Casablanca - Morocco. Nearly a mile beneath the desert floor, the sound of metal working stone echoes in near darkness, almost drowning out the empty voice of the seer Ozymandias. For millennia, he has been imprisoned, he states to nobody in particular, doomed to live this endless life, compelled by a dark force to record the events of this world and decipher how they will lead to an inevitable tomorrow where only the strongest will survive. Long was this one’s birth awaited. With every step, he who is called the Chosen One draws ever closer to his destiny to face the captor of Ozymandias… Apocalypse.
The time when the world stands at the end of the age of wonders is almost at hand, he continues. But before Cable can meet his ultimate fate, he must perhaps survive the greatest test of his strength.
In his cavern he is surrounded by pillars and walls showing among other things Professor Xavier, a young man who may be meant to be a young Cable or Joseph, a pillar depicting Cyclops, giving up his ailing infant son to Askani, another pillar showing Archangel with the wings given to him by Apocalypse.
Ozymandias mutters that the all-but-omnipotent being, Onslaught, fears Cable’s enormous psionic powers and so has possessed the being with the supreme physical power. A force of destruction unleashed by the atom, whose fractured psyche makes him impervious to Cable’s telepathy. He carves the symbol of the atom into a wall. Whatever hope that planet had is soon to be extinguished, he laments.
In the meantime, a badly beaten Cable awakes in the harbor of Baltimore, Maryland, exclaiming “no!” Not here, not now. He barely survived his encounter with Post. He can’t even seem to keep his telekinesis focused enough to stop the Techno-Virus from spreading though his body. And now… this?
He hurries to his motorcycle and grabs a very big gun. He has a few seconds to power it up before he will be on top of him. Nervously he swears, hating his current dependence on technology. A shadow falls on him and the incredible Hulk has arrived.
Puny man with puny gun cannot stop Hulk! Hulk is the strongest one there is! the gamma-radiated monstrosity shouts. Could Onslaught be controlling the Hulk, Cable wonders, as he trains the weapon on the Hulk. The future X-Man Bishop always spoke of a traitor from within. If the traitor is who Cable suspects, they’re all in a world of trouble.
Hulk smash! the monster shouts. Almost pathetically, Cable starts that he doesn’t want to hurt the Hulk. And I have no intention of hurting you either, Cable, the Hulk suddenly utterly reasonable replies. He was merely joking, he explains. It’s been a while since he spoke like that.
Why is he here, Cable demands nervously. To help, the Hulk assures him and asks him to put down the gun. Nervously and slowly, he repeats the order. Cable realizes that his mind is telepathically blocked from him. Only one reason for that. A bad reason.
I said I came to help the Hulk repeats, as he grabs and crushes Cable’s weapon. I just didn’t say who. With those words, he kicks Cable brutally away. By the way … Onslaught sends his regards.
It’s a painful landing for Cable but he cannot even rest as the Hulk follows intent on finishing him off. Cable doesn’t know how much psionic energy he can spare to fight the Hulk while still keeping himself together. He tells himself to push past the pain and deal. He reminds himself of his mentor, Blaquesmith’s words: he had warned Cable that he had untapped power, which might make him unstable… an uncontrollable force of nature. Like the Hulk? he wonders, as he traps him mid-air in a telekinetic field. Telekinetically he smashes him into the ground. As the dust settles, he telepathically tries to reach Banner and tries to break Onslaughts control. His head fills with tortured images and nightmares. He urges Banner to fight and not be a victim.
Did you say victim? a voice asks, as a huge, grey hand appears from out of the crater. I ain’t no victim. It’s the nastier, grey Hulk, who climbs out of the crater. Nice try, but this is business, he tells Cable. And he never backs out of business.
This third personality of the Hulk had been locked away for quite some time, but now Cable’s psi-probe released him. He hits Cable, who urges him to fight Onslaught or he will peel his mind like an orange. The Hulk is unimpressed. Cable’s not very bright, is he? While he doesn’t want to do this, Onslaught wants him out of the picture so out of the picture he will be.
In the meantime, the police department of Baltimore tries to cordon this area off and evacuate the people. To the north of Manhattan flies the SHILED heli-carrier. Within it, G.W Bridge watches the battle with the Hulk recalling the incident at the Pentagon and then Cyclops’ breakout here. This whole mutant situation is spinning out of control. He alerts other agents stating that the Baltimore situation requires their immediate presence. All stations are to go to White Hot Alert. The President has authorized them to put the Baltimore area under martial law. They are dealing with two of the most dangerous men on Earth, he reminds everybody.
This wouldn’t have happened had he taken Cable out when he had the chance, Dum-Dum Dugan reminds him. Sooner or later, Bridge replies humourlessly, he will take Cable down. On the com-screen, the face of Contessa Valentina de Fontaine, the acting head of SHIELD, appears. She chides the two men for bringing up their personal garbage now and orders them to get to Baltimore as long as there still is a Baltimore to get to.
Back in Baltimore, Cable finds his arm is oddly transformed. Telepathically, he explains to Banner that Onslaught’s goal is the end of everything that it. He’s better than that, he urges him. The grey Hulk orders him to get out of his head, as he dumps a whole diner building on Cable, claiming that he does what he has to do. Nothing personal, he adds as he wipes the dust off his hands.
Suddenly he’s freezing, though. This don’t feel natural, he mutters. On the contrary, behemoth, a voice announces as a slim figure appears in the darkening sky. Storm makes her entrance, ordering him to stand down and following this up by levelling him with hurricane winds.
She focuses her winds, lifting the tons of brick and stone Cable is buried under, wondering what other horrors they will have to endure. Her question is answered, as she sees the badly beaten form of Cable. Rushing to his side, she finds that the techno-virus is spreading before her very eyes. His heart has stopped as well. She starts to administer C.P.R. not sure whether her determination comes out of concern for a respected friend … or something more. Still, no reaction. Refusing to let him go, she jolts his heart with electricity, which does the trick. Aliya?, Cable mutters - the name of his dead wife. It’s Ororo, Storm corrects him as she helps him up.
He asks whether the X-Men have come as well and Storm informs him that they are dealing with another crisis, as Xavier is Onslaught. He … knows, Cable admits. No one else could have deceived them all but the world’s mightiest telepath. He always said that he considered Xavier’s way a pipe dream, but he respected what Xavier wanted to achieve. And, deep down, he wanted to believe it was possible. And now, Cable muses, what’s left of the dream? Or any who followed the dreamer? They… don’t know, Storm admits. They only know that he has to be stopped.
Never happen, a shout comes, as the furious grey Hulk comes rushing at them. You’ll never beat Onslaught – cause you haven’t a prayer at beatin’ me!
Cable grabs Storm’s hand with his infected arm, while telepathically asking her to open her mind and link with him. With Cable mentally guiding her power, Storm unleashes a lightning bolt into the Hulk’s head, effectively shorting out the synapses in his brain and allowing for Cable to hit him with a single telepathic bullet. Last chance for him to assert himself, he telepathically tells the falling behemoth. Before their eyes, his color changes back to green, as Cable notes that his mind is almost shut down. They haven’t brought Banner to the surface, Cable fears but something far worse… They see it in his eyes. Whatever shred of humanity they sought to find is gone. Kill!, the Savage Hulk snarls, as he strikes both of them.
Like a candle in a gale force wind it is a hope that is soon to be extinguished, Ozymandias repeats sadly. It is done, the voice of Apocalypse announces behind him. Does he feel it? he asks. Has he realized yet that they have reached the end of an age? Humanity has entered its darkest hour and his greatest enemy nears death. What better time to prepare for the dawn of Apocalypse!