‘I can’t believe I killed him…not him…not him! I didn’t have a choice! Not after what he said he was going to do to me. I just snapped, I couldn’t take it anymore. But I can’t believe I actually did it. I killed a legend, me Diamond Lil…the woman who killed Spider-Man!’
Lillian Crawley knows that soon, the others will come after her. No telling who it will be - it might be Thor, or Captain America, or even the X-Men. The sultry brunette dumps Spider-Man into a large rubbish bin, knowing she has to get out of here soon, or they will kill her. Diamond Lil looks around the alleyway, rain pouring down on her she decides that the best way out is over the rooftops. She begins climbing up a drainpipe, knowing that if she gets to the Brooklyn Bridge, then she is home free.
But Lil knows that getting to the bridge is going to be a problem as every super hero in New York is going to be out looking for her. She wonders why she had to help Madison, as she wouldn’t be in this mess otherwise. But then she tells herself to get a grip, reminding herself that she didn’t know how powerful the enemy was. She didn’t know the Sorcerer could teleport them all to another dimension. ‘How could I?’
‘We fought the Sorcerer and lost’, and Lil recalls that they had to find their own way home, through world after world. When they finally got here, they thought they were safe - until Talisman showed them the newspaper she found. “President Richards disbands the senate, congress, is war soon to follow?” was the headline.
Diamond Lil continues to climb the pipe, ‘adventures are like climbing out of a hole. A hole you’ve fallen into, deep and dark’ she mutters. ‘It’s one long struggle, but you’re afraid of the end, the end might be fatal’. Talisman casts her mind back to when it all began, with Vindicator asking Talisman a question….
Alpha Flight’s leader, Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson asks Elizabeth Twoyoungmen a.k.a. the Talisman, if the Sorcerer is behind all this, and wonders how they could have been away for so long. Elizabeth explains that time moves faster in some dimensions, so it is possible that they have missed six years, but decides that they haven’t, as something here is wrong. Shocked, Talisman reveals that she cannot feel the next dimensional rift, and that as far as she can tell, there is no way out of this place.
Elizabeth supposes that the best thing they can do is return to Canada, for if this really is their world, then they might as well go home. Vindicator agrees, but tells everyone to use their codenames until they figure out what is going on. Dr. Walter Langkowski, in his Sasquatch form declares that he may as well take a lower profile, as being Sasquatch makes him hungry - and he is starving! From inside his Box armor, Madison Jeffries tells Heather that he will try to find a scrap yard while they get something to eat, as he can get some more metal and transmute his armor into a ship to take them home.
Madison leaves them, and it will not be until later that his friends find out what happens to him. Diamond Lil declares that they need to get some food, as she is going to fall over if she doesn’t get anything to eat. Removing her mask, Vindicator exclaims that they all feel that way. As the five heroes come out of the alleyway they arrived in, they find everyone in the streets stopping and staring at them. Diamond Lil in particular is surprised at this, as she thought New Yorkers were used to strange sights, especially super heroes.
Vindicator comments that it looks like the civilians are afraid of them, as Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, aptly codenamed Shaman, suggests that the civilians think they will start a fight, asking if that isn’t what most super heroes do when they are downtown. The handsome Walter Langkowski disagrees however, pointing out that the civilians seem to be afraid of the five of them in particular. As they approach the café named The Coffee Bean, Elizabeth tells her teammates that she has a feeling something is wrong, and that in case something happens, they should have a back-up plan.
Heather has a back-up and tells everyone that if under any circumstances they get separated they are to wait at the Brooklyn Bridge until the others get there. ‘Now, lets eat!’ Heather exclaims as she opens the door to the café, ‘We’ve just spent six years without food, we’ve got a lot to make up for’.
The Alphans and Diamond Lil enter the café and find a booth, their mouths water at the sights and smells around them. Some of the customers get up and leave giving the Alphans strange looks as they go. Everyone sits down, grabs their menus and in no time, the waitress was there. Wearing a pink dress, the waitress introduces herself as Kathy, and Vindicator asks Kathy if she knows why everyone else is acting so nervous around them.
Kathy strokes her cheek before explaining that none of them look like their heroes, and if they aren’t their heroes, then they could be… her voice trails off before explaining that people do not know which side they are on. Heather declares that they are Alpha Flight of Canada, and tells her that she must have heard of them. ‘Yeah! You work for Guardian, right?’ Kathy exclaims. Heather pauses before explaining that she is the leader and her name is Vindicator. She is about to reveal that Guardian is dead, when Kathy smiles, ‘Oh, yeah! I forgot! James Hudson is the Canadian Prime Minister!’
Everyone looks at each other, and Lillian remembers that Hudson was Heather’s husband, but that he died a while back fighting someone that she worked for - so there is no way he could still be alive. Kathy then tells Heather that Guardian’s costume looks a whole lot like hers, but that she has never heard of her before, adding that Hudson’s wife is active in the team still, and asks if she came with them. ‘His wife?’ asks Heather.
‘You know…Aurora!’ declares Kathy. Heather stares up at the waitress, blank faced, confused. Kathy asks Vindicator how she could be in Alpha Flight and not know that Aurora is married to Guardian? Shaman calls to Heather, who changes the subject by declaring that they will order now.
Diamond Lil continues to climb up the seemingly never-ending pipe, thinking back to their time at the café, she mutters that they were in the hole deep then, and hadn’t begun to climb out. They were only just beginning to realize how far they had fallen - Jeffries was the first to try and escape.
Box has just left his teammates and Diamond Lil, below him, Manhattan stretches out like a concrete ant farm - and everything looks wrong. He notes that the island is too small and that the buildings are different. Long Island and Jersey City look indistinct as if viewed through translucent windows. Suddenly, he strikes what is known as “The Barrier”, and begins to plummet towards the water below him. Yet his sensors told him there was nothing there, his radar warns him of an approaching object, and switching to visual, he can tell it is man-shaped and coming in fast. Switching to normal vision, he sees Iron Man flying towards him.
Hours have passed, the five heroes stare at their empty plates while the sky grows dark and the street lights come on. Everyone was beginning to worry about Madison. ‘Where is he? He should have been back by now!’ exclaims Heather, as Shaman motions to the opening doors of the café and pointing to the people entering, he says ‘Maybe they can tell us’. The Alphans watch as in comes the Vision, She-Hulk and Wonder Man - all heavy weights from the Avengers.
Diamond Lil notices that the customers seem afraid of the three Avengers, but try not to show it. Heather tries to approach the trio in a friendly manner, introducing herself and beginning to explain why they are here - but the Vision cuts her off, labeling them all unregistered para-humans, and ordering them to quietly accompany them to the van outside, or else they will have to use deadly force.
Diamond Lil wants to fight, but Vindicator tells Alpha Flight to follow the Avengers, as she felt it was the best way to find out what is going on. In the back of the van, She-Hulk sits with the Alphans, not saying a word, just giving them angry stares. Minutes later, the Alphans and Lil find themselves in an underground garage, they have no idea where they are going, they are just told to walk down to a room at the end of the hallway…it is there that they are reunited with Madison.
Jeffries phases out of the Box armor, and as he and Heather run and embrace each other, jealousy strikes Diamond Lil. The Alphans sit around a table as Madison informs them about the invisible barrier and how Iron Man showed up ready for a fight. Madison explains that he was ordered to land at the building, and placed in this room without explanation, adding that he wanted to break out, to find them, as he had no idea what was happening. Everyone is in the dark…but light is about to be shed - as Captain America enters the room.
Diamond Lil is almost at the top of the piping - closer to freedom, closer to the end. But the sound of Captain America’s voice stays with her - she feels cold as his words swirl around in her head like ghosts.
Captain America asks the Alphans to sit back down, but no one does, and Heather quickly asks the Captain ‘What is this? I thought this was a free country!’ before asking the Captain why they are here. ‘That’s what I’d like to know’ remarks Captain America, before Vindicator begins to explain to him her teams story. Captain America listens without saying a word, his expression unreadable and his body calm. When Heather finishes, Captain America claims that her story is flawed, therefore it must be a lie.
Captain America reveals that the waitress in the coffee shop gave him their names, and he checked them all out. ‘Alpha Flight’s never heard of you. There are no records of you ever existing’ he declares bluntly. Captain America points at the Alphans and tells them that they are going to talk, and answer his questions - he is going to find out if they are real, or agents of the enemy. Captain America begins to talk about the summer of 1990, Diamond Lil notices that this is the first time he gets emotional, and after a few minutes of this, Lil wishes that he would go back to his poker-faced self. But he keeps ranting on and on….
(Flashback on Alternate Reality)
In 1990, Dr. Doom formed a secret alliance with some of the worlds most powerful super criminals, like the Kingpin. They managed to overthrow the government of the Soviet Union less than 48 hours. In a weeks time, they had the Eastern Bloc under their control. That put the entire Soviet nuclear arsenal in their hands, they used the threat of war to force governments of the West to keep their super heroes at bay.
In 1992, Reed Richards was elected President of the United States. The nation had become afraid of what was no known as the Eastern Alliance, the voters felt the super heroes were perfect leaders to keep the nation strong, so in Canada, Guardian was elected prime minister (But Guardian is…), and Captain Britain now runs the Common Market, which now rules all of Western Europe and North Africa.
(Present, sometime earlier)
Captain America rants on and on, talking about the covert operations they used against the Eastern Alliance, before revealing some of the heroes that who died in the failed attempts - heroes like Sue Richards, Nightcrawler, Falcon, Wasp and Daredevil.
Suddenly, Captain America begins to yell at the Alphans, screaming about methods they have used to make America strong, that American heroes began to round up anyone who even looked suspicious and made them disappear. Anyone ever accused of anything, even remotely criminal was eradicated for “The Good of the country”.
Diamond Lil sees Shaman searching for something in his medicine pouch. She remembers that inside the pouch, Twoyoungmen’s hand would extend into another dimension, a place filled with weapons of power. Jeffries starts looking over at his Box armor, anxious to get inside. Everyone is as tense as storm clouds, and the thunder is about to start.
Captain America finishes his rant, declaring that that is the state of the world, and tells the Alphans that if they really are from the past, they can use them in the fight against the oppressors of the East. ‘And if you’re not…we’re going to kill you!’ With that, the Vision, She-Hulk and Wonder Man enter the room, and suddenly, it begins to rain.
The Alphans all get to their feet, Vindicator telling Captain American and his associates that they do not want to fight, that they simply want to go home. Captain America informs Alpha Flight that they only have two choices - to join them as soldiers in the battle for freedom, or consider themselves enemies of the United Superhuman State. As Jeffries leaps into his Box armor, Heather tells Captain America that they are going home - with, or without their cooperation. ‘What a shame’ mutters Cap before the battle begins.
Vindicator fires a plasma blast at Captain America, who tells her to give it up, that she cannot defeat the will of America. Wonder Man declares that they fight for freedom and justice as he knocks Box off his feet. Vision attacks Talisman and Shaman, claiming that his team has right on their side. She-Hulk runs towards Diamond Lil and shouts ‘Do you know why we’ll win? It’s because we’re -’ Lil cuts her off and shouts ‘HOSERS!’ punching She-Hulk and knocking her off her feet.
Box gets back on his feet, and shoving Wonder Man through a wall, he declares that they are nothing but a bunch of psychos. Vindicator manages to get the upper hand from Captain America, and as she knocks him over, she tells him that he is not a hero, as heroes protect the common man, they defend the rights of everyone!
Shaman pulls a pile of mud from his pouch and heaves it at Vision, telling him that his people have betrayed what their country stands for. As the mud begins to spread all over the Vision, immobilizing him, Elizabeth boasts that her team never intentionally kill people, as Shaman informs him that the spell will wear off in half an hour. She-Hulk rejoins the battle, threatening to kill Diamond Lil, and calling her names. ‘Shut up!’ screams Diamond Lil, knocking She-Hulk aside again.
Captain America throws his shield at Vindicator, shouting that good will always triumphs. ‘You got that right, Captain’ declares Heather as she knocks him out with a powerful electromagnetic blast. Heather turns to her team and pointing to the door, she tells them that it is time to get out of here.
Running through the complex, they discover one empty room after another, worried that they may never find their way out. But they do, and entering the darkened street, they find it silent, night time, and empty. Despite the eerie feeling in the air, Alpha Flight feels elated, like winners.
Nearly at the top of the drain pipe, Diamond Lil remembers that home seemed just around the corner, they could almost smell the cool Canadian air. But they were wrong. Incredibly wrong.
Lightening strikes and crashes amongst the Alphans - and looking around, the heroes see that the real fight is only just beginning - as more American heroes rush towards them. Rogue swoops down and picks Diamond Lil up into the air before she even has time to think, while down below, Lillian watches Alpha Flight fight for their lives. Lil is unable to help them, as Rogue has her trapped, and less than a second later, the battle below is lost in darkness. Then it begins to rain for real.
As Diamond Lil tries to use her indestructible body to get free, Rogue informs her that she is invulnerable too. ’Let me go!’ shouts Lil, and Rogue is only too happy to oblige, ’happy landings!’ she laughs as Diamond Lil plummets to the city below, and lands with a thud in a grotty alleyway. Even though Diamond Lil’s bio-aura makes her invulnerable, she cannot escape pain, and every part of her hurts from the fall.
As she starts to get off the ground, she finds webbing suddenly stuck to her feet - and that is when he decides to drop in. Spider-Man looms over Diamond Lil, and bending closer, he asks what he has got here. Spider-Man tells Lil that her costume is awfully tight, and asks her if she is trying to get his attention. ’What are you? Some kind of pervert?’ replies Lil, before asking him if he gets some kind of thrill tying people up with those webs.
Spider-Man laughs and claims that he never though of that before, but tells Lil that she is right, he does like it. Reaching downwards, Spider-Man exclaims that he is really going to enjoy what comes next, when suddenly, Lil jumps up, telling Spider-Man that his webs don’t stick to her bio-aura, before lunging in to punch him. But Spider-Man moves fast, Lil can barely see him, as he leaps down and kicks her.
Spider-Man dodges Lil’s punches easily, laughing all the time, and telling her all the sick things he wants to do to her, which just makes her even more angry. Lil can’t take it anymore, and knows she has to shut him up, so grabbing his leg as he tries to kick her, she swings him into a brick wall - hard.
Spider-Man drops to the ground, his skull crushed, his neck broken - dead before he hit’s the ground.
‘I’m the woman who killed Spider-Man, and I’m on my way to freedom’ says Diamond Lil as she finally reaches the top of the drain pipe, rain still falling. Walking along the top of the roof, Lil can see the Brooklyn Bridge, knowing that if she makes it, she will be home free. If her friends are still alive… and if she doesn’t get killed first.
Suddenly, ’Lady, you’ve just run out of luck!’ exclaims Wolverine, claws ready as he and Colossus corner Diamond Lil on the rooftop.