Kagoona Crossing, Southwestern Queensland, Australia. It is midnight. On the graveyard shift, known as the “grog watch”, checking for trouble makers after the pubs have closed is all in a night’s work for officer Barry Jardine, and his partner Willie Walkaway. Their jeep is parked alongside a wire fence, and Willie Walkaway is looking around with a flashlight. ‘There’s nothing ‘ere, Baz. Must’a bin my ‘magination!’ Willie exclaim, climbing back into the jeep he tells his colleague that they should roll on back to the station and grab some java. Barry replies that is a sound plan, as it is cold enough to freeze a monkey’s bum out here. Willie tells Barry to quit complaining, after all, it is going to be a quiet night.
Suddenly though, ‘WAUGHH! They’re after me! They’re after meeee!’ a man shouts as he lands on the jeep window. ‘Streuth!’ Barry gasps. ‘Bloody Nora!’ Willie exclaims. The officers are barely out of the jeep when the sky suddenly caves in, There are no words to describe the phosphorescent things they see, things that come bounding down the cinder highway out of the desert…no words for the sounds that bubble from those howling furnace-maws. Jardine and Walkaway freeze in their boots. They will never forget what they see her tonight, as hideous creatures materialize before them.
Fifty clicks west, the Force Works Hex Ship called Bellerophon slices low and fast though the sky above the Simpson Desert National Park. This is a lonely landscape and there are few who see it pass. But those that do will captivate the next truck-stop crows with wild tales of UFOs. Just like the civilian whom stares out in awe as the Bellerophon speeds past him. On board, speculation mounts as to the nature of the chaos alarm that has summoned the heroic Force Works thousands of miles south. John Walker a.k.a. USAgent pilots the Hex Ship, and the alien Century sits up front with him, while in the back, the rest of Force Works discuss the situation.
Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch announces that the chaos computer registered no focus to the alarm, nothing tangible, as if it were a node of unreality, like a dream. ‘Real or not, I’m getting a mess of radio traffic from Kagoona Crossing’ Julia “Spider-Woman” replies. Tony Stark a.k.a. Ion Man tells Spider-Woman to put the radio through the speaker, so she does, and a voice can be heard exclaiming ‘They’re all over us! Can anyone - this is Graham! I’m on main street! Please you gotta - quick as you can -’. Julia ends the transmission, and tells Agent to get a move on, as this guy is in deep trouble.
At that moment, ‘I say again! This is Officer Graham calling from Kagonna Crossing! We’re overrun with freakin’ monsters! We need assistance! We need assis-’ Officer Graham radios through his communicator. His colleagues fire their weapons at the monsters, and one suddenly lands on the jeep. ‘Oh, glory!’ Officer Grahama gasps. The creature is about to crunch its jagged-teeth mouth down on the officer, when a psi-web is wrapped around its mouth. ‘Down, boy’ Spider-Woman exclaims as she drops down and tries to reign in the creature, before her super-human strength throws the creature backwards, surprising Officer Graham.
Century shoves his staff, Parallax, into one of the creatures, while the Scarlet Witch casts a hex at one. Iron Man flies out of the Bellerophon and informs Wanda that the Hex Ship is on hover mode. ‘Good, Iron Man. Deploy fast and contain these things!’ Wanda orders, while USAgent mutters ‘Oh, sure, Witch. Easy for you to say’ as he slams his photon shield into one of the creatures. Walker pushes some civilians behind him and tells them to stay back if they want to live until breakfast. The creature Spider-Woman threw across the street lands in a store window, giving Julia time to drop down beside the officer and asks him if he is Graham, and what is going on. ‘Beats me, sweetheart, I just work here. And who the heck are you, anyway?’ Officer Graham replies.
‘We’re Force Works, out of Ventura, California. We came to help’ Spider-Woman announces. ‘Really? Best news I’ve heard all flaming night!’ Officer Graham exclaims, adding that they are absolutely clueless, as these things just came out of nowhere. ‘Watch your back!’ he suddenly shouts. ‘What? Oh…much obliged, officer!’ Julia replies as she spins around and punches the approaching creature backwards. Wanda announces that she is going after the one that Spider-Woman punched through the store front, and climbs through the window, while Iron Man tells her to be careful. ‘You move out of sight and I won’t be able to cover you with my repulsors!’ Tony tells her.
Wanda replies that she appreciates the advice, and tells Tony to just do his job out there, as she can look after herself. Suddenly, ‘Good Lord!’ Wanda gasps as she sees the creature sitting over a pile of broken beer bottles. ‘Get it out of here! Get that bunyip out of my store!’ the shopkeeper shouts, waving a broom around. ‘Wanda! Are you okay?’ Iron Man calls out via communicator. Wanda readies a hex spell and tells Tony not to panic, as it was just an exclamation of surprise. Wanda contacts all of her team via the communicators on their collars and informs them that the creatures seem to be after nourishment, and in this case, beer. Wanda’s forte is hex power, the manipulation of probabilities. It can be a delicate art full of finesse and grace. Right now, however, it is an unforgiving hammer blow of raw energy, which engulfs the creature.
Back outside, Century announces that he has scanned these things through Parallax, and reveals that they have no depth / form / solidity. Century states that they are immaterial, yet they are also real, like a waking dream. Kicking one of the creatures in the head, Spider-Woman asks Century if he said “dream”, reminding everyone that is how Wanda described the chaos alert that brought the team here. Officer Graham fires a weapon at one of the creatures, while Spider-Woman reports that the first creature she tackled did not like the taste of her psi-web, and asks her teammates if they think the creatures could be psychic manifestations.
‘Trust the alien to come up with some mumbo jumbo theory! Who cares what they are? Just waste ‘em!’ USAgent shouts as he releases his photon shield in the face of one of the creatures - only for the creature to devour it. ‘My shield! It ate my freakin’ shield!’ Walker exclaims. The Scarlet Witch suggests that USAgent’s photon energy is a source of nourishment for the creatures, and asks Iron Man for his opinion. ‘Fascinating deductions, all, Wanda…but I’m a little too busy to speculate’ Iron Man replies as he finds himself surrounded by three of the creatures. The creatures close in on Iron Man, and pounce. He disappears under their attack, helpless, as they drink the energy from his suit.
Suddenly, a boomerang is thrown, striking each of the creatures in the head, enabling Iron Man to sit up. ‘What the blazes?’ Iron Man calls out, while standing on a nearby rooftop is an Aboriginal Australian, who catches the boomerang when it returns to him. ‘Evening guys…’ he calls out, smiling. Wearing very little, and marked with traditional Aboriginal paints. ‘Hey! It’s Willie! And he’s got no strides on!’ Officer Graham exclaims. ‘Looks like he’s gone walkabout in the head’ someone calls out. Willie drops down to a lower rooftop, then leaps on to another, telling everyone to follow him, as he thinks he has found the cause of this ruckus. ‘You know this guy?’ Julia asks Officer Graham. Graham reveals that it is Deputy Willie Walkaway, but that he has never seen him dressed like this before.
Within moments, Force Works and Officer Graham turn a corner, to find several more of the creatures down an alleyway. ‘This place smells like a brewery’ Julia remarks, while Wanda announces that he was heading this way. Willie drops down from the rooftops and explains that this is the backyard of the pub, where the beer crates are stored. ‘More nourishment?’ Wanda asks. Suddenly, the creatures all turn towards Force Works, while the man who fell on the jeep earlier is cornered in the alleyway, and shouts ‘Get them away from me!’ ‘He’s the focus of it all! That guy there!’ Willie calls out. ‘Hey you! What’s going on here?’ Spider-Woman calls out as she casts a psi-web at the man, wrapping it around him, she yanks on it, and pulls him towards them. ‘What are you doing?’ the man cries out.
‘Get over here, Chuckles!’ Julia declares, while asking Iron Man if there is any way they can get him clean and sober enough to answer some questions. Iron Man replies that a shot of pure adrenaline from his suit’s hypo spray injector should do the trick, and asks Julia to hold the man steady. She does so, and Iron Man injects the man, who begins to calm down, and mutters that he feels kind of funny. Instantly, the creatures begin to fade away. Iron Man tells Spider-Woman that it looks like her psychic manifestations theory was correct, in this case, fueled by this man’s DT’s. ‘Now, let’s try for some answers…’ Tony suggests.
Shortly, as some semblance of calm returns and the appropriate introductions are made, Force Works, and the local police, have gathered at the Bellerophon. The drunk is tied up and sits on the back of one of the jeep, with Century standing guard over him. USAgent asks Officer Graham who the drunk is, and the officer explains that he is a petty crook and alcoholic by the name of Alf Robbins. Officer Graham adds that they have been after him for some days, ever since he and his partner, Shane Mundy, pulled a bank robbery in McNamara Station. ‘You wouldn’t have any smokes would ya, mate?’ Alf asks Century, who replies ‘I am not on fire’.
Willie informs Iron Man and the Scarlet Witch that he has been a cop here for three years, playing the white man’s game, but that he was raised on the old traditions of his own people. ‘Hence tonight’s change of image, Mr Walkaway?’ Wanda asks. Walkaway smiles and tells Wanda to call him Willie, explaining that when he saw the demons, he figured the old ways would get them out of trouble, and it all came flooding back to him, all the ritual stuff, just like his grandaddy taught him.
Iron Man points out that somehow this man brought his drink-raddled dreams to life, conjured up the thirsty hounds of his alcoholic withdrawal. ‘But how?’ Tony asks. Willie leans towards Alf and asks him what the story is here, to which Alf replies that he doesn’t know, revealing that he and Shane bungled the bank job and went on the run. Alf explains that Shane reckoned no one would look for them in the old Abo tribal lands down by Gowanga Gorge. Willie turns to Force Works and informs them that Gowanga Gorce is dreaming country. ‘This fool and his mate broke into our sacred territory. That’s off limits to whites!’ he exclaims. ‘If he’s been touched by that place, no wonder his dreams came to life’ Willie adds.
The Scarlet Witch begins to tell Willie that she doesn’t understand, while Willie’s partner, Barry Jardine, rushes over. ‘Walkaway! Hey - Walkaway!’ Barry calls out. ‘What’s up, Baz?’ Willie asks. ‘Nice outfit, Willie’ Barry smirks, before announcing that they have reports coming in from all over town of people in comas, and that no one who was asleep at the time of the attack has woken up yet. ‘It’s like they’re trapped in their dreams’. Iron Man reports that he has contacted Plato back home and that Plato confirms the chaos computer is still registering a crisis here. ‘Looks like it’s not over yet’ Tony declares. Wanda suggests they check out this dream country, and says that Willie can lead them. Wanda remarks that she will have Agent prep the Works Wagon for immediate departure. USAgent emerges from the Bellerophon in a sturdy vehicle, he tells Wanda that they are ready to roll. Iron Man asks Willie where this place is, to which Willie points to the Outback, remarking that he would have thought that was obvious.
Five miles east of Kagonna, crossing where the cicada-haunted night sits heavy on the scrub and ghost-gum trees. USAgent and Spider-Woman are up front, while the rest of Force Works, Willie and Alf are in back. Willie tells Alf to start from the top, that they need to know everything he can tell them. Alf replies that it is not easy remembering, especially not when he is trussed up in the cobwebs. ‘All I know is Shane and I were on the run, and got as far as the tribal ground. I wasn’t sure about it, but Shane said it would be okay…’ Alf begins as he starts his story.
Flashback, narrated by Alf Robbins
‘Next thing I know, there’s this old Abo - like a wizard - shaman - pops up and tells us to get lost. I think he was trying to scare us away…’ Alf calls out. He explains that the wizard made them see this “thing”, like a warning, but that Shane fired his shotgun, and the thing disappeared, and the old guy fell to the ground, dead. The two of them camped down in the cave for the night. Alf thought it was a spooky place, especially with the dead Abo outside. Shane went to sleep like a log, but Alf didn’t sleep much, until he saw this light, real bright, it was coming from Shane. Alf tried to wake Shane, but then he saw something, Shane’s appearance had changed. It freaked Alf out and he ran from the cave as fast as his legs could carry him.
‘And then those things started to chase me’ Alf concludes. ‘But what did you see?’ Century asks. ‘NO!’ Alf shouts. ‘No, mate! I didn’t grass on you, honest! Please!’ Alf shouts. Willie asks him what is going on, and Wanda asks ‘What’s he raving about?’, when suddenly, Alf shouts ‘Please, Shane…! PLEEEAAASE!’, Alf screams, when suddenly, a blast is fired, and the Works Wagon is knocked over. ‘Agent! What do you see?’ Iron Man calls out. Walker replies that they have been hit, before suggesting everyone look out the window. ‘Tell me I ain’t seeing what I’m seeing!’ USAgent exclaims, as looming over the Works Wagon is very large red skeleton, glowing with pink energies, and looking very, very mad….
Works HQ, Ventura. Inside her office, Amanda Chaney sits at her desk and dictates a note. ‘Christmas is only just gone, and already the work is mounting up. Today is also marked by an air of melancholy here in the Works…this afternoon we are to attend a memorial service for Simon Williams - Wonder Man - a founding member of this team who was tragically lost on its first mission’. There is a knock at the door, so Amanda suspends her memo and tells her visitor to come in. The alien Century enters the PR specialist’s office, ‘You wanted to speak to me?’ he asks. ‘Yes, uh, Century. Take a seat’ Amanda replies.
Below, in her private quarters, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch sighs for the hundredth time since waking. She ties a cloak around her neck and looks at a photograph of Simon Williams. For months she has tried to deal with his death by not thinking about him. Now, she faces a day arranged for precisely the opposite.
Back in Amanda’s office, Century remarks that he doesn’t not understand, and asks Amanda why she wants to get to know him better. He adds that USAgent has explained to him that human courtship involves the use of a come-on line. ‘But I regret…’ he begins, to which Amanda interrupts him, explaining that she did not mean it like that, clarifying that as the Force Works PR manager, she needs to know as much about the members of the team as possible. Century replies that for him, this will not take long, as his memory is impaired / invalid / ruined, therefore there is very little to know.
At that moment, Wanda emerges from her quarters, and sees her close friend Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter in the hallway. Wanda greets Julia, who remarks that it is almost time to go, before asking Wanda how she is holding up. ‘Honestly?’ Wanda asks. ‘Sure…honestly’ Julia tells her. ‘I feel…wretched’ Wanda reveals. ‘Oh, Wanda! C’mon. I think today will be good for us all’ Julia tells her as they embrace.
Back up in Amanda’s office, Century explains that it was a freak probability flare which caused his unanticipated arrival on this planet. He adds that the Scarlet Witch was using her hex power against the Kree, and the altered probability field it created drew him in. Century tells Amanda that he knows nothing of his past, his point of origin, or even his purpose. ‘You’re amnesiac?’ Amanda enquires. ‘In human terms, yes’ Century tells her, adding that all he knows is that he is a traveler, a voyager through interdimensional space, guided by his staff, Parallax. Century informs Amanda that when Force Works battled the Mandarin, he was separated from Parallax for several days, and in that time, things changed. ‘Changed? How?’ Amanda asks, tapping her pen against her face.
Walking through the center of Works HQ, Wanda remarks ‘You know how worried I was about that incident awhile back? That mad fan who tried to kill you? In some ways I worried selfishly’ Wanda explains. ‘Selfish? You?’ Julia asks, surprised. ‘That you’d want to leave. Take Rachel away somewhere safe’ Wanda explains. Julia replies that her home is here, and they clasp hands, with Wanda telling Julia that is good to hear. ‘Did you really think I might quit the team?’ Spider-Woman asks. Wanda tells her that the possibility has been playing on her mind, particularly this last week with Simon’s memorial approaching, as it has reminded her of the constant danger they are in.
Wanda points out that Julia has a daughter, so she has more to lose than the rest of them. ‘I really thought you might leave’ Wanda declares. Julia admits that she was actually thinking about it, but that it was Rachel who changed her mind, re-affirmed her commitment to this team, that this is what she should be doing. Julia adds that she knows she made the right decision.
Century looks out the floor-to-ceiling glass window inside Amanda’s office, out into the center of Works HQ and announces that separation from Parallax showed him he shared some symbiotic rapport with the staff, and that in essence it binds into a unified self the multiple personalities that compose him. He adds that with Parallax gone, that self disintegrated / unraveled / divided. ‘It was a shocking experience’ Century declares. Amanda reminds Century that at the Christmas party, she saw him suffer some kind of memory flash, and asks him how that was connected.
Century replies that although the cohesion of his minds returned when he recovered the staff, the experience must have loosened some buried memories. He adds that with each passing day, the memory fragments float to the surface of his mind, unbidden. ‘At the party, I remembered that I once had what humans would call…a wife and child’ Century reveals, but that he cannot remember their names or anything about them. Amanda gets to her feet and tells Century that she is so sorry. Century thanks Amanda, before seeing the others down below, and announces that they should join them or else they will be late.
Down below, Wanda and Julia approach Tony Stark in his Iron Man armor and Johnny Walker a.k.a. USAgent. ‘Morning ladies’ Iron Man remarks, informing them that Happy Hogan is bringing the car up from the garage level. ‘You ready?’ he asks them, adding that this is not going to be easy, but that it is important nevertheless. ‘We owe it to Simon. Let’s go’….