Roche’s estate overlooks the city of Madripoor. It’s a home fit for a crimelord, as much fortress as palace and comes complete with an army to defend it. A full moon illuminates the city, which is covered by an empty sky. Three of Roche’s punkboys try to determine why the stream, which runs through the estate, is high. Two of them, stand on the bridge, as Chen, the newcomer, wades through the water, asking them for help in clearing the debris that’s blocking the barred entrance. They aren’t interested and tell him to call out if there’s a problem.
Chen isn’t happy at having to do the filthy work and swears they’ll pay for humiliating him this way. He begins to clear some debris from the entrance as, quietly behind him, Wolverine rises from the water. Chen has his face slammed into the bridge as a warning, before being turned around to find Wolverine facing him with his center claw fully extended.
Although Wolverine no longer wears the patch, he does wear a kind of netting across his face to hide his features. He grabs Chen by the throat and instructs him to speak, or die. Chen wants to live and tells Wolverine all he wants to know. Roche is inside, together with his enforcer, Razorfist, his pet vampire, Sapphire Styx, and his inquisitor. O’Donnell is their prisoner; the man Roche mistakenly believes is the upstart rival to his position, Tiger. This is a big mistake. O’Donnell is the real Tiger’s friend and also Wolverine’s. There are also some mercs standing in Wolverine’s way but they don’t count for much; they’re only human. He is a mutant.
The sprawling estate is backed by a sheer cliff, three hundred meters straight down to the harbor below. It’s supposedly impossible to climb. The other three sides of the estate are protected by Roche’s equivalent of the Berlin Wall. Lights, sensors, spikes, razor wire, mines and gun towers protect the estate. Like the men, they are the best money can buy. It’s a shame, he thinks, that the dollar no longer buys what it used to.
The moonlight hinders Wolverine’s infiltration. He watches the estate, his internal clock giving him his cue to act, though he checks his watch to be sure. Using his adamantium claws, he cuts through the soil to reveal the power and phone lines leading into Roche’s place. He severs them, knowing they’ll have back-up generators, but it’ll be a few seconds before they come on line and that’s all the time he needs. The mercs wonder what’s happening, as Wolverine leaps for the gate and uses his claws to maintain a hold. He skips over the gate and into the compound, as his partner sneaks in the back way.
Her name is Jessan Hoan. A former banker, her previous life is now confined to history. She now calls herself Tiger and she wants Roche’s throne, his power and his head. Wolverine doesn’t have a problem with that; it’s what happens after she takes his place that concerns him. How is he supposed to deal with a crimelord he’s partly responsible for creating? Anyway, Wolverine finds himself getting ahead of himself. There is still plenty to be done.
In the darkness, Roche orders his men to be quiet and get a hold of themselves. He tells them to activate the emergency generators and use infrared and starlight ‘scopes to cover the grounds. He commands the leader to form his fire teams and secure the perimeter. Any intruders are to be shot on sight and he calls for the dogs to be unleashed to flush the intruders out into the open. His men disappear to carry out their orders.
Roche finally grants Sapphire Styx her wish and leaves their ‘guest’ to her tender mercies. She says that he really knows the way to win a girl’s heart. It’s easy, he replies, when she’s as insatiable as her. He then tells Razorfist to remain by his side. If there is to be a rescue attempt, they will gain nothing but their own deaths.
Outside, Wolverine smells a pack of Dobermans heading his way. They’ve had their larynxes removed so as not to warn their prey by barking. He twists upwind to give them his scent, plus a growl to let them know who’s boss. They know when they’re outmatched and quickly become submissive. Unfortunately, his roar draws a spotlight and gunfire, but a well thrown rock makes it dark again. He hotfoots it to avoid further danger, crashing through a window straight into the path of another group of punkboys. They’re ready their weapons and Wolverine goes straight on the attack, wading his way through the pack without using his lethal claws. In the confines of this room, they still have no chance.
Meanwhile, Jessan Hoan dashes through the estate; Wolverine’s distraction has drawn the guards away from her as planned. She descends a staircase, which, according to Wolverine’s earlier description, leads to the dungeon. Inside, Sapphire Styx is in the process of sucking the life from O’Donnell. She enjoys the fact that he struggles, as it makes him so much more tasty. Suddenly, the door explodes and Jessan enters, quickly shooting at Sapphire as she cries, “Get away from him you witch!” O’Donnell is weak and says she shouldn’t have come but Jessan, looking like a seasoned soldier, replies that it’s no less than he would have done for her.
From nowhere, her gun is grabbed by a whip, which wrenches it from her grasp. It then finds its way around her neck and yanks her to the dungeon floor. The inquisitor then picks up a red hot steel blade and says that this is a delightful turnabout. “Could it be we were about to execute the wrong Tiger?” he asks. He can’t have that, and tells Jessan to open her eyes and take a good, long look at the last thing she’ll ever see.
Elsewhere, Wolverine has taken out his opponents far too easily. Roche was gypped when he paid for this lot. He knows the next round won’t be so easy, as he comes face-to-face with the stern-faced Razorfist. He tells Wolverine that he is pleased that he survived their earlier encounter but, fates willing, they shall not meet again. Wolverine warns him to step aside while he has the chance, but Razorfist replies that he will not betray his bond. The only way to get to Roche is over his dead body!