Images float through Cable’s mind. The Three Witches, the Aentaros-possessed Andy, the Eliminators, Eyla, Clarity and the Aentaros-possessed Blockade. The visions slowly fade as Cable comes to and finds himself strung up against a wall. Cable looks down and recognizes the face of the Ranshi operative that attacked him. He also identifies the woman from the Three Witches encounter, and from somewhere else he can’t place...
Controller Sandella praises Captain Holdyne for the success of his mission to capture the time walker. Holdyne says they were in and out before anyone would notice and hit him at maximum stun. Also, according to their instruments, his powers are telepathy and telekinesis, both of which are being neutralized with their dampers. Sandella still isn’t convinced their prisoner won’t be a problem and orders the crew on full alert.
The Controller moves over to Cable and introduces herself as Princess Sandella Ranshi and tells him he’s aboard the timeship Conquest. Cable gives her a smug attitude, which surprises Sandella as nobody talks to the daughter of the Ranshi Emperor like that. She orders Holdyne to give Cable a five second blast. Cable’s body arcs forward as a powerful jolt of energy courses through his mind. It’s as if a hot poker was being driven between his eyes and twisted for maximum effect.
When the blast ends Cable’s body sags as much as his restraints will allow. Sandella warns her captive not to mistake her for one of the weak Harmonists. She is a mutant whose father rules the galaxy and her psychic intuition tells her he is important to her mission.
Sandella goes into more detail about the Ranshi Empire with her detainee. How the breadth of the Empire stretches from one end of the galaxy to the other with the planet Earth as its ruler. All was well until three witches visited her father and told him their very existence was in danger. That something was happening 2,000 years in the past that could undo everything, that they were one of two possible timelines. Since then they’ve battled against the Harmonists, with no major successes. So it was decided they would head into the past, to the point where the timeline diverges, to ensure the Ranshi Empire begins.
Cable asks what he has to do with any of it. Before she can answer Malan comes running in with the results of the video recordings from the capture. He says someone in the recording called their prisoner “Cable.” A frightened look crosses Sandella’s face. The “Nexus” she stammers. She screams for somebody to send him back before any more damage can be done to the timestream.
And so Cable finds himself once again face to face with Blockade/Aentaros. Cable strikes first and nails him square in the chest. It doesn’t even faze Blockade and he grabs Cable by the neck. Cable jams his thumb into Blockade’s eye and is able to break free. Cable drops down and uses the shift in his body weight to kick flip Blockade backwards. Cable leaps on top of him and decks him hard across the face. His next punch is caught midair.
Blockade pins him against the wall. He starts ranting about “Blood” and “Death.” With both arms pinned, Cable headbutts Blockade in the sternum and knocks the wind out of his opponent. Blockade staggers back allowing Cable to land a nice overhand left. Cable grabs a hold of Blockade’s hand and breaks his fingers. Then he kicks him square in the jaw.
Cable lands a few more blows and Blockade goes down. Cable moves in close and is sent flying backwards with one swipe of Blockade’s arm. Cable smashes into a wall and the reinvigorated Blockade charges straight at him. Cable leaps over him and Blockade crashes to the ground. Cable lands on the small of his back, cracking his spine. Blockade is paralyzed, unable to move his limbs.
Cable reaches down and lifts Blockade’s head up demanding answers. Blockade/Aentaros smiles and tells Cable he’s not worried about this body. It’s only a shell and death will make him stronger. Cable removes his hands from Blockade’s head. Aentaros says he will go after his friends first and then him. He will return because he is Undying. Then with one swift motion Blockade jerks his head to the side, snapping his own neck. Cable stares in disbelief.
Irene and Lea rush over to check on him. Irene asks what that was all about. She says he flickered like a light bulb for a second there. Cable doesn’t have time to talk just now. He wants information on the Undying. Lea says her boss is checking the database for mentions of the Undying as they speak.
New York City, Shire’s Hotel
Commander Bridge and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from the hospital head over to Shire’s hotel to speak with him. One of the survivors of the Bethesda inferno heard Blockade saying something about killing Shire and Bridge is hoping a talk with him might reveal some answers as to what happened.
G.W. knocks on the door while the two discuss Shire’s lucrative fraud scheme. They’ both can’t believe how many people have fallen for it. Key opens the door and lets them inside. There they find Shire sitting in a high-backed chair with his bodyguard, Wall, standing just off to the side. Shire asks how he can be of help to the government.
Bridge’s face goes slack and his eyes glaze over. He warns Shire of the assassin, Blockade, who said he was coming after him. Shire thanks Commander Bridge for the concern, but rest assured his bodyguard, Wall, will keep him safe. Shire will, however, allow a security detail of 20 agents to come to his lectures, provided they rotate in different individuals each night.
Shire asks Bridge if he, too, will stop by for the lecture and if he would bring some people from the Defense department along. Bridge tells him it would be a privilege and shakes hands with the man. As Bridge and his associate leave they discuss how wonderful Shire is.
Now alone with his two allies Shire finds humor in the irony of Aentaros’s assassination attempt. If it weren’t for him, he wouldn’t have gained access to the federal government so soon. Now instead of months, it should only take weeks before he conquers the world. Key performs some calculations on his laptop and tells him it’ll be 23 days. Shire smiles as the Undying symbol appears on his forehead. “Twenty-three days till the killing begins... twenty-three days to Armageddon.”
Lea reports in with some of the information Clarity has compiled on the Undying. In 1947 there was a serial murderer dubbed the “Circle Killer” because he used to leave the symbol of a circle within a circle at each of his crime scenes. When he was finally caught he was sentenced to death. Sitting in the electric chair he told everyone he couldn’t be stopped for he was Undying. In 1882, a woman name Esther Parrish poisoned twenty men in a London Tavern, including her father and two brothers.
Greg pipes in at this point and gives the overall rundown of the Undying. Stories of them appear throughout the world. They’ve been called demons, vampires, devils and so on. They gain mental control over a host body and then the killing starts. The more they murder the stronger they become. They are Undying and their symbol is a circle within a circle. According to ancient mystics there are five of them. The only way to stop them is to kill their host, but nobody knows how to actually kill the Undying being itself.
Following the history lesson Cable and Irene are dropped off somewhere else in the city. As the two walk together Irene asks why he didn’t mention Harmony to Clarity or mention what happened to him when he seemed to blink out for a moment. Cable says he can handle time travel problems on his own. Irene points out she’s supposed to be his Chronicler so he needs to start filling her on some stuff.
Their stroll takes them by Shire’s next speaking arrangement. Banners of his face and message adorn the area. Cable explains he’s the nexus of time and space and that his actions in the very near present will create either the Ranshi or the Harmony timeline. Irene asks what actions that might be. Cable says he doesn’t know, but he’s going to find out. He’s not following any of that destiny garbage, though. He doesn’t care what the Three Witches have to say. He’s Cable. He’s nobody’s pawn.
The Three Witches visit Manuel Cire in his family tower and advise him that Cable is the answer to Harmony’s problems with the Ranshi, the key to set them free.
A while later, Manuel has a timeship ready to jump 2,000 years into the past. He asks his daughter, Eyla, to go along to make sure her friend Cable makes the right decision. He figures if Cable won’t do it for the sake of Harmony, he might do it for her.
Cable discusses his desire to stop Aentaros. He doesn’t want to have to kill his host body every time. He wants a more permanent solution. Cable asks Blaquesmith if he can create an immobilizing device that can keep the Undying paralyzed for hours. A device that will channel the creatures’ kinetic energy in a loop, so that the harder it tries to move, the tighter the bonds holding it. Blaquesmith tells him it won’t be a problem.
Cable still wonders what the connection is between the Undying, the Three Witches and the alternate timelines. Irene notices the link between Randall Shire and Ranshi and suggests he starts the Ranshi Empire. Maybe a different choice starts Harmony. She asks Cable if she should investigate Shire. Cable agrees and tells her to be careful. This makes Irene happy, Cable caring for her safety and all.
Cable says he’s going to contact Bridge and tell him about Blockade, hopefully arrange a decent burial for the guy. He feels guilty since what happened to Blockade is partially his fault. Plus, he needs to make peace with G.W.
Berger, Oxton and Sheikh Hamid stand outside the temple gates. What Professor Oxton wants to know is how in the world nobody’s found out about it before. Why have none of Hamid’s people spilled the secrets of the temple? Hamid explains that Azazel, Lord of the Undying, guards the temple and those who attempt to speak of it die.
Berger points out that according to the book of Enoch Azazel is the leader of the “Fallen Angels” who are also called “The Sleepless Ones.” Oxton thinks it all rubbish.
They head back over to their jeep and Professor Oxton tries radioing their base camp. Berger suggests they at least move away from the site before making the announcement, just in case. Oxton says he’s not afraid of some superstition. The base camp radios back and as soon as Oxton says the name “Azazel” he hardens.
Berger and Hamid check on Oxton, who’s as frozen as a statue. Berger wonders what to tell the authorities. Hamid asks if he should dispose of the body. Berger tells him not yet, to let him think.
They lay the Professor in the back of the jeep and head back to the temple gates. Berger has a plan and brings his laptop with him. On the way he asks Hamid if his people have heard of the Internet. Hamid takes offense at the remark, but admits they have no use for such things in the desert. Berger hopes Azazel’s never heard of it or else his plan isn’t going to work.
Berger has Hamid pose out in front of the temple entrance. He sets up a digital camera on a tripod and hooks it to his laptop. He starts using key phrases like, “Outside a tomb in the middle of the Sinai Desert” and “...tomb that’s remained untouched for thousands of years” while taking both video and audio of the whole thing. He uploads everything to his web page and adds at the end, “It’s not like anyone could hear what I am saying. Or come locate me.” Neither Berger nor Hamid die from the experience.
Cable and Bridge are eating pizza in a small diner. Cable tells his former teammate how he was the one who put Blockade in a coma. Bridge starts to lecture him on thinking before acting, but Cable cuts him off to tell him Blockade’s dead. Bridge isn’t too upset considering the path of terror he left behind in his escape from the hospital.
Bridge asks if Cable killed him. Cable tells him it was suicide. Bridge sounds doubtful that a merc would kill himself. Cable alludes to the fact he wasn’t himself. He asks Bridge for a decent burial for the guy, to atone for past mistakes. Bridge gets the same glazed look on his face as earlier and tells Cable of Shire, who will cleanse his mind of hate. Bridge offers Cable to join him for Shire’s lecture that night.
Cable senses something amiss so he drops some cash and splits. Bridge tells him Shire’s the answer. Cable agrees, but for different reasons.
Cable arrives at his safehouse and finds all the lights off inside. He calls out for Blaquesmith and Irene. Cable starts combing the rooms and finds Blaquesmith collapsed on the floor, hurt but alive, the wounds still fresh. Cable crouches down beside his mentor to assess the damage. That’s when Irene steps in behind him through the doorway, a bloody butcher knife in her hand, and the Undying symbol on her forehead. “I’m back! I told you I’m Undying. What are you going to do now, Chosen One?” Cable doesn’t seem sure.