CNC Reporter Carol Brunett stands outside Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where a special session of the House will today consider Robert Hagon’s controversial Super Powers bill. Carol explains that it is only the first reading of the bill, but that it is widely considered whatever is ratified here today will swiftly become the law, and with the election only months away, she feels that the Prime Minister is sure to be aware of the current feeling of unease in Canada concerning so-called paranormal beings.
Carol explains that this concern was brought into sharp focus by the public hospitalization of a “mystery” hero suffering from what is rumored to be a highly contagious new disease. This situation raised the question Carol asks Robert Hagon as he entered Parliament Hill for today’s session: ‘Just how well protected are we from those who claim to be protecting us from others?’ Hagon replies by declaring his contention is that all super-powered beings, be they well-intentioned or otherwise, are walking time-bombs, and unless action is taken now, to give the man in the street the simple power to protect himself, the streets of Canada…will become a war zone!
Downtown Toronto currently looks like a war zone, for Canada’s premiere super hero team Alpha Flight had just been fighting the American criminals known as the Wrecking Crew. It is now a time of decision. Alpha Flight stand and watch under the orange-tinted skies as dozens of fire fighters set about putting out blazes that erupted during the fight. Eugene “Puck” Judd mentions that all of this could have been contained, perhaps even averted, if for once they thought with their heads instead of their fists. ‘The question now is…where do we go from here?’
As paramedics lift an injured man to safety, Alpha Flight’s champion leader Heather McNeil Hudson otherwise known as Guardian reminds Puck that Alpha Flight was doing their duty - their job, but Puck tells Heather that stopping Thunderball was their job, for he was out of control - a loose canon of the highest caliber, but as for the rest… ‘that was just us trying to prove we’re the biggest, baddest and toughest’.
Judd continues, exclaiming that they were all just flexing muscle without looking for an alternative, without stopping to consider that they might be making a bad situation worse. Turning to Alpha Flight’s “ally” Nemesis and Wildheart, formerly Weapon Omega, Judd declares that all this time, all the road traveled and they haven’t come a long way past “Hulk Smash!” Judd goes as far to say that their “duty” is to protect the citizens of Canada…’From ourselves if necessary’.
Nearby, young Albert Louis watches Carol Brunett’s report and a television in a shop window as he thinks to himself that Alpha Flight is here in Toronto right now - and knows he would be safe among his own kind. ‘My own kind!’ he thinks to himself, remembering that until a couple of days ago he dared to believe his own “kind” where normal, happy people, until it was all taken away. ‘Why? Because I’m a freak, because I’m different! Because -’ Albert’s thoughts are cut short when he sees a reflection of the Hardliner’s behind him!
Albert drops to the ground then begins to flee for his life - not just from the Hardliners who have been trailing his steps from Halifax in Nova Scotia, but also because Albert has been running all of his life - from the truth, from abilities that set him apart from his fellow man - from words like “mutant” and “paranormal”. But Albert Louis knows the running must stop. ‘Alpha Flight…I will be safe with Alpha Flight!’ he thinks to himself.
One of the Hardliner’s fires at Albert as he rounds the corner, declaring that when Albert slipped through their fingers last time, he was the one who looked bad - and his boss tore strips off him. ‘I guess Lord was speaking figuratively when he told us he wanted heads. Me, I’m thinking very literal!’
Meanwhile, at Department H headquarters, the home of Alpha Flight which also serves as a high-tech research facility. Several of Department H’s trained foot soldiers like dead, sprawled throughout the corridors. The assassin known only as Wyre makes his very naked way through the mighty building, which save for the flames burning from Witchfire’s quarters, is eerily silent. He thinks to himself that he owes Alpha Flight nothing, so whatever has occurred now is not his concern - so then why is he still here? His business with Wildheart is over, now he needs space to think
‘Blast it!’ he thinks as he jumps over the body of a foot soldier and leans against a wall before he rounds the corner to one of the med-labs. ‘The witch girl and the purple freak are both accounted for!’ comes a voice from within the lab where the body of Manikin currently lies inside a cocoon. ‘Good!’ the leader of the men who are currently rampaging through Department H declares, before exclaiming that it is time to show the world once and for all that they will no longer sit back as their country is overrun by these abominations.
Aiming his weapon at Manikin’s cocoon, he declares that with the destruction of this “thing”, they strike a blow for - ‘Sorry to interrupt such a pretty speech…but you missed one!’ exclaims Wyre as he enters the lab and interrupts the leader. Gritting his teeth, he remarks that while it is pointless for him to say it, he is obliged to suggest they drop their weapons and step away from the Manikin cocoon.
‘Get real!’ one of the members of Judgment is about to exclaim, but Wyre whacks his elbow down on the man’s back before he gets a chance, before kicking another man in the head, knocking him over, then slicing his sharp claws across another man’s chest. The leader of Judgment is about to shoot Wyre, but Wyre grabs one of the other members of Judgment and uses him as a human shield.
Judgment’s leader declares that Judgment balances a scaled tipped against the common man. The common man who sees their world overrun by monsters - but their cries of disgust and horror are choked off by rules and codes of conduct. ‘We see and we act. We do what they cannot. Do you see?’ he asks. ‘No. I don’t’ Wyre replies as tendrils start sprouting from his chest, and start cutting in to the man’s body. The leader of Judgment screams, before aiming his weapon at Manikin’s cocoon and firing. ‘Judgment…is passed’ he announces with his dying breath.
Inside the cocoon, more specifically the Mind Well, the young man whose body supposedly lies inside the cocoon, Doctor Whitman “Manikin” Knapp screams, before turning to his future self Highbrow and asking him what is happening. ‘It is the end’ replies Highbrow, informing Whit that the protective cocoon which their collective psyche formed around the damaged body is itself damaged, adding that the Mind Well, and all that is, thereby all of them - is in its final collapse.
‘But you said if that happens…I’m dead!’ Whit exclaims, clutching his head. Highbrow informs Whit that there is one chance, explaining that each time Whit uses his power to summon them forth, his power makes them whole, giving them substance, though they retain a portion of that power here, even in the Mind Well, for it kept them combat ready. Highbrow, Apeman and Proto form a circle around Whit, with Highbrow explaining that what they have taken, they are now returning to him. Whit realizes his other selves are sacrificing themselves to save him and exclaims that he wont allow it. Highbrow reminds Whit that they are him, but if he dies, they die. However they will live on, in his memories, should he survive.
Suddenly, Wyre witnesses a blinding light shine forth from the broken cocoon, and suddenly the lab is engulfed in brightness.
Back in downtown Toronto, Heather tells Alpha Flight that there is nothing else they can do here, so suggests they go home. Judd tells Heather that he doesn’t know - for what if Hagon is right? What if their very existence is helping nurture the menaces they fight? ‘And if we turn our backs and walk away?’ asks Heather, reminding everyone that Mac had a dream, not of simply protecting the country, though that must be their priority, but helping the new generation of super beings come to terms with the world.
‘What about them? The frightened, the lost - the ones who can be trained, who wanted to be helped? We give up…we give up on them too’. Judd warns Guardian that there is something else that they are not considering here, for if Hagon’s bill becomes law, paranormals will be enforced to register. ‘Who is going to enforce that law - US?’ he asks.
Suddenly, Albert Louis comes running down the street, panting heavily. ‘Please!’ he shouts. Alpha Flight and the members of Beta Flight that are present gather around him and Judd tells him to take it easy. Albert exclaims ‘They’re right behind me…need help!’ Judd begins to ask Albert who is behind him, when Albert turns and points at the Hardliners - ‘THEM!’ he shouts.
The Hardliners aim their weapons at Alpha Flight, ordering them to surrender Albert Louis and go home as this doesn’t concern them. One of the Hardliners explains that Louis is an unregistered paranormal and as such, they are empowered to bring him in. ‘ON WHOSE AUTHORITY?’ demands Heather, after all, she has always been the authority on this sort of matter, until now that is.
Heather tells the Hardliners that they are speaking as if Hagon’s bill has already been passed, before pointing out that the boy came to them for help, so they will not surrender him without first consulting their own superiors. ‘Fine. Have it your way’ one of the Hardliner’s declares before opening fire.
Colin Ashworth Hume a.k.a. Windshear springs into action by creating a wall of solid air to protect Albert from the blasts, while the rest of Alpha Flight also leap into battle formation. One of the Hardliner’s orders the others to use maximum intensity, ‘Lets’ see how good this stuff really is!’ Windshear is struck by the blasts, while one of the Hardliner’s laughs, commenting that it is funny it should come to this so soon, but feels that it was inevitable the new generation should oust the old. ‘As far as Canada’s concerned…we are the future!’ he boasts.
‘That is the WORST thing you could have said!’ exclaims Heather as she unleashes a mighty beam of electromagnetic energy spreads from her battle suit. While normally she would chose only one type of energy, this is an exception, and every form of power she has spills out. The Hardliner’s all convulse, and fall to the ground. ‘Well. That’s something I’ve never tried before’ Heather remarks as she touches down on the ground too. Alpha Flight gather round her as she frowns, and declares ‘I guess the future…just blew a fuse’.
Later…at Department H, Doctor Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski exams Manikin, and every gathers round for the results. Walt announces that Whit has a normal pulse, making him the fittest dead man he has ever examined. Standing next to Heather, Wyre remarks that it was like birth, only… ’Ah! I don’t have the words’. Heather smiles and tells Wyre that he has her thanks for Manikin being alive, and adds that Witchfire will survive, before asking why he stayed - ‘You could have been away and clear’.
Looking over at Wildheart, Wyre explains that he wished to turn destructive into constructive. A solemn Manikin thinks to himself that Highbrow, Apeman and Proto are all gone, before Judd informs everyone that the news has just been announced. ‘We have ourselves a super-powers registration act’. Heather then calls a team meeting.
Shortly, nearly everyone involved with Alpha Flight has gathered. Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier stands near Heather, his broken arm bandaged up. Sasquatch, Shaman, Aurora, Talisman, Puck, Windshear, Pathway and Goblyn, Wildheart and even Nemesis and Wyre, flank Guardian. Heather tells them that they all know the situation - when Hagon’s bill becomes law, they may end up having to hunt down paranormals like Albert Louis - people whose only real wish is to be left alone.
Heather points out that it is not a pleasant task and one which she will not order any of them to be a part of . She explains that in a moment she will ask each of them to simply say “in” or “out”, but before they do so, she warns them that if they step aside, leaving the way clear for the likes of the Hardliners who will hunt without compunction or mercy. She admits that Alpha Flight may be less than perfect themselves, but she believes they owe it to the Albert Louises of the world to weather the storm.
‘If one lone voice cries out for help…Alpha Flight must be there to answer it! So…in, or out?’ Sasquatch, Aurora, Talisman, Wildheart and Windshear all announce that they are in. Northstar declares that he is in for the moment, while Nemesis exclaims that she is out. Shaman officially rejoins Alpha Flight by his decision to stay in, and speaking on behalf of Goblyn, Pathway announces that they two are in also. Puck however pauses, before agreeing to remain. ‘Then it’s settled…Alpha Flight will fight on!’ exclaims Heather.