Cable (2nd series) #9

Issue Date: 
February 2009
Story Title: 
Waiting for the End of the World – Chapter Three: Little Triggers

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

Brief Description: 

Cable rescues Hope and flees back to his home, where he and his family get surrounded by the cockroach people. After giving Little Girl a signal, she detonates the explosives buried all around their home, killing the majority of the invaders. The family flees New Liberty together. Meanwhile, in the present, after sending X-Force to investigate the coordinates Bishop mentioned, Cyclops interrogates Bishop about how he destroyed most of the world’s continents. Bishop reveals he used six deadly weapons to obliterate each continent in an effort to restrict Cable to North America. Cyclops notices he only listed five weapons and asks about the sixth. At that moment, X-Force arrives at their destination and opens the laptop they find, unleashing a nonlethal nanovirus from a compartment in Bishop’s robotic arm that Beast has in his laboratory. The virus temporarily incapacitates the X-Men, giving Bishop enough time not only to escape, but to retrieve the seventh deadly weapon from the X-Men headquarters.

Full Summary: 

New Liberty. Somewhere in the future…

Your mother couldn’t stand me at first, Cable says to Little Girl. He recalls the day he brought her to New Liberty. Hope, the woman who would one day be his wife, greeted Cable with her arms crossed and a look of disgust written on her face. She didn’t like the looks of him, the sound of him, or even the idea of him. However, she fell in love with Little Girl immediately.

She came around periodically to check on the new arrivals, and usually gave Cable her unsolicited advice. “You’re actually feeding her that? Have you ever dressed a little girl before? You haven’t named her yet? What, do you sing ‘Happy Birthday to It’? With a chatterbox like you, it’ll be a miracle if she ever learns to talk,” he remembers her saying. Cable finally snapped back one day and told Hope she should mind her own business. For some reasons, Hope became smitten with him at that moment, and thus began their strange romance. Relationships have been based on much, much less, Cable says.

Now, looking at his wife, bound alongside the rest of the captured villagers in the middle of New Liberty, Cable believes he can still hear her nagging voice in his head. This time, he hears her asking him to do something. The situation appears dire. A veritable army of cockroach people, and their pure cockroach offspring, are holding the villagers hostage.

Cable quickly concocts a plan. He has his neighbor Griff round up the remaining men from the village while he arms himself with his remaining weapons. Little Girl asks why he doesn’t just rush in and shoot the cockroaches and rescue her mommy. Kneeling down, Cable explains to his adopted daughter that as of now, they are outnumbered. If they charge their enemies, they will die. As he begins relaying to her his plan, Cable realizes this moment is the official start of her military training. Nevertheless, he explains having the right plan means everything. Combat is not about creating ideal situations, he says; it’s about adapting to the situations at hand.

X-Men HQ. San Francisco. The present…

While the sun rises over the X-Men’s base of operations, Cyclops continues his interrogation of Bishop. He informs his prisoner they fulfilled their end of the bargain; a squad is on its way to the coordinates he gave. Now, Bishop needs to fess up and reveal how he destroyed the world.

He tells Cyclops he stole six deadly weapons. Australia, he nuked. He decimated most of Europe with a secret weapon designed by the U.S. government that poisons entire water supplies. In South America, he unleashed an advanced version of napalm so powerful not even water can quench it; the oceans barely contained it. He used a combination of bioweapons and toxic chemicals to destroy Asia and Africa. Antarctica, he left alone; it was mostly gone anyway.

What was he thinking, Cyclops asks? Bishop explains the body count was never the point. The point, he says, was to make sure Cable and the baby couldn’t go anywhere near these places. He wanted to give Cable and fewer places to hide. In the process, Bishop hoped to put a dying world, one that never should have existed, out of its misery.

New Liberty. The future…

Cable hands Little Girl a bag of supplies and tells her to hide. In war, one must make the best use of each soldier’s skills, and Little Girl is excellent at hiding. As soon as she gets clear, Cable marches into the center of town and begins shooting anything that isn’t fully human, which includes most everything. However, even with his precision shooting, the cockroach people don’t die. They don’t even fall down. They don’t drop like humans, they don’t lose limbs like humans, and worst of all, they don’t run from gunfire like humans. He has to deal with them the hard way. He fights his way through the mob and toward Hope. As he unties her, he prays the substance they used to anesthetize her will wear off soon; he needs her up and running as soon as possible. Carrying the groggy Hope in his arms, Cable bolts out of the town square, with the cockroach people tailing closely behind.

In his mind, he can hear what Hope might be saying if she were awake. She would probably be teasing him about how nice it is he finally decided to carry her over the threshold like a decent husband should. Little Girl has even picked up her snide, chiding speech patterns; Cable hears his wife echoing from within the little girl all the time.

At that moment, Little Girl pops out from behind a tree and calls for her da-da. Cable swoops her up in his free arm and charges back to the patio of his home. After they arrive, Hope finally opens her eyes and asks what is happening. Last she remembers, she was surrounded by a bunch of horrible insects. “Hey!” one of the cockroach people shouts. “We prefer the term ‘Humanoid-Blattarian’.”

Standing on the concrete pad in front of their home, Cable, Hope and Little Girl look around and find themselves surrounded. The cockroach leader admits he is impressed; he didn’t expect to find a natural-born killer living amongst these peaceful, agrarian folks. “I don’t think we’ve met,” the cockroach leader says. “I’m the President of the United States of America.” Hope scowls and calls him a tyrant. Cable asks her to remain silent. Continuing, the President tells Cable he could use a soldier like him, now that his own Secretary of Defense has been killed. If he agrees, they will not only help him attain his full potential, but promise to leave his wife and daughter unmolested. Hope scoffs at this promise; what does he think he has been doing to New Liberty?

Unbeknownst to Hope, Cable has the situation under control. When he first arrived in New Liberty, he took a few precautions beyond simply to finding a job, a wife, and a place to live. He made sure to booby-trap the area around his house with enough explosives to destroy a fleet of tanks. He placed the detonator in the bag in Little Girl’s possession. Now that the time is right, he gives her the signal. She knows exactly what to do. She presses the button. The land surrounding Cable’s home erupts as the buried explosives detonate, killing every last interloper. Cable cannot help but feel proud of Little Girl for her first successful act of war.

Death Valley. California. Now…

After X-Force arrives at the coordinates Bishop gave them, Wolverine cannot help but suspect Bishop purposefully sent them to a location a few hours from their headquarters. Cyclops, speaking via Emma’s telepathy, concurs, but reminds his peer they are not exactly defenseless back at the base.

Meanwhile, Cyclops tells Bishop he only listed five deadly weapons. What is the sixth? Bishop smirks; even if he tells Cyclops, he can do nothing to stop it. Cyclops hits him in the chest with an optic blast.

New Liberty. The future…

Cable, Hope and Little Girl run toward the outskirts of town. Hope takes the opportunity to ask her husband if these men came for him. In her entire lifetime, Cable was the first person to ever breach the walls of New Liberty. It cannot be a coincidence that these men came only a few months later. Cable tells her what he believes to be the truth. “It’s not about me.”

X-Men HQ. Now…

Cyclops gives Bishop one last chance to reveal the sixth weapon, the one he must have planted in North America. What is it, he asks? Bishop tells him he will find out in about 30 seconds.

In the laboratory, Beast diligently picks apart Bishop’s robotic arm, completely fascinated by the advanced technology.

At that same moment in the desert, Wolverine holds in his hands the item Bishop sent them to find: a laptop computer. “Everybody stand back. If this is a trap, best if I’m the one to find out. Well, ‘best’ ain’t exactly the right word, but you know what I mean,” he says. He begins to lift it open. “It would be seriously cool if this didn’t involve sudden, horrible, blinding pain…”

In the laboratory, Bishop’s robotic arm begins to beep. Hank is confounded.

As soon as Wolverine lifts the laptop screen, the computer begins playing a message. Okay, then, Wolverine says.

The beeping from Bishop’s robotic arm continues. Beast stares at the flashing red light; he is not only confused, but disappointed he didn’t get to disassemble the arm himself.

A recording of Bishop speaks to Wolverine. “My beloved X-Men,” the message says. “There’s one thing you have to know above all else. I didn’t betray you.”

Suddenly, Hank is struck down by a crippling pain in his head. He collapses in his chair as a series of small explosions rip through the lab. I’m doing this because I love you, the message from Bishop continues. All of you.

New Liberty. The future…

Cable, picking off a trio of cockroach men with his machine gun, realizes his backup plan has changed. He originally planted the bombs and buried his weapons to defend against Bishop, if he ever decided to show up again. However, these cockroach people may have nothing at all to do with Bishop. If that’s the case, he cannot abandon his wife. Hope, surprisingly, does not want to follow. How can Cable just leave everyone behind to be killed, she asks? She refuses to let him take Little Girl; she doesn’t want his daughter following a coward. He informs her she does not understand. He isn’t running; he’s drawing the soldiers away from New Liberty so the others can seal the entrance and save themselves. They would be locked out, Hope realizes. Cable knows another way for them to survive. He just asks her to trust him. Hope, resting her hands on Little Girl’s shoulders, looks her husband firmly in the eye. “I trust you.”

X-Men HQ. Now…

While the various X-Men clutch their temples in a futile attempt to subdue their agonizing pain, the message from Bishop continues to play. He tells the X-Men he would never do anything to hurt them. The sixth weapon, he reveals, was a nanite virus contained in a compartment in his arm. Opening the laptop in the desert triggered its release. However, the virus is nonlethal, and can only survive for five minutes in open air. The X-Men will feel fine once those five minutes pass; the nanobots will then dissolve in their bloodstreams.

Although he came back to try to explain his point of view to the X-Men, the message concludes, there is one other thing he needs he can only get from the X-Men’s headquarters: the seventh weapon. Bishop, standing over the writhing body of Cyclops, now has everything he needs.

Characters Involved: 

Little Girl (the mutant baby)

Hope (Cable’s wife)

Griff (Cable’s neighbor)

The President of the United States of America

Cockroach people

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

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


Story Notes: 

Blattaria is the Order of Insects that includes cockroaches.

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