Corner Brook, Newfoundland, 1:23 A.M.
Interpol received a tip that a supply of high-tech weaponry was being shipped into Canada through this small city…so when workers were spotted at the Pulp Mills on the Humber River at a very odd time of night…Alpha Flight got curious - and for these heroes, curiosity is rarely synonymous with subtlety, especially as Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier, Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck, and Lillian Crawley, better known as Diamond Lil, charge their way across the docks.
The sultry Diamond Lil lands with a loud THUMP on the dock, knocking several workers aside, while remarking that Northstar and Judd told her to be sneaky and quiet, to which she said to them “No problem, boys - just watch me!” Lil points out that they have arrived, and asks Northstar what he thinks. The handsome speedster tells Lil that he thinks she would rather not know as he knocks someone aside, while Judd kicks someone over, telling Lil that she has made a start at least.
Judd points out that they have taken care of all the “workers”, before asking where the weapons are that they are supposed to be smuggling. Suddenly, his answer is revealed, as a large door opens behind them and several men wearing strange armor make their presence known, one of them declaring that in the name of the Latverian Liberation Front, and in the name of freedom for their country, they demand that their mission be allowed to continue unmolested.
‘I didn’t molest them - did you boys molest them?’ Lil asks her teammates. Northstar points out that they have better taste than that, and suddenly a large electromagnetic blast signals the arrival of two more Alphans - Madison “Box” Jeffries, and the recently resurrected James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator. Box tells Mac that his plan worked, but Mac declares that there is still much to learn from these so-called “Freedom Fighters”. He adds that while researching them, try not to unduly harm them.
Box flies towards one of the Latverian Liberation Front members and blasts him with some super-sonics, effectively knocking them out. Creating a whirlwind as he races around one opponent, Jean-Paul suggests they each chose their own opponent, before asking someone to define “unduly” for him. Lillian just mutters that Vindicator is spouting big words again, and as she lifts Judd up, the diminutive Alphan jokes ‘I could see as how unduly might unduly confuse you’. Lil points out to Judd that he is pretty gutsy making fun of a girl whose arms are wrapped so close to the family jewels.
As Lil tosses him towards their opponent, Judd jokes that he is a man of adventure, and as he curls up like a ball, aimed at their opponent, he hopes that whoever is in the tin can realizes that this is going to hurt them much more than it does him. Judd smashes into the Latverian at full force, exclaiming that two hundred and twenty pounds of rubber-like condensed flesh, and the Latverian takes the impact. Rubbing his head, Judd remarks that Ernest would be glad to see the European machismo still foolishly abounds.
As Vindicator starts attacking his new opponent with small electromagnetic blasts, he warns the Latverian that Puck is not the only Alphan with newfound strength and power. He explains that his ability to manipulate electromagnetic energies of this planet, or even their armor, is as much a part of him as his lungs, or his anger, are. As Lil is knocked aside by Mac’s powerful blast, she jokes that she is still only getting by on good looks, diamond hard skin and a charming wit.
The last-standing member of the Latverian Liberation Front boasts that as long is there is breath left in them, they will battle to the bitter end. Northstar comes up to him and starts pounding at his chest, eventually shattering the armor completely, and revealing the henchman beneath. Jean-Paul informs the Latverian that his naïveté and ridiculous spouting reminds him a little of himself, ‘Which is unfortunate for you, since I do not like myself very much’.
Vindicator announces that all the LLF members are out cold, and remarks that he had hopes to have a least one of them conscious in order to interrogate him. He declares that if the information they received from Interpol was accurate, then they should have expected far more weaponry and resistance than that, when suddenly, all the LLF and their armor disintegrates in a burst of flame.
Vindicator exclaims that this is fascinating, as someone would rather these men have died than divulge any of their group’s information in Canada. ‘Madmen and their causes’ remarks Jean-Paul. Vindicator suggests that this may be a well-planned and deadly deception and suggests they contact Guardian.
Ottawa, under the Parliament Building, the seat of the Canadian Federal Government lies a long-abandoned complex which has served as the original home of Department H, the country’s super human training program. The bunker now serves as Alpha Flight’s temporary quarters, and many memories echo off its cold, metal walls, some pleasant, some not…some you ignore, some you hide from…and for Heather McNeil Hudson, a.k.a. Guardian, long serving leader of Canada’s premiere super heroes, Alpha Flight, some memories just keep staring her right in the face. The particular memory being James MacDonald Hudson….Vindicator.
Via computer screen, Vindicator informs Guardian of the situation, explaining that it seems their guest was correct in his postulations. Guardian orders Vindicator to recall the strike squad and bring the remains of the terrorists back in for autopsies. Vindicator replies that he understands, and signs out. Walking through the complex, Heather thinks calling each other by their codenames is all business - how convenient. It has been two weeks since Mac returned and in all that time it has been nothing but business between them.
Heather recalls that Mac didn’t even hug her when she first saw him again, and wonders what he is really thinking behind that cold, mechanical exterior - is he more man than machine now? What happens if Heather doesn’t like the answer to that question? ‘How do I really feel about my husband being alive again?’ not to mention, how is it going to affect her status as leader of the team?
Heather approaches a conference table where Alpha Flight’s military liaison, General Jeremy Clarke and various other officials are waiting for her. Heather explains that the strike squad in Newfoundland ran into some men smuggling some very advanced weaponry, claiming they were members of the Latverian Liberation Front. Clarke realizes that a certain someone was right, before asking Heather of the status of the terrorists.
Heather replies that the terrorists are dead, apparently some automatic self-destruct mechanism. Clarke declares that these people mean business, ‘That’s a bit of an understatement, General’ remarks Heather, before exclaiming that according to Vindicator, the hardware shipment they stopped may have just been a drop in the bucket. ‘Then we have no choice to do as he requests’ exclaims Clarke, when suddenly ‘Yes, General Clarke,’ bellows a cloaked man at the top of the stairs.
Clarke looks nervous and Heather is shocked, as Dr. Doom steps into view! Doom declares that in order for the trade talks between Latveria and Canada to commence, he demands that he be provided a security complement that befit’s a diplomatic visit by a reigning head of State, and since in this case he is on Canadian soil…’Victor von Doom demands that Alpha Flight provide me their undivided attention and protection!’
Ottawa General Hospital, the next morning. Heather is catching up with her close friend and teammate Doctor Michael Twoyoungmen, aptly codenamed Shaman. Heather informs Michael that what it boils down to is Doom wants water for his country, and he is willing to barter with an array of technological secrets that he possesses. Heather asks Shaman what he thinks, and the wise Alphan replies that if one opens the door to the barn, they should not complain if the fox steals their hens. ‘And if there ever was a fox, it’s Doom,’ remarks Heather, before asking Shaman how Elizabeth is doing.
Shaman replies that his daughter is eating on her own now and is in physical therapy to improve her motor functions. He explains that her memory is spotty and she cannot access the wealth of mystical knowledge innately contained in her mind. Solemnly, Shaman declares that in essence, his daughter, the Talisman, allowed herself to be lobotomized in order to save the team. Shaman asks Heather if she realizes how helpless this makes him feel, and as they walk side by side down the hospital corridor, Shaman reminds Heather that time and time again Elizabeth has risked her life - body and soul - and he is never able to help her, only there to pick up the shattered pieces.
Heather suggests it is all part of being a parent, and suggests they check on Laura Dean. ‘Another casualty, and this one a ten year old girl no less!’ mutters Shaman. Twoyoungmen wonders why it all still bothers him so much, before asking Heather to tell him more about Doom’s presence. Heather explains that it seems Doom’s country’s only fresh water supply has been tainted by a bacterial infection, and neither of his neighbors, Symkaria or the Soviet Union, are willing to deal with him. Shaman realizes that Doom came to the country with the largest fresh water supply, before asking why Parliament would be willing to deal with him, to which Heather points out that the usual reasons - money and technology - and from Doom, they can get both.
‘Granted, but at what cost?’ asks Shaman as the duo enter Laura Dean’s private ward. Heather whispers that it is time to make nice, and asks Jeanne-Marie “Aurora” Beaubier how things are going. Aurora greets Heather and explains that nothing has changed, that Laura is still in her coma state and Kara is still watching over her like a benevolent vulture. Heather turns to Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave and asks if she is still “down in the dumps”, before pointing out that Laura is alive, and they should keep praying.
Kara replies that she knows, before asking what kind of life this is, and declares that she keeps thinking with all their powers and fancy names - they are all just raw meat, right? Heather gives the former Beta Flight member a hug, as Kara mutters that they can all get cut up and cooked up like everyone else. Heather tells Kara that they are all flesh and blood, but they are also heart and soul too, and asks her to keep her hope and faith for Laura’s sake, and her own.
Laura’s father, Darby Dean steps forward and tells Guardian that her words are very true, and understands that they could be directed at he and his wife also. Darby exclaims that he and Susan admit they were wrong to abandon Laura because she was a mutant, and want Heather to know they are going to make up for their mistake. Heather replies that is good to hear, before informing the Dean’s that the situation involving Laura is far from over, both physically and legally. Susan Dean asks Heather what she means by this, to which Heather reveals that once Laura is healthy again, Alpha Flight is going to petition to become her legal guardians.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, later that afternoon. At a large building site, founding Alphan Doctor Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch remarks that this is going to be home sweet home, joking that besides the fact he hates the Maple Leaf’s with every strand of fur on his cute body, he supposes that this should be okay. Turning to Witchfire, Walt asks the young sorceress what she thinks. The former member of Gamma Flight replies that she doesn’t think the land will reject them, adding that she feels they will be well-attuned to this location.
Windshear snidely remarks that he feels “attuned” as well, to which Alpha Flight’s new government liaison Kerry Patrick tells Colin Ashworth Hume not to get snippy. Hume replies that he is “snippy” because he and Witchfire are not even official Alphans yet and wants to know why they have to be here, before telling Walt and Kerry that they may as well come out and say it, that they don’t trust them. Walt, in a mockingly British tone, tells Windshear not to be so sensitive.
Sasquatch explains that Heather just wanted him and Kerry to take turns evaluating Windshear and Witchfire’s personalities, and this seemed like the best time to do it. ‘But if you’re going to act like a baby, I can feed you a bottle at a great bar a few blocks away’ Kerry asks Walt if he is talking about the Loose Moose, when suddenly, the crane carrying a set of planks snaps, sending the heavy planks plummeting to the ground. ‘Look out below!’ yells one of the construction workers.
Windshear exclaims that it looks like the whole building is coming down, and tells Patrick to stay behind him. Windshear takes flight and uses his mutant powers to create a hard-air screen to protect the two of them from the falling slabs. Sasquatch tells Hume not to worry about him and Witchfire, but to check with the workers and make sure none of them were hurt. A green glow emanates from Witchfire as she exclaims that a spell of attunement will cause the falling metal to seek other metal and the falling wood to seek other wood.
Windshear arrives at the top of the building frame and asks the workers if they are all right. One of the workers replies that they are fine, and explain that the mooring cables snapped. Windshear picks the men up and flies them down to the ground. Witchfire whispers to Walter ‘That was rather questionable’, and Walt declares that he is getting tired of having every one of their headquarters fall apart and exclaims that it is not going to happen again.
Turning to Kerry Patrick, Sasquatch declares that he thinks this construction site is going to need some serious supervision, and asks what he thinks. Hands in pockets, Kerry replies that in light of this escapade, he couldn’t agree more.
Three hours later in Ottawa, Dr. Doom addresses Ministers of the Federal Canadian Parliament, informing them that he is not one to beg or borrow, but he is a ruler whose people beg for the Canadian’s assistance, a ruler whose people raise their hands to borrow a taste of life. Doom explains that his land is in desperate need of fresh water, that his people thirst for life and points out that those who thirst for power deny them their rightful due.
Doom declares that he comes to Canada to secure a treaty which would provide Latveria with fresh water. He adds that he has done this under direct threat to his own life from forces who would oppose him. Turning and walking away from the table, past Mac and Aurora, he exclaims that tomorrow morning, when the talks official begin, he hopes they will see clear to grant his needs.
‘Vindicator…Guardian…whatever your name is now -’ remarks Doom, before Mac cuts him off, ‘It is Vindicator, your majesty.’ ‘Of course’, replies Doom as he asks if he and Aurora would accompany him to his quarters. Mac matter-of-factly states that they are here to provide the ruler of Latveria with complete protection, while thinking to himself that he can see Doom is representing Latveria, he is beginning to doubt that this Doom is the real Victor von Doom!
The next morning, protesters are in abundance as the flock around Parliament Hill. A reporter reports that in addition to protesters there are also supporters of the so-called “Water For The Devil” talks, who have come to make their voices heard. Inside Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Mulroney welcomes everyone, including Dr. Doom and exclaims that he hopes today’s discussions do not become as rambunctious as those held here recently. Doom, sitting on a makeshift throne, points out that he is here for a specific reason, and claims it is not to cause them any difficulty. ‘I am here to find a succor for my people!’
Doom declares that in that light, he wants to express his appreciation for the respect Canada has shown in his delegation, as well as the security he has been provided with through Canada’s super human operatives. ‘I’d feel a sense of security if I could knock him upside the head!’ whispers Walt, to which Heather tells him to hush.
Vindicator suddenly announces that there is something peculiar and asks Box to perform a wavelength spectrograph on the people in the room. Box replies ‘no problem’, before asking why. Vindicator reveals that he is registering broadcasts in the same frequency as those emitted by the terrorists in Newfoundland, and as Box scans the men flanking Dr. Doom, he sees that Vindicator is correct, and reveals that the readings are coming from lots of people.
Suddenly, there is a loud rumbling, and the men flanking Doom are revealed to be more of the Latverian Liberation Front. They are suited up and one of them declares that in order for Latveria to ever be free…Doom must die! Dr. Doom stands up and calls Alpha Flight fools for allowing the LLF to enter the chamber. Northstar rushes forth to hold back one of the soldiers with multiple punches while telling Doom to not insult those protecting his questionable armored hide. As Judd leaps into battle, he reminds Jean-Paul that they have a job to do and heads to bust - ‘so stop complaining and keep hitting, eh?’
Aurora darts around members of the LLF, boasting that her light-imbued abilities are simply too fast for them. As part of her new pacifist outlook, Jeanne-Marie asks the LLF if they would prefer to simply desist. As Vindicator attacks his opponent, he tells Aurora that he applauds her effort, but points out that it doesn’t seem they are willing to simply desist.
Guardian hovers high over several of the LLF, asking her team for a little less banter, and as she knocks out four of the LLF at once, she orders Alpha Flight to do their jobs and finish off these terrorists. Vindicator exclaims that an electromagnetic dispersal screen should sufficiently render his opponents armor inoperative, while Box takes a little more of a “biceps and pit-stain” approach, ripping the armor from his opponents’ bodies.
As Sasquatch shoves his opponent through some glass, he comments that Jeffries could have made on heck of a “free-safety” if he had an ounce of coordination. Lil tells Walt to trust her on this one: that Jeffries is coordinated where and when he needs to be. ‘And you can bet that goes double for me!’ she adds as she uppercuts one of her opponents.
Shaman kneels before several members of the LLF, informing them that most of his teammates revel in their exertion, as it has been too long since they have had such an opportunity. However, he explains that for his part, a spell of local seismic upheaval is a harmless, though effective remedy to their assault, and Twoyoungmen’s opponents are soon knocked to the ground by a small earthquake.
‘Die, Doom! Die and let history spit upon you!; shouts one of the LLF as he blasts Doom with some power. Doom stands his ground, pointing out that as long as his personal force field can protect him, he will not be soiled by one such as he. Judd asks Doom why he needs Alpha Flight then, to which Jean-Paul points out that it is for show, for the petty sake of looking sympathetic. Together, Jean-Paul and Puck hit one of the LLF from two directions, knocking him out.
Heather blasts two of the Latverian Liberation Front at the same time, exclaiming that whatever the reason, she wants less talk and more action. With her two opponents down for the count, she asks if that is all of them. Blinding one of them with her light, Aurora announces that this is the last, before suddenly declaring that when her burst of light engulfed the LLF member, she felt something odd.
Vindicator remembers what happened last time and orders everyone away from their foes, explaining that they are about to explode. However, all of the LLF members scream in pain, before turning to dust. Guardian exclaims that they are all dead and asks how they could have done this too themselves. Vindicator approaches Doom and in reply to Heather’s question reveals that the LLF did not kill themselves, declaring that when the first group self-destructed in Newfoundland, he registered a triggering signal, and exclaims that he just registered the same signal, as well as the frequency which activated the teleportation device which brought the terrorists here, coming from one location, one source…Dr. Doom!
Vindicator announces that he can see Doom’s force field is raised, and points out that while it protected him during the battle, it cannot protect Doom from him, nor can it shield him from the guilt. Vindicator uses his electromagnetic abilities to extinguish Doom’s force field, and puts a hand around Doom’s neck. ‘What now?’ asks Doom, as Vindicator reveals he can control and override all electromagnetic frequencies once he has accessed their wavelengths, which now includes Doom’s force field.
Vindicator declares that rumors have been running rampant that this man is merely a pretender to the throne, that behind the armor, he is not the true Victor von Doom. Mac suggests that if so, what better way to allay those suspicions and place him in a sympathetic light among the international community, than having an assassination attempt on his very life in a very public and very political forum.
‘Disengage your hand from my person, Vindicator, or I will snap it in half!’ comes Doom’s reply. Vindicator complies, and Doom declares that as official sovereign ruler of Latveria, he claims diplomatic immunity from their hostilities. Vindicator informs Doom that he is correct, and Heather tells Doom that they are not going to allow him to get off so easily. As Doom fades before their eyes, he informs Guardian that one does not “allow” Doom anything!
With that, he is gone, but Vindicator announces that Doom escaped using a variation of his time machine, explaining that he was able to set its usage for moments after its activation, using time travel as a teleportation device. Mulroney asks if it is over, to which Heather replies that it appears to be. Heather declares that all of Doom’s plans and all of his manipulations backfired completely. She points out that even if the threat to Latveria’s water supply were true, Doom will suffer even more international isolation than before.
Heather claims that the only question left unanswered is how could Doom, even if he is not the real one, have allowed himself to get into such a predicament to begin with?
Elsewhere…reports come through via a computer, “-reports of the ruckus in the Canadian parliament-”, “-questions regarding the Latverian leader continues to grow as-”, “-though it appears the water supply still remains tainted, this is CNN Newswa-”
‘This is all that is needed?’ asks a man dressed in black, holding a small vial of water out. ‘Yes’ comes the reply, ‘The contents of that vial will return my land’s water supply to normal’. Dr. Doom steps into view, informing Ambassador Fyotr that it is to be presented to the Latverian people as a gift from his great nation of Symkaria. ‘It will be, Herr Doom,’ Fyotr replies, before thanking Doom for the use of his elegant Swiss Chalet, and most especially for his benevolence.
‘Yes, of course,’ replies Doom, declaring that all has worked as planned, that Kristoff is impotent in the face of his greatest challenge as Monarch, and very soon, Victor von Doom will reclaim his land…and Kristoff’s head will be served to him on a silver platter. ‘Very, very soon indeed…’.
Back in Canada, various parts of conversation is picked up from patrons at a fancy restaurant, ‘The GST is going to kill the regular folks, but -’, ’Yeah, yeah, Blue Rodeo’s playing there tonight -’. At the table shared by General Jeremy Clarke and Kerry Patrick, Kerry tells the General that he understands his reservations, but… Clarke cuts him off, ‘But nothing’ he says, telling Patrick that he has to discuss this with him, not that it means he doesn’t give one whit about Patrick’s opinion on the matter of course.
‘Well, General, that’s certainly a good way to start a new relationship, isn’t it?’ asks Kerry. ‘Trust me, son, the last thing in the world I want is a relationship with someone like you!’ replies Clarke, pointing out that Kerry is a paper-pusher, while he is a soldier, and exclaims that from an operational standpoint, this has to be his call.
Kerry tells Clarke that he is overstepping his bounds as the military liaison. Clarke smirks, ‘what a surprise’ he says, before declaring that no matter what Kerry thinks, he thinks that James MacDonald Hudson should be leading Alpha Flight, not his wife…’and I intend to see my thoughts acted upon…immediately!’