Snow falls this night, and Jean-Paul Beaubier, Olympic winning skier and former mutant member of Canada’s Premiere Super Heroes, Alpha Flight, is enjoying a relaxing evening at home with friends – until the door rings, and the handsome French-Canadian is surprised to see his sister, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, a.k.a. Aurora, who recently terminated their partnership, wearing nothing but a bikini and pleading for her brother’s help. However Jean-Paul calls his sister ‘Aurora’ and the young woman turns back to the snow, and in French exclaims that she came to him for help, yet he calls her by that hated name. Northstar realizes his mistake – that Jeanne-Marie is dominant in his sister’s body, for his sister has multiple personality disorder, the meek Jeanne-Marie and the carefree Aurora share the one body.
Jean-Paul calls to Jeanne-Marie, who falls over in the snow, and asks Jean-Paul to leave her alone to die – for it is all she deserves. Jean-Paul picks his now unconscious sister and carries her back into his house, calling out to his friends to bring blankets and hot coffee. A few minutes later, Jeanne-Marie is sitting up on a couch, with Jean-Paul next to her. Jeanne-Marie apologizes for her behavior earlier, and Northstar replies that it was his fault for calling her by that name. Jean-Paul asks Jeanne-Marie to tell him why she is here, not that he isn't delighted to see her, but he thought she was living with Walter Langkowski. Jean-Paul thinks to himself that he needs to be careful when talking to his sister as he has not seen her since their encounter with the Collector and does not know how her schizophrenia has progressed since then.
Jeanne-Marie is shocked at her brother’s comment that she is “living with” Sasquatch, and declares that she is not living with anyone, as that would be highly immoral. Northstar puts a hand on his sister’s shoulder and apologizes, saying that he wasn’t thinking about what he was saying. Jeanne-Marie starts sobbing and tells her brother that it is she who should be sorry, for it was she who came to him for help, and all she has done is scream like some ‘demented harpie’. Northstar holds his sister and tells her not to be distressed, but that she must tell him what happened, how she came to him and why she is dressed so ‘unseasonally’. Jeanne-Marie replies that she will, though it is hard.
Jeanne-Marie remembers being out on a boat, bitterly cold wearing nothing but the ‘tiny scraps of cloth’ she has on now. Jeanne-Marie remembers actually saying something about the cold, but her head was pounding hard. There was a man – Walter Langkowski – who gave her his jacket. Jeanne-Marie thanks him, but believes he wanted more than a mere “thank you” and Walt began to kiss her on the neck.
Aghast, Jeanne-Marie pushes Walt away, and hurt, Walt kept telling Jeanne-Marie to be calm and asking her what the matter was, being very polite – except that he kept calling her by that name. Jeanne-Marie covered her ears, thinking she would go mad, she squeezed her eyes shut, only to open them a moment later – finding herself up in the air, she didn’t know what to do – so she made herself move, and willed herself to drift towards Quebec.
Jeanne-Marie adds that she finally got here, to Jean-Paul, it took almost three days, and she never touched the ground once in that time. It’s Jean-Paul’s turn to be shocked now, shocked that Jeanne-Marie flew – something she could never do before. Jeanne-Marie informs her brother that he is wrong, for the first time she flew, when she was only fourteen, she flew as herself, that it is Aurora who will not let her fly, for Aurora keeps that power to herself. Jean-Paul continues to console his distressed sister and suggests she sleep, as she must be tired.
Jean-Paul asks his friend Rhonda to take Jeanne-Marie and put her to bed in the guest-room. Rhonda leads Jeanne-Marie away to the guest-room and Jean-Paul calls to his sister that he will see her in the morning. Sullen, Jean-Paul sinks back into the couch and wonders what could have caused his sisters regression this time, for usually it is a situation of extreme nervous stress that forces Aurora back into her Jeanne-Marie persona. Northstar supposes that much has happened to his sister since they saw each other last, for his sister’s new hairstyle is evidence of that. Northstar wonders what could have prompted Aurora to cut her hair, for she always been content to wear her hair in such a way that Jeanne-Marie could make use of also.
Jean-Paul picks up the phone, supposing he should call Walter Langkowski as he could tell him what has happened to his sister, not to mention that Walt will be out of his mind worrying about her. Jean-Paul puts the phone back down and decides that perhaps it is better if Walt stays out of his mind worrying, for since Jean-Paul and Aurora dissolved their relationship he has tried to disassociate himself from Alpha Flight. After all, Jean-Paul only continued to associate with them because the group environment seemed good for his sister – but that is evidently no longer the case. Northstar thinks this latest regression could be a blessing in disguise, for perhaps out of this can come a team of Northstar and Aurora that does not need Alpha Flight!
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, British Columbia, two old friends are braving the heavy rain for a walk in the city. The two old friends being Heather McNeil Hudson, leader of Alpha Flight, and the young woman she baby-sat as a child – Elizabeth Twoyoungmen, the phenomenally powerful Talisman, Alpha Flight’s newest member. Heather mentions that she hopes Aurora shows up soon, for Walt is about as close to cracking as anyone can get! Elizabeth adds that is the last thing Walt needs, what with his problems he is having as Sasquatch. Heather agrees that Walt’s issues have been somewhat of a puzzle, and that he seems worried he is losing himself to the monster – exactly what apparently happened to Bruce Banner when he became the Incredible Hulk.
Elizabeth says that hints her father has been dropping seem to suggest that something else is happening, something he doesn’t want to talk about to ‘us mere mortals’. The sultry young woman complains that her father can be such a pain with his “some things man is not meant to know” talk. Heather tells Elizabeth that her father has a lot of knowledge the rest of the world is not quite ready for, when suddenly, out of the corner of her eye she sees a very familiar face. That of her husband, James MacDonald Hudson, Alpha Flight’s former leader, Guardian.
Mac quickly turns his back and walks away, Heather instantly drops her umbrella and follows Mac through the crowd, calling out to him to wait for her. Heather trips in skirt, as it is not very practical for running in, and she hits the pavement as Mac turns a corner. Elizabeth rushes up to her friend as a desperate Heather cries out that it was Mac. Shocked, Elizabeth reminds Heather that Guardian is…dead!
Twelve hours later and back in Quebec, Northstar and Jeanne-Marie arrive at a circus! Jeanne-Marie declares how exciting this is, and tells her brother that he never mentioned knowing any circus people. Helping his reservedly dressed sister out of the car, Jean-Paul simply mentions that it is a souvenir or his restless youth, when he was less “civilized” than he is now. A woman stands at the back of a trailer and calls out to Jean-Paul. The mutant speedster barely has time to say the woman’s name before she runs over and kisses him on the lips and tells him that she is so glad he came. Momentarily speechless, Jean-Paul introduces the woman, Clementine D’Arbanville to his sister. Clementine is surprised at this and tells Jean-Paul that he never mentioned he had a sister. Jeanne-Marie informs Clementine that they have only been recently reunited after growing up unaware of each other’s existence.
Moments later, inside Clementine‘s trailer, Jean-Paul reminds his old friend that in her letter she had said that something was wrong with her circus. He adds that while she did not say it outright, the letter implied the trouble was of a sinister nature. ‘You are as perceptive as ever’ says Clementine before saying that she doesn’t know if “sinister” is too strong a word, but the trouble is bad. Clementine motions to a poster on the wall of a one thousand-pound woman, and reveals that the trouble all began with her. Jean-Paul asks what the fat lady has done. Clementine replies that it is not so much as what the large woman has done, and that everything seems to be high superstition at the moment.
Clementine reveals that she hired Pearl Gross, who goes by the alias Pink Pearl, about one year ago when the circus was still in Europe, and that Pearl cam highly recommended by her previous employer. However, Clementine had the impression that the previous employer was relieved to be rid of Pearl. Soon, Clementine learned all her regulars began to have accidents – the human skeleton, the strong man, the bearded woman and Mighty Mite – and each time, Pearl new someone who could take their place. At first Clementine recalls that she counted her blessings, but now she finds herself surrounded by strangers. Clementine adds that she also thinks Pink Pearl is behind all the delays that have kept the circus here out of season, for it is long past time that they were out of their winter quarters by now.
A knock at the door and Clementine excuses herself, opening the door however a huge fist greets her in her face, and the obese Pink Pearl enters the trailer. As Clementine lies on the ground, Pearl tells her that she has been a ‘naughty little girl’ telling stories to strangers, and reminds her that she told her everything would be fine if she kept her nose out of Pearl’s business. Mad, Clementine reminds Pearl that the circus is her business. Pearl declares that it is not anymore and suggests Clementine shuts up and does what Pearl tells her to do. Northstar walks up to Pearl and declares that she seems to be suffering from role-reversal, as it is she who works for Clementine, not Clementine who works for her.
‘Keep your nose out of this, pretty boy’ Pearl snaps at Jean-Paul before informing Jean-Paul that he does not know enough so far to spoil Pearl’s plans. She adds that if he keeps his nose out of her business then she may let him walk away with a whole skin. Jean-Paul calmly tells Pearl that she has missed the point, for Clementine is an old friend of his who asked for his help, and he is not to let her down just because Pearl tells him too. Pearl tells Northstar that that is too bad, for she is going to hate seeing his pretty face all messed up, and calls out to the human skeleton to get Northstar.
Jean-Paul is stunned when a literal human skeleton jumps through the window and attacks him. Pushed to the floor, Northstar regrets that the confined space in the trailer does not enable him to use his super-speed, not to mention that the skeleton man is squeezing the life out of him! The human skeleton calls Jean-Paul “tubby” (which of course he isn't) and suggests he stops struggling, for he is far too strong for him. Pink Pearl tells Bones to watch his mouth or he may offend her delicate nature, before seeing Jeanne-Marie in a corner and asks the young woman if she is going to give them any trouble too. Surprisingly, Jeanne-Marie throws her hands in the air and makes them into fists, trying to strike Pearl, she tells her to leave her and her brother alone.
Pearl is surprised by this sudden outburst, but declares that she knows how to deal with it, and shoves Jeanne-Marie into her large stomach. In a suffocating motion, Pearl smothers Jeanne-Marie before dropping Jeanne-Marie to the floor. Clementine steps forward off the ground and is about to say something offensive to Pearl before she is reminded of Pearl’s delicate nature, and shoved back to the ground. Standing over Clementines’ body Pearl declares that by calling the cavalry she added to the final body count, and that there is nothing anyone can do.
Elsewhere, on an isolated hillside near Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, former Gamma Flight member Madison Jeffries stares at the sky and wonders where someone is, hoping they haven't gone ‘cloud happy’ on him. He sees something streak towards him and wonders if giving his associate flight capabilities was too much – especially for someone who has been in a wheelchair for most of their life and who might just get a little “drunk” off the experience. The metal man known as Box lands near Madison and declares that the new Box is a thousand percent of an improvement over the old one. ‘Tell me something I didn’t know’ jokes Jeffries.
Box turns to Jeffries and mentions that he will overlook that little immodesty for anyone who can create something like this armor is entitled to an inflated ego. Jeffries smiles and says ‘speaking of things betting inflated, shouldn’t you get out of there before you get too comfy’? Before reminding the person inside the armor that there is a danger of the symbiosis becoming permanent. The armored man lumbers away and mentions that from the way he feels now, he is having difficulties seeing permanent symbiosis as a problem. But he knows Jeffries is right, for being permanently part of the Box armor would be like exchanging one wheel chair for another.
The Box robot stands beside a wheelchair and the phase-out begins, and the quadriplegic Roger Bochs maneuvers into his wheelchair as Jeffries asks him how the transition felt. Roger smiles and reports that it felt fine, just a tingle in the extremities, but not as uncomfortable as the “phantom senses” he gets like when his foot itches. The former Beta Flight member declares that he doesn’t think he will ever be able to fully express how pleased he is, especially as when he first contacted Jeffries about rebuilding the Box robot, he had no idea they would be this successful. Bochs adds that the concept of a physical fusion with his “living metal” alloy had not occurred to him, and it is amazing!
Jeffries tells Roger not to get too turned on, as it may mean that no one else will ever be take control of Box again, but it also means that if an arm gets blown off the Box robot in battle, well, it wont be just the robots’ arm that gets blown off too. Bochs replies that he realizes the danger but is prepared to take the risk, and he asks Jeffries to help him load Box back into the van. Once inside, Jeffries supposes his part in this deal is over and asks Bochs how soon it is that he is planning on ‘hittin` the vengeance trail’? Bochs scowls and proclaims that this is no joke, for an evil man used his original Box to murder a good man, a man he admired, and now he intends to use the new Box robot to track the killer down and punish him!
Back at the circus, Jeanne-Marie awakes – only it’s Aurora who wakes, as evident by her cry ‘No! Walter! What in…? Where am I?’ Looming over the petite Alphan, Pearl welcomes Aurora back to the land of the living, surprised that she can speak English, as Jeanne-Marie can but very rarely does. Tied up, Aurora asks where she is and who Pearl is. Pearl jokes that she is upset over being forgotten so quickly and mentions that she was just about to tell all of her own friends about her plan. Aurora tries to concentrate and remember what happened, for the last thing she remembers is being in Walter’s old family estate, only for her to wind up in darkness. She wonders where she is now and who the obscene woman is – not to mention what Jean-Paul is doing here, with a woman no less!
Tied up and sprawled across Jean-Paul, Clementine tells the obese woman that she can tell her what she thinks she is doing, and that it better be good! Picking Clementine D’Arbanville up off the ground, Pearl declares that she thinks Clementine will really appreciate it – for it involves a bomb! Pearl motions towards a large bomb in the circus tent where they all are and that while she thinks Clementine probably will not recognize the bomb, as she probably never saw one like it during her naughtier days when she was blowing up people’s mailboxes. On the ground, a groggy Jean-Paul realizes that somehow Clementine was a member of the Sepratiste` and one of the more violent cells at that! Jean-Paul worries that if Pearl knows that about Clementine, then she may guess that is how he first meet Clementine – when he belonged to the same terrorist group!
Pearl leers down at Clementine and realizes she doesn’t understand still, before informing her that she cannot understand fully because she lacks certain information – information that Pearl has had for more than a year now! Pearl informs Clementine that three miles down the road there is an old farmhouse, and while it looks like an ordinary farmhouse, looks are deceiving, for it is a very special old farmhouse. Pearl reveals that in just over five hours, the last in a series of high-level conferences will be taking place in the old house. A top secret meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States.
Pearl declares that the President and Prime Minister will be finalizing the establishment of a ground-based anti-missile laser defense system across the Arctic Circle. This system would render the North American continent virtually immune to missile attack. However, the “parties” that Pearl represents do not wish to see that happen, so in just over five hours – the old farmhouse is going to be blown up – with the Prime Minister and President inside. Pearl smiles, knowing that there will be a massive investigation, but one that will have no way of tracing anything back to Pearl or her people. Pearl declares that is because the investigation will discover that the blast centered on this circus, and that the investigators will surely learn of Clementine‘s former involvement with terrorists.
Pearl states that it will be assumed the bombing was another insane attack on the government of Canada, which will side-track the investigation will become side tracked then. Still holding Clementine up in the air, Pearl reveals that is why she has been with Clementine‘s circus all these months, and why they have had to “delay” here, when the change over in the last Canadian government delayed the meeting. Aurora gets to her feet and with hands still tied behind her back tells Pearl that that it was an excellent plan, but with one very large fly in the ointment. Taking to the air, Aurora informs Pearl that she obviously did not take into account the possibility that two “innocent bystanders” would happen to be members of Alpha Flight!
Aurora calls to her brother, and the speedster also takes to the air, to the horror of Pink Pearl. The Bearded Lady ruses up to Aurora with a gun, but before she can fire at her, Aurora kicks ‘fur-face’ in the face. Northstar dodges the strong man, he wonders what happened to his sister – for now she is shinning brighter than her name sake – something she has never been able to do before! As Aurora fights with Mighty Mite, Pink Pearl orders her allies to stop Aurora and Northstar – after all, there is only two of them! Leaping off the ground, the obese woman asks if she has to do everything herself, and she lands on top of Aurora, revealing she was going to leave Aurora to die in the blast quickly and painlessly – but now she wants some hurt to come to her!
Pink Pearl lifts Aurora up as the skeleton man declares he will show everyone how they took care of traitors back in his country – ‘one bit at a time’. He prepares to thrown knives at Aurora as she cries out in pain at the way Pearl is hurting her arms. Clementine suddenly comes to Aurora’s rescue by smacking herself up against the skeleton man, who accidentally lets go of one of the knives, which is sent flying into Pink Pearl’s chest, causing the large woman to fall to the ground. Aurora puts her ear up against Pearl’s heart and hearing a heartbeat supposes that Pearl’s fat probably cushioned her from a killing blow, but the sudden shock has knocked her out, and she declares the game over.
One hour later, Clementine reveals that she find the whole situation so unreal – considering their lives and the lives of the entire nation were in peril only moments ago. Now with it over, she hopes the police will find out who Pearl was working for and take action against them. Jean-Paul adds quietly that the secret of his past shall remain a secret. Clementine smiles and tells Northstar that she does not know how to repay him. Northstar tells her that there is no need, for now that he and his sister are reunited, that is reward enough for him. ‘Then it is hollow gold indeed, dear brother’ remarks Aurora as she approaches the old friends.
Northstar turns around to face his sister, and Aurora declares that she is most certainly “Aurora” and not Jeanne-Marie, a ‘weak-willed fool flying to her brother for help’. Crossly, Aurora informs her brother that she has learned much about him today, perhaps too much – and she now needs to come to terms with it. Aurora reveals that she has guessed how her brother came to meet Clementine, and tells him that it makes him no better than Pink Pearl and her allies. Aurora cruelly tells Jean-Paul that while he has said he does not wish for a place in Alpha Flight, when she tells them of his past, he will no longer be welcome there!