‘Begin’ a woman in a barren room calls out, as she clangs her wooden sword against the one being held by her “opponent” - Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable. He is wearing traditional clothing, somewhat of a contrast to that of his regular, warrior from two thousand years in the future look. He has come to the present to prevent mankind’s destruction - whether they want it or not. His wooden sword clings repeatedly against the woman’s. He leaps into the air to dodge a low attack that she executes. Her name is Shin, and she is the sensei of this mysterious dojo that only Cable can enter. She has taken him on as a pupil, promising to each him the secrets of Tendo - “The Way of Heaven”. Shin possesses incredible martial skills. Cable has faced many tough opponents in his life, but none so agile as Shin - or half as quick. Their wooden swords clang once more, before Shin flips backwards, dodging Cable’s advance.
Today, Shin is instructing Cable in Kendo, “The Way of the Sword”. And, though they only use wooden practice swords, the pain is quite real. Shin slams her sword into Cable’s leg. Then his other leg. His arm, and then his other arm. He recovers, and Shin congratulates him, before pointing out that he promised not to use telekinesis, so asks him what he plans to do next. ‘Damned if I know’ Cable replies as he falls backwards. ‘Enough then’ Shin tells him, adding that, as she has said before, Cable relies too much on his mental powers, so when fighting others with similar powers, it could be his undoing. ‘Now, it is time for tea’ Shin tells Cable.
They kneel before a mat where some tea is placed, and Shin tells Cable that she will give him a special salve to apply to his bruises, which will take away the pain. Cable replies that he never realized a crack fro ma wooden sword could hurt so much. ‘Those things are dangerous’ he adds. Shin points out that they aren’t as deadly as a real katana, and tells Cable that his technique is excellent, for one who is not properly trained. She adds that he is no match for a Kendo master, and that one mistake could loose him a limb - or his life. Cable informs Shin that he doesn’t expect to encounter any samurais in New York, and adds that in a combat situation, he will take a psimitar or an ion cannon over a sword any day. Shin suggests Cable never assume he has a choice, that he must be prepared for every possibility. ‘A true warrior is never surprised’ she adds.
Shin tells Cable that after his recent adventures with the Ranshi Empire, he should realize that anything is possible. ‘The Ranshi? How do you know about them?’ Cable enquires. ‘I am Shin. I know what I know’ comes the reply. Cable knows a mental probe would be a waste of time, as Shin’s mind cannot be read. The few times he has tried, it was as if she wasn’t there - though his bruises argue otherwise. ‘That’s not an explanation’ Cable tells Shin. ‘I am the teacher. You are the student. That is all the explanation you need’ Shin points out, reminding Cable that when the Ranshi took him prisoner, he acted impulsively, breaking his bonds, but that was a foolish mistake, revealing his strength before he had cause to do so. Cable explains that he let his anger overwhelm his good sense, and assures Shin that it won’t happen again.
‘You must not’ Shin tells Cable, revealing that powerful forces father in the darkness - that an evil tide is rising and only he can halt the oncoming flood. ‘I see death and destruction in the near future. You must be prepared’ she adds. Cable asks her who these mysterious enemies are, and Shin explains that they call themselves the Dark Sisterhood, and their leader is known as the Dark Mother. Shin informs able that their organization is secret and their powers great. That they are involved in every sort of crime, murder, extortion, blackmail, bribery, kidnapping and even slavery. ‘No deed is too evil for them. Mostly they work through others, controlling vast criminal cartels throughout the world’ she adds.
Cable stands up and tells Shin that he will be on his guard, before announcing that he promised Irene he would take her to meet Hank McCoy today. Cable never questions Shin’s statements. He knows on an elemental level she only speaks the truth, and that she knows more about reality than he can never imagine. He tells Irene that Hank McCoy is in town to conduct a series of lectures on molecular biology, and she wants to ask him questions, although he is not sure about what. He adds that he doesn’t like the idea, but when he asked her to become his chronicler, he agreed to cooperate fully, and Irene is holding him to the bargain. Hank then tells Shin that Irene also wants to meet Jean Grey, which makes his life even more difficult, but Irene insists. ‘Another mystery’ he remarks. Shin tells him that unanswered questions are good for the mind, that they are a challenge to the intellect. Cable asks Shin when, where and how the Dark Sisterhood plan to attack. But Shin just fades out, replying ‘Everywhere and anytime. Beware, Cable. Beware’.
Shortly, Cable walks down the sidewalk, where three girls are playing jump rope. The blonde on the end suddenly turns to him and tells him to watch where he is going. ‘Yeah. Watch you, you dumbbell. I almost lost count. This is important!’ the girl in the middle doing the jumping calls out. ‘Didn’t your parents tell you never to talk to strangers?’ Cable asks them. The girl in the middle smiles and tells him that he is no stranger. ‘You’re name’s Nathan’ she adds, before announcing that he lives in that empty-looking warehouse across the street with Irene. The girl remarks that Irene went to the hospital in an ambulance a few weeks ago and points out that she is now back, so asks if she is all better. ‘Oath! How do you know that?’ a surprised Cable enquires. ‘We’re kids, Nathan. We know everything’ the girl with dark hair replies, while the blonde tells him that he should swear, as it isn’t nice. The girl with dark hair informs Nathan that they won’t tell anyone he swore if he gives them each a dollar so they can buy ice cream.
Cable has dealt with madmen, monsters, time-travelers and mass murderers, but when it comes to little girls, he is out of his league. The blonde girls tells Cable that the ice cream truck comes around every day just about now, and a chocolate popsicle only costs a dollar. ‘Please?’ she asks. ‘Please, please?’ the other girls chime in. ‘Three bucks it is. But no more shakedowns. It would ruin my reputation’ Cable tells the girls, adding that they can’t tell anyone - especially Irene. ‘You’ve got a deal!’ the blonde girl exclaims, before asking Nathan to tell Irene that they are glad she is better. The girl then introduces herself as Alice, and tells Nathan that Meg and Trish are her sisters. ‘Our Mom and Dad own the deli down the street’ she explains. Cable tells the girls that he thought they looked familiar, and remarks that must be how they knew his and Irene’s names. ‘Of course, silly. What did you think? Magic?’ Alice asks.
The girls stand and watch as Cable crosses the street. ‘He’s still too trusting’ Meg remarks. ‘He’s young - less than a century old. Remember how naïve we were grown up?’ Alice points out that they learned quick enough, and Meg reminds her that they had the best teacher. ‘Don’t underestimate the chosen one. He’s no fool’ Trish tells her sisters, adding that Shin did as she was told and passed on their warning. Alice announces that the Dark Sisterhood watches his every move, waiting to strike. ‘The Dark Mother thirsts for revenge’ Meg adds. ‘Her desire to make Cable suffer will be her undoing’ Trish declares, while Alice exclaims ‘What fools these mortals be!’
However, across the street, people are going about their business. A woman is pushing along a baby in a stroller, while another rifles through some rubbish in a dumpster. ‘Identification established. This location is definitely the Chosen One’s headquarters in Manhattan’ the woman pushing the baby states. There is a camera attached to the hood of the stroller, and she adds that she detects two others within, and one is radiating chronotronic energy and is mostly likely the mentor, Blaquesmith, while the second must be the woman, Irene Merryweather. The woman rifling through he trash has a small spy camera attached to her wrist, and, like the woman with the stroller, has a serpent-like bracelet around her arm. She confirms the Chosen One’s sighting and adds that3 he is totally unaware of their presence. A voice replies by communicator, ordering the women to remain in the area and do nothing unusual, as they need to remain undetected until they are ready to strike.
Inside his safe house, Cable finds Irene sitting at a table reading a book. ‘Don’t tell me, you went to the circus and got into a fight with a bear?’ Irene asks as she looks up and sees Cable’s t-shirt torn. ‘Martial arts practice’ Cable explains, adding that his teacher is tougher than any bear, that she is deadly. ‘She? A woman did this to you?’ Irene asks. ‘Shin. Not she’ Cable tells Irene, before asking her to give him ten minutes, as he needs a shower and a change of clothes before they visit Hank McCoy. In the bathroom, Cable rubs some ointment into his muscular chest, and frowns, thinking about the Dark Mother. The name sends a chill down his spine. He is afraid of no man or woman. Yet, there is something familiar-sounding about this person.
Soon, Blaquesmith sits at a table, tinkering with something. Cable and Irene are dressed semi-formally and Blaquesmith asks ‘The Dark Sisterhood? Ruled by a Dark Mother?’, to which Cable tells him that is what he was told, and asks Blaquesmith if he knows anything about them. Blaquesmith replies that he isn’t sure, and tells Cable, calling him Dayspring, that he needs time to think. Cable informs Blaquesmith that he and Irene will be back in a few hours, and asks him to try to remember by then.
Shortly, in the back of a cab, driven by a woman, Irene has her laptop computer open and asks Cable if he had trouble setting up the meeting. ‘Not when I told him how pretty you are’ Cable replies. ‘He’s not my type. Blue’s not my color’ Irene remarks. Digging around in her handbag, Irene informs Cable that she bought him a present, that it is something special, she wanted to give him for saving him from Aentaros. ‘A present? That’s not necessary’ Cable replies. ‘ - and all the other things you’ve done for me over the past year. Thought it was about time I showed my appreciation’ Irene explains, adding that it might not be necessary to him, but it is to her. ‘Please accept it’ she asks. ‘Of course’ Cable replies as he remembers sitting at Irene’s side in the hospital.
Handing Nathan a small box with a bow on top of it, Irene tells him that she thought he could use it when he works out each morning. ‘What is it?’ Cable enquires, before opening the box and pulling out the gifts, which Irene explains are a portable CD player, and some CDs. Cable looks at the name on the CD - “Meatloaf” and asks if that is the man’s name or his favorite food. ‘Both I think’ Irene replies, adding that she thinks Nathan will like the title track of this CD just fine, and that listening to it reminds her of him. “Bat out of Hell”? Cable asks, adding that it sounds interesting.
When Nathan and Irene exit the cab, the driver holds her wrist to her mouth. She is wearing a snake band and reports that the Chosen One is entering the O’Boyle Medical Research facility, and is accompanied by Merryweather, but they had no discussion on the reason for their visit. ‘Return to base. We know why they’re there’ a voice replies over communicator.
Inside the research facility, Cable and Irene stand at a reception desk, as Cable introduces himself as Nathan Dayspring and announces that he and Irene Merryweather are here to see Dr Spurgash about back pains he has been experiencing. The receptionist informs Nathan that she will page the doctor for him, and after tapping something into a computer, tells Nathan that Dr Spurgash says for him to go right up. ‘Take the elevator to the twenty-fifth floor’ she adds. Inside the elevator, Irene asks Nathan if something is wrong. Nathan turns to his friend and remarks that Blaquesmith knows something about the Sisterhood that he isn’t telling. ‘I can sense it’ Cable adds. As the elevator doors open, Irene asks Cable why Blaquesmith would hide anything from him, to which Cable replies ‘That’s what I’d like to know’.
Walking down the corridor, Nathan tells Irene to be prepared, and that he will meet her in the same spot in one hour. ‘You can trust Hank - he’s a good man and will answer your questions honestly’ Cable assures her. Nathan carries on down the corridor, when suddenly, a door opens and Irene is pulled inside - by Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, who smiles at her, and announces that he is at her service. Irene looks at the Beast, unimpressed and asks him if all this spy stuff is really necessary.
The Beast tells Ms Merryweather that, unfortunately, it is, and explains that as an Avenger, he is trusted more than most mutants, but the sad truth of the matter is people are afraid of them. He adds that the government and the media see the X-Men as mutant terrorists. ‘Maybe we’re being paranoid, but I don’t want to endanger Nathan’s cover - or your life - by having you seen with me’ Hank tells Irene, explaining that this is a lab he is loaned whenever he is in town, that it is quiet and they won’t be disturbed, not to mention no one knows she is here, which is for the best.
Elsewhere, the Dark Sisterhood is busy. One of the Sisterhood smiles wickedly as she watches a large dump truck crash into a green car. Another member of the Sisterhood meets an elderly man in a warehouse, an he hands her ten thousand dollars. ‘Exactly the amount you asked for. I had to steal the money from the company retirement plan’ he explains. The sister frowns and tells him that tomorrow, his rival will be dead and he will be promoted to his position. ‘With you in charge of accounts, the money will never be noticed’. The man nervously replies ‘That - that sounds okay’, to which the sister tells him ‘Of course it is. With our help, you’ll someday rise to the highest levels of the corporation. The only price is your continued loyalty’.
Several police officers stand in a room full of bodies. ‘They’re all members of the Lobenzano mob. As best as we can tell, they all died at the same time’ one of the officers reports. Another officer asks what the cause of death was. ‘You tell me. Nothing is wrong with any of them. No visible wounds or poison detected. It’s as if they all suddenly just…stopped living’ another explains.
In a hotel room, one of the Sisterhood lies in bed, a sheet wrapped around her, while an elderly man gets dressed. ‘Now, don’t forget, Senator. The Logan-Teesbury Bill on finance reform. It must be killed in committee’ the woman tells him. The senator replies that he will do what he can, pointing out that he is only one vote and there is a lot of pressure from on high to pass the reform bill. ‘Please, Senator. You can’t possible be foolish enough to start playing games with us now, after all we’ve done for you’ the sister tells him, adding that as head of the sub-committee, he can kill the bill, as it would be a terrible mistake not to. ‘Enjoy your power old man. Enjoy all that comes with it’ she tells him, warning him to never dare forget who owns him.
The Dark Mother knows all that transpires with her Sisterhood. She sits, cloaked in darkness. Her eyes glow from beneath her cowl. Do not challenge the Sisterhood. It leads only to run and despair. The Dark Mother makes a good friend…and a terrible, deadly enemy.
Three more of the Sisterhood meet with a man, and ask him if it is understood that the power in Soho goes out at midnight. ‘For an hour. That’s the longest I can stall and sound believable’ the man replies. One of the other sisters announces than an hour is plenty of time, that they will be finished well before then. ‘My wife, my children?’ the man asks. ‘Will live with the blessing of the Dark Mother. The Sisterhood keeps its bargains. Make sure you keep yours’ one of the sisters warns him. The man replies that he isn’t crazy and will do everything he promised.
‘How can I help you, Irene?’ Hank asks, sitting across from Irene at a desk. Irene asks Hank if he was with the infant Nathan during the assault on Apocalypse’s moon base. ‘Yes, that’s correct. It was perhaps the most terrible thing I’ve ever seen’ Hank explains. Irene points out that when Nathan was infected with the Techno-Organic Virus, Hank was the first to examine him, as a renowned microbiologist, and asks him if he can tell her what he discovered. The Beast reports that Nathan had been poisoned by Apocalypse with a virus that attacked his fundamental DNA matrix - every cell in his body was affected. Irene asks if the virus couldn’t be cured, to which Hank explains that it couldn’t using their science. ‘It wasn’t as if Nathan had a cancerous growth that could be removed. The disease changed Nate’s basic DNA structure. Every cell in his body was infected’ he tells Irene, recalling holding the infant Nathan in his arms.
‘But Nathan didn’t die’ Irene points out. Hank explains that when Nathan was brought to the future, he was taught how to use his mutant powers to keep the cellular decay under control, that the disease wasn’t defeated, he merely learned how to keep it at bay. ‘Since his basic DNA was affected, any clone made from his cells…’ Irene begins, while Hank concludes ‘…would be infected with the Techno-Ogranic Virus’. He explains that clones are created using cells containing an individual’s DNA code, so if you duplicate Nate, you duplicate the virus - based upon what they know, anyway. Irene frowns and asks Hank if he is sure of this, if he is positive.
‘Positive about the life of Scott’s child? Of course I was sure. Telling him was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Left untreated, the child would die. Scott had no choice but to send him into the future’ Hank explains. Irene points out that Stryfe is Nathan’s clone, except that he doesn’t have the Techno-Virus. ‘Conventional science would say that’s impossible’ Hank tells her, adding that whomever is responsible for that procedure must have had a cure for the virus, as Stryfe couldn’t have been created without one. ‘Then why didn’t they use it to cure Nathan?’ Irene enquires.
Outside, Cable is listening to his brand new portable compact disc player, when suddenly, he hears his name called out. He turns out, and a woman wearing a green and orange costume ‘The fifth power, Nathan’ she smiles. ‘Oath!’ Cable gasps upon seeing his dead wife, Jenskot. ‘Something wrong?’ Irene calls out as she shakes Cable. ‘For an instant…I swear. No. impossible’ Cable replies, before asking Irene if she is finished. ‘Done. Got to ask all my questions. No one spotted me or Hank’ she replies. ‘It must have been an illusion…but…’ Cable utters, turning back to where he thought he saw Jenskot. Cable suggests they take a cab back to the safe house, as he is anxious to speak to Blaquesmith. Irene asks him if he listened to the CD, and Cable replies that he hasn’t listened to much of it, but that he will do.
Entering a waiting cab, Cable informs the female driver that they want to go to Midtown. ‘I thought we were going back to the warehouse’ Irene remarks. ‘We are. My way’ Nathan whispers. Inside a nearby police car, another member of the Sisterhood is keeping tabs on Cable, and reports that he is in a taxi heading south, that she suspects he is returning to his base of operations, but the heavy traffic makes following him difficult. ‘Orders?’ she asks. Via communicator, someone replies ‘Break off pursuit. We’ll pick him up when he returns home’.
Stuck in a traffic jam, Cable tells the driver that this is fine, they will get out here. ‘Rush hour in the middle of Times Square? Whatever you say, bub’ the driver replies. Making their way in amongst crowds of people, Irene asks Nathan what this is all about. Cable informs Irene that they are being followed, that they have been all day. He adds that the safe house is probably compromised, so there is no reason to make it too easy on them. He asks Irene to take the subway back home, and when she gets there, to start packing, and that she needs to tell Blaquesmith to do the same, as they are moving to a new location tonight. Nervously, Irene asks Cable if he is sure, adding that she hasn’t noticed anything unusual. ‘I’m a soldier. I’m sure’ Cable tells her.
Soon, Cable approaches the three girls - Alice, Meg and Trish. ‘Nathan. We know a secret. Tell it to you for a dollar’ Meg the redhead announces as the girls stop playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. ‘Again, a dollar. Is this secret worth it?’ Cable asks. ‘Definitely’ Trish tells him, and Meg offers to refund his money if he doesn’t like it. ‘How can I go wrong with a money-back guarantee?’ Cable replies as he gets out his wallet and hands the dollar bill to Meg. ‘We’re honest. Mom and Dad taught us never to lie’ Trish tells him. Alice informs Cable that the bag lady hunting through the garbage bin across the road has been watching his house all day. Meg tells Cable that there was another lady with a baby carriage, that she was spying but left twenty minutes ago.
Cable tells the girls that they are very observant for children and asks if they are sure. ‘We’re sure. She even had a miniature video camera. Meg say it’ Alice adds. Cable tells the girls to keep the money, that they wared it, before suggesting that they clear out of here. Cable then crosses the road, ‘Got a minute, miss?’ he calls out to the women rifling through the trash dumpster. ‘Go away, go away! Bonnie’s not breaking no laws. Just hunting for some treasures!’ the old woman replies. Cable decides that she seems authentic, a troubled, homeless woma searching through junk, but that close up, Nathan can see beneath the dirty that her skin is smooth, not wrinkled, and although she looks old, she isn’t. Cable decides that there will be no more talk, that a mind probe will establish Bonnie’s identity without her ever being the wiser.
But, to his surprise, Cable discovers that her mind is shielded. Taken aback, he is unprepared when Bonnie pulls out a psimitar from the dumpster. She uses it against him, equally to his surprise, and he is blasted backwards through the air. When he turns around, now wearing his blue and gold costume, he pulls forth his own weapon, but discovers that Bonnie has vanished. He grabs his coat and puts it on, before racing past Meg, Trish and Alice, who watch him leave - as their forms begin to fade away. ‘When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain?’ Alice asks. ‘When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won’ Meg replies. ‘Show his eyes and grieve his heart, come like shadows so depart!’ Trish tells her sisters.
‘A psimitar, old man! A psimitar! How? That weapon could only have come from you!’ Cable shouts at Blaquesmith. Irene watches as Cable demands to know from Blaquesmith what it is he knows about the Dark Sistergood. ‘I want the truth. NOW!’ he exclaims. Remaining calm, Blaquesmith reveals that the Dark Sisterhood approached him years ago, before they were reunited in this time, before he found Cable. He adds that he doesn’t know much about them, but their aims - they way they organized themselves, he believed coincided with theirs. ‘And what are these “aims”?’ Cable asks. Blaquesmith explains that they are to use their mutant abilities to over throw the oppressive. He adds that his contact called herself Finality, and that it wasn’t until later that he learned she used another name, another title. ‘I had no idea, Dayspring. No idea!’ Blaquesmith replies.
‘You fool. You old fool’ Cable utters, standing defensively, while Blaquesmith replies that it was too late when he learned her true identity - ‘She called herself the Dark Mother and she served as leader of the Dark Sisterhood!’ Blaquesmith reveals.
And, at moment, the Dark Mother sits on her throne, psimitar in hand, it glows with energy. She is still cloaked by her cowl, while her Dark Sisterhood have shed theirs, revealing their blue, red and yellow costumes, as they too stand ready with their psimitars. Ready for war….