This is X-Force. They are mutants. The second generation of young men and women who attended Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. They have undergone untold hours of training in an effort to better control their awesome and often frightening powers. A platform lowers them into a sub-basement. There is a certain excitement in the air amongst the young heroes. For today, their teacher, leader and mentor has promised them a mission. The six heroes step towards two shadowy figures before them - one male, one female.
‘X-Force is here!’ exclaims Caliban, one of the few survivors of a hideously deformed band of mutants known as Morlocks. He may be simple minded, but undeniably the best tracker of mutants. ‘All set for today!’ remarks the handsome James “Warpath” Proudstar, a Native American with the strength and speed of ten men. ‘Fired up and ready to go!’ grins Boomer a.k.a. Tabitha Smith, your average teenager who can blow up almost anything with a thought. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta remarks something in his native Brazilian, his life changed remarkably when his inborn ability to harness the solar energy of the sun manifested itself. ‘We await your orders!’ exclaims Shatterstar, the warrior swordsman born one hundred years from now in a dimension far, far away - apparently. Finally, Theresa “Siryn” Rourke Cassidy, the stunning deputy leader of the team with a devastating sonic scream, announces that they are all present and accounted for.
These young heroes would lay down their lives for their leader - he has taught them much - today, their loyalty to him will be put to the test. The shadowy figures step forward - ‘Promptness…is something I appreciate!’ exclaims Sebastian Shaw, standing with his assistant, Tessa. Shaw tells Tessa that X-Force’s training has gone extremely well, better than he would have expected. Tessa replies that this is only because Shaw keeps his expectations exceedingly high. Shaw is a mutant of unfathomable power and an insatiable lust for revenge. The world believes him dead. Tessa, Shaw’s long-time ally is the second of Shaw’s trio of conspirators - as a telepath, she is integral to his plans.
Siryn remarks that soldiers are only as good as the commander who leads them. ‘As you have taught us, Sir’ she adds. Suddenly, ‘Bold words, Siryn!’ remarks Shaw’s other ally as he steps forward, asking Siryn if she is prepared to put them to a test. His name is Holocaust, ripped from an alternate reality where he was a heartbeat from being supreme ruler, here, he sees this chance as a mere stepping stone toward regaining his former stature. ‘We swear to it!’ Siryn assures Holocaust, adding that failure is not an option. ‘We have, then, a relatively simple task. You are to kill a man!’ Holocaust announces.
‘All of us? Just to whack one guy?’ Boomer asks. ‘One man’ replies Shaw, grinning madly. ‘His name is…Cable!’. Suddenly, X-Force erupt in noise. ‘Yesss!’ exclaims Siryn, while Sunspot grins, Warpath shouts ‘All right!’ as he hi-fives Shatterstar, and Boomer exclaims ‘Let’s go to work!’ as she and Caliban high-five….
Later, night has fallen on Manhattan, where in the Wall Street district, a powerful duo move through the night. ‘They’ve been gone nearly a week, Dom’ one of them remarks to the other, adding that the last anyone heard some of them were going into the city, but now they are gone - all six of them, without a trace. ‘Even Xavier can’t locate them - some nonsense about disruptions on the psionic plane. So it’s up to us to find them - as it should be!’.
Cable a.k.a. Nathan Dayspring Summers and his constant companion, the enigmatic Domino, step into the light as they find a clue down an alleyway. Cable is a rebel from some yet undetermined future, who has come to this era to see to it that the hellish ruin he grew up in never becomes a reality. Both Cable and Domino have fought side-by-side for longer than either would like to admit it, and until today, Cable did that with a team called X-Force.
Touching the ground, Cable announces ‘They were here’ and motions to the marks in the ground which he believes Shatterstar’s swords made. ‘Nathan. Call it “woman’s intuition”…but I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ Domino replies as she looks around the alleyway. ‘I blame myself’. Cable replies. ‘There has to be a better way of keeping a handle on the team’. Looking at some large markings in a wall, he remarks that the energy burns are like nothing he has ever seen.
Domino reminds Cable that he hasn’t slept or eaten in days, ‘Add to that things like - I don’t know - trips to the future and Genosha - and I have to ask you…how long can you keep this up?’ Domino asks her dear friend. ‘Not a topic for discussion’ the heroic Cable replies, pointing out that X-Force is missing, so somewhere, somehow, someone is going to pay.
Cable and Domino are unaware that they are being watched - by the very person who was kidnapped in this alley - Shatterstar. Crouching on a low rooftop nearby, Shatterstar radios to the others, announcing that he is in position. ‘We copy, proceed as planned’ comes the reply. So, suddenly, without warning, Shatterstar fires a few deadly blades at Cable, causing Nathan to get knocked into the wall. Nathan realizes that they are under attack and yells at Domino to go for cover, but it’s too late, as Siryn unleashes a powerful sonic scream, temporarily immobilizing the duo, enabling Boomer to toss a plasma time-bomb down the alleyway, which quickly explodes.
‘Who are you? Show yourselves!’ demands Cable loudly when the dust clears. ‘Yelling at them. Very effective’ Domino mumbles as they lie on the ground, when suddenly, a figure appears several feet away. ‘You’re in no position to demand anything!’ the figure booms. Cable recognizes the figure, ‘Jimmy -? Is that you? For a second you really had me going!’ Cable exclaims, when suddenly, Warpath lunges towards Cable and Domino at break-speed, announcing that their orders are specific to Cable, but that he cannot see anybody being disappointed if they take Domino out too.
Domino doesn’t have time to move, and as Warpath moves towards her tells herself that if this really is Warpath, she has never seen him move so quickly, before he slams into her and knocks her over into a pile of trash cans. Cable begins to ask James what it is he is doing, but as James lifts Cable up against a wall - hard - and holds him up by the neck replies ‘Seems obvious. We’re killing you!’.
Cable holds out a hand to block Warpath’s attack, ‘STOP!’ he orders. ‘You’re not Warpath and I won’t let you -’ James interrupts, ‘Wrong!’ he exclaims as he smashes Nathan hard in the face. ‘You’re up against X-Force, Cable - with no way to win!’. Suddenly, Domino appears behind the unsuspecting Warpath, ‘Don’t bet on it’ she mutters as she smacks Warpath over the head with a steel bar. James drops to the ground, dazed, while Domino helps Cable up, and together they make their way out of the alley, with Domino telling Cable that he may have had the element of surprise, but that is clearly gone now.
Domino remarks that they need a little breathing room, and uses a weapon to blast a hole into one of the myriad of offices along Wall Street, while Cable follows her inside, exclaiming that whoever did this picked the wrong guy to mess with. Shortly, the duo race across a series of desks, Domino remarking ‘They’re very good, you know’. Cable replies that they ought to be, after all he trained them. ‘Nice time to be taking pride in one’s work’ Domino jokes, when, suddenly, there is a massive explosion behind them, the heat of which sends Cable and Domino careening ahead.
Siryn, Boomer and Caliban appear, and Siryn orders Boomer to nuke anything that moves. ‘You got it, Red’ Boomer replies, while Siryn tells Caliban that she wants a fix on Cable’s location - yesterday. Caliban replies that he knows what to do, and leads the girls into the office. Cable and Domino crouch behind a desk, and Nathan quietly whispers that someone has mind wiped X-Force good, but he is getting nothing on the psi-link. ‘Any ideas?’ he asks Domino. ‘Just one. Let’s get to higher ground!’ Dom replies.
Meanwhile, in a cloaked hovercraft above the city, ‘It has begun!’ declares Shaw, with Holocaust at his side. Tessa sits in a chair and concentrates on telepathic powers, hard. Holocaust informs Shaw that if he wanted this “Cable” eliminated, then he could have done the job - alone. Shaw asks Holocaust if he can’t see the inherent beauty in this, and explains that it matters little to him if Xavier wants to call them “New Mutants” or “X-Force” - for once they actually kill Cable, he will have them - mind, body and soul. Shaw adds that this is with no small thanks to Lady Tessa, who controls X-Force and blocks Cable’s psi-link.
Tessa telepathically reminds Shaw that she is a novice psi, and that three of X-Force have already had some mind-altering done to them, so she cannot guarantee her hold on those three. Shaw ominously replies, telepathically, that he hopes, for Tessa’s sake, that X-Force finishes the job before she loses them.
Back on Wall Street, Caliban races through the office, with Siryn and Boomer following, he exclaims that he knows where they are. Boomer asks if it is much further, to which Caliban replies no - until they come to a series of elevators, which causes Caliban to tell the girls to wait. He then rips open the elevator doors with his powerful claws, shouting ‘Heeeeere’s Caliban!’. But the trio peer into the elevator, only to find the elevator shaft empty. Hovering over her teammates, Siryn remarks that training with Shaw did not make Caliban nay smarter.
Caliban looks upwards and replies that he is now wrong, that Cable and “Patch-Eye” are here - ‘Just not…here’. Crouched on some railings high up the elevator shaft, Cable whispers to Domino “Shaw?” ‘As in Sebastian Shaw?’, remarking that Xavier told him Shaw was dead. Cable tells Domino that Shaw has shown them hi hand, so it’s time to show him their’s. Domino understands and grabs one of her weapons, remarking that she hopes Caliban knows the expression “This is going to hurt you a lot more than it does me!” and with that, blasts at the cables holding the elevator up, sending the elevator screeching downwards, towards Caliban, who, sticking half his body into the elevator shaft, remarks that he was not wrong. Siryn warns Caliban to get back quickly, as this is a set-up, but it’s too late, as the elevator slams into him. ‘Ouch!’ Boomer remarks as Caliban gets squashed.
Domino and Cable climb up a ladder in the elevator shaft, with Domino remarking that Caliban’s head may be as thick as a brick, but they haven’t bought themselves that much time, so they need to get going before X-Force regroup. Cable replies that they are talking about his team, and asks how they are going to stop them before someone gets killed.
Seconds later, Cable blows the lid off the elevator shaft, his mind racing faster than his heart beats, for as well as he knows the strengths of his team, no one knows their weaknesses better. Leaping across nearby rooftops with Domino, Cable knows that he has to find a way to exploit that knowledge. Domino asks Nathan if they can contact Xavier or the X-Men, but Cable replies that they don’t have time for that.
‘We agree!’ shouts a voice from above. ‘You only have time to die!’. It’s Sunspot, carrying Shatterstar. ‘Relentless little jokers, aren’t they?’ Cable telepathically informs Domino that no matter what has been done to the team, they are still psi-linked, and he thinks he can block Shaw’s telepath. Cable asks Domino if she remembers Genosha, ‘The swell time we had? How could I forget?’ Domino replies sarcastically, before Cable reminds her that going up against the Magistrates, they picked them off one by one. ‘Gotcha!’ Domino replies, before Cable blasts Sunspot with a telekinetic jolt, forcing Bobby to let go of Shatterstar.
Domino proceeds to snatch one of Shatterstar’s swords, to which Shatterstar tells her she presumes much selecting do battle with one who is a warrior born. Domino replies that she has heard Shatterstar’s speech before, and that it never impressed her much. Shatterstar slices Domino’s upper arm, angrily shouting that no one takes his sword from him. ‘Yeah, well I just did’ Domino replies, before deciding that, due to her wound, she is going to have to finish this fast.
Domino leaps into the air, lunging towards Shatterstar, ‘Come on then!’ the warrior cries, before their swords clang together. Physically stronger than Domino, Shatterstar manages to force Domino to the rooftop floor, and telling her to always remember that she has brought this down upon herself, he proceeds to shove his sword through Domino’s left shoulder. Domino screams, alerting Cable to her plight. Cable had hoped to be able to hold back, not to have to rely on the terrible swiftness of his violent powers against his own team. But the situation, he keeps telling himself, as left him with no alternative. Weeks ago, Shatterstar fractured his ribs in battle - the very definition of a weak spot, which Cable proceeds to strike with a powerful telekinetic blast.
There is no joy in this victory as Shatterstar lies motionless on the rooftop. Cable tends to Domino, asking her if she is hurt bad, to which Domino replies that she has been worse, and suggests to Cable that he go on alone and find help. Picking Domino up, Cable points out that he didn’t leave her in Yugoslavia, Vietnam or Genosha, so he is not about to leave her here. Carrying Domino, Cable proceeds to leap across rooftops, ‘Show off’ Domino remarks, but still marveling at him, after all this time - how deftly he can slip from raging anger to the delicate cradling with which he carries here.
Domino looks upwards, and extends her thoughts to Cable, who picks them up with his telepathy as Domino remarks that she doesn’t mean to spoil the moment, but Sunspot is approaching them from above. Curiously, Cable actually smiles. The building that they are leaping across is the First National Bank of New York, now a historical monument. During its renovation period, there was a much-heated discussion between the architects wanting to preserve its original integrity and design - and the security analysts.
Of particular debate was the stained glass skylight - which Cable now drops through, shattering the glass into countless fragments. Domino grins as she and Nathan drop to the ground, and asks Cable to tell her that he is working on a plan here. ‘Trust me’ Cable replies as they land on the ground, causing the loud security alarm to be set off. ‘I HATE when you sat that!’ Domino replies, while the glass shards land around them.
Suddenly, Sunspot appears through the make-shift entrance Cable made in the skylight, warning Nathan that there is nowhere he can hide, no place X-Force cannot find him. ‘That’s it, Bobby, just a little closer’ Cable thinks to himself. ‘Hunt you down!’ Sunspot shouts as he begins searching through the office. Cable is counting on that very fact, for he knows that Sunspot’s arrogance makes him careless. ‘Make you suffer!’ Sunspot shouts angrily, which is when Cable throws a concussion grenade towards Bobby at close range. ‘Class dismissed’ Nathan remarks as Sunspot falls to the ground.
Cable goes over to collect Sunspot, remarking that they need an ally, and Bobby is it. Cable enters Sunspot’s mind, remarking that he has been in there once before, had to go there to blow out Sunspot’s possession by Reignfire. Cable admits that Xavier warned him about the dangers of involuntary telepathy, and for once, he is hoping Xavier was right. Suddenly though, Sunspot begins babbling away in Askani. Cable responds in Askani, while very surprised that Sunspot is able to speak this language of the future. Cable then calls out to Domino, informing her that they have Sunspot, and that it is time to get out of here.
On the rooftop, Holocaust and Shaw stand over Shatterstar’s body. ’This one has failed’ Holocaust remarks. ‘He is weak. The weak serve no purpose’. Holocaust proceeds to raise a weapon to Shatterstar’s motionless body, but Shaw stops him and explains that in this world, things are not always as black and white. Shaw shoves Holocaust back, exclaiming that he is not at liberty to discuss it any further, but that killing Shatterstar in particular will being another into this game, and that would not be of their mutual interests.
Shaw picks Shatterstar up and throws him over his shoulder before walking across the rooftop, with Holocaust following him and boasting that he fears no one. ‘This is not about fear. We have a plan. We stick to it’ Shaw replies. ‘For now…’ Holocaust mumbles, when, suddenly, an astral projection of Tessa appears before them, informing Shaw that they have lost one of the three she cautioned him about. Shaw asks which one, so Tessa informs him that it’s Sunspot, and that Cable has taken him back. Holocaust asks Shaw if there is a problem but Shaw replies that it is nothing Holocaust need concern himself with, before calling out to X-Force and telling them that the time has come to finish this business.
Back at the bank, Boomer causes a massive explosion, and tells her teammates that she doesn’t know about them, but that cutting loose like this feels right. Siryn tells Boomer to save it, as Shaw is growing increasingly unhappy with their performance, and he wants Cable dead now. Crouched nearby, Caliban announces that he has found some of Domino’s blood, before revealing that Cable has left the building. Siryn notices the hole in the skylight and realizes that this has something to do with Sunspot.
Soon, Central Park, dawn is approaching. Standing on a bridge, years of battle experience has taught Cable many things - not the least of which is when the enemy has the advantage, change venue. Sunspot stands several feet away from the others and gazes off into the distance while Cable tends to Domino’s wounds, as Domino remarks that she is confused, and asks Cable if Shaw’s telepath blocked his psi-link to X-Force, who could he get Sunspot to fly them out of Wall Street - not to mention why is Bobby speaking Cable’s original language. ’That is Askani, isn’t it?’.
Cable replies that he took a risk, and explains that ever since he pushed Reignfire out of Bobby’s head, he has suspected that some of his own memories went into Bobby. ’So to free him, from Shaw, you reached into that part of his mind. Clever’ Domino remarks, before Cable psionically says something in Askani into Bobby’s head, while telling Domino that he wants her and Sunspot back in reserve. ’If anything goes wrong, I’ll need you to take them down’. Domino protests, exclaiming that she is not going to be left behind. Cable helps her off the ground and asks her to try it his way for once. ‘I need you here’ he adds. ‘Since you asked so nicely…but - take the gun’ Domino replies. Cable frowns, and replies that he will not let it come to that.
Cable approaches a large fountain with angel statues on it. Cable is from the far future, he came here with a plan. Only part of that plan has been revealed - Cable would begin here, in the past, to build an army that could defeat an unbeatable tyrant. The destroyer of Cable’s home, friends and family. En Sabah Nur - Apocalypse. Cable’s first attempts were unsuccessful. But, as it is with any fight - if the cause is good and just - you try and try again. Cable found another chance with the New Mutants, but despite their training with both Charles Xavier and Magneto, they were raw, untested and still very much separate individuals. It was Cable who molded them into…X-FORCE.
X-Force have arrived, they rush towards Cable, Boomer strikes first with a barrage of time-bombs, but Cable blocks them with a telekinetic shield. He can’t stop Siryn’s sonic attack though, and the force of Theresa’s scream knocks him into the statue. Warpath proceeds to smash Cable into the fountain, whereby enabling Caliban to come up behind him and strike Cable across the back with his sharp claws. Finally Shatterstar kicks Cable to the ground, hard, before Boomer returns with her plasma time-bombs, which knock Cable hard.
Injured and lying at the base of the fountain, Cable remarks that he doesn’t know how Shaw got to them, ‘I only know I’m responsible’ he adds, remarking that, as team leader, he tries to look out for them, but that he cannot be there all the time, which is why they have each other. The five gather around Cable, closing in on him. ‘We are a team. Remember that!’ Cable exclaims, while Shaw radios to X-Force, furiously urging them to kill Cable now.
Cable exclaims that he can fill their heads with memories and remind you of who and what it took to build this team, but that in the end, only they can win today, for what Shaw, or anybody else for that matter, doesn’t know is that he didn’t train X-Force to be soldiers who put on uniforms and follow orders - they are unique in that they are drawn together out of need. ‘Whether for self respect - or friendship. Together, you have a chance to find something we have all lost elsewhere in the world. I can restore the memories, kids. But only you can remember what you truly are’.
X-Force gasp as the images flow powerfully from Cable’s mind, stunning them all into psi-shock as their synapses spark and fire under Cable’s potent telepathic blast. Their pasts flood back to them as they see images of Cannonball, Magik, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Warlock, Karma, Feral and Magneto, forcing away Tessa’s masterful manipulations, leaving, in the end, clarity.
‘Ah, me aching head!’ exclaims Siryn as she rubs her head. A dazed Caliban remarks that he doesn’t understand, ‘You and me both, big fella’ Boomer tells him. ‘It was like a dream’ exclaims Warpath. ‘Or a nightmare’ suggests Shatterstar. The quintet then see Cable on the ground, and all go to pick him up. ‘Cable!’ ‘Sir, are you hurt?’ ‘We didn’t know -’ ‘Ye saved us -’ ‘It was Shaw -’. Domino and Sunspot arrive as Cable assures his team that he is all right, except for one pounding headache. Sunspot asks what happened, to which Cable, rubbing his head, grins and replies ‘We won’, before suggesting they go home. And with that, the group of friends leave Central Park, the sun rising above them….
Back at Shaw’s, Holocaust declares that the children have failed. ‘I would kill them all now’ he exclaims. ‘On the contrary, Holocaust’ Shaw replies, explaining that they have learned a great deal about their enemy this day. ‘So much that when we meet them again - and rest assured we will - the outcome will be decidedly different’. Shaw speaks into Tessa’s mind as he helps her to her feet, telling her that she needs to get some rest.
As Shaw and Tessa leave the chamber, Shaw remarks that he has others who can do their biddings, powerful others. Holocaust calls out to Shaw, remarking that Cable just handed him a decisive blow, so he must realize that Cable will come looking for him sooner or later. Holocaust remarks that he sees now that Shaw is the sort of commander who understand wars are not won in a single battle. ‘I’ll respect that’. Holocaust declares, while thinking to himself ‘For now…’.