Zurich: ABS financial holdings:
Sixteen hours before the demonic possession of Switzerland.
Colossus takes out a man secretly and swipes his entrance card. Standing before the bank vault, he wonder why Domino sent him to break in. He is no spy or master thief. She probably knows a dozen ways to open this locked door. He knows only one. He hits the door several times.
Domino suggests he cool his jets and admits she accidentally sent him on a bit of a fool’s errand. She did a little digging on the way over and it would appear ABS upgraded to Vibranium vault doors last October. Which means that thing is not gonna budge.
She displays a device that will help. She explains they have to hurry if they are gonna rescue Cable from Avengers Mansion. They’ll break him out as soon as they have averted hell on Earth.
She gets them in where there are several small safes. Black level security, where super-villains, billionaire crime lords and sorcerers store their most precious possessions. She’d like to find out what they’d find in all of those.
Colossus wants to talk about their relationship but she blows him off and asks which box they need. He shows her. Dom explains the object they are looking for is the Waning Wellspring. They call it a totem of the demon realm but it sounds more like a gateway… Every few thousand years, it comes alive and all hell literally breaks loose. Which makes it suspicious that some yahoo stole the thing from Dr. Druid’s estate and put it in safe deposit.
Disappointed, he looks at it and remarks it looks like the black knight from an Elder Gods chess set. Suddenly, the small creature comes alive and grows big as tentacles burst from the ground.
A dark wasteland. Hope has been brought here by Blaquesmith and they were welcomed by a woman in a Stryfe armor. The woman asks Blaquesmith what if Hope can’t handle what she sees here. What if it shatters her mind? Blaquesmith reminds her that she wanted to see this. The woman insists Hope is just a kid. He replies Hope is stronger than she remembers. She’d better be, she mutters. Because if that girl loses it…She’ll be fine, he tells her and points out Hope is sneaking away.
She turns a corner and sees Sentinels and more techno-organic zombies. One tries to grab her. She asks the others what is going on. What does any of this have to do with her or her dad?
It has everything to do with them, the woman replies. Blaquesmith brought her here to explain Cable’s premonitions. To show her why they did this. They time-jacked his head so they could create this? Hope shouts. Just the opposite, the woman replies. As bad as this future looks, it used to be a lot worse. What she is seeing here is a vast improvement. And it keeps improving every day. She doesn’t know how much they can improve this. But she thinks they have a shot at something livable.
They are not gonna survive this, Domino fears. That demon just swallowed six bullets and burped. They have to destroy the relic. He protests he can only see hideous demon monkeys. She warns him and shoots a demon behind him.
If she continues to act concerned for his well-being, he might get the wrong idea, he jokes. His ideas are fine, she retorts, but he picked the wrong girl.
Swatting a demon aside, he points out she picked him. Aggressively, he might add. And while he was trying to deal with the deepest darkness in his life. But now that he is back out in the light and very much wants to be with her, she kicks him away like a yipping dog.
He wants reasons? she asks. Look around! Odds are this ends with one of them in a box! This isn’t even the stupidest thing she’s done this week! She’s really good at fun and really bad at everything that comes after. They are trying to save the world! Everything else is a distraction! Despite all of that, he had his window, and he let it close.
As they have seen today, he replies undeterred, that which is closed can open again!
In the future:
Hope battles the creatures side to side with the Stryfe woman, asking what these things are. Technarch-infested hellbeasts, is he reply. Half-demon, half-machine. She warns they are regenerative and immortal. The problems they have here can’t be stopped. They can’t be killed. Not here. Not now. Then why the hell are they fighting them? Hope demands.
In the present:
Still fighting, Dom points out relationships between superheroes never work. Too much death and coming back to life… adrenaline and drama. Getting your face licked by sexy villainesses who had too much wine. Things happen. People get hurt.
Colossus realizes the demon he is battling has the relic incorporated. It is the source. Let’s blow the bastard’s head off! Dom decides and throws some dynamite at the demon which explodes in Colossus’ face.
The demons are gone. They should talk, Peter announces. They just did talk, Dom retorts. He means, when she is done making excuses, they should talk for real.
In the future:
Beset by an army of the creatures, the mystery woman announces she’s spent most of her life fighting things that can’t be beaten. Trying to hold them off and keep this world alive. Sounds like fun, Hope remarks. Better than the alternative, the woman retorts. But she agrees. The fight like so many others is useless. The damage was done a long time ago. That’s why Blaquesmith and she did what they do. Why they took the risk. They can’t stop the threats. But Cable and X-Force can. In Hope’s time, in the past. X-Force can make it, so these creatures never were.
The precognitive abilities they jumpstarted in Cable should have led him to stem this threat when it first appeared. The timestream just hasn’t caught up yet.
A demon licks Hope’s face and suddenly… it is gone. All the creatures have disappeared. That’s what she is talking about, the woman announces. Now let her show Hope how she just saved the world…
The battle over, Dom and Colossus are in an elevator. She looks away. So, both start at the same time. Let her start, Domino announces. She likes him, she really does. But she just can’t see this working. They are about to run headlong into the Avengers, and with their track records--
Colossus sweeps her in his arms and kisses her. She responds. This will work between them, he assures her, because they will make it work. She agrees, but points out it’s gonna be tough to maintain a relationship across his and hers prison wards. She’s the one with the plans, he tells her. Plan a way for them to be free.
At Avengers Mansion, Havok worries about the clearly suffering Cable. Is he listening? he asks. He is done playing games. He’s not just putting Nathan in another cell. That’s what he wants. Groaning, Cable replies that Alex has no idea what he wants. Alex asks him to explain. Cable groans he’s doing what he has to. He knows what’s coming. He’d rather not see what’s around the bend. But now that he does he can’t just sit on his hands.
Alex realizes he is sick and enters his forcefield cell. They need to get medical support. He’s already seen a doctor, Cable replies. The seizures are a side effect of the visions he is having. And they are getting worse. Things may be the worst one yet. Glimpsing all the bad stuff on the horizon has a prize. What is he talking about? Havok demands. He is not--
Yeah, Cable replies. It’s taking everything he has to keep it together, so they can have this little heart to heart. But he is definitely in a bad way right now. He flattens things around him with a telekinetic wave. He is trying to keep the pain out. They’ve got a few minutes, though, so Alex gets his wish. Let’s talk!
In the future:
The woman leads Hope to her headquarters. Things used to be worse. It took half a lifetime but this place wore her down. She was running out of fight. She’d all but surrendered to the crushing inevitability of this sad world. Then she remembered the first lesson dad taught them. If you want to change the future, fix the past. What does she mean “dad” taught them? Hope demands.
The woman takes off her helmet to reveal a middle-aged version of Hope…