Red. All I see is freakin’ red. I’d like t’ think this wall just another dream, only try as I might t’ wish otherwise I know it ain’t. Decipherin’ dreams have become a big part a’ my life these last few months. Tryin’ t’ figure out what’s real an’ what’s not. Like me, Wolverine, killin’ that Senator fer instance. Was that somethin’ that just woke me up in the dead of night or did I really do it? The general public, S.H.I.E.L.D. – hell, maybe even my teammates in the X-Men certainly seem t’ think so an’ with my mug plastered all over TV doin’ the deed, it’s certainly hard to argue.
So I wound up in a super-human lock-up called the Cage as a result where his mysterious “friend” tipped me off to the identity a’ the lowlives behind this and I lost an’ eye t’ boot. But believe it or not, that ain’t even the best part. The best part comes when my “old pal” Sabretooth busts me out of jail an’ brings me here – to the Weapon X program. No, this ain’t a dream, it’s a freakin’ nightmare. Weapon X, the place that started it all – the experiments, the adamantium bones, the claws, the memory implants; all in an effort t’ make me their personal killin’ machine. ‘Course I had other ideas. But seein’ as all that was years ago, how come I find myself here again?
Retrained to a table wearing a metal helmet that covers the top part of his head and eyes and covered in wires and tubes, Wolverine begins to wake up. One of the doctors monitoring his situation informs his boss that subject: Experiment X is awakening. The man in the shadows tells him that he can see that, he’s not blind.
Defiantly, Wolverine tells him that he will be if he doesn’t let him outta there. Or if he’s hurt the Beast, where is he, an’ where’s Sabretooth, that dirty sonufa… The man in the shadows tells him ‘relax Experiment X,’ the Beast is within this facility, having his injuries treated. Sabretooth on the other hand, is otherwise occupied. Wolverine replies to correct him if he’s wrong but didn’t he wipe out all o’ them clowns and their freakin’ Weapon X program a while back? The man in the shadows tells him that he did. But they brought the band back together again, a new and improved version for the new millennium, if you will.
Wolverine says that he guesses that makes him the bandleader. The man tells him something like that. The people there call him the Director; it’s as good a name as any to describe him he imagines. Wolverine says that he has a better one fer him – dead man. The Director remarks that was amusing, as much so as the helmet has now become. Asking someone to remove it, he states that he thinks that it’s lost its sense of nostalgia by now. When the helmet is removed from Wolverine’s head, it reveals more wires leading into his empty eye-socket. The Director says much better and asks Wolverine to please excuse the device in his eye. They’ve taken this opportunity to monitor his regenerative powers as he grows it back. He hopes he doesn’t mind.
Wolverine asks him who he’s kiddin’, he’s gonna do it anyway, whether he likes it or not. The Director tells him point well taken. Walking out of the shadows he asks him that he doesn’t remember him, does he? No, why should he, he supposes. He’s as insignificant to him now as he was then.
Fresh out of the army, I was a young handsome soldier who thought he had the whole world awaiting him. Oh, how naïve I was. So naïve, in fact, that I actually had the audacity to be excited when I received my orders – guarding an installation that housed a joint U.S./Canada top-secret project. I needn’t tell you what the name of that project was. Mind you, I had no knowledge whatsoever as to the nature of the program itself. I was far too low on the totem pole to be privy to any information of such importance. However, the secrets of what lay behind those gates I patrolled would be uncovered soon enough, whether I wanted them revealed to me or not. I was only a few short days on the job when it happened. You should remember, it was the day you escaped.
You busted out of the facility like a bat out of hell, cutting and slashing everything and everyone in sight. Nothing could stop you – except you, I imagine. And you sure weren’t going to, at least not until you had butchered every living thing in your wake. Everything that is, except me. Perhaps it was the absolute terror you sensed within me, the way I shook as you approached, the way I lost all bodily control. Whatever it was, you had something special in mind for me even though I posed no threat to you in the least. You started cutting me to ribbons. The body at first, then the face – oh, how you focused on the face. Slash, after slash, after slash, after slash. God, how I prayed you would stop, but you just kept at it, howling like a mad animal.
Then, without warning, your bloodlust had finally been satisfied and you left me for dead. Only, miraculously, I didn’t die. Frozen in the Canadian winter, bleeding from every part of my body, still I refused to allow your despicable act to extinguish my life. Lucky for me, I was found hours later. The men who found me became ill at the living massacre my face had become. But at least I was alive. Lucky me.
Thinking to himself, Wolverine doesn’t remember doin’ what he said he did but Lord knows that don’t mean it didn’t happen. He then tells the Director that he may have gotten a bum deal when he carved up his face but maybe it’s cause a’ the bum deal he got after what was done t’ him in that place t’ begin with. When he busted out, he was more animal than man, looking t’ lash out at anythin’ in his way, includin’ him, he guesses. The Director says to him so that’s his rationale? A man who was just a soldier following orders, that’s all – no one of any consequence – he deserved to be brutalized? He deserved to have his wife leave with his children because they couldn’t stomach to look at him? He deserved this? With that, the Director steps out of the shadows and shows a shocked Wolverine his face.
In New York City at the Millennium hotel, Maverick knocks on John Wraith’s hotel room door. After Wraith answers the door, Maverick tells him that he called, he came. Is this about what he thinks it’s about? Wraith tells him that he’s afraid so. Maverick replies cripes, if what he’s told him is true. If the old Weapon X program has decided to round up all its old members and Wolvie was just the first. Appearing from behind the corner, Sabretooth tells North there ain’t no “ifs” about it, that old train’s pulled in again an’ him an’ Wraith are along fer the ride.
Back at the Weapon X facility, the Director tells Wolverine that it’s ironic, isn’t it? His associate Sabretooth had a similar reaction to his appearance when they brought him back into the fold. Wolverine thinks to himself that’s a puss even ol’ Vic would have to back up from, he did some number on this guy. The Director says to him that he bets he’s wondering why he didn’t get any reconstructive surgery. Wolverine replies that the thought did cross his mind. The Director tells him that it did cross the minds of the doctors who treated him as well. They thought he was insane, and perhaps he was.
For a while, he permitted them to repair some of the nerve damage he’d inflicted to his body, he would not allow them to alter his face. For a face so badly damaged, what help is medical science anyway? Could they give him back the eye he took from him, the cheekbone that was pulped beyond all recognition? Could they fix it so he had anything that even remotely resembled a human face? Of course not, so instead it would serve as a constant reminder of what he did to him.
At first, as he began the long road back to regaining his career he was no more than an outcast – placed in a secluded office away from prying eyes and queasy stomachs. But that would soon change. Eventually, as his obsession elevated him through the ranks, the military bigwigs could no longer ignore what had been his ultimate goal all along – the renewal of the Weapon X program. Let’s face it, with mutant affairs the way they are today, how could they not support a program that utilized these potential enemies as weapons?
After what happened with Magneto in Genosha, Senator Kelly being assassinated, even those sympathetic to the mutant cause had to admit the battle lines had been drawn. His plan was approved, the clincher being the different approach they’d take this time. Instead of kidnapping mutants against their will, they’d offer them their only chance of salvation by working with them. Wolverine asks so they’re basically askin’ mutants t’ become collaborators against their own kind? T’save their hides from the inevitable war between man and mutant? Figures Sabretooth was the first t’ sign up for that. The Director tells him actually, Sabretooth wasn’t their first recruit, he was. Those dreams he’s been having about killing, some of them weren’t dreams at all – he killed for them.
Out in the hallway at the Weapon X compound, one of the guards mentions to the other that he can’t stomach looking at the guy. Just the other day in fact, when he was briefing them he thought he was gonna lose his lunch right there. His fellow guard tells him he knows but recommends that he keep that to himself. If he hears him talk like that… The guard says don’t get him wrong, he really admires the guy. Picking himself up like that after what those damned muties did to him. And what he’s got planned for them, oh boy. Just then, the Shiver Man emerges through the wall. When he does, one of the guards asks what the hell that is. After shooting them both with his handguns and morphing back into the wall, the Shiver Man tells them redemption.
Back in New York, North yells at Wraith for selling him out. Wraith replies that he’s a company man, he always knew that. Besides, aligning himself with this new outfit was in his best interests. His too, he’ll see. He’s just sorry it had to go down like this. North tells him he’s sorry too and proceeds to grab Wraith around the neck and sticks a gun in his side. He then asks him if he thinks he can pull a fade-out before he pulls the trigger, he’s betting no.
At that moment, Creed tells North to hold on a second, it ain’t like that. The new Weapon X wants t’ bring him into the fold too, just like they’ve done with him an’ John. Wraith says he’s right. It’d be like before with Team X only higher stakes. Trust him on this, the government’s not fooling around this time. They’ve already wiped out anybody who’s ever been associated with the old program so be happy they still think they can be of some use to them. Creed tells North to join or not join, either ways fine by him. ‘Cause they may have sent Wraith t’ make him the offer but they sent him in case he says no.
Wraith tells Creed that he’s not helping and says to Mav the he’s seen what they have planned. And believe him, he has no idea how far they’re willing to go. Recruiting assets into the program is only phase one. When phase two rolls around, he promises him, he won’t want to be a mutant who’s not onboard. They’re giving him a chance to save himself, to be on the winning side for a change. Maverick replies that he intends to be and shoots his gun. When he does, it clips Wrath and hits Creed in the gut.
Picking himself up off the ground, Creed tells Maverick that was stupid, very stupid; the hard way it is then. Leaping at Maverick, Creed drives his claws into Maverick, slams him into the wall and tells him that he never could make a good decision, even when the cold hard facts were starin’ him right in the face. The shame fer him is that this decision is a fatal one. With that, Creed throws Maverick through the window.
At the Weapon X facility, Wolverine emphatically asks the Director what he means he killed fer him. What did they do t’ him? When he gets free from there, he guarantees him there’s gonna be more killin’. Only this time, he ain’t gonna like his choices. The Director scolds him and asks if that’s any way to talk to his new benefactor. Now if he’ll allow him to continue:
When they started the new program, they wanted a clean slate. They returned to the original Weapon X installation to see what they could retrieve, such as files on prior members that needed to be eliminated, and the like. But they never dreamed they’d be so fortunate. They managed to retrieve his mental implants; the way the original program was able to control him. By reactivating them, they brought him in under their control. They now had the perfect sleeper agent, someone they could point at the fat they needed trimmed.
At first, they merely used him as a hound, to sniff out those various ex-members who had grown expendable. They did most of the work themselves, the car bombings, the drive-by shootings and so forth. The dreams he was having, as well as his increased violent behavior were an aftereffect of these events, his mind’s way of coping with what he had done. But now they come to Senator Drexel Walsh. That was a whole different kettle of fish altogether. There was a high-ranking protected government official who they had learned was going to snitch on the original program and that was something they simply could not allow to happen.
They opted to send him in personally for this job, but something went wrong. The shock to his system over actually committing murder for them disabled his implants. He was in a fog, and he failed to complete his assignment and destroy all the surveillance equipment in the area. Unsure of what he had done, he went on the run. And worst of all, try as they might, they could not bring him back. He was lost to them and they needed some way to reel him back in. Arriving on the scene, Brent Jackson says that’s where he came in. The Director says to Logan that he believes he knows him.
In New York, Creed looks out the broken window and wonders what the hell – where’s the big freakin’ splat? Up above him, North asks if he’s looking for him. Dropping a grenade, he tells him that maybe this will help him with that splat he was talking about. Once Creed is knocked backwards, North says so long and calls him a poor excuse for a human being. He then asks himself what now? He needs to bust Wolvie out for starters. Of course, first there’s the matter of finding out where Weapon X stashed him. Just then, Creed grabs him by the ankle and asks ‘lookin’ fer me?’
At the Weapon X facility, Logan calls Jackson a lousy piece o’ garbage and says that he was workin’ fer Weapon X the entire time. Jackson smugly replies guilty as charged. The Director states that Agent Jackson has been their mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. for some time. When his, Wolverine’s, implants disengaged, he positioned himself to lead the team to capture him. Jackson says that by then, the whole affair was too public. He couldn’t just march him back there. They had to send him to the Cage first for appearance’s sake. Then, once they were able to acquire that facility’s access codes, they got Sabes to bust him out and voila!
The Director adds and, now that he’s back, it’s just a simple procedure to reestablish his mental connection to them. However, they can do without the memory implants if he agrees to join them on his own. An aware operative is always much better to work with. Logan defiantly says ‘yeah, like that’s gonna happen.’ The Director tells him to hear him out first. He stated earlier that they ask mutants to betray their race just to save their own skins – not so. They’re offering much more than that. Mutants with disfigurements (Chamber, Marrow, and Nightcrawler), mutants who can’t control their own powers (Rogue), mutants who want to enhance their own powers (Toad), even non-mutants looking to find themselves (Deadpool), they offer help for all of them there.
Logan replies gee, this place is a regular Willie Wonka an’ the Chocolate Factory. The Director states in a way. Take him, Wolverine, for example. He is now a fugitive from the law and they have the ability to sweep that away, see that someone else takes the fall. Logan replies that he’s been a fugitive practically his whole life, ain’t nothin’ new t’ him. The Director tells him to wait, that’s just the beginning. He told him they recovered his original memory implants. But what if he told him that’s not all they recovered? What if they told him they were able to restore his memory, his real memory? No longer would he wonder who he is, where he come from, or even his own name.
Just then, an image of a young farmboy, a young red-haired girl, and another young boy flashes in the mind of the Director. What if he told him that from what they learned from these implants, they were able to control his rages? No more constantly wrestling with the demon inside. He could now live his life as a normal man. Logan says he’s gotta say it’s interestin’ but so’s this, bub. What if he told him when he gets outta there, he’s gonna carve up his face so bad this time, he’ll be able to suck it up through a straw? And what if he told him, Agent Jackson, that he’s gonna take this pair of adamantium claws and stick ‘em right up his…
The Director yells at him “enough!” and asks doesn’t he ever tire of these unnecessary violent outbursts? Thankfully, they won’t have to hear them for much longer. The Director then tells Dr. Duncan and Dr. Zira to prepare Logan for re-implantation. As they place the apparatus over Logan’s head, he thinks to himself that he hates bein’ this freakin’ helpless. He can’t do anythin’ to stop ‘em, an’ that means they’ll have him again – body an’ soul.
In New York, Maverick proceeds to shoot Creed with his gun. As he does, he says to him that they are titanium bullets he’s hitting him with after blowing him up. How is he still standing? Creed tells him that it’s all courtesy a’ the program. A little nip here, a little tuck there. Like givin’ him his adamantium skeleton back and kickin’ his healin’ factor up a notch. An’ that’s only part a’ what they gave him.
With that, Creed slashes Maverick, picks him up by the neck and slams him to the ground. Maverick tells Creed that in all this talk about his powers, he seems to have forgotten about him and proceeds to blast Creed in the face with a hand blast. As Creed begins to rock backwards, Maverick tells him that he remembers, doesn’t he? He has the ability to turn kinetic energy into concussive blasts from his hands. And that’s plenty enough for him. Blasting Creed again, Maverick tells him that he and Wraith can talk until they’re blue in the face but he’d never go back to those monsters at Weapon X for a few touch-ups. Not to mention sell out his own people like he’s done. He makes him sick.
Standing over a downed Creed, Maverick tells him that, just so he knows, he’s going to kill him now and calls him traitorous piece of… Before he can do so, Creed hops up and jams his fist directly into Maverick’s chest and tells him ‘do tell.’ Raising him up, Creed tells him to do him a favor – save the “sellin’ out yer people” speeches fer the Xaviers and Magnetos o’ the world. The only “people” he’s ever been concerned with is him! Speakin’ o’ which, he never finished tellin’ him what else the program gave him – carte blanche t’ kill anyone an’ anythin’ he sees fit. Can he believe it? He can kill a school bus full o’ kids an’ the government just sweeps it under the rug. An’ costumed yahoos like the X-Men an’ Avengers can’t do squat about it. Boy, is he gonna have some fun.
He then tells Maverick that it ain’t too late fer him t’ reconsider. The program can put him back together, even after somethin’ like this. He’s givin’ him a last chance. Spitting in Creed’s face, Maverick tells him to go to hell. After throwing Maverick off the building and he crashes to the ground below, Creed laughs and tells him eventually.
At the Weapon X facility, Doctor Duncan informs the Director that the new implants are still integrating. The process should be complete in… Just then, the implant integrating machine is blown to pieces by the Shiver Man who appears out of nowhere and begins to fire his guns. Realizing the situation, the Director calls the control room and orders them to send troops to that area immediately. Groggy, Logan recognizes the Shiver Man and wonders “what?”
The Shiver Man informs him that he trailed Jackson there for Fury, learned what they did to him. He is innocent, they are not. Thanks to the Shiver Man, a naked Logan discovers that he phased him outta the restraints. He begins to wonder what his deal is but decides whatever it is, he’s just glad he’s on his side this time.
On the radio, the Director informs the control room that Experiment X is free and that they must teleport him out of there at once. Logan hears his call and lunges at him with his claws. Unfortunately for him, the control room is able to teleport the Director out of there at the last second and Logan’s claws meet nothing but air. After missing, Logan decides all that means is that he’s gonna have a tougher time findin’ him and slashes through the door. When he does, he finds himself faced with a number of Weapon X troops.
Logan immediately gets behind the wall for cover as the troops open fire. As the Shiver Man stands in front of the gunfire, Logan tells him that he wants him do somethin’ fer him. He wants him to go and find where they’re keepin’ the Beast, he’ll handle this.
Back in New York, Creed enters back into the hotel room to find that Wraith is still alive. Wraith tells him that he won’t be for... much longer unless… have to help him… call the program… they can still… fix him up. Looking at him, Creed tells him that Maverick had a point about him. He’s too much of a mystery, always were. Nobody knows where he really stands after the chips fall. When Creed grabs his face, Wraith asks him what he’s saying. Creed replies that he’s sayin’ this. Sure, he hooked up with Weapon X but the truth a’ the matter is, he ain’t as hooked in as they might think. He has some plans a’ his own an’ he don’t need a “company man” around screwing things up.
With that, Creed crushes Wraith’s larynx. Picking up a radio headset, the person on the other end asks him what his status is. Creed tells him not good. Things got a little messy. Wraith is dead an’ Maverick… The person on the other end tells him there’s not time for that now, they’re ‘porting him back to homebase because they’ve got a situation there.
At the Weapon X facility, Logan is mowing through the Weapon X troops very easily. While he does, one of the troops tells the Director via his communicator that they’re getting massacred; he fights like nothing he’s ever seen. Just then, Logan kills the soldier and picks up his communicator. The Director asks if Criden is there, to which Logan tells him it ain’t Criden and that he wants him t’ know he’s all finished dicin’ up his little foot soldiers there an’ he’s comin’ fer him next.
Slumping to his knees, the Director tells the control room to prepare teleportation transport for all members to the nearest installation and to begin the self-destruct sequence. Running down the corridor, Logan hears that the self-destruct sequence has been activated and that it will do so in four minutes. He realizes that he’s gotta get outta there but that he can’t leave without Beast. Up ahead, he sees the exit and sees something start to materialize in his path – Creed?
Standing before him, Creed tells Logan “well, well, well. Look who they finally let out t’ play.” As Logan and Creed begin their battle, Logan knows there ain’t no words. With them, there never has to be. They’ve danced this brutal ballet too many times before. Flip sides a’ the same coin, they are. Each already knowing what the others thinkin’ before he does it. Nope, no need fer words – just violence. During their battle, it is brutal, neither one giving an inch or taking one. Slash after slash, punch after punch, kick after kick, and stab after stab.
Eventually, Logan senses that there’s somethin’ different about him this time. Call it a cockiness, no, more than that – it’s a certainty he has. Maybe it stems from the fact that while he had the X-Men to back him up all these years, now he’s got the whole flamin’ government. He figures he’s one-upped him again. But no, it’s even more than that. He’s stronger, faster, more durable, better. Every time Logan thinks he has the upper hand, Creed fights back and beats him unmercifully. After punching and slashing Logan numerous times, Creed picks him up over his head and drops him down over his knee, severely injuring his back. At that point, Logan isn’t sure he can take him. An’ the kicker is, he knows it too.
Just before Sabretooth delivers the killing blow, the Shiver Man shows up with Hank McCoy in tow and shoots Creed in the back. The Shiver Man then informs Wolverine that, in his words, he’ll handle this. Looking at him, Logan thinks to himself that he’ll handle this? Who does he think he…? Decision time – does he stand there arguin’ with creepy while the clock is tickin’ or does he… He decides no, there ain’t much of a decision at all. And as much as he hates duckin’ outta a fight, any fight fer that matter, but especially one with Creed, he’s the one who got McCoy into this mess an’ it’s his responsibility t’ get him out.
At the last second, Logan is able to grab Hank and gets out of the complex before it explodes. As he does, the Shiver Man confronts Creed and tells him that his day of judgment is at hand. Outside, Logan figures that’s it and then sees the Shiver Man emerging out of the flames. Watching him pass by, Logan asks him what happened in there and what happened to Sabretooth. The Shiver Man doesn’t respond, only walks by in silence.
Several days later, Logan is having a beer with Nick Fury in a local bar. Wearing a patch over his eye, Logan tells Fury that he doesn’t know what t’ say. First, his man Shiv winds up savin’ his hide an’ now he’s usin’ his S.H.I.E.L.D. connections t’ make ‘em look in another direction with this murder rap. If he didn’t know better, he’d think he was becomin’ a decent human bein’. Fury tells him to keep it down, he’s gonna ruin his rep.
Seriously though, there is a downside an’ a major one at that. By coverin’ up his involvement in the assassination, he’s coverin’ up Weapon X’s involvement as well. Logan replies that they’ve got them in a no-win situation. He’d be more than willin’ to take the fall if it only meant exposin’ the program, but that also means exposin’ that the assassin was a mutant an’ that may be far worse for mutantkind than any damage Weapon X could do. So, they’ll get away with it, with turnin’ him into a murderer an’ he’s gotta live with that.
Fury says no more than he has to live with Jackson slippin’ through his fingers. There’s nothin’ more he’d like more than to bring down that smug dirtbag and his Weapon X program but he can’t. That damned program has clearance from the President himself an’ for what he hears, they’ve got his ear even more than S.H.I.E.L.D. does these days. But rest assured, he will find a way eventually. In the meantime, word to the wise, this war between man an’ mutant is going to get ugly real fast – so watch your back. Logan tells him that it ain’t his back he has to worry about, it’s theirs.
Watching them on monitors, Jackson asks the Director if he thinks the implants took. The Director tells him that only time will tell and not to be concerned. This situation was but a minor setback in the grand scheme of things and it cannot derail what they have already so carefully orchestrated. Wolverine may have been a pet project of his for obvious personal reasons, but he was just the beginning…