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The Cable Tapes I – Your History IS History

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(In 202X, a stash of VHS Tapes by the dozens had been discovered in an underground bunker hidden in the Appalachian mountains, which had been found by the townspeople of [REDACTED] after an incident involving strange paramilitary forces invading the town in search of something. It is assumed the bunker is what they were after.)

The video shows a concrete room, dark. And then a brief flash of light, which expanded, opening up a roughly oblong hole in… the air? Through the hole, there is dust-colored sky, with continuous thunder and lightning shooting around in a blanket of clouds, giving the sky the appearance of constantly shattering glass, all of it barely breaking through the sound of fast moving air as a storm wailed. This wasn’t a storm that any human that yet lived had ever seen… But there was a human shape walking through the hole, and once they were through, the hole shut.

Silence. Darkness. And then a light bulb was turned on, via a chord this human pulled, leaving the light swinging overhead as it dangled down from the concrete ceiling. From underneath a bundle of dusty scarves, a face emerged, panting, sweating. In full view of the camera, the human started to disrobe, throwing all of the dusty clothes offscreen, until she was fully exposed. The woman walked offscreen, and water could be heard running for several minutes, before stopping. And then the woman came back, dripping wet, carrying a bag, from which she withdrew new clothes.

She was only somewhat tall for a woman, and incredibly slender… But underneath the terribly scarred flesh was rippling muscle, tense and coiled as if it wanted to actually break through the thin organ that kept it contained and safe… on the right side of her body. On the left, it seemed that the muscles had obtained that goal.

Metal. Metal muscles, exposed to the air. The back of her neck, down the side to her shoulder. The entire shoulder, wrapping around to reach her chest. The entire left breast, up until the center of her chest. Down her side, only inches from reaching her navel. The entirety of her arm and leg. All of it metal. Bare, metal muscle, glistening along with flesh until she pulled on her clothes, still wet.

And then she sat.

“I have my orders… I have my orders.” I said this to myself as a mantra, almost. “I have my doubts, but I have my orders… And I’m meant to tell the truth.”

“My name is– My birth name is Natalie Christina Charlie Summers. But, depending on what day you ask me, I’d prefer to be known as Nat Dayspring. Depending on who you ask, I’m the Askani’daughter, the Savior of Men, the Chosen One, Soldier X, Cable… I’m not a big fan of some of those, but I hate that one. Cable. Makes no sense to me, honestly…”

Stay on point.

“There’s… something coming. An ancient conqueror. History knows her vaguely as En Sabah Nur, a mythical threat in Ancient Egypt… But history, while partially written by the victors, still turns to dust on the age as the ink dries… and then the ink dries up, and crumbles. Turns to dust.”

“Apocalypse is power. The stories I’ve heard… Moving MOUNTAINS, literal mountains. I think that’s where the saying comes from, when she moved a mountain with her armies. Apocalypse… she is immortal. Aging is a negligible force on her body, but to better weather the ages, she hides herself away, only to reemerge at regular intervals to reclaim and ensure that her descendants have power.”

“Her next awakening is… soon. Sometime during the 21st century. The exact date is unknown to me, but I know it’ll be before 2099. She’ll wake up, and she’ll gain power, and if she can, she’ll strike, just to make sure we can’t keep the power to stop us. But I’m here to make sure that she dies.”

I have to take a deep breath for this.

“I’m recording this so that someone has proof. I don’t care if it is some shadow government ruling over the world governments. I don’t care if its the actual governments. I don’t care if its some 11 year old boy that no one will believe… I just need someone to know. I need the chance that someone will take action if I can’t.”

“I am… a time traveler. What you witnessed minutes ago was a hole being opened between worlds. To explain it any further than that would be a lengthy task, but I need you to accept that. The year? No one knows exactly, but it is sometime in the 37th century, according to what few records and data we have collected and estimated. Maybe 3689, no one is quite, quite sure… Apocalypse has reigned for nearly two thousand years. Something… something happened back here, something that made sure that power would stay with Apocalypse, and I can’t allow that to happen.”

“But, I can’t ask for help. I’m sorry. If the world’s leaders are being shown these tapes after they’ve executed me for whatever I’ve done, then now you’ll know why I seemingly acted against you or your interests. Your armies are of no use to me. Your heroes? They are of no use to me.”

“Why?”

A deep breath is necessary for this.

“You are too weak. All of you. You’re just… too weak.”

“People are wallowing in comfort and resources… and it makes them weak. SO weak. They’re like infants, just learning to walk, but unlike in my world, there’s no danger of these young babes knocking over the landmines their parents are making to safeguard their future.”

“You have soldiers, fighters, heroes… They’ve known hardships, but do they know conflict as I do? A conflict against death from our enemies, our friends, and the very Earth we live on? DO they know war, war as I know it? A war that has not ended and rarely taken a breath to cease? A war spanning hundreds of years? Do they know loss? Loss of life, loss of hope, loss of freedom, loss of identity, of pride, of respect for yourself, of respect for your elders? Loss of a planet?”

“DO they know these things? All of these things stretched to the extreme? I can say with confidence that I think they have no idea how much worse things can get. How much worse things WILL get.”

Now I find myself laughing. It is a terrible laugh. A laugh I should be laughing, but it can’t stop. The next words feel cruel… but to me, they feel true.

“There was… something that my mentor said to me once, that I hold to heart. Ages ago, there was a country by the name of Italy, ruled by a family that was hated by rivals in and out of Italy. They ruled a city, and under their rule… there was disease, there was war, there was terror. But out of this time period, there came great art. Elsewhere, there was another country, full of peace, of brotherhood. Democracy. And without the strife… all they produced was a funny clock.”

The dark lens in front of me is awkward to speak to, but… I know that I need to. And it feels good. I feel like I’m not in this alone.

“You have these cameras, these tapes… Cars, planes, trains! Television, more entertainment than you could ever have! The population count soars, hunger nears the vanishing point, and while things aren’t perfect for everybody everywhere, like the poor white bears you leave sitting on ice that is quickly melting, the bees that vanish and leave your flowers to wilt… The human race? It endures.”

“And yet… you turn other people into weapons for wars you don’t need to fight? You have it so good… but you can’t make it any better for yourselves, only worse. You’ve made so many funny clocks.”

“But what will you do when Apocalypse comes?”

The strange woman stood up, her long monologue being enough time to let herself dry off. With a nod, she turns away from the camera, walking off the screen. When she comes back into view again, she’s dressed in clothing that hides her metal limbs, and makes her seem more of the world you know and love, not a world full of dust, lightning, and… and horror, from what she tried to describe. On her wrist, a strange device, which she touches…

Another hole in the air. It shows a city you can vaguely recognize. A place where no one ever seems to sleep. Reaching up, this ‘soldier’ turns off the singular light bulb, darkening the room. She steps through that hole, and it closes.

Darkness takes back the lens.

What a bitch, right?

[END OF TAPE 1]

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