The fear clatters in his brain, pulling him back to his childhood, dragging him through the dark past. He is supposed to be focused on the future, but sometimes, memories creep up and take control. When you grow up with a techno-organic virus threatening to consume your body, fear becomes part of you – fear of never being what you're supposed to be – of being left alone. Nathan Summers remembers being a youth, in his past – a future – running from the virus that pursued him relentlessly.
'Redd! Slym!' he cried out as wires and cables reached out to grab him. He came to the edge of a cliff. The fear is also of losing control and becoming a monster – because that's when you can hurt the people close to you. Young Nathan looked out across the cliff, to the other side, where a huge mass of cables and wires had taken over a building, attacking people inside. 'Help me!' one of them screamed 'My eye!' another shouts. The virus turns living tissue into technology. Nathan alone can keep it at bay using his telekinesis, something his parents struggled to teach him. The cables and wires – the virus connects with Nathan, taking over one of his arms. He has never stopped being afrid.
Osaka, Japan, where Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers bursts through the window of a tall building, shattering glass everywhere as he plummets to the ground below, thinking that fear is one of the few things that transcends time. He knows that things get all mixed up when you have been leaping through the Time-Stream for months, and that thinking you know things before they happen messes with your head – but he refuses to sit still.
'Bodyslide by one' Cable orders and moments before he would hit the ground, he vanishes, then re-appears on the ground, rain pouring down around him, a little girl runs into him as a man in a white suit chases her.
'Someone has to protect the future from time-traveling mutant-hating Sentinels like Nimrods' Cable thinks to himself, as man picks the girl up and raises a weapon to the man's face. 'Really? You made me hunt a one-armed mna?' Cable asks, noticing the man in the white suit only has one arm – before the man suddenly raises his other arm, and notes that the child has been identified as mutant, and opens fire, a blast emanating from his hand, as the “man” shifts into his true form – a Nimrod.
Cable drops the girl so that the blast doesn't strike her, while the Nimrod states that the child has been identified as a threat to the future and as such should be terminated. Cable tells the girl to stay back, as he runs towards the Nimrod and opens fire. The girl runs across the rain-drenched street, as Cable shoves his hand into the Nimrod, infecting it with the T-O virus, before the Nimrod collapses. Cable looks over to the girl who peers out from behind a recycling bin. He speaks to her in her native Japanese, suggesting that they get her home, and that she shouldn't worry, as everything will be okay. Cable picks the girl up and she asks him if he is a robot, too. 'No, I'm a mutant, like you' Cable tells her.
Shortly, in Kyoto, Japan, Cable has returned the girl to her parents, and speaking to them in Japanese, tells them that their daughter will be able to communicate with machines one day, and because of that,she will play a pertinent role in the war between Sentinels and mutants. The girl's father asks Cable how he can know that, while his wife tells Cable they are grateful, but doesn't know what they can possibly do. Cable tells them to keep her safe and to support her, even if she messes up. He adds that they need to keep her hidden until her powers develop. 'What do we do then? Will you come back? the father asks, but Cable tells him that the X-Men of this era will find him, but until then they have to go somewhere else, they can't stay here. The girl remarks that she doesn't want to leave, as she likes it here. Cable tells the family that if they don't go, the Sentinels will continue to hunt her and he might not be here if they catch up. 'Timeslide by three' Cable orders, as the father asks where they will go.
Cable and the family appear a moment later in Sydney, Australia. Cable tells the family that this is the future and that it is the last place the Sentinels will look. He adds that his parents made the same sacrifice for him when he was a child. The girl appears unwell, so Cable tells the parents that his own daughter used to get timeslide sickness, but that it will pass.
In one of his safe houses, Cable sits on the floor, re-loading one of his weapons. He thinks that no matter how far you go, you are always reminded of those closest to you and that every timeline veers toward entropy, ensuring you can't run from your problems forever. He knows he has to make amends, even though he can't change the past. He admits that he sure has regrets – as his daughter deserves better.
Speaking of Hope, at that moment, she arrives at the X-Mansion, currently located in Central Park, New York. Several students are outside, they stop and stare at her, while Kitty Pryde approaches her, smiling and with open arms, asking her what they owe this pleasure. Hope greets Kitty and asks her how life is as X-Men headmistress. 'Still trying to live up to that lofty title' Kitty replies, before asking Hope how life is as a hermit. Hope replies that she is going a little stir-crazy and getting pretty lonely. 'Thought you guys could use the company' she jokes. Kitty asks Hope if she is here to just hang out, whether the gun is really necessary. 'Yes' Hope replies. 'Like father, like daughter. I'm sure Cable would be proud' Kitty smiles.
Kitty then leads Hope through the mansion to a guest room, telling her that she is getting the supreme package – a private room with a view and an en suite bathroom. Kitty gives Hope a free pass to any class she feels like sitting in on. Hope thanks Kitty, who then tells Hope that she can't promise it will be quiet at night around here. 'I've slept through worse' Hope points out. Kitty suggests to Hope that she could teach the kids a class about gathering intel when she is feeling up to it, but Hope remarks that she is just here for the company. 'You know where to find me' Kitty tells Hope before she leaves the room. Hope then sits down on the bed and takes off her boots.
Later that night: 'Hope' a voice calls out from the shadows of the guest room. 'Dad?' Hope calls out, sitting up, she grabs her gun, as a flash of light appears in the shadows – but what emerges from the shadows is a spider-like creature, a mass of wires and cables wearing a cloak, with an energy glow in its left eye. 'What the -' Hope gasps, before opening fire, narrowly missing the creature, who laughs.
'You're the source of his fear' the creature remarks as he grabs Hope's gun, then forces her up against the wall, pinning her to the wall with cables that emerge from its body. 'Do you remember me?' he asks. 'I... never forgot' Hope replies. 'Then you're the same. You share Daddy's fear' the creature utters, to which Hope declares that nothing scares Nathan Summers. The creature grows wires for hair, more eyes appear on its face as it tells Hope that she is wrong – Cable has been looking over his shoulder all his life. 'He's running away 'cause of you. But he'll come back' the creature remarks, covering Hope's face with its cybernetic hand. The creature removes its hand as Hope tells him that if he is here to kill her, then to get it over with. 'Kill you? No. I want him to suffer. Like he made me. He must know I haven't gone away. Show him what I've done!' the creature exclaims.
The next day, Cable arrives at the X-Mansion. He tells himself that he has defeated Apocalypse single-handedly taken on the Avengers and stopped the world from ending – so being at the X-Mansion to talk to his daughter shouldn't feel impossible – but it does.
Kitty stands outside the front doors, frowning, arms folded, she tells Cable that she figured it was a matter of time before he showed up. 'Nice to see toy too, Kitty' Cable replies. Kitty points a finger at Cable and tells him that something attacked Hope last night, and she said it was looking for him. 'What do you mean? Where is she?' Cable asks. Kitty assures him that Hope is safe, but tells him she isn't sure Hope wants to see him. Several students gather nearby and watch the discussion, as Kitty tells Cable that she knows he hasn't seen or talked to Hope for months, that he has been gallivanting around on his self-assigned “time-cop” missions. Cable pushes Kitty aside and tells her that he won't ask again. 'Where's Hope?' he demands but Kitty suggests that she talk to Hope. Cable doesn't care for that, so he bodyslides, and vanishes. Kitty clenches her fists and swears.
'Dad' Hope remarks as Cable appears in the guest room, a large gaping hole in the wall. 'Hi, Hope' Cable addresses his daughter, who asks him how he knew she was here. Cable reveals that he put a tracking device on her when she was eight. 'When I was eight?' Hope asks, before Cable bodyslides by two, and he and Hope re-appear elsewhere, surrounded by trees. Hope throws up, and Cable asks her if this still makes her sick. 'It's been a while...' Hope points out, before Cable notices the six burn marks around her right eye. 'It did that to your face... damn it. It's happening again' Cable mutters, clenching his fist. 'What is that thing? I've seen it before' Hope remarks. Cable tells her that its name is Metus, a techno-organic monster that has been following him since he was a child. He adds that it is desperate and dangerous. 'That thing knew you were coming. It said it wants you to suffer. Why?' Hope asks. Cable reveals that a long time ago, he lost control and made a mistake which he has been paying for ever since. 'But why me? Why not just go to you?' Hope enquires. Cable explains that Metus will stop at nothing to keep him away from the people he loves, to ensure he is alone.
Hope tells Cable that when she fired him from X-Force, she didn't expect him to disappear from her life. 'You don't need me to protect you anymore' Cable points out. Hope remarks that she isn't asking Cable to hold her hand, but she would like to spend the occasional day with her father. 'I know. I'd like that, too' Cable replies, explaining that he forced himself to believe that he was a better guardian than a father. 'You've always been both to me' Hope tells him. Cable points out that being in Hope's life puts them both at risk, so he had to stay away to keep her safe. Hope walks closer to Cable, who explains that jumping through time and isolating himself turned him into what he feared the most. 'Trust me, you're not the only one in the family who thinks being alone is the answer' Hope points out. Cable takes a step closer to Hope and tells her that when he was a child, he lived under the reign of Apocalypse – but what kept him up at night was the thought of his parents abandoning him – he was scared they thought of him as a burden, that if he couldn't control his powers and the techno-organic virus, they would leave him – and he did that to her.
Cable touches the burn marks around Hope's eye, and tells her that he is sorry, before they embrace and hug. Hope pulls away and tells Cable that she appreciates this, but points out there is a bigger issue here. She asks him what the plan of attack is and how they beat this Metus thing. Cable tells Hope that there is no more running, he is finally strong enough to beat it and face it head-on. Hope looks at Cable and tells him that is literally the worst plan he has ever had. 'Don't be so stubborn. I've seen what it does to your mind. You have to prepare, go in with a strategy, get a team together' Hope tells him. But Cable tells Hope that there will be no team and no strategy – this is the only way. 'Will you help me?' he asks. 'Not if you don't have a plan' Hope snaps.
Later, darkness surrounds Cable as he sits by a small fire within the forest. He knows that these are familiar surroundings for Metus – he is alone, like Metus always wanted. Cable knows that Metus can sense his fear, and that it will hate the fact he has seen Hope, as it warned him to stay away – Hope's scar made that clear. Cable looks up, the fire creating a glow over his face as he decides that tonight, it comes full circle – tonight, it ends. Cable can feel that Metus is near – he has always been able to feel it. Metus' presence course through his entire body, sending his T-O virus into overdrive, his cybernetic arm suddenly mutates, when, up above, Metus can be seen, clinging to the tree behind Cable, and resembling a large bat. 'Hello Dayspring' Metus calls out. 'I see the big guns still help you feel safe, old man!' Metus declares as he swoops down towards Cable, who leaps to safety before Metus can strike him. 'I've had decades to learn what makes you whimper!' Metus exclaims.
Cable somersaults and fires his gun backwards at Metus, who screeches as as the energy blast strikes him. But Metus recovers, and turns his attention on Cable, releasing several long wires towards him, knocking his gun out of one hand and wrapping them around his cybernetic arm, which has returned to its default appearance. Cable swears, then uses his other hand to grab a glowing knife and slices it through the wires restraining his other arm. Metus looks crazed as he runs towards Cable, lashing out with more wires, 'You've been gone for years. I've been with you all along!' Metus screeches. Metus suddenly takes the appearance of Hope as it connects more wires to Cable, 'You forget my power. I alone know what you do...' Metus utters, before Cable screams. 'And I will drag you back' Metus declares.
Images suddenly flood Cable's mind, of Metus attacking him and Bishop, while a young Hope looked on. 'Hope! Run!' Cable calls out to Hope. Another image, this time of a very large Metus battling Cable and Nate Grey, with Cable telling Nate to watch out, as Metus attempts to snare him. Another image, of Metus standing on some rubble, looking down over X-Force. Boomer and Cannonball lay motionless, while Feral and Shatterstar gather themselves, and Cable holds Domino in his arms, telling her that he is sorry. Another image, as Slym shouts 'I've got this!' and blasts Metus backwards, while Redd uses her telekinesis on Nathan, whose cybernetic arm has grown out of control. Redd tells Nathan that she needs him to take a deep breath.
Cable looks up as Metus now has the heads of Cable's loved ones appearing on its shoulders. 'You'll always be alone. You will understand my misery' Metus tells Cable, who suddenly thinks 'Hope!' as Metus tells Cable that he feels his fear, but not to worry, as this is far from the end. 'Wherever you go, I follow' Metus warns Cable. 'Any time now!' Cable thinks, as Hope rushes into the clearing, 'Hey!' she shouts, getting Metus' attention. 'Get the #$%& away from him!' Hope exclaims as she fires her weapon, which strikes Metus, blasting him backwards off of Cable. Hope goes over to Cable, who tells her that this is their last chance, and just like they talked about, she needs to mimc his telekinesis. Hope does so, and they both hold Metus in a telekinetic grasp. Suddenly, though, Cable reaches out to Metus, 'Dad... what are you doing?' Hope asks. 'Something I should have done a long time ago' Cable replies, as his own form starts to change, he grabs Metus, 'Give it back. You've taken too much from me' Cable declares. 'Stop! Oh my god. What're you doing?!' Hope shouts, as Cable screams as he absorbs Metus into himself. His mutated body looks back at Hope and tells her not to worry – that everything is going to be okay.