A moment ago, Captain Britain and Meggan were in a Russian icy wilderness; now they are somewhere in the South American past. Where are they? Meggan demands, confused. From the architecture, the angle of the sun and the rarity of the air, Cap supposes they are in the Peru of the Incas… pre-Spanish… say fourteenth century.
They turn to the inanely smiling green-haired woman who brought them here. Meggan recalls she was at Braddock Manor with that horrible Gatecrasher. She’s called Fascination, Brian replies and points out she can be a bit unpredictable. As if to agree, Fascination shoves the two of them back. They fall down an opening within the pyramid and land in the water. Standing under a waterfall before them and greeting them cheerfully are Gatecrasher and her perennial sidekick, Yap.
Addressing her as “Hippopotamus,” Meggan asks Gatecasher why they are sitting in a waterfall. Gatecasher replies that, if she doesn’t keep the bulk of her body chilled to the marrow, ten-thousand parasite eggs which she has foolishly ingested are going to hatch and devour her from the inside.
Certainly sounds unpleasant, Cap remarks but he doesn’t see what they can do about it, nor why they should. Gatecrasher reminds him he owes her. How can he owe her? he shoots back-. She kidnapped him from his home in error, then claimed a fee for returning him! True, she replies, but now he is 700 years before his time and only she holds the means of retuning him. Furious, he calls her an extortionist and asks where the rest of her motley crew is. Sadly, due to artistic differences, the Technet are pursuing other careers, comes the evasive reply. She’ll tell them the sorry tale. They’ve got time just before the earthquake.
The first disaster was on the Wereworld, where they went to deal in Dragonscales. Due to an unfortunate miscalculation, they arrived at the worst possible time – full moon – when all the natives turned into Werewolves – which quickly attacked the Technet. In the ensuing battle, one of the Technet was killed.
Later, they held the wake in a bar. Pirates arrived and one of them hit on Gatecrasher. Her enraged reprimand was over-vigorous and so the Technet had to give the pirates all their money. Fed up, the rest of the team – save for Yap and Fascination – left and took up with a young organization that read of the Technet’s misfortune in the history books and now took advantage of that – namely the Special Executive.
Only Fascination resisted their persistent offers, Gatecrasher complains. Err, mother? Yap reminds her carefully, only to be told to shut up. Gatecrasher continues her sad tale.
Gatecrasher attended a party held by the despot of Kandahar, a small blue being who seemed fascinated by her. They had a nice chat about his favourite hobby. It turned out he was a collecting nut… mathematical ephemera, Pythagoras’ compasses, Newton’s apple, Gorgon’s photon-counter, that sort of thing. What he wanted above all others is a perfect mathematical model of the universe formed out of rock crystal, revered by some primitives in a city which all records showed was doomed to extinction by an earthquake, an object on Captain Britain’s Earth.
Gatecrasher’s plan was for the Lizard to establish the exact location of the model and then for Fascination to reach in and remove it… from the jaws of the earthquake, as it were. In this way, since the model was doomed to destruction, removing it would not interrupt any causal continuum.
Unfortunately, though Fascination is a loyal creature, her intelligence is barely equal to a domestic pet’s. After numerous attempts resulting in the appropriation of assorted trinkets, they realized that Fascination could not identify the model without its scent. Which incidentally is how she located the Captain so easily.
So, Gatecrasher decided to try the gods-from-the-sky approach toward the Incas, who at first seemed suitably impressed, offering amounts of gold and slaves. Gatecrasher asked for the crystal model and was told that a banquet was a necessary part of the acceptance ceremony. The first tremors struck at the same time as the poison in the fruit. As she and Yap passed out, Gatecrasher managed to instruct Fascination to bring the Captain here, before she passed into unconsciousness.
They regained consciousness under the waterfall with the cackling priest gloating over them. Mockingly calling them gods, he told them that, if they remained in the cool water, the many parasite eggs which they had eaten might not hatch.
Cap interrupts her impatiently. Basically what she is saying is that through arrogance and ineptitude she blundered into disasters and turned all her friends against her, yes?
“Not me, mother,” the lizard replies fearfully. What does she expect him to do? He could show sympathy, she suggests. If not for her, then for her companion. Meggan calls her a fat hypocrite at that. He could also fetch the remedy, Gatecrasher continues. The lizard got the secret from the high priest’s mind. The raw materials are as one would suspect both rare and inaccessible. This makes them even, right? Brian asks. Fearfully, Meggan asks him to hurry. She can feel the earthquake building…
Captain Britain takes to the air… Soon he finds it. A mystic herb growing in the ruins of a temple garden, high on the slopes of a distant mountain and in the silence of the filtered light tugs it from the sheltering earth. As it squirms and wriggles in his hand, a thin high whistle is heard. Wings beat and talons gleam. Giant birds attack him.
He wonders if they are some sort of mutation as he takes care of them with some kick and blows. When he has finished with the bird, he notices the earthquakes are intensifying. He flies back quickly unaware that he is being watched… by the Special Executive.
All that dressing up, the parasite eggs, the giant birds… all wasted, Cobweb sighs. He had not foreseen any possibility of this Captain’s involvement, their leader admits. His impersonation of the despot of Kandahar was flawless. Gatecrasher was completely fooled. And Yap never suspected that he was the primitives’ High priest. Even when he allowed him to pick the location of the root from his mind. His plan was that Gatecrasher would have sent Fascination for the root and the city would have been destroyed by the time she had subdued the bird. Then she would have joined them.
It was not meant to be, Cobweb replies. You cannot alter history. Yes, yes, he admits. Fascination won’t join the squad for another three centuries, by which time he will be long- dead and replaced by a hairy cyborg. But it would have made the future easier to accept if it didn’t include Gatecrasher. She’s going to give them a lot of trouble.
Meanwhile, as Gatecrasher and Yap are still under the waterfall, Meggan leaves passing Cap on his way in. Gatecrasher orders him to bring them that plant. They only have seconds. As they chew it, she asks Cap to leave. She would like to maintain her dignity and the effects are going to be somewhat… drastic.
He waits atop a pyramid and is joined soon by Meggan, who claims she was having a look around. As the earthquake begins to build, Gatecrasher calls Yap “child” and tells him it’s now or never. They leave alongside Fascination. While Yap is still marvelling that she called him child she orders him to teleport them all away.
A little later, they are all on Gatecrasher’s ship. Meggan asks Brian if you take something valuable that would have been lost forever otherwise, it’s not theft, is it? She shows him some valuables she took from the Inca city. Very thoughtful, he remarks, but fears she’s been mixing with the wrong sort of people, while Gatecrasher praises her resourcefulness and offers her a job, which Meggan, of course, declines.
Gatecrasher teleports them away without waiting for them to announce the destination they want.
So, they find themselves outside Braddock Manor. Brian suggests they get out of there as it isn’t home anymore. A moment later, they see two female Captain Britain flying through the sky without noticing them, one of them Captain UK and the other, Brian realizes, is his sister Betsy. It wasn’t enough to help the RCX take over the manor. Now she’s turned against him, forced him out! Angrily, he crushes his helmet. If she thinks she can replace him, let her try! He quits!