The Ice Capades
The airport terminal was well lit and fairly crowded, despite
the early hour. The passengers disembarking flight 257 from
Kennedy airport trudged toward the baggage claim area in a
herd, yet alone. Who did they expect to meet their plane at
this ungodly hour? For Remy LeBeau and his fellow X-Man Logan,
Gambit and Wolverine, the answer was 'no one'.
"Now what?" The Cajun stopped in the middle of
the terminal and looked around. The majority of the people
in the gate area were waiting to board flight 257, which would
connect in Chicago, O'Hare, with a final destination of Vancouver,
B.C. At least that's what the flight itinerary said.
Of the passengers arriving from New York, the businessman
who had been seated next to him, for part of the flight anyway,
was almost sprinting down the corridor in his attempt to distance
himself from the flight. The drunk was no where in sight.
Musta lit a fire under dat boy!
"Now we get a car and get outta the airport." Logan
was brusque, but that was his usual style. He began to make
his way purposely toward the stairs to the lower level of
the terminal, the Cajun began to follow at a more casual pace.
Loud voices near the main corridor caught his attention and
he stopped, looking for the source of the disturbance. He
immediately recognized, the uniforms, and turned away quickly
before the two friends of humanity saw him. They were too
busy passing out pamphlets on the mutant threat, and didn't
He cast a quick, appraising glance over his shoulder. They
were both men, mid 30s, and judging from their strident tone,
they were believers. Most of the people in the terminal avoided
them, which the Cajun thought was a good sign.
Eh, dey prob'ly wouldn' recognize us anyway - dey just
low level drones. Merde! ...de let anyone in here dese days.
Not like de good ol' days when de biggest pain in de ass at
de airport were de Hare Krishna's. He hurried to catch
up with Wolverine.
Logan had made it to the top of the down escalator. He was
standing with his head slightly lifted, and was making a light
'snuffing' noise when Gambit had caught up to him. The Cajun
studied his companion, who was now turning his head from side
to side, looking, Gambit thought, for the source of scent
he had obviously picked up. The Canadian's face was tense.
"What you got, Mon ami?" Gambit watched the older
man with growing concern.
"Not sure." He started walking; away from the escalators
and back toward the terminal. Gambit fell into pace with him,
relieved to see the FOH shills were gone.
One less t'ing ta worry 'bout f'now.
They reached the corridor that led from the main terminal
down to the actual gates. Gambit looked both ways, and figured
they were about 2/3 of the way to the end of the corridor
- away from the terminal. Logan was down on his haunches,
sniffing again. Remy looked around; they hadn't drawn any
attention that he could tell, but that might not last.
"Got any idea at all? Someone we know? I saw a couple
of de 'Friends of Humanity' here a minute ago."
"Saw 'em too. Different smell."
LeBeau tried to think of any known evil mutants in the area.
The closest he could come was Sinister's facility near St.
Louis. Make dat EX-facility, t'anks ta me Bishop 'n Beast.
Wolverine finally responded. "No. It's not a 'someone',
its a 'something'."
"Care to 'splain dat, mon ami? What you t'inkin' a big
plant?" He thought of Audrey II and smiled.
"Don't be a moron. Of course its someone, but what I'm
smelling is 'something', not 'someone'.
"Well dat clears it right up." Wolverine either
ignored or didn't here the sarcasm in Gambit's reply. The
thief slouched against the wall and waited. He knew better
than to press things when Wolverine got this way. After a
moment the Canadian stood up and turned toward him.
"He went that way," Logan jerked a thumb toward
the main terminal.
"Who 'zactly is he?"
"Told you I don't know who he is." Logan paused
here, looked right, then left, then right again, and followed
the scent into the corridor. He motion Remy to follow him.
Look both ways 'fore ya cross de street, just like mama
taught ya! He chuckled to himself as he followed behind
"What I'm smellin' is a predator." He glanced at
Gambit's face to gauge his reaction. The Cajun stopped smiling
and regarded Wolverine a little more seriously.
"Can you be a little more specific?"
"Not really. I can tell something's not right with 'im."
He stopped walking, cleared his throat and changed his stance
a bit. The way he was standing, Logan almost looked like a
teacher giving a lecture. The though caused Gambit's smile
"This ain't funny Cajun." Wolverine flared. "You
ever see a rabid dog?" Gambit nodded his assent. When
he was running wild on the streets of New Orleans he'd run
across a spaniel that had been bit. He and his boys thought
it was pretty funny the way the dog was foaming, whining and
barking. Funny that is, until the dog attacked. Gambit shuddered
as he recalled the crazed viciousness of the attack, and what
happened to Henri, the one boy that had actually been biten.
"You sayin' dis guy got rabies?"
"No. I'm saying he smells sick." He paused again.
"This guy likes killin'." Another pause as the older
man sniffed again. "I can smell his excitement. He's
got someone lined up. Scent's gettin' stronger the closer
he gets. He's stalkin' 'em now." They exchanged looks.
Gambit sighed and shrugged.
What Logan didn't tell his companion was that, even though
the scent he picked up was sick, it was having an effect on
him: Not unlike the way blood in the ocean effects a rouge
shark. He knew that this was very feeling he had to fight.
He tried to choke it back, with mixed results at best.
"Well, den, I guess we go huntin' de hunter. Can you
tell how close he is to de victim?"
"No." Logan began moving again. "C'mon, I
think he's this way." He wiped a small drop of saliva
from the corner of his mouth quickly, before Gambit could
see it. "It's hard to tell, his scent's all over the
place. He must be here an awful lot."
They were moving quickly now, not speaking. Gambit had put
his shades on, not only to cover his eyes, -- never know
where does 'Friends' gonna pop up again -- but to cut
the glare down as well. His eyes were sensitive to the light,
even the fluorescent lights of the airport kiosks at 4:30
in the morning. He was looking at everyone they passed for
anything that might tip him off to who this 'predator' was.
He knew, however, they had a better chance relying on Wolverine's
heightened sense of smell.
They had worked their way past the American gates, the metal
detectors, and were heading toward the main check-in area,
when Wolverine pulled up short.
"He's near," Logan hissed to Remy. The hair was
standing on the back of his neck, his breath quickened. Together
they scanned the faces in the thin crowd. Wolverine let out
a low growl, and started to inch forward. Gambit put his hand
on the other man's shoulder to hold him back for a minute.
"Don' jest go wading in, mon ami. Tell me which one
he is, and let's form a plan."
Logan swatted the hand off his shoulder and pointed. Gambit
looked and shrugged. The 'Predator' was a white male, about
5'10", medium build. He had glasses, and was losing his
light brown hair. He wore the uniform of an airport maintenance
"You sure dat's him? He don' look too dangerous."
"That's him all right. His stench is making me sick!"
He could feel the tips of his claws starting to emerge, three
small bloody points on each hand; the pain was reassuring.
"C'mon." Wolverine started to make off after the
man when Gambit grabbed him by the arm.
"You're startin' ta make a habit of that," Wolverine
moved menacingly closer to his companion, "and I don't
like it!" The last came out as a low growl.
Again LeBeau shrugged. You ain't de only one who c'n push
buttons, mon frere. "I try ta remeber dat...Logan,
t'ink f'a minute. We in de airport. De got security all over
de place. I get de d'stinct idea you wanna do somet'in dat
Cyclops won' like."
Wolverine smiled and nodded.
"Den we gotta be careful. Don' know 'bout you, but I
don' wan' be hangin' out at de Wayne County prison. Don wanna
miss dat hockey game," he added with a smile.
"What do you suggest." His voice was throaty and
coarse, more so than usual. Wolverine was listening to the
Cajun, but watching his quarry, and what he saw made him sick.
He had spotted the guy's 'prey'. I'm gonna love wackin'
this psycho. He smiled, maybe Chuck was right. This
trip ain't gonna be so bad after all.
"I suggest dat you keep an eye on de guy, 'n Gambit
go take out de cameras."
Again, Wolverine nodded, he hadn't even considered a surveillance
system; he'd been too caught up in the natural process of
the game: Hunter against hunter. Add to that the internal
struggle between his desire to jump the guy here, regardless
of the consequences, and his survival instinct. The external
threat of a surveillance system was minor, at best. Let the
Cajun worry about their backs.
He grunted his assent to Gambit, who left. Wolverine picked
his. With a little luck, he'd get to take the dirtball while
the Cajun was gone.
The maintenance man continued his leisurely pace around the
terminal, stopping to check a light here, chat briefly with
a coworker or ticket agent there. It was obvious to Logan
that the guy really was an airport employee. It was equally
obvious that the entire airport, with the exception of Gambit
and himself, was blissfully unaware of the man's real intent.
He was beginning follow the man down a less crowded side corridor
when the Cajun reappeared at Wolverine's side.
"Yeah. I see his target. What about the cameras?"
Gambit grunted. "No sweat. Had ta fin' an isolated one
where I don' be seen. Den it's jus' a matter of cuttin' de
co-ax, and sendin' a series of kinetic charges down de line
to de recorder, which is den fried." He was chuckling.
"Hope dey got some insurance!"
"Don't sprain yer shoulder pattin' yourself on the back
Cajun. We're gonna get some action pretty quick. I think he's
ready to strike."
Wolverine pointed his reply.
Gambit stopped dead, looked at Wolverine and said "you
gotta be kiddn' me!" Even as he said it, he knew it was
true. The Canadian was pointing at a little girl. She couldn't
have been much older than six or seven, and she was very much
alone. By her appearance, however, she wasn't frightened;
her actions and body language indicated that this was probably
a common occurance. Where de hell are her parents?
Gambit had seen her at the gate when they got off the plane.
Before he could question Wolverine about their next move,
the maintenance man made it for them. With a quick glance
either way, he walked up to the girl, said a few words to
her, then led her by the arm down a darkened service corridor.
"Shit!" Wolverine hissed. "Let's go!"
The adrenaline was coursing through his veins, without waiting
for the Cajun he took off down the corridor, the kill now
the only thing on his mind, his conscience no more than a
whisper, which he silenced with the simple justification:
The guy's sick. He's gotta be put down for the good of
Gambit was startled by Wolverine's speed, and hurried after
the Canadian, making sure that they weren't noticed. Amazingly
Stormy's Bright Lady mus' be watchin' out fer us today.
He offered her a silent prayer as her ran to catch up with
Logan; It couldn't hurt. He searched his memory for a suitable
prayer, but the best he could come up with was a cross between
a 'Hail Mary' and 'Wild Child' by the Doors. Hail Mary,
full of grace, savior of de human race...eh, close enough.
He crossed himself as he entered the hallway that Wolverine
the maintenance man and the girl had just disappeared down.
Wolverine was at the end of the hallway. It was pitch black,
except for a light seeping out from the crack under a door
on the right side. Having completely forgotten about Gambit,
he tore the door open and charged into the room. The little
girl and her would be attacker were inside, she was unwrapping
a tootsie pop, while the man was behind her, caught in his
own feral rapture, ready to pounce. He never got the chance.
The girl screamed and dropped her candy. The prey, that's
how Wolverine now thought of the man, lifted his hands in
a defensive position. Gambit made it into the room as Wolverine
was raising his arm back to strike. Surprisingly, his claws
were sheathed. For the third time, Gambit grabbed his teammate.
"Let go of the arm Gumbo." His voice was barely
human. He didn't bother to turn around, or let go of his prey.
"Get off de guy firs', den we figure out what we do."
This wasn't so much a request as an order. It reached a part
of Wolverine that was almost non-existent. A part that recognized
the order, didn't like it, but knew it was right. He obeyed
The prey stood up and started to speak. "Just what the
hell do you. . "
"I'd shut up if I were you, mon ami." Gambit looked
at the girl. She was obviously scared to death by what had
just happened. She watched the three men warily, but she wasn't
Gambit turned his back on the two men, not the wisest thing
he ever did, walked over to the little girl and crouched in
front of her. He looked her over. Between 3 1/2 and 4 feet
tall, she had red hair, and was missing one of her front teeth
-- right top. *Cute li'l t'ing, aintcha?*
"What's ya name petite?"
"My name's not Patty," she replied petulantly,
"Well Susie, my name is Remy. Remy LeBeau." He
jerked his thumb toward the man pinned under Wolverine. "D'ya
know dis guy?"
The prey answered for her. "She's my daughter."
There was genuine anger in his voice, as well as fear. "What
the hell is this all about?" He was struggling against
Wolverine, but soon realized it was futile. "I demand
to know what's going on. I have rights!" The guy was
"He's not my daddy. He's Mr. Tony. He works with my
daddy." She turned her attention to Tony, "It's
not nice ta lie Mr. Tony."
Man, dis kid's a pistol! Gambit got up and walked
over to the man. "What's de deal?" He bent down
close to the prone man, put his thumb and index finger together,
then flicked him in the ear. The prey yelped.
"Why you lyin' ta me?" No answer. Logan growled
his disapproval. Remy stood and turned back to the girl.
"So you know dis guy?" She nodded. "He ain't
know stranger?" Again she nodded. "Why you come
here wit' him?"
"He said he'd give me a lollipop, but he," here
she pointed at Wolverine, "made me drop it."
Wolverine put his face right next to his victim's. "Spill
it bub ... and ya better not lie ta me, 'cause I won't like
it." Tony looked from Wolverine to Gambit, his face going
pale as he realized that he'd been caught.
"I didn't do anything," he started to protest,
but was cut off by Logan.
"Ya woulda if ya had the chance. Right?"
"Yes." The answer was quiet, but it was loud enough
"That's all I need." The arm started to draw back.
"Uhm, Logan, sil voi plait." The hand stopped,
LeBeau noticed that two of the three claws were extended half
an inch or so. Uh Oh ... Elvis done lef' de buildin'.
"Let me get my petite chere out of here before..."
Wolverine shrugged, but didn't lower his arm.
"C'mon petite, let's go find your poppa. He's working
"He sure is Mr. Elbow."
Gambit took her by the hand, and stood. He paused at the
door and without looking back said "Make sure ya don'
leave no fingerprints." They left without waiting for
Wolverine watched the two leave out of the corner of his
eye. A small part of him was mildly surprised by the gentleness
the Cajun had shown toward the kid. When he heard the door
click shut, he turned back to the victim, and smiled.
"Alright. I confess. Take me to the airport police,
and turn me in." He was sweating bullets and thinking
this guy looks crazy.
Logan shook his head no, and placed his fist under the prey's
chin. He completely popped the two outer claws, like he'd
done so many times in the past. The prey's eyes bulged when
he saw the foot long claws on either side of his head. Logan
caught a whiff of urine as the man's bladder released it contents.
"Hey. C'mon on now, I said I wasn't gonna do it. Take
me to the cops and send me to jail." A low growl started
coming from the X-man.
"C'mon man. You can't do this to me ... It's against
the law. You know I'm right."
"Yeah, you're right. You're dead right, bub." The
prey eased a fraction as Logan spoke, thinking he might actually
get out of this. He did notice however, that the mutant freak
-- the guy was obviously a mutant -- didn't sheath his claws.
"Only one problem with bein' dead right. Know what that
is?" He stopped, waiting for an answer. His prey shook
his head, as much as the restraining factor of the claws would
"Problem is ... you're still dead."
The ensuing 'snikt' was accompanied by an expulsion of air,
a gurgling noise, then silence. For a moment, the hunter and
prey were one, then all three claws were retracted.
Logan sat back on his haunches and surveyed the scene. The
kill had quieted his inner 'hunger'. His adrenaline level
was falling, his thoughts were becoming clearer. The prey,
I think the kid said his name was Tony, was lying in a
heap, blood streaming from his chin.
Logan was pleased to see that he was, for the most part,
clean. No urine, and very little blood, mainly on the back
of his hand and arm. He instinctively began to clean himself,
the way the great natural predators clean themselves.
He looked at the body, and wondered how to dispose of it.
After contemplating for a moment or two, he decided that leaving
the dirtbag in a puddle of his own waste was fitting.
He was ready to leave when he thought of the Cajun's admonition
concerning fingerprints. He looked at the dead man. He was
laying face down in a growing puddle. There was a bulge in
his back pocket, most likely his wallet.
Wolverine used one of his claws to cut off a piece of Tony's
uniform, and wiped anything he may have touched. Then, still
using the rag, he reached down and pulled the wallet out of
the pocket. He stuck it in his own pocket without looking
at its contents. He'd have to remember to ditch it as soon
as he could.
Finally satisfied with the room's appearance, he opened the
door, still using the cloth, and locked it from the inside.
Then he slipped back into the hallway. From there he went
to the main corridor, and then off in search of the wandering
Cajun and the girl. That wouldn't be a problem: He knew both
of their scents.
Continued in Chapter
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