South Africa, 1931:
Logan watches a herd of elephants and befriends a far too curious young elephant. Her mother shows up and eyes him suspiciously but accepts him, as do the others.
Kruger National Park, South Africa, today:
Logan recalls a time early in his career with the X-Men when Storm mistook his desire to hunt for a wish to kill and scolded him because of that. When he explained that it is merely about skill, and that he doesn’t kill the animals, she admitted she misjudged him. He told her they all did. Pegged him for an overgrown animal.
Maybe they were right. He is more at home on stretches of land like this than most places of Earth. His feral instincts connect him to the earth, to its beasts.
He notices vultures and hyenas, hunters of death. They must smell what he does. He feels like throwing up, praying what his senses tell him is not right. The hyenas overtake him during his bout of sickness. He runs to find a group of rhinos lying butchered.
One of them has its face missing. Horn, skin, bones… all gone. He’s horrified to find the rhinos still barely alive. Who did this? he demands.
He hears guns being cocked and an armed troop order him away from the rhino. He growls savagely and unsheathes his claws. Moments later, he attacks, drawing blood but not as much as he wants.
A woman trains a gun at him and tells him to sheathe his claws. They didn’t do this. Unable to speak, he shoves her to the ground. The woman pleads she knows who he is. She’s seen him here before. If he cares at all about these animals, then get off her and help them. Thanks to him, they lost the poachers and the only means they had to put the injured animals out of their misery. She points at the rhino. She’s suffering. So it’s up to him. Do something!
Logan zeroes in on what’s left of the rhino’s heartbeat. He apologizes for not protecting her and promises to avenge her and her kin. He senses she wants to die and does it. Sometimes he hates being the best at what he does.
Later, Wolverine is in the rangers’ camp. The woman, Josephine, tells him how many injuries the man he attacked has now. He’ll send him a fruit basket and a teddy bear when he gets back to the States, Logan retorts. A few more multicam vests and a rifle or three would suffice, she suggests.
Ignoring her offer of a drink, he examines the snares which were designed to inflict pain. It’s impossible to escape without being torn to pieces. And an animal that does that leaves a wide trail of blood, she agrees. Some dogs or cows get trapped in them too. The poachers just take the meat themselves or sell it to markets.
He’s been coming out here a long time. He’s seen his fair share of atrocities. Bu he’s never seen anything like this. The rangers tell him it’s been like this for years. Poachers are organized with military precision. Fast. Mindboggingly brutal. Some don’t even euthanize the animals anymore. They just sedate them and hack away their faces with chainsaws. Cut their babies from their wombs. All for this obscene demand for horns and ivory.
The Rangers have tried cutting off the horns before the poachers get them. They still kill the animals.
Who’s paying for all this slaughter? he demands. Much of it ends up halfway around the world. The money people pay is staggering. The skin and horns just “disappear,” then end up in markets as medicine or cheap jewelry. Thousands of animals, mutilated and killed for this. And nobody cares.
She’s wrong, Logan tells her. He cares. And if she really knows who he is, she knows what he can do.
At the Jean Grey School, Kitty Pryde is giving a lesson on costume design, using her own checkered uniform past as examples. Quentin Quire laughs at her costumes, remarking one of them looks like something Blindfold would have made for Dazzler in 1974. It was a more innocent time, Kitty tries to explain.
Idie Okonkwo wonders if it is mandatory to change one’s codename with every new outfit as Kitty apparently did. Of course not, Kitty replies, she was just a precocious teenage ninja and— Her beeper goes off. Jia Jing, who has inherited Kitty’s Sprite codename, worries about not being a ninja or knowing how to rollerskate. They are losing sight of the big picture here, Kitty sighs and answers her beeper.
She takes Wolverine’s call outside class. He tells her he needs her help at once. Kitty gives the class homework and dismisses them. Broo tells her he always found her roller skate costume reminiscent of a festive event. It’s always been of his favorites.
Kitty enters the command center and has Cerebra locate Logan. He asks her to track the lines of delivery and supply route of some poached animals out of Kruger Park. Kitty finds out the data suggest a steady routine: half the horns are transported over a private airstrip to Mozambique, flown to Madripoor, sold and distributed to dealers throughout the Pacific. This usually takes less than 48 hours. Did she say Madripoor? he asks.
Madripoor, the Princess Bar, a few years ago:
Where is he? Jessica Drew demands of her partner Lindsay McCabe, who asks her not to yell. He stormed in here a few minutes ago and stomped right to his office. Said he’d just settled a few things with Baran.
Jessica enters the office of Wolverine, whom she knows as Patch, and asks if he is crazy, just waltzing into the palace like that. Getting dressed in his fine suit, he replies he ain’t crazy at all. He won’t let his island be a haven for poachers and he just had to make sure the good prince understood (by leaving him the dead bodies of some poachers).
Wolverine doesn’t buy it. He made it pretty clear what would happen to anyone who traded in horns or skin. Kitty reminds him that was a long time ago. Madripoor went through a lot of hands since then. And he didn’t exactly have them write a law or anything. Probably his boy Daken poking at him from the grave, he sighs. He had to sour everything when he stole the place from Tyger Tiger. Kitty agrees, then tells him the weather is going to keep the charter grounded for a few hours. He still has a shot.
He asks for another favor. His elephant will be looking for him. He needs Kitty to make sure she is okay. What elephant? she asks but he has already broken contact. How on Earth does she find an elephant? Kitty mutters. She just has to look in the right place, Doug Ramsey aka Cypher tells her as he enters the room, and then she has to listen.
Madripoor, the South of Singapore, today:
Consisting of poor Lowtown and rich Hightown, the island always had a lax relationship with international law. It is currently ruled by Tyger Tiger, a friend of his, sometimes with benefits.
Wolverine crashes two guards through a glass door into Tyger’s office. He demands a private talk. Soon he leads her to the dockyards. Near as he can figure, the people behind this use prostitutes like drug mules to smuggle horns and tusks out of the country. And in Madripoor, the cargo is redistributed to the private dealers and the black market.
She hesitates when she sees the downed guards but he promises her they are alive. He figures Daken undid the zero tolerance policy to spite him. Or maybe Viper before she was dethroned. Either way, he’s putting an end to it tonight.
He opens the door to a warehouse. Inside they find masses of tusks, horns, skins and furs. A hundred million dollars’ worth of trade on the black market. And this is just one warehouse. There are two more. They gotta burn this stuff, he announces, and then destroy the import export pipeline.
He won’t touch a thing in here, she orders, as her guards train their weapons on him. Tyger continues that there is a prize to pay for maintaining the sanctity of this island, for permitting the kind of moral concessions in which people like them choose to revel. She orders him to leave Madripoor now. Or she’ll see to it that his Admantium claws and teeth are auctioned alongside all this, and she’ll happily place the first bid…