'Are you sure it's him?' Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers asks from inside an X-Jet. 'There is an oddly restrained quality to his thoughts, but it seems to be Logan' Emma Frost replies as she sits next to Cyclops, a gun in her hands. Henry McCoy a.k.a. The Beast reports that he is reading the same x-gene that suddenly appeared on Cerebra, while Alison “Dazzler” Blaire exclaims that if they have to fight Wolverine she is going to puke all over her costume. Cyclops tells Hank that the reading was skewed, and if they go down there, they have to be sure. The Beast replies that it is the closest thing to Logan that they have seen since he ran off, and it is down below. Emma turns to Alison and declares 'The nice thing about fighting Logan, dear, is that you can always count on him feeling guilty later about annyone he kills. Anyone he kills whom he likes'. 'Can you feel me hating you right now, Emma? Because these are my 'I-hate-Emma thoughts' Dazzler replies. 'And the other readings?' Cycops asks. The Beast announces that they are some very strange biological and tech scans, but no other x-genes. 'There is something very twisted indeed down there, love. It should be dealt with' Emma remarks. 'What I love most about being an X-Man is the banter' Dazzler mutters.
'Consensus: Is it this Winsor / Contagion Logan tangled with?' Cyclops enquires. The Beast puts a mask on over his mouth and replies that it seems likely, and lacking proper biohazard, he thinks they should all wear the masks. Emma yawns, and tells Henry that she agrees, but that diamonds don't breathe. 'I breathe. I breathe and I eat and I drink and I do all kinds of things associated with living that I want to keep on doing' Dazzler snaps. 'Stations. We're going in' Cyclops reports.
Emma, Cyclops, Dazzler and the Beast stand amongst the rubble of a wall that they have just shot down and stare into the filthy room where Contagion is sprawled on the floor, and Wolverine, with very bloody claws, leans over him. Monark Starstalker is a few feet away, gathering himself, while Contagion's “Unkillables” and other prisoners line the walls. 'I'm confused by the masks, did someone suggest a costume party was taking place?' Contagion enquires. 'Looking at you, I'm guessingbad guy. Count of three to surrender, bad guy' Cyclops calls out as he touches his optic visor. 'Looking at you, I'm guessing X-Men. Wonderful. I've concoted many wonderful things just on the off-chance you might follow Logan here' Contagion announces. 'Run!' Wolverine calls out to his teammates as he shoves his claws into Contagion's chest. But the madman stands up and grabs Wolverine's throat, 'Nonsense, they just got here' he points out. 'X-Men, deploy. Wolverine! Incoming!' Cyclops calls out as he and the others drop into the room. Cyclops unleashes an optic blast, which slams into Contagion, sending he and Wolverine crashing into the wall. The Beast roars as he leaps towards Contagion, who responds by shoving Wolverine off of him, causing the men to slam into each other mid-air. The Beast howls as Wolverine's claws embed themselves into his lower leg. 'Did you know, Logan? That the most common opportunistic infection that follows Feline Immunodeficiency Disease is Toxoplasmosis?' Contagion asks as Wolverine and the Beast land in a corner, and they look at the blood pouring out of the Beast's wound.
Contagion points out that Wolverine is currently a carrier for a terrific lot of both of the diseases. 'Do maintain, Logan. Pattern baldness never killed anyone' Emma tells Logan as she approaches Contagion in her diamond form. 'I, on the other hand, have killed more than occasionally' Emma informs Contagion. 'Flawless' Contagion replies as he gets to his feet. Emma responds by slamming her hands into Contagion's ears, causing him to scream and drop to his knees. 'I don't expect that you can hear me, but I'm going to kick you until you say something about giving up' Emma remarks as she kicks the madman. 'Sorry, didn't catch that. But is there something in your eye?' Contagion responds, as he points to Emma's eye, where a black mass has started to form – and quickly spreads onto her face. Contagion declares that it is a degenerative carbon disorder. He announces that it is an infection that turns diamond to coal. 'My poetic side coming out' he grins as he stands up, while a horrified Emma looks at her now coal-black body. Contagion turns to Cyclops and warns him to mind his aim, as the lady is quite brittle at the moment.
Suddenly, Logan stirs, and moves towards Contagion, his claws ready to pierce the madman's head – but Contagion grabs Wolverine by his wrists, and declares that he has infected Wolverine in every manner he could imagine, and that doing it again would be boring. 'But these lovely friends of yours, I want to play with them. And you are under-foot'. Contagion then hurls Wolverine out through the gaping hole in the wall, 'Go away!' he tells him, as Logan lands in a nearby car. 'Now, where were -' Contagion smiles, before Emma kicks him in the head. She has returned to her human form, and appears to be healed from Contagion's attack. 'Sicky man, you were safter when my brain was diamond. Let's take a peek inside yours now, and see what dreadful memories I can make you relive' Emma suggests as she stands over Contagion who hunches over, however, Emma appears to be having some trouble. Contagion looks back up at her and laughs hysterically and declares that he made his thoughts contagious. 'She's – oh, my. She's thinking like me! And she can't stop!' Contagion exclaims, pointing at Emma, he adds that his thoughts have gone viral in her head, killing her thoughts to make room for themselves.
Suddenly, Cyclops appears standing over Contagion's head. 'Think about this' he exclaims as he fires a close range optic blast directly at Contagion's head, forcing the madman to be submerged in the dirt floor. At the same time outside, Wolverine opens his eyes: 'I'm missing something' he decides, and opens the trunk of the car. 'That's more like it' he tells himself. Back inside, Cyclops has crouched down beside Emma and tells her to break out of this by changing herself into diamond. 'Those eyes of yours...what exactlty are they?' Contagion asks as he sits up, unharmed by Cyclops's optic blast. 'Lenses that calibrate lasers shooting from your brain? Foci of hellfire? Dimensional gates admitting alien energies?' he asks. 'Such a mystery' he remarks. Contagion stands up and declares that it seems ridiculous ruby quartz should block any of those, but there it is. 'Fungal quartz, growing over your eyes and back into your brain. Imagine using a blasgt of kinetic force in light wave form as a conduit for infection. I did. And it worked' Contagion remarks as Scott lift's his visor, revealing the fungus that has now grown over his eyes.
The Beast, Emma and Cyclops all lay at Contagion's feet in their current wasted states. Contagion lifts his arms and exclaims that it is a shame he can't infect the entire universe like this, one customized virus after another, as composition is one of his strengths. 'Compose this, ###' Dazzler exclaims as she fires colorful beams of solid light directly at Contagion, the light so intense it rips his chest apart. 'Look, it's not like I don't know what people think of me. “Light weight”. Cannonball draws bigger props than I do' Dazzler declares, adding that it's also not like she is invisibiel. 'Still, there you are...giving a bwah-ha-ha victory speech with me right over there. Like I'm some joke. An afterthought'. As Contagion stands up, his body closes itself up from the light penetration, Dazzler suddenly finds strange numbers climbing up her body, and blue tendrils wrap around her wrists. 'No' Contagion tells her, announcing that he has thought about her a great deal, and reveala that he owns her entire catalogue on vinyl. 'And wondered, as I listened “A blindness virus? Deafness? Occlusion of all senses”? And then, inspiration! A synesthesia virus'. Contagion explains that it is difficult to manifest a coherent light show when you are tasting everything you hear and smelling everything you see. 'Speaking of crossed-creative circuits. Your rap album was an absolutely muddle' Contagion tells Dazzler, as she clutches her stomach and vomits all over the place before falling to the ground.
Contagion raises his arms once again and tells the X-Men that if they are quite done now, he could use a moment to concentrate on his masterwork. 'If you'd all attack at once rather than one at a time, I would be done by now' he points out. 'About that. My fault. I told them we couldn't take you. Said they should tease it out. Keep you occupied' Wolverine announces as he drops back into the filthy room, wearing his brown and yellow costume. 'Odd. That I don't remember you saying anything like that' Contagion comments. 'Probably because I said it in my head when Emma tickled my brain to see if I was me' Wolverine points out. 'Mission accomplished, Logan. I was occupied. And you did what in the meanwhile? Call the Avengers?' Contagion asks. Wolverine picks up Contagion's cane, 'No. Just got myself dressed proper. Nice cane, by the way' he calls out as he fires something from the cane, which strikes Contagion in his chest. Wolverine leaps towards the madman, 'Honestly. Wasn't my idea' he tells him as he shoves his claws into Contagion's shoulders. 'Keeping you busy so you couldn't finish your super virus, that's too subtle for me' Logan adds. 'This mastermind who advised you die one by one. I must know who it is' Contagion declares.
'I hate you, Dad' a voice calls out. It's Flip, who is now standing up, holding his enormous brain up with his hands. 'For obvious reasons' Flip adds, before explaining that when Logan's hot friend told him they were nearby, he told them what to do. 'If you'd been even a tiny bit less of a #### I probably would have let them all die'. Flip reveals that he grew psychic neural paths months ago, reading people's minds kept him from going insane with boredom. 'I've known forever that you never planned to cure me. Just can't wait to watch my head go splat' Flip tells his father, adding that he used the time to alter the structure of the Technarchy mutation receptor that his father gave him, and turned it into a broadcast antenna. He explains that he can send a self-destruct signal to all the Technecrotic virals within a mile of here. 'Which should really #### your #### upp, seeing as you've incorporated it into every virus you've made lately'. The Unkillables have all turned to listen to Flip. 'Your healing restraints. Insectivrals. Corruptor variants' Flip points out. 'X-Gene cutoms' Flip adds as the X-Men all get to their feet, healed of the viruses they were given. 'Extraterrestrial exotics' Flip remarks, as Monark Starstalker rushes over to his lover, the man called Paradox, whose body has reformed, while the bird Ulysses hovers over them. 'And your own healing virus' Flip points out, as black gunk starts to seep from Contagion's eyes, nose and mouth.
'You heard the kid' Wolverine declares as he grabs Contagion by his throat, but Marjorie Brink stands up: 'No!' she exclaims, revealing that Contagion has compelled her to record his every word and action for months, and she knows, right now, that Contagion is relinquishing control of his genome. 'Cut him and it will kill everything for miles around' she points out. Contagion grins, more of the black gunk seeps from his eyes, nose and mouth, and he declares 'Button. Button, who is in control of the button? Poor Logan, whatever will you do to make the world safe from me?' he grins. Contagion reaches out to try and grab Wolverine, whose blood-covered claws are inches from Contagion's face now. Monark Starstalker has freed the Unkillables who are all now restored from the nasty viruses that Contagion infected them with, and they all move closer to the madman, gathering around he and Wolverine. 'Remember when I told you how I was gonna kill you, Winsor? Well, Flip helped me to share that idea with some friends of yours'. Wolverine pushes Contagion to the ground, and the madman backs up against a wall. 'See, we've taken all you have. Every infection you can muster. Whatever you got – we think we can swallow it' Wolverine declares as he and the Unkillables all grin.
But Contagion points out that they will only release him into the atmosphere, the groundwater. 'I am a biohazard. Vile and deathful!' he exclaims. Wolverine asks the Corruptor if he wants to do his part, and the blue-skinned man responds by exclaiming 'Contain yourself, ###!' as he throws one of the buckets of gunk that he was connected to at Contagion's face, causing the villain to recoil against the wall. 'Geez, what the hell?' Wolverine asks. Marjorie Brink explains that it is a fungus, virally absorbent and and organic containment shell. 'Long as it works' Wolverine remarks. 'It should' she assures him. 'My people?' Wolverine asks, turning to Monark Starstalker, who informs him that the other X-Men are alive and healing, but that they are not as robust as everyone else. 'Just as long as they're out cold for this' Wolverine remarks, before asking any of the Unkillables if they want out. 'I'm damned already' Suicide, whose body is no longer severed in two, points out. 'It is too delectable' Yi Yang replies. Harry Sikes declares that he has a bone to pick, to which Vic Slaughter points out that Contagion is kind of skinny. Scavanger exclaims that he can feel how bad he wants this, while Immortalis reports that he will bear the price of this good dead. 'Experience is knowledge' Marjorie Brink decides, while Madcap grins and points out that if there was a national holiday for crazy, it would be today. 'I'll carve the holiday roast' Wolverine announces as he bears down on the fearful Contagion, claws at the ready, while Flip watches, 'Love you, Dad' he remarks.
And soon, the Unkillables stand around, while Wolverine, Monark Starstalker and Paradox stand before them. Flip lies on the ground nearby. Harry Sikes points out that this crew is pure poison, but that they all did their bit here, and for that, they are asking for consideration. 'I wasn't public enemy number one fer nothing. I was the brains' he boasts. He announces that he is taling about taking these misfits into freelance problem solving, and between he and Marjorie, he thinks they can keep them in line. 'Not saying they're a heart of gold crew, but they need a hard head to keep 'em off the street' he adds. 'Mercenaries' Wolverine replies. 'Problem solvers' Harry Sikes corrects him. 'Legal and above board' Wolverine tells him. 'Hey, let's not make promises we can't keep. But no waves. Helpful is what we want to be. Just for a price'. Wolverine sees the angle, and tells Harry and Marjorie to keep it helpful. 'I hear otherwise...well I got no love for that bunch' he reminds them. 'Sure. One shared meal only wins so much good will' Harry admits. Wolverine turns to Monark and Paradox and asks them if they are in on this madness. 'We fly them out of here and keep the Shi'ar ship. After that -' Monark begins, to which Paradox concludes 'We like it here. We just blend into the general weird here'.
The Unkillables all turn and leave through the hole in the wall, while Wolverine stands over Flip. 'That ain't gonna turn out well for anyone anywhere' Wolverine remarks. 'My turn?' Flip asks. Wolverine squats down beside Flip and asks him if he is sure about this. 'We could still -' Logan begins, but Flip interrupts him: 'Would you just? I mean, my head is going to, anyway. And I helped kill my dad pretty much. So will you just?' he asks. 'Suire, kid' Wolverine replies, before unleashing his claws.
Shortly, Wolverine pilots the X-Jet, while his teammates are still sleeping off the recent trauma to their bodies.
Days later, Scott, Emma, Hank and Alison have all recovered, and observe Wolverine on a monitor. 'He just let them all go?' Scott asks. 'He said they did their bit' Hank explains. 'What the hell does that mean?' Scott asks. 'Scott, Love, you don't want to know' Emma tells him. 'Did you peek in his?' Scott asks. Emma confirms that she did, and that she won't show him. 'You can't bully me into showing you. And no, you couldn't handle it' she adds. Emma starts to leave the lab, and calls back 'Suffice to say, he is our Wolverine, whether we want him or not'. 'Fine' Scott mutters, before asking Hank if he has anything to add. Hank motions to some data on the screen and confirms that it is Logan, but that the damage done by these infections is profound, and his healing factor greatly reduced, and there is no saying if the reduction is temporary or permanent. 'How greatly reduced?' Scott enquires. Hank explains that at present levels, he does not want to shoot Logan more than once or twice, for fear of kill him.
Scott and Hank start to walk out of the lab, and Alison frowns as they leave. 'And then there are these cross-dimensional nanites' Hank points out. 'Dangerous?' Scott asks. Hank tells him that he doesn't think so, and that there aren't many of them, and given a little time and sleep, he believes he can neutralize them. Scott asks Hank if he can do anything about his headache, reminding him that ruby quartz fungus grew into his brain and it still hurts. 'Take an aspirin. I'm regrowing an entire pelt. Imagine, for a moment, the itching I'll endure for the next month'. Alison touches the image of Wolverine sleeping that is projected on the screen. 'G'night, Logan' she remarks, before turning the monitor off.
And in his bed, Wolverine is asleep, while his mind thinks about that every seven years thing – where every seven years your body replaces all its cells. 'I get a new me just about every time I'm in a bad scrape' he realizes. 'And every one of me does the same thing, lives the same way. Spends all his time looking backwards. Dwelling on what was. Digging at old wounds. Settling old scores'. An “old” Wolverine is purged from Logan's body. Stares at the refreshed Logan, and then vanishes. 'Always ending up the same guy at the end of the day' Wolverine tells himself. 'Like when you wake from a nightmare, but you're still in the mightmare, and you do it over and over'. He wakes, panicked, then lies back on the bed. 'Till something forces you to wake up for real'.
'I think I'm finally awake. Mean, all this weird this last week, if that don't wake a man up, nothing will' Wolverine remarks. 'Uh-huh' Dazzler replies, sitting on her bed, while Wolverine sits at the end of it a few feet away. 'So you thought you'd dash over and sneak into my room to tell me' she asks. Wolverine points out that he knocked. 'I didn't answer' Alison reminds him. But Wolverine tells her that he could smell that she was awake. 'So you picked the lock?' Dazzler asks. They stare at each other, before Dazzler turns the lights off and tells Logan that he better move forward. 'Yeah, that's the plan' Wolverine replies as he leans towards Dazzler.