Cable (1st series) #47

Issue Date: 
October 1997
Story Title: 
Moving Target: part 3: Man To Man

James Robinson (writer), Rob Haynes (pencils), Scott Hanna (finished art), Richard Starkings & comicraft (letters), Mike Thomas (colors), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Cornered in the remains of the Xavier Institute, Cable is confronted by Bastion. Bastion just wants to talk, but Cable of course doesn’t trust him. Bastion reveals he has gotten a hold of Xavier’s Cerebro files, and now knows a whole lot of every mutant alive, and every person who could possibly be a mutant in the future, and those related to them. If Cable hurts him, Bastion has already given his men the order to go after those relatives and kill them. Helpless against this threat, Cable agrees to listen. Bastion reveals that he knows quite a lot about Cable, and wants the files he downloaded from the computer before destroying it. Cable of course refuses, as the files he has contain information about the secret Mutant Underground, the Xavier Protocols and the Danger Room schematics. On that moment Cable picks up thoughts from soldiers who were trying to sneak up on him, hoping they could surprise him by attacking through the floor. Cable quickly jumps into safety and uses his telekinesis again Bastion and his soldiers again. Eventually, he uses his telepathy as well, giving all of the soldiers a telepathic mind wipe and ordering them all leave the estate. The plan works but, somehow, Bastion remains uninfected, which means… he isn’t human. Cable doesn’t know what Bastion actually is, but wants him to leave as well. A moment later, however, the strain of using his power on so many minds becomes too much for Cable to handle and he almost collapses. He drops his gun, which Bastion picks up and wants to shoot Cable with. However, he discovers the gun is empty and departs, just as Cable collapses into unconsciousness. Cable wakens later to discover not only Bastion gone, but everything else in the mansion. He later meets up with G.W. Bridge at a bar and informs him about what just happened. Bridge mentions that Senator Robert Kelly is now making plans to shut down OZT, but says that, before that happens, it will get ugly. Cable sighs that it always does. Meanwhile, far away in Boston, Donald Pierce glares angrily outside his window, ready for his revenge confrontation with Cable.

Full Summary: 

Cable has his gun pointed at Bastion’s head and demands to know why he shouldn’t just kill him. He has caused too many innocents such woe already with his persecution of mankind, and now he just walks up to Nathan, like they’re two old friends encountering each other on a Sunday stroll. And even more, Bastion doesn’t even have a weapon. So, Cable says, what Bastion better have is a reason why he shouldn’t end Bastion’s miserable life. To this, Bastion explains because, if he dies, then many others will too… people of Cable’s kind: mutants. He further reveals his hackers were only able to extract one program from Charles Xavier’s computer. Luckily for Bastion, as he stands here now, it was the Cerebro program and its related files.

After Nathan mentions he already noticed those files were missing, Bastion further shares that those files will enable him to track down everyone born with the X-factor gene and, by extension, that person’s blood relatives. It has all pertinent data on those closest to Xavier’s mutants. Bastion learned Xavier was using it as a source for future possible mutants, the siblings and the children of every mutant he had on record. At any time, any one of those people could manifest latent powers. Xavier kept that database so that he could seek out new mutants, and recruit them to fight for his, as Bastion calls it, pathetic cause of peaceful coexistence between the species.

On the other hand, Bastion’s mission is to protect humanity at all costs. In the face of that, his own life is nothing. But, until the course is finished, he must endure, so he has given his men the order to begin the systematic liquidation of every name in that file if he comes to any harm. Bastion wants Cable to think about who could be in those files. He can certainly think of two. The grandparents of Scott Summers in Alaska, who are Cable’s great-grandparents. Bastion asks Cable if his life is worth theirs.

Cable thinks about his options for a moment and then finally withdraws his gun, agreeing to let Bastion live. In exchange, Bastion wants Cable to return the other files he took from the computer before destroying it, like those about the Mutant Underground, the Danger Room schematics and the Xavier Protocols. Bastion says the estate is just that… only that… four walls and a front door, without that data as part of his prize.

Cable says in that case, Bastion better hires a decorator and settles in, because that’s as good as it’s going to get. Nathan is aware Bastion knows too much about him and those like him, as it is. He knows Bastion even knows his real name, and his “Summers” name isn’t common knowledge. Bastion says a good soldier comes prepared and knows his enemy. He thinks Cable would be surprised at the information he has uncovered of every mutant alive.

Cable suggests that they keep this intimate, and then asks what Bastion knows about him. In reply, Bastion replies he is aware that Cable is the son of Scott Summers, the leader of the X-Men. He knows that somehow Cable was taken as an infant into the future, and that he’s returned to the present as a man. He knows that in the future Nathan was trained on the battlefields to be the greatest soldier his era could produce, and is aware that Cable must sacrifice much of his telepathic power to hold in check the techno-organic virus that ravages through his system. Bastion also knows Cable is there on a mission that Nathan and he alone is cognizant of. And Bastion admits that’s a mystery he wants to resolve.

Cable admits that Bastion indeed knows a lot, more than makes him comfortable. Bastion wants Cable to understand there is no way for him to escape, but Nathan doesn’t even care. He’s a soldier. There’s the goal to undertake and complete, end of story. Getting to walk away from it is a plus he can never count on. The mission is everything.

Suddenly, Cable receives telepathic thoughts from soldiers who are about to burst into the room to take him by surprise. A moment later, they appear, jumping through a hole in the floor and open fire. However, Cable, who is ready for them now, uses his telekinesis to collapse the room on his foes. Cable jokes it’s like he said to Bastion: bring in the decorators. As Cable continues trashing the entire room, Bastion remarks that it’s time for him to go and runs up a flight of stairs. Cable notices and adds that he agrees… they should go together. He quickly catches up on Bastion and tackles him.

Back at the bottom, the remaining soldiers wonder if they should follow Bastion up or not. One remembers Bastion told them to stay put, and thinks they better prepare their weapons should they face their enemy. Another says that they all know Bastion by now: if he hadn’t had the situation under control, he wouldn’t have gone inside. Further up the stairs, Bastion and Cable continue their scuffle, causing a monitor to fall down the stairs, narrowly hitting the soldiers below. Calling up to their boss, one of the soldiers tells him that they’re coming after him. However, Bastion radios back, ordering them not to. His eyes wide on Cable’s pistol, aimed inches from his face, Bastion tells them that he thinks it best they all relax for a moment.

Nearby upside down, though his gun is pointed at his enemy, Cable reminds Bastion he that reads minds. Those men who attacked him from the holes in the floor might as well have been screaming their intentions. Moving quickly, Bastion pushes the precariously positioned Cable off balance, smiling that he thought it was worth a try. Anyway, he says, Cable may have stopped his men, but also shut off an escape route. Now the only way out is the computer room’s main entrance at the bottom of the stairs behind them. And Bastion has an army awaiting Cable there.

Back on his feet, Cable points his gun at Bastion, demanding to know why he’s doing this. He has tried to reach into his mind, but it’s as if he isn’t even in there. He wants to know what Bastion is. Bastion claims he’s a man, and nothing more. He has been given a calling and calls mutants an abomination. He calls them adverse of everything that is good and normal… and human. He believes the very laws of evolution demonstrate that mutantkind’s existence threatens the survival of humanity. Though Bastion has to say that as easily as he hates Cable’s kind, he personally likes Cable himself. Like him, Cable is a soldier.

Cable admits that’s true, but corrects Bastion they are on different sides. And coming from the future as he does, Cable is in a position to attest it’s history that decides who is the hero or the villain of any war. And that’s usually based on who has won, and so was alive to write the history books. He warns Bastion now that he intends to be around long enough to put pen to paper. Cable points his gun into Bastion’s back. Soldiers notice this and one of them warns the other soldiers to prepare to shoot Cable.

Cable threatens that, if he dies, Bastion will die too. He knows of no mutants who can survive without a spine, so he’s sure a human like Bastion would far no better. And his spine is what he’ll be blasting if the soldiers do anything. The leader of the troops asks Bastion what they should do, but then the soldiers are all starting to feel pain. Bastion says this is impossible. He notices Cable is overriding the psi-shields in the soldier’s armor, and is telepathically controlling them.

With blood coming out of his nose, and reeling from the exertion, Cable explains to Bastion that he has decided the only way to rid this place of Bastion’s men, so there is no hope they’ll return, is for them to forget they were even here to begin with. Bastion asks Cable how he intends to do that. More gunplay, more explosions? “No,” Cable answers. “Not with noise… but with silence.” With this, the soldiers grow silent and, without saying a single word or ny other action, all walk outside the mansion, as if hypnotized. Though more and more blood trickle out of Cable’s nose from the strain of using his powers, he telepathically orders all the soldiers to get out.

Having been released by him, Bastion tells Cable that he is impressed, but he realizes it must have been costly. He wonders if the virus in Cable’s body could have advanced itself. Cable admits this was painful and wouldn’t like to do it again. To this, Bastion asks what’s to stop him from bringing his men back, and what will prevent him from taking the mansion again? Almost without breath left, Cable explains that Bastion’s men will be out of commission for more than a while. Bastion had better have patience. There’s another reason too… Nathan thinks aloud. Bastion wasn’t infected by his psychic wipe. He is onto Bastion. He’s not sure what Bastion is, but has learned he isn’t a normal human. Whatever his true nature, Cable is confident that will come to light. Either way, Nathan senses Bastion’s days are numbered.

As Cable drops his gun, Bastion asks what’s next in store for them. Cable says there is no next. Bastion picks up the gun Cable just dropped and agrees with him. He sees how Nathan is near collapse from the strain of invading so many minds of so many. Bastion pulls the trigger and says goodbye to Cable.

A few hours later…

Sitting in a bar together with G.W. Bridge, both in civilian clothes, Bridge asks Cable what happened next. Cable says that, after Bastion tried to shoot him in the back, he discovered there were no charges left in the gun he had been holding the whole time. Like Cable told Bastion before, there was no next. The gun went “click” instead of “bang.” That’s all Cable remembers from before blacking out. When he awakened, Bastion was gone. And the Institute… well, not much was left of it.

Bridge says Cable left an army of zombie-like Zero Tolerance soldiers wandering the country roads upstate New York. Cable feels lucky he has a buddy in SHIELD, who can use his organization to look after those soldiers until the effects of his psychic wipe wear off. Bridge asks whether, until then, the soldiers will remember everything. Cable denies that. Everything that happened will stay forgotten. They’ll recall the names of their wives and how many sugar they like in their coffee and how to use the bathroom. That and everything else, besides what happened in Salem Center.

Bridge replies that it sounds like somebody finally came to their senses about letting these fanatics operate on American soil. Senator Robert Kelly is in discussion with the president about mobilizing SHIELD to stop OZT. But that will be ugly. Cable, touching his sunglasses, sighs that’s how it always goes.


In a wealthy part of Boston, a man familiar with Nathan Summers thinks of him. He thinks of the conflict they are sure to have soon. Of course, his fellow members of the Inner Circle will help him. Certainly Shaw. Perhaps even the supposed-time traveler, Fitzroy. But this man wants the killing stroke, when it surely comes, to be his. For a foe he has hated as long as Cable, he’ll have it no other way. And so this man ponders, gripped with delicious uncertainty. For the only thing he can be truly certain of… is that Cable is out there!

Characters Involved: 



G.W. Bridge (SHIELD agent)

Donald Pierce (all Hellfire Club)

various Operation: Zero Tolerance soldiers (all unnamed)

various people at a bar (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the crossover Operation: Zero Tolerance.

For more about Senator Robert Kelly’s plan to stop OZT, read Wolverine (2nd series) #116 and X-Men (2nd series) #65-69.

Though Donald Pierce appears a tad shadowed in this issue, it’s still very clear by his outfit who it is.

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