Chapter One: The Long Sleep
Stuck in a cryo-static state in separate terraforming pods the long journey toward Earth continues for both Cable and Hope. For Cable it’s been a slightly different story. For the nearly two years they’ve endured he’s been partially awake. It’s not so much the cryo-statis didn’t do the job, it’s just deep down inside he has known someone’s been following them.
Cable’s battle-honed instincts are spot on. Hot on their trail is a Bishop-guided Acanti and it is closing in fast.
Inside the Acanti
Bishop lies supine within the darkness of the Acanti body. Enveloped by the pink tissue of the creature he’s somehow able to control its movements, its purpose. It’ll be only a matter of minutes before the Acanti overtakes its prey.
Cable’s Terraforming pod
Cable knows who it is, of course. The psychic link between him and Bishop is very strong now. Two years ago it was a faint blip. He even thought he might be imagining it, but now it’s like Bishop is in his head. Cable knows he must be very close. He wonders whether Bishop is conscious of this or in a coma-like state like them. Cable’s not even sure if this is at all real, but for Hope’s sake he has to assume. He has to do something.
Using his mental abilities Cable tries to contact Bishop and convince him it’s all over, that he’s already succeeded in his mission. Bishop’s mind refuses. He knows he must kill the baby to save the world. Cable insists he’s already saved the world, but Bishop’s mind won’t accept it. “Sleep, you stubborn bastard!” Cable pushes the thought into Lucas’ head, but the former X.S.E. officer is persistent.
Bishop’s Acanti opens its giant maw as it closes in on Hope’s terraforming pod. As the pod enters the precipice of the giant creature’s mouth its jaw snaps close with a deafening CRRRRRNNNNNCCHHH, Hope’s pod trapped within.
Alarms ring, hull damage warnings blare, but Hope remains unaware in her unconscious state. Cable senses something amiss and considers sending a telekinetic blast at Bishop to put him to sleep. He worries it might destroy his pod in the process, though. Then again, he realizes he could still be dreaming all this. Deciding to go with the worst case scenario Cable gives it everything he’s got. It works and Bishop arcs back in pain and lets out an anguished yell. The Acanti vomits the terraforming pod back out and Cable finally finds himself in a blessed white nothingness.
The damaged pod belonging to Hope starts telling her to wake up. “Emil?” Hope asks, but realizes it’s just the voice of the computer. As Hope gains her bearings the computer tells Hope of the damage to the pod, which has thrown the ship off course and into Earth’s gravity. Hope’s not worried because the pods are designed to land on planets, but Emil’s voice tells her the approach is too swift. He starts calculating the landing points with the greatest probability of terraforming success.
Hope is surprised the computer can hear and understand her, and says its voice sounds familiar. “Emil” explains he uploaded his language capabilities into the lifepods. Hope asks him for a good place to land, but when he starts shooting off probabilities for greenling production she cuts him off and asks if he can land this thing near Emil’s point of origin. She asks if that particular designation was uploaded. It would have been called New York City at one point, she adds. The computer replies with a poor chance of greenling survival at that location, but Hope orders it there anyway.
A feeling of sleepiness overwhelms Hope and she asks why. The computer tells her she won’t survive the crash if she’s conscious. “Crash?” an incredulous Hope asks. “Emil” wishes her good night and tells her he loves her.
THROOOOM both pods crash leaving a fiery blaze in their wake. Soon after, Bishop’s Acanti smashes into the city. All three mutants lie unconscious following their violent arrival. Bishop is the first one to wake, but as he’s also inside the body of a giant space whale he has a bit of work ahead of him getting out.
Chapter Two: Rat on a Stick
Hope finally awakens and climbs down from her pod, her body sore from impact. When she gets her feet on the ground she stretches out her arms and wonders if she has to learn how to walk again. She takes in her surroundings a bit disappointed the city isn’t any better since they left.
Then Hope makes her way to Cable’s pod and helps the older man out. He argues he can do it himself, but Hope doesn’t listen, instead losing her grip on the big guy. He falls to the ground landing on his back. Hope curses and Cable just looks up at her with a smile and asks what’s up with all the cursing.
Hope hops down and kneels by his side. She mentions how they haven’t eaten in days. Cable tells her it’s actually been two years. Hope says she’s going to search for some food and tells Cable to stay there. She then goes back to her pod and checks to see if “Emil” is still working. The computer is still online so Hope asks it to start the terraforming process. “Emil” begins the terraforming sequence and calculates when the first wheat crop will be available… 7.9 years. Hope slumps back in the cockpit.
Nighttime, underneath a makeshift shelter the odd couple sit around an open fire cooking a rat on a stick. The fire burns away the deadly parasites, but after peeling away the rat’s armor and stripping the toxic membranes there’s not much meat left.
Once it’s fully cooked the two eat in silence, silence that is broken by Hope’s declaration that she’s ready. Cable gives her a sideways glance and asks what she means. “I’m ready” she says again. Cable looks away from her and down at his meager meal. After a moment he turns and looks into her eyes. “I don’t know, Hope,” is his reply.
This doesn’t deter Hope as she asks Nathan to remember long ago what he said when she asked why she was born, that someday she would know. She knows now, Hope says, that everything inside her is crying out to be with them all… Laura, James, Josh, Logan… “I want to be with the X-Men.” Cable seems resigned to the fact, but says they must do something first.
The next morning, Cable and Hope inspect the rotting corpse of the Acanti. Holding her hand over her mouth and nose Hope asks Nathan if he thinks Bishop is dead. Cable doesn’t think so. He then pulls out a knife and slices a small circular opening into the creature. Cable then inserts a tiny, spherical, metal device. Hope asks what it is and Cable tells her it’s something he put together with a few pieces from his lifepod. When Hope presses further Cable grabs her hand and tells her to get a move on.
The two take cover behind a dilapidated structure. Minutes later the Acanti explodes with a fury. Bits and pieces of the animal pelt Hope in the face. Once the shower of animal debris finishes, the two head out to inspect the aftermath for any sign of Bishop. Cable curses after finding none.
The next move for Nathan is securing weapons. He asks Hope if she knows where Emil’s father kept the guns. Hope says she does, but nothing looks familiar anymore. Cable says they have to keep moving, but Hope grabs him by the arm and tells him something strange… she can sense Bishop moving toward them. He just stares at her. Pulling him along Hope thinks she knows a way around him.
The pair stop and Cable asks what it is exactly that Hope feels. She tells him to trust her, but when Bishop pops into their view, gun raised, she realizes she was wrong. Thinking quickly Cable covers Hope with his body taking a slug in his back. He then turns and charges Bishop, who pulls out a knife sheathed across his back.
Bishop uses his bionic hand to grab Cable by the face. He then twists Cable around and pulls him in close, craning his head backward across his shoulder, exposing Cable’s neck. He runs the sharp edge of his blade across Cable’s neck and a trail of blood pours down his chest.
Hope screams out Nathan’s name and watches as he collapses to the ground. Bishop puts his attention back on the real prize. He raises his weapon at Hope, a flashback of when he had her in his sights as a baby flitters through his mind.
Eyes squinted, teeth gritted, Bishop pulls the trigger. The bullet stops mere inches from Hope’s temple. Somehow she’s stopped it, the look on her shocked face shows she didn’t even know how she did it. The bullet, once frozen in midair, drops harmlessly to the ground. Bishop’s face is panic-stricken; he’s failed.
Chapter Three: One Last Chance To Get It Right
Lucas vividly remembers the first time he felt his mutant powers surging through his body. It was triggered by a flood of rage, of hate, and he felt invincible. He wasn’t though, and either is Hope he convinces himself. He holsters his gun and grabs for his knife. He just needs a different weapon.
Hope rushes him before he can draw and delivers a drop kick to his back. Bishop crashes into some debris. Steadily, he gets back to his feet. He cracks a remark about Hope finally discovering her powers and asks if Cable told her about his. He receives an overhand right to the face in retort. Bloody spittle goes flying, but now Bishop has what he needs. He charges up his arm and strikes. Hope gets blasted and goes flying.
Forced to the ground, hair straggled in front of her eyes, Hope fumes. Bishop mockingly guesses Cable never did tell her about his powers. As if in response Hope turns her hand in his direction and returns his attack ten-fold. Bishop is sent flying backward and his bionic arm gets thrashed in the process. He can’t believe the power in her already and as he looks at her standing over him all he sees is Death.
Hope grabs Bishop’s knife and drives it down toward his chest. Cable catches her by the wrist before the steely blade lodges itself into their enemy’s body cavity. “I thought you were dead” the now doe-eyed Hope says as if to justify her cold-blooded attack, dropping Bishop’s knife in the process. Cable brings her in close and tells her it’s hard to fully slit a metal throat.
Hope backs away from her mentor and asks why she shouldn’t kill him. Nathan tells her she doesn’t want his blood on her hands. Cable, on the other hand, doesn’t really mind and he picks up the knife and kneels down next to Bishop. As the blade stands poised a mere half-inch from his throat Bishop begins sweating bullets. Instead of ending this chase once and for all Cable uses the knife to pop open Bishop’s robotic arm and removes a component to repair his own time traveling device.
Satisfied, Cable tells Hope Bishop won’t be able to follow them now that he’s removed that piece and will be stuck in the future with the rats. “You promise?” Hope asks as if it’s too good to be true, that after all these years they have escaped Bishop once and for all. “Promise.” Cable responds with a half-smile.
As Cable gets to work Hope seems to stare off into the distance. She’s thinking of the manifestation of her mutant power. It’s so weird to her, how it just happened. Cable points out she was highly emotional and explains that’s how it usually happens the first time. Cable closes the casing on his own arm, finished with the repair work. He tells Hope he’s not sure if she can force it again, but when they get back they can have the X-Men look into it, “That is… if you still want to go,” he finishes.
Hope looks down at the beaten body of her tormentor, “Yeah… I do.” Cable takes her in his arms and jokes at how much heavier she is than the last time they did this. Hope smiles and calls him a jerk. As the bluish haze of teleportation envelops them the careworn Cable asks her not to throw up on him.
New Amsterdam, 1614
The pair reappear in a heavily forested area. Hope asks if this is what the present looks like and where the X-Men are. CAble takes one look around and pointedly says he doesn’t think they’ve been born yet.
Back to the Future
Bishop is lying there, waiting to die, when the familiar sensations, skin burning, head pounding and the sudden nausea, hit him. Then the bluish teleportational glow envelops his body and he reappears in the same forest as Hope and Cable. Bishop realizes that Fate has given him a second chance. He draws his gun and begins to hunt his prey once again.