Contrary to popular belief, the Arctic Circle is not always covered in snow. Springtime brings days of extra sunlight, the ground loosens and even some flowers will bloom. But on this day, the thaw brings great danger, as well. Here, in Kugaaruk, Nunavut, a snowy owl soars towards a village, while a brilliant beam of energy streaks alongside it. Hitting the ground, the beam of energy gives way to the powerful sorceress Elizabeth Twoyoungmen a.k.a. Talisman, while the snowy owl transforms into Narya a.k.a. Snowbird, who utters 'Do you feel it, Elizabeth?' Talisman confirms that she does – like an ominous presence. The two Alphans walk through the village as Talisman remarks that when Snowbird first told her that her spirit was being drawn to this spot, she didn't sense it – but now they are here, the aura is thick. Snowbird wonders where all the townspeople are, while Talisman announces that the entire place is swimming in magical energy.
Talisman is a conduit for mystic forces, her mind and body are well attuned to disturbances beyond the normal senses of humankind, while Snowbird is the daughter of Nelvanna, Goddess of the Northern Lights. She is supernaturally strong, durable and can change her form into a menagerie of Arctic animals at will, such as the wolf which she transforms into as she moves through the village. Talisman wonders what could have caused the damage in the village, and knocks on a door, 'Hello? Is anyone here?' she calls out. 'Leave now before it's too late!' someone exclaims as they answer the door and poke their head out. Talisman tells the person cowering behind the door not to be afraid, and introduces herself being of Alpha Flight. 'We're here to help' Talisman assures them. 'There's no help here, stranger... only death!' the frightened local responds.
Snowbird's keen senses detect a shift in the wind and a smell that is at once disturbing... and yet somehow also familiar.
Talisman glances backwards, as several frightening creatures, with the decayed heads of animals and large monstrous bodies appear behind her. 'YOUR FLESH SHALL SUSTAIN US' the creatures chant. 'By the gods, what are you?' Talisman gasps, falling backwards as the horrid creatures loom over her and screech 'WE ARE SALT AND BONE! THE LOST AND FORGOTTEN!' Snapping jaws and sharpened claws thrash out from the shadowy figures before them, while Snowbird instinctively moves to protect her friend, shifting back into her default form she lunges between the creatures and Talisman, pushing Talisman to safety – but even Snowbird is not quick enough to escape unharmed, as one of the creatures reaches out and slashes their claws across Snowbird's back, causing Narya to scream.
Talisman responds by summoning a beam of light from the midmorning sun on the West Coast, which keeps the snarling creatures back for a moment, before their continue their vicious assault. Snowbird is fine, and punches one of the beasts with her godly strength while telling Talisman that whatever this is, it is more dangerous than they suspected, and instructs her to gather her father and the other Alphans. 'No! I'm not leaving you to fight this alone!' Talisman responds as she holds more of the creatures back with the surging light. Snowbird wants to ell the young mystic that the gods watch over her and she is never alone – but there is no time to protest, and suddenly, Snowbird shifts into the powerful white Sasquatch form, immediately reaching out and grabbing two of the creatures by their necks and shoving them to the ground. But although she has called forth this form of great strength and savagery to try and fight back, it is not enough, as more creatures reach out from the darkness, scratching and clawing at Narya.
Talisman summons another beam of light, and releases it in another direction as the sounds of gnashing teeth and cracking bones fill her ears. More creatures close in on her, and for a moment she wonders if this is where her journey will come to an end. Darkness envelops her, and then she hears Narya's voice calls out 'We have met before. Another time. Another place. But you do not know me, foul one, for if you did you would know you have made a grave mistake'. Snowbird's face appears in the darkness as two red eyes suddenly turn and look at her 'I am not an animal to be slaughtered or meat to be feasted upon' Snowbird declares. 'All you have torn is the imaginary flesh that houses my power. Unleashing the angry goddess within'. A bright light glows around Snowbird, who shouts 'Reveal yourself!' as she extends the light of the divine, which shatters the darkness, and tears the horrid creatures away, revealing the spirit of a confused, frail old man with a headband around his head.
Snowbird and Talisman look at the old man, before Snowbird asks 'Who... who are you?' The old man's spirit reaches out to her, and tells her that he doesn't know, and doesn't know if he ever knew. He adds that the barriers are breached and the sky is broken. “Another time. Another place” Snowbird quotes, wide-eyed, while a vision fills her mind – of this man, appearing before her mother who had taken a mortal guise, and told him that the forces of ancient evil were abroad, that the headband he wore was a symbol of great and terrible power, and if the evil was to be held in check, then the world required a champion. 'You're Richard Easton...my mortal father' Snowbird utters. The spirit of the old man looks back at Snowbird and tells her that he likes that name.
Snowbird explains that Richard Easton's mind could not handle the godhood he embraced when he gave of himself to make her – and it drove him quite mad. 'Narya...' Talisman begins, before Snowbird tells her that they will send his spirit to rest. 'If that is what you wish' Talisman replies. 'It is' Snowbird confirms as she embraces the spirit of her mortal father. 'Heh. You... you look just like her... your mother' Richard Easton utters, before Talisman casts energies around him that set Richard Easton's spirit free. Talisman then releases a surge of light upwards, dispersing the dark clouds that had formed over the village, and a moment later, the local villagers begin to emerge from their homes.
'I'm so sorry, Narya' Talisman remarks, putting a comforting hand on Snowbird's shoulder. Snowbird glances back at her friend and tells her 'Not at all. This is as it should be'. Snowbird remarks that over the years she has spent much time holding tightly onto her divinity, and holding up the headband that was worn by her mortal father, Snowbird admits that it is good to remind herself of that which makes her human.
Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island, where twins Jeanne-Marie and Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora and Northstar, respectively, recline on outdoor chairs. Aurora is wearing a skimpy bikini and Northstar skimpy briefs as they bathe in the sun that shines down on them. 'Certainly, we will return to headquarters. But we have unfinished business here, and we will not be leaving until it is resolved' one of them tells Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck and Marrina, who stand behind them. 'You're talking about your tans' Puck mutters, hands on hips. 'We're talking about our tans' Jean-Paul confirms. Puck reminds them that their mission was to come to Cavendish and deal with “the beast” - and now they've done that. 'Secondary objective, Jean-Paul?' Aurora asks. 'Secondary objective, Jeanne-Marie: Tan' Northstar replies, so Marrina suggests to Puck that they go explore the beach. Puck and Marrina turn to walk away from the twins, but Marrina looks back at them and asks them if they are sure they don't want to come with them. 'Hard' Aurora begins. 'Pass' Northstar concludes.
Walking along the shore, Marrina tells Puck that in all her time with Alpha Flight, she has never been to Prince Edward Island before, and it is beautiful. Puck informs Marrina that it has changed a lot since the last time he was here. 'When was that?' Marrina asks, to which Puck reveals that it was in 1937, but he doesn't want to talk about it. Puck remembers a large ship, while Marrina pleads with Puck to tell her a story. 'It's not a real nice story, Little Fish' Puck replies, adding that back then, he wasn't a real nice guy – none of them were. He remembers being on the ship with others, and informs Marrina that they had all heard tell of a monster out on the island, so they crewed up and jumped on the ferry. He reiterates again that Marrina needs to understand how it was back then, how different they all were.
Puck informs Marrina who else was with him – Fat Cobra, who he thinks was a borderline psychopath, and Ulysses Bloodstone, who was old, older than he looked, but when he didn't think anyone was watching, you could see it in his face. Puck remembers a barbarian firelight in the back of Ulysses' eyes, like civilization had never quite taken for him. Puck tells Marrina that for him, the Yukon hadn't been enough to satisfy him, as there was a big world out there, and he wanted a piece of it – every bite he got, he wanted more, adding that he had spent every moment since he was 13 filling his belly. Marrina starts to build a sand castle, and remarks 'You and your hero pals, going on adventures. Cute!' 'Heroes, sure. Right' Puck mutters, adding that they were not like Major Mapleleaf or Captain America – that kind of thing came later, during the war.
Puck explains that they were like the ancient Greek heroes, demigods who killed their way to glory – they hunted monsters, but not because it made the world safer – they did it because they could, because they liked it, and because they were different and life in polite society was too small for them. Marrina has now buried Puck up to his head in sand, and asks what kind of monster it was – a wendigo? 'Did someone out in Cavendish get a taste for long pork?' she jokes. Puck tells her that it was your classic cult harvest-sacrifice thing, which you saw a lot of in the Depression years. He informs Marrina that they fed drifters to their god for a good crop of taters, and explains that someone contacted Bloodstone, so he gathered the gang and they went to investigate. Puck remembers riding in a jeep with his companions across tis island on the Atlantic Coast with soil as red as spilt blood to kill a monster – because it was a monster and they were heroes.
'You should have been a poet. You're wasted in this super hero biz' Marrina remarks as Puck emerges from the sand, brushing it off of himself, he laughs and asks Marrina if she knew that he grew up on Shakespeare. He reveals that it was the only book they had in the cabin aside from the Kimg James. 'Big old Riverside – my Pa brought it home to give us kids some culture' Puck explains, adding that he doesn't know where his father got it – his father couldn't read. Puck remembers that he was thinking of Shakespeare on that night – from “Cymbeline” - the imperious seas breed monsters. Puck remembers charging across a field with his allies, as they watched the locals gather around a fire, while two bound and gag men were about to be sacrificed. Puck tells Marrina that there is that feeling, nothing like it in the world, the blood pounding in your ears, blade and gun in hand, betting your life on your strong sword arm, on your ruthlessness – on six bullets and a 24-inch blade. 'On your desire to live outmatching that of your enemy. On your never' Puck adds.
Puck recalls confronting the ritual, breaking it up with Ulysses and Fat Cobra. The locals fled, while Puck and his allies fight with the strange, tentacled creature at the center of the ritual. 'Judd, stop' Marrina calls out as she walks into the water. 'What is it?' Puck asks as he follows Marrina. Arms folded, Marrina remarks that this took her a minute, but thisn't a story. 'Little Fish...' Puck begins, as Marrina declares 'It's a confession'. Puck hangs his head, while Marrina glances back at him and tells him that the thing he killed all those years ago, he and Ulysses Bloodstone and that Fat Cobra person – it was a Plodex, like her. 'Wasn't it?' she asks. Puck reaches into his pocket and pulls a claw which he turned into a keychain and informs Marrina that he pulled iit out of his back afterwards, and kept it as a souvenir.
Puck tells Marrina that after the whole Master of the World thing – the first one – he got the DNA sequenced, thought he would see what it was he had tangled with back in 1937. Remembering lighting dynamite to use against the monster, Puck tells Marrina that it wasn't a god that they killed – it was a scared, lost creature, born into a world that had never offered it any love. 'Because if the world had, then that...that creature...could have been wonderful. Just like you, Little Fish' Puck smiles, looking up at Marrina, who asks Judd how long he had been holding on to that. Judd doesn't respond at first, before admitting that it has been years – ever since he found out. Marrina tells Puck that she doesn't need his confession, and that he doesn't need her forgiveness. Marrina reminds Puck that the Plodex are dangerous – she is dangerous.
'We were created for war. Conquest is hardcoded into our DNA and that's a hell of a thing to live with. Like it or not, that's what I am' Marrina tells Judd, who remembers standing with Fat Cobra and Ulysses Bloodstone as the creature exploded. 'But that's not who I am. Who I am is Marrina Smallwood, and I was born here. On Earth' Marrina tells Puck as she takes his hand, adding that she is a Canadian, a Newfoundlander, and an Alphan. They walk back along the shore holding hands, as Marrina shifts her left arm into a monstrous form and tells Puck that what she is is not going to control who she is – not anymore. 'If I was born to conquer...I'll conquer my own biology' Marrina' announces. She looks at Judd and tells him that they are all monsters, somewhere inside. 'You, me, everyone. But. Human or alien, we're people, and people can decide who they are. We can change. For the better' she remarks.
As the sun sets in the distance, they continue to walk along the shore and Judd asks Marrina when she got so wise. 'I died a couple of times. Gives you time to think' Marrina responds. 'Speak for yourself. When I died, I took over Hell' Judd retorts. 'Go on then, old man. Tell me a story' Marrina asks, to which Puck reveals that there is no beer down in Hell, and the hockey sucks, which got him to thinking....
Kelowna, British Columbia, night has fallen and in a small suburban house, Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator, at one time Canada's greatest super hero, is reading a story to her daughter, Claire. 'One more story, mama!' Claire exclaims. Heather looks down at her daughter and promises to read one more – provided she goes right to bed after. 'Promise!' Claire replies. Heather smiles at her daughter while she starts to read from the book on her lap: “Goodnight, Saturn...in the sky so high. While I hate to say goodbye -” but she doesn't get any further, as suddenly, a voice shouts 'FREEZE!' and Heather looks up to see three heavily armed mercenaries standing before her. They are the Outcasts, Cleft, Depth Charge and Flagstone. Cleft warns Heather that they are taking her in for the murder of David and Yvtte McNeil, and the kidnapping of Claire McNeil Hudson. He warns her that if she thinks that they might have some compunction about hurting a woman and a child, then she should dissuade herself of that thought – as they don't. Cleft declares that they are completely without compunction, and suggests she make this easy on herself by placing her hands behind her head – but he doesn't get to finish his sentence as Heather leaps up, her civilian clothes torn to shreds revealing her red and white Canadian flag costume underneath as she uses her battlesuit to blast Cleft with a surge of electromagnetic energy.
Heather tells Claire that she needs her to listen, but the little girl looks frightened and tells her mother that she is scared. 'This is just like we practiced' Heather tells her daughter, while blasting another of the Outcasts aside. Heather instructs Claire to go to her hiding place until she says it is safe to come out, and adds that everything is going to be okay. 'Do you understand?' Heather asks. 'I understan'' Claire replies, before running out of the room. Heather warns the Outcasts to leave she and her daughter alone. 'I don't want to have to hurt you, but backed into a corner, I will' she declares. 'Git her!' one of the Outcasts exclaims while Claire hits a panel outside the room that opens a small hatch which she climbs into. As Heather fires a blast that knocks Flagstone back, Cleft orders Depth Charge to take the place down. 'Shoulda listened to us, lady' Depth Charge suggests to Heather as he slams his hands to the ground and creates a seismic rumbling so powerful that a wall collapses in on Heather, trapping her.
'Contract don't say nothing about bringing you in alive, lady' Flagstone remarks, adding that after the fight she put up, he thinks maybe dead is the safer option for them. 'Please... leave us alone...' Heather utters. 'Sounds like she wants us to put her out of her misery, Flagstone' Cleft suggests. 'I think you're right' Flagstone declares as he raises his weapon. 'Night night, Vindicator' Flagstone calls out – but before he can fire his weapon, an electromagnetic blast strikes him in his neck – courtesy of James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian! 'Drop the weapon!' Guardian calls out as he fires another blast. Heather emerges from the rubble and warns Mac to stay back, but dropping to the ground, Mac tells Heather that he isn't here to fight her, that he came to help, adding that he is sorry he didn't get here sooner. Heather reminds Mac that the last time she saw him she nearly killed him, and then ran off with their daughter. 'I... killed her guardians. So you'll have to excuse me if I'm a little skeptical of you showing up at the very same time that a group of gun-toting muscle-heads tries to kill me' Heather exclaims.
Mac holds his hands up to show that he comes in peace and tells Heather that when she did all those things she wasn't herself, that everyone knows that, and he doesn't blame her. 'And you shouldn't blame yourself' he adds. 'I can. I do' Heather replies, hanging her head. Mac moves closer to Heather and suggests they talk about this later, revealing that the police, Department H and Lord knows who else are on their way, so they need to get out of here. He then asks where Claire is.
Soon, the headlights of a jeep break through the darkness as Mac drives along a road surrounded by forest. 'This would be a lot faster if we flew' Heather points out as she sits in the front passenger seat. Mac glances at his estranged wife and reminds her that Department H can track their energy signatures, so flying would be the same as emailing them a map of where to find them. 'You know that for a fact?' Heather asks. Mac confirms that he does, and explains that he developed a tracker for them, which is how he found her. Heather scowls as she asks Mac how long he has been tracking them, and how long he's known where they were. Mac falls silent, before glancing at Heather and revealing that he has always known where they were.
Mac informs Heather that it took him maybe a week to find her, when she and Claire were in Brooks, Alberta, using the names Emma and Kenzie Brennan. He then tracked her from there to Saint John to Guelph to Swift Current, when she was going by the names Julie, Sarah and Kelly and Claire was Hayley, Krista and Jasmine. Mac explains that he has kept his distance and made sure that Department H couldn't find them, he even deleted records and buried files. 'I've done everything I could to throw them off your scent until I can clear your name' Mac assures Heather. As Claire sleeps in her carseat, Heather reminds Mac that she killed people – people who were only trying to do what they thought was right, people who were trying to give their daughter the home that she deserves. 'That wasn't you. That was the Master of the World' Mac reminds Heather reaches across and putting a hand on hers. Mac informs Heather that the Master left a trail of dead bodies behind him, and Department H understands that – it is now just a matter of setting the record straight with the public. He tells Heather that when she is readt to do that, he will be here for her, and until then, he will help her in every way he can. Hanging her head, Heather tells Mac that she can't – because if she tries to tell the truth, she will risk losing Claire again.
Soon, Mac and Heather arrive at a small house in Progress, British Columbia, and being some groceries inside. Mac holds Claire as he tells Heather that he knows it isn't much, but that they should be safe here for a while, explaining that he bought this when Heather first went on the run, knowing she might need it. 'Thank you' Heather smiles at Mac, before she starts unpacking the groceries. Mac puts Claire down and tells her to go find her room, adding that he set it up with a bunch of new toys. Yay!' the girl exclaims as she runs off. Heather looks up from the fridge and tells Mac that she really appreciates this, before asking what his long-term hope is here. Mac explains to Heather that he just wants to make sure she and Claire are safe. Heather stands up and tells Mac that she wants to make sure it is not something else, because even if she does come in, even if she doesn't end up spending the rest of her life in prison, the two of them don't work. 'We can't -' Heather begins, while Mac tells her that he just wants a place in Claire's life – that's all he asks. His communicator beeps on his watch and he tells Heather that he has to go.
Heather follows Mac to the door and tells him to visit any time, as Claire would love to see him. 'I haven't seen her this happy in a long time' Heather adds. 'Thank you' Mac calls back as he leaves the house, and as he does, holographic projectors suddenly give way, revealing the house as just a basic structure within another, much larger room – inside Department H headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. 'Quite the hero scenario you set up there. Here comes Mac, the great white knight!' a voice calls out. Mac looks over to a set of computers and monitors set up near the basic structure that now houses Vindicator and her daughter, where a Department H official is waiting for him. 'Busting in just in the nick of time to save the day. So exhilarating' the official remarks, asking Mac how long he thinks he can keep that up. 'As long as it takes to convince her that Department H are not the bad guys' Mac replies, adding that he needs Heather to trust him.
Mac puts on a lab coat and tells the official that he brought Heather in, just like he promised, but that the agreement stands – the price he pays for his cooperation is Heather and Claire's safety and well-being. 'The only way to keep them – and ourselves – safe is if Heather doesn't suspect that she's inside one of my VR pods being manipulated with neurostims. So we do this my way. Even if it takes years' Mac declares as he looks at a monitor which shows him Heather and Claire inside the kitchen of their “home”. Mac sits down at the monitor station and tells the official that they need to work on the scenarios, for example some of the dialogue from the Outcasts. “Time to shake things up?” he quotes, remarking that it is not convincing, and if he can see the seams, then it is only a matter of time before Heather does. 'I don't know, I thought it was funny' the official replies. 'I don't want funny' Mac snaps as he looks closely at the monitor showing Heather and Claire hugging. 'If we want her to trust us... we need to make the lie more believable'.