Cable (2nd series) #16

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
Too Late For Tears Part 1

Duane Swierczynski (writer), Paul Gulacy (artist), Thomas Mason (colors), VC's Joe Caramagna (letters), Dave Wilkins (cover), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

A temper tantrum leads to disastrous results when Hope kicks free of Cable during a timeslide. The pair suddenly find themselves separated through time, Hope reappearing two years ahead of Cable. Bishop manages to track down Cable and though suffering from a new battle with the T/O virus Cable is able to defeat him. However, Bishop realizes that something's wrong and that Hope is somewhen else so he teleports into the past. Hope, meanwhile, is alone and scared. She makes her way to the nicer looking of two cities she spies off in the distance and finds it populated with the ancestors of Stryfe's army. Despite trying to hide she meets a boy named Emil who is instantly infatuated with her. Hope puts up a tough exterior, but starts to grow on the boy over time. When she discovers Bishop hanging out with Emil's father she realizes her life just got even more complicated.

Full Summary: 


trash-heap border of the former Celestial City

Cable is standing amongst the debris of a town long abandoned. He has the nine-year-old Hope wrapped up in his arms and she's not too happy about their next move. Furious would be a more appropriate term to describe her mood as she's being forced to ditch the newfound friends she made with X-Force. She wants to go with them, but Nathan tells her that's not going to happen. A grim determination sets on the young girl's face, disaster mere moments away.
Just as Cable enacts his timeslide device Hope places her booted feet upon his chest and kicks. "Get off!" she screams. Cable isn't expecting this and loses his grip. A moment later Hope realizes what she's done. She reaches out for Cable's panicky outstretched arm, but it's too late. She screams as she vanishes into the timestream, disappearing in a small flash of light.
"Hope!!" Cable yells, halting the timeslide and falling to the ground flat on his stomach. She's gone, Cable realizes, as he gets to his knees. He curses himself. He should have known better. She's just a kid and will do childish things, he reasons, and it was his job to save her from her mistakes.
Two years ago

Hope reappears into reality still screaming for Nathan. She finds herself flat on her butt in similar surroundings to those she just left behind. She's confused, wondering where Nathan and the X-Men are. She realizes she's alone for the first time in her life and she's terrified.

Cable quickly surmises the situation; Hope was released somewhere in the past when she pushed away. Nathan figures it was only a couple of seconds before he stopped timesliding, and wonders how long time-wise he leaped ahead of her. He figures anywhere from eighteen months to two years may have slipped by.
Cable switches to soldier mode and begins looking for any signs of her having spent time in this area or worst case her remains. He wants to scream, but trudges forward.
Two years ago

Despite her need for sleep, Hope knows she needs to get moving just in case Bishop is still alive and tracking her. She has to find a good hiding place until Nathan comes for her.
Hope moves about the scattered wreckage looking for someplace suitable. Doubts start to creep into her mind that maybe Nathan won't be back. She tells herself not to freak out and to use her surroundings. That's when she spies some tall structures off in the distance. As Hope looks closer she spies two cities not separated far from each other. She just knows one of those cities has to have a few good hiding spots and that's where Nathan will come looking for her.

Cable shields his eyes from the sun and spies the same two cities as Hope did two years earlier. Nathan mistakenly believes Hope would never hide there, thinking it too risky. He figures she would stay in the general area, but where, and why is there no sign of her.
Cable's right hand, his T/O virus-infected hand, starts to glow. He brings it closer to his face to examine it, knowing full well the cause. When he fought Stryfe he used up every bit of telekinetic energy he had left and now the T/O virus that has been ravaging his body since he was a boy is spreading, unhindered.
Nathan pulls down the front of his shirt, exposing the top of his chest. Sure enough the metallic growth has already moved halfway across. Panic begins to set in. Within moments the virus travels to his lungs. Cable grips his chest in agony and falls to the ground on his back. "No", he keeps repeating over and over again. He flips over into the prone position and slams his fist into the ground. Lifting himself up slightly Cable pukes out the contents of his stomach. He collapses back onto the ground and passes out just before his heart and lungs transform into cybernetic organisms.
127 years ago

Bishop has been defeated again, but that doesn't deter him from his mission. He sits on a small wall contemplating what he must do. His mechanical arm is pretty much useless, just dangling steel causing strain to his shoulder. When the arm was functional it supported its own weight with stabilizers, but now he determines it needs to be removed.
Bishop grabs a nearby hunk of metal and starts jamming it into the circuitry near the elbow joint. He eventually damages it enough that he can use his other arm to rip it off. Luckily for him the time machine inside his upper arm still works and he knows what he still has to do.
Two years ago

Clean city

Hope's journey to the city is taking longer than she expected. It didn't look that far initially. She takes a break, copping a squat on the barren earth and using a nearby stick to draw into the dirt. When Hope is finished a representation of her situation is revealed. There are two faces representing her and Nathan and an arrow showing their jump through the timestream. She knows that Cable is somewhere ahead of her, but she has no idea how far. Hope suddenly realizes she might live her whole life and never see him again.
As Hope approaches the nicer looking city she recognizes the celestial technology of Stryfe and Apocalypse that comprises the buildings. She wonders if they're still around. Hope quickly ducks into the shadows of a stairwell and journeys topside.
Making her way across a large wall Hope surveys the citizens below. No, it's not Stryfe or Apocalypse, but the grandsons and granddaughters, great-grandsons and great-granddaughters of Stryfe's so-called "Stryfetroopers" who, after being freed from Stryfe's control, made new lives for themselves, obviously plundering the ruins of his city for its technology and building a new city a short distance away.
From Hope's overwatch position she begins formulating plan, the first step of which is to gather some food. "Hey," someone says to her from behind. She turns quickly and finds a bald-headed boy a bit older in age standing directly behind her. She says nothing, but the boy asks her what she's doing up there.
Hope reaches into her boot for a long, rusted spike. She raises it up in a threatening manner and tells the boy she'll gut him like a fish if he takes another step. The boy ignores her threat, thinking she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. He then introduces himself as Emil.
"Like I care?" Hope scoffs and tells him to back off. Emil's a persistent one, though, and asks again where she came from. Hope introduces herself as "throat-slicer" and warns him if he tells anyone about her that's what she'll do to him.
Emil, who's holding a basket of fruit, extends his arm and asks if she's hungry. Hope snatches the basket by its handle and takes off like a rabbit. Emil gives chase, but Hope's too good and quickly ditches her new admirer.

trash-heap border of the former Celestial City

Cable regains consciousness and puts himself into the Lotus position. He hopes he can somehow coax more of his telekinesis out through mediation, that he might have something somewhere in reserve.
He hears a Klonk, the sound of a boot crunching through some trash. The time for mediation is over. Nathan turns and finds Bishop stalking toward him, gun raised and pointed at him. Bishop doesn't bother with any fancy quips he just lets loose with a volley of fire.
Bishop's blast connects and Cable goes crashing through a decrepit wall. Cable struggles to get up, but Bishop calmly walks over and blasts him again right in the side of his ribs. The punishing hit knocks him down once more.
Confusion sets in on Bishop. Where's Hope, he wonders. It doesn't stop his assault, though, and he shoots Cable again. Nathan looks up at him from the ground and deciphers the look on his face. You're too late, you'll never find her, he taunts. Bishop is even more confused, confident Nathan would never leave Hope somewhere else.
Cable takes advantage of Bishop's momentary lack of concentration and reaches for his gun, crushing it with his T/O enhanced hand. He then leaps to his feet and grabs Bishop around the neck, putting him in a chokehold. Nathan takes his other hand and wraps it around the back of Bishop's head. He proceeds to slam Lucas' face into the ground. When Bishop lifts his head there's a huge gash in his forehead.
Bishop breaks free, realizing Cable was bluffing earlier. He stares at his nemesis, noticing his facial features almost completely encompassed with metal now. He takes aim with his arm and blasts Cable with his mutant power, hoping to finally finish him off. Cable reels back with the force of the concussion, but otherwise he's unaffected, not in the current state he's in.
Nathan charges and pounds Bishop's jaw with an overhand right. It's kind of ironic that he's at his strongest when his body is succumbing to the virus. It'll make him pretty much invincible right before it kills him. He realizes this as he stares at his opponent lying on the ground, defeated.
Two years ago

Clean city

Munching on an apple, Hope has found a temporary hiding spot to feast on her stolen fruit. Unfortunately, Emil finds her after much searching. He catches Hope off guard and she scolds him for sneaking up on her. Emil isn't put off by her tough exterior and asks her what the "X" on her uniform stands for. "X-tinct," she replies.
Cutting through the tough talk Emil wants her to be serious for a moment and asks Hope if she has a place to stay. He goes so far as to offer her his apartment with his dad. Hope says he must not like his family. Emil asks why and she tells him she'd bring them nothing but death and destruction. Instead of shying away, Emil smiles and tells Hope she makes him laugh. Almost smiling Hope tells him he makes her sick to her stomach.
Days go by and Emil still doesn't know her name, but that doesn't stop him from looking for her. Most mornings he fails, but sometimes he gets lucky. On one of these days Emil asks her if she's a spy from the Unclean city. Hope doesn't even turn to look at him, just tells him to go somewhere else and die. Emil points over at said city and tells her to stay away from it for it's diseased and uncivilized, or at least that's what his father says. "Like this dump is much better?" she asks.
Emil steps in front of her, forcing her to at least glance his way. He tells Hope his father has plans to leave this city and it will be someday soon. Where, Hope asks.

trash-heap border of the former Celestial City

Bishop stares up at the giant rock Cable has outstretched in his arms balanced over his head. He knows he can't win this fight. He also knows Hope is somewhere out there alone and defenseless, which makes it even easier for him to decide to teleport out of there. Bishop reaches for the teleport button and disappears mere moments from being crushed to death. "No!" Cable exclaims, as he realizes Bishop's new plan.
Two years ago

Bishop reappears two years in the past, but not totally unscathed. He looks over at his shoulder and finds it crushed. The power supply seems to be intact, but the time mechanism is beyond repair. There's no way home for Lucas.
Bishop gets to his feet and wipes the blood still pouring from his brow. It doesn't matter he decides for his mission isn't over until he kills the girl anyway. He assumes correctly that they separated somewhere in time and the girl was left behind.
Taking in his surroundings Bishop spies the two cities off in the distance. He remembers back to when he was a kid and what he would have done, found safety in numbers. He figures she's hiding in one of the two and all he has to do is acquire a nuke or find a way to flush her out.
Clean city

More days pass and Hope seems to be warming up to Emil, or at least stops threatening to cut his throat. He tells her all about his father's plans to head out into space. Hope is a bit taken aback by this, but he assures her his dad has a vessel almost completed ready to take them all off-planet. Emil even offers to take her with them, but only if she tells him her name. Hope says she can't leave, and when Emil asks why she tells him she's waiting for someone.
"Oh," Emil replies, a bit dejected. Hope notes the change in tone and quickly thanks him for the offer. Before she can explain her situation, though, someone very familiar rounds the corner. "Oh @#$%," she says, spotting Bishop and a squad of soldiers now walking in their direction.
"Father! Over here!" Emil calls out. Hope quickly sneaks off, undetected. The armored individual to Bishop's left is surprised to see his son hanging out in the alley and asks him what he's doing.

Characters Involved: 


Hope Summers II


Clean city residents/soldiers

Story Notes: 

In X-Force (3rd series) #13 the team was sent into the future by Cyclops to help ensure the safety of the Messiah child, or more specifically to kill Bishop. They only had 33.2 hours in the future before their time-traveling devices brought them back to the present. Hope befriended some of the team which is why she doesn't want to go, but X-Force was leaving anyway so it didn't really matter.
This issue is narrated by Emil.
Cable thought he had once purged the techno-organic virus from his body back in Cable (1st series) #100. Unfortunately, it was bonded for too long with his DNA and resurged in Cable and Deadpool #1.

Issue Information: 
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