The man called Cable, leader of this age's rebel forces, seeks answers from an unliving companion, as he kneels in the ruins of one of the many destroyed buildings in a desperate future. He holds a small cube that is his computer in his hands as the computer explains to him that a temporal storm has wreaked havoc with the Timestream – their present is reconfiguring in response to the existence of a new past – meaning once realignment is complete, Cable and his timeline will cease to exist. The computer informs Cable that the primary chronal component in this time readjustment is the mutant Bishop, as it was his actions in the Twentieth Century brought about the timestorm. 'Bishop! He does -' Cable begins before a familiar sound resonates around him, and the whirling timestorm appears near him, changing his present, removing from existence all that he knows, bit by bit. The computer tells Cable that Bishop is the disruptor who has traveled to the Twentieth Century from his own response to changes in his own present – he went to prevent the plague Apocalypse had set in motion. 'That plague must occur' the computer announces.
'This plague is Apocalypse's doing?' the muscular Cable asks, surprised. 'He's the evil I've fought against as a rebel all my life! How can I let Apocalypse destroy a past world, even if its end means the continuance of my own' he wonders. The computer tells Cable that the logic is mathematically simple – millions must die in the past so that future billions can be born, and that the mutants who survive this plague will carry antibodies which will stabilize the mutant genetic code, meaning that unless the plague occurs, mutantkind will destroy itself and this timeline will cease to exist. Cable asks the computer how much time he has before the temporal storm destroys everything, but the computer states that it cannot calculate the duration of the time flux due to the anomalous elements involved.
Suddenly, a teenage boy runs into the room, 'Dad! Do something – make it stop!' he calls out, surrounded by a strange glow. 'TYLER!' Cable shouts, turning to his son. 'Make it stoooop!' Tyler utters, before he vanishes. With Tyler gone, Cable decides that his mind is made up - he is returning to the past. Cable approaches a teleportation pad in the room, as the computer states that it is vectoring for trans-time injection on previously calculated coordinates on the time platform. 'Translation... see you on the other side!' Cable declares as he steps on the time platform and then vanishes.
The late Twentieth Century, where inside Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in New Salem, New York, another time traveler – the man known as Bishop – finds himself questioned by the X-Men – Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, Logan a.k.a. Wolverine, Rogue, Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit, Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast and Jean Grey. Wolverine suggests to Bishop that they go through this again – even though it is making his head hurt. 'Yer from the future and you came back because the existence of some virus has screwed up your own present' Wovlerine summaries, before asking Bishop if he is leaving anything else. Bishop sternly replies that there is more to this than Wolverine's flipancy would suggest, adding that mutants will be blamed for the plague this virus will precipitate. Bishop tells the X-Men that when they found him earlier, he was attempting to prevent the storming of a mutant safehouse. He remarks that fear of the virus will spread and the situation will escalate uncontrollably, before adding that he has stated that this virus was not brought into being my mutants.
The Beast tells his teammates that he concurs with this, as his investigation of a viral-ridden cell sample last night was convincing. 'At the risk of being repetitous here, with the drill for you slow learners again... the virus was genetically-engineered, it would appear it's non-lethal now – but of a decidedly unstable nature, more's the pity'. The Beast continues, explaining that once the gregarious germs spread to the mutant population and combine with mutant DNA, it theoretically could become incredibly deadly. 'That's no theory, Beast. In my time, I have seen the result' Bishop exclaims. Cyclops declares that they have got to find who is responsible and try to keep the lid on this plague hysteria, suggesting that perhaps President Kelly can help them with that.
Meanwhile, in a small motel just outside of Salem Center, New York, Cable has arrived in this time period, and sits on a bed, while using his computer to display images of the X-Men, stating that he needs to know who he is up against. Cyclops appears first, and the computer states that he is the field commander of the X-Men and that he projects optic energy beams. Jean Grey is next, and the computer informs Cable that she has telekinesis and limited telepathy, before moving to Wolverine, revealing that he possesses an indestructible adamantium skeleton and retractable claws, while his mutant power is swift healing factor. Cable looks shocked at the mentoin of healing factor and tells the computer that he has had an idea that might save the future for everybody. His attention is then drawn to the television in the motel room as the reporter on screen states that tomorrow, the Capitol is host to hearings on the status of mutants – at Senator Goode's Committee on Mutant Affairs, and that the hearings are scheduled to proceed at eleven A.M.
The following day, at the Capitol, inside a large auditorium, Senator Goode's Committee on Mutant Affairs is meeting, with Graydon Creed, leader of the Friends of Humanity, has begun his speech before a large audience. He thanks the chairman and states that these hearings are needed so the public may learn the true extent of mutant infestation of society. He boasts that mutants have brought a plague down upon them – and he means that literally. Creed stands at the podium and announces that at this moment, there is a lethal virus abroad in their great land, that it isa plague fostered and spread by those genetic deviants euphemistically called mutants. Creed begins to look angry as he exclaims that the Friends of Humanity is dedicated to the sacred cause of mankind and the eradication of threats – but he doesn't get to finish his sentence as Senator Goode interrupts him, pointing out that they do have quite a full schedule and need to move on. 'I do expect another chance to finish my remarks' Gradyon Creed mutters. 'Yes, of course' the senator replies as he takes to the podium.
The senator then introduces Dr Henry McCoy, a specialist in cellular mutation – and a mutant. The Beast takes the podium and thanks the senator, before stating for the record that impeccable scientific analysis has shown that the virus which causes this plague was created in a laboratory and shows no signs of contact with mutant DNA. The Beast suggests they put aside the hysteria that grips them and unite in the cause of truth. 'We are all the same beneath the skin! Didn't our creator so state?' the Beast adds. In the audience, Cyclops, Jean, Wolverine and Bishop are dressed in civilian clothes as they watch the hearing proceedings. Wolverine tells the others that Beast should run for office – although he isn't sure about those sideburns. Jean adds that they seldom see this side of Hank, and that it is inspiring. The Beast reports that he has all the pertinent data. 'It will show – with a minimum of technical jargon -' he starts to say, while Graydon Creed covers his mouth with a cloth and pulls a device from his jacket pocket – this does not go unnoticed by Bishop, who thinks that Graydon is pulling out a gun, and rushes forward, 'DROP THAT WEAPON! NOW!' Bishop shouts, grabbing Creed by his wrist, he sees that Creed is holding some sort of canister.
'Order! Order I say!' the Senator exclaims, banging a gavel on the podium, while Bishop forces Creed to the ground. 'Let me go!' Creed pleads, as security guards rush into the chambers, one of them ordering the others to spread out, as the place is erupting in fights. 'Looks as if I've arrived just in time' Cable declares as he materializes in the chamber. 'Well, look who's showed up to cast his vote!' Wolverine snarls as he sees Cable. Wolverine punches a member of the Friends of Humanity in the face, before turning and rushing towards Cable, informing him that he has been looking forward to getting a crack at him. 'Guess it's just your day, isn't it, claws?' Cable replies as he raises his large weapon – and slams it into Wolverine's face. 'Short day, sorry' Cable responds. He throws Wolverine over his shoulder and runs towards the exit, thinking that Wolverine is crucial to his plans, and that he needs to get out during this confusion. However his exit does not go unnoticed by Cyclops and Jean. But Cyclops points out that there are too many innocent bystanders around who may be hurt if they try and stop him. Jean looks shocked as she utters 'Something about him – Scott – I just touched his mind telepathically – unbelievable! It can't be!'
Up at the podium, Graydon looks nervous as Bishop steps on his hand, forcing the nozzle on the aerosol spray to open – and the gas pours out of the canister. Beast suddenly pushes Bishop back, telling him to cease and desist, as Mr and Mrs America are watching. Bishop alerts the Beast to what is happening to Creed's face, as the anti-mutant bigot looks at them, his face green, he looks unwell, sweat drips from his face as he exclaims that this is only the beginning, and that mutants are responsible. Creed then pulls back his shirt, revealing his whole body has transformed, he displays himself in front of the cameras as he shouts 'Let the world see what you mutants have done! THIS! Mutants – monsters! I am proof that contact with you brings the plague! Look at me! See the horror you've unleashed on humanity!'
The Beast grabs Bishop by his collar and tells him not to make any sudden moves, or else he will be forced to resort to the resumption of his restraint. Gambit, Rogue and Storm make their presence known as they gather around, and Gambit tells Bishop 'Means you gonna be held, homme!' while Cyclops tells his teammates to get Bishop to the Blackbird while there is still commotion. Rogue asks Cyclops what about Wolverine, reminding him that he got made off with. Cyclops tells Rogue that Wolverine is a big boy, and that firstly they have to stop the plague. But Gambit suggests to Cyclops that they should be splitting up, and offers to track Wolverine down and then catch up with them. Cyclops looks annoyed, 'NO!' he exclaims, assuring his teammates that he is very concerned about Wolverine's fate, but that they are staying together – that is his priority. Cyclops informs the others that they must get back to the Mansion – or it may be life and death for all of their kind.
At the motel Cable is hiding out in, 'Welcome back to the land of the living. Hope I didn't clock you too hard' Cable tells Wolverine as he throws some water over his face, waking him up. Logan sits up on the bed, 'Never mind my soaking noggin', Bub. Whattaya want – twenty-five words or less!' Logan snarls. Cable holds his weapon as he explains that a man called Bishop went back to this present some months ago, and his actions allowed Senator Kelly to live to become President, but the backlash of Kelly's presidential policies allowed Apocalypse and Graydon Creed to unleash a plague virus. Cable adds that those events from Bishop's first trip here created a temporal storm that is altering his timeline, Cable's own present – so it will cease to exist as he knows it. 'Guess having Bishop back here a second time didn't help you any' Logan remarks, wiping the water from his mask.
Cable informs Logan that Bishop needs to stop the plague to re-align his own future, but the plague must occur to secure the continuance of his – meaning they are at odds. Wolverine warns Cable that he is talking about losing a lot of lives with that plague, to which Cable remarks that manu will die, he won't deny that, but that he is here to save his entire present, and reveals that with Wolverine's assistance, there is an excellent chance that the loss of life can be truly minimized. 'Wil you help me?' Cable asks. Wolverine pops his claws in front of Cable's face and tells him that he will tag along because he is curious, but warns Cable that if he does anything out of line, he will be heading back to the future with a couple of holes where nature didn't intend them. Cable speaks to his computer, instructing it to access the primitive power grid and effect an electro-transport to the coordinates outside Creed's Virginia headquarters. 'Electrotransport, huh? Probably faster 'n taking the bus. No fare, either' Wolverine jokes as he and Cable glow with energy, before they vanish as Cable utters 'Bodyslide initiated'.
Meanwhile, inside the X-Men's Blackbird jet, the Beast is watching some footage of the hearing at the Capitol and calls Cyclops over to look at the recordings. 'What've you got there, Hank?' Cyclops asks. The Beast explains that he set the computer to record the broadcast from the committee hearing, and increases the image on the screen, which shows Creed's hand holding the aerosol canister. 'Positively diabolical. While Bishop grappled with Sir Creed, Creed accidentially set off his aerosol spray can...a can which was an ingenious delivery system for the airborne virus' the Beast explains. 'The fool infected himself in his failed attempt at infecting me – because Bishop intercepted him! Voila!' the Beast adds. Cyclops points out that Creed will need treatment, and turns to Jean, who sits behind Rogue, who is piloting the jet. Scott asks Jean what is wrong – he knows she is upset they didn't go after Logan. 'But I've already explained...' Scott starts to say, before Jean bites her lip and looks up at Scott, 'It isn't that, Scott. It was when I made telepathic contact with Cable – I learned – he's more important to our future than you could ever imagine. It's frightening!' Jean utters.
A short time later, the Blackbird's instruments have led the X-Men to the Friends of Humanity headquarters in Virginia. The Blackbird descends near the sprawling property of the Friends of Humanity in the dead of night, with Cyclops telling the X-Men that there is no time for subtlety, and that they should prepare for a frontal assault. Cyclops, Beast, Gambit, Jean and Bishop run towards the fence surrounding property, while Rogue and Storm fly above them. Cyclops tells Gambit and Storm that they can best clear a path for the others. 'With pleasure, mon ami!' Gambit replies as he throws several kinetically-charged playing cards at the fence, busting part of it open. 'Arctic winds and snow will freeze the fence to such brittleness a child could shatter it!' Storm declares as she freezes the fence, breaking it apart. 'That must be the help – ready to escort us to our suites' one of the X-Men jokes as several members of the Friends of Humanity rush towards them. 'Mutants – attacking! Kill them all!' one of the Friends of Humanity members shouts.
As most of the X-Men engage in physical combat with the Friends, Jean informs Cyclops thjat she has contacted a mind – in agony, turmoil – directly below them, underground. 'Good going, Jean' Cyclops replies, supposing that it must be Creed, he declares that they have got to get down there fast. 'And this is the fastest way I know how!' Cyclops exclaims as he taps the side of his visor, and an optic blast charges from his eyes directly into the ground, creating a massive hole. The heroes gather around the hole. 'An underground complex!' Bishop calls out, before telling Cyclops that his power beam is a weapon to be feared, and that in his century, it is a legend. Cyclops tells Bishop that he appreciates the compliment, and that he is only sorry his power is ever used enough to become a legend.
Inside Creed's underground comple, Creed sits in a wheelchair before a scientist. 'Look at me! A plague victim! I can't be sick now with the plague about to spread! Bu the time I recover, it may be too late to direct events!' Graydon exclaims. The scientist assures him that they will think of something, before of them look up as they hear a rumbling noise – and a moment later, a wall is knocked down, with the X-Men appearing. A second later, Cable and Wolverine teleport into the room. 'Game's up, Creed! This is where the X-Men put an end to your sick plans!' Cyclops calls out. 'Looks as if you've gotten a taste of your own virus, you monster! Do you like it?' Jean asks, while Storm alerts Cyclops to the arrival of Cable and Wolverine. 'Just teleporting in to look over the join, darling' Wolverine jokes, before Cable raises a large weapon and aims it at the scientist: 'The name's Cable – Apocalypse!' he shouts. 'You'll hear it again, someday!' he exclaims.
The blast strikes the scientist, who smiles and declares 'Interesting how you penetrated my disguise...Cable. I might as well...REVEAL MY TRUE FORM!' he shouts as he transforms into the powerful mutant known as Apocalypse, who towers above the others in the underground chamber. Apocalypse looks at Creed and points out that he appears shocked, before informing Creed that he is merely a pawn in his plans who never knew he was working at his side. Cable raises his weapon to Apocalypse and tells him that whatever form he assumes, he is going to pay for his crimes against mutant – and man. 'How can it be a crime to assume one's natural position of dominance? As you are above man – I am far beyond mutant! Accept it!' Apocalypse exclaims. Apocalypse reminds the X-Men that they once defeated his Four Horsemen, but warns them that they can never hope to succeed against him, that they struggle against the natural order of things, and are fools for doing so.
Apocalypse raises a hand and fires a blast of energy that strikes Storm and Gambit, knocking them back, while he adapts his own form, creating a shield out of one of his hands to block an optic blast that Cyclops fires at him. 'Keep talking “dominance”, big man! My optic beams can blast through anything – even that makeshift shield!' Cyclops retorts, before warning Apocalypse that he is going down – big time. Rogue flies up to Apocalypse from behind, 'Hey, Chromedome! It ain't nice to turn yoh back on a lady!' Rogue calls out, reminding him that she owes him from a beating he and his henchmen gave her in Stonehenge – and she always pays her debts. Apocalypse turns around, 'Eh? Oh – the tart-tongued, silver haired X-Man... Rogue, I believe' Apocalypse comments, before telling Rogue that he is sorry, but for now, her misplaced vengeance is deferred. He then swats her hard across the chamber.
Bishop watches as Apocalypse turns his attention to Wolverine, 'And now the small one with the fearsome visage! Does your animalistic act really frighten anyone – Wolverine?' Apocalypse asks as he shifts his hand into a large hammer. 'Leaves 'em quivering bowls of jello, Mr A!' Wolverine snarls, claws at the ready, he remarks that since Apocalypse doesn't scare easily, he will have to drop the act and cut him a new navel. But before Wolverine can act, Apocalypse slams his hammer-like hand into him, knocking him into a stasis tank containing fluid, that spills out over Wolverine and the floor. Bishop looks shocked and points out that Wolverine has been drenched in the contents of the tank – the virus. He tries to move forward to Wolverine, but Cable holds him back, claiming that it is the only way, and that now the virus is in Wolverine's incredible immune system.
Wolverine stumbles to his knees and asks what is happening, as he feels weak as a kitten, he feels sick. Logan realizes that he is turning green like Creed, and knows that he has the plague. Bishop turns to Cable and asks him if he realizes that in stopping him, he has doomed Wolverine. 'No I haven't! I've saved us all! Watch!' Cable replies. Wolverine boasts that he isn't going out this way, and tenses his body as he urges his healing factor to make him healthy, like he was. Wolverine then gets to his feet, the virus purged from his system, his body returned to normal, he exclaims that it is done. 'Wolverine's healing factor – his mutant immune system – kicked in – cured him! And by doing so, it created the anti-bodies that all mutants will need to survive the virus – the plague. This one's for all our futures!' Cable declares as he opens fire on other tanks containing the virus.
While Jean stands nearby, Cyclops fires another optic blast at Apocalypse and tells him that he is defeated – that he has been defeated by those he felt were inferior, those he scoffed at. 'Not a good feeling, is it?' Cyclops looks over at the other tanks warns the X-Men that Cable's blasts have begun a chain reaction of explosions, so they need to get out – now. 'Mutant filth! They've destroyed everything! A future of such sublime perfection – ruined!' Apocalypse booms. 'The chaos I would have created – postponed! Mankind survives never knowing how close it came to armageddon' Apocalypse laments, before he floats in a bubble above the raging fires in the laboratory, remarking that while mankind dozes in ignorance, he will brood and plan and strike again – and that on that day, there will be no reprieve – and for the upstart Cable, there will be another time for him, as well!
The X-Men have made it to the grounds outside the underground chamber, with the Beast carrying Graydon Creed, telling him that his pathetic dreams go up in flames, and that he should remember it was a mutant – a hirsute one, to be exact – who saved his worthless skin. The Beast adds that he will assume Creed will reconsider injecting himself with any lethal concoctions on subsequent occasions in light of this rescue. As the facility explodes in spectacular display, Apocalypse can be seen escaping the flames in his bubble, floating up into the air. Gambit is helping Wolverine away from the flames and asks him if he is okay, to which Logan replies that he is not bad for a gent who almost bought it a minute ago. Wolverine asks Gambit how he is feeling, before Rogue asks Cyclops why he looks unhappy – as they whipped Apocalypse fair and square.
The X-Men gather together as Cyclops points out that Apocalypse is still at large, and that until he is contained, none of them are safe. Cable tells Cyclops not to let it bother him, explaining that he has been jousting with Apocalypse for years, and that there are never complete victories or defeats where Apocalypse is concerned. Cable states that, for now, their respective timelines will continue along their proper paths, and that more lives than they can imagine have been saved today. Cable thanks the X-Men for their assistance – and his fellow time traveler, Bishop. 'Likewise' Bishop replies as he adjusts his temporal transceiver so he can return to his era. Bishop farewells the X-Men and Cable and tells them that he has a feeling they will meet again.
A short time later, in the future, Bishop rematerializes in his own time, and tells Forge that he has returned, asking him if it worked – if they stopped the plague. 'Plague? What're you talking about, Bishop?' Forge replies, glancing away from his work. 'I'm speaking of the virus which devestated our mutant brethren!' Bishop exclaims. 'The joke is over, Bishop. Understand?' Forge replies. 'More than you'll ever know, Forge' Bishop thinks to himself, grinning.
At the X-Mansion in the present day, Logan sits up on an examination table and asks the Beast what the verdict is. 'I'm sitting half an hour and yer still peering at my corpsucles' Logan remarks. The Beast glances at Logan and tells him that the march of medical progress cannot be hurried, but that he has ascertained that Logan has created an array of antibiotics that have put to rout that rather virulent viral strain. 'That healing factor is a thing of wonder' the Beast smiles.
And, in the year 3999, Cable crouches down and hugs his teenage son. 'Oh, Dad, you're safe! I thought I'd never see you again!' Tyler exclaims. Cable tells Tyler that it is all right, that they are together for always. Cable thinks to himself that the world is as he remembers – the effects of the time storm are reversed, and his plan bore fruit. Suddenly, a member of the rebel forces alerts Cable to the fact that Apocalypse's forces are overrunning their positions, and they need him on the front. Tyler looks up at Cable and smiles as Cable clenches a fist and declares that is where they are going – and Apocalypse is going to get a counterattack like he never expected. 'This war is ours to win! Let's go!'