(West of Calgary)
In the Canadian Rockies, gunshots shatter the peace, followed by a scream. Colleen Wing is hit and her companion, Iron Fist, takes a tumble down a steep slope with her. They come to a rest at the bottom, and their pursuers stop their sno-cats to check on their victims’ situation. Sid and Joe, both dressed in full body outfits to protect them against the cold, see a storm moving in, cutting them off from the chalet. If they waste too much time, they’ll be dead. They decide not to venture down the slope, figuring that the Arctic blizzard will kill them as effectively as a bullet, should they not already be dead.
As the sno-cats growl into the distance, Iron Fist stands up and helps Colleen to her feet. He asks how she’s feeling and Colleen replies that the bullet creased her skull, but it’s no more than a flesh wound. She tries to make it on her own, but soon passes out. Iron Fist too notices the incoming storm, and thinks it’s too bad those gunmen didn’t follow them. He could have taken them out and used their sno-cats to get Colleen to a hospital. Instead, he heads for the shack across the valley for protection. As he walks, his mind wanders back a day, to a Manhattan alley.
Iron Fist had been heading home after an unusually quiet evening. His thoughts, as they so often did these days, turned to Misty Knight. He was preoccupied and, subsequently, he was careless. He was punched from behind and lashed out in retaliation as he chastised himself. His attacker didn’t let him get a second wind and landed a fierce uppercut on Fist’s chin. He asked the hero if he was confused; after all, he was the champion of K’un L’un. There shouldn’t be a human living who could equal his martial arts skill; much less, do this.
His foe pressed his chest against Danny’s, and his body felt like it was on fire. His strength faded away and he needed to break free before it was too late. He tried forcing his opponent away, but his foe simply stepped backwards. “Excellent, Iron Fist” he said, “You’re all I hoped for, and more.” Danny asked just what he meant, and who he was. “Who am I, Daniel Rand-K’ai? I am your executioner!”
Danny carries Colleen as the blizzard picks up. He remembers being so weak that he could hardly stand. He was there for the taking, and his opponent knew it. Yet, he laughed and walked away. The stranger knew about K’un L’un, and his true family name; Rand-K’ai. On his chest was a wingless dragon. Is he from K’un L’un, he wonders, someone who faced Shou-Lao the Undying, trying to gain the power of the Iron Fist, and failed? His questions must wait, as they finally reach the shack. Colleen begins to come round, and Iron Fist wastes no time in kicking the door through.
Intending to brew something hot once inside, Danny is shocked to find the weather shack is stripped bare. The insulation on the walls has even been stripped away. Colleen figures they’ll freeze in no time. Danny calls her a pessimist. The shack will shield them from the wind and snow, and they can beat the cold by going into a deep Zen trance. This will reduce their bodies’ energy output to almost zero. Colleen replies that she can’t do that; she’s never had any training. Danny sits opposite her and places the palms of his hands against hers. He tells her that he has been trained and, since their mind-meld, all his memories, part of his soul, have been part of her, as hers are a part of him. He asks her to tap these memories, and soon his voice, which drones in the darkness, fades away, leaving only the wind.
(flashback - Calgary International Airport)
Barely half a day ago, Danny had found a message from Colleen Wing, asking him to come at once. He didn’t think twice, leaving the mystery of the man with the half-dragon brand on the back burner. Colleen met him and explained that she was working as lawyer Jeryn Hogarth’s bodyguard, and needed a back-up. Normally, it would be Misty Knight, but she’d already left for the Caribbean.
They headed into Calgary to get Danny some cold weather gear. On the way, Colleen asked Danny if he knew how much he’d hurt Misty. He didn’t mean to, he explained. Colleen asked him what he expected; he pushed Misty into a corner, forcing her to choose between their friendship and her principles. She walked out on him.
Later, Colleen tried to tell Danny that this wasn’t K’un L’un. Women aren’t objects or goddesses. They’re people, with minds, feelings and spirits all their own. Danny knew this but had never had feeling like that before. He was scared. Everyone he had ever loved he had lost and he didn’t want to be hurt again.
Half an hour’s helicopter flight took them to Hogarth’s chalet, deep in the Rockies, past Banff and the Clearwater River. As Colleen slid the helicopter door open, they were greeted by gunmen, clad in bodysuits. They ordered Colleen and Danny out and bound them, herding them towards the chalet. When they arrived, they were greeted by a large, muscular man, holding Jeryn Hogarth captive, bound in ropes.
“Sabretooth!” exclaimed Colleen. Sabretooth asked if she knew him. Colleen replied that it was only by reputation. She explained that he was a freebooter, who’d rip off anything for the right price. Sabretooth replied that this was true and, in this case, he was after lawyer Hogarth. He stuck his nose where it didn’t belong. His employer was very angry. He warned Colleen not to make him angry, or he’d rip her eyes out. He ordered the gunmen to take them away and lock them up. The pick-up plane would be there at first light. They’d be leaving then and taking those two, and Hogarth, with them.
As they were led away, Danny noticed that the gunmen seemed to be concentrating on Colleen, dismissing him as a viable threat. He took his opportunity and punched one gunman, which allowed Colleen to kick another down. She figured their mind-meld empathy must have been working, as she was way ahead of him there. They fled to the exit, but found Sabretooth standing there, blocking the way. The big man took a swing at Danny, but he ducked underneath his arm and landed a solid punch in Sabretooth’s midriff. He followed that up with a strong left cross before hearing an alert sound. He and Colleen sprinted away and stole a sno-cat. Unfortunately, it had an almost empty tank.
Two gunmen approach the shack on sno-cats. They can’t believe that Iron Fist and Colleen Wing made it there on foot, in a force 8 blizzard. As they move in on the shack on foot, they figure that, with a wind chill making the temperature drop eighty below zero, no one could survive that. They have orders from Sabretooth to take them back, dead or alive, and that’s what they’re going to do. One of them hints that Sid and Joe met a nasty fate when they returned empty-handed.
Suddenly, they are both taken down by Iron Fist before they have time to act. He and Colleen put on the gunmen’s outfits, and Iron Fist asks why these people have an interest in Hogarth. As they bind their captives, Colleen explains that someone’s been leeching Rand-Meachum of money; a lot of it. Jeryn was trying to find the man responsible. They decide to leave their captives in the shack. The Mounties will find them on their next inspection. Grabbing their sno-cats, they head to the chalet where Sabretooth is, as they believe Jeryn will be dead before they can get help.
It’s still dark when they reach the chalet. As expected, the helipad is bustling with activity. Danny and Colleen check out a massive helicopter, bigger than Colleen has ever seen. Danny remembers it from somewhere, but can’t quite recall exactly where from. They head inside the chalet. The plan is to have Colleen free Hogarth’s staff, get weapons and take care of Sabretooth’s mercenaries. Iron Fist will go for the big man himself.
As Danny enters, he sees Sabretooth taunting the hapless Hogarth. He tells the lawyer that soon he’ll have the answers to all his questions concerning who has been ripping off Rand-Meachum. He adds that Hogarth will be happy when he kills him. Suddenly, Sabretooth turns and sees Danny entering, still wearing the gunman’s costume. Sabretooth knows that he looks right, but his instincts; his senses read him as the enemy. Before he can act on his suspicions, he is alerted to gunfire outside. He peers out of the window and sees that Hogarth’s women have broken free. They are shooting up the compound, led by Colleen.
He turns his attentions back to Iron Fist. He knows that he’s wearing Garret’s uniform, but has sussed that he and Colleen have come in as ringers. He slashes at Fist’s costume and the ripped outfit reveals his own colors beneath. “And you’re a super-hero to boot!” adds Sabretooth. He warns Fist that this is the biggest mistake he’s ever made, ‘cos Sabretooth never loses. He slashes again at Danny, asking if he has a name. He always likes to know who it is he’s killing. Danny responds with a slamming wrist-punch to Sabretooth’s jaw. “The name is Iron Fist,” he replies.
As his opponent rocks backwards, Danny realizes that he’s as fast as himself, and those claws are razor-sharp. He’s like a human Sabretooth - the ultimate killing machine. Sabretooth hurls a table out of the way and is in the mood for a fight with someone worth the effort. It’s an honor that Danny could do without. He evades Sabretooth’s first attack, but knows that the strain of that ambush in New York and spending last night in a blizzard is beginning to tell.
Outside the chalet, Sabretooth’s men are struggling. The women take down a chopper and the explosion causes the chalet’s windows to shatter. Iron Fist leaps onto Hogarth to protect him from the flying shards, and Sabretooth opts to make his escape. Things aren’t going entirely to plan for him. Danny sees him head out the rear of the chalet, but wonders why. There’s nothing for miles but empty glacier. He and Colleen checked it out on their way in.
He steps outside, but is hit by the sunrise. The sun reflects off the pure white snow in such an extreme manner that Iron Fist is temporarily blinded. He’s been suckered. Sabretooth slashes at him, catching his back and causing Danny to scream. Sabretooth tells Danny that he’d normally recover his vision soon, but he won’t live to recover. Another slash rips the front of Danny’s outfit and he knows he must hit back, but how? He knows that Sabretooth is all power and speed. He has no combat technique and he figures that, if he had his eyes, there’d be no contest.
He swipes at his opponent but misses, and Sabretooth taunts him. Danny knows it, and begins to summon his chi. As Danny wills the power into his fist, he realizes something’s wrong. The effort’s taking too much out of him. He also guesses that if he misses, he’ll be left as weak as a baby. He daren’t risk it. As he ponders what action to take, Sabretooth strikes and slashes yet more of Danny’s costume away. This time, he catches Danny’s hip.
Memories flood back to Iron Fist. He remembers a long-ago day in K’un L’un; a class with Lei Kung, the Thunderer. His tutor explained that he had five senses, and a warrior must learn to use them all. He tied a scarf around Danny’s head, covering his eyes. Danny sensed men around him in the arena; the touch of boot sole on practice mat and the swish of cloth. They all marked his opponents.
Iron Fist concentrates. He flows with the action, determining his foe’s position. With the slightest movement of snow, Danny knows just where to strike, and he kicks out, catching Sabretooth in the stomach. He follows up immediately with a chop to the neck, which sends the big man to the floor. This infuriates Sabretooth, and he gets clumsy. Danny can hear him move. He can smell him and feel the shifting air currents as he closes in. It makes it a simple matter to step out of harms way. Sabretooth lands unceremoniously in the snow, but gets up. Danny knows not to underestimate his opponent, but also knows Sabretooth isn’t thinking properly. Danny smashes him in the face. Like the animal he is named after, he is all power, but has little besides to fall back on. Sabretooth falls unconscious from the might of Iron Fist’s strike.
Thankful that victory is his, Danny suddenly hears footsteps behind him and lashes out instinctively. Luckily, Colleen ducks under his attack, and she tells him to use his eyes. Danny replies that he wishes he could, but he can’t. He’s blind. She tries to comfort him, but Danny assures her that it’s only temporary. He asks about Sabretooth’s men, and Colleen informs him that they are under guard. Their boss is out cold. Danny thinks he’s lucky. If Sabretooth had any martial arts skills to go with this other attributes, he doubts he could have taken him, even with his eyes. It makes him wonder about things; life even. Colleen gets him inside before he catches pneumonia.