Tokyo, the luxury penthouse of the Daimyo of the Clan Yashida. As of ten weeks ago that role belongs to Wolverine’s lover, Mariko Yashida, daughter of the previous head of the house, the crimelord Shingen. Five days from now, Logan and Mariko intend to marry and, for that celebration, they have invited Wolverine’s fellow X-Men.
Logan’s teammates arrive at the penthouse, greeted by him. Kitty, Kurt and Peter greet Logan enthusiastically, while Ororo stays somewhat behind. Kitty enthuses that they had an entire 747 all to themselves. According to the pilot, it’s the plane the emperor himself uses. Kurt semi-hugs his friend, asking if he is well. His letters were terse as always, but he managed to read between the lines. Sounds like Wolverine had a pretty rough time. There were moments Logan admits.
Changing the subject, Kurt jokes that he likes Logan’s Kimono – it makes him look almost civilized. He does his humble best, Logan replies only to point at Lockheed perching on Kitty’ shoulders. What the heck is that supposed to be? Customs must have loved that. They didn’t say a word, Kitty informs him. She then corrects Nightcrawler’s claim that Lockheed is her pet, by stating that Lockheed isn’t a pet but her friend. She turns to the dragon chiding him not to snarl at Wolverine. He’s a friend too. Feisty little critter, Logan states, adding that he reminds him of himself.
Mariko politely interrupts, stating that one of the X-Men is still waiting in the hall outside. Isn’t he going to invite her in? She’s referring to Rogue, the newest rather controversial member, who stands outside in a little girl lost pose. If it were up to him, Logan snarls, remembering what Rogue did to his close friend Carol Danvers, he’d cut her heart out. Storm explains the situation: Professor Xavier has accepted Rogue as an X-Man. And Storm agreed to that, Logan asks. All of them did, she replies. Figures, he states sourly. An outfit that takes him as a member will admit everyone.
Mariko gently contradicts him: he thinks too little of himself and judges his friends too hardy. She turns to Rogue. Whatever their feelings may be, Rogue is a guest and, therefore, to be treated with courtesy and respect. She takes Rogue’s gloved hands in hers and welcomes her. Relieved, Rogue thanks Mariko. Logan tells his jetlagged friends to make themselves comfortable. They are completely unaware that their reunion is being watched by someone else from the roof.
The Silver Samurai, standing on the roof, is pleased that the bugs he planted transmit every word. His foes are exhausted from their journey and expect no trouble tonight. They will be easy prey. The villain, in turn, is watched by someone else: a young woman, dressed in black and crouching on a part of the roof above him. She’s aware that the Samurai has been on Wolverine’s trail for days and, if Logan weren’t so besotted with that “bloodless porcelain doll,” he’d have spotted him long ago. But he has nothing to fear, she thinks, as long as she is around. With that thought, she jumps, small blades in her hand, and kicks the Samurai’s helmeted head from behind. He isn’t even fazed and slowly turns around.
Within the penthouse, Wolverine becomes alert. He’s heard the sound of flesh on metal from the roof and asks Nightcrawler to teleport him over there. The Samurai introduces himself to his foe and then strikes at the woman with his energy blade. Wolverine orders Nightcrawler to grab the lady and teleport her away while he jumps at the Samurai with open unsheathed.
“Logan-San,” the woman exclaims happily while Wolverine takes on the Samurai and demands an explanation at the same time. He should ask the Samurai, she answers, he’s the villain.
The Samurai spits out that he’ll give the Gaijin the only answer he deserved – a coward’s death. With that, he maneuvers Wolverine over the roof’s edge and teleports himself away with his teleportation ring, leaving Wlverine to fall. Not far though before Nightcrawler gets to him and teleports them back to the roof only to find the woman gone. Logan explains who she is: Yukio. She considers herself a ronin – a masterless samurai and concedes that she is almost as good as he and that they used to be … friends.
Some distance away, Yukio happily and madly somersaults from rooftop to rooftop, until she slips and falls only to be rescued at the last moment by Storm. Storm lets her down on a roof, only to find that Yukio loved the experience – a one in-a-million ride. But she nearly died, Storm states. That makes the experience so exquisite, Yukio explains. Life is the ultimate adventure and death the price that awaits them all. Since it is inevitable why worry? She cartwheels away and Ororo stares at her shaking her head. Yukio is mad, she thinks and, yet, she finds herself envying the other woman’s carefreeness.
Later, back at the apartment, Storm briefs the other on their foe’s identity: Keniuchio Harada, the Silver Samurai. He and his mistress, Viper, recently fought the New Mutants and killed one of their number, Xi’an Coy Manh. Now, she wonders whether the Samurai was following the X-Men or is after Logan or Mariko. There may be a connection, Wolverine adds. Mariko’s father, Shingen, used the clan as a power base from which to seize control of the Japanese underworld. Ambitious as he was, perhaps he was working with Viper to extend his influence worldwide. Can this Shingen be stopped, Colossus asks. He’s already taken care of that, Wolverine replies. Great, Kitty pipes up. Then they can question him in jail and…
He doesn’t think so, Nightcrawler gently interrupts her. It takes a moment for the meaning of his words to sink in. Logan feels sorry for her. Kitty believes in him and, every so often, she gets reminded – the hard way – that they come from different worlds and his isn’t a very nice place.
Elsewhere in the apartment building, Mariko, holding a letter in her hands, muses that, in honor, Logan did what she had to do: face her father in single combat to the death. Shingen disgraced her family and deserved his fate. If only his death had been an end to her nightmare, Mariko thinks, tears in her eyes. She drops the letter with the words “meeting tonight, midnight, come alone—Harada.”
Looking at the honor sword of Clan Yashida, Mariko decides to tell nobody - especially not her lover. She is lord of Clan Yashida and it falls to her to atone for her father’s crimes. Mariko summons her maid, Toni, instructing her that she will be out tonight and that Logan and their guests are not to know of this.
Toni tells Wolverine that Mariko has retired to bed early. Logan sends her to the kitchen to get more snacks for the X-Men. In the kitchen, Toni is assaulted and quickly, ruthlessly killed by Viper. Silently, Viper mocks Mariko for being a noble fool, thinking that, tonight, her champion, the Silver Samurai, will have either her abdication or her head. And, once Viper is through here, the X-Men will be in no condition to save or avenge Mariko.
Dressed in Tonis’ kimono, Viper serves the X-Men hot tea. Logan realizes that he doesn’t know the servant, but thinks nothing of it. He still has to meet most of the people who work for Mariko’s family. Logan notices lightning and thunder over Tokyo Bay and supposes that this is Ororo’s doing, as the weather echoes her emotional state. As a result, she usually holds herself on a tight rein. A lousy way to live, he thinks, but she never seemed to mind. Until now. Storm stands somewhat apart from the others. Logan approaches her with some tea for both of them.
Viper AKA “Yoshi” asks Logan needs anything else and retires after she sees Logan drinking from his cup. Logan hands Storm a cup and she politely compliments him on the apartments. He shrugs it off. They’ll do. He gets to the point: Ororo’s different. So is he, she replies. That’s for sure, he admits, smiling. He never figured his life would take him here. A roughneck Canadian mountain man about to marry the daughter of one of the oldest and most powerful families in Japan. He still can’t believe this is really happening. Part of him thinks it isn’t right. He confides that Shingen asked him if he was worthy to shame him. Deep down inside he still has doubts about the answer.
If Mariko accepts him, what else matters, Storm replies. But she senses deeper concern… Logan admits she’s right. The clan’s involvement in criminal affairs – thanks to Shingen – is far more extensive than Mariko suspects. Those ties won’t be easy to break. He wanted carte blanche to deal with the problem, but Mariko refused. He admires her courage and smarts but is afraid that she’ll be corrupted by the circumstances. This kind of fight is too subtle for him and he feels helpless. He takes a deep sip from the tea while Ororo tries to comfort him by stating that he’s underestimating Mariko. Wolverine looks at his cup in puzzlement. There’s a faint aftertaste. Storm continues opening up about her own problems as she raises her cup to her mouth. Logan shouts, “poison!” as he falls unconscious. Storm turns around to see that the rest of the X-Men have already succumbed to the poison in their drinks.
In the meantime, downstairs, Mariko enters the hired car and tells the chauffeur to take her to a certain address on the waterfront. The chauffeur feigns reverence, but is actually none other than Yukio, who seems to have plans of her own…
Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, at the headquarters of Northstar Airlines, the airline of Cyclops’ grandparents. Late at night, Scott Summers is rifling through a certain set of files in his grand-parents’ office. His younger brother, Alex, joins him asking him what he is doing, though a look at the open drawer containing personnel files starting with the letters H-P already tells him what he suspects. Scott is going through Madelyne Pryor’s file.
Alex tells Scott that Jean Grey is dead. Madelyne may bear an uncanny resemblance to Jean, but that’s all. Scott replies that he wants to believe that, but things keep happening. From the moment they met they acted like people who’d known each other intimately for years. On their first date, she offered to cook his favorite breakfast and, when he asked her how she had guessed it, she told him that she could read minds. It’s an expression, Alex shouts exasperated, and she could have gotten that detail from their grandmother. They are a beautiful couple. Why is Scott trying to sabotage that?
Scott insists that he has to know the truth, whatever the cost. He adds that Madelyne was the sole survivor of a plane crash, a crash that occurred not only on the same day, but at the exact moment Phoenix died…
Tokyo, the warehouse district:
A lone woman enters one of the warehouses, calling out that she is there as Harada-San requested. Inside, she faces the Silver Samurai, his partner, Viper, and an elderly Japanese man, who introduces himself as Nabatone Yokuse. He has been asked to arbitrate this conflict. Mariko states that even she has heard of the grand Oyabun of the Yakuza – the sole rival crimelord her father spared.
However, she turns to the Samurai, her presence here is solely out of the little respect to her half-brother. She rules Clan Yashida and will do so until the day she dies. That can be arranged, the Samurai threatens. Silence, Nabatone cuts him off and tells Mariko that her words aren’t helpful. They aren’t meant to be, she replies. She acknowledges no authority save the emperor’s. The Samurai blusters: he is Shingen’s son and was promised the clan by him. He is a criminal like their father, Mariko replies. He has dishonored their name and forfeited his heritage. His claim is denied.
Cursing her, the Samurai draws his sword, snarling that she has signed her death warrant. The woman turns to Nabatone reminding him that she was promised save conduct. He made that pledge to Lady Mariko, he replies, but she is not Mariko. Viper and the Samurai react: they’ve been duped? The woman drops her kimono and wig to be revealed as Yukio. With one swift gesture she tosses her small knives at the Samurai who deflects them with his blade. Viper draws her gun and reasons that she had followed the limousine all the way here and it never stopped. Mariko must still be inside or nearby. She will deal with her.
The Samurai lunges at Yukio with his energy sword. She evades and kicks at his head with a jump, noting that Viper has disappeared. She must have a similar teleportation device to the one the Samurai used earlier this evening. She finds herself surprised by the Samurai’s speed, as he strikes her with the hilt of his sword, catching her off-guard. She saltoes backwards, evading the next strike.
Viper rematerializes outside, next to the limousine, wondering about the quickly rising thick fog. She opens the door, ordering Mariko to step out and stating that this gambit will cost her her life. Quite the contrary, a voice announces from the car and an unexpected gust of wind hits Viper in the chest and bounces her against the wall.
Storm exits the limo stating that the “gambit” was Yukio’s and most successful so far. She notes that Viper is unconscious. Her gust of wind was only meant to disarm her, but it blew out of control. Storm helps Mariko out and orders her to leave and summon the police with the car phone, which Yukio used to alert Storm. She and Yukio will be fine. Storm takes off, thanking the goddess she can still fly and wondering what’s wrong with her lately. She’s wielding her powers like a novice and, the harder she pushes, the worse it gets.
Entering the building through a window, she sees Yukio and the Samurai fighting and Yukio loving every minute of it. Storm summons lightning to deal with the Samurai and shouts “no” the next moment. Nearby, Abatone, who has been strangely calm throughout the fight, grins, thinking that Storm has done precisely what he expected of her - springing his trap and thus sealing her fate. Storm thinks that she is using too much power. Unable to dampen it, she will electrocute the Samurai unless she draws the lightning back into herself. The backlash is horrible: stray lightning bolts fire all over the warehouse while Storm starts to burn and scream in agony – to make matters worse the warehouse is full of explosives some of which are triggered by the lightning.
Yukio grabs Mariko’s kimono and climbs onto the stack of crates, then jumps at the flying Storm, grabs her with the Kimono and hurls them both out the window and into the water that’s beneath them. Luckily, it breaks the circuit and Storm, mildly injured but with badly singed off hair, comes up again. Both women stare –Storm in horror, Yukio in interest - as first the warehouse explodes. A firebird briefly manifests in the flames. Storm prays that she is hallucinating and wonders if an entity like Phoenix can truly die. Has she restored herself somehow?
She addresses Yukio, asking her whether this was just another good time for her. The best, the young Ronin replies. Storm admits that she envies Yukio her madness. It is a luxury denied to her ever since her powers first manifested. Her own safety and that of those around her depend on her cultivating an inner serenity and harmony with the world, something she has lately lost. Is that why things went crazy in the warehouse, Yukio asks. She hopes so, Ororo reluctantly admits, for the death of her soul would be infinitely preferable to the alternative.
After the two women have left a silhouette emerges from the flames. The Silver Samurai has miraculously survived. He finds the semi-conscious Viper, though there is no trace of Nabatone. Holding Viper in his arms, he swears that his deathmark is upon the two women. When he has finished with his half-sister it will be their turn.
The two exhausted women wander through an alley, unaware that they are being watched by Nabatone, whose soft laughter Ororo hears, wondering if the very night air now mocks her. Storm insists they go warn the other X-Men, but Yukio replies that it will have to wait. Neither of them is in any shape to travel.
Meanwhile, the other X-Men are in intensive care. Thanks to Mariko, they have the entire intensive care ward to themselves plus a team of secret service agents for protection. Wolverine dons his costume, telling Mariko that the agents will watch her and the X-Men while he is gone. Mariko begs him not to do this. He is still too ill. Logan replies that if he doesn’t act, the Samurai will strike again and more innocents will die. Does she want that? Besides, how can she stop him he asks, while gently holding her face. Rogue interferes, announcing that she will accompany him.
The heck she will, he replies curtly. Xavier made her an X-Man, she insists. Then she can work with Xavier, he replies, but not with him. She argues passionately, how is she supposed to prove herself if nobody giver her a chance? What about he poison, he asks. She’s half-alien, she explains, so the poison turned out to be less effective on her. She repeats that considering their condition he’ll need back-up. Makes sense, he admits grudgingly, much as he wished it didn’t. But she’ll have to follow his lead and his orders every step of the way, he warns.