FIC: The End of the Road. Rated R. [1/3] GEN
- TITLE: The End of the Road [1/3]
DISCLAIMER: Most of these lovely characters belong to Marvel, etc. However,
Little Golden Bird a.k.a. Subject 47 is a figment of my imagination.
DISTRIBUTION: If you would like permission to archive this story, please
OFFICIAL WEBSITE ADDRESS: http://www.wxfonline.com
RATING: Rated R for language.
SUMMARY: Movieverse. Logan went to Alkali Lake searching for answers. What
happens when he uncovers some he wasn't expecting?
DEDICATION: Thanks and praise to Lady-T for suffering through this story
with me. It lived several lives before finally settling on this one.
Thanks for your patience LT.
Four months had passed since the encounter with Magneto on Liberty Island
and Logan had yet to uncover any vital information about his past. Though
Charles had given him a rough estimate of the location of the military base
at Alkali Lake, Logan hadn't been able to will himself to go there. It was
empty, of that he was certain. Charles hadn't needed to tell him that much.
What kind of moron would leave tangible evidence of a project with those
So, he'd pointed his stolen motorcycle northward and moved on instinct.
Logan discovered that he had an unfailing ability to find every one-stop
town between the border and the lake. At this point he couldn't remember
the number of Mom-n-Pop groceries and gas stations that he had quietly made
his presence known in, each time hoping that someone would look at him with
a spark of recognition. Strangers had a tendency to stand out, and if he
wasn't strange, he wasn't sure who was.
Stomping away from Truvy's Gas and Go, he dug his boots viciously into the
ground, pieces of crumbling asphalt skittering out of his path as he walked.
He propped himself against the seat of Scott's motorcycle and pulled a pack
of unfiltered cigarettes from the breast pocket of his flannel shirt.
Having run out of cigars several towns back, he'd had to settle for the most
noxious substitute he could find. The rank smell of the burning tobacco
kept a lot of people at bay and he wasn't exactly going to complain.
As he exhaled, careless curls of dark gray smoke twining through the
windblown locks of his hair, Logan's eyes traveled over the horizon.
Burnished hints of gold and red glinted in the underbrush and in the trees.
A faint, sharp aroma slowly rolled across the landscape. Fall was coming.
Over the tree line, Logan's gaze came to rest on the hulking shape of a
sleeping giant. Alkali Lake lay at the base of that mountain, and smart
money said that the government had probably used that particular geological
wonder to conceal their covert operations.
Logan lifted the remnants of his cigarette to his lips and took a long, slow
pull. He'd almost reached the end of the road.
* * *
After stowing his motorcycle in a small cave that he'd found several yards
from the road, Logan set off through the woods to cover the last miles to
the lake. Though he was confident that the place had been deserted, he
wasn't a man to take chances. Despite his conscious mind's unwillingness to
admit that he'd covered this ground before, Logan felt at peace with the
narrow, rocky path he'd found scratched through the wilderness.
Rounding a bend in the trail, the lake's sudden presence surprised him. The
glassy, polished surface belied its deadly secret. The water was eerily
perfect. No birds. No fish. Logan crouched beside the shoreline and
pulled a small white, pitted object from the rocky mud. He rolled the shard
of bone between his hands.
Someone had tried to use the path to escape and they hadn't made it. Logan
tucked the remnant of the bone into his jacket pocket. The least he could
do was offer a decent burial for one of his fallen comrades.
As Logan made his way around the lake, Charles's prediction was confirmed.
There were no men guarding the shore and the entrance to the base appeared
to be equally abandoned, an empty husk left to rot on the vine. At least
that was how it seemed at cursory inspection.
Logan took his time exploring the exterior of the institution. As he had
expected, it had been built directly into the side of the mountain. Careful
inspection of the architecture suggested that the base would be perfectly
concealed from the air. The thick forest wouldn't have been much of a
problem considering that the only entrance would have been heavily
monitored. The only other conceivable way in would be to blast a hole
through several hundred feet of granite and that might just draw a little
bit of attention. In all, it had been the perfect death trap until their
prize bull broke out.
Upon entering the building, Logan pulled a powerful flashlight from the
pocket of his denim jacket. A choking swell of fear rose in his gullet and
he found himself silently thanking Cyclops for stowing the equipment aboard
his bike. As the sharp beam of light penetrated the gloom, Logan fought the
panicked tingling of his nerves until they abated.
From the smell of the facility, he could tell that it had been empty for
quite some time. Unfortunately, that was of little comfort. He wasn't sure
whether it was a blessing or a curse that he couldn't remember what had
happened to him within these walls. Given the few clear memories that he
did have, Logan tended to believe that the former was more accurate than the
The ground floor offered no hints as to what had really happened within the
steel-reinforced walls. As Logan moved through room after room, he was
confronted with one abandoned office after another. Desks and chairs,
telephones and typewriters, everything lay waiting for the occupants of the
offices to return. Desk drawers, filing cabinets, telephone rolodex, all
revealed nothing. The few sheets of paper that he found were blank or
scribbled with inane messages about groceries, dental appointments and
At the end of the corridor, Logan discovered the landing to a stairwell. He
paused at the top of the stairs, his heightened senses taking him into the
depths of the facility that his eyesight could not reach. The tremble of an
indrawn breath, an echoing footfall, the click of a round loading into a
chamber, he listened for the slightest hint of a presence. Finally, when he
was confident that the facility was, in fact, abandoned, he began to slowly
descend like Dante into the inferno.
He made a cursory inspection of the first subterranean level of the
facility. The pungent scent of rodent urine clung to every imaginable
surface. Flashing the light along the floor, Logan nudged an overturned
cage with the toe of his boot. Cedar shavings the consistency of sawdust
fell from its mouth like fine snow.
Moving quickly through the labyrinth of animal research labs, administrative
offices and data storage rooms, Logan smiled wryly. From all outward
appearances, one would think that this was your average research compound.
A few dead rats, a couple of cats, what would it matter? The truth is, it
was ugly but acceptable.
Returning to the stairwell, Logan set his course for a deeper level. SL2
and 3 were near mirror images of the first subterranean level. The deeper
he went the more the pretense fell away. The animals were bigger so large
they hadn¹t been removed when the orders to abandon the facility had come
down. The spicy scent of rotting flesh was overwhelming, but the visuals
Logan crouched beside the limp form of a large primate. It was too far gone
to tell exactly what it had looked like in life. The slight bend in the
bars of its cage confirmed that it had been alive when the building was
evacuated. It had died with its fingers clutching at the lock, still trying
to break free.
Logan stood and moved quickly down the hall. Try as he might, he could not
escape the scent of death. If he had stayed in this facility, would he be
like that ape alone, afraid, desperate to escape, with no hope? Worse
yet, had they all been abandoned because he had been smart enough to find a
fatal flaw in security?
Logan continued making his way deeper into the pit. It was wiser to move
than to keep on thinking. Thoughts could get a man killed. What was needed
now was action.
At SL19, Logan stopped.
He couldn't remember the specific brand of lab table or the make of the
restraints. The sensory deprivation tank seemed new. The view was
distinctly forgettable. But, together these items painted a picture.
Something big had been studied here, something intelligent. Though the room
had been abandoned for at least a decade, the scent of death was
unmistakable. In a moment of stunning clarity, Logan realized that he had
not been the first mutant lowered into a tank of bubbling ooze. No, others
had gone before, and after, leaving the perfumed stench of their fear
After wedging the flashlight high into the gap between the door and its
frame, Logan searched the lab, systematically deconstructing what was left
of the rat-hole of a prison that had taken every meaningful memory of his
past. He overturned desks, chairs, cases of pipettes, slides and syringes
and still he found nothing. Desk drawers were empty, as were the cabinets
built into the lab table.
The frantic pressure of fear pounded against his skull, propelling him
forward. With a Herculean effort, Logan began rocking the heavy, cast-steel
lab table from its foundations. He pushed and pulled, slowly inching it
away from the wall.
As he slipped behind the table in hopes of finding better leverage, an
unexpected flash of rainbow-colored light glinted from the backside of the
large piece of furniture. He pushed against the heavy steel, forcing the
far side toward the center of the room. After he had moved it several feet
from the wall, Logan bent to examine the back of the lab table. There,
wedged into a drawer frame, Logan found a small circular disk. Somehow it
had managed to escape the trash 'n burn phase of the evacuation plan.
It wasn't much, but it was something.
Looking at the disk, Logan realized that he could no longer carry out his
mission alone. He needed someone to unlock the technology for him. In the
last fifteen years, he'd done a lot of living, but hadn't found the time or
the inclination to sit down at a computer and figure out how it worked. It
hadn't been a necessary skill. He'd been made into a physical machine.
Fighting tactics, strategy, they had all been preprogrammed into his brain.
No, to finesse this disk, he needed someone else someone with hair the
color of flame at sunset.
Cyclops was going to shit.
* * *