‘Ye are Witchfire!’ the voices had muttered in that dark, secret place inside her head. ‘Ye are the key, the power that layeth open worlds. Ye are our destiny!’ But Witchfire would cry back ‘But who am I? Why can I not remember?’ ‘Soon, little one’, the voices would always reply…’Soon ye will know all!’ Dressed in a standard blue and red Department H training uniform, Witchfire attacks the mysterious genetically enhanced assassin known as Wyre, who is also wearing the standard training uniform, his tendrils breaking through the tight material over his chest.
Witchfire, whose long red hair has been cut extremely short after her recent injuries, mutters something in a demonic language as she strikes out at the man whom she and the other members of Beta and Alpha Flight’s know little about. This makes killing him all the more easier. The bulky man is blown backwards by Witchfire’s attack. He dies without a sound. Without a scream.
Suddenly, Goblyn, the un-human looking sister of Laura “Pathway” Dean lunges towards Witchfire. Because Goblyn exists in a twisted form, a mockery of human shape, Witchfire takes pity on her, so instead of disassembling her at a molecular level, she casts a time-loop that leaves Goblyn leaping through eternity.
But that attack is a diversion, allowing the former Purple Girl, Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave the precious seconds she needs to step through Pathway’s portal and say: ‘You are in my power, you will do only what I say!’ But Witchfire doesn’t turn purple, and uttering more words in her dark language, she is about to do something to Kara, when suddenly, Wyre grabs her by the throat, before his tendrils extend from his chest and lift her high into the air, telling her to take note - for he is very hard to kill. Energy pours from Witchfire’s eyes and Wyre’s skin begins to boil. Claws burst from his glove and he cries out in pain.
Suddenly, the door to the Department H training facility known as “Combat Centrale” opens, and the leader of Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere super hero team, Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Guardian enters, demanding to know what is going on here, she terminates the program, before turning to Beta Flight and Wyre and asking if someone would kindly explain what is going on here. Turning to Pathway and Goblyn, she tells the girls that they are supposed to be in school, before looking at Witchfire and exclaiming that she is supposed to be recovering from… Heather’s voice trails off as she notices that Witchfire doesn’t seem to be listening to her.
‘And as for you!’ Heather exclaims as she spins around to look at Wyre, proclaiming that it is the fourth detention cell that he has broken out of in as many days. ‘So much for our so-called secure area’ she mutters, before declaring that it would be better, not to mention cheaper, if they just gave Wyre the run of Department H. Doctor Whitman Knapp a.k.a. Manikin steps forward with Pathway and tells Heather that this is down to him, that he figure the Beta’s were getting rusty just sitting around. ‘You know?’
Heather turns to the handsome young man and tells him that she doesn’t know, before pointing out that for starters this is not a scheduled training period, there is no senior team member present and the combat range has plenty of hazards and enemies programmed into it. ‘Fighting each other may work for the X-Men…but I don’t think it’s healthy!’
Heather leaves the training room with Wyre at her side. Wyre declares that he will not be caged, to which Heather tells him she will assign him some proper quarters until the powers-that-be decide what to do with him. She adds that if he is going to be their guest, he may as well be comfortable. Heather explains to Wyre that he can move freely within the confines of the building, when she suddenly exclaims that she is wasting her breath. ‘Do what you like! If you leave…I’ll have one less thing to worry about!’
Entering another corridor, Heather thinks to herself that it is days like this she seriously starts to consider - her train of thought is disrupted by a seductively dressed Aurora who walks past. Heather asks the founding Alphan where she is off to, to which Aurora replies she is going out. Aurora reveals that she has an apartment and a social life which are both in an extreme state of neglect, but she intends to put that right tonight - in a big way!
Aurora frankly remarks that Heather could do with the same treatment. ‘You’re looking…how shall I put this? Jaded’. With that, Aurora walks away, a forlorn Heather replies ‘Thanks’ while thinking to herself that Aurora does have a point, before reminding herself that it is so easy to get sucked into this business, that she forgets she has a life beyond Alpha Flight. ‘Time that changed!’
Meanwhile, at Algonquian Park, the last real expanse of wild land in Southern Ontario - where people come to leave the world behind, and touch a more primal self. Handsome jock-turned-scientist Doctor Walter Langkowski stands on a ridge as he thinks to himself that his whole life is Alpha Flight. ‘Face it, Langkowski, you’ve lost touch’. He recalls the three things his mother used to say: “Friends; Family; Faith” - the only three things a person needs to prosper. ‘How trite’ he thinks. ‘How true’.
Walt realizes that one by one, he has let them become substituted. Friends became colleagues, family became Alpha Flight, and faith became cold, unfeeling science. He decides that he needs to get back to his roots, and where better than right here. For this is where he always came when he wanted to rediscover Walter Langkowski. Stripping out of his clothes, Walt’s form shifts, and in his place, stands Sasquatch. ‘YES!’ he shouts, exclaiming that he can see it clearly now, more than anything, what he needs is faith - he needs a sign. A pentagram appears in the sky above Walt, and so it begins in the wilds of Algonquian Park…
…and within the walls of Department H…Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen enters her father’s quarters, but Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen a.k.a. Shaman doesn’t acknowledge her, he just hovers in a trance, staring blankly ahead, so Elizabeth turns and leaves. A vision is granted to those with the sight. A vision, and with it…a call to arms!
Suddenly, Sasquatch, Talisman, Eugene “Puck” Judd and Colin Hume a.k.a. Windshear are gathered together, and the being known simply as the Goddess appears before them, in a form that most are familiar with - that of Nelvanna of the Northern Lights, mother of Snowbird. The Goddess announces that she has come to tear down the wall that separates the human spirits from celestial bliss. ‘I come to rescue mankind from eternal hellfire!’
The Goddess address Walt, Elizabeth, Judd and Windshear, and also Shaman, but Shaman does not answer. She asks them to join her in this holy calling, for with their aid, she will eliminate all evil from this plane of existence. She tells them to reach out for that miracle - join the Infinity Crusade - the ultimate battle for the universal order. The Goddess asks the Alphans if they will be her soldiers of light - will they serve her faithfully? Worldwide, the response if passionately cried…’YES!’
Meanwhile, in downtown Toronto, at a seafood restaurant, Lillian Crawley-Jeffries a.k.a. former Alphan Diamond Lil sits across from Heather and exclaims that this is just what she needed - the food, the company and of course all the gossip. ‘Walter and Jeanne-Marie, eh? Well, well!’ Lil remarks, before asking Heather if she has anything brewing. Heather smiles back at Lil, who is now sporting a massive perm, and says ‘You know me, Lil - lucky at cards’ before remarking that there is potential. Lil asks if it is anyone she knows, to which Heather replies it is, but she doesn’t want to say whom until she is sure of her own feelings, as there are problems.
‘Do tell’ offers Lil, before revealing to Heather that she and Madison, in all honesty, are not good. ‘Even with your new “do”?’ Heather asks, before offering support if Lil wants to talk. Lil replies that she does, and points out that she and Madison are not supposed to be Diamond Lil and Box anymore, they are supposed to be civilians, happily married, but Madison cannot seem to - BEEP BEEP suddenly Heather’s pager goes off. She apologizes to Lil before excusing herself to find a phone, for she knows something has happened.
Shortly later, back at Department H, only Heather, Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier, Wildheart and Persuasion have gathered. Heather asks where Puck and the others are, exclaiming that they cant have just vanished. Jean-Paul asks Wildheart if the heli-jet is ready, to which Wildheart announces that he has the message from the Vision on tape if they want to see it.
Manikin walks up beside Kara, his former girlfriend and asks her what is going on. Kara reveals that there is some cosmic-type emergency at Avengers Mansion. Manikin supposes that the two of them get to stay here and “mind the store”. ‘Right’ replies Kara, ‘Together now, one, two, three…’ ‘BORING!’ they both exclaim.
Meanwhile, in “school”, Pathway and Goblyn are hooked up to a virtual reality system. But instead of geometry, something else is on display. Laura wonders what is happening. Goblyn growls as she can sense something wrong. Laura orders the computer to terminate the program, but it doesn’t respond. Suddenly, a hand, with very long fingernails, seems to cut into the computer system, and sitting in the virtual reality system, Laura and Goblyn both scream in pain, before being rendered unconscious - or worse.
Elsewhere in Department H, Wyre watches Heather, Northstar and Wildheart depart in the heli-jet. He wonders why he remains, knowing that he can escape at any time - but escape to what? Wyre thinks that the hunt for the breed was everything, but with that over, his life is now empty and meaningless. Wyre realizes that he doesn’t even have a home - just a series of sterile war bases that no longer serve a purpose. He wonders what to do now when someone approaches him from behind. ‘Oh, it’s you’ he remarks as he sees who approaches him - then he screams as he is thrown from the window in a burst of flames.
Nearby, Kara and Whit hear the commotion and wondering what it was, they run to its origin. Kara leads the way, so Whit asks her to wait, as there may be trouble, when suddenly, Kara screams, as she is knocked out by some power. Whit examines her and he sees that she is not breathing. Suddenly, Witchfire approaches him. Whit is shocked at her appearance - she now sports horns, and is followed by a horde of demons. In a demonic voice, Witchfire declares that at last her eyes have been opened and she knows all her dark heritage.
Witchfire exclaims that her father has spoken, and the new age of enlightenment must not come to pass. ‘The Goddess and all her kin will die…and no power in Heaven or Earth can save them!’ she exclaims as power surges from her hands, ready to attack Whit.
The Eden’s Bar ‘N’ Grill in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, a 24-hour retreat for the long distance itinerant. The home of the home-shy insomniac, or the die-hard intransigent. They all come here to lose themselves. To shut the real world out. A muscular blond man with a scar running down his face sits alone, nursing another mug of beer. He turns to the television which is displaying the news, where the newsreader exclaims that Robert Hagon’s bill effectively opens the door for enforced registration of all paranormals currently residing in Canada.
The newsreader announces that a spokesperson for Alpha Flight, Canada’s resident super team, said that as employees of the Canadian government they would of course enforce any such ruling as and when it became… no one can hear the rest of the announcement, for the blond man shouts ‘Is this what its come to?’ and after sculling his drink in one gulp, he tosses the table up and into the air.
‘Men and women hunted like dogs…because they don’t fit into some glory-mongers genetic norm? Makes me ashamed to be Canadian!’ he declares. Other men in the bar turn to him, angrily. ‘Dead meat!’ ‘Freak lover!’ ‘Hagon’s the man, you unpatriotic…’ The blond man frowns at them, before smiling, and single handedly he starts taking them down in a massive bar-brawl.
At Department H, the home and headquarters of Alpha Flight, the brawl is being relayed to their computer, where Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck is watching it. Heather Hudson, Alpha Flight’s leader, enters the communications room and asks Judd what they have got. Judd replies that it is a bar fight in Moosejaw, and the police are doing a standard check, wanting to know if they are dealing with a paranormal. ‘And are they?’ Heather asks.
Judd replies that they are, and tells Heather that he would like to handle this one alone. Heather tells Eugene that she would never pry, as she respects him too much for that, before pointing out that he never talks about his past, about who he was before they met. Heather asks if this man is a part of Judd’s past, to which Puck replies: ‘Heather…he IS my past!’
Back in Moosejaw, the bar is alight, bodies are littered around it, the police have arrived and have cornered the blond man in, though he is defending himself by barricading himself behind a upturned car. He exclaims that he should be past this thing, and declares that Canada is washed up, a corrupt shadow of the great nation he loved and fought for, but this is the final insult. One of the police officers asks another what it is he is shouting about, to which the other replies he doesn’t know, and suggests they take him out before he rams the car, which he is now pushing towards them, into them.
The bulky blond man pushes the car forward, muttering that he shouldn’t care, but he does! He declares that he isn’t going to sit back and just let it happen. ‘If you want me, its gonna get bloody!’ A police officer thinks to himself ‘Show you bloody! Put one right in the…gas tank!’ the bullet hits its destination, and a mighty explosion sends the blond man flying across the road and into a clothing store, where he crashes through the window.
Undeterred, he climbs up, ‘That’s better! Okay boys…I’m ready for more!’ he exclaims. Suddenly, Puck, Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and Wildheart arrive, ‘No. No more’ Judd declares, addressing the bulky blond man as Cleft, he tells him that it is over, it isn’t helping anyone. ‘Least of all yourself’. Cleft asks Puck if it is really him, and coming down from the shop window, his clothing in tatters, he remarks that he heard Judd had gone establishment, but never really believed it. He adds that he would bet Judd is still as wild as he ever was.
Judd remarks that when Heather Hudson dragged him out of that jail, she also dragged him out of a mire of bars and brawls. ‘Those days are over’. Cleft declares that he doesn’t believe it, and reminds Judd that the four of them forged bonds that no badge or uniform could ever break. ‘Deep down, where it counts, you’re still one of us!’
Judd is annoyed, for he is in charge of this operation, with minimal back up. He thinks that Heather went out on a limb here, she trusted him and yet, Cleft is right. There is a lot of history between the two of them, almost unwritten code. He knows that Alpha’s current brief is to bring in all unregistered paranormals, and Cleft is certainly one of them. But he doesn’t know if he can do it. There is a moment where no one does anything, until Judd orders Northstar and Wildheart to take Cleft down.
‘With pleasure!’ exclaims Northstar as he speeds swiftly past the bulky man and punches him in the back of the head, while Cleft curses Judd. Suddenly, the ground seems to explode beneath their feet, and Judd and Wildheart are both knocked to the ground. Turning and looking at the source of the small earthquake, Judd sees two men. ‘Oh. Oh no!’ he exclaims.
The dark-haired man addresses the man responsible for the earthquake as Depth Charge and remarks that it is the same thing every year, every time they get together, Cleft goes and starts without them. Depth Charge remarks that it is always down to the two of them to haul Cleft’s fat out of the fire, even if this time that includes wasting Puck, their old brother in arms!