New Jersey, 2043 A.D.
Cable stands on the crumbled remains of a road and stares out onto a large body of water. Across its shimmering surface, he sees the abandoned remnants of New York City.
I heard some radio on the boat. There were references to massive East Coast flooding. And “the Superstorm of 2012,” Cable thinks to himself. I didn’t imagine it would be this bad. Realizing there is no point in going to New York City, he turns around and heads back into the slums of New Jersey.
Before he gets very far, he is stopped by a cloaked man. The man pulls out a shotgun and informs Cable that he hasn’t paid his toll yet. Cable looks at the man’s face, but cannot gauge any sort of feeling behind the man’s facemask and goggles. So, he draws the situation out.
“Toll?” Cable asks. While the bandit explains himself, Cable carefully surveys his surroundings. He spots the reflection of a second shooter in a window directly behind him. He also sees a sniper with his rifle aimed at his head. He also spies another bandit, lurking in the shadows with a grenade launcher.
With the situation completely analyzed, Cable proceeds to take action. He pulls out his hunting knife and, pretending it is his currency for the toll, tosses it at the feet of the first bandit. The bandit leans down to grabs the hunting knife, momentarily taking his eyes off of Cable.
Cable jumps forward and kicks the bandit in the arm. The force from the kick propels the knife into the bandit’s shoulder, piercing it. Cable then grabs this bandit and uses him as a human shield. Sure enough, the sniper starts firing. He hits the bandit twice in the chest, but manages to clip Cable’s right arm. Despite this injury, Cable grabs the shotgun out of the bandit’s hand and fires off a round at the sniper. He hits him in the head, killing him instantly. Then, Cable pulls the hunting knife out of the bandit’s shoulder and throws it at the man with the grenade launcher. It hits him in the chest just as he fires off a round. Cable dodges the projectile grenade, and it sails over his shoulder and kills the final shooter.
Cable examines his surrounding, and comments that this was too close of a call. He lifts up his cloak. Strapped to his chest in a makeshift pouch is the mutant baby he has sworn to protect. The smiling baby looks up at her care-taker, completely oblivious to the battle that just occurred.
Cable lifts the baby out of the pouch on his chest and examines it for injuries. The baby seems fine, but Cable catches a whiff of an unpleasant smell. He looks around for a diaper, and ends up grabbing the bandana from a dead bandit’s head. Then he sets the baby down and changes its diaper right there in the street, only a few feet from the dead bandits.
After changing the diaper, Cable briefly recounts the series of events that led him to this particular place and time. He recalls how he rescued the newborn baby from its incubator in Cooperstown, Alaska, but had to fight his way through the murderous Purifiers as he fled. His path eventually led him to Dallas, where Bishop ambushed him and almost shot the baby. A similar stand-off occurred on Muir Island, where Bishop once again was moments away from killing the infant. This last time, however, Predator X intervened and tore off Bishop’s right arm. Cyclops then entrusted Cable with the baby. Using some of Forge’s technology, he traveled to the year 2043.
Once, I was sent forward in time so that my life could be spared. I was told I was destined for something important, Cable muses while cradling the sleeping baby over his shoulder. Maybe it’s this.
Cable then comments to himself that he should never have been clipped by that bullet. I’m getting sloppy, he thinks. Probably exhaustion. I haven’t closed my eyes since Muir Island.
Cable also realizes the baby will probably be getting hungry soon. He decides to seek out some place that might have food. His search leads him to an old, road-side diner called Last Stop USA.
Meanwhile, inside the diner, a different man sits by himself at a table. Day in, day out. Year in, year out. But in just a few minutes, he thinks to himself, it will all be worth it. In the background, a few patrons sit by themselves at the counter, and TV in the corner displays the headline “Seattle Drought in Day 90.” The man picks up a bottle of beer with his gargantuan, robotic right arm and pops the cap with his thumb.
Back outside, Cable approaches the door of the diner. He covers the baby beneath his cloak before he goes in. “Shhhh. Don’t fuss, little girl. It’s just until I check the place out,” he tells the baby. As he opens the door, the clock on the exterior wall reads 9:15.
Inside, the solitary man at the table checks his watch. It reads 9:15:55. Just seconds away now, he thinks. He reaches down and removes his machine gun from its holster. He aims the gun right at the door, telling himself that this time he will not hesitate.
Cable opens the door. He starts scanning the room, looking for a table against the wall. He finally turns his head far enough to see the man pointing a machine gun directly at him. Cable shields the baby’s position on his chest with his mechanical arm. He succeeds in blocking the bullets, but the force from the gunfire sends him crashing out a window. He breaks through the glass and lands on his back, drifting dangerously close to unconsciousness.
The shooter steps forward and addresses the crowd. “Everyone relax! My name’s Lucas Bishop,” he says. Bishop’s eyes glow red, and he holds his machine gun in his large, mechanical right arm. “I’m a cop.”