Outside of Tokyo, Japan, in a temple that sits on the side of a small mountain. ‘You have a difficult task, Sin. But you must remain strong. Your actions today will change the course of the world’ a man in a suit speaks to Shin via mobile phone. Inside the room, swords and other artefacts are displayed. The man tells Shin that he will be remembered as a martyr, a patriot, a hero, as someone who unleashed a righteous fury upon the world. ‘The mere mention of your name will strike terror into the hearts of our enemies’ he adds, while looking down at newspaper articles featuring acts of terrorism. ‘Of course, of course. Your family will be cared for. They will want for nothing. I give you my word’ the man assures Shin, before bidding him goodbye.
The man opens a door and steps outside, ‘Finally, she has arrived!’ the man declares as he sees a bird in a cage being handed over to one of his associates. The bird is removed from the cage and it struggles to fly away. ‘Careful, careful. Give her to me’ the man calls out, extending his arms to take the bird, he states that she is so beautiful. The bird sits on his wrist and he tells the bird that she has nothing to fear. ‘I still can’t believe how much you paid for a damn bird’ one of his associates remarks. The man tells him that this is no ordinary bird, that it is a crested ibis, such a wonderful creature, and that once it roamed freely across all of Japan, proud and strong.
The man strokes the bird and reveals that now there are only two in Japan and less than 15o in the rest of the world, with most of those depending on the Chinese for their survival. ‘Such a sickening thought’ he adds. He lets the ibis fly onto a nearby tree branch and tells his companions that for nearly twenty years, the crested ibis was thought to be extinct, but that it was still out in the wild, hidden away, content to let the world forget. He addresses his associate as Isamu and tells him that the world has forgotten about then, but that it is time to remind them that they have been here all along, watching and waiting. ‘As soon as the plan takes off, kill Shin’s family’ he orders. ‘Even the kids? Isamu asks. ‘Especially the kids’ the man orders.
The next day, Pac-Air Flight 319, bound for Japan, two hours east of Hawaii, Logan a.k.a. Wolverine is slumped against the window as he sleeps in his seat.
‘Oh my God, Mariko… Mariko, can you hear me!?’ Logan calls out. He is standing in a Japanese garden, and sees Mariko Yashida sitting down. Mariko’s smiling face stares back, as Logan kneels in front of her, ‘For the love of… say something! Anything!’ he asks her, but realizes that she is dead. ‘We… we can start over, pretend nothing happened, live our lives’ Logan tells her, when suddenly, Mariko moves, ‘No! You’re alive! You’re alive!’ Logan cries.But he knows this isn’t real - as a blackness emerges from Mariko, and she floats over him, decaying. ‘Please say something. Anything. I need to remember, remember your voice… I’ve forgotten…’ Logan pleads. But the dead never speak.
‘Ugh’ Logan utters as he sits up. ‘Bad dream?’ the man sitting next to him asks. ‘You have no idea’ Wolverine responds. ‘I have bad dreams sometimes before I fly. I’m not really much of a flyer. Once I’m in -’ the passenger begins, but Wolverine interrupts him, telling him that he is not in the mood for chitchat. ‘Sure. No problem. Just being friendly’ the passenger replies.
Logan turns to look out the window and tells the passenger to go be friendly somewhere else. One of the crew, with the name Shin on his badge walks past, with two other men following him. ‘Make this quick, before someone sees’ another man tells them as they stand near one of the crew-only areas. Shin enters and pulls out a case marked “emergency insulin”, and tells the others to keep an eye out. He also has several guns and blades. ‘Let’s go’ Shin tells the others as he hands them the weapons and carries the container, making his way up the inner staircase of the airplane. Some of the other men remain on the lower level.
Upstairs: ‘Shin, what are you doing up here?’ one of the air hostesses asks, smiling. Shin doesn’t answer her, but his companion who followed him upstairs does by slicing the young woman’s neck. He then raises a weapon and tells the concerned passengers that if any one of them so much as twitches, he is going to start shooting and won’t stop until they are all dead. Shin knocks on the door to the cockpit, and informs the pilots that he has some coffee for them. ‘I thought Judy was bringing it?’ one of the pilots replies from behind the locked door. Shin tells the pilots that Judy is trying to help a passenger calm down a baby. ‘You know how it is. That kind of stuff needs a woman’s touch’ Shin replies. One of the pilots opens the door, and Shin immediately shoots him. ‘Ah, hell -’ the second begins, before Shin shoves a knife into his neck.
Shin radios his comrades and tells them that the pilots are dead. ‘Spread out and get ready’ he instructs them. Shin sits down and takes a bomb from the emergency insulin kit. He straps it to his chest, and activates it. Shin reports that the bomb is in place and he is making the call. ‘Take care of the Air Marshall’ he tells them. ‘You got it’ one of them replies. ‘Nobody moves!’ one of the other terrorists calls out, while the Air Marshall is shot in the head. ‘What is it? What’s happening?’ the passenger sitting next to Wolverine asks, standing up. Calmly, Logan tells him to sit down and keep his mouth shut.
Back in the cockpit, Shin is speaking on a large mobile phone and reports that the plane is secure and that he has adjusted their flight path. He announces that they will fly right over downtown Honolulu, and when the plane blows, the entire world will be watching - no one will be able to escape the sight of it. ‘Well done, Shin’ the man back in Tokyo replies, before asking Shin to patch him through the plane’s PA system. Shin does so, and the man’s voice can be heard: ‘Attention imperialists: This plane is now under the control of the Holy War Brigade. Your hands are stained red with the blood of innocents, and it is time for you to pay for your sins’ he announces. The man continues, stating that their demands to the repressive regime of the United States are simple: ‘All prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay are to be released within two hours. If your leaders refuse, I will blow this plane out of the sky’.
Wolverine stands up, but one of the terrorists shouts ‘YOU! Sit your ass down!’ and aims his gun at him, while the man in Tokyo’s voice continues to be heard over the intercom: ‘Anyone making a threatening move will be shot. Anyone not following orders will be shot’ he warns the passengers, while telling them that that are capitalist swine, that they are worth less than the filth smeared across the sole of his shoe. ‘Do not expect a single ounce of mercy from us, because there will be none’ he adds. Logan tells himself that he has to play this cool, to get out of the main cabin and find room to work. ‘I’m going to bust your right in the face, pal!’ Logan calls out to one of the terrorists - who then shoots him in the chest as he makes his way into the aisle. ‘I didn’t know him! I swear!’ the passenger who was sitting next to Logan calls out as one of the terrorists points his gun at him,. ‘Shut the hell up!’ the terrorist orders.
Face down on the aisle floor, Logan thinks to himself ‘Gather around, take a look. Let me catch your wretched stench’. One of the terrorists tells his comrades to get that body out of his sight. ‘You think we’re playing games? If you don’t want to end up like that idiot, sit down and keep your damn mouths shut’ he warns the passengers. In the cock-pit, the man in Tokyo asks Shin if he has patched him through to air traffic control. ‘Yes, Masaru-Sensei’ Shin replies, while in the back of the plane, two of the terrorists leave Wolverine’s body in a pool of blood. Logan tells himself that he doesn’t know squat about the 747’s layout, but he is sure the toilet dumps down into the hold - which is his ticket out of here.
As Shin pilots the plane, Masaru’s voice can be heard after Shin patches him through to air traffic control: ‘I speak for the Holy War Brigade. Pac-Air Flight 319 has been hijacked and is under our control. You will free the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Fail in this, we blow up the plane. If we see any fighter jets, we blow up the plane’ he announces, adding that this is their first and last communication, while warning them that they have two hours.
At that moment, in the back of the plane, only a pool of blood remains, as Logan has entered the bathroom, and has sliced the floor open. He drops down into the cargo hold underneath, He tells himself that he just needs to get his hands on one of those chumps, and sniffing the air, picks up one of their scents. He climbs back up through a ventilation shaft into another part of the plane, where one of the terrorists is standing guard, armed with a gun. Wolverine sneaks up behind him, and drags him down into the cargo hold. ‘How many hijackers?’ Wolverine demands, shoving the terrorist against the wall and holding his claws towards his face. ‘Screw you’ the terrorist replies, so Wolverine slices off his fingers. Logan lets the man fall to the ground and warns him that that is a little taste of what to come. ‘Let’s call it an appetizer’ he suggests, adding that if he doesn’t want the full meal, to answer his question: ‘How many hijackers?’ he repeats.
‘Three others… and the pilot’ the man replies. Logan asks where the bomb is, and the man tells him that it is in the cockpit. Wolverine enquires as to what the trigger is, and the man reveals that it can be set off manually, or with a timer, but that it is also attached to the pilot. ‘If his heart stops beating, the bomb detonates’ the terrorist explains. ‘Then I’ll have to be extra careful’ Wolverine mutters as he runs his already bloodied claws along the man’s throat, causing blood to spill out. Logan hears the voice of the Shin speak into to the others as he puts the dead terrorist’s earpiece on. ‘Be strong, my comrades. Masaru-Sensei chose us for a reason. We are brave. We are invincible. History will remember us…’ he tells them.
‘Blah blah blah, different day, different nut job, same old crap’ Wolverine thinks to himself as he carries on through the plane, realizing that he is still staring down a hell of a mess though, for one stray bullet and the main cabin depressurizes - if any of those morons get a look at him, the bomb will go off and four hundred people will die. ‘Looks like there’s only one way to handle this’ he decides, and breaking some crates free of their rope holding them in place, he opens the cargo hold door, and throws them out of the plane. ‘We’ve got a situation’ Chin announces from the cockpit. Logan knows that the pilot is not going to have any choice but to drop altitude, for if the plane goes down like this, no one will pay them any attention. ‘And if there’s one thing they want, it’s attention’ Logan knows.
Shin contacts his comrades, telling them that the weight sensors show the cargo sliding all over the place, that cables must have come loose, so they have to slow down and drop to 12,000 feet. ‘Our plans to not change, though. Repeat, no change in plans’ he instructs them, as oxygen masks drop down in front of all the seated passengers. ‘Where’s Cosby? Have you seen him?’ one of the terrorists asks another. ‘I’ll find him. You just make sure no one tries anything’ the second terrorist replies. He makes his way back to the rear of the plane, but does not find Logan’s body - only the pool of blood. He reports to Shin, announcing that they have a problem. ‘No sign of Cosby, and one of the guys we shot is gone’. ‘What do you mean gone?’ Shin asks. ‘I mean he’s gone. Cosby must’ve shot the guy at least three or four times. Something’s not right’ the terrorist reports back. Shin tells his comrade to get up here and cover the cockpit door and to kill anyone who comes close. ‘We still have a chance to pull this off’ he declares, while he sets the bomb’s timer for two minutes.
At that moment, Wolverine is outside the plane, using his claws to pull himself along, making his way to the front of the plane. Inside, the terrorists are searching for him. Another claw, and another, closer and closer to the cockpit. Hanging onto the side of the plane just with his claws, Wolverine can see the bomb - fifty seconds are all that remain. As the other three terrorists make their way upstairs, Logan smashes through the window into the cockpit. ‘Holy #$@%!’ Shin shouts. Logan grabs Shin and throws him through the window - with the bomb strapped to him still. Only five seconds are left - and he explodes just outside the plane. Wolverine takes control of the plane, as the other three terrorists arrive. ‘Nobody move!’ one of them shouts.
Papers blow about due to the smashed window, and Wolverine tells the terrorists that they best say their prayers because this is going to get pretty damn ugly. Marasu’s voice can be heard over the mobile phone, asking Shin what is happening. Wolverine spins around and slices the terrorists’ at their necks, causing them to fall backwards. ‘Shin-Kum, answer me! IO heard something. Is everything all right?’ Marasu calls out. ‘That’s it. Keep him talking. Gimme something I can use’ Wolverine thinks to himself, before picking the phone up, ‘Shin-Kun is dead. And you’re going to be joining him soon enough’ he warns Marasu.
Three days later, at the temple just outside Tokyo, Marasu is in one of the rooms. There is a noise outside in the garden, and Marasu instructs one of his men to go and see what it was. He does so, stepping outside, there is then a THWUMP noise, followed by a KRUNK. Marasu picks up a sword and carefully steps outside. He sees the crested ibis sitting in a tree, making a noise, when suddenly, Wolverine steps forward from the darkness and cuts Marasu’s hands off. He screams, and falls to the ground. ‘I told you I’d come for you’ Wolverine tells him in Japanese. ‘How…how did you find me?’ Marasu enquires. Wolverine motions at the ibis and tells Marasu that he heard it squawking. ‘Only a couple of ‘em in the whole country. Pretty easy to figure out who’s got one’ Wolverine points out.
He looms over Marasu, bloodied claws close to the enemy’s face, Logan reveals that he was on his way here to pay his respects to a woman he loved, still loves, but he cannot remember her voice, what she smelled like or the taste of her lips. ‘Every day I lose a little more of her’ Wolverine adds, before remarking that she still visits him, though, lets him know that she hasn’t forgotten, even if he has. ‘It’s a living hell’. His claws move ever closer to Marasu’s face, ‘That’s why the though of you killing the people on that plane, casting their families down into that pit of despair, fills me with nine kinds of rage’ Logan snarls. His claws then slash across Marasu’s face, and Logan turns to walk away, ‘No one deserves to suffer through those kinds of nightmares’ he remarks, leaving Marasu in a pool of blood, while the crested ibis takes flight.
‘I see ghosts everywhere. Even in my sleep’ Logan tells himself. He is dreaming - kneeling before Mariko, who is sitting under a blossom tree. ‘Logan. Please. The poison. The pain’ Mariko utters as flowers fall around her, blowing in the breeze. ‘I can’t’ Logan exclaims. ‘I’m dying. Nothing can stop that. But you can save me. Take me past the pain’ Mariko begs. ‘Please, no’ Wolverine utters. This dream haunts him. ‘If you love me… save me’ Mariko tells him. And the dream always ends the same way. Logan rests his head on Mariko’s lap, and he does what he has to - he does the impossible. And his life becomes a nightmare. Mariko goes wide-eyed as Wolverine unsheathes his claws directly into her chest, and she falls forward. Dream blur into reality which blur into dreams. ‘Wake up’ Mariko orders.
Sometimes, Wolverine cannot tell if he is awake or asleep. After all, Mariko couldn’t have just warned him - could she? But, he wakes to find himself surrounded by ninjas in the dead of night. ‘Is this real? Have I finally gone over the edge?’ Wolverine wonders, as he unsheathes his claws and starts defending himself against the attacking ninjas. He braces himself, and recalls that Japan is full of ghosts - Oni Kami - spirits of vengeance, spirits of the lost. These killers could be just what they seem - another bunch of assassins paid to nail his hide to somebody’s wall. Or they could be ghosts of men he has killed.
Wolverine supposes that it is all the same. If he is asleep or awake - if he is sane or crazy. He still fights, It is what he does. What he is. A ghost-maker. One of the ninjas raises their sword, but Wolverine’s powerful adamantium blades slice it to pieces. Logan has buried a lot of friends. And buried too many loved ones. He has created enough ghosts to fill seven hells. So maybe this is his hell - conflict. Hate. Blood. Death. Ghosts.
He barges his way through his attackers, disposing of them with ease. Logan wonders if perhaps Mariko’s ghost was telling him that this was his hour. That it was his job to join the world of shadows? If he thought that meant he could be with her, he might even stop fighting. But not tonight. ‘Mariko, God help me…not tonight’ Logan tells himself as he battles the remaining ninjas on the rooftop now, and disposes of the last one.
Logan stands on the edge of the roof, claws barred, and as blossom flowers float around him, thinks to himself ‘My life is filled with ghosts’.