The Red Square in Moscow of the newly independent Republic of Russia, where Canada’s premiere super heroes, Alpha Flight, takes a well deserved break from their ongoing World Tour. Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck points up to the Kremlin and explains to his teammates that it has been the center of spiritual and temporal power for hundreds of years and all of the country’s most important historical figures are buried inside the walls. In his Sasquatch form Doctor Walter Langkowski jokes to his former lover Aurora that it is a little different from the last graveyard they were in, adding that they should hope they do not have to fight the reanimated corpse of Josef Stalin.
‘Ah, Cher Walter. You should know that it is only living Russian men who concern me. Big. Strong. Living Russian men!’ Aurora replies. Judd tells everyone to enjoy it here while they can, as there is big trouble brewing back in the States, which is why he was sent with faster transportation to pick them all up. Aurora reminds Puck that the Canadian government insists that they attend the official meetings tomorrow, but today everyone should enjoy the local scenery like she and Sasquatch intend to.
Alpha Flight’s leader Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Guardian tells Aurora that Puck was enjoying the scenery until she got him all riled up, before remarking that she never thought she would be walking through the heart of Moscow as easily as downtown Toronto. Taking a photograph of Judd standing next to a monument, Heather exclaims that she plans to make the most of it. Aurora’s brother the handsome Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier motions towards a group of soldiers and points out that he would feel more comfortable if the “local scenery” didn’t include so many soldiers, asking if this sort of presence is supposed to be passé these days.
Suddenly the soldiers Northstar was talking about all ditch their hats and jackets, revealing ninja outfits underneath, they suddenly attack Alpha Flight. Heather tells her team to get into a standard defensive formation and to follow Puck and Weapon Omega’s lead. Sasquatch adds that Northstar might be on to something, as Jean-Paul declares that he thought they looked suspicious. Judd tells everyone to stay low, to watch each other’s backs and to cut down the angle and give the ninjas less to aim at.
Aurora picks two of the ninjas up and asks who they are and why they have suddenly attacked. Weapon Omega uses his superior agility to kick two ninjas, telling Aurora that whoever they are they know how to fight. He remarks that he has been trained by the best and is barely holding his own. Heather blasts two ninjas with her electromagnetic powers, ordering Alpha Flight to use maximum force, as these ninjas are not playing around.
Sasquatch asks if it occurred to anyone that the Russian authorities might have sent these guys as he tosses two men aside, while Northstar speeds past his opponents knocking them over and asking if Alpha Flight have Maple-leaves or bulls’ eyes on their uniforms. Judd tells everyone to cut the chatter and to concentrate on their opponents attack - concentrate on staying alive.
Suddenly, Weapon Omega yells ‘Incoming fire! Everybody down! As three armed people comes up behind them and start firing at the ninjas. When the smoke clears, Weapon Omega asks Heather who these guys are, if they are reinforcements perhaps. ‘Come with me if you want to live’ is all one of the newcomers says.
‘He’s kidding right?’ asks Sasquatch as Jean-Paul tells Heather they should forget this, as he is sick of being attacked for no reason, suggesting that they go to the States where they are actually needed. Heather tells Walt and Jean-Paul to be quiet, replying that she doesn’t know who he is, she hopes that he has got some answers, which is what she wants. Heather tells the newcomers that they can lead and her team will follow. ‘Good’ the man replies.
Soon, Alpha Flight follow the strangers through the streets of Moscow, despite Jean-Paul saying again that he doesn’t like this as they could be walking straight into a trap. Sasquatch asks him if he would rather still be playing with the pyjama boys back there. One of the Russians turns around and tells Alpha Flight to stay close and quiet. Arriving at their destination, the leader tells his colleagues Tretiak and Polyani to secure the perimeter while the others escort their “guests” inside.
Suddenly, Judd rushes towards the leader, declaring that this has gone far enough, he wants some answers and he wants them now. Heather asks Puck what the matter is, as it is just an office building. Judd reveals that it is not just an office building - it is the headquarters of the KGB! The leader asks Alpha Flight to proceed inside, but Judd tells him to save it, as they have been led around long enough. He turns to Heather and declares that this set-up stinks, suggesting they take out of here right now. But Heather tells him no, as she is here seeking answers and is not leaving until she gets them.
Led into an office, the troop leader motions towards a man in a suit and assures Heather that he can answer all of her questions. Judd suddenly realizes that he knows the man in the suit - Mickey Romanov. Romanov and Judd shake hands as Jean-Paul mutters ‘Great, another one of Puck’s “old friends”’. ‘Shut-up, Jean-Paul’ Judd whispers back, before asking Romanov what the deal is, adding that he thinks the ninjas back in the Red Square had Madripoor written all over them.
Romanov tells Alpha Flight that they all deserve an explanation and reveals that he fears they were attacked because those men had learned the real reason it was insisted Alpha Flight come to Russia, adding that they are called the Hand. Heather asks Romanov if he is sure, to which he asks her if she knows of the hand. Heather explains that a close friend of hers has had several dealings with them. ‘Yes…I should have realized’. Romanov replies.
Weapon Omega reminds Romanov that he just mentioned a “true reason” that Alpha Flight were brought to Russia. Romanov explains that a “situation” has arisen in Eastern Russia that requires super powered operatives as the Hand has seized a secret biological warfare complex known as the “Omega Red Facility“ which produced one of the deadliest weapons known to man.
Heather asks why he wanted Alpha Flight, why not use Russia’s own operatives or a United Nations sanctioned team like the Avengers. Romanov claims that most of the People’s Protectorate are engaged in another critical mission, while the rest returned to their home republics when the Soviet broke up. He adds that the Avengers are too high profile and their presence would draw international attention, so much so that if the other Republics learned that Russia was harboring such a deadly weapon, this new Commonwealth would be dead before it has even been born.
Romanov points out that Alpha Flight is neutral and are military trained, not to mention Heather is familiar with this type of complex. He explains that they were brought here under false pretences and though he knows they have no reason to help him, he still must ask for that help, for the menace that threatens Russia today, will tomorrow threaten the world.
Heather turns to her teammates and asks them for their opinions, pointing out that they do not have a lot of time to discuss the matter. Jean-Paul declares that this is not their fight, and suggests again that they go to the States where they are really needed. But his sister disagrees, thinking that her vacation is ruined by the Hand, so they now must pay. Sasquatch points out that it is more serious than that, as the Russians have a history of exploiting their neighbors, so what is to say that they will not try and keep this weapon for themselves?
Heather adjusts her visor and exclaims that the bottom line is that there are lives at stake - Russian, Canadian - it doesn’t matter. She turns to Romanov and tells him that they will help him. With his back to everyone, Romanov smiles and lights a cigarette, thanking Heather and informing her that Colonel Pushkin and his men will accompany them, and Alexei will brief them on the plane.
Outside, Sasquatch sings ‘Here I come to save the day’ as he enters a truck, while one of the Russian soldiers whispers to his colleague ‘I don’t want to sit next to him, you sit next to him!’ Inside the truck, Heather sits between the silent Jean-Paul and equally quiet Judd. Heather asks Judd if he doesn’t want to go either, but Judd replies ‘you’re the leader, Heather, where you go, I’ll follow’. Heather knows there is a “but” coming, to which Eugene points out that this time they are up against the Hand, who are like nothing Alpha Flight have faced before, and he doesn’t think that they are ready for them. ‘There will be trouble and their will be blood’ he prophesies.
The Russian soldiers exit the truck as it parks outside the perimeter of a small runway. The guards protecting the plane and bunker are soon knocked out and the Russians direct Alpha Flight to the plane, one of them joking that it was his job to file for official clearance, but he really hates paperwork.
Inside the plane, Alpha Flight listen as they are briefed on the mission that awaits them. Alexei reveals that the complex in question is called Novo Rodsk Sibirsk and it was the site of the original research that led to the development of the deadly mutant known as Omega Red. ‘I believe your friend Logan has had some dealings with him’ he adds.
Alexei continues, explaining that although the project was completed at a far more advanced facility, this complex is still incredibly dangerous, and remarking that Romanov likes to compare the differences in the facilities to the differences between the Manhattan Project and a cruise missile facility. One is much more primitive, but it is still capable of destruction on a massive scale. He adds that when the complex was reactivated, the alerts in Moscow center lit up like a Christmas tree.
At this moment in the nearby complex, an alert goes off, for the approaching plane containing Alpha Flight has been detected.
Alexei informs Alpha Flight that their team was the only available group that satisfied all the mission parameters. As he announces that the briefing is over, he remarks that they go to face another terror in the East, revealing that as a child of Stalin’s labor camps, he thought he would never see a greater evil - but then came Magneto and the Presence and the Atomic fires of Chernobyl scarring this once proud land. Heather listens intently as Alexei remarks that with a new day dawning for Russia, he hopes there will be peace for his children, a life free from terror - green fields to play in, that is all.
In the cock pit, Walter remarks that he really misses the Canada-Russia hockey games. The pilot replies that there will still be games, to which Walt remarks that it was a lot more fun beating Russia when they were a communist evil empire. The pilot laughs, before announcing to everyone that they have five minutes until the target area.
Suddenly, the plane is struck, and everyone topples from their seats. The complex has begun firing at Alpha Flight and the Russians after detecting them sometime earlier. The pilot declares that they have lost the starboard the engine, that the madmen must have some sort of advance detection system that they didn’t know about. Alexei orders Turgenev to prepare the rest of the squad, adding that this is an “Irk tusk Scenario”, before telling Guardian to prepare her team to jump. Heather replies by asking Alexei if he is crazy, as they will be cut to pieces before they hit the ground. Alexei informs Heather that is why she has to be a very effective distraction.
Moments later, as the plane goes up in flames, Alpha Flight and the Russians have jumped from it, with most people wearing parachutes to aid their fall. Guardian uses her electromagnetic powers to disable the missile launches, while the Russians to the same using rather large guns. ‘Look alive, people!’ Judd exclaims as he lands on the ground, alerting everyone to the horde of Hand ninjas waiting for them.
One of the Russians, Ulanov, lands on the ground, but in such a position that he breaks his leg. Unable to move, two ninjas come up behind him and thrust their swords into him. Alexei calls out to Ulanov, but it is far too late. Alexei responds to the ninjas by shooting them both in the back and telling his comrades and Alpha Flight to have no mercy on the Hand, as they are not going to show them any favors.
Alexei declares that their objective is the self-destruct mechanism at the heart of this complex, adding that he has the arming codes, so he and Guardian will be the ones who try to penetrate the base. Heather explains to everyone that she and Alexei stand the best chance of success, so everyone else is needed to keep the Hand occupied. ‘Ready, on my mark…Go!’ she exclaims, signaling Alpha Flight and the Russians to rush towards the Hand.
Aurora lights up the night-time sky with a brilliant burst of blinding light, ‘Chew on this, vacation wreckers!’ she exclaims. Northstar meanwhile knocks out the facility’s sentries, and informs Heather that they are all incapacitated, so she has an all-clear. Guardian picks up Alexei, telling him that they have a job to do. As Heather flies past him, Jean-Paul realizes that he has been cut, and he is surprised at how one of them managed to cut him at his super speed, before he falls to the ground having lost consciousness.
Safely in the complex, Heather asks Alexei where they are, to which he reveals they are in a secondary access tunnel, and points her in the direction of the lasers, only to come across a hall filled with laser beams. Heather suggests that they better hustle, for it won’t be long before the lasers detect their range. They turn to go another way, but before Heather takes another step, Alexei tosses a small device in front of her, which reveals a pit of spikes in place of the floor. Heather realizes that it is a hologram, and Alexei tells her that from here on in, things get ugly.
Back outside, a ninja shoves his sword through Sasquatch’s shoulder, but Sasquatch is rescued by one of the Russians, who shoots the ninja down. ‘Another one bites the dust’ he remarks, when suddenly he too is stabbed in the back.
Continuing through the complex, Heather and Alexei nearly walk into some flames being spurted from the walls. Using her electromagnetic abilities, Heather disables the devices from the source, to which Alexei complements her. He is about to say something else when on of the Hand come up behind him with a sickle, ready to shove it into Alexei’s back, but Heather tells him to look out, and she blasts the ninja. Frightened that she may have just killed someone, Heather’s voice trail’s off when she asks how he is. Alexei checks the ninja, confirming that he is alive, he points out that his kind do not die easily.
Back outside, Weapon Omega asks Judd, as the two fight a group of the ninjas, how many they have lost now. Judd replies that they have lost four and he has no sign of Northstar, before coming to Omega’s aid by stopping one of the ninja’s slicing him with their sword. Omega thanks Puck for the save, as Puck mutters for Heather to hurry.
‘Down!’ Heather shouts to Alexei as another group of the Hand ninja’s descend upon them, before she lets loose a mighty blast of electromagnetic energy, while Alexei does his best shooting them with his large gun. With the ninjas down for the count, Alexei opens the control panel into another room, and urges Heather onwards.
Outside, Aurora finds herself surrounded by the Hand, however she is too tired to fight on any longer and thinks she is going to die. Suddenly, Jeanne-Marie is in control, and she wonders what her irresponsible other-self has gotten her into. Bubbles of light begin to emanate from Jeanne-Marie as she angrily thinks that Aurora can go and get herself killed, but she is not taking her along for the “ride”. Suddenly, there is an enormous orange-yellow light that fills the sky, and an sort of “light-explosion” caused by Jeanne-Marie, who finds herself sitting in a crater with the ninjas scattered all around her. ‘Sacre!’ she exclaims as Northstar runs by, she asks him what is going on. Jean-Paul is surprised to see Jeanne-Marie, and tells her that he will explain later, for right now they need to rejoin Alpha Flight - it is time to make their final stand.
‘Wow. It’s huge!’ exclaims Heather as she sets her eyes upon the weapon before her and Alexei. Alexei explains that he has broken through the core destruct program, to which Heather tells him that he better hurry, as she doesn’t think they will be alone for much longer. Alexei replies that he is entering the final sequence now, when suddenly the glass before them shatters as an arrow if fired through it, striking Alexei directly in the chest.
Heather rushes to Alexei as the ninja stands over them, ready to draw his sword. Heather tells him to stay back. ‘Don’t do this. Don’t make me kill you!’ The ninja stares back at Guardian from under his cowl, but within seconds, Heather blasts him back through the broken glass with a plasma burst. Heather turns to Alexei, who gives her the final sequence, urging her to punch it in quickly. ‘Tell my children, I…I…’ his voice trails off as he passes away. ‘Goodbye, Alexei’ Heather whispers.
Back outside, Alpha Flight and the remaining Russians continue to fight on against the few ninjas that are left. Suddenly, Heather bursts through the roof of the complex, and flying towards her teammates, she tells them to move it, as the complex is going to blow any second. Everyone follows Heather’s lead and make their way away from the complex, just in time, as it explodes behind them.
Everyone watches as the orange-red sky fades to purple-blue, as one of the Russians remarks that there are so many dead, but Russia will never know what they did here today, for he cannot even bury their bodies. ‘No green fields to play in’ Heather whispers. Judd asks Guardian what she said, but she doesn’t reply, instead she tells Alpha that it is time to go home.
Hate and fury gather dark and seething on the horizon. Static flickers, spitting a fiery liturgy to bloody vengeance. Distant thunder rolls closer, beating to a pulse of racing hearts. There is a storm coming….
This is Liveworld, and its unwelcome “guests” know only too well that what its malevolent ruler created, she can as easily destroy. ‘The Dreamqueen! She’s found us! Move!’ shouts Witchfire as she leads the way across the unearthly landscape. Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave, Laura Dean and Goblyn and their parents Darby and Susan Dean follow, running for their lives. Darby glances backwards and tells everyone to look, for the Dreamqueen’s face fills the sky, as she orders her Dream Demons to bring her the “Goblyn creature” so that she can complete it’s dissection, adding that the heads of the others will suffice.
Witchfire tells everyone that they are simply illusions created by the Dreamqueen, but she thinks to herself that it is no good, for this place has worn them all down, and realizes that she is not even sure her own mental defenses are a hundred percent - meaning, unless you are one hundred percent sure they are not real…Dream Demons can kill! And one of the ugly beasts flies straight towards Goblyn….
Meanwhile, at Department H - on Earth, Toronto, Canada specifically. Headquarters to Canada’s premiere super hero team Alpha Flight, contrary to their clear skies, there is a storm coming…. Guardian, Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Puck and Weapon Omega are in the communications room, where they have received a call from Reed Richards a.k.a. Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Heather tells Reed that this had better be important, for cutting short Alpha Flight’s World Tour ruffled more than a few diplomatic collars.
Jean-Paul mutters that he for one would like to pin a medal on Richards, as he has never been so bored in his life. ‘For shame, Jean-Paul’ jokes Sasquatch. Alpha Flight are joined by former members Madison “Box” Jeffries and Lillian Crawley-Jeffries a.k.a. Diamond Lil. Coldly, Lil asks Jeffries if this is why he insisted they answer this summons, even though it meant cutting short their honeymoon. ‘Were you bored?’ Jeffries tries to say something in his defense, but Lil declares that he mustn’t have been bored, but twitchy, for when he is out of the Box armor for more than a few days, she thinks Madison is like a strung-out junkie.
Mr. Fantastic turns everyone’s attention back to the matter at hand, thanking Heather for assembling her team, and informing her that he has scheduled a meeting for six a.m. tomorrow morning, and that it is imperative Alpha Flight attend. ‘Trust me when I say…the fate of the whole universe hangs in the balance!’
Very early the next morning, Alpha Flight depart for the States, and via the communications system from their chopper, Heather tells Colin “Windshear” Hume that they will update him when they know more themselves. Colin replies that he understands and wishes his teammates luck. Doctor Whitman Knapp, formerly one of the members of a previous incarnation of Beta Flight known as “Manikin” approaches Colin, who asks him what he is doing up at this ungodly hour.
Whit replies that he couldn’t sleep with this business going on, not to mention Kara, as no one has seen her or the other Beta Flight members for weeks. He doesn’t know if this “fate of the universe” stuff has for him spooked, but he cannot help feeling that he is never going to see Kara who is his former girlfriend, ever again.
Suddenly, as if on cue, a portal opens just in front of Windshear and Manikin, and the missing Persuasion, Witchfire, Goblyn, Laura Dean and her parents rush towards sanctuary. Whit exclaims ‘Dream Demons!’ but Windshear declares that he doesn’t care what they are called, and using his mutant power to create solid air, he blasts the Dream Demons before they can get through the portal after the others.
Knapp urges Laura to close her portal, to which the weary young girl does. With the Demons gone, Windshear turns to those who just arrived and calls them amateurs, asking them what they think they were doing bringing an army into the heart of Department H. He is about to tell the kids what they shouldn’t be allowed to do, when Whit sticks up for his former teammates, ‘Hang on, Hume, that’s not fair! If you’d seen what -’ Witchfire doesn’t need anyone to stick up for her and she angrily asks Windshear how he dare question their abilities and their worth, especially as he is wrapped up in steel and sits behind a desk. Windshear tells Witchfire that they are all grounded. ‘Oh yeah?’ the fiery red-head snaps back.
Outside, in one of the many corridors, the angry thunder of voices boom loud in the mind of Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen. Though her mystic senses have been dulled by a recent trauma, they are now awakened in a blinding, revealing flash. A skull appears in Elizabeth’s eyes. There is a storm coming…and death riding in its wake!