Department H status report: Heather Hudson, Guardian, reporting. It’s over. Once again, we’ve won…and we’ve lost. It seems that’s always been the way of Alpha Flight. We decided to save one hounded super human from an intergalactic corporation called the Consortium…and it only cost us the city of Toronto. We decided to save an entire planet from the hunger of Galactus, the Devourer of worlds…and it only cost us our heart and soul.
In Toronto, seven members of Alpha Flight and their American allies the Avengers - the seven least powerful ones - prepare for a final attack from the Consortium assault fleet. Northstar, Sasquatch, Diamond Lil, Puck, Captain America, She-Hulk and the Black Widow. Captain America calls to the handsome Alphan Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier who is hovering in the air above the ground-force and asks him what his count it. The speedster replies that he cannot count quite that high.
Captain America orders everyone to fall back, to quickly get into an underground metro station. But the ceasefire is now over, and the Consortium resume their attack. Eugene “Puck” Judd is hit first, and as he is knocked aside he exclaims that his little old body almost felt that blast. As Jennifer Walters a.k.a. the She-Hulk is knocked aside also, she declares that she will pass. Cap tells Jennifer that she cant, as he needs her, Puck and Lil to act as shields for the rest.
‘Wonderful’ mutters Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski as he and Lillian “Diamond Lil” Crawley are also shunted to the ground. Judd leaps in front of Natasha Romanova a.k.a. the Black Widow, mumbling about the price one pays for invulnerability and nobility. ‘Don’t forget humility’ adds Natasha. There is a large explosion, and Northstar announces that the closest Metro station has just been blown up.
Captain America helps Sasquatch up and tells everyone that the Consortium has made their access to the underground easier. As Northstar is tossed about by shockwaves in the air, he points out that the Consortium are quite determined to make getting below ground hard. Black Widow suddenly calls for everyone to hit the hole - but her voice trails off by another explosion. Jean-Paul declares that it was too close for his comfort, as Sasquatch points out that the Consortium may not be able to get down here to attack them, but they cannot get out to attack the Consortium either.
Captain America replies that he knows, but also thinks that they need a breather, time to formulate a plan. Natasha asks what that plan would be, and Cap replies that it is simple - they have to find a way to infiltrate and destroy the Consortium mother ship!
Meanwhile, in another dimension on the planet known as Quwrll, seven more members of Alpha Flight and the Avengers - the most powerful ones - face their kidnapper. Guardian, Box, Windshear, Sersi, Quasar, Hercules and the Vision along with the alien being known as Her, gaze up at James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. the founding Alphan Vindicator - one of their own.
In a very mechanical voice, Vindicator asks if their assignment parameters have been officially established. ‘Absolutely not!’ replies his angry wife and leader of Alpha Flight - Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Guardian. Heather reminds Mac that he turned all cold and mechanical in the middle of their battle in Toronto, then kidnap them to save an alien race that they do not even know.
Vindicator states that the biomechanical components of this unit have been controlled by the Qwrlln and that aid is required in saving their planet from the ultimate threat - Galactus the World Devourer! The Olympian Avenger Hercules asks why they would commit the sheer folly of engaging Galactus in combat, before admitting that he and Galactus have been allies in glorious battles of the past.
One of the Qwrlln inform the heroes that the World-Devourer seeks to kill the billions of sentient beings residing on this planet. The Qwrlln plead with the Terran super human to stop Galactus as they have done so before. Vindicator replies matter-of-factly that is why the Qwrlln summoned them. He states that their course of action is both logical and clear - they must stop Galactus!
Heather approaches her husband, stating that everything is a smooth calculation for him. ‘You are this unit’s spouse. Explain your words,’ is Mac’s reply. Heather asks him if it is easier to let the machine take over, easier to have the decisions made for him. Heather tells Mac to try doing it the hard way - to fight back against this cold computer inside of him. ‘Fight to be human again!’ she screams.
Vindicator states that internal confrontation would not be conductive to the logical implementations of “this unit’s” operations. ‘No kidding’ mutters Heather. Heather turns to the Qwrlln and tells them that she understands the danger they are all in, but before they commit to helping, she wants to know what their game is. ‘Game?’ asks the Qwrlln. ‘Where are we? Who are you? How did you get us here?’ snaps Heather.
The Qwrlln understand that Guardian wants an extrapolation of facts, and begin their tale…
(Shown with flashback images)
They inform the heroes that the Qwrlln are an ancient race by their standards. That they are scientific in nature, students of the universe. They learned of the World-Devourer Galactus, whose actions were so inexplicable that they contemplated the philosophies and rationale of Galactus’ existence for centuries. Manned exploratory vehicles were dispersed throughout the populated galaxy, and one such probe colonized a Ganymede, the fifth moon of the planet Jupiter.
The Qwrlln waited, studying the development of Earth civilization, and one day, an earthling - James MacDonald Hudson - landed on Ganymede. He was barely alive, and the Qwrlln did what was needed to sustain his life-function. But misplaced in time as well as space, the Qwrlln allowed Hudson to sleep for thousands of years until such a time when his world could accept his return.
The Qwrlln continue their story, explaining that during the interim, the World-Devourer and his herald the Silver Surfer appeared on Earth, but through the cunning of the super humans of Earth known as the Fantastic Four, Galactus was turned away. The Qwrlln explain that for the first time since the universe was born, the World-Devourer had been defeated. They admit to seeing in Hudson the same capacity and interests as those of Galactus’ conquerors, so they chose to implement certain changes in his biochemical structure, to ensure that should the need arise, Hudson and his band of terran super humans would come to their aid.
The Qwrlln reveal that they left Ganymede with their mission fulfilled, and reveal that upon Hudson’s waking, he was returned to his proper place among his family and comrades. The Qwrlln explain that if Galactus had not found their home world, Hudson would have comfortably proceeded with his existence.
‘No he wouldn’t have!’ declares Heather, informing the Qwrlln that Mac has been torn between his mechanical and human sides since he “came back to life”. Heather tells the Qwrlln that they gave back half a man - and the half that is there cannot cope with what he has become. The Qwrlln point out that their intention was to protect their race, to which the Vision asks them ‘No matter the extent to which you had to go to attain your goals?’ Madison “Box” Jeffries tells his teammates and allies that he doesn’t think ‘these suckers’ are worth fighting for, and Colin “Windshear” Hume agrees with him.
Guardian informs Windshear that it is unfortunate they cannot be too selective with their causes, for every misintentioned ruling-being on this planet, there must be millions of innocents. Wendell Vaughn a.k.a. the handsome Quasar of the Avengers reminds everyone that he has been appointed Protector of the Universe, and that means all beings, including morally questionable ones like the Qwrlln. J’Ridia Starduster a.k.a. Her declares that she agrees with Quasar, and asks her newfound allies if the actions of Galactus are so different from those of the Consortium.
Heather points out that in one way they are, for Galactus destroys planets to survive, not out of greed, though she admits the results are the same, and realizes that their decision was obvious all along - ‘We have to stop Galactus no matter what the cost!’ she exclaims as she leads the other heroes into battle.
The Herald of Galactus, Frankie Raye a.k.a. Nova informs her master that the super beings have decided to fight, and asks what they should do. Galactus reminds Frankie that he has pledged never to harm the planet Earth, and that he holds a begrudging respect for the beings of that world. He tells Frankie to detain them, without unduly harming them. As she leaps into battle she remarks that harming them is not what she is worried about.
Frankie Raye is blasted by the combined powers of Guardian, Box, Sersi, Vision and Her, and she is knocked out of sight. Heather tells Hume to scout the crash site to make sure Nova is out of this fight, before Alpha Flight’s esteemed leader turns to Galactus and tells him that they cannot let him simply end the life of this world. ‘Pity’ remarks the World-Devourer as the heroes approach him, Hercules telling Galactus that it is a pity for him. Galactus sees Hercules and tells him that it is a pity their reunion could not be under more pleasant circumstances.
The World-Devourer exclaims that he hungers and his needs must be satiated, that he cannot allow them to deter his course. Galactus extends an arm, explaining that he will simply eliminate them from this corporeal world for the nonce. However, as he unleashes his powers, they simple fizzle out. ‘Fizzle?’ asks Heather. ‘Odd,’ remarks Galactus, informing the heroes that he was prepared to convert their physical shells to pure energy states which could be contained until he completed my consumption of this world. ‘How could the powers of Galactus not work?’
Back in Toronto, the seven remaining heroes are safely underground, and Sasquatch asks Captain America to run his plan by them one more time. Steve Rogers informs his teammates and allies that their only way of stopping the onslaught is to eliminate the mother ship. He also states the obvious in that the only way to destroy the mother ship is to get onto it and destroy it from within. Lillian asks how they are supposed to do that.
Cap explains that they will use the strongest members - Sasquatch, Lil and She-Hulk - to create a diversion, while the rest will form an interdiction team to infiltrate the ship. Lil boasts that it is no problem, but wants to know how they are going to get out of here. Judd motions down the tunnel and suggests they can end up several blocks away and hopefully find a craft they can salvage. Sasquatch mutters that he has heard of stupider game plans in his day, and wishes everyone luck as he leads Lil and She-Hulk back out into battle. ‘Let’s play ball!’ he yells, tossing a rock up at the Consortium who have already started attacking.
Cap, with Puck and the Black Widow in tow start running down the tunnel, and Cap is about to give an order to Northstar, but Jean-Paul already knows what he is required to do, and is racing ahead to recon. Less than seconds later, Jean-Paul arrives at the end of the tunnel, where a few Consortium troopers are standing around a small jet. Northstar immediately knocks two of them out, before turning to the third, who mumbles something in his native tongue. ‘Indeed’ replies Jean-Paul.
Soon, Cap, Judd and Natasha arrive, Cap remarking that it is excellent Northstar has commandeered a ship. He asks the handsome Alphan if he encountered any resistance, to which Jean-Paul replies that the only thing he encountered was some pleasant diversions. The quartet enter the alien plane, and Natasha supposes that as there are so many alien races in the Consortium, there must be a universal translating program in the computer system.
Captain America asks his friend if she can boot it up, and the Black Widow replies that the system is pretty similar to their own programs. Natasha locks onto the human mouth symbol, and dozens of languages appear before her on the screen. She sees “Earth” written in Japanese, and Judd asks why the Consortium has Earth encoded in Japanese. Natasha points out that it makes sense, as they are businessmen after all. ‘Sure, if they had to do business with Earth, which country would they go to?’ asks Judd.
Captain America declares that he is not too sure that he likes the idea, but believes the point moot, asking if anyone can speak Japanese. ‘Ha! We both do!’ comes the reply. Steve smiles, and orders the ship for take off, and they lift into the sky.
Also in the sky, some inter-dimensional planes away on the planet Quwrll. Heather leads a physical assault on Galactus, surprised that they are actually hurting him. Quasar asks how they could be, as Vindicator states that empirical data is not yet fully processed, casual relationship between super-human activity and Galactus’ difficulties cannot be considered conclusive. ‘Try telling him that, eh?’ remarks Box as he and Hercules succeeded in tipping the World-Devourer off his feet, resulting in a mighty thud.
There is a loud noise, before Galactus asks the heroes how they dare lay their insignificant hands upon his form. He remarks that he does what he must to survive, that his actions are incontrovertible, and even though this plane of reality wreaks havoc with his life functions, he can still keep everyone at bay - by the use of sheer physical force! The World-Devourer bashes his hands about and sends shockwaves through the air, tossing Heather and Mac about.
Meanwhile, two hundred meters away, Windshear comes upon Frankie Raye, who has been chained up. Nova tells Windshear to give up while he still can. Hume tells Nova that she makes an interesting proposition, considering the positions they are both in, before remarking that her supervisor is bulloxed. Frankie Raye begins to protest, before the Qwrlln point out that it has come to pass. The Qwrlln explain that Galactus is a creature of primal forces old when the universe was still young, but in this dimensional plane, physical laws are so controverted, that he is adversely affected in his very ability to function as he normally would.
Nova asks why it doesn’t affect the others, to which the Qwrlln use the example of placing one appendage in freezing cold, the other in boiling hot, and one would feel the effects, while Galactus would not as he is beyond such trivialities. They reveal that the same could be said in reverse, that changes in the very fabric of reality, though it is beyond all of them, it is quite noticeable to Galactus. Frankie Raye is about to exclaim at what this predicament means, but the Qwrlln do it for her - it means that the World-Devourer may face his final defeat!
Back in Toronto, Sasquatch, Lillian and the She-Hulk are engaged in battle with multiple opponents, Walter exclaims that this is a classic brawl. ‘Hey - no biting!’ the She-Hulk exclaims as one of the Consortium troopers bite her, before she mutters that what this is, is ridiculous and hopes that the others are having better luck than they are.
Inside the Consortium space craft, Judd remarks that they are going so far so good, before explaining that he has told the main systems that this ship has a massive radiation leak and they need extensive repairs, before explaining that they are being diverted to an isolated docking bay, as the Consortium are afraid they are contaminated. Cap replies that this will buy them some privacy, as Judd instructs Natasha which docking bay to fly the ship into.
After landing and exiting the small ship, the quartet are safely on the Consortium mother ship. Making their way carefully through some corridors, Captain America asks Jean-Paul if he has been able to study the ships schematics and come up with an accurate recon route. ‘Oui. Au revoir,’ declares Northstar as he takes to the air and flies off ahead of the others.
Moments later he returns, from behind them, and informs the others that the communications center is three levels up, engineering is two down, and a clear egress is four corridors over. He tells them to follow him, and as they run through a corridor, they notice several Consortium members lying unconscious on the ground. Jean-Paul mumbles that he encountered some resistance along the way. ‘So I see’ replies the Black Widow. In elevator tubes, the Black Widow and Puck head upwards, while Cap and Jean-Paul go down. Cap reminds everyone of what they have to do and wishes them luck.
Judd and Natasha arrive in the communications complex, and see several odd looking aliens attached to some device. Security guards run over to the heroes to apprehend them, but Judd takes them on as the Black Widow lets loose a rope from her wrist device which lifts her up above the aliens, and exclaiming ‘Lets communicate’ she fires the wires connecting the aliens with her widows sting. She knows it will sever the cybernetic link the aliens seem to have with the ship, and the defenceless aliens run away, which frees up the communications center for her and Puck.
Natasha smiles at the diminutive Alphan and tells him that this reminds her of the fun they had in the Tonkin Gulf in ‘67. Judd reminds Natasha that they were in opposing sides then, to which Natasha tells Judd that there is no such thing as opposing sides in their trade - just different people cutting the pay check. Tapping things into the communications panel, Judd suggests they get to work.
Elsewhere aboard the mother ship, a senior member of the Consortium asks what is happening, who is ordering a recall of the assault fleet? One of his officers replies that they do not know, and informs him that they are unable to override the signal. The furious supervisor asks his officer what he means, before telling him that he better override the signal, or else the CEO will fire their butts in a second!
Meanwhile, Jean-Paul flies past several Consortium fleet, knocking them to the ground as he tells Captain America that they are almost there. Cap punches his way through several members of the Consortium fleet, telling Northstar that he hopes they do not encounter anymore surprises along the way. As the duo enter the engineering bay, Jean-Paul informs Cap that he can assure him of at least one more surprise. ‘God and country!’ declares Captain America as he enters engineering, where before them is a miniaturized planet - the Consortium mother ship is actually being powered by the energies of an entire planet!
Back on Quwrll, Hercules smashes ay Galactus’ face with a large rock, ‘Have at thee, celestial one!’ Hercules exclaims, as he boasts of his own power. ‘You dare? YOU DARE?’ shouts the World-Devourer, steadying himself, until Her comes along and tells him that for life and freedom they dare that and more! Heather tells J’Ridia to keep Galactus off balance, to not give him the time to figure out why his powers aren’t working right. Suddenly, Galactus grabs Guardian in his hand and clutches her tight.
Galactus admits that Guardian had a wise strategy, if not for the fact that he now holds her in his control. He orders the Terrans to cease their attack, or boasts that “the woman” dies. Heather urges everyone not to stop, but to carry on! Vindicator backs Heather’s statement up, telling everyone to resume their coordinated assault. Box reminds Vindicator that Galactus is holding his wife. Mac states the logically, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.
Galactus reminds everyone that this is not his way, but his options have run out. He declares that he must feed, and suggests they leave now, or to stand aside while he consumes this world. Vindicator tells Galactus again that they cannot allow him to do that, when suddenly, he flies up closer, telling Heather that they must allow him, before unleashing a massive amount of energy upon Galactus and screaming ‘LET GO OF MY WIFE!’
Galactus screams, and as Wendell points out, he begins to stagger, as Vindicator’s electromagnetic assault has wrecked havoc with Galactus’ internal energy flow. The World-Devourer falls to the ground, again with a mighty thud, and Heather flies free from his grasp. The heroes assemble around the fallen World-Devourer, and Vision announces that Galactus is down. ‘With quite a lot of dust kicking up I might add!’ remarks the elegant Sersi, no doubt concerned also about her appearance.
Quasar points out that in Galactus’ weakened state, combined with his problems coping in this dimensional plane, means he couldn’t have stood up long against them. Hercules agrees, before pointing out that it seems almost a shame to spy on him like this.
Guardian flies over to Mac and asks him if he is himself again. ‘This unit has resumed nominal operational status’ replies Vindicator, causing Heather to remind him that he came out of his robotic shell and pleads with him to do it again. Windshear, several of the Qwrlln and the still imprisoned Frankie Raye make their way over to the group, Colin informing them that they saw Galactus fall.
Box asks what they do now, to which Heather explains that they will find a way to get Galactus off this planet, and get themselves back to Earth, as they still have the Consortium to deal with. Suddenly, Galactus stirs, and wearily asks ‘Did you say Consortium?’ Box transmutates his armor so he has heaps of guns pointing at the World-Devourer asking Galactus if he has heard of them, as they are sort of like him - they wreck planets as a way of life and rationalize is later too.
Frankie Raye informs the heroes that the Consortium are also known for using living planets as the energy source for their mother ships. Everyone looks at Nova as she remarks that she hasn’t been away from Earth long enough to forget the saying “How about we kill two birds with one stone?”
Back in Toronto, Judd and the Black Widow are confusing the Consortium fleet by telling them to return to the mother ship, then before they can board telling them not to return to the mother ship. Natasha jokes that they sure have them running around in circles, before remarking that she just needs a few more minutes. Pulling out her Avengers Identicard she contacts Captain America, informing him that they are just about finished, and that they have approximately twenty minutes before the ship warps out into space.
Cap replies ‘Fine’ as he explains that he and Northstar checked out the planet which fuels the ship and it is uninhabited. He supposes that the Consortium finds these worlds, recruits or eliminates the native species, then use the planet as an energy source. He adds that he and Northstar are ready to go too. As they run from the engineering room, Jean-Paul tells Captain America that he can carry him, and Judd can probably survive the fall, but what about the Black Widow. Captain America tells Jean-Paul not to worry about the Widow, and reveals that she has been getting out of scrapes like this since he was in diapers.
On Quwrll, the heroes stand beside a large device, and Vindicator declares that they stand prepared to fulfil their obligations. He reveals that the combination of Quwrll organic technology and equipment salvaged from Galactus’ energy absorbing devices have enabled them to complete the trans-dimensional warping device. He explains that with this equipment they can successfully conduct a multiple teleportation matrix, which will shunt the planet Quwrll back to its original location, and bring the Consortium mother ship to this plane for Galactus to feed upon, adding that they will teleport the members of Alpha Flight and the Avengers back to Toronto.
Heather points out that if Galactus cannot provide the energy to open the shunting portal and withstand the physical ravages that will entail, then how can they do this? Galactus announces that only two beings here are capable of energizing the teleportation arc with the proper electromagnetic flux - Guardian and Vindicator!
‘That would be tantamount to the cessation of this unit’s functions’ states Vindicator. Heather knows that they won’t survive it - ‘But there’s no other way’. Jeffries, whom shared a long relationship with Heather, grabs her and tells her that she cannot do this. Heather explains that with their electromagnetic capabilities they are the only ones who can do this. ‘We have no choice…’ Jeffries phases out of his armor and takes Heather’s hand, searching for words, Heather tells him not to say anything.
Guardian reminds everyone that Mac survived this once before when he shunted through time to Ganymede, and whispers that maybe they will survive this time too. After a moments silence, Sersi tells the Hudson’s that she would create a molecular shield to protect them, but she will be with the others getting shunted back to Earth. Vindicator tells everyone that explanations or recriminations are not necessary, before announcing that they are ready to energize the platform.
Vindicator informs everyone to be prepared to teleport. Heather reaches out to Mac, and they look deep into each other’s eyes. Heather tells Mac that she loves him, that she always loved him since the first day they met. A spark flashes in Vindicator’s eye, but he says nothing other than that they must link hands to unite their electromagnetic fields and the frequencies under which they operate. A bright orange light shines all around, and there is a loud screeching noise.
In Toronto, Jean-Paul flies himself and Cap out of the mother ship, announcing they are clear as Judd and the Black Widow drop from the hatch soon after. Cap reminds everyone that the mother ship is going to warp out in ten seconds. There is a loud screeching sound, and looking up at the ship with Walter and She-Hulk, Lil points out that the mother ship is glowing, and asks what is happening.
On Quwrll, Heather screams, before falling to the ground. Vindicator states that he will complete the arc unassisted, but Heather protests. Mac hands Heather to Box and asks him to protect her, to go home. Vindicator’s human side starts to come though, Heather pleads with him not to, but caught up in the electromagnetic wave, Mac tells Heather that he loves her too. ‘Mac, don’t leave me again…please’ utters Heather. ‘I’ve always loved you…and I always will…’ is Mac’s reply, before he fades away.
Heather, Box, Windshear, Sersi, Quasar, Hercules, the Vision and Her are then shunted through Space-Time. Windshear declares that they are going home, while Heather calls out for Mac.
Aboard the Consortium mother ship, the Chief Executive Officer asks what has happened, demanding a status report, he wants to know where they are. But gazing out the view screen, they see Galactus staring back at them. ‘It is time to feed’ the World-Devourer declares.
The heroes that were left on Earth watch as their friends and allies appear before them. ‘What the $#@! Is going on around here?’ asks Diamond Lil, and as Jeffries phases out of his Box armor, Heather informs everyone that Mac was being mind-controlled and brought them to a planet to fight Galactus. Sadly, she reveals that Mac sacrificed himself to stop the madness - he is dead. Looking around at the burning city of Toronto, Heather declares ‘The Consortium ships are gone…the planet Quwrll is safe, and we were sent back to Earth. It all came down to one man…one choice…a choice to protect the billions of innocent people no matter what the cost…it all came down to a choice of humanity’.