Two weeks ago:
Irene Merryweather, originally an investigative report, now records the exploits of Nathan Dayspring Summers, the mutant called Cable. She clings to a post beneath a dock, the water cold around her. Moments ago, Cable’s enemies, the Dark Sisterhood slammed Irene’s car into the Hudson River. Irene managed to struggle to the surface, but there is no sign of her companion, the being called Blaquesmith. A mental shield devised by Blaquesmith hides Irene’s thoughts from the Dark Sisters, who now believe her dead. The survival suit given to Irene by Cable has saved her from freezing to death in the ice-cold river. But unless she gets help immediately, Irene knows she is doomed. She climbs out of the river once the Sisters have disappeared, and heads for a phone booth. Cable had her memorize the phone number soon after she met him. It was only to be used in the most dire emergencies. Irene feels that this qualifies.
She looks sideways, anxiously, as the rain beats down, and a voice says to her ‘Do not speak. Voices, no mater how well disguised, can be matched by computer. When you receive this number you were given a code. Enter those numbers now. We have you located and identified. Listen carefully to these instructions…’. Irene realizes that she has entered a mysterious subculture romanticized in books and movies - a covert world of spooks and shadows. She starts walking west along the sidewalk. Not fast, not slow. She mentally counts backwards from one hundred. Clutching herself in the freezing rain, a van soon pulls up beside her. ‘Irene. Inside. Now!’ a voice calls out.
Irene gets into the van, and finds a man in a colorful shirt and a woman in leather sitting at a computer console. The man tells Irene that judging by her location and appearance, he would guess she was in the river a few minutes ago. He adds that she needs medical attention and is probably suffering from shock and hypothermia. ‘Our medical staff is on alert’ he assures her, adding that they will be on safe ground in less than five minutes, before explaining that they need to know right now what happened tonight. The woman tells Irene to be as concise as she can, and to try not to leave out any important details. ‘If you’re supposed to be dead in the river, we’ve got to arrange for a corpse quickly. Don’t worry how. Just talk’ the woman adds.
‘Who are you? How do you know my name? What’s happening?’ Irene asks. The man introduces himself as Casper, and the woman as Wendy, and assures Irene that Cable trusts them. Motioning to the large scar on his face, Casper explains that Cable saved him from the Worse, and that he did the same thing for Wendy. ‘We’ll do everything we can for you - but we need information’ Casper adds. ‘Casper, the Friendly Ghost’ Irene remarks. ‘That’s me’ Casper replies. ‘The safe house was attacked tonight be a group known…’ Irene begins.
Cable sits in a new safe house, wearing his black leather costume, a chess board sits in front of him. He is a powerful mutant, gifted with telepathy and telekinesis, fighting for a better tomorrow. His opponent is the Dark Mother, who commands a secret society of female mutants called the Dark Sisterhood. The control a vast network of criminals, shady lawmen and corrupt government officials. The Dark Mother hungers for power. Her Sisterhood schemes to rule the world. She is unknown to Professor X. The X-Men and the Brotherhood fight their battles in the open. The Dark Mother operates in secrecy. In the struggle between humanity and mutants, she is the wild card. She fears only one man - Cable - and he is not sure why. But he intends to find out.
Two weeks ago:
At the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Salem Center, New York, in his office, Professor Charles Xavier looks up at Jean “Phoenix” Grey and asks her what the matter is. Jean tells Charles that she isn’t sure, but that an hour ago she received a telepathic message from Nathan: “Beware the Dark Sisterhood”, but nothing since then. Jean informs the Professor that she has tried to contact him, without success. ‘He’s not dead. I would sense that’ Jean points out, explaining that it is as if Cable has closed his thoughts to all telepathic communication. ‘Disturbing. Very disturbing’ Charles replies, reminding Jean that Cable reacted very strongly to Moira’s death, and that he blamed himself for Senator Kelly’s assassination also.
The Professor tries to contact Cable, asking him where he is. ‘Nathan, please respond. What’s happening? What is the Dark Sisterhood?’ Charles enquires. Suddenly, Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast enters the library and announces that there are reports on CNN about a major explosion and fire in Soho which occurred about an hour ago, but for some reason the fire department didn’t respond until a few minutes ago. Hank tells Jean and Charles that he did some quick checking, and that it was Nathan’s safe house. ‘We’ve got to do something. Fast. Nathan’s in trouble’ Jean points out, but Charles asks ‘Is he? I’m not so sure’. Confused, Jean asks the Professor what he is saying. ‘You heard what Beast said. Nathan needs our help immediately’ Jean remarks.
Hank asks the Professor if he is suggesting that Cable did this himself. ‘Nathan’s one of us. He’s proved that many times over’ Hank adds. ‘I repeat, is he? Then why doesn’t he respond to my telepathic messages?’ Charles asks. ‘Who’s the Dark Sisterhood? We’ve never heard anything about them before. Odd, don’t you think?’ Charles points out, wondering if they actually exist, or if they are an excuse for Cable to break his ties with the X-Men and go off and fight evil he alone can comprehend? Jean asks Charles if he is implying that Cable has gone over the edge. Hank declares that Cable is not crazy. ‘Didn’t he almost strangle Nightcrawler in Manhattan?’ Charles asks. Hank explains that Storm said Cable was nearly in a rage over Moira’s death. ‘Exactly. A rage. Cable’s a violent man. He believes war between man and mutant is inevitable. Maybe he believes it’s already begun, and has started fighting on his own terms’ Charles suggests.
Charles points out that Cable was guarding Senator Kelly, yet a student killed him. A single student with a gun reacted faster than Cable. Jean points out that Cable had also telepathically experienced Moira’s death, and helped Charles from joining her. ‘He was disorientated, Charles’, Jean adds. Charles reminds Jean that Kelly died in Cable’s arms, and asks her if she is sure that Cable had nothing to do with that crime. ‘Are you sure that student wasn’t mentally controlled by a powerful telepath? A telepath like Cable?’ ‘That’s insane!’ Jean declares, before asking Charles why he doesn’t telepathically read that student’s mind and find out. ‘Wouldn’t that answer all your charges?’ Jean points out. Charles tells Jean that he wish he could, but that according to prison doctor’s, the student’s heart was crushed to a pulp. The Professor then shows Jean and Hank an image from the prison security monitor - of the student in his cell, leaning against the wall, with “Cable made me do it” scrawled across the prison wall.
Cable still sits in front of the chess board. He has studied the “Art of War”, “The Prince”, “Crush Your Opponent at Chess” and “Catch-22”. He’s been a soldier all his life. He’s fought incredible battles against deadly foes. Still, the Dark Mother controls an army of mutants. She is totally ruthless, life means nothing to her. She has sacrificed allies and members of her own Dark Sisterhood without remorse. She has slaughtered innocent people to maintain her secrecy. Cable telekinetically moves one of the chess pieces. He has been totally isolated, friends and associates driven away or murdered. He’s a solitary chess piece against a horde of pawns, knights, bishops, kings and queens. It looks like checkmate. He stands alone, one man against thousands. Frowning, he destroys the chess piece with a casual thought.
One week ago:
GW Bridge stands before General Deutsch, who grins and tells GW that he is being transferred, and that as of now, he is off active duty. ‘I found a nice desk job for you. In Alaska’ the general announces. GW is one of the top officers in SHIELD, and years ago, was a mercenary and one of Cable’s best friends. It is a relationship that has come back to haunt him. GW tells General Deutsch that he doesn’t understand, adding that he was cleared of all charges at the hearing last night. ‘That’s not the way I remember it, Bridge’ Deutsch remarks, holding up some papers, announces that his records indicate they found GW to be a security risk, that his ties to the mutant terrorist Cable make him unsuitable for any position of authority. ‘We gave you a chance to resign, but you refused. So, in the best interests of the country, we’re transferring you to Alaska’ he explains. ‘That’s a lie. You know that’s a lie!’ GW replies. Deutsch draws a gun and aims it at Bridge, ‘Threatening a commanding officer, Bridge? That would be treason’ he exclaims.
Calmly, GW replies that he didn’t threaten Deutsch, that he merely stated the facts. ‘I’m sure any review of the office monitoring system would show that’ he points out. ‘Of course. The office security records. How true’ Deutsch replies, claiming that he has been on edge all day, what with the terrible accidents happening to Generals Sherman and Austin last night. Wide-eyed, GW asks ‘Something happened to General Austin and General Sherman?’ Deutsch reveals that shortly after their meeting, Sherman was in a terrible automobile accident, that his driver lost control and slammed into a tree. He reveals that the driver was killed instantly, and Sherman is in the hospital on life support. ‘Not much hope for him, I’m afraid’.
Deutsch continues, informing Bridge that General Austin was speaking to the Secretary of Defense, Gina Anderson, when he suffered a massive heart attack, and Ms Anderson’s marine guards attempted CPR, but nothing could be done. ‘A terrible tragedy. Two of our best man, taken in the same night. Shocking, truly shocking’ he declares. Sweating, Deutsch announces that since no report had been submitted, he felt imt his duty to inform the Secretary of their decision, and that she approved the transfer an hour ago. ‘It’s Alaska or a court martial, Bridge. Take your pick’ Deutsch declares. GW has been aware of a cancer eating away at SHIELD for months and months. He thought it had been eliminated - obviously, he was wrong. This man, Deutsch, isn’t cunning enough to be the leader of the conspiracy. Bridge doesn’t know how high this conspiracy goes, but he intends to find out. Even if he dies trying.
‘I’ll start packing immediately, General’ Bridge replies, saluting Deutsch, who grins and tells Bridge that he has made a good decision. As he leaves Deutsch’s office, GW remembers last night General Austin mentioning something about Deutsch muttering about his “sisters”. Bridge knows that Deutsch is an only child. One word - it’s not much of a clue, still, it is all he has. GW is going to learn who these “sisters” are - and somehow, make contact with Cable.
Two weeks ago:
Casper and Wendy observe Irene who is in a stasis tank, being monitored by scientists. Wendy reports that the computer bio-scan is done, and that Irene will be fine after a few more hours in the tank. Casper asks if there are any electronic bugs or tracking devices planted on her, as she was in the hospital not long ago. ‘She’s clean’ Wendy tells him. Casper remarks that, according to Irene, the Sisterhood hacked into Cable’s security system. Wendy supposes that they must have shut down the power grid in his neighborhood and tapped into the electric cables for his safe house during its blackout. She adds that it is effective, but requires influencing city employees and officials. ‘I’ll have the names of everyone involved in five minutes’ Wendy announces. She points out that of course they are invisible in this complex, as it is made from mist. ‘We don’t exist. Like the woman said. Ghosts’.
Soon, after being released from thw tank, Irene sits in a room, opposite Casper, Wendy and a man who introduces himself as “Spooky”. ‘Like all of us, I owe my life to Cable’ he reveals. Spooky explains that they are an independent cover ops team, who do the dirty jobs that NSA, Mossad, CID and other agencies prefer handles by someone else. ‘We call ourselves “The Clean-Up Crew”’ Spooky reveals. Casper informs Irene that officially, they don’t exist, that there are no records for them, anything. Wendy explains that all deals are negotiated over the internet, that all payment goes through dozens of untraceable transfers before it ends up in a Swiss bank account. Casper tells Wendy that months ago, Cable asked them to help her if it were ever necessary. ‘He’s vanished, so we’re doing all we can to keep you alive’ he adds.
Wendy points out that it has been approximately fourteen hours since Irene’s plunge into the river, and that a lot has happened. ‘You need to make some important choices’ Wendy adds, assuring Irene that they will give her the best advice they can, but that the final decision is hers. ‘About what?’ Irene asks. ‘Staying alive’ Casper reveals. An image appears on a monitor - it is of Irene’s car being taken out of the Hudson River. Wendy explains that the photo was taken by a miniature hand-held digital camera a quarter mile from the docks. Spooky tells Wendy that her car was pulled out of the river this morning by the police, and her body badly mangled and crushed was found inside. ‘Fingerprints and dental records established your identity. Despite what appeared to be dent marks in the driver’s side of the car, your death was listed as accidental’ he reveals.
Spooky continues, informing Irene that according to police records, she had been arrested numerous times for drunk driving, and an empty scotch bottle was found in the car. ‘Case closed’ he declares. ‘I’m dead? My fingerprints identified the body? Drunk driving? I don’t understand any of this!’ Irene exclaims. Wendy explains that those are all computer games to fool the Sisterhood. ‘Our body-scan enabled us to find a body in the morgue resembling you. Our teams placed it in the car’, she adds that she changed Irene’s fingerprint records to match those of the corpse - same with the dental charts. ‘What about the morgue? Didn’t’ they realize a body was missing?’ Irene wonders.
Wendy assures Irene that she covered that with a double-switch. ‘I’m careful’ she explains. Wendy tells Irene that it was the Sisterhood who gave her the drunk driving record, which is easy enough to do if you have access to the police department computer. Wendy points out that it was probably a female cop who pulled Irene over, and she turned murder into an accident with a touch of a keyboard. ‘As per your will and the mandates of the Jewish religion, your funeral took place as soon as possible. Your body was cremated and your ashes were scattered off the Staten Island Ferry’ Wendy reports. But Irene points out that she is not Jewish and that she doesn’t have a will. ‘I took care of that. With no body, there’s no chance of the Sisters ever discovering their mistake’ Wendy explains.
Irene looks nervous, while Casper tells her that the Sisterhood is heartless, as evidently, they forced an electrical worker to turn off the power in Soho before their attack, and afterwards, they murdered him and his family - no loose ends. Spooky states that Irene Merryweather is dead, that she has to disappear. He explains that computers are everywhere, that facial ID programs, bio-scans, voice recognition codes and a hundred other programs would identify her in minutes. ‘We killed you once. If you’re spotted alive, the Sisters will do it again’ he assures Irene. Spooky tells Irene that she has two choices - stay hidden, living here, never going outside, or let them alter her appearance and give her a completely new identity. ‘What if I moved to another country?’ Irene asks. Spooky assures her that they would find her in two weeks, maybe less - unless she wants to live on a farm without electricity in the Ural Mountains.
‘I can’t spend the rest of my life afraid to go outside’ Irene declares. Wendy explains that they can surgically alter her features and her change her voice slightly. ‘That might work if you’re lucky’ Wendy adds, explaining that if Irene wants total freedom, the ability to do whatever she wants, that is going to require drastic action. ‘What sort of drastic action?’ Irene asks, holding the ends of her hair. ‘How prejudiced are you?’ Wendy enquires. ‘Huh? Why?’ Irene replies. Casper tells her that it is simple, that using some special equipment Cable once gave them, they can completely change her appearance via holographic imagery - ‘If we switch your skin from white to black, no one will recognize you’ he explains.
Casper continues, telling Irene that people might think she resembles Irene, but that they will never believe it is she. ‘Turning you black will make you invisible to your enemies. As well as your friends’. He adds that it will also expose her to a whole new spectrum of prejudice and distrust. ‘Our country has made a lot of strides in race relations, but there’s a long way to go’ he tells Irene, who asks ‘There’s no other choice is there? Not if I want to live?’, and Casper confirms that there is no other choice. Spooky informs Irene that they will set her up with a new identity, use computer records to give her a solid background - a whole new life. Wendy asks Irene if she has a favorite name, and Irene reveals that she has always liked Margaret. ‘Then you’ll be Margaret Brundage. An insurance investigator. I’ll have your new persona in an hour’ Wendy announces. ‘You’ve done this before, haven’t you?’ Irene enquires. Spooky tells her that they have done it many times, not only for others, but for themselves. ‘You’re about to join our ranks’ he tells her. ‘Welcome to the shadow lands’ Casper adds.
There is a secret war being waged against humanity. A hidden war conducted by the Dark Sisterhood to gain absolute control of mankind. A war unlike those conducted by Magneto or the Brotherhood - a war aimed at bringing about an age of darkness where mutant women wield absolute control. Cable contemplates this. The Age of the Sisterhood. And, at that moment, the Sisterhood rally before the mysterious Dark Mother, shrouded in her robes.
Two weeks ago:
Rachel Summers is at college, and walks down a path with two girlfriends, one of whom asks if she is going to the rally tonight. ‘Rally? What rally?’ Rachel asks. Her blonde friend tells her that it is the SAM rally - that they have been pushing it all over campus today - a protest about that guy who was killed last night. ‘What’s SAM? I’ve never heard of them’ Rachel replies. ‘Students Against Mutants. Connie Moore started it last year’ her other friend explains. ‘She really hates muties. Wants them all locked up’. The blonde friend remarks that Connie is way extreme, but understands her view. ‘Who wants someone around who can look inside your brain?’ she asks. Rachel announces that she doesn’t hate anyone, and that everyone should just live and let live. ‘Sure. Tell that to that Magneto guy the next time you see him’ the blonde girl suggests.
‘Or that Cable character, the one who killed Senator Kelly’ she points out. Wide-eyed, Rachel exclaims ‘Cable? I don’t understand!’, so her other friend explains that some college student shot Senator Kelly because he was turning soft on mutants, and now it turns out that this guy, Cable, who was guarding Kelly, mentally controlled the student and made him kill the Senator. ‘The student said that? That Cable took over his mind?’ Rachel asks. ‘What planet have you been on, Rachel? The guy died last night in his cell. Had his heart crushed. That’s why they’re having the rally’ the blonde girl explains.
Rachel is sophisticated enough to realize that Cable is being framed. All of the “unbiased” news is written as if her brother’s already been proven guilty. There is a concerted effort being made on the internet, as she researches, and by the major news organizations to convict Cable with out any real evidence. Cable hasn’t used his telepathy to contact her, and she assumes that is for a reason. This entire conspiracy is too well put together for any ordinary organization. There are powerful forces at work here. If Cable needed Rachel, he would have been in touch with her. She knows that contacting him would be a mistake. She gets changed into some leather clothes, and preps a weapon. Rachel is going to the SAM rally tonight - not to cause trouble, but to get a sense of the crowd. Because Rachel is not the trusting sort. The weapon she takes carries enough firepower to overwhelm anything less than a full squad of SHIELD operatives. She wants to get close enough to Connie Moore to learn something about her and her motives.
A black limo is driven through a darkened city. ‘The media campaign against Cable is proceeding well. I want to raise the intensity’ a woman orders. She asks her companion to see if they can find some of his enemies from his mercenary days, as they could provide interesting sound bytes for the news reports. ‘We’ll try’ her companion replies. ‘Finding information about Cable’s past has proven difficult. Somehow, he’s managed to cover his tracks throughout his career’ the woman points out, adding that she doesn’t want excuses, she wants results. ‘We all want results. Currently, Cable is the most wanted criminal in America. He’s not an easy man to disguise. Sooner or later, he’ll be captured or killed’ one of them remarks.
‘Speaking of Rachel Summers? Any clue to her whereabouts?’ someone inside the limo asks as it pulls up at a fancy estate, and passes through the security booth. ‘Nothing definitive. But our agents across the country are searching for her. It won’t be long before she is found’. ‘Good. The sooner the better. Plan Six begins shortly. We need both Summers children dead before it starts’. The limo arrives in front of the large mansion, ‘Enough talk. Tonight I need to encourage the President to take a stronger stand on the mutant menace. The more trouble Magneto causes, the easier my job’ the woman in the limo announces, declaring that their victory moves ever closer. ‘It would be closer still if we had Cable’ another points out.
The door opens and a male general greets Secretary of Defense, Gina Anderson. ‘I trust the ride from your office was comfortable?’ he asks. ‘Comfortable enough, General’ Gina replies, before announcing that she looks forward to seeing the President tonight, as matters of national security need to be discussed. ‘You are a tireless worker, Madame Secretary’ the general tells her. ‘I work because I must, General. Because I must’ Gina Anderson declares.
Cable stands up. The Dark Mother thinks she has him on the run. She thinks that by isolating him from his friends and allies, she has left him defenseless. Her hackers discovered the locations of a few of his safe houses. One or two of his secret bank accounts. The thought they had critically damaged his ability to strike back. But they had no idea of the plans he’s made over the past decade. Cable believes that one person can change the future. He has been called the Chosen One all of his life. He traveled here from the distant future. He’s not going to let the Sisterhood gain control of the present. He is ready to do whatever’s necessary to defeat the Dark Mother. He slams his cyborg arm down on the chessboard, sending the pieces scattering.
As far as being prepared, Cable is a soldier. He knows the importance of supplies and armaments in battle. The Sisterhood might number in the thousands. He has weapons enough to stop them all. If need be, he will. There is no mercy in Cable. He enters a storage room filled with money, weapons and ammunition. ‘Let it come down’ he thinks to himself….