‘AAAARRGH!’ Bishop cries out in agony as Hope shoves her psimitar into his stomach. He is shackled and chained to the wall, and this sudden act is watched on a monitor by the deadly Stryfe. His helmet is removed, revealing his Cable-like appearance. ‘How heart-warming. A girl, a blade, and a dream come true’ Stryfe mocks. He smirks and decides that Hope finally gets a chance to confront her boogeyman. ‘And spill his guts on my nice clean floor’. Stryfe remarks that Cable spent years trying to raise Hope. ‘Now you understand how you failed. Most parents don’t get to understand this before the eighteenth birthday’.
Banging on a screen in another part of the complex, Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers slams his fists on the screen, ‘Hope! Don’t do this! It’s not too late! Pull out the psimitar!’ he calls out to Hope. ‘Remember what I taught you - remember who you <i>are</i>’ Cable pleads with his foster daughter.
‘Hope… stop’ Bishop utters, while Hope just looks up at him and declares that the blade is nuzzling his celiac artery. ‘I shudder, you bleed out. So shut the hell up’ she snaps. Blood drips from Bishop’s mouth and explains that he isn’t begging for his life, but for hers. ‘I tried to kill you. Tried like hell. Never wanted to kill you. Just wanted to save the world’ he tells her, admitting that he was so obsessed that it blinded him. ‘Look where it got me!’ he points out, but Hope just tells Bishop to shut up. ‘Look where it got me, Hope. Chained in a dirty bunker with a blade stuck in my gut’.
Blood starts to drip down onto Hope’s hand, while Stryfe puts his mask on and grins as Bishop adds: ‘You’ve two fathers: Me and Cable. Two choices: zealot or soldier. And you may not believe this, but - I’m <i>proud</i> of you, Hope’. ‘How sweet’ Stryfe smirks, while Hope tells Bishop to shut up. ‘You’ve survived so much. Don’t waste you life on bad blood. You take this step, you can’t take it back’ Bishop tells Hope. Hope listens, as Bishop explains that if she does this, then she will always be a casualty of bad blood - forever.
‘Drop the weapon, kid…’ Cable declares unheard.
‘If anyone deserves to die at your hand, it’s me. But if anyone deserves a better life than this - it’s <i>you</i>’ Bishop announces. Hope hangs her head.
Suddenly, Stryfe’s computer alerts him to an imminent impact. ‘What?’ Stryfe calls out, as the computer states that there is an incoming airship of unknown origin. Indeed, a flying vehicle arrives by teleport nearby. Crammed inside it are the members of two X-Force teams: Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck and Spiral comprise one team, while Forge, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin, Domino, Tabitha “Boom Boom” Smith and Doctor Nemesis are Cable’s teammates. ‘Is this really going to work? Because I don’t feel like this is gonna work, Storm’ Domino remarks. Storm assures her that it will, if they time it right. Betsy explains that they need to hit hard, as Stryfe is an omega-level telekinetic, and his telepathic powers might surpass even hers. ‘I thought you were the third most powerful psychic on the planet, Psylocke’ Doctor Nemesis remarks. ‘Let’s see if I still am, Doc’ Betsy replies.
Boom Boom blows a bubble with her gum as Forge asks Spiral how good her timing is. ‘Don’t worry about me, Peg Leg’ Spiral replies, when suddenly, Judd calls out: ‘Oh, Sassafras - look!’ He alerts everyone to Stryfe, standing on the roof of his base below.
Stryfe tries to jolt the vehicle telekinetically, while Colossus leaps out of the vehicle, Puck on his back. ‘Yeee-haaaw!’ Puck shouts. ‘Now, Spiral!’ someone calls out inside the vehicle, while Colossus tells Puck to hang on. ‘Don’t worry about me, Colossus. ‘Ride ‘em Russkie!’ Puck grins. ‘Fire away, Canuck Cowboy!’ Colossus replies. ‘Such juvenilia’ Stryfe matters as he blocks the rapid fire weapons that are blasted towards him easily with a telekinetic force field. Stryfe fires and energy blast at the heroes, striking Puck who drops his weapons. Colossus lands near Stryfe, and delivers him a punch in the face. ‘You missed me, villain!’ Colossus calls out as Stryfe falls backwards with such force that he breaks up the rooftop. Puck lands safely nearby.
Spiral teleports Betsy and the rest of the heroes onto the rooftop, as Forge concedes that Spiral’s timing is like clockwork. ‘Told you’ the six-armed time witch replies. Betsy reaches for her sword and instructs the black team to keep Stryfe distracted, to hit hard and fast. ‘Boom Boom! You’re up next’ she adds, while Domino orders the red team to infiltrate and cause destruction. ‘Ready for another trip, Spiral?’ Storm asks.
‘You dumb ox!’ Stryfe shouts as he pushes Colossus aside. Boom Boom throws several plasma time-bombs towards her old foe and shouts ‘Yo! Laddie Gaga! That’s my boy Pete you’re messing with!’ But Stryfe blocks the attack with ease. ‘I leave you for years and this is all the army you can raise against me? Schoolgirls and halfwits?’ he demands.
‘Hello, Stryfe. I hear you are a fan of clones’ Doctor Nemesis remarks, as suddenly, there seem to be a dozen Doctor Nemesis’ standing before Stryfe, all armed with weapons and ready to fire. ‘What the devil? Wait - a psychic illusion?’ Stryfe realizes, as he mentally infiltrates the attack. ‘Uh… bang?’ Doctor Nemesis utters as his “clones” vanish and Stryfe sends him careening backwards with a blast of energy. ‘Idiocy!’ Stryfe shouts, before he tells Psylocke to get out of his head as she leaps towards him from behind, her sword ready to strike. ‘I’m going to make you regret time traveling from whatever bollocks future you came from’ Betsy replies as her sword strikes his armor. ‘I crushed you in the future. I can do it again. A shurayuk blade - how surprising’ Stryfe replies, as he grabs the sword with his gloved hands and asks Elizabeth who she has killed with this, and what it cost her. ‘Have you felt it cut through your own flesh?’ Stryfe enquires, when suddenly, Colossus slams into him. ‘Remember me? The big dumb ox?’ Colossus asks. Stryfe wipes the blood from his mouth, and tells Betsy and Colossus that they are fools, and nothing compared to him. And I am done playing with children’ he exclaims.
Meanwhile, Spiral teleports herself into the complex with Storm, Domino, Forge and Boom Boom. Forge reports that Psylocke tracked Bishop and Hope somewhere in here. ‘Good heavens!’ Storm gasps as she sees Bishop chained to the wall, clutching his stomach as blood pours out of him - and Hope standing defiantly nearby, psimitar in hand. ‘Oh Hope…’ someone utters. ‘Dear Goddess… Bishop!’ Storm exclaims, while Domino frowns and points out that they blew it. ‘…you didn’t’ Forge gasps, wide-eyed, while Spiral announces that she is out, and teleports away. Bishop coughs up some blood and asks if anyone is good at stitches. ‘It’s a clean cut. He’ll live’ Hope announces as she tosses her psimitar to the floor. Forge rushes over and helps unshackle Bishop, while Storm pulls Hope aside, asking her if she is all right. ‘I’m a soldier, Storm. Not a zealot. I couldn’t kill him’ Hope announces.
Hope adds that maybe one day she will take her revenge - but not this way, not with Bishop chained up, and not because Stryfe handed him to her. ‘I just kept thinking - I didn’t want to disappoint Nathan’. Domino smiles and embraces Hope, ‘If he was here now, I know he’d be so -’ she begins, when suddenly, there is a loud, crashing noise, as Colossus falls through the ceiling and lands in the bunker, the impact knocks the other heroes over. ‘STAB YOUR EYES!’ Stryfe booms as he lowers himself into the bunker, Betsy held under control at his side. Stryfe puts the others under his control too, and shouts ‘You’ve ruined everything! I had my claws sunk deep where Cable is the weakest. His daughter. What Cable stole from me can never be returned - my rightful place in our family!’
Stryfe grits his teeth and declares that now he will take Cable’s family. ‘I am Stryfe the Imperial! I am the superior endpoint of the genetic code! Cable is feeble and decrepit and does not deserve to -’ but he doesn’t get to finish his proclamation as a psimitar is shoved through his chest, piercing his armor. Stryfe drops to his knees, clutching at his wound. ‘You’re right, Stryfe. I don’t deserve everything I got. But It never stops me from beating your ass’ Cable declares as he stands over his clone after being teleported in by Spiral. ‘NOOO!’ Stryfe shouts as he raises his hand and knocks Cable aside with a blast of energy. The others are all still held in Stryfe’s mental stasis, while Stryfe slowly gets to his feet, pulling the psimitar out of his body. ‘Hurts like hell - my own psimitar - damn you, Cable’. He announces that this could have been so perfect, an end befitting two tragic brothers. ‘Undoing your proudest creation. Your only offspring. Your legacy. But you’ve backed me into a corner, and I’ve got no time for poetry’ Stryfe declares.
Energy glows around one of his fists as he remarks that all he can spare right now is but chery, for Cable, his compatriots, and his daughter. He turns to Hope and touches her face with a finger. ‘Hope, you can mimic the powers of any superhuman being - poorly’ Stryfe comments. ‘Get out of my mind!’ Hope calls out. Stryfe explains that he is telepathically commanding her to mimic his limitless power - for better or worse. ‘Nnno! Aaaargh!’ Hope screams. Stryfe asks her if she can shoulder the burden of an omega-level mutant without destroying everything within ten miles. ‘I doubt it’ he comments. Stryfe then opens a portal and states that he leaves Hope to do his work for him - a mutant bomb. ‘My gift to you, Cable - oblivion, at the hands of Hope’.
As Stryfe vanishes and the portal closes behind him, the heroes are all released from his mental hold. ‘Hope!’ Storm exclaims, ‘We’re free!’ Colossus points out, while energy seeps from Hope, she gasps and announces that she can feel everything. Domino tells everyone to stay back, as Hope can’t always control the power she steals - and her mind is in chaos, it is too much for her. ‘Hope, NO!’ Cable shouts, while Colossus pulls him away, telling him not to get near, as it is too dangerous. ‘Oh God help me - no no no I can’t - I feel like I’m going to explode!’ Hope exclaims. Spiral offers to teleport Hope safely into orbit, but Storm declares that they will not abandon her. Forge examines his analysing device and tells everyone that they have to do something, or she will destroy them all, as she is off the charts.
Hope screams, but Bishop goes over to her and puts his hands on her shoulders. ‘Hope, look at me! Focus on me! We can do this together!’ Bishop tells her. Hope screams in agony, while Domino asks ‘What the hell is he doing?’ Storm reminds everyone that Bishop’s powers work under the same principle - absorption and redirection. Hope and Bishop drop to their knees and Bishop tells Hope that power is like anger or fear - you need to let it flow through you or it will destroy you. ‘That’s what they taught me. In the future. That’s where I learned how wrong I was. Trust me. This is the only way’ Bishop explains to Hope, who utters that she can’t. ‘You can and will! You are Hope Summers! You need to master it - focus it in a single direction’ Bishop declares. ‘Okay… where?’ Hope asks as she starts to calm down. ‘Up’ Bishop tells her, and with that, Hope screams as she releases the unmeasurable power that Stryfe left within her.
It pours from her as fiery orange energy in the form of a phoenix raptor. It explodes forth, through the complex, tearing its way into the darkened sky overhead, and Hope collapses in Bishop’s arms. ‘Hope?’ Cable calls out as everyone cautiously gathers nearby. ‘It’s okay, soldier. It’s over. Live to fight another day’ Bishop smiles as he holds Hope.
Later, both teams are gathered together and relax after their mission. Forge and Domino sit on a sofa which Boom Boom leans over the back of. Cable and Puck sit nearby and Doctor Nemesis stands behind the sofa while Bishop approaches Hope and Storm and Psylocke walk away from the others. ‘There’s dozens of forgotten bunkers, all over the world’ Domino remarks. ‘No telling where he went’ Boom Boom points out, as Forge reminds everyone that Stryfe is no shrinking violet, so it is only a matter of time.
‘Hope -’ Bishop calls out. ‘Don’t Hope tells him, looking away. Bishop tells Hope that he owes her more than one apology can handle. ‘I was afraid of a future that may or may not have existed. I let it control me. I let it bring out the worst in me. I didn’t have any right - I hope one day you can forgive me’. Hope doesn’t look at Bishop as she tells him that he may have earned a pass today, but that doesn’t mean she forgives him - no way in hell. ‘No promises what I’ll do next time you come around. So stay the #$%& away’ Hope warns Bishop, who hangs his head.
Cable puts a hand on Bishop’s shoulder and suggests he better let Hope go for now. ‘Trust me’ Cable adds, before reminding Bishop that back in the bunker, he saved his daughter when Cable couldn’t, ‘If nothing else - thanks for that’ Cable declares. They shake hands as Bishop tells Cable that he appreciates that more than he knows. But when they turn and walk away from each other, Cable mutters ‘Bastard’.
Storm and Betsy are drinking some wine, as Storm recalls how Betsy said when they came to Los Angeles that X-Force was dead - and remarks that now, instead it seems to have multiplied. ‘Cant seem to stay down, can it?’ Betsy replies. ‘You won’t stay with me?’ Betsy asks her friend, but Storm tells her that she can’t, and asks Betsy to come back to the school. ‘Hell no’ Betsy tells Storm. ‘But I love you anyway’ Betsy adds as the two friends embrace. ‘Forever and always’ Storm agrees. Betsy tells her to have a great time with Logan, while Storm replies ‘Don’t ruin this’.
Cable approaches Betsy as Storm takes her leave, and Cable remarks to Betsy that she handled herself well out there. ‘Same to you’ Betsy smiles. ‘Not really, but thanks’ Cable replies. ‘What Bishop said about blindly chasing the future… struck a chord. I’m changing gears’ Cable announces. ‘Why, Nathaniel Summers. Turning over a new leaf?’ Betsy asks. ‘Let’s just say… for the first time in years, the future looks very bright’ Cable responds. ‘Amen to that’ agrees Betsy.