going wild. ‘Logan...’ Alex calls out as energy darts around him. ‘Rods...will cool...reactor...’ Alex manages to utter. He holds his hands up urgently, Alex is basically a blur now with all the energy inside of him. ‘Control rods. Scram the rods...’ he calls out. Logan tells Alex that he is way ahead of him, before pointing out that not all of the rods scram. ‘Try...! This is all the energy...I can hold!’ Alex declares, raising his arms upwards, he tells Wolverine that he has to release it, or he will explode.
Alex warns Logan to take cover, but Logan asks for another five seconds, revealing that he has found some rods that still work. ‘Can’t hold...any...’ Alex exclaims as Logan shoves the rods into place. An instant later, red and green energy bursts forth from Alex, upwards, further and further, reaching space. ‘Geez...that blast’ll give satellite intelligence analysts nightmares fer months!’ Wolverine remarks before rushing over to Alex, who has collapsed. He puts a hand on his friend, to find him as hot as a blast furnace. ‘Logan? We...we did it?’ Alex asks. ‘Yeah, buddy. We did it’ Logan replies, stating that everything seems to be cooling down just fine. They hear sirens, and Logan picks Havok up and puts him over his shoulders, telling him that is their cue as the welcoming committee is finally arriving, and they don’t want to be here when they start trying to figure out what has been happening. As Police arrive from one direction, Logan and Alex escape in the jeep parked in another direction, as Logan admits that he is not really sure he is all that certain himself about what has happened.
Later, the streets of Bombay, India buzz with whispers of nuclear disaster barely averted, of lives and property saved by the quick action of the local militia and fire-fighting officials. And for the most part, Alex and Logan wouldn’t have it any other way, Except... ‘You know, it was Scarlett who was the real hero. She helped me find out where you were...got us the plane that brought me to Russia. It was through her contacts that I found you. You should have seen her, Logan. She was magnificent. She was like a wonderful dream...who got swallowed up by a terrible nightmare. I can’t believe she’s gone. I can’t even visit her grave’ Alex tells Logan. He adds that everything he touches seems to turn to dust, but at least this time, he loved someone who was good and true.
Lighting a cigar, Logan starts to reply ‘Alex...about Scarlett...she...’ but he stops himself mid-sentence, and instead thinks ‘...she was the bimbo who pumped us full of plague germs. She was one of them...but maybe, in the end, she was the girl Alex knew...and even if she wasn’t, what good’s the truth about her gonna do him now?’ So Logan says to Alex: ‘...she was something special, buddy. You don’t go finding girls like her everyday’, and thinks to himself ‘And a damn good thing, too!’, before telling Alex that he has a powerful thirst, and reminds him that he owes him a lot of beers, but suggests that in view of their successful and continuing partnership, he might agree to limit his consumption to two or three cases. ‘Might even let you have one if ya behave yerself’ he jokes.
Dr Neutron sits in the Asylum, which is quite not, beneath a blanket of new snow. The chessboard looks different – the black king and queen have been lost. ‘An exceptional game...a pity it’s over. And yet...there is always the anticipation of the games yet to come’ he decides, looking into a box with chess-pieces resembling other heroes. There is a knock at the door, ‘Enter freely and of your own will’ Dr Neutron calls out. ‘A reference to Count Dracula, De Neutron?’ a voice calls out. A woman is standing in the doorway, ‘Surely you don’t see me as a kind of vampire?’ she asks. ‘You, my dear? The new superintendent of our little Asylum? Ah, no...never a vampire!’ he replies, while telling her that as she has no doubt learned from studying his dossier, paranoia is not the disease that keeps him incarcerated here. ‘Like many of the old-line Stalinists, I suffer from a touch of megalomania’ he admits, before declaring that the times they are a chancing, and they must perforce change with them. The woman goes over to Dr Neutron, she appears to be wearing a nurses uniform. Neutron smiles and takes her arm, declaring that Glasnost sweeps through Mother Russia, and brings new games to replace the old. He states that he is out of touch these days and knows the old games best. ‘Tell me, my dear, do you play chess?’....