Fascinating, Hank McCoy exclaims, as he takes a look at both of Cable’s arms, the normal one and the one changed forever by the Techno-organic virus. “Fascinating” is the last thing he thinks is happening to him, Cable states. Since he psionically stitched Nate Grey’s mind back together, he has been having difficulties staving off the techno-virus.
At the mention of Nate Grey’s name, the Beast gives a slight pause. Unknown to Cable or any of the X-Men, this is not their Henry McCoy, but rather a twisted double from the same timeline that produced Nate Grey. So, Cable impatiently asks, can Beast help him or not? This isn’t some rash he can just give him an ointment for, the Beast replies. It requires cat scans, a skin graph for biopsy and patience.
They are joined by Storm, one of the X-Men’s leaders, asking if Henry is finished with Cable. She’d like to speak with him in private. Beast jokingly beseeches her to get him out.
Cable strains at recomposing his techno-arm, trying not to let it show. He asks McCoy to get him the results ASAP, while making excuses to Storm, claiming it’s just a touch of the flu.
The Dark Beast smirks. Cable’s tissue sample, complete with his DNA and a sample of the techno-virus. His switching places with the other McCoy has borne a most… unexpected treat.
Outside the infirmary, Cable tells Storm he’s glad she isn’t dead. Taken aback by his own bluntness, he admits that didn’t come out right. Perfectly natural, given what they do, she replies. And for the record, she’s glad she isn’t dead too. Ororo gives her condolences over Tyler’s death. She had thought that perhaps their encounter with him in Egypt had begun a recovery process for him. But sometimes, she continues, no matter how much we love someone, we cannot make them choose the right path. She touches his shoulder.
Cable just replies that, while he doesn’t want to sound coldhearted, Tyler is gone and there’s nothing he can do about it but remember the good in his memory. Surely she didn’t want to speak to him about this? How long can he keep his emotions that bottled up, she wonders, as she replies that there is, of course, X-Men business. Onslaught? he asks. In a word, she replies as Domino joins them. Whoever or whatever Onslaught is, she continues, has created a sense of impending war there. And every clue they’ve traced has been a dead end. He’s been to war, Cable states, and the one that’s coming is bad.
Storm asks him to mindprobe her. She came in contact with Onslaught’s herald. He calls himself “Post.” Wouldn’t Xavier be better suited, he asks. She trusts him, she assures him.
Cable touches her forehead and swears, “Stab his eyes,” a moment later. This “Post” has been psionically masked. There’s no image, no visual memory of him in Storm’s mind. But there is a telepathic echo that seems familiar. What in the world is going on, he wonders and stumbles in pain.
Ororo is by his side and asks concerned if he is all right. Domino quickly covers for him by loudly stating that she had warned him about this flu thing. Telepathically, she tells him that, while she covered for him this time, his T.O. problem is getting worse. They both have their little secrets, don’t they? Cable psionically replies with a smile.
Speaking loudly again, Domino explains that she has bad news. There was an explosion and a fire in the Baltimore harbor. Blaquesmith, Cable mutters and asks the ladies to excuse him.
Wouldn’t it be better for someone to accompany him, Ororo suggests. Dom curtly replies that he can handle himself.
Hours later at Baltimore Harbor.
Cable surmises the damage done to Blaquesmith’s ship, wondering who could have done this. His friend’s defense mechanisms were far, far superior to anything invented in this era. The ship should have been undetectable and impenetrable. Did this have anything to do with the recent break-in?
Two officers from the Baltimore police department address him, asking if he knows anything about this frigate. Nothing they need to know, Cable replies. The other cop orders him to come with them. Maybe then he’ll recall anything they need to know. The first cop asks for answers more reasonably. Cable uses his telepathy, convincing them that they’ve had enough. As the two men leave to get a coffee, Cable thinks to himself that the men will be safer if they are not entangled in this mess.
He examines the insides of the ship, recalling that he and Blaquesmith didn’t always see eye to eye. Specifically their last encounter over the fate of Nate Grey drove a wedge between them. But Blaquesmith was Cable’s last connection to the era he grew up in. Without him he has never felt more alone in this one.
Whoever did this was thorough, he decides, almost taunting him to find out anything. Well, he picked the wrong man to mess with. Because if Blaquesmith is dead, he vows – and he doesn’t sense his mind through their psi-link – there isn’t anywhere in the universe for the murderer to hide. And he has made another mistake, for as well as he psi-shielded himself, Cable still senses his presence, same as in Storm’s mind. He is still nearby. Cable suddenly cries out as he finally remembers.
Many years ago. Somewhere in Northern China, the Mandarin is once again embroiled in plans for world domination, this time including a mutant prisoner of his, a man called Tremain, who would later be known as Post.
Dispassionately looking at the tortured mutant in a bubble and hooked up to technology that’s causing him pain, the Mandarin announces that he wouldn’t have expected him to survive this long. He intends to separate the so-called “X”-Gene from his DNA. His cellular structure will be the basis for a new kind of army. One which will at long last bring the West to its knees at the hand of the Mandarin.
Instead, it brings resounding defeat at the hands of a most unexpected source – Cable and G.W. Bridge, still mercenaries at the time. Bridge reminds Cable to do this by the book. This is a search and destroy mission, nothing else. That’s his problem, Cable snaps back. Bridge fails to realize nothing in this world ever goes by the book.
Blustering with anger, the Mandarin demands who dares profane the hall of his ancestors? If it is war they want, then he who carries the blood of Genghis Khan in his veins will give them one.
Bridge tells him he can make this easy or hard. His choice. Does he think he would be foolish enough to allow the West to obtain any of his data? The Mandarin presses a button and a destruction sequence is initiated. Bridge reaches for the Mandarin, but finds he is only a hologram. 9 seconds left.
He turns to Cable, who is busy talking telepathically to the imprisoned, barely alive Tremain. Cable tells him he can help, but Tremain has to hold on with everything he has. Let Cable’s mind be his tether. He has to reach out and not let go.
Suddenly, a strong arm comes up from below and drags Cable down – into the water, leaving Cable barely time to put up a TK shield to keep him from drowning. He recognizes Tremain, who tells him he regrets doing this. But the ideals they once shared have become antiquated even for a man from the future. He’s the one who’s been following him, Cable realizes.
Post slugs him as he announces that he has found a new dream and a new dreamer. How can that be, Cable asks. He was assured that Tremain had died. He was misled, the other man replies. The man he once knew exists no longer. He is only Post now, a sentry, the support upon which a new order will be built. He signals the coming of Onslaught.
Cable opens the bubble, assuring Tremain that he’s going to make it. Bridge impatiently reminds him that this is not a rescue mission. The evac lines can’t support his extra weight. Besides, he’s flatlining. He will probably die before they get him to a medic. There’s another half-dozen men above whose lives Cable is putting at risk.
He’ll get his own ride back, Cable retorts and telepathically assures Tremain that he can use his telekinesis to keep his heart and lungs functioning. As Bridge evacs, he warns Cable about the place blowing up. One man isn‘t going to make a difference. That’s where they will always disagree, Cable announces. One man can make all the difference in the world.
Cable manages to carry Tremain outside the Mandarin’s complex and assures him he will carry him all the way to Turkey if need be. In America, there are people who can help him.
Tremain weakly asks him to put him down and go on alone. Not an option, Cable refuses. He doesn’t take a liking to that many people. They’ve been in each others’ heads. Tremain has suffered enough. He needs a blood transfusion. Cable begins to prep it, in spite of the risk of the techno-virus. Tremain weakly assures him he will never forget him for this… never…
Cable lands outside the water. He is beginning to understand. Blaquesmith is gone when he needs him most. Tremain is alive. Onslaught is behind it all and, as impossible as it seems, there’s only one man with the power andknowledge to do all that. All the time they were worried about Nate Grey, when the greatest threat was before their eyes! He has to alert the X-Men, but he doesn’t even have the psionic energy to hold his body together, as the wild techno-virus on his arm proves. He carefully gets up, thinking of Jean and Scot. Their lives depend on him.
Post appears and hits him, telling him he won’t have the chance to warn them. He wishes Cable would understand he ends as he holds him by the throat. People have had their chance. Why should they suffer - Cable, Post, the X-Men - when there’s someone who can change everything. Onslaught’s agenda will be fulfilled he exclaims, as he brutally hits Cable, who now lies helplessly on the ground. If there were any other way, Post announces sadly—
Never, Cable announces weakly. Post stops asking what? Never, Cable repeats more forcefully. In his condition he’ll die anyway now, Post decides.
An image of Onslaught appears chiding Post. Has he forgotten his purpose or who remade him? Nothing has changed, Post replies. He remains his most devout servant. As he wished, the timewalker is no further threat. Cable weakly mutters they shouldn’t count him out. He’s learned too much. He’s learned nothing, Onslaught addresses him, short of the inevitable.
Cable is left lying alone in the street. Never, he mutters once more, before he passes out.