Author: Notmanos
E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!   


Logan followed Marcus back to Baltimore on his bike, only giving into road hypnosis on the straightaways. There weren't many of those, as Marcus seemed to think this was some kind of chase scene in an action film and kept trying to lose him. If only he knew he could get ahead of him and cut his lame ass off. He considered it, but decided there was still enough traffic that he shouldn't risk it.

But he was impressed with his wheels. Being a mercenary really must have brought in the dough - he'd never met anyone who drove a Viper before. And it wasn't exactly a pure showroom model either - the engine on it purred like a contented dragon, and it seemed to be able to accelerate at the drop of a dime; he'd must have had the thing custom modified, as well as painted ( it was a deep, gleaming black, like an insect's carapace ). Marcus drove like a fucking maniac, and he figured he'd had that defensive driving class. He wondered if the tires were bulletproof.

Marcus's neighborhood looked even more seedy and disreputable at night, but the shady characters gathering on the street corner split as soon as his Viper rounded the corner and growled to a stop beside the curb in front of his building. He wondered if he ever had to bother to kick their asses, or just stared at them until they got so freaked out they decided it was in their best interest not to tangle with him.

Marc still lived in his loft at the top of a converted artist's warehouse, and even though it was one in the morning, it sounded like someone was one in one of the ground floor workspaces, using a ceramic wheel, throwing clay. "So what's your art?" Logan had to ask, as he followed Marc up the cool cement stairs to his place. The interior was all grey concrete and aluminum painted a very fragile white-blue, with soft white indirect lighting; industrial arty.

"Does death count?" He replied flippantly.

He knew he was going to say that.

His loft was very much the same as the last time he saw it - still sparse, still dominated by a killer entertainment system and red leather sofa, but now he'd put up a picture: a Japanese language version movie poster for "Blade Runner", inside a gilded glass frame. "Well, that explains your wardrobe," Logan noted sarcastically, as Marcus turned on a dim floor lamp in the far corner.

"Can you live with this?" He asked, shucking off his leather jacket. He meant with the nearly non-existent lighting, of course.

He nodded. "Got better vision than the average mutie."

"I know, and it's a help." He pushed his goggles up onto his head, and even in the dimness Logan could see they were almost all black, pupils expanded to maximum. His pupils were already larger than normal, being as he could see in infrared, but the fact that he had thin irises that were virtually black anyways always made his eyes seem huge and somehow alien or insectoid, pushing out the whites. He wasn't sure if he could see normally and in infrared, or if he could view them concurrently but not separately - the latter would explain why he preferred the dark, beyond the constantly dilated pupils.

Marc tossed his duster on the end of the couch, and headed for the refrigerator in his attached kitchenette. When he opened the door. Logan saw that rather than the traditional white light in his fridge, he had a dim red bulb, like you might find in a darkroom. "Go ahead and boot up my laptop. I can get to downloading the info."

Logan sat down on the sofa, and saw his laptop was indeed sitting in the center of the coffee table, marginally hidden under a copy of Scientific American. He glanced at the cover briefly, assuming the twisted skeins of a triple helix ( as opposed to the normal double ) meant this was about mutations, and then tossed it aside, opening the laptop. He wasn't immediately sure how to boot it up, but he figured it out without the embarrassment of having to ask.

"Incoming," he said, and tossed a bottle of Jaegermeister his way. Logan caught it easily and twisted off the cap as the screen came to life, glowing with light and showing a background pic of a ... "What the hell is that?" He had to ask, pointing at the laptop. He took a hearty swig of the beer, and good lord did this stuff pack a kick; even he could feel it, if only for a millisecond.

"What do you think it is?"

Logan canted his head to the side, just in case the picture was upside down or sideways, but no, it didn't look any better. "It looks like a chicken crossed with an ear."

"An ear?" he replied, laughing. "How the fuck do you see an ear in that?" Marcus was now over at his stereo, flipping through his CDs.

"Well, the bones of the eardrums - the anvil, the stirrups. Melted into bronze and given the head of a chicken." It did - a cartoonish stick body of bronze, on what had to be three toed chicken feet, with a sideways U for a tail and two tubule like things growing out of the top of the body ( those were not wings! ), tapering down to a long, straight swan like neck with a chicken beaked head, standing on a pale maroon base. It was one of the ugliest things he'd ever seen - Kuk aside.

"Wow - you immediately thought of the bones of the ear? I wonder what that means. See, I like to use that picture as a psychological test." The stereo started playing harder edged rock at a low volume ( in deference to his neighbors, or Logan's ears? ), and it sounded remarkably familiar. Bob like, in fact.

"Tomahawk?" He asked curiously. The name just occurred to him - he didn't know if that was the right name for the band.

But Marc nodded as he came over and joined him on the couch. "Bob turned me on to them. They're shit hot. Too bad like three people have heard of them."

He shrugged. "What the fuck is that?"

As Marcus picked up the laptop and leaned back into his couch, he told him, "It's a public art statue I found at a train station outside Tacoma. I can't remember what it was called, although I think the word rooster was involved. It was just so godawful I had to record it for posterity. I found a couple of good pieces in Latvia and Brussels too. They're just so terrible they're almost beautiful, you know?"

"So that's your new hobby now? Taking pictures of ugly statuary?"

"Not just statuary - some things are so hideous or badly conceived, they must be seen to be believed. Remind me to take a picture of you sometime."


Marc set his bottle of beer on the arm of the couch, and set to work on the keyboard, his fingers moving at almost lightning speed across the keys. He had his gloves off, although Logan hadn't seen him take them off. It was probably as much a relief to him as taking off his goggles. "Now I hacked this stuff out of a secure area, but I uploaded it to a shell account without decrypting it. And if I run it through another shell I'm sure no one will ever be able to trace the source of - "



"Shut the fuck up."

He chuckled, but he did stop his running commentary for the moment. Logan simply enjoyed his beer and watched as Marcus ran the documents he downloaded through a decryption program. They looked more like memos, business missives, than military records of any sort, but that's what boggled Marc's mind, wasn't it?

"So how'd I do?" Logan finally asked.


"The psychological chicken statue test."

"I'm not sure. No one's ever said they saw ear bones in it." After a brief pause, he said, "I guess it means you have an odd combination of imagination and analytical pattern recognition. And you have some anatomical knowledge, dude - sure you were never a doctor?"

"Roughly sure, yeah. But I know how to hurt people." He wasn't proud of that; in fact, he was almost ashamed of it. But it was the way it was.

Marcus just nodded sagely, accepting that without judgement. "That's why I'm glad you're on my side, man." He then handed him the laptop. "See what you make of these. I'm gonna get changed."

Logan eyed him dubiously as he stood up. "You don't need to put on somethin' frilly for me."

He laughed and gave him the finger as he walked off to his bedroom. "In your dreams."

Logan's eyes started to blur over as he read document after document - there was something about the use of words of "synergy" and "proactive" and "applied strategy management" ( in civilian speak, that meant lying your fucking ass off ) that threatened to induce coma. He was pretty sure that's why they invented the terms, to slowly make people unaware of the antidote brain dead.

But what he was able to put together was puzzling. There was something about a rich vein of oil being struck beneath a part of Santo Marco known as  Plano da Noite ( plain of night? ), but some unidentified problem causing difficulties with pumping up the petroleum. Then there were some references to "unrest among the native populace" ( Santo Marcans), but that made no sense - as Marcus said, there wasn't a spot of a trouble in the country. Well, that was reported.

Then, in an email dated two weeks later,there was a reference to the "Project Lacuna " ( now there was an odd name for a project ), and an "incident" with one of their drilling supervisors by the name of Ethan Casey. But there was a dearth of information even in intra-company messages; it was like these guys didn't even trust each other, and he supposed that was the case.

"So what do you think?" Marc asked, coming back into the room. He'd changed into sweatpants and a pale green tank top, and had gotten rid of his goggles completely.

"I think these guys are devious shits as a matter of course."

"Hey, they're not just executives, they're oil company executives - they gotta be slimier than a slug in lard."

"That's a lovely mental picture," he shot back, but he had to agree with him.

As he sat back down on the couch and grabbed his beer, he asked, "Do you know what it means?"


"Lacuna. I thought it was one of those big South American rodents, but I wasn't sure."

Logan couldn't help but smirk. "A lacuna is a pit or a hole; a hollow or a void. Something empty or blank. It's a little used word - I'm not surprised you didn't know it."

"So how do you know it?"

He just stared at him, even though Logan knew logically he should have seen that coming. "I don't know."

Marcus kindly just shrugged and changed the topic. "So why did I think of an animal when I heard lacuna?"

He considered making a bad joke, but discarded it since Marcus had let the lacuna thing go. "There's an animal called the vicuna, but it's not a rodent - it's a cousin of the llama."

Logan could see on his face that he was going to ask him how he knew that, but he quickly decided not, as he knew that answer would be the same as the first. "See, they did that to trip gringos up - change the first two letters. That is so unfair."

"Hey, we got back at them - we created Taco Bell."

"Damn straight." He then studied the laptop screen for a minute, and asked, "Anything familiar?"

Logan shook his head. "To GP? No. Their super soldier thing was called Project Samson, which makes a kind of sense. But "Lacuna"? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"Man, I thought it was a rat. Don't ask me!"

He ran over the possible meanings in his mind: Project Ditch; Project Hole; Project Blank; Project Hollow. Blank made the most sense in context, yet was perfectly meaningless. "Something happened - something happened while they were trying to tap the vein on the plain of night that made everything go tits up."

"Plain of night?"

"Plano da Noite."

"Oh. I knew it meant plain of something. Night? Weird name for a plain, huh?"

"That's what I was just thinking."

They were both quiet as they turned over possible reasons in their mind. "If any oil leaked to the surface the ground would be pitch black, but how could it leak up before they pumped it? And if it did, why would it take them so long to get around to draining it?" Marcus said, thinking aloud.

"Volcanic rock?" Logan suggested, even though he knew it was a long shot. "Pulverized it would look like black sand."

He nodded. "Yeah, but ... are there volcanoes in Santo Marco?"

"You're asking me?"

Another pause, in which they sipped their beers and hoped that the senseless would suddenly make sense. Of course it didn't - it never did. This was just another situation where the questions outnumbered the available answers.

"Maybe Pablo Neruda named it," Marcus finally offered.

"Neruda was from Chile."

"Well, fuck man, maybe not him specifically - you know what I mean! Someone poetic." After a pause, he added defensively, "I know philosophers, not poets."

"Oh course. Poets are for pussies; philosophers are for self-important pussies."

Marcus gave him a sharp elbow in his arm and grabbed his laptop back, while Logan laughed. Yes, it was mean as hell, but it had to be said. "You're just lucky my chick's not here," Marcus said.

"Or dude."

"Hey, my chick could be a dude."

"That was really more information than I needed."

As he shut down the laptop, he told him, in a serious and almost doleful voice, "I've been lookin' around, but I still haven't found anything more about that "Weapon X" thing. Just that shit I found in Mexico, and that stuff we found in Canada."

Oh shit. Look took a gulp of liquid courage, and then told him, "Don't bother - it doesn't matter."

"Of course it fucking matters! It's supposed to be some mutant killing super weapon. I don't care that it may have blown up in someone's face. If it's still out there, we need to know."

"You don't have to worry about it in anymore." He stared resolutely ahead at the stereo system, its readouts a glowing red and green in the dimness, and heard the singer snarl out, " - the world is my whorehouse, my zoo." Logan recalled all the times in his life when he felt positively insane, and realized that, save for that short time after he was ... after, he never really had been. It would have been kinder if he still was. Otherwise it had just been a convenient excuse for being out of control, and floundering without a functioning moral compass.

He saw Marcus staring at him out of the corner of his eye, but he didn't turn to look at him - he couldn't. "You and Bob found it? You guys took it out of play?"

"I'm it."

"You took it out?"

"I'm what they were talking about; I'm Weapon X." He got up and stalked away, back towards his kitchenette. He gulped down the rest of his beer and set the empty in the sink, aware that Marc was staring at his back.

"Holy fuck," he breathed, as if physically stunned. Logan couldn't blame him; when it sank in with him, he didn't want to believe it either. He still didn't want to believe it - but it made perfect sense, didn't it? It didn't just explain the claws either - it explained his extensive knowledge of how to hurt people, right down to the physical detail. Yes, he had anatomical knowledge that could have rivaled Jean's - but only because he used it to destroy any living thing that crossed his path.

And he had never told her. In fact, he had never told anyone until this moment, never admitted it aloud.

He wouldn't have blamed Marcus if he exploded at him or kicked him out; hell, he was almost looking forward to it. But after a moment, Marc just closed the laptop and set it back on the coffee table, the silence tense enough that Logan could almost feel it pressing down on him like a weight. "Shit man, if I'd have known that I'd never have worried about it."

Logan finally turned around and eyed him curiously. "Oh really?"

"Yeah. Since when do you anything people tell you to do?" He gave him one of his patented shit eating grin, his teeth white in the half light.

Logan raised an eyebrow at him, and fought hard to repress a smile. "Well, when yer mother asked me to - "

"Don't you even start a round of dozens with me, asshole," Marcus interrupted, trying not to laugh. "Do I go to the zoo and kick your mother around her pen? No, so lay off."

Even though he couldn't help but chuckle, he said, "Keep your day job, Shecky."

Maybe it wasn't always such a bad thing to have friends.


He was so cold he couldn't quite breathe.

Or maybe he just couldn't breathe. His body felt like a dead, frozen slab of beef around him, a cage in which he was imprisoned. He saw the glowing halos of light far above him, but there was light beneath him, an oozing green that reminded him of infection; tainted light without the promise of heat.

His eyes were having trouble focusing; everything carried its own negative, afterimages worn like auras, save for the people clustered around him - they were just shadows, slightly amorphous and reeking of disinfectant and rubber and something strangely, heavily metallic.

Smell. If he could smell, he must have breathing ... right? In theory it made sense, but he didn't think sense was any longer in his orbit, if indeed it had ever been. He just wanted to move, to get away - everything in him was screaming to run - but he could barely feel the prison of flesh around him, except as something cold and heavy as marble. He saw something out of the corner of his eye - most things he saw out of the corner of his eye because he couldn't move his head, and he couldn't remember how to move his eyes - it looked like a long needle on the end of something like a silver table leg, and he heard the piercing whine of a bone saw. Was it coming closer?

Yes, it was - it was nearing him, the sound growing loud, shadows converging, melting into a huge amorphous blob of humanity; a group of people becoming a single mass. He didn't want to believe it, not at first, but adrenaline dumped into his system and he tasted metal in his mouth as his body reacted to what his mind shied away from: they were coming for him. They were coming back with the needles and the saws, and those clamps, the ones that held his peeled back skin so it wouldn't start healing while they tried to work ... no, no not again.

He tried to force movement, force anything, but he couldn't - someone else controlled his body, or must have, because god knew he didn't. He heard more noises now, a burbling like water, whispered voices like the hisses of angry snakes, and he wondered if he was dead. If he was dead this was hell. Or maybe the whole point of all of this was to make him wish he was dead.

It was then he saw the light out of the corner of his eye on the right. He knew it was wrong, although he couldn't say how or why; just that it was. It glowed red and white, and grew as it seemed to come into the room, into this torture chamber of oily shadows and ichor green light. It seemed to obliterate everything that came into its path, wipe it away like a stain, and it moved like fire, like a living ball of flame; but it wasn't flame. He was starting to feel the power through his numb body, but not heat - its heat was not what killed. And it did kill - it was too powerful not to. But while he instinctively feared it, he also wanted to reach out to it, embrace it, gladly be consumed by that fire.

He could almost see something in that tower of flame, a dark shape, like a living shadows deep within its heart. The more he could feel this corrosive, caustic reflective light of its power fall over him, the more he could feel his body, and he knew he would be able to move soon. He'd be able to move, and go towards that light, that flame, dissolve in the glory of it. And while he had never seen such a thing before, it seemed ... familiar somehow ...

A loud crash woke Logan with a jolt, and he instinctively popped his claws as he sat up and looked around frantically for the thing -

- ( that light - it was drawing him in, luring him, trying to kill him - ) -

- that was attacking.

( Why had it seemed so familiar? )

"Hey - watch the upholstery," Marcus snapped, and after a moment, Logan remembered where he was and what was going on.

Right - he had slept on Marc's couch. From the light bleeding through the still closed blinds, it was obviously morning,and Marcus was standing in his kitchenette, picking up the pan he had dropped on his hardwood floor. "Fuck, man, you have some nightmares, don't you?" He said, retrieving the now slightly dented aluminum sauce pan. He wasn't wearing his goggles, but even though the blinds were closed, he was wearing grey tinted shades.

He retracted his claws and glanced at the red leather sofa - no, didn't look like he cut it. Score one for him. "Sorry." It was all he could think to say. He dry washed his face, and wondered what the hell that dream had been about. It had all been typical until that fire thing - what was that fire thing? It almost felt real, like something had side slipped into his mind ...

"You wanna beer?" Marcus asked.

Logan threw the blanket off him and set his feet on the cool floor, sitting forward and wondering if he should be worried or not. "Maybe in a minute. " He couldn't believe he had volunteered for that - he refused to believe he had.

He'd stripped down to his boxers and had the rest of his clothes piled up on the floor, his t-shirt on top, which reminded him. "Can I steal one of your shirts?"

Marc, who had been pulling stuff out of the fridge, glanced back at him curiously. "I guess, as long as you don't touch my good ones. Why? Suddenly have a sense of taste?"

He scowled at him, and held up his t-shirt to show him the blood stain and bullet hole. "The scumbags last night."

The look of surprise on Marc's face was priceless. "Fuck me - you were shot? Man. Can I have that?"

"The shirt? Why?"

"'Cause, once I get that laundered - and sterilized, of course - I know a club downtown where that shirt will get me so laid."

Logan studied the shirt for a moment, and asked, "Where downtown is this place?"

"You want a new shirt, I get that one."

"You're a blackmailing bastard," he replied, balling it up and throwing it at him. He caught it with one hand, so he didn't have to drop what looked like a bag of chili peppers in his other hand.

"And you almost punched a hole in my sofa. Fair's fair."

He grumbled a reply and got up, grabbing his jeans and stalking off towards his bedroom, which was the only way to get to his bathroom. "I will punch a hole in it if you didn't leave any hot water."

"Ooh, aren't we a morning person?" He shouted after him, with a slightly campy lilt.

After getting over the general shock of seeing Marc's shower - it was done in blue glass tile, and seemed to have a tub made of blue veined marble ( how much money had this guy made? Jesus fucking Christ, he was almost in Bob's league, wasn't he? ) - he got under the spray and tried to think about his nightmare. What the fuck had that been anyways? And why had he felt so drawn to it - like he was a moth ... no, worse. Moths operated on blind instinct; he felt something tugging at him. Desire and fear; hope and avarice. He wanted to go to that thing - even though he knew it would kill him, because ... because he wanted. He wasn't sure what he wanted, though. That light had something ... what? The more he thought about it, the more it ultimately eluded him - he could feel it slipping through his grasp. He had a feeling that by tomorrow he wouldn't even remember the anomaly in his nightmare, but he felt that it was important that he captured this in his mind. But again, he had nothing to base this on, and it was a desperately lost cause.

By the time the hot water pounding his back turned cold, he couldn't even remember what color it was.

He avoided Marc's closet and just pulled a tank top out of his top drawer, and by the time he was dressed and back out in the front room, he was overwhelmed by the smell of his breakfast. It smelled great - eggs and peppers and tomatoes - and the BBC world news was now playing on the big screen television. Marcus was sitting on the couch, feet up on the coffee table, eating his breakfast. "Help yourself, grumpy," he said, pointing towards the stove with his fork. "Hope you can live without coffee."

"Doesn't do anything for me," he admitted, then asked, "Don't drink coffee?"

"I do, but only other people's. All I can manage is boiled crap in a cup, so I don't bother."

"Makes sense - leave it to the professionals." Marcus had left a plate and a fork down on the stove for him, beside the cast iron skillet full of what looked like eggs scrambled with green chilies, stewed tomatoes, and ripped up chunks of tortilla. It smelled better than anything he had had lately, making his stomach growl, and he pretty much just dumped the contents of the pan on the plate. He grabbed a beer ( wow - he had imported Japanese beer too ) before picking up his plate and joining Marcus on the couch.

Logan couldn't believe how good his first bite of the omelet was: spicy, rich, the eggs as light and fluffy as clouds. Marcus could cook too? What wasn't this guy good at, and why did he have to be a man? "I'm seriously thinkin' about marryin' you," he admitted. It was hard not to wolf the entire plate down.

"It'd never work. I have to be on top sometimes."

Once Logan got through choking on his first sip of beer, he saw Marcus giving him that shit eating grin again. "I bet it ain't nothin' like this at Xavier's."

"You can say that again." They listened to the British reporter with the stunningly soothing voice report on the problems in Kashmir, which for some reason reminded Logan why he was here. "When are we leavin' for Santo Marco?"

Marcus raised an eyebrow at him. "So you're comin', huh?"

"Well, if you go down there alone, you'll probably get your fool ass killed."

He grunted humorously, but accepted that. "I know a guy who'll take us down as far as Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. The oil company has restricted air space over Santo Marco, so we're gonna have to get a lift in, but that shouldn't be a problem. We can get goin' soon as the news is over."

"Won't the company restrict access to the borders too? I mean, if the juntas haven't even been able to grab themselves a gringo, they must be locked down pretty tight. Yankees or not, how are we gettin' in? Slice and dice?"

Marcus frowned at him. "Yeah, that's real slick, Mr. Bond. No - we're employees."

"Are we?" News to him.

After taking a drink of his orange juice, he set his glass on the arm of the sofa,and reached into the front pocket of his cargo pants. Marcus pulled out two laminated i.d. badges and handed them to him. "Gotta love the internet."

They looked authentic - well, as far as Logan could tell. They had the large Metropolitan Petrochemical Inc. logo at the top ( including its French initials PMI, as its main business arm was based in Paris ), and the legend "Employee", with some kind of UPC code underneath. And between the logo and the code on both badges was a small square mugshot - one of him, one of Marc wearing dark glasses - and their names: Logan Hunter, Marcus Hunter.

"You gave us the same last name?" Logan wondered.

He nodded. "We're brothers." At Logan's disbelieving stare, he added, "Well, half."

He wasn't kidding. "And you think they'll buy that?"

"Oh yeah. Americans are really touchy about the race issue - if someone mentions it, I'll get uptight, and they'll drop it and never mention it again."

Logan considered that a moment. Logically, he didn't think it had a chance in hell of working - but then again, it was so fucking audacious it actually might. And he knew Marc was a damn good actor when he wanted to be. "Why do I have a feeling you've done something like this before?" Actually, judging from all of this, Marcus had a side job going in industrial espionage. Maybe that's where the big money was.

He just shrugged, ducking the issue. "Our strongman dad had the happiest pants in the circus. At least my looks take after my mother, Angela Basset. And I guess you take after your mother." He paused to look at him. "A warthog? No, no, I got it - what's the name of that grouchy muppet?"

"Fuck you," he spat, trying not to laugh. Okay, he had to admit they kind of sounded like brothers.

"Not unless you buy me dinner first."

"So what about these UPC codes? What happens when they scan these?"

"Our employee records pop up."

"What employee records?"

"The ones I planted in their main computer this morning. You've been working for them for a year and half; I've been with 'em for eight months. Oh, and in case it ever comes up, your birthday is March twenty eight,1967; you were born in Buffalo, New York; and your social security number is 342 - 93 - 5288."

"Why March twenty eighth?"

"You look like a Leo, but you strike me more as an Aries."

Logan decided he wasn't even going to try and understand that. He kept his i.d. and gave Marcus back his, but then he realized something. "Where did you get a picture of me?"

"I e-mailed Helga yesterday and asked if she or Bob had a head shot of you I could use. The answer, in case you didn't get it, was yes."

He scowled at him, but Marcus went right on eating his breakfast and watching the report on new irrigation techniques being used in the Kalahari. It figured that Helga or Bob had a picture of him he didn't know about. "So, even though you only asked me last night, you figured I'd agree to this?"

"Well, you wouldn't want me to go get my fool ass killed, now would ya?" He finally looked at him, giving him that smart ass grin again, all teeth.

Logan shook his head and took a swig of his beer, wondering how he ever got suckered into this. "What if they actually expect us to work?"

"Let's try not to be there that long."

He was all for that.


The "guy" that flew them to Tuxtla Gutierrez in their charter plane was actually a woman Marc called Mattie, a plain but not unattractive brunette who carried herself with an almost military bearing and looked at him like he was something she'd just scraped off her shoe. Logan figured he wouldn't be asking her out any time soon.

It was a nightmarishly long flight ( oh, how he longed for the X jet now ), and they had to stop once, to refuel in Texas. To his general surprise, Marcus didn't bring an excessive amount of weapons: three semi-automatic handguns, two flash bang grenades, and a tanto, a sort of military style knife. He tried to get Logan to take one of his guns, but Logan pointed out he was a weapon, and besides, he didn't like guns. "But you know if you gotta drop a guy, it's less muss and fuss to do it from a distance," Marcus replied, then rummaged through his backpack full of ammunition. "What do you think about these? You're a blade man."

Marcus tossed what looked like a slim belt with way too many silver accents, but when Logan caught it, he realized what it actually was. "You have throwing knives?" That's what it was - a bandolier with eight silver throwing knives, each not quite as big as his palm. The ends were rounded, weighted perfectly for throwing, and tapered down to a lethally sharp edged blade and point. He took one out and held it between his thumb and forefinger, wondering why it almost felt familiar. "I'm not taking these either," he said, tossing the bandolier back. "But I'll keep this one in case we're in mixed company and I need a can opener." He slipped the lone knife into the pocket of the stupid safari shirt he now wore over the tank top. Marcus had insisted on the shirts because they had to look like "stupid Yanquis" who'd never been South of the border before. Logan warned him he wasn't playing bumpkin, but he wasn't sure he believed him.

He wondered if they'd even manage to get to Santo Marco before creating an international incident.