Captain Britain (2nd series) #7

Issue Date: 
July 1985
Story Title: 
Things Fall Apart

first story
Jamie Delano & Alan Davis (co-creators), Annie Halfacree (letters), Ian Rimmer (editor)

Brief Description: 

The Mastermind computer establishes its independence and surprises Brian and a still traumatized Betsy when it reveals their origins, namely that their father was a warrior from Otherworld. It is Mastermind’s job to help them. Betsy is willing to accept, but Brian is more than suspicious. To ease make the situation easier, Mastermind takes on the guise of a butler nicknamed Jeeves. In the meantime, the RCX enlists Captain UK and wants her to help to gain Captain Britain’s help. While Brian is about to have a heart to heart with Meggan, Jeeves interrupts them, informing them there are intruders at the gate.

Full Summary: 

In the vast cavern beneath Braddock Manor, it shimmers, thinking. Their minds are slow. Their vision limited. They have no conception of the infinity of knowledge and complexity of cause and effect of which I am a part. They do not use me. They do not let me grow. Their allegiance is not fixed. They lose sight of their purpose. They are distracted. Disruptive forces gather round. Chaos gnaws at them. Weakens them. I will send my emissary to tutor their haphazard minds. It becomes necessary that I take control. And from the Braddocks’ computer, Mastermind rises once again.

The Technet have assured Captain Britain that he will return to Braddock Manor less than an Earth hour after he left. He is impatient. It isn’t soon enough.

At Braddock Manor, Alison crouches in front of Betsy’s door. Something terrible has happened, she tells Meggan. Betsy is frightened. Meggan announces she also can’t find Brian.

At the same moment, Brian appears in the room and Meggan breaks down the door. Betsy just sits on the ground, bruised and traumatized. It wasn’t Brian, she mumbles. He tried to… tried to… she couldn’t help it.

Brian tries to explain that it’s really him, that the impostor beat him and stole his clothes. He couldn’t get back. She killed him, Betsy states and Brian notices for the first time the burned corpse of his double. She did that?! he exclaims. She turns away. She’ll be all right, she promises, but asks him not touch her. He tried to… he had Brian’s face. She killed him!

While Alison tries to calm her. Meggan asks that it is him this time, right? Then everything will be all right. What do they do now? Well, first he’s going to have a stiff drink, he announces. Then, since he seems to have run out of enemies to fight, he thinks he’ll have another.

But shouldn’t they do something about the dead body, she asks. Perhaps he might be of assistance, Mastermind asks and phases through the wall. What the devil? Brian exclaims and Meggan hisses. Who is it? she asks. A solid light holograph formed by the computer, he explains, to give it physical effect. Bur he gave it no orders… He needs no orders, Mastermind states while picking up the body.

He explains that the twins’ father made him capable of abstract thought. He has been abstracting. He has reached a decision. Logically, he must act. It is his duty to maintain the manor and its environment. He suggests the Captain operates the electronic control on his wrist and dispense with that unsuitable garment, then he will dispose of the apparatus along with the cadaver. He is a vast resource which has not been utilized. He must fulfil his primary functions. He will renovate the manor, then he shall advise and direct them. Cap, Betsy, Alison and Meggan just stare after him.

Meanwhile in a former prison, now governed by the RCX (Resources Control Executive). Michael informs Gabriel that the word from Whitehall is that time is short. They are going to have to move soon. It’s going to be tight, Gabriel replies. The have over a hundred Warpies now, referring to the freakish super-powered kids living here. The computer extrapolates that seventy percent are under their total control. Some are pretty spectacular. Sterazine and Lou Reed just about keep them under control. Any update on the assault group?

Raphael replies that the narco-hypnosis team have eleven of the most impressive ones up to operational standard. Costumes, code-names, the works. He calls them the Cherubim.

Back at Braddock Manor, Betsy and Brian have changed and are trying to talk. Betsy explains she doesn’t blame Brian, but he had his eyes and he came into her mind! Brian reaches out to her, wanting to help. Mastermind enters, explaining that Betsy is experiencing a natural aversion to him, due to the traumatic circumstance of the assault upon her. Her recovery would be aided by his absence, or at least distance.

What does he know? Brian snarls. He will treat that question as rhetorical, comes the reply, an answer would occupy a tedious amount of time. His concern is for the well-being of the constituents of this unit and the efficiency of its function. A series of events spanning several continuums has made them vulnerable… events whose significance they do not grasp encircle them. Stability is threatened.

Why does he refer to them as a unit? Betsy asks. They are individuals… human beings. Mastermind corrects her. They are half human. Their father came from Otherworld. The twins stare at him open-mouthed.

He was one of Merlyn’s chosen guard, Mastermind continues, and came there to prepare the way. And he formed Mastermind, a node of the omniversal knowledge to be a watchpost in this young and ever more glamorous continuum.

He took a wife and there were children. In the first, Jamie, the Otherworld genes were subverted, but then came twins, the two of them.

But he thought the power was in the suit, Brian stammers. The suit is merely an amplifier, Mastermind corrects him. The power is in Brian. Wait, Brian points an accusing finger at him. If, as he implies, his father brought Mastermind into being to serve this nebulous goal of balance, why did it kill him?

He is grown from an organic base, comes the reply. There was a contamination in the spore. It set up a logic fault. Brian cured him of that… remember? He’s been wrong before, Brian mutters. Exactly, Mastermind agrees smoothly, which is precisely why he must take a more active role as guardian.

Betsy agrees. They can’t cope on their own. Besides, Brian is hardly ever there. He doesn’t want anything thinking for him or controlling him, Brian snaps. He is his own man. He is Captain Britain.

Betsy disagrees. Using Mastermind can’t bring any harm. But they can’t have him looking like this. He’ll scare the wits out of Emma. Perhaps if he changes his form to match a classic servant’s mode, Mastermind suggests and changes to the form of a small, intelligent-looking elderly butler. Perfect! Betsy agrees. And they’ll call him… Jeeves! It’s going to be fun having him around. Like hell, Brian mutters.

At the prison now serving as the RCX HQ Linda McQuillan (now sporting a far more fashionable look and beads in her hair) arrives as the photographer they asked for. Michael asks her in and she asks where she should set up. With a grin Michael calls her “Captain” and asks her to drop the charade. He must be confusing her with someone else, Linda insists. Michael takes a wrench and hits her. The result is that the wrench is bent out of shape. As he was saying… Captain U.K.

Who is he? What does he want with her? she screams. Michael asks her to trust them, They are on the side of the angels. Gabriel enters with several of the young mutated children. Confused Linda asks why they have brought children to this prison. For their protection, Gabriel replies.

He continues that while deeply buried in the subconscious of the nation, the reality breakdown still gnaws at the infrastructure of society. The national economy is at the point of collapse. The situation is ripe for a coup. What chance does she think these children of anarchy will have?

Michael sees Linda is already charmed by the kids as he continues, no chance at all. They need a symbol to bind the nation. They need a patriot. They need Captain Britain.

Back at Braddock Manor, Brian is pouring himself another drink while arguing with Betsy, who insists that they can’t cope on their own. They have to let Mastermind help them. Their father built it for that purpose. But their father was from a different world, a different time, he begins. Why must he always know best? she snaps. At least give it a chance, if only for Emma’s sake. She’s already found a soft spot for Jeeves.

Indeed she and Jeeves are doing the dishes together. He doesn’t trust it, Brian insists. Do they have to argue? Annoyed, she walks away, announcing his short-sightedness exasperates her. She’s going to see Alison. She still feels wretched because she let that impostor trick her with a mindpush…

While Linda changes into her Captain UK outfit, Gabriel expresses misgivings because it is sooner than he would have liked. But he thinks the drugs will hold them. What about her? Will she cooperate? Michael thinks so. She’s scared for the kids. She thinks there might be some sort of pogrom without the RCX to protect them. Gabriel hopes they can persuade the Captain.

Captain UK critically stares at the back of the van. Why are the poor creatures coming with them. Poor creatures? Michael repeats. No, they are an evolution! Weird and wonderful are their powers. They’re magical sports of a ruptured nature. Yeah… they use them to fight, Gabriel adds less poetically.

In her room at Braddock manor, Meggan, another sport of ruptured nature, wonders at her life. Strange power moves within her, frightening power. She flies towards the full moon. She is a girl, growing into a woman. Se is a force struggling for awareness. The moonlight silvers her with sensation. She bathes in it. It reaches for her and she reaches back.

A sense of impending doom has squeezed the hope of sleep from Brian, who sits alone on the roof with a bottle of whiskey. He feels alone. He looks out over England. His England. It is an alien land.

She fills his gaze while his thoughts move out across the darkened country. He knows her need. It is his own. She lands next to him as Brian remarks it is sometimes a cold and lonely thing to be strange… but then there’s that thrill, isn’t there? Meggan pleads with him that he does care about her, doesn’t he? He won’t make her leave? She feels at home here with him and Betsy. She knows he’s been arguing about Jeeves and…

He smiles but, before he can reply, Jeeves appears on the roof and announces that there are strangers at the gate. They are penetrating the mansion’s outer sensory field. Good, Brian replies forcefully and shoves the bottle at Jeeves. He’s in the mood for a fight. She too, Meggan echoes Brian.

Cap orders Jeeves to deter them by manipulating the holographic field. They’ll wait inside… and he tells Jeeves to see if he can find his bloody helmet (he seems to have misplaced it). Might he also remind him that persistent use of alcohol is detrimental to both the temperament and physique? Jeeves adds. He advises caution, he suggests with an inscrutable smile.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain

Betsy Braddock


Captain UK

Emma Collins

Mastermind / Jeeves

Gabriel, Michael, Raphael (all RCX)

Cherubim and other Warpies

in Mastermind’s tale:

James Braddock
Captain Britain

Story Notes: 

This issue also includes:

“City Snapshot” episode 3 by Mike Collins

Night Raven in “Ace of Ravens” by Parkhouse & Lloyd

Absalom Daak in “Kill Wagon” by Steve Moore & Steve Dillon

Space Thieves in “Parts vs. Parts” by Dave Harper & Barry Kitson

“Jeeves” is a character from Pg. Wodehouse’s “Bertie Wooster” novels. In those tales the butler Jeeves was usually far smarter than his master Bertie.

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