1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, New York. Ostensibly, the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters – but in actuality, the headquarters of a secret band of mutants known as the X-Men, where three of that number have gathered to solve a decades-old mystery. As Wolverine, Professor Xavier and Jean Grey head down the hallway, Wolverine asks when the procedure is goin’ to begin. He don’t mind any of the dangers he warned him about, as long as this mind-probe can really unlock some o’ the secrets about his past.
Jean mentions to Xavier that he isn’t even aware… Xavier tells her of course not. In order for the procedure to work, the apparent continuity must be seamless. Wolverine tells Xavier that he’s losing him and asks Jean what he means. Jean replies that he’s already into the mind-probe. Wolverine says no way and admits that he never saw the door in front of them before. Xavier informs him that the transition from actual reality to the perpetual reality to the memory matrix is imperceptible. He is “walking” through a gallery of memory icons constructed in his own mind by himself and Jean. They mark the pathways that may lead him to the symbolic doors behind which lurk the repressed memories he seeks. He wishes him good luck and good hunting.
With that, Wolverine wonders what is going on. His brain feels like it’s been shot full o’ Novocain. His ears are ringin’ like Quasimodo’s hangout. The pain! Everything’s turnin’ red!! Wolverine is transported back to when he was in the Weapon X program, when he was covered in wires and devices. The troops facing him call out that he has endured a dozen body shots to no effect. This is a massacre. The order comes through over the radio – fall back, fall back. Then the request for security at zone three to provide a situation report. What is the containment feasibility for Weapon X? The response is that nothing sort of a tactical nuke is going to take out this wacko. The order comes over the radio that he must be stopped, they have their orders.
Just then, Wolverine says to himself no. This is not real. Not time displacement, just memory. He’s here to find something. With that he slashes the guards coming after him. He realizes that he’s not here to relive his past, if this really is his past – the days of pain and killing. He then slashes a structural support strut and traps the guards underneath the rubble. As he makes his way further down the corridor he knows that he can’t let himself slip back into mindless berserker state. He has to take control. There’s too much to find out. He remembers back to what Xavier said – symbolic doors. He then comes upon one as solid as a bank vault.
Wolverine taps his claws on the door that reads “Shiva – No Access Without Clearance.” He realizes that not even adamantium claws are gonna’ slice through this. Just then. he hears footsteps behind him. He turns around expecting a security goon but sees Sabretooth running down the corridor in a military outfit. He says to Wolverine there he is. He’s been scouring half o’ the Sierra Maestra lookin’ for him. Nobody tells them nothin’ out here in the boonies. He just got word from Havana. President Kennedy’s been shot. It happened two days ago and he just found out. As he continues to run down the hallway, he tells his partner, Wolverine, to follow him. He knows a cantina where they got a TV set. Probably the only TV in the whole town o’ Palma Soriano. Wolverine is shocked that it is Sabretooth. Sabretooth tells him that is the wrong code-name. On this operation, he’s El Tigre. Wolverine asks what his code-name is. Sabretooth tells him that it’s Emilio, Emilio Garra.
Going through the door, Wolverine, dressed in military garb, enters a cantina. From the TV, the Cuban people’s news service announces that the latest update on so-called assassination in Dallas of the criminal Kennedy. Wolverine mentions that this happened two days ago so this must be November 24, 1963. The announcement from the TV continues with the accused gunman Lee Harvey Oswald is now being transferred from the Dallas police headquarters to…
In the cantina, Sabretooth is upset and slams his fist down on the bar. He exclaims they did it! They went ahead and did it and they got a red herring to take the fall. Wolverine asks that Oswald didn’t pull the trigger? Sabretooth gets in his face and says that he’s joking right and asks him if he knows what this means. Now it’s their turn, they gotta’ do their job. They gotta… He is interrupted when, on the TV, Oswald is shot dead. Sabretooth is peeved and kicks a chair across the cantina. He says that really tears it and tells Wolverine that they have to go to work. Wolverine warns him to cool it, he’s mouthin’ off in ingles.
Just then, a number of troops come bursting through the door. Their leader points towards Sabretooth and Wolverine and announces there they are, the two yanqui spies that indio informer told them about – El Tigre and Garra. As they open up fire, Sabretooth and Wolverine leap behind the bar. Sabretooth informs Wolverine that they’ve been blown and that he knew that two-faced mestiza sold them out. Zora del Plata, the little fox of the Sierras.
Behind the bar, Wolverine mentions to Sabretooth that he called them yanks, doesn’t he know they’re Canadians? Sabretooth replies canucks? He then says that Wolverine is a real bundle of laughs today. He then orders him to take a strategic withdrawal through the back door when he pops up and hoses ‘em down with the Thompson gun. When Sabretooth pops up from behind the bar and opens fire he tells Wolverine to go for it and to try to make it to Gitmo – he knows the extraction point. Wolverine replies the back door and wonders where it really leads.
When he bursts through the door, he realizes that whatever it is, it sure ain’t a back-alley in the slums o’ Palma Soriano. It looks like the sort o’ place a fella could run into Rod Serling in. Him, or the Crypt-Keeper. Some o’ these doors look like they’re from mansions, and some look like they’re from log cabins. On one, he sees a heart carved into the door with the words Logan + Silver Fox. Upon seeing it, the memory comes flashin’ back like sunlight through the clouds. It was springtime when he carved that. Springtime for him and Silver Fox. Carved it with his father’s old knife. His fa…
He wonders why the rest of that memory won’t come through. He wonders what’s behind the door. When he opens it, there is nothing. He bangs on the emptiness with rage – it’s nothing. From behind him Xavier tells him to not give in mindless gestures. That blank door is a manifestation of blocks deliberately put into his memory. Certain data has been sealed off. Some of what he perceives to be real memories may very well be artificial implants with hidden triggers. He adds that this is getting too dangerous.
Wolverine slams the door and asks Xavier what he is getting at. Jean replies that he’s trying to tell him to back off. His memory has been tampered with by experts and they’ve set traps throughout his mind. Open a few too many wrong doors and the damage could be immense. She adds that he might find himself reverting to, to… As Wolverine storms off, he asks “what?” He could become an animal again? Isn’t that something that doesn’t know where it came from? Same difference. Jean indicates to him that this could really hurt him. Wolverine replies that pain and him are old buddies, he has to see this out.
As Wolverine continues down the corridor he ends up in an abandoned building. He hears up the steps someone asking no? Is that a no, I don’t know or no, I ain’t telling? Wolverine immediately recognizes the voice as Sabretooth’s. He also remembers where he is. It’s across the river in Windsor Ontario. Where he, Sabretooth and Mastodon were on an op… He is stopped in his thought process when he hears Sabretooth again. This time asking that’s no, I wouldn’t tell you where the faucet was if your face was on fire.
When Wolverine enters the room, his outfit is transformed into that of a suit. He sees Sabretooth across the room smacking Silver Fox around. She continues to be defiant and repeatedly tells him no. Sabretooth tells her don’t tell me no, ya nasty little squaw. Wolverine tells Sabretooth to back off and let her be. Sabretooth stops and asks Wolverine if wants some o’ this action. He then tells him to be his guest. He’s gotta go call the “cleaners.” They can’t be havin’ the local gendarmerie stumble over their handiwork, even if they have an under-the-table agreement with Ottawa. He tells Mastodon to come with him, the girl’s cuffed tight and her pal’s are deader’n Trotsky.
Before he can leave Wolverine stops him. He asks him didn’t they all get shot full o’ holes in this cluster-foul up? Sabretooth grunts and rips open his suit. As he does, he tells him that’s why they were bullet-proof vests. All ya gotta worry about is stoppin’ a slug with your face. Mastodon adds that could only help a mug like Logan, he mean Wolverine’s. Sabretooth tells Mastodon that they need to get scarce, they wanna give the little hairy fireplug plenty o’ time to “interrogate” the prisoner.
With Sabretooth and Mastodon gone, Wolverine asks Silver Fox if she remembers him. Silver Fox replies that she does know him. He’s Logan. Wolverine steps forward and asks her if she really remembers. Silver Fox replies that she does and implores him to come over there. Wolverine takes her in his arms and wonders if this memory is real. If it is, then that terrible thing that happened at the cabin was a lie. This must be the truth. The smell of her hair, the touch of her fingers. He then asks her if she remembers their cabin. Silver Fox admits that she does. He asks her if she remembers it in the winter, with the icicles hanging from the eaves. Silver Fox says that she does, it looked like a picture in a calendar. Wolverine continues. They had a dog, old Blue. One day he cam home, foamin’ at the mouth and he had to, she had to… He asks if she remembered what happened on his birthday with Sabretooth. That couldn’t have happened because this is years later and she’s still alive.
Just then, Silver Fox pulls the gun out of Wolverine’s jacket and holds it up under his chin. She tells him that’s right and now he’s dead! She pulls the trigger, but nothing happens. Wolverine informs her that he emptied both guns into the Professor over there, does she remember that? Silver Fox asks the Professor? That’s Andre. Who’s the Professor? Wolverine tells her that it’s the same guy lyin’ in that pool o’ blood next to that calendar. He holds up the calendar and tells her that’s it, that’s their cabin.
He asks her if this is some kind of cruel joke. Is he supposed to believe that the tiny shreds o’ happy memories he has are based on a cheap calendar painting? It don’t wash. He remembers! He remembers the way the late afternoon sun turned the inside bright orange and brought out red highlights in her hair. He asks her is she remembers any of this. Silver Fox replies that this isn’t funny anymore and asks him what is he, some kind of wacko? Wolverine tells her that she’s one of those implants, that she’s nothing but smoke. Silver Fox says that she’d rather take her chances with that Sabretooth creep, he’s just a loony-toon.
Angrily, Wolverine asks if this is all fake and wonders what he will find behind these walls. With that, he slices the wall with his claws. He is shocked to find nothing. This room, the tenement building – this is all just a stage set cobbled together out o’ magazine clippin’s and somebody else’s imagination. Some o’ what he remembers has got to be real. As real as this numbness spreadin’ through his brain. As real as this red haze in front o’ his eyes. The room transforms into thorns, growing out of the ground. The walls around them are stars. Wolverine’s teeth are so hot they burn his tongue. Now it’s his bones, they’re burnin’ up. The heat, the pain, the fire inside. Whit hot thorns pokin’ through a world o’ ice. Wolverine looks over to see Silver Fox being consumed by the thorns. He calls out no, don’t take her away. She has to show him the truth. He grabs his eyes and yells show me, show me!! Show me.
Just then, Wolverine is again transformed. This time he is in the woods, out in the snow. He is again transformed to when he first became bonded with the adamantium. As he stands in the snow, a radio transmission comes in – show me the latest read-out Hines. The reply – it looks positive, Professor. Solid imprint with negligible residual memory leakage. Fade in threat-scent overlay from track four. Readings? Heart rate steady. Respiration normal. Alpha is off the graph.
As Wolverine stands in front of a tree, next to the heater that Silver Fox was handcuffed to from the other room, he asks if she is in there. The transmission continues – direct input into all sensory centers at full level. He’s had the scent and the auditory, now he’s got the visual. The question comes in – what is he seeing? At that moment, Wolverine watches the tree being torn apart from the inside and a gigantic bear emerging. The transmission continues – he sees the bear. All the sensory input adds up to it. Adrenal rise with carpal flux. The question is asked – does he see the bear the way we want him to see it? The response – they feed him an infrared targeting scan. Keeps him off balance, jacks up the stress and enhances the illusion of outside control.
Just then, Wolverine strikes at the bear with his claws. The transmission transcribes what is occurring – they have full claw extrusion. He’s going for it – a good, solid strike. The question comes through – do they have a take on that? Can they juice up the killing stimulus and lock it? They have the TSI standing by? The answer – affirmative. This is it, this is their switch. Once they lock it in with the TSI, the can turn on Weapon X at will. The question is asked – how about turning him off? The answer – that is what Shiva is for.
Wolverine lifts up his infrared goggles and says show me, show me! He is shocked by what he is seeing. There’s no way he’s buying this. He looks on the ground and sees his own head. The radio transmission comes through again – stand by, they have traumatic shock imprint ready on the fader. The level’s too low; it’s not imprinting. Wolverine asks what happened the bear and turns around to see his body with no head pointing a gun at him. The transmission continues – feed in the back-ups. The question – plural, all of them? The response – pile on the trauma. Jack up the fear center, they need an imprint. Push the envelope. He has a high threshold. Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.
Just then, Wolverine is faced with a bevy of guards. He tells them all to come on. He doesn’t care if they’re implants or figments of yesterday’s pizza. They throw down on him, and he’ll put them in a world o’ hurt. With that, he starts to hack and slash his way through them. The transmission continues – wrong tack. Physical trauma won’t work. The response – right, what have they got on mental anguish? The girl again, or the father? Just then, another voice appears. Bring him back, she doesn’t care what he said, this is too much.
Suddenly, Wolverine opens his eyes to see Jean Grey comforting him. Xavier replies that it’ll take a few seconds to kick in and that he should be coming out of it right about now…
As Xavier administers a shot to Wolverine, he tells Jean to make a note, he required ten times the normal dosage. He then asks Wolverine to quickly tell him who he is. Wolverine replies that he is Logan, Wolverine. Xavier asks him who he is and where they are. Wolverine answers that he is Professor Xavier and they’re in X-mansion in the psi-lab. Xavier replies that they are in what used to be the psi-lab. Unfortunately, their restraints were not adamantium. All around them, the psi-lab is destroyed, claw marks everywhere.
Wolverine tells him that he brought him back too soon. He was just about to find out more about Silver Fox and about his father… Jean comforts him and tells him to not blame him, she made him stop it. She couldn’t stand to see him that way. Wolverine tells her that he needs to know. Xavier informs him that Jean’s judgment was entirely emotional but his was totally rational. He thinks if they had allowed him to continue, he would have gone over the edge into utter madness. As it is, there was probably considerable damage resulting in a possible reversion to a more anti-social state.
Wolverine tells him no way, he doesn’t feel any different. He then tells Jean to take her hands off of him. He asks Xavier if he’s saying that he could become an animal again. Xavier replies that there is the distinct… Wolverine angrily cuts him off and rips his uniform top. He tells Xavier that he will never be an animal again. He’s Logan, he’s human, not an animal! Not a wolverine! Jean tries to tell him that he can’t just stop being what he is… She is cut off by Wolverine who throws his uniform down and walks out. As he does he tells them that he’s an X-Man, not an animal. He then adds that he’s gotta get out of there and get some air. With that, Wolverine takes off down the road on his motorcycle.
From a payphone, the message plays – the number you have dialed is a limited access secure line. After the tone, please enter your personal identification number. Beeeeeeeep. A tone plays and then someone picks up – Department of Agriculture, pest control section, how may we help you? The person placing the call tells the person answering the phone that they would like to order twenty seven copies of the pamphlet “Know the seventeen year locust.” The response comes – set your scrambler to 349 and hold. Bzzzt. Your line is clear, you may proceed.
The person on the other end of the phone says hello? The person placing the call informs them that this is Hines and asks if it is him. The person on the other end tells her to just get on with it. Hines tells her that they’ve been tracking him ever since he set off the detectors up in Canada but he’s been in that place in Westchester so they can’t get too close. She adds that he’s very disturbed and she thinks he may have found a way to bypass the programming. He could stumble onto something that could endanger the entire project. The person on the other end of the line tells her that situation analysis is his job, hers is merely observation. Hines informs him, the Professor, that they are talking about him finding out the truth. The Professor assures her that is impossible. All the raveled strings of his memory lead only to a dead end called Shiva, and Shiva’s only purpose is to kill him.