Utopia, medical lab
Dr. Nemesis draws some blood from Wolverine’s arm. While nearby, Dr. Rao and Cyclops discuss Jubilee’s “jailbreak.” Cyclops asks if Jubilee seemed like she was in control of herself. Rao, likening it to getting between an addict and their drugs, suggests she wants more of whatever she was infected with at Union Square. Cyke folds his arms across his chest and proclaims it’s up to them to save Jubilee from herself.
Scott turns and looks over at Logan. He tells him to find Jubilee and bring her back. With gritted teeth Wolverine says she’s coming back one way or another. As he storms off Rao quietly asks Scott if not telling him the whole plan is wise. He tells Rao to leave Logan to him and then asks Nemesis if it worked.
Dr. Nemesis is busy looking at Wolverine’s blood sample through his microscope, its contents displayed holographically in front of him. It appears to be red blood cells mixed with some microscopic parasites. To answer Scott, Nemesis says the insertion went flawlessly, but as for whether or not it will work… Cyclops finishes the sentence for him, “…we’ll have to wait and see.”
The cabal is interrupted by Storm who appears in the entryway. She tells Scott their guest has arrived. All of him? he asks. All of him, she replies.
More people enter the room including Namor who, with arm outstretched, holds the decapitated head of Dracula. He hands it to a slightly disgusted Gambit and then departs for matters his own. Cyclops tells the rest of the rallied troops they’re going to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.
And by Humpty-Dumpty he means Dracula. Moments later Cyclops is in a control room with a wall of glass separating him and his fellow X-Men from the body of Dracula. The body itself is pinned against a metal wall with metal straps about the waist, wrists and elbows, his feet contained within a metal sphere. Spikes and other weapons are pointed in his direction.
The head is held hovering above Dracula’s gaping neck hole by a vice-like contraption. Cyke tells the operator to lower the head into place. The machine whirs to life and the connection is made. Next, Cyclops orders the wooden stake lodged into Dracula’s chest be removed. A metal arm attached to the stake is pulled rearward and with a thunk the stake is freed from his body.
It doesn’t take long before Dracula’s beady eyes spring to life. Naturally, he wants to know where he is. Cyclops answers him coyly, calling him Vlad, and tells him they need to talk.
back alleys of the city
It takes some searching through the seedier bars in the city, but Wolverine finally locates a bloodsucker. From there he finds the next one and the next one, some don’t give up the information easily, but they all end up the same: dead. “Hang on, kiddo. I’m coming,” Wolverine grimaces after finally getting the location she’s being held.
Jubilee, dressed in one of those sleek black outfits usually reserved for vampiric types, models for Xarus and his fellow sect leaders who are assembled at a nearby table. She’s ecstatic with her new look and Xarus asks how she feels. Jubilee admits it feels like she’s been living in a prison her whole life and didn’t know it. Now, she admits, she wants to drink deep, to taste life.
Xarus steps toward Jubilee and lifts her face up to his by curling his index finger under her chin. Looking into her eyes he tells her his biting her has brought her fully into their world, that she is one of them. He tells Jubilee he wants to offer this life to all the X-Men, which is why they came to San Francisco. He reasons mutants and vampires are not so different, both feared and hated by humanity. Xarus states that united they could be unstoppable.
Brad pipes up at this moment and expresses his disappointment that the X-Men don’t seem open to their wonderful proposition. Xarus is taken aback by his pessimism, but assures him he’s already considered the possibility. Smiling he replies that for every carrot there must also be a stick.
Turning his attention toward Legate he asks how things are progressing. Legate reports they have hundreds of combat troops stationed in the city and thousands more in outlying areas if they count the Nosferatu and Charniputra forces. He estimates that in a few more days they’ll have an unstoppable army.
Xarus isn’t interested in waiting any longer. He opines the battle goes to the swift and bold. Legate hesitantly agrees, but seems to differ on opinion. That’s good enough for Xarus who suggests they proceed on that front. Then he asks Brad about their other front. Brad swivels in his seat toward the monitors mounted on the wall next to him. He happily reports their target is using his usual tactics and is following the trail of bread crumbs they’ve set out for him.
With that said Xarus asks Jubilee to get into character, though quickly questions if she’s sure she can handle it. “No one knows him better than I do,” she responds. Pleased with her response Xarus encourages her to get going and arrange a reception for their guest.
Their “guest”, Wolverine, currently makes his way through the dark, dank sewers of the city. He comes across a broad, wooden door and pulls it open by the large, metal ring that passes as its doorknob. He’s swiftly greeted by a pair of Nosferatu, but disposes of them without problem. “It’s on,” he declares.
Dracula, still strapped down in the closed off room, comments on Ororo’s radiant beauty, joking he would bow under other circumstances. He also spies Blade staring down at him from the observation window. His greatest nemesis, he mocks. His eyes fall upon Emma next. He’s taken by her beauty and tells her not many women could pull off the outfit she’s wearing.
Whether it was his comment about Emma or a lack of patience, Cyclops interrupts and tells the former lord of the vampires they have a mutual problem. Dracula seems intrigued so Cyclops tells him it’s about his son. Dracula pauses a moment and then offers to discuss the matter if he were allowed to slip into something more comfortable. The two leaders stare at each other as Cyclops mulls it over.
Not much time has passed since Wolverine killed those first two Nosferatu, although they were only the beginning. He makes his way past a half dozen bodies on the ground toward the electrical panel. While walking across a concrete girder he thinks to himself how much Jubilee means to him. He can’t bring himself to think what might happen to her at any moment. Instead he focuses on the here and now and what he must do to get to her.
Once Wolverine reaches the light panel he flips the switch to on. What he finds are at least a dozen more Nosferatu waiting in the shadows, most carrying weapons of sorts. “Hell,” he responds sizing up the odds, but remains undeterred nevertheless.
They swarm Wolvie, his back to the wall. Not prone to panic Wolverine concentrates on Jubilee as he fends off his attackers. He remembers the first time he met her, he was bleeding, barely conscious. From that moment forward Logan taught her to take care of herself, to be an X-Man, but he always wanted her to keep that part of herself, the part that would reach out to help a guy like him.
Whether it’s his wandering mind or the sheer volume of opponents Wolverine is knocked off the girder and into the water below. The trio of Nosferatu who plunge into the water along with him swim quickly away leaving him alone and curious. When he pops up for air he is soon met by another breed of vampire, the Aqueos.
Bigger, more powerful and with water as their natural element they prove more of a match. There’s only two of them, though and Wolverine takes care of one right away by splitting open its chest. The other drags Wolverine back down under. With his arms pinned to his sides by the vampire’s powerful bear hug he just keeps thinking of Jubilee and how she’s not just an X-Man, she’s more like family. He knows if he fails here there’s no hope of rescuing her.
With that motivation pushing him and the Aqueos teeth inching ever closer to his neck Wolverine comes up with one more burst of energy, breaking free of the vampire’s grip and taking off the top half of the bloodsucker’s head with his adamantium claws in the process.
Logan swims quickly to the surface and sucks in a breath of much needed air. He then makes his way to Xarus’ secret sewer entrance. He finds nobody inside the ornate entryway and continues down the hall to a set of double doors.
What he finds on the other side of the door hits him hard, right down in the pit of his stomach. Jubilee is tied up by a bunch of bandages and suspended over a platter along with two other humans, their blood slowly dripping out and falling onto the large dish.
Logan cuts her down, visions of vengeance racing through his head. He’s angry, but doesn’t show it as he tries to comfort his once sidekick. Jubilee weakly calls out his name and he tells her he’s got her. She makes a joke about him taking so long and Wolverine takes it in stride, bringing her onto her feet.
“Behind… you…,” Jubes says weakly. Logan has no reason to doubt her and turns to face whatever is coming at them. Unfortunately the only vampire in the room is Jubilee and she doesn’t hesitate to sink her fangs into his neck. Logan drops to his knees, his hand covering the spurting blood from his carotid. Jubilee tells him he’ll thank her later for it, but all Logan can manage to do right now is groan in agony.
The decision was made and Dracula was set free. Cyclops goes over their intel with him, 12,000 vampires within a five-mile radius. Dracula’s not sure what they want with him, sarcastically asking if it’s to spank his son, reclaim his throne and save them all from certain doom. Cyke doesn’t skip a beat responding with, “I just want you to follow your heart.”
Dracula seems to think this over for a brief moment before turning to leave. He tells the X-Men he’ll show himself out. Once gone, Emma sidles up next to Scott and placing her hands on his shoulder tells him she loves his little attempts at diplomacy.
Wolverine is now chained up inside a cage. He fights the restraints as much as he fights the vampiric infection. Xarus is pleased with either outcome, for if Logan does not transform they still have one of the most powerful X-Men as their prisoner.
Wolverine finally breaks free and some nearby guards prepare to fire upon him. Xarus tells them to wait until he gives the order. Moments later Wolverine is free from the cage and standing in the middle of the room claws out and ready for action. Fangs exposed he asks those assembled but one question, “What does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?”