The Niagara Falls at the US / Canadian Border in the dead of night. The noise of the falling water shatters the silence, while the handsome Johnny Walker a.k.a. USAgent, currently serving in Canada as the leader of Omega Flight, stands in a deep cave hidden behind the falls, waiting - until his visitor arrives - Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, Director of SHIELD. Johnny initially raises his SHIELD upon the arrival of the armored hero, but lowers it when Iron Man comments on the loudness of their meeting place. ‘Yep!’ Walker shouts back.
Tony then asks John what their status is. Walker tells Stark that he doesn’t know what his scientists are telling him but that Michael Pointer is still doing the “Galactus thing” up North. ‘And I ain’t getting squat from any of the brass up there. Nothing!’ Walker mutters, complaining about the Canadian Secret Intelligence Services administration. Walker continues, informing Star that the scientists are keeping Pointer under wraps good, and that he has hardly seen him since the Tentakill fiasco.
USAgent adds that Pointer spends a lot of time with the shrink, Dr. Benning, and remarks that she isn’t giving anything away either. Walker admits that he may not be one of Iron Man’s big fancy brains that he has all over the place, but something is definitely going on at the CSIS. Iron Man points a finger at USAgent accusingly and shouts ‘I need to know what’s going on with him, what they’re doing to him and what he’s saying to Dr. Benning!’. A defiant Walker snaps back ‘Hey, it ain’t like I’m not trying!’.
Iron Man ignores Walker’s comment and brings up the subject of Pointer’s powers, demanding to see all the data that Agent Brown has been collecting on them. ‘”All the data”?’ Walker asks, quoting his former Force Works teammate. ‘What the *&$% do I look like to you? All I know is that the power’s got that poor chump all screwed up…it’s unstable, he’s unstable…the kid’s a mess!’.
At that moment at CSIS headquarters, home to Omega Flight, Dr. Benning is having another session with Michael Pointer a.k.a. the new Guardian, who sits opposite her, staring at the ground. Dr. Benning explains to Pointer that the drastic highs and lows he has been experiencing are most likely due to chemical imbalances triggered by stress, and remarks that the Guardian suit will help him adjust, but that it is still learning his body’s unique physiology. Benning adds that the stability and structure of Omega Flight should help as well, before asking Pointer how he has been getting on with his teammates. ‘Have you forged any relationships with them? Any friendships?’.
Pointer doesn’t answer, so Benning probes him, revealing that she understands he and Rachel Carpenter’s daughter have made some sort of connection. ‘Rachel? She’s just a kid’ Pointer replies. ‘I don’t know that I’d say we’re “friends”…she…she needed my help. I just -’. Benning interrupts, remarking to Pointer that now it is he who needs help, and tells him that if he is not ready to reach out to others she would certainly hope he feels enough trust in the relationship that that the two of them have built in their sessions.
When she gets no response, Benning asks Pointer if he is all right, pointing out that he seems very distracted today. ‘Um…yes…Dr. Benning…there’s something else…I hear voices!’ Pointer suddenly reveals. ‘”Voices”?’ Benning asks. This causes Agent Brown to lean in closer to his monitor where he is watching the session between Benning and Pointer from an undisclosed location within the CSIS building. ‘Yeah…well…maybe not “voices” exactly…but something. I hear them. Heard them. Or I think them…whatever. Voices’ Pointer mutters, looking at Benning intently.
Benning asks Pointer when exactly he hears these voices. ‘While you were in the suit?’ she asks. ‘What?’ Pointer replies. Benning asks Michael if he is hearing the voices now, but Michael replies that it happened a couple of days ago. Benning asks Michael again if this was while he was wearing the suit or not wearing the suit. ‘Think hard…this could be important’. ‘I was wearing it’ Michael replies. ‘You’re sure?’ Benning asks. ‘Yes’ Pointer declares.
This causes Agent Brown to scowl, and clicks on his voice recording device as he begins recording in to it: ‘subject speaks of “hearing voices” while wearing the Guardian suit…timeline corresponds with the recent recordings of multiple brain waves’. Agent Brown wonders if the two are connected to the Collective power, or perhaps it is just Pointer’s inability to cope. ‘If he is hearing voices, I want to know whose voices they are…and more importantly…’
‘…What are the voices saying to you?’ Benning asks Pointer curiously. Pointer replies that he is not really sure, as there were so many of them, it was hard to separate them, to make sense of it. Benning asks Michael if he has shared this with Agent Brown yet, but Pointer replies that he hasn’t, as he was not sure what to do or to say. Agent Brown frowns as Benning tells Michael that, for now, she thinks they can keep this information to themselves, as there is no need to unnecessarily alarm anyone. She remarks that this could have merely been an isolated incident, but if the condition persists, then they will inform Agent Brown.
Back in the cave behind the Niagara Falls, USAgent asks if the transfer of US criminals back from Canada to the US is going all right. ‘Yes! You’re doing good work up there’ Iron Man replies. USAgent begins to laugh, ‘Some real winners in that last batch, eh? How about that Raptore loser?’ Iron Man remains silent, the only noise the pounding of the water. ‘Dinosaur guy!’ USAgent exclaims, making his hands into a raptor face. Silence again from the armored Avenger. Iron Man replies that he will have to check the manifests and begins to walk back through the water fall, not looking at Walker as he tells him to keep at it and that they will get in touch regarding the next scheduled rendezvous. ‘Yep’ mumbles Johnny.
After a few moments, Johnny looks at his watch, then calls out ‘He’s outta range!’ into his communicator. Turning backwards, he exclaims ‘Arachne! You get all that?’ as Walker’s long time West Coast Avenger and Force Works teammate Julia Carpenter steps out from the shadows, along with her lover, the enigmatic Shroud. ‘Yeah, he hesitated’ the glamorous Julia tells Johnny, who agrees. The heroine formerly codenamed Spider-Woman points out that Stark has instant access to any manifests, but had no clue who Raptore was. ‘Which means he never got him!’ Walker declares.
Johnny turns to the Shroud and asks him if he now knows why he wanted his help. ‘Something ain’t right!’. The Shroud a.k.a. Maximillian Coleridge replies that he has pretty much no idea what they are talking about, but that it sounds like star is still being a total tool. Julia calls Shroud ‘Baby’ as she thanks him for his help, before they kiss passionately. Julia tells Max to stay safe underground as he approaches the waterfall. Max replies that there is no need to worry, as Stark and his storm troopers haven’t found him yet. ‘And I am the Shroud! Hiding is kind of my speciality!’ he jokes.
Julia watches her lover leave, and Johnny asks his friend if it has been awhile since she has seen him. Julia replies that, in fact, she sees Max quite often, puzzling Johnny. ‘He is the Shroud after all. Hiding is kind of his speciality’ Julia jokes. Johnny grins, pleased for his friend, he then suggests they get out of here, as he is tired of shouting.
Shortly, USAgent straddles his motorcycle and Julia stands nearby, as USAgent remarks that he knows Julia has got no love lost for Stark and how she feels for these types of government programs using people as their guinea pigs, which is why he asked for her help, to show her what is going on, and that he has nothing to hide. Johnny adds that he just wants to find out what is going on with Pointer - and why.
Julia asks Johnny what he needs her to do, to which Walker replies he is not entirely sure yet, but at this stage to keep an eye out on Pointer - and Agent Brown. ‘I trust that guy about as much as you trust our pal Stark’ Johnny remarks. Walker suggests that Julia could check on all the prisoners they have been corralling, to look into that Raptore guy and find out where he might be. ‘And Rachel could -’ begins Johnny, until Julia quickly interrupts, declaring that they will not be involving her daughter in any of this. ‘We. Will. Not!’ she shouts. ‘All right! All right!’ Johnny exclaims, explaining to Julia that Pointer connected with Rachel when Sasquatch was going nuts, that he trusts her and might reach out to her.
Later - the plucky Rachel Carpenter walks down the residential wing corridor, singing the theme song to the television show “Spongebob Squarepants”: ‘Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he…’ Rachel then knocks on Michael’s door, where inside, Michael lays curled up on his bed in the foetal position, a golden glow being emitted from his hands.
‘Mr. Pointer?’ Rachel cries out, continuing to knock, while Pointer groans. ‘No!’ he shouts. ‘Are you okay?’ Rachel replies through the door. ‘Shut up please!’ Pointer shouts. ‘Mr. Pointer, it’s me…Rac -’ Rachel begins, until Pointer shouts ‘Shut up!’ once more. Somewhat dejected, Rachel steps back from Pointer’s door and makes her way along the corridor, while Pointer curls up even tighter, his costume sprawled on the floor, ‘…please! Just leave me alone!’ he mumbles….