Wolverine is in Japan. It’s winter and the snow lies thick on the ground. Japan smells of blood to Logan: the smell you get when you rip a guy’s heart out. The insides stink of hot iron and dead blossoms. He makes his way to a large building in the hills. He’s there because recently, all the memories he’d lost over the years have suddenly returned. He’s been a lot of things in a lot of places. A sickly kid named James Howlett, a killing machine known as Weapon X and a hero, going by the name of Wolverine. This place… this place is where he became a man.
He sniffs the air and recognizes a familiar scent. He opens his trench coat to reveal his yellow and black uniform underneath. “Been waiting sixty-odd years haven’t you?” he says to the hidden enemy. “Let’s finish this already.” A growl comes back at him in response and, as he pulls on his mask, he tells his opponent that if they want to be dramatic he can do the Kabuki thing, but he ain’t got all night. He snikts his claws and enters a courtyard. Another growl seeps from the shadows and Wolverine falls to a burst of flame. He winces as he drops.
Wolverine doesn’t lose sleep thinking about the enemies he’s made over the years. It’s the women that keep him up at night - a handful of girls he’s been dumb enough to fall for over the last century or so. He can recover from just about anything, apart from getting his heart ripped out. As his face hits the snow, his assailant emerges from the shadows; a skeletal figure enveloped in flames. “Your turn,” it growls.
(the past, sometime during World War II)
Logan’s eyes begin to creep open as someone says the word flash. He repeats the word and Logan’s eyes open a little wider. He then spots dog tags dangling before him and opens his eyes fully to see a scrawny, wiry guy with blotches on his face. “Flash dammit!” he says one again. “Answer me before I wring your damn neck!” Logan covers his face with his arm to shield him from the bright light. He tells the guy that his name ain’t Flash. It’s Logan.
The guy tells him that “flash” is a challenge, so he knows he’s an American and not a Jap spy. He asks him for the code reply. Logan has no idea what he’s going on about and informs him that he’s Canadian; first parachute battalion. The man bends down and says it figures. If the Greenhorns had held Hong Kong in ’41 this war would have been going a lot better. Logan replies that if his boys hadn’t waited until Pearl Harbor to get in this game, the war would be over. The guy takes Logan’s hand and helps him up. He’s a Canadian all right. He introduces himself as Lt. Warren and asks what rank Logan is. “P.O.W. from the looks of things,” comes his reply. “Where are we?”
Warren figures that they’re in a military science base somewhere on the Japanese mainland. He’s spent the last three months in a hellhole labor camp just north of there called Mukaishima. His squadron was supposed to sink the light cruiser Tone in Kure Harbor, but they had to ditch after taking fire from the shore batteries. Half of his guys were killed in action and the other six got pinched. Two of them died of starvation in the camp and dysentery took out another three. His navigator hanged himself by his shirtsleeves. He guesses he got tired of digging cesspools at bayonet point nineteen hours a day. Logan asks how he survived. Warren reckons it was plain dumb luck; the same way Logan survived.
Warren continues to explain that they transferred him to this base last night, probably for interrogation, torture… and presuming they keep their traps shut, the firing squad. Logan puts his finger to his lips and tells Warren that he hears three guards coming. Warren doesn’t hear anything but Logan tells him this is probably the only chance they’ll get. Warren can’t believe he’s thinking of escaping. The place is a fortress. Logan replies that he’s busted out of worse. Warren figures him for a nutcase, but Logan asks him to do him a favor. Stick to the shadows ‘til he’s through.
Three guards wanders down the corridor to their cell and the boss tells his men to keep their rifles at their shoulders unless he says otherwise. As he turns the key, he adds that the doc says that they might be Kaiju. As one of the soldiers replies, Logan leaps from the cell, surprising them. “Kill it!” snarls one, puncturing the skin on Logan’s back with his bayonet. Lt. Warren leaps into action after him, ignoring Logan’s orders, and he grabs one of the soldiers by the throat. “Yellow scum!”
One of the soldiers aims his rifle at Warren but Logan is on him in an instant. He places his hand at the soldier’s throat and snikts his claws, unseen by his new comrade in arms. The soldier collapses and Warren’s opponent succumbs to a strong stranglehold. Warren asks Logan what he did to the guy, but Logan pauses and then says, “Dunno.” Warren thanks him and wishes he’d had a fighter like him by his side before. Logan tells him to grab whichever outfit has the least blood stains on it. They’re not out of the woods yet.
Logan and Lt. Warren are clear of the prison and wandering through the woods, each carrying a rifle. Warren asks him how he ended up in the Pacific Theater. Logan replies that he was in Burma to blow up a train. He guesses it went south, because he woke up there. Warren calls the Japanese ‘damn animals’ who won’t stop until they kill every single one of them. Logan says nothing, but is clearly thinking that Warren isn’t the most stable of characters after what he’s been through.
Warren tells him that he wishes he’d been in Normandy. The Krauts may be bastards, but at least they fight like men. These people… they’re not even human. Logan asks him to save it until they’re stowed away in whichever boat is gonna get them off the island.
As he speaks, they hear a scream and they look round to see a Japanese woman wearing a long white kimono. She’s dropped a basket of flowers she was carrying over the bridge, and when Logan clocks her, his eyes widen. “I didn’t even catch her scent,” he gasps. “She’s like a ghost.” Warren aims his rifle at her and says that if he’s not yet, she soon will be. Logan orders him to stand down. She’s just a civilian. Warren snaps back that there ain’t such a thing as a Jap civilian. They’re all assassins for the emperor! Besides, he adds, she looks just like the trawler broad that pulled him and his crew out of the drink. She’s the one who turned them over to those monsters. Logan asks him to let it go. She’s not a fisher. She’s a farmer. Warren replies that they might as well put her in the dirt where she belongs.
Logan lifts his rifle and points it at the back of Warren’s neck. He warns him that if he pulls the trigger, he’ll be joining her. Warren, surprised, asks if he’s forgotten who the enemy is, but Logan tells him to walk away. This is where they part company. Warren, paranoid, thinks Logan must be a spy who’s working for them. This is all some kinda setup. “Walk. Away,” replies Logan. Warren doesn’t respond, but scuttles away up the hill leaving Logan and the woman alone.
Logan sees him disappear and then turns to find the woman kneeling before him. He asks her to quit the bowing and get to her feet. “Come on,” he adds. “Doitashimashite and all that.” The woman looks up to him, surprised that he speaks her tongue. Logan replies that he speaks some. She asks him to follow her. The sun will rise soon and he’ll never make it to the harbor before morning. She can hide him until tomorrow’s nightfall. Logan asks her to stop. If her people catch him with her, they’ll kill them both. She smiles at him. Logan doesn’t know if it’s because she understood him, or because she didn’t care. Either way, she’s hooked him. Watching the exchange from a nearby tree, Warren doesn’t look particularly happy.
Logan and the woman, who introduces herself as Atsuko, are eating in her home. He doesn’t know how to repay her. He looks up to find that she has pulled a sword from its case and she holds it out to him. Logan thinks it’s an attack, and tells her that if she wants to hurt him, she’s gonna need something sharper. She then bows and holds out the sword to him. “Oh,” he replies, realizing what it is. He sees a ribbon with an inscription on it. “Kamikaze. Your… your husband?” he enquires. Atsuko tells him that it was her father. He volunteered after her mother was killed in the fire-bombings. Before his final mission, they sent her the sword and his fingernail clippings. Logan knows that this is so she would have something to bury.
He asks if this is all she has left of him. Atsuko takes his hand and places it over her left breast. She tells him no. Her father lives on inside her. Logan asks why she helped him. Atsuko pulls a hairpin out which allows her hair to fall to her shoulders. She tells him that she’s tired of this war. Since it began, he is the first person she’s met who seems at peace. She drops her kimono and stands there naked. Logan says this isn’t necessary. She's done enough for him already. Atsuko laughs and, removing his shirt, tells him it’s time for him to do something for her.
As the sun sets, Logan thinks this is heaven. He’s already dead and now he’s in heaven. Atsuko replies that this isn’t heaven. Logan asks where exactly this place is. “Hiroshima,” she replies. To Logan’s ears, it was just about the most beautiful word he’d ever heard.