First story :
New York, New York, the second largest city of the world has nearly 11 million inhabitants, which is half the population of Canada. Today, across the Brooklyn Bridge, words are spoken and papers are to be signed which will reduce Canada’s population by two – and at the same time increasing New York’s number by the same. Inside a stately old apartment block in Brooklyn Heights, James Hudson is conferring with his possible future landlord, about the possibility of moving in. Mac thinks it seems perfect, signs the contract, and thinks to himself that two weeks ago he was an unemployed petro-chem researcher with absolutely no prospects, and now he is an executive researcher with Roxxon Oil! As the two men leave the apartment block, Kevin the landlord tells Mac that Brooklyn Heights in general attracts a very nice class of people, and that he thinks he will like the place. Mac jokes about two Canadians lowering property value.
The “long arm of coincidence” is about to touch James MacDonald Hudson, for as he leaves the building…he does not go unnoticed by a man walking into the building. The woman with the man is in the middle of a conversation with her companion, though his attention has turned to Mac as he walks by. The blond man tells his friend, Bernie, to hold up a moment, for while James Hudson may seem like just another stranger being passed on the street, Steve Rogers is not just any other person. Bernie asks Steve what is wrong, as the man looks innocent enough. Steve Rogers, the man who is secretly Captain America, agrees with Bernie, but something tells him that the they have met before, and that there is something about the dark-haired man that makes Steve Rogers feel that he is accustomed to wielding great power. Captain America continues to wonder whom the familiar man really is…for a moment, anyway.
In a secluded alley not far away, James Hudson has begun to undress himself, and thinks to himself that it really makes him feel like a super hero changing clothes in a New York alleyway. Mac of course does not have a convenient cape-pouch in to which he can store his civilian clothes, and so as he flies up from the alleyway into the New York sky, he carries with him a duffle bag. He decides that it is not very romantic, and wonders if he will ever get the chance to ask Spider-Man what he does with his civvies. James thinks that idea is quite funny. Though he met most of the American Super Heroes a few months ago back at the amnesty declaration for the Hulk…but he had no idea that he would be moving to New York, and possibly leaving behind Canada forever! He thinks that before the year ends even he may be fighting side-by-side with one of the great Avengers! Continuing across New York, Mac thinks that no so long ago he would have seen this move to New York as an opportunity to quit being a super hero for good. But now, he thinks of all the potential adventures in living and working in New York. ‘Speaking of adventures’ he wonders how the rest of Alpha Flight is doing...
The rest of Alpha Flight are mostly doing all right at this current time, except for Dr. Walter Langkowski – Sasquatch. At this moment, Walt is running for his life, from the powerful alien, the Super Skrull. At the top of Mount Logan, Canada’s tallest mountain, Walt is near the summit, however, the freezing air is rarified, and over-exerted lungs burn from cold and oxygen starvation.
As the Super Skrull shoots rays of flame at Walt, he manages to dodge them, but thinks the alien is playing with him. Walt manages to hide behind a rock for a minute, and thankfully for the Alphan, the Super Skrull does not see him. Walt thinks that this was something less than the holiday in the Rockies he was expecting, and he recalls how he got in this mess.
The Ministry of Defense sent him here to check out some strange readings at the Mount Logan Cosmic Ray Research Station. The readings seemed to suggest an almost biological rhythm. Walt and the other scientists constructed a makeshift booster antenna and, to his surprise, plucked from the ether, the Fantastic Four member known as the Thing. To Walt’s knowledge, the Thing had been off-world, though in a matter of hours being back on Earth at this station, he was kidnapped and the center doctor burned to death. Walt followed the kidnappers trail, though as he began to work out what was really going on, it was too late, and the station was destroyed by a huge explosion. The blast knocked Walt down the side of the mountain, breaking one of his arms, and leaving him in no shape to fight the real villain of the mess, for it had never truly been the Thing…but the Super Skrull.
The Super Skrull finds Walt, and as he crushes the rock the Alphan shelters beneath, he tells him that he grows tired of this game. He asks the Alphan if he has such little love of life that he would accept death with such a paltry resistance? The Super Skrull tells Walt that he is a warrior, and craves the hunt, the chase – and that Walter survives only to amuse him. Pure instinct causes Walter’s aching muscles into action. He hurls himself down into the mountain, hoping that the snow will cushion his fall. It does, only a little too well, as Walt begins to slip through the soft snow, as it was deeper than he thought. Walt falls through the snow, and eventually there is no trace of him, and the Super Skrull cannot find him. The alien curses the thousand dying suns and is not impressed that his “kill” has escaped.
Though as the Super Skrull fumes, flying above the snow where Walt disappeared down, the Super Skrull does not notice the snow stirring. The snow cracks, three times, and from beneath the surface, a sound is made. The Super Skrull notices the movement of the snow now, but is unsure at what to make of it. The muffled sound slowly grows, and building in volume and intensity, a snarl, a roar of anger and pain. Suddenly, the snow erupts! Transformed into Sasquatch, the giant beast, Walt leaps from the snow, grabbing Super Skrull, and taking him by surprise he throws him across the snow. The Super Skrull saw Sasquatch once before, when he entered Earth through the cosmic ray dish, and although it was hazy, he knows not all is as it seems. The Super Skrull has witnessed the awesome transformation of man into beast, and was experiences the good-natured joviality that is Sasquatch’s trademark…but that is not here now. Animal savagery gleams in the beast’s ruby eyes – this is indeed Sasquatch, and Walter Langkowski is nowhere to be found.
No stranger to the art of shape-shifting, the Super Skrull realizes what has happened, and the alien realizes too that Walter’s broken arm must have been healed by the transformation, as Sasquatch is not afflicted. But the Skrull thinks that the pain of broken bones altering shape must have driven Walt to madness! The alien decides he must stop the beast quickly and permanently, and using the combined powers of Mr. Fantastic and the Thing, the Skrull outstretches two of his arms, striking Sasquatch with full strength. However, as Sasquatch rips a chunk of land from the mountain, Super Skrull realizes that even his full strength may not be enough to stop the Alphan in this state.
Using Mr. Fantastic’s powers, the Skrull barely manages to dodge the huge piece of land that Sasquatch throws at him. The Super Skrull thinks that he is lucky his powers exceed those of the Fantastic Four, whose powers he imitates. As he is stronger than the Thing, and can stretch further than Mr. Fantastic, the Super Skrull decides there is one power that Sasquatch cannot hope to beat – his anti-matter blast. However, Super Skrull did not expect the shower of snow courtesy of Sasquatch raining over him. The Super Skrull was saved by his invisible forcefield, which did not allow the snow to douse his flame again. The Super Skrull decides he must be careful not to underestimate Sasquatch, as some of Walter’s human intellect seems to have remained.
Super Skrull starts to charge up, and his power builds. As he is about to release it however, he is struck by pain. His blood boils, and he keels over, in unbearable pain. Sasquatch, sensing his opponents’ weakness moves in for the kill. The Super Skrull musters what strength he can and crawls across the snow, trying to out-distance Sasquatch. But the Super Skrull is not fast enough, and as Sasquatch draws back his hand, ready to strike, it is more of a weapon than hand. The claws, razor sharp, talons, glint in the dim light of the Aurora Borealis. But before Sasquatch can strike the alien however, the Super Skrulls’ eyes light up.
Sasquatch is frozen in movement, and the Skrull decides that it has bee many years since he last used his hypnotic powers, but feels this time calls for them. Sasquatch is to stand frozen, until the Super Skrull decides to let him go. Looking up at Sasquatch, Super Skrull admits the pain in his blood is lessening, but his mind remains in turmoil. The Skrull wonders that he may be able to free Sasquatch of the madness that clouds his mind, so his human intellect can shed some light on his own problems. And so the alien begins to tell Walter his story.
The last few hours that the Super Skrull remembers…or was it days…or years... he was searching for a highly refined cavorite crystal, and the trail led him to New York. The Super Skrull needed the power within the crystal to power his ship he intended to build that could return him to his home world. However, there are those that sought to stop him - Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. While the Skrull battled Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel erected an electro-net above them, which blocked the signal from his home world and the power beam that boosted the Super Skrull’s natural powers to super-human levels. While the Super Skrull was in contact with the crystal, the blocking effect was cut and bathed in a sudden surge of power, the Super Skrull became a living space-warp…and then time itself ended.
While dimly at first, the Super Skrull’s words do pass into Walter Langkowski’s mind. With the agony of the transformation past, and the hypnotic suggestion of the Super Skrull calming his berserker urges, Walter slowly takes over the mind of the Beast. Reasserting himself, Walter finds that the longer the Super Skrull drones on, the clearer pictures become. And a theory begins to form. Logically, Walter thinks that, as it was the powerful beam from the Skrull’s homeworld which fired the mysterious energies of the cavorite crystal, the Super Skrull was probably transported back along the beam, all the way home to the Andromeda Galaxy. There, the Super Skrull simply became another random pulse in the arcane mechanisms, until the destruction of the Skrull homeworld by the planet-devouring Galactus! Somehow, this triggered the beam, still homed on Earth, and the Super Skrull’s atoms were sent back to become ensnared in the van Allen Belts.
Walt thinks that this explains the sudden pain Super Skrull is experiencing, as all those months in the radiation belts must have contaminated him, and the Super-Skrull is now suffering from some kind of super-leukemia. Walt suddenly turns his attentions back to the Super Skrull’s words, and he receives an order from the alien to help him return to his homeworld so that his race’s advanced technology can cure his agony. Walt thinks to himself that he will be only too glad to “help” him… and tells the alien that he will obey.
So, as the first light of a cold dawn trickles into the area, robot-like and silent, Sasquatch sifts through the rubble of the fire blasted Mount Logan Cosmic Ray Research Station. And as the distant winter sun hangs over the mountain, a strange alien artifact is being erected. Super Skrull orders Walt to align the antennae groupings like he instructed him, as without the additional power boost of a refined cavorite crystal, he must rely upon precise focusing to transmit himself back to the throneworld. Making final adjustments on a panel, the Skrull tells Walt that the natural rotation of the Earth will carry his projector into the correct alignment with the Skrull galaxy, and at that instant he shall fire himself homeward.
Sasquatch stands motionless at the Skrull’s side, and the alien wonders what will become of him. After all, the beast’s “puny” intellect has proven so weak, he has not even needed to periodically reinforce his hypnotic control. The Super Skrull decides that because Sasquatch aided him, albeit unwillingly, he shall not slay him, but rather leave him frozen here cold, and alone until – suddenly, the Skrull is overcome by pain again, at that moment, Walter Langkowski drops his ruse, and uses the moment to grab the Skrull and throws him onto the projector. Walt tells the Skrull that he knew if he just played "possum" for long enough, that he would have another attack. Walt tells the Super Skrull that his game is over, and is going “bye-bye”. The Skrull panics, as the projector is not properly aligned. Walt knows that, and pulls down the control. With that, a sudden flash of light is seen, and the sound of the Super Skrull screaming is heard, before the alien vanishes completely.
The soul-searing anguish of the Super Skrull ripples across the peaks of the mountains, but Walter Langkowski goes unmoved. Walt decides that his plan worked, and the Super Skrull’s atoms are now scattered back across the van Allen Belts, soaking up in radiation. Walt decides that if the Skrull ever manages to get back together, he should last about five minutes before the cancer destroys him. Walt thinks that patting himself on the back for finding a way to beat the Skrull hardly makes up for the deaths of Megan Masterton and the four men who were up on the mountain for simple research. Hardly something to die for.
As he lumbers down the mountain, Walt decides he has found something out about Sasquatch he is not too fond of. Bruce Banner lived for years in the shadow of his monstrous alter ego the Hulk, until he found some way to tame him. Walt hops that this hasn’t been a warning that his life is going to take a turn in the other direction. What if he should ever loose control of Sasquatch again….
(several days later)
The grim thoughts have not entirely left the mind of the Alphan when, a little less than a week later, Walter Langkowski returns to his home base in Vancouver also the city where Walt was born. Today, Walt lives some miles from his mother’s house in one of the apartments across False Creek, from the city center. He calls out ‘Honey, I’m home!’. Though since the departure of his wife and son nearly five years ago, Walt has taken a slightly sardonic delight in calling out that prosaic delight sit-com greeting each evening as he returns to his apartment. He has neither expected nor received any reply…until now.
A figure stands in a doorway, illuminated by the light, and says ‘Bonjour ma chere Walter’. Walt is understandably startled. Until Aurora steps out. He asks his teammate what she is doing here, and how she got in. Aurora walks over to him, and tells him that he left his bedroom window open, which is an easy egress for one who can fly. As to what she is doing here…Aurora tells Walt that she has terminated her partnership with her brother – and so she has come home…to him…. As Aurora snuggles up to Walter Langkowski, an inviting thought briefly flashes across his mind…what will the rest of Alpha Flight think of this ?
Second story :
In a top-secret training room beneath Parliament Hill, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier has just completed another training exercise. Now, James Mac Donald Hudson has some very shocking news for the Department H trainee. Holding up a newspaper clipping, James Hudson says to Jeanne-Marie that he doesn’t think there is much room for doubt. ‘Sapristi’ is all she replies. Dressed in his uniform, Canada’s premiere super hero, Weapon Alpha, tells the astonished Jeanne-Marie that he checked records of her birth and adoption as soon as Heather, his wife, spotted this photo in the newspaper. He tells Jeanne-Marie that the man in the photo, Jean-Paul Martin, is her twin brother. Jeanne-Marie asks Hudson how such a thing could be possible, and wonders why they weren’t both adopted by the same family.
Hudson tells Jeanne-Marie that it is here that things get a little hazy. It would appear that shortly after their parents were killed, Jean-Paul was taken by their mother’s cousins, the Martin’s. But because they couldn’t afford to adopt both twins, so, James continues, they arranged to have Jeanne-Marie raised at Madame DuPont’s school for girls, which is Government subsidized.
Soon after that, Louis Martin was posted to Northern Quebec, as he was with the RCMP, so the Martin’s lost contact with Jeanne-Marie. Jeanne-Marie thinks this is fantastic. Mac continues, telling Jeanne-Marie that in a “nasty little twist of fate”, when Jean-Paul was around six, the Martin’s were also killed in an accident. Jean-Paul was taken in by a foster home, and grew up unaware of his history. Still amused at this startling revelation, Jeanne-Marie asks the head of Department H when they could contact him.
Hudson must have forgotten to mention it to Jeanne-Marie, and tells her that agents of Department H made contact with Jean-Paul about two months ago, and he is on his way here even as they speak, probably pulling up at Parliament Hill right now even! The woman code-named Aurora leaps off of the equipment and says ‘What?!?’
Outside Parliament Hill, sitting in a car, Jean-Paul thinks how strange it is to find himself summoned here – not as strange as his answering the summons however, especially as not too long ago he would have came with a bomb under his arm. As Jean-Paul leaves the car, Gary Cody, official government liaison to Department H comes over to him. Calling him “Mr. Martin” he apologizes for not meeting Jean-Paul at the airport. Jean-Paul tells Gary Cody that his name is “Beaubier” and that he has worn the wrong name for long enough now. He asks where the “Hudson person” is that he was supposed to meet.
Inside one of Parliament Hill’s long corridors, Gary Cody asks Jean-Paul if he wouldn’t mind speaking in English for him, though “Government types” are supposed to be bilingual, Gary says, his French doesn’t get past a few voulez vous’s and an avec or two. Still speaking French, Jean-Paul tells Gary Cody that he prefers his native tongue, and that he will just have to keep up. Gary sarcastically thinks to himself that Jean-Paul is a real friendly type and wonders if Mac knows what he is getting into.
In an elevator, Jean-Paul notices how deep down it is going. He tells Gary Cody he wasn’t aware Parliament Hill had such deep foundations. Cody tells Jean-Paul that officially they do not. As the elevator comes to a halt, the doors open to reveal a bustling room full of scientist and technicians. Gary Cody welcomes Jean-Paul to Department H. Walking into an office, Gary Cody tells Jean-Paul that before he explodes with questions, he introduces him to the man he wanted to meet – James MacDonald Hudson. Calling Jean-Paul “M’sieur Martin” he welcomes him into his office. Jean-Paul tells Mac that, like he told Cody, his name is “Beaubier”.
Jean-Paul puts his bag down, and sits on a chair, crossing his legs and folding his arms. Leaning on his desk, Mac tells Jean-Paul that he is surprised he took his true name so quickly. Jean-Paul says that he has no great love for the Martin family, and if he is a Beaubier, let him be a Beaubier. He asks Mac who he is and why he was ordered here. Mac says to Jean-Paul that before he tells him anything about Department H he wants to tell Jean-Paul something about himself…such as how a mediocre skier became a world champion gold-medallist shortly after he learned he could fly… Jean Paul looks at Mac as if his secret was out.
Mac tells Jean-Paul not to look so surprised, and while at first he wasn’t certain Jean-Paul possessed super speed and flight, he soon checked his sports record – and Jean-Paul’s rise to championship coincides exactly with his last year of puberty – precisely when mutant powers manifest themselves. Mac reckons that it must have been a terrific time for Jean-Paul, it was as if suddenly the world had become his oyster, and if he had to cheat a little to gain the pearl…well, Mac tells Jean-Paul he knows he had no trouble justifying that. Jean-Paul went on using his powers, growing more and more famous, and when he turned pro, more and more rich.
Mac tells Jean-Paul that he had it all – money, fame and women…Mac thinks that the woman did not interest Jean-Paul all that much, but guesses it is probably because like a lot of jocks, the winning is all that matters. Getting to the point, Mac tells Jean-Paul that he invited him here to do something a little more worthwhile with his powers. He tells the French-Canadian mutant that he is gathering together a select group of very special people, the kind of people that Canada – the World – needs, to fight the good fight. Mac tells Jean-Paul that he wants him to be one of them.
Smiling, Jean-Paul asks Mac if he is joking, and while he may have read him very well, Jean-Paul asks Mac what makes him think that the man he described would be interested in joining the little “club” of his. A voice coming from behind Jean-Paul says ‘Perhaps because I already have…brother’. Jean-Paul leaps up from his chair, and is shocked to see the young woman entering the room. Jeanne-Marie tells Jean-Paul that it has been a long time. The twins come face-to-face and Jean-Paul thinks it is fantastic – like looking in some kind of strange distorting mirror. Smiling, Jeanne-Marie asks her brother if he agrees that he will accept James Hudson’s offer to join them.
Jean-Paul turns to Mac and tells him he will not, as this must be some kind of trick! He asks how he could have a twin and not know about it? Mac tells the stunned Jean-Paul that he didn’t even know his name was “Beaubier” until eight weeks ago, that this is no trick. Jeanne-Marie extends her hand, and asks her brother to greet her, as family should! As their hands reach out for each other Jeanne-Marie tells her brother that they have much to talk of, and Jean-Paul agrees...