Cable (1st series) #84

Issue Date: 
October 2000
Story Title: 
Out Of Space & Time

Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Nathan Massengil, Andrew Pepoy (inker), RS & Comicraft’s Saida Temofonte (letterer), Liquid! (colorist), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Cable and his crew arrive at the fortress of the Undying. There, they meet Berger and Sheik Hamid. They try everything from telekinesis to pure muscle, but can’t get the doors to open. Beast discovers the rocky formation surrounding the door is merely an illusion. Key then uses his mutant powers to interface with the computer system monitoring the door. They gain access and discover not a cavernous lair, but an ancient starship. They also find five bodies in holding tanks in the center of the room. Key heads to the computer terminal and learns that Azazel is the ship’s artificial intelligence. Suddenly the holding tanks burst open wide, the Undying returning to their host bodies. They attack the invaders and Cable is eventually able to subdue them. Key learns about their origin from the computer system and relays it to everyone else, including the diabolical game they’ve been playing with each other to see who could kill the most people. Cable tells Key to change the settings of the game so that they can only inhabit the bodies of cockroaches. The Undying mount one last offensive, but their bodies fail them. With the new settings locked in Cable and crew leave the starship, satisfied with a job well done. Later, Cable visits Irene in the hospital and tells her the whole story. He suddenly finds himself teleported to either the Ranshi or Harmony timeship where Eyla and Sandella greet him. They forgive him and explain they’re joining forces to make the universe a better place. After they both kiss him he is returned to Irene, none the worse for the wear. Sometime later, Cable meditates on the visions he’s been receiving about his sister, Rachel, captured by some madman name Gaunt. Days later, Cable also visits with Jane Carmody at her husband’s grave. As promised, he explains Andy’s death and how he died to save others. With the wife satisfied, Cable departs to begin the next chapter in his life.

Full Summary: 

Cable and his entourage (Beast, Phoenix, Key and Wall) arrive at the entrance to Azazel’s lair. Standing in front of the 70-century year old doors are Berger and Sheik Hamid.
Beast uses his new visor to analyze the door’s structure. He reports back to the group that the atomic structure is very dense, making the door seemingly indestructible. He wishes Wolverine were there so they could test his adamantium claws on it. Wall tries using his super strength to pry the doors open, but they won’t budge, not even a millimeter.
Jean tries to get a reading from beyond the doorway. She senses five bodies inside, but none of the minds are human. They seem to be different species with no conscious thought patterns flowing in any of them, as if they were in a trance. Jean picks up on a sixth presence that is projecting some sort of low frequency alpha waves; strong enough to scramble a normal person’s thought patterns. She guesses it must be Azazel. Jean tries blocking his mental attack, but Azazel won’t give up and keeps increasing the pressure.
Cable uses his scimitar and tries psi-blasting the door open, but like all prior attempts he fails miserably. Beast climbs up along the rocky walls surrounding the door and notices something very peculiar. The formation is definitely not natural. Both Hamid and Berger are confused by what he means. Cable catches Beast’s meaning and explains it’s actually camouflage.
Key runs the numbers through his laptop and discerns the diameter of the camouflage to extend 500 feet. Cable asks if he can break the code. Key is confident, although admits it will be a challenge. He approaches the exterior of the door and places his hands on it. A yellow glow emanates from the door as Key runs through the system. The security is a base 12 number system, he remarks, as well as a three prime system with a five-way failsafe loop. Key is impressed.
Meanwhile, the entity within doubles its attack on Jean. She doesn’t sense any panic emanating from it, but can detect some sort of distress signal being sent out. Cable asks if she’s ok. Jean says she’s fine, but warns the five other entities inside are starting to stir and they’re running out of time. Cable asks Key for a progress update. Key smiles and points at the doors as they slide open with a loud “kriinch”.
Cable checks to make sure everyone is ready to head inside. Despite their lack of powers, Hamid and Berger are more than willing to join the party. Once inside they find lights, equipment, hooks, benches and airtight doors. Most everyone is surprised, except for Cable who assumed the creatures were alien and not some supernatural creatures.
Key heads to the next set of doors and works his mutant magic. He alerts the others that when the outer entrance door closes the door in front of him will open. Jean then realizes they’re not in some secret tomb, but in the airlock of a giant spaceship.
The doors open as promised. They find a large holding tank in the center of the room. Inside the five separated cylinders lie the bodies of five different alien species. Cable ascertains they must be former victims of the Undying, bodies they actually liked. Cable clues the group in on some intel he received from a friend explaining the Undying have existed for over a million years. Jean asks about Azazel, the one who killed Oxton and other explorers throughout the years.
Cable doesn’t believe it’s any of them. Key agrees as he begins hacking into the starship’s computers. He explains Azazel is the name of the ship’s artificial intelligence program. In the language of its creators, the Serayn, it translates to “scorekeeper.”
The meaning of the word confuses Berger, but as Cable tries to explain Jean warns them of increased brain activity in the five bodies in the holding tanks. Sure enough the large green one with red blazing eyes comes to life and says, “I am Aentaros. I am Undying.”
At that same instant

Domino, now back to her old self, manages to slip out of the cables holding her and out of her maximum security cell.
Semijan, too, leaves his host and despite the gag on his mouth and the guns pointed at his face, Shire is happy, for he is free.
And elsewhere, a father suddenly finds himself standing over his sleeping daughter with a butcher knife in his hand. He kneels down beside her bed, tears streaming down his face, and places a comforting hand on her back. He doesn’t know what happened to him, but is thankful it ended before he destroyed his life and the life of his child.
Serayn Starship

The five Undying bust out of their holding tanks and meet their enemies head on. Aentaros goes directly for Cable, while Jean tries a mostly ineffective psychic barrage. Sheik and Berger fire their weapons into the creatures and Beast does what he does best, and that’s hand-to-hand combat, or foot as it were.
Cable decks Aentaros and tells him that’s for Irene. Then he strikes him with the scimitar and tells him that’s for Blockade. Another uppercut with the scimitar knocks Aentaros back, and that one was for Domino.
Wall voices his concerns that they don’t seem to be having an effect on the aliens. Beast tells him to be patient and keep hitting hard. Jean, meanwhile, can sense Nate slowly losing control over the T-O virus. Cable tells her he can handle it and then unleashes a powerful psi-blast that takes the fight out of the Undying.
They mock Cable and his feeble attempts to stop them. They tell him humans are nothing but insects beneath their feet and gloat about the billions of beings who have died on the hundreds of worlds they’ve been playing their game. Azazel tells him once more they cannot be stopped for they are Undying.
The sheik demands justice for the innocent blood on the creatures’ hands. Cable asks Key if he’s picked up any useful information. Key smiles in the affirmative.
One of the Undying charges Key, but Cable intercepts him mid-route and takes him down. Key begins the story of the Undying. It turns out that several million years ago a race of super-scientists called the Serayn existed. They were fragile beings, unable to leave their homeworld to search the stars. So they created five artificial energy beings and named them the Undying. They gave the Undying the power to meld their energy field with the mind of any creature, but they could only be released with their host’s death. It turned out the Undying fed off the energy released during death. The Undying had no sense of right or wrong and after a thousand years wiped out the Serayn race.
From there the Undying roamed the universe and fed off the death energies of various lifeforms. They eventually grew bored and started a game with Azazel, their ship’s A.I., acting as the judge. It was a game with simple rules. Whoever killed the most lifeforms won. Each match lasted ten thousand years or until all life on the planet was destroyed. To keep the game fair, the Undying equipped Azazel with the power to transfer their energy matrix from one specific host body to another at the moment of death. This ensured that none of the Undying gained an unfair advantage. When circumstances unbalanced the competition, as had happened with Randall Shire, Azazel stabilized the situation by using another member of the Undying as its executioner.
Berger’s ready to give up hope. He sees no way to stop the killing, stop the madness. Beast notices the bodies of the creatures begin to decay, now exposed to the atmosphere. The Undying smile as they rub it in that they will win again.
Cable’s smiles too, and with good reason. He asks Key if he’s gained control of Azazel yet. Key has and asks if he should change the settings. Cable tells him to make one minor modification. Since the Undying think of them as insects, why not program Azazel to place them in the bodies of cockroaches whenever they die, but not just for ten thousand years, until the last cockroach on Earth dies. Beast chimes in that cockroaches are expected to live for perhaps hundreds of millions of years.
Azazel yells out in anguish. He tells them they can’t do that. The Undying make their last stand, but Phoenix and Cable combine powers to erect a powerful telekinetic shield. The Undying’s host bodies disintegrate.
Key tells them the settings are locked in and can’t be changed for all eternity. The group makes their way toward the exit, Berger a bit saddened that the greatest archaeological find must be kept a secret. Beast hands over a few well-preserved tools dating back from the Stone Age. Needless to say Berger is pleased.
Once outside Cable suggests creating a rockslide to cover the door. The sheik then thanks him for all his help. Jean also congratulates Cable on a job well done. Cable points out that by working together they’ve achieved justice... and with that he stomps his boot on a scurrying roach.
St. Clare’s Hospital

Cable finishes telling the whole story to Irene and asks when she’s being let out. She tells him it will be a few days; the doctors want to run a few more tests. Cable is pleased and tells her the safehouse hasn’t been the same without her and Blaquesmith fighting. Cable says the old codger actually misses her. Irene responds, “And I gotta admit...”
And Cable is suddenly transported away to one of the timeships. He’s greeted by one of the Aliya doppelgangers, but can’t tell which one. Eyla and Sandella explain they finally realized they were reflections of each other across separate timelines. They tell Cable they understand the decision he had to make and that they’re going to join forces and see what they can accomplish working together in the present.
The two women each give Cable one last kiss; though he still doesn’t know which one’s which. They tell Cable not to forget them and that they’ll be back. He’s returned to the hospital where Irene asks if his body just blinked. Still sporting the dazed look on his face from his two kisses he responds, “You don’t know the half of it.”
Epilogue Two

Cable levitates above his bed, upside-down and in the Lotus position. Over the last several days he’s been haunted by visions of his sister Rachel being held prisoner by some crazy man. In those visions he hears the voice of the man who calls himself Gaunt. He invites Cable to join them... the sooner, the better.
Epilogue Three

Cable and Irene approach the grave of Andy Carmody. They find his wife, Jane, on her knees rubbing her hand across the etched surface, a bouquet of roses in her other hand. Cable tells Jane her husband was a good man, despite what some may say. She thanks him. Cable further explains Andy didn’t die in vain, but for a purpose so that many others wouldn’t have to depart this life. She thanks him again, and although she doesn’t really know him, she trusts him at his words. She excuses herself so she can get back to her children. Cable and Irene leave as well, walking off into the distance.

Characters Involved: 


Beast, Phoenix IV (both X-Men)
Irene Merryweather


Randall Shire

Rachel Summers



Sheik Hamid



Undying (including Aentaros and Semijan)


Jane Carmody (Andy’s wife)

Serayan race

Story Notes: 

Eyla and Sandella are alternate versions of Cable’s deceased wife, Aliya.

Rachel’s appearance in this story will be followed up on over the next several issues.
Andy went on a murderous rampage after being possessed by Aentaros in Cable (1st series) #79. Cable also made a promise to himself in the same issue to explain what really happened to his family, which he does at the end.
The final panel has a quote from John Donne at the top: “No man is an island, entire of it self; Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. ...therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Issue Information: 
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