Cable (1st series) #95

Issue Date: 
September 2001
Story Title: 
Countdown, part three: Eternity Awaits!

Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (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: 

Gina Anderson, Secretary of Defense, is en route back to Washington, where the President is meeting with other senior members of his government after two were recently murdered, and Cable framed for their deaths. At the same time, GW Bridge demands to see Henry Gyrich, showing him research and proof that the Sisterhood have been strategically placing its members into positions of power. When Gina arrives in Washington, she believes she is about to be informed that the President and the other senior officials have been killed in an explosion, but she is told that they have been rescued, just before the explosion, as her plan was discovered. She is placed under arrest for treason. Meanwhile, Cable and Irene Merryweather have arrived at Xylon Corporation, the headquarters of the Dark Mother and her Sisterhood, when Rachel Summers arrives to help them out. Shortly, a huge squadron of SHIELD officers descend on Xylon, and start to attack the Dark Sisterhood. At the same time, military officers around the States arrive to arrest members of the Sisterhood. The Dark Mother and her closest warriors discuss the coming battle, which is brought to them sooner than expected, as Cable, Rachel and Irene make their way through Xylon, and as Rachel deals to the Sisterhood warriors, Cable finds the Dark Mother. Words are exchanged, as the Dark Mother reveals why she has been framing Cable, and hates him so much - because she cannot predict his actions, and that three centuries ago, her brother named him as her nemesis. Their battle is a physical one, and when the Dark Mother’s cloak falls back, Cable is shocked to see that she looks like Jean Grey. The Dark Mother claims to be Jean’s grandmother, many times removed, which makes Cable her grandson. She prepares to kill Cable, but Irene comes to his aid, and the Dark Mother goes into a catatonic state when she can’t read Irene’s mind thanks to a psi-shield. Rachel arrives and tells Cable that the Dark Mother probably isn’t their relative, that she just had surgery to make herself look like Jean and confuse them. The three then depart, leaving the Dark Mother cationic on her throne, ready for the SHIELD agents to find.

Full Summary: 

A well-dressed woman sits in an airplane, flipping a pencil between her fingers and looking pleased with herself. She is Gina Anderson, a Cabinet member, the Secretary of Defense. She is on a rush flight to meet with the President and his advisors. Last night, according to the mass media, the mutant terrorist known as Cable used two helpless pawns to assassinate the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Both killers subsequently died by their own hand, but to the press, there is little doubt that Cable masterminded the whole scheme. Only a handful of women know differently. Meanwhile, the United States Armed Forces are on red alert. It is a national emergency. The true villains behind the scheme are a very secret society known as the Dark Sisterhood. For nearly three hundred years they have been carefully plotting to seize total control of the government.

The bodies of the killers are found, with “Cable” scrawled in blood on the walls. It was a member of the Sisterhood who detonated the explosions that killed the government officials. The Sisterhood plans to install a matriarchy headed by their leader, the Dark Mother. They are only a few hours away from their final goal. The Dark Mother is a powerful mutant known as Finality. She dreams of global domination, a world ruled by women. Finality believes in acting slowly, but surely immortal, she can afford to take the long view.

Meanwhile, GW Bridge strides down a corridor. Briefcase in one hand, weapon in the other. He is one of the top commanders of the security agency SHIELD. A few weeks ago, he was transferred to a post in remote Alaska. He discovered his was only one of many such changes, moving long time veterans out of positions of power in the military. ‘I’m here to see Gyrich’ Bridge announces to the two guards in front of Gyrich’s office. ‘Sorry, Commander, but you’re not listed on his schedule’ one of the guards replies, while the other tells him that he should know firearms are not allowed inside. ‘I take that as a no?’ Bridge asks, before pushing his way into Gyrich’s office and breaking the door down. ‘We have to talk’ he demands.

‘Bridge, you’re supposed to be in Alaska. You could be court-martialed for coming here’ Henry Gyrich states. Bridge informs Gyrich that several weeks ago, General Deutsch threatened to shoot him for treason, and tells Gyrich that the country is in serious trouble. ‘All I ask is that you take a look at the papers in my briefcase. Then you can decidd who the traitor is’ Bridge remarks. ‘It’s that important?’ Gyrich asks. ‘It is’ Bridge tells him. Gyrich tells Bridge to have a seat. He tells him that he will call a medic for his guards and then read the report.

At the same time, in the airplane, General Deutsch stands with Gina Anderson, who holds a glass of wine in one hand. ‘Hard to believe this is actually happening. It’s like a dream’ Deutsch tells her. Gina replies that the bomb in the Oval Office detonates in thirty minutes - no more President, Vice President or Cabinet. ‘By the time we land, I’ll be the leader of the United States’ Gina boasts. ‘Amazing. I need another drink’ Deutsch smiles. Deutsch has served the Sisterhood well, but his usefulness is over. Once Gina assumes the office, he is supposed to suffer a fatal “accident”. The Dark Mother doesn’t trust any man in power.

Back in Gyrich’s office, the high-ranking official holds Bridge’s report in his hand and exclaims ‘Absolutely incredible. According to this information, members of the Sisterhood have infiltrated local, state and national government. They have people in the courts, in the armed forces, in organized labour and they control half the criminal activity in the country’. Bridge confirms his report, and points out that if Gina Anderson becomes President, and declares a national emergency, invoking martial law. ‘In six months, we’d be living under a dictatorship without a shot being fired’ Gyrich realizes. He looks at his watch and tells Bridge that he doesn’t think they can trust an intercom message to get through to the President, which means they have eleven minutes and twenty seconds to save the country. ‘I think we’d better hurry’ Bridge tells him.

Back in the jet, Gina Anderson asks the captain what their ETA is. ‘Shortly after ten AM, East Coast time, Ms Anderson’ the captain replies, adding that they will be there in just about an hour from now. He apologizes that the President’s cabinet meeting is going to start in a few minutes, meaning she will be late. Gina tells the captain that she is sure the President will be fine without her, before asking why her security guards have come forward. The captain tells her that they are just being extra cautious, after all, she is sixth in line to the Presidency By the time the plane landed, Gina Anderson would be President - just as the Dark Mother planned.

Meanwhile, two figures overlook a sprawling, futuristic facility, with the name Xylon atop of it. One of them is Nathan Dayspring Summers a.k.a. Cable. He has been called the most dangerous mutant terrorist in the world. He wears a black costume with some armor and accessories, accompanied by a large amount of weapons. He regards himself as the force that blocks all-our war between man and mutant. He takes his responsibility very seriously. For weeks, the Dark Sisterhood has been trying to destroy him. He is not sure why, but he intends to find out today. The sun gleams down over the facility, which sits safely with mountain range behind it. ‘You’re planning on attacking this place?’ Cable’s companion, Irene Merryweather, currently known as Margaret Brundage, asks. ‘Yes. With a little help from my friends’ Cable replies. ‘Friends?’ Irene asks. Cable tells her to be patient. Irene is the chronicler of Cable’s adventures. The Dark Sisterhood almost killed her.

Suddenly, Cable turns to the bushes on the ridge where he and Irene stand, and holding his psimitar, calls out ‘Whoever you are, out of the bushes! Fast!’ A red-hared woman wearing a red and gold Phoenix costume appears, ‘Hey, I come in peace!’ she smiles. ‘Rachel!’ Irene gasps. ‘I thought you were in college’ Nathan tells his sister, Rachel Summers, who explains that she took time off. Cable asks his sister how she found him, and she reminds him that before she was the Phoenix, she was forced to hunt other mutants. ‘You’re a hard man to find, brother. I’m here. Just in time for some action’ Rachel declares. Irene looks at Cable and tells him that, by his expression, she gathers Rachel is not the help he expected. ‘Not unless the Phoenix Force has returned?’ Cable asks. Rachel tells him that it hasn’t, while Irene explains to Rachel that Cable intends to attack the Dark Mother. ‘Fine. What’s the plan?’ Rachel asks. Irene announces that there is no plan, while Cable asks the women to be patient.

Meantime, Gina Anderson’s plane has landed, and Deutsch follows her out onto the tarmac, where they are greeted by several men in suits. ‘Ms Anderson, it’s extremely urgent that we take you to the White House immediately’ one of them reports. Gina calls him Director Whitmore and asks if something is wrong. ‘The President, the Cabinet -’ he begins, as Gina interrupts: ‘The President, the Cabinet? Oh, no, you’re saying…?’ but suddenly, he grabs her and puts her arms behind her back, cuffing her wrists. ‘As I was saying, the President and the Cabinet escaped the bomb your associates planted in the Oval Office with minutes to spare’ Whitmore announces. Gina’s eyes glow, while Deutsch is led away also, and Whitmore tells Gina that, under authority vested in him by the President, he is relieving her and General Deutsch of their posts and that they are under arrest on the charge of treason. ‘Don’t try using any of your mutant powers. One stray thought , one funny blink of the eye, and you’ll have more holes in you than Swiss cheese!’ he warns her. Gina looks furious.

Back on the ridge overlooking the citadel, Cable tells Irene to keep her psi-shield on, as it scrambles her thought waves. ‘The Dark Mother can seize control of the minds of her victims’ he explains, adding that as powerful telepaths, he and Rachel are safe, but without the psi-shield, Irene will be toast. Jets appear overhead, and Cable declares that he knew GW would come through. He gets onto his motorcycle and announces that he will go first. He tells Irene and Rachel to follow in the jeep, and that he will lay down some psychic interference, so nobody will notice them.

At that moment, soldiers drop down from the jets, over Xylon Corporate Headquarters, where there are hundreds of members of the Dark Sisterhood, all trained, lethal fighters. All sorts of weapons-fire can be seen. Henry Peter Gyrich is no fool, though, and what he can’t match in quality, he can overwhelm with quantity, sending thousands of troops to capture the stronghold, he will smother the rebels with soldiers until they surrender - or perish.

Elsewhere, a female police officer is handcuffed and led away by a soldier. ‘Under the National Security Emergency Order signed by the President this morning, I’m arresting you in the name of the US government’ the soldier tells her. ‘The charge is high treason’ he explains.

In another location, GW Bridge and some soldiers stand before some men, one of whom declares that this is an outrage, and he demands to speak to the Secretary of Defense, and the President. Bridge announces that the President is off limits, and the Secretary of Defense is already in custody. ‘You’ll have plenty of time to talk to her’ he adds, supposing that the jury will give him twenty years with her.

Elsewhere again, a sweating, nervous man has gotten out of bed, leaving a blonde woman, who tells him that he can’t leave, that they can fight this in the Senate. Reaching for a large bag of cash, the nervous, sweating man asks ‘Are you blind? The game’s over. Everything’s over. I gambled and lost. You lost. The Dark Mother lost’. The woman tells him that he can’t go, that she won’t let him. ‘Don’t be stupid. I’m leaving’ he replies. ‘You can’t leave’ the woman declares, but the man just tells her to try and stop him. Outside the room, soldiers arrive, but before they open the door, they hear two gun shots. ‘Sounds like we arrived a minute too late’ one of them declares, ordering his men to break the door down.

Back at Xylon, in a secluded part of the complex, the Dark Mother sits on her throne, her loyal warriors at her side. One of them suggests that they should depart, and another announces that the Sixth Progression has failed, so they must flee. A third tells the Dark Mother that they should regroup at their overseas headquarters. The Dark Mother tells the others not to worry, as she knew disaster might occur. She declares that leaving now would be a mistake, so that must wait, as Cable and his sister are coming. ‘Killing them will turn this minor setback into a major victory. Now go. Prepare. They must be destroyed’ she orders.

The large army of troops continue to storm the Sisterhood’s compound, taking down every cloaked sister that they see. According to Irene, if any one song described Cable, it would be “Bat out of Hell”, by Meatloaf. She was right, as Cable drops down through a large skylight window, still on his motorcycle, sending glass shattering everywhere, and firing from his very large weapon as he drops to the ground. He then lets go of the motorcycle, sending it crashing ahead, while he continues to drop to the ground on his own. ‘”Nobody will notice us” Irene quotes Cable sarcastically. Cable smiles and states that he got caught up in the moment, and that it seemed like the troopers could use a helping hand. ‘Besides, I built that sonic wave cannon years ago and never had a chance to test it in a real combat situation’ he points out. ‘Looked like it worked fine to me. What now?’ Irene asks. Rachel smiles at her brother, who explains that the Dark Mother is waiting for them.

The trio turn to enter another part of the complex, where they find three more of the sisters waiting for them. Cable tells Rachel and Irene that the Dark Mother is in the room beyond them, and asks Rachel if she can handle these three. ‘My pleasure, big brother’ Rachel tells him, while Cable asks Irene to stay out of trouble. The sisters fire their weapons at Cable, who dodges their attack, and enters the next room. Rachel frowns and energy flows around her, as she tells the sisters to forget Cable, as they have a bigger problem to worry about - her. ‘I AM JUSTICE!’ Rachel screams as she lunges towards them, and the sisters keel backwards.

‘Waiting for me, Fiona?’ Cable calls out as he approaches the Dark Mother who is on her throne. ‘You know my true name? Good. Then you must know my history’ the Dark Mother replies. Cable can sense the vast energy that the Dark Mother controls. Mentally, they are evenly matched. This battle will be purely physical. She stands up. Still hidden by her cloak and cowl, she declares that ever since those fools in Salem killed her sister three centuries ago, she has sought revenge - not just against them, but all men. The Dark Mother announces that she has planned this day for three hundred years - to seize control of this country, and then the world. ‘Install my descendants in the positions of power, let women rule. With me as their undying empress’ she explains.

Cable’s psimitar glows with energy as he asks ‘Why now? With your incredible mutant abilities, you could have conquered the United States two hundred years ago’, to which the Dark Mother replies ‘When it was weak? How foolish. I waited until the United States became the world’s greatest super power. Now is the time to rule’. She reveals that she had to wait for Cable and his sister to appear. ‘What makes us so special?’ Cable enquires. The Dark Mother’s eyes glow from under her hood, and announces that she can see all the possible futures resulting from her action in the present, and thus, she rewrites the future in the present, bending history to her will. ‘I never lose. I envision any setback in my plans long in advance and change my actions to restructure the future’ the Dark Mother tells Cable, as she lashes out with her own psimitar, but Cable raises his to block hers.

Cable tells the Dark Mother that her plan to take over the government has failed. She claims that is because the strategy involved the one person whose actions she cannot predict. ‘You, Nathan Dayspring Summers!’ the Dark Mother screeches, clanging her psimitar against his once again. The Dark Mother tries to kick Cable as she informs him that three centuries ago, her brother, Clarity, named him her nemesis. The Dark Mother is physically stronger than Cable expected, and she moves with the grace and speed of a woman in her prime. Cable leaps into the air as the Dark Mother slams her psimitar towards him, ‘I’ve never been able to predict your actions!’ she declares. ‘Because I was raised two thousand years in the future’ Cable points out.

Weapon in hand, Irene has crawled into the throne room, and hides behind some debris, while Cable and the Dark Mother continue to battle, and Cable tells his foe that she can’t predict events in her future involving him because he is an anomaly, and the same applies to Rachel, because she comes from a different timeline. ‘That’s why you want us dead’ he adds. ‘As long as you’re alive, Ill never be certain of my plans’ the Dark Mother declares, and punching Cable hard in the face, tells him that he has haunted her nightmares for three hundred years. ‘I want you out of my dreams!’ she shrieks as Cable falls to the ground, and the Dark Mother pulls a dagger out from her cloak. ‘DIE!’ the Dark Mother screams as she leaps towards the fallen Cable - but he swats her out of the way with ease.

The Dark Mother lands against her throne, but her cowl has fallen back - and her face is revealed. ‘Your face -! You look like -’ Cable begins, startled by her appearance. ‘Not Jean. Fiona! Jean’s grandmother many times removed!’ the Dark Mother, who still has a very youthful appearance as well, explains. Fiona adds that Xavier got to Jean before she could be recruited by the Sisterhood. ‘And that makes you, dear Nathan, my grandson!’ Fiona exclaims, pointing out that is why their powers are so evenly matched. She raises the dagger overhead, and prepares to bring it down on Cable, ‘For you, I am Finality!’ she exclaims - but a weapon is fired, and Fiona falls backwards before she can cut Cable.

‘Not today, witch!’ Irene calls out, holding her weapon steady. ‘I’ll crush your heart’ the Dark Mother warns Irene, but as she tries to use her powers against her, discovers Irene’s thoughts are all jumbled. ‘Playtime’s over. You lose’ Cable tells his foe, grabbing her by the throat, he lifts her overhead, while she screams. Cable sets the Dark Mother down on her throne, she slumps to one side. He realizes that she is still breathing, her skin is warm, but her mind has closed down - she isn’t thinking, it’s just darkness. Rachel enters and Cable asks her if she dealt with the sisters. ‘No problem’ Rachel replies, before looking at Fiona and remarking ‘So this is the infamous Dark Mother’. She asks what happened to her. Irene announces that she thinks she knows, and explains that the Dark Mother had the power to see all possible futures and act on the best one - but what if there was no best choice?

‘What if everything she did led to defeat? For the first time in her life, she couldn’t win’ Irene explains. ‘She couldn’t face total ruin. Her mind shut down. She’s alive, but catatonic. Finality’ Rachel adds. ‘That stuff about being Jean’s great-grandmother?’ Cable asks. Rachel tells him that it is extremely doubtful, and that it doesn’t matter, for what is important is who they are not who their ancestors were. Rachel suggests that a little plastic surgery and hair dye probably gave the Dark Mother those features, that it was her final trick. Cable announces that it sounds like soldiers are coming, and suggests that it is time for them to vanish. ‘What do we do with her?’ someone asks. Cable declares that they leave her for the army to find, as they will put her in a nice, safe hospital ward where she will live without thinking forever after. The Dark Mother remains frozen on her throne, hands held up defensively, eyes-wide…scared.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias,

King of kings: look on

My works, ye Mighty,

And despair!

Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay of

That colossal wreck,

Boundless and bare

The lone and level

Sands stretch

Far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Characters Involved: 


Rachel Summers

Irene Merryweather

GW Bridge

Henry Gyrich

Dark Mother / Finality

Gina Anderson

Members of the Sisterhood

General Deutsch

Director Whitmore





Story Notes: 

The Dark Sisterhood storyline began in Cable (1st series) #89 and concludes this issue.

Cable learnt a lot about the Dark Mother’s history in the last couple of issues.

The Dark Mother is later killed by the Marauders in X-Men (2nd series) #202.

Issue Information: 
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