80 years from now, at the Mutant Relocation Camp in Sheepshead Bay, New York. Three security officers are “tending” to the heroic mutant James Madrox the Multiple Man, leader of the X-Factor team, thrust into a diabolic future, he is now their prisoner. ‘Hold him still!’ one of the officers orders as they force Madrox into a chair, one of the officers holds a shaver to Madrox’s hair and remarks that he still has the shakes after the lousy Cuban rum that Frank was slinging last night. ‘What did Frank say about that warning notice?’ the officer holding Madrox down asks. ‘Told them they can go scrap themselves. Like they got people lining up for that locking shift, you know?’ the shaver-wielding officer replies.
Madrox grunts as the electric shaver is forced to his head and the officer begins shaving his brown hair off. ‘You got something to say, mutie?’ the officer asks. ‘No’ James replies. ‘No is right’ the officer snaps, before turning to his colleague and remarking that Frank is a tool, always giving the girl in his hut six extra rations. ‘And I already told him, right? Break a few mutie heads here and there, nobody cares - it’s only if you get kissy-kissy with them that you get a reprimand’.
Elsewhere, in the facility, ‘Pick it up, girl. This ain’t no Summer Camp!’ an officer tells Madrox’s young teammate, Layla Miller, as she showers, covering areas of herself with her hands while the guard stares at her. Soon, while Madrox gets dressed into the standard orange jumpsuit, while Layla sits on a table, holding herself as a large guard who has just shaved off her hair stands behind her, holding a big needle, she declares that she lost both her kids in the Six-Minute War. Calling Layla a “mutie sow” she exclaims ‘Know where I’d like to put this needle?’
Shortly, Madrox is led through the complex, when he sees Layla being taken in another direction. He calls out to her urgently, ‘Are you okay? Did they hurt you?’ he asks. Layla stares at James, wide-eyed, as she is led behind a set of bars. The officers guarding Madrox remark that he is rather chatty, and shove him into another room, ‘Keeping us entertained. Oh, you ready for the yard now, Scrapper?’ But, a man armed with dozens of needles enters the room, ‘No, he’s ready for me’ he declares. One of the officers exclaims ‘Marker Whitman’ nervously, and asks the Marker if there is anything he can get for him. The other officers strap Madrox down, while Marker Whitman thanks the officer, but assures him that he has everything he needs, and approaches Madrox with his needles.
Meanwhile, in the Present-Day, specifically, Alberta, Canada, members of the X-Men and X-Factor teams are inside one of the X-Men’s blackbird jets, en route to the scene of a ferocious battle. Scott “Cyclops” Summers asks his teammate and lover Emma “the White Queen” Frost for the coordinates, to which the sultry heroine replies with Scott’s request, but Emma announces that there is no need to hurry, as the battle is over and Cable is late. The powerful telepath knows that one of their allies has not survived the battle, and as if what she has already told them wasn’t bad enough, she remarks ‘Now - do you want the bad news?’.
‘NO!’ shouts James “Warpath” Proudstar” down on the snow-covered battle field as he kneels beside the body of the slain Morlock, his long-time X-Force teammate Caliban. The bodies of countless Reavers litter the terrain, and as Scott, Emma and their squad lands, X-23 of the New X-Men announces that Caliban has no pulse. ‘He’s not dead!’ Warpath shouts. ‘He is’ X-23 replies. Warpath’s companion the former Starjammer, Hepzibah tells Warpath that it is a death any of them would want: ‘In battle, with friends. Fighting for something that matters’.
But Warpath tells Hepzibah that she doesn’t understand, that Caliban died to save him, and now he cannot pay him back. ‘I can’t make it right. Can’t balance it - ever!’ Warpath lets out a mighty howl, while Scott turns to Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and asks him to fill him in on what has been going on. ‘Feel like mourning the dead?’ Logan replies, to which Scott announces that they will mourn Caliban - and honor him - later, but right now he needs to know what has happened here.
The White Queen, along with X-Factor’s Theresa “Siryn” Rourke Cassidy and Monet St. Croix stand nearby as Wolverine replies ‘What you see - we met the enemy. We did them harm’. Wolverine explains that Cable got away in their own transport, and remarks that it was his fault that Cable played them. Scott assures Logan that it was no one’s fault. ‘You had to stop the baby from being killed’ he points out. X-23 remarks that Cable was doing the same thing - protecting the baby.
Cyclops ignores the young mutant’s comment and radios to his teammate Bobby “Iceman” Drake, asking him if he is picking anything up from the blackbird. Inside the jet, Bobby replies that there is nothing and points out that Cable knew that jet her escaped in was fitted with a locater, so it makes sense he deactivated it before he even strapped himself in. Turning to Emma, Scott asks her if Cable is still blindsiding her telepathically. The White Queen replies ‘So far’, explaining that she is getting a faint psi-echo, but that it is too weak to give her a direction.
Kneeling in the snow, with X-23 at his side, Wolverine announces that Cable is heading South, remarking that ever since he left Cooperstown, he has been moving in a straight line South, and a little East. ‘We follow that line, we’ll find him at the end of it’. Cyclops turns back to the rest of his allies, including Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair and Guido “Strong Guy” Carosella, both of X-Factor who are standing with Warpath and remarks that it is a wide target, but that it will do for now, adding that they will narrow the trail down once they are in the air. Scott then asks Strong Guy and Warpath to put Caliban’s body in the aft storage locker of the blackbird. ‘And do it with respect’ he adds.
Soon, the heroes make their way into the blackbird, and X-23 asks Cyclops how they can narrow it down, as the only way they found Cable in the first place was with Caliban’s power. ‘I know that’ Cyclops replies. ’I’ve got something else in mind’.
Elsewhere, at what’s left of the Xavier Institute, several of the young mutants who comprise the student body and the New X-Men team - Dust, Prodigy, Surge, Mercury, Rockslide and the Stepford Cuckoos - are in the Cerebra unit, where Prodigy is busy repairing some wires. He mumbles that it all makes sense, to which Rockslide accuses him of bluffing, exclaiming that Cerebra is deep-fried and that there is no way it can be fixed.
Prodigy replies that he is not bluffing, and the Stepford Cuckoos agree, explaining that they gave him full access to all the skills he acquired when he was still a mutant. ‘His mind has a really interesting structure’ one of them remarks, while the third mutters ‘But we’ve tried boys. Boys are trouble’. Prodigy asks Mercury to pass him the soldering iron and the three-eights gripley. ‘And Cuckoos, you’re not even my type’ he remarks, responding to their comment about boys. ‘Unless you’ve been messing with my wiring’ he adds.
Meanwhile, sitting on the roadside of the Interstate 35 E in Texas is Nathan Dayspring Summers a.k.a. Cable. Holding the mutant baby in his arms, he remarks that the infant will make a good soldier one day. ‘You’ve got the right priorities. Doesn’t matter were you are, a square meal comes first’ he adds as he gives the baby a bottle. But Cable knows that man shall not live by bread alone, and tells the baby that they also need a little something called a chronal slippage regulator. ‘Only one place I know of where we can get it’ he remarks. Getting up, he motions to the approaching truck and exclaims ‘Here comes our ride. Right on time’.
The truck driver sees Cable standing in the middle of the interstate with the baby in his arms and pulls to a screeching halt when a defiant Cable stands firmly, refusing to move. Poking his head out of his window, the driver begins yelling at Cable: ‘What are you, out of your @&#^ing mind? I could have rolled right over you, you damned suicidal piece of -’ the truck driver doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Cable rips him from the truck and throws him onto the road, before taking his place at the drivers seat and making a quick departure with the baby.
Back to the future - where Madrox the Multiple Man lets out a mighty scream as Marker Whitman continues his work. ‘Hurts like Hell, don’t it?’ Marker Whitman remarks as he leans over Madrox’s body, explaining that the nerves have to be awake to make the neural bond work. ‘Can’t give you anesthetic or it won’t catalyze properly’ he explains. Dipping one of the needles into some sort of ink, Marker Whitman explains that the pigment is actually alive, that it is a virus called CCZ22A. ‘My needles don’t just write on your skin. They write on your DNA’ Whitman tells Madrox.
‘You’re gonna bear this mark forever. Might as well make your peace with it!’ Marker Whitman suggests, before telling Madrox not to move, as he begins writing on his face. James tenses up, but it is over soon. ‘There. Now he’s ready for the yard’ Whitman tells the guards, while James wearily asks where Layla is. Annoyed, Marker Whitman points out the obvious, that she isn’t here, and explains that she is being processed by a female marker. ‘Do you think we’re animals?’ he asks Madrox.
Back to the Present, where the blackbird soars across the Midwest. Cyclops asks Iceman what is on this vector. ‘Can we guess where Cable’s headed?’ he adds. Bobby replies that it could be anywhere in the Southwest or further. ‘For all we know he could be on his way to Peru’.
Monet turns to Warpath, but, covered in blood, he turns away from her, telling her that he is not in the mood. ‘I know. I’m picking up your thoughts’ the sultry Monet replies. Warpath tells her to let them lie, as they are not her concern. ‘Believe me, if there were any way of shutting them out, I would’ Monet assures Warpath, before telling him that Cyclops means what he said, that Caliban will get a decent burial as soon as they are done with this. ‘Be a lot more people need burying by then. Trust me’ Warpath replies.
Cyclops radios to the Institute, asking Prodigy if he has anything for them. Prodigy replies ‘Not yet’ but that he is real close. He explains that, mechanically, Cerebra is ready to roll, but that the mind-interface has to be perfectly aligned and he doesn’t want to put any power through the board until he is sure he has got it sorted. ‘Just let me know when you’re back online’ Cyclops orders. ‘Yes, sir’ Prodigy replies, while the Stepford Cuckoos place the Cerebra helmets on.
Iceman tells Cyclops that he doesn’t get any of this, that whatever Cable is trying to do, he doesn’t believe he would just unleash the Sentinels on his friends. ‘You think there might be something we’re missing?’ Bobby asks. Scott remains silent, his thoughts turn to years gone by, where he, Jean Grey, Beast and Iceman fought for the life of Scott’s son - Nathan Christopher Summers - and ended up leaving him in the future with the Askani. Scott recalls what he felt at that time, and turns back to Iceman, telling him that right now, nothing matters except that child. ‘Everything we know points to Cable. He made his choice. I’ve made mine’.
Back at the Institute. Prodigy tells the Stepford Cuckoos to think of a number. ‘Pi’ one of them replies. ‘Yeah? To how many decimal places?’ Prodigy asks. One of the girls replies ‘Thirty-two’ and gives him the exact numbers. ‘Beautiful!’ Prodigy exclaims, before asking Surge to give Cerebra a little warm-up. Surge complies by charging up the unit with her powers, while Dust stands ready to turn the main switch on. ‘Now!’ Prodigy orders. Dust flicks the switch, and the Stepford Cuckoos are impressed. ‘Mmmm, that’s smooth!’ they exclaim.
The Stepford Cuckoos congratulate Prodigy on his nice work, and look around at the mutant signatures. ‘Now, let’s see who’s who’ they exclaim. ‘There!’ one of them remarks, ‘One thousand miles away. In Texas!’ they announce, before calling out to Cyclops and the White Queen, asking them if they can hear them. Cyclops tells the girls to go ahead, and the Cuckoos announce that the location for Cable is in Dallas, Texas, approximately two miles from - Cyclops suddenly interrupts the Cuckoos, he knows already where his son is heading. ‘Eagle Plaza. He’s heading for Forge!’ Scott declares. ‘Yes. We think so’ agree the Stepford Cuckoos. Cyclops informs the Cuckoos that his squad is on the way and asks them to put out a general alarm. ‘Anyone who’s close. Anyone who can get there. I think I know what he’s looking for, and he’s got to be stopped. Or else we’ll lose him forever!’.
Dallas, Texas, where Cable drives the large truck straight through the front of Eagle Plaza, bringing it to a sudden stop. With the baby in his arms, he leaps out of the truck and begins rushing up the stairs, calling out to Forge, remarking that he knows what this looks like, but that he is not here to fight him. ‘I’m asking for your help!’ Cable assures Forge. ‘Seriously. I need a time machine in the worst way!’ Cable explains. Continuing up the stairs, he shouts out that he knows Forge can hear him, ‘And thanks for not shooting me down already’ he remarks, before telling Forge that he wants to borrow some components from him. ‘I’m no threat. If you come out and talk to me, I’ll explain the whole -’ Cable stops mid-sentence as he finds Forge on one of the upper levels - lying in a pool of his own blood.
Rushing over to him, Cable calls out to Forge, asking him if he is okay. ‘Who did this to you?’ he asks. Checking for a pulse, Cable does not notice someone approach him from behind, armed with a weapon, the mysterious assailant then fires numerous shots into Cable’s back.
Back to the Future - ‘This is your new home, gene-joke. Come on, take a little look!’ one of the officers tells Madrox as they drag him to the yard. ‘You’re gonna like it here. It’s kind of like a beach resort. Only you know, with less sand. And more barbed wire’. Dropping Madrox to the ground, one of the officers remarks that he looks a bit rough. ‘So?’ the other replies. ‘You think we should drag him over to Doc Keever?’ the concerned officer asks. ‘Let the muties take care of their own. My break starts in five’ the other mutters as they walk away from Madrox.
A group of mutant prisoners make their way to Madrox, commenting that he has been beat-up good. ‘Let’s get him topside’ one of them declares. One of the mutants tells Madrox that the tattoo stings like blazes for the first few hours, but after that it is okay. ‘Unless it gets infected’ another remarks. ‘Y-your face!’ gasps James as he sees a big M tattooed on the other mutants face. ‘What about my face? You’re no sensenet pin-up yourself, man. Let’s take a look at you’ the other mutant replies, before rubbing a finger across Madrox’s face, also branded with a M. ‘Yeah. You’ll live’ he assures him. ‘Leastways…until something else kills you’.
Back in the Present - Cable’s body is slumped over alongside Forge’s, the blood spilling across the floor. The baby lies wrapped in some blankets a few feet away...with the former X-Man known simply as Bishop standing over the baby, holding a very large gun at close range….