Utopia, darkness covers the small island home to most of the world’s mutant population. Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops stands and gazes out a window, while Magneto and Charles Xavier stand behind him. Several senior X-Men and other senior individuals who reside on Utopia await further instruction nearby. Among them, Wolverine, Storm, the White Queen, Colossus, the Sub-Mariner, Shadowcat and Doctor Nemesis. Everything looks thoughtful, while Wolverine stares ahead at Cyclops.
‘How can you be so certain?’ Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat asks as she looks up at the Sub-Mariner. Hands on hips, Prince Namor declares that all of the signs are known to them, that this was written in the oldest ledgers that survived the Great Cataclysm. Namor adds that from a time in humanity’s calendar, a thousand years before the birth of Christ, his people, the Atlanteans, made detailed records, though two-thirds of their number were annihilated. ‘But this could just be something similar’ Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin suggests, until Namor tells him that if they were lucky, they will be dead before they can be sure. ‘If we’re unlucky, we’ll see it come from above as it always does’.
Ororo “Storm” Munroe tells Kitty not to take it personally, explaining that Namor’s ego is taking a beating. ‘If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he looked scared’ Storm adds, before announcing that he has every right to be scared. ‘I know, Ororo…it’s just…maybe we were wrong. Maybe it’s not coming -’ Kitty suggests, until Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen announces that it is coming and they will not be able to stop it. Emma adds that there is nothing they could have done to prevent it.
Wolverine a.k.a. Logan continues to stare on ahead, ‘If you think you can’t do something, chances are you’re right’ Logan thinks to himself, before deciding ‘Then again, chances are you’re wrong’. If there is one thing Wolverine has learned in his time on this planet, ‘And trust me, I’ve been around for awhile’, it is if you say those words out loud, you are usually one hundred percent correct.
Flashback, narrated by Wolverine in the present:
Alberta, Canada, 1981. ‘James! Master James! Master James!’ a young woman calls out as she rides her horse around the grounds of a large mansion, searching for James. ‘Oh, where is that boy? He’s going to be the death of me yet, Master Kenneth!’ the girl tells an older man who rides up near her. ‘If we’re late for church, he’ll be the death of us all, Rose. The old man won’t stand for it’ Kenneth tells Rose.
Up in the mansion, the “old man” stands at a window, and declares that he will not stand for it. ‘John, do you hear me? If that boy goes without discipline he’ll wither and crack under the pressure’ the old man tells John, who sits pensively in a chair and asks ‘What pressure? The only pressure he endures is the constant pressure you’re so adamant about heaping on him! He’s only nine!’ The old man tells John not to be proud that he is the only source of discipline James receives. ‘He needs consistent punishment by a strong hand -’ the old man remarks, before John interrupts him, ‘And I suppose that “strong hand” would be yours?’ John asks, before shouting ‘Why do you think he’s hiding?’
Indeed, down below in a shed attached to the mansion, James Howlett sits against some hay, hugging a dog. Wolverine remembers this time, and tells himself if you think something is a certain way, sometimes you are correct, and sometimes you are not. When he was a kid, he used to think that the old man - his grandfather - was the devil. The old man was a cruel man, with cruel eyes, a cruel mouth and a cruel heart. Logan remembers that he used to say “firm but fair”, like those words could justify any action dictated by his cruel mind. Logan remembers that his grandfather believed in the “old ways”, some nebulous concept that gave him permission to bully anyone he encountered. It was these old ways that sent Logan’s grandmother to an early grave, and kept the servants in their place. “Firm but fair” was supposed to let them know where they stood.
‘Papa…Is that you? I heard a noise -’ Young James sleepily called out as he entered another room in the mansion, only to find a man armed with a shotgun, standing over his father. Wolverine recalls this time, and remembers popping his claws for the first time over his father’s corpse, and at that moment, he suddenly had no idea where he stood. Wolverine doesn’t remember much about the moments after it all came down, because something very bad happened - his brain was trying to heal itself, paper over the cracks. He remembers Rose,, her autumn red hair. She was the only person who could have saved him. But when they went to the old man to ask for his help, all Wolverine can remember are his cold, cruel eyes.
The old man sent James and Rose into exile, far from their home Alberta. Rose and James huddled together on a third-class carriage because the old man had not seen fit to provide them with money for food and clothing. His words still hung over them like a cloud of loathing. The old man called James an abortion, an aberration. Rose took him to the only place she knew they would be safe - a stone quarry at the northern edge of his homeland. Wolverine remembers her saying “don’t worry”, and “I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise”. It was at the quarry that James learned how to break the rocks in the quarry by hating them and bullying them. He would strain every sinew to smash them into dust, and he didn’t know why. That was the old man coming out in him. James kept a piece of his devil personality, though he never knew it. ‘If only I’d known what I know now. If only I remembered’ Wolverine tells himself. If only he understood - he would have gone back down south, strangled the old man and put him out of everyone’s misery.
‘It’s coming. We won’t be able to stop it. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent it’ someone declares. ‘Then we’re going to have to act quickly. Even the slightest delay will put lives unnecessarily at risk’ Doctor Nemesis declares. The scientist adds that he never thought he would say this, but if this really is what they think it is, their chances of surviving an encounter rest somewhere between nil and zero. ‘We must begin immediate evacuation’ Dr Nemesis announces. ‘So we turn tail and run just ‘cause you’ve run a few calculations, Doc? We evacuate Utopia ‘cause you’re worried the fight might get kinda messy?’ Logan asks. ‘Call me crazy, but it seems to me we just got here. I for one ain’t gonna jump ship at the first sign of trouble, not even for this’ Logan announces.
Logan looks at his friends and associates, among them now Warren “Angel” Worthington, and thinks to himself that if you think you don’t have a chance, you could be right and you could be wrong. So you have to keep saying you got a chance - keep saying it so your mind can hear it loud and clear. Angel points out that it knows they are already beaten. ‘We’ve got to move our people out -’ he begins, but Wolverine interrupts, reminding everyone that they covered this. ‘I ain’t about to jump ship without some kind fight, even if you are’. Storm turns to Logan and tells her friend that no one said they are about to jump ship. ‘That’s what it sounded like to me!’ Wolverine exclaims.
‘Here’s a thought: maybe we should all bicker like idiots until the end of the world shows up. That’d be really helpful’ the White Queen mutters, before telling the others that as they have that covered, she will go and get Cyclops. Colossus asks everyone what they are waiting around for, like they are playing some sort of game, to which Namor interrupts and tells him that they wait, and Cyclops will tell them when it is time. ‘Gotta be kidding me’ Wolverine declares. ‘Who died and made you spiritual advisor, Namor? You’re here as a guest, not because you were born into it -’ Wolverine begins, before Namor interrupts: ‘You would speak to a king of Atlantis that way, you arrogant little midget? I paved the way for Utopian freedom!’
Angel tells Namor to take it easy, that Wolverine didn’t mean anything by it. ‘Yeah? Well I do now, fish-for-brains! Why don’t you come over here and call me a midget -’ Logan threatens Namor, while thinking to himself that you have to be an agitator sometimes, you have to rile them up to make them say stuff out loud - because that helps everyone to think the impossible could come true.
Flashback, narrated by Wolverine in the present:
Yukon Territories, Canada, 1910, inside an arena with a large cage in the center. ‘And in this corner, weighing in at half of what your wife probably weighs…the little Wolverine himself…Logan!’ the referee announces. Wolverine remembers that they used to say no one could beat him in a cage fight. And the more they said that, the truer it became. Logan stared up at the massive opponent, who lunged at him, but Logan aimed his fist for his opponent’s gut, before the large man lifted Logan up above him - only for Logan to head-bash him, smacking his own head into his large opponents, knocking the large man out. The referee then grabbed Wolverine’s arm and held it up - champion. Wolverine remembers that is why people have sayings, so they can repeat stuff out loud to make it come true. Back in those days, he used to hear one phrase a lot. He really liked that saying: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog”.
‘And another thing, you big fat -’ Wolverine begins to say to the Sub-Mariner, before Cyclops and the White Queen appear before everyone. ‘He’s here!’ Storm announces, before whispering to Wolverine that she thought he was about to tell them all what to do. ‘Nope’ Logan replies quietly, as he watches Cyclops, who stands before the others, and says nothing. ‘Not yet’ Logan adds.
Flashback, narrated by Wolverine in the present:
The past - Logan’s naked body floats in a tank with greenish water. His body is hooked up to all sorts of wires and cables, while much of his skin is punctured with what appears to be needles. ‘They tried to tell me I was an animal’ Wolverine remembers. Two men stand and watch. ‘Steady. Heart rate at 44 BPM. Brain activity nominal’ a voice states, before initiating a wash cycle, bubbles being to toil around Logan’s body. ‘You are not a man. You are not an individual’ a computer recording speaks into Wolverine’s head. ‘Stat. He’s getting the audio feed’ a voice calls out, adding that the heart rate is at 62 BPMs. ‘Can he hear us, Professor? Is the subject aware of the situation?’ someone else asks. The Professor replies that Logan is under deep hypnosis, and that the wash cycle will rinse his preconceived notions, allowing them to replace his memories and motivations just as they replace his bone structure.
‘Being a man disgusts you. Individuality leads to suffering and death. You are not a man. You are obedient. You are an animal’ one of the men says through the computer which resonates into Logan’s mind. ‘Steady’ someone calls out. ‘Stat. Brain activity increasing’, while the older man continues to speak into Logan’s mind. ‘Listen to the sound of your heart. It beats in time with my instructions, if you disobey, it stops beating -’ he orders, when suddenly, Logan’s eyes open. ‘Professor! We’re purging! He’s pushing back! Tank’s losing containment!’ someone calls out. Armed soldiers rush into the laboratory, ‘Stay here and cover the tank! If it gets out, eliminate it!’ the Professor orders, while one of the soldiers orders all essential personnel to the secondary security level, as there is a breach. Suddenly, Logan shoves his fist through the glass tank, and with wires and cables still attached to his body, claws ready, he steps out towards the soldiers.
‘Open fire!’ someone shouts. Wolverine remembers that they tried to tell him things that would change him, to make him believe their lies. The soldiers open fire as commanded, but Logan surges forward. Carol Hines calls out to Doctor Cornelius, informing him that they have lost containment and she cannot get a feed. Cornelius orders the experiment over, and shouts ‘Use the cyanide gas! Now!’, as Logan skewers his way through the soldiers. Wolverine remembers that he did not believe their lies. He would never say their words out loud, for if he repeated their lies, he would have made them true. He wouldn’t say them, so they tried to kill him.
Logan rushes towards the Professor, Dr Cornelius and Carol Hines, but as his bloodied fingers slam against the protective glass, Logan falls to the ground. The scientists look down at him, as Wolverine lies motionless. Today, he remembers that they didn’t kill him. They just made him stronger.
Cyclops still remains silent, before looking at his teammates and announcing ‘We stay. We’re going to defend Utopia’. ‘About damn time. What took you so long?’ Wolverine asks. Scott replies that he had a few hundred lives and the fate of a nation to consider. Orders come: ‘…we move quickly. Kitty, I want you to take charge of the youngest. Keep them in reserve’ Cyclops orders. ‘…about the children! They could get killed…!’ someone declares. ‘…set up defenses at the outer perimeter…’ ‘..it’s coming in from above’ are exclaimed and announced. ‘Good answers’ Wolverine whispers.
Wolverine watches everyone, and thinks to himself ‘Look at us: They said it could never be done. Not possible. And so that’s what we believed. They said we were a threat. They said we were dangerous. Unpredictable. Evil. But we never believed that. They said we would never be united. That mutant would destroy mutant until only the strongest survived’. Logan recalls anti-mutant protestors, and his teammates Angel and Iceman battling villainous mutants the Blob and Toad. Logan looks at Charles Xavier and Magneto, and thinks ‘Cats and dogs living together. Turns out we were wrong after all’. He sees Xavier and Magneto shaking hands, and recalls that he never believed they would see this day, but admits he was wrong. He tells himself it is not always what you believe.
Logan looks at Cyclops and thinks ‘You were the one who believed the most. You were the one who told us, who said it out loud. It was you, Scott’ Wolverine remembers fighting alongside Cyclops, Jean Grey, the Beast and Rogue, and thinks that he had been to the end of the universe with Cyclops, been his friend, and been his rival, that they have seen some rough times and a few good ones. ‘But you were the one who brought us here. The question is: what next?’ Wolverine wonders.
Logan strides towards Scott, and stands alongside him, gazing out into the darkness that envelops Utopia. ‘Well. Here we go, I guess. Got anything in mind?’ Logan asks. ‘Nope. You?’ Scott replies. ‘Nope’ Wolverine tells him. ‘Bummer’ Scott mutters, before suggesting that they will have to follow Angel and wing it. ‘A wing and a prayer’ Logan replies. ‘Funny’ Scott tells him, before informing Wolverine that they could die today, as they have never faced anything like this. ‘Yeah, well…’ Wolverine begins. ‘We could lose everything’ Cyclops states, before asking Wolverine to say it out loud: ‘You think you can do this?’
Wolverine looks forward still, and tells himself that the end of the world is coming. He admits that he doesn’t think he can face it, he knows he can. Logan looks at Cyclops and replies ‘Sure. How about you?’ But Scott remains silent as he looks out into the darkness….