In … The Beast Within: Pt. VIII
Belle Reve, Louisiana
Logan woke with a wince. His sides felt like they had been torn open. It took him a few seconds to realise that they had been. In an instance, memories from Kitimat came flooding back – James, Heather, that big Russian with the grey skin. He remembered everything. For the first time in weeks, he felt like he had his feet under him, like he wasn’t playing catch-up. In an instant, that was dashed. The bright lights and cold white walls, the restraints clamped around his arms and legs, and most of all, the fat black woman in the in pantsuit staring at him from across the room made him doubt what he thought he knew about what had happened.
“Welcome back to the world of the living, Weapon X.”
The woman’s voice was familiar but no warm, and it put Logan firmly on edge. “Where … where the hell am I?”
A wry smile appeared on the woman’s face. It was clear from her expression that she had no intention whatsoever of answering Logan’s questions. Small and squat as she was, there was a power to the way she carried herself even whilst she was at rest. There was no kindness, no cruelty even, just control – something about that struck fear even in Logan’s heart and though he seemed to know next to nothing about himself or his past, for some reason that struck him as significant.
“So you’ve finally regained the the ability to speak in full sentences or should I say gained? Even before your most recent ... mental break, you were never exactly a conversationalist.”
Every second Logan was in the woman’s presence, the sense that he knew her from somewhere grew and grew within him. “Who are you?”
“My name is Amanda Waller and who I am, Weapon X, is the only friend you have left in this entire world. After your little disappearing act, there were people more senior than I that wanted your head on a spike … I had to spend an awful lot of political capital to make sure that didn’t happen.”
“You sure do like the sound of your own voice, don’t ya?”
Again that wry smile crept onto Waller’s lips as if to remind Logan who was really in control. “That’s an interesting way of saying thank you.”
Suddenly a wave of memories came flooding back to the mutant. The oppressive sterility of the interrogation room, combined with Waller’s unsettling calm, had allowed his mind to stray for a moment, but now it was back where it needed to be. He heard Heather MacNeil’s screams ringing in his ears, the smell of James’ blood splattering across the snow, and remembered the sense of dread that had overtaken him as he’d watched the man that had shown him kindness fall to the ground in a heap.
“What happened to Hudson?”
Waller trotted out a platitude that only someone accustomed to ordering men to their deaths could manage. "Mr. Hudson didn’t make it.”
A guttural snarl escaped from Logan’s chest. His arms and legs thrashed against their restraints to no avail. They seemed to have been made of the same metal covering his claws because his attempts to pop them proved to useless. Anguished as Logan was, his violent lurches succeeded in achieving nothing other than tiring himself out. Waller watched the scene without flinching even an inch.
“He was a good man,” Logan howled. “That no good son of a bitch watched him bleed out … and for what? He coulda saved him.”
“That ‘no good son of a bitch’ did what was asked of him, Weapon X, and he is a great deal more reliable in that respect than you have ever been. Whilst I regret the loss of life at Can-Am Corporation’s Kitimat division, it’s worth remembering that Sabretooth is not responsible for it. You are.”
“How’d you figure that one? I seem to remember a grey-skinned Ruskie crashing the party. You’re telling me he wasn’t one of yours?”
“I’m afraid not,” Waller said with what seemed like genuine envy. “The most recent intelligence suggests that Omega Red is working for a cabal of former KGB officers that think the current government is being too soft on global affairs, if you can believe that. Once word was out that the famous Weapon X was in the wind, they made a play for you – and James Hudson, Jerome Jaxon, and the rest of those people at Can-Am died because of it. Maybe you’d better think about that next time you decide to go walkabout.”
Logan’s head, slumped forward in what looked like shame, began to bob up and down gently as he listened to Waller speak. A laugh that sounded like a rattling cough began to seep out of him. It grew in volume as the mutant gazed up at Waller opposite him. His eyes fixed on her like a predator eyeing its wounded prey.
“Walkabout? Heh, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until I’ve got these restraints off, I’m going to paint the walls with your blood – and then I’m going after that mangy Sabretooth.”
“Colonel Flag,” Waller said as she met Logan’s gaze. “Send Mr. Creed in here please.”
There was a mechanical whirring from the restraints around Logan’s legs. First the left leg was released, then the right. He glanced down at the unlocked restraints with shock and then back up to Waller who was sat unmoved at the desk still. She had flicked open the folder on the table and began to make notes on the documents inside. If she was worried about Logan’s newfound freedom, she didn’t seem it.
“What are you doing?”
“What does it look like? I’m giving you what you want.”
Logan’s left hand fell free and he instinctively popped his claws. The familiar stinging pain married with a shock of blood and the ripping of skin. He tugged at his last trapped hand in anticipation. Waller was only yards away from him – and though she’d yet to raise a hand in anger towards him, it was clear she was calling the shots around here.
As his right hand was set loose, the door to the laboratory opened and through it stepped Sabretooth. There was a broad smile on his face, almost as if he was looking forward to what was going to happen next. Logan roared and bound across the room towards him, claws at the ready, and felt Creed’s huge hands wrap around his wrists and immobilise him with ease.
“You know, Logan, after all these years I’d have thought you’d be sick of me handing your ass to you on a silver platter by now.”
Hudson’s face flashed across Logan’s mind and helped him call upon strength he didn’t realise he had. “You’re gonna pay for Hudson, bub.”
With a well-placed, Logan sent Creed buckling and broke free from his grasp. From his knees, Victor looked up at him with an expectant smile. Logan snarled and sent his claws driving down towards his throat but at the last moment found himself unable to make contact. It was as if he could feel something in his brain, refusing him the closure that killing Sabretooth might bring him. The harder he strained against the control, the harder it was for him to move. Sensing Waller’s influence, he looked towards the still-seated woman.
“What’s happening to me? I can’t move,” Logan protested as he struggled in vain to deliver the coup de grace. “What have you done to me, you cold-hearted bitch?”
Sabretooth chuckled smugly and sent his claws piercing through Logan’s bicep. The shorter man let out a cry of pain. Creed rose to his feet, lifting Logan with him, driving his claws deeper and deeper as they rose. Once the claws reached the bone, Victor tore the muscle away with a swipe. His hands wrapped tightly around Logan’s neck and smashed him against the ceiling before throwing him down onto the ground.
“How many times are we going to have to do this little song and dance?” Creed laughed as he mounted him. “You can’t beat me, Logan. You could never beat me. Even before Waller’s implants, I had your number and I always will do. No matter where you run, no matter where you hide ... I will find you and make you suffer all over again. The sooner you get that through your thick skull, the better.”
Punch after punch rattled Logan’s brain around its skull. His face was awash with blood. Through it all he could see Creed’s wicked smile. Logan struggled in vain against the punches, managing to block one or two of them, and what futile attempts he made to strike back were once again restrained by Waller’s implants.
“That’s enough, Mr. Creed.”
Without a word of protest, Sabretooth brought his assault to an end. He looked down at Logan’s battered face with a proud smile before standing up and stepping back to allow Waller to lean down and speak to his victim.
“Do you understand now, Weapon X? You’re mine,” Waller said coolly. “Those claws of yours belong to me. You do what I tell you to do, go where I tell you to go, and kill who I tell you to kill. From now until that healing factor of yours finally decides to call it quits.”
Waller gestured towards the doors and they opened on command. Logan was a bloody, broken heap, moaning to himself in pain, but he managed to roll over just enough to see Sabretooth following behind her like a housebroken pet.
Creed looked over his shoulder at Logan and spoke five words that Logan felt like he had heard before. “Welcome to the Suicide Squad.”