A lone figures struggles through the metre-high snow drifts, silently thankful that there is no wind today. She plods on and thinks of the irony, all of this snow in July, in what was northern British Columbia. A smile creases her face as more thoughts cross her mind. If I'm successful, she thinks, none of this will matter.

The wars raging between superhumans and humans, Apocalypse and Magneto, north to south to east to west. The snow is a fact of those wars, wars for freedom or supremacy, wars that have killed virtually everyone she ever knew. So hard to think of that. Everyone. Her home destroyed early, she now thinks of everyone she can, all dead. It pushes her on, on because if she doesn't, no one will, and if no one does, then all hope will die forever. The wars will rage on, someone will come out on top, but that won't matter now. Now lives need saving, protecting until the day that it all ends.

Up ahead she spies a house, then two, then twelve. The place she's been seeking. It used to be Smithers, maybe the locals still call it that. No sign of traffic but footsteps break up the snow everywhere. Now if I can just find the place, she wonders. Out of twelve one begins to stand out, the footprints are different, the steps are out of synch around the door and out. A small cabin, the smallest there. That must be it.

She walks up to the door in the suddenly failing light. Sunset is coming up fast, the temperature is bound to drop as quickly. She knocks at the door, feels someone stirring inside. Seconds pass, she knocks again. Now a shuffle of steps, and the door opens a crack.

"Who are you?", the woman inside asks.
"A traveller, looking for a place to warm my bones."
"Go two doors down, there's no room for anyone but me here," says the woman. As the door closes the traveller pushes back, forcing her way in.
"No, thank you, here is good enough. Here is where I need to be," she says quietly.
"I have nothing of value..."
"I'm no thief. I have my own supplies, all I want in my travels is on my back. I came to talk to you, nothing more."
"To me? What could anyone want with me? I'm nobody and I do almost nothing but tend my garden and can everything that's edible."
The traveller takes off her wrap and toque, revealing a young woman, not more than 20, with Inuit features. She stands as tall as her host, but her host is hunched over. The host is younger than she looks.

"You know about the wars, about all the deaths. I know you came here to escape it all, to hide as well."
"I know too much about death, we all do. After all those bombs fell, the Sentinels, the marauding gangs, the armies that came and went. The skies were so dark. They still are. But at least here I can forget and sleep at night."
"You lost a lot to the wars, as much as anyone," the visitor says softly.
"No more than my share. Where are you from?"
"I lived most of my life, until the SHIELD attack, in Whitehorse. I've come here from what's left of Thompson Lake."
"That far, all on foot? Where are you going, to get as far away from the wars as possible?", the host says in astonishment.
"No, I'm at my journey's end. I came to see you." She starts to stare at her host, who now sits down, looking worn.
"So what makes me so special?"
"Your entire history. Department H. Alpha Flight. The time you spent fighting."
"You are mistaken. I grew up in Edmonton, came here with other refugees when I had no place else to go. I have been nothing but a gardener and librarian," she says sternly.
"No, you are who I think you are. You're Heather Hudson."
The host doesn't blink. "I'm Emily Westwood. Ask anyone, check my ID. I'm nobody."
"You're Heather Hudson and up until five years ago you were with Department H, Vindicator for a while until you took over as Director, 6 months before the first bomb fell. You tried to keep the Department neutral at first but then the Sentinel Squad attacked and Alpha Flight was wiped out. You got out before Apocalypse destroyed Department H."
"Sorry I don't know this Hudson woman. Does she know you?"
"You and I have never met. But I know enough about you, about what happened after you left Ontario. You tried to get Witchfire, Talisman and Goblyn to join you, form a strike squad to defend the people. But the meeting went south fast, warwolves attacked, they thought you lead the warwolves to them. Only you survived, somehow. You couldn't even save your daughter. That's when you came here. Without your daughter you lost your will to live. Evan Matthews nursed you, brought you here, saved your life. He was your guardian for over a year. Then the warwolves took him, too. Did you know that's how he died?"
Hudson slumps a little. "Yes, I knew. And I had more days of hatred flow through my blood, more nights of hate."
"But now we can do something about all this. I'm here to get what weapons you have. The Flight is being reborn."
"Impossible! There's no one left! And I have nothing but pickles and relish. You've wasted your time, and mine."

The young Inuit woman smiles. "I don't want to waste any of your time. But if you intend on being a stick in the mud, fine, I'll take what I came for and leave you to your pickles."
"There's nothing here, I tell you! Get out of my house!"
"Unless you're wearing the Vindicator suit and it's fully charged, I doubt you could throw me out."
Hudson falls back in her chair. She opens her housecoat to reveal the Vindicator suit!
"It's got enough power to keep me warm. Is that what your after? A woman's underclothes?"
"It would be useful, yes, if you would part with it. But I'm after all your treasure." She kneels at a trunk. "And I can sense where it all is. Not a very safe or secure storage place, is it?"
"And where would you expect me to keep it," Heather says ruefully, "in the woods? A safety deposit box?"
The Inuit woman opens the chest and takes out several recognizable items: Talisman's tiara, Shaman's pouch, Nemesis' sword, the Guardian suit. "Nice that you have all of it. If anyone else did, I'm sure it these weapons would be in Apocalypse's or Stark's hands right now. Maybe even Magneto's."
"So what do you intend to do? Sell them?"
"Ha! No, these items are destined for use very soon. I have some friends who are more than willing to fight the good fight, given the chance. We are the Flight!"
"Who? Who are you, even?"
"I'm Sarah Aglukark. The tiara and Shaman's pouch are mine. I'm an Angekok, if you can't tell."
"Sort of an Inuit Shaman. No wonder you found me and these items. Who gets the rest?"
"The sword is mine for the moment, but I'm taking it to the new Nemesis, a woman called Anya Lafleur. The Guardian suit is for Isaac Jeffries."
"He's still alive! That's a miracle! Where is he?"
"He'll be here, as will Anya."
"How do you know he's coming? Or this Anya person? Can you trust..."
"Don't worry. I don't need to know that they're on their way. Having a mutant in our foursome will be awesome. I can't wait to meet either of them."
"What??? You don't know these people??"
"Mrs. Hudson, I can count on one finger the people I have met that are still alive. You. I trust my feelings, I trust my knowledge. Isaac's energy powers will make him almost invulnerable in that suit. Anya has magic abilities that are unfocused, with Scell she can solve all of her problems, and mine."
"So who would you give my suit to? Who's the fourth?"
"Me. The more weapons, the better. Our fourth is someone you know, but I doubt you'd give her the suit. You knew her as Tech-noir once."
"Tech-noir! You can't be serious! She took over as The Master and allied herself with Stark! She died years ago. What are you thinking!"
"I have faith in me, which means I have faith in all of my people. The Flight will carry out our duties and make all our enemies tremble!"
"This is madness. You can't resurrect her, you sound like a lunatic!"
"I know you have no reason to trust me, but who cares? You can't stop me anyway. You will be thankful if I can do what I intend."
"And what's that? Take on Apocalypse??"
"No. With Scell and Anya we can time travel, back to the start of the war. We will get The Master to join us. Have no fear. Once we have her equipment we will stop the bombs from falling and fight anyone who tries to invade."
"You can't be serious! How can you possibly be confident of any of this? Time travel, unseen teammates, gaining the power of The Master."
"Sit in your chair. Wait. If we succeed, you'll soon find yourself back at Department H or wherever, with your daughter Marie at your side, all 10 years old of her. Trust me, we won't fail. The Master had more than enough technology to shield all of Canada and more. That's where we start. Then we'll take on Apocalypse, SHIELD, Stark, Magneto, all comers."
She puts on the tiara and Shaman's pouch. Quickly she creates a portal and out falls Isaac, dressed as a soldier of Magneto. Then comes Anya, in a parka. Both look stunned as Sarah hands them the suit and sword, respectively.
"I don't believe it! You're real," says Isaac!
"I hope you're both ready. I don't have to ask if you'll join me, I know you will. Oh, by the way, please meet Heather Hudson."
Heather waves slightly but that's all.
Anya takes the sword. "All those dreams, true. Fate brought me here, of course I'll follow you."
"As will I. My dreams were filled with me as Guardian, defender of the realm. This is what I always wanted to be, not a footsoldier."
"Good. Let's not waste time. Nemesis, I am going to join my powers with yours. We're taking Guardian to the past to fix everything."
Heather says,"You sure are a trusting lot. You don't even know what this 'Shaman' is talking about, or what she wants from you."
"They saw everything in their dreams, even The Master. We all know what is going to happen, and why. We all know that this is good. Apocalypse can't intervene with magic, none of them can if we leave now."
Suddenly, all three are caught in a blinding light and disappear. "So much for that," says Heather. Suddenly she feels faint, short of breath...

Heather Hudson walks with her daughter down a hall in Department H. "OK, dear, have a good day," she says as she kisses Marie on the forehead. Marie walks to the waiting car to go to school. Heather checks her calendar. "Where is Alpha Flight?"
"Patrolling the maritime border, ma'am. They haven't reported anything unusual since they destroyed that Sentinel on Wednesday."
"Good. Have them report directly to me before they head west. What about Beta Flight?"
"Shaman and her crew raided the munitions factory just south of Philadelphia last night. They used the explosives to gain us another 1048 square kilometres of land, our forcefield is holding, well within exceptable limits with the new territory."
"The Master will get a gold star. When Beta Flight checks in I'll give them their new orders. How far along is Gamma Flight?"
"Mr. Oculus says they have passed level 10 as a group, and Flex is past level 12. He expects them to reach Gamma-2 status in three months, reserve status in 10. A little behind schedule...."
"But right now, we can afford it. Close calendar."

As she looks out her window at a sunny July day, she wonders if Stark and Magneto will hold to their ceasefire. With Apocalypse gone for good the war in the outside world has slowed down immeasureably. Common ground shouldn't be hard to find. But even then Prime Minister Gentry won't lower the shield. Too much bad blood, too much mistrust. In time, peace will rule the land. Maybe then Marie will learn to fly.