It is a rainy evening as Chief Inspector Dai Thomas enters a building. Perhaps it is his imagination but it is as if something has happened which no one can recognize. There is a tiredness under the oppression of the sky. The secretary asks him to go right in. The gentlemen are ready for him. The gentlemen. His superiors.
Thomas asks for their attention as he begins his slideshow, the first slide showing Captain Britain dealing with some armed robbers. He is sure that they will all recognize their local superhero, currently the darling of the media, Thomas begins. Indeed, he has been of valuable assistance to the authorities of late, one of his superiors agrees. Another man asks that Thomas indicated he had new and important evidence. He hopes that they aren’t to be treated to another episode of Thomas’ somewhat obsessive antipathy towards beings of this kind. More gently, another man remarks that the death of Thomas’ wife was tragic. But it was an accident.
Yes. An accident, he repeats softly, lost in thought. He remembers her face. Soft and empty under the hard, brutal concrete as the battling superbeings moved on, carelessly oblivious of the life snuffed out in their wake. And accidents will happen, Thomas continues. They have happened before… they are starting to happen again.
The next slide shows a Daily Mirror headline of teenager Mickey Scott crushed in a warehouse accident. He buries his wife’s memory and turns to the facts. Let us move to another face has been in the news, although for different reasons, Thomas continues and shows them the smiling face of Brian Braddock.
Another slide shows Braddock Manor as Thomas rattles down some facts about the Braddock family. Brian was born with his twin sister, Elizabeth, in the early hours of April 23rd, 1956. The origins of his parents are harder to trace. They have no record of them prior to 1945, when they purchased Braddock Manor. Of course, it is possible that records were lost in the war.
The next slide shows Brian’s elder brother, Jamie, triumphant after a race car victory carried on his fans’ shoulders. Thomas points out that the twins elder brother Jamie was also unlisted until his name was put down for Harrow in 1948. A bit of a tearaway was Jamie. He’s a racing driver now.
Young Brian, though, was a horse of a different color. He was quiet and studious, with a keen scientific brain, doubtless inherited from his father who was a bit of a recluse. He died in a laboratory accident at Braddock Manor.
The next slide shows a sheepish looking young Brian with his diploma next to a self assured sister. By 1976, in advance of his years, Braddock was a graduate student at Thames University. The next picture shows a somewhat less shy Brian next to his girlfriend Courtney Ross. Up until then, Thomas describes, he had led a normal if somewhat secluded life. No youthful indiscretions, no student politics. Mr. nice guy in fact. Yes, gentlemen, it’s always the quiet ones.
One of his superiors interrupts: is he proposing a link between Braddock and Captain Britain? He is proposing that Brian Braddock is Captain Britain, Thomas replies, showing the next slide, a face made up half of Captain Britain, half of Braddock, stressing the similarities in looks, and manner of speaking.
At Braddock Manor, Betsy joins her brother in the living room. Is he waiting to see himself on the box again? she teases. It must be nice to be so famous. Instantly, he becomes defensive, reminding her that he’s only put himself in the public eye to secure their cover. She tells him to relax. She was only teasing. She’s been up with Meggan. She doesn’t think the girl is up to being in such a big building yet. Brian inquires after Alison’s health and Betsy informs him that her friend is still sleeping most of the time, but she’s improving.
The twins hold each other, as he reveals that he’s happy to be with her again, calling her “Bee.” They used to call each other that when they were kids. It seems a long time ago now. Everything seems a lifetime ago. Everything before…
… before she lost him from her mind, she finishes. Before Darkmoor. It was lonely without him. She didn’t know what was happening to him. She was scared. He was scared too… he recalls.
(Brian’s memories / tale:)
He recounts going to Darkmoor to help Dr. Travis in the summer break to keep himself busy after their parents died and to get some experience in the field. He got experience alright, but not the kind he expected. It didn’t seem as if he’d been at the research center for ten minutes before the calm order of scientific research was transformed into something more like a James Bond movie… only this was for real.
Joshua Stragg meant to abduct all the scientists and make them work for him. Brian panicked. He fled. The attacker chase him out onto the moor. He crashed with his motor bike. He thought that it was all over, but it was just the beginning.
Merlyn and Roma appeared to him. They made him choose, but there was no choice. They dipped him in magic and clothed him in science. They made him a hero. They dragged him screaming into the multiverse. They gave him a cause. They named him. They made him fight. He was their creation birthed in blood. He was Captain Brain. They made him fight. And he liked it.
Elsewhere, Chief Inspector Dai Thomas continues his reports after dropping his bombshell. He explains that the first recorded incident involving Captain Britain took place in the late summer of 1976… the destruction of the nuclear research complex of Darkmoor. Police files are slim on this subject. The Ministry of Defense had control of the follow-up and security was… uh… efficient. They do know that Braddock was present at the time.
Perhaps it was merely coincidence that Captain Britain should choose this occasion to make his grand entrance… or perhaps it was nt. Whatever. There was now a new force in their midst. The next slide shows a Guardian article about England’s own superhero.
Unfortunately, Thomas reminds everybody, wherever superheroes appear, supervillains arise to confront them. Their powers are great… they cause damage … innocent people get hurt… get killed. They’ve seen it in the states, they’ve seen it here. It’s starting again.
The next slide is a particularly menacing close-up of a snarling Captain Britain. One of the gentlemen interrupts him, stating that the politics of the relationship between superheroes and the world which they inhabit is not their concern here. Thomas should kindly confine himself to he facts. Yes, Sir. The facts, sir.
Fact! Braddock returns to university. Captain Britain is active in the U.K.
Fact! Braddock visits America. A slide of a Time cover showing Captain Britain in his old uniform. At the same time, Captain Britain is consorting with superheroes in the U.S.
Fact! Whilst flying back from Kennedy Airport Braddock’s plane gets into trouble. Eyewitness reports tell them that he jumped from the plane, screaming that he was under psychic attack. The slide shows a Daily Mail article about the airline disaster which only three passengers survived.
Fact! Braddock is missing, presumed dead. And Captain Britain no longer is a feature of British life.
Fact! Four years later, when Elizabeth Braddock, now working for S.T.R.I.K.E., is in danger, Captain Britain reappears. He is bigger, more powerful and more dangerous. The Psi-division of the ill-fated agency S.T.R.I.K.E. is under attack by the Vixen’s assassin Slaymaster. Elizabeth Braddock is rescued by a superbeing whom Slaymaster reveals during interrogation to be Captain Britain. Half of Denmark Street is laid waste in the conflict. Hardly surprising that Sir James Jaspers got so much support in his stand against superheroes, Thomas muses. Who? one of his superiors asks.
At Braddock Manor, Betsy wonders aloud how Brian could like it. It’s the thrill he muses. The adventure. It’s the power and the glory singing in your veins. In those early days, he used to fight and win. Later, as he grew more accustomed to his powers he began to question its source. Was it science, or magic?
His mind wasn’t flexible enough for the concepts involved. He thought with his fists but everything that was happening to him was so strange, so bizarre. Eventually, he sought escape from torment in self-destruction and jumped from a plane into the ocean. But he did not die. No then. He washed ashore in Cornwall and for two years he was a hermit alone. Waiting, waiting to be shown, waiting for the conjuror to reveal his tricks.
Eventually, the Black Knight came and showed him mysteries of magic. They fought with wraiths and shadowbeasts and walked with ancient fear. He helped him to Otherworld, into the presence of Merlyn, into the presence of legend incarnate. Merlin nurtured him in Otherworld. For a time, he was at peace. But then he had to fight again. Fight to save a world gone mad.
He was decked out in new colours and given an elfin companion to journey with him to Earth. His name was Jackdaw. Poor Jackdaw. They killed him. But this was an alternate Earth. The Earth of Captain UK – Linda McQuillan’s Earth. It was an Earth of mind-bending horror. The taste blood was in the air. A taste of things to come.
He met Saturnyne there. Beautiful, ruthless Saturnyne. And he had to fight there. Against the Status Crew. Against the madness of the Jaspers Warp. He had to fight to save the world. He lost, he failed. The Fury hunted him to his knees, trapped him in a graveyard. He was afraid. Merlyn saved him, Snatched him from death’s cradle. He sent him back to her. He gave him a second chance. This time he did not fail him. This time they won.
He breaks off, uncertain. That is right, isn’t it? This is his time? He is home? Touching a picture of her dead lover, Tom Lennox, Betsy agrees. The price was high, but they did win. They know they won. They have time to mourn their dead.
Then who is it that keeps attacking him? Brian wonders. Where are they from? What about the Vixen? Betsy suggests. What happened to her when the Jaspers Warep collapsed? Or maybe it’s Saturnyne or Mandragon… or the Special Executive.
Anything is possible, Brian agrees. They cannot afford the luxury of rest. Not now. Probably not ever. And from outside, somebody is watching the twins…
Elsewhere, Chief Inspector Thomas remarks that it is strange how few people remember Sir James Jaspers. Still… politics is like that. Showing a slide of the Scott family, Thomas reminds everybody that Captain Britain is back in action. Already, they have a teenage bystander killed and extensive damage to public property.
Ironically, Braddock has also returned, supposedly from a jet-set world tour. He is making himself a public figure by rebuilding Braddock manor and opening up the farmland. Lots of jobs. Lots of media.
In the absence of STRIKE or any other containment group, he wants authority to investigate Braddock Mannor and interview Brian Braddock. Innocent lives are at risk whilst this being operates unchecked, and…
His superiors thank him for his report. They shall consider it. In the meantime, he will take no further action. Good bye.
Thomas leaves and the men discuss matters. Their Mr. Thomas can certainly be tedious at times… Still… he is a good policeman. They decide to forward his report to the RCX. That’s the bunch that replaced STRIKE, isn’t it? They’ll take care of it.
Dai Thomas walks to clear hid head. Something about the world is out of place. Something strange is going to happen… soon.
Nearby a taxi passes him; its passengers the Crazy Gang.