The near future:
Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers and his child, Hope Summers, materialize in the wastelands again, with no destination but forward. Despair is the only thing intact in the future, but it is safer than the world they just left behind – a horrid world ruled by his insane clone, Stryfe. Cable knows that Hope will never understand why they had to come back here and leave X-Force, as they are the closest things she has ever had to friends. Cable decides that Hope is too innocent to be afraid, so he carries the fear for her. They both vomit upon re-materializing, then make their way onwards, through the rubble and waste around them, past some bodies that lay strewn on the ground. Cable thinks that using his telekinesis for the first time in years, it drained him, weakened his resolve against the Techno-Organic Virus – which wants to take over him. He knows that he needs to keep moving, but his body cannot take another timeslide, not yet. The little girl looks up at Nathan and asks him if he is okay, pointing out that he never gets sick. 'I'm fine' Cable replies.
Hope looks at one of the dead bodies and remarks that this is gross, that she wants to go back to James, Laura and Logan. Cable tells Hope that he is sorry, and reminds her that X-Force were the ones that told them to go. 'They know you're safer with me' he adds, but Hope tells him that she doesn't feel very safe, and that she wants to be with other mutants. Cable promises Hope that one day she will be, but for now, she is stuck with him, like it or not – and that's the end of it. They carry on across a dry, barren landscape, and Hope asks Nathan if everyone has someone who just looks just like them. Cable explains that Stryfe is his clone, an identical copy of him on the outside, but nothing like him on the inside. 'That doesn't make sense. Is there one out there who is exactly like you?' Hope asks. 'No. But my half-brother and I are similar' Cable replies. 'You have a brother?' Hope exclaims. Cable tells her that his name is Nate Grey, and he is sure she will meet him some day. 'Does he have powers like you? Do all mutants have powers like you? Will I? What were those cool things that came out of Logan's hands?' Hope asks in quick succession.
Cable tells Hope that mutants, like any other living creature, are all unique with different powers, there is no one out there like him, and there is no one like her. 'But you just said Stryfe -' Hope begins, as Cable tells her to be quiet. Hope yanks at Cable's hand and asks him how long until she gets to use her powers. Cable asks her to stop, and assures her that she will get all the answers she is looking for in time, but right now they need to listen. 'I know. I know. So we can be aware of our surroundings' Hope mutters. Cable thinks to himself that they need to get some rest and find food, as open spaces breed paranoia – Bishop can't be far behind, with his mission that to kill Hope is his only recourse. Cable thinks that Bishop's mind is slipping further into desperation. 'Look!' Hope calls out, while Cable thinks that it should be normal, as Bishop has been on their tail for years, he can't shake the feeling that this time it is something worse. 'People! I bet they have food!' Hope exclaims as she runs ahead to an old house, where broken cars are strewn about the yard, and men lay on the grass near a skinny dog.
But Hope doesn't listen, and bursts into the house, where some scavengers are gathered around the fireplace, roasting some meat. 'Oi, strangers! Approach slowly so we can see those hands' one of the scavengers warns Cable and Hope. Another of the scavengers remarks that they don't get many visitors around here, so they can't be too prudent. His dirty teeth then bite into the meat he had been roasting, and one of the scavengers warns Cable that if he plans on staying the night, he will have to place his guns on the ground where they can see them. Another of the scavengers adds that they will have to search the girl, but Cable informs them that they will not be staying. 'Well, then off with yas. Get going!' one of the scavengers exclaims. The scavenger roasting the meat calls him Edmund, and tells him to hold on. 'At least let 'em have a taste. Y'all must be half-starved' he points out as he hands Hope the meat and tells her to take it. Hope reaches out for it, but Cable pulls her back. 'That isn't for us' he tells her. 'Why not?' Hope asks.
This causes the scavengers to be offended, and they stand up, draw weapons and move closer to Cable, 'Refusing our hospitality? I warn ya, it don't extend far' one of them remarks. Cable raises his hands above his head and tells the men that he didn't mean to offend them. He adds that they will be off, and that he means no trouble. 'A girl like that oughta be worth a lot' Edmund points out. 'Guess we'll be taking her, then' another suggests. Cable then grabs the gun strapped to his back, pulls it forward and blasts off Edmund's head. '$%&#!' exclaims one of the other scavengers in shock, while two more pull out guns, 'Kill 'em!' one of them shouts as they open fire. Hope screams, but Cable moves in to protect her, and the bullets bounce off his bionic arm. The scavenger with the meat begins to growl, then lunges forward with a knife, which he shoves into Cable's hand, causing him to drop his weapon.
'Hope!' Cable shouts as the girl is pulled away from him. 'We're gonna make this nice and slow' another scavenger exclaims as he smashes his guitar over Cable, who falls to the floor. One of the scavengers stands on Cable's wounded hand, when suddenly, a voice at the door calls out 'Either you kill her now...or I shoot you both. She's a threat to the future'. 'Bishop!' Hope gasps as the scavenger with the meat holds a knife to her head. 'What you got to trade?' the scavenger asks. 'Your life' Bishop responds as he shoots the scavenger in the head. Cable reaches for his own gun, and then uses it to shoot one of the other scavengers, and then the final one. Bishop looks back at Hope, 'No!' Cable shouts, leaping to his feet, he lunges at Bishop, while Hope has picked up a gun and fires it, the blast knocks her back, as Cable cries out when the blast from Hope's gun strikes his bionic arm.
Cable pushes Bishop outside the house, 'How many times do I have to tell you? Stay away from the girl!' he shouts as he punches Bishop to the ground. 'Get offa-' Bishop begins, while Hope follows them outside, 'Nathan...I'm sorry. I don't mean to -' Hope begins. 'Don't make me do this, Bishop' Cable tells Bishop as he punches him again. 'Please don't...' Hope utters. Cable stands over Bishop and holds his gun to his head. 'He'll keep coming for us' Cable tells Hope. 'Aren't we the good guys?' Hope asks. Cable pauses, before removing one of Bishop's boots and telling Hope to get the other one. 'Why are we doing this?' Hope asks. Cable explains that if they can't kill him, he is going to make it as hard as possible for Bishop to follow them. Cable and Hope then start to walk away from the scavengers' house, and Hope asks Cable where they are going.
Later, Cable and Hope set up a camp, and Hope starts a fire. They sit next to the fire, and Hope tells Cable that she knows he told her not to touch the guns. 'But Bishop was gonna -' she begins. Cable tells her that it is okay, that she did the right thing. 'It was my fault' he adds. 'Will you teach me?' Hope asks. Cable supposes that it was time they went down that road, and informs Hope that first thing in the morning, he will teach her how to shoot. Hope then asks Cable if the world was like this when he grew up. Cable explains that it was different, but the same – there was more people around, but it was just as dangerous – and he was always on the run with his parents, too. Hope asks him where they are now, to which Cable tells her that it a long story for another time. 'You say that every time you don't wanna talk about something' Hope remarks. Cable just tells Hope to pack it in and get some rest, while his mind begins to wander.
In Cable's memory:
'Slym, my friend doesn't have any problems controlling his powers. He can be anything he wants!' Nathan Dayspring exclaims, tugging on Slym's arm as Slym fires and optic blast that knocks a large tree over. 'You're different' Slym replies. 'You're much stronger than other mutants. You have nothing to feel bad about' Redd tells Nathan, before Slym asks him if he is ready for another go. Redd puts her hands on Nate's shoulders and tells him to relax, as she can sense her anxiety. She asks him to take a deep breath, focus his telekinesis and lift the fallen tree. But Nathan tells her that he can't, as the virus will take over. 'We're right here. Don't worry' Redd assures him. Nate slowly levitates the large tree with his telekinesis, raising it overhead. 'You got this, buddy' Redd tells Nate, who suddenly looks scared, 'I... can't... hold it!' Nate utters as his bionic arm starts to grow, wires and cables twist about, Nathan drops to the ground, screaming, and losing control of the large tree – which falls towards him, only for Slym to fire an optic blast, destroying it.
Slym holds Nathan and Redd crouches beside them, telling Nathan not to let it control him, to clear his mind. 'I'll never be able to control it!' Nathan replies. Slym informs Nathan that when he was his age, and first got his powers, he hurt someone – it happened because he was scared, but his dad showed him that he didn't have to be. 'And you don't have to be either' Slym assures him. 'We're here for you, Nate' Redd remarks as she wraps her arms around Nate. 'We always will be'.
The near future:
The sun rises, Cable is already awake, sitting outside the tent where Hope is sleeping. 'Wake up, sleepy. It's already oh-eight-hundred. Time for your lesson' Cable tells Hope. Hope takes a gun, and holds it out front of herself, with Cable keeping her steady. 'You see those two little triangles on the top of the barrel? You want your target right between them' Cable explains to Hope, adding that she needs to keep her wrist straight and support the weight of the gun with her elbow – and her eyes never leave the target. 'Fire when ready' Cable tells hope, and she shoots – hitting one of the cans sitting on the rocks nearby. 'I got it! Did you see that?' Hope exclaims, grinning and wide-eyed. Cable pats her on the head and tells her that he saw, and that peashooter belongs to her now. 'But you follow my rules. Keep it holstered. And you only ever shoot it when I tell you. Is that clear?' Cable asks. 'Crystal' Hope replies.
Cable and Hope continue on their journey, 'Is now the time?' Hope asks as the pass the remains of some large structure. 'For what?' Cable asks. 'To tell me where your parents are' Hope tells him. 'You never let up, do you?' Cable replies. They continue on, past a dried-up river, where fish bones and a small boat lay, as Cable reveals that his mom was everything he could have asked for – nurturing and patient, and it helped that she was a very powerful telepath. 'Will I ever meet her?' Hope enquires. Cable tells Hope that he wishes she could, but she passed away. 'You two would've gotten along' he adds, to which Hope tells Nathan that she is sorry. Cable helps Hope climb over another fallen structure, possible some sort of power transformer, and he explains that his dad is leader of the X-Men. 'You mean my granddad is in charge of Logan, James and Laura? Whoa!' Hope gasps. 'Yes. He's the one who sent them to save us' Cable replies, adding that his father is also the one who asked him to protect her. 'So he knows about me? Does this mean I can be an X-person one day?' Hope asks.
'If that's what you want. But until you're old enough to make the decision, I'll be by your side' Cable replies, as he and Hope walk towards a gas station, while lightning flashes in the sky above them. Hope suggests that they should search the gas station for supplies. 'Good eye. You read my mind' Cable replies. 'I did? Are those my powers?' Hope asks, but Cable explains to her that it is just a thing people say. Inside the gas station, they begin searching, 'I'm gonna check over here' Hope tells Cable as she moves to another part of the gas station. Cable tells her to stay within earshot. 'Copy that' Hope replies. Suddenly, she looks out the window, and sees who she thinks is a familiar figure approaching. 'Huh?' Hope asks, confused. Cable suddenly drops his flashlight, and his bionic arm twists out of control. Hope opens the door, 'Logan?' she asks, as lightning crackles in the sky. 'Hope...' Cable calls out, his arm growing out of control.
'Call him' “Logan” tells Hope as he crouches beside her, popping his claws. 'Nathan! I found Logan!' Hope calls out, when suddenly, Cable stands in the doorway, 'Get away from her!' he shouts as he blasts a hole through “Logan's” strange body, a mixture of cables and wires, “Logan” reforms, and exclaims 'No, no, no. You've been with her too long' he snarls, before running towards Cable, declaring that he must be alone. 'Can I shoot?' Hope asks, readying her gun, but Cable tells her to stay back – as “Logan” leaps at them, suddenly, someone shoots at “Logan”, blasting his hand apart. “Logan” lands on the ground and turns to see Bishop standing behind him. 'What the hell are you?' Bishop asks. 'Find cover!' Cable tells Hope, who starts to run. Bishop looks at her, while Cable blasts the strange creature impersonating Wolverine. Hope leaps behind a wall as Bishop shoots at her.
Cable tells Hope to run, while Bishop moves closer to her. 'No, let her play!' the mysterious creature calls out, now impersonating Archangel, he uses the wings like tentacles, wrapping them around Cable and Bishop, he lifts them both into the air, 'Big, strong soldier... still can't control his virus!' the strange creature begins, as Cable and Bishop both attempt to fire their weapons at their opponent, who begins to look like Bishop and asks the real Bishop 'You think you're why Cable's running away, Bishop? It's me. He's always been running from me' the strange being boasts. 'Who are you?' Bishop enquires. 'Bishop, don't -' Cable begins as their enemy pulls their weapons away from them. 'I am the shadows. I am everything and nothing' the mysterious being claims, before throwing Cable and Bishop to the ground. 'Shoot, Hope!' Cable calls out as their foe lumbers towards Hope. 'But you said we're the good -' Hope begins as she appears behind the wall, too late though, she hasn't readied her weapon, as the strange being grabs her by her neck and holds her overhead. 'Don't worry, little girl. I won't kill you. Taking you away is much more painful' he points out as he starts to run away with Hope.
Bishop begins to follow, and fires a blast at the strange creature, striking him in the back. 'I won't give you the satisfaction' Bishop declares. The creature falls to the ground, a mass of cables and wires. 'Stay down' Bishop warns him, but the creature rises up, towering over Bishop, 'You're strong. Like him' the creature admits. Cable runs forward and shoves Bishop closer to the creature, whose wires connect to the remains of Bishop's bionic arm. 'Your arm. The wires and circuits. They belong to me!' the creature announces, while Cable picks Hope up, 'I have you' he tells her, as Bishop tries to pull himself free of the mysterious creature, the fight in the front of the gas station. 'Naaaathan!' Hope calls out. Cable tells her that it is okay, and they run as the lightning suddenly strikes the gas station, causing it to explode, with Bishop and the creature caught in the blast.
Cable and Hope come to a stop, and Hope tells Cable that she was so scared. 'You said I'd be safe with you but I'm not! We're supposed to keep each other safe. Like X-Force. We need -' Hope exclaims, shoving Cable, who tells her she doesn't need them, that he will never let anything like this happen again. Cable isn't sure if his body is ready to timeslide, but he knows he has no choice, he has to risk it. 'You shoulda left me with them! That monster told me it was going to take me away' Hope exclaims. Cable assures her that he is doing his best, that he knows she is mad, but they need to keep moving. Cable realizes that Hope has seen the face of his fear, that she knows he is not invincible now – every child realizes that eventually. That their parents aren't perfect, that they make mistakes and that there are some things they cannot control. Cable decides that this has gone on too long, that it has hurt too many people and he won't let Metus do it again. He may not be able to face it for himself, but he has to end this for Hope. He puts his hands on Hope's shoulders, and then they bodyslide away.