Cable (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
July 1995
Story Title: 
“… Our Regularly Scheduled Program…”

Jeph Loeb (writer), Arnie Jorgensen (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon (colors), Lisa Patrick (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The world didn’t end like everyone thought it would a few days ago – something that has given Cable and X-Force something to think about. Their homebase at Murderworld has been blown up by its previous owner, Arcade, and now the mutant team Nathan leads is without a place to live. After speaking about recent events, Cable and Domino, along with Cannonball, Boomer and Warpath, go to check the ruins of Murderworld to see if there is something useful left. While searching, Warpath asks Cable if he knows where Siryn is, but Nathan doesn’t even answer the question. Jean, together with Caliban, also arrives to help, and together they recover the PACRAT, an aircraft of Cable’s design, from beneath the rubble. Suddenly, Cable receives a telepathic cry for help from an old friend and, after droping off Jean and X-Force at the Xavier Institute, Nathan takes Domino and Caliban with him to go help… Blaquesmith! They are led to a beached ocean vessel in which Blaquesmith has been hiding, and Caliban’s quickly locates Blaquesmith. After Cable frees his friend from under a heavy machine that fell on him during an attack, Blaquesmith reveals that someone apparently knows he is still alive, but actually came looking for data concerning Cable. Now freed, Blaquesmith manages to restore his computers to display an image of the attacker, as it all happened so fast Blaquesmith couldn’t see who it was by himself. However, the image is too blurry and Blaquesmith fears it will take a while before he can get a clearer picture. In the meantime, Cable asks his old friend, despite what happened in the past between them, for a favor. He has been thinking about a few redesigns for the team and needs Blaquesmith’s help with that, which he agrees to. Cable then invites Caliban to join X-Force, against Domino’s wishes and much to Caliban’s surprise. Meanwhile, at Muir Island, Moira informs her assistant, Rory Campbell, that she fears somebody working at her lab has leaked the info about the Legacy Virus to the media. Plus, that person also looked into some of her files concerning Cable, which could mean Nathan’s very life is in danger.

Full Summary: 

With an uncertain look in his face, Cable asks Domino where he was.

A ball of confusion…

Since returning from Israel, things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for Cable. For him, time has come to set things right again, which is easier said than done. It’s not as though he isn’t justified in this unusually distracted state. Both Cable and Domino are mutant heroes affiliated with the X-Men. Earlier, Cable thought the world was going to end. Eventually… it didn’t. In the heat of the moment, Cable did the most difficult thing of his life. He opened his heart to Domino and, in her own way, she reciprocated. They thought the world was going to end. Now what do they do?

Domino replies that Cable was saying how, now that the media has made the Legacy Virus public, it’s going to make Xavier’s job and theirs a lot more difficult. She mocks it’s not like people needed another reason to hate mutants. And now that Murderworld has blown up, both Cable and X-Force don’t have a place to live, to which Domino guesses she doesn’t have one, either. And she also thinks Cable was leading up to something big.

Cable and Domino stand in front of the destroyed Murderworld. They pass through a huge fence, which has a warning sign of “Danger: No Trespassing” marked on it. Cable jokes that Domino is making it sound like he’s giving dictation. She apologizes. It’s just she can’t tell Cable what a joy it is listening to Nathan re-cap how messed up everything is right now. Cable admits to Domino he knows they haven’t had a second to breathe, like five minutes even, but he’s trying to do something about it.

Jean telepathically contacts Cable and informs him that they’ve found it. Cable telepathically answers back he and Domino are on their way. Cable explains to Domino Jean is there. She doesn’t really like the idea of not even having a two second conversation without some X-Man showing up in Nathan’s head. <>

Together, they scramble down into the heart of their former headquarters.

Domino asks Cable if he thinks they’re going to find something worth salvaging. Cable mocks he doesn’t like reminding Domino it was her idea to take up residency in a place called “Murderworld,” where the previous tenant was a homicidal psychopath. Domino jokes she didn’t hear Cable complain when she said they didn’t have to pay any rent in this place. Cable just feels lucky nobody got killed when Arcade torched the place.

They meet up with Cannonball, who informs Cable he hasn’t even found a light bulb that hasn’t been trashed. He then asks Cable if he has given it some thought about where they are going to live. Nathan wants to worry about that later, and for now wants to go find the others. He asks Boomer if she found anything, but unfortunately Tabitha hasn’t. Tabitha jokes she did found something if they are all going to live in a cave, and want to keep a giant pinball as a trophy. Being on the receiving end of explosions is unsettling to Boomer, given what her mutant power is. She hopes by making jokes nobody will notice how worried she really is.

Warpath agrees with the others that there is nothing there they can use. Despite his newly cut short hair, James Proudstar is the strongest member of X-Force. Cable invites James to come along with him, Domino, Tabitha and Sam and maybe they can find something, if they’re lucky. James instead asks for a minute alone with Cable. When he asks what it is, James explains to Cable that it has been a few days since he last saw Siryn, and wonders where she is. Cable, a bit angry, replies that Theresa is a big girl who can take care of herself and leaves. James is more than disappointed that Cable didn’t even answer his question.

The X-Force carrier wing is nicknamed Pacrat. It’s a short for Personal Assault Carrier For Recon/Aquatic Terrain. Given the time and expanse it took to build the vehicle, there is an audible sense of relief finding it in one piece. More importantly, it is for Cable, the first step in putting things back in order. Caliban, standing on top of the aircraft, mentions to Cable that he found it, and asks Nathan if he did it good. Jean stands besides the jet, and happily mentions to Cable she believes this is what he was looking for. Sam asks Nathan if he believes they can get the plane up and running again. Cable is determined to give it one heck of a try, at least. Jean explains the engineering of the plane seem to be intact, the real problem is getting it out from under the rubble it is stuck in.

Domino doesn’t really like seeing Caliban again and wants to know who invited him along. Caliban jumps down and tells “Patch-eye” he’s glad to see her again, too. It’s Cable who wanted him there. Disgusted, Domino can’t believe Nathan did that, but he simply smiles he sure did. The X-Force members start digging out the plane, and Caliban helps them out. Sam fears this is going to take days, but then Cable has an idea and orders everyone to stand back. He telepathically contacts Jean, who can already see in Cable’s mind what he plans to do. Cable confirms: they can telekinetically lift the plane free. Jean and Cable both start using their telekinetic powers together, and point them at the plane.

Jean knows she and Cable need to work together. However, as she adds her awesome telekinetic powers to his, Jean knows in her heart that Cable will over-exert himself. Something is troubling Cable. Something he needs to prove to the others… and to himself. Cable starts to sweat heavily, but refuses to give up. Nathan’s idea works, and the plane is freed. However, a moment later, the exertion takes its toll and Cable falls unconscious.

Domino panics and rushes towards Nathan, shouting at Jean that he isn’t breathing! With Cable down, his psi powers fail to hold his techno-virus in check and Jean telepathically warns Cable to concentrate. Jean gives him a telepathic shout, which is strong enough to wake Cable up. He says he’s okay, and quickly gathers his powers to pull the virus back in. He asks his teammates if they pulled the Pacrat out. Warpath confirms that all systems are good to go. Domino smiles at Nathan that was some stunt he pulled, and sarcastically calls him a show-off.

Sporting a stern look, Cable wants to know what in blazes the others are all standing around for. He orders Domino to take Warpath and do one last sweep of the area, as he doesn’t want any civilians tripping over leftover explosives. He wants Boomer, Caliban and Cannonball to ready the ship, as they’ll be airborne in ten minutes. So they need to get themselves in gear! The X-Force members all don’t dare but to comply of course, and as they race into action, Domino smiles if Nathan wants them to rotate and balance his wires, too.

Nathan gets up and telepathically thanks Jean, but she smiles there’s no need to thank her. Jean explains that one of the downsides of being a telepath is keeping private thoughts… private. When Nathan asks what she means, Jean says that, if there’s something Nathan needs to talk about, she’s there for him. Hesitant, Cable admits there is something. Ever since they got back from Israel, he can’t shake the feeling that they’ve all been given a second chance, to make a difference with our lives. He already has so many responsibilities, between Domino, X-Force needs him, and his son, Tyler, is out there somewhere.

Jean explains it takes time to realize that feeling responsible and being responsible are two different things. But, she concludes, if Nathan wants to talk with someone about what it’s like to have a son out there acting on his own, he should talk with Scott. Nathan gets the point. Jean telepathically tells Nathan they can only do their best, and wants him to remember that.

Ten minutes later, at the Xavier Institute…

For a time when they were known as the New Mutants, X-Force used this school as their base of operations. Despite Cable’s differences in the past with Charles Xavier, the team needs a place to stay for now. As he lands the ship, Cable orders the team to round up the other members, and to meet him at 11:00 hours tomorrow morning, and doesn’t want to hear any excuses. All except Cable and Domino step out of the jet. Caliban is hesitant to get out, as he doesn’t know where to go.

When Cable is about to tell Caliban what to do, a telepathic call for help reaches Cable’s mind! Cable is more than startled, and wonders who send the call. Suddenly, he recognizes the voice… Blaquesmith?! He shouts at Domino and Caliban there’s a change of plans. He wants them to strap themselves back in, as they’re going. Cannonball offers X-Force’s help. Nathan appreciates it, but he wants Sam to look after the others. Sam understands, but doesn’t really like it. Tabitha wonders why Cable is in such a hurry, but Jean is certain Cable has his reasons. Warpath also dislikes the idea of Cable going off on his own again. He can’t help but wonder where that leaves them, and what’s going to happen to X-Force.

Within the hour, Cable, Domino and Caliban are over Baltimore, Maryland. Cable has kept quiet, hardly saying a word. And when you’re in Domino’s company, that’s not a good move. Domino mentions to Cable she thought she’d hear him say the name “Blaquesmith.” That’s a name she never thought to hear ever again. She also believes it can only lead to trouble. She wants to know if Nathan is going to get mixed up with Blaquesmith again. Cable warns Domino this isn’t open for discussion. “Oh,” Domino replies. She admits to Cable that those X-Force kids of his, they need to know where they stand. Especially after what happened to Sunspot. And if Nathan is thinking about moving back into the mansion, she’d…

Cable interrupts Domino by admitting he doesn’t know what to do just yet. He just doesn’t know! Caliban asks if they are there yet. Domino mocks that Caliban’s timing is perfect, but he doesn’t get it and just thanks her. Domino doesn’t even want to bother saying she was being sarcastic. Cable answers Caliban’s question, and says they’ve arrived. They arrive at a pier.

At the end of the pier, a rusted frigate is coasted. Despite its dilapidated appearance, the frigate can outrun almost anything on the water. And it has, more than once. Domino doesn’t want to worry Nathan, but Blaquesmith isn’t answering on any frequency. Cable lands the ship and wants to go check inside. Once he has done that, he and Domino hold their guns ready. He asks Caliban for some help and wants to know if he can get a “fix” on anyone inside the boat. Caliban confirms he senses someone, and it’s a mutant, but not someone he knows.

The group climbs aboard, but Cable warns that knowing Blaquesmith, he’s probably has this place booby-trapped six ways to Sunday! They find a door which Cable makes out to be titanium built. When Domino asks if Cable has any idea how to get in, Cable jokes they could knock. Instead, a moment later Domino and Cable point both their guns at the door and blast it open! The room inside looks trashed. Domino mentions she finds it nice to see that Cable still uses the hardware when he has to. Cable reminds Domino it’s like an old friend once taught him: “the right tool for the right job.”

On that moment, security alarms go off! Four canons appear from the walls, and immediately open fire! Cable quickly pushes Domino aside to safety, and uses his telekinesis to destroy the cannons all at once. As Cable helps Domino, he finds that she is a bit angry at him for pushing her like that. Cable says he just did it for her own protection, but Domino claims not to have needed it. Cable asks her to stop it, as he knows she would have done the same for him.

Their argument is interrupted, however, Caliban shouts at the two to come quick as he found someone. Cable hopes it’s Blaquesmith because, after that “welcome,” somebody has a lot of explaining to do. Caliban lifts up a huge device, and Cable helps up someone that was trapped under it – an older looking mutant with yellow skin. Caliban asks Cable if that is Blaquesmith. Cable is relieved to see Blaquesmith alive, and helps the poor guy up. Blaquesmith speaks to Nathan in Askani tongue, but Cable asks him not to do so, as they’ve been through too much for that. He prefers English for now.

The tone that with what Cable addresses Blaquesmith is not one he often uses. It is filled with… respect. And there is a twinkle of understanding in Blaquesmith’s less-than-human looking eyes, only the first indication that he is far more than one expects at seeing his diminutive state.

Blaquesmith mocks Cable that he hasn’t been there for five minutes, and yet he’s already giving him orders. Not that he’s not grateful to have that two thousand pound thing of his back. He sarcastically asks Nathan whether he happens to know a good chiropractor. Speaking more seriously, Blaquesmith admits he wasn’t sure Cable would come. Cable confirms that, despite what happened in the past, he will always be there for Blaquesmith. He wants to know what happened here, and why the automatic defense systems are on. Blaquesmith reveals the systems came back on… when he was attacked.

When Cable asks why, and how, somebody would even begin to find Blaquesmith, Blaquesmith fears that somebody has made the connection. That person wanted all the data on Cable and went through a lot of trouble to get it. And that’s not good for either of them. He starts working on a machine and asks Cable for a minute to see what he’s got on video playback. With surprising speed and agility, Blaquesmith sets to work on the wreckage. While working, Blaquesmith notices Cable is still trying to make his “X-Force” project working. Cable claims it’s not a “project,” though Blaquesmith mumbles in disbelief. He mocks that Cable hasn’t even mastered his own powers and yet he’s trying to teach others to do just that. Blaquesmith also notices Cable is still with Domino and jokes that apparently, Cable did learn something from him, after all.

He telepathically asks Cable how much Domino remembers. Aware of this silent conversation, Domino sarcastically remarks she loves it when people act like she isn’t in the room. Cable smiles and telepathically replies that Domino remembers nothing, claiming it’s still too dangerous. Blaquesmith has finished repairing the device. He has the computer bring up a composite of the attacker, but he can’t get a clear enough image. Cable is impatient and wants to know who attacked Blaquesmith, and can even remember he’s still alive. Domino asks Blaquesmith if he can do something about the image quality.

In the back of the room, Caliban notices that nobody is talking to him, so he’ll find something to do. Blaquesmith apologizes to Domino, but even he can’t perform miracles. Domino mocks that’s not how Cable tells it. Blaquesmith jokes back that, of all people, Domino should know how Cable lies! Blaquesmith explains his attacker was big, dangerous and didn’t want to be seen. He picks up something on infrared, and the computer shows a person wearing a mask. Cable asks how much longer it will take before the computers can give them a clearer image. Blaquesmith says it will help if the attacker was someone they’ve already got on file. He’ll make it a priority, but can’t do better than that.

Cable notices that Caliban is holding a red machine in his hands, and angrily shouts at him, wondering if he has to watch him at every second. Caliban becomes scared and drops the machine, which falls into pieces on the ground. Cable tells Blaquesmith they have to go and asks if he’s going to be alright. Blaquesmith thanks Cable for the concern, but he can handle himself, even if it means going underground again. In that case, Cable asks how Blaquesmith would feel about a favor. He explains he has been mulling over some new designs for X-Force. Blaquesmith mocks Cable doesn’t ask for too much. Cable smiles and knows Blaquesmith wouldn’t have it any other way. Blaquesmith wants to know how many Cable has in mind.

Nathan explains X-Force now consists out of 6 members. And Domino, of course. And, the big lug, Caliban. Caliban is surprised to hear that. Domino begs Nathan to reconsider, but he instead asks Domino to trust him. That doesn’t make Domino feel much better, though. Cable places his hand on Blaquesmith’s shoulder, wanting him to know that somehow they’ll find whoever it was broke in here, and he’ll personally rewire that person’s hardware. Blaquesmith knows Cable won’t take this lightly. There are a lot of ways to find him, but coming through Blaquesmith makes this person… not only smart, but deadly, too. Blaquesmith is afraid that this person has an agenda against his old friend, and that Cable must have something he wants and is willing to kill Nathan for to get it.

Meanwhile, over at Muir Island…

Sitting behind a machine in her lab, Moira explains to her assistant, Rory, that ever since the Legacy Virus was outed by the media, and also mentioned her infection, she can’t help but suspect that someone here leaked that information. When Rory asks if Moira has any proof of that, Moira states that she has been running a search through the computer logs, and has discovered someone has been accessing files. Rory doesn’t want to sound cold, but now that the story is out, he thinks the damage has already been done. Moira doesn’t think so, because this piece of the puzzle involves Cable, and if it’s gotten into the wrong hands, then his very life is in danger!

Characters Involved: 



Cannonball, Boomer, Warpath (all X-Force)


Jean Grey


Moira MacTaggert

Rory Campbell

as image on Blaquesmith’s computer:

Blaquesmith’s attacker (unclear image)

Story Notes: 

The world almost came to an end at the conclusion of the X-Cutioner’s Song.

X-Force moved into Murderworld in X-Force (1st series) #40, but Arcade blew up the base shortly afterwards in the one-shot X-Men: Prime.

Caliban traveled with Cable, Domino and Storm to Egypt in Cable (1st series) #17-19.

What happened to Sunspot was explained in X-Force (1st series) #43.

Blaquesmith was first seen before this issue in X-Men: Prime.

X-Force’s fate is revealed in X-Force (1st series) #44.

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