Cable (2nd series) #10

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
Waiting for the End of the World – Chapter Four: The Last Hope

Duane Swierczynski (writer), Ariel Olivetti (artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In the future, Cable learns about the destruction of Earth from a captured cockroach soldier and suspects Bishop’s hand in it. He decides to head to Westchester. Along the way, Hope is killed in an ambush. He renames Little Girl “Hope” to honor his late wife’s memory. In the present, Bishop reassembles his time-travel mechanism while fighting off the X-Men. X-Force returns and attacks him, but he jumps back through time just as they arrive, sustaining only minor injuries in the process. Emma manages to learn of his destination before he escapes: Westchester, a couple thousand years in the future. Sometime in the near future, Bishop arrives at a seedy bar and makes a sinister proposal to a mysterious, familiar figure.

Full Summary: 

X-Men HQ. The present…

Emma Frost knows Bishop can hear her voice inside his head. She knew he was about to release the crippling nanites, mere seconds before he did it. She even knows what he intends to do right now; she can see him reconnecting the machinery of his mechanical arm through his eyes. She orders him not to.

Bishop, wandering past the unconscious bodies of Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Beast, finally happens upon Emma. “Ah. I thought I heard you thinking in here,” she tells him. Bishop immediately draws his machine gun and fires several rounds at her. She remains motionless, instead shifting to her diamond form to defend herself. The nanites he released may excel at disrupting the human nervous system, she says, but they cannot do a thing to diamonds.

Somewhere in the future…

By Cable’s count, it is day 758 of his journey. He, Hope, and Little Girl left New Liberty six months ago. Now, they find themselves sitting at a table in a bombed-out building with a bowl of food to share. Cable has trouble convincing either member of his family to eat. Hope refuses to eat until Cable does; he has remained awake for days now. Little Girl has no such defense. She simply isn’t hungry. Interesting how it all comes down to basic things, like food, Cable thinks. That’s what the roaches were after.

Cable recalls how he led the invading cockroach forces away from New Liberty, to spare its other residents. The President, angered by Cable’s escape, sent his army after him and his family, and promised a hefty bounty to the soldier who brought back Cable’s head. Cable just wishes the cockroach people had been edible. He killed many of them during the ensuing chase, in the process discovering many weaknesses in their armor, and upsetting Little Girl, who continually cried at the sight of their deaths. Nevertheless, the President continued his pursuit, and forced Cable and his family even farther into the wastelands of North America, where the chase still continues. Food out here is scarce, Cable says, and the United States of America in much drearier condition than he remembered.

He recalls how, on the way to New Liberty, he and Little Girl repeatedly jumped forward in time as they traversed the landscape. Decades went by in a matter of years. Plus, once inside New Liberty, they had no view of the outside world. Now, he sees what he missed during all those years. The entire continent lies in ruins. Most civilized structures have deteriorated. Fear and predators rule the land. If this thing is the President, Cable thinks, referring to the cockroach leader, then he should be tried for neglecting his country.

Hope and Little Girl finish eating the heavily salted meat and overripe fruit they managed to barter at a trading post. Cable watches them eat. He likes watching his family eat. Over the years, he has learned that the small pleasures this can fill a man more than food. Once they finish, he finds a spot to shave his overgrown beard. Little Girl watches with a fascinated look on her face. Cable turns to her and smiles.

X-Men HQ. The present…

Emma assumes, since Bishop cannot harm her, that they can now have a rational conversation like rational adults. Now she wants to be rational, Bishop asks? He turns and repels her with a blast of charged energy. With Emma at a safe distance, and still in her diamond form, Bishop finally reconnects his mechanical arm. He whips around as his robotic tentacles extend and ensnare Emma by the neck. Now he’ll get to see how she likes gasping for air, he says.

In a desperate gambit, Emma fills Bishop’s head with nagging thoughts of self-doubt. You’ve severed a vital artery. You attached the wrong wire and your arm is going to explode in two seconds. These tendrils are wrapped around your neck. You’re already dead but are too stubborn to know it. There’s blood gushing down your body. Bishop tells her to shut up; he knows what she is trying to do! Emma continues anyway. The arm is out of power, she tells him. Hank’s right behind you. Again, Bishop tells her to shut up and get out of his head. Emma informs him that this time, she speaks the truth; Hank really is right behind him. Before Bishop even has a chance to check, the hulking Beast grabs him by the shoulder and hurls him forcefully into the wall.

The future…

Suddenly, Cable hears a loud cracking noise from behind. He whips around, shaving knife still in his hand, and sees the Blattarian President of the United States holding a gun directly at Hope’s head. The President demands he surrender and drop his weapon in the name of the United States of America. With no other options, Cable complies, and kicks his hunting knife toward the roach’s feet. He asks that Hope be left alone. The President tells him to shut up, and hands him a slave collar, which he instructs him to wear. Again, Cable complies. With the collar in place, the President commands Cable to kill both Hope and Little Girl. Once the slave collar is activated, Cable has little choice but to comply. He brings his hands to his neck and tries to tear it off. It’s too late. He turns to Little Girl with an involuntary look of murder in his eyes.

Instinctually, Little Girl reaches down, grabs the discarded hunting knife, and plunges it through a chink in the cockroach’s armor and into its stomach. Once freed, Hope runs over to her husband and removes his slave collar before he can act. “I should leave this on you. Maybe you’d listen,” she says to him. Cable looks past his wife and toward his adopted daughter, who still has her hand on the blood-soaked knife. He compliments her resourcefulness and courage; she must really pay attention when she needs to, he says. Little Girl shrugs. The cockroach was hurting her parents; what else could she have done? Once more, Cable commends her good work, and turns to the bleeding, gasping, cockroach soldier. Time for a little history lesson, Cable says, holding the slave collar menacingly in his hand.

The present…

While pummeling Bishop in the face, Hank pleads with him to be rational. They shouldn’t have to fight like this, he says while raising his fists. Bishop, catching him off-guard, repels Hank with an energy blast to the face. He continues reconnecting the wires of his robotic arm during his brief respite. Just as he connects the final wire, however, Wolfsbane, Warpath, X-23, and Wolverine emerge from the shadows and charge into the room with their claws extended.

The future…

The President lies on the ground, defenseless, in the middle of his brutal interrogation. He explains how, two years earlier, the United Nations declared North America a free zone for all of humanity. The U.N. basically impugned on the sovereign rights of the U.S.’s inhabitants, the President adds. Cable presses the shock button on his collar. “Stick to the facts,” he says. “Why a free zone?”

The President asks if he is kidding. Does he have no idea? How long has he been cooped up in New Liberty, he asks? He informs Cable that North America is a free zone because North America is the only place left. However, that does not give the rest of the world the right to overtake its borders and settle anywhere it wants. That, the President says, is why they had to eliminate the United Nations. Now, the cockroach people intend to take back the rest of their country, one square mile at a time.

Cable interrupts him; what happened to the rest of the world, he asks? The President stares at him in disbelief. He really must not know, he says. Years ago, he explains, a series of disasters occurred in rapid succession. First, Australia was nuked. Nobody ever figured out who did it – not even the terrorist groups would credit. Merely a year later, Europe was rocked by what later became known as the Great European Water Panic. Then, wildfires devastated South America, and finally, Africa and Asia were consumed by civil wars. Cable listens to the series of events in horror. To him, it sounds as if each continent decided to hit its self-destruct button at the same time. It could not have been a coincidence. Someone must have done it intentionally, he deduces; someone who wanted to make Cable’s world a lot smaller…

The present…

Wolverine lunges at Bishop just as he presses a button on his arm. “Don’t you freakin’ dare,” Wolverine says as he slashes at Bishop’s neck. Bishop, having activated his time-travel machinery, begins to vanish. He completely disappears, leaving behind nothing but a spurt of blood.

He reappears earlier in the year, in what will later become the site of the X-Men’s headquarters. He stares down at his hand; it seems Wolverine managed to cut him a little before he could escape. He has yet to see the gaping wounds Wolverine left on his neck and face. He mumbles a few words before passing out from shock and blood loss, and collapses on the floor. A pool of blood forms beneath his neck.

The future…

Cable and his family walk away from the dismembered President. For the first time in his life, Cable thinks, he has no idea what the future holds. He is in a completely uncharted timeline. He can think of only one reference point left in the world: Westchester, New York. Who knows if it, or the X-Mansion, even remains, though? However, he clings to the chance his father left him a message there. After informing Hope of their new destination, she teases him, and then throws her arms around his neck. “I pick on you,” she says, “…but I’d follow you anywhere, Nathan. You know that.”

On day 783, with his wife and child starving, Cable finally spots a settlement a few kilometers off in the distance. They should reach it by dawn, he says. By that time, hopefully he can think of some item to barter. Hopefully, the settlers will have food.

On day 784, Cable, Hope, and Little Girl approach the settlement. They are met with resistance. The exhausted Cable fights back. Even with his groggy reaction time, he manages to eliminate each member of the attacking militia. However, he fails to do so in time. A trio of stray bullets hit Hope directly in the chest. She falls to her knees, her mouth agape, and stares at her smoking, mortal wounds. Little Girl watches in shock as the life escapes from her adoptive mother’s body. “MOMMY!!” Little Girl cries. The grief-stricken Cable runs to his Hope and clutches her in his arms.

Cable tries to stop the bleeding, but the wound is too large. His wife, Hope Summers, dies in his arms.

The present…

As the X-Men recollect themselves, Beast implores Scott to not say what he is undoubtedly thinking. “I know what needs to be done,” Hank says. “And as soon as I pass around the aspirin, the team’s back on the case.”

Scott approaches Emma. She tells him she knows Bishop’s destination. Where, Cyclops asks? Just before Bishop jumped, she picked up a stray thought; he’s going to Westchester, only a few thousand years in the future, because he thinks Cable and the baby might be there.

Wolverine, meanwhile, approaches Cyclops and begins with his “I told ya so”. Scott tells him not to worry; he and his squad will soon get another shot at Bishop. When the time comes, he says, he wants Logan to do what he does best.

The future…

Cable and the mutant messiah child bury Hope Summers on day 785. The grieving family then continues on their way without her. Shortly thereafter, they arrive at an isolated chapel out in the desert. A compassionate priest greets them at the door, and asks for Cable’s name. “Nathan,” he answers. “Do you have any water to spare, father?”

“We share what we have with all,” the priest says. He turns to Little Girl. “And what is your name, child?”

Little Girl stares up at him with a politely, and silently. Nathan reaches down and pats her on the head. “Hope,” he tells the priest. “Her name is Hope.”

Somewhere in the near future…

Bishop, having recovered from his injuries, arrives at the door of bar called “Betty Noir’s”. A patron at the boor audibly orders something cold, and on tap. Bishop sits next to this hulking, shrouded figure. He thought that was him, Bishop says. The mysterious person tells Bishop he looks better than last time they met. Bishop reciprocates the sentiment. The shady character then asks how Bishop found him. Long story, Bishop says, before offering him another beer. After a pause, Bishop turns to the individual sitting next to him, and says he has a proposition to make.

Characters Involved: 


Little Girl/Hope Summers II

Hope Summers I

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler (X-Men)

Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (X-Force)


The President of the United States of America


Mysterious shrouded figure

Betty Noir’s Bartender

Various soldiers

Unnamed members of the United Nations

Story Notes: 
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