(Ypres, Belgium, April 22, 1915)
Logan is with his battalion, fighting the German troops in a Belgian field. As he charges out of his trench, he runs out of ammo. This doesn’t bother him too much. He prefers hand-to-hand combat anyway. He notices a soldier coming up behind him and turns, landing a solid punch into the man’s ribs. Logan’s bones break the skin as he’s hitting so hard. He twists the soldier’s head, breaking his neck. For the first time ever, he feels like he is where he belongs. But then, the strangest things happens…
The shooting ceases and the air goes quiet. Soldiers on his own side drop, and he hers screams in both English and French. Then the smell hits. It’s clean and sterile, like bleach. He had picked up the scent about thirty klicks back, and thought it was out of place on a battlefield. He figured it was just the adrenaline playing tricks with his brain, but he was wrong. He clutches his throat as the gas; chlorine probably, hits him hard. It’s like breathing fire. He drops to his knees, but his healing factor kicks in and he stands, defiant.
German soldiers wearing gas masks approach - like vultures looking to pick up any stragglers. So, he straggles. He grabs two guns and removes the bayonets. He then straps them to his wrists tightly and heads into action.
(ninety two years later, Fadhil, Iraq)
The air stinks here too. It’s thick with the sulphur-like smell of gunpowder and the rust-like scent of blood. Wearing a mesh top, he slashes with his claws at several armed assailants. They wear black outfits with red gloves and boots, and their faces are hidden behind cowls. Wolverine is enjoying himself, despite the toll that the dry desert heat takes on his throat.
Wolverine has been in Iraq for two weeks now, helping out some new friends of his with a little pest control problem. Organizations like Hydra, A.I.M. and the Hand have been in their death throes for years. This is a new century and it has brought a new threat. Communication intercepts has his opponents listed as ‘Scimitar.’ It turns out they are popping up all over: Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur… They’re causing trouble and profiting off it.
A.I.M. guys they aren’t. These guys are focused, committed and dangerous. It’s okay, though. So is he, and he has the Atlantean Amir along to help. As a Scimitar soldier approaches with a bazooka, Amir grabs them from behind and slices their throat. With the threat out of the way, the pair embraces.
Amir finds human combat odd. It’s messy and faster than she is used to. Logan points out that they don’t have water to slow them down. He tells her she should have some of her fish buddies along to scrounge for usable intel, but quickly apologizes for the ‘fish’ crack. Amir taps away on a Scimitar computer and tells him he needs to look at something. His eyes do a quick scan of the screen and what he sees worries him.
On screen are some Scimitar operational instructions. It has a time, a date and the coordinates of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Tony Stark’s face appears next to it. It appears he is their next target. Amir asks if this is the same Tony Stark that Logan said was a spineless mother… Logan replies that it is, but if anybody’s gonna kill him, it’ll be him.
Wolverine and Amir take an X-Plane to the coordinates. According to Scimitar’s operational plan, the hit on Stark is set to go down in forty-five minutes. The X-Jet can get him there in forty-two! He and Stark may not agree on a whole lot of things, but he at least tries to do the right thing even when that’s not what he ends up doing. Amir asks if he’s tried contacting his friends, the X-Men or Avengers. Logan, who is clutching the outside of the plane, using a radio to speak with Amir, replies that they’re trying to get to Stark’s carrier, but they are as far away as them and fighting Ultron or some such.
Wolverine bleeds from specks of dust and hailstones that have collided with him at Mach-20. He wants to put himself on the hellicarrier’s deck as fast as possible, and the best way to do that is to jump. Now in full costume, he lands on the deck whilst Amir gives the plane a spin. He loves her style. He might just be in love again which could be a problem. The women in his life have a nasty habit of dying. He’s kept things casual since Mariko’s death. Still, the heart wants what it wants.
Wolverine makes it to the bridge in thirty-six seconds and finds Stark standing there in his S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform. He’s too late. A Scimitar soldier has his pistol aimed right at him. Wolverine charges at him, taking a shot to the shoulder, and collides with the enemy. It’s not until his claws hit the soldier’s chest that he realizes that his armor isn’t Kevlar as he thought. He feels his blades being pushed back into his arms, and he screams. It’s like his arms are being cut off at the elbows. He determines that his opponent’s armor is laced with adamantium.
He is then smashed away, coming to a stop against a roof support. Adamantium armor? It must be a trap. If there was any doubt, it is gone when the electric scent of an image inducer clicking off reveals Stark to be another Scimitar soldier. The whole helicarrier then changes into its true form: a large red ship with a gold scimitar sword on the side. Scimitar has gone to a lot of trouble to lure him there. He’ll ask ‘em why when he sees them in hell.
The new guy has a different uniform which Logan presumes to mean he is the leader. They probably reckon that the helicarrier limits his mobility and boxes him in. His skill confirms it. He’s fast and slippery; anticipating his moves so well that for a half second, Logan wonders if he’s dealing with a telepath. He reckons it’ll be interesting to see what the autopsy shows. He runs to a wall bearing several weapons and grabs one of them. He turns and fires quickly, but the guy is a blur. He’s got moves like the Hand and speed like the Gorgon. He also cheats like Sabretooth.
However, Logan also cheats. His backup arrives in the shape of Amir, who puts a hole in the guy’s chest. It rocks him, but he remains standing. Logan notes that he hasn’t said one word during the whole exchange. Even now he’s silent as smoke. He can’t see his face due to his cowl, but he knows that underneath it he’s smiling. His opponent quickly hurls a throwing star at Amir, and it hits her in the throat. Not again, thinks Logan. He rushes to catch her before she falls.
Wolverine becomes enraged. It makes him sloppy and stupid, and something inside tells him that this guy’s too good for his berserker thing. He doesn’t listen to the voice. He can’t hear it over his rage. He gets in close but, when he has his face close to his opponent’s, he realizes that it’s just what he wants. The guy thrusts a small device into Logan’s mouth, and it’s past his gullet before he even knows what he’s up to. He feels it sink into his stomach. The guy then presses the switch on a remote control and Wolverine blows up.
(three hours later)
S.H.I.E.L.D. recovers Wolverine’s body at the crash site. Tony Stark doesn’t think that this makes any sense. An agent replies that Scimitar is looking to establish itself as a major player. “By taking out Wolverine?” asks Stark. She asks why not. Logan’s healing factor’s kicking in pretty good. “Better than good,” adds a colleague. She’d say that from his injuries, it looks like he ingested a bomb. That was before the crash. All his injuries have healed and his vitals are strong. Unfortunately, this time is different. For some reason, Wolverine’s consciousness didn’t regenerate as it usually does. “Like I said,” replies Stark. “This doesn’t make any sense. Why is Logan for all intents and purposes, brain-dead?”