An unrelenting howling noise wakes up Hope Summers, who finds herself in her room at her foster family’s home. Wondering where that noise is coming from, she walks to the window to see an entire battalion of armed troops there.
A little later, sitting in a lounge and watching TV, Hope is visited by Havok, current leader of the new Avengers Unity Squad. He apologizes for her having to wait. Better the rec room than the brig though, right? The TV in there isn’t quite as big, he jokes. With a disgusted sound, she tells him not to do that. He’s trying to lighten the mood in here with small talk. The mood is screwed! She tells him to just ask his questions.
They are looking for Cable, he tells her. Has she seen her dad lately? Sure, she points to the TV. The news is on. She’s been sitting here for hours watching him embarrass the Avengers on the news. Up there. On the big TV.
Does she have any idea where he is now? No she doesn’t, Hope replies. Alex tells her that up there looks a lot like terrorism. Which means Cable and his new X-Force just jumped straight up up the “most wanted mutants” list. That’s a rough list. Oh yeah, who else is on it? Hope asks. She seems to remember him having a brother.
Alex tries to reach her. He doesn’t think Cable is a terrorist. He’s a hero! He’s a planner! He doesn’t screw up this bad without a damned good reason. But until they find out what that reason is, he can’t help him out of that mess. What happened out there last night? She really doesn’t know, Hope tells him.
She knows Cable better than anyone, he insists. Tell him something! Wolverine and Rogue have joined them. Logan tells Alex to leave it alone. He knew walking in the kid wasn’t gonna roll over on her old man. Even if she does know something he couldn’t cut it out of her.
He wants her to tell him something about her dad? Hope asks. Okay, when Cable needs your help, he asks for it.
In their makeshift underground HQ in Nebraska, Cable tells the others what’s going on. Here’s what he knows from the premonitions: 36 hours from now, 57 people die at an Eat-More franchise in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The one survivor, a seventeen year old fry cook, turns out to be a mutant. 18 hours later when the CDC steps in to shut Eat-More down, nationwide almost 3000 are dead. The nine living witnesses are all mutants.
The CDC names the illness RPD-14 but to most folks it’s the Girth. Mutants are immune, but to everyone else it’s an outbreak movie virus grown teeth! Its victims transform into monsters. Takes them two full weeks to kill it. That’s when things turn ugly.
All the Girth-infected food will be traced back to Eat-More’s main processing facility in Sedona, Arizona. If they’re gonna stop this thing before it starts, that’s where they hit. The trucks hauling that tainted meat pull out tomorrow morning at five. They have 26 hours.
For a factory slash and burn? Domino scoffs. She can do that in 90 minutes solo. Teleport in after hours and set some well-placed—No Cable interrupts.
Likely because it’s easier to ring them up and inform them their meat has been compromised, Nemesis suggests, only to be told no as well.
Teresa Payton is why no, Cable continues and shows them an image of a grim-looking, portly middle-aged woman. Eat-More’s head honcho is big-time anti-mutant. She’s the gal caused a ruckus a few months back saying the mutant menace could stay the hell out of her restaurants. Another billionaire with a mouth.
Assuming she’s their target, Forge suggests they bring her down. No, is the reply. This has to be surgical. They go in quiet, they do this in the dark and get out. Why are they making this so difficult? Domino asks.
Tell them the rest, Hope urges. Tell them what happened after. Like she wasn’t going to borrow his powers to look in his head and see the future, she scoffs. The day they find the cure, Payton goes on TV and pins the whole thing on mutant terrorists. Says they created the virus, calls it an open declaration of war. Mutants against humans. She’s a bigot and an idiot, but people listen. After that, it’s hate crimes, fear laws and Sentinels, all the worst stuff.
They can’t blow the place up because the plant runs three shifts, even on weekends. Plus, blowing up the virus means they can’t stop it if it gets out some other way. Calling in a warning is out because, if Payton is anything like the other mutant-hating billionaires, she probably planted the virus herself. If they give a heads- up, who knows what she will do. Which also rules out confronting her directly. They are working off of single stream premonition here. The butterfly effect is in play. They can only change the course if they let the present run its course right up until they make their move. Cable agrees. So here’s the plan…
Eat- More Corporate headquarters, 18.26.13:
Disguised as a worker, Forge is to plant cameras in the building. He is about to wire the place, giving them surveillance on both the plant and Payton’s condo when he is caught by Payton and some armored guards.
Unaware of that, the rest of the group is panning. Cable wants Domino to know the plant inside and out. Pete can get them in but from there it’s on her. Looking at the blueprint, Dom remarks it’s fairly secure for a factory, but a factory is a factory. She shows Cable and Hope the blind points. She counts at least nine exit points. So long as Forge gets them the surveillance, she will make them ghosts.
Super spy ghosts! Hope exclaims. That seals it. They are X-Force! No is Cable’s reply. Hope insists they are and sulks he is no fun. When she’s gone from the room, Dom remarks just wait till she finds out he hasn’t told her he is dying.
Hope asks Dr Nemesis what he is doing. Developing an on the spot cure of a super virus he won’t see until they are really in the thick. It’s impossible. A weird science shot in the dark. He can’t do it? Hope asks. Of course he can, is the reply. He’ll just need his best bullet. How’s the other thing coming? Cable asks him. Ready when he is, Nemesis replies. Say the word.
Teresa Payton’s penthouse:
Guarded by the guard in the robo-suit, Forge is addressed by Teresa Payton. She tells him her so called anti-mutant tirade cost her 38 million dollar last quarter. Protests. Email campaigns. Boycotts. Folks have a lot to say about her and her controversial opinions. None of them even bothered to ask why she doesn’t want mutants in her restaurants. They just assume she hates and fears what’s different like every other bigot. She doesn’t hate mutants. And she doesn’t fear them because they are different. But armed and dangerous teenagers with superhuman powers they can’t yet control, that’s a big problem for a fast food restaurant. Over the past ten years, dozens of her employees have been killed or seriously injured when some mutant kid accidentally set the air on fire or turned the lobby into quicksand.
Forge doesn’t reply. He studies the armored suit the guard is wearing and his power identifies the flaws.
Payton continues that, when her daughter was killed, it wasn’t an accident or a teenager. That was a man with magnetic powers who decided to take over Manhattan. He may remember.
He remembers, Forge replies and kicks his guard whose suit short-circuits. Forge observes whoever designed the toy go lazy. He tells her the man is fine. He gets where she is coming from. Everybody hates something and she has better reasons than most. But if he doesn’t get access to her security system right quick, this half-baked plan of hers is gonna kill a whole lot more of her customers and employees than any mutant ever has.
What is he talking about? Payton asks, genuinely confused. Hearing this, Forge suddenly realizes she isn’t behind the plot. More armored guards rush in, ordering him to freeze. Forge jumps down, using an invisible flying disk to fly away.
Back in Nebraska, Cable wonders where Forge is. Hard to say, Nemesis replies, clearly not caring and asks Cable what he thinks of his new outfit. Cable doesn’t care. Nemesis explains if he’s committing himself to blade-running around with a pack of dystopian hooligans he may as well look the part.
Where the hell is Forge? Cable mutters. The feed’s down and he should have been back already. Carrying two big guns, Hope replies he’ll probably be back in time and asks which of these she should take. Cable orders her to put both back. She’s not going. Like hell she’s not! Hope shouts. She helped plan the whole thing! Cable insists she sit this one out. Angrily, she reminds him he trained her for a 100 times worse. When he needs her help, he’ll ask for it, he replies sternly. Hope disagrees. Doc, Cable orders and Nemesis shoots Hope with one of his syringes. Domino catches the unconscious girl.
Domino berates Cable as he opens the teleportation portal to Hope’s home. Has he ever tried arguing with her? he points out. He asks her to help him get Hope through, so they can get to work.
Grabbing Hope, Domino warns him that Hope is going to hate him for this. He tells her that is his problem. Not hers. Domino goes through the opening teleportation portal to deliver Hope to her home. Unfortunately it breaks down and she is stuck in Hope’s bedroom.
What happened? Dr. Nemesis asks. Cable has no idea, only that something blew out the generators. Whatever it is, they gotta end it fast and get the power back up.
He swears when he sees Forge arriving with several flying armored units giving chase. Well, it isn’t all bad, Nemesis deadpans. A t least Forge made it back. Cable and Nemesis grab their weapons and fire away.
Later, night time at Sedona, Arizona:
Forge, who is staying behind in their headquarters, has teleported Cable and Nemesis outside the Eat-More factory. Cable tries to reach Domino, hoping she found herself a ride. Forge tells him everything is up and running. Dom just isn’t responding. Nothing from their man inside, Colossus, either. Forge warns them he is getting some weird bio- readings from the building. There’s something weird going on.
Nemesis asks what their play is. Cable tells Nemesis they are half an hour late. They don’t have a clean way in and God only knows what’s happening on the other side of that wall. There is no good play. Screw it, he decides and fires an explosive at the wall.
On the other side, they see Colossus being attacked by grossly mutated monstrosities.