Disclaimer: Cable and all other characters belong to Marvel. I make no claim to the character whatsoever, and make no money off this story. This is a work of fanfiction, written almost a year ago in late Sept. 2001, inspired by the events which took place in America on September 11, 2001.
No mockery of the events that terrible day or the heroes born in its ashes is intended. This story was written simply as a way for me to try to grasp what happened, and cope with the horrors.
Author's Note: For anyone interested in continuity, I suppose you could say that it is loosely some time after the final battle with Apocalypse. It doesn't really fit into mainstream Marvel, because these events never occurred there. They occured here. But what if both realities were one and the same?
Archives: To explain what I mean by 're-release', this has never been placed on FF.net before. It is archived on the web, however, at my site, and at Subreality.com's "From the Ashes".
The Endless Day
by Zanne Chaos
A more rational part of my mind tells me I should already be en route. I should have my gear packed, I should be out there, I should be helping.
I should have been mere blocks away.
I picked a hell of a time to take a vacation.
It was starting to feel too hot, too crowded, too noisy. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a break.
So here I am, half a country away, sitting on the edge of a bed in some nondescript motel room somewhere outside of Cheyenne, watching the news on a cheap television set.
I should be there.
But I can't seem to bring myself to stand, to move, to do anything that would take my eyes off the fifteen inch screen to even blink. I can't believe what I'm seeing. What I've been seeing for the last several hours.
And I don't want to go there and see it with my own eyes in the flesh. Sounds cowardly, doesn't it? But on television, there's an element of unreality, like a dream, or maybe a movie. Maybe someone will announce that it's all a hoax, like War of the Worlds had been. Maybe it's not really real.
I want to believe that.
Deep down, I know the truth, but I'm not ready to face it. I don't think any of us are. This can't be honestly happening. New York City has faced destruction before, at our hands, at our enemies' hands. There has been massive property damage levied by mutants over the years. Lives had been lost.
But this? I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it, to comprehend it. Terrorists. This isn't about mutants or humans, or superpowers, at least not by anything I've heard. From some of the sketchy reports coming in, it sounds like terrorists. Just ordinary men, taking over ordinary commercial flights.
Turning our planes, our lives, our bodies against us. Not because anyone's a mutant or human, but because we're Americans.
No more, no less. On the television, I'm seeing mutants and humans working together, trying to get people safe from the destruction. In New York City. In Washington D.C. They're not fighting, it's not about humans and mutants anymore. They're Americans, and that's all that matters.
It should make me glad to see this. But I can't. I can't feel anything except shock. I've seen so much destruction, I never thought it possible that I'd be stunned like this again.
But then again, we never thought something like this would be possible either. They're gone now. The towers are twisted, smoking heaps of rubble, and thousands of lives have been lost.
Taken by ordinary men, with our own planes.
On our own soil. Already people are saying this is like Pearl Harbor, but worse. They're right. This is peacetime, these are civilians, and this is the mainland. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen.
It doesn't make what mutants do in their battles with each other right. Maybe this is how they all feel when we fight. Maybe it's just because I'm a mutant, because I've been one of the ones who's destroyed property even while trying to save it, such as with Onslaught, or the Harbinger, or had property destroyed by SHIELD trying to apprehend me, that I can't comprehend how humans could have done this.
I don't know.
I don't know anything anymore. I fought to save the world from Apocalypse. I think we did. But for what? So humans could kill other humans for no other reason than for what country we live in? It happens all around the world, just not here. Not for over two hundred years. Not like this.
I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe the World Trade Center is gone, that the Pentagon was attacked. I can't believe they used our own aircraft to do it. I can't believe they were even able to do this.
I can't believe none of us were able to stop it.
The cameras caught Spider-Man on film, webbing the structure up the best he could, trying to stabilize it, trying to hold it together at least long enough for people to get out. I guess the heat of the flames was too much for even the webbing to handle. It didn't work.
I hope he and Ororo are all right. I'm pretty sure Rogue would be, though, but Ororo's not as strong. They, along with some others who could get up that high, were trying to get people trapped on the upper floors out. I hope they got everyone, but...that's wishful thinking. I know Spider-man and Ororo were near the towers when they went down. Well, the first one. I saw Ororo with the second, but not Spider-Man. I haven't seen a lot of them since they both went down.
I should be there. I need to get up, I need to turn off this flonqing television and get out there and save those people!
Irony has never tasted so bitter. It's September eleventh. Nine, one, one. Oh, it's an emergency, all right. The biggest one this country has experienced. We're being mocked somehow, aren't we?
Stab their eyes. When is this going to stop? When is all the fighting, all the senseless killing going to stop? We put a halt to the threat of Apocalypse, it should be over. This kind of destruction...
It happens, no matter what. Logically, I know this. Deep down, though, it's like I expected the world to take on some crazy sort of quasi-peace, for the fighting to stop. At least, the kind of death and destruction on this scale to stop.
It's never going to truly end, is it?
That's why I'm still here. I've seen so much destruction, so much death, so much war... and so much of it far too close to home. No more. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I knew people who worked in the Tower. I knew people in the police department, in the fire department.
No, not well. But I'd had a few words with them, now and again. At coffee shops and the like.
I wonder if any of them were trapped in there.
I wonder if anyone I know, anyone I worked with, fought with, was trapped in there. I wonder if any of them died.
I know I'll go out there. I just can't quite look away from the television yet. Maybe something else will happen. Maybe I'll be able to stop it if I see it coming...somehow.
I couldn't stop the second plane though. I tried. God knows I tried, but I'm too far away. But had I been there, would I have ever seen it coming? I know I'm far from being the only telekinetic. And others have powers enabling them to do similar things. Ororo had tried to call up a windstorm. It wasn't enough, she didn't have enough of a warning.
Are there some things which are inevitable? No matter what we try, are they destined to happen?
And who the flonq do I blame for making it this way?
People did this. On purpose. For no reason other than to terrorize.
What's the most incomprehensible to me is how incomprehensible that is, with all I've lived through.
But this just...it's not supposed to happen.
But then, it never really is, is it? Isn't that the point?
Cable wasn't prepared for the thickness of the air, the heaviness of the concrete dust, the noxious odors and fumes that hung in the midst of the chaos like a blanket when he teleported in. He thought he was prepared for the screams, for the voices, that echoed in his mind. The horror of the people fleeing the destruction, the ones trying to get through the rubble to the victims, the terror of the people trapped alive inside...
He thought he was prepared. It was a sudden, overwhelming rush, and he just stood, staring at the devastated buildings, the carnage in the streets, coughing against the thick air. Someone staggering against him, snapping him out of it. Reflexively reaching out to catch the person, he looked down to see a pasty-faced man, half his age, his expression shell-shocked. Underneath the dust, Cable recognized the SHIELD insignia.
Without a second thought, he helped the man move away from the destruction, looking for any other agents in the area. Turning a corner, he barely recognized where he was amid the eerie dust and smoke, and found several more agents. They barely paid him any notice except a glance-over to discern if he was injured, and helped their coworker move to a safer location.
Cable knew how recognizable he was. It didn't matter anymore. All the differences between them all...they seemed petty in the face of what had just happened.
Steeling himself, he walked back to where the towers had stood. There were people in there still alive, he could feel them. Closing his eyes, he mentally probed the wreckage, trying to find a place where it would be safe to start lifting the debris to get to someone. It was like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, only instead of putting it together, he had to find a way to take it apart, safely.
Several firemen climbed over the wreckage, waiting as the debris was moved, and pulled out a woman, bloody and unconscious but still alive, as soon as they could get to her. Carefully, he let the wreckage settle back down, releasing it only when he was certain it wouldn't shift.
There were so many -- too many, and deep down he knew it wouldn't be possible to get to them all in time.
That was the worst part.
But, they would help who they possibly could, and as he started working on another area of the rubble, Cable knew this day would never truly end. The sharpness of it might fade, people would go on with their lives, but something in the country's collective consciousness had been altered.
Invulnerability shattered. Over two hundred years of being basically untouchable by any foreign force, gone. Millions of people simultaneously had their home vandalized, desecrated. Their peace of mind and safety gone with the twin towers and thousands of lives.
Giving his head a little shake, he shut out his thoughts and poured his energy into his task.
There would be time for thinking later, when all that could be done any longer was think about the ones who couldn't be saved.
For now, it was time to work on keeping that number as low as possible.
Dedicated with respect to the memory of those who perished in the attacks on September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.
May their bravery never be forgotten, and may the fire of humanity lit within each of us at their senseless deaths never wane, so that their deaths might have some meaning and purpose for a greater good.