The man named Gideon was born in Spain sometime in the second half of the 15th century. In the year 1492, he was a deckhand aboard the Pinta, one of the three ships with which Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Sea to eventually discover the Americas. A rather common disease of sailors back in the day was scurvy, caused by lack of vitamin C, as there was no way to store fresh citrus fruits over the week-long travels. Gideon too succumbed to the disease, his teeth loosening and his gums swelling and bleeding. More dead than alive, he was dumped into the ship’s hold alongside other sick sailors. Sometime during that night, Gideon died… but he woke up the next day nonetheless.
Unbeknownst to Gideon at the time, he was an External, a rare sub-species of mutants gifted with near immortality on top of whatever mutant powers they possess. Finding himself alive and well in the midst of so much decay, Gideon believed a miracle from God to be at work. He climbed back to the ship’s deck, only to find that the Pinta had made landfall in the meantime. Before Gideon’s eyes, there was a new world ready for the taking, a place that bore the promise of change for the better, and he vowed to make the most of his new life. [X-Force (1st series) #37]
Over the next centuries, Gideon managed to amass a small fortune, but his otherwise activities have yet to be revealed. It is also unknown under what circumstances Gideon mastered his mimicking power, given that he could have only learned of having that ability in the first place by being in the proximity of another super-human. Eventually, Gideon would discover that he was not the only External, as by the end of the 19th century he was familiar with several others like him, namely Saul, Nicodemus, Burke, Absalom and Candra. The Externals, also referred to as High Lords, would gather in regular intervals, secretly plotting to shape the world in their image, though without alerting anyone to their existence. They also agreed not to meddle in the affairs of Apocalypse, who was even older than any one of them. [Gambit (3rd series) #14]
At the dawn of the 21st century, Gideon had established himself as an eccentric businessman and CEO of Ophrah Industries in Denver, Colorado. He took quite an interest in other multimillion dollar companies such as DaCosta International, Shaw Industries, Roxxon Oil and the Taylor Foundation, and even had some of his most trusted employees work at these firms undercover to spy for him. Actually, though, these close employees were not real people but life model decoys, as Gideon didn’t trust anyone but himself. [New Mutants (1st series) #98, Night Thrasher: Four Control #3] Possibly, one of these life model decoys was supposed to eventually replace Gideon as CEO, for his unusual hairstyle and fancy clothes could distract the general public from his lack of aging only for so long.
Eventually, the High Lords learned that one of the New Mutants, the X-Men’s junior team, would turn out to be the next External to awaken. Wrongly believing Roberto DaCosta aka Sunspot to be this next High Lord, Gideon decided to take action and separate him from his teammates and their mentor, Cable. In order to accomplish that, Gideon arranged for Roberto’s father, Brazilian business tycoon Emmanuel DaCosta, to be poisoned, and then informed the teenage mutant that his father had died of a heart attack. Gideon told Roberto that he had inherited the family business and offered to tutor him in the world of finance. As Gideon had been posing as a friend of the DaCosta family for the past few years, Roberto didn’t suspect any foul play and welcomed Gideon’s help. [X-Force (1st series) #10, New Mutants (1st series) #98-99]
[Note: During their conversation, Gideon mentions being kicked out of Harvard and that he was busy getting his “own house in order after mom died.” As Gideon’s parents must have died ca. 500 years ago, the latter was definitely a lie - with the apparent intent to provide some common grounds to better bond with Roberto. Likewise, the Harvard story could be another lie to make him appear sympathetic for Sunspot’s doubts regarding the Xavier Institute at the time.]
Over the next months, Gideon took Roberto under his wing, teaching him about economics. He also confided in him about his mutant powers, and they would hone their bodies as much as their minds. However, behind the back of his young protégé, Gideon ran a few operations that probably wouldn’t have sat well with Sunspot. For instance, he allied himself with operatives of GeneTech and the Toad, leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, in an attempt to re-create Proteus, each of them wanting to use the dangerous mutant’s reality-altering powers for their own purpose. When Proteus proved to be too unstable, Gideon and the Toad decided to cut their losses and let the various X-teams and the New Warriors handle the fall-out. [Kings of Pain crossover]
Eventually, Gideon decided that Roberto was ready to handle the stock buyout of a rival firm. Their meeting with the owner of the rival firm was interrupted by the Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy, who had been hired by that owner as she wanted to keep her company - by force, if necessary. Although Sunspot was ready to spring into action, Gideon urged him not to do so, letting themselves be taken hostage for a few days. Only when Cable and Sunspot’s old teammates, now going by the name X-Force, arrived at the scene did Gideon decide to fight back as well. However, he kept debating with Cable about the best course of action, questioning his authority in front of his own team. [X-Force (1st series) #1, 3, Spider-Man (1st series) #16] Once the crisis was over, Gideon resumed the role of the businessman who just had survived a hostage scenario, and told the assembled press that, according to his knowledge, Cable had been in league with the kidnappers, thus further alienating Sunspot from his peers. [X-Force (1st series) #5]
Shortly thereafter, Night Thrasher of the New Warriors discovered a link between GeneTech, Ophrah Industries and his own company, the Taylor Foundation. Realizing that Gideon must have been connected to the Proteus incident, Night Thrasher and the New Warriors attacked Gideon in his home in Colorado to pressure him for more information regarding any ill-bodings at the Taylor Foundation. They were unaware of Gideon’s own super-powers, though, and the External managed to defeat the entire team by copying and immediately mastering the Warriors’ powers. To make a point, he tortured the young heroes for a while, before he released them again. [New Warriors (1st series) #19]
Somewhat later, Gideon got a taste of his own medicine, though. As head of the Taylor Foundation, Night Thrasher not only successfully managed to thwart a hostile take-over of GeneTech by Gideon’s company, he also returned to Gideon’s home to attack him single-handedly. Gideon was used to borrowing the powers of those around him but, as Night Thrasher possessed no super-human abilities and solely relied on his combat training, Gideon ended up severely beaten. [Night Thrasher: Four Control #3]
Gideon was reprimanded by his fellow Externals when it turned out that not Sunspot but Cannonball was the new External they had been awaiting. Still they accepted Gideon’s offer to fix his own mistake. Having no further use for Roberto, Gideon ended his tutorship immediately and, after knocking him out cold, he turned him over to one of his own research facilities for genetic experimentation. Additionally, Gideon contacted another External, the ferocious Crule, whom he tasked with assassinating Cable and capturing Cannonball. However, he underestimated X-Force, who easily defeated Crule and came after Gideon. Wishing to avoid a direct confrontation, Gideon then bargained with X-Force, trading Sunspot’s life for Cannonball’s promise never to interfere in the Externals’ matters. [X-Force (1st series) #10, 12-15]
The agreement didn’t stop Gideon from meddling with Cannonball’s life, though. Only a few weeks later, the deadly Legacy Virus was released into Earth’s atmosphere. The disease was designed to specifically target mutants, and Nicodemus – the oldest among the Externals – was among the first victims. [X-Force (1st series) #20] Gideon and his fellow Externals were gravely concerned, as for what time and their many enemies had never been able to accomplish, now seemed to be possible at the power of a small virus. As an External with precognitive powers (falsely) foretold that Cannonball would play an important part in obtaining a cure for the virus, Gideon and Saul, another External, wanted to study Cannonball’s genetic make-up. After they abducted some of his teammates, Gideon tried to blackmail Cannonball into trading himself for the lives of his friends. However, the Externals underestimated X-Force once more, as Cannonball’s remaining teammates rescued their friends, whereas Cannonball himself stayed behind in their headquarters to not break his promise of non-interference and Sunspot made it very clear to Gideon that it was a two-way deal from then on. [X-Force (1st series) #22-23]
Over the next months, a second External succumbed to the disease and a third contracted the Legacy Virus as well, prompting Gideon and his friends to change their approach. Instead of fighting Cannonball and trying to force him to do their bidding, they humbly asked for his help. They each told the newest High Lord their origin stories before Gideon explained his viewpoint that each of the Externals represented a specific trait in the greater scheme of things, and that they came to Cannonball for “hope,” whereas Gideon himself stood for “opportunity.” Cannonball had little to offer, though, other than reminding the no longer immortal men that the length of a person’s life matters far less than how they lived it. Pondering the wisdom of his words, Gideon and his comrades departed. [X-Force (1st series) #36-37]
Unfortunately the Externals didn’t survive long enough for them to decide changing for the better. A short while later, Gideon and the others found themselves under attack by Selene, another External who had never been interested in participating in the gatherings of the High Lords. Desperately in need of more power, Selene drained the life-forces of her brethren one by one, effectively killing them. Gideon managed to send out a distress call to X-Force but, by the time the mutant heroes arrived, he was already gone. [X-Force (1st series) #52-54]
Gideon was recovered by his automated assistants, Eve and Adam, and his body was placed in cold stasis at an Ophrah Industries black site at Black Canyon of the Gunnerson, Colorado. There he would sleep for thousands of years until he finally awoke in the 54th century, the year 5348, barely alive after his ordeal with Selene despite his External status. In the time that passed, Earth became virtually uninhabited and uninhabitable. Gideon and Eve wandered the wastelands for five years before they encountered any form of life, a kind of radioactive predators in the sands.
In time, Gideon overpowered the predators and domesticated them, bending them to his will. By 5361, he discovered what remained of New York City and the X-Mansion in Central Park. In the debris, Gideon extracted one of Cable's bionic arms, complete with a power supply and time machine. Seeing the opportunity for what it was, Gideon prepared to transport himself back to the 21st century and finish what Selene had started. He had come too close to losing everything thanks to Selene's play for the Externals' power, and decided if anyone would be the last High Lord, it was going to be him. Gideon returned to the present era, several years after his death, and coordinated with the present Eve and Adam to keep his return a secret and his younger body still in stasis. [Cable (1st series) #153]
Because Selene had failed to kill all of the Externals in her massacre, the various members had slowly returned to life in the intervening years, allowing Gideon to seek out even Selene's former victims for his own crusade. Gideon began his quest with Candra, the only member of the Externals to escape Selene's original massacre, herself having recently returned to life from an unrelated conflict. It was a long and arduous fight, but Gideon eventually succeeded in killing Candra, claiming her heart and with it her powers. Next he traveled to Mongolia and battled his way through Saul's vassals until reaching Garbha-hisen himself. Saul also fell before Gideon's growing powers, and his strength (and heart) were added to Gideon's collection.
Gideon failed to avoid drawing attention to his crusade, however. The other Externals sensed the death of their brother and sister and began to gather together. Crule, Absolom, and Nicodemus ironically came to Selene for help and mutual defense. Selene worked to protect herself and the Externals this time, having apparently concluded that the Externals' power was meant to be disseminated between them, and even she could not contain all their power in one form. Meanwhile, Candra's death by the temporally anomalous Gideon drew the attention of Cable, time-cop. Cable gathered an ad hoc team of X-Men allies to investigate the death of the Externals, including Shatterstar, Longshot, Armor, X-23, and Doop.
Gideon crossed paths with both parties during his quest, and kept one step ahead of them thanks to some unlikely assistance. Burke and Absolom had both become tired of immortality, and wanted Gideon to succeed in his mission. They were willing to be killed by Gideon, and helped him target the others so that their deaths would be permanent when the time came. Absolom secretly reported to Gideon about the movements of Selene's group, while Burke's precognition helped him predict what Cable's group would do. After delaying them for a time at his cabin, Burke let the X-Men go and allowed Gideon to kill him and claim his power. In this manner, despite the telepathic connection between the Externals, Gideon managed to keep his identity as the murderer a secret until near the endgame.
Feeling he was powerful enough by this point to act openly, Gideon revealed himself and confronted Selene directly. With Absolom's assistance, he brought down and killed Crule and Nicodemus before Selene escaped with her pawn, Blink. Cable's team had located Gideon's earlier self, still in stasis at Black Canyon, but they also confirmed Gideon's identity as the temporal threat Cable was hunting. Selene and Blink joined forces with Cable in a final skirmish against Gideon. Gideon believed himself to be nearly all powerful at this point, wielding the combined powers of the deceased Externals. Cable and Selene managed to seed doubt in Gideon's mind, however, suggesting it was impossible for an External to ascend with the full power of the group for long without being destroyed themselves. With Gideon distracted, Blink opened one of her teleportation portals around his head, decapitating him.
Gideon's mission was left unfinished, as Selene escaped from Cable and Absolom was captured as well. Cable placed Gideon's body in stasis and promised to transport him into the future where a super-max prison existed that was sufficient to hold him. Still, being both an immortal and now a time traveler, it is inevitable that Gideon will return. The only questions are: when or where? [Cable (1st series) #150-154]