He has lost count of the times he has cursed himself for allowing his defenses to fall at the last crucial moment. He looked at the ebony beauty that still slept in his bed peacefully. He let out a long-winded sigh as he finished changing into his uniform. Using his telekinesis, he floated slowly out of the room. The strain was extreme but necessary to avoid the trained ears of the former master thief. He levitated back down to weapons storage area. He grabbed the new PSIMATAR gun he had recently acquired. He gave the weapon an odd glance as it seemingly jumped into his hands. He checked on the other members of the safe house to ensure his movements did not awaken them. He shut the door quietly as he levitated back down. He was now free and clear to complete his mission.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! He turned around to see a man holding a small gadget as it wailed loudly into the night air. Cable's jaw dropped as he looked at SHIELD Agent who had seemingly returned from the being burned alive.
"Well, my mission is done hero. The little gizmo is beeping at your gun. Your safe house wasn't that tough to find especially with all your friends travelling in and out of it lately. You're getting extremely clumsy lately, and that means one thing. You are too focused on the mission that you are about to embark. Niece piece by the way. It seems to fit you better than that caveman's spear you were packing before." The SHIELD agent stated whimsically.
Thanks for the advice. Now, get out of my way. Cable replied telepathically as the Agent was thrown off guard.
"I guess you got everything back. That's good. But, I came here to finish what we started." Agent 18 replied as he tossed the gadget to the ground.
"I don't have time for this." Cable prepared to take him out telepathically.
THUMP! A diving kick came from above as Agent 18 was knocked out from the blow. A winged man observed The SHIELD agent closely.
"Is this the guy that has Bridge's spot Cable?" The X-man asked the mutant.
Cable shook his head. "Your sense of timing is not really good Warren. Especially considering the circumstances."
"Those circumstances are what I came to talk about. I know where to find him. Cable, I made another deal with that devil and the only way out is you." Archangel bowed his head after admitting his treachery.
Cable's stoic face didn't reveal any judgment passed on the X-man. "I don't care anymore. Take me to him now. I want this over with."
Archangel nodded and took to the air. "Follow me. I can take you to his last known location."
"Damn. One of his people must have ambushed me." Jack Truman, known as Agent 18, stood up as he caught a glimpse of an albino woman with a black tattoo around eye.
"Your luck isn't really good today mister. You better let us know where Cable went." She grabbed the man by the collar.
Truman easily broke the grip. "Domino, I presume. I have your dossier as well. He took of with one of your other teammates, some guy with wings. I saw them heading north before I completely blanked out."
"This is not good." She replied beneath her breath.
Agent 18 scratched his head. "He acts as though he's on his final mission."
"He is. Stay here. I will get the others. Cable will need backup if Apocalypse has all of his Horsemen chosen." The mutant went back in the safe house.
"I guess he won't be the only one playing hero. All I care about is finishing what we started. And if means helping him to accomplish his mission, then I'll do just that."
A short time later, Domino came back out with Storm, Irene, and Blaquesmith all in full gear.
"Now, let's go stop Cable before he makes the biggest mistake of his life." Domino said passionately to the rest.
Storm tried to hide her emotions from the rest. "I shall use the winds to carry us to our destination. I pray that we arrive in time."
Archangel was perplexed, as there was no sign of Apocalypse or his Horseman of Death. Cable searched the small sanctuary for any signs left behind.
"What does Cable-Nathan search for?" A low growling voice came off from the distance.
Cable turned to see the missing X-Force member, Caliban and beside him another constant foe of his, Sinister.
"Apocalypse." He answered the former Morlock's question.
"I assume you came back to see my mission completed." Cable sneered at Sinister.
Sinister rolled his eyes. "Come now Nathan. I did not see you off to die today. In fact, the Morlock told me that Apocalypse was searching for me. Apparently, I am to become one of his Horsemen. I don't know why the detestable wretch wants me. I suppose it's just a ruse to kill me for my treachery. I tried to infect him with the same techno-organic virus you carry."
"Kill you? Don't you understand? Apocalypse chose you for that specific reason. Death kills himself. Your betrayal signifies the guarantee that you will die. And then be reborn, as his Horseman of Death." Cable explained to the man.
"Ha, as you well know, the mutant known as Nemesis has been chosen for that position." As if on cue, the glowing skeletal mutant entered.
"It is too bad that even a manipulative person such as you can not see through a simple ruse. I am more than a mere Nemesis of the normal man. I am a Holocaust to all flatscans. And the only way to bring about my vision is through the master. Therefore, I am his Horseman of War and not Death."
"Well spoken, my Horseman. However, a simple addition of a gene does not separate the weak from the strong. It is this test which must be carried out." The Egyptian voice resounded throughout the walls of the sanctum.
Sinister gave a look of fear and horror at the voice. "Cable tell me you wield the Psimatar."
Cable brought forth the gun. "I have a replacement."
"It is the one." Apocalypse's voice seemed almost in awe.
"That is no spear." Sinister observed with a slight tone of loathing.
Cable shook his head. "I found it out in the open. It even introduced itself as the Psimatar."
"This is no time for madness. He seeks to kil...AHHERRRRGHh..." Sinister fell to the floor as he seem to choke on his own breath. He finally stopped as his body lay still on the floor.
Cable checked his pulse. "He's dead."
At the announcement, Sinister's body stirred once more. His white face contorted to that of a skeletal one. The new Horseman spoke. "No, I am DEATH!"
"So the first true test begins." Apocalypse revealed himself as he watched.
Cable pointed the weapon at the Horseman. Cable pulled the trigger as The Horseman of Death yelled in agony. The Horseman of War quickly knocked the big gun out of Cable's hand with his club like appendage.
"This time I will not miss." The Horseman of War pointed the club like appendage at point blank range and fired. A tap on his shoulder interrupted his look of surprise.
Cable slammed the Horseman of War with a right hook then a finishing telepathic bullet. "And you never learn."
Apocalypse applauded. "Very good. War and Death, to me at once."
The pair responded immediately to his beacon. Apocalypse smiled with grim satisfaction.
"And so now, you have passed the physical rigors of the test. I came to expect no less as you are a soldier of war. So where are the rest? " Apocalypse walked within a ten foot distance from Cable.
"The Twelve are not yet gathered. Besides, I see your short of Horsemen as well." Cable noted with extreme hate.
Apocalypse stood silently for a moment. "It is of no consequence. The time has come for the final test. But, it shall not be here. This is a secluded field ten miles from here. There is where the test shall be held. I shall finally have my answers."
The Horsemen escorted Cable and Apocalypse out. Caliban and Archangel were left behind.
"Feathered friend did come back. Brought Cable-Nathan to his death. I hope Patch eye can make things better." Caliban remarked to the X-Man.
"What do you mean Patch eye can make things better?" Warren seemed to ignore the insult.
"Caliban sense that Patch eye not far away. They have one of your friends as well." Caliban remarked.
"Good, we'll wait here for them. We'll need a full army for Apocalypse's Horsemen." Archangel added.
"Caliban does not understand. Why do we work for Cable-Nathan and Apocalypse at same time?" The big monstrous mutant stared quizzically at Archangel.
"We were just his errant slaves. He used us when he needed us, and we get to live our lives as normal outside of that. That is until he calls us to his side." Archangel clenched his fist.
"Caliban hope Apocalypse keeps his promise of freedom."
Archangel was about to say something cryptic, and then he gazed upon the childlike expression of hope upon Caliban's face.
"I hope so too." Archangel patted Caliban on the shoulder.
"Why did you bring me here?" Cable questioned the brooding Apocalypse.
"It is quiet. And one of few locations overlooked by the satellites that circle this Earth. There shall be no visual record of this battle." Apocalypse explained.
"Fine, chose your weapon and be done with it." Cable grunted in frustration.
"I have no need of any extra weaponry. I am strong without it." Apocalypse walked over to Cable.
Cable looked up at the blue armored figure. "Now, it is time to finish this once and for all. I shall end your tyranny here and now."
"What I do is not to be judged as good or evil. It is the simple laws of nature, that the strong shall inherit this earth and the weak shall die. The countless ages that have passed have brought forth many tests on those that surround me. Now, it is my turn. By testing myself against an opponent which defeated me in an uncertain future." Apocalypse glared down at Cable.
Cable clenched his fist. "I guarantee that future will never happen."
"So, it begins." Apocalypse turned and walked away as Cable drew his weapon.
"PSIMATAR, target Apocalypse." Cable pointed the gun directly at the ancient mutant.
"So it ends." Cable finished at he was about to pull the trigger.
Apocalypse turned around to face Cable and noticed the weapon. "A simple gun and not the true Psimatar. I have adapted myself to many weapons like it before. It is truly a pity you rely on technology to make you strong."
"Target Apocalypse acquired. Full force authorized." The gun announced as Apocalypse was gave a slight chuckle.
The ancient Egyptian reached out his arms. "I am unarmed. Do you really wish..."
ZZZRRRRAACKKKKK! A loud burst of energy blazoned forth from the gun as it hit Apocalypse. Cable watched as Apocalypse fell to his knees. Most of the armor melted away revealing an old man. The old man crawled out of the wreckage of the armor and managed to get to Cable's feet.
He climbed up painfully to face Cable. "How can this be?" He looked on in confusion and wonderment as he felt his body dying.
Cable regarded the man with an uncaring stare. "You overestimated your power. One thing that makes you weak."
The old man hacked painfully as he slipped back down. "No, this can not be. I am not...weak."
With those last words, En Sabah Nur, the mutant known as Apocalypse died. Cable had no time to answer as he simply disappeared. The gun dropped with a thud to the ground. The voice spoke once more.
"Ravage, a chronal anomaly has occurred. The human is gone. Initiate retrieval procedure at once."
Sinister reverted back to normal as Apocalypse's mutant changing energies died as well. He walked over to the body of Apocalypse. "The possibilities of adding his DNA to my other templates will yield results beyond my imagination."
Sinister picked up the body as he walked away. Holocaust stood over the gun and gave it a curious glance.
"I swear this thing spoke as though it were alive. No matter. If it can kill Apocalypse, then it can kill me. It must be destroyed. " Holocaust pointed his weapon at the gun and prepared to fire.
"You shall not destroy anything this day, Horseman. Now tell us what has happened to Cable." Storm stuck the armor of the Horseman with the force of several lightning bolts.
The Horseman of War reeled from the blow. "Your friend is dead and so is Apocalypse. Confirm it for yourself by finding that traitorous Sinister."
He retreated as Domino and the rest came entered the clearing.
"I thought I saw Sinister walk off with Apocalypse's body. Let's split up and search the area." Domino suggested to Storm.
"Agreed. Caliban, we require your tracking skills. Find Sinister for us." Storm ordered the big gray mutant.
"Caliban will find Sinister again." Caliban charged forward into the trees as the rest followed.
The gun spoke once more. "Finally, all the humans have gone out of range. And, with no human tracking systems, I can revert to my true form for the moment."
A whirl of mechanized gears was overshadowed by a large yell. The man who had put his future on the line came back but not without a price.
"Oath. I know what I will become. And I'm still here. That must mean he's still alive. He adapted to the energies of the gun." Cable noticed the sudden chill and the moon's light blocked out by a large shadow. He gazed up to see a towering robot that bore the same symbol as the gun.
"Stab my eyes!" Cable exclaimed as he thought this was some type of new Sentinel.
The robot smiled. "An interesting request. Now that you have seen my true form, I will be happy to accommodate it."
The robot sheathed one of its hands into its arm and then produced a new appendage, a glowing chain with a spiked ball attached at the end.
"Wait! The target is not yet destroyed." Cable shouted to the looming machine.
It sneered in contempt. "Megatron can kill any organic creature with the first shot."
"Wait, didn't you notice an anomaly?" Cable also wanted an answer for himself.
"Yes, I scanned one as you disappeared and came back. It is of no consequence and you attempt to delay the inevitable." The robot stated as it began to twirl the ball and chain.
"It is of consequence. That time anomaly was caused when your blast killed him. And, I can only assume that he's alive since I came back. I came back from a future where he no longer ruled." Cable stepped back to get a better chance at dodging any attack.
"Your insight to temporal mechanics bears some truth human. But, be warned. If you dare betray me, I shall oblige your earlier request." The robot stopped the ball and chains as it retracted it back in and extended its hand back out.
"It's a statement of surprise from my time. It is not meant to be taken literally." Cable noted.
The robot smiled. "Very well. We shall continue the hunt."
Cable stepped back as the robot leaped in the air. His eyes glared wide open as it began to shrink and shift parts to form the gun once more.
Cable grabbed the gun tightly as it landed in his hand. "Now, no more tricks. What are you?"
"I am Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. Now, take me to this Apocalypse so that I may correct my error." The gun's voice ordered.
"I'm afraid that we can not kill him. If we do, I become a worst monstrosity than he will ever be." Cable grunted in disgust.
"You begin to sound like an Autobot. Why would you change you mission of destroying this flesh creature if he threatens your future?" Megatron seem to grunt in equal distaste.
Cable stood silent for a moment. "That brief period while I was gone. I learned everything. I learned what I would become. If I kill Apocalypse, I will only replace him as the tyrant of a dark future. We will not kill Apocalypse."
"Then, I have no more use of you. I shall depart as soon as one of my soldiers retrieves me." Megatron coldly announced.
"If they believe all of humans to be weak like you, I'll be happy to inform your soldier how you could not destroy one of us." Cable snapped back.
Megatron was silent for a moment. "They would not believe such a thing from an organic creature like you."
"If they have sensors like you, they would be able to trace your energies on Apocalypse. The mark of your failure will be permanent." Cable's statement made Megatron silent again.
Megatron defiantly spoke up after a few minutes. "Very well, human. We shall proceed by your rules for now."
Cable slung the gun on his back as he began to search for Apocalypse once more.