SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

A girl who appeared to be in her late teens stood before a mirror in her bedroom. She examined the state of her clothing which was tattered, to say the least. She grabbed her t-shirt and ripped it off her body so that her long waist-length black hair wouldn’t get tangled in it. Taking one last look at the shirt she tossed it in her nearby trash can. She looked back in the mirror, this time at her pants which were in the same condition as her shirt. Looking up a bit she noticed that one of her bra straps had been cut off. It was pretty obvious this girl had been in a major fight…with a grizzly bear.

She decided it was in her best interests to just completely change her clothing. The girl clenched her left fist and two claws popped from her knuckles. She used these two claws to finish the job and slice off her bra. A normal girl would pull her clothing off but this was no normal girl. This was Laura Kinney, the daughter of the ferocious enemy of the Wolverine known as Sabretooth. The door to her bedroom opened and in walked Laura’s cousin Megan who was shocked to see her naked.

“I’m sorry the door was slightly open I didn’t think you would be indecent.” Megan covered her eyes.

“Nothing you haven’t seen before.” Laura showed little concern about her cousin being in the room. “I’m pretty sure we have the same body parts.”

“What happened to you?” asked Megan who noticed the torn clothing. “I don’t even know why I ask cause you’re never gonna tell me. I look for you after school every day and you disappear all the time, then you come home with clothes torn to shreds. Where do you go?”

“You don’t want to know,” Laura simply replied.

“Laura, we’re family,” started Megan. “At least that’s what my mom says. We’re cousins you should learn to trust me. You never tell me anything about you. The little I know was told to me by my mom. I was just thinking we’ve been sharing a room for a year now and we never talk. I’d like to know how Aunt Sarah died. You can even tell me who your father is. And maybe tell me who it is you’re fighting that leaves your clothes in shreds but your body unscarred.”

“No thanks.” Laura put on some underwear and dropped onto her bed.

Megan sighed. She tried numerous times to get to know her cousin but every time she failed to even get a little closer to her. The reason Laura was so closed off from her cousin was simple. She was asked by her aunt to not tell Megan about her life. To not tell her that she was a mutant like her father. That she was a lab experiment while still in her mother’s womb.

Years had passed since she was busted out of a place known as the Facility by her father Sabretooth and his partner Mesmero. It was a secret Weapon X complex that was attempting to make a new Wolverine under the noses of the higher-ups. One of their scientists Sarah Kinney, Laura’s mother, was part of the project.


DISCONNECTED

Written by:
JUSTIN SANTOS


SOMEWHERE IN PENNSYLVANIA—YEARS AGO

The DNA samples they had on the Wolverine was damaged and of no use to them. The project appeared to be doomed until news came that Wolverine had been in the area and fought with his archenemy Sabretooth. Sarah was the first one to the scene of the battle. She had hoped to find something. Anything would have worked. A strand of hair. Maybe blood that had come out during the brutal claw slashing that both hero and villain were known for.

After gathering samples of unknown origins, she went to a local bar to get herself a drink. She ended up getting more than just a drink. Working for the Facility lead her to drink. She was not happy with her job, working for people she considered evil but she had no choice. In order to get herself out of trouble and prevent her family from getting involved she needed this job to pay off some loan sharks.

She drank herself to the point that she couldn’t walk under her own power. It was then when she met him. Victor Creed sat at the very bar as she did. She knew who he was and wasn’t the least bit afraid. It was all the alcohol. It clouded her judgment.

The next morning she woke up with a pounding headache. It took her a second before she realized she had no idea where she was. She sat up and was startled by the sight of Creed sleeping on the other side of the bed. She found her clothes and ran to the door. As she got out still dressing, she found it odd that he wasn’t coming after her. He knew she was running away and didn’t care. He got what he wanted and had no need for her.

A month later, Sarah would learn from one of the Facility doctors that she was pregnant. There was only one person she slept with in the past month. The thought of having the baby of Sabretooth made her cringe. However, the heads of the Facility saw it as an opportunity. Over the passing months, they would experiment on Sarah against her will. They manipulated the genetic coding of the baby with the little bit of DNA they had from Wolverine.

At the end of her pregnancy, Sarah would give birth to a healthy baby girl, that being Laura. It was their hopes that they had created a new mutant that would have inherited the skeleton structure of Wolverine and the same healing factor that he and her father Sabretooth both had. They also hoped that since Sabretooth was the kid’s father that she would be easier to control than Wolverine was and that she would be just as savage as her father. Of course, Sabretooth was nowhere near easy to control.

Years passed. When Laura turned twelve she showed signs of mutation. She had, in fact, gained a healing factor. And much to their delight, she gained claws similar to Wolverine, sort of. Two bone claws popped from her knuckles instead of three. The third actually popped from between her two biggest toes on her feet. It was believed the foot claws were a result of Sabretooth being her father. When she turned thirteen they decided to perform the adamantium bonding procedure on her. Unlike Sabretooth and Wolverine, they only bonded the unbreakable metal to her claws. With it did they finally have their weapon they had been looking for. She had already been trained to fight and kill.

They dubbed her X-23, after being the twenty-third attempt to recreate Weapon X. Her services were bought by bidders who needed some dirty work done. Things were going well until one day Sarah had enough and set up a way for her and Laura to breakout. Sarah, unknown to Laura, gave her daughter a mission to kill the current head of the Facility, Zander Rice. Just before she could complete her mission Rice would unleash a chemical compound he called ‘trigger scent’. She killed him and then went on a rampage. The end result being the death of her mother at her very own hands.

She managed to run out into the wilderness a bit before being caught by the Facility again. They stored her in a glass chamber and put her in stasis until Sabretooth arrived with Mesmero and they broke her out.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—PRESENT

Megan sat on her bed reading. She peeked over to see her cousin facing away from her while trying to sleep above her covers. Every night it was the same thing. She would try to sleep but the nightmares would come. Megan suspected the girl had a troubled past.

“Nnnn…,” Laura muttered in her sleep.

Megan never went to her cousin when she was having nightmares because she knew Laura didn’t like her privacy invaded and honestly she was a bit scared. It seemed like she was having such horrifying nightmares, she didn’t know what to expect from waking her. This was how she felt in the past though. She gathered all her courage and walked over to her cousin to shake her shoulder. With a couple shakes Laura was startled. Instantly angered she bounced up from her mattress popping two of her claws.

SNIKT!

The two claws were dangerously close to Megan’s face. Luckily, Laura had shown some restraint. It took a moment but she would finally calm down. When she was truly calm her claws slowly retracted back through the openings they protruded from allowing the open skin to heal back. She dropped down to sit on her bed. Her breathing was a little erratic from being enraged. This wasn’t entirely because of her cousin. She wasn’t mad at her although she was glaring at her.

“So now you know.” Laura closed her eyes. “Are you gonna run to your mommy and tell her I’m a freak? I’ll save you the trouble. She already knows.”

“You’re a mutant?” Megan was near speechless.

“Hmph…” Laura disregarded her question and attempted to go back to sleep.

Megan grabbed her chest as her heart was beating a mile a minute. She was terrified but didn’t let this new information change her feelings toward her cousin. It was an odd relationship. They hardly talked to each other but she hoped that somehow someway Laura would turn out to be like a sister she never had. It was wishful thinking. She walked back slowly until she bumped into her mattress in which she fell down on. She just maneuvered slightly so that she would even out on her bed.

There was no way she was going back to reading. All she could do was stare at the ceiling. Her cousin was a mutant. What did that mean to her she wondered. If she truly had a troubled past it was more than likely because of her mutation, though she could hide it well. No one would ever expect a beautiful young woman like that would have such deadly weapons grafted to her.

THE NEXT MORNING

Megan woke up and got ready to start a new day. She showered and styled her neck-length blonde hair the way she liked it. After she was done she went to the kitchen to get herself a bowl of cereal. She couldn’t get what had happened out of her head. Her mother realized something was wrong and knew exactly what the problem was.

“You showed her after I explicitly told you not to?!” questioned her mother of Laura. “I told you if you were to live here you were to keep this problem of yours a secret!”

Megan couldn’t stand to hear her mother yelling. “Mom! It’s okay. Leave her alone. Her mutation isn’t a problem. The only problem I have is that you wouldn’t let me know.”

“I just didn’t want you getting involved in this,” explained her mother. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“We’re a family.” Megan was finally thinking clearly for the first time since last night. “We’re supposed to be close. I always thought it was just gonna be us two. We had no other family except for Aunt Sarah and she was always buried in her research. And now we have Laura. I was happy when I found out there was someone else I could call family. Let’s forget about all this and just be a family that cares about one another. No secrets.”

Laura didn’t say a word. She wasn’t the one who felt the need to add to conversations. She was actually more of a loner. This came to be when her father abandoned her and left her for dead. How she ended up on the Kinney’s doorstep she didn’t know. Her Aunt Deborah welcomed her into her home but she never felt like she belonged. She never told what happened to her mother. Or even brought up her father.

Hours later, Laura was walking down a sidewalk in downtown San Francisco. She was wearing a black hoodie with the hood up in hopes no one would pay her any attention. There was nowhere, in particular, she was going. She was just walking around San Francisco for the hell of it. She didn’t know what to do with herself, had no idea where she belonged. Originally, she thought she belonged with her father but that proved to be horribly wrong. That moment he turned on her was stuck in her mind. He was training her to be more like him, a vicious killer who wanted nothing more to fight and get money.

“Lost in thought?” asked a random person who was propped on a car.

“Hmm?” Laura stopped for a moment to see who was talking to her.

Who she saw was a six-foot-tall blond woman. She had no idea who this person was nor was she interested in finding out, so she continued about her business.

“Hey, wait!” called the woman. “The name is Wanda Wilson. You’re Laura Kinney, are you not?”

Laura stopped for a moment without looking back. She didn’t want to acknowledge the woman but the fact that she knew her name alerted her. She finally looked back with an unending scowl on her face. This woman wasn’t anyone that she knew. Usually, anyone that knew her that wasn’t associated with her family meant trouble.

“Not very talkative?” asked Wanda. “I was hoping you could give me some information. I’m seeking any information I can get about an organization known as Alchemax Genetics.”

“Never heard of them,” claimed Laura. “They have nothing to do with me.”

“How wrong you are,” laughed Wanda. “They have everything to do with you. You just don’t know it. The organization shut its doors but I still have unfinished business with them.”

“Tsk…” Laura looked away annoyed and then quickly back. “Well, you got the wrong person. You should take your unfinished business elsewhere.”

THE FOLLOWING SCHOOL DAY – GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL

Laura stood in front of her open locker switching out her textbooks. Megan walked up and started talking to her cousin. While she listened, Laura sensed something wasn’t quite right. Her acute sense of smell picked up a scent that didn’t quite fit with the rest of the school. She put a hand on her cousin’s shoulder to get her to stop talking. Megan was confused as she watched Laura look around.

“Get behind me!” Laura demanded. “NOW!”

Megan was still lost at what was happening but did as her cousin requested. Then, suddenly the sound of guns firing echoed through the long hallway. The students ran and took cover where they could. Laura stood ready to defend herself and Megan. A number of men and women dressed in what looked almost like swat gear came at them.

“Once I attack them, you find the safest place to hide,” ordered Laura. “Do you understand!?”

Megan nodded clearly scared out of her mind. Laura charged forward at the first gunman who pointed his rifle.

SNIKT!

With one slash from her claws, the man’s weapon was sliced clean in half. Her claws retracted quickly as she went to grab him. He would be sent flying after she performed a judo throw that sent him crashing into others. A woman crept up behind Laura only to be met by an elbow to the head. Laura saw a small trash can on the ground and tipped it over so she could kick into the next person coming her way.

Her claws popped again. This time she swung at an attacker. Her claws ripped through their body armor but didn’t pierce their skin. One of them pulled a knife on her and found an opening. She would be stabbed in the abdomen which sent her into a rage. Without any hesitation, she stabbed her claws into the chest of her attacker. Megan ran up to her cousin concerned.

“Oh, my God, Laura!” she yelled. “We gotta get you to a…”

Megan stopped talking when she watched the wound rapidly heal itself. She was completely astonished by the girl’s mutant healing. She then looked down to the man she had stuck her claws in.

“You killed him,” said Megan.

“That piece of shit had it coming,” Laura cracked her knuckles as she prepared for the rest of the group of soldiers.

“You’re not seriously going to kill them all, are you?” Megan was worried about what her cousin might do.

“Only if I have to,” Laura popped her claws again. “I thought I told you to run for it?”

“I just saw someone stab you. Did you really think I’d just leave you like that?”

After what happened between her and her father, Laura felt it strange to have someone that cared for her. The only other person that showed any care for her was her mother and that didn’t work out well in the end. A chemical was unleashed on Laura that was known as the ‘Trigger Scent’. Anytime it was used on her, it would send her on a rampage that one day caused her to kill her own mother. She thought that her father, Sabretooth, actually cared for her but she was wrong.

LABORATORY IN CALIFORNIA – SOME TIME AGO

Laura was in a laboratory that she was unfamiliar with. She was there with her father and his associate, Mesmero. The latter had used his own abilities to control the minds of the laboratory’s entire staff. Laura looked around while Sabretooth sniffed around.

“Creed, I think they’ve found some interesting information,” said Mesmero. “It would seem this ‘Facility’ that engineered your precious daughter did some gene tampering.”

“What are you saying?” questioned Sabretooth.

“While still in the womb they added to her genetic code,” replied Mesmero. “What they added was the DNA of your former enemy the Wolverine.”

“They WHAT!?” exclaimed Sabretooth.

The man known as the Wolverine or Logan, by those close to him, had been dead for some time now. Sabretooth and Wolverine had been heated enemies for decades, even centuries. Sabretooth actually enjoyed making Wolverine’s life a living hell. The one thing he didn’t like was the fact that his enemy’s blood was tainting the child who was his daughter. It repulsed him.

Sabretooth growled. “She is no daughter of mine so long as she is a part of him.”

His instincts told him to kill her. But he remembered how bored he was without someone to rival him. He wondered if she could fill the role left empty after Sabretooth himself killed Wolverine. Laura had no idea what was about to happen. She was just inspecting all the different objects spread throughout the lab. Out of nowhere, Sabretooth attacked his daughter. It was vicious. It was quick. She couldn’t hold up a defense. He struck her down to the point that her healing factor couldn’t keep up.

Finally, after a brutal beatdown, Laura was left unconscious. The next thing she remembered was waking up on her aunt’s doorstep. Eventually, her healing factor completely fixed the damage brought to her by her father. From that point on, she stayed in her aunt’s home in San Francisco.

GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL – PRESENT

Laura bent down to examine one of the soldiers’ body armor to get an idea of what she was dealing with. She would find a little logo that caught her attention. It said Alchemax. She remembered the woman who she ran into that mentioned Alchemax Genetics.

“What are we gonna do?” asked Megan. “There’s too many of them.”

“Being outnumbered hasn’t stopped me before,” replied Laura. “Just keep back and I’ll clear a path.”

She charged forward with her claws out. After cutting down one Alchemax soldier, she leaped up with both legs kicking out to her sides. This knocked out two of them. Someone tried to sweep her legs as she came down but she swiftly flipped out of the way, which she followed by kicking the person in the face. A man shoulder tackled Laura causing her to crash hard on the ground. This man came down to strike her with his fist only to be stopped by her right foot, that was accompanied by a SNIKT sound.

The soldiers that remained, stared at the man who stood motionless. Laura pulled back her foot to reveal an additional claw that popped from between her big toe and the longest toe. He collapsed. The rest became unnerved. Laura stepped forward as she gritted her teeth. She looked back at her cousin.

It was hard for her to trust people. She still struggled with the idea of someone caring for her. She remembered her mother. She remembered how her mother would say how important her sister and niece were to her. Sarah would show artwork to her that was done by Megan when she was a child. If this family meant something to her mother then she thought they should mean something to her.

She knew she had to protect Megan to the best of her ability. There were only six left for her to take on and once they were out of the way she knew they would have to run for it before the police showed up. The remaining soldiers were scared out of their minds. The final assault was quick. They couldn’t even defend themselves. Laura didn’t kill any of them, just knocked them unconscious.

“We probably should get out of here,” said Laura. “And get as far away as possible.”

“Umm, yeah…” Megan appeared disturbed.

They left the school going out an entrance that was regularly quiet.

KINNEY HOUSEHOLD

Deborah hugged her daughter tightly. She had been at the dentist office that she worked at when she heard the news of the attack on the school. Megan, being a teenager, was annoyed by how she was being hugged. Deborah then walked over to Laura and hugged her tightly as well. Laura felt strange but let her aunt continue.

“Laura, thank you for protecting your cousin,” said Deborah as tears began to run down her cheeks. “If anything happened to either of you I don’t know what I would do.”

“It’s my fault she was in any danger in the first place.” Laura felt bad. “I’m starting to think my being here is a bad idea. Maybe I should leave.”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed Deborah. “Where would you go? You’re eighteen. You should be going to school, making friends, going out with boys…or girls I don’t judge.”

“What if someone at school saw me?” asked Laura. “I should go somewhere mutants can be without worrying about hurting others. Maybe I should go to the X-Men.”

“No, you can’t go!” Megan chimed in. “We’re just starting to really become a family. I’m sure no one saw you. The hallway cleared out quickly. Luckily, none of the other students were hurt.”

Laura shook her head. “Even if that’s true there’s still a group of people out there trying to get me.”

“No, you’re staying here,” insisted Deborah. “It’s what your mother would want and it’s what I want. End of discussion. Now let’s go it’s time to get ready for dinner.”

NEXT: The Haunting of San Francisco!