Beneath the waters of Lake Ontario, a large vessel drifts quietly through the waters, its shape mimicking that of the natural inhabitants of the lake, fish, though in fact it is a submarine. The Master of the World has finally seized control in his game, though there are two men who would stand up and defy him – Prince Namor the Sub Mariner, the ruler of Atlantis, and the diminutive Alpha Flight member known as Puck, both currently held captive in tanks.
Namor whispers an apology to Puck, regretting that the Alphan would not be in this predicament if not for he. Judd tells Namor to save it for later, as he is not holding any grudges at the moment, but more interested in how the self-styled Master can be alive after his first run in with Alpha Flight. The Master turns to his captives after hearing them speak, and is amazed at how they can still be conscious, as Namor is totally dehydrated and Puck has been deprived of oxygen.
His voice failing somewhat, Judd tells the Master to save the astonishment for someone who will appreciate it, before telling him that the last thing anyone in Alpha Flight saw of him was when he was inside a flying saucer that blew up without a trace. Judd asks the Master if he cares to explain how he survived. The Master tells Judd that if it will bring him some satisfaction in his final hours then he will do so. He reveals that the members of Alpha Flight never understood the condition in which they discovered him.
The Master begins his tale of how he told Marrina he had been genetically restructured over a period of 40,000 years by the mechanisms of a spacecraft. The Master had also told Marrina that he had gained total control over the ship’s damaged systems, using them to learn and grow. What the Master did not tell Marrina however was that he had become so integrated into the ship, that it would not release him. However, it was through that integration that the Master first learnt of Marrina’s possible existence and that she had been hatched some twenty years ago.
However in the hatching process, Marrina had been damaged, though her true race’s imitative abilities allowed her to assume the form of a human female, she knew nothing of her true purpose. Enter Alpha Flight, most of them believing Marrina to be nothing more than a quirk of nature, and accepted her into their ranks. The Master however knew of Marrina’s function of a breeder of conquerors, and had meant to destroy her in the battle with Alpha Flight, hoping she would die in the exploding ship.
The Master failed in killing Marrina, but he was not killed either, merely thrown from the exploding ship to the icy arctic waters below. Even the Master’s perfect physiognomy could not have survived long, but he had planned far ahead, five thousand years ago in fact, he had constructed this fish-shaped ship, independent and self-sustaining it waited in the arctic for him.
The Master tells his captives that by this time, Alpha Flight had regained their composure and to investigate, but he was long-gone, vanished without a trace into the vast polar ocean. The Master adds that while his plans had only partly succeeded, it was the most important part, for he was now free of the ship, his four thousand century long imprisonment over, yet he was still possessed of all the physical and mental perfection with which the ship had endowed upon him.
The Sub-Mariner pounds on his cylinder prison telling the Master that his arrogance and conceit are exceeded only by his foolishness, threatening that the tube will not hold him for long, then he will pay dearly for the assault on Prince Namor and his beloved Marrina. The Master questions Namor when he calls Marrina his "beloved", adding that he is disappointed that the royal Namor has an affection for such an alien monstrosity, reminding Namor that while he is only half-human, Marrina is less than that. He tells Namor to ‘look and learn’, and suddenly, panels on the wall slide away, revealing a glass tank behind them, inside the tank – Marrina!
The Master smiles, gloating, mocking Namor about the woman he loves. Namor is in shock at what has happened to Marrina, where once there was a beautiful and lithe young woman, now there is only an angry, distorted resemblance. Namor asks the Master what he has done, the Master proclaims it was not he who did anything, but that this is Marrina as she truly is, an alien killing machine. The Master adds that Marrina has been restored to her true function and that he just rekindled her lost purpose.
The Master adds that it is not a lost form however, and that Marrina has no true form, for the original shape of her race is as forgotten and meaningless as the world that gave them birth uncounted millions of years ago. Marrina wears the form and function of a human female, only because she first came in contact with a woman named Gladys Smallwood, who was the woman who opened Marrina’s damaged egg and raised her as her own daughter. Marrina absorbed all the information of human DNA for that was what she was bred to do, however she somehow also absorbed the kindly nature, the inherent humanity of the Earth-woman and thus lost most – but not all – of her race’s conquering spirit.
The Master motions to another panel, and as it quietly slides away, he reveals to Judd and Namor that there was another egg that survived and hatched on its own, completely unprogrammed. Namor and Puck gasp, for even though Namor has seen the terrible wonders of the deepest parts of the ocean floor, and Judd has crossed and re-crossed the globe, seeing and doing things most men would not even dream of. They had both thought themselves long past the gut-wrenching nausea of sudden, sickly shock – until now.
Meanwhile in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, Roger Bochs, the former Beta Flight member aptly known as „Box" sits at his desk in the middle of his messy apartment when the doorbell rings. Bochs looks up from his work, expecting a visitor, he guesses it must be him. Bochs opens the door to a rugged-looking man with dark hair, carrying a satchel and smoking a cigarette. Bochs calls him Mister Jeffries, thanks him for coming and welcomes him in. Jeffries replies that anytime someone sends him a plane ticket and a thousand dollars he will go anywhere. He asks the quadriplegic if he is "Botches" before entering the small apartment.
Roger tells Jeffries that his name is "Bochs" as if it were spelt "B-O-X". Not very interested, Jeffries says ‘Sure. You’re calling the shots, pal’. With very little tact, Jeffries points out that the messy apartment makes out that it doesn’t seem Bochs could have afforded to send him the thousand dollars. Bochs assures Jeffries that he has a great deal of money, but he chooses to spend it on things other than accommodation. Jeffries tells Bochs that it is his choice before asking what the scam is.
Roger frowns and tells Jeffries that the "scam" is very simple, and begins his story, starting with the fact that Guardian was killed six weeks ago in New York, before proclaiming to Jeffries that he is going to help him avenge Guardian’s murder. With one leg hanging over the side of an armchair, Jeffries is at first taken aback at hearing of Guardian’s death, before proclaiming that he isn't surprised, as he didn’t think Guardian was cut-out for the super hero game, he adds that he liked him though, before asking how it happened.
Bochs begins a very abbreviated version of the tragic events in New York, that Guardian was lured there by Jerry Jaxon, a man who held a grudge against him and had gathered former members of Beta and Gamma Flights to make a vengeance squad called Omega Flight. Jeffries asks Bochs how he knows all this, and as he pulls across a curtain, revealing a armored robot, Roger announces he was there, and in a way is responsible for Guardians death. To get to the point, Roger tells Jeffries that he had built Box, and Box had killed Guardian.
Jeffries gets a little confused and asks Bochs if what he is saying is that he killed Guardian and wants him to help get even. Bochs protests, and tells Jeffries that he wasn’t controlling Box when he killed Guardian, that Jaxon was, before adding that he wants Jeffries to help him rebuild Box so that no one but he can ever control it again. Jeffries tells Bochs that he has been sniffing too much machine oil as he is not a mechanic, and all he does is push a shovel for a living.
Bochs tells Jeffries not to play dumb with him, as he knows he can do something else, and gathering a box of spare parts up, Bochs throws the parts at Jeffries. As the small but dangerous pieces of metal fly towards Jeffries, he puts his arms up defensively, and they suddenly stop in mid air. Bochs tells Jeffries that he does know all about him, before Jeffries admits defeat and as he uses his mutant powers to give form to the parts in mid air, he reveals that Guardian said he was a transmutator that he has an understanding with mechanical stuff and he can make any machine, any metal, glass or plastic duplicate his own parts. The scrap metal takes shape as an arm as he says this.
Bochs smiles, excited that Jeffries not only reshaped the individual elements, but also completely changed their form and function. He proclaims that with Jeffries’ skill and his knowledge they will be able to re-create Box, making him bigger and stronger than before, and that once they have done that they can track down Jaxon, Delphine Courtney and the rest of Omega Flight adding that Alpha Flight doesn’t know they escaped, but he does, and is going to destroy them!
Meanwhile still, in Toronto’s Bethune Memorial Hospital, night has fallen, and Heather McNeil Hudson, the widow of Guardian, faces life alone. With her legs bandaged up heavily, she slowly pulls herself from her hospital bed, worried about what the doctor will say if she gets caught. But Heather is not content to lie around, even more so because she has no incentive to sleep, especially because she has not slept alone since Mac and she were married. Heather realizes it leaves an empty space on the pillow next to hers, one she could never fill – even if she wanted to.
Heather calls out to Mac in her head, asking why it had to be him that died, as he never wanted to be leader of Alpha Flight at all, and was happy just mucking around in the lab. Heather thinks there is no logic or reason to his death, and enraged, she yells out ‘What was the sense of you dying?!?’ The door to Heather’s hospital ward swings open and a gruff voice tells her there is no sense to death, for death just is.
Heather turns her head around to see who it is, and as he walks into the light, she hobbles forward to him, for it is Wolverine. Heather calls out to him and he tells her he would have been here sooner, but had trouble tracking her down. Heather proclaims that it is so good to see him, as she trips over, her legs still unsteady. Logan catches her and tells her to take it easy, reminding her the doctors don’t want her out of bed, let alone trying to walk.
Held in Wolverine’s arms, Heather reminds her close friend that he has never been one for following doctors’ orders either. She hesitates before asking Logan if it really is he and not some nightmare. Logan reassures Heather that it is him, before informing her that Shaman told him about the nightmares when he contacted him about Mac’s death. Logan mentions that Twoyoungmen told him Heather was staying with Puck, but when he stopped by, the landlady told him she was in hospital. Heather is rather surprised that Logan knows Puck, but Wolverine cuts her off telling her he only know Judd by reputation, though they almost crossed paths – and swords – when Logan was a government agent and Judd was an independent.
Logan places Heather back on her bed as she proclaims she never knew about that, before asking Logan how he got here, as he is pretty much persona non grata with the government these days. Logan assures Heather that it is the government’s problem, and that he knows ways in and out of Canada that the government have never heard of. He jokes that he wont tell them he is here if she doesn’t. Logan’s voice reassures Heather as he tells her he is here to see her, figuring she may need a friend at the moment. For perhaps the first time since her husband’s death, Heather feels even the slightest bit relaxed.
Back beneath Lake Ontario, the self-proclaimed Master of the World stands in front of the two tanks, one holding Marrina, the other her Plodex mate. The Master asks Judd and the Sub-Mariner if they feel the revulsion that the creature stirs in the human heart, adding that it is the shape of genocide, for the monster lives only to breed and destroy. The Master reveals to Judd that as he had already surmised, the creature is responsible for the series of murders in the area, for it had been giving itself a lesson in Terran biology, searching for the dominant life-form it needs to imitate.
The Master tells his prisoners to watch as they see first hand how the creature responds to a member of its own race, even with the stigma of humanity upon her. A panel dividing the two tanks slides up and the alien creature slowly crawls into Marrina’s tank. Marrina can feel a tiny failing of her mind, the last vestiges of her identity slip away. From the rolling mass of the alien creature, an image peers out, the creature’s head is of the baby it consumed some hours before. But the baby no long lives, except in the duplication of the genetic code, broken and imitated, at least in part, for when it opens its mouth, it bares not the tooth-less mouth of a baby, but sharp and deadly fangs.
Suddenly, all sight of the water-dwellers is gone and the water seems to boil from the fury of the encounter. The Master gets excited by this, realizing that their programming is so absolute that they seek and destroy even their own kind if they do not match their own imitative physiognomy. Judd thinks to himself that something is seriously going on in the tank, and that he has to do something other than sit imprisoned, helpless, though the lack of oxygen is making it hard to concentrate.
Climbing up the sides of his glass tank prison, Judd knows the floor grid is too tough to break, but wonders of the top of the tube. He remembers the Master being surprised that he and Namor were even still conscious and hopes that he did not build these tanks as escape-proof as he thinks them to be. But Puck has no luck and despite how hard he pushes the top of the tank, he guesses it is sealed behind some kind of hard plastic. Not one to give up so easily, Judd hopes that there is some information he is missing, suddenly, Judd realizes what the trick is. Knowing the Master is obsessed with information, and expanding his intellect, Judd realizes he has to appeal to that side of the Master, with the hope of catching him off guard long enough.
Judd thinks he knows what will do the trick, and all of a sudden, he drops from the top of the tank, falling to the bottom, he lands and an alarm sounds. At hearing the bio-function monitors the Master turns from Marrina to Judd and he sees that all of Puck’s vital signs have ceased. The Master is surprised, as there was little indication of such decline, and in fact, Judd seemed to be holding up well. As he turns off the security switch, keeping the cylinder prison in place, it slides away and the Master wonders how Judd’s entire system could have collapsed so quickly.
The Master goes over to Puck and takes his pulse, discovering that his body is already cold and stiffening. The Master takes Judd in his arms and begins to carry him away, thinking how unfortunate Judd is being so misshapen and that there would have been no place for him in the Master’s perfect tomorrow. The Master frowns as he realizes he is curiously touched by the death of Judd, noting his strength of spirit and indomitable will, he adds that it is a tragedy to lose such riches.
From within his cylinder prison, the Sub-Mariner, with painful gasps, informs the Master of the World that his hours are numbered and that he can count them on one hand, before adding that the death of Judd will not go unavenged. The Master turns to Namor and tells him that he speaks bold words and reminds Namor that he is nearly dead, asking who there is that can halt his power if one such as the mighty Sub-Mariner has fallen.
Suddenly, Judd comes to life and flings his small body upwards, knocking the Master of the World backwards. The Master is shocked at this, and as he queries Judds sudden revival, the clever Alphan mocks him, before telling the Master that he is not so smart that Judd couldn’t fool him with something he learnt years ago in the Orient. Judd adds that while he doesn’t have the power to cloud minds, he is quite good at stopping his heart and breathing for a time.
Judd plays with some of the switches on the computer console before proclaiming to Namor that he is free. Indeed the Sub-Mariner is free, but as he collapses out of his cylinder prison, he announces that he is of little use, for the Master spoke the truth, his body is almost drained, he is almost dead. For the ruler of Atlantis needs water! Puck is almost scared at hearing Namor so weak and in such pain, the agony he is in even just speaking those few words.
Puck thinks hard, for despite them being two hundred feet under water, he cannot open the ship to the lake, even if he knew how! For there is still Marrina to be dealt with, and he of course may drown before Namor recovered – Judd stops short in his thoughts, and in seconds, he cartwheels towards the self-styled Master of the World, who orders Judd to stop, but the Alphan doesn’t, and as his small body closes in on the Master, he reaches out and yanks the Master’ helmet from his head, sarcastically apologizing, before heaving the helmet at the glass facing of Marrina’s tank.
Judd’s aim is faultless, though it is his strength that is lacking, for while he cracked the glass, it did not shatter. Wearily, Namor tells Judd to keep watch of their foe as he struggles over to the glass tank, and informs Judd that he has damaged the glass sufficiently enough so that even in his weakened state, the Prince of Atlantis can finish the job. Namor hurls his fists at the glass and even though he is seriously weak, he manages to succeed in his task, as the glass breaks and Marrina is set free, though the water from the tank spreads quickly through the ship.
‘Fools!’ cries the Master of the World, and as Judd and Namor turn and face their foe, they see for the first time, what lies beneath the helmet. For obvious reasons, the Master informs his opponents that he does not wear the helmet out of choice or vanity, but it was his control link to the vessel, all his installations that it was joined to him as much as it was part of his own flesh. Enraged, the Master in all his deformed features tells Namor and Judd to look at what they did to him.
Holding Marrina by her hands as she struggles to get away, Namor believes this to be a trick, as he saw the Master on the beach wearing normal human clothing. The Master informs Namor that that was just a trick, an illusion created by the mechanisms within the costume, mechanisms that the Master points out he can no longer control as he is no longer in control of the vessel, and pointing to Marrina’s deadly mate as it slithers from the tank, the Master of the World adds that he can no longer control that either.
Namor is surprised it can move out of water, and pulls his beloved Marrina out of the way as it strikes. Judd too dodges out of its way, but proclaims that they cannot keep dodging it forever. The powerful tentacles of the alien creature smashes into one of the consoles and the Master panics, realizing that the creature is damaging the ships automatic systems. He orders Namor and Judd to stop it before they sink.
Even as the Master shouts his warning however, the submarine begins to thrash wildly, almost mimicry of the monster inside it. Suddenly, water pours through the hull, and Judd asks Namor to get him out of here. While there is no fear in Judd’s voice, there is a definite sense of urgency. The Sub-Mariner hesitates however, as he holds onto Marrina. Judd proclaims that Marrina is too far-gone now for any help, before adding that she can at least breathe under water, while he cannot. ‘Very well’ says Namor resigned, but not given up entirely as he uses his incredible strength to hurl Marrina from the ship, sending her out of the Master’s clutches.
Namor holds onto Judd as the handsome prince swims swiftly from the sinking ship, Judd astonished that Namor was able to hurl Marrina through the powerful surge of oncoming water. Fast as Namor is, he is no where near as fast as Marrina, and she is long gone from his sights. Finally, the Sub-Mariner emerges from the Lake, and informs Judd that he will fly him to the shore before returning to the water and look for Marrina. Floating just above the water, the two men are shocked as they see a huge bubble protrude from the water, and Judd guesses that the Master’s ship must have exploded.
Six hours later, Eugene Milton Judd sits on the edge of Lake Ontario, and gazing at the sky, he realizes it will be dawn shortly. He wonders where Namor is, and as if on cue, a head emerges from the water. Judd stands up as Namor walks towards him, informing Judd that much of the lake is strewn with debris of the Master’s ship, he adds that the masses of ooze that sit on the floor bed are the remains of the Plodex monster. He pauses before announcing that the Master is nowhere to be seen, at least not in any recognizable form.
Prince Namor MacKenzie sits down on a rock and puts his head into his hands, sobbing for his beloved Marrina whom he cannot find either. He prays that she escaped the blast, his voice trails off. Judd thinks to himself about how hard Namor is taking this, he once thought that kings and princes were beyond the heartache everyone else receives. Judd tells Namor to take it easy, and adds that he knows he has had a fare share of misery in his life, but Marrina is tough, and has survived worse things than this as an egg tossed over the Atlantic for 40,000 years. Reassuringly Judd tells Namor that if it is meant to be, he will see Marrina again, but only when she is ready.
Namor seems to cheer up slightly as he tells Judd he is probably right, adding that he will heed his words, but for now is needed back in Atlantis. Namor takes to the skies again, faring Judd well, and announcing that he has earned his respect. Judd calls out to Namor, asking him to keep in touch. Judd looks to his right as he thinks of how much he and the Sub-Mariner are alike, before telling Marrina she can come out now.
Her costume damaged, Marrina stands up from behind some rocks and asks Judd how long he knew she was there. The diminutive Alphan informs her that he knew she was there long enough to know she didn’t want Namor to know. He asks Marrina how she is, and the reply is that she is recovered, yet at the same time not at all recovered. Marrina Smallwood sits down and asks Puck what she is going to do, for she feels so awful, so used, as if she has been turned inside out and stripped naked in front of the entire world.
Judd puts a comforting hand on Marrina’s shoulder and tells her it is not surprising, as that is what pretty much happened after all, for the Master reached down inside – Marrina cuts her close friend off and as tears spring from her eyes she tells Judd it was not the Master at all, but the horrible creature who reached into her soul without even having to do anything, it opened a part of her she did not even know was there. Marrina believes it was a part of her that wanted to be opened, a part that wanted to kill and maim and destroy, for she knew what was happening to herself and yet she did not fight it, nor did she want to.
Marrina tells Judd that the creature was much more than just another member of her race, that it was biologically matched to her even, for it was her mate! Marrina stands up and as she walks towards the water she informs Judd she is not fit for human company, that she was fooling herself into thinking she could find answers in Atlantis or with the love of a man like the Sub-Mariner. She adds that it was all a terrible sham and empty joke, and now she has to go away from people and away from Alpha Flight.
Judd calls after Marrina but she tells him she is not „Marrina" and that Marrina was a simple girl from a tiny island who had family and friends, people who loved her and she loved back. Entering the water she says ‘I am only a monster’, and as she fades from view, Judd is powerless to stop her.