(1921, the Sonoran Desert, Mexico)
A blood-splattered Logan lies on the floor of a hot jail cell in a tiny white-walled Mexican prison. A guard repeats his request for Logan to get up by smacking him in the face with his rifle butt. Logan rouses and wipes the fresh blood from his mouth. “No breakfast for me,” he quips. “Thanks fellas. Think I’d rather sleep in.” The guard orders him to get up and he is led out of the jail and into the sunshine.
He is led to a post where he is tied up and blindfolded. A female stranger asks if he was arrested just for stinking to high heaven, or does he have other crimes worse than that? Logan tells her that he’s afraid so. He’s what they call the lowest of the low. “You’re a murderer?” she asks. Logan replies that he’s worse. He’s a horse thief. He enquires as to why she is there. She informs him that her crime’s quite simple. She was born with the wrong color skin.
Logan asks if she’s black, but Mystique tells him that she’s a tad more exotic than that. Because she’s different and has abilities that they can’t understand, these ignorant peasants figure her for some kind of witch. But, she is merely what she is. She adds that whether it was God or the Devil that made her this way, she chooses not to give a damn. Logan laughs and she asks why he does so. “Oh, nothin’ darlin’. Just fancy meeting you here is all,” he replies.
The guards take aim. Mystique tells Logan that he doesn’t seem too worried for someone who’s about to die. She’s hoping this means he has an ace up his sleeve. With an order from their superior, several shots are fired by the guards.
(present, the Safed Koh Mountains, Afghanistan)
Mystique, disguised as Wolverine and sporting his yellow and blue outfit, stalks her way through the region and comes across a small village. Finding two young boys who are collecting firewood, she orders one of the boys to tell her where Mystique is. She asks him not to bother lying, because her rotten stench is all over the place. She snikts her claws to show she is serious, and the boy begins to sweat. Mystique then grabs him by his shirt and shouts at him. “Where the hell is Mystique!”
The boy probably doesn’t understand English, but he gets the picture. Mystique drops him and walks off. She reckons that whatever she’s paying them to hide her, it isn’t worth their lives. She can promise them that. She’s spent three days chasing Mystique across this godforsaken country, and this ends here one way or the other. At least, that’s what she’d like them to think.
Villagers scatter as she approaches. She orders them to tell her where Mystique is or she’ll tear the place apart. She pretends to sniff the air and fixes her gaze on a woman wearing a white garment. She walks right up to her. “Hello Raven,” she says. She asks if she really thought she could hide from her, or that she’d just give up after what she did. The woman’s fellow villagers protest at her rough handling, but she warns them to back off. The woman ain’t who she says she is. She pulls back her left arm with her claws drawn. “Here, Raven. Why don’t we just show ‘em…” A moment later and the woman is pouring with blood. Mystique tells her that she’s waited a long time to do that, and it was definitely worth the wait.
More protests come from the villagers as the woman falls backwards. Mystique, still disguised as Wolverine, insists that she isn’t who they think she is. She’s a flamin’ blue-skinned traitor. She asks them to watch and they’ll see her change. Moments go by and the woman passes away. Her body doesn’t change at all. Mystique takes a good look at her. She then looks up and says that Mystique is there somewhere. They have five minutes to turn her over, or they’ll be needing a lot more graves.
(three days earlier, Muir Island)
Cyclops looks out over the sea. Logan approaches him and says that he knows why he asked to see him. In all the excitement, Mystique slipped away. He’s gonna tell him to take X-Force and go after her. Scott turns and tells him that after she betrayed them, he can bet his ass he is. Logan assures him that he’ll go and get her, but he has to do it alone.
Scott asks him if that’s really wise. He and Mystique have a long history, though Scott admits he doesn’t know all the details. Logan doesn’t think this is the time to fill in the blanks. Scott leans forward a little and asks if he understands that he’s not asking him to bring her in… not breathing at least. Logan replies that they understand each other completely. Scott asks if he needs anything, but Logan replies that he’s good. Scott then asks how he’ll find her. She could be anywhere in the world impersonating God knows who. Logan asks if he’s joking. “Give me nine hours.”
(eight-and-a-half hours later, Tehran, Iran)
People are praying in a Mosque. Wolverine enters and walks up to an old man with a long white beard. “How about you and me step outside, Raven?” he asks, menacingly. The man protests but Wolverine grabs his beard and tells him that he speaks Farsi well. Good for her. He warns her that they both know how this is gonna end. There’s no need to involve the other worshippers. As he speaks, several of them approach and somehow manage to separate the pair of them. Wolverine warns Mystique that the harder she makes this, the worse it’s gonna be for her.
Mystique takes off into the daylight and transforms into her normal form as she runs. Once clear of the building she presses a remote control and the Mosque explodes in a fiery ball. “Gonna have to do better than that, old-timer,” she cries as she sprints away. Inside, Wolverine manages to stand up and get himself clear of the fallen masonry. He grabs one man who is still burning and carries him to safety. The explosion has taken it out of him. Bystanders flee the scene which allows Mystique to make her escape. Wolverine is now more determined than ever that he and Mystique are going to have themselves a little talk.
Logan stands over several guards, all of whom are either dead or unconscious. Mystique removes her blindfold. “Oh, goodness gracious… an ace up your sleeve, indeed,” she gasps. She notices the healing bullet wounds and the knife buried deep into his thigh. She asks if it hurts. “Yeah,” comes the reply. Mystique tells him that she appreciates his timely intervention, but how’d he know that she’d be able to untie herself before they started shooting? Logan replies that he didn’t. He begins to walk away, and Mystique asks where he’s going. “The nearest bar,” he replies.
Mystique follows him into the desert and informs him that she knows a place he’ll like in Nogale that has Mescal. She introduces herself as Raven and asks if he has a name. He replies that his name is Logan. She asks if they could walk together for a while. When Logan asks her what they have to talk about, Mystique says that maybe they could talk about the fact that they met in the middle of nowhere: her with her blue skin and he with his… whatever. She asks if he’s ever been to Kansas City. She’s got a group of friends there she’d like him to meet. “You never know,” she adds, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Logan replies that she’s buying the Mescal.
(present, the Safed Koh Mountains, Afghanistan)
Wolverine storms through the desert, and thinks back to those times. Maybe he should have known way back then, when they first met, that this is how things were bound to play out between them. He’s been chasing her for three days now, from Tehran into Afghanistan; across the desert and into the mountains. By day, through dust storms and 120-degree heat, by night through winds that blow down from the Hindu Kush which are so cold they make his bones ache. No food, no sleep, no mercy. He knows that the old girl is crafty. He’ll give her that. She’s managed to stay one step ahead of him this whole time, but now it looks like he’s finally going to catch up. That means her time is about to run out.
Walking around a bend in the path, he comes across the woman in white lying dead on the ground, with three puncture wounds adorning her blood-soaked garment. Damn it to hell, he thinks. He snikts his claws and tells her to come out. “Raven, you hear me? Come and get me, you hypocrite bastard.”
Nearby, villagers are grabbing rifles from the wall. They believe he has killed her. Wolverine makes his way to an alley for a quick breather. His popped claws clean as a whistle. At the opposite end of the alley, Mystique stands there with blood dripping from her fake claws. The villagers cock their weapons. Wolverine promises to make it quick, but she tells him he’ll have to make it some other time. “Bebakhshid! Hey, infidel,” comes a voice from behind him. “You said we’d be needing a lot more graves, but I don’t know…” Wolverine turns to see several guns pointed at him. “I think we’ll be needing just one.” Wolverine damns Mystique once again.