Nick Fury opens a file on Cable and tells about the activities of Cable for the last two months: he has been meeting with the Fixer and received some circuitry during that meeting. A meeting with the Wizard included a discussion on the manipulation of gravimetric shields and lunch with Tony Stark ended with Cable handing over the plans for a fission waste processor without any form of payment. He also has been meeting with the Chinese government to ‘relocate refugees’ (which according to Fury means that Cable will take China’s “undesirables”).
Fury’s guest, Captain America, tries to piece this information together to get an understanding of why Cable is the way he is. Rogers asks Fury, who turns out to be there in holographic form, what Cable has done that prompted this meeting. Fury replies that Cable hasn’t done anything since stealing the prototype forcefield “Cone of Silence” and hasn’t done anything beyond what Fury just told Cap. Cap wonders why he is here then.
Fury tries to bait Cap by saying that Cap’s Avengers have been too busy lately fighting ninjas to worry about a would-be world conqueror. Cap replies: “Cute… Cute won’t work between us right now, Nick.” Nick gets straight with Cap: S.H.I.E.L.D. drew up three contingency plans to deal with Cable. They are 1: Nuke Cable, 2: Nuke Providence and 3: Nuke the world. Cap thinks it’s an extreme response, Fury thinks it’s an extreme threat. Cap’s job is to enter Providence and confirm or refute S.H.I.E.L.D.’s suspicions once and for all.
Two days later, Captain America arrives on Providence via Australia and has taken the alias Roger Stevens. He tries to blend in with the population of Providence and, during the next two weeks, has various psychological tests, skill screenings and receives a tour of the island. He learns what the fission waste processor does and decides that it’s a good thing.
Roger Stevens gets assigned to the Public Works Division and paints murals, something that he hasn’t done since WWII. He eats in community mess halls and enjoys the experience and the atmosphere in Providence: people are optimistic, positive and talk a lot about life in general and the future. Captain America amazes himself by playing two hours of bingo one evening and enjoys the outdoor movie theatre during Chaplin night and the Brooks Brothers. He is happy to see that there is no Rob Schneider evening.
Over the two weeks, Steve tries to get the assignments that bring him as close to the administrative activities as he can. From a distance he observes head of security Johann Kriek and Prester John. He recognizes Johann as a former Interpol police officer and remembers him as “a very good man.” He also remembers Prester John as a fanatic, but thinks that as Head of Multi-Religious Studies, John doesn’t appear to be a fanatic anymore.
Once a week, the two supervise the new arrivals and transactions and scan it all with technology more advanced than the Avengers possess. Captain America also observes Cable from time to time, who keeps his distance from most people and is convinced that Cable is not a madman, he never even appears angry.
One evening, Captain America returns home, while considering staying. He enjoys Providence and wishes that the whole world could be like this. When he enters his apartment, he is greeted by Cable, who tells him that his shield is not as heavy as he remembers. Captain America turns on the light and tells Cable that he must have seen him two days ago. Cable corrects him: he knew Captain America was coming four days before he had decided to come.
Captain America asks why he then let him infiltrate his island. Cable wonders if he shouldn’t be the one asking why Captain America wanted to infiltrate the island. Captain America asks Cable to return his shield. Cable replies: “You know what I used to call this beauty when I was your age? I used to call it my shield. So you could understand why a very real part of me wants to say, why don’t you make me?”
Irene Merryweather has a meeting in Washington D.C. with an unnamed person. He tells her that the Commission on Superhuman Activities has infected every superhuman base of ops she could possibly imagine. If her agent gets ‘bit’ during his mission, he will take that ‘virus’ back to Providence and allows the Commission to spy on Cable as well.
In the Avengers Tower, Irene’s agent is revealed to be Deadpool. He sees Aunt May walking past and thinks that she is like a petite version of his beloved Bea Arthur. He now is torn between the desire to go to her or get Cable what he wanted.
Back on Providence, Captain America changes into uniform while he talks to Cable about the shield. He is surprised that the shield survives into the future. Cable responds that it survives into at least one possible future, his future. He tells Captain America that holding it feels inspirational. Captain America agrees that that was what it was meant to do, what he was meant to do. Cable hands the shield over and tells Captain America that he himself had to earn the ability to inspire. Captain America accepts the shield and tells Cable that they don't have to fight. Cable agrees, but he wants to.
Captain America attacks and pushes Cable out of the window during their fight. He then throws his shield to change Cable’s fall so that he doesn’t land on any civilians. Cable gets up and admires Captain America’s skill. Cable sums up that Captain America is 20 years younger, faster, stronger and has three times his endurance, but Cable has been in some form of combat for every single day of his life. He asks Captain America the question: “So would I have ever walked into a fight with you unless I knew I could beat you before we even started?”
Captain America’s eyes widen as Cable floats in front of him. Captain America thinks back to how Cable lost his powers while fighting the Silver Surfer, but then pieces the clues together: the pictures Fury showed him, the Dominus Objective, the Cone of Silence, all were intended as a way for Cable to recreate the telepathy and telekinesis that he lost. Captain America throws his shield at Cable, but Cable uses the Cone of Silence forcefield to form giant hands of energy and catches the shield with one and grabs Cap with the other. Cable then links Captain America’s mind to the Infonet and downloads his life memories into Cap’s mind.
Captain America finds himself on a battlefield in the far future and finds superhumans fighting each other. Not like superheroes, who are more like professional wrestlers, but like the cold, cruel fights of war that Captain America still remembers. Cable’s friend, Tetherblood, warns Captain America, who has taken the role of Cable in this memory, that the enemies try to outflank them. Captain America, in the role of Cable, replies that he was planning on that, because it opens up a passage through the middle of his opponent’s forces.
Captain America can feel the faith the other soldiers have in Cable and remembers that it feels the same as the faith and admiration the WWII soldiers had in him. He does notice the difference, how Cable has accepted this burden in a way Cap never could and took it upon himself to be a symbol of hope for billions. From the smoke, Cable appears carrying Captain America’s shield and Cap suddenly has become an observer. Cap wonders if Cable is trying to manipulate him, so that Cap sees Cable as more important than himself or if he is doing it to himself.
Cable cries their battlecry: “For liberty and justice!” His men repeat it and follow him, knowing that many of them are going to die. Cap wakes up.
Captain America turns to Cable and asks if men really fought and died just to protect his shield. Cable tells him they fought and died for the ideal the shield represented. Rogers wants to know how long Cable carried the shield, Cable responds that he carried it till it was torn from his arm, then corrects himself and tells Cap that actually his arm was torn from his body. <>
After they lost the war, Cable returned to the 20th century to kill Apocalypse to prevent his future, but he learned that things were never as simple as that. So Cable changed his mission: to create a better future by creating a better present. He gives Captain America the shield back and tells to the onlookers that they want some privacy.
Cable tells Cap that, as significant as Captain America’s life has been and as long as it will last, it will be nothing but an eyeblink in comparison to what Cable has seen and lived through. He admits that it may sound arrogant, but his ideas and perspectives are as advanced from Captain America’s as Captain America’s are from a chimp. Cap does think it sounds rather arrogant. Cable tries to explain that he is not thinking in terms of today and tomorrow like Cap is, but in terms of centuries and millennia. He wants Captain America to understand how much he admires him. Captain America agrees, he could feel it himself through the Infonet. Nathan knows that Cap understands order and discipline, but he’s just a captain, while Cable has been four-star general, president and joint chief of staff and pope all rolled into one.
Cap explains to Cable that all his plans, people won’t be able to accept them, they can’t think in terms of millennia. Cable will try to convince them, like he did to Cap. Cap wonders why Cable thinks he’s convinced. Cable tells Cap to look around him and if this wasn’t what Franklin D. Roosevelt held out to Cap as his ideal. Cap tells Cable that he’s not a social theorist or politician. Cable agrees, he’s a soldier every good leader needs good soldiers.
Captain America thinks that the Avengers and X-men will have to stop him in the future. Cable is not surprised; he knows they can’t dream like he does, because if they did, they would have to act upon it. He begs Captain America not to turn against him though, not to become his Pontius Pilate. He knows what Cable has been planning and Captain America could be so much.
Cable then uses his access to the Infonet to project the information Deadpool confirmed for him: while the Avengers where fighting the Thunderbolts, the Commission on Superhuman Activities used the opportunity to place various surveillance systems in the Avengers Tower. Cap and his team won’t be able to find them, they are so advanced that they don’t even exist in macroscopic space, but Cable can disable them. Captain America is insulted and asks Cable if he’s bribing or blackmailing him. Cable leaves the choice to Cap, telling him that he’s free to leave, but hopes that Captain America at least finishes the mural he was working on. He thanks Captain America for coming to Providence himself instead of watching it through a spy satellite; as a grunt in the field, you may not see the ‘bigger’ picture, but the one you see is far more true. Captain America watches Cable fly away and finishes his mural the next day.