Lisbon, Portugal, currently under attack by a giant wormlike monster:
Sitting in a van, Doctor Nemesis announces he’s been developing several foot- long rideable war worms. Might be just the ticket. They already got one beastie tearing apart the place, Forge points out. Sourly, Nemesis supposes Forge has a better idea. Wouldn’t be too much trouble to rig this van into a neutron bomb, he suggests. Because nothing staves off mass destruction quite like a nuclear explosion, is the sarcastic reply. There’s the rub, Forge admits.
As the creature comes closer, Nemesis remarks that, if Forge has another suggestion, now would be the time to share. They could burrow down into the brain and give it an aneurysm. Nemesis muses that, in his experience, those things have more than one brain. Marrow-munching nanobots? So long as those people out there have no further need of their skeletons!
Forge suggests whipping up a couple exo-suit battle mechs that pack a pretty good wallop. That’s his worst idea to date, Nemesis informs him as the monster is about to strike. Nemesis announces their time together was nothing but a series of infuriating, yet utterly unsurprising, disappointments. Forge has failed them and because of him Nemesis’ beloved science has failed them. This is quite clearly the end!
That moment, Colossus is hurtling down at the creature.
Hope Summers is astonished to see the mystery puppeteer behind Cable’s visions is an older version of her. Blaquesmith reminds Hope she wanted to know about Cable’s visions. The who and why. Now that she’s met the who, let’s do the why. Can they start with how? Hope suggests, ‘cause they got a Deathlok plugged into their dream machine.
Future Hope explains Deathlok’s brain calculates probabilities. Future scenarios and how they connect with the past. He’s their link. Wild oversimplification, Blaquesmith mutters. Tell her why.
Future Hope begins when she was young Cable retired after what happened in the battle between the Avengers and X-Men. And he begged her to do the same. Forbade her from following in his footsteps. Sounds familiar, Hope mutters.
Retirement meant taking his eyes off the ball, future Hope continues, ignoring the signs. He wasn’t around when things started falling part, didn’t think it was his fight. Didn’t realize he was sitting out the end of the world. By the time it got bad enough to yank him back in, the world was too far gone.
She wasn’t ready either. Hadn’t trained like she should have. But she managed to survive until she had her feet underneath her. And then she fought. For decades… she fought. Trying like hell to beat the darkness back. Until one day she realized nothing she did in the present mattered. The answer was in the past… with Cable.
Blaquesmith addresses them both. He has found something. The past must be in flux again. Changing the present. The world outside their little time bubble reconfiguring itself. Another unexpected variable. Take a look! It’s not every day you get to see the time stream correcting itself.
Colossus lands on the giant creature, grabs its tendrils and hits it. He guesses that’s one way to go, Forge admits. Clumsy and uninspired, but effective, even Nemesis has to add.
Domino and Boom Boom join Colossus. Dom asks if he is covered in monster snot. Then go set himself on fire for a few minutes, She tells Boomer she is on clean-up.
Forge thanks Domino. The Doc was ready to throw the towel. It was a teaching moment, Nemesis retorts. He was using theatrics and exaggeration to make a point about Forge’s general lack of imagination. Given a bit more time, he’d have downed the beast and Forge’s ridiculous tinkerer’s ego in one fell swoop.
Domino announces they don’t have any more time. It’s Cable. He’s in trouble!
Hope asks her future self what exactly they screwed Cable’s brain up for. A slightly less horrific hellhole? She can’t see it, Future Hope replies, but this world is improving every day. Why? Because she did something to Cable? Hope asks. Calling her a little snot, her future self snaps, the world is better because she was with him! He never stopped fighting and neither does Hope. They saved the world together!
That’s what this is about! Hope shouts. She didn’t jack with his head to save the world. She changed things so a scared little girl with daddy issues could spend more time with the old man. Future Hope slaps her. Good job, Hope mocks. What she did to him she did for nothing.
Not for nothing, her future self smiles. The holographic image of the giant monster attack changes as the monster disappears. It’s being fixed right now, future Hope explains. In the past. By X-Force.
Blaquesmith explains they knew that if Cable understood what was going to happen he wouldn’t sit idly by. Without the techno-organic virus holding him back, Cable telepathic powers evolved. It took some work but they were able to guide that evolution in a way that suited their needs. They salvaged this Deathlok, hacked his probability circuit software and streamed what they could straight back into Nate’s mind. They pushed his powers in a new direction. Precognition.
Hope orders them to turn it off. Blaquesmith retorts they are not controlling Cable’s brain. They changed it. There is no off.
At Avengers Mansion, Cable’s telekinesis goes ballistic, then the seizure stops. Havok asks why this is happening. Cable replies they are in his mindscape. He doesn’t know how long the calm will last. Or how he can stop him. In four or five minutes, his brain is gonna run out of his nose and he won’t be able to keep his thoughts from tearing Havok’s head apart. So shut up and listen to him. There wasn’t time to analyze where the visions were coming from. He was trying to save lives. It was ugly, but he’ll take a little ugly over a lot.
Alex asks why he didn’t ask for help from the beginning. Cable groans and explains the Avengers couldn’t do what his team did. His team would never run around the world half-cocked, letting the whole world think they are terrorists, Alex retorts. That’s the point! Cable snaps. They do whatever it takes, save lives and move on. They don’t have to worry about how things look. He is uniquely equipped for dirty work. They could do what ifs all day long. In the end, though, X-Force stooped some really bad things from happening but they didn’t stop them all.
His mindscape changes to show coming horrors. Is this really happening? Alex asks. Not yet, Cable replies. This is what it’s like – one vision after another. All awful. Miss one… maybe it’s no big deal. Or maybe the whole world comes crashing down. He’s not willing to take the chance. That means X-Force needs to go back to work. But he can’t do anything while he’s a prisoner.
Young Hope announces this plan is insane. She didn’t just manipulate the past for her own selfish crap… she played with Dad’s mind! Not only is that gross and irresponsible. It didn’t’ work! Can she really not see that?
Her future self tells her Hope has no idea how bad things were before they kick-started Cable’s precognitive abilities. The world is correcting itself. Once enough has changed, she can switch off her armor’s paradox engines… and she won’t even remember any of this. She’ll simply cease to exist. That will leave only young Hope and her memories. Memories of fighting by her father’s side. Memories she never had but that she’s giving to her.
Young Hope tells her that’s not what happened. Dad didn’t bring her in. They didn’t fight together. He pushed her away. Doesn’t she remember? She slaps her future self. What she’s doing is not working and it’s killing her father!
What’s she talking about? future Hope asks Blaquesmith who admits they didn’t know how the visions would affect Cable.
Cable groans. Havok asks if he is all right. For now, Cable replies curtly. Havok points out he can’t just let him walk out of here. Even if he weren’t a fugitive. He’s sick! His powers are out of control. He needs help. Suddenly, an alert goes off. That help he mentioned? He thinks it’s here, Cable points out as X-Force are attacking the building.
Hope tells her future self she understands why she acted. She was working on blind faith. She believed this would make a difference to not just her but the world. That’s what she chooses to think about herself. And now she wants her future self to have faith in her. She set something in motion but didn’t know where it would lead. And it’s leading somewhere bad. If Cable dies, they’ve lost everything.
Any suggestion? future Hope asks Blaquesmith. Maybe one, he figures. They have to send Hope back. She has to fight for the future. To save her father. He hands her a psimitar.