Politics makes strange bedfellows - Charles Dudley Warner
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out - Sir Francis Bacon
(Big Sur, California, 8:22am PST)
Wolverine slashes at Nitro’s face with his claws extended. Nitro’s lip bursts open with a spray of blood and he falls backwards, with a helping kick from the Canadian. Nitro has killed over six hundred people in the town of Stamford, as well as the New Warriors and an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. unit. Wolverine would be dead too if not for his mutant healing factor. He doesn’t feel he has to pussyfoot around here. In fact, he’s enjoying himself.
Since beginning the fight, Logan has learned something important. At first, he figured he could get in quick and take Nitro down before he blew himself up. Then, he noticed that Nitro’s hair didn’t catch fire, and his shirt remained untouched by the heat and flame. The kicker was his cell phone. There’s no way that should survive a blast unless there’s some kind of safety zone around him that’s not affected by his power. Like the safest place is in the eye of the hurricane. This means that Logan can beat on Nitro all afternoon as long as he stays close. ‘It’s gonna be a lovely day.’
Watching Nitro’s downfall from a hiding place in the nearby forest is Paul, his wife and a powerful surfer named Janus. Paul’s wife contacts their employer and informs him that they’ve established visual contact with the target, only there’s a third party involved. Their employer asks if he’s an enemy or an ally. Enemy, most definitely, she replies. The man informs her that they should use that to their advantage. He is en route to their location, and he suggests that if this ‘third party’ threatens to interfere with their objective, they can kill him.
Meanwhile, Wolverine has Nitro by his shirt collar. The villain is badly beaten up, and he asks Logan if he’s gonna kill him. Logan replies that he should, for what he’s done. Nitro reminds him that he’s one of the good guys, but Logan replies by asking if he’s been reading the papers lately. All the good guys work for the government now. Everybody else is just breaking the law. But, to answer his question, Logan says that he’s not gonna kill him - he’s gonna beat on him for a few hours, then he might move on to the cutting. If he’s no longer breathing by sunset, well, that’s not really his problem. Nitro believes him.
“What if I gave you somebody else? Another name? The name of somebody else who killed over 600 people?” Logan pauses, and Nitro asks him if he ever stopped to wonder how he did that. It’s not like he ever had that kind of power before.
Logan drops him to the ground and gives him ten seconds to spill the beans. Nitro holds his hands out. In his palm are three small blue pills, which he explains are Mutant Growth Hormone pills. It makes a human more than human, and for guys like them, it’s like steroids for powers. Logan can smell the stink of fear on his opponent, but what he doesn’t smell is him lying. He offers Nitro the opportunity to continue but warns that, if he hears one word he doesn’t like, he’s gonna get a real good look at his small intestine.
Just as Nitro is about to name his mystery benefactor, Wolverine is surprised by a voice from behind him. Before he can respond, Janus grabs him around the waist and tries to take him down. Wolverine responds with a solid punch to the face, and he asks Janus to excuse him, but he was having a conversation. He has no idea who Janus is, but explanations can wait. A few hard shots are swapped between the two men before Wolverine snikts his claws. Janus grabs a multi-faced dagger from his belt and they go at each other again. Wolverine realizes that the guy knows how to use his blade, but he’s no slouch, either.
A female voice calls for them to stop, and he turns to see Paul and his wife, with Nitro lying underneath them. She informs Wolverine that they have no quarrel with him; it’s the longhaired one they want. Wolverine cannot allow that to happen, and Paul’s wife says that it’s a pity, as he doesn’t look like he’s got much fight left in him. Logan knows that she’s right, particularly since the black guy hits like a truck. He’s definitely dealing with powers here.
Janus runs in and grabs him around the waist once again, continuing the fight. Nitro, meanwhile, turns to Paul and tells him that he’s making a big mistake. He prepares to explode himself, but Paul hits him with some kind of taser, knocking the wind out of him. Still, Nitro manages to resist more, and the two separate battles rage on. Logan wonders what these people want with Nitro.
Nitro’s benefactor is at work and speaking with a colleague named Henry. He mentions that there’s been some fallout from Stamford, and asks Henry if there have been any problems from the dragon lady since he’s been gone. Henry replies that it’s nothing he couldn’t handle. He asks what the fallout was. The benefactor explains that one of their rainmakers went off the reservation - the idiot who blew himself up on national television. Henry asks what he did this time, and the man replies that it doesn’t matter. He cut him loose: Scorched Earth, but he might want to toss his cell phone. Henry seems worried, but the man asks him not to wimp out on him. He shouldn’t worry. This won’t get traced back to them.
Meanwhile, Wolverine has put Janus down, but Paul’s wife asks if Nitro is worth giving his life for. Wolverine thrusts three claws through Janus’ shoulder, and tells her he hasn’t given up anything yet. He and the mass-murderer made themselves a bargain. Nitro has recovered sufficiently to grab Janus’ dagger, and he locks his arm around Logan’s neck, holding the blade to his face. He tells Logan that it looks like everybody here wants a little payback. Why should he be any different?
“This is the man you’d protect?” Paul’s wife asks. Logan quips that it’s not like he’s not reconsidering. She informs Logan that they only want to see justice done. “Justice for Stamford?” queries Logan. Nitro reminds him that he’s there and, if it’s alright with him, he’s gonna move on to the cutting. Wolverine throws him nonchalantly over his shoulder before asking everyone to calm down a second, including ‘Janice.’
With everyone stationary, Logan asks Janus how he got his strength boost. MGH? Radiation? Super-soldier formula? Janus angrily replies that their strength is their birthright. It comes from their home, which is not Stamford. It’s not even his country. It’s not even his world. Janus reaches inside his pocket and brings out a small facemask, which he places over his mouth. He then slowly transforms, changing color from brown to blue. He explains that this ‘Nitro’ murdered a member of the royal family.
The penny drops, and Logan realizes that they’re from Atlantis, there to seek revenge for Namorita’s death. Paul’s wife explains that they’re members of the royal guard. Logan asks on whose orders. A familiar voice replies, “Really, Wolverine… do you even have to ask?” Standing nearby with his arms folded is Prince Namor - the Sub-Mariner.