There are times when a plain-vanilla danger room workout just don’t cut the mustard. Sometimes you just gotta strap on the virtual reality gear and rock an’ roll with interactive 3-D. Sometimes you wanna’ reach out an’ do more’n just touch someone. Gotta throw down heavy. Gotta extrude adamantium and go to claw-city.
As Wolverine places the virtual reality helmet over his head, he tells Chuck to do it, crank it up to “10” and let the microchips fall where they may. From the control center, Professor Charles Xavier tells Wolverine that he still has grave reservations about this. The purpose of the Danger Room isn’t to act out childish revenge fantasies. This is analogous to taping a photo of an enemy on a dart board.
At that moment, Jubilee interrupts. When Xavier asks her what it is, she tells him that she sure is sorry that Wolvie isn’t a superior human being who can work out his problems internally like he can. Isn’t it a crying shame that he has to resort to kicking over garbage cans and punching brick walls like the rest of them cerebrally under-developed homo-inferiors? She adds that it must be really terrific to have that much control over his emotions, but she guesses that’s what comes with all that brain-power. Xavier gives her a dirty look and tells Cyclops and Jean Grey to start the simulation.
Inside the simulation, Logan enters the cabin he used to share with Silver Fox all those years ago. As he does, he notices that Charlie’s been working on the program, it looks a lot realer than last time. When he calls out for Silver Fox, he hears Sabretooth tell him that he’s too late. Logan notices that Silver Fox is lying prone on the floor, while Sabretooth tells him that she was an uppity squaw; she said no.
Inside the control room, Jean Grey angrily asks Cyclops if that was necessary. Cyclops replies that Wolverine provided that snippet of dialogue himself. Logan pops his claws and rushes at Sabretooth, telling him that he’s dead. He continues his assault on Sabretooth, giving as good as he gets. Noticing the brutality, Xavier asks why Wolverine would want to do it this way. Why did he want to feel it? Jubilee answers that it’s like punching that brick wall. Cyclops says right. You know it’s going to hurt… Jean finishes his thought and says you do it anyway.
During the struggle, Sabretooth tells Logan some hero he is, he couldn’t even save the woman he loves. He calls him worthless! Jean points out that wasn’t programmed in and asks what’s happening. Xavier informs her that the virtual reality program feeds on active input and extrapolates, it makes for realistic confrontations – perhaps too realistic. As Sabretooth continues to punch and kick Logan, he mentions to him that he says he has big holes in his memory and asks how about that. Maybe he don’t want to remember some o’ that stuff ‘cause it wasn’t so pretty. Maybe he wasn’t as good an’ noble as he wants to believe. Maybe there’s a mission or two that he wished never happened like the Terry Adams kill.
Logan yells out no, he didn’t! Sabretooth punches him and tells him that he was gonna do it. It was his shot. They sent him out with a suitcase full o’ hardware to do a job o’ wet-work on Terry Adams and he went. Logan tells him that they scrubbed the mission, they called him back. Having seen enough, Xavier says that this has gone too far and to terminate the simulation. Standing alone in the Danger Room, Wolverine says that he didn’t do it… he was recalled… it wasn’t his shot…
Later, in a less-than-savory bar in Salem Center, Logan is brought back to reality when a rough-looking gentleman tells him that it’s his shot. The man asks him if he’s gonna take his shot, or is he gonna keep starin’ off into dreamland? He then tells Logan that it’s his last shot; he has to call the pocket. Logan tells the bartender Sean to send a bracer down the plank. Sean answers one boiler-maker comin’ up and sends it down the bar. Taking a swig of the drink, Logan calls out eight ball in the right corner. When he hits the shot, he tells the man to pay up. He believes he put a yard on the game when it was lookin’ his way.
The man is joined by four of his friends and answers that he believes he’s been hustled. Logan replies that he musta took his smart-pills today. He then tells the man howsabout a game o’ punch for punch, double or nothin’. He tells the man that he can go first but that he gets to pick where the punches go. Whoever’s left standin’ picks up the pot. The man asks that he gets firsties? Logan tells him yeah and he can even wear brass knucks if he has ‘em. The man replies that he does and tosses another c-note on the plank. He then asks Logan where he wants it. Logan points to his forehead and tells him that he wants it dead center in the ol’ canucklehead. He then reminds the man to remember, he gets to punch him in the middle o’ his mug next.
The man laughs and puts his brass-knuckles on. He then punches Logan with all of his force. Logan stumbles backwards but does not fall. Proceeding to fix his face he tells the man th’cuse him. He godda wewocade his jaw an’ puth his eyeball bag in plathe. As the man looks at him in fear, Logan asks him if he’s ready. A voice then says to him that he doesn’t really want to do that, does he? Logan turns to see Jean Grey standing there. She asks him wouldn’t he rather talk? The man that punched Logan starts to back out of the exit and tells him that why don’t he talk to the nice lady and call the bet off they had. Better still, let’s just say he, Logan, won.
Sitting at a table, Jean points out to Logan that he has a healing factor, not a pain-damping factor. That must have been excruciating. Logan tells her not really, not like the hurt inside. Jean dampens a cloth and begins to wipe Logan’s brow. She asks if this is how he masks his pain, by getting some street hood to make him hurt? Is this how he deals with his anger, by taking it out on a stranger? Logan tells her that’s the problem. He just don’t know about his pain any longer. Stuff that he thought he had worked out comes right back and the wound gets opened up again. Now, he finds out that a lot o’ the hurt he thought he had lived through was lies implanted in his head just to mess with his memory. What’s worse is findin’ out that most o’ the joy he was holdin’ on to like a life-raft wasn’t nothin’ but a fake, too.
Jean asks that she supposes life isn’t rough for anybody else but Logan. Logan tells her nah, he ain’t feelin’ sorry for himself but excuse him if he is a little bummed-out right that second. Jean asks him what can she say. She tells him that he’s a hero in every sense of the word and a lot of grief always comes with that accolade. Logan asks grief, she has to be kiddin’. He’s seen the death o’ every person he ever loved, includin’ her. He was holdin’ Mariko as she was dyin’ an’ she asked him… she pleaded with him to… she was in so much pain.
Pushing his eye back in, he tells Jean to find Silver Fox alive after all this time, and see her die again… He’s not sayin’ his grief is any worse than anybody else’s or his pain is felt any deeper, he’s just sayin’ that most other folks can look back in their memories and know that most of it really happened – all the good times. You look back on that stuff and it makes you smile. It might not make you forget the bad times and the hurt, but it sure takes the edge off some.
Continuing, Logan looks at Jean with his fixed eye and tells her that when other folks get physically torn up, they got a scar or a limp or somethin’ that don’t quite work anymore. They can show ya somethin’ an’ say, “I got that at Anzio or Berkeley or on Highway 9.” He just goes off in a corner an’ nurses a beer. That’s all it takes. The time it takes to down a single brew an’ he’s all knitted back together again. He asks what the sense o’ his body healin’ itself over and over again if the hurt he got inside just festers? Jean asks him if he wants her to go with him tomorrow. As Logan walks away, he tells her no, that’s somethin’ just between him an’ Silver Fox.
The next morning, Logan arrives at a church. He asks the father what does he mean that the burial’s been cancelled and what is this about the remains bein’ prepared for air freight? The father tells him that all he knows it that a one-eyed brick wall with S.H.I.E.L.D. I.D. came by that morning with all this federal paperwork. Logan snatches the papers out of his hand and asks what business is it o’ Nick Fury’s.
At that moment, a helicopter lands behind them. Logan turns and tells Fury that he had better have a good explanation for this. Fury tells him that he’s just following orders. He adds that he never thought he’d see the day when he oversaw a full dress S.H.I.E.L.D. funeral cortege for a Hydra big shot. His pal must have a lot o’ push at the main office. Logan asks his pal?
Just then, John Wraith exits the helicopter and tells Logan that let’s just say he called in a few big markers. Logan tells him to butt out and take the good Colonel with him, this here’s private. Wraith tells him that Salem Center didn’t mean a thing to her, that she would have wanted to be laid to rest in a place where she was happy. Logan looks at him puzzled when Wraith tells him that he found it. He found the cabin.
Later, Logan is blindfolded wearing his yellow and blue costume on the helicopter. Wraith tells Logan that he knew the information was somewhere in the records, it was just a question of finding it and shaking it loose. The info comes with a few strings attached. The site is classified so he can’t know where it is, that’s the deal. When Logan asks him why he is doing this, Wraith tells him that he owes him a large one for Terry Adams. Logan tells him that he can’t remember to which Wraith informs him that he can’t forget.
Much later, they arrive at the location according to Navsat. Logan points out that he doesn’t see anything. Wraith tells him that the navigation satellite’s accurate to within a few yards, it’s there all right. As Wraith digs around in the bushes he tells Logan that it’s just overgrown. Logan tells Wraith to stand aside and uses his claws to slice the bushes away. Standing in front of the cabin, Wraith tells Logan that he thinks that he wants to do this alone. Logan thanks him.
On the helicopter, Fury orders the honor guard and the burial detail to assemble. When Silver Fox’s casket is brought out of the helicopter, Logan tells Fury to leave her, to lay her down and clear out of there. He don’t want her put in the ground by strangers. Fury tells him that they can’t leave him out there in the middle o’ nowhere, how is he gonna get back? Logan asks him if he thinks he gets lost in the woods. He then yells at Fury and tells him to just leave him a shovel and get movin’.
Once Fury and the helicopter leaves, Logan goes up to the cabin. He realizes that it’s real. It actually happened. All the good stuff was real. As he starts to dig Silver Fox’s grave, he notices that the ground is just as flinty and rocky as it ever was. When he was diggin’ their well, he thought it was gonna take him a month o’ Sundays just to get down to the damp. Maybe it’s the scent of the mountain laurel or the sound o’ the spade dingin’ rocks, a piece o’ memory comes rollin’ over him like sunlight bustin’ through the clouds. He remembers when Silver Fox fetched him a bucket of water from the stream. He recalls that the water wasn’t just cold, it was sweet. Life was sweet. The sun was turnin’ her face to gold and when she smiled at him there were rainbows in her eyes. He remembers telling Silver Fox that he with this could be forever. Just her an’ him, an’ the sunset, the wildflowers, an’ the breeze carryin’ the tang o’ mountain laurel. Silver Fox told him not to be silly, nothing lasts forever. Everything has it’s time and their time is now.
In the present, Logan cuts off the door to the cabin into the size of a grave-marker. Before he leaves he tells Silver Fox goodbye. He’ll be back to visit ever spring - when the wild-flowers are bloomin’ and the wind’s in the laurel, he’ll be back.