X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 12 - INTERLUDE
Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue)
Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with characters from the Marvel
universe or any previously published work.
Seven hundred miles north of the arid land of Arizona, a man climbed
quickly up a wooded mountainside in the vast forests of Colorado.
He knew he was not very far from Boulder, yet he was far enough from
civilization to safely call the area the `middle of nowhere.'
The trees were old and closely packed together, allowing only
scattered beams of daylight escape down between their branches.
One would certainly not expect to find a road cutting through the
trees, and most people would have never noticed the two shallow
groves tread long ago by unknown tires, now hidden by decades'
worth of dense underbrush.
Logan breathed deeply as he walked forward, following the two tracks
unerringly down their winding path. Whom ever had once used
this `road' had been careful to not disturb the existing
plant life, making it much more difficult to follow as it twisted
left and right among the large trees. A straight road cutting
through the forest would have been far too conspicuous to any
passing campers or park rangers.
Shifting his large duffle bag slightly, Logan trudged upwards,
following not only the old tire tracks, but the scent of old
gasoline and oil left by the vehicles that once traveled there. He
had not idea where it would lead him, but he knew it was somewhere
that had never meant to be found.
It was late morning, nearly noon, and the sounds of life around her
were active and awake, despite the late winter cold. Over the past
few days of his trek, it had snowed only lightly and he hoped his
luck with the weather would continue until this evening. He had a
feeling he would find what he was looking for very soon.
After another hour or so, the clearing around the tracks became
wider and he could feel old gravel crunching underneath his boots.
The tall trees became sparser, and Logan finally stepped out into a
From the air, the space would have simply looked like an old camp
ground, abandoned and left to disappear again into the woods. Logan
knew by experience, however, that the look of a place could be
Cautiously, Logan moved toward an old metal building that stood
roughly in the center of the clearing. The dull gray of the outer
walls were aged and stained with rust. On the left side, a door
blew slowly back and forth, held ajar by two weakening hinges.
He walked quickly and quietly around and peered inside. There were
no windows and the only light shone in from the open door. Logan
dropped his duffle bag roughly to the ground and dug through to find
a large flashlight.
As he stepped into the dark room, his light cut through the gloom
harshly, shining dully off the metallic walls. The room was bare
and as weathered as the outside, and completely empty. After
exploring for a few moments, Logan found a cracked hatchway in the
floor. It was about four-feet-square and closed flush with the
ground. The hatch screamed in protest as he yanked up on the
handle, and the noise reverberated painfully in his ears.
Logan shoved the hatch open and coughed as twenty years worth of
dust filled the air. He squinted and shone the light down the
hole. There was a staircase, going down at least two stories from
where he stood.
He descended them slowly, taking each step with care. Despite the
age of the place, it had obviously been maintained with great care
before being abandoned. The walls were even and squared, the stairs
lined with a non-slip covering. The remains of security cameras and
fire alarms hung loosely from the ceiling, all covered with a heavy
layer of dust.
When he reached the final step, Logan walked forward into a long,
narrow hallway, which grew wider as he moved on. After a couple
hundred feet, he reached an old security door made of steel and
glass. The two halves of the door had been wrenched open, leaving
several of the glass panels shattered and the inner beams bent.
Logan frowned deeply as he examined the remnants, and looked around
carefully. Whatever had happened to the door had happened
recently. The broken glass and frame had been shaken free of the
years of dust that covered everything else. Logan sniffed the air,
but could not make out a clear scent.
He moved past the entrance, deeper into the empty facility. The
hall continued on, breaking off into other identical passageways.
Each new hall was lined with multiple doors, each marked by a dingy
SECURITY, read the first, a solid metal door with no handle, only a
swipe card activated mechanical lock.
LOUNGE, reach the next, and a short wall of windows revealed a
deserted lunchroom. The chairs were all stacked neatly against one
wall, the table clear of any dishes or leftover food.
Whoever had worked here before had not left in a great hurry.
The list of rooms went on much like this, conference rooms,
bathrooms, big and small offices
nothing that would have been out
of the ordinary if this place were a few stories above ground.
However, at the end of the main hall, a second door lay in ruin.
Logan examined the broken door carefully, making out the words,
Second Level Clearance ONLY.
After passing through, the hall turned sharply left, and stretched
on to another series of security checkpoints. Finally, Logan came
across a large open room, filled with rows of filing cabinets and
dark computer screens.
At one terminal, the keyboard lay open and the monitor had been
cleaned off. Logan walked over to it and pressed the power button
experimentally. The screen stayed black.
With a grunt of frustration, Logan shone the flashlight along the
wall of files. Several drawers had been pulled open and ransacked.
He looked at the front of each open cabinet and made a mental note
of the recurring topic.
Lot Program Data Files, they each read, followed by a
progressing series of numbers. Most of the open drawers had been
emptied of all the information they had contained. Logan searched
through the remaining papers and read each briefly before folding
them and sticking them inside his coat.
Most were headlined with the words, FOR OFFICIAL EYES ONLY, or,
PROPERTY OF SYSTEMS OPERATIONS INCORPORATED.
Logan did not bother with the details. He had Charles Xavier and
his team to handle that.
Before continuing on, Logan noticed one other curious item in the
far corner. There was a pile of broken video equipment, which
looked as if it had been slashed by several sharp knives.
Logan ran his fingers along the cuts with sudden conjecture. Each
machine had been destroyed by five evenly lined slashes. He noticed
the same slashes ran along the wall and floor in places and he felt
strangely disquieted. He recognized those marks, the pattern of the
so very similar to the damage his adamantium claws could
But that's impossible, he thought quickly and shoved the broken
VCR away. He watched it settle among the ruin and then stared at it
curiously. From the rectangular door on the front hung the torn
remains of videotape.
Logan picked up the machine and examined the tattered filmstrip. He
made a fist with one hand, and one long claw shot out from in
between his first two fingers. He used it to carefully carve away
the top cover of the VCR and removed a square black videotape.
The tape's innards had been partially pulled out, leaving most of
the film to the mercy of the elements. Logan carefully wrapped the
exposed tape around the case and stowed it away with the rescued
He stood and returned to the long hallway. The rest of the facility
had been heavily damaged by small explosives, and the power to the
computers had been cut by the same slashing cuts as the video
Logan began to head back towards the entrance, when one last room
caught his attention. The door had also been broken open but the
room within had not been touched. Logan circled inside and felt a
cold anger rise in his chest.
The room was filled with a variety of medical equipment, as well as
a large lighting fixture hanging uncertainly over a long metal
table. Next to the table was a machine for monitoring heart rate
and respiration, aw well as brain waves. On one far wall was a dark
panel, lined with clips that would have held x-rays and other
Logan recognized what the room was all too well. It was a room for
medical study, for experimentation. He pulled his arms in around
the files hidden against his chest and ground his teeth.
He was suddenly very sorry the facility was abandoned. He would
have liked to `discuss' with its former staff what had been
going on in this little hidden room
and why the restraints on that
surgical table seemed to have been made for someone very small.
Logan walked quickly out of the room and down the hall. He paused
and took several deep breaths to help contain his anger. He needed
to get back to the Professor. He wanted someone to examine at what
he had found in this place, and see if these documents had any of
the answers he was looking for.
His thoughts strayed back to the surgical room one last time, and
Logan closed his eyes. An angry roar tore from his lungs and echoed
through the empty halls. Almost without thinking, he slammed one
clawed fist into the wall and slashed downward in fury.
Logan drew his arm back, and felt some bit of self-control fighting
through his anger. He stormed out of the facility into the cold air
and left the ruined underground facility to rot.
Had he taken a moment to examine the marks he had made in the wall,
Logan may have found a similar mark, also made in rage, but with the
cuts of five blades instead of three.