Linda McQuillan tosses and turns in her bed. Her dreams take her back to the past.
(Captain UK’s nightmare / memory)
As Captain UK, she is among other superheroes. They are confused and frightened, shouting that it must have gotten the Talon. But how? Linda protests helplessly. He could become invisible. How could it kill him when he could become invisible? Her lover, Rick, tells her to calm down, promising everything will be all right. It’s unstoppable! she shouts back. It killed the Talon. It killed Gaath. She is so frightened! Doesn’t he understand? This time they are not going to win!.
There has been a constant booming noise during their conversation. Something is finally smashing the walls of their hideout apart. The Fury enters and, with one fluid move, guts Robot Andy. It then proceeds to roast the previously thought indestructible Tom Rosetta. But the worst fact is that it manages to shoot and kill Miracleman, the most powerful of them all.
Rick and Linda are still standing in the background, looking on horrified at the slaughter. She doesn’t want to die, Captain UK blurts out. She doesn’t want to die like this! Colonel Tusker tells her not to worry as he trains his killer toy army on the Fury. The Fury again just blasts him.
Rick flies Linda to the teleportation device and puts her into the teleportation chamber. He explains that he will beam her as far away as possible and follow later. Linda protests. Rick works on the console explaining that he cannot calibrate the destination properly. They’ll just hope for the best. In the glass tube, Linda shouts a warning, as she sees the Fury looking at Rick. Linda’s last memory of her lover as she teleports away is the Fury choking him to death.
Linda McQuillan awakes screaming.
Another reality, where the Supreme Omniversal tribunal is holding court. Two reporters, one human-looking, the other looking like a squid, remind their viewers of the nature of the case. The defendant is the former Majestrix of the Dimensional Development Court, her Whyness Saturnyne. The squid, Neil, takes over adding that if the incompetence charges over her handling of the Earth 238 disaster stick, she could be in trouble. He saw her earlier on the gallery, guarded by Captain England and his Earth 523 counterpart, Captain Albion, He thought she looked… unhappy. The human reporter, Bob agrees, Definitely unhappy and smaller than he imagined. Well, it’s a big court, Neil continues their inanities. That would tend to make her look smaller. Presiding Judge Lord Mandragon, in contrast, looks supremely confident. Since he stands to succeed Saturnyne if she’s disposed, his was a fairly controversial appointment.
Bob adds that, a few moments ago, Lord Mandragon ordered the destruction of Earth 238’s entire continuum. A drastic measure. Yes, Neil agrees. There was some uproar from the gallery about that. The defence witness seemed upset. Is it Captain Commomwealth from Earth 920? Bob is unsure. Doesn’t he look more like Captain Airstrip-One from 744? But yes, he certainly does look upset.
Said defence witness, Captain Britain, still protests in disbelief. Did Mandragon really just obliterate an entire universe? He just wiped out a universe! At the flick of a switch. The Special Executive’s leader, Wardog puts a calming hand on the Captain’s shoulder. They do things differently here. Getting angry won’t help Saturnyne.
Mandragon announces that, if there are any further outbursts from the defence witness, he will be forcibly restrained by order of this court. Is that understood? Cap keeps silent and just crosses his arms sulkily.
Madragon asks the defence to call its first witness. The attorney calls Saturnyne and asks her to describe how the tragedy on Earth 238 came about.
Saturnyne relates that she and her Avant Guard arrived on Earth 238, as scheduled, during the month of Freya. It was a retarded parallel and needed the Push. They began testing the life-enhancing fluid according to regulations. There was no deviation from established procedure. Problems arose when Captain Britain of Earth 616 arrived unexpectedly. His arrival attracted the attention of 238’s security force, the Status Crew. Consequently, their operation was restructured to accommodate this serious upset.
Nevertheless, with Captain Britain’s help, the Push was completed and was successful. What went wrong came later and it was nothing to do with her or her operation. It was a reality storm, gravity, cause and effect, probability, logic. All of them suddenly went haywire.
Saturnyne recounts that she later learned than an immensely powerful and utterly insane psycho-kinetic mutant had been behind the chaos but at the time she didn’t know that. To compound matters, a horrifying techno-biological creature suddenly attacked Captain Britain. It was indestructible. Rather than risk more lives, she withdrew to the home continuum.
The attorney announces that the defence has no further question. The prosecution counsel may now cross-examine the witness. Mandragon surprisingly announces that he is acting as the prosecution counsel. He attacks Saturnyne, telling her that she only has one witness to corroborate this somewhat unlikely tale, as her own Avant Guard are court-employed and therefore barred from testifying. They only have this “Captain Britain’s” word as to the truth of her story. He suggests that there is an emotional and possibly a physical relationship between her and the Captain. He suggests that they are lovers and that the Captain ha been instructed to lie to the court.
Captain Britain shouts out that this is a lie. Furiously, Cap demands to know what kind of court this is. How can Mandragon be emperor, judge and prosecution counsel? Is he the hangman, too?
Mandragon smirks, as he informs the Captain that he neither knows nor cares what a “hangman” is, but he has abused this court for the last time. He orders the bailiffs to restrain the witness. The other two Captains attack Captain Britain, who furiously defends himself.
Cobweb asks Wardog if the Special Executive shouldn’t’ be doing something about that. It was them who brought him here, after all. Wardog explains that it’s not that simple. There are diplomatic procedures, there’s protocol, there’s… He winces as he witnesses the beating Cap receives. They are being a bit rough with him, aren’t they?
Frozen to his neck in a block of ice, Captain Britain is brought to Mandragon, who announces that Saturnyne now has not witness, as Captain Britain is prohibited from testifying due to unruly conduct. Therefore Saturnyne is now found guilty as charged in respect of her complicity in the destruction of Earth 237. She will be stripped of all titles and properties relating to her office as Majestrix and then will be broken down into her components and returned to the soil her treacherous feet have defiled. Sentence to be carried out immediately.
Utterly furious, Cap breaks out of the ice block with a guttural scream of rage. Now he is the one who is wildly attacking the other two Captains. They should never have taken this job, never! Wardog moans. Whose idea was it to take this job? “Yours!” Cobweb mercilessly replies. Oh, okay, They’d better help him then, he replies, as huge robot guard are entering the court to take care of the Captain. While his team proceeds to do so Wardog remains seated, hoping that this is all a terrible nightmare.
Standing in the middle of the battle, Reporter Bob asks his squid colleague, Neil, what he has to say about he trial so far. Well, Neil replies, he’d say that this is very much a trial of two halves. He’d say that they have seen a lot of disappointments so far… he is interrupted as one of the giant robots step on him, squashing him. Bob looks up, to see the other shoe about to drop.
Back on Earth, Linda McQillan has terrible nightmare about death and blood and merciless things without faces. So do lots of other people. And like them she has to squash them into the back of her mind and get dressed and go to work. She will catch a bus, lose her ticket, hope an inspector doesn’t get on, arrive at work, let Janet tell her about her sister’s baby, sort out the claim files… the nightmare will be following her. It will be hanging back out of sight. But she’ll know that it’s there. That it’s there and that one day it’s going to catch up with her.
Linda takes a look at the newspaper’s front page, showing a picture of Sir James Jaspers, who is calling for superhero legislation. Overcome with horror, she sinks down to her knees.