Itchy skin, inflamed and peeling. Moldering scabs, decaying, dribbling. That was how it started.
Then bouquets of angry boils swelled tender, red and ripe. And bilious slime, dimly amber curdled in jaundiced wounds. Rovers of putrid phlegm cascaded from scarlet sores as fractured bone ruptured rotten flesh. Crimson agony soaked into tattered clothing. Sullied body and soiled garment twisted and merged… a swirling mosaic of fused flesh and fabric. That was how it continued. Sidney Crumb is ill.
Through a haze of pain and alcohol, he notices movement in the rain, some playing youngsters. Look at them kids – blighters oughter be at school. Ain’t no discipline… all of ‘em , to cheeky.
Time alters. Memories and reality bleed into each other. He recalls being hit brutally by his drunk father. Mebbe ‘em kids can help, if’n they ain’t sniffers that is.
Sid stands up and shuffles towards them. The boys stare at him in horror when they realize he isn’t just some tramp.
And for Sid time alters again, as he sees himself beaten up by some punks. School days in the war – the war which stole away a sodden father and left him with a mother who couldn’t provide him enough. The richer boys kicked him in the dirt, announcing he belonged there.
Oblivious of reality, he kills the boys and shambles on.
Elsewhere, a hippopotamus-like blue alien female orders a reptile like creature to try harder and get a fix. The being apologizes, calling the woman “mother, then states something flashed. He’s underground, moving fast. The hippopotamus orders the reptile to track him and stop calling her mother!
In London, there is a panic as all the people run from the monster Sid has become. He doesn’t comprehend. He only sees that no one will stop and talk to him. He gets no respect. Get a bit down on your luck and you are treated like dirt, Sid complains to himself. When he touches someone said person burns.
Police officers call in a major disturbance and require assistance. One police officer turns to Sid, telling him to calm down. Getting close enough, he sees Sid’s face, which consists only of green slime and shudders.
For Sid time alters again. He recalls his wife, Mavis, leaving him because of his drinking. See you at your funeral, Sid, were her last hate-filled words to him.
He recalls how he lost his job. Mavis took his respect with her. He’s ill… he doesn’t need the hassle. He needs… medicine!
Another cop shouts they can’t control the situation. Get the bloody army in!
On Otherworld, Roma, sitting on her throne, is anxious. She inherited the reins of the multiverse when her father, Merlyn, died. A complex knowledge for an immortal so young. Now, just one existence holds her overseeing eye. Anxiously, she wonders if Captain Britain can survive it. He has borne much more than his share.
She admits to herself that the guilt is hers. She brought the Captains together at her father’s dying. She should have foreseen it. She watched the rogue studying him and plotting. She did not want to meddle. That was her father’s way. The onslaught began and still she only watched, leaving it to Betsy’s fledgling powers to save her brother. Roma did not stretch out her hand.
With the wave of a hand, she banishes the pictures. Despite her instinct to help him, she refuses to do as her father did and intervene. The Captain must struggle alone!
Outside, a chemist’s trained soldiers wait, ready to go inside. But the captain doesn’t give the order, as the creature has civilians trapped inside there with him.
Sid is looking for medicine, hoping pills will make him better. Suddenly, he realizes he no longer has a mouth and panics. Flailing around, he wildly kills people, until finally, Captain Britain smashes into him.
Cap orders everyone out. Stepping back and getting a good look at his foe, Cap recognizes the smell. Panicked, he thinks: No… it’s dead! It’s got to be dead!
Sid’s fevered mind recognizes him as well. It’s that big ponce. The one who thinks he’s a hero. He’ll help him. He’s got to!
And time alters. Reality shifts and bleeds one final time, to the rubbish tip where his last friend vanished.
Mrs. McGeary? Was that you saying “shizik” just now?
The faces of the past shift and gel, and the anomaly returns, no longer at the edge of his vision, but at its centre. It is the Fury. It is the supreme killing machine. It has crossed parallel realities to hunt down its prey, Captain Britain. It killed Mrs. McGeary. The Fury paid heavily for its violation of realities. Stunted and damaged by its flight, it needed matter to rebuild itself. With Mrs. McGeary it was deadly accurate. Such food fortune could never be Sid’s.
Wounded by its hook, Sid got infected and the infection spread. The Fury’s power of mutation has become Sidney Crumb’s curse.
He’s sick! Sid thinks, sick and nobody cares! Enraged, he lashes out at the Captain while inwardly begging for help. Cap decides he has to pull himself together and kill it. It’s too dangerous!
While Sid inwardly cries and begs and suffers Captain Britain begins to pound him. Sid bleeds corrosive slime and Cap warns the soldiers to stay back and leave it to him.
He hits the creature wildly and Sid inwardly just begs him to stop hurting him.
Finally, he is so loud that Cap stops, sensing his pain, realizing it isn’t malevolent, it is pain. Dying! And Sid literally melts to some goo.
That’s sorted that out then, one of the soldiers remarks happily. Captain Britain did it. He smeared it into the pavement. They won! Did they? Cap wonders disgusted and flies off.
A little later, he is hit by an energy blast and brought down. He lands at the feet of some strange creatures some of whom he recognizes as Fascination and Legion. What does the Special Executive want with him now?
“Legion” corrects him that he isn’t Legion. That’s another brother. And Fascination is with them now. There is no Special Executive. Not yet. Wardog won’t even be whelped for another hundred years. And Cobweb is elsewhere. They are a far more senior elite. Gatecrasher’s Technet.
Gatecrasher, a large female hippopotamus-like being, addresses Brian as Kaptain Briton and tells him he has the honour to be their prisoner.