A cold night in British Columbia just got hot. As Wolverine slices a rifle in half, he tells himself that his claws are just for show - this time - but that doesn’t mean the mounties he is fighting have to know that. Logan knows that if the mounties are scared, then it will be easier for him - though up until now it couldn’t have been any easier. As the handsome X-Man punches a mountie he thinks back to how he smuggled into Point Roberts on a merchant logging ship, and while he thought he would be able to sniff out any RCMP checking for any contraband - but he thought wrong.
Logan tells himself that he has been thinking wrong a lot lately - but one thing he knows for sure is that these clowns are not going to slow him down one bit. There is nothing they can do against a mutant with the speed, strength and senses of an animal. ‘Nothing they can do against a Wolverine’.
Wolverine’s hands drip with blood as he stands over the unmoving RCMP’s. He decides to make his way through Vancouver and head East, somewhere along the way he can find out where “she” is - people like she and him have a way of making there presence sort of noticed. The blood doesn’t belong to the officers, it is Wolverine. He is tired and sweating cold bullets. He knows his hands don’t heal as quick as they used to when he pops his claws and wonders why he is pushing himself like this.
He knows why - it is because he has ties to this land and loyalties to people he has ignored for too long. He lights a cigarette, deciding he has to settle some “accounts” and cash some “chips” in. He decides that if he is going to die then he wants to do it the way he came in - on a clean slate.
Meanwhile, at Roxxon Oil in Denver Colorado, the Facility Coordinator Samuel Higgins enters another Facility Status Report. He begins with one thing to say - ‘We have once again sent out “last hope” in’. The Super Human Division had remanded employee Colin Ashworth Hume, a.k.a. “Windshear” to their services. His mutant powers consist of hard-air molecule creation, projection and propulsion, and as Higgins notes, he attacks their current dilemma with his well-documented zeal and gusto.
Flying through the sub-basement while Higgins and other officials are watching him, Windshear thinks that this stinks big time, as the whole sub-basement has become some sort of mechanized monstrosity and he is expected to stop it. He is dowsed in some liquid as he thinks to himself ‘Americans. If only we’d won the bloody war to begin with!’
Seeing some sort of cannon, he wonders ‘now what?’ and realizes that it is made out of spare parts. Flying towards it, he decides to earn his pay check - but as he is ready to blast it, he is zapped and shot to the ground. ‘Sod this,’ he thinks to himself. Samuel Higgins notes that this is Hume’s third attempt to pierce the ever-growing mechanical construct and that he has failed again.
Higgins decides that the employee’s attempts were hardly worth the expense of flying him in from their United Kingdom branch, as Windshear mutters that he better be getting “time and a half” for this, and asking Higgins if he believes him now. Higgins asks Windshear how much Roxxon spent on his program-funding anyway, to which Hume replies ‘More than they should have and less than this is worth’.
Colin reminds Higgins that he has told him he needs help here, to which Higgins tells Colin that his accent gets heavier when he is excited. Higgins agrees to letting Windshear have some help, cryptically saying that they need a machine to fight a machine, and he knows just the man, and is quite sure the Canadian government wont mind.
Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator thinks to herself that after three days in Ottawa, enduring everlasting government proceedings, and on the first chance Alpha and Gamma Flights get to move in to action, she is missing most of her team, Alpha Flight, and now the rest of them are chasing one of their own. The acclaimed leader tells Northstar, Silver and Auric to fly ahead as they are the fastest, and warns them not to lose their chase in the crowds.
Vindicator then tells the three young girls who were once members of the long-disbanded Beta Flight - Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave and sisters Goblyn and Laura Dean - to be careful and stay behind her. Towards the back of the group, Gamma Flight’s mysterious leader thinks to herself that Vindicator is always taking charge - which makes her appropriately Nemesis in name and thought. ’Some days, its just not worth it to put on an electromagnetic union suit and save the world’ Heather mutters.
In the air, siblings Jimon “Silver” and Zhao “Auric” Kwan tell Northstar that they will double around in a different direction. ’Whatever’ the handsome Jean-Paul Beaubier thinks to himself, before spying his quarry in the Sparks Street Mall, understanding that it is an obvious place for the enemy to be, as it is better for him to inflict his demented brand of pleasure. ’Speed, agility, healing factor or not…I’m coming for you - Wildchild!’
As Jean-Paul streaks towards the savage member of Gamma Flight, he warns him that his mindless rage has come to an end. But Kyle “Wildchild” Gibney lashes back at Northstar, telling him to shut up he calls him a ’Stupid prattling beef’ who doesn’t understand.
Silver and Auric arrive on scene and Jimon tells her brother to hit Wildchild now, as between her ice blasts and his heat rays the will…’Miss him completely?’ suggests Vindicator as she arrives at the site and strikes Wildchild with a blast of electromagnetic energy.
Wildchild is in pain, but gets to his feet as the mute Goblyn approaches him. Calling Goblyn his “twisted reflection”, Wildchild bids her closer, before declaring that the only thing better than receiving pain - is to give it in kind, and spits at the young mutant before digging his claws into her and tossing her aside. As Goblyn lands hard on the ground, he tells the “dear wounded creature” to allow him to end her misery, to the fear of Goblyn’s sister.
‘Don’t hurt my sister!’ shouts Laura, realizing that she has to open an inter-dimensional portal so she can send Goblyn away so she cannot be hurt, Laura successfully opens one, saving Goblyn - but the worst is yet to come, as Wildchild lunges at Laura, ’Saved your sister, have you, little Laura Dean?’ ’Excuse me, Nemesis’ he adds, shoving Nemesis aside as she tries to intervene, before Wildchild strikes Laura, asking her how Goblyn can save her now.
As Vindicator and Persuasion tend to Laura, Wildchild starts singing: “And then I saw blood. Now I’m a believer not a trace of red on my hands”. Vindicator sees that Laura is seriously hurt as Wildchild moves towards a crowd of onlookers. Silver calls out to Persuasion for her to do something, as Kara, furious that she wasn’t here in time to help her best friend, tells Wildchild that she is not going to let him hurt anyone else.
Persuasion uses her mutant powers of mind control and tells Wildchild to stop. Wildchild growls - then leaps up at the surprised Silver. ‘How could the Purple Girl not control me with her little mutant voice you ask?’ Kyle says before tossing Jimon at Kara and declaring that perhaps he is more animal than man. Making his way into the crowd, Wildchild declares that perhaps he does not possess enough of a mind to possess. He begins laughing and muttering ‘perhaps’ over and over again.
In his native French, Northstar calls after Wildchild, calling him an animal, until Vindicator tells him to forget about Wildchild, reminding him that Laura Dean has been critically wounded, she points out that he is the only one fast enough to get her to the hospital in time. ‘What about Wildchild?’ Jean-Paul asks. ‘What about your teammates?’ Heather points out, asking the founding Alphan where his loyalties lie - to his own angers, or to those who need him? Northstar asks what of the innocents that Wildchild threatens - do they not need him too?
Vindicator exclaims that it is her responsibility and orders Northstar to go. Carrying Laura as he flies to the nearest hospital, Jean-Paul thinks that Heather has quite a burden to bear, while realizing that he has made enough mistakes in his short life to never want to make such choices again. Vindicator turns to those remaining - Persuasion, Nemesis, Silver and Auric - and realizes that she has only pieces of Gamma Flight, Kara who is ineffective and herself. ‘Wonderful. How could I have let it come to this?’
Heather thinks back to the Sorcerer Affair, and ever since it, Alpha Flight has been kept in a very polite state of incarceration. They had to wait weeks for the government to convene a parliamentary panel on their status. When the government finally did - three days ago - it was all the city of Ottawa - probably the whole country - could talk about it. “Super Heroes on Trial?” read one newspaper headline. And who could blame them? After long periods of indecisions, recriminations, false accusations, magical manipulations and outright stupidities, Canada was about to settle her super-human affairs.
After two days of preliminary hearings though, Heather found her team had suffered attrition….
Heather and those sitting with her are behind a bench, while the parliamentary select committee sit around a large table in the middle of the grand room, and onlookers watch the proceedings from the sidelines. Heather apologizes to Prime Minister Mulroney for the absence of several members of the group, but reminds him they had previously discussed that certain members needed permission to be excused from the proceedings.
Vindicator informs the members of the select committee who are unaware about this, that their resident mystics Shaman and Talisman as well as Sasquatch and Aurora set out this morning in pursuit of long-missing comrade Puck. Heather adds that General Clarke has granted them temporary operating clearance and she has been permitted to speak for them at this hearing. Prime Minister Mulroney tells Vindicator that he sees no need for any of this fuss himself, and exclaims that they have come to the realization that the conscious will of the people of Canada had been severely compromised during the Sorcerer’s prolonged attack.
Clarke mumbles to himself at that comment, as Mulroney declares that it is quite apparent that Canada owes Alpha Flight an incalculable debt of gratitude for their heroic efforts during these trying times. With Northstar, Nemesis, Silver, Auric, Wildchild, and the Beta Flight girls sitting beside her, Heather stands up and thanks the Prime Minister, agreeing that she also questions the necessity of these hearings, reminding him that Alpha Flight has been hounded, harassed and humiliated over the last year. Vindicator calmly informs the select committee and the Prime Minister that speaking for the entirety of Alpha Flight, they are prepared to put it all behind them - with certain conditions.
‘Conditions you say?’ asks General Clarke as he asks Heather if she thinks she is in a position to dictate conditions to them. Never one to back down, Heather firmly replies that she does, and out rightly declares that one of these conditions is simple, and is something granted to every other citizen of the land - ‘We wish to be free of governmental intrusions’. As the hearing goes on, no one notices as Wildchild seems to be quite agitated, head hung low, or pulling at his hair.
General Clarke asks Heather what kind of “intrusions” she is talking about - like such intrusions as letting her teammates to leave of their own free will, before trying to jibe Heather, sarcastically remarking that his hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, he asks if Madison Jeffries and Diamond Lil went with the others, as she didn’t mention them. Vindicator hesitates for a moment, before replying that the mission did include Box and Lil, while thinking to herself that she is going to kill Madison for making her lie - but not before she kills Lil.
Mulroney tries to calm Heather and Clarke, telling them that this isn’t the Spanish Inquisition, that they are all simply here to make some much-needed decisions. Mulroney states that they are herby rescinding all sanctions against the fighting unit called Alpha Flight and recognizing their tight to act as operatives of peace, but adds that it doesn’t mean Alpha Flight have been given carte blanche. Mulroney tells Heather that before deciding their future though, they must determine exactly what it is that Alpha Flight wants.
‘Whatever is best for Canada, Sir’ replies Heather, to which the crowd reacts to with a loud applause. ‘Smooth Ms. Hudson’ Mulroney thinks to himself, before saying ‘Very well’ and calling for order. Mulroney smiles as he tells Heather that their decision is that a new Department H will be established as a fully-funded organization serving as a support function to Alpha Flight’s activities. Mulroney pauses before informing everyone that they are recommending the disbanding of Gamma Flight and their reassignment to a training role under Alpha’s supervision.
‘Excuse me?’ asks the angry Nemesis, before Wildchild suddenly growls and pushes his way through his teammates and running towards Mulroney, ‘You will not throw us into the streets!’ he cries, and slashes at the RCMP who get in his way. Hands dripping in blood, Wildchild looms over Mulroney, telling him he will not turn Wildchild away, that he is not an animal to be discarded…’pup…little stray pup…’
Suddenly Vindicator blasts Kyle with plasma, telling him to stop where he is, but it only causes him to run towards a window, ‘Will not be a stray pup dog in the streets never again’ he cries, and as Heather asks Mulroney if he is all right, Wildchild smashes his way through the window. Mulroney is fine, and the officer who protected him would live.
Vindicator and the others however had just been party to a splendid example of why people fear their kind as much as they do. As Wildchild makes his way through crowds of civilians, Heather organizes her group in their pursuit - and they can hear people whispering behind them. Words of fear, envy and admiration. Like always, uncertainty about them.
Ironic, was Heather McNeil Hudson says ‘It’s why we’ll always have someone watching over us’, indeed someone is - her dear friend Wolverine, who watches the chase from a nearby rooftop. As Vindicator and the others follow Wildchild, Heather begins to understand the necessity behind an ever-present watch-dog. Regular people must be given some sense of security and protection against super beings - especially when it seems when they cannot even control each other.
Vindicator claims that it is time for that to change, starting now, starting with Wildchild - he is not going to escape.
Meanwhile, at the Ottawa General hospital, four hours earlier. Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen, Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski, Jeanne-Marie “Aurora” Beaubier and Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen stand at the reception. For the third time, Shaman explains who he is and informs the reception staff that he was recently a patient here, along with an associate of his, Eugene Judd. Twoyoungmen declares that he would like to know what became of Judd.
The hospital staff tells Shaman that they already told him last time - Judd was released. Twoyoungmen points out that Judd was gravely ill, before revealing that he was a practising surgeon and therefore knows what he was talking about - and Judd should not have been allowed to leave. ‘Nevertheless, he was’ points out the receptionist.
Shaman turns to fellow founding Alphan Walter and as this is getting them no where, asks him what he thinks. The handsome Walt replies that it may be time to put a little pressure on these gentlemen. Shaman sighs, ‘It always comes down to this, doesn’t it?’ ‘It would seem so’ replies Jeanne-Marie unimpressed. As Walt transforms into his alter-ego of Sasquatch, he tells them to lighten up, as Elizabeth mutters she hates it when he does that. Walt tells Talisman that it is worth the headache he gets changing into Sasquatch just to get a reaction out of her, before turning to the receptionist.
Picking one of them up, Walt informs the frightened man that he is in the grasp of a gamma-irradiated super-strong bundle of testosterone - ‘So you would be ill-advised to make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’. Teeth barred, Sasquatch asks which room Judd was in, and the frightened man reveals he was in room thirteen.
After one quick and cramped elevator ride, the heroes step out, and Elizabeth casts a magical spell of temporal alignment - past to the present - and senses that Judd hasn’t been here recently. Elizabeth turns to her father, who tells her that, as usual, the role of father he must set aside, as Shaman is necessary, and after pulling the Jewel of Actualization from his pouch, Twoyoungmen explains that it should work in conjunction with Talisman’s spell, and show them the events of the past as if they were happening now.
The heroes see Judd lying in a bed with several men around him and can tell he is in great pain, confusion and emotions raw. Shaman learns that it has been weeks since Judd was taken away, and that he did not leave of his own free will. As the Alphan leave the room, Sasquatch grabs the two men from reception who followed them and declares that as they were stupid enough to follow them up here, they might as well reveal where they took him - or he will give them a headache like they would not believe.
Back at Roxxon in Denver, Higgins puts into his record that the Canadian Army arrives with their special guest. Higgins hopes that their guest can do something now that their situation has deteriorated. Windshear stands by Higgins and asks him who the “leather lady” is that just got out of the helicopter. Higgins asks the woman who she is, and Lillian Crawley replies that she is Diamond Lil - as in rock-hard and beautiful, before revealing that Madison is inside the chopper.
Phasing into his Box armor, Madison Jeffries mutters that he is here and not happy about it. Windshear introduces himself once Box leaves the chopper and asks him if he has been briefed. Jeffries replies that he has, asking if Roxxon has some kind of mechanical experiment gone haywire. Jeffries boasts that since he can control all kinds of machinery, he is the right man for the job. Motioning to all the machinery around her, Lil mutters that she feels like she is taking a walk through Stephen King’s vacuum cleaner.
Jeffries tells Lil it is her choice and reminds her she didn’t have to come, before telling her that he knows she wouldn’t have come if she didn’t blackmail Clarke into letting her. Lillian snidely remarks that when Clarke said he didn’t want Jeffries’ precious little Heather knowing about this, she knew she wanted to come.
Looking around the complex, Jeffries replies that what is done is done, but that he doesn’t like lying to Heather, even though they have a job to do. He tells Windshear that it is an interesting experiment, ‘your bosses working on the mother of all VCRs or are they just hell-bent on taking over the world?’ he asks jokingly, to no reply. Without further ado, Box decides to get started, and flies down towards the same cannon that shot Windshear.
On their radio transmitters, Box asks Windshear if he can hear him, ‘Check’ replies Hume. Madison explains that he has some kind of weapon forming in front of him, and it looks like it is just itching to…’fire?’ suggests Windshear. Indeed it does fire, and though he is knocked back somewhat, Box manages to deflect it with a mirrored lens ‘lets see how it handles a taste of its own, eh?’ Windshear asks Box if he got it, but as tentacles come up and grab Box, he guesses not.
Suddenly, the mechanical construct starts to plug into Box. Windshear asks him if he needs help, but Jeffries just replies that there is something - someone - trying to communicate with him. He decides to talk to it - him - and goes into the cybernetic systems of the machine - the creature. Windshear calls to Jeffries and asks him if he is okay with this, but Jeffries is already in the system - falling - he can’t hear the man trying to talk to him. He asks him who he is and what happened to him - suddenly, he cuts off.
Later, Higgins has made an addendum to his entry, explaining that the machine just spit Jeffries out like a grape seed, and it has been three hours since Jeffries started mumbling to himself. Windshear and Higgins stand nearby as Lil sits with the de-armored Jeffries, asking him to snap out of it. She reminds everyone that he screamed so loud every intercom in this complex broadcasted it. Higgins remembers - it was some gibberish about ten thousand years of anger. Higgins is crunching down aspirins like candy.
Higgins points out that the broadcast was also accessed by computer systems across the Western States, Manitoba and Roxxon Worldwide. Windshear and Lil are surprised, and Higgins explains that this thing has infiltrated electronic networks everywhere - and has quite possible completely compromised Roxxon’s security. Lil looks down at Madison and asks him to tell them what they are dealing with. Jeffries sees Lil and snaps out of it, sitting up he exclaims that there was a man in the middle of that mechanical nightmare - a very angry man.
Back in Canada, at Gatineau Park, Wolverine recalls that he used to like coming here in his old days with Department H, just to get away from it all - which would explain why Wildchild feels the same way. Kyle Gibney leans up against a tree and sniffs - then growls. Before he can act, Wolverine punches him over, telling him it is too old of a trick for him to fall for. What Logan did was let Wildchild get a smell of him, before rubbing dirt and grass all over him to mask his scent, then by the time Wildchild picked up on him he had already swung around the other side.
Standing over Gibney, Wolverine looks at him, scared like a cornered animal - it reminds Wolverine of himself at one time and he doesn’t like it. Logan unsheathes his claws, telling him it is time to get him to some people who may not be as nice to him as he has been.
Elsewhere, Vindicator circles the skies, she has been searching for hours and found nothing. She managed to get a hold of Jean-Paul at the hospital and learned that Laura Dean is in a critical condition - the doctors don’t know if she is going to make it, so she sent him to Etobicoke to get Persuasion’s mother. Of course he wasn’t happy about that, big surprise.
Heather wonders if this is what the job amounts to - a little girl dying, a petulant man questioning her every move? She decides that it is not worth it, and wonders why Mac had to die. She wonders why he had to leave her alone, and she cannot even trust Madison now…she can’t seem to do much of anything right - except keep Alpha going…but only it seems, if she sells out to the government. ‘It’s been one lousy century hasn’t it?’
Vindicator sees Nemesis, Persuasion and Witchfire and lands nearby at the same time Silver and Auric do. Jimon asks Heather if she found anything, to which Heather replies she hasn’t and assumes they didn’t find him at the Point Chaudiere Promenade either, before turning to Witchfire and asking her where she has been. ‘Communing’ replies Anya, ‘you wouldn’t understand, its complicated’. ‘I’ll bet’ mutters Heather before pointing out to the Gamma Flight members that Wildchild is their teammate, and asks them what they want to do next.
‘These dweebs don’t know squat, Heather’ complains Persuasion. Heather tries to keep Kara quiet, but the furious Nemesis exclaims ‘Shut up little girl! It’s not our fault! He’s as much animal as man, he could be anywhere!’ Witchfire suggests that they need someone who is as much man as animal, when suddenly Wildchild is tossed in amongst them.
‘And where would you find someone like that, kid?’ asks a voice from within the forest. ‘No!’ exclaims Heather upon recognizing the voice. ‘This pile of trash what you’ve been looking for folks? Hello Heather. Long time no see’. says Wolverine as he leaps out of the forest before them.