(1921, Kansas City, United States of America)
It’s evening, and Logan takes a stroll through the city with Mystique. They arrive at the Federal Reserve Bank and Mystique asks him what he thinks about it. Logan replies that it’s a Federal Reserve Bank, and she wants to rob it with a gang of two-bit grifters and circus freaks. She’s off her rocker. Mystique tells him that there’s an awful lot of money inside. Does he know what that would buy them? Freedom. Freedom from the daily grind. No more of these plebs and their petty hassles. They could get their own place upstate.
As she speaks, Logan notices a copper approaching. Mystique grabs him and asks him to pull her closer. She then puts her lips to his and kisses him; shifting his hand onto her butt. The copper walks past, and nonchalantly tells them to take it off the street. Mystique offers her apologies. “You have a good evening now,” she adds. Once he is out of earshot, Mystique asks Logan what it is that scares him. It’s not this job. She reckons that it’s the thought that they might actually pull it off. The idea of settling down - now that really scares him. Logan turns and wanders off. He tells Raven that if she wants to do it then they should just do it, but she can’t blame him when the whole thing blows up in their faces.
(present, the Iraqi Province of Al Anbar)
Logan is sat in an old beaten up red car in the desert. Watching from the rocks above is a group of Mordad’s men. They find this ridiculous. One asks why they are sitting there waiting for the infidel? If he wants to die, then he’ll just go and shoot him and have done with it. His boss asks him to sit down. He admits that he could sooner shoot down the moon than kill the man. He was there in ’85 when the Russians tried sending men into the mountains by the truckload. By the time the war was finished, all of Afghanistan was littered with their bones, and Logan yet lived. He informs them that Logan feels no pain and shows no mercy. Above all else, he cannot be stopped. So, they will sit there like he asked and hope that when he gets what the wants, he will leave them be. They might live to serve Allah another day.
Sitting in the car and wearing a blue bandana, Wolverine thinks about his healing factor. He thinks it’s funny that, just because you have a healing factor, you don’t feel pain. Unfortunately, that’s never been the case. He feels every gunshot, stabbing, beating and other bit of damage that’s been done to him over the years. He’s felt it all. Worse than that is when his body starts to knit itself back together. Growing new flesh and nerve endings… you can’t imagine the agony. Then, of course, there is the constant ache that comes from having a skeleton laced with adamantium. That ain’t no picnic, either. Over the years, he’s tried everything to deal with the pain: acupuncture, Hindu meditation, Atlantean water therapy, alien painkillers. Nothing helps. Eventually, he just had to accept the simple fact… it hurts like hell being him. He sits upright and presses the trigger linked to a massive bomb on the passenger seat. The explosion rips him apart, the car and everything around it.
(the day before)
Wolverine is in Mordad’s cave. Guards stand outside in the shadows, ensuring they get their privacy. They are enjoying a smoke together, when Mordad asks him if he really wants them to help him blow himself up. This seems a strange way to pay him back for saving his life all those years ago. Logan reminds him that it won’t kill him. He just needs to look dead, that’s all. “You are hunting someone, yes?” asks Mordad. A lot has changed over the years since they fought together, he adds, but some things never change. Logan is still a hunter of men. “And you?” enquires Logan.
Mordad replies that during the war against the Russians, the Americans called him a freedom fighter. Now, they call him an insurgent and a terrorist, but he is still fighting the same old fight. Wolverine asks his old friend to listen to him. He says that if anyone is harmed while he is helping him or if any American soldier gets even as much as a flesh wound, then he promises to return, and rectify the mistake he made by saving his life. Mordad laughs. He tells Logan its’ great to see him again. Would he like more tea before he blasts him to hell?
Mordad and three of his men wearing police uniforms carry Logan’s ‘corpse’ in a body bag to the gates of a military compound. American soldiers order them to halt and one asks them what they have. Logan was given enough C-4 to charbroil himself. Mordad’s men then used stolen police ID’s to get him to the security gate and hand him over to the military. “Suicide bomber, needs to be identified,” Mordad informs them. One of the soldiers takes a look and figures the body is fresh from the oven. They’ll take it from there. Mordad and his men depart, leaving Logan’s body to be carried inside the compound. Logan’s plan is going well. He is now inside the heart of Baghdad’s military and diplomatic headquarters, and one step closer to Mystique.
The body bag is in a morgue alongside other body bags. No one is around, so Logan snikts his claws and rips his way out. He then sits upright and growls. His body is only semi-healed and he must be in agony. Mystique, pretending to be Senator Brickman, is in her quarters and doing up her fly when she smells something strange, like burning.
She turns a corner and sees Wolverine standing there; his flesh slowly knitting itself back together. He doesn’t look happy to see her. She asks him how he got in there. Logan grins and tells her that you fight enough ninjas, you start to pick up a few of their tricks. She ought to know better than anyone about hiding in pain sight. She warns him that there are armed men outside her door. Is it worth killing American soldiers just to get his hands on her? “You tell me, Raven,” he replies. “Is it worth pissing away your dignity, hiding behind innocents… just to avoid facing me?” She replies that they don’t get to be their age without knowing when to pick and choose their battles.
Logan edges his way towards her, and says that the Mystique he knew never ran from a fight. She was a lot of things for sure; a thief, an assassin, back-stabber, betrayer, piss-poor mother, terrorist, whore… but never a bald-faced coward. Mystique tells him that this is his X-Men psych training, right? This is how they teach him to goad his opponent into a fight. Logan asks if it’s working. Mystique grabs a chair and replies, “Not a bit.”
She then attacks Logan with the chair, but he slices it apart with his claws. She uses the two legs as weapons, but they are ineffectual against the metal. Mystique delivers a kick to Wolverine’s torso and then stabs him in the hand with one of the broken legs. He slashes at her chest and draws blood. Mystique knows this is a battle she cannot win. She looks at the doorway and Logan warns her not to do it. She ignores him and exits the room, informing the soldiers guarding her door that it’s time for them to earn their keep. She informs them that there’s a guy in her office. She’s pretty sure he’s Al Qaeda. The soldiers enter the room and aim their guns at Logan, warning him to drop the weapons and put his hands above his head. Logan tells them that he’s sorry for what’s about to happen, and they shouldn’t let it shake their self-confidence. Moments later, gunshots are heard as Mystique makes her escape.
Two soldiers are outside, with one reading Play Pen magazine while the other checks under the hood of a Jeep. The guy with the magazine tells his colleague that he’d give anything to have five minutes alone with the scantily clad model on the page. “Five minutes,” comes a female voice. “Surely we can do better than that. The soldier’s jaws drop as they look up and see the model they are checking out standing right before them in a tiny red bikini. She approaches them slowly. “I don’t know about you guys, but I like it kinda… rough.”
She kicks the guy with the magazine in the face and delivers a solid right cross to his friend’s jaw. She then grabs him by his shirt and asks if the truck is fixed. He replies that it still revs a little high and leaks coolant, but… Mystique throws him to the ground. It’s good enough for her. She climbs in and drives away, leaving the soldiers thinking that Miss December just stole their truck.
Back inside, Wolverine has overcome the two brave soldiers and runs after Mystique. He damns her. She’s not getting away this time. At least the soldier’s will get away with swollen jaws and sore gonads. It’s Mystique who’s got the real hurt coming. She’s screwed him over for the very last time. She’s going to die. She’s had it coming for years.
(1921, Kansas City)
Mystique, disguised as a mustachioed man, punches the bank guard and orders everybody down on the floor. She warns them to close their yaps or they’ll start squirting metal. This is a robbery! An employee is shocked. “But Mr. Butterworth… you’re the bank president.” Mystique turns to him and says she knows. Ain’t it a gas? She calls down towards the safe room and asks Soapy how it’s going. Soapy has a drill, and replies it’ll be six minutes.
Outside, Logan is with One-Eyed Ande, both dressed as bank guards. Ande wonders if they’ve finished the job yet. Does Logan think they’ll be rich by now? As Logan tells him to shut up, Mystique exits the bank carrying a bag of cash. She transforms into her feminine form and asks how they’re doing. She explains that the bag contains the wallets and watches she took of the bank’s employees. Soapy’ll have the vault open any minute now. She asks him to relax. They’re almost home.
As she speaks, they hear sirens nearby and closing in. “What the hell was that?” asks Ande. Logan figures Soapy must have opened the vault. They should get a move on. Mystique makes a quick exit, unseen by Logan or Ande. “Damn it!” exclaims Logan. Inside the bank, Soapy shouts into the main room that he’s opened the safe. “Easy Street, here I come.” As he opens the vault, he finds four police officers standing inside it, all armed. “Not so fast, freak,” says their boss.
(present, somewhere outside Baghdad)
Mystique has pulled the truck to a halt. She is annoyed that Logan called her a coward. She sorts herself out, talking to herself. She’s not ashamed of anything she’s done, and she’s certainly got nothing to hide. She grabs two really big guns and grins. “You want me Logan,” she asks, rhetorically, “Well, I’m here in all my glory. Come and get me.”