Chapter Eight: The Battle of Central Park
Nighttime falls as pedestrians and cars alike make their way through the streets of Manhattan. One car in particular houses a pair of button men preparing to take down the Boss of their rival. “Nice block, innit?” the well-suited gangster with the neatly trimmed moustache says to his partner. The driver, wearing a cap and turtleneck sweater, says he’d rather live in Canarsie any day of the week.
As they close in on their destination the driver points out that the big guy should be coming out soon for his 6 p.m. reservation. Mr. Moustache worries they should have brought Davey since the Boss is going to have his “hard boys” with him. The driver cracks a smile and says “screw Davey” pulling out “Mr. Thompson,” a Thompson submachine gun. Mr. Moustache worries what the big man’s boys are packing, but his buddy assures him they aren’t packing Thompsons.
This slightly bothers Mr. Moustache as he didn’t realize they were supposed to kill all three of them. He asks Mr. Turtleneck if they’re getting paid for three contracts. Mr. Turtleneck assures him they’re getting paid for the job and tells his nervous partner to shut up already. He’s about to lay into him some more, but he notices a bluish glow suddenly appear from behind. When he turns to look he sees Cable and Hope running toward their vehicle.
Cable runs up alongside Mr. Moustache and cracks him across the face with his t-o enhanced fist. Hope’s on the other side and also decks Mr. Turtleneck knocking out a few of his teeth in the process. She then rips the gun from his hands and tosses it over to Cable. She warns the two men to leave if they don’t want to get hurt, but the driver tells her she’s the one who’s in big trouble.
That’s when the targeted Boss steps out from his apartment. “…so I says, ‘Wrecked ‘em? It damn near killed ‘em!’” The Boss finishes his joke with a laugh as he and his bodyguards step out onto the sidewalk. His smiling face turns to a look of confusion when he spies Bishop coming out of seemingly nowhere and opening fire on Cable. Cable returns fire with the Tommy gun, taking cover behind the car. Both of the goons inside hop out of the car and hit the pavement.
The two bodyguards open fire with their handguns, the Boss telling them to kill everyone. Bishop takes cover behind a tree and orders them to stop and throw down their weapons, stating he’s a police officer. These words confuse Mr. Moustache as Bishop doesn’t look like any cop he’s ever seen. Mr. Turtleneck asks Hope who the hell she is. She replies that it’s a long, long story.
Reaching out his hand, Cable tells Hope to get behind the wheel. She gets into a low stance and hops in the car. The two mooks can’t believe they’re being left to die. Cable ignores them as he plants his feet on the running board outside the car and tells Hope to floor it in reverse. Hey lays down a stream of cover fire as they try to make their escape. Bishop fires back setting their engine on fire and proceeds to chase them down the street.
The five gangsters are left to ponder what the hell just happened. Then a bluish light bursts from inside the car, soon after engulfing the “police officer” chasing it. Bishop disappears right in front of them and the car bursts into flames. As the Mafioso stand in awe of what just happened the Boss decides to call a two hour truce and tells the four other men the drinks are on him.
When Bishop reemerges through time he finds himself hip-deep in water, the torrential flooding from the Superstorm of 2012 still not resolved. Bishop’s pistol, the one he confiscated from the Turnpike Authority during their last jaunt to the future, fizzles out from the water exposure.
As Bishop wades over to some dry pavement he takes fire from Cable and his Tommy gun. He ducks behind a small concrete divider and then removes another item he picked up from the Authority, a grenade. Bishop screams that what they see around them is the result of Hope. He then tosses the grenade and whispers to himself that this will be the last thing she sees.
Before the grenade can reach its intended target Cable grabs Hope’s hand and teleports them to safety. As he feels the pull of the temporal energy Bishop realizes he’s failed yet again.
When Bishop finally makes his reappearance Cable and Hope are nowhere to be seen. A couple passersby take one look at Bishop in his futuristic regalia and believe him to be some sort of junkie. Bishop doesn’t take kindly to their comments and tells them not to get in his way as he makes his way up the steps toward the museum.
This is also where Hope and Cable are located having ducked in there after reappearing ahead of Bishop. Once again Cable’s not looking so good and Hope warns him to stop timesliding so much, so quickly. She doesn’t want his heart to give out again.
Elsewhere in the museum Bishop spots a sign that reads “Weapons of the Middle Ages” with an arrow pointing the way to the exhibit. Currently weaponless, that’s where he heads.
Meanwhile, continuing their conversation, Cable tells Hope he’s fine and that they need to focus on disorienting Bishop so they can take him out. His words fall on deaf ears; Hope’s head cocked slightly, her eyes staring off into space. Nathan brings her back into focus asking what’s wrong. It’s what Bishop said just before they jumped that has Hope distracted. What if Bishop is right and she did all those horrible things, she asks. Speaking from experience, Cable tells her she’s in charge of her own destiny no matter what anyone says. “Not even you?” she replies coyly.
Back to Bishop who’s found his way to the Middle Ages exhibit; he’s also found the replacement for his water logged pistol, an old-fashioned crossbow. A few moments later, as Cable and Hope run through a Norse exhibit, Cable spots Bishop, crossbow in hand, and orders Hope to move it.
An arrow with a grenade taped around its tip is fired at the pair. Cable tackles Hope just as the grenade flies overhead and detonates. The force of the explosion propels the two through an open glass window. They land on the ground below none the worse for wear. When they get to their feet Hope asks about their next move. Cable tells her they’re going across Central Park and taking the subway home.
Chapter Nine: Cable’s Last Stand
As they make their journey through Central Park Cable begins a series of timejumps. When they leap into the future again they reappear in 2024. The air is acrid with smoke, human skeletons litter the landscape. They jump again and end up back in 1967. There are a bunch of hippies milling about so Cable knows they’re not there just yet. Another jump into the future takes them to 2019. There the skeletal remains are just decomposing bodies. Cable leaps into the past again, this time arriving in 1978. Hope pauses for a moment to marvel at how nice the city looks. Cable tells her they’ll come back some time, stating the late 90’s were when the city was at its best.
They finally arrive at the stairs leading down to the subway. Nathan explains they’ll follow the tracks to Westchester timejumping along the way until they get it right. Some random dude flirts with Hope as they walk down the steps.
Still hot on their trail is Bishop, who managed to snap a couple swords before escaping from the museum. There’s a trail of blood making it easy for Bishop to track. When he heads down the steps and reaches the subway platform a guy with a camera takes a picture of him. It ends up on the front page of the Daily Bugle with the headline “Insane Bald Man—With Swords!—Takes The Subway”
Meanwhile, Hope and Cable are already walking along the subway tracks. Hope asks if it wouldn’t be easier just to ride one of the trains. Cable tells her he has a different plan and then has to snag her before she’s hit by an oncoming train.
A breathless Hope wants to know why they’re dodging trains in a dark tunnel. It’s because they control the jumps through time, Cable explains, and while he can make sure they stay out of harm’s way he can’t say the same for Bishop.
Case in point Cable spots Bishop coming down the tracks. Out of danger’s way he activates the timejump. Bishop can feel the pull and quickly finds himself waist deep in water again, this time in 2017. Cable does it again and this time it’s 1990. Not only that, but Cable’s plan is about to come to fruition. Barreling down on the tracks is another subway train. He curses Cable, barely getting out of the way in time.
Next, Hope and Cable climb off the rails and onto another platform. Nathan struggles to get himself over top and lets out a few weak coughs. Huddled on the ground he tells Hope he needs to rest for a minute. Hope figures since they’re almost there they’ll just walk for a while and not jump through time. Cable looks up at her and tells her to take the gun. When she asks why he tells her Bishop has arrived.
“Hello, Hope,” says Bishop as he steps out from the shadows. He stands over the now collapsed Cable staring down the red-headed teenager. Hope raises the Tommy gun, stuttering and shaking, faced with the possibility of finally killing Bishop. She asks him not to make her do it, but Bishop, ever so calmly, says she won’t. He then nails her with a bio-blast smashing her weapon to bits and knocking her back into the concrete wall.
His face up against the stone cold ground Cable watches the scene unfold in front of him. He pressures himself to get on his feet and make a stand. He does, much to the surprise of Bishop. Hope on the other hand lies knocked out on the ground. Cable tells him he’s going to rip Bishop to pieces. He only smiles in return, reminding him of all the times Cable thought he had won, but he kept coming back. He tells Cable he will always come back.
Then Bishop makes his move. He arcs the sword behind his back and leaps toward Cable driving the blade down toward his head. Cable lifts his t-o arm to block and the blade cuts through about an inch and a half of steel. As Bishop tries to wrench his weapon free he tells Cable he’s too old and won’t be able to protect Hope forever. This only serves to infuriate Nathan and he delivers a powerful overhand right to Bishop’s face.
After recovering from the blow Bishop says Cable can’t even punch as hard as he used to. He then draws the remaining sword from the scabbard on his back, the first sword still lodged in Cable’s arm. With one swipe he shatters the stuck sword and hacks at Cable a few more times.
Hope regains consciousness just in time to watch as Bishop drives the entirety of the sword into Cable’s sternum, the blood drenched tip poking out his back. Lucas then places his booted foot onto Cable’s thigh and kicks, knocking Cable backward and freeing the sword from his chest.
With Cable hunched over, Bishop prepares for the final blow. He gloats about his impending victory, wishing he could see him in the afterlife just to see the look on his face when he realized the 17-year mistake he’s made.
While Bishop pontificates Cable removes the time travel component from his arm, one last plan up his sleeve. Hope also leaps into action running up behind Bishop. She’s not quick enough as Bishop drives his sword in a downward arc toward Cable’s neck. The grizzly veteran isn’t done, though, grabbing the blade with his t-o enhanced fist before it can draw blood from his flesh.
Then Hope connects with Bishop, tackling him about the waist. Cable yells at her to stop, not wanting blood on her hands. She pins Bishop to the ground and wraps her hands around his neck. “You leave my dad alone!” she screams slamming his head into the pavement.
“I had a father once,” Bishop says, staring up into Hope’s face, “only you killed him.” He then places his hands on either side of her head and begins charging up his hands. Cable crawls over as quick as he can and then places the time travel component back onto Bishop’s arm. Lucas is not quite sure what’s going on, but when he feels the tug of time travel envelop him he screams, “What did you do?”
Nathan grabs Bishop by the collar and says he gave him a little going away present. “Say hello to the future for us,” he snarls throwing Bishop toward the subway tracks. Bishop leaps back toward the embankment. He tries to grab Hope before being whisked into the future, his fingers fidgeting wildly only an inch from her face. He disappears before making contact.
Disaster averted, Hope checks on Cable who’s bleeding like a stuck pig. She urges him to get moving in case Bishop comes back. Cable tells her he’s not going to come back.
Chapter Ten: Home
former site of New York City, 6700
It’s the end of the world and Bishop’s there to see it. Earth’s Sun has gone supernova and the red atmosphere and barren landscape doesn’t bode well. As the blood pours from Bishop’s nose he’s not deterred, believing Cable to be an idiot for fixing his time machine just to give himself a momentary break. He reaches for the timejump button and presses it, but instead of leaving this wasteland, his mechanical arm explodes.
Well played, Nathan he thinks to himself, his shoulder socket smoking from the explosion. With his journey at an end Bishop reflects on the events leading up to this. Hope called Cable “dad’, but he feels he was just as much a father to her, his actions helping to create the person she will become. I was doing the right thing. Wasn’t I? he asks himself before collapsing to the ground with just a hint of regret.
New York City, 1990
Hope and Cable emerge from the subway and back onto the city streets. They make their way over to a park bench and take a little breather. Hope looks over Cable’s wounds and tells him he’s a mess. “Heh,” Cable replies, barely acknowledging the joke. Hope asks if he thinks major blood loss is funny.
Getting to his feet Cable looks out at the city. He remembers this as the year he and Bishop both arrived from the future. He tells Hope this is when it all began, younger versions of themselves running around and being X-Men.
“Wait—so this isn’t the present?” Hope asks, wondering why he gave their only functioning time machine to Baldy. Cable reminds her that his machine still works, only it can only jump forward. One more jump, he tells her, is all they’ll need. He then asks Hope if she’s up for some driving.
After a brief stroll the pair head into a more secluded area in search for their transportation. They find a red compact car parked alongside a high, metal fence. Hope smashes her fist through the driver’s side window and unlocks the car. Cable enters the driver’s seat and gets to work hotwiring the ignition.
Before heading to Westchester Cable wants to make a stop. A short time later he has Hope pull the car over at a storage rental place called Rob’s Store It All. Hope asks if this is the X-mansion, but Cable fills her in on the details. He originally bought a locker there when he arrived from the future, which was only a few months ago at their current time.
When he finds the actual storage room Cable grabs the sliding door and rips it free from the ground. “Oh. My. God.” Hope sputters, taking in the contents of Cable’s locker. Rifles, pistols, grenades, knives and even a first aid kit line the walls and shelves.
Dumping out the contents of the first aid kit Hope gets to work bandaging up the big lug. Cable grimaces as she wraps some bandages around his bicep. Hope tells him not to get shot and stabbed so much. After she’s finished they load up a few bags worth of weapons and head back to the car. “Now we’re ready to go home,” Cable says.
As they travel down the highway, Hope still at the wheel, Cable fills her in on the directions. She’s not really paying much attention to him, instead focused on the beautiful landscapes, the greenness of everything, the large houses and so on. She’s finally brought back to her senses when Cable starts screaming her name. Hope looks ahead and slams the brakes. The car barely stops in time, only a foot or so from a red-headed girl carrying a skateboard and wearing a Doors shirt.
“It’s okay. Everything’s okay,” Cable assuages Hope and then tells her to take the next left. The car pulls in front of the Institute and Hope parks it outside. Cable notices her shaking a bit and realizes he hasn’t really prepared her for this. She’s had no time with kids her own age, he worries, thinking of the upstart crew of New Mutants in this era.
As they lift the bags of weapons onto their backs Cable thinks to himself that Hope’s a quick study, and isn’t too worried about her adjusting. As they make their way to the entrance Cable jokes the last time he saw the X-Men he was holding her in his arms. “I’m a little heavier now,” Hope retorts.
With one more jaunt through time Cable realizes it will all be over. It’s a bittersweet moment. Hope is a like a daughter to him and he knows things won’t be the same once they’re back. The emotions he feels hurt worse than he ever imagined.
Hope also reflects on the moment. She thinks back to the eating of fried rats and of Bishop hunting her down and trying to kill her. She doesn’t have to worry about that anymore, she realizes, happy for the chance at a normal life.
Cable looks down at her and asks if she’s ready. “Duh! I’ve only been ready since forever,” she replies. More memories of their time together flood their minds. As Cable activates his timejump device he tells Hope, “No matter what happens, I’ll always be…” He doesn’t finish his sentence, maybe too afraid to voice those words. Hope’s not, though, as she replies, “I know… dad.” Then they disappear in the bluish haze of time travel.