Inside the Danger Room, Wolverine is hacking and slashing through his robotic adversaries. As they watch the action, Forge informs Professor Xavier, Jubilee, Storm and Cyclops that they’ve set the Danger Room attack sequence at maximum threat for the full scale solo combat mode and they’re not even monitoring very much of a heartbeat and respiration increase in Wolverine. Forge adds that he’s maxing out the system while coasting in neutral and that they may as well be throwing daisies at him. Xavier replies that he will have to increase his personal threat program at the upper end of the spectrum. Forge asks what the parameters are, this isn’t night baseball. Xavier says to Forge that he doesn’t think they’ve been batting in the dark all this time?
Just then, Jubilee calls out to Cyclops and Storm that the last combat module is sneaking up behind Wolverine. Storm instructs her to have patience; Wolverine knows that it’s there. He is just playing with it. In the Danger Room, Wolverine yawns and asks Xavier if that is the best he can throw at him. He adds that he thought it was the Danger Room. He tells Xavier that he oughtta rename it, or he could be sued for fake advertising. Xavier asks him if he feels like “pushing the envelope” and if he would like them to provide him with a real challenge. Wolverine retorts that he’s not going anywhere.
Upon hearing that, Xavier thinks aloud. He mentions that there are too many variables to extrapolate the consequences accurately… He is cut off by Forge, who tells him that he doesn’t need to be a psi-talent to know what he’s thinking. Forge reminds him that Wolverine is different now, wilder. The removal of his memory blocks effected a profound change. Xavier answers that they don’t know how he’s going to react when pushed to the edge. He then asks isn’t it better to find out in the Danger Room than in the real world.
Xavier tells Wolverine to get ready. He’s punching up a new threat program for him. He then tells him to don the virtual reality visualizer and sensors and they will begin. As Wolverine places the helmet on his head, he mentions that it doesn’t like the feel of it. It reminds him o’ somethin’ else he can’t remember. There was a bear…
Xavier tells him that the virtual reality program is booted and running. He warns him that the program is interactive. He then tells him who his opponents are – Shingen and Ogun. As Wolverine gazes upon his pixilated opponents, he points out that they don’t look much like the real thing. When he looks down on himself, he adds that neither does he. Wolverine tells Xavier that he hopes this gets more convincin’ than this. He can get better action at the arcade for four bits. Xavier informs him that suspension of disbelief is cumulative in virtual reality. Wolverine asks him “Izzatso?” and adds that the refugees from a Dire Straits video have to go a long way to convince him.
Up in the control room, Jubilee asks what Wolverine is talking about, he’s by himself down there. Xavier tells her that he is seeing computer generated imagery through his helmet system. He then tells those in attendance that he will composite all the visuals into a cohesive scene and project it on the control booth window with a computer-generated Wolverine superimposed over the real one. Jubilee is impressed and asks if Xavier can change Wolverine into a car?
As Wolverine starts to engage his opponents in battle, he asks if this is as fast as they can move. He asks if he’s supposed to be scared of cartoons. Before he can say anything else, Ogun and Shingen slice him with their swords. Wolverine calls out that he felt that and that they hacked a mess o’ pixels off of him. Xavier reminds him that he told him that the program was interactive. Angered, Wolverine pops his claws and says these guys are nothin’. They’re just dancin’ lights on a phosphor screen and he’s gonna scatter their electrons.
At that moment, Xavier initiates high-speed attack sequence. Wolverine proceeds to pounce on his opponents and slices them to pieces. Once they are gone, he asks how they liked them apples. Mess with the ol’ adamantium-laced mutant and he’ll put ya in a world o’ hurt. Before he can say anything else, Shingen and Ogun appear again, this time in the “flesh.” Ogun tells him not to boast, that was wazare at the most – a half-point. Ogun adds that to win a match against them, he needs to score ippon – a full-point. Wolverine asks full-point, he’ll give them six full points, right at the tips o’ his adamantium steel claws.
In the control room, Jubilee asks who Wolverine is talking to, those guys don’t say anything. Cyclops tells her that Wolverine’s brain is augmenting the visual input, supplying dialogue. Storm asks aural hallucinations? She replies that this has gone too far. Forge informs them that “fleshing out” is a normal reaction to this type of imaging. They still haven’t seen what he’ll do in an over-the-top stress situation. Xavier mentions that Forge is right; they need to know the full extent of the change in Wolverine. To do so, he’s going to double the threat level. As he does, Jubilee whispers that he better know what he’s doing.
Xavier then informs Wolverine to stand by. They’re throwing Lady Deathstrike and Sabretooth into the mix. With that, pixilated versions of Ogun, Shingen, Lady Deathstrike and Sabretooth appear before Wolverine. To him, they all look like the real thing. He asks if they are going to have a rip and tear fest, huh? He mentions the more the merrier, as far as he’s concerned. He dares them to come on. “Let’s boogie, let’s rock and roll.”
As he starts to tear into his adversaries, Xavier points out to the others to look at the brain-wave patterns. They are extraordinary. He’s regressed to the emotional response pattern of a berserker killer ape, but he retains highly sophisticated combat skills and is capable of complex strategic decisions within a compressed time frame. It is the equivalent of an Olympic gymnast doing a gold medal routine while simultaneously beating four chess computers in his head. When Wolverine is finished with dispersing of his enemies, Xavier asks Forge how long it took. Forge informs him that from insertion of the Sabretooth and Deathstrike simulations – 4.839 seconds to effective neutralization.
At that moment, Wolverine lets out a primal howl. Cyclops asks why he is howling. Are the brain wave monitors showing any regressive patterns? Forge replies negative across the board; he’s just letting off steam. At that moment, Storm tells them that this is intolerable and that she won’t be part of it. Cyclops adds that neither will he. As they go to leave, Xavier tells them that Wolverine requested this himself. Strom points out that he didn’t ask to be pushed to the edge of the humanity. Jubilee asks Xavier why Wolverine is different, was it what happened up in Canada? Xavier tells her that the man they knew as Logan has had his memory tampered with extensively. For all they know, the personality they are seeing now could be his original, true self.
Later that day, Jubilee notices Wolverine leaving the mansion. When she asks him if he’s going out, Wolverine tells her that he is. Jubilee asks if he’s going on his scoot. Again, Wolverine replies in the affirmative. Jubilee tells him that he could catch a cold riding with his hair wet, but Wolverine curtly replies, “Not hardly.” Jubilee starts to ask if she can… Wolverine cuts her off and tells her no. When Jubilee asks why not, Wolverine tells her that he ain’t goin’ to no pettin’ zoo. Jubilee asks him if he’s going to that horrible Auger Inn again and asks what he likes about that sleazy place. Wolverine indicates that the pretzels ain’t soggy, the pool table is level and the jukebox is cranked to “ten.” As he starts his bike, he asks Jubilee what is it to her. As he drives away, Jubilee somberly answers nothing. It’s nothing to her.
At the Auger Inn, Wolverine is playing pool. He calls eight-ball in the side pocket and hits it with ease. He points out that’s game and asks who the next victim is. A tall blonde lady wearing a skin-tight dress tells him that he’s next. Wolverine tells her to stack her quarters next to… He is caught off guard by what she is wearing and the lady asks him where she should stack her quarters next to. Wolverine points out that she didn’t get dressed up like that to shoot eight-ball with no hoi-polloi. The lady tells him that he’s exactly right and mentions to him that the quarters might be better spent on music.
She then asks him if he’s going to buy her a drink. When Wolverine asks her to name her poison, the lady replies Kir. The bartender informs him that they ain’t got no “keer.” Wolverine tells him to jus’ shake some grenadine into a white wine for the lady. When they get over to the jukebox, the lady mentions that the music selection certainly is eclectic. She asks what Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding and Stevie Ray Vaughn have in common? Wolverine replies that, if all o’ them had waited for the bus, they would’ve got to where they were goin’.
As the lady sips her drink, she asks if that is Zen. Wolverine replies yes. That was “then,” and this is now. The lady adds that it won’t be for much longer and invites Wolverine to dance with her. As they dance, the lady tells Wolverine that the song playing makes her lonely. As she lays her head down on Wolverine’s shoulder, she asks him how he would like to go see some really awful black velvet paintings of bull fighters. Wolverine asks her what, no etchings? The lady replies just bullfighters, that’s all they have on her motel room wall.
At the X-Mansion, Jubilee has a tough time sleeping. As she wakes, up she thinks to herself that this is no good. She can’t turn her brain off and it’s stuck on a lousy channel. She decides that she needs some air to blow out the cobwebs and some wind on her face. Donning her rollerblades, she takes off down the street. She notices that there is no traffic around in the wee hours and that she can really get some velocity going. She wonders if the Auger Inn is still jumpin’. When she gets to the inn, she notices that Wolvie’s bike isn’t there. She never heard him come back to the X-Mansion.
She wonders where he could be and notices his bike parked over at the Cloud 9 motel. She is disgusted. In fact it’s triple ‘ude. Rude, crude, and lewd. She thinks to herself that maybe he just wanted to be alone somewhere, right. She decides that it may be time to skate on home, because she’s no snoop and, like he said, “what’s it to you.” She then stops herself and wonders what if he’s in trouble. As she rolls up to the motel, she thinks that it wouldn’t hurt to roll by quietly and make sure there’s nobody screaming in there.
As the motel room door opens, Wolverine informs his companion that she better change into something decent if she’s stepping out for a Coke. She asks him if this is decent enough for him. Wolverine replies that ain’t funny. The lady tells him that it wasn’t meant to be. After the lady has grabbed a Coke out of the machine, Jubilee takes a look at her and recognizes… Jean Grey!! As Jean goes back into the motel room, out of Jubilee’s sight, Wolverine reminds her that he told her it wasn’t funny and to change back. The lady morphs into the tall blonde lady from the Auger Inn. Wolverine tells her to be herself and that he’s had enough o’ illusion. His whole life’s been an illusion. The lady then reveals her true self – Mystique. She comments more’s the pity.
Before she gets her answer, she hears a noise outside the room. Wolverine takes a look out the window and notices that his scoot fell over. He knows that it was sittin’ solid on its kickstand and that somebody kicked it over. Mystique morphs her upper body to look like Silver Fox’s and moves closer to Wolverine. She tells him to forget about it. She adds that he wasn’t complaining about the illusion a little while ago. She then asks him if he remembers that look. Wolverine tells her to stop it and asks her what got into her. Mystique tells him that she just discovered herself. She wants to have fun, she wants to laugh. She adds that she fooled him back at the bar. Wolverine tells her that she didn’t. He knew she was Mystique as soon as she walked in. He adds that she can’t disguise her scent.
Mystique asks if that is so? She asks him if he was just playing along out of scientific curiosity, strictly business? Wolverine tells her that it was ‘cause he smelled somethin’ else on her – fear. He tells her that he always had her pegged as a cool cucumber and then asks her what has her sweating bullets and pulling a stunt like that. Mystique answers that she doesn’t even want to say her name out loud, she’ll know. She’s gone off the deep end. She was never really sane to begin with, but now… Wolverine asks if they have a “mystery guest” or what? Is she bigger than a bread box, who are they talking about here?
In New York, in the place called Morlock Alley, Albert tells Elsie-Dee that all of their *bzt* work is done and that it’s *bzt* time for them to leave. Masque tells them to not hurry back; they’re changing all the locks. Elsie asks Masque why couldn’t he twy to be nice. Masque scoffs at that notion and tells her that Albert certainly did a nice job on her. He can’t hardly tell she’s been rebuilt from the neck down. Elsie thanks him and tells Masque that Albert dupwicated the ewectwonics that Mr. Pierthe designed from a bwuepwint in her memowy. Masque asks if that is a fact and sarcastically asks isn’t that just precious? He tells them that he doesn’t want to hold them up and that they have to keep going on their merry android way. Elsie tells Masque that some of her sensor components even came fwom Spiwal’s body shop… She stops mid-sentence and mentions to Masque that he’s not weally intewested, is he?
Just then, a howl comes from the tunnels. Suddenly, one of the Morlocks calls out that it’s the lurker, the monster from the sewers. He’s tired of eating albino ‘gators and now he’s hungry for Morlock. As the Hunter in Darkness appears, Masque tells Elsie to tell Albert to tear its arms off. Elsie tells Masque to just shush. She walks up to the Hunter and pets him on the head. She adds that he’s weally nothing more than a big puppy. She then tells the Hunter that he don’t bewong there either and offers him to come with them.
As the travel together through a tunnel, Elsie tells the Hunter that Albert built the tunnel under the East Wiver so he could work on wepaiwing their stealth bomber. Albert tells Elsie that the Hunter can’t *bzt* understand him. Elsie replies that she knows that; she just didn’t want him to feel weft out. Just then, Elsie’s hand starts to smolder. Albert asks her what *bzt* was that? Elsie informs him that some of her sensors just wecabiwated themselves as if there was a fwux in the continuum. Albert asks if that is *bzt* bad. Elsie answers that it’s not; it’s just strange.
When they reach the stealth bomber, Elsie mentions to Albert that he made it look wike him. Albert replies that he’s glad *bzt* she like it. He tells her that the bomber is *bzt* twice as stealthy as she was before and now it has a strange matter reactor just like *bzt* the one he installed in her, only bigger. As Albert climbs aboard the bomber, he asks Elsie if she is all *bzt* strapped in. Elsie replies that she is all secure as well as puppy. A few moments later, the bomber flies out of the East River. As it does, Albert tells Elsie that they’re free, free to *bzt* soar like eagles. Free!
At Xavier’s school in Westchester, Jubilee returns and wonders who is out jogging at such an obnoxious hour. She recognizes the jogger as Jean Grey and realizes that she has been there all this time. Also that she couldn’t have been back at the motel. She wonders who it was back at the motel. It was some shape-shifting floozy, someone she could punch in the nose. With that, she gives Jean a big hug.
At the motel, Mystique tells Wolverine that, since the disbanding of Freedom Force and Destiny’s death, she felt he was the only one she could go to. She wasn’t even sure he would help her. They say he’s changed. Wolverine tells her not to change the subject. She was about to give him another clue as to who it is that’s got her all in a tizzy. He then tells her not to bother, he got it figured…
Mystique cuts him off and tells him not to say it. She has sensor probes that are grown in metallic crystal baths within a zero-gravity field. Quasi-sentient sensors that can edit their own data-flow. Wolverine mentions to her that “paranoia strikes deep.” Her name’s a common word. He asks how a machine can weed it out o’ the thousands o’ times it’s said every day? Does she think ol’ Spiral can… He is cut off mid-sentence by the appearance of Spiral herself. Spiral tells him that Spiral can. It’s all in the context, context and nuance.