While Wolverine screams in pain, as his arm is being held in water. Smiling broadly, the green skinned man in a suit smiles broadly and tells him to not fight it, for he’s only making it harder on himself.
Wolverine thinks to himself that the voice like a rattler’s coil belongs to Terror, a gun for hire with a mindset for murder, and a current game plan that includes tryin’ his best to sink him in waters well below freezin’. Thing is, he asked him to do it. The metal spike sunk half in his side is courtesy Monkeywrench, an ecological saboteur holdin’ hostage the daughter a’ one of Professor X’s cocktail party pals. His mutant healin’ factor keeps the damage to a minimum, but the ecoteur’s calling card comes with a twist. Screwin’ with it sets off an explosion that’d mean pullin’ parts a’ him back from the next county to do any healin’. That’s where the walking collection of body parts comes in. He’s a hardcase with the bad attitude needed to keep him under long enough for the cold to slow the explosive’s reaction time. Pullin’ the spike then is the only safe, sane choice. ‘Course gettin’ there’s a little slice o’ the insane.
Terror continues to dunk Wolverine into a hole cut into the ice of a frozen lake, this time feet first. Just a little deeper, he says, a little colder… Standing behind, Jubilee looks on in disbelief. Eventually, Jubilee has seen enough and grabs Terror by the back of the coat. When she does she tells him that is enough of the macho stuff and that it’s too risky. She tells him to pull him out. Terror turns and informs her that he appreciates her concern but this really isn’t the time. A degree of concentration is required to…
As he talks to Jubilee, Wolverine’s survival instinct don’t want to admit to the fact his recuperatin’ powers’ll pull him through hypothermia. It acts on its own guttural, primal rage strugglin’ to break free while the current Terror’s been fightin’ against is just waitin’ to grab hold. With that, Terror loses his grip and Wolverine sinks into the icy water below.
Running along the ice, Terror tells Jubilee to light the way so they can find Wolverine. Even as she unleashes her fireworks power, she indicates to him that it’s no good. Her fireworks aren’t enough to see through the ice. Underneath the ice, Wolverine notices that the kid’s lightshow can’t be doing much topside, but from his point of view, it’s something to focus on. He focuses through the animal side and lets the man do the thinking. With that, he jams his claws through the ice. They cut the hard ice like butter and would do the same to the bogey-man if he slips when he should slide. Terror notices the claws and rushes towards them. Jubilee tells him that she’ll cut around and try and melt a hole with…
Terror cuts her off and tells her that her initiative is admirable but the time for complex strategy is past. He jams his fist through the ice and pulls the spike out of Wolverine’s chest. While he does, Wolverine screams into the water as muscles tear and re-knit one more time, the roaring sound echoing hollow beneath the ice. With the spike out, Wolverine pulls himself out of the ice by way of Terror’s arm. Terror cautions him to take care of the arm, it’s detachable. Wolverine tells him that if he weren’t so ugly, he could kiss him. Terror replies that for once he is grateful of his appearance.
When Wolverine finally gets out of the water, Jubilee and Terror help him up. Jubilee tells him to take his time, after what he just went through… Wolverine cuts her off and informs her that time ain’t somethin’ they can afford. Cold didn’t cancel Monkeywrench’s number, it only delayed it. No sooner does he say that, the spike explodes underneath the ice. Before it does, Wolverine gets them all to the shore. There, Jubilee says that was fun – not. Terror agrees, especially since they do not share Wolverine’ convalescent abilities. Wolverine asks him what he is complainin’ about, mercenary? If anything gets busted up, he can always dig up a spare, right? Terror answers that it is an essentially correct, if somewhat cavalier, assessment of his investment capital.
As they make their way, Jubilee tells them that they can match testosterone levels later. There’s still that Alice Hoff sister without any mutant edge or gross-out body parts exchange. They’re all she’s got against Monkeywrench. Wolverine tells her that she ain’t forgot the lady or Mr. Johnny Bloodcede. They have a score to settle and he’s gettin’ a special somethin’ to remember him by.
Deep in the woods, Johnny Bloodcede, with his face painted, speaks to his followers around a campfire. He tells his fellow nature lovers to hear him, that they might hear the voice of Gaea, of their dear and suffering mother Earth. He tells them that man has caused her pain, again and again, and it will only end when the human population is brought back to where it belongs – nowhere. Preservation begins at zero!
He asks Paul if he feels nature’s agony, for him to put himself in touch and tell them what he feels. Paul says, “Yes Johnny,” he means Monkeywrench, he’s a blade of grass, under the mower blades. Spitting clouds of oily smoke, choking him, the edge closer and closer ready to cut. Bloodcede asks Bunyan if he shares his brother’s empathy with their beloved planet. Bunyan says that he does. He knows what it’s like – what the animal feels, its legs broken by the heavy metal trap, skin torn and flapping as it waits for the trapper to return and finish the job.
Bloodcede then asks his three Pick Axis if they can match this commitment. Do they match their own pathetic existences against what the egology has had to endure? One by one, they tell him that they are in the soil, down in the dirt while the strip-mining machines overhead lay waste, tearing into them, deeper, and leaving them exposed and raw and ripe for erosion, one more thing sending the ecosystem straight to…
Bloodcede cuts her off and asks the chained Alice what about her. He asks if there is any room in her heart for the Earth’s plight or is it as cold and empty as her father’s – that “champion” of logging and deforestation. Alice defiantly tells him to leave her father out of this. Bloodcede asks her why, she wouldn’t. He points out that she was proud to be Barton Hoff’s daughter, heir to the Hoff Amalgamated industry and proud to be rebelling against it all by joining the Nature Defense League. He reveals a picture of him, Jake Greenfire, and Alice at a rally together. Alice tells him that was different. The NDL and Jake, that kind of ecological activism may’ve been against her father, even against the law, but it wasn’t what he’s turned it into, an excuse to act out his own sick, sociopathic tendencies.
Bloodcede angrily tells her that Jake Greenfire is weak. A weak man choosing demonstration over destruction, advocating “non-violent” solutions when humanity is so clearly the final enemy. He adds that Greenfire denied the land’s pain when he showed him it needed their full embrace – he denied the way of the true eco-warrior, he denied him. He can’t let someone else live with that kind of ignorance. He tells her that she will know nature’s anguish – feel the saw cut into the tree, the wood splinter as a living creature hundreds of years her senior comes crashing down just as her father’s company does daily by the hundreds. She will know it firsthand, she’ll know it intimately… With horror in her eyes, Alice mutters no…
At a local shop ‘n stop, a drunk man tells Jubilee for the last time he has to use the can and he has to use it now. Jubilee asks him if he has wax and hair in his ears “sasquatch.” The bathroom’s occupied, it’s off limits. The man tells her that she has sass girl; he’ll give her that not that it counts for squat. He pushes her out of the way and heads towards the bathroom. Terror comes up behind him and twists his arm behind him. Terror informs him that an arm wrestling champion once owned what is now his hand, and it still knows how to bend back an arm past the breaking point. He then suggests to the man that he use the can he’s holding.
When the man leaves, Jubilee tells Terror that he may be good for something after all. Terror replies that he likes to think so. Just then, the bathroom door opens and Wolverine exits with his hair trimmed very short. Jubilee exclaims “radical,” while Terror comments that it is very butch. Wolverine informs them that Monkeywrench’s people have seen his with his ‘do and in his colors. They need a him they ain’t seen before. He then asks them what they were expecting for a disguise, a forelock and hornrims? When Wolverine starts to walk away, Jubilee points out to him that he missed a spot of hair in the back. Wolverine turns around and tells her that there’s still a lot she don’t know about goin’ deep cover, ‘bout why certain things are done certain… never mind. As he calls her a smart-mouth, he lops the remaining lock of the back of his head with his claw.
In the Oregon woods, Jake Greenfire informs his followers to get all the sand in the crankcases before they chain up. He adds for them to get the keys well out of the clearing; they don’t want to make it any easier on them. He tells them if they try to move them, go limp – passive dead weight resistance. He reminds them that they are not looking for a confrontation, they’re looking to make this such a pain in the economic backside, Hoff and his buddies can’t afford to keep raping the environment.
Just then Paul emerges from the woods and mentions that it’s not the only rape goin’ on there and asks about what he’s doin’ to these people’s good will. Greenfire tells Paul that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about but he does know his kind’s not welcome there. Paul tells him that he’s talkin’ these people came there for some action, to down and dirty fight for their planet. One of the Pick Axis continues that all he’s got to give them are weak platitudes. They’ve got something more to offer – the life of the eco-warrior. She tells him to tell his campers the real deal, tooth and nails are the only chance mama Earth’s got. Greenfire angrily tells them to keep their jingoistic rantings to themselves, and far away from him and NDL and what they hope to accomplish.
Just then, Wolverine sneaks up behind Greenfire and wraps a chain around his neck. Wolverine tells him sorry “leader,” hope only goes so far, then it’s gotta be hands on. Pick Axis and Paul excitedly exclaim “yes!” They have a new recruit. Wolverine tells Greenfire that all he’s been hearin’ since he got there is his lips flappin’. He says that might slow the machines, it don’t stop ‘em. It might stay the extinction a’ some species, but in the end it don’t save ‘em. He then tells Pick Axis and Paul that if they’re buildin’ a better army, to show him where to sign up. When Greenfire passes out, Wolverine, Pick Axis and Paul take off into the woods.
Emerging from their hiding spot, Terror claps and says that is was “an audacious dramatic debut by Jacob Greenfire” – he can see the glowing reviews already. Greenfire replies that he in his high school’s thespian society. As Jubilee helps Greenfire up she asks him how his throat is. Greenfire answers better with this thing under his collar than it would’ve been without. He then tells her that her friend plays for keeps even when play-acting. Jubilee responds that’s her boy.
She then asks now that he’s in, how they keep tabs. Terror replies by keeping an ear out. Fortunately, he keeps one around for just such occasions. With that, he pulls an ear out of his jacket and attaches it to the side of his head. The ear represents an exemplary acoustic heritage – it belonged to a sonar operator on one of the nuclear submarines. It will keep them one step and sound behind the whole way. As Jubilee and Terror head off into the woods, Greenfire calls out to them good luck in finding the girl. He adds that he’s not a fan of her father’s but Bloodcede’s gone too far this time. Jubilee adds “too far” – right. Her feeling is Mr. “Outward Bound” is just getting himself started.
Deep in the forest, high in a tree, Bloodcede ties Alice to the top of it. Alice calls him a sorry gutless wonder and tells him that when she gets loose… Bloodcede cuts her off and tells her that she won’t. He sticks a rag into her mouth and tells her that she will stay there tied tight even as the mighty wood falls under the bite of one of her father’s own chainsaws. He finishes by asking her if she thinks that irony is a beautiful thing.
Later on the forest floor, Bloodcede stands in the middle of a circled pentagram etched on the ground with a kneeling Wolverine before him. Around the pentagram, his followers stand and watch. Bloodcede tells them that the circle of power binds them to the land, and to each other. Its cycle reminds them all of what they have been and all they ever will be – just one more link in the food chain. He grabs Wolverine by the face and asks him if he can accept that truth. He tells him to focus on nature’s ill, see his own problems, his own existence are of no great import.
Wolverine sniffs Bloodcede’s hand and tells him that he’s focusing all right, on the air and something stinks around there. Now to himself, he thinks that rubbin’ elbows with Monkeywrench gave him a fresh scent of little Alice lost on the hands of her kidnapper. He wants more out of Bloodcede, but his hide will keep. With that, he head butts Bloodcede and takes off into the woods. When he pops his claws, Bunyan notices that the claws belong to the one from the morgue. Wolverine tells him that he’s pretty smart, for a runt. He then sarcastically asks how often he gets to call someone that. Getting up, Bloodcede gives the order to bring down Wolverine and send him back to nature. His followers comply and as they run off the call out worm food.
Running through the forest Wolverine notices that the lady’s scent is strong, but mixed in heavy with Monkeywrench’s own stench. He adds that with all the time he’s spent there making trouble in the woods, it’s hard to track past him to make clear sense a’ where he’s been and where he’s at. Old and new odors tangling up to the point, he could be right on top of him. Just then, Monkeywrench leaps out of the bushes and yells at Wolverine that no one, no one does to him what he’s done. Wolverine slashes the wrenches he uses as weapons and tells him to get used to it.
In another area of the forest, the Pick Axis remind the rest of the group that “Claws” has friends – the corpse in the Armani suit and the rocker chick. Bunyan replies that it’s nice to have friends. Paul includes that they should give him twice as many. Bunyan tells him that he’s with him, they should double ‘em up by cuttin’ right down the middle. Before they can react, they are all caught up in traps set by Jubilee and Terror, which whisk them into the air, suspended from the tree’s branches. Jubilee tells Terror that it’s got style, she’ll give him that. She then guesses where he got that idea – trapper’s hand to do the dirty work. Terror answers safari guide. Jubilee replies close enough and high-fives him.
Deep in the forest, Wolverine reaches a tree. He notices that the trail ends there, or about 150 feet up, if he’s got the wind judged right. He adds that Monkeywrench’s twisted idea of sarcasm, making daddy Hoff responsible for Alice’s state. Sniffing the air, he realizes that on the off chance the saws don’t cut quick enough for the ecoteur’s blood-lust, more explosive spikings to bring things crashing down that much sooner are imbedded in the tree itself. Heading up the tree, he knows that all it’d take would be the slightest whack, one wrong move. He goes to work with what could be six of ‘em up the tree, three on each side.
Reaching the tree, Monkeywrench tells Wolverine that it’s a minefield up there freak and asks how long it will be before he slips up. Wolverine answers under his breath that it will be long enough to get back down to give him his. At the top, Wolverine tells Alice not to sweat it; he’s one of the good guys there to help. Alice looks at him with fear in her eyes. Wolverine tells her that she knows what she means, words of assurance from a guy with claws comin’ outta his hands. He tells her to just trust her.
At the bottom of the tree, Monkeywrench pulls another wrench out and starts to beat on the tree while raving like a lunatic. At the top of the tree, Wolverine cuts Alice free and tells her that his name is Logan. Noticing what Monkeywrench is doing down below, he mentions so much for environmental concerns. For him, he’s more concerned with the human factor. Another blow from Monkeywrench and a loud explosion occurs, blowing him back and causing the tree to fall.
Wolverine leaps from the trunk at the last possible moment with Alice even though it don’t make it any more pleasant as he takes the impact for both of them when they land on the forest floor below. Adamantium laced bones can’t break and broken and bruised tissue starts to mending even as he brings them into a roll. It ain’t the best of all possible worlds, but it’s one they can walk away from. When he gets up, Terror and Jubilee arrive on the scene. Terror tells him that it was an exemplary job performance by him. Wolverine tells them to take care of Alice; he has one last thing to finish. Jubilee points out that his healing thing is working overtime, his hair is coming back in nice. Wolverine tells her that there is nothing nice about him.
Deeper in the forest, Wolverine thinks to himself that Monkeywrench makes it easy – all he has to do is follow the reek of charred cloth and skin. Blood on the snow, blood in the air, crashing through the underbrush, leaving a trail a mile wide. He notices that there is hate and the promise of revenge in the short, rasping inhale and exhale he’s got going with himself. When Wolverine appears before him, he makes him catch his breath. Monkeywrench is surprised and tells Wolverine that he doesn’t understand, there have to be sacrifices to save…
Wolverine cuts him off and tells him that he has no argument with sacrifices. He then asks him if he remembers that spike-in-the-side trick a’ his? He pops one claw on his left hand and tells him that he owes him one.
In the clearing, Barton Hoff tells Jake Greenfire that he’s beaten him. He’s called off the work crews, all of them. All he wants is Alice, his daughter back. Greenfire tells him that he’d be glad to oblige but the Nature Defense League didn’t snatch her in the first place. That’s not what they’re about. Barton replies that he can’t play his game if he doesn’t know the rules.
Just then, Wolverine emerges from the woods with Alice. He tells Barton that there is no game; Greenfire’s playing straight with him. As Barton and Alice embrace, Wolverine tells him to consider it courtesy a’ Charlie Xavier. Barton tells him that he’ll be sure to thank Charles, but he certainly owes him his appreciation as well. Wolverine tells him here’s how – don’t change his ways ‘cause his daughter’s in danger, or even ‘cause groups like NDL make things hard moneywise. There’s something to be said for just doing business with more’n profit in mind. Barton answers that is sound advice. Wolverine tells him that it’s a serious warning and he will be keeping an eye…