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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), Ian Churchill & Morry Hollowell, Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Jason 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)
In the future, after he equips himself with weaponry found at Avengers mansion, Cable and Blaquesmith travel to the past with Doom’s time machine to take on the Avengers, save Hope and prevent this future. Unhappy with the plan, Blaquesmith leaves. In the present, Cable fights the Red Hulk for the lives of the other Avengers. He finally beats him by unlashing his Techno-organic virus at the Hulk. At that moment, Cyclops and Hope arrive, courtesy of Blaquesmith, and ask him to stop this. The family reunion is interrupted by Spider-Man and a very angry Wolverine, the latter of whom intends to kill Cable.
Blaquesmith’s freighter, Hudson River docks, lower Manhattan:Almost consumed by the T-O virus, Cable goads the Red Hulk to take his best shot, calling him “Talbot.” Training his own weapon at him, the Red Hulk grins. There he goes again. Calling him Talbot. Glenn Talbot was a good soldier. And a dead man. Guess it depends on when he is from then, Cable replies and tells him to cut to it. Pull that trigger and for all the Red Hulk knows the other Avengers will die. Is he willing to take that risk?
Cable notes that - Talbot or not - this Hulk knows his weapons. He thinks like a military man. Like he does. So he’ll probably appreciate there is always a plan B. In this case, Blaquesmith attacking the Hulk from behind with an energy lance. About time! Cable complains. Where the hell has he been?
Angrily, the Hulk fires his weapon at Blaquesmith, who dodges the shots and elegantly hits him in the face with his lance. Telepathically, he reminds Cable that he warned him when this started…
Timeslide: the far future:A wasteland. Blaquemith warns Cable he’s going to get them both killed. He said that before and they survived, Cable reminds him. This future doesn’t have to exist. They’ll go back and fix it.
Just like that? Blaquesmith asks. He’s going to take the Avengers – Earth’s mightiest heroes, punish them for something they haven’t even done yet?
How’s the arm? he asks. Determined, Cable replies. In order for the techno-virus to grow at this rate, he has to let his guard down, and the virus doesn’t want to be limited to his arm.
They reach the ruins of Avengers Mansion. Cable reminds Blaquesmith they brought this on themselves.
They enter the empty mansion, finding all the Avengers’ trophies, among them the inhibitor chairs Magneto once designed to tap into one’s neurological system. How and why do the Avengers have them? Blaquesmith suggests that soon he can ask them himself.
There’s more. Iron Man armor that Stark hasn’t invented yet, fused with Sentinel tech. Cable fears the Avengers are or were prepared to fight the X-Men. They find Gambit’s staff updated with Stark tech. And finally… Doom’s time machine.
Timeslide now:Blaquesmith still fears Cable is going to get them both killed.
The Red Hulk tells Cable to stand down. Cable attacks him telepathically and follows up with ordinary firepower that actually catapults the Red Hulk out of the ship. Cable sinks down exhausted, but tells himself he can’t die now. He thinks of Hope.
Timeslide twelve or 50 hours agoCable and Blaquesmith enter Blaquemith’s freighter. Blaquemith remarks he knows what Hope means to him. Cable reminds him she is the future of the mutant race. Without her, there is no future for them.
Blaquesmith can’t help but wonder how much of this is about Tyler… that Cable lost his son. By protecting his daughter, he won’t bring him back. By protecting his daughter, he makes sure he never loses another child, Cable snaps and orders him to move it. The crates won’t lift themselves. But Blaquesmith is gone.
Timeslide now:That all you got? the Red Hulk asks as he hits Cable with an anchor. Did he really think he could come at them, a team of heroes who would give their lives for one another without even thinking about it, and possibly win? He begins to throttle Cable with the chain. He knows men like him. All their lives it’s one big battle. Made delusional by the unshakable belief in their own special cause. What could be so important he took this suicide run? Does he wanna die for it? He’s happy to oblige, but not before Cable tells him how to free the Avengers safely.
Whether he knows this or not, Cable replies, he has this coming to him! Everything he does… He does for her! he vows.
The Red Hulk sinks down, weakened as Cable has infected him with the T O virus. What has he done? the Hulk asks weakly. Grabbing his gun, Cable replies that if he is not Talbot, then maybe he doesn’t make it into the future, at least not into Cable’s future. He presses the gun against the Red Hulk’s temple. Maybe this is the day he is supposed to die.
He notices that the virus is retreating from his own hand. He weakened it by giving it something else to feed on, and the Hulk doesn’t have the means to stop it. Cable tells him by killing him he will do him a favor.
No! a familiar voice shouts. Blaquesmith has led Cable’s father Cyclops and his daughter Hope here. Hope happily hugs him before telling him he has to stop this. It’s wrong! Cyclops agrees, he’s lost control. Maybe it’s the virus, but this isn’t the way to solve anything.
Cable warns him to stay away from the Avengers. Cyclops ignores him and promises Captain America he will have him out in no time. Training his gun on Cyclops, Cable warns him there are explosives rigged to the Avengers. He should really step away from them. Now he’s going to shoot his own father? Cyclops asks. Don’t make him have to, Cable replies. Blaquesmith must have told him what’s at stake.
Cyclops implores him. He thought he lost him. There hasn’t been a moment that his world wasn’t affected by Nathan’s death. But if the gift of his return is this madness…
Cable asks him to believe him… to believe in him. Everything they’ve fought for, every sacrifice will all be for nothing! Not like this, Cyclops insists. Think about what he has done for him, Cable replies. The choices Scott made. Things that only a parent would do for a child. No one can really understand it until it’s their responsibility. What he does, he does for her. For Hope!
Hope gets between them and orders them to stop. They are always thinking they know what’s best for her. She isn’t a little girl anymore. What’s going to happen is for her to decide!
“Actually, it ain’t!” comes Wolverine’s voice as he and Spider-Man enter through the hole. They are taking back the Avengers! “Yeah!” Spidey adds. Even if it means they gotta kill Cable to do it! Wolverine continues. Wait, what? Spidey asks.
CableBlaquesmithCyclops, Hope (both X-Men)
Captain America, Iron Man, Red Hulk, Spider-Man (all Avengers)Falcon (inactive Avenger)Wolverine (X-Man and Avenger)
Magneto’s inhibitor chairs are from X-Men (1st series) #112-113.
Cable’s son Tyler was corrupted by Stryfe and had to be killed.