Have you checked your horoscope?
(In Guardian IV’s dream sequence)
James MacDonald Hudson is a Sagittarius and believes in exploration, striving for perfection and dismisses the notion of “God“. As Weapon Alpha he had a simple dream - to make Department H Canada’s super-powered equivalent of America’s Central Intelligence Agency, and to launch Alpha Flight, a team of Canadian heroes willing to sacrifice themselves for province and planet no matter how high the cost. On behalf of this department and his dream he has also helped make a monster-man of many names. “Logan“, “Wolverine“, “Weapon X“.
On this day, Weapon Alpha has agreed to fight “Chi“ as Logan’s Greek nomenclature has labeled him, though mostly everyone calls him “X“. With this fight, Mac has hoped to prove his theory that Logan is more man than beast.
From a secure viewing panel, someone announces “release the test subject“ as Weapon Alpha declares he is ready. But he is wrong. Weapon X slices past Weapon Alpha and growls as Alpha is knocked to the side. If he had bothered to read his horoscope, but of course he hasn’t, as he regards astrology as something far less than science, then he would know that it said Long-range plans come to a conclusion.
Weapon Alpha gets off the ground and blasts Weapon X back with an electromagnetic pulse. Department H’s government liaison, Gary Cody, calls to Alpha and asks him how X is. Mac declares that Logan is down for the count and apologizes as Gary informs him they will try again tomorrow.
Tapping Logan’s unmoving body with his foot, Mac mumbles that he must have hit him too hard - when suddenly, Logan’s bloodshot eyes flash - for there is something to be said about cosmology, and nature, and intuition, and instinct. Logan grabs Mac by the ankle, and as he unsheathes his deadly adamantium claws he leaps up - and claws Weapon Alpha through the chest, growling. All Mac can mumble is ’Logan! What? No!’
As death begins to take Mac, it takes him as surely as it took Alpha Flight when Department H shut them down many years later. He can only think to himself Long-range plans come to a conclusion. Did he actually read his horoscope? Or did it come to him in a dream?
Mac’s electromagnetic battle-suit flickers as armed guards stun Weapon X. Mac clutches at his chest, blood pours out of him as he calls for help. Jeremy Clarke walks over to Mac with some papers and a pen, telling Mac that they can help him but that he needs to sign the waver first. Two guards struggle to lift Logan as Mac struggles to read what he is about to sign. He asks Clarke what the “Prometheus Division“ is and to clarify what it is he is signing. Clarke informs Mac that he is signing his birth certificate - re-birth actually. Mac scribbles his signature on the form, exclaiming ‘anything, just help me!’
Mac wakes and cries ‘No!’ His dream was and is Alpha Flight. The dream is alive again…God help us all.
(In Vindicator II’s dream sequence)
She is Heather McNeil Hudson, a Virgo, a woman who longs for love but finds it a cruel companion. She opens a door and enters a room, where she sees her husband, Mac, struggling with his super-powered battle suit as he tries to deactivate it. Mac tells her not to come in, when suddenly, he blows up in front of her. Heather McNeil Hudson fears death, but only because of what it has taken and taken and taken from her.
Heather McNeil Hudson prays that she will forget the day she saw her husband incinerated before her very eyes. ‘I wonder what’s behind this door?’ she thinks to herself as she approaches another door. As often as Heather prays for absolution, as for self-assured complicity in Mac‘s death. Upon opening the next door, she sees Mac, who calls to her, asking her to get out, when he again is incinerated.
Heather’s horoscope is puzzling: Love lost returns unexpectedly She walks to another door, wondering what is behind it. Her horoscope is puzzling because her husband has already returned. But he has returned a changed man, with changed feelings, and so in the end he left her - much to her relief.
‘Mac!’ screams Heather as she wakes from her nightmare, tears pouring from her eyes as sweat dots her forehead. She is Heather McNeil Hudson - the champion super hero known as Vindicator and she wakes this morning as she does every other one - unsettled.
(In Puck’s dream sequence)
Eugene Milton Judd is a Capricorn, a strongly loyal and deeply passionate man. Mmmmmm…Eugene, mumbles Heather McNeil as she kisses an unusually tall version of him. But he has always lived an arms reach from his one true love - for far more years than he can ever dare say. Mmmmmm…Mac, exclaims Heather as she kisses her husband. ‘Heather?’ asks Judd as he shrinks down in size. Mmmmmm…Madison, declares Heather as she kisses her longtime lover.
Judd never fully revealed his heart to Heather, because he felt that hers would be closed to a man of his stunted stature. He disappears from view as he calls to Heather as she hooks up with Madison.
Judd never really decided if the off-handed comments of others were careless comments, or malicious attacks. ‘Relax, short, bald and nasty!’ declares Mac as he points at Judd. ‘Come back here, you sawed off little hockey puck!’ exclaims Madison. ‘You sweet little man’ smiles Heather wickedly as she raises her foot to stamp it down on him.
Though he dreams of “normalcy“ Judd cannot deny that it is his body that has made him what it is - a survivor.
‘Heather?’ asks Judd as he wakes up in a dodgy alleyway in a less-than-respectable part of town. Judd’s horoscope is prophetic however: A return to familiar comforts awaits you. A homeless man calls to Judd and asks him if he is heading home. Judd calls back that he has to get himself some aspirin and a new lifestyle.
Eugene Milton Judd would accept his horoscope if he were to read it, but would be silently disappointed if it made no mention of the word he dreams of - love. Judd walks up to the apartment block where he sometimes lives and calls to a neighbor, telling her how she looks as beautiful as her garden. The woman tells Judd that he has a nice word for everybody, to which Judd replies that he ‘calls ‘em like I see ‘em’. The neighbor asks him how long he is going to be in town for this time, to which Judd declares that there is no telling with him.
In his sparse apartment, Judd realizes there is ‘no telling at all’ before turning on his answering machine. The first message says: Eugene Judd? Listen closely. A mutual friend, James Hudson, was reported missing to Ottawa police last week. He is not missing, he’s been taken and changed. Ask your friends in the Department. They know all about it. We’ll speak again.
Judd wonders what this is all about, and as he shaves he thinks he probably shouldn’t trust an anonymous call, but as a friend may be in trouble knows he may have to risk it - especially if it gives him an excuse to see Heather. On Eugene Milton Judd’s better days, he is also known as Puck. After passing his neighbor and asking her to watch his apartment while he goes away for a while longer, he races across Ottawa - toward better days - and a return to familiar comforts.
As Judd cartwheels his way up a flight of stairs to the “A Cut Above“ florist, he think that this is going to be awkward, as he hasn’t spoken to Heather since Department H shut them down several months ago. Judd knows he misses Heather like nobody’s business, but that Alpha Flight was his excuse to be around her without looking like a love-sick puppy. He hopes she will forgive him for the lapse.
Inside the florist, Heather is setting up a bouquet of flowers as her co-worker calls to her, asking if she is going to take her break now. Heather replies that she is counting the seconds but just wants to get a ribbon on a single rose in the bouquet. However as she takes a ribbon and turns back to the flowers - the rose she was talking about has disappeared…
… but re-appears in Judd’s hand: ’rose, for the beautiful lady?’ he asks. Heather is certainly surprised to see him and asks what he is doing here. He replies that it has been too long since they spoke and asks her how she has been. Heather folds her arms and reveals she has been ’all right, I suppose. Mundane job, mundane life’ but even though she thinks it is a little dull, she supposes that it makes a nice change after the last five years of her life. ’Keeps my mind off…things. You know’. She adds.
Judd declares that he hates to be the bearer of bad tidings, but has come to put Heather’s mind back on things. He asks her to join him for lunch, but Heather hesitantly replies that she cannot. Judd informs her that she will want to hear him out, as it is about Mac.
Soon, Heather and Judd cross the street to the “Luna Café“ and Judd apologizes to Heather, telling her that he knows she and Mac have been through a lot and didn’t want to get in their business. Heather mumbles that they have been through too much for one lifetime to which Judd asks her what happened, as he thought things worked out to a happy ending. ‘What happened? Life I guess’ replies Heather who reveals that she and Mac were even working together for a time, but Mac was distant, for something major had changed in him.
Entering the café and taking their seats, Heather reveals that once Department H pulled the plug on Alpha Flight for the umpteenth time, she and Mac were left together alone and she realized she didn’t know, or love him anymore. Judd tells her that it is a tough break and reminds Heather that she and Mac have been together forever, and that there is something to be said for sticking it out.
Outside, a group of Epsilons approach the café, one of them calling back to their command to confirm the targets are at the “Luna Café“. The command replies to commence retrieval.
Heather tells Judd that everyone wants the things they love to stay the same forever, but that it is not the way the world works. She admits that she would love to be given the chance to start over from the beginning with Mac, but knows it cannot happen, for life is change. Judd remarks that they have certain seen their fair share of that and reminds Heather how Mac was dead, then alive, then half-alien robot, or how Walt is Sasquatch, but a man, then a monster, then dead, then a woman, then a man again. ‘It’s crazy, eh?’ Changing the subject somewhat, Judd asks Heather if she ever misses the team.
Back outside, some civilians wonder what is going on, as an Epsilons keep them back, declaring this is a secured area. Another Epsilon relays the confirmation to a third, who asks if they are going ‘frontal?’. The second Epsilon reveals that all damages would be covered. ‘Must be our lucky day’ mumbles the third.
Inside, Heather tells Judd that as crazy as it sounds, she doesn’t miss the team, for the worst moments of her life are all associated with Alpha Flight. She asserts that a better thing couldn’t have happened to her than having that element taken out of the equation of her existence. Heather reminds Judd of the reason they are meeting - something about Mac. Judd declares that something bad has happened to him, and tells Heather that he got a weird message saying that Mac had been kidnapped.
‘Epsilons, engage!’ shouts one of the Epsilons as they run for the café. Another Epsilon tells him to cut with the corny lines and move his butt.
Heather closes her eyes and admits that Mac being kidnapped is strange, but that she cannot get sucked back into Department H. right now, she needs time to herself. ‘Yeah, well I need your…duck!’ Judd exclaims as he sees the Epsilons running towards them. ‘My duck?’ asks Heather just as the Epsilons lunge through the window, smashing it and causing Heather and Judd to leap from their seats.
An Epsilon tells Heather and Judd to come quietly and no one will get hurt and is about to reveal who the order comes from, but Judd cuts him off, declaring that someone is gonna get hurt ‘And that someone seems to be wearing your face!’ he shouts as he leaps at the Epsilon and punches him to the wall, where he lands against a fish tank.
Heather tells the other Epsilon that they obviously know who she and Judd are, so asks him who he is and who sent him - as she raises her leg and kicks him in between the legs - only for her foot to meet with a heavily padded and protected crotch. ‘Nice try’ the Epsilon smirks, before informing Heather that under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, she is ordered to cease and desist - ‘The Ministry? Don’t make me laugh’ Heather says before the Epsilon pulls a gun and reminds her she was warned. He fires the gun and Heather is hit by some stun device. Judd tells Heather not to worry as he will save her, but as he tries to get to her, the other Epsilon asks him who he is and proclaims that he will join her, in the hallowed halls of Department H, and Judd is knocked out too.
Department H, who as a bureaucracy does not have an astrological sign, but whose official date of inception was July 2nd, which would make it a Cancer. A strangely apt metaphor for it. In a medical room, a bald man tells a doctor who is standing in between the beds of Heather and Judd that he needs them. ‘Pushing, always pushing you are’ replies the doctor before informing the bald man that the injection will take effect any moment but warns him to be ready, for they will come out exactly where the sonic shock left them. ‘- laugh, you pathetic...pathetic…where am I?’ asks Heather as she sits up. ‘Don’t try to move too quickly’ the bald man informs them as Judd rubs his head and mumbles ‘What in the name of Sweet Mother Molson?’
Getting off the bed, Heather turns to the bald man, hands on his she sourly declares ‘General Clarke, why am I not surprised?’ Clarke ignores her comment and welcomes her and Judd back. ‘This was your idea of an invitation, eh?’ asks Judd before informing him that three guys in suits endangered civilians in order to kidnap people he could have just called. ‘He didn’t call, because he knew we’d never come’ Heather says bitterly before telling Clarke he had better let them go, exclaiming that the last time she checked, Canada was still a free country with little regard for its military bureaucrats. She tells him to imagine what they will think of him when she tells them how he violated her human rights. Solemnly, Clarke informs Heather that there may not be a Canada to report that news to after today and asks her to follow him so he can explain everything.
In a briefing room, General Jeremy Clarke informs Heather and Judd that early this morning a closed, looped message started coming in over an unassigned broadcast channel. ‘And fifteen minutes later you decide to kidnap us and hold us against out will, now at gun point?’ Heather remarks sarcastically as she motions to the Epsilons scattered throughout the room. Clarke declares that the guards are there to protect him, not to harm her before revealing that Canada is on a level of alert that they have never approached before and that no one can be trusted. ‘I’m with you on that one, eh?’ remarks Judd.
Clarke turns on a large monitor and informs Heather and Judd that the message is extremely disturbing, as they will see for themselves. Heather and Judd watch as a shabby looking man exclaims that if the fascistic Canadian government does not recognize Quebec as a separate nation immediately and pay them 80 million dollars in reparations then they will chemically strike Vancouver then work their way East until Canada meets with their demands, or Canada is destroyed.
‘That’s it?’ asks Heather ‘A lone threat from an unknown lunatic with a video camera warrants you abducting us?’ she asks Clarke. She mentions the Quebec separatism and exclaims that this cannot be serious. ‘Its like some cliché from a bad American TV movie, about Canada -’ Clarke cuts her off, and informs her that it is not the terrorists agenda they are concerned with, for they have known about this faction for years but that they have never had this much nerve before.
Clarke informs Heather and Judd that they are attributing this to the figure cloaked in shadow in the background of the transmission. Clarke hands Heather a photo that Department H’s lab managed to clean up after enhancing the video, which revealed this man, Scorpio. Clarke informs them that Scorpio is a long-time underworld figure who heads the cartel of crime known as the Zodiac. He reveals that Department H records show the team is incarcerated in American and Japanese prisons, but this seems to be a new group that has risen to take the place of the old, and right here in Canada, of course.
Puck reveals that he has heard of the Zodiac and decides that this could be bad news. Annoyed, Heather exclaims that this is no news, but obviously some kind of ruse, adding that anyone with vocal cords can make threats, but follow through? She remarks that the attack in Japan is the only recent incidence of deployment of chemical weapons, and believes this to be a scam to get money and nothing more. Clarke looks at Heather sideways and tells her that he wishes that she was right, but that an hour after the first message, to prove their sincerity, the entire population of Port Radium was murdered using the chemical agent the terrorists described and that there were no survivors.
Clarke exclaims that the terrorists are not threatening to use chemical weapons, but they are using them and must be stopped. ‘Only Alpha can do the stopping’. Eyes narrowed, Heather tells Clarke that Alpha Flight may be able to stop them had he not disbanded the team. ‘Sorry, Clarke. I guess you’ll have to call the Avengers this time’ she remarks snidely. Clarke reveals that the Avengers and Fantastic Four have vanished, to which Heather tells him to add Alpha Flight to that list too, no thanks to him.
Judd steps forward and informs Clarke that he is willing to help, but asks how two lone Alphans are supposed to stop a group of international criminals and a group of angry terrorists. Clarke informs Judd that it will not just be the two of them, and reveals that over the last few days all the Alphans that could be found have been recruited, as well as some new recruits from the Departments own projects. He tells Heather and Judd that the others have been training and are simply waiting for the two of them to join them and save the country from the monsters who are set on destroying it.
Heather tells Clarke that “recruited“ is an awfully civil word for his methods and asks if he bothered to ask anyone first or if they were all simply snatched out of their lives. Continuing on her rant, which she has good reason to do, Heather asks Clarke, for the record, which of her former teammates has he “assembled“ and wants to know why they are not here for the meeting. Clarke tells Heather that they have already been briefed and as to which Alphans they were able to locate, some she will know - like Madison Jeffries. Heather cuts the General off, partly shocked, partly excited, she asks if Madison is really here.
Clarke confirms that Heather’s former lover is, informing Heather that the veteran pool consists of Madison, Sasquatch, herself and Puck, while they also have some new recruits, whose images appear on the monitor behind Clarke, who tells Heather their names are Murmur, Manbot and the Corbo brothers, Radius and Flex. Judd pipes up and declares that “having“ is all well and good, but asks who can train, organize and lead this kind of team on such short notice. ‘That’d be me’ comes a voice from the other side of the room, and as Heather turns around, she sees a red and white Maple leaf clad super hero - ‘Mac!’ she exclaims. The handsome super hero enters the room and declares that what they have is not so much a ground-level rebuilding as it is a combat skills integration. He reveals that he has been putting the other Alphans through their paces for the past few days and that things are looking good.
Taking off his mask, he exclaims ‘Better than good, in fact. Fresh. Reborn’. With his mask removed the always handsome hero is looking himself, fresh and reborn. He smiles as he exclaims all they need now are the final recruits uniformed and outfitted so they can set about saving Canada once more. Heather and Judd are shocked at Mac’s youthful appearance, and Heather tells Mac that he looks nineteen. ‘If he’s a day’ adds Judd who then asks what is going on. Mac informs them that their questions will be answered when there is time, but that for now they best get going.
Meanwhile, on the Canadian / U.S. border, a security team informs the man known as Shiro Yashida, a.k.a. Sunfire, a man whose country does not believe in the traditional Zodiac, that this is an International border dividing Canada from the States and therefore the rule is if he does not have any documentation they cannot let him through. If Shiro was Chinese, then he would be under the sign of the Snake. Shiro tells the officers again that he was sent to work with Department H and Alpha Flight. One of the officers tells Sunfire that they have no idea who he is, so he cannot help him until he has got his documentation.
Shiro Yashida is not Chinese, nor Canadian, but Japanese, and he is a hero, whose recent dealings with the X-Men have illustrated his loss of control over his powers and his need for help. Though he hates to admit to himself that he needs anything. The former member of the X-Men takes off his jacket, while thinking that he hoped Canada would prove more indignant than her southern neighbor, but sees that they are no different after all. He supposes that if Canada will not accept him as the cooperative Shiro, they leave him no choice than to come to them as the less-than-cooperative Sunfire! Shiro takes to the sky, but is very quickly shot down by a team of Epsilons. He is a man without a sign and a man without a country.
Back at Department H, the mysterious General Clarke leads Judd and Heather into Combat Centrale, Alpha Flight’s very own Danger Room to meet the others. Clarke is indeed a mystery, for no one knows his Zodiacal allegiance because no one knows his date of birth, nor his real name, political agenda or closest blood relative. Nor how he convinced the powers that be in the Canadian government that it was time for Canada to be one of the major players in the super-hero arms race. The only person that knows anything is himself - but he is not telling anything substantive.
‘Puck, Vindicator’ Clarke begins, until Heather cuts him off, telling him not to call her anything but Heather for now. Clarke complies as Guardian calls to everyone in the room telling them to ‘fall in and meet the old timers’. ‘Look who’s talking’ a cocky yet handsome young man tells Guardian, reminding him that he may look young, but is as old as dirt. Calling him Jared, a young French-Canadian woman tells him to be nice or otherwise she may have to punish him. ‘Really? Wow.’ Jared replies.
Clarke tells Heather and Judd that they both remember Madison Jeffries, formerly Box, who transforms metallic substances into anything he desires and is also an Alpha Flight veteran. Wearing a new costume which he has used his mutant power to add bits of metal to, and now sporting a moustache, Jeffries greets Heather and Judd and tells them that it is good to see them both. He emphasizes the both before adding that Lil sends her regards. As a Gemini, Jeffries is a concrete thinker and rational strategist. For all his external logic however, his ability to know himself is sorely lacking.
Jared Corbo introduces himself as Radius, telling Heather that he has a force field and knows how to use it and that if they are in trouble in the field, then he is their man. Jared is a Leo, and has a charming personality when he lets it show through all his bravado. He weaves his history into myths and pulls all from life that he can, trying his best to ignore the depression he feels within himself.
Jared motions to a younger boy and calls him his brother - ‘er, half brother’ who is code-named “„Flex“. With eyes downcast, the young boy informs Heather and Judd that he can flex his hands and “stuff“ into metal, but asserts that his name is Adrian, not Flex. As a Pisces, Adrian is intuitive and harbors great compassion, but is plagued by equally great feelings of inadequacy.
Clarke introduces the tanned French-Canadian as Arlette Truffaut, code-named Murmur. The attractive young woman waves at Heather and Judd and with a heavy accent explains that she was told her power forces people to do things she is suggesting, but she likes to think she just has a way with others. Arlette is an Aquarius and therefore highly liked for idealism, but she is also highly unpredictable to herself and to those around her. Intimacy is difficult for her, even though she believes the opposite to be true.
Turning to the wall behind them, Clarke declares that they all of course know Sasquatch. A shocked Heather sees her longtime teammate in a somewhat mutated Sasquatch form, chained to the wall and asks Clarke what he has done to Walter. Clarke reveals that he was like that when they found him roaming around the forests near the North Thompson River and that they have done what they can for him, but that is not much, however, he believes they need his strength.
Highly annoyed, Heather raises her voice and asking Clarke if he is kidding her, she tells him to look at Sasquatch again. ‘What?’ replies Clarke, forcing Heather to point out the obvious - ‘He is filthy and you have him chained to a wall’. She snaps that Walter is a teammate and a friend, not some zoo animal. Arguing with Heather, Clarke points out that he is no longer what he was, and has also been difficult to handle since they picked him up. Mac orders the team to run another simulation while Heather and Clarke argue. ‘You call this Alpha Flight?’ asks Heather, hands on hips, she asks where Northstar and Aurora are and why Wildchild is not here either. ‘We need power, not children!’ she cries. Frustrated, she asks where ‘That robot man you showed us’ is.
Clarke informs Heather that Manbot is currently being adjusted and tells her sternly that this is all the Alpha Flight she will need and is certainly all she has got. Clarke tells Heather that as for power she will want to spend the next few hours getting used to the new suit they have designed for her. He calls to an assistant who brings the green and white costume over. Clarke informs Heather that while Mac’s suit has control over electromagnetic fields, they have reconfigured hers to give it control over geothermal phenomena.
Heather asks Clarke what makes him think that she is putting on some suit that they just whipped up and tells him to get it away from her this minute. ‘You can keep your screwed up team, because we’re out of here, right, Puck?’ Heather snaps, before calling to Puck again, only to find him enjoying himself in the combat simulation with the others. ‘Oh for the love of…give me the suit’ Heather exclaims, frustrated.
Guardian aims electromagnetic pulses at Judd, who dodges them, causing Mac to wonder why he cannot get him, for he can always get him in the simulation targets. ‘I’m not a simulation, eh?’ remarks Judd before jokingly telling Mac that perhaps the youth cream he has been using has been smoothing away his combat skills. Approaching Murmur, Judd looks up at her and calling her gorgeous he asks her what it is she does. ‘Sleep’ Arlette replies as she touches Judd on the head. ‘You sleep?’ Judd asks. ‘Silly little man’ Murmur laughs as Judd falls to the ground sleeping.
Radius rushes up to Murmur and tells her that she cannot let him distract her, but as he knocks her aside, Arlette cries, ‘No, Radius, not my face!’ Jeffries asks Radius if he ever wondered what his smirk would look like smashed up against some jagged metal. As Jeffries creates jagged metal from the metal flooring, Jared tells him that they will never know, because he will not be able to touch him, no one will. On the floor, Murmur mumbles ‘Uhh…I sink you broke my nose, you peeg!’
Jared runs past the jagged metal while calling to his brother, telling him to quit hiding in the corner and get over here, because he wants to pound on him. Adrian replies that he is no hiding, but waiting. ‘Tell that to the thing you just backed into’ Radius shouts back. Turning around, Flex is greeted with a loud growl from Sasquatch, causing Flex to scream. Radius tells his younger brother not to cry about it, and pointing out that Sasquatch is chained, he tells flex to just nail him. ‘Shut up and leave me alone!’ snaps Flex, who extends a now metal limb into Sasquatch’s jaw.
Simple mistakes, errors of timing, miscalculations of strategy, lapses of confidence, fear and bad judgment are all in need of correction. ‘Stop, all of you, now!’ Everyone turns to the direction of the voice. ‘Wow…Heather?’ asks Mac looking at his estranged wife. Looking remarkably cool in her new costume, Heather sarcastically remarks ‘Thrashed rookies, dazed veterans and a little boy beating on his chained teammate? Perfect. I’m confident you’ll be able to save the world. When do we leave?’
‘We’re training,’ Mac replies angrily. Arms folded, Heather informs him that a wrestling match is not a training session before declaring that she has a whole new power base to master in hours and is not throwing her lot in with a bunch of hyperactive boys in a rumpus room. Madison comes to Heather’s defense, announcing that she is right, which Judd agrees with, before suggesting that they get together and lay down some basics - the veterans showing the rookies - Mac cuts the diminutive Alphan off: ‘You say? I’m the -’ Heather cuts him off before he can say “leader“ and tells him to let it go.
Heather tells Mac that before she can continue she needs some questions answered - about what they did to him. Mac hesitates as he informs Heather he was ordered never to talk about this with her. He gives in, and reveals that he never told her, but back in the early days of the Weapon Alpha program he as almost killed by Wolverine. But some people from the Prometheus Division informed him that they had a way to save him from death by de-evolving that day away with a device they had secretly acquired from the High Evolutionary. ‘You know, that crackpot who’s obsessed with the ultimate evolution of mankind’.
Mac continues, revealing that a few weeks ago he was thinking about why not he couldn’t get rid of the alien technology in his body by the same means, and be human again. His plan worked, but the de-evolver overloaded and took him back too far. Before he can continue, General Clarke re-enters the room followed by a large red robot and tells Heather that she has to stop being so suspicious and ask her questions when they arise. Especially if she is going to have enough training time with her final associate, Manbot. The large being makes a wrrr noise before in a mechanical voice, saying ‘good afternoon’ to his teammates.
Elsewhere, his name is Scorpio and though he is miles away from the mysteries of Department H, he remains an enigma even to those who share his visions of the world. For not even Taurus his first recruit for the New Zodiac he has assembled knows that he was once someone else - a hero some would say. A noble soul with great aspirations who has now fallen so very far. Taurus approaches Scorpio and tells him that he is tired of waiting and wants to do something - like break something or hurt someone. ‘Let’s just push the button now and kill people!’
Scorpio points at Taurus and tells him that he will do what he is told when he is told. ‘I’m in charge here, do you understand that? Without me, you’d still be cleaning urinals at Ryker’s Island!’ Taurus smiles and declares that his is bored. ‘At least let me have some fun with the broad’ he says as he points to the pink-clad Virgo. Scorpio lunges at Taurus ‘Don’t you ever!’ he shouts before exclaiming that Virgo is pure and not to be touched by the likes of any of them. Suddenly, two others, Pisces and Sagittarius enter the fray, Pisces telling Scorpio to save the attitude for their enemies before informing him that the ecliptic wants to speak with him. Scorpio walks away, telling Taurus that he is lucky the Ecliptic called for him, before warning everyone that if anything happens to Virgo while he is gone, he will have new enemies. However as he walks away, Scorpio knows that the others knew in his heart, knew the full details of his grand plan, then he would lose the four he has before even getting close to assembling the other seven.
Entering another part of the complex, Scorpio tells the Ecliptic that he has come. The haggard woman sitting behind a table tells Scorpio that she knew he would come for she saw his arrival in her crystals ‘and in, and in the…’ her voice trails off before telling him to sit down, as she has news and new readings. Sitting down in the candle-lit room, Scorpio asks the old woman what it is that she sees and worries that something is wrong with the plan. The old woman tells Scorpio that he is always so eager, before announcing that it is the plan - she sees an upheaval. An upheaval in the heavens which will require quicker action than she had previously seen. ‘You must strike now,’ she declares.
Scorpio replies that striking now makes no sense as they have not received the notification yet. He tells the Ecliptic that he trusts her and has always done as she has told him ever since she revealed to him his true self - before he can protest, the Ecliptic screeches ‘Do it! This is the proper time!’ She tells Scorpio that if he doubts her then she will abandon him. She reminds him that her powers are great but that there are many others who would pay for her services. Getting up and walking out of the room, Scorpio tells the Ecliptic that he trusts her and is sorry for doubting her, ‘And well you should be, well you should be’ the old woman replies. As Scorpio is a wavering water sign, he is sometimes quick to trust those closest to him.
Back in the main part of the complex, a terrorist, a pawn in a complex game, a pawn of whom, no one cares what Zodiac sign he is, gives another speech to Canada. He exclaims that they are intent on their demands and are tired of waiting for a decision. He exclaims that if their requirements are not met in the next three hours, their attack on Vancouver will be launched. Scorpio stops the camera rolling and tells the terrorist that he was very clear. Sagittarius exclaims sarcastically that he was moved before Scorpio orders him to take the terrorist back up with the others. With his arrow points straight at the terrorist’s head, Sagittarius asks if he has to, revealing that he has always wanted to experience an impact at this range. Scorpio informs Sagittarius that he has to, as there will be plenty of time for fighting ahead of them.
Back at Department H, Judd cartwheels and dodges around Flex as the young Alphan tries to hit him. Judd wins however, and grabbing Adrian’s nose, he tells him that he has to be quick. Flex tells Judd that he wasn’t being fair, to which the experienced Alphan asks Flex if he thinks the creeps that they fight play fair and tells him that he has to stay on top of them. Flex points out that he stopped all but Judd’s last hit, Judd agrees, but informs Adrian that it might be the last one that kills him. He tells him they will try it again.
Heather meanwhile is adjusting to her new powers, learning how to adjust the temperature of the steam, when suddenly a loud growl comes from behind. She turns to see Sasquatch free from his restraints, to which she wonders how he got out. ‘Sit!’ exclaims Murmur as she touches Sasquatch, and the beast complies. ‘Oh, I see. Beauty tames the savage beast. How quaint’ remarks Heather sarcastically. Arlette asks Heather if she really finds her beautiful and tells her it was sweet of her to say. However Arlette points out that the beast is not tamed, merely under her control.
Clarke suddenly informs everyone that training is over, as they just received an unexpected escalation, but also a break, for they have managed to pinpoint the location of the terrorists through signal tracking, the location being Nascent Observatories in Dorion, Quebec. Puck points out that they are not prepared, and asks if they should leave the rookies, but Clarke cuts him off, declaring that with Canada at stake, the Department wants all of Alpha Flight to go. Furious, Heather tells Clarke that the rookies are not ready and that by sending them he is putting the lives of her and the other veterans at risk too. Clarke calmly informs Heather that the decision has been made, to which Heather snaps ‘The wrong decision’ and tells Clarke that if blood is spilled then it is on his hands. ‘B-blood? Uh-oh’ says Flex, scared.
Soon, Alpha Flight have taken to the air by means of a new flight craft. Inside that aircraft, friction dominates the journey. Radius kicks his brothers seat, Adrian just tells him to ‘quit it‘. Mac asks Judd if he has found anything on the Zodiac, but motioning to the files on the computer screen, Judd points out that there is nothing current. Jared kicks his brothers seat again, this time Adrian swings around and tells Jared that he is trying to think through all the stuff Puck told him, and asks him to leave him alone. Jared grins and tells Adrian to calm down, that he is just playing with him.
Judd turns to Jared and tells him that this is not a game, but real, more real than anything he has ever done. Jared scoffs and tells Puck not to sweat it, that he wont let his end down as he is a natural. Judd tells Jared that a natural would be paying attention, but before he can continue scolding Radius, Mac asks him to tell Heather to stop staring at him. ‘I am…not staring. I’m looking’ Heather protests. ‘Oh, brother’ mumbles Judd. Before any other incidents can occur, Jeffries enters the main part of the aircraft and asks everyone if they are ready, informing them that they are over the set down zone. ‘Alpha Flight is back in business!’ he exclaims.
After exiting the jet, Alpha Flight race toward the observatory. Guardian declares that since he can fly, he will go straight up the middle and everyone else can follow him in - Heather cuts him off and tells him that it sounds risky, pointing out that there may be hostages in there. Guardian replies that terrorists want money so they will not do anything stupid. Heather continues to argue, telling Mac that “stupid“ is the middle name of terrorists. Judd interrupts the squabbling and points out that Heather can also fly, and that they do not know what the real score is here. He reminds Mac that there are civilians involved, even if they are terrorists. He declares that terrorists should be put on trial, not in jeopardy. From the air, above the others, Mac snaps that he is the leader and that he will not be bossed around by a midget. ‘What was that?’ asks Judd, shocked. The voice of reason, Jeffries tells Mac that Judd is right and he is going to follow his lead.
With everyone’s attention turned to Puck now, Judd suggests that they break into two groups, force in front for distraction and stealth in back for reconnaissance. Madison sees something bothering Flex, and tells him not to worry. He suggests he rely on the last few days of training and trying to calm him, Madison offers to watch Adrian’s back if he does the same for him. Flex agrees, as Judd leads one team, telling Alpha it is time to show them what they are made of.
Guardian leads his team consisting of Jeffries, Radius and Manbot and announces once they are in the building that he wants Manbot up the front, as arsenal is this sub-teams weak point. Jeffries declares that he can hold his own, to which Guardian bitterly says ‘Yeah, so I’ve heard’ before calling to Manbot. But as they round a corner, they are greeted by the Zodiac!
Heather and Judd lead Sasquatch, Flex and Murmur the other way, as Adrian asks why it is so quiet. Judd supposes that the other team may have drawn the Zodiac’s attention, or the enemy has too much idea that Alpha Flight is here. He tells everyone to keep moving, but Heather hears some noises up on the right. Judd suggests they go have a look, and as the two long time Alphans open a door and peer into another room, they see Scorpio standing over the terrorists, telling them that he will be done with them soon. Heather whispers to Judd that they have to stop them.
Meanwhile, Guardian orders Alpha not to surrender, telling them to hit the Zodiac hard. ‘Just how we like it!’ laughs Sagittarius as he fires an arrow that narrowly misses Mac. Radius approaches Pisces and informs her that he has no problems hitting a lady, but Pisces informs Jared that he will find her no ordinary lady. ‘No way!’ cries Jared as his hand goes right through her when he tries to punch.
Back in the room with the terrorists, Judd bursts into it, as Scorpio tells Alpha that he has been expecting them. He fires a shot at them from his key which narrowly misses Judd. Heather orders Flex to cut the hostages free, and as the young Alphan does, the hostages try to hurry him up. Scorpio starts to run from the room, telling Alpha Flight to follow him at their peril, but he is knocked off his feet by a stream of lava that bursts through the floor, courtesy of Vindicator. Judd tells Heather that he didn’t know she could do that. ‘Neither did I’ Heather replies dryly before asking Judd if he felt like Scorpio was expecting them. The terrorist informs Heather that Scorpio knew they were coming and had said the government told him, much to Heather’s surprise.
Heather and Judd enter the main part of the complex in time to hear Mac tell everyone to get it together as they’re acting like a bunch of amateurs. Judd proclaims that everyone is reacting instead of acting and declares that they have to get organized or everyone will be in big trouble. Heather points out that at least they found Scorpio and supposes that the others are his Zodiac. Judd suggests to Heather that she joins Mac overhead and draw the battle up, while he tries to get the ground force to work in unison.
Vindicator agrees and flies up to Guardian, who asks her where Sasquatch is. Heather informs him that she left him and Murmur to protect the terrorists, as they were just pawns - Mac cuts her off before she can continue, exclaiming that they need Sasquatch in here.
On the ground, Judd asks Jeffries to cover him as he tells Radius that they need to team up - but Scorpio’s fire narrowly misses Radius, who tells Judd that there is no time to talk, pointing out that the Zodiac are not going to wait around for them to make a plan. He declares that they have the numbers over the Zodiac and so should just do what they do best. Judd raises his voice and tells Jared not to go off on his own, but the cocky new recruit does not listen.
Guardian tells Vindicator that he is going to draw Scorpio away from Puck and that he wants her to go and bring Sasquatch into the battle. Heather tells Mac that she cannot do it as one of them needs to find the launch panel for the chemical weapons before it becomes the Zodiac trump card. Mac asks Heather if she is ignoring his order, to which she replies ‘No. I’m just following my own’.
As if on cue, Murmur enters the room, with Sasquatch in tow. Heather asks her what she is doing here and reminds her that she is supposed to be watching the terrorists. Arlette informs Heather that she locked the terrorists in the room, so they could come and help, exclaiming that she did no join Alpha Flight to sit and watch, but to play! However, Arlette is shot at and lets go of Sasquatch freeing him from her control. The furry Alphan knocks Murmur aside before swatting Taurus. Heather tries to reason with Walter, but is also knocked aside. Judd lunges at the gun-wielding Virgo and asks her what her sign is before telling her it is not fair that she was firing at his teammates. The out-of-control Sasquatch then knocks Puck aside
Jeffries sees Flex batting away Sagitarius’ arrows and asks him how he is doing. The young Alphan replies that he is okay, until Sasquatch catapults into him. As someone calls to Sasquatch to no avail, Manbot is recording all of the teams battle. Guardian tells Jeffries to go an help Flex, but before he can tell Heather what to do, she cuts him off, and points out that she is using her steam to calm Sasquatch. Mac sees that it is working and tells Heather that he has go her covered, when Pisces exclaims ‘And I have you covered, mammal’ and leaps at Mac, engulfing him. ‘Breathe me deep, then breathe no more’ Pisces whispers as Mac begins to drown inside of her.
Heather calls to Mac before telling him to get used to some heat, for she hopes that Pisces water is no match for her lava. Heather unleashes another geyser of lava, causing Pisces to scream and set Mac free. Heather flies up to catch Mac before he hit’s the ground and she asks him if he is alright, but Mac cruelly tells Heather that he doesn’t need her to save him as she is not his mother. ‘No, I’m your wife’ snaps Heather. Mac turns away from Heather and informs her that she was his wife, but is now his teammates. He tells her to get back to work, all of which is recorded by Manbot.
Vindicator tells Mac that they are going to talk about this later before asking Manbot what he is doing. The giant red robot informs her that he has located the launch console. ‘And Virgo has located you, man of metal’ says Virgo as she points her weapon at him. Scorpio runs over to Virgo, but not before Murmur places a hand on Virgo and simply says ‘Paris’. Virgo begins to fade away, and screams to Scorpio, who furiously turns to Murmur.
Judd points out to Manbot that the tide is turning and suggests that they move in and end it. Manbot replies that he is ready to execute his program. While Sasquatch tosses Saggitarrius around Taurus rushes towards Flex and asks him if he is ready to die. ‘Somebody help me!’ screams Flex, holding out a sharp hand. Suddenly, Radius uses his force field to push the giant telescope to take out the ‘big bad bull’ as he comes to rescue his ‘cry baby brother’.
But Flex tells Jared not to, and cries out that Taurus us coming right for him and he cannot retract his sharp hand. Taurus lets out a mighty roar as his body meets with Flex’s razor sharp limb. Seeing the blood on his hands, the wide-eyed Adrian declares that he killed him. Jeffries grabs Flex and tells him to hold it together, as he needs him to cover him while he reconfigures the telescope into something that can hold Sasquatch. Flex protests, but Jeffries reminds him of their deal, to cover each other.
As Mac tells Jeffries to do what he can about Sasquatch, Madison calls back that they were thinking the same thing. Jared goes over to his brother and tells him he always knew he had the killer instinct in him before ordering him to come with him so they can ‘nail that Scorpio creep’. Adrian protests, informing Jared that he has to cover Jeffries. Jared grabs his brothers hand and tells him that he doesn’t say „no“ to him, but Flex tries to pull away.
Just as Madison has turned the telescope into a pair of pincers to hold Sasquatch, Flex screams ‘Jeffries! Behind you!’ but it is too late, as Scorpio shoots the handsome Alphan with his key, knocking him out. Saggitarrius tells Scorpio that they need to leave. Calling to Scorpio, Pisces tells him that she has the injured Taurus. Scorpio glares at Alpha Flight and tells them that the Zodiac are taking their leave, and with their man in place of his beloved Virgo. ‘An eye for an eye’. Heather calls to Jeffries, when suddenly, he and the Zodiac disappear.
Heather asks what happened, Judd suggests that as the Zodiac has fire and water signs they must use them for travel. ‘Must be what makes them the new Zodiac’ he mumbles. He declares that they have to trace them to get Madison back, but Mac tells him that they will have to do it from Department H. Heather suddenly remembers the chemical weapons and declares that they have to find them, when Manbot pulls apart some wires and states that the weapons have been disconnected.
Have you checked your horoscope?
It is said that horoscopes, the diagrams of relative positions of the planets can foretell the events of your life. So, later, back at Department H, Heather and Judd are talking to General Clarke, when he asks Heather a question, she tells him that it should be she who is asking him the questions, like about kidnapping, the mission and this “Manbot“ he shoved on them. Clarke points out that Manbot saved their lives and the lives of millions of fellow Canadians. He tells Heather that they can address her concerns at the briefing in the afternoon.
Heather sternly tells Clarke that she will not be at that briefing or any other briefing. She exclaims that something wasn’t right about the mission and she will not be held as a pawn for the government under the guise of Alpha Flight again. Judd points out that they have been down that road before. Clarke tells Heather that there are forces in the world who are lying in wait for people like her and Eugene, other terrorist organizations such as the Mutant Liberation Front, not to mention what they would do to the younger, new recruits.
Clarke exclaims that the world has changed and Canada is changing with it. ‘A world without heroes is vulnerable, and Canada will not be vulnerable’. Clarke asks Heather ‘what about Jeffries’. Arms folded, Heather informs the General that she is going after Jeffries on her own, for she owes him that much, but adds that she is not coming back when she is done. Clarke asks Judd what he intends to do, and Judd informs him that he is leaving also, for while he loves Alpha, he doesn’t love it when it is on a leash in his hand.
Clarke tells two of Canada’s premiere super heroes to do what they want, but to know that he will always be ready to welcome them back with open arms when they realize what they are up against. ‘We’ll try not to forget that, eh?’ Judd says sarcastically as he follows Heather out of Clarke’s office. With Heather and Judd gone, Clarke presses a small red button under his desk.
Level 66 of Department H, a man sits at a desk as Scorpio stands before him. The man congratulates Scorpio for his fine work and informs him that Department H will most certainly use him in the future. ‘I was used all right’ Scorpio exclaims, adding that one of his men was downed, which was not part of the deal. The man who is known as Director X reminds Scorpio that he got one of the Department’s men, and eye for an eye, so the debt is settled. Scorpio begins to teleport away, but not before informing the Director that the Zodiac has its own agenda and now that they have his money, they have the means to fulfil that agenda. He tells the Director that he, Alpha Flight and the rest of the world are official the Zodiac’s enemies - blood enemies. ‘We’ll see about that’ mutters the Director when Scorpio is gone.
Department H, level 12, two men are watching the recording of Alpha Flight’s mission made by Manbot, and are arguing about Radius and whether or not he used his powers to push something.
The Ground Level of Department H. Heather and Judd have dropped their uniforms and are leaving the building - only to be stunned from behind by two Epsilons. Today is Friday the 13th, an unlucky day for horoscopes - regardless of your sign.