Wolverine gets up after being struck by his fiery opponent. He thinks about how folks don’t die like they used to. When he was a kid, somebody got their throat slit or their skull kicked in by a stallion, you had a pretty good idea what would happen next. These days, nobody remembers how to stay in their plots. Sooner or later, most people who’ve crossed his path seem to find a way of rising from the ashes. He snikts his claws as he climbs the side of the building; his assailant rounding on him, menacingly.
“I know you, don’t I?” he asks, rhetorically. He thinks he’s scared. He still remembers the sound of steel scraping against his bones, doesn’t he? He slashes at the flaming skeleton, but his claws pass through. “The hell?” wonders Logan.
The first time he knew there were ghosts in this world was there, in Hiroshima. A little boy scattered a hundred thousand women and children into a hundred billion fireflies, but the next morning they were back again. At least, their shadows were; still clinging to this rotten world, not quite ready to let go. He can’t blame them.
His assailant reaches out a clawed hand and grabs him around the face; their fingers burning his mouth. It picks him up and hurls him skywards, crashing through at least two floors of the building. To Wolverine, life is nothing but pain and disappointment, but if people keep coming back, it must be better than whatever comes next. That’s what he keeps telling himself, anyhow. He isn’t luck enough to die as easy as most people… is he?
(flashback, sometime during World War II)
Logan apologizes. Sitting against the wall in Astusko’s home, he is feeling sorry for himself. She asks why he keeps apologizing. If he hadn’t stopped the American last night, she has little doubt he would have killed her. Logan replies that he’s not apologizing for him. He’s apologizing for himself. He’s the best there is at a couple of things in this world, but what they did just ain’t one of ‘em. She brings him a hot drink and strokes his cheek, asking if she was his first. He replies that she’s the first as perfect as she is, anyway. The guys in the barracks called him Badger, Ferret or Skunk. They said no woman would ever make time with someone who’s all hair and stink like him. But, time’s the one thing he’s got more than enough of.
Atsuko tells him she thought she had bedded a hardened warrior, but he’s just a fragile porcelain doll, isn’t he? He apologizes once again, but she tells him that they have hours to go before there’s enough darkness to cover his escape. If he apologizes once more in that time, she’ll give him something to be sorry about. He smiles and repeats the words, “Gomen nasai.”
As soon as the words leave his lips, a rifle bullet takes him out. He drops backwards as his blood splatters across Atsuko’s face. She is horrified. Lt. Warren enters the house, brandishing a rifle, and tells her not to cry for him. He has it on good authority that he was sleeping with the enemy. He aims his rifle at her and she shuffles back against the wall. He says she is one of those official whores: comfort women. He begins to unbuckle his belt, but she reaches for Logan’s sword and removes it from its sheath. She tells him that he killed the only person with an ounce of mercy on the island. She leaps high into the air, surprising Warren. “Your last mistake,” she cries.
Warren replies that he doesn’t understand her forked tongue, but he looks forward to carving it out. He grins as he holds his bayonet out, but she throws her sword at him which slices his right forearm. He warns her that she just threw away the only shot at living. As he turns back towards her, her claws rip red lines into his cheek. “Give me strength, father,” she says as she leaps into action once again with the sword which she’s picked up. Warren tells her he’s gonna rip those no-good claws right out of her. She tells him that she’s not afraid to die, nor is she eager. She brings it down on him, but he manages to use his rifle to stop it hitting him. “Heh. Not bad, sister. Not good, either,” he grins. As she leaps at him once again, he raises his bayonet and she comes down on it. The blade pierces her chest and he pulls it out, leaving her to look at the blood gushing onto her white dress. She apologizes to Logan as she gasps and drops.
As Lt. Warren stands over her dying body, he senses Logan behind him. He turns to see Logan looking feral. He groans as he tries to stand, but then he leaps at Warren, grabbing his hands as they tumble backwards. Warren realizes that it must be true. This is probably why they locked them away together. “You’re just like me!”
Logan defenestrates him and he crash lands in the dirt outside. Logan follows, carrying the sword and replies that they have nothing in common. Warren replies sure they do. They’re both Gods. Logan’s heard plenty of last words in his day, but those are just about the stupidest. He thrusts the sword into Warren’s stomach, but he simply looks back at him and winks. He tells him that it’s a good thing that he has plenty more where they came from. Logan is astonished, as Warren pulls the bloody sword from his body. “How…?” he asks.
Warren informs him that he’s been like this ever since he sprouted his first short hair, but his daddy said he could never tell nobody. He said the neighbors would string him up like fruit; not that a noose would do much more than give him a ring around the collar. He knew he wasn’t like the other kids after their neighbor’s dog chewed his tendon out. It didn’t stop him from running all the way home. How did Logan think he survived this long when the rest of his squad is filling up unmarked graves? He’s unstoppable.
He adds that, when their airplane got pranged, he even took a few rounds in the back. All they do is itch. He can be cut down or poisoned or drowned, but he can’t be killed. Logan calls him a liar, but he replies that he might not heal the way Logan does, but he doesn’t hurt, either. He attacks Logan and brings the sword down hard. Logan catches the blade in his hand, and blood trickles down his forearm. He says that dishing out pain must be real easy when you don’t feel it. Warren corrects him, by telling him that killing his girlfriend wasn’t easy, but it was right. And Logan can feel it just as much as he does.
Logan smacks the sword from Warren’s grasp and it lands about twenty feet away. He delivers a solid punch to Warren’s jaw and follows up with a crunching left hook to his stomach. Warren isn’t fazed. He says he used to think it was all bull - about them coming from monkeys. But, you get to Japan and realize that the people are closer to beasts. He and Logan, though… they’re what’s next. He likens it to a war between savages and civilization. Guys like them are the only hope.
Logan grabs him by the throat and prepares to punch him again, but Warren turns his head and asks Logan if he can hear something. Logan recognizes it as a plane. Warren says it’s not just a plane. It’s a B52. It’s their side. They’re gonna bust them out of this hell. Logan releases Warren and looks into the sky. The plane is obscured by the sunlight, and the payload is too fast and small for him to follow. “See you soon, Atsuko,” he whispers. All he remembers is a teardrop falling from the sky, and then a splash. The atomic bomb explodes, ripping up the countryside around him. The devastation is unbelievable.
Later, Logan crawls from the wreckage of the demolished house, his skin peeled away from his body. Genetic freaks like he and Lt. Warren go by plenty of names. Muties. Homo superior. Children of the Atom. Some of them were born long before that ugly August morning, when the only nuclear fire was in the belly of the rising sun. The bomb ain’t his mother. She’s just the girl who made him a man.