Cable (1st series) #93

Issue Date: 
July 2001
Story Title: 
Countdown, part one: Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Robert Weinberg (writer), Tom Derenick (penciler), Terry Pertzborn & Harry Candelario (inker), Avalon Studios (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterers), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Many years ago, a woman calling herself “Finality” meets with her brother. They discuss the deaths of their parents, and visions of the future, in which one man will become Finality’s nemesis, and lead to her death. Two weeks ago, Rachel Summers attended the Students Against Mutants rally, where the organiser, Connie Moore, plans to cause an explosion and blame it on mutants, as she is a member of the Dark Sisterhood. Today Cable’s plot to destroy the Dark Sisterhood is going well, as he releases a “virus” of sorts that erases their memories. In the process, he erases all information that the Dark Sisterhood has on him from their computer database. In Alaska, GW Bridge is doing research on certain women in power - all of whom were appointed by Secretary of Defense, Gina Anderson. Irene Merryweather now goes by the alias Margaret Brundage, and thanks to an image inducer, her appearance is significantly different. On a night pouring with rain, she is pulled over by police officers, who harass her simply because of her skin color. She outsmarts them though, and makes her way to a motel, but she is shaken by the discrimination she just experienced. Cable is at a new safe house, but later, some members of the Dark Sisterhood track him down - however, every one of them falls victim to his mind-erasing plan.

Full Summary: 

Nathan Dayspring Summers, the man called Cable, walks into the lobby of an office building. ‘Can I help you?’ a security guard sitting behind a desk asks. Nathan replies that he has a personal delivery for Ms Gloria Temple of Xylon Electronics. ‘You got ID and papers?’ the guard asks. ‘Take a look’ Nathan replies, handing some papers over the desk. The officer looks at the papers and announces that everything appears in order, before telling Nathan to go to the fourteenth floor, a maximum security zone, and that Drew will accompany him up. ‘You see that game last night on TV? Bulls looked really good for once’ Drew remarks as they get into the lift. ‘I’m not much of a sports fan’ Nathan replies.

The lift opens on the fourteenth floor, and Nathan gets out, approaching a reception desk, he tells the woman behind the counter that he has a personal delivery for Ms Temple. The receptionist replies that Ms Temple is busy and offers him to leave the package with her. Nathan explains that Ms Temple has to sign for it. ‘Tell her it’s from her mother’ Nathan asks. The receptionist speaks to someone over the phone, turning away from her computer screen, she says that Ms Temple has to sign for it personally, and that it is from her mother. Cable’s metal hand extends some wires, latching onto the computer monitor, and the screen changes. When the receptionist turns back to him, the computer appears as normal and the receptionist tells him to go right in - third floor down the hall. ‘Did my screen flash for a second?’ the receptionist asks, looking at the monitor. ‘Sorry, I didn’t notice. I’m not a computer person’ Nathan replies.

In the office, Gloria Temple signs the courier document, ‘An unexpected delivery from mother. I wonder what it could be?’ Gloria asks. Another woman in the room stands with her hands on her hips and asks ‘Isn’t there supposed to be one of the security…?’ to which Cable interrupts, thanking s Temple for the signature, he tells her that he is sorry for the inconvenience, but that his company guarantees delivery to the specified client. He then unlocks the case handcuffed to his wrist, and announces that he will be off. He leaves, and Gloria Temple opens the case.

‘A Bible?’ she asks, before noticing there is a page marked. Her associate asks her ‘Remind me to register a complaint with building management. They need to tighten up their security’. Calling her friend Ruth, Gloria tells her to forget it, as there is no harm done. She turns to the marked page and sees that it reads “ene, mene, tekel, upharsim” and asks Ruth if she has any idea what that means. ‘Of course, Gloria. It’s from the Book of Daniel. The handwriting on the wall, “You have been judged and founding wanting”. Gloria?’ Ruth calls out. A voice can be heard over the phone, ‘Hell. What’s your name?’, while Ruth calls out to Gloria once again. ‘What’s happen -’ Gloria utters, looking strangely at the Bible. ‘Gloria!’ Ruth exclaims, before calling out ‘Stop that man! Stop him!’

Down in the lobby, Cable strides past the security guards who are questioning various men. The United States Government considers Cable the most dangerous mutant terrorist in the world. He has been framed by a secret criminal organization called the Dark Sisterhood. Their leader, a powerful mutant known only as the Dark Mother, fears him. Cable doesn’t know why, but intends to find out. The odds against him are a thousand to one. He doesn’t care. Cable plans to wipe out the Dark Sisterhood any way necessary, even if he has to do it one member at a time.

Sitting on her throne, hidden by her cloak, the Dark Mother receives a note from one of the Sisterhood, who tells her that the message arrived from Chicago ten minutes ago - that Cable has struck again, and now sister Gloria has some inexplicable form of amnesia, she remembers nothing past her seventh birthday. ‘How many does that make?’ the Dark Mother enquires. The sister kneeling before the Dark Mother replies that it makes forty-seven in the past week - and all of the sisters in charge of major operations. The sister informs the Dark Mother that none of them were killed, but each of them have their memories wiped - they have forgotten everything about the Sisterhood and no one can explain how it is done.

One mind-wiped sister is in a room stacking books into a tower, while other sisters are playing with toys and coloring books in some sort of hospital ward. The Dark Mother declares that this will mean more attention. ‘A news blackout is impossible on a story like this. The mystery plague that has struck prominent executives’. The sister assures the Dark Mother that they are handling the media as best they can, but that not even their resources can stifle a story this big. ‘Exactly as Dayspring wishes’ she adds. Clenching a fist, the Dark Mother asks if the fools were prepared, if the extra security measures are in effect. The sister replies that they were, but that Cable passed through ever one of the security devices undetected. ‘The computer system?’ the Dark Mother asks. ‘Wiped clean. We have to assume he downloaded all encrypted data’ the sister replies.

The Dark Mother gets up and walks through a large concrete chamber, telling the sister to alert all of the sisters in the Chicago area to drop all other operations - as she wants Cable found and destroyed. ‘Nothing else matters’ the Dark Mother declares. ‘All of them, Mother? That’s nearly a hundred acolytes’ the sister points out. ‘All’ the Dark Mother orders. They enter a workshop with various other sisters are going about their business. The Dark Mother states that Dayspring is eliminating them one by one, morale is falling, and if his attacks continue unchecked, they will face a revolt among their own. ‘Never. They fear you. They remain loyal’ the sister assures the Dark Mother. ‘They fear death. But, they fear losing their identities more’ the Dark Mother remarks, her eyes glowing beneath her hood. She announces that she needs rest, and heads off to another room. ‘If Cable is located, awaken me at once’ she orders.

Elsewhere, Cable sits at a desk, laptop computer in front of him, eating some sort of microwave-meal. He is a soldier. He comes fro ma future where technology is a weapon. The Sisterhood uses the most modern computers available. But to Cable, such machines are antiques. For a warrior like Cable, knowledge is power, and he watches the screen, which says “transmitting”.

Meanwhile, in a workshop somewhere, GW Bridge is wearing civilian clothing and approaches a man sitting at a computer. ‘Message in the same format as the previous transmissions?’ he asks. ‘Yes, Sir, Commander Bridge. Another list of people and their positions in the government’ the other man replies. GW asks his associate if he has any luck tracing the sender. He replies that he hasn’t, and explains that it is as if the message is coming from nowhere. GW Bridge is a top officer in the government agency called SHIELD, and was recently transferred to a remote outpost in Alaska because of his connections with Cable. It was either take the position or be court-martialed.

Looking at some paper, GW asks his associate if he is running a match program on this data. He replies that he is, and that it is the same results as the previous four transmissions. ‘All the officials are women. All of them appointed to their posts by the Secretary of Defense, Gina Anderson’ he explains. GW tells his associate to make sure he sends these results to the six officers he listed. ‘I fought and bled with every one of them. They can be trusted. Just in case something unexpected happens to me’ he explains.

Elsewhere, the rain pours down in the middle of the night as Irene Merryweather drives in her car, under the new identity of Margaret Brundage. Like GW, she has suffered the consequences of being close to Cable. The Dark Sisterhood took away Irene’s life - and she is looking to get it back. A police car signals for Irene to pull over. There is no reason for the police to stop her, as she has been driving within the speed limit and the Sisterhood are convinced she is dead. Irene needs to stay calm and be prepared for anything. She stops the car, and an officer approaches her. ‘What’s the problem, officer? I wasn’t speeding’ Margaret states. The officer asks her to step out of the car and to keep her hands in view at all times. Margaret complies, and holding her hands up, she asks what this is all about. ‘I’m no criminal’ she declares.

The officer ignores her, and shines a torch in her face, asking her if this is her car. ‘where you going this late at night, sister?’ he asks, while his colleague aims a weapon at her. ‘I’m not your sister. And the car is mine. If you let me reach the glove compartment, I’ll show you my registration’ Margaret tells him. The officer frowns and orders her to move away from the car and not to make any sudden moves. ‘Move real slow. Try anything and you’ll regret it’ the other officer warns her. Shocked, Margaret tells them that she doesn’t know what they are talking about. ‘This is nuts. I haven’t done anything wrong’ she adds, before asking if she can lower her arms, as her muscles are starting to cramp. ‘Keep ‘em raised. Better a muscle cramp than a bullet’ one of the officers replies.

The officer calls his colleague Al and asks him to check the glove compartment, to see if she has the registration like she claims. ‘Keep an eye out for any booze or illegal substances, just in case’ he adds. Al goes over to Margaret’s car and searches through it, while Margaret tells him that while he is searching, to smile for her internet camera and say something for all the folks watching him on her web site. ‘Camera? Internet web site? What the hell are you talking about?’ Al asks. Margaret reveals that she is an insurance investigator, and that it is dangerous business, so when she is working on a case, like tonight, she likes to keep her web camera on all the time. Margaret explains that it makes her feel safer if lots of people around the world are watching her.

‘So everything you and your partner have said and done has been broadcast live to internet junkies all over the country’ Margaret announces. ‘All over the country?’ Al asks. ‘Europe, Asia, and Australia, too’ Margaret adds as the rain continues to beat down. Nervously, the officer announces that he can see they made a terrible mistake here. ‘Miss -?’ he asks. ‘Brundage, Al. Miss Brundage’ Margaret tells him. He claims that there is a car theft ring operating in the county, heisting new cars, and that they saw her drive by and they acted hastily. The other officer states that it was an honest mistake. ‘You can see that. We were just trying to do our duty’ he explains. Margaret asks if she can put her hands down now, to which the officer tells her that she can, and that she shouldn’t go blowing this all out of proportion, as they were just doing their jobs.

‘Did anyone really report a stolen car tonight?’ Margaret asks. ‘Or did you just assume any black woman driving a new car had to be a criminal?’ she demands, before getting back into her car. ‘We were just doing our job, Miss Brundage. Nothing personal’ the officer tells her. ‘Sure. Nothing personal. Sure’ Margaret mutters, before driving off. Racial profiling. That is what it is called. Police pulling over cars because their drivers aren’t the right color. Or the right nationality. As a former investigative reporter, Irene had read stories about it. But she had never expected to experience it. Luckily, Al had believed her lies about the web-cam. Pretty outrageous story, but life is pretty outrageous these days.

Irene has driven another fifty miles. No more tonight. Her nerves are shot. She pulls up outside a Best Eastern Inn, the rain still beating down. Approaching the check-in desk, the woman welcomes her and asks if she can help. Margaret replies that she needs a room for the night, with a big bathtub and a color TV. ‘I hear you. Nice bubble bath to take the kinks out of driving’ the staff member remarks, before Margaret asks if the restaurant is still open, as she could use some food. The staff member replies that the restaurant is open all night, and adds that they serve some delicious home-made pie, before noticing that her customer seems troubled. ‘Are you all right, Miss? Something wrong?’ she asks.

Margaret begins to cry, and reveals that she was stopped by the police about an hour ago, and they pulled her over for no reason - just because she is black. ‘Yeah, I know how that is. About once a week when I’m waiting for the bus, local cops hassle me about drugs. They know I ain’t carrying, but they do it anyway’ she explains. ‘But that’s not right’ Margaret declares. ‘So? You gonna tell the President or am I?’ the staff member asks. Soon, Margaret is in the bathtub, surrounded by bubbles, home-made pie resting on the counter. Irene had often asked Cable what it was like to be a mutant. He never directly answered the question. Instead, he always responded “walk a mile in my shoes”. Irene is not black. A device called an image inducer merely creates the illusion so she can travel about safely. She never really understood what Cable meant. Until now. Black or white. Man or mutant. It’s a long, long walk.

In his sparse safe house, consisting of a basic bed and not much else, Cable places his laptop on a bench. Adding the Sisterhood’s Midwest data vase to his records gives Cable just over three thousand entries. He is sure that is everyone who belongs to the organization. Only one person isn’t listed. There is no information on her. She is a complete mystery. The Dark Mother. Examining his barren surroundings, Cable rented this building for a reason - it is time for him to obtain some electrical equipment - and get some paint. He leaves the safe house and makes his way through the city, he doesn’t want to be too obvious, but with a little luck, he will be spotted by a member of the Sisterhood, then he’ll disappear. It shouldn’t take them long to locate his hideaway. It is a dangerous game, but that is the way he likes to play.

Flashback, many years ago:

In a grand dining room, a bald man sits at one end, while a woman dressed in a golden gown, with a veil over her face sits at the other. Attendants stand behind them. ‘I returned as quickly as possible when I heard of mother and father’s deaths’ the man remarks, adding that he is sorry to have missed the funeral. ‘It was tastefully done. Mother would have enjoyed it’ the woman replies. The man calls her Fiona and asks her why she did it. ‘Father still object to financing your plans for revenge?’ he suggests. Fiona replies ‘Kill them, brother? Our parents died in a boating accident’, and reveals that, like he, she has disposed of the foolish name they gave her, announcing that from now on, she will be addressed as Finality. ‘As you wish. The estate…?’ Finality’s brother asks. ‘Everything was willed to me’ Finality claims.

Looking at the attendants behind her brother, Finality asks him if he brings bodyguards. ‘One might think you don’t trust me’ she points out. Her brother explains that Calvin and Sarah insist on accompanying him on his travels. ‘I call them my ravens’ he reveals. Finality asks her brother if his powers continue to grow. He tells her that he absorbs and analyses knowledge as fast as he receives it - new methods of information should increase that speed. ‘No event in the world will happen without me understanding it’ he reveals. Finality raises a goblet and replies ‘An interesting but minor ability. Just as you are an interesting but minor man’. She declares that she seeks power for women, that men will relinquish it easily, but, in the end, she will succeed. ‘I know I will. By studying the future I will change the present’. ‘Perhaps’ Finality’s brother replies.

Finality states that when she concentrates, she senses the array of possible futures. ‘I also foresee the result of each action. Allowing me to pick the choice that offers the greatest reward. With time and patience, I cannot fail’ Finality explains as she sees various visions of a man and a woman being murdered in a multitude of styles. ‘One word and Sarah will put and end to your insane dreams forever’ Finality’s brother tells her, as Sarah stands near Finality, holding a piece of string. ‘Don’t you think I foresaw this possibility, brother? If she tries, gunmen in the other rooms will kill you and your companions’ Finality reveals. ‘You will die as well’ she tells her brother and asks if they should call a truce. Her brother agrees, and asks Finality why she invited him here. ‘With our parents dead, we share nothing, other than our curious abilities’.

Finality tells her brother that she hoped he would use his talent for her. ‘My talent? I’m intrigued. What do you mean?’ he enquires. Finality explains that sometimes she peers far into the future - decades, even centuries ahead. ‘It’s difficult, as probability branches so often there are thousands of realities. Most show the results I desire’. ‘Most?’ her brother asks. She reveals that a few end with a man - sometimes accompanied by a young woman, and sometimes alone. A strange wavering figure, as if not entirely of this world. ‘And beyond this figure?’ the brother asks. ‘Darkness. Total darkness’ Finality tells him, while an image of the mysterious man, one brightly glowing eye, accompanied by a young woman, flitters in her mind.

They leave the dining room, and Finality asks her brother and his associates if he would like her to arrange transportation. ‘Considering the transportation you arranged for our parents, I think I will let my ravens handle the details’ Finality’s brother replies. ‘My visions…?’ Finality asks. Her brother tells her that as she grows older, to see if this man occupies more and more of her possible futures. ‘I suspect he will’ he adds. ‘Why? Who is he?’ Finality asks. Calling his sister Fiona, he tells her that he has no idea, but that the ancient Greeks had such a figure - Nemesis, an agent of harsh, unavoidable punishment. ‘This man is your nemesis’ he explains. ‘Then the darkness afterwards…?’ Finality asks. ‘Is death’ her brother reveals.


‘Mother, awake. Awake. They found Cable. The sisters in Chicago have located him’ one of the Sisterhood calls out as she shakes the Dark Mother in her bed. Soon, they walk through a corridor to a monitor room where the Dark Mother’s throne is. ‘How was he spotted?’ the Dark Mother asks, shrouded under her cloak as usual. ‘By sheer luck’ the sister explains, revealing that Cable was buying food in a local market and was observed by a neophyte. ‘She barely caught a glance of him and then he was gone’. The sister continues, informing the Dark Mother that the sister reported the sighting immediately to her superior, and using a computer grid of nearby properties, and the sister determined what buildings Cable could be using. Images of the buildings appear on a monitor, as the sister tells the Dark Mother that carefully checking each building with heat sensors determined the particular warehouse he was in, and his bio-signature is an exact match.

The Dark Mother takes sits on her throne and observes the image of the warehouse. ‘He’s inside?’ the Dark Mother asks. The sister confirms that he is, and tells the Dark Mother that Cable has remained in the same location for the past hour, most likely sleeping. ‘There’s no way out?’ the Dark Mother enquires. ‘None. Every entrance is blocked by our sisters’ the sister informs the Dark Mother, who asks how many are in place. ‘Nearly a hundred. They only await your final command’ the sister tells her. ‘Then attack!’ the Dark Mother orders.

Weeks ago and thousands of miles away:

Three women stand on a strange. Two wear white dresses, the other is dressed regularly. A wooden post has been erected, and from it, a dummy has been hanged, with the word “mutant” across its chest. The initials SAM are printed in bold red on a screen behind them. Students and other have come to watch and join in the rally. ‘What do we want?’ the woman on stage calls out through a megaphone. ‘Justice!’ the crowd shouts. ‘Who do we want punished?’ the woman shouts. ‘Mutants!’ the crowd retorts. Who?’ the woman asks. ‘MUTANTS!’ the crowd screams. Rachel Summers stands with two of her classmates, towards the back of the group, and tells them that this is nuts, that mutants aren’t their enemies. ‘They’re human beings, like anyone else’ she declares.

‘Right. Human beings who can look inside your mind. Wake up, Rachel. Everybody isn’t as sweet and kind as you’ the blonde girl replies, reminding Rachel that “that Magneto creep” nearly started World War Three. ‘But most mutants aren’t like Magneto’ Rachel explains. ‘Since when have you become the expert on mutants? Just listen to Connie Moore. She’s the one with the bull-horn. She’ll set you straight’ Rachel’s other classmate exclaims. Rachel promised Cable she wouldn’t use her powers unless it was a dire emergency. But something about this rally strikes her as wrong - terribly wrong. Something about Connie Moore isn’t right. Rachel decides that one quick telepathic probe should clear up all of her concerns.

Suddenly, on stage, Connie Moore utters ‘Nooo!’ and drops her megaphone. Connie Moore is a low-level telepath. She belongs to a secret group which call themselves the Dark Sisterhood. This whole rally is a trap. A deadly ruse to stir up even more hatred against mutants. The straw dummy still hangs - inside it, Connie Moore has concealed a bomb. When it ignites, the dummy will explode, killing dozens of students. It will start a riot and mutants will be blamed for their deaths. The two other women on stage hold candles out towards the straw dummy, ‘Burn, mutants. Burn!’ Connie calls out. That is the signal to light the scarecrow. It will explode in an instant. Rachel knows she has to do something - now.


The Sisters have been given the order to attack. They enter the warehouse through doors and window. There are traps in the hallways. Alarms as well. They raise their weapons as the run through the warehouse. They are prepared for the traps. They won’t let anything stop them from reaching Cable. They find themselves in the main part of the warehouse. The basic bed, a device beside it, a box of crayons on the bed, and a note, is all that can be seen in the room. They look around, while one of the sisters picks the note up and reads it. It is from Cable, and it says “By the time you finish reading this sheet, your minds will have been wiped clean of all memories. The hatred inside you will be replaced by a child’s innocence. Consider this mental cleansing a second chance in life. All evidence will self-destruct in a few seconds. Ambulances are already on their way. Goodbye and good luck. Sometimes violence isn’t the answer. I am Cable. This is my justice”.

The sisters suddenly glaze over, then smile, before they start playing. Some of them start drawing on the walls with the crayons, others bounce on the bed. Others fall down laughing, and some play patty-cake. On the wall, fresh paint drips, with the words: ‘You have been judged and found wanting….’

Characters Involved: 


Rachel Summers

Irene Merryweather / “Margaret Brundage”

GW Bridge

Dark Mother

Connie, Gloria, Ruth and other members of the Sisterhood

Bridge’s associate

Drew and other security officers


Hotel staff

Police officers

College students

Rally attendees

In Flashback

Fiona / Finality / Dark Mother

William / Clarity / brother (unnamed)

Calvin & Sarah

Story Notes: 

Irene’s transformation into Margaret took place between this issue and last.

Issue Information: 
Written By: