Fifteen minutes ago…
Cable and Domino hadn’t spoken each other in weeks, despite the history they have. That didn’t mean much this time, but it still didn’t go well. Domino ended up storming out and Cable did nothing except watch her leave. Walking the streets of New York’s Hell Kitchen, Domino never felt so alone. In reality, she was anything but. It wasn’t long before she felt the cold shadow looming behind her. And then a sound. A voice like gravel… who said she was pretty hot for a mutie. And he wanted to know if Domino was ready to die!
Ever since, Domino has been in battle with someone calling himself Blockade. Blockade tries to hit her, but Domino ducks and he hits his fist in the wall instead, creating a hole in it. Domino asks if they know each other. Blockade just says somebody wants her dead, and that it’s up to him to do the honors. He wants her to hold still, promising this won’t hurt… much. He again tries to hit Domino, but this time she kicks back. Blockade laughs and grabs her leg.
The Steel Co Factory…
Cable still stands at the spot where he looked at Domino storming out, still feeling sad. Suddenly, someone starts talking to him in the Askani language. Cable is glad to see Blaquesmith again but already figured he wasn’t dead, as that seems to be the way things happen these days. Blaquesmith continues to talk in Askani but Cable prefers English. Blaquesmith agrees and switches languages. He mocks that Cable apparently didn’t look hard for him, and calls him the sentimental type as always. Cable lashes out at Blaquesmith, telling him he did look for him. His boat was completely destroyed. He wants to know what happened to Blaquesmith and why he’s standing there in his astral form.
Blaquesmith demands Cable to be quiet. He struggled to reach him for months, and how did he find him? Dallying with those who couldn’t hope to comprehend what he is and why he is there. Or, Blaquesmith asks Cable… has he forgotten his cause? He has to confront Apocalypse! Humanity’s salvation rests upon him. Cable defends he hasn’t forgotten anything, and has gotten close to Apocalypse in Switzerland. Blaquesmith is aware of Cable’s failure in the Alps and calls it little more than an inconsequential skirmish. He says destiny has cursed Cable with a mission which cannot be avoided. Cable gets furious when Blaquesmith calls his earlier battle inconsequential. Blaquesmith can’t believe he’s hearing this, but then Cable asks him to wait, sensing something’s wrong. His telepathic powers pick up the battle Domino has with Blockade.
The battle between Domino and Blockade have gotten its share of attention by curious bystanders, and the two keep dodging each others moves. Domino compliments Blockade on his nice, red skin color and thinks he’s a hitman. But, she notices he doesn’t sport a gun. Blockade claims he has no need for guns, and will kill Domino with his hands. She’ll see.
Cable runs outside after Domino, but Blaquesmith doesn’t want Nathan to do that, shouting after Nathan that he can’t run from his future. Cable runs to a level below, and doesn’t think about anything else but rescuing Domino. He prepares his bike, and heads out. Like his parents, Scott Summers and Jean Grey, Cable established a psychic rapport with Domino. For years, she was the only one he could completely trust. For the most part, that still holds true, despite the circumstances of recent events. Now he uses the rapport to home in on her exact location. And for every blow she receives, he shares her pain.
A bus speeds through the streets and hits both Blockade and Domino, and the latter jumps on top of it. Blockade refuses to let Domino get away from him and jumps after her. The fight continues, and Domino manages to withstand each punch Blockade gives her. He quickly grabs her, admitting that Domino is quite the workout, but now it’s time to dance. She feels the blood pounding in her veins when Blockade tightens his grip. His grip around her midsection is like a concrete vise. She goes for Blockade’s eyes, trying to poke them. It’s a desperate move, and his response is immediate. He squeezes even tighter now, causing Domino to scream.
She’s barely conscious now. She allows herself one thought: “ how lucky am I?” The bus is now driving over a bridge. Domino somehow manages to release herself from Blockade’s holding grip and jumps away from him. She lands back on the bus, and takes a moment to assess the damage. She feels a few broken ribs and can’t see out of one eye. She can’t catch her breath. He’s too quick and too determined. Blockade finally finds an opening and hits Domino in her face, causing her to fall off the bus and into the river below!
Cable is close by, and can feel Domino. But… her thoughts are weak… dangerously weak. Cable drives to the bank of the river and finds an unconscious Domino. He picks her up gently in his arm and telepathically tells her to stay with him.
Soon afterwards, Cable has brought Domino to an emergency room. The doctors, not knowing who Domino is, call her a Jane Doe and the doctor asks a nurse how she’s doing. She explains Domino is stable, and that the man who brought her in is still there. Sitting besides her bed, clasping her hand, Cable has been inside her mind re-living the ordeal. He sees the would-be killer’s face. It’s a face he will remember. Now that Domino is relatively safe, Cable’s initial concern is replaced by a new emotion… a darker one.
He walks outside where he meets up with Irene, who asks how Domino is doing. Cable explains she’ll live, but that she has been better. He appreciates Irene coming, as he needs someone by Domino’s side while he goes to find the one responsible for this. Irene asks if this is safe, because Domino isn’t exactly inconspicuous. Cable thinks Domino is, for as far as everyone else is concerned. Irene mocks she loves that telepathy, and says God forbid Nathan ever approaches a situation without violating everyone’s thoughts. Cable wants to tell Irene something… about the future.
Cable explains he fought many wars against a group called the Canaanites. As… evil as they were, they fought hard of the battlefield and their culture was seeped in tradition. One of those traditions, one that he seemed to identify with somehow, was called the Blood Rite. When a comrade was killed, and you were still alive to fight, it was your responsibility to avenge that comrade, and take out the enemy who had killed him. Nathan fought many Canaanites who were acting out a Blood Ride against him. When Irene asks the point of this, Cable says he guesses that there is no point. It’s just something about this Blood Rite… it was a good tradition. He heads outside.
At the bar “Sins”…
Bartender Sid brags that he now got his hands on the helmet of the villain, Unicorn. Another guy remembers Unicorn and that he went toe-to-toe with Iron Man. Seeing his cigarette, Morris warns Stilts he better douses that cancer stick. Sid tells him to be quiet as he’s trying to tell a good story. Anyway, Unicorn worked with Count Nefaria, the Red Ghost, the Mandarin… you name it. He was a commie, and his name was Milos or something. So, the guy had major health problems. He got old before his time... wrinkles and white hair at thirty. Morris warns Sid to be quiet, as he’s trying to get his cards in order. Stilts tells Morris to get over it, because they’re only playing spades and their fourth man hasn’t even shown himself yet. He wants to hear the story. Morris defends they’re still playing for money.
Sid again says he’s telling a story. He continues to say that Unicorn had health problems. Eventually, he got back to Russia where he went nuts or something. Stilts asks how that’s possible. Sid doesn’t know, and thinks nobody can know when you’re dealing with guys like Milos. They wear tights, for crying out loud, which would drive Sid nuts. Blockade mocks Sid has a point there. Sid guesses the KGB or whoever got their hands on Unicorn. He corrects himself that it actually was this guy called Valentin Shatalov, who was a shady government type of guy. He was a real hardcase to work for, Sid guesses, because one of Shatalov’s employees was a guy he knew: Yuri, who used to live in the Village. So, when Yuri quit, he grabbed a bunch of high-tech stuff that was lying around and brought it back with him. Nobody knows what happened to Milos, but Sid got his helmet.
Blockade angrily tells Stilts to put his cigarette out, which is fine by him and he does so. He asks Blockade if he did what he came here for, to kill the mutie. Blockade confirms he did, and that she’s toast. Morris remarks that sounds simpler than most of his run-ins. He says there are always so many loose-ends. He thinks the masks don’t just want to stop you, but humiliate you as well. Blockade tells Morris to speak for himself. Stilts asks Blockade if this mutant he killed, if she had any friends. Blockade asks why and jokes if Stilts is looking for a date. He doesn’t, as he just doesn’t want any heat coming his way. He’s been trying to lay low lately and maybe plan another bank job.
Blockade tells Stilts he can relax, thinking his hit was a loner. Stilts asks Blockade if he’s sure about that. He knows how these guys are… one minute they are loner anti-heroes, and the next thing you know they’re rubbing elbows with Captain America and the Avengers. Morris agrees with that. Blockade tells them both to be quiet and promises they’ve got nothing to worry about. It was just him and here, and no on else was involved. It’s all over.
Cable, in full costume, enters the bar and tells Blockade not to be so sure about that. He asks Blockade if he knows who he is. Blockade doesn’t. Suddenly, Morris turns into water and slips away, surprising Stilts. Blockade calls Morris a wuss. Cable tries to get Blockade’s attention again, and asks if they ever met. Blockade has no idea who Cable is. Cable, with a serious look on his face, says he was just checking. Stilts wants to get out now too, but Blockade promises it’s cool. Cable admits it wasn’t easy to find him. All he had was a faint psi-signature, provided by someone in great pain right now. He’s certain Blockade knows to whom he’s referring. Blockade realizes Domino isn’t dead and guesses she was Cable’s girlfriend or something. As Cable’s face quickly reflects his anger, Blockade rises to his feet, agreeing that they should get this over with.
Cable and Blockade start fighting each other. Blockade gives Cable a few punches which he both ducks. He then throws Blockade against a counter, to which Sid runs away, screaming he just had the place redecorated. Cable wants to know if Blockade did it just for the cash, which he confirms. Blockade gets up and grabs Cable, and pushes him through a wall, upsetting Sid even more. Blockade pushes Cable’s face in the mud and asks if he’s going to give up already. Cable refuses and gets up, hitting Blockade a few times in his face. The exchange of blows goes on for a while, until Cable gets the upper hand and manages to bring Blockade to his knees. Blockade refuses to let the hero take him in. Cable explains he won’t because he has something else in mind… a different kind of prison, one from which there is no escape.
He takes a breath, and a moment to observe his fallen foe. He has no respect for this opponent, no mercy, no remorse whatsoever. Only an instinct… cold and primal. Cable begins. With a surgeon’s decision, Cable enters Blockade’s mind and with a butcher’s savagery, he goes to work. He turns Blockade’s mind inward on itself, telepathically allowing him to experience the hell of his own subconscious. Lost within his own fractured psyche, there is no reality. Nothing to hold onto. A nightmare flood of images too indescribable for words. It’s far, far too much for any man to endure. Blockade’s mind, for all intents and purposes, simply shuts down. And in the space of seconds, it’s all over.
Cable relaxes on his bed, still wearing his costume. Not being able to fall asleep, he gets up and thinks about what he just did.
Irene writes in her journal that Cable didn’t tell her what happened, and didn’t have to. When he left the hospital, Irene could tell what he wanted to do. She could see it in his face. That he wasn’t going out to lead the charge, to fight the good fight, to right a wrong. No… Cable wanted revenge, plain and simple. But she wonders how he felt afterward. She wonders how much Cable felt like a hero. Probably not. She knows it’s never easy to look inside yourself, peel back those layers, and confront those dark corners of the mind we all share. Everything that’s ugly about humanity can be found in these corners… everything that Cable’s there to help us rise above, and maybe he’ll remember that next time. And as for Irene, she was still on hospital duty. “Just keep an eye on her,” Cable told her. “It’s important.” She didn’t know what else to do.
A doctor checks up on a nurse, asking how Domino is doing. The nurse says she’s sleeping peacefully. There’s still some mild shock, some head trauma, but still no positive identification. On that moment, Domino wakes up and grabs the doctor by his clothes, demanding to know where she is. She gets up, notices Irene, and then heads out without saying a word to either her or the doctors.
Meanwhile, at Sid’s broken bar…
SHIELD agents pull Blockade away on a stretcher and have gotten an I.D. on him. His real name is Dexter Parish, and apparently he’s a contract killer. Another agent notices Blockade’s face and thinks he’s completely narcotic. He wonders if they have any idea what happened to him. Another soldier denies it, but Psi Devision picked up a telepathic spike that was off the charts. They couldn’t believe it, but they got a lock on it. A clean-up crew was requisitioned, so here they are. And a few hours late, it looks like.
Sid, talking to a SHIELD agent, can’t believe what happened to his bar. The agent, drawing a robot photo of a possible culprit, asks Sid if he’s sure the description is accurate and if he didn’t leave any details out. Sid says no to that. Another agent notices a storm has set up above them. He thinks this psionic activity brawling in the streets has the word mutant written all over it. He sighs as that means they’ll have to report this to Bridge. The agent drawing the suspect again asks Sid if he’s sure their culprit looks right, which he again confirms. The agent shows this picture to his teammates, which is a drawing of… Cable!