(Madripoor - the Heights)
Roche is displeased. He is a tall man, dressed in a white suit. He sports a beard and smokes a cigarette, hands in pockets, real casual. His home in the exclusive, monied Heights district overlooks the seaport of Madripoor. The men kneeling before him are the source of his displeasure.
Roche stands on a small bridge over his fishpond, with three of his guards training their weapons on the punkboys who had their butts handed to them by Wolverine in the Princess Bar. He gave them the simplest of tasks: the chastisement of an innkeeper who refused his most generous offer of protection. They failed in their task. One of them points out that they did their best. Everything was going great until the stranger showed. Roche reminds them that, for all their numbers, not to mention their vaunted martial arts prowess, they were less than nothing. He drops some food into the pond, which the fish eagerly scramble for. He tells them that they are his hands, his public image and show of strength. If they lose respect, then so does he.
The punk with the Mohawk, who was the last to fall, pleads with Roche to offer them another chance. His friend says they’ll do better. Roche informs them that he has already engaged another enforcer to take their place. If they defeat him, then they may remain in his service. His name is Razorfist. The duel is to the death and he tells them to begin.
Razorfist stands nearby, wearing a silver outfit and with knives on the ends of his arms in place of hands. The punkboys reckon they can take him easy, but Razorfist immediately cuts the face of the first aggressor to challenge him. He follows this up with a display of well-practised martial arts, chopping and slicing each assailant that approaches. The last man standing can’t believe it. His entire gang has been mercilessly slaughtered in a handful of seconds.
He doesn’t wish for the same fate and rushes Roche on the bridge. He tells Roche that he’s gonna be his ticket outta there, or he’ll gut him where he stands. Roche disarms the man with consummate ease and picks him up by the throat, dangling him over the fishpond. In one sense, he is quite correct, says Roche. He shall indeed be his ticket out of here; from this world to the next. He snaps the man’s neck and drops him into the pond below. He’ll keep the fish fed for days.
He lights another cigarette and informs Razorfist that his dossier and his reputation are not exaggerated. He trusts that he can do as well against the stranger as he did against his former employees, before he disrupts any more of his activities. “The man’s history,” replies Razorfist. Roche is satisfied and says that, once he’s eliminated, they can deal with the upstart Tiger, who presumes to challenge him.
(The Princess Bar)
Despite having several guns pointed at his head, Wolverine takes a drink from his beer glass. “Somethin’ I said?” he remarks. O’Donnell tells him that Dave Chapel’s a friend who disappeared a fortnight ago. Now, he shows up tossing his name around, and he wants an explanation. Logan says it’s pretty rude, considering he saved his hide tonight from the local crimelord’s strongarm punkboys. O’Donnell replies that, if he’s a friend, then the place is his. If not, then all bets are off. Logan says fair enough and tosses a cameo onto the bar top. He says that he found Chapel in the desert. He’d been tortured by an expert and the wounds, combined with the exposure, had finished him. He asked Logan to return this keepsake.
O’Donnell opens the cameo and explains that the photo is of the lady this place is named after, and her partner. She’ll be glad to get it but O’Donnell gets the feeling that Logan’s not telling him everything. He’s not, but that’s Logan’s business and he keeps his mouth shut. He turns to O’Donnell and says that, if he wants to make a play, he should be prepared to take the consequences. He watches O’Donnell’s reactions to his threat. He’s tempted. It’s in his eyes and stance and scent. He isn’t a man to back off from a challenge and it would be an okay scrap too if it was fair. But, for a normal human being, no matter how tough he is, against Wolverine there ain’t such word as fair. Wisely, O’Donnell pockets his pistol and replies that he’ll take Logan at his word, for now. Smart fella, thinks Logan.
O’Donnell takes his leave and the redhead sidles up to him once again. She says that he impressed O’Donnell and that doesn’t happen often. He’s also impressed her, which happens even less. She introduces herself, but Logan continues downing his beer. Her offer is the oldest in the book, from the kinda woman who makes it almost irresistibly tempting. Suddenly, he notices someone watching him from outside the bar through the window. Their eyes cross for but a split second, but she knows she’s been spotted. She’s sharp, and wry.
She takes off and, being the curious sort, Wolverine follows. As he gets outside there is no sign of her, but that’s no problem for a mutant with parahuman ultra-keen senses. He tags her and knows that her scent is one that he’s encountered before. He heads to the rooftops. Unlike his namesake, the Wolverine, he is a hunter, and whether it be the city or the country, it makes no difference. In the end, he always nails what he’s after.
He leaps to the ground right in front of the woman, whose hat falls off as she comes to an abrupt halt. He says he wants to have a chat, but she screams, “No!” Logan knows that he spooked her when he landed, but there’s no fear in her voice or stance, just rage and defiance. She won’t be taken without a fight. She punches him in the face but hitting him is like punching steel. He grabs her and tells her to stop struggling or she’ll hurt herself. Logan swings her into a streetlight and discovers why she’s so familiar. “You; I know you! Jessan Hoan!”