X-Men and Alpha Flight (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
December 1985
Story Title: 
The Gift - part 1

Chris Claremont (writer), Paul Smith (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti & Denny O’Neil (editors), Jim Shooter (editor in chief).
Based on a premise by Jim Shooter, Ann Nocenti & Denny O’Neil

Brief Description: 

Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor are transporting a group of American and Canadian scientists to the Arctic Circle, when their plane is struck down by an unknown source. While training in the Danger Room, Rachel Summers sees this happen in a psi-flash, and the X-Men deal with an out-of-control Danger Room scenario. She believes her father’s attack to have something to do with Shaman of Alpha Flight, who at this very moment is dealing with the problems of some of his own teammates. Without warning, the goddess Snowbird appears before him, seriously wounded. Before Shaman can tend to Snowbird, Rachel Summers attacks him and his fellow teammates. The X-Men arrive and aid Alpha Flight while Xavier succeeds in calming Rachel down. Snowbird regains consciousness and reveals that Cyclops’ plane was struck down at the same moment she was. The two teams of super-heroes decide to work together to find Cyclops and the missing scientists. Meanwhile the Norse god Loki meets with those who sit above in shadow to discuss his current scheme of an offering to humankind, which they will not be able to refuse. Wolverine and Heather Hudson reminisce, as Rogue and Northstar have a heart to heart. Upon discovering a fantastic almost unearthly palace, the teams land and are soon greeted by Cyclops – who is now apparently cured of needing protective visor to control his optic blast. A bewildered and curious and group of heroes follow Cyclops into the citadel, where he introduces them to the scientists and his wife, all of whom have been changed and developed some fantastic power. Madelyne reveals she has the power to heal, and demonstrates it by curing Aurora, Sasquatch, Rogue and Puck of their problems. Shaman decides that Madelyne should use her powers on Snowbird, when he realizes that Snowbird never came with them from the plane. Concerned for her, Wolverine goes in search of his dear friend, accompanied by two of the scientists, but Logan fears that it may be too late. At a feast, the X-Men and Alphans all reveal their own personal feelings on the fantastic powers these humans have been granted and how they could literally heal the world with them. Also revealed at this banquet is that Madelyne is pregnant with a boy. Upon learning this, Rachel freaks out and runs away. Kitty and an annoyed Talisman follow her, while Loki keeps a watchful eye on Talisman. Meanwhile, the heroes are taken to the magical fountain where the humans gained their powers. Heather walks into the fountain and returns with the “power” to lead, as Shaman loses control of his medicine pouch, demons flow from it. Once the pouch and demons are taken away, Madelyne reports that her healing powers can not working on Shaman and that he is dying.

Full Summary: 

Brilliant lights flash in the skies over Anchorage, Alaska, where an aircraft carrying an interesting group of people, is about to embark on a strange new, and for some, life-altering journey.

From inside the cockpit, Madelyne Pryor, wife of the former X-Man, Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops, is radioing in to Anchorage Center, wanting assistance, but no one answers her. This aircraft is a Lockheed L100 Hercules, a workhorse of the Northstar Airways Fleet, and it is able to carry virtually any cargo anywhere, in any weather conditions. Tonight’s “cargo” contains a mixed Canadian-American environmental survey team, who are being carried across Alaska to the remote Wilderness above the Arctic Circle.

In one of the front seats, Paul Domenic complains to his companion, Doctor Jeanne Chretien, that he hates flying. Jeanne tells him to calm himself, as it is only some turbulence, nothing to worry about. ‘Famous last words” the middle-aged bearded man mutters. As Scott Summers walks into the cabin from the cockpit, Jeanne Chretien tells Paul to ask him, their co-pilot if he is so afraid, and proclaims that he will tell him that they are safe. The geologist adds that Scott and Captain Pryor have probably been flying this route for years. Paul mutters to the Doctor that she has to be kidding, as he has students older than Scott Summers!

At that time, the former leader of the X-Men walks over to the pair, greets them and asks them how they are doing. Paul puts on an act, telling Scott he was only telling Jeanne how much he was enjoying the ride. Scott smiles and tells Paul that mountains and bumpy air go together. ‘Just so it isn’t mountains and planes’ Paul adds. Scott tells him that for him, they will be extra careful. Jeanne smiles and asks Paul where his sense of adventure is, and he replies to Jeanne that it is probably in the same place she left her sense of self-preservation.

Paul Domenic asks Scott if he knows about the old saying, that geologists have rocks in their heads, and talking about Jeanne, says he rests his case. Scott says that he has no comment, and motioning to a sketchpad on Paul’s lap, asks him what it is. Paul tells Scott that he is as much an engineer as he is architect, that he fills the pages with abstract forms, fantasies, whatever comes to mind. The page showing is of a large palace, almost mythical in appearance. Paul adds that he has even turned some of them into real buildings, despite how far-fetched it seems.

Scott tells him that they are beautiful, but Paul proclaims that they are not really, at least not compared to what they could be if reality was bound by the laws of magic instead of science. Getting ready to move to the next passenger, Scott says ‘You never know’, which Paul agrees with, stating that the world is nothing if not full of surprises, and until then, it doesn’t hurt to dream. ‘By the way, Scott, how often have you flown this route?’ Scott tells Paul it is his first time, and Paul turns to Jeanne crossly.

Scott turns to the next passenger, Descard, and asks him how he is doing. The balding, quiet man tells Scott that he wishes they were already at camp, saying that he is bored, and wants to have his botany lab set up so he can get to work. Scott tells him that a few more hours should do the trick, and Descard turns to the seat behind him, announcing that Carla is the most sensible of them all, Scott turns to the sleeping woman, and Descard tells him that she fell asleep right after take off, and would probably sleep through a crash landing. Scott says that he heard Carla Ballenger was an excellent cook, to which Descard replies that she is not fancy, but for his money, she is near the best!

Moving on through the cabin, Scott passes Dr. Boyd Wilson, an attractive young blond man, telling the larger, French-Canadian man, Jaques Moreau next to him that “they” are a menace. Scott asks Boyd who he is talking about, and the answer he gets is ‘Muties, Summers!’ In French, Moreau tells Wilson that he doesn’t understand. Boyd starts waving a finger about and while Jaques looks on a little confused, tells the French-Canadian man that he knows what he is talking about, what with his specialty being in the relationship between predator species. He adds that man is the biggest predator of all and in nature it is only the fittest that survive, and the strong always dominate.

Wilson continues, saying that while the mutants may look like they do, they all have incredible, potentially dangerous, powers. He asks Moreau what is to prevent the mutants from taking over, as the humans are the competition, the only real rivals they have, and to survive, they either have to enslave, or wipe the humans out…unless the humans do it to them first, he concludes. Still looking a little bewildered, Moreau just tells Boyd Wilson he makes sense. Scott walks away from Boyd and Moreau, hands in his pockets looking solemn, thinking to himself that he would like to tell Boyd he is a mutant, and that if he took off his ruby quartz glasses, his eyes would cut loose with an optic blast, smashing everyone to a pulp. It is only as Cyclops, as an X-Man, that he used them to defend humanity, protecting people like Boyd Wilson.

As he walks to the back of the plane, where actual cargo is stored, Scott wonders why he bothered protecting those kinds of people. An aging African-American man is tending to some of the cargo, and greets Scott as he walks over to him. The former X-Man tells Sam Ross that Madelyne wanted the cargo checked as they are heading into rough weather. Sam answers that he has checked the cargo and it is all lashed together tight. Sam motions towards the passenger part of the craft at Boyd and Moreau, and tells Scott he has been listening to them talking, and Boyd Wilson reminded him of when he was growing up in Chicago, and people’s stories about growing up in Mississippi. He adds that it always seems a lot easier to stir up fear than to make it go away.

Sam frowns and tells Scott that no matter how old, or tough, and how much you hear, how often you tell yourself it doesn’t matter, some things you still take personal, and the words still hurt. Just as solemn, Scott says he wishes he could just make it all vanish. Sam agrees. He sits down on a box and asks Scott if he has ever read an Ursula K. LeGuin novel called The Lathe of Heaven? He tells him that it is about someone whose dreams alter reality and another guy who uses him, and the dreams, to try and abolish all the world’s ills. However, the more “good” he does, the worse everything gets. Sam tells Scott that wishing is fine, but some things, the really important ones, have to be earned, otherwise they mean nothing.

Sam smiles again and tells Scott that if gets him talking about his books, he just won’t shut up! He says that a load master dose not have much to do in the air, so he took up reading to pass the time by reading, and while trashy novels got boring real fast, he lifts up the book he is currently reading, Ulysses by James Joyce, and says he could read books like this forever. Sam Ross adds that he has even begun to write some of his own. Scott proclaims that that sounds great, and that he would like to read it sometime, if he didn’t mind. Sam tells Scott that he and Madelyne will be the first.
Sam proclaims that he has been crewing with Madelyne since she joined the airline, and he has never seen her this happy. He tells Scott that he is good for her, just what she needed. Both men looking over to the cockpit, Scott tells Sam that Madelyne has been the same to him. On a com-unit, Madelyne’s voice cracks, asking Sam to send Scott forward if he is there.

Scott enters the cockpit as Madelyne’s assistant, Nick Rodriguez tells Madelyne that there is still no contact with any station, and that everything, including the compass, is out, that they are flying deaf, dumb, and probably lost! Scott asks if there is trouble, Rodriguez replies that there might be and Madelyne looks sternly ahead out the window, saying that she has never seen atmospherics like this before. Scott stands over her chair, and strokes his wife’s hair, telling her he has. That before they met, the X-Men fought the Canadian super team, Alpha Flight, and their magician, Shaman, manipulated the polar weather to force the X-Men’s plane to Calgary. This is the same sort of effect he adds.

Madelyne asks her husband what Alpha Flight would want with him, or a bunch of ‘government eggheads’? Scott sits in the passenger chair, strapping himself in, he tells his wife that Alpha Flight are freelance now, and no one knows what has could have changed their team-direction since their leader Guardian’s death. He suggests that someone may want this survey stopped. Madelyne starts to say that there are easier ways until Rodriguez cuts her off, reporting a fire in engine three. Madelyne tells Nick to broadcast a mayday, and she says to Scott that they will find a place to put the plane down, when suddenly, a brilliant white light shines brighter than anything seen by either of them, Madelyne cries something is wrong with her eyes, as Scott calls his wife’s name, and they enter the unknown.

Meanwhile, a continent away, the town of Salem Center, roughly an hour’s drive north of Manhattan, where Douglas Ramsey, also known as Cypher of the New Mutants, is entertaining some friends at a café. The boy who can understand any language puts on a scary voice, and an act as an evil mutant, making the girls at one of the tables’ laugh. Mocking him, they find him funny, until he creeps up behind his teammate, Illyana Rasputin, a.k.a. the powerful Magik. She senses him creep up behind her while drinking a milkshake and reading a letter. She tells him not to think about it, as she is busy. The Russian mutant thinks to herself how nice it was of Kitty to let her read Ororo’s letter from Africa, as she really misses her. ‘Ramsey, your pushing your luck’ the younger sister of the X-Man Colossus says.

Doug jumps up and tells Illyana that he is a man who loves to live dangerously, she tells him he is a looney, before pushing him back, telling him to get lost. Doug is flung across the café and back to the table of girls. The laugh at him, and he complains he is in agony, but that a kiss will make it better. Just then, a pair of fists grab at Doug’s jacket and lift him off the ground. Attached to those fists is a burly guy called Larry who tells Doug that he is lucky he is not a ‘scummy mutie’ or else it would be his duty as a “real” human to rip him to shreds.

Illyana walks over and tells Larry to put Doug down, but the jock tells her he will when he has finished. ‘Now’ Illyana says, and Larry asks who is going to make him. Magik’s eyes grow wide and a murky light starts to emit from her. Larry is startled, and dropping Doug, says he is sorry, and tells Illyana not to look at him like that, that there is no harm done, his voice goes quiet as if he is scared, before Illyana and Doug exit the restaurant quickly. Doug tells Illyana he could have handled things without her help, and she replies mockingly ‘Silly me, next time I’ll know better’. Doug adds that while she is at it, she should remember Professor Xavier’s rule about them not flaunting their powers, and asks her how they are supposed to explain what she did to Larry. ‘Tell them I used black magic?’ Illyana asks as she opens a Stepping Disk and her and Doug are teleported away…

…to Professor Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Illyana and Doug arrive in the control room of the Danger Room at this very private academy, home to very special students, all of whom possess abilities they were born with that set them aside from the rest of humanity. Some of these who live here are known collectively as the X-Men, like Illyana’s roommate and best friend, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde. While Illyana and Doug are members of the novice class, the New Mutants.

Kitty speaks over the intercom, telling her X-Men teammates that she has programmed the training sequence. Kitty’s pet dragon Lockheed has his eyes on Kitty’s snack, and as she greets Illyana, she tells her pet to lay off. Down below the console room is the Danger Room proper, a special training room of sorts, where the X-Men learn to use their powers as individuals and a team. Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Rogue and Rachel Summers are the X-Men ready for the training exercise.

When Kitty asks over the intercom if her teammates are ready, and Rogue just asks her to ‘get the show on the road’. Kitty complies, and at the same time, Rachel stumbles with pain. Rogue asks her what is wrong, and all Rachel can mutter is ‘psi-flash’ before psionic energies burst from her body and she screams in pain, while the console where Kitty is sitting goes haywire, realizing that her close friend has lost control of her telekinetic powers, when suddenly the Danger Room is littered with debris, and swarming with Sentinels, which are not part of Kitty’s program!

The Danger Room can create any environment, any situation, and any threat imaginable. Some are sophisticated illusions, but others are real. This scene in particular, pulled from Rachel Summers’ memories is of New York in the early 21st, in a possible future timeline where mutants are hunted down and killed on sight. Mutants including Rachel’s family and friends. This is a fate she hopes will never come to pass, but fears it cannot be changed.

A Rachel appears clad in black, her Hound outfit she wore as a mutant tracker for the humans. The human in control of Rachel praises her good work on finding the X-Men, and tells her that the Sentinels will dispose of them now. The real Rachel meanwhile, is hunched over on the ground, cowering. With a giant Sentinel nearby, the X-Men disperse ready to deal with it and the other robots. Rogue takes to the air and realizes that this is Rachel’s future, where all mutants were outlaws and when she sees the Rachel in black, Rogue asks Wolverine if that is really Rachel, who helped slaughter her own kind.

Being lifted up by Colossus, Wolverine tells Rogue that it is not their concern right now, and while Nightcrawler teleports elsewhere, Colossus chucks his teammate up in the air with awesome force, and when Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium claws reach the Sentinel, they do the rest, tearing into one of the Sentinels’ like a mad man, and before another Sentinel can get to him, Nightcrawler, the current team leader, teleports back in to remove Logan from harms way.

Concerned about Rachel, Colossus kneels over her, protecting her by using his armored form as a shield from the Sentinel’s energy blasts, but Piotr thinks that not for much longer, as the Danger Room safety systems are not working, and the Sentinels are doing the best they can to kill the five X-Men. In the air, Rogue gets pummeled by a Sentinel, not watching where she was going, she loses control of her flight after the robot’s hand slams into her and she falls to the ground.

Colossus leaves Rachel and holds out his arms to the falling Rogue, telling her he will catch her. Rogue yells back to Magik’s older brother that the fall will not hurt her, ‘but if my skin touches yours’…her words are too spoken too late, and Rogue lands in Colossus’ arms, immediately absorbing his powers and psyche. Colossus drops to the floor unconscious, human and helpless.

Meanwhile upstairs in his study, Professor Charles Xavier himself is working on academic lesson plans, when suddenly; a psychic cry for help from Kitty Pryde stirs him. By psychic projection, Xavier’s head appears near Shadowcat in the control room. He announces to Shadowcat that he sees the situation in her mind. Kitty announces that she is phasing the command console, thereby disrupting its circuitry, but it is having no effect, that the computer systems are completely under Rachel Summers’ control.

Xavier advises Kitty that he will deal with Rachel directly, by interfacing his stronger telepathic talent with her own, thus restoring her sanity and calming her down. Rachel’s eyes go wide as the psychic projection of the Professor reaches into her mind. Charles thinks about how unfortunate Rachel is, as this possible future was where she lived. Meekly, Rachel cries out ‘Professor?’

Over the intercom, Kitty congratulates the Professor, advising him that the room is returning to normal, as is Rogue as the power transfer between her and Colossus has worn off. Kurt teleports to the others and asks Charles how Rachel is, and the telepathic answer is that she is better, but understandably shaken. The Professor advises Kitty that he is leaving Rachel in telepathic control of the computer console a few moments longer so that she can use the holographic projectors of the Danger Room to illustrate to them what startled her…

…a holographic image reveals an aircraft in stormy weather. Logan notes that the aircraft is one owned by Cyclops’ grandparents. Cyclops’ voice is heard where he mentions Alpha Flight. The X-Men witness Cyclops and Madelyne’s plight, and see their aircraft burn and land in the snow over the Arctic Circle. A holographic projection of Cyclops feels at his own eyes and stumbles towards the X-Men, and as he falls over and lands in Rachel’s arms, she cries ‘Daddy?!’

Meanwhile, in Canada, more specifically, Calgary, Alberta, the medical center of the Sarcee Reservation, where at this present point in time, Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, also known as Alpha Flight’s Shaman, is examining his teammate, Dr. Walter Langkowski, the man who transforms into the beast known as Sasquatch. Twoyoungmen asks Walt to breathe deeply, and the brilliant scientist only replies that he would rather be anywhere but here, but that he had no where else to turn to.

Walt announces that as of late, whenever he transforms into Sasquatch he feels less and less in control, and more and more prone to violent berserker rages. Walt’s girlfriend and fellow Alphan, Aurora, stands up as Shaman leaves the room. Walt asks the doctor what is happening to him, and Shaman replies that he doesn’t know, but tells Walt to get dressed and they will discuss it in his office. Aurora leans up against the examination room door proclaiming to Walt that they are alone at last, and climbs up onto the table with Walter. Walt asks her what she is doing, and she replies that she is doing what comes naturally. In her native French dialect she reminds Walt that he is in pain, and that she can make him better, make the pain go away – for a time at least, if he will let her.

Michael Twoyoungmen walks down the corridor and thinks to himself that physically Walt is in perfect health, and that there is no organic reasoning for his condition. Michael decides that with Walt being a bio-physicist he must have determined that for himself already. Michael enters his office where Alpha Flight’s non-costumed or super powered team leader, the wife of Guardian, the team’s original creator and leader, Heather Hudson sits at Shaman’s desk.

Michael decides to himself that there are two alternatives to Walts problem, that it is either psychological in nature – or magickal. He knows something must be done, and soon, as Walt might easily, in seizure, harm or slay an innocent, though Walt is not a mutant, it would still add fuel to the fires of the anti-mutant hysteria spreading to Canada from the States. Heather tells Shaman she knows things aren’t good, as she can see it in his eyes. She asks her close friend what their next move is. Shaman tells Heather they will talk with him, and he is startled when Heather’s eyes go wide and her mouth gapes open –as Snowbird enters the room!

Heather calls out to Narya who she can see is in pain, and Shaman does the same. Narya leans against the door frame for support and asks Shaman to save her. As the goddess stumbles into Shaman’s arms the doctor asks her what is wrong, and all she can utter is ‘Ungava Bay…the death of us all!’ before she passes out.

At that same moment, a psychic claw separates Heather, Shaman and Snowbird as Twoyoungmen is pushed back. Rachel Summers has come to Calgary, and madly she proclaims to Shaman that he attacked her father and she wants to know why. Rachel keeps Shaman pinned up against the wall, and demands her father be returned to her unharmed, and threatens Shaman. Michael reaches for his medicine pouch he keeps attached to his side at all times, and struggles against the agony. He wonders who the mad girl is, as Rachel telekinetically brushes the medicine pouch away from him, sending it over to Heather Hudson, where it engulfs her arm! Heather calls out distressed to Shaman, but he too can do nothing.
Back in the examination room, Aurora and Walt hear Heather’s cries. Understanding they are in trouble, Walt transforms into Sasquatch, crashing into the low ceiling, while Aurora rips off her jumpsuit, to reveal her skimpy costume! Aurora tells Sasquatch that they do not want to wreck Michael’s hospital, so she will reconnoiter, while he stays here until she returns, before the young woman with more than one personality within leaves the room, she asks her boyfriend not to make a mess while she is gone.

Outside, Rogue flies down from the X-Men’s hypersonic plane, the Blackbird, while Xavier telepathically requests to her that she go after Rachel and keep her from doing any harm.

Back inside Shaman’s office, Rachel had been telepathically eavesdropping on Xavier’s conversation and knows Rogue is coming after her. Aurora flies into the office, and Rachel probes the Alphan’s mind, discovering dichotomous opposing personalities within her. Aurora comes closer to Rachel, and the psychic mutant decides it will be fun to see what happens when she switches dominance from the aggressive personality, to the other…

…the French Canadian mutant stops in her tracks, and the Jeanne-Marie persona becomes dominant. With Rachel’s attention elsewhere, Shaman frees himself from Rachel’s psychic claw and rushes to the unconscious Snowbird, telling Rachel to stop. Rachel tells Shaman he has a lot of nerve asking her to do that, after what he has done. Jeanne-Marie cowers against a bookcase and in French is scared after finding herself far from her home and dressed as ‘that shameless trollop Aurora!’ She asks God why he torments her, and wonders if she will ever be at peace.

Heather is still struggling with Shaman’s pouch, and she calls for him, or Puck or Sasquatch to help her. In the corridor, Sasquatch walks out of Michael’s examination room to see his teammate Puck rushing down the hallway too. Walt, who in his Sasquatch form destroys the ceiling as he walks along, tells Judd that the rapid-fire French means Aurora has reverted to Jeanne-Marie. Puck adds that Heather is calling too, and that whoever is responsible, they will ‘clean their cloaks eh?’

Rogue lands outside the office and after hearing screams wonders how Rachel can be so cruel? On the other hand, Rogue wonders if she would act differently if it were her father in danger. Rogue decides to make her move, when out of the corner of her eye she notices something – or someone, more like it, and she notices too slow, as the mutant speedster Northstar, Aurora’s twin brother, grabs Rogue before she can react. But as Jean-Paul Beaubier carries Rogue in his arms, she manages to turn her body around, and before he can take her out, she does it to him, by kissing him, making skin to skin contact. Jean-Paul is knocked out, and Rogue stares gingerly at him, as with his powers she has also absorbed his memories – she now knows his joys, pains, dreams, terrors – and his secrets!

Back in the office, Michael helps Heather who is still struggling with the medicine pouch. He warns Heather not to look in it, or else she risks losing both her mind and soul. Heather cries that she cannot pull free, while Rachel tells Shaman that she is still waiting for answers. Alpha Flights oldest member turns to the redheaded mutant and yells at her that he has no answers. He tells her he has no idea, nor does he care who her father is. He tells Rachel that she has threatened, maimed and perhaps murdered for nothing!

With awesome force, Sasquatch rips the outside wall to the office, telling Rachel that “playtime” is over, that the kid gloves have just come off. He proclaims to Rachel that she hurt his lady, and that made him mad! Rachel mocks Walt, telling him that if she were a wall, she would be scared stiff. She taunts him, telling him to take his best shot, when at that moment a bamf sounds the arrival of Nightcrawler, who teleported down with Professor X. Xavier thanks Kurt for the ride before yelling Rachel’s name, and his psychic energy focused on her, he pulls her onto the Psychic Plane.

In the office, Walter transforms from Sasquatch to his human form, and as he approaches Jeanne-Marie, who is begging him not to touch her, calls her “Aurora”. She replies to that by telling him not to call her by that hateful name. Shaman asks Nightcrawler to grab his medicine bad as Heather announces she can no longer feel her arm.

On the psychic plane, Xavier stands a thousand times larger than Rachel, as he asks her how she dare act in such fashion. He reminds her she is an X-Man, that she has no rights to tamper with another mind, regardless of the provocation.

Back to reality, Shaman tells Nightcrawler to pull with all his might, and Kurt yanks at the medicine pouch, when as he thinks it wont budge, it slips from Heather’s arm – Heather is glad to be free, and more so that her arm is unharmed. Shaman realizes that the pouch’s power was momentarily neutralized, and looking up he sees his daughter, Elizabeth, who reminds him it is what she, as Talisman, does best. Elizabeth tells her father that she heard his mystic “S-O-S” and came as quickly as she could.

Shaman tells Talisman to do what she can for the others while he tends to Snowbird. As the mystic medicine man reaches the ailing goddess he sees that she is barely breathing. Kurt kneels at Twoyoungmen’s side and hands him his medicine pouch. Shaman thanks him as he waves a mystic powder, which should restore her strength, across Snowbird. Hopefully too it will aid her body’s struggle against the corruption consuming her. Shaman wonders what it could be, as he has never seen anything like it, as medicine man or physician.

Xavier tells Rachel that he will never tolerate such behavior ever again. Rachel understands and they return to their bodies, to try and undo the harm she has done. Kurt helps Heather up as the Alphan leader asks someone to tell her what is going on. Walt is trying to calm Jeanne-Marie as the disorientated mutant panics and asks to be taken home. Xavier telepathically tells Walt that he will restore Jeanne-Marie to her former self, and he does. Aurora tells Walt she is back to herself – as much as she ever could be – and asks who the mad girl is and why she attacked.

Shaman carries Snowbird in his arms and tells Xavier that Rachel mentioned her father. Xavier explains that Rachel picked up a psychic cry from Cyclops implying that Shaman had ambushed him. When the tale is fully told, Shaman is tending to Narya on a couch and he tells Xavier that the story is nonsense as he was here with Heather all night. He adds that he didn’t cast any magicks all night and that he would never use his powers in such a manner against friends. Snowbird stirs and weakly, in pain, she announces that Cyclops aircraft was struck down the same moment she was. She says that there is a wrongness, a great and terrible evil emanating from Ungava Bay.

Through the wall-less side of the office, Wolverine, Rogue carrying Northstar, Colossus, Puck and Shadowcat all run towards the others. Nightcrawler mentions to the others that they have been charting a powerful mutant presence, which also appeared in that vicinity last night. Kurt remarks that there were three simultaneous event incidents a continent away, and asks if it was coincidence. Arms folded and sitting on Michael’s desk, Heather tells him that in their line of work there is no such animal. Alpha Flight’s leader turns to the Professor and suggests that the two teams working together may be better than one. She adds that after all, there were Canadians on the plane, which was flying over Canadian airspace when it crashed, which makes it Alpha Flight’s business. On the side, she tells the X-Men that they owe her for this ‘little set-to’. Logan tells Heather it sounds fair to him, and Kitty Pryde announces that their Blackbird isn’t big enough for them all. Puck tells everyone to leave that to him!

Elsewhere, in a place that is much apart from the world of gods and mortals as it is a part of them. If gods can have gods themselves, then this where they live. It is here also, that Loki of Asgard, god of mischief and the adopted son of Odin has come seeking a prize beyond price.

The five elder gods sit casually on their giant thrones, giant thrones for giant gods, and Loki stands before them like and ant. One of the gods tells Loki that they see him, as the female next to him tells Loki that that admits him to their presence. The god in the center bellows out ‘We who sit above in shadow bid thee welcome’.
Loki stands defiantly in front of his superiors and tells them that his task is complete, that his part of their bargain is fulfilled. He tells them that the time has come that they honor their part of the bargain.

The center god tells Loki that it is not time yet, and proclaims to him that they charged him not to do simply a good deed for the people of Earth, but in that same process, he had to prove himself worthy of their favor. The elder god tells Loki that one is far easier than the other, as he is no doubt discovering. The god continues, telling Loki that what he asked of them is great, and supremely precious. He announces that they do not take it lightly.

Loki grimaces and reminds the elder gods that he is the son of Odin, and that it is not in his nature to ask for anything. The center god tells Loki that that is the point of this exercise, to prove that nature can be changed. He reminds Loki that his brother Thor had to learn too, the true humility that must needs temper with the awesome power that the immortals possess. The god tells Loki that perhaps it is his turn to learn humility this time. Loki smirks and proclaims to the elder gods that some people say that a bonafide savior of the Universe such as his brother who stood by Odin’s side when he faced the fire-demon Surtur would have little to be humble about.

‘True…or a very great deal’ says one of the gods in the shadows. The second female god tells Loki to be patient and he turns away as the center god tells the god of lies that he shall their judgment shortly. Walking away, Loki thinks to himself that not long ago he would have chafed at such treatment, and lost all. He tells himself that he is not the god he once was, and that he will remain master of himself and his emotions. Defiantly, he proclaims that Loki the trickster, the deceiver and so-called god of evil, shall bring eternal peace to Earth!

The better part of a day later, the Uncanny X-Men and Alpha Flight are all aboard an aircraft and headed to Ungava Bay. Kurt is piloting, with Judd as his co-pilot. The blue X-Man comments to the dwarf about the age of the craft, and Judd tells him that the plane may not be pretty, but knows its way around this part of the country. Heather enters the conversation in the cockpit and tells Judd she won’t ask where, or how, he got this. ‘Good’ Puck says. Nightcrawler reports that they are nearing Upper Seal Lake, roughly three hundred kilometers from Ungava Bay. He guesses they should be there in about another hour. Heather makes her way out of the cockpit and says that she will tell the others, who will be pleased. Nightcrawler tells Heather not to worry, as ‘the fun and games will being soon enough!’ Heather just says that if this is as lively as the caper gets, she will be eternally grateful.

In the cabin of the plane, Shaman is tending to Snowbird, while Xavier, Colossus, Walter and Aurora sit nearby. Heather asks Shaman how Narya is, and the medicine man tells her that both medicines and magicks are having less and less effect. With heaviness in his heart, he reports that Narya may see tomorrow’s sunrise, but ‘unless the gods have mercy on their daughter, it will be her last’.

Heather walks down the aisle, thinking to herself how much she hates being unable to help, and as an ordinary woman without super powers, she wonders what right she even has at being here, let alone leading Alpha Flight. Motioning to Piotr and Walt she apologizes to the group for the cramped conditions, but advises them that it will not be for much longer. She asks if she can bring anyone anything while she is up, and Aurora asks for a dagger ‘to thrust through that redheaded mind-witch’s heart!’ Heather looks at Aurora worried and Walt tells her that he tried to explain to his girlfriend what happened and why, and as Aurora cuts him off she says she understands, but does not forgive!

Towards the middle of the plane, Rachel telepathically hears Aurora’s harsh words, and scared, she comments to Kitty, who is sitting across from her playing with Lockheed, that Aurora is not bothering to hide her thoughts, that her emotions are so strong and violent that she cannot screen them out. Quietly she adds that it serves her right, to which Kitty agrees, before adding that Aurora is over-reacting, and tells Rachel that somehow she and Aurora have to make up, as everyone’s lives may depend on it. Kitty tells Lockheed to mind his own business and covers his mouth as he squirms in her lap.

As Heather walks down the plane aisle more she nears Rachel and Kitty. Rachel stops her in mid tracks and tells her she is sorry, and that if she could take back what she did she would. ‘Don’t we all wish that?’ is all Heather says as she remembers her husband Mac and how she distracted him for a crucial second in New York, leading to his death. Solemnly, she walks over to her old and dear friend Wolverine, former member of Alpha Flight. Taking the seat across from Logan, Heather tells him, part jokingly, part serious, that they don’t need a villain to fight as they will all gladly tear each other to pieces. With a cigarette in his mouth and alcohol flask in one of his hands, Logan asks Heather if she is really surprised after everything that happened. ‘There’s never been any love lost between these two outfits’ Wolverine adds, and coming from him, that’s almost an understatement.

Logan leans over and asks Heather if she wants a coffee ‘or something stronger, you look like you could use it’. Heather adjusts her glasses, and knowing Logan is referring to alcohol she says passes over the offer. Heather takes off her glasses and covers her eyes, trying to hold in the tears, she tells Logan that she has tried so hard to hold things together since Mac died. She thinks sometimes she is doing an okay job, but other times…she looks over at Logan and tells him that he knows Mac always intended for him to lead Alpha Flight.

Logan reminds Heather he has other responsibilities, duties and obligations, both to the X-Men and to someone who is as important as Mac was to Heather. Logan adds that the X-Men are his home and family and he won’t walk out on them. Heather looks aside for a moment before reminding Logan that they were family once too. Wolverine tells her that she still is, but that the rest of the Alphans are only friends. He tells her it’s a big difference. Heather proclaims that Puck speaks of Alpha Flight as Logan speaks of the X-Men, that he has a lot more faith in her than she does herself.

Logan tells Heather that ‘The midget’ has got good instincts and she should trust them. Heather turns to Logan and shakes her glasses at him telling him to ‘Watch the mouth, bub. You ain’t that flamin’ tall!’ She proclaims that it is Northstar she worries the most about and tells Logan that Jean-Paul has so much rage and anguish inside of him, that he wont share it with anyone for he is so afraid of being vulnerable and hurt. Heather adds that she is surprised he even agreed to join this mission, and tells Logan that Jean-Paul quit recently. Heather mentions that he has gone ahead to scout and hopes he is all right. With a sly grin, Logan tells Heather not to worry, and announces that Rogue went along with him. Alpha Flight’s leader raises her voice in surprise when she learns Jean-Paul teamed up with a woman, least of all Rogue. She tells Logan that they will probably kill each other! ‘Maybe. Maybe not’ is all the former Alphan says.

Ahead, Northstar stares out across the vast tundra from a ledge as Rogue comes to land nearby. The X-Man asks the Alphan if he found anything and in French he replies he hasn’t, and tells her to go back to the others, adding that he needs no help. With a piece of grass in her mouth, Rogue leans back on the rocks exclaiming that she thought she had a chip on her shoulder! In French she tells Jean-Paul that they speak French in the Mississippi Bayou Country and that he cannot block her out that way. Arms folded across his chest, Jean-Paul tells Rogue she doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Rogue glances sideways and asks Jean-Paul if he forgets that for a minute back at the hospital, she was him. ‘Every thought, every experience, every emotion, every memory. It was quite an experience’. Northstar turns to Rogue and points a finger at her, telling her she had no right. Rogue points a finger back and says she had no choice. Trying to reason with Jean-Paul, Rogue reminds him she cannot control her power and that once she touches someone, they are down. She tells Jean-Paul that it has been like this since she was a kid and probably will be till she dies, and so not to quote her about how lonely and tough life is, ‘Ah’m writing my own book’!

His back was turned to the Southern mutant all through that, but finally Jean-Paul turns around and looks at her. Rogue proclaims to him that he has got no call for such anger, and reminds him he has talents. Jean-Paul tells Rogue simply that he is a mutant, and that without his super speed, he has nothing. It is Rogue who turns away from Northstar this time, and says ‘That’s funny, without mine, Ah’d be everything’. With speed and grace, Jean-Paul removes the grass Rogue was chewing on. He asks her where she got it from, and Rogue points telling him she got it across the mountains, where there was a whole field of it. She asks why, and Northstar tells her that it is summer grass, prairie stock, which doesn’t grow North of the tree line, especially not in winter as the weather is too harsh. Faster than Rogue can react to catch up to him, Northstar flies away, telling Rogue to stay where she is, as he will bring the others.

Almost immediately after, Jean-Paul streaks back to Rogue, with the plane of Alphans and X-Men aboard. In French he wonders to himself why he didn’t just return home, as there is no place for him in Alpha Flight, or at his sister’s side. He thinks of how Aurora cares nothing for him, and ignores him when he is around, even going as far as changing her costume so that they are as little alike as possible, even though they are twins. He wonders if it is the same in life as in physics, opposites attract, like repels.

In the cockpit of the plane, Judd tells Kurt that their radio is picking up nothing but static, that they are cut off. Sarcastically, Kurt says ‘What a surprise’ but adds that it is an indication they are on the right tracks. From in the cabin, Twoyoungmen shouts out to the pilots that Snowbird is getting worse, and as he cannot treat her properly in the air they have to land. Kurt decides the field where Rogue is standing appears firm and flat enough, and tells everyone to fasten their seat belts.

Northstar lands in the field too, and as he does so, reminds Rogue he told her to wait on the ridge. Rogue proclaims that she is a grown woman and can take care of herself. Jean-Paul asks her if she would like that carved on her tombstone. Rogue tells Northstar she is flattered he cares, but she thought seems how she is almost invulnerable she would give the opposition an easy target, in case they wanted an easy shot. Northstar tells Rogue she is mad, and she replies that it ‘takes one to know one’ Wolverine, Heather and the others all make their way out of the aircraft and Rogue greets them, asking them what they think of the view.

‘Unglaublich’ cries Kurt, as along with the rest of his companions, they stare in wonder at the almost unbelievably magnificent building before them – a huge, extravagantly decorated, magnificent gold palace. On the grass surrounding the palace, someone mentions the blizzard they saw approaching, but while here, the breeze is warm, and the smell of wild flowers fills the air, almost like summer! Still deciding whether what she sees is real or not, Heather dryly says that it is fairytale weather for a storybook setting, and that any moment they will meet a knight in shinning armor.

Colossus tells Heather she is about to get her wish, as a cloaked man walks towards the group of heroes. Heather asks Xavier if he can mindscan the man, and asks Wolverine what his senses tell him, whether or not he is hostile. Logan replies that the man is anything but hostile, as he takes off his cloak, he tells them all how glad he is to hear that, before saying ‘X-Men and Alphans, welcome to Paradise!’

Charles is the first to cry ‘Scott’ and rushes up to his prized student, proclaiming he almost didn’t believe his own mind when he sensed his thoughts. Xavier starts to mention Scott’s eyes, no visor, and no ruby-quartz lenses, as Scott himself tells the Professor that he is completely cured, that his optic blasts work like they are supposed to, at his own mental direction. Smiling, Scott tells Charles that he will never need his visor or glasses again. Charles tells the man who is like a son to him how wonderful it is, before asking how. Scott again cuts Xavier off, telling him that it was just an everyday miracle.

Back in the group of costumed heroes, Rachel hugs herself and stares at the man she believes is her father, a man who doesn’t know she exists. Rachel tells herself to step forward and say something…like “Hi! I’m Rachel, your daughter from an alternate timeline”. It is what she wants to do more than anything – except for running away and hiding. Rachel thinks that she should be happy, after all, her psi-flash was wrong, and Cyclops is unharmed, but instead she is crying on the inside – because she cannot stop remembering the moment the Scott Summers who was her father…died.

Kitty Pryde looks over at her new friend and thinks how awful this all must be for her. Introductions are made between Cyclops and those he doesn’t know, and as he shakes Heather’s hand he proclaims that everyone was wondering when someone would show up, and that they all figured it would be the X-Men or Alpha Flight, and that there was a betting pool about which team would arrive first. ‘Trust you two to do it together’. Scott asks Xavier who the redhead is and tells him that something about her seems strangely familiar. Charles glances to the side as Rachel sends a telepathic call to him and the others, asking them to keep her secret, as Cyclops must not find out who she is until she tells him herself.

Xavier answers Cyclops’ question by telling him that she is a new student, a telepath whose training is at a crucial stage, which is why she is here with him and not back at the Institute with the New Mutants. He adds that she has no codename, but her name, is Rachel. Scott tells Rachel he is pleased to meet her before telling everyone he is sure they all have questions…

The corridors are enormous as the group walks through the entranceway, led by Scott, Xavier walks at his side, with Nightcrawler at his feet. Heather walks on the opposite side of Scott, with Judd at her feet. Colossus and Rogue walk just behind him. Further back, Wolverine walks beside Shaman and his daughter, with Aurora and Walt just behind them. Kitty, Rachel and Lockheed walk further behind them, while Northstar walks separate from everyone, off to the right of the line of heroes.

Kitty whispers to Rachel that she cannot hide forever, and the reply she gets is ‘I may try’, Telepathically, Rachel announces to Kitty that she has never been so scared, and asks what she is going to do. Xavier fabricates a little lie as he tells Scott that he sensed the crash through their psychic rapport. He mentions to Scott that he was in flames, to which the former X-Man just says ‘I got better.’ Xavier tells Scott that he would appreciate a more appropriate response, and as huge doors open before the heroes, Cyclops tells Xavier that he knows, but in truth he has been having a hard time believing this was not a dream, as it is almost too good to be true.

Xavier thinks to himself how interesting it is that an element in the fabric of the citadel inhibits his psionic abilities, reflecting the thought probes back at him. He wonders if that, and the fact that Cyclops’ thoughts have become increasingly hard to read, should be cause for alarm. Cyclops tells Xavier words aren’t quite sufficient, that the explanation is far better, shown….

The large doors finally part, revealing Madelyne and the eight humans from the plane, all taller than they used to be, dressed exquisitely to match the more-than-human palace. Scott’s wife stands at the end of the group, dressed in a pink and golden dress, she welcomes her friends ‘to what we hope and pray is the shape of our world to come…an Earth whereon its children, human and mutant both, will live together, forever and in peace’. The other eight, all standing in line, look back at the stunned X-Men and Alphans.

Xavier walks over to Madelyne and looking up at her he tells her what she already knows – that she has changed. Madelyne tells Xavier that she hopes she has changed in soul as much as in body, before announcing that her husband was not joking when he called it a miracle, and adds that they have all been blessed with gifts too magnificent to describe. Charles looks somewhat skeptical and asks Madelyne what she means.

Madelyne asks to be allowed to demonstrate and reaching down to Alpha Flight member Puck, she proclaims that dwarfism is a disease and in his case, a terrible curse. Judd wonders how this woman who has never met him knows this about him as she announces that as Anodyne she can heal both. Madelyne and Judd clasp hands and as she tells him to be brave and to trust in she and himself, that everything will be well, Madelyne is light up by a flame, which transfers to Judd.

Eugene Milton Judd stares as he becomes engulfed in the flame and wonders if he should believe her, and if she could really cancel the pain inside and set him free. As they burn together, the flames do not hurt and Judd realizes that it is he who no longer hurts, that for the first time in decades, the pain is gone. Suddenly, Judd shoots up in height, becoming more than twice his height. Heather looks on in amazement and smiles when he stops growing and stands before her. She asks if he is all right, and Judd tells the woman he has more than platonic feelings for that he has always wanted to look her in the eye.

As he tells her that he never thought he would have the chance, he stumbles, but Heather reaches out to grab him, and as the two fall to the ground Shaman helps them up. Judd thinks of how long it has been since his center of gravity was so high. As everyone stares in wonder at the Alphan's sudden change in size, Madelyne tells him that the next few days will be an ordeal as his body gets use to its new dimensions. Judd replies that it is a small price to pay and adds that he does not know how to ever repay her. Madelyne Pryor-Summers smiles and tells Judd that seeing him walking and hearing his laughter is thanks enough.

Xavier telepathically sends to Rachel that if Scott was “healed” in the same manner …Rachel telepathically replies that it was that which she saw in her psi-flash. She starts to mention all the grief she caused, as the Professor tells her that such recriminations are needless, and asks her how any of them could have suspected the truth.

Madelyne turns now to another of the Alphans, Walter Langkowski, but addressing everyone in general, she announces that she senses a great pain or wrongness in them. Walter tells her that he could use her help, and transforms into Sasquatch. Understanding, Anodyne tells him it is his, and they are smothered in the healing flame. Aurora asks her lover how he feels and he tells her to find out for herself, lifting her up into his arms, she too becomes engulfed in the flame. Aurora asks Walt what he thinks he is doing before becoming calm and stops yelling.

Meanwhile, seeing his sister engulfed in the flame Northstar tries to get to her, as Wolverine and Rogue hold him back. Rogue tells Jean-Paul to look at his sister, and at Walter and adds that neither of them are hurting, but happy. She proclaims that Madelyne is trying to do them some good and asks if he really wants to stop that. Northstar says nothing.

Still carrying Aurora in his arms, Walt asks her what the verdict is – ‘Are you Aurora or…Jeanne-Marie?’ The French-Canadian turns to Sasquatch and asks who Aurora and Jeanne-Marie are! She tells Walt that the madness is gone, and that for the first time since she was a young girl, she feels whole. Aurora asks Walt how he feels, and tossing her high up into the air of the spacious room, he shouts that he feels great!

Shaman narrows his eyes and wonders if such a miraculous talent could aid Snowbird…suddenly he realizes that she is not with them, and worriedly, he wonders how careless he was to not have noticed. Sasquatch calls up to Jeanne-Marie that “what goes up, must come down”, as Shaman continues his urgent thoughts. He thinks of how he has felt dazed ever since they all arrived and somewhat out of focus – as if his spirit had wandered away from his body, he wonders why it happened and if he will get worse. He turns to Scott and Madelyne and proclaims that something has happened to Narya, adding that she must still be in the plane.

Shaman runs from the group, thinking to himself of how his age must be catching up with him, and that he has failed Narya as a physician and friend. Aurora suddenly appears before Twoyoungmen and announces that the aircraft is empty and that there is no sign of Snowbird anywhere in the area. Wolverine states that he will find her, as Nick Rodriguez announces he is a Pathfinder and that Boyd Wilson, as Beastmaster has dominion over the animal kingdom and can use local animals as scouts. Rodriguez announces that they would like to come along, as it is because of them that they all came here and they feel responsible. He adds that three can cover more ground faster and longer. Wolverine tells Rodriguez to suit himself as he stride out in search of his close friend. On the way out of the palace he notes how Narya’s scent is almost non-existent, as if she were deliberately masking her trail, as if she does not want to be found. He wonders what is going on with her.

Back within the citadel, everyone mingles about as Charles notes to himself how everyone in Madelyne’s group has been raised to their ultimate human potential, as if they have become true Homo Sapiens Superior. Scott proclaims that Carla Ballinger is their Cornucopia, and that they have her to thank for the feast they see before them. Carla tells everyone that they must be famished after such a long flight, and adds that they should dig in, as there is plenty for everyone. As everyone makes their way toward the tables of food she stops Walter, Colossus and Judd, proclaiming that she does not serve “ragamuffins” at her table, especially when her talent extends to providing clothes as well as food. And with a single touch, Walter is no longer naked, and Piotr and Judd are all dressed in clothes as fancy as the other members of Cornucopia’s group.

Kitty walks up beside Piotr and tells him he is wearing a cute outfit, that it suits him. She proclaims that she wonders if Cornucopia could conjure enough to single-handedly end famine. She asks Colossus if that wouldn’t be wonderful, and with eyes downcast, remembering his poor countrymen in Russia, Colossus agrees with her, stating that it is a dream worth dying for.

Rogue timidly approaches Scott, Madelyne and Xavier who are sitting on a “throne” of sorts and reminds Madelyne that she knows she cannot control her powers. She says she does not know if it qualifies as a sickness…as her voice trails off, Madelyne tells Rogue that it costs nothing to try. As Rogue and Madelyne touch hands, Rogue proclaims that she has never been so nervous, and when the flame engulfs her she wonders which would be worse…success - or failure?

When the flames subside, Rogue announces that she does not feel any different. Northstar tells Rogue that she will need a volunteer and extends his hand in offer. Rogue knows that Jean-Paul is scared stiff, that he hates the idea of making himself so vulnerable, but it is not stopping him. As he takes her hand she thinks that he has got guts, and when she realizes that nothing is happening, she pulls him into her and much to his horror, she kisses him on the lips!

Back on the “throne” Xavier tells Scott and Madelyne that it is all very impressive, and Madelyne asks him if he suspects it to be too good to be true. Charles asks what the Genesis of the various abilities are, and his prized pupil tells him that the answer to that question is easy, and that they are going to show it after dinner. He adds that as to where it came from, they do not know. Scott continues, telling Xavier that the power is not evil or hostile, and that if he wants proof is welcome to probe his mind, and Madelyne’s too.

Charles thanks Scott and as he probes their minds realizes that there is no hint of outside influence or control, that their thoughts are wholly their own and thus far as they know, they have told the truth. Xavier believes however that the question remaining is – how much do they know? Xavier opens an eye in surprise and Scott asks him if something is wrong, Xavier says ‘Small wonder, Cyclops, when I scan for two minds – and find three’. Madelyne blushes as Cyclops goes slightly paler than usual, asking Xavier what he is talking about. Kitty yells out ‘Madelyne, that’s great! You’re going to have a baby!’

Rachel’s mouth drops open and scared, wonders if it is the girl who will grow up to be she. Scott leans over his wife, and asks her why she never told him. Smiling back at him, Madelyne reveals she was not sure she was pregnant until her transformation into Anodyne. Following that, she decided to wait until her healing powers made sure the child was not affected by the transformation. Madelyne congratulates her husband, telling him his son is going to be perfect before they kiss passionately.

Rachel drops her plate and glass, which shatter as they hit the floor, food splattering everywhere. ‘”Son”’ ‘A boy’. Rachel tenses up and shaking begins to cry, thinking about how she was first-born – and an only child. She believes that what it means is that whatever happens, she will never be. She runs fast from the room, thinking that in this timeline and era, Rachel Summers will never exist!

Kitty calls out to her, while Cyclops wonders what is going on. Xavier sends an astral projection of himself to Kitty asking her to follow Rachel. Kitty is on her way, and tells herself she can see why Rachel is so upset, before wondering how she can help. Back amongst the crowd of on-lookers, Shaman tells his daughter Talisman to go with Shadowcat. Annoyed at the request, Elizabeth asks him why and what it has to do with them. He tells her that whatever she may think of the X-Men, they are their teammates, and that Alphans look after their own. He adds that more importantly, they still know very little about this place, and quietly he tells her that despite Cyclops assurances, he is far from satisfied, and this is a splendid opportunity to learn. Begrudgingly, Liz races after Kitty, thinking that she doesn’t mind too much, and as an archeologist she had been hoping for a chance to do some exploring.
Standing on a ledge, unseen by Alpha Flight’s newest and youngest member, Loki watches over her, the young woman who will soon make a startling discovery and possibly shatter his plans.

Paul Domenic tells Xavier that he need not worry, as he built the citadel and it is perfectly safe, that there is nothing in it that can harm anyone. Sam Ross steps forward and tells Xavier that as he can see, Carla can feed the world, and as Master Buildre, Paul can house it. He adds that there is no limit to the good they can do. Charles asks Sam what his gift is and the reply he gets is ‘I’m sort of a living library’. He adds that the knowledge of the ages – every book ever written can be told through he. Charles admits that for the moment he has only a single question…

Shortly, after everyone has left the dinning room and made their way through the palace, Charles is about to get his answer, as the X-Men, Alphans and the meta-humans stand on a walkway, in a cavernous tower, with a walkway to the center of the tower, where brilliant white light hovers as if it were suspended in the air. Sam Ross says that they call it their “Magic Fountain” and adds that it reaches from the roof of the sky, to the heart of the world. The Alphans and X-Men stare in wonder.

Descard tells the heroes that the light appeared from no where and changed them all, and that it was the violence of the manifestation of their powers that destroyed the plane. Shaman does not notice mystical energies flowing from his pouch as he proclaims he has never seen such a wondrous and beautiful sight.

Someone cries out that there is someone on the ramp walking towards the fountain – it is Heather! Before anyone else can react, Northstar is already beside her and he asks her what she is doing. Almost trance like, Heather asks Jean-Paul if he can hear the light singing to her. Jean-Paul just says that he is taking her away. Jean-Paul stops as Heather walks out in front of him, telling him that he will not take her back. Northstar begs with her not to do this, and Heather replies she didn’t know he cared.

Back on the walkway, Sam Ross announces that Heather will be fine, as Walt proclaims he cannot hear any music or summons. Master Builder tells him it is because he already has special gifts he no longer needs anymore. Judd thinks he should be with Heather as Aurora tells everyone to look – at the figure coming towards them!

The fountain shimmers as a costumed figure steps from it and stands before them all. It is Heather Hudson, dressed finely as the other meta-humans and as tall as they all are too. She takes off her headpiece and tells everyone that it is a wonderful and weird feeling. Heather tells Judd that he is smaller than she is again. Judd just comments that it seems like everyone is, but that is overshadowed by Heather’s announcement that her eyes are better and she doesn’t need glasses. Judd asks her what her powers are, and she replies that she is not sure, but she thinks her power is to lead, and to become Alpha Flight’s – Canada’s – the world’s Guardian, as Mac tried so hard to be.

Kurt whispers to the Professor, asking if he realizes the implications of this fountain, that the fantastic light has the capability of making everyone on Earth a super being like they. He remarks that mutants will no longer be outcasts, there would be no more need to hate, or be hated. Xavier ponders, telling Kurt that it would appear so, but thinking that while it is the goal he has sought his entire adult life, wonders why he is so suspicious He wonders what it will take to put his doubts to rest…when suddenly, Walter alerts Charles as Heather cries ‘What’s happening to Shaman?’

Shaman has no powers of his own so to speak of, but when in need he reaches into his medicine bag and appropriately pulls from it a charm, which comes to hand. The pouch is Shaman’s gateway to myriad of realms and states of being. Somehow everything is kept contained, providing an orderly framework to a universe of transient chaos. But now those barriers are broken, the madness is loose, ready to consume both Shaman and his world. Demons and monsters all pour from the medicine man’s pouch, all clawing, ready to attack him.

His friends are all that can save him now, and Madelyne Pryor throws the medicine pouch at Northstar and Aurora, telling them to take it far from Shaman, and to hurry. As she takes it in her hands, Aurora asks Anodyne what will become of Shaman. Already outside the palace, and many, many miles away, with demons following like a spout of water, Northstar tells his sister that with the pouch, Shaman is surely doomed. Aurora alerts her brother that the demons have almost caught up with them. Jean-Paul just tells her that he was right not to trust in this place as it can only bring misery.

Aurora questions that, reminding her brother of how it has changed herself and Walter, Judd, Heather, Rogue, Madelyne and the other humans. She tells him it is a strange misery when it makes them all so happy. As Jean-Paul takes the pouch from his sister, he throws it to the snow below, asking her to explain that as the demons follow the pouch. Aurora says she cannot, but suggests that with their powers, old and new, they can heal their friends and bring peace to the world.

The twins return to the others and Jean-Paul tells Aurora that she is dreaming. ‘With all my heart’ his sister tells him. Northstar asks how Shaman is, and as Anodyne and the others cover around him, Madelyne reports that the creatures hurt him, and that try as she may, her healing powers have no effect on his wounds. ‘Forgive me Alpha Flight, but Michael Twoyoungmen is dying’! And with him, perhaps a dream…

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Cyclops, former X-Man

Aurora/Jeanne-Marie, Heather Hudson, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Talisman II (Alpha Flight)

Madelyne Pryor-Summers/Anodyne, wife of Cyclops

Cypher, Magik (New Mutants)

Lockheed, pet dragon of Kitty

Carla Ballenger/Cornucopia, Dr. Jeanne Chretien/Earth-Mover, Descard, Paul Domenic/Master Builder, Jaques Moreau/Brawler, Sam Ross, Dr. Boyd Wilson/Beastmaster, Nick Rodriguez/Pathfinder (all Berserkers)

Local kids in Salem Centre


Those who sit above in shadow

Snow Giants

In Rachel’s memory/Danger Room scenario



Rachel Summers, the Hound

Story Notes: 

This story takes place between Alpha Flight (1st series) #22-23, and between the pages of Uncanny X-Men #192 (in the weeks after the team’s fight with Magus and before Xavier got attacked by human students)

The X-Men first met Alpha Flight (Snowbird, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch and Shaman) in X-Men (1st series) #120-121, Alpha Flight’s first appearance, where the X-Men and Alpha Flight battled for “custody” of Wolverine, as he is a former member. They had already met Guardian several issues earlier in X-Men (1st series) #109.

Guardian was killed in Alpha Flight (1st series) #12, and his wife Heather Hudson took over as non-costumed non- powered leader in Alpha Flight (1st series) #18.

Rachel’s possible future timeline was first seen in Uncanny X-Men #141-142, (“Days of Future Past”) and again in Fantastic Four Annual #23, X-Factor Annual #5, New Mutants Annual #6 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (“Days of Future Present”), furthermore in Excalibur #66-67 (“Days of Future Yet to Come”) and finally in Excalibur #94 (“Days of Future Tense”).

Walter Langkowski’s predicament is that whenever he transforms into Sasquatch he actually opens the portal to the mystical realm of the Great Beasts, where he inhabits the body of the Great Beast known as Tanaraq. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #11] For his fate, and one of Alpha Flight’s greatest battles ever (Snowbird vs. Sasquatch) see Alpha Flight (1st series) #23-24.

While Aurora loves using her powers, and her place within Alpha Flight, as well as the revealing costumes she wears and her relationship with Sasquatch, her other-self, Jeanne-Marie does not. Jeanne-Marie does have the ability to use the powers, but she does not like to, she speaks heavily in French, is deeply religious to the point of being a bigot, wears glasses she does not really need and is scared of Walter.

This mini series, like many of the early Alpha Flight issues, housed hints of Northstar’s sexual orientation, such as when Rogue was stressing the fact she knows his secrets, when the two had a conversation before the teams arrived at Ungava Bay when Rogue tells Jean-Paul not to tell her about how hard life is, when Northstar volunteers to be touched by Rogue, and finally in the second issue when the two dance and reflect on the balcony.

Talisman is the only person who can look into Shaman’s medicine pouch and survive. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #18-19] When the Omega Flight member Smart Alec did, he lost his mind. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #12, 45]

Northstar quit Alpha Flight officially in Alpha Flight (1st series) #18.

Rachel Summers has still to be born, and probably will not be, in the 616 timeline. (Originally her timeline was meant to be one where Phoenix II survived powerless to give birth to her. This was later changed to her coming from a timeline where there was no Phoenix and she was the daughter of a Jean Grey who’d always remained Marvel Girl)

When Walter alerts the Professor to Shaman’s attack by the demons, he actually says ‘Boszhe moi’ which suggests that it was supposed to be Colossus who said it, but there was a coloring error, as they were both wearing similar outfits.

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