(St. Alamander Church, Barcelona Spain)
Maverick breaks into the church; the first thing he notices is the smell; death, blood and rotting flesh. He opens one of the interior doors and sees a body hanging from the ceiling. He wonders how many days this took, how long did he play with him? “Men of God shouldn’t be made to endure that much agony before meeting their maker.” He follows a trail of blood. “No one should.” He comes to a large set of doors; he readies his gun, and kicks in the doors. Inside he finds nothing but lit candles. He thinks that the reports were true: Sabretooth has gone over the edge.
Suddenly, from up in the rafters, Sabretooth speaks. He knew that it would either be him or Logan that would find him. Maverick sees him up in the rafters; Creed holds up a dead priest. He’s disappointed that is Maverick, because he doesn’t hate him as much as he does Logan. He dives at Maverick, who shoots him. Unfazed, Sabretooth asks if he knows why the killing can’t stop? He slashes Mavericks back; “It’s ‘cause I can’t pull it back together!” He tells him about how Birdy helped straighten things out in his head. But now she’s dead. Before he could finish, Maverick shoots him and Sabretooth takes off down a hallway, knocking down burning candles along the way.
In the darkness, Creed taunts Maverick, telling what he likes about him. The ‘eye of the tiger’ is what he likes second most about him. As Maverick sees him with is infrared visor, Creed yells what he likes the most; “The taste o’ your blood. Maverick! The sweet, sweet taste o’ your blood!” He stabs his claws into Maverick’s stomach. Sabretooth falls back to the wall; he further taunts Maverick by telling him that he’s not good enough, and doesn’t have the guts for the kill anymore. He breaks one of the windows; “Put the pieces together, figure out who’s been killed, then you’ll know why.” Sabretooth tells Maverick one last thing, as he jumps out the window, “Find him. Get Him to come after me, ‘cause he’s the only chance you got of getting’ the killin’ to stop!” As Maverick looks out the window, holding his open wound, he thinks that Sabretooth was right. There is only one man who can stop the killing.
(Outside Frankfurt Germany, Kurt Geinstach estate)
Kurt Geinstach asks for help from Garabed Bashur’s organization, the Executive Elite. Two weeks ago, it was a member of the British royal family, then a psychologist in Brussels and finally a priest in Barcelona. All killed with one common link. He hands him a picture. Bashur recognizes it as Creed. “Known in Central America as El Tigre, here in Germany he is called Der Schlachter. Sabretooth.” He wonders what would an innocent munitions manufacturer, have something to do with such a man as this? Geinstach goes on to explain that all of them were involved in a complicated transaction, involving a multiple exchange or arms for drugs, drugs for money, money for securities and securities for power. Run out of Cambodia, through Japan, and Frankfurt, and finishing in Switzerland. Creed was hired to clear all the routes. But the plan was put in jeopardy when a Japanese political candidate threatened to expose their operations. Sabretooth was forced to terminate him.
Bashur tells him he prefers not to accept assignments involving personal security, there’s too much potential for failure. Geinstach pleads with him; if he doesn’t get help he’s dead. Bashur agrees but he doesn’t want to place himself or his operatives in the same position. He recommends two others that could assist him: Wolverine and Maverick. With both having strong personal connections with Sabretooth, which may compel one of them to assist him. He then asks who is the Japanese connection Creed will seek next in his vengeance quest. The Jigoku underworld crime family, Clan Yashida, that was then headed by Lord Shingen. Bashur recognizes the name as someone that Wolverine killed several years ago. He notes that, if Clan Yashida is involved, Wolverine will not help. He refuses to return to Nippon, following the death of his fiancée, Lady Mariko Yashida. Bashur suggests that he contact Maverick, soon.
(Salem Center, Westchester New York)
Gambit and Rogue drive down Grymalkin Lane, well above the posted speed limit. Unknown to them, Maverick is watching them. As they fly through the gates of the school, Gambit continues to complain, but suddenly he sees someone standing in front of their path. As the car comes to a screeching stop, they recognize the person; it’s Bishop. He is standing guard, when he recognizes Rogue and Gambit. Gambit comments that he should come out with them sometimes, instead of trying to be a speed bump. He tells them that they came in without activating their perimeter override and he thought they were attackers. Rogue tells him to relax; he doesn’t always have to be on guard. Gambit jokes that Bishop has no choice, he’s a warrior who cant crack a smile or his face will break, all that tension weighing him down. Bishop coldly tells him that its better to live tense than to die relaxed.
From behind them, Maverick has them in his sights. He knows he has only one chance to catch them off guard. He fires three canisters of gas at them. Rogue flies to see who is attacking them, but Maverick shoots her full of anesthetic. As she falls to the ground, Maverick readies himself for the next attack. Gambit stumbles out of the gas and is quickly put down with some tranquilizers. Before he passes out, he wonders how he knows his name. Maverick comments that he knows a lot about him, none of which he likes. As he surveys the scene, he notes the one they called Bishop. He’s the most dangerous, because he’s the most like him: a soldier. But even soldiers fall in battle. As he approaches him, he prepares to shoot him with the tranquilizer darts, in case he’s faking it. He is, Bishop grabs him by the throat. He asks what he wants, but passes out. Maverick says he’s not here to hurt any of them; he only needs to talk to Logan.
Suddenly from behind him, Beast and Professor Xavier surprise him. Beast tells him that if that’s what he wants then he’s too late. Logan left weeks ago; to recover from injuries he sustained fighting Magneto. Maverick recognizes Beast and meets Xavier for the first time. Xavier recognizes Maverick as an operative with Logan before he became Wolverine. He confirms this; that’s why he used anesthetic gas on his students. He wanted to get in, get Logan and get out again. Besides Logan, none of them should have to stomach what has to be done. Beast disagrees as he jumps off of Xavier’s hover-chair and flips into Rogue’s convertible. “Try us.” Maverick begins to tell them; “It’s about Sabretooth.”
(Garabed Bashur’s Palatial Estate, New Delhi, India)
Mr. Bashur is met by Creed, but he is surprised by the formality of his appearance. Creed laughs at this. He’s found a pharmacist in Barcelona who helped him, for the short term. He gave him something to keep his head straight. Bashur wants to know why he came to him. He’s linked and he needs info and he needs to keep breathing. Creed needs a telepath. Bashur knows of one, an old man currently tended for by the Yashida Estate in the city of Agarashima. “Two birds with one stone.” Creed then asks what he can expect when he gets to Geinstach? Bashur comments that Creed is a much more frightening fellow wile lucid. Then that he can expect Maverick and maybe… But before he could finish Creed finishes for him. “Logan? Good.”
(Over the north Atlantic)
Bashur contacts Rogue, Beast, Gambit, Bishop and Maverick. He tells him that he is trying to contact Maverick for Geinstach, who has been trying to find him, for protection. But, as he was unable to find him, he came to him, as his information networks are far more extensive than his. Maverick asks where Creed was going. Before he was going to assassinate Geinstach, he was going to the Yashida estate, to an awaiting Silver Samurai.
Beast shuts off the monitor. He comments to Maverick that they know where Sabretooth has been and where he’s going but what they don’t know is why. “Of all his past assignments to seek retribution for, why this one?” Maverick asks what difference dose it make? It would be simpler if they just went ahead and sanctioned him. Beast would like to but, as tired as he is of hearing it and saying it himself, “If we were to kill Sabretooth because he killed others that would make us no better than he is.” Rogue agrees with this, all of them have a monster inside of them. Without the X-Men she could have ended up like Sabretooth, as could have Logan and even Remy. Gambit begrudging agrees, “Much’s I’d like t’jam a deck a’cards down the ugly boys throat.”
Maverick doesn’t buy it; he tells them that none of them are like Creed. “Ultimately, no matter the angers or passions you display or the mistakes you make, you are all in control of your own actions!” Rogue argues that’s all the more reason to help him. Maverick still disagrees; “Creed is a killer, by want as much by need. If it comes down to a choice of kill or be killed I know what mine is going to be! Can all of you; be so sure what yours will…” Before could finish Bishop interrupts him. “No one really knows what ones future actions will be.” Beast then decides that they should split up. Rogue, Gambit and Bishop are sent to Frankfurt to protect Geinstach, and Maverick and Beast will go to Japan to visit the Silver Samurai.
Bishop, Rogue and Gambit jump out of the Blackbird. Rogue lands first but is shocked at what she sees: the bodies of the guards. She enters the compound by breaking through the wall. Bishop examines the bodies. They’ve been dead for awhile; the bloods dry. Rogue hears something, Gambit thinks that it’s just the wind, but a body drops out of a tree behind them. It was Geinstach. Sabretooth was playing with them. “Just like he always did.”
As Gambit says this, Sabretooth jumps out of a tree above them. As he attacks him, he comments that Gambit’s been pretending to be on the side of the angles for a wile, so he wonders if it’s made his blood taste any less spicy. Bishop fires his weapon at Creed, “there may be no love lost between Gambit and me but he is still my comrade.” Creed avoids them, by climbing a wall. Once on top he tells Bishop, that Gambit’s got a history of betraying anyone who trusts him. Rogue grabs him and throws him into a wall.
As she attacks, Creed grabs her face, but his glove is ripped. And her power absorbs Sabretooth’s memories. She can’t stop screaming about, “The Blood!” Bishop takes stock of the situation, Gambit’s down, and Rogue’s losing self-control. Sabretooth stands up; he comments on how pathetic it is. “I really scare the sand outta you X-Men, don’t I?” He takes a swipe at Rogue, but misses. He then grabs her. Bishop tells him to put her down. But Creed goads him, “Or what, Boy? You honestly think you can get a clean shot on me without hitting her?” Bishop tells him, one shot through the forehead. “Oh, good answer. Tough an’ cold. You’re not a killer, you’re a soldier! And soldiers care about their troop mates.” He then offers Bishop a deal. “I walk away, an’ you get your little friends sewn back up, or we keep playin’ the games an’ they both bleed.” Bishop lets Sabretooth go. But, as he leaves, Creed tells Bishop, “Can’t say I’m not surprised, X-Man. Though for once I wish one o’ you X-punks would have the guts to go for it!”
Bishop contacts Beast in the Blackbird. He tells him that Gambit and Rogue are recovering. But he is still dismayed that the lack of preparedness led to such an untenable position. Beast wonders why he was given the choice to begin with, instead of just trying to kill all of them outright. Maverick thinks that Creed had another goal in mind, one that they don’t know about yet. Beast questions this but agrees that its possible. However, if true, they have to stop him before he kills again.
The blackbird arrives in Japan and is met by the head of the Yashida clan, Keniuchio Harada. He asks Beast what business they have with the clan. Beast informs him that they have come as potential allies, not as adversaries, as in the past. Harada wonders what cause would require the Silver Samurai to help them. Maverick tells him about Sabretooth and about the people he has been killing. He suspects that it involved the Lord Shingen, but questions why they are helping. Beast tells him that the X-Men are about saving lives, not taking them. “There is nothing simple about that, McCoy.”
After two hours of waiting, Harada asks Beast the question of why he is helping. He understands the warning but, as of two months ago, they were enemies. Help in this way brings him dishonor. Beast wonders if, placed in the same position, he might not do the same thing. “Sabretooth is a mutant, one with a big problem and the X-Men have made it their responsibility to help mutants with big problems when we can.” Harada asks if it would not be easier if Creed were simply killed? Beast tells him its because it’s an easier course is the reason why they are choosing not to take it. They all have a beast inside us; some have it within and some without. “But one thing we must all strive to do is to tame the beast, not terminate it.”
Outside the estate, in the trees, Sabretooth watches the guards. As they pass him, he drops down and kills one. He hides him in the bushes, then stabs his claws though the back of another other. He sniffs the air, and is suddenly surrounded by guards. But he just grins. Inside the mansion, Beast notices that it got quiet outside. Harada, now dressed as the Silver Samurai, tells the group that his men were immediately aware of his entrance on the grounds. He is certain that they have stopped him. Maverick asks if he’s joking. But no sooner than he said that, Sabretooth smashes through a widow in front of them. Demanding to see the telepath. Silver Samurai tells him that he’s right here, behind him. But he’s not going to say much to him. He goes on to explain that he was a highly skilled telepath, but when the bombs went off in Hiroshima, his mind was destroyed when he felt the death cry of and entire city wash over him. He hasn’t spoken sense.
Sabretooth is shocked at this revelation and realizes that Bashur set him up. He jumps behind them and grabs Tanaka. “I need him to give me the same glow Birdy did! I need him to take away the pain!” Beast tells him that, if he needs a telepath, the X-Men have three. If he wants help, they can give it to him. Suddenly, Tanaka speaks. “The blood.” Creed demands to know what he’s saying. Silver Samurai is amazed that Sabretooth’s mind was strong enough to awaken Uchio. He smells the blood. Maverick thinks it’s the blood on Creed’s body. Beast corrects him, “No… on his conscience.” Creed can’t take it, yelling to shut him up. Uchio’s eyes turn red, as his powers erupt, connecting all of them in a mind link.
Various images flash in Creeds mind and he recognizes some. “Through all the happy days? Iron fist, Logan Black ops…” The images stop at one image in particular. Creed recognizes it as Japan, Makurasaki. They see Creed sneaking up to a house. Inside, they see the couple living there. Creed tells them that he was a candidate for the diet from Kyushu. “He was threatening to expose a trade route his clients wanted kept mum. So, he had to be eliminated. An’ his wife, well, she was a freebie.” They then see blood spatter on the wall. As he was leaving the house, Creed notices something no one told him, “That they had a kid.” The child runs down the hall and out to the backyard, with Creed in pursuit. “A little kid. Who knew better than his parents did that he was a good as dead. So alls he wanted t’do was t’say goodbye to his little pet rabbit. An‘ I knew…” Beast is horrified at this. “You are a monster.” Creed continues, “I knew, that my soul would be condemned forever and that I’d never be able to do a thing about it, but I left and his eyes followed me all the way an’ I never forgot his stare.”
Coming out of the mind link, Silver Samurai asks what happened. Beast explains; Tanaka linked them to Sabretooth’s mind, so they could see the demons that are driving him to do this is killing Tanaka in the process. Maverick asks how long they were out? “Why didn’t Creed just kill us?” Beast tells him to look at the walls, covered with blood. “This is Sabretooth’s way of asking us to stop him.” He then realizes that he knows where he went to and he invited him to go there. “Sabretooth has gone to find Charles Xavier.”
(Xavier Institute for Higher Learning)
Next to the dock by Breakstone Lake, Sabretooth emerges from the water. In the rain, he runs towards the mansion. He enters one of the sliding doors. He sniffs the air and follows the scent; he finds Professor Xavier. He’s sitting in his hover chair in the library. He is aware of Creeds presence, commenting that he that he should put a lock on that door. Creed agrees but pounces towards him. In mid jump, Xavier attacks Creed’s mind, sending him back against a bookcase. Sabretooth slowly gets up, “If my head weren’t already messed up so bad, that might have really hurt, but you just weren’t good enough!” Charles coolly tells him that wasn’t his intention to do so. He then hits him again with a psychic attack. Creed, still groggy from the attack; “You don’t wanna kill me. That ain’t your style at all, shame of it is, that is my style, so’s it looks like the only way yer gonna stop me, is to kill me!”
He is about to slash Charles with his claws, but he is hit by an energy blast from behind. Its Maverick but, before he could fire again, Charles stops him; he has the situation under control. Creed growls as he looks to see who shot him. He sees the arriving group of Gambit, Bishop, Maverick, Beast and Rogue. Beast tells him that the only question is will it be his choice to stop the killing, or ours? Suddenly, Sabretooth yells at Charles, telling him to, “GET OUT!” He jumps behind Charles and grabs him by the neck, “Oh, that was tricky, distract me while cueball tries pryin’ into my head to take me down!” Bishop and Maverick aim their weapons at Creed. They tell him to let Xavier go; he’s more than willing to help him without the excessive threats. Bishop takes close aim at Creeds head, demanding that he remove his hand now.
Sabretooth doesn’t buy his threats, “I seen what’s inside you, Bishop. An’ we both know it ain’t enough t’get you to pull the trigger.” Bishop fires his plasma gun, hitting Creed in the head, knocking him out. Maverick covers the downed Sabretooth. Rogue is mad at Bishop for endangering the Professor. Maverick tells Rogue not to worry, Bishop knew exactly what he was doing, and Creed is still alive. The Professor interrupts them; he may be out, but not for long. What he has to do must be done immediately. He touches Creeds head and begins to search. Rogue and Beast question if it is wise if he enters his mind. “How else can we discern if Sabretooth truly wishes to be cured of his barbaric fits of violence?” Bishop wonders if he could guarantee if he could enter his mind and return without being corrupted. He never expected a guarantee of any kind. He then enters Creed’s mind, and collapses in his hover chair. Beast tells the group that the Professor is gone. Maverick doesn’t understand him. “To the astral plane, Mr. North. Inside Sabretooth’s Mind.”
(Inside Sabretooth’s mind)
Charles walks down a tunnel, alone. He hears the mourning cries of the dead; it smells of carnage and the smell of old blood clinging to the wall. Tattered ribbons of memories hang like cobwebs, slapping at him as he moves forward, trophies of once glorious hunts. Charles realizes that this is Sabretooth. Everything about him is centered around those he has killed. Charles smiles; if he remembers the dead, at the very least it acknowledges that on some level, Sabretooth places a value on human life.
Suddenly, in front of him, he sees Logan, Maverick and Sabretooth from when he spent time as a covert operative. He then realizes that he was walking backwards through Creed’s memories. The images fade, leaving Charles at what he thinks is a dead end. But it’s a break in his psychic defense. One that formed when Creed asked for help. Charles sees a boy, Creed, chained in a cellar. He wonders if it’s a symbolic memory or a literal one. He watches as the cellar door opens and Creed’s father tosses in a rabbit. “Dinner time, boy! You catch what you kill. You eat what you can catch.” Then slams the door shut. Charles steps out of the darkness; the boy sees him. Charles tells him that his father was wrong, that the choice is ultimately his to make. He picks up the rabbit and walks towards Creed, telling him that he can’t even begin to help, unless he is prepared to help himself. He has spent a small amount of time in the hard, cold place he has lived his entire life, not finding it to his liking.
He knows nothing about his life, Creed yells at Charles. But Charles knows more that he wants to. That he fear the bloodlusts, but are also addicted to them. And innocents have paid for that addiction. He is a man of violence and cruelty, but he hides behind this childish façade of blamelessness. Creed reaches out to the rabbit in Charles arms. The rabbit smells him and jumps into his arms. He cradles the rabbit, “You’re not like Birdy. She made me forget the pain.” Charles bluntly tells him; “And that was her mistake.”
As the Professor awakes, Bishop asks him what happened. “I’ve made a decision, Bishop. Sabretooth stays here.” Maverick wants to know who is going to be responsibility of trying to tame him. “I will. Sabretooth has escaped the authorities too many times and too many have died as a result. He must be contained.” He will hold Creed here. “Who else could handle him?”
Creed stands on the dock by the boathouse with Charles, protective covers on his hands. Creed tells him that it was a mistake. Charles thinks he means the program, “I cannot allow you free access to the grounds.” But that’s not what he means. “Am I gonna be a prisoner now, baldy?” It is. But Charles asks him if he would rather be locked up in a maximum security cell at the Vault? Creed wonders what’s the difference, “you all hate me s’much as I hate you.” Charles doubts that, he senses that the students hate him quite a bit more. But they understand the need to stop someone like him, requires drastic measures. “Yes, you are a prisoner of this house until such a time as we find a way to cure you of these murderous rampages.”
Creed doesn’t believe him; “Yeah right, like I’m really scared, Charlie.” Charles says he should be, he wants the killing to end, no matter what it takes. As they walk back to the mansion, Creed asks, “You think your man enough to stop me?” “I know I am Creed. Watch me.”