A few years ago:
Hell's Kitchen, New York City, where inside his safe house, Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable is meditating, telekinetically levitating himself off the floor, in a room containing monitors and various weapons, he thinks that everyone is given a family at birth, that they are irrevocably part of you, made from the same genetic information – blood is blood and family is family. That is one thing you can't escape. However, sometimes, you find family along the way – and sometimes they find you, like right now, as Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man crashes through the roof, and slams into the floor.
Cable places Nate on a table and connects various wires to him. Cable identifies Nate as his half-brother, genetically engineered by Mister Sinister, he is Cable from an alternate reality. Cable realizes that Nate came here for a reason, to tell him something. Looking at the monitor, Cable sees that Nate's heart rate is erratic and his vitals are all over the place – he has tried reading his mind, but it is a mess – the only constant is fear. Cable that Nate shares his genetic signature and his mutant abilities – but what he doesn't have is his Techno-Organic Virus. Blaquesmith enters the room and reminds Cable that he has warned him about this time-lost boy. 'You should have killed him when you had the chance!' Blaquesmith declares.
Cable ignores Blaquesmith, and continues to monitor Nate, realizing that he is a god who shouldn't know fear. 'Do you hear me, Askani'son? He is impeding your destiny!' Cable tells Blaquesmith to shut up and finish mixing the palliating salve. 'He's not enemy. He's family' Cable declares, thinking that Nate is also a confused kid, and he knows exactly what that feels like. Blaquesmith shakes a finger at Cable and tells him that not everyone who shares his genetic code is family, and suggests that this could be a worm dangling on a hook from Apocalypse. 'It's not. I know what did this' Cable replies, before asking Blaquesmith if he is done mixing yet. Cable telepathically contacts Nate, telling him that he needs him to pull through, while he starts applying the salve to Nate's face.
Cable's hand appears to suddenly transform, as if the Techno-Organic Virus had taken over, 'Run! It's coming for you!' Nate shouts as he wakes, sitting up, the wires falling off his face, while Cable tells him to calm down, and that they are safe here. 'Behind you!' Nate exclaims as a strange mass of metal, cables and wires rises from the monitor station behind Cable. 'Which of you is real...and which is the copy?' the strange bein asks as it moves closer to Cable and Nate, who suddenly flies forward, ready to attack. 'Stay back, you're too weak!' Cable calls out. 'This thing was coming for you! I tried to warn you and failed!' Nate replies. 'You don't deserve a brother' the strange creature snarls, as it wraps wires and cables around its fist, creating a super fist that he slams into Nate, knocking him backwards, Nate lands on the other side of the room.
The mysterious creature, fully transformed into a humanoid form, reveals that he was there when Cable and Nate first met. 'I hoped you'd end him' the creature tells Cable, who fires a weapon at the creature, striking its shoulder, but the creature simply re-forms its body. 'But you wanted a new friend. Someone to play with. Part of you knew I would come' the creature states as its face begins to resemble Cable's own appearance, and moves closer to Cable, 'All these years... you haven't learned. You're not allowed!' the creature exclaims as Cable raises a weapon, and calls the creature Metus. 'Please listen to -' Cable begins, but suddenly, furious energy strikes Metus, tearing the creature apart.
Cable turns to Nate: 'Stupid kid. You're gonna kill yourself' Cable declares, but Nate tells him that he just saved his life. Cable helps Nate stand up and tells him that they have to get him out of here. 'We have to... finish... this...' Nate utters, before Cable remarks 'Timeslide by two', while Nate looks horrified, 'No! Wait!' he exclaims as it appears some cables connected to Metus touch the timeslide energy effect, too late, and they vanish. 'Stab his eyes...what am I doing with my life?' Blaquesmith wonders.
Somewhere, at the end of time, a strange cubic structure is oddly positioned on a chunk of rock floating through time. Inside three versions of Cable stand in one of the rooms within the structure, 'Oh, great. There's more'. A soldier-like version mutters. 'As the old Askani proverb goes, “Whatever is...is”' Askani Cable remarks, while a Cable that is more machine than man reports that his scans tell him they are genetically identical to them. 'Where are we? Who are these guys?' Nate asks. Cable explains that they are in one of his safe houses, and that these three are just like him – different versions of him from other timelines. 'We arrived like we were born, as one' the Askani Cable remarks. 'What Twinkle toes here's trying to say is we arrived within milliseconds of each other' the soldier Cable explains. 'We all sensed the same threat and followed it here' the Techno-Organic Cable adds.
Nate telepathically informs Cable that “it” is here, and he is betting someone isn't who they say they are. He adds that he will dig into their minds, as they have to find the impostor. 'Easy, Nate...' Cable replies, while the Askani Cable tells them that there is no need for secret telepathic communication, and assures them that they are all Children of the Atom. 'There's too many of us, kid You'll flood your mind!' soldier Cable declares. Cable agrees, and tells Nate that they all share the same biosignature and psionic ability. 'No, let him...' Techno-Organic Cable mutters, as visions flood Nate's mind – he sees one reality where a young Nathan hovers telekinetically alongside Redd, while Slym watches over them, and another, where he trains alongside Redd and Mother Askani. A third, where Redd and Slym teach him to use his powers, and another, where he stands alone, looking out over a futuristic city. 'Stop, stop, STOP!' Nate screams.
Nate drops to his knees and declares that he knows that one of them has to be the monster. 'Monster? What's he babbling about?' the soldier Cable asks, grabbing Cable, who explains that something followed them here, a dangerous shape-shifter, and they can't leave until they find it. 'Ahh, so the unseen threat reveals itself' Askani Cable remarks, while Techno-Organic Cable wonders how, without the ability to search each other's minds, they are supposed to find this thing. 'It can't hide forever. It won't' Cable tells the others, while Techno-Organic Cable announces that he refuses to wait, and starts to leave, heading towards a door. 'Hey, ugly, you're not going anywhere. None of us are' soldier Cable declares, raising a weapon. 'A predator requires prey. If we leave -' Askani Cable begins, while Cable tells everyone that no one leaves until they figure this out, and asks them all to hand over their time machines.
'Give them to me. I'll look after them' Nate offers, standing up. But soldier Cable declares that he doesn't trust Nate, either, and as he removes his time device from his bionic arm, suggests that they leave them where they can all see them, in plain sight. 'Statistical analysis tells me this is a horrible plan' Askani Cable remarks, while Techno-Organic Cable mutters that this will only end in death. Cable tells everyone that they don't have a choice, not until things become more clear. The men all stand around, except for Askani Cable who hovers in the air, meditating, as Nate asks 'So what's the plan now?' and Askani Cable states that he needs time ot search his own mind. 'I guess we're at a standstill' Cable points out, so soldier Cable suggests they sit here and wait. He and Techno-Organic Cable then turn and look at Cable, who says nothing to them.
Later, a candle has nearly melted all the way down, 'You know what? I'm tired of this #$%&!' soldier Cable exclaims, slamming his fist onto the table, he stands up and points at Nate, 'That hothead seemed to know a lot about this monster. Maybe he's the one!' he suggests. Cable stands up and tells his counterpart that this is not how they are going to solve this. 'We need to work together' he adds. 'Working in tandem requires trust' Askani Cable points out. 'You haven't earned mine' soldier Cable replies. 'This is exactly what it wants! We're playing right into its hands' Cable tells the others. Nate suggests that it seems like they are all a little beat, and Askani Cable points out that some rest might ease their spirits. Techno-Organic Cable remarks that they need to keep watch in teams of two, and announces that he and the shaman will go first, as he's the only one he trusts. 'Wake me up when it's my turn' soldier Cable replies as he leaves the room.
Techno-Organic Cable announces that he can feel the electricity buzzing, and that it wasn't like this when they got here. 'Strange what isolation does to the mind' Askani Cable remarks, looking out the window, strange bubble float around, and he explains that the outside reflects what's inside – they are stuck here until they find the interloper. Techno-Organic Cable remarks that he thinks it is the kid. 'What of the merc?' Askani Cable asks. Techno-Organic Cable replies that his analysis tells him no, and that he was asleep when he checked on him.
Elsewhere in the complex, the soldier Cable sits alone, while in another room, while Nate and Cable sit side-by-side in another room. 'You look as bad as I do. What's going on?' Nate asks. Cable explains that he has been straining to keep his virus under control, as the virus doesn't like it when Metus is around. 'So the monster has a name. You know more than you let on' Nate remarks. Cable tells him to keep quiet, as someone could be listening. He then closes his eyes and memories flood his mind.
in Cable's memory:
'Open your eyes, metal boy!' another child calls out, as a young Nathan finds himself standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a lake, hundreds of feet beneath 'You gotta look where you're going!' another kid calls out. 'Cause it's a long way down!' another laughs. Another kid goes up to Nathan and puts a hand on his shoulder, 'You can do it, Dayspring. It's not as scary as it looks from up here' the kid smiles. 'What are you waiting for?' a larger kid asks. 'I'll do it! Just let me catch my breath!' Nathan replies, before the larger kid shoves Nathan off the cliff, 'Catch it on the way down!' he snarls. 'Noooo – AHHHHHHH!' Nathan screams as he plummets from the cliff, his telekinesis flares up, and his bionic arm suddenly increases in size, and reaches up to the top of the cliff, as Nathan falls into the water.
'Holy #$%&' Techno-Organic Cable remarks as he and the others stand over the torn-off arm of soldier Cable, which lies in a pool of blood. Askani Cable tells his counterpart not to get too close. 'Wasn't going to' Techno-Organic Cable replies, before pointing out that the arm was severed at the rotator cuff, and looks like it was the only part of his body not infected by the virus. 'We should never have left him alone' Nate remarks, but Cable reminds Nate that it was his own choice, and he knew the risl. 'Knew the risk? Calculations tell me this is your fault. You're the ones that brought this monster here' Techno-Organic Cable declares, pointing at Nate. 'Get outta my face before I -' Nate begins, to which Techno-Organic Cable interrupts him: 'Before you what, cool guy? Overload again?' he asks. 'Don't -' Nate begins, but they are both interrupted when Cable fires a weapon at the ceiling, 'That's enough! All of you!' he exclaims.
Nate, Askani Cable and Techno-Organic Cable turn to Cable, who tells them that Metus wants them to turn on each other, but they can't give, they already lost one and he won't have another death on his conscience. He orders them all into the main room. They follow Cable into the main room, and Cable tells them that they are all the same, that all of them should be telekinetic – and he knows the monster isn't, so suggests they perform a simple test. 'One at a time. Each of us will telekinetically lift this chair. If you can't, well...' Cable's voice trails off, before telling Nate that he is up first. 'Happy?' Nate asks as he telekinetically lifts the chair with ease. 'Done' Techno-Organic Cable points out as he raises the chair, before asking why Cable is giving the orders. The Askani Cable lifts the chair with his telekinetic powers, and points out 'This leaves one of us...you are not of our kind' he declares, holding his staff towards Cable. 'My systems tell me I should blow a hole through your head right now' Techno-Organic Cable calls out, raising h s gun to Cable's head, while Nate asks them to let Cable do the test, as they owe him that much.
Cable telekinetically lifts the chair, but his bionic arm starts to transform, 'Your arm reveals your true nature. You are the monster!' Askani Cable declares. 'It's not... me... it's near...' Cable responds, while Nate points out that Cable is doing the test, so it can't be him. 'What the -' Techno-Organic Cable utters as a wire suddenly coils around him, and pulls him back into the wall, where other cables and wires have amassed – 'HURRRGH!' he calls out as he is then torn apart in a grizzly display, before crying out for help, as Metus absorbs his Techno-Organic tissue. 'Don't let it touch you' Cable tells the others. Askani Cable tells him that he is sorry he doubted him, and and announces that they will end this as one. Cable tells Askani Cable and X-Man to stay close and to follow his orders as he blasts Metus, who now towers over them. Askani Cable suggests that they focus their combined energies. 'Look out!' Nate exclaims, before Metus latches onto Askani Cable, pulling the old man towards his massive machine-like form. 'Whatever is... is' Askani Cable remarks as the entire building is destroyed, becoming part of Metus.
Askani Cable tells Cable and X-Man that he is sorry, and that he will see them in time as he is dragged towards Metus' large, gaping mouth. 'Two lost brothers. All alone. My body hunt and so it feeds' Metus declares, latching onto Cable and pulling him closer, while Nate hovers telekinetically nearby. Metus stands even taller now, 'Look at what you've made! I am your fears, past and present' he declares, while Nate tells Cable that they have to destroy this thing, and fires a blast of energy at Metus' face. 'It's absorbed too much! Fall back!' Cable tells Nate. Metus starts to whip several more wires towards Nate, Cable tells him to look out. 'I'm gonna finish this! Nate shouts as he releasing a powerful surge of energy towards Metus. 'No! Stupid kid! You'll kill all of us!' Cable exclaims, as the energy tears through Metus, knocking the strange creature backwards.
Nate drops to the ground, 'I've almost got it...one more...' he tells Cable, as Metus lumbers towards them, a huge hole through his chest. 'Do it...do what your copy...never could'. But Cable stands before Nate and Metus and tells Nate that he can't let him. 'Get out of the way!' Nate exclaims. 'You don't understand' Cable remarks, as Metus shrinks down to a regular humanoid size, Nate points out that it is dying, and tells Cable that they won't get another chance like this. Metus suddenly takes flight into the strange realm that surrounds them. 'It's getting away! What the hell's the matter with you?' Nate asks. 'One more blast and you'd be dead' Cable tells Nate, who realizes that Cable is hiding something, he can sense it now that the others are gone. 'It doesn't concern you' Cable tells him. Nate then realizes that Cable has carried this with him for so long. 'Why didn't you say something?' he asks, pointing out that Cable has created a monster and that it will destroy him.
'If I'd known the truth, I -' Nate begins, but Cable tells him it wouldn't have mattered. Nate tells Cable that he has to fix this mess, before it consumes him and the people he loves. 'Metus won't stop. Not after what I just saw. Hatred is part of him. It has been since you -' Nate starts to say, but Cable tells him that he knows. He looks around as the greenish-yellow bubbles float around them, and Cable states that they need to find a way out of here. Nate pulls something from his jacket pocket and reveals that he nicked a time machine off the table. 'There's hope for you yet' Cable smirks, before remarking that they leave Metus here, show him what true isolation feels like. 'You know that won't last forever' Nate replies. 'Timeslide by two...' Cable replies, ignoring Nate's comment. As they vanish, neither hero sees a spark ignite on one of the wires strewn amongst the pile of rubble shed by Metus....