It was the very first international incident involving mutants, and the footage played around the world. In fact, unless you were living with your tribe in the middle of the rainforest, you had probably seen and heard about it.
The cameras at the world conference had recorded the strange white cloud expanding out from the Statue of Liberty, but the most interesting shots came from inside the statue.
Security cameras at the entrance had captured the mutants as they passed the metal detector: A tall slim man with a strange visor, a white-haired woman, a red-haired woman, and a man with claws. They were wearing similar black leather uniforms.
As they walked through, the last man set off the metal detector and in one swift movement his claws shot out and disabled the device.
He was on camera the longest, and there was a clear shot of his face.
The man might have forgotten his past, but his past remembered him.
It had been a long night. He needed a drink. It had been up to Nick Fury as the director of S.H.E.I.L.D. to ensure the safety of the world leaders and somehow his people had messed up. The first that he knew of Magneto's plan was the strange cloud heading his way. He had wanted answers and Magneto wasn't talking yet. The doctors said he couldn't be questioned until later in the morning. Then someone had found the security footage.
Now he sat in his quarters on the helicarrier with the image of a man's face frozen on his computer screen and an old photograph in his hand. The photograph showed a group of soldiers in front of a tank in Paris, France the day it was liberated from the Nazis. Nick had his arm around a brunette and a bottle of wine in his hand. Beside him was a smaller man with hair sticking up in two points, his arm around a redhead and another bottle of wine in the other hand and everyone had a cigar. It had been one hell of a party.
It was amazing. It couldn't be him could it? Sgt. John Logan had disappeared years ago. He would be an old man now. But it sure looked like him.
The old Complex was sure run down, almost nothing left, and what was left had been burned... to cover up any tracks. It was frustrating, his mind said no... he had never been here before but his instincts and the fact that this place made him feel strange told him that his past partly belonged to this place, but in what way? Had he worked here; was it here that they'd taken him; or maybe they did all the horrible things in his dreams right here...
Six, shiny, metal claws shot out from his hands, and he screamed and trashed a large pile of rubble that was still standing... He came for some answers and all he got was more questions... just as he always did.
Unprofessional behavior?!? Fury stopped inches from smacking the young guard into the interrogation room.
"You listen, Boy. I'm about as far above you in the system as you are from an amoeba, now step aside and open this door." Nick Fury one of the most respected and most decorated soldiers around was not being let in to the Magneto interrogation by a 22 year old runt... He shifted the cigar in his mouth.
"Sorry, Sir. I have standing orders that you are not to be let in to the..." The interrogation room door opened and a big man came out.
"Nick, if you go in there, we know that you would go ape on the old fart." The big man placed a hand on the young guard. "The kid here is only doing his job."
Fury placed the picture in front of his friend's eyes.
"Remember him?" Fury took a puff on his cigar.
The man looked at the photo and closed his eyes... "Fury.. John died, don't start up that crusade..." He was interrupted by a second photo.
"Funny isn't it?" Fury looked at the picture. "Doesn't he look just like our old friend from the Canadian special forces? The guy that saved both our lives and vise versa?"
The big man looked and swallowed...
"Hines, I told you never to call me here. It's not a secure number."
"But, Professor, it's him. Weapon X!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Don't you watch the news? He was one of the mutants that wrecked the Statue of Liberty! His face is everywhere."
"How are you so sure it's him?"
"Who else do you know with nine-inch metal claws? It's him."
"Hines, we've got to get to him. He's not exactly without enemies and if his face is on the news, every one of them will come looking for him. Activate the team and send them to New York."
"What about the Alkali Lake base?"
"What about it? He'll never find it, and even then, it's been burned to the ground."
"But if he goes back..."
"Ok, send a few guys out there, too. But it's a waste of time."
Nick Fury was incensed. First off, he was in a sweat suit and socks. They couldn't risk him wearing any metal around this guy, but it was hard to be intimidating in comfort-wear.
Secondly, Magneto wasn't talking.
"I know you know this man," he said, holding up the picture. "He was at the Statue of Liberty. Where is he? How can we find him?"
Magneto kept his mouth shut. Why were they looking for Wolverine? He was with Charles' people, and probably lived at the school. But he wouldn't tell them that. No one was going after Charles but him.
"You know that beast, Ogun?"
"Indeed, Shingen. That bestial man was the greatest student I ever taught. Over four decades ago. Yet he remains unchanged today. I knew there was something more than human about him."
"He seems very skilled," Shingen's daughter, Mariko, observed. She didn't voice her opinion that he was also handsome.
"Leave us, Mariko. What we are about to discuss is a concern for men."
The demon ninja and one of the highest ranking members of the Yakuza discussed plans.
Nick Fury was continuing his fruitless interrogation when a young officer ran in.
"What the hell are you doin' bustin' in here, Boy?"
"Sir, we've got an identification on Magneto."
"Do not speak of me as if I wasn't here child."
"Ya ain't in the mood to add to the conversation, so I don't care if he does ignore ya."
"His name is Erik Lensherr, Sir. He used to work with the CIA in tracking down war criminals." The young man handed over the dossier and left.
"Ya were in the camps."
"The concentration camps. I'll never ferget 'em. I helped liberate some of 'em and it just made me wanna toss all those Nazi scum inta the ovens where they put your people."
"Mutants are my people. And don't patronize me. You are far to young to have been in World War II."
"It's called the Infinity Formula. Practical immortality and it sucks. I'm older than ya are sonny-boy. And if ya were in the camps ya should be bendin' over backwards ta help me. That man is one of the biggest heroes of the war. The Canucks don't get much credit, but Logan an' another one, a guy named Creed helped save my unit's butt a bunch a times. The Howlin' Commandos wouldn't have lived long enough to be famous without those two."
Magneto, or Erik, whichever you prefer, held his head in his hands as he contemplated this new information.
'The Howling Commandos! Those men were famous, even if I didn't know there names.' Magneto thought.
"Come on ya dead beat! Tell me what you know!" Fury yelled at him as he slammed his fist on the plastic table.
"Wouldn't you like to know Commander Fury. But I doubt those beasts would even recognize you." Erik said.
"It's Colonel Fury. And what do you mean?"
"The blonde man who was with me. His name is Victor Creed. I certainly had no idea he was one of the Howling Commandos."
"He wasn't. I'd just been assigned the command and the whole team was rookies. We were bein' pounded on 'til those two came in with their unit an' saved our asses."
"Colonel, you think he's telling the truth."
"You saw him too, Dum Dum. I knew the blonde guy looked familiar, but he's changed a lot. Now, I wanna know what ya know about Logan!"
"Very little except he knows nothing either and his skeleton his merged with a metal that is very easily manipulated by magnetic energy."
"What do you mean, 'his skeleton is merged with metal'? How..."
"Colonel Fury, we've got an I.D. on one of the other mutants."
"Lemme see that," Fury said as he snatched the bio sheet from the young corporal. "Dr. Jean Grey?"
"Yes, sir. We I.D.'d her from last month's senate hearings on mutant issues. She was one of the speakers. She works at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters."
"Roger that, we have Weapon X in sight. He seems to be searching around in the rubble. What are our orders?"
"Keep out of sight and stay downwind of him. The rest of the team will join you in three hours. If he attacks or tries to leave, shoot him."
Nick Fury pulled up the drive of Xavier's School. According to his people Dr. Jean Grey had been with the man who looked like Logan when Magneto had been taken down and would have answers. While he was curious about why four people with mutant abilities had decided to wear leather jumpsuits and fight the evil in the world, what he was really after was any information on Logan.
He knocked on the door and waited. After a few minutes it was opened by a young Asian girl with the most beautiful blue eyes he had seen.
"Hello, Col. Nick Fury of S.H.E.I.L.D." He said showing his badge. "I'd need to speak to Dr. Jean Grey".
~Jubilee please bring our guest to my study,~ said the professor.
"This way," Jubilee said as she lead the tall dark haired man to the professor. The door opened as they reached it, and a group of students poured out almost running them over.
"Thank you Jubilee that will be all," said the Professor.
She stepped out and closed the door making enough noise to make it sound like she had left and put her ear to it.
"Hello, I'm Professor Charles Xavier. Dr. Grey is unavailable at the moment. May I help you?"
-2 hours earlier-
Scott, Jean, and Ororo were waiting outside of Cerebro.
"This is a waste of time. Logan can take care of himself."
"Scott, what if he doesn't know that he's on the news. He could get into real trouble if any FOH spot him."
"More likely, it's the FOH that would be in trouble."
Immersed in Cerebro, Professor Xavier concentrated, searching for that distinctive personality that was Logan. ~Logan.~
A string of curses flooded his mind followed by, ~What is it, Chuck? I'm busy.~
The professor stifled a mental chuckle and informed Logan of the security camera footage.
~No one seemed to recognize me when I drove out here, but thanks for the info.~
Just then, the wind shifted and Logan picked up the smell of Aquavelva, Brute, and gun oil. There were three men about 500 yards to the north hidden in the trees.
~Gotta go, Chuck. I've got company.~
~I'll send help.~
~Don't bother. I think I can handle three guys.~
That's when he heard it. Two or three choppers headed his way. ~On second thought...~
Logan sprinted through the rubble of the old base trying his best to dodge the bullets coming from the soldiers to the north. He had to get to the bike and get out of here before the choppers could unload. He took a round in the shoulder and another in the thigh, before he made it to the trees. He'd stumbled, but kept going.
He could distinctly hear three choppers now. One stopping above the main road, where he'd left his bike, and the other two heading over to the frozen lake. That'd be the only clear place to land in the vicinity. The one by the road was probably de-embarking passengers by ropes. They were trying to cut him off, surround him.
When he heard the explosion, he knew they'd found the bike. 'Scooterˇ¦ll be pissed that I lost his bike. Oh well.'
His objective changed as he ran East trying to get out of the area before they could set up their perimeter.
He wasn't quick enough. Helicopters were faster than he was on foot. Soon they were everywhere, and he was having trouble distinguishing between scents. He realized they'd placed snipers in the trees when shots rang out. He took three in the chest, one in the gut, and one in the back of his head. The head shot made his ears ring and darkness cloud his vision as it ricocheted off his adamantium. He fell and let the darkness take him.
He awoke to the sounds of boots on ice, the jarring feeling of being carried, and the smells of four men close-by. He was on a cot, trussed up like a turkey, his hands tied behind his back and his feet tied and pulled up to his hands.
"Why'd we have to tie him up like that? There's no way he's getting away with those injuries."
"Orders. Shut up, Johnson, and signal the chopper."
If he was going, now was the time. *Snikt.* With a fluid movement, he unsheathed his claws and cut through the ropes around his feet. His hands were at the wrong angle to cut through the ropes on his wrists, so he'd have to make do. He jumped off the cot, kicking and spinning, slashing with his claws on the way around. They didn't have a chance. Their comrades on the chopper saw what happened, however, and started firing.
He ran away from the chopper out across the ice. He was hit again in the chest, but he wasnˇ¦t letting it stop him. Then, he heard it.
The ice below him gave way, and he fell into the lake. His adamantium skeleton made him about as buoyant as a lead brick and he immediately sunk below the water. The stinging water pricked his skin like thousands of needles, and it took all his will-power not to gasp for breath.
Even if his hands were free, he would have had trouble swimming up to the surface. With his hands tied, there was no chance.
The ninja master Ogun and her father had left to track down the foreigner. Mariko slipped back into her father's office. She picked up the old photograph that Ogun had left there. It showed the man they had seen on the TV looking the same but dressed in traditional Japanese clothing.
Mariko was used to living in a world of shadows, layered meanings, and dangerous men. She had learned to be a good judge of character and to listen to her instincts. Putting her attraction aside she studied the face in front of her. Her father and Ogun were bringing him back to Japan, and she needed to know what kind of a man he was.
It was hard to hear through the thick wood of the Professor's study but Jubilee managed to catch the name Logan before Xavier told her to leave. Something was up. All the students knew that the plane had taken off from under the basketball court a few nights before and everyone had seen the on-going coverage on the news. They knew that their teachers had saved Rogue and the world leaders.
So her teachers had a thing for leather and saving the world was an after-hours job. Yeah, it was weird, but her whole life was weird ever since her powers had shown themselves.
The one thing she knew was that Rogue had become a friend and that this Logan guy had saved her life and was one of them. Now it seemed that the law was after him about something. Maybe he'd stolen someone else's motorcycle. Jubes snickered at the thought. The look on Summer's face had been priceless. She hoped that the Professor could somehow warn Logan. Rogue said that he'd left to try to find his past, that he was headed back to Canada to some old base that began with an A.
By this point she had reached the front door again and saw John, Bobby, and Kitty admiring Fury's car. She headed over to them to tell them what she had heard but noticed something in the car that started the wheels in her head to spin. A plan was forming.
"Jubilee what are you thinking?" asked Bobby as he noticed the grin making its way over her face.
"No time, Icecube. Kitty can you get me inside the car?"
"Sure. Why?" Kitty asked suspiciously.
"Exactly," said Jubilee "Now get me in there and hand me a disk would ya? Bobby, John keep an eye out, if a dark haired man with an eyepatch comes out, stall him."
Kitty knew she was in trouble, but grabbed Jubilee's hand and phased them into the front seat of the car and handed her the spare disk. Jubilee started up the computer that was built into the car and began hacking with Kitty's help. They'd finally gained access and started looking for anything on Logan or the week's events, downloading promising top secret S.H.E.I.L.D. files onto the disk beside Kitty's history report on ancient Roman religions.
Nick walked out of the school with more questions than answers. There was a lot more going on here than met the eye. There was a group of teenage students around his car.
"OK, kids, away from the car," he said as he walked up.
Bobby and John tried to warn the girls, but Jubilee had to get the disk and turn off the computer. She handed Kitty the disk and reached over to hit the power button letting go of Kitty's hand just as Kitty phased out of the car.
Bobby and John tried to distract him and blocked his view enough so he didn't see the girls, but there was no way Kitty could get Jubilee out without the man seeing. Jubilee jumped into the backseat and hit the floor. Nick climbed in without looking in the back seat. He was completely unaware of his passenger as he took off down the road.
'OK, J. Don't panic! He has to stop sometime. You'll just get out when he does, call the school, tell them it was just a joyride and get grounded for life. Everything will be just fine,' she told herself. She almost believed it, too. At least until the car shifted, and she got the sudden feeling of being in an elevator as the treetops she had been seeing slipped from sight, and all she could see was blue sky. She risked a quick peek out the side window and realized that they were flying! The destination was a huge flying ship of some kind.
'Oh yeah, Lee. Everything will be just fine.'
Logan's world had narrowed down to the burning in his chest as he kicked with his legs trying to reach the surface. He couldn't really feel his legs anymore. He hoped that they were still working. He knew he didn't have long but he refused to give up.
Kitty ran into the computer lab, with Bobby, St. John, and Rogue hot on her heels.
"What do we do about Jubes?" Rogue wailed.
"She'll probably just get out of the car when he stops." Bobby said.
"I don't think so," Kitty said as she read the computer screen. "From the information I'm getting, he must work for some top secret government agency. What if he takes Jubilee to some compound she can't get out of?"
'Ok, Lee, think. You're on board some kind of floating ship with no way down, no way to ask for help, and you've gotta get out of this car before someone walks by and spots you. This was so not a good idea.'
As the Blackbird approached the coordinates the professor had given them, it picked up a jumble of activity. Two helicopters were circling the area while one hovered over the lake, and the scanning equipment showed the ground was covered with soldiers.
"Looks like Logan got someone's attention. There's too many to fight. Jean, use your powers. Find Logan, and we'll pick him up."
Jean closed her eyes and concentrated. She'd felt this mind before; it shouldn't be too hard to locate again. When she found him, she was overcome.
Chest burning... body numb... trapped... can't breathe... gotta get up... gotta get out.
"Jean!" Scott's hand, shaking her shoulder, helped her pull back into her own mind.
"He's trapped under the ice."
Scott paused for a moment and then said, "Ok, here's the plan. Jean, Storm get back to the hatch. I'll lower the jet and set it to hover just above the ice, then I'll join you. Use your powers to raise him to the surface, and I'll use my blasts to keep the soldiers back." It wasn't the best plan ever, but time wasn't on their side.
Scott tried to keep his beams to lower intensity. He didn't want to kill any of these humans, just keep them back. When a helicopter swooped in on a strafing run, he had to increase the power and hope for the best. The helicopter fell from the sky about 200 feet from the jet, the ice cracked immediately, and it started to settle into the water.
"Hurry up," Scott called as he saw the other two choppers on the way.
"We've got him," Jean grunted and Scott ran back to the pilot's seat.
As he buckled in, he could hear 'Ro's astonished voice, "He's blue! Is he breathing?"
Jean let her mind briefly touch Logan's. "He will be in a second. Get us out of here, Scott!"
"Close the hatch," Cyclops called over his shoulder as he sent the Blackbird skimming over the surface of the lake.
"Shut!" Storm shouted. She quickly grabbed onto the seat farthest back when her team-leader pulled the aircraft up sharply.
Jean muffled a curse as she wrapped Logan in every blanket they had on board, forcing her telekinetic powers to the limit to keep both of them from bouncing around the cabin. ~Scott!~
~Sorry, Jean,~ Scott sent back down their psi-link. ~The bouncing will stop once we can go into stealth. Right now they're shooting at us.~
"Storm, cloud cover," Cyclops ordered as the dark mutant settled into the co-pilot's seat.
Storm smiled slightly as her eyes blazed white. "Why didn't I think of that?"
While Storm and Scott worked on getting them away, Jean worked on keeping Logan alive long enough for his healing factor to work. She had already stripped off all of his soaked clothes and wrapped him in the blankets, but it wouldn't be enough, she knew. There was only one way to warm someone with hypothermia out in the field and Scott was not going to like it.
Jean checked Logan's vital signs again and then unzipped her uniform.
'I'm a doctor saving a patient' she told herself as she finished undressing down to just her panties and slipped under the blankets, snuggling as close as she could get to the unconscious man.
Jubilee laid on the floor of the parked car. 'Now what?' she wondered. She was in a kind of hangar bay inside the big floating ship. Col. Nick Fury had left without finding her or noticing anything about the computer. She'd lucked out there.
'Options Lee, A.) I hotwire the car and fly it back to the school. Yeah right. B.) I stay in the car and wait for him to decide to visit Earth again hoping that I don't get caught. C.) I find a bathroom cause I really have ta go and snoop around some then figure out a way home. The main computer should be up here somewhere right? Logan, when I get out of here you're gonna sooo owe me.'
Since choice C seemed the only reasonable option, and the only one that allowed for a bathroom break, she peeked her head up to the rear window of the car and looked around. The hangar was deserted. Good.
'Probably don't need anyone down here unless you're coming or going,' she thought.
Off to the right side of the hangar was a Maintenance sign. She headed over there and found the maintenance office. It had a changing room with lockers and a bathroom! Thank heaven.
After matters were attended to, she started looking through the lockers. Only two were unlocked and only one had anything of any use: overalls and a cap.
'I'm gonna ruin this outfit with those greasy overalls. Oh well, I guess Logan owes me a trip to the mall now, too.'
Once she was incognito, including the strategic placement of oil smudges on her face, she left the hangar.
Jean was cold. No, not just cold, freezing. Instead of her body warming Logan up, he was actually cooling her off. It must have something to do with his metal skeleton holding in the cold.
The lake water didn't help. About six minutes into the flight, Logan had started to cough. He must have swallowed half the lake judging by how wet she was.
By the time the plane landed, she was shivering so violently, it was hard to keep the blankets covering them. She had slipped out from under the blankets and was struggling to put her uniform back on when Scott and Ororo came back.
"Nnnot now, Sssscottt. Get a ssstretcher." She said through chattering teeth.
Ororo moved quickly, grabbing a stretcher from its place in the hangar and ran back to the plane. She and Scott wrangled Logan onto it and carried him to the med bay, Jean shakily following behind.
Once there, Jean moved to Logan's side and started giving orders. "Ororo, get an electric blanket. Scott, turn up the heat in here; I'm freezing."
Jean hurried to the medical supply cabinet and pulled out two IV bags of heated saline. It's a good thing she keeps a few on hand during the winter months. They'd help heat Logan from the inside while the blankets worked on the outside.
She put an oxygen mask on Logan and hooked him up to the heart monitor. Then she started to go through the list of drugs that he might need.
Just then, Logan's eyes snapped open and he jerked his head around, taking in his surroundings.
"Logan, it's ok. You're safe. How do you feel?"
Jean smiled, "That's understandable. Your healing factor seems to be kicking in. You'll be fine in a little while. Try to get some rest."
It always worked in the movies. It even worked on TV. It just hadn't worked in real life. Not five minutes after she left the hangar, Jubilee was discovered.
It wasn't that surprising once you thought about it. After all, she was only 16, and she looked her age. The rest of the people she'd seen on her trip to the brig were older, and definitely more on the crusty-soldier side.
She'd been sitting in her cell for about an hour when she got a visitor. It was that guy from the school. The one with the eye patch.
"Ok, kid. What d'ya think you're doing here?"
"Well... I was looking for the bathroom."
"Don't give me that crap, girl."
"Okay, fine. I heard you were looking for Logan. I barely know him, but he's a friend of a friend. If Marie would've just moved a little faster she'd be here too."
"Depends on who you ask? I say she's his girlfriend."
"Master Ogun we have located the foreigner that you seek," the kneeling ninja said respectfully. "He is at a school in Westchester, New York. Xavier's School for Gifted Children"
"Then we go to New York," said Ogun to Shingen.
Logan got up and dressed. He needed to talk to the Professor. He needed to know why the military was after him and then he was going to have to leave. He couldn't bring this kind of trouble or attention to the school. The kids here deserved better. He had no right to endanger them this way.
As he headed out he passed Scott who gave him a dirty look. He must be really sore about the bike.
"Sorry about the bike, Bub," he said as he walked by.
"The bike? What happened to my bike?" Scott asked.
Wolverine just kept walking.
"Well that's it," said Kitty to the assembled students. "All I can find on Logan is that someone that looks like him was part of a special forces unit in the Canadian Army during WWII. It went on missions first in Europe and then in the South Pacific, particularly an island called Madripoor. After the war, it went classified."
"If Logan was a part of that unit he'd be over 75 years old," said Bobby softly.
"Maybe it wasn't him but his dad," said St. John.
"He does have dogtags, so he was in the military at sometime," Rogue replied.
"What are you children doing?" Storm asked as she walked into the room. Having that many students clustered around a computer was not a good sign.
Kitty quickly switched the screen to a game she had kept in the background just in case one of the teachers came around. Turning she said, "Nothing, Miss Munroe. We were just playing a game."
"None of you should be playing games when you have history reports due tomorrow. Speaking of which. Where is Jubilee? I didn't see her in class."
"Oh, she's not feeling well. She's up in her room taking a nap. You probably shouldn't disturb her."
The doorbell rang.
"Very well, I'll go see her in a few hours. I'm going to get the door and when I get back, I expect to see all of you working on your reports."
"Logan, I wish you would reconsider. If you stayed at the school, we could provide some protection."
"I can take care of myself, and I don't want to put these kids at any risk. Thanks for the lead on this Colonel Fury. Do you think he's behind those troops that attacked me?"
"I didn't get any feelings of hostility towards you when we talked. In fact, I believe he knows you and likes you."
"Hard to believe, huh?" Logan said as he opened the door and headed out into the foyer. The professor followed behind. Ororo was at the front door talking with someone.
Nick Fury rang the door bell with his right hand and clutched the girl's collar in the other. He'd find out what she was doing at the base soon enough. She certainly wasn't talking to him.
A white-haired beauty answered the door. "Yes, may I help you?"
Nick pulled Jubilee out in front on him. "Does this belong to you."
"Jubilee?" a male voice called out.
Nick looked behind the white-haired woman at the professor he'd spoken with earlier. There was a man standing next to him.
He couldn't believe it. He looked exactly the same! "Logan?"
As soon as Storm left the room, Kitty switched back to the information on the disk.
"OK, as I said that was the only information on Logan. The name given for the soldier was John Logan. His rank is listed as Sergeant," Kitty said. "The rest of the information doesn't make much sense. It's mostly seems to be some kind of financial information for some government agency referred to as S.H.E.I.L.D. It doesn't say what they want with John Logan, though."
"All right," said Bobby, "I say we get online and see what we can find on one Sergeant John Logan. Ms. Monroe did say to work on history. WWII would count wouldn't it?"
"I'll get into Canadian Army records," said Kitty.
"I'll look into this Madripoor place," said St. John sitting down at another computer.
"Rogue and I'll look up American military records of the time," said Bobby as he and Rogue grabbed the third computer.
Around the walls of the school crept a small army of men in masks. They kept to the shadows taking advantage of the growing dark as the sun set in the west. Their orders were to wait until dark and then take the one named Logan alive. Anyone else was expendable.
Ogun sat on a low hanging branch with his men around him. 'Soon my old 'friend'. Soon' he thought to himself.
Logan looked at the man who stood in front of him. He was 6' tall with black hair greying in places and a patch over one eye. He was smoking a cigar and looking like he'd seen a ghost.
'Do I know him?' Logan asked himself. He took a deep breath through his nose letting the air swirl around in the back of this throat. 'The scent is familiar. I know that smell.'
Their plan might have worked if the house they were surrounding didn't contain one of the strongest telepaths in the world. Unfortunately for them, this one did. The professor had been observing the reactions from Logan and Colonel Fury when he felt the strange minds. Dozens of strange minds. They were after Logan, and they were going to attack the school.
~Students, this is Professor Xavier. Wherever you are, I want you to bolt your doors and close the shutters on your windows. If you are not in an area that can be secured, please move as quickly and quietly as possible to a safer location. Jubilee, join the students in the computer lab.~
It took the girl moving into the house to break his focus on Logan. "Hey, come back here."
"Colonel Fury," the professor said. "Thank you for returning our student, but perhaps it would be best if you left now."
Fury wanted to argue but had the same strange feeling he'd had in his previous talk with the Professor, that everything was fine and to just leave. That's why he'd wanted the girl to talk so bad, but she hadn't intimidated easily, and there was only so much he could legally do to her.
As he questioned his impulse to leave now that he had finally found his friend or at least someone who looked enough like him to give him some answers, the lights went out in and around the school. He caught a glimpse of a red haired woman and a man with red sunglasses racing up the hall. Then all hell broke loose.
Jubilee knew she was going to be in trouble when she got back, but a hoard of ninjas? 'Yes Lee, life as a mutant is definitely weird even by California standards.'
She had just made it through the door and turned to fight. Logan and that Fury guy were already outside the front door punching and dodging. She saw one ninja coming up behind Logan and paffed him then stepped outside to get some more. She was careful not to kill them, though that didn't mean that they wouldn't be feeling it for some time to come.
'Who is this guy?' she asked herself as she watched Logan fighting off five ninjas at once. 'He has moves that would turn Jackie Chan green with envy.'
Fury caught glimpses of the people around him fighting. These were definately the same mutants from the Statue of Liberty. The white haired woman was floating in the air while gusts of wind blew the ninjas away from her and lightning struck the ground keeping them away from the school. The man with the strange visor/sunglasses was blasting groups apart and the red haired woman had one just hanging in midair in front of her.
Some noise to his right caught his attention and he looked in awe as some ninjas that had tried to get into the school through an upstairs window were sliding off on a thick sheet of ice with their pajamas on fire thanks to two teenage boys sticking their heads out the window. The boys high-fived then glanced in the Professor's direction before going back inside and closing the window again. Fury was trying not to laugh as he took down another opponent.
He saw Logan fighting beside him with the girl throwing out fireworks as cover. Logan took a sword stroke to his cheek, not being able to move fast enough to avoid it. Fury watched it heal immediately, as he had many times in other fights. Yep, it was definately Logan.
Ogun figured enough playing. He worked his way through the fight to within a couple of feet of Logan and withdrew some small round pellets. He threw them in the middle of the group fighting to defend the front door. The pellets exploded with a bright flash and thick gas formed as the chemicals came in contact with the oxygen in the air. Six people fell down unconscious leaving only the beautiful windrider fighting to defend her friends.
There were just too many of them. Storm did her best but couldn't stop the ninjas from taking Logan, and then the one in the red and black demon mask paused and picked up Jubilee. Storm tried to follow but another pellet was flung at her, and as the gas hit her, she fell to the ground just inside the front gates where the blackness claimed her.
Logan woke up to a deep thrumming sound and the sensation of being on an elevator. He was sore and his head hurt but he was mending. He lay still with his eyes closed, trying to take in his surroundings using his other senses. He was definately on a plane.
"I know you are awake Logan-san. You have no need to pretend with me."
Logan opened his eyes and saw a ninja with a red and black demon mask holding a knife to the neck of a still unconscious Jubilee. Yep, he was on a cargo plane full of ninjas.
"Who are you and what do you want with me? Whatever it is let the girl go and we can settle it," he said to the masked man. It was best to find out what was going on and look for escape possibilities, not that he could see any options.
"I am wounded that you would forget your old teacher Ogun. You are returning with me to be what you once were, my top assassin. As for the girl, she will be insurance and holds potential." He said as he caressed her cheek in a way that made Logan's skin crawl.
"Returning where?" Logan asked.
"Japan," Ogun replied.
Jubilee woke when she felt the prick against her neck. Someone was holding her and there was something sharp at her throat. 'Oh, J, this is so not good.'
She slowly let her eyes drift open and immediately regretted it. The light in the plane was making her splitting headache that much worse. 'Wait a second, plane?'
She opened her eyes again to see that she was indeed inside a cargo plane, surrounded by ninjas. Logan was across the aisle talking to the guy holding her. She must be hurt worse than she thought. She couldn't understand a word he was saying. She felt like she was in a bad foreign film, without the subtitles. She half expected Godzilla to grab the plane any second.
"When did you learn Japanese?" she asked Logan.
Nick Fury woke with a splitting headache and looked around. There were teenagers everywhere and the professor and the other people that had been fighting were waking up around him. Wait a second, strike that, Logan and the gal with the sparkler hands were gone.
He grabbed the blonde haired kid that had iced the roof earlier as he walked by. "Where's Logan?"
"They took him. They took Jubilee, too."
"What? We've got to go after them."
The professor spoke, "Colonel Fury, perhaps it would be best..."
"No way, you're not pulling that trick on me again. I know who you are. I know who you all are, and I know that was Logan. I'm going after him and you can join me and help or get outta my way."
"Kid, stay still and shut up," Logan growled at Jubilee his eyes never leaving Ogun's face. He wished that he could see the man's face. "They ain't playing with a full deck. Not if they think I'll do their killing for them."
Jubilee wanted to yell and kick and scream, but the way Logan said it, she listened.
"Oh I am quite sane, and you will kill for me," Ogun replied again in Japanese.
Logan tested the chains holding his arms, but there was no way to get his claws out and do any damage. Jubilee's hands were behind her and she couldn't use her powers either. Ogun motioned to one of the masked ninjas and a cloth with a strong smell was tied over Logan's face. Jubilee's face was the last thing he saw as he slipped back into unconsciousness. 'Is my past worth this?' was the last thought to make its way through his head.
Jubilee watched them drug Logan and he didn't fight it! She started to struggle, and the dude with mask just tightened his hold and laughed. The ninja that just finished with Logan came towards her. She kicked at him, but he maneuvered around it, and another wet rag was put over her mouth. She went out like a light.
Jubilee felt a cold hardness under her. It was quiet and still. Slowly she opened her eyes. She was alone in a cell somewhere. There was one window high on the wall, and bars on the door. She got up to look out the window since no one appeared to be in the corridor in front of her cell.
She saw Logan in what looked like a garden, tied upright between two stakes. He was being beaten, and it looked like it had been going on for some time. He also didn't look like he was healing right away. The masked man sat and watched along with another Japanese man, and the place was full of ninjas and some other tough looking guys. A man in a monk's robe stood near Logan though he wasn't talking to him, just looking really hard. She had to get out, but her hands were still tied behind her. She couldn't use her powers, and she couldn't pick the lock. So she watched.
As the day progressed, the anger grew in her stomach as they just kept it up. At one point a beautiful woman in traditional Japanese clothing came out to sit by the Japanese man.
"Bitch," Jubilee hissed under her breath, "Probably his girlfriend coming to watch the show".
Later a man approached. He wasn't a ninja but more a suit and tie type. He bowed low, spoke, and handed a file to the now red in the face Japanese man. Even Mask Boy turned his attention away from Logan for a time. "Oh poor babies, bad news? Believe me once I'm out of here you'll have bad news," Jubilee mumbled to herself as she pulled against the ropes around her hands for the hundredth time that day and for the hundredth time they stayed put.
The Japanese man was up and motioning to henchmen to follow. Even Masked Man got up after giving orders to the ninjas. Some went with him and a few stayed but they stopped beating on Logan and just left him hanging. Jubilee noticed that the woman stayed, though her face unreadable. Finally as the sun was setting and Jubilee could hear cars pulling away, she too left. That was when the rain started, the cold spring kind. They still hadn't taken Logan down. He just stood there and so did Jubilee.
There was the sound of footsteps approaching her cell. A ninja and a woman with a tray of food came in.
"Lady Mariko has ordered to feed you. She has also ordered that you not be harmed." Miko said.
Jubilee looked at the food and hungry as she was, she didn't trust them. On the other hand they had to untie her to eat right?
"Sure," she said as she started to turn her back to the woman. Miko untied her but as she turn around to attack there was the ninja's sword less than an inch from her throat. He shook his head and at that point English, Japanese, Polish, it didn't matter. She understood perfectly.
Jubilee ate quickly and was retied before they left. She went back to her post at the window. No one seemed to be feeding Logan and the rain still came down.
Mariko had been sitting by her father when the foreigner, Logan, was being disciplined for leaving all those years ago. He bore it as silently as possible with only a few grunts and groans. When he lost consciousness they would pause to let him heal and start again. She hated it. There was a nobility to this man and her father was being a fool.
Then one of the men from the Madripoor office came and made a report that a rival gang had taken over part of her father's territory there. He went through the roof. He and Ogun made plans to leave immediately for Madripoor and teach the competition proper respect. It felt wrong to Mariko, but there was no stopping her father, and it gave her an opportunity to at least protect the girl for now. As soon as the men had left she ordered that the girl not be touched. Unfortunately, she had been ordered not to move or feed Logan until Ogun's return.
Two days had passed and no word from her father. Then came word that he had disappeared in Madripoor and the worst was assumed.
"Lady Mariko, you should contact your cousin," Miko said softly to her mistress.
"No time," said Mariko as she put on her sword. "He may be the my only male relative, but he is out of the country now."
Ogun was behind this, she knew. She had to solidify her hold as her father's daughter and head of the family. She knew that her father was dead, Ogun would not have left him otherwise. Why her father had chosen to align himself with criminals simply for profit, she didn't understand. He had sold her family's honor. Theirs was one of the oldest samurai clans in Japan.
She would need help and the man staked out in her garden was that help. The ninjas feared him even as they beat him daily. She and Miko heard the stories whispered among them of his past battles and skill. He did not deserve what was being done to him. She knew the story as to why he had left Ogun. He had been ordered to kill a woman and two children simply because a client had wanted to pressure the husband. He had refused and exposed the client to the authorities instead.
She was going to get him out of there.
"Ok, I'll need your security camera footage. A place like this, you've got security cameras, right? I also need any information you have on why ninjas would be interested in Logan." Nick Fury was taking charge so as not to waste a moment in the search.
"Wait a second," Scott interrupted. "Who're you to be giving us orders."
"Look, kid. Logan and I were kicking butt long before you were born. I think I have a little more experience. Plus I do have some resources you don't have available. First thing we have to figure out is who that guy in the mask is. If I can get a good picture of it, I can send it to my people and track down the owner..."
The professor interrupted. "Scott, it's obvious that we've been discovered. It's pointless to withhold any help we can give that would help return Logan and Jubilee. Scott, Ororo, get the security footage and pull out any good shots you can. Jean, get Rogue and sit down with Colonel Fury. I want you to tell him everything we know about Logan. I'm going to Cerebro."
Two days later, they'd still found nothing. The mask was an ancient samurai headpiece that had been on display in the British Museum until about 50 years ago, when it'd been stolen. It hadn't been seen since.
The information that Jean and Rogue had on Logan was sketchy at best and didn't extend past 15 years ago.
The Professor had been unable to locate them with Cerebro. At first he picked up a few stray thoughts, but the link disappeared before he had a chance to find a location. He thought perhaps they'd been rendered unconscious.
Now, however, they could be anywhere in the world. That was a lot of minds to go through. He was exhausted and he wasn't even through U.S. and Canada. A standard search expanding out from Westchester just wasn't going to work.
Ninjas had attacked them. Maybe he should focus his attention on Japan. The professor put the Cerebro headpiece on and went back to work.
Jubilee stared helplessly at the figure outside of her cell.
'He doesn't look so hot,' Jubilee thought.
Jubilee slumped down to the cot that was serving as her bed for now. She looked around at the room.
'What am I doin'? They want me confused and scared by staring at Logan. They're trying to scare me into not escaping. I can get rid of these ropes! It's the oldest trick in the book. Argh! And I fell for it,' Jubilee shouted in her mind at her lack of thought.
Jubilee kneeled down on the ground and fell to one side and brought her knees up and extended her arms so that she could bring her arms through her legs.
'Ah-ha! Did it, eat that you second rate bunch of ninjas.'
Jubilee then started to attack the rope on her hands with her teeth savagely.
"Marie, you alright, chere?"
"Ah'm okay, Remy. Jus' worried 'bout Logan."
"Dat's understandable. Remy want to help out if he can."
"Ah don't know how ya could."
"Well I hear somethin' bout a mask dat was stolen. I might be able to get some info 'bout it."
Miko came quietly down to the cell and paused to watch the American teen trying to eat her way through the ropes.
"Perhaps this will make things easier?" she asked holding up a knife.
Jubilee nearly jumped out of her skin and had said some very nasty things about sneaky ninjas.
"I am not a ninja child. I am a samurai of the same clan as Lady Mariko and am here to get you out."
Logan sagged in his ropes. The drugs that they had been slipping him in the water they gave him was keeping him confused and his healing factor from working fully. The nightmares were the worst. Unconsciousness brought them on with a vengeance. And for some reason, he couldn't get a berserker rage going. If he could release the beast inside he could get out, but it seemed to have been caged somehow.
He wasn't sure how long he was hanging out there, but he'd survived what those butchers had done to him in his nightmares, and he'd survive this. If he could make them think that he was worse off than he was, maybe they would slip up. Not much of a plan but it was the best he could hope for. He waited, and he hoped.
It was night now and the rain had finally stopped. He heard the soft footsteps coming and stayed still. He heard the thump of a body hitting the ground, and he stayed still. The smell of blood came in his direction. He felt a small hand gently caress his face and smelled the now familiar scent of the beautiful woman who had been watching him since he had first woken up here. Under other circumstances, he'd have asked her out for a drink. Right now, he knew he couldn't trust her. He stayed still.
Mariko stepped over the body of the monk, her sword gleaming in the moonlight. He'd been a telepath in the employment of Ogun, trying to break Logan's mind while the ninjas worked on his body. Now he would not be able to interfere. Her people were in position to take out the remaining handful of ninjas. Ogun had taken his most skilled fighters with him, leaving only a few lesser trained men behind. Her home would be hers again. There was just the matter of uniting her clan and regaining its honor, and for that she needed this man's help.
He looked like he was barely breathing. She reached out and touched his face with her free hand. She meant the touch to see if he was conscious, but it turned into a caress. She was so caught up in the feel of his skin under her fingers that she didn't register at first that he was watching her. Their eyes locked, and she felt herself blush. This was not the time.
"Logan-san," she said softly, "I know that you are a man of honor. I will release you and the girl on condition that you give your word to help me stop a war."
Logan looked her hard in the eye. That touch had affected him more than he wanted to admit, and she was with the enemy. He shouldn't give her his word on anything, but it wasn't just him in this situation. He had dragged that student of Xavier's into it, too. Jubilee didn't deserve this.
"You help me get the girl out of here, and I give you my word." he rasped out.
Mariko cut the ropes and tried to catch him as he fell. Jubilee's hands were helping her as Miko stood guard with her sword drawn. The sounds of fighting could be heard at that point as the samurai clan fought with the ninjas.
"Take him to where the map shows you," Mariko said looking Jubilee in the eye. "Everything you need will be there. I have to help my family now."
Jubilee started pulling and pushing the barely conscious man to a side door in the wall of the garden.
"Come on Logan, let's blow this place."
Nickie stopped outside Col. Fury's quarters and knocked on the door. She heard his muffled "Come in" and stepped in.
"Nickie have a seat," Fury said motioning to the couch.
"You should be getting some sleep," she said.
"I needed to ask you if you knew anything about a man named Charles Xavier."
"He helped discover the X Factor gene, he now lobbies for mutant rights. Yeah I've heard of him" she replied.
"Ya know he's a telepath like you?" Fury asked.
"No I didn't though it makes sense," Nickie replied.
"He runs a school full of mutant kids training them to use their powers. Most of them are runaways. Some of them along with an old friend of mine brought down this Magneto character".
Nickie looked at Fury. They had worked together for a few years now. She knew that she was the only telepath that he trusted in his head and even that was at a minimum. She knew it was due to his need for control and to keep his secrets and not because she was a mutant. She could appreciate that and they had formed a strong friendship.
"A school to train mutant kids. You know, I've been hearing other people's thoughts since ever since I can remember. Before the X Factor gene was discovered they figured I was crazy because I could hear voices in my head. I remember being given medicine to try to make me normal. Afterwards, I was still a freak, only now we knew there was no way to make me normal. I could have used with a school like that. Probably saved me some grief." She said looking Nick in the eye.
Nick looked away and rubbed his eyes to try and lessen the headache he had going. "I've been careful what I've written into any reports, but I need the situation monitored. Think you can keep an eye on this school? So far they've done nothing but help, I just want to be able to say that we were aware of things if need be. I may want to recruit some of his older students too, form a team of our own. It's our job to keep the world safe not civilian vigilantes."
Nickie smiled "I'd love to."
'Ok, this guy is, like, really heavy.'
"C'mon, Logan. Think you can help me out? It's just a little further."
She got no response, but he kept stumbling along beside her, so she figured he was doing the best he could.
It had just started to rain again when they finally reached their destination. It was a gazebo. The roof was covered, and as she entered she discovered that it was heated. In one corner, were blankets, towels, and a suitcase. There also appeared to be a jug of water and a container of what smelled like some kind of soup.
She set Logan down by the entrance and went to get the towels. As she started to dry him off, she saw him look up at her.
"Hey, Logan. Think you could eat some soup?"
She got up and grabbed him a bowl of soup.
He reached for the soup with shaky hands.
"Don't sweat it. I'll help you," she said as she held the bowl up to his lips.
Professor Charles Xavier had been searching in Cerebro for hours without a break when he felt it. It was like a haze had suddenly cleared. Like a telepath he hadn't even known had been there was gone and along with him, the shields around the people he was guarding.
He took off the helmet, and to the 'big, round room' he said, "I know where they are."
Logan finished the soup with Jubilee's help and leaned his head against the wall. He was starting to feel a little better. He figured it was around midnight. He should be completely recovered by morning.
He opened his eyes again and looked at Jubilee.
"You ok, Kid?" he asked. "They hurt you any?" He didn't see any bruises.
"Don't call me Kid, and I'm fine. Masked Dude was busy with you and then split. Your girlfriend back there put out standing orders to leave me alone." She had noticed the exchange between the two as Miko led her away from the cells even if she couldn't hear what they were saying. Here she was trying to save his butt and he's flirting with bad guy's bimbo.
Logan didn't understand the hostility but let it slide for now. "Sorry to get you into this. I'll get you out and back to the professor and your folks. That's a promise."
Jubilee looked away. "My parents died when I was ten. The only people who care if I live or not are there at the school. They're my family now."
Logan didn't know what to say so he stayed silent. His body wanted to sleep but he knew that they were still in danger. He had to stay awake.
"Why'd you help me?" he asked breaking the silence.
He noticed that Jubilee looked embarrassed. "Marie is my and Kitty's roommate now so that makes her family, and you're special to her so that makes you one of us, too. You like saved her life and like saved the world and then left. Then we were watching the news, and your face was all over it, so when this old dude with an eyepatch and a badge came to talk to Dr. Grey, only she was like gone so he had to talk to the professor, and I heard your name, I like decided to like check him out." She paused for a breath while Logan closed his eyes like he was in pain. "You ok?" Jubilee asked.
"Yeah, Kid, I'm ok. And you still haven't told me how you ended up with Fury."
"I'm getting to that part and DON'T CALL ME KID!" she yelled the last part. "Anyhoo, like I was saying I decided to check him out, so I went out to his car and...." Jubilee proceeded to tell him about her ride in Fury's car and her trip to the helicarrier.
"So Kitty has the files and Fury is connected to S.H.E.I.L.D." Logan said trying to make sure he actually understood the girl.
"Yep. He kept asking about you, but I think it was more personal. I showed me this photo of the two of you together in some war. Looked like you were partying, only it was a really old one. It was black and white and the women you were with looked like they fell out of one of those old black and white movies."
Logan closed his eyes again and tried to take this in. The sound of a twig breaking let him know that someone was coming. He motioned for Jubilee to get back from the door and unsheathed his claws.
Mariko stepped into the gazebo and was greeted by Logan's claws next to her throat.
"Logan-san, you gave me your word you would help." She held out a file.
Logan growled as he put away his claws and opened the file. Inside were pictures of him. He sat back down. He was holding a part of his past. There were a couple of him in samurai clothes, but most were of him wearing an eyepatch?
"What?" he started.
"My family is one of the oldest in Japan, but my father was greedy. He began doing business with various criminal organizations. He is part of a network of crime bosses throughout Asia. Usually each has their own territory, but again my father's greed led to trouble. He began to expand his operations into Madripoor, and this has led to a conflict with the leader of Madripoor's underworld, your acquaintance Tyger Tiger. My father went to settle things, thinking that it would be easy and that she was just a woman, but he's disappeared. My clan thinks that Tyger Tiger caused this and want vengeance. I believe it was Ogun, and that my father is now dead."
"How am I supposed to help?" Logan asked looking up from the photos.
"I want to sit down and call a cease-fire with Tyger Tiger before more people die. You can get close enough to her to set up the meeting. I also need to know what happened to my father, and if he is dead as I fear, as well as proof of Ogun's involvement to show my family. I need you to go to Madripoor as Patch."
"Who's 'Patch'?" Logan asked.
"It was the name you used when you helped make Tyger Tiger the head of the Madripoor crime syndicate sixteen years ago." Mariko told him as she handed him an eyepatch, some money and two plane tickets. "There should be a suit that will fit you and clothes for your companion in the suitcase in the corner. I will meet you there at the Mariott in two days." Mariko got up and left.
"Wait a second, I can't take the kid..." Logan started, but Mariko was gone.
"Look," Jubilee said, her jaw clenched. "I'll tell you one last time, and then you're gettin' a face full of paffs. I'm not a kid and I can take care of myself." She picked up the suitcase and brought it over. "Now get dressed and we'll get outta here."
Logan blushed. She couldn't believe it. The big, tough, hard-as-nails guy actually blushed. "I won't look. I'll just sit over here facing the wall. Tell me when you're ready."
A few minutes later, a hand rested on her shoulder. "How do I look?"
She turned around, and couldnˇ¦t help the giggle from escaping. "Well, the suit's fine, but the patch just screams 'Pirates of the Caribbean.' I don't think you've got it on right."
"This is how it looks in the pictures."
"I guess you're right. It just looks so corny. Ya don't need it, and you probably never did. Why'd ya used to wear it?"
"Don't look at me. I don't remember any of this. Although it feels kinda familiar. Everything about this feels kinda familiar. Who woulda thought. After 15 years wandering around Canada, all I had to do to find out about my past was get on TV."
"Yeah, you coulda gotten a job on those ginsu-knife infomercials and saved yourself a lot of trouble."
"Here, Ki... Jubilee, your turn to change," he said as he handed her the suitcase and sat down to go through their travel papers. The name on his papers made him chuckle. 'Logan W. Patch. Well, that's me, all right.'
The VISAs were good. It'd be hard to tell they were fake even if you were looking for it. 'Now where did that thought come from? How do I know how to spot fake IDs?'
"Ok, ready," Jubilee said.
"Great, let's go."
"They're in Japan." Professor Xavier said.
Scott, Jean, and Ororo exchanged worried glances. Rogue jumped up.
"Ok, let's go get them."
"Rogue," Scott said patiently, "It doesn't work that way. The jet can't get to Japan and back without refueling."
"Ok, let's book a flight."
"Rogue, we're probably going into battle. We can't take you with us."
"Wanna bet? I'm coming and that's final. They've got Jubes and Logan! One of my best friends and a guy who's like another part of me. I can't sit by while they're in trouble. Besides, Japan feels really familiar. Like I've been there before. If these are people from Logan's past, I can help."
The flight had only lasted a few hours, but it'd given Logan a chance to get some shut-eye and he was already feeling better than he had in days.
They dropped their luggage off, what little they had, at their rooms at the Marriott in Hightown. Logan'd wanted to go out and get a feel for the city. It was so familiar and strange at the same time, he couldn't quite get a handle on his feelings. He knew he didn't want to leave Jubilee alone at the hotel, though. He knew enough not to trust this city for a second.
He hailed a cab.
"Hey, bub. Know some places in Lowtown?"
"There's only one place in Lowtown you'd be wantin' to go, Patch. And that's the Princess Bar."
'The Princess Bar.' The name alone made his heart thrill. He'd been there before. "You know me?"
"By reputation only. You've been gone a long time, but people don't forget a guy like you."
"Take us to the Princess Bar."
The cab made it's way through the poorer part of town and pulled up in front of a two story building that looked like it had been there for ages. As Logan climbed out and paid the man he took a deep breath. The smells of ocean air, jungle vegetation, and city squaller were so familiar. So was this building.
"So, this is the place?" Jubilee asked after awhile. Logan was just standing there staring and they were definitely drawing attention to themselves.
"I've been here." was all he said and headed through the front doors.
When they entered the place went silent. Everyone was looking at them. Some looked to be in shock, others happy and many just curious. Logan looked around. A giant, old, scarred oak bar took up the length of the room. Behind it hung a mirror and rows of bottles. The place looked faded and battered, it smelled of smoke and spilt whiskey. He felt like he'd come home.
"About time you showed up." said a voice from the bar.
Logan turned to look at her as she moved towards him. She was a petite Asian woman in her late 30's. She wore a rose colored silk dress that plunged here, was cut to there, and clung to her in all the right places. He caught a glimpse of black stocking as she got closer, fastened at the top by a garterbelt? Did women even wear those anymore?
"Tyger?" he asked. She was close now. Her scent was a mix of tropical flowers, exotic spices, and that smell that was uniquely female.
"'Patch'" she said as she reached up and drew his head down into a kiss. Any lingering doubts he had about this place were gone with that kiss. His body definately remembered her even if his mind didn't.
She pulled back from the kiss, and before he could catch his breath, slapped him, leaving a clear handprint across his left cheek.
"That's for not calling," she said as she turned and went back to the bar.
"Lady, believe me, if I remembered you, I definitely woulda called," Logan said under his breath.
The sights, the smells, even the feel of the air. It was home. 'So this is why I've been travelling all over Canada, hopping from bar to dingier bar. I was looking for this place. Ha, just looking in the wrong country.'
"Patch, still have that way with the ladies, I see," the bartender said as he went over and slapped Logan on the back. "So what brings you back after 16 years? Finally come looking for your share of the profits?"
"What? Profits?" Logan felt comfortable with this guy, like he could trust him. He never felt that way with anyone. "Look," he said in a low voice as he drew the man closer, "I don't exactly know what's going on here. I lost all my memories about 15 years ago. Maybe you can fill me in?"
"Well, that explains it. C'mon, let's grab a table. Name's O'Donnell, by the way."
O'Donnell turned and Logan grabbed Jubilee and followed him.
"Listen up." Logan said. "You stick close to me while we're here, ok?"
"Here, in the bar?"
"In the country."
O'Donnell settled them in a booth near the back. 'Good spot,' Logan thought. 'Back's to the wall, so you can keep an eye on everyone and both doors.'
Once they were seated, O'Donnell began. "You've never been gone from Madripoor for more'n a few years since before I've been here. It's not like you to disappear for so long. Until we saw your ugly mug on the news last week, we thought your partner'd finally killed ya."
"Yeah, you know, tall guy, long blonde hair, bad attitude. You called him Creed. You didn't get along very well. I think you actually tried to kill each other a coupla times."
"Wait a second, 'tried?' When I try to kill someone, I usually do it."
"Not this guy. He heals fast, like you. You did the odd job with him every few years when I knew you. You couldn't stand being together longer'n that. In fact, I think you were going out on another job with him around the time you disappeared."
"Description doesn't ring any bells."
"There was another name you called him. Had something to do with cats... Lionmane, Tigerclaw, something. Hey, Archie!"
O'Donnell signaled to a man in a pilot's outfit that had just entered the bar. The man was in his early 50's, his black hair turning gray at the side burns and mustache.
"Yeah, O'Donnell, what's up?"
"Archie, look, the prodigal Patch returns."
"Patch!" Archie reached out his hand and shook Logan's vigorously. "Too long, man. Way too long. You come looking for your profits?"
O'Donnell leaned over and explained. "You own a half of the Princess Bar. Profits are kinda a joke since we're always rebuilding one part of this place or another."
"What's going on, Patch?" Archie asked, pulling up a chair. "Where've you been all this time?"
O'Donnell interrupted. "He can't remember more'n, what, 15 years ago? Anyway, that's not why I called you over here. What was that guy, Creed's, other name?"
"No, the one that sounds like a cat's name."
*SNIKT* Logan's blades sliced into the table before he knew what was happening. Jubilee had jumped out of her seat and was a few feet away before she realized there wasn't any danger. The other two men stayed in their seats, like they were used to this happening around Logan.
"Dang it, Logan. Don't do that." Jubilee chided as she smacked his arm.
"Sabretooth? I used to work with that murdering animal?"
"Yeah. How d'ya remember him when you can't remember anything else?" O'Donnell asked.
"We've been reintroduced."
Sensing that subject wasn't something Patch was up to talking about, O'Donnell asked, "So, why ARE you here?"
"Ok, I'm packed." Rogue called as she headed for the garage. "Let's go."
"Wait a moment, Rogue," the professor called from the living room. Ororo, Jean, and Scott were already in there, their suitcases strewn around them. "I've just checked in Cerebro, and they're no longer in Japan."
"Don't worry, they're safe. They are no longer being held against their will. They're in a country called Madripoor."
"Chuck, Madripoor is anything but safe," Marie said. Her voice had dropped lower and there was a growl to it.
Scott said, "Look, Japan or Madripoor, we're going after them, and we're bringing them back."
"Scooter, you wouldn't last a day in Madripoor. I could go, but I couldn't keep an eye on all of you and look for Logan. We're gonna have ta wait and do what we can to help from here."
"Yeah, and where did you get the metal? I thought your claws were bone," puzzled Archie.
"I've got to help stop a war," Logan said looking around. He suddenly realized that he had a personal stake in all this. These were his friends, his bar, and it was ground zero if what Mariko had said was true. This was no longer just a matter of keeping his word. "As for the metal, it's part of why I don't remember much. It's a long story that I'm not sure about all of myself."
He took a drink of his beer as he looked at the woman standing by the bar with a drink in her hand. He knew that even though she appeared to be ignoring him, she had been watching him closely the whole time just as he had been watching her. Her cooperation was the key to all this. The question was just how pissed was she at him? He remembered enough to know that having Tyger angry at you was not healthy. He'd have to talk fast and hope she believed him.
Rogue's slipping into Logan's behavior hadn't gone unnoticed by the X-Men.
"Marie, what do you remember about Madripoor?" asked the Professor.
Rogue seemed to shake herself out of it and looked at the faces around her. She had been getting flashes of Logan's memories ever since she had seen the place named on Kitty's disk. They still hadn't told anyone that they had stolen Col. Fury's files. It just didn't seem the time to bring it up when he was there and now they could be in trouble for not telling in the first place.
"I've been seeing faces and places and fighting, lots of fighting, but it's all pieces that don't fit together. I just know it's one of the most dangerous places places in all of Asia."
The new student Gambit leaned nonchalantly against the wall listening. Madripoor he knew well having traveled there. His father and brother Henri had business there on more than one occasion. He knew just how dangerous it was. What the beautiful Rogue was doing mixed up with people from there he didn't know. He'd have to call home and talk to his father, but that was guild business and not something to share with the faculty at a school. These were nice people, but they would not understand if all his secrets were to come out, so he kept quiet.
After Rogue left the living room, Scott turned to Jean. "I hate it when she does that."
"What?" Jean asked.
"You know, that Wolverine voice. I'm just sure her head is gonna start spinning around any second."
"Scott, she's not possessed by evil."
"That's a matter of opinion."
Rogue dragged her luggage back up the stairs to her room. She was wracking her brain, desperate to remember anything specific about Madripoor, but the more she tried to remember, the more nebulous the memories became. Most of Logan's legacy was a craving for beer and cigars, a strong desire to pick fights, and an almost irresistable urge to hit on Jean, mostly because it irritated the hell out of One-Eye. The only really solid memory flashes she got were in the nightmares.
Looking up, she realized she'd walked right past the girls' rooms and was in the boys' section of the mansion. Bobby and St. John were just coming out of their room.
"Hey, St. John. Remember when we were looking for that information on Logan? You were looking up info on Madripoor. Do you remember any of what you found?"
"Not really, Rogue. I do remember there wasn't anything about Logan."
"That'd be because he uses a different name there," Rogue said in a whisper.
"Huh? No, thought I had something for a second. He doesn't use that name there, but I can't remember what name he uses. Anyway, anything else?"
"Nope, I didn't get very far before someone froze the computer."
"Hey," Bobby interrupted. "There were ninja's coming through the windows! So my aim was a little off. I remember someone else melting the server and a bunch of computers himself."
"Thanks anyway, guys," Rogue said as she turned around and headed back towards her room, passing Remy on the way.
"Hey, 'chere," Remy said as he headed to his room. He locked the door and picked up the phone.
"What's this about a war?" O'Donnell asked, leaning in.
"It's complicated," Logan answered, finishing off his beer. "Have either of you seen a guy named Shingen or any of the Yakuza, for that matter?"
"Yeah, or know anything about a weird guy in a black and red samurai mask?" Jubilee piped up.
"Shingen came into town about a week ago. Disappeared pretty quick. Word on the street is he's dead."
Logan interrupted, "I heard he had some business with Tyger Tiger. Think she had anything to do with it?"
"Not her style, Patch. You know that." O'Donnell said, then after a second's thought. "Oh, yeah. Sorry... And, I heard there was a masked guy with Shingen, but I haven't seen him personally." O'Donnell looked around the bar. "Looks like I'd better get back to work."
"Yeah, I think it's about time I had a talk with the Tiger." Logan said. He got up and turned towards the bar. "Archie, keep an eye on Jubes for me?"
"Wait a second..." Jubilee started to protest.
"C'mon, Kid. I can tell you all of Patch's secrets."
Jubilee calmed down immediately. "Like what?"
Logan siddled up next to Tyger Tiger and sat down at the bar. "Nice to see ya again, Tyger. That was some greeting."
"Marie ain't gonna like you hittin' on everything in a skirt pal." Jubilee called out.
"She ain't my keeper an' she's to young ta be my girlfriend, so what I do ain't her concern. 'Sides they're hittin' on me."
"Sabretooth. That's the guy who tried ta kill Ms. Munroe?"
"Yeah, now I got things ta talk about. I need some privacy, girl."
Gambit picked up the phone and was about to dial his father's number when he heard a muffled sobbing sound come from the next room. He tried to ignore it while dialing the number, but sighed, slammed the phone down and strolled out of his room into the next one.
"DAMN Pere for raisin me as a gentlemen," he thought to himself.
He walked into the room to find Kitty in a corner, curled up in a ball crying.
Her face shot up, tears streaking down her face."R..remy? What are you doing here?"
"Chere, what's da matter?" His red eyes glowed with sympathy.
"I...I'm worried about Jubilee."
"Huh?" Gambit blinked,"Why?"
"Why? WHY!? She's with Logan, God knows where, and with those people after them or something. I dunno!? WHY would I be WORRIED!!" Kitty sobbed louder, then bit her lip,"I'm sorry Remy, but could you leave me alone a while. Thanks for being concerned and all..b.ut..b.ut.."
Remy nodded, Kitty and Jubilee were close, and Kitty needed some time alone.
Remy walked back into his room, and closed the door.
Jubilee had been taken. How had he NOT known this!? He clenched his teeth as a few memories sweeped through his mind.
Scott walked into the classroom, a young man of about 17 or 18 following behind. "This is Remy Lebeau. He's a new student here. Rogue, I'd like you to show him around."
A beautiful girl with white streaks in it stood up, and smiled. "Welcome to the school."
Remy grinned a charming smile. "Allo, chere, a pleasure to meet you."
A giggle caught his ear, and he turned to a young Asian girl with blue eyes. "Hmm, looks like the Bobster gots some competition now, ne?"
She laughed as Bobby and Rogue turned red.
Remy grumbled as Bobby and Rogue walked off to go out for lunch ALONE.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to see Jubilee who grinned. "She likes roses, chocolate chip cookies, and those sickeningly sweet romance movies."
Remy had just finished his first Danger Room session. As he walked out, someone whistled. He turned to see Rogue, Jubilee, and Kitty.
Jubilee said, "Looks like someone has a couple tricks up his sleeves."
"Guuummbboooo! Give it baack!" Jubilee cried in annoyance as she pounced the older boy for her diary.
Gambit laughed. "Soorry chere! Not today!"
Gambit climbs up onto the roof and sees Jubilee crying. He gets a closeup of her tear stained face. He walks toward her.
"Okaaay, Scott is our brother with a stick up his ass, but we love him anyway," Jubilee declared.
Kitty, Gambit, and Rogue blinked at her.
"Kitty is my sister, so is Rogue, Logan is our distant scary uncle, ummm....."
"And me, chere?"
Jubilee grinned,"That's easy, you're my dorky older brother who can get any girl he wants, but when he finds a girl he DOES like, she won't give him the time of.."
"SHUT UP P'TITE!!!!!!!"
Back to he present:
Gambit nearly growled. One of his closest friends was taken; one of his FAMILY. It was personal. Besides, while saving Jubilee he may get time to save that Logan guy, too. It could score quite a few brownie points with Rogue.
Tyger turned to face him. "What did you expect from me, that I would just fall into your arms, all is forgiven? I never had any delusions of true love; you were always far to wild to be tamed that way, but as your friend and ally, I did expect to at least hear from you sooner than 16 @#$$*%@## years!"
"Darlin' I'm sorry. I didn't plan it. At least I don't think so.."
"Don't think so?" Tyger raised a slender black eyebrow.
'You're stepping in it deeper, Logan. Think faster,' ran through his head.
"I don't remember more than 15 years ago, waking up naked in the snow in the Canadian wilderness. Everything else before was a blank. Except for the nightmares of being operated on."
'Oh, good one, Bub. Tell her the truth. Spill your guts all over the floor. You can just see how accepting and understanding she is. Of course she'll believe you,' Logan thought to himself
"Go on, this should be a great story." The sarchasm dripping from her voice.
Still looking at her, he saw the door to the bar behind her open and a girl in a school uniform stepped inside heading towards the bar. She was 15-17 years old and really did not belong on this side of town, let alone in a place like the Princess Bar. The girl was walking straight to them.
"Mother," she said as she stopped next to them, and Tyger turned to greet her.
Logan felt his jaw drop open as he looked at the girl and then at Tyger and then at the girl again. 'No. No, no, no! Tell me they didn't take this from me too.' The next thought was, 'No wonder she's so pissed,' while his stomach twisted and his legs went weak.
Tyger turned back to speak to Logan and quickly reached out to steady him. "Logan?"
"I'm sorry Tyger. I'm really sorry. I would never have left you and our daughter". It was all that he managed to get out. He was next to babbling.
"You are telling me the truth aren't you, about not remembering?" Tyger said softly taking his face in her hands and looking into his eyes. She was not a mutant but had always been sensitive to others around her. "This is my daughter Karma. MY daughter. You came into our lives right after she was born when my husband was murdered and protected us. It was later we became lovers." She looked deep into his eyes. "What brought you back to us? You obviously do not have all your memories back."
Logan stepped back and signalled the bartender for a whiskey, while he tried to steady himself. "Tyger, Lady Mariko, Shingen's daughter, wants to sit down with you and call a cease fire. She knows that you were not the one responsible for his disappearance."
"You are with the Yakuza now?"
"No, but I am keeping a promise I made to Mariko and trying to protect friends that I never remembered I had."
"I will meet with her. Set up the time and place."
Karma watched quietly. So this was Logan/Patch. Her mother had pictures of all of them together, and she, growing up in Lowtown, had heard the stories. He didn't seem so tough.
Karma, Tyger, and Logan suddenly heard a crash followed by a,"Oops, sorry!! ^,^;;;!!"
Logan sighed. So THIS was the Jubilee he'd heard about from Rogue, heh?
Remy got off the phone with his father and began to pack. He'd gotten some Madripoor contacts and leads from his father that he wanted to investigate personally. He packed quickly and left his room through the window. The fewer people that saw him leaving with his duffel bag packed, the better. He made it to the garage and had set his bag down by his old bike when that new teacher came walking by.
"Hey, Gambit. Going for a ride?"
He glanced down and saw that the bike effectively hid his duffel from her view. "Yeah, chere. Just going into town."
'He's hiding something,' she thought, but Gambit was a tricky one. His psychic shields were strong enough that he'd detect any probing on her part.
"Ok, see you later." Nickie said as she went into the house.
Her thoughts quickly left Gambit and returned to Colonel Fury. The school grapevine was going crazy, and she had to update him.
She went to the study and shut the door, telepathically checking to see if anyone was around. Sensing that she was alone, she picked up the phone and dialed the number.
"Go secure. Password: alpha tango 3-9-1." She heard mechanical beeps and clicks as the line was checked for breaks and taps.
"Secure. What's up, Nickie?"
"Latest rumors place Logan in Madripoor..." she began.
The crash Logan had heard was caused by Jubilee bumping into one of the waiters, causing drinks to crash and spill over some very nasty customers. Of course, all of the Princess Bar's customers were very nasty.
"The time would be two days from now. Say about 7 p.m.? The place would be here, now if you'll excuse me for a second?"
'Why can't Jubes take my advice and stay put for 10 minutes?' Logan thought in exasperation as he headed over to help.
"This was my best suit, little girl." The big, nasty man stood up towering over Jubilee.
"Bite me," Jubilee said not paying attention to him but watching for Logan.
"Well maybe I will just teach you to watch your step," the man said, grabbing her arm.
"What?" Jubilee said looking up at him as he slapped her face... hard.
Jubilee blinked, letting the hit register in her mind as the pain slowly came too.
"Maybe that should... UMPH." The man was cut off as Jubilee drove her fist in to his solarplexis.
"DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!" Jubilee screamed, red with anger.
The man gasped for air and fell to his knees, grabbing her yellow coat for support. Jubilee would have none of that.
"Get your hands of my stuff." Jubilee looked as the man lifted his head to look her in the eyes.
Jubilee cut the fight short by putting her knee under his leg and flipping him over.
'Damn,' Logan thought as he saw the fight play out... 'Xavier sure didn't fool around with the kid's training.'
Jubilee rubbed her face. That had really hurt.
"Any one who hurts the kid answers to me." Logan growled, and the room calmed quickly, except for one or two that had not heard about him yet.
"And me!" Tiger said with a harsh face.
The room was quiet for a short moment before it went back to normal.
Remy pulled his bike up in front of one of the New York safe houses used by the Guild. He would leave the bike here and catch a ride to the airport. His father had already gotten him the ticket to Madripoor. When he had called about it, Jean-Luc had told him about the reports of a war brewing between the Yakuza and Tyger Tiger's people. Having Remy in the area to monitor things for the Guild had seemed ideal, and Remy could look for his friends. Madripoor was not a safe place for tourists. He would pick up the report with the details here and then leave.
Remy made it to the airport on time and boarded the plane to the other side of the world. Next stop the Madripoor Guild House and then a drink at the Princess Bar.
Ogun was aware of the ninja kneeling to the side of the garden but chose to ignore him as he finished the set of precise fluid movements. Any one of them could have killed a man instantly. He was the best. He was the master. Lady Mariko would pay for making him look like a fool and releasing his prize student, Logan.
He really hadn't expected her to figure it out so fast. Shingen had obviously underestimated her and so had he. It would not happen again. Finally, he decided to acknowlege the ninja.
"We have located the one named Logan. He is here in Madripoor as the one known as Patch. He came accompanied by a blue eyed Asian girl and is talking to Tyger Tiger now at the Princess Bar."
So Mariko had sent Logan to kill him. She would definitely not be underestimated again. As for him talking to Tyger Tiger, plans would simply have to be stepped up.
As night came Logan and Tyger decided to continue their discussion in private as the clientel at the Princess was getting rougher, and they had the girls with them. The group headed to Tyger's house.
Karma didn't miss the looks between her mother and Patch. "Come on Jubilee, I'll show you my room. We'll let the 'adults' get reacquainted." and pulled Jubilee upstairs.
"Oh goody a sleep over," mumbled Jubilee. She really hated the dress that Mariko had packed for her. It made her look like she was twelve. She had been looking forward to going back to the Mariott and changing.
Karma seemed to have the same feelings about that school uniform because as soon as they got to her room she slipped into the bathroom and came out in tight leather pants and a green silk tank top.
"Mother and Patch will be awhile. We'll just have to entertain ourselves. Your clothes just won't do. I bet I've got something for you to wear." She headed towards her closet and started rummaging through it.
"The Princess Bar is good for doing business, but it's basically just for the old-timers. I'm going to show you the fun spots now. After all it's only my duty as your hostess to show you a good time," she said with a wink as she turned around with a pair of tight black shorts and a red silk T-shirt with a dragon in gold thread on it. It was perfect. Jubilee returned her smile and changed.
The two slipped out the window and headed toward the docks unaware of the ninjas that followed in the shadows.
Logan leaned against the headboard and lit a cigar. Tyger had given him a proper welcome back and now came back to bed after getting them a couple of drinks. Looking at her he knew that it wasn't true love between them, but friend, ally, trust. He was safe with her, something that he hadn't felt with anyone in a long time. Something he had begun to find with Marie.
"So," he said blowing out a cloud of smoke, "Care to fill in some details for me, Darling?"
"Where do I start?" asked Tyger as she settled herself into his arms. "You came here under the alias of Patch almost 20 years ago, though there were many who seemed to know you from before that. You were working for the CIA in a joint Canadian/American venture to gather information on Russia, North Korea, China, and any other communist country. It was the Cold War. You were working deep cover. My husband ran the local gangs. That was how we met. When he was murdered, there was a play for power. You protected Karma and myself. Your superiors thought that putting me in the position of power would be a good idea since I seemed most sympathic to their goals. You helped me get established as the head of the local underground commuity with information and weapons. In return, I gave you information and your agents assistance when needed. The relationship was mutually beneficial.
The hard part was when you were called home to Canada. Victor Creed came to the Princess to get you. You were only going to be gone a couple of weeks. We looked after Nina but your disappearence hit her the hardest, I think."
"Who's Nina?" Logan asked.
Tyger got up and headed to her closet. She pulled out an old photo album, and after flipping through a few pages, sat down next to him again.
"This is you and Nina."
Logan found himself looking at a picture of himself with the eyepatch and a girl about 15 years old. She looked like Snow White with a black eye.
"You found her cage fighting when she was 13 and saved her life. She was your student. You called her your good luck charm. She left after it was clear that you weren't coming back. She has done well for herself."
Tyger flipped to another page. The picture showed the girl grown up in black body armor and with a five-man team, one obviously a mutant like her. "They call themselves the Six Pack. The silver haired man to her right with the metal arm is Cable, her lover. They are one of the best mercenary teams in the world. She stays in touch and sent me this picture a couple of years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if she hunts you down now that your picture been all over the world."
"I've been alone for so long. Now I find that there were all these people looking for me." Logan shook his head. "It's a lot to take in."
"Perhaps I can help ease your mind for a time, Lover," Tyger whispered as she leaned in to kiss him again.
Remy's plane had made it in on time after a suprisingly smooth flight. The Guild had someone there to meet him, and he headed to the Guild House to be updated on the situation.
"The biggest news is that Patch is back," said Raul, the head of the Madripoor Guild, as he and Remy shared a drink in his study. "As for that girl in your picture, we have received a report of one that matches her description traveling with Patch."
Remy didn't know what had happened to Logan, but if this Patch hurt Jubilee in any way, Remy was going to leave him a special calling card.
"This Patch is really bad news... He is supposed to be impossible to kill. He may only have one eye in front, but he has ten in the back of his head."
Remy had never seen Raul like this. It was like he feared the end of the world would come to pass because one man had come back.
Remy climbed up onto the roof. No matter how nice the people were here, he still needed some alone time every now and then. Of course, if Rogue wanted to join him sometime... He grinned wryly and shook his head. Did he EVER stop?
He was jolted out of his thoughts when he saw Jubilee sitting in his usual spot.
Wait....she was crying?
Her eyes widened in surprise, and in one, quick, fluid movement, she wiped the tears from her eyes and replaced her sad expression with a cheerful smile. "Hey Cajun, what are you doing up so late?"
"Jubilee," Gambit started, "Why..."
***End of Flashback****
"Excuse me!? Are you listening!?" one of the thieves updating Remy on what was happening asked in French.
Gambit blinked and nodded. "Yes, sorry, just dozed off a second."
Inwardly, he cursed himself for being so unprofessional. Well, he was only 17 (18 soon), what the HECK did they expect of him?
He unconsciously sighed and listened to the man ramble on, as his feet itched to just run out of the door and save Jubilee.
Jubilee and Karma were club hopping at the Madripoor docks for most of the night. They'd gone through only about half of them when the parties started to die, and the customers slowly began to drag themselves home.
Jubilee and Karma stepped out of the Lion's Den, their most recent club experience, to the sight of pink creeping into the Eastern sky.
"We'd better get home before the 'adults' get up," Karma said.
"Yeah," Jubilee agreed. "I'm beat, but I had a great time."
The streets were mostly deserted as they made their way from the docks and into Lowtown.
Jubilee stopped walking as a huge yawn split her face. "Hey," she said to Karma, "I hope we can get some sleep before..."
She didn't get to finish her sentence. Strong hands reached around and grabbed her, pinning her hands to her body.
"Hey, leggo of me!" she yelled.
Karma spun around and caught the ninja's gaze using her mutant power to control his body. He froze under her watchful eye and released Jubilee, dropping her to the ground.
Her victory was short-lived, as more ninjas came out of the shadows, surrounding the two girls.
They fought bravely, but the odds were against them, and eventually they were both captured and unconscious.
"Ah'm worried, Kitty. Logan, Jubes, an' Remy have all vanished an' we can't do nothin' about it."
"I don't know about that Marie. You haven't been around here long, but I'm called the Goddess of Computing."
"She's the only one who calls herself that!"
"SHUT UP BOBBY! But if I can hack into that Fury guy's systems then I can try to track them down."
They didn't know Karma and Jubilee had been taken until past noon the next day. They'd stayed in the apartment for half the morning, waiting for the kids to return, Tyger, getting more and more angry, and Logan, getting more and more worried. Finally, Logan'd been able to convince Tyger that maybe the kids had run into some trouble, and they'd spent the rest of the morning following Logan's nose around the docks, picking up the occassional scent of Karma or Jubilee. It was when they found Karma's purse, cleaned out and in a garbage can, that they knew the girls were in serious trouble.
Years ago, when Logan had been Patch, he'd had contacts all over Madripoor that could've gotten him the information he needed. Unfortunately, he couldn't remember one of them. Tyger Tiger went through her contacts rather quickly, learning that the Yakuza had taken the girls, but not where they were being kept.
"I should've known. How could I agree to this meeting with a Yakuza tomorrow?" Tyger stormed.
"Mariko's not Yakuza. She's a good person. I can sense it from her. Her father got involved with them, but she's gonna try to extract her clan from the Yakuza and regain the family honor."
"She won't succeed. You can't do that to the Yakuza. At the very least, she'll lose a finger. At most, she'll lose her life."
"Well, where do we go now? We still don't know where the girls are and we're outta contacts."
"Not entirely. I was hoping I wouldn't have to do this, but we're going to have to visit the Thieves."
"The Thieves Guild. They're everywhere, have their hands in everything. They'll know where the girls are, but there will be a price."
"Oui?" a voice asked through the thick, metal door, eyes peering at them through a slot.
"We need information," Logan said.
"Monsieur Patch, Madame Tiger, please come in."
They were escorted to a small but well furnished room. It was an inner room, so there were no windows and only one door. Logan immediately felt uneasy. Any occupants of this room would be easy to attack, and it'd be difficult to defend themselves in the closed space. He refused the seat offered to him, preferring to remain standing, ready for anything.
An older Cajun entered the room, flanked by two guards and followed by a servant carrying hors d'oeurves. "We are honored by your presence, M'sieur Logan, M'dme Tiger. How may the Thieves Guild be of service?"
"We need to know where the Yakuza are. Especially the whereabouts of a guy in a red and black samurai mask."
"Why would you need this information?"
"That's personal, bub."
"Well, we could help you better if we knew."
"We're not lookin' for help. We're lookin' for information."
Remy listened to the negotiations outside the door. He'd heard that Raul was meeting with Patch and Tyger Tiger. Raul had told him yesterday that Jubes was last seen with Patch.
He'd tried some contacts, but he'd gotten no information about the whereabouts of Jubilee or Patch the whole morning, and then Patch just strolled through the door. It was far to good to pass up. Why was Patch looking for the Yakuza? Well whatever he was up to, he'd lead Remy right to Jubes.
After getting the information they'd come for, Patch and Tyger left the Guild House. They'd only gone a few blocks, when Logan realized they were being followed. Whoever was following them was good, but Logan was better. He could hear the occassional light scrape of a shoe over gravel.
When the wind shifted, he got the smell and immediately recognized it. He'd last smelled it back in Westchester. That Cajun kid. Rogue's friend. What was he doing here?
Logan and Tyger turned a corner and immediately, Logan sped up and pulled Tyger into the shadows of a doorway. His expression told her to be quiet and she obeyed, trusting his instincts completely.
When the Cajun kid came walking past, Logan reached out and grabbed him, pushing him against the wall of the building. *Snikt* His two outer blades shot out on either side of Remy's neck, pinning him to the wall.
"What are you doing here, kid? Why are you following us?"
"Logan!?! You're Patch? I'm.... I'm here to save Jubilee."
"Huh," Logan said releasing him. "That's what we're doing too."
"The Yakuza have her. We're gonna pay 'em a visit after sundown. Wanna join us?"
Mariko and two of her best guards, one being Miko, arrived at the Mariott that afternoon. After confirming which suite Logan and Jubilee had they headed upstairs to her reserved rooms.
'I will have speak to Logan tonight,' she thought to herself. 'Hopefully he was able to set up the meeting with Tyger.'
Miko unlocked the door and stepped inside. All was clear and they brought in the bags. As soon as they closed the door behind them the air filled with smoke and the last thing that Mariko saw was the masked faces of Ogun's ninjas.
Jubilee came to with another splitting headache in another cell. Her hands were again tied behind her. She opened her eyes just to slam them shut again.
'This is just too much.' she thought as she saw Karma in the same position still out. 'I was even good last night. I didn't even have a single beer, not that they would have served me anyway.' She sat up ingoring the fireworks going off behind her eyes. 'Fireworks are good, I'm the @$*##@% queen of fireworks.'
"Yo Karma, wakey wakey. We're in like deep do do here".
Karma struggled to open her eyes as Jubilee began pacing the cell. She saw that Jubilee had gotten her hands in front of her and was cussing and kicking the wall. She was wondering if her new friend was was losing it.
Jubilee finally calmed down some. These ninja jerks were just making her so mad! She looked around and saw a small piece of brick in the corner of the bare cell. 'It'll have to do,' she thought as she rubbed the egde sharp against the concrete floor and then begain to cut through her ropes.
"Those *&%$$#@@ ninjas are so dead when I get out of here."
A quote that her classmate beast had said once flashed through her mind. "'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' or in my case kidnapped. Beasty boy you have no clue." Jubilee kept working on the ropes and muttering to herself.
He had taught Logan long ago that one of the keys to winning any battle was to choose your battlefield wisely and make your enemy come to you. Now that he had Mariko, Karma, and Jubilee, it was only a matter of time before Logan appeared. He had to be ready. This body had served him well, but while it had aged and slowed, Logan's had remained the same. He was no longer sure he could defeat him in an even match.
'It is time to transfer my essence to the girl, before Logan arrives.' Ogun thought.
"Bring Jubilee to me."
Jubilee had seen and heard the ninjas carry in Mariko, Miko, and another samurai over an hour ago. They were all unconscious and bound, like she and Karma had been when they'd arrived. 'Whatever this guy's up to, he wants the gang all here when he does it,' she had thought.
Now, when she was strands away from releasing herself from her bonds. The ninjas had returned. She heard them approaching her cell and she and Karma took defensive postures, ready to attack when the door opened.
However, instead of the door opening, the room began to fill with gas. She raised her still bound hands and paffed the door, desperately trying to escape the sickeningly sweet fog. 'How'm I supposed to get out of here if these guys won't fight fair?' she thought as she collapsed.
He had to hand it to the kid. Whatever else he was, he was a good thief. He'd cracked the code on the door and by-passed all the security systems to get them to the holding cells. Logan could smell Karma, Mariko, Miko, and some other prisoners here, but Jubilee's scent lead away and up the stairs.
"You guys stay here and get everyone out. I'm going after Jubilee."
"Non, I'll join you."
"Gambit, Tyger needs your help getting all these cells open. Once you help everyone get away, you can come looking for me, but not before." and with that, Logan turned and loped stealthily up the steps.
Logan'd been able to avoid most of the ninja guards. He dispatched those he'd run into quickly and quietly before they'd had a chance to raise the alarm. Jubilee's scent kept leading up, and eventually, he found himself on the roof. He found her and Ogun alone in the middle of the roof garden. Jubilee was spread out on some sort of sculpture or altar and Ogun was standing over her.
Ogun started to speak, and although the words were definitely Japanese, Logan didn't recognize them and couldn't make out what Ogun was saying. Jubilee started to groan and shift while Ogun reached out towards her.
"Get away from her." Logan said, unsheathing his claws and charging for the pair.
Ogun backed away swiftly, picking up his katana blade in one smooth motion. He took in the sight of Logan, growling, his claws shining in the moonlight.
"So, Logan-san." He said, pointing to the other katana resting next to Jubilee. "Will you fight me like an animal or will your fight like a man?"
"Your funeral, bub. I don't care how I kill ya, but I am gonna kill ya." As he picked up the blade, he spared a glance at Jubilee. She seemed more restfully asleep than she had moments before and the moaning had stopped. It was his fault she was here. He had to get her away, keep her safe.
Ogun attacked and Logan defended, then ran quickly moving the fight as far away from Jubilee as possible in the roof garden. He didn't want her hurt by an errant strike.
As Ogun got close enough to strike again, Logan blocked and then swept his own blade at the master. He didn't even have to think about the movements, they just came; his body moving without his conscious commands.
The fight had already seemed to have lasted for hours, even though it had been only a few minutes. Each dueler striking, parrying, blocking, looking for weaknesses in their opponent. Both had received hits, but none were sufficient to turn the tide of the fight.
Then Ogun saw his opportunity. One day, many decades ago, when he'd been training Logan, the younger man had confided to him. "Master, I don't think I can be killed."
"Every man has weaknesses, Logan-san. A man who does not think he can be defeated has already defeated himself. He will be the victim of his own arrogance."
"Well, maybe if someone cut off my head. Maybe that would kill me, but other than that, I don't know."
When Logan had blocked that last strike, he had brought his sword a fraction of an inch too low. It was a mistake and Ogun attacked before it could be corrected. He swept his katana and struck Logan in the neck. The blade cut through skin, muscle, arteries, and windpipe before it struck adamantium and came to a jarring stop.
Ogun was a master, and Logan knew that in order to win this fight, he couldn't wait for an opening; he had to make one. He had a healing factor and an adamantium skeleton. He could use them to his advantage.
He lowered his sword a little too much defending that last strike and waited to see if Ogun would take the bait. He did, striking with alarming speed. He wasn't fast enough to see or prevent the counter-attack, though, as Logan's blade entered his chest and pierced his heart.
Logan stumbled and dropped the sword with its suddenly dead weight. He put both hands up to his neck, trying to stauch the flow, his life-blood pumping out of his wound with every beat of his heart. He tried to take in a breath, but only liquid filled his lungs. Weakness filled his body and he fell to his knees.
Nick Fury stepped out of the UN Building and pulled out his lighter. He had just finished a two hour meeting with a bunch of paper pushing bureaucrats in a no-smoking building and was in desperate need of nicotine before he just opened fire on everyone inside. He put up with jumping through the hoops because it was the only way to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. funded. He had just inhaled deeply when he heard a voice to his left.
"Col. Fury, Just the man I was hoping to run into".
It was Ambassador Becker, the USA member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. oversite commision. Fury inhaled again and counted to ten.
"While disappointed with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s handling of the security at Ellis Island, I am impressed with the solution you have come up with for dealing with the mutant situation. A team of trained mutants that could perform surgical strikes against their own kind does put us on a more even playing field." Ambassador Becker said.
"You already voiced your approval at the meeting," Fury pointed out, "and I've got another meeting to attend on the helicarrier."
"Always to the point. Actually this was a bit more personal. You have been looking for a missing friend, a man named Logan for many years now. I have some information for you."
"What do you know about Logan?" Fury was suddenly all ears. The next meeting could wait.
"Perhaps we could continue this discussion on the way to your car? There are quite a few people around." Becker motioned in the direction of the parking lot and they begain walking. "As you know I was the assistant director of the CIA before my appointment here. The information I have is strictly on a need to know basis. Your friend was part of a team of operatives that worked as part of joint venture between the USA and Canada during the Cold War. Logan was deep cover. Things happen when agents go deep. What he was involved in was and still is classified and not in your jurisdiction. I would hate to see your funding jeopardized due to S.H.I.E.L.D. violating the soverign rights of member nations. What you do need to know is that we need to contact him. Do you know where he is?" They stopped in front of Fury's car.
Fury looked Becker in the eye "Not a clue." he said as he exhaled letting the breeze blow the smoke into the Becker's eyes. He climbed into his car as Becker coughed. "I do know my jurisdiction covers investigating the gross violation of human rights no matter what country they are citizens of, and last I knew, that didn't make exceptions due to their genetics. I have to get to my meeting now but I'm sure we'll talk again soon." Fury left before he took the man apart. He reached down and opened a link to the helicarrier.
"Here, Nick. You're late."
"I want you to look up any joint operations between the USA and Canada during the Cold War, particulaly any teams the former Assistant Director Becker may have ties to. And get a judge to let you tap his phones."
Becker reached for his cell phone. His associates would not be happy. [email protected]@#% mutants were more trouble than they were worth. The whole lot of them should be taken out and shot. If Fury ever found out about Weapon X they would all be up on charges.
Gambit made a new personal record on the cell locks and raced up the stairs leaving the others to follow. They caught up as he stopped at a landing to try and figure out which way Logan had gone. Faint noises caused him to look up at the ceiling. They headed to the roof.
What they saw when they got there made everyone pause as the two matched warriors fought oblivious to everything but their battle. Remy tore his eyes away to search for Jubilee. She was laying still on some kind of altar on the other side of the roof.
'No! I am too late!' Remy ran over to her still form and not seeing any wounds placed his hand at the side of her throat to check for a pulse.
"Hey! Your hands are cold!" Jubilee said as she opened her eyes and put her hand on her forehead. "I am like so tired of these headaches."
Gambit pulled her into his arms and nearly crushed her as her hugged her in relief.
"It's good to see you too, but I would like to breathe at some point today," she managed to get out. The noise behind her made her turn her head as Remy eased his grip. She watched in horror as Ogun's blade sank into Logan's neck.
Jubilee was out of Remy's arms and running as Logan hit the roof top.
Tyger and Mariko both jumped to help Logan. Tyger held him upright to try to keep him from drowning in his own blood as Mariko took off her scarf and tried to apply pressure to slow the flow. They exchanged a look over the top of his head. If they didn't stop the bleeding not even his healing factor would save him.
Jubilee ran up as fast as her legs would take her. Still fighting the drugs in her system, she saw the damaged tissue and tried to think of what she could do to help. She tried to think of what Dr. Grey would do. Then she remembered that in the medical lab Dr. Grey had a laser to stop the bleeding during surgery. Concentrating very hard, Jubilee created a small sustained spark at her fingertip and put it up to Logan's neck. She slowly began to cauterize the wound, stopping the bleeding. Logan's healing factor did the rest.
Within minutes he was breathing normally and starting to lose the paleness.
Jubilee was about to pass out from the drugs and effort. Remy wrapped her in his coat and held her, happy that she was all right.
"Now would be as good a time as ever to have our talk would it not?" asked Mariko as she retrieved the sword that Logan had used in the fight.
Tyger still holding Logan nodded her head.
"I know that you did not kill my father. The one responsible is lying dead there. The proof of this is the sword that I now hold. It is my family's honor sword carried by my father. It has been in my family for almost 1000 years. He would only have relinquished it at death. That Ogun had it shows that he was the one responsible for my father's death. My family has no reason to fight you. As the only child of my father, I now take his place at its head. My people will leave Madripoor within the week. You have my word."
"I will accept your word. There will be no blood shed between us."
Mariko stood and bowed. She looked to the now conscious Logan. "Thank you Logan. You have kept your word to me and done my family a great service. I am in your debt." She again bowed, then stood and motioned to her people to follow as she left.
Tyger looked around at the people left on the roof. Logan was still pale. Even though his wounds were healing, he'd lost a lot of blood. He needed rest to give his body time to replenish itself. Jubilee and Karma didn't look much better. They were obviously still affected by whatever drugs they had been given, eyes drooping and bodies sluggish and wilted.
She turned to Gambit. "Help me get them back to my place."
The meeting had taken a lot longer than he'd thought. It been hours, and he'd wanted to know if Dum Dum had found anything the entire time.
"Well, anything?" Nick said as he entered the room.
"The only US/Canadian project Becker was involved in is ultra-top secret. Couldn't find more than one sentence on it in all the records. All I've got is a code name for the project: Weapon X."
"Well, it's a start. What've you been able to find on Logan?" He'd lied to Ambassador Becker. He knew Logan was somewhere in Madripoor from what Nickie had told him. He just didn't know exactly where.
"That's the good news. Looks like whatever happened to him, he's been able to take care of it. I've got a Logan W. Patch with a ticket from Madripoor to New York. Flight leaves tomorrow."
"How d'ya know it's him?"
"He's traveling with a Remy LeBeau and a Jubilation Lee. Isn't that the name of the kid that hitched a ride up here last week?"
"Yep, that's the one."
"Don't worry, Darlin'. I won't forget you again. I'll stay in touch, and I'll definitely be back."
"You'd better. For your own good."
They were saying their goodbyes at the entrance to the airport. Made things easier that way.
"Thanks for the clothes." Jubilee said.
"Don't sweat it," Karma replied. "It was... interesting... fun. We'll have to do it again. Well not the kidnapping bit, but, you know."
"Yeah. Hey, come to New York and I'll show you around. Return the favor."
"Hey, yeah, let's. Sounds good."
"C'mon, Jubes. Time to go."
"Yeah, Gambit ready to go home, non?"
When they reached the metal detectors, Logan entered with a sense of dread and deja vu. The alarms went off, pealing through the halls.
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to remove any keys, watches, or other metals from your person."
Jubilee jumped in. "What he means is that he's got some of those surgical implants, ya know? Artificial hips and stuff. That's what's setting off the detector. Why don't you just frisk him? You'll see he's not carrying anything, and we can go."
When a quick pat down didn't produce any weapons, they were free to go to their plane. Once they were out of sight, Logan leaned over to Jubilee.
"Thanks, kid. That was quick thinking."
"What would you do without me?"
Logan leaned back in his seat. Plane rides were one of the times he was secretly glad he was short. He looked over at Jubilee and the Cajun kid sitting across the aisle from him. The Cajun had out a deck of cards and was teaching her how to cheat at poker.
'All those years wandering around alone, wondering who I was and where I belonged. Thing is that now I know a lot more, it don't change who I am inside, just showed me that there is something worthwhile in there somewhere. As to where I belong, I made a promise to Marie. It's time I kept it. Chuck did what he said. He found my past for me, though I don't think he meant it this way. He's also right in setting up a safe place for these kids.'
~I'm glad you think so, Logan.~
Logan sat up with a start. ~Get out of my head, Chuck.~
~I was just checking to see that you were making it home all right. I'll have Marie and Storm at the airport to pick you up. Welcome home, Logan. I am pleased that you have decided to join my X-Men.~ and the presence was gone.
Logan ignored the stares from Remy and Jubilee and leaned back into his seat again. He pulled the battered cowboy hat that had been returned to him by Tyger over his eyes and drifted off to sleep listening to the two teenagers talking quietly next to him.