For three months, things are quiet at Vanguard. Then BOXER is approached by a young man introducing himself as Montgomery Oak. The young man says that he has need of Boxer and some of his friends to keep the Earth itself from being destroyed. Boxer gathers SWIFTSURE (with SWIFTY tagging along), MOUSE, ZEEBREIS, and HURACON and they go to Oak's townhouse in San Francisco.
They enter Oak's study and he reveals that he is part of an organization called The Circle. Apparently, someone is messing around with time in an attempt to destroy the Circle, and Oak is calling on the biggest collection of heroes he can find closest to the time of the problem. The group walks out into a strangely altered house.
As they do, Swiftsure suddenly turns into a statue! Oak, now revealed as a practicing sorcerer, discovers that Swiftsure is actually a living statue, enchanted into life by the gods of Olympus. Since the townhouse (except for the study) is now in a period earlier than the spell was cast, it will not work. Swiftsure's detached spirit is put back into the statue and he is left in the study. Swifty must show the flag for them.
The team puts on concealing coats and hats and piles into a touring car from the 1920s. Indeed, they seem to be in that era. Oak drives them south of San Francisco, where they debark outside a large house built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.
Mouse reconnoiters the outside of the house and sees no one through the ground floor windows that are open. Before she can complete her reconnaisance, however, Swifty breaks through the front door, and is immediately attached by a black-clad assassin who has apparently been waiting over the door lintel. Swifty is wounded but his teammates take care of the guard. Swifty charges to the rear of the house, encountering another guard unseen by Mouse. Two more appear to attack the heroes.
As the fight against the quick and skillful assassins continues, Swifty and Boxer find the steps to the downstairs of the house. They drop downstairs and encounter another assassin, this one even faster and more skillful. And now, they can hear chanting.
The fight continues as some of the heroes, including Mouse and Huracon, break through the defenders and find themselves in a room in which four mystic figures are chanting around a pentagram containing a shadowy demonic form. The four sorcerers seem to include an Amerindian Shaman, a blonde woman in ancient priestess garb, a man in modern (1920s) formal dress, and another whose dress seems ultramodern.
The heroes manage to stop the sorcerers before they can fully bring the demon to this plane. The three sorcerers who seem out of their proper time disappear, as do the assassins, and Oak, who has used walls of mystic force to keep the assassins left behind on the top floor from joining the conflict, proceeds onward to find associates of his who have been imprisoned. Apparently, the current era sorcerer was a member of their association that uses the house as a headquarters. He represented the evil side of nature and had decided to upset the balance.
Oak thanks the heroes and says that if they ever need aid, they know where to go. He then leads them back to his home, where they meet Swiftsure again and emerge in their own time.
Two weeks after the trip through time, Vanguard hears again from the mystics on the Pacific Shore. A young representative named JACK presents himself and says that his masters of the Circle have uncovered a problem. Gates to other worlds have been opening all around the world and they may lead to an invasion by a major demon that could put the world under his thrall.
At the same time, two other emergencies surface. The Vanguard Vault has been raided and the magical gold Aztec artifacts have been stolen. At the same time, Manhunter contacts Vanguard from Canada to say that two identical dead bodies of the Hellspawn member known as Dr. Kronos have been discovered. He requests help.
Three teams are established:
BOOMER, DEVADASI, WEREWOLF, HURACON, IRON CROSS, STELLARI, ZEEBREIS and FREEDOM FORCE will join MANHUNTER in Canada to investigate the mystery of the dead Dr. Kronoses.
RED STAR II, JANNISSARY, MOUSE, SWIFTSURE, NIGHTINGALE, THE IRISH BARD, EARTH SPIRIT, new member STICK from the Phillipines and the new WHITE LOTUS (the former servant Wong Lee) are assigned to investigate the missing artifacts.
BOXER, JOTUN, BEARZARK, HUMMINGBIRD, SWIFTY, NIKE, TESSERACT, and a new Malaysian member called SPONGE will follow Jack. Before they can set out, Nike gets a visitation from Olympus and is given a ring with fifteen stones. They can be used to close the Gates.
The Gatecrashing crew goes through a gate found by Jack and is in an abandoned warehouse. Outside the grimy windows they can see empty streets with some aircraft of some kind in the distance. Jack, who was supposed to be able to sense Gates, can't find the one in this world. Neither can Nike.
After much debate, the team decides to head for a huge building they can see on the far horizon. The best way they can devise is to take to the sewers. The sewers are large, but Jotun must crawl. He is not pleased.
After much sneaking about, the team finds themselves looking through a grate into a large factory-like area. They decide to try to get information from the natives and come through the hatch. Instant panic ensues, with much babbling about the "mutants are attacking," and so forth. The team gets little information and ends up retreating back down the grate. As they continue, they are attacked by six well-armored individuals that seem to be mostly metal. The team defeats these attackers and are accosted by a goatfooted young man who calls himself Puck and says that many more of these "cyborgs" are coming and he can rescue the team. He finds Jotun and the unexpectedly heavy Swifty something of a chore, but he manages to teleport the team away.
The location he teleports them to is a large manmade cavern with many strangely-shaped inhabitants. Puck explains that they are the mutants, and they are refugees from the current Master of the world, who seems to be using a Gate to bring cyborg mercenaries into this world to maintain his domination of the world.
The mutants say they will help our heroes topple the master of the world. As they plan, the roof above them rips open and cyborged attackers drop through, accompanied by other semi-robotic attackers. They seem to be concentrating on one of the mutants, a young girl who curls into a fetal position and emits flashes of numbing light.
In the course of the struggle, Swifty charges up the wall to the surface, where he confronts two other attackers. One proves to be a mentalist who controls Swifty and tells him to go down and get the girl. He attempts to do so but is stopped by Boxer, who exerts his chi to bring Swifty to his senses. Between the Vanguard members and the mutants, the attackers are knocked out of the fight and more of the team heads for the surface, where they catch and clobber the mentalist. Only his armor-suited companion manages to escape.
Puck says that they have taken out the elite guard of the master. If they move quickly, they can catch the master before he can gather his armies from other areas of the world and defend himself.
They do so, entering the gigantic building that had been their previous goal and finding the master slain by his own minions. They also find the Gate the Master was using, and Jack is convinced this is not the right gate. They go through and find a world of robots and cyborgs. Nike's ring cannot shut the gate down.
They re-enter the other world and destroy the technological devices creating the gate. With that gate out of the way, Jack can suddenly sense another Gate. He leads the team to a large rock in the one remaining park. Nike lifts the rock and there appears a dark pool of something. Jack leads the team through.
Meanwhile, in Canada...
The descriptions of these missions are under security seal.