Cable (4th series) #5

Issue Date: 
December 2020
Story Title: 
X of Swords, Chapter 8

Gerry Duggan (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Phil Noto (cover artist), Ivan Shavrin (variant cover artist), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Jay Bowen (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men Created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirb

Brief Description: 

Cable, Jean Grey and Cyclops arrive on the space station called the Peak, where Cable uses his sword to re-power the space station. The three decide to search the station to find any member of the crew. As Cable and Cyclops explore one part of the station, Cable notes the shadow-stains on the walls and remarks that it looks like people have been burned into the bulkhead. He gets a message from Magik who wants him to bring his sword back to Krakoa as he is needed for the upcoming tournament. Cyclops doesn't want his son to go, and they enter another part of the space station where they make a  startling discovery. Jean Grey locates a crew member who asks her why she turned the power back on. Jean sees that his eyes are hollow and a strange symbol has been burned onto his forehead. He connects his mind to Jean's to show her what had happened on the space station – before he engages the airlock and hurls himself into space in front of a shocked Jean. Jean contacts Cyclops and warns him that whatever happened on the space station, everyone was murdered. Looking up at the large gateway that he and Cable discovered, Cyclops tells Jean that they know. Cable wonders if Saturnyne put it here, before they are joined by Jean, who tells them that behind the gateway is a faceless death – the Vescora. The door opens and the Vescora return to the Peak. Strange humanoids in space suits, they are countless in number, but Cable, Jean and Cyclops are able to hold them back. Jean attempts to learn where the Vescora have come from, while the Vescora continue to pour into the Peak, announcing that they will cleanse, dissect and learn. Cable rushes off to turn the power back off so that the gateway will close. Jean and Cyclops continue to hold the Vescora back, until Cable finally removes his sword, depowering the Peak's core. Cable then returns to Krakoa and joins the other Swordbearers. Magik and Cyclops briefly discuss a plan of attack on Otherworld, while Jean asks Magik to keep an eye on Cable. Cyclops tells Cable to call them if they need it, and is confident that they are going to be okay.

Full Summary: 

280 miles above Earth, at the Peak. 'Your sword did the trick, son. Power is stable and flowing to the rest of the station' Jean Grey remarks to Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable, the teenage version, as they and Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops stand in front of a sphere within the Peak, which glows with energy. Cable jokes that this is the first time he has ever stabbed anything back to life. Cyclops wonders if he should have asked what that sword could really do before now, but he was just happy Cable wasn't running around with a gun. 'Not to change the subject, but we're on a giant space station that – I'm guessing – holds thousands of people... so where is everyone?' Cable asks, and Jean, looking around, adds that she has been wondering that herself.

The trio carry on down a corridor as Scott asks 'Are you feeling anything?' to which Cable replies 'No'. 'I was asking the telepath in the family' Scott remarks. 'I'm a telepath' Cable exclaims, but Cyclops tells him that he doesn't practice enough. 'Boys. Please' Jean utters, before explaining that there is some kind of background interference – distortion, like an old radio that is stuck between stations, but she is picking up something. 'Something... or someone?' Cyclops asks. Jean confesses that she isn't sure, but tells Scott that she will let him know. Jean then explains that this deck is a ring, and suggests to Scott and Nathan that they go the other way and check the barracks to see if she missed anything – or anyone. 'Stay safe' Scott tells Jean. 'You too' Jean replies as she carries on down the corridor.

Walking down the corridor, Cable asks Cyclops if he is crazy, or if it looks like people's shadows have been burned into the bulkhead. 'No, you're not crazy. Whatever happened here on the Peak...the agents of SWORD went down swinging' Scott agrees. 'Hey, Magik. What's up?' Cable asks as a holo-message is received from Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik. Magik tells Cable that she was serious before – there is a clock on this thing, and they need him and his sword back on Krakoa. 'Where are you now?' she asks. Cable informs her that they are on the SWORD station, and he that he can't leave right now, as his sword is powering this place. 'It's a sword. Not a spark plug – get back here and be ready to swing it' Magik snaps.

Magik declares that not everyone who got drafted into this tournament is a warrior, but Cable is, and she needs him on Krakoa. Cyclops informs Magik that he and Jean are with Nathan and that they wil proceed home at best pace. 'Of course, Captain' Magik acknowledges, but Cyclops tells Cable that he would rather Cable not go. 'I think you should give me the sword... and let me do what I do'. Cable calls Cyclops “Dad” and tells him that he doesn't think it works that way. 'But thanks' he adds. 'I'm being serious, Nathan' Cyclops remarks. Cable looks at his father and tells him that he knows, and thanks him. They stop at a large double-door, which Cyclops examines closely and notes that it has been welded together hastily. 'How are we better than humankind if we make our children do our fighting too?' Cyclops asks as he fires an optic blast that cuts the door open. 'I'm already a warrior, and... what the hell is that?' Cable asks as he stares into the room. Cyclops looks concerned and contacts Jean, alerting her to something they have found in science lab fourteen that she should see.

'I'll be over shortly' Jean responds telepathically, asking Scott to give her a moment, as she has made her own discovery. Jean presses on a control switch and a door opens. She enters a room which has a large window that looks out into space – and in front of the window is a man. Jean pauses, before calling out 'Hello. Are you -' she begins, before the man asks 'You turned it back on, didn't you? You powered the station back on. Why would you do that?' Jean narrows her eyes and asks 'Why wouldn't we do that? Where is everyone?' The man doesn't turn around as he remarks that, at first, there was just the sound of it – the rhythm of it – screams and then silence, over and over again – repeating, repeating – all in their heads. He reveals that half the station was dead before they could regroup, and half of them are gone like they never existed. 'They were the lucky ones' he utters.

The man suddenly turns to Jean, his eyes are hollowed out, black, and a strange symbol has been burned on his forehead. 'Death would have been better' he utters. 'Who... who did this to you?' Jean asks. 'Not who. What. They tore through our defenses. We were unprepared for enemies that are not bound to our laws of physics' the man explains. He adds that after they retook the science lab at great cost, they managed to deploy agents to the other side – but they never came back. He informs Jean that he suspected it was a virus, but all the people who could confirm that they are all dead now. He then asks Jean if she has any idea what she has done. 'Show me' Jean tells him. The man puts his fingers to his eyes, 'That's one of the first things they taught us here. Resistance. How to train your mind so it's not a liability...' he begins, as his eyes get wider, and appear green, with a strange glow. 'But you should know what you've done... you should see the mark they leave... so take a look'.

Green energy radiates from the man's eyes and mouth, and as Jean connects with him psionically, she keels over. 'And now you know' the man utters. He then announces that they pledged their lives to defend this world – but no one came after them. There is an urgent red light flashing as the man engages the airlock – and he is shunted out of the room and into space. 'NO!' Jean shouts, but she is too late to intervene. She watches the man float out in space, before telepathically contacting Scott, asking him if he is still in the science lab, she warns him not to open any doors. 'I definitely won't open any...more doors' Scott responds. Jean runs out into the corridor, 'It murdered everyone on the station' she reports. 'We know' Scott responds as he and Cable look up at their discovery. 'Did Saturnyne know we'd find this?' Cable asks as they look at a large gateway, energy crackling around it, and bodies of the Peak agents scattered about the room.

'Was she trying to warn us?' Cable asks. 'I love the optimism, son... but ask yourself if there's a more likely motivation' Scott responds. 'She's hoping... this kills us?' Cable asks. 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you' Scott frowns. Jean arrives and announces that it is real, that she saw it in his head, but she didn't believe it. 'What on the other side?' Cable asks. 'A faceless death. Something called... the Vescora' Jean reveals, as green energy begins to appear in the gateway... and several multi-limbed humanoid creatures wearing some sort of spacesuits step through. 'Cleanse' one of them utters telepathically. 'Dissect' another remarks 'Learn' a third adds. Cyclops turns to Jean and asks her how bad he is going to feel after. 'It's a virus. The Vescora invade and replicate and move on' Jean explains. 'Great' Cyclops mutters, before telling Cable to get his gun.

Cyclops fires an optic blast, while Jean releases telekinetic energy and Cable uses a large gun that fires some sort of energy at the three Vescora, each attack shattering their spacesuits. But more Vescora emerge. 'Cleanse' one of them calls out. 'This reality is already fetid' one of them remarks. 'The detrius that feasts upon this decaying dimension will be categorised and then cleansed' another announces. 'Only when death is uniform can our work begin to mine the truth of the past' they add. 'Over my dead  body' Jean Grey calls out as she attacks them all with a telekinetic blast, as Cable watches on in shock. Jean tells Scott and Cable that they have to kill the power to the station, and instructs Cable to remove his sword from the igniter so they can deactivate the core. 'Got it!' Cable replies, as Jean releases an astral projection of herself, pointing out that this may be their only chance to see where the Vescora come from.

'My god...' Jean utters as her astral form sees countless more of the Vescora approaching. She gasps as her astral form returns to her body, and she quickly tells Scott not to hold back. 'CLEANSE' 'DISSECT' 'LEARN' the horde of Vescora utter as dozens of them start to make their way through the portal. 'As you wish' Scott tells Jean, releasing a powerful surge of optic energy that cuts through the Vescora.

Cable contacts his parents telepathically, 'Mom, Dad! Are you okay?' he asks them. 'The station just lurched!' he exclaims. Jean responds telepathically, informing Cable that his father was just mopping up down here, but that they really need to kill the power now. 'I'm here!' Cable calls out as he arrives back at the large sphere, which his space sword is currently powering. 'Hang on one sec...' Cable tells Jean. 'Nathan' Jean exclaims, while Cable telekinetically removes the sword. 'Disengaging from the ignition... depowering the core...' he announces, before the room is plunged into darkness. He holds the sword and shouts 'It's off! You guys okay?' he asks. Jean telepathically tells Nathan that they are, and that she is proud of him.

Krakoa, where Cable steps through a portal, 'Ladies and gentlemen. The Light of Krakoa is here!' he announces, before he slams his sword down into one of the symbols on the Voltus Glave, which lights up, alongside four other symbols, where more of the chosen Champions of Krakoa have gathered – Storm, Wolverine, Cypher and Magik. 'You told me it had an outer space name' Magik reminds Cable, telling him not to rename his sword, as that is lame. Cable ignores Magik and looks at Cypher, telling him that it is good to see him, and that  he had no idea he was a swordsman. 'I'm not' Cypher reminds. 'Oh' Cable utters.

'So, is it just me, or does it look like rain, captain?' Cyclops asks Magik, his thoughts projected into her mind. 'Feels like it's going to come down like daggers, sir' Magik responds. 'You got a plan?' she asks, turning to where Cyclops and Jean are walking through the nearby portal. Cyclops reports that he has been noodling on two things, two main problems – communication and transportation. 'Well, I have some suggestions for rides, but communication is not my strong suit' Magik replies. 'Uh, hi?' Cypher calls out. Still communicating telepathically, Jean states that Otherworld is locked down telepathically, but that he thinks they could punch their way through if they had enough of them working on it. 'Can that be done?' Cyclops asks. 'It must be done' Jean tells him.

Magik tells Cyclops that she supposes it is in his hands now. 'No place I'd rather leave it' Magik adds, before asking what else they need. Jean smiles at Magik and asks her if she can keep an eye on Nathan. 'Happy to' Magik smiles back. Cyclops puts a hand on Cable's shoulder and tells him to call if they need, they will be listening for him. 'I'd wish you luck, son, but you won't need it' Scott adds. 'Thanks' Cable replies, before asking why everyone is smiling. 'Cause we're gonna be okay' Scott smiles.

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Cyclops, Marvel Girl
Cypher, Magik, Storm, Wolverine

The Vescora

Peak crew

Story Notes: 

This issue follows New Mutants (4th series) #13 and continues in Excalibur (4th series) #13.

Contained in this issue is a text-only page describing the Otherworld kingdom of Blightspoke, a realm with an unknown regent. Blightspoke is a poisonous land that no one visits.

This issue also contains a transmission from the Peak flight data recorder, noting several incidents from 13:31:42 until 13:41:29, ten minutes later. The recording notes the detection of an anomaly, the boarding of hostile beings and the termination of the Peak crew.

This issue includes a one page description of Cable's sword, the Light of Galador.

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