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Jeph Loeb (writer), Ed McGuiness (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Morry Hollowell (colorist), Comicraft’s A. Deschesne (letterer), McGuiness, Vines & Hollowell (cover), McGuiness, Vines & Hollowell; Quesada, Miki & Isanove; Yu, Alanguilan & Keith (variant cover art), Irene Y. Lee (production), John Denning (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (editor), Tom Breevort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
After sacrificing himself in front of his foster daughter, Hope and getting the X-Force members to their correct time, Cable wakes up to find he isn’t dead but has been flung to a dismal future, a nuclear winter. He finds his old friend, Blaquesmith, who tells him the future couldn’t be saved because Hope wasn’t there. Cable learns that the Avengers are to blame. Despite Blaqusmith’s revelation that the T-O virus will kill Cable within 24hours, Cable vows to use this time to destroy the Avengers before they can harm Hope. In the present, he lays a trap for a team of Avenger by causing the jail break of the Lethal Legion. While the other Avengers are busy, he picks off the Falcon and drags him to his hideout. Predictably, Captain America follows and, in a desperate battle, Cable takes him out too and traps him in an inhibitor chair.
New York City, meatpacking district, midnight:Several Avengers are there because of a jailbreak. Why is there never a jailbreak on nice pleasant warm nights? Spider-Man complains about the rain. Why is it he never shuts up? Wolverine replies. Lock and unload, the Red Hulk orders. Iron Man asks for intel. Negative, Captain America, who is there with the Falcon replies. There was a mayday distress signal from the prison transport heading to the Raft which led to these guys fall out of the sky, the Falcon adds. Cap orders them to round up the Lethal Legion and then they can call it a night.
Iron Man takes out Laser, announcing he has plans that definitely don’t include him. While Wolverine and Spidey team up against the Reaper, Spider-Man states there’s an eensy-weensy spider joke somewhere in this rain and he’s gonna find it.
The Red Hulk wrestles the Radioactive Man. Greenly radioactive and he thinks he can take him? It’s been done!
On a roof nearby, a hooded man with a high tech rifle waits…
Cap and the Falcon follow Whirlwind. Cap orders the Falcon to stay high so he doesn’t get caught up in Whirlwind’s gale force. Falcon retorts he should watch his own back. However, while Captain America is fighting Whirlwind, the Falcon is suddenly shot.
Having finished his foe off, Cap turns around to ask the Falcon how everybody else is doing, but Sam Wilson is gone.
Sam is still awake, barely, lying shot in an alley. Help! he mumbles. The hooded sniper knocks him out, then drags him downward to his hideout, informing the unconscious Falcon that this is war and he is just another casualty.
He carries Falcon through the sewers, musing that there was a time when he wouldn’t have taken this kind of action. When you live your life in a paradox… when yesterday’s tomorrow is today’s challenge… to care about anything other than the mission… She changed all that. She gave him a reason… a purpose. His daughter. Hope. Cable remembers his last sight of her, crying his name as she saw him die… or so she believed.
Cable’s memory:Instead, he timeslid to the far future, badly hurt, without his left techno-organic arm. Is anybody out there? he cried through the ash storm. No answer, nothing but grayness. Maybe he did die…
Timeslide now:Captain America follows the bird Redwing to a ship, unaware that Cable left the bird deliberately. He enters the ship and finds the Falcon unconscious in a giant tube. He turns around to find Cable pointing a weapon at him. Cable – covered by more T-O than ever - warns him that, if he cracks the glass tank, he will set off a C-4 charge that will kill the Falcon and probably him as well.
Cable admits to himself he admires Captain America. But he knows how it works in battle. How sides switch with a single action. No matter what else he knows about Cap, he’s the enemy now.
Cap tells Cable he can see he is in pain. He suggests he put down the gun and he can get him the help he needs. The Avengers will— Wrong! Cable shouts and fires at him. Cap deflects the blast with his shield.
Cable announces he’s studied him. His focus is split because he’s worried about Falcon. He attacks psychically. He notes that they were both raised on the field of battle. And on that field, you start to care more about the men and women who fight alongside you, maybe even more than yourself.
Cap hits him with the shield and again notices Cable seems ill. Cap announces he is only interested in ending this. Cable uses his telekinesis against him, announcing that, if this is the end, it will be on his terms.
Cap is still conscious and notes this took a lot out of Cable. Not all! Cable replies as he trains his gun on Cap. However, the next moment his body is wrecked by mind-numbing pain. He tells himself to focus, to think of Hope.
Cap takes up the weapon and fires at him but ironically Cable now uses Cap’s shield to deflect the attack. Not a chance! he shouts when Cap orders him to surrender.
Cap again tries to fire Cable’s gun at him but finds it empty. Cable throws his shield back at him. Cap ducks under it and it embeds itself in the wall. Captain America tries to pull it out and Cable attacks him from behind. Why is he doing this? Cap asks before he passes out. Cable recalls Hope’s scream as he died…
Flashback:Blaquesmith wakes him up, surprised to find him there, but he’d have been surprised to find anyone. Where or when are they? Cable asks. Blaquesmith admits he doesn’t know. After what happened, he’s been alone so long. Cable figures this is a nuclear winter. Blaquesmith mumbles this could all have been prevented if Hope had been there. Agitated, Cable asks what happened to his daughter. Blaquesmith replies the world couldn’t be saved because Hope wasn’t there to save it…
Now:Cable reminds himself he is a soldier.
Flashback:Blaquesmith assures Cable there is nothing he can do. Cable replies there always is. They are both time travelers. Tell him when and… Blaquesmith announces he is too old. They are doing this, Cable stresses. Blaquesmith warns him he will die. The techno-virus in Cable’s body has spread like never before. He’s got twenty-four hours, maybe less. Then he dies, Cable decides, but not before Hope lives!
The present:Cable has put Captain America in an inhibitor chair. Cable adds it also gets inside his head. Nasty piece of business that Magneto designed to use against the X-Men. He knows a little something about when your body turns against you.
Flashback:Cable asks for their names. He wants to know everyone who was responsible for what happened to Hope.
The present:Cable trains his weapon on Cap. He has eighteen hours, maybe less. If this is his last war, then he knows he’s found the only cause worth dying for!
Flashback:Blaquesmith informs Cable that he already knows them all.
The Present:He’s coming after all the Avengers! Cable vows and fires the weapon.
Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)Redwing
Grim Reaper, Laser , Radioactive Man, Whirlwind (all Lethal Legion)
in flashback / the far future:CableBlaquesmith
in Cable’s memory:Hope
The story serves as a kind of prelude to the Avengers vs. X-Men event.
This is Cable’s first appearance after “Second Coming,” in which he apparently died.
The inhibitor chairs are originally from X-Men (1st series) #112-113.