13 years ago:
'The X-Men just let you borrow the Blackbird whenever you want?' Armor asks as Cable and Doop pilot the Blackbird, and break the sound barrier as the high-tech aircraft speeds through the skies. 'They owe me a few favors' Cable tells his new ally, adding that he doesn't like to call them in, but he is in a rush. 'Helps that Cyclops is your dad, I bet' Armor points out, adding that it must be weird, because Cable is, like, decades older than Cyclops. 'I mean... it is – isn't it?' she asks. 'You have no idea' Cable replies as the Blackbird descends into the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia, where bodies of dead warriors are strewn across the ground.
Cable, Armor and Doop exit the Blackbird and are met by Shatterstar, X-23 and Longshot. Cable asks Shatterstar for the sitrep, so Shatterstar informs him that they ran into Absalom and Crule, tussled a bit, but before they could finish, they ran off. Shatterstar points out that it looks like Burke didn't put up much of a fight, as there is barely a crease in Cable's clothing. 'He made us tea' Armor smiles. 'Tea?' Shatterstar replies. 'Yep. Tea and biscuits' Armor tells him. 'Amazing'. Shatterstar utters, before Cable asks Longshot if they found Saul. 'He's dead' Longshot reports, adding that Selene was there when they found her. Cable asks him if he believes that Selene killed Saul, but Longshot explains that he didn't see it, but it sure as hell looked like she did.
As they climb the ramp back up into the Blackbird, Longshot informs Cable that there is something else, too – Selene had Blink with her. Longshot adds that Blink looked different, but that he knows her, fought alongside her for years, only it looked like she didn't recognize him, there was something off about her. Longshot then asks if it is possible that Blink is the one they are after. 'She's helping Selene? Or maybe Selene's helping her?' Longshot wonders. Cable tells him that he doesn't think so, as Selene isn't the type to be helping anyone other than herself.
Taking his seat, Shatterstar tells Cable that he means no disrespect. 'I've served you before and am happy to do so again' but points out that Cable doesn't seem to know much of what is going on. 'Someone's going back and killing the Externals and...? And what?' Shatterstar asks. 'Maybe this person is doing us a favor? It's not as though the Externals haven't tried wiping us all out before' he points out. Doop turns back to Shatterstar and angrily shouts something at him, to which Cable tells Doop that it is okay, and that he is right, they don't know. 'What I do know is that someone's killing the Externals... which isn't something that's supposed to be happening at this moment in time' Cable announces as the Blackbird takes flight. Cable then tells Shatterstar that is all he needs to know, and that any change to the timestream, no matter how beneficial it might appear, can have devastating consequences down the line. 'Like the Butterfly Effect. One small change can result in bigger changes' X-23 points out. 'Exactly' Cable agrees. Cable assures his companions that he has no love for the Externals, and would be more than happy to see them all on slabs – but it is not the way things are done. The Blackbird then speeds off through the skies.
A short time later, in Black Canyon of the Gunnison, in Colorado. The Blackbird has landed and Cable, Shatterstar, Longshot, Armor, Doop and X-23 walk through the lush landscape. Cable reports that it took some digging, but that he found building permits for an Ophrah Industries installation, and while they are decades old, every other Ophrah Industries building or property has been sold or demolished over the past ten years, and this is the only one still standing. Cable instructs the Blackbird to switch to cloak mode, while Longshot begins 'Oprah? The talk show host is -' but cable tells him it is Ophrah – Gideon's corporation. Nearby, Doop chases after a butterfly.
The heroes trudge through some shallow water towards a cave, as Longshot reports that all he sees are trees and gullies, and asks Cable where the building is. 'Here' Cable replies as they approach a large round metal door within the cave. Cable tells his allies to step back, and announces that he is going to blow it open – but the large door suddenly slides to one side. 'Does it worry anyone else that the door just kinda opened like that?' Longshot asks as the heroes walk through the door, into a large, sleek, warehouse-lab type complex. 'Welcome' a robotic voice calls out. 'Nathan Summers, it has been some time' the humanoid female robot remarks as she approaches Cable. 'Do I know you?' Cable asks. The robot introduces herself as Eve and explains that she is Gideon's assistant.
Eve informs Cable that they met some years back, when she still had a human body, and reveals that her consciousness has since been programmed into this vessel's AI. She adds that she has been told Cable is here to check on Gideon's condition, and tells everyone to follow her, as she would be happy to show them. Walking through the complex, X-23 comes to a stop when she sees stasis tanks that line the walls, all with bodies inside them. 'They are -' X-23 begins. 'Quite comfortable, I assure you' Eve claims, adding that they are telepaths and telekinetics, very powerful indeed, and it was they who let her know that Cable was coming, and why. Eve then informs Cable that the psychics signed up willingly, and their families are being compensated handsomely in exchange for their service.
Eve leads Cable and the others to a large room, empty save for a clear pod in the center of the room, where the withered body of Gideon lies. Eve tells Cable that Gideon is currently in stasis and has not moved from this location since Selene tried to end his life over a decade ago. Cable touches the pod and asks who else has been here. Eve informs him that he is the first to enter this compound in ten years. 'Why?' Cable enquires. 'We are not generally open to visitors -' Eve begins, but Cable interrupts her, asking why she let him in. 'You would have come in anyway. It was foretold' Eve remarks, adding that they thought it would be better to cooperate, as they have nothing to hide. 'Then you won't mind if we take a look around?' Cable asks as his allies start to spread out throughout the chamber.
Cable remains at the pod with Eve, who tells Cable that there is no reason he would need to. She points out that they have cooperated with him, shown that Gideon is not the one that he seeks. She adds that Gideon and Ophrah Industries hold many trade secrets, and allowing Cable and his allies free access to the compound would compromise those secrets. She points out that it conflicts with the interests of their investors. Cable examines the pod and remarks that he has not been able to find a single business transaction of Ophrah's within the past decade. 'What investors?' he enquires, to which Eve reminds him that she said there are secrets. 'Now, if you please...' she tells Longshot and Shatterstar. Doop knocks on the pod and scratches his head while remarking something. Longshot tells him that they can't kill a defenseless man. 'That's not how we -' he is interrupted as the pod suddenly descends into a panel that opens within the floor, then closes. Doop utters something, and an alarm sounds. 'What did you do?' Eve asks. 'I told you not to touch it' Longshot declares.
Meanwhile, in Tonasket, Washington, there is a purple flare of energy within a small cabin in the woods – Blink has arrived, and teleports into the cabin Selene, Crule, Absalom, Nicodemus and the body of Saul. On the floor of the cabin lies the body of another External, Burke. Looking around the cabin, Absalom points out that Burke went all in on that hippie crap, and adds that last time he saw him, Burke was all about 4,000 dollar tailored suits and shoes that cost more than his car. Nicodemus tells Absalom to show some respect, and as Selene checks Burke's body, Crule places the body of Saul on a sofa. 'Another one of our own has died and all you can do is stand back and crack wise on his lifestyle choices?' Crule asks. 'Same as Saul?' Blink enquires. 'It appears so, Blink. Heart's been taken' Selene reports, adding that it doesn't appear there was much of a struggle.
Selene gets to her feet and tells her companions that she doesn't understand. 'We're Externals... we have a connection and should be able to read when others are in danger. Why is it not working here? How is the killer blocking it?' Selene wonders. Blink looks surprised when she looks down at Burke's body and sees the gaping hole in his chest. Nicodemus suggests thay regardless of how the killer is doing it, this leaves little question as to who the perpertator is. He suggests they remain together, find him and then they should be able to end this with relative ease. 'Yeah. I cannot wait to rip his head from his body for what he's done to us' Absalom boasts.
'Yes, we will have our turn' Selene announces, before instructing Blink to come with her. Selene points out that they have no time for funerals and tells Nicodemus to light the bodies and the cabin, announcing that they leave for Colorado in five minutes. 'As you wish' Nicodemus replies as he unleashes fire blasts at the bodies of Saul and Burke.
Back in the Ophrah Industries facility, 'As Eve has already stated... it's time for you to leave' a large robot with weapons attached to his arms declares as he appears before Cable and the others. 'You have the answers that you need' the robot points out, warning Cable and the others that they leave now, or do not leave at all – the choice is theirs. Eve addresses the other robot as Adam and asks him if this is necessary. 'They have come to harm Gideon. Of course this is necessary' Adam replies. 'Adam and Eve? For real?' Armor asks Cable and his allies ready themselves for action, as Cable explains that Adam was – is – Gideon's other assistant, and points out that it looks like he got a cyber-upgrade as well. Longshot asks what they do, to which Shatterstar suggests they take the robots down. 'We are warriors. Let us show them!' he exclaims. X-23 pops her claws, when suddenly, a voice calls out 'Everyone, holster your weapons!'
'Cable... it's been a long time' Gideon declares as he appears, none the worse for wear. 'Gideon' Cable frowns as he turns to the External. Doop utters something, wide-eyed, while Shatterstar calmly asks if they battle, while X-23 growls. Gideon walks towards Cable and the others, and tells Cable that he is greatly outmanned. 'Your team of...what are these? X-Men? X-Factor? X-Something? They don't stand a chance. Walk away'. Cable raises a weapon to Gideon and tells him that he can't do that, and adds that he should have realized it was Gideon once he found out the Externals were involved. 'You're not supposed to be here. The Externals are not supposed to be dying, not like this' Cable exclaims. 'Says who?' Gideon replies. 'You?' he asks, walking closer to Cable's gun, about an inch from it, he asks Cable 'Why do you get to decide? Why do you get to dictate what is and isn't fair play when it comes to altering timelines?'
Gideon leans in towards Cable and tells him that the X-Men can send one of their children 2,000 years into the future to save him from the Techno-Organic Virus, yet when he comes back to stop a group of immortals, one of whom, as they both know, will soon make moves to wipe mutantkind out, that, for some reason, is not allowed?' Gideon tells Cable that there are so many contradictions, and that, from his perspective, Cable has no clear directive. Cable calmly tells Gideon that he won't let him manipulate the past – that is his only directive. 'So put your hands behind your head and -' Cable begins, when suddenly, one of the psychics in the tanks opens her eyes, and unleashes a powerful psychic blast that sends Cable and most of his allies to their knees.
'Did you not see the hallway of my mental militia all dressed in matching white uniforms? It's like having a menagerie of Charles Xaviers and Jean Greys at my disposal. Highly recommended, if you ever get the chance' Gideon declares, adding that, right now, they are turning Cable and his companions' brains into omelettes. 'Doop!' Cable calls out. 'If only you'd left when you had the opportunity' Gideon remarks, as Cable instructs Doop to throw up a shield. Doop, who is unaffected by the psionic attack, utters something in his native language, freeing Cable and the others from the attack. Cable instantly smacks his gun across Gideon's face, and Gideon falls to his knees. 'You're not the only one with tricks, Gideon. We've got a Doop. Psionic shields and all' Cable exclaims. 'Very clever' Gideon mutters, while Doop declares something else in his own language.
'Gideon! Master, I will -' Adam calls out as he rushes towards Cable – but is met by X-23 who slices him into pieces of scrap. Gideon picks up Adam's head and remarks that this is truly a disappointment, as these robots are intensely expensive to replace. Cable and his allies gather around Gideon, and Cable tells him that it is all over, that no one needs to get hurt here, as he raises his gun to Gideon once again. 'I wouldn't mind hurting him a little bit' Shatterstar remarks, while Eve rushes to Gideon's side. 'I beg to differ, Cable' Gideon declares, before dropping Adam's head, which Eve catches before it hits the floor. 'I think some people do need to get hurt' Gideon smirks.
Doors open and strange humanoid creatures with large mouths full of sharp teeth and a green glowing substance emerge. Gideon reveals that he brought these handsome scrappers back with him from the future. He adds that humanity changed a considerable amount in the 3,000 years he was asleep – but still hasn't lost its propensity towards violence. He and Eve step into another room and as the door shuts on them, Gideon thanks Cable for the Blackbird, which he declares is certainly more practical than how he has been traveling up until this point.
As the creatures make their way to Cable and his allies, Doop calls out something, and Cable starts blasting the creatures with his guns, telling Doop to keep the psi-shields up until they can defeat these uglies, as they can't handle them and the telepaths. One of the creatures suddenly punches Cable in the mouth, drawing blood. 'At last, some action. I thought that Gideon was going to talk us to death' Shatterstar remarks as he leaps into the battle, adding that this is what he came for. Armor creatures a large armor around herself to battle the creatures, and as he blasts through one of the creatures at close-range, Cable calls out to Longshot, telling him that he and Armor have to get out of here and stop Gideon. 'What about these -' Longshot begins, but Cable assures him that he and the others can handle them. 'All right, you heard the man -' Longshot calls out to Armor as he starts to make his way to the door Gideon went through. 'I want to stay here and fight these jerkfaces!' Armor exclaims.
Longshot tells Armor that they have a bigger jerkface to fight, and tells her to come with him. Cable, Shatterstar and X-23 continue to fight their way through the creatures, and Cable encourages them to keep it up, as they are almost there. Longshot tries to pry the door open, but it is sealed, and he can't get through it. 'Stand back' Armor tells him, when suddenly, one of the creatures slices into Doop, as Armor punches the door down. Doop falls to the floor, blood dribbling from his mouth. 'Doop is down!' Cable calls out, and as Armor and Longshot step into the corridor, they suddenly find themselves confronted by all of the psychics who are now free from their stasis tanks. '...crap' Longshot utters.