Ladies and Gentlemen, Cable addresses several computer screens. This is MeMe. He stands beside a comatose, dark-haired woman in a box. Only her face is visible. However there is some conscience, as her thoughts race across computer screens. Angry, scared and confused, she still manages to relate how men killed her family, kidnapped her and turned her into a weapon.
In his thought log (entry 29), Cable muses he left himself a note in yesterday’s entry. It said: Sometimes the ends justify the means. No matter the cost to your soul. He isn’t half as poetic today.
Cable continues that this woman is a casualty of the war they’ve been ignoring. Two of the people he is addressing are Wolverine and Storm, X-Men and headmasters of the Jean Grey School. Wolverine is suspicious, Storm asks about MeMe’s skills.
Cable replies evasively. She’s more than she looks. He’s got his best people on it. And which people might that be, Mystique – on another screen – wonders.
Cue the grown-up, Dr. Nemesis announces and steps up and explains that he hypothesizes the girl represents an existential transhuman mutation. Her psyche is only rudimentarily biological. Her scape of E.M transference is-- The super villain wanted to know who he’s got on his secret crew, Cable explains. Skip it.
X-Factor’s leader, Polaris, wonders about Cable‘s new spirit of sharing. He tells her secrecy went out of the window along with good and bad. New state of play. This girl was abducted, tortured and forcibly weaponized. Spare him the novelty of moral ambiguity, Magneto scoffs. People have been using and abusing mutants for centuries. Where did Cable target his weapons today?
The rest of X-Force are currently in Ryadh, Saudi-Arabia, fighting several armored goons. Fantomex admires Psylocke’s skill and proposes dinner afterwards. Her victim is only unconscious! she snaps. Nobody’s perfect, he shrugs (“sauf moi, of course”). Think of it, he pressures. Oysters! Extremely phallic legumes! And pour le dessert—
For the last time, those days are over, she tells him. She refuses to be defined by the corpses in her wake or idiots in her bed. Change the record!
He asks her to consider. What else does she have? Seeing a foe taking aim at Fantomex’s head, she tells him to stay extremely still for a second while she contemplates her answer…
Back at X-Force’s HQ:
Cable replies that his crew are dedicated to the cause and each other. But that’s not why he called. Fact is, Meme is not alone. He’s aware of several others who had similar treatment. One of them wasn’t even a real mutant. Got depowered on M-Day. But someone abducted her, experimented on her, wiped her memories, and hey presto – born again mutant.
In Ryadh, Marrow takes out Fantomex’s would be attacker.
Is that even possible? Havok of the Avengers Unity Team asks. Roughly as possible as Havok following along if he described the relevant ribonucleic trickery in more than 140 characters, so not really, Dr. Nemesis replies insultingly. Technically, she’s still not a mutant. Sooner or later, they are going to have to tell her that. Ideally from another continent. Whatever wonder science she’s encountered, it’s synthesized her old skills like a stab of over-caffeinated sociopathic muscle memory.
Watching Marrow take out the rest, Fantomex asks her if she wants to go out to dinner.
Several? Cyclops repeats. Several mutants went through something. Who are the others?
Looking at the comatose Hope, whom the others can’t see, Cable announces that’s not relevant now. So what is relevant? Wolverine asks.
Cable points to another computer screen. This. Alexandria incident. A newly emerged mutant went kaboom. Three thousand died. They put out statements saying “tragic accident” and missed the point by a damn mile. Did they know they put X-gene detectors in half the world’s airports last month? Did they know 67 countries banned mutants from the military?
Elsewhere, his teammates fight their way through a bunch of heavily armed guards.
Did they know the G7 rushed through legislation so they can intercept communications from any known or suspected mutant? France, Russia, UK, US. They are probably listening in right now. Alexandria changed the world in a way they, the great leaders of the species didn’t even notice in their superlairs and leotards, and the only damn thing they do know about it –“tragic accident,” right? – is polished gold /&%$*! These abductions. The weaponizations and experiments. Meme and… and… the others. Same. Damn. Perp. He’s just dying to meet him.
Havok warns he won’t be party to a bloodbath. If he is looking for a sanction for another dirty little hit squad— He’s not, Cable cuts him off. He’s not after their support or their resources or their damn permission. There is a war being fought and it’s not about heroes punching villains; it’s not about saving the world or plotting to destroy it. It’s about tribes. Oldest instinct there is. Tribes. Making themselves stronger than the rest. They are at the back of the pack. They are on the verge of /&%#* disqualification because nobody bothered to stand up and join the race! They wanna quibble about the morality? Won’t help, won’t persuade the others to play nice. They are using mutants as tools, as scapegoats, as convenient distractions and they in their flashy suits are too busy butting heads to play ball.
But that’s fine. Carry on. As of now he’s on this. And all he needs from them is that they stay the $%#* out of his way!
His team has finished off the guards and Psylocke informs Cable. Nice of the boss to muck in with the hard work, Marrow mocks and Cable tells her she is welcome to handle PR. He teleports in.
On his thoughtlog, Cable notes that it’s difficult not to take satisfaction in the work when the talking is done. Even with what’s at stake (identify the perp behind Alexandria), even then it’s difficult not to take pleasure in a grand entrance. He kicks in in a door thinking you better believe Vader lights up a secret sneer every time they play that march.
Inside the room sits a calm man dressed in traditional Arab clothing, his headdress strangely covered by small floating globes. His brain sounds busy, futureman, he addresses Cable, and, forgive him, his powers sound broken.
Cable recognizes the man as Fiqh. The word means ‘deep understanding’ if you are being literal. ‘Supersurveillance keeper of secrets’ if you are not. He’s real high up in Saudi intelligence.
Mission goal 1 is identify the perp. If anyone in the spook world can help with that it’s Fiqh. Decent sorta guy by all accounts. But that’s not the game being played here. Nations are nations and tribes are tribes. “Fiqh is not one of us, that means he’s one of them.” Strongarm, shakedown, bully tactics. Call it what you want. For him it’s a good start.
Cable addresses Marrow. Brandishing a bone knife at Fiqh, Sarah snarls she’s going to eat his spleeeeen…
Sometimes the ends justify the means, Cable figures, no matter the cost to your soul.
Fiqh smiles and suggests they skip to the end. They are not going to kill him. Cable will have his attack hedgehog make some more embarrassing threats then he’ll tell Fiqh what he wants.
What he wants is— Cable begins. Fiqh interrupts. He wants to know who’s behind the abduction of his fellow mutants. Who’s been stealing technology and scientists. He can hear his neurons working. They are both aware how this works. If Cable kills him, he won’t get the information… what he does get is a war with the Arab League. Now there is a quid pro quo. Cable knew this when he came. He wants information, he must provide a fee. A death of sorts. He brings out some more small globes.
Side mission goal 1: Target’s called Quareen. Some sort of spiritual entity bottled in a corpse. That is to say, already #+*&/%$§ dead.
X-Force watch the heavily guarded man lazing at the poolside. Fiqh explains that this fiend is most vulnerable when within flesh. Destroy the tainted vessel and they’ll be doing the world a great service.
Cable silently notes Fiqh is using those words to convince him the mark deserves what he gets. But you can’t think like that. In this game it makes no difference if that chalk outline’s got horns or a halo.
Any progress? he asks Dr. Nemesis via comm. Staring at a computer screen and sitting close to the comatose Hope, an unnerved Nemesis spits back if Cable left him alone for five minutes he might be able to—He takes that a no, Cable interrupts. Nemesis groans. His mind is an entangled state quantum engine. His eyeballs are the most sophisticated items of diagnostic bioware ever grown. He’s had 17 energy drinks and his undergarments are mad of nicotine. Nonetheless he can’t even identify his daughter’s malady, far less fix it. So no to his question. No! (/&%$%/! progress! What he really needs is-- He knows, Cable cuts him off. Intel from the source. They gotta find that damn perp.
Whatever he’s planning, Nemesis adds, Cable should bear in mind the state of his own powers. He’s seen the scans. His psi power is still borked and his precog is down to what? A few seconds? It’s an edge, Cable replies. It’s all he needs.
Cable turns to his team and orders them to stay back. This is his deal, his duty. He teleports out and silently figures that sometimes the ends justify the means. No matter the cost to your soul. But that don’t mean you got to drag other souls down with you.
Cable teleports in amongst the guards and immediately starts firing at them. He figures the target’s connected. His precog a couple of seconds warning is all he needs.
Despite this being beyond right and wrong, he takes satisfaction in his work. The target, Quareen, ditches his body and slinks off to the panic room. The rest of the guards pile in on Cable.
From the roof, Fantomex and Marrow fire their arms at them and Psylocke finishes the rest off with her telepathy, ignoring Cable’s order. Good team, he figures. Crap soldiers.
Cable finds he can’t open the door to the panic room. The walls are made of Omnium. Anyone’s got any ideas? he asks. From the comm interface a strange voice addresses him as man old grizzled leatherface. Door open equals help mutants? Answer. He realizes the presence is MeMe. She repeats he question. Yeah, in a roundabout way, he replies. Door open will help mutants. She overrides the systems and opens the door.
Inside, floats the burning Quareen and asks if this about giving women the right to drive. For the sake of argument? Cable replies. Sure. Quareen blusters and tries to insult Cable, who doesn’t care or even listen to the litany of threats. Cable observes he doesn’t look so hot and figures Quareen doesn’t last long outside a body. He’ll dissipate like a fiery fart, right? He figures aloud Quareen needs a corpse to possess. He’ll just stand her and watch him dissipate.
Quareen gloats the key to possessing a body is a living soul and attacks Cable, trying to possess him. Once inside Cable, he screams in horror- Something is wrong. Cable is empty. What is he… What happened to him?
Sometimes the ends justify the means, no matter the cost to your soul, Cable tells himself. Cute motto, ‘Specially if you got a built-in exemption to that last part.
Quareen demands Cable let him fee. This achieves nothing, He can’t hold him forever. He can’t kill him without destroying himself. Maybe he’s crazier than he looks, Cable replies and pulls the pin off one of his grenades.
From the roof, the rest of X-Force see the building explode. The target is dead, Fiqh announces. How does he know? Psylocke asks. Because he can hear it, he replies impatiently. Where’s Cable? Betsy demands. Over comm, Cable tells her he is back at the base. He bodyslid out. He tells them to get the intel and return.
Betsy demands the data. Fiqh agrees and hopes they will regard his tenure as the head of his agency as the beginning of a friendly and mutually beneficial alliance. The head? Howzat? Marrow asks. A mere technicality, he replies as he hands Psylocke the data stick. His immediate superior recently passed away.
X-Force teleport back. How? Betsy asks Cable and is told to skip it and give him the info. She means it, Betsy insists. She can’t even taste his mind since he started wearing that bloody tiara of his— He interrupts her calmly. Sometimes the ends justify the means. It don’t help to agonize. It don’t make it any less nasty to rake over coals. This whole outfit’s built on secrets. She really want them all to start sharing? Non-plussed she offers to check the data but MeMe announces she already has.
Cable asks Nemesis why he let her into the systems. She let herself into the systems, Nemesis replies as they look at her holographic head.
She found the bad man, MeMe announces. She recognizes the bad man!
They see the image of an elderly mustached man in a Hawaiian shirt playing golf. The target is called Yevgeny Malevitch Volga.
Networth: 26 Billion $
Current location unknown.
Or as Cable puts it, he’s the same breed they always face: &%$%/# with too much power and a stupid outfit.