(Eight hundred years ago)
In the Swiss Alps, a group of Crusaders, led by the Black Knight, stand before a tomb, embedded in the rock. The crusaders aren’t too keen on being here, as the being within the tomb is said to have been touched by the evil one. How much longer would it be before his might grew so great it could destroy them all? The Black Knight says he knows what had to be done, but it does not mean he has to like it. May God have mercy on them all.
For centuries, the tomb stood undisturbed; the being contained within buried and nearly forgotten, until a present-day man of power awakened him. In the name of this savior, the time-lost Black Knight fought with near-evangelical zeal. Their cause failed. Weakened, Exodus made his way here to this, his former prison, where a portion of the power that created him remains. In time, he would recuperate, away from the prying eyes of others. Now, a hunger rumbles in his empty soul, a hunger for power. The man named Exodus can sense something, and it’s close.
Cable, meanwhile, has learned about the existence of Nate Grey, a man with whom he shares his bio-signature and psionic ability. The difference is that Nate Grey’s power is uninhibited by the techno-organic virus. He is a boy lost and alone, with a god-like capacity for destruction. Cable is on his tail and he pilots his craft to Switzerland, unable to shake the feeling that he’s a dog chasing his tail. But, after the carnage he saw in France, not to mention the projections of his power he was shown, Nate has to be stopped.
Suddenly, his right hand, which contains the techno-organic virus, begins to warp and Cable screams, as his mind is flooded with a psionic backlash. His mind is flooded with memories that are not his own - memories of a world best described as a dark reflection of our own.
Prelate Cyclops holds out his hand and says, “Come with me if you want to live.” Cable wonders what Cyclops is doing, and how he got here.
Cable’s ears begin to bleed, as he struggles to break free of this unintentional assault. It takes all his strength to free himself but, as quickly as it started, Cable returns to his own reality, and a snow-crested landing at the foot of the Swiss Alps. He realizes that Nate’s thoughts aren’t twisted or evil, just… confused. Nate must be very close. The blurring of their minds meant he momentarily lost control over his T.O. virus. If that’s what happens when two telepaths who are genetically the same get close to each other, he wonders, what happens when they meet?
Nearby, Nate Grey and Threnody stride through the snow. Threnody asks if he knows where he’s going, and Nate admits that his sense of direction isn’t great, but something’s drawing him here. He’s pretty sure they are nearing their destination. His psi-power is so gloriously unfettered that he is barely conscious of the telekinetic shields which not only keep him warm, but also his new companion too. It is this growing power that Nate knows will consume him before he reaches adulthood. Then, just as Cable had been struck down with memories belonging to Nate, he too is assaulted in a similar fashion.
Redd and Slym are standing before Nathan Dayspring. Redd asks him to calm down, and to take her hand. Together, they can make the pain stop. Slym tells him he can do it.
That was a loving childhood that Nate never knew. He doesn’t know who they are, and he screams at the images to stop as he kneels in the snow. As quickly as it started, Nate’s head clears, but he is filled with the terrible fear that it could happen again at any moment, unless… All around Nate and Threnody, everything stops.
Threnody cannot believe her eyes. Everything around her; the snow, the bird, the wind itself becomes motionless around her, held in a telekinetic cusp. Warily, she picks up Nate and places his arm around her shoulder. She tells him they must keep moving. Anyone who can do this to him needs to be kept as far away as possible. Nate groans that he isn’t afraid of anybody; he just needs a minute to get his head together. Sure, fine, whatever, replies Threnody, as she leads him through the mountain, leaving behind a cone of psionic energy into which steps Cable.
He is awestruck at the stillness of the place. Despite being warned by Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert of the boy’s power, he is still stunned at the sight of nature, transfixed. For a man who has travelled through space and time, it takes quite a bit to impress him. He feels Charles and Moira were right in their concerns. They would be horrified. Nate left this area rife with psionic residue as if it were nothing. If this is the kind of power he himself is capable of, now more than ever, he understands why they fear him. Carrying a really big gun on his back, he continues the pursuit of his genetic sibling. “You’d better fix this while I go on. I have a pretty good idea where he is headed…. Blaquesmith.”
Cable’s old friend reveals himself and asks just how long Nathan has known he has been there. Nathan says long enough, and what did he expect? He reminds him that he is no longer a kid on a Canaanite transport ship looking for help. Blaquesmith tells Cable that he can erase the damage to the psionic plane caused here, but he will not find the boy so easy to deal with. Cable knows this all too well.
Blaquesmith says that Nathan identifies with the boy too closely, and that disturbs him. This ‘Nate Grey’ should not exist. He is nothing more, he continues, than an error in time and reality. Would Cable have him lay waste to all they’ve fought for? All the sacrifices they’ve made? Cable replies that he exists, and it seems that maybe Blaquesmith doesn’t have the faith in his own teachings. Maybe he should remind him of the core at the Askani philosophy is a little phrase. “What is…is…”
Meanwhile, the lone figure of Exodus makes his way through the snow, his maroon cloak tattered and torn. He is drawn by the presence of both Cable and Nate Grey, and thirsts for energy. He fights his way through the growing tempest with the strength of a fanatic.
Nate Grey, meanwhile, has found a house in the remotest area in the Swiss Alps. He unceremoniously kicks the door wide open, and enters with Threnody. No one is home. Nate made sure of this with a psi-scan, and then telekinetically whacked the security system. Threnody knows this place, though she keeps her revelation to herself. Mister Sinister keeps serious tabs on the house, and its owner. She tells Nate they should leave, but Nate insists that they stay. When he first arrived on Earth, he was pretty shaken up, but now he’s wondering why here? Why here in these mountains? He’s never even been to Europe.
Threnody calls for him to slow down, but Nate looks eagerly around the room. He explains that he wandered out to the road back then, but maybe he was supposed to find this place. Maybe he was psychically pulled here, like now. He discovers a framed photograph on a shelf beside the fire and looks at it. He sees Cable with Aliya, but recognizes Cable as himself, only older. He doesn’t understand; he can’t think. Behind him, an unfamiliar voice says, “I think that’s my fault.”
Nate turns to see the rather large figure of Cable standing in the open doorway. He has a pack on his back, and still carries the really big gun, which sits on the pack. His hands, however, are open so as not to overtly threaten the boy. Cable informs Nate that he is feeling the same pain as he but, if he’s smart, he’ll come with him if he wants to live. Nate replies that he might know his name, and that he’s also in pain, but just who the heck is he? Cable replies that he’s a friend, and this is his house. Nate came here for a reason and Cable thinks they should find out why… together.
Ever the mistrusting and impetuous youth, Nate reacts immediately. He blasts Cable with a telekinetic assault, and Cable barely has time to erect a TK shield in time, and that is only because Nate held back a little. Outside the cabin, Exodus hovers overhead, revelling in the psionic energy being expended, and knowing that soon it will be his.
Cable picks himself up from the snow and climbs on his knees up the porch steps. He again asks Nate to listen to him, to try and see past his anger and frustration. Doesn’t he know who, or what he is? Cable lowers his defenses, accepting the merest of the boy’s psionic probes, hoping that through their shared pain comes the first step toward understanding. It works, and Nate soon realizes that Cable is really him.
Nate doesn’t lower his defenses though, but listens to what Cable has to say. He points out that they’re connected somehow. He knows that Nate has experienced things on this world that are…different from what he knows. Nate throws his arms towards Cable’s face but holds his power in check momentarily. He tells Cable that all he knows is that the closer he gets to him, the more sure he is that he has no reason to trust him. When he scanned Cable, he saw Xavier, Moira, Sinister! He knows all of them and, on top of that, the stink of Apocalypse is on this land.
The name of Apocalypse grabs Nathan’s interest but, at this close range, the psionic assault is devastating to him. He knows that, if there is to be a battle, it is not one he can win with powers alone. Suddenly, Blaquesmith rushes inside, to warn Cable of the danger present outside. Nate instinctively grabs Cable and raises him to the ceiling, and follows this up by doing the same to Blaquesmith. Although it strains him, he can sense this new unseen foe bristles with psionic energy, and that he fears him. He also senses that he intends to end what little life Nate has left. This meeting has shaken Nate and, with the appearance of this doppelganger and the suffering it brings, Nate knows there is truly no place for him on this world. He sweeps Blaquesmith from the room and calls for Threnody to join him. It’s time to bolt.
Nate releases his telekinetic grasp of Cable, and Cable knows in his heart that he didn’t want it to come to this. But, he has learned that there is little value to focusing on the circumstances which brings about a situation, rather it is the situation itself that must be dealt with. He tells Nate that he only came here offering help. “Help?” Nate replies, “I’ve got power that’s gonna kill me. I’m on a world that’s not mine. Now I find there’s already a ‘me’ here. Tell me friend, how can you help me?”
A massive energy blast tears the safehouse apart, distributing the wood and stone across the mountains and into the snow-covered valley. When Cable built this safehouse years ago, it was meant to withstand any attack; physical, atomic. With a single thought, Nate Grey has destroyed it, taking with it all its occupants. Nate stirs, covered in snow but otherwise all right. He thinks it’s all over with, but he raises his head to see the figure of Exodus standing before him, his eyes glistening with psionic energy. “Over,” he tells the boy, “Hardly, stripling. To the victor goes the spoils, and his name is Exodus!”