Captain Britain awakes to find himself lying in a high-tech laboratory restrained and examined by several gadgets. He is dressed only in his underwear, his medallion and his mask. Understandably confused, he wonders what’s happened to him. Was he captured by an enemy? Is he a prisoner? He cannot remember. As a hand touches his shoulder, he cries out, demanding to know where he is. A friendly voice tells him to calm down. He is somewhat delirious, as he has lost a lot of blood. It belongs to Commander Lance Hunter, director of S.T.R.I.K.E.
Hunter tells Cap to lie back and listen. He’ll try to help him remember. Hunter reminds him how they met during the recent battle with the Red Skull, before he continues.
(flashback: Hunter’s narration)
A few hours ago, Captain Britain fought and destroyed a bird-shaped weapon that was menacing London, while Hunter collared its psycho owner – the self-styled Lord Hawk. With “Lord Loony” on his way to a padded cell, Hunter traced Captain Britain to the soccer stadium and Chief Inspector Dai Thomas, who meant to place the unconscious hero under arrest. Hunter coolly showed him his credentials and insisted that he had priority. Captain Britain was his.
At that point, Jacko Tanner butted in, pointing out that he brought him down and he wanted the whole flaming country to know that. Calling him ‘Jerko,’ Hunter suggested he go to the church of his choice and pray that Captain Britain recovers. For if he didn’t, Hunter might just take it into his head to bring Tanner down – for injuring a man who is on their side of the law. With that, he shoved Tanner away and told him to scram, while Captain Britain was loaded into a helicopter by S.T.R.I.K.E personnel. Then, they whisked him to their headquarters.
Is any of that coming back to him, Hunters asks. Most to when he blacked out, the young hero replies. How badly is he hurt? He lost a lot of blood, Hunter informs him but, according to their physi-scanner, he’ll pull through. They didn’t remove his mask, Captain Britain notes. Wasn’t Hunter curious to learn his identity? He had the chance while he was out… Or maybe he did unmask him and then replaced the mask. Agitated, he tries to get up. Hunter puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him to simmer down. He doesn’t care a hang who he is. It’s his services he needs. He wants Cap to join S.T.R.I.K.E. He asked that before, Cap reminds him and he told him he was a loner and… He moans in pain and is forced to lie back down. Worried, Hunter calls for a doctor.
Seconds later, a medical team rushes in to find the hero unconscious. They don’t understand. He seemed to be recovering. Hunter wonders if he was injured more seriously than the tests showed when he fell. If only they knew more about him and about his powers…
As if on cue, Captain Britain’s amulet begins to glow. Then, as the medical experts watch in stunned silence, the patient’s eyes flash open revealing a dazzling display of deliriously dancing light and color. Then, suddenly, with the shattering swiftness of a lightning bolt, Captain Britain feels himself being drawn away. Away from his bed… away from his body… away from all reality … hurtling helplessly through some timeless void toward the unknown.
And yet, impossibly, the figure of Captain Britain remains motionless in a hospital bed. The medics observe that Cap’s E.E.G. indicates all brain functions have ceased – that he’s dead. Yet his heart continues to beat strong and steady. But it’s medically impossible for a man whose brain has stopped to register a heartbeat. A dead brain in a live body? Hunter can’t believe it. And he would be even more unbelieving could he witness the scene the patient sees at the same moment.
(another plane of reality)
Dressed in his Captain Britain costume and armed with his quarterstaff, a confused Cap finds himself elsewhere. A moment later, he faces a huge fire-breathing monster. It charges at him. Cap is frightened but refuses to panic. He dodges the beast’s fireblast but, as the monster shakes the ground, he lands off-balance. Trying to dodge the next attack, he loses his staff and, thanks to the monster, his leg is caught among the rocks. Nightmare or not, he fears that now he’s had it.
The doctors note that Captain Britain’s heart is speeding up, beating more rapidly. It’s almost as though he’s been running or were in fearful danger. Suddenly, the doctor notes a gaping wound on his leg – appearing out of nowhere. There’s no rational explanation for what is happening. Hunter shouts that they can’t just sit and watch. They are to stay on this until they find some answers. They can’t allow Captain Britain to die! He’s too valuable. It’s out of their hands, the medic replies.
The two mysterious beings who gave Captain Britain his powers watch the battle on a screen. Their charge does not fare well, the man observes. Mayhap they erred when they granted him the magic medallion. The woman is more confident and asks him not to judge too soon. The final test has not yet ended. And though time grows short for the mortal, Merlyn’s magic is yet his to command… and either live or die by it.