It’s England… not that you’d ever know. The air is foggy and dirty. Three men in Beetle armor make their way through the rubble of Braddock Manor. One of them stares at the device he is holding and announces that he has a reading. The other man, Tony, scoffs. There’s nothing here but rubble.
He wonders why the Vixen sent them out here. She runs STRIKE now. She’s got access to their files. She knows that STRIKE bombed Braddock Manor years ago. And there’s plenty more weirdos in the city to track down. As they examine a hole in the ground closer, the other man suggests that perhaps the Vixen is just suspicious of old stately homes. Remember that rich bag they pulled last week? Lady Farnsworth? Turns out she used to be a superwoman in WW II.
One of them suggests they check out the hole and wonders whether Farnsworth was really only nicked last week? He thought it was months ago. The other man agrees He keeps losing track of time too. World’s a funny place these days ever since that Jaspers bloke won the election. Did the others hear, they’ve started calling him ‘Mad Jim’ up at Westminster. Makes one think, doesn’t it?
‘Bloody hell,’ one of them curses when he sees something move. The Fury approaches them. It’s been here for a while now, there in these caverns, these massive caverns where each stalactite, each outcrop of rock is laced with the miraculous circuitry of a machine near–organic in complexity. It’s been recuperating, mending, learning, absorbing. It’s been here for a while now.
One of the guards orders one of the others to pass him a neural grenade. This one looks about like a hardcase. Maybe he should try talking to it, Tony suggests. Perhaps it will give up.
There is a blasting sound and, a little later, the Fury leaves the caverns of Braddock Manor…
Nighttime in London, the sound of sirens in the air. Betsy Braddock and Saturnyne stealthily move through the streets, until finally finding the hidden entrance to their hideout. Down below, they are expected by Betsy’s brother, who is taking care of the ailing telepath, Alison Double, as well as Betsy’s lover, Tom Lennox, and crouching in a corner Captain UK.
Did they get the medicine? Captain Britain inquires. Alison is feverish again. A little penicillin and some tranquilisers, Saturnyne replies. Elisabeth used her precog talent to tell them when it was safe to raid a chemist’s. Tom asks his shaken lover if she s all right. Betsy explodes. Of course she is not all right! England’s gone insane. There’s concentration camps, storm troopers, curfews… and how long has it been like that? Days? Or Months? How long have they been existing like this? She doesn’t remember anymore. Betsy buries her head in her hands. Nothing’s all right. Nothing …
Brian and Saturnyne share a meaningful look. They both realize that this is what things were like on Earth 238 before the reality breakdown. Saturnyne muses that this world’s version of Jaspers is responsible. He is going the same way as his parallel world predecessor. Reality’s starting to warp and bend, things happen out of sequence. They can’t let it happen again. Captain Britain has to do something.
That’s what she said last time, he angrily retorts. “You’ve got to do something.” She said it about five minutes before she scooted off, leaving him and Jackdaw to die… Not him, not this time. Trying to appeal to him, Saturnyne points out that this time things are different. The chips are down now. She no longer has the power to leave. They’d all be standing behind him this time. Oh, really? he asks sarcastically.
Outside their hideout, faded newspapers are strewn about by the wind, showing headlines of Jaspers having won the election in a landslide.
Outside 10, Downing Street (home of the British Prime Minister) stands the crime boss Vixen accompanied by two of her heavily armed guards. One of them though has to be comforted rather by the Vixen instead of guarding her. Giving the young man a hug and calling him ‘Angel,’ Vixen tells him that he is with her and that still means something, whatever Mad Jimmy thinks.
The other guard opens the door and they enter. Vixen reminds the boy that she cleaned up all the superheroes. She controls STRIKE. She helped Jaspers to get all of this. But he’s gone too far. She takes a look at the door to Jaspers’ office. A sign tells visitors to knock and wait.
Vixen wonders whether Japers really thinks the American and the Soviets are going to stand still while this goes on. She’s put too much work into this to see it ruined by some maniac attracting the attention of SHIELD or the Avengers. It’s time she took more of a hand in matters.
Addressing the taller guard as Jennifer, she asks if he has the razor light. He agrees and slices open the door with a laser. Ah, Vixen, do come in, old girl, a jovial voice booms from inside the office. It is James Jaspers, now wearing an odd, pinstriped polka-dotted, orange suit. His hat keeps on changing from move to move. Around him reality seems to distort and bend. Grinning madly, he tells Vixen that he assumes it’s about that assassination attempt. ”Can I do you now, Sir?” Know what I mean?
What’s happened to him, Vixen mutters in shock. Getting up, Jaspers swirls around madly. He feels young, alive. He wants to dance! Vixen orders Jennifer to kill Jaspers. Jaspers playfully points at the guard, who suddenly becomes flatter and immaterial. The younger guard begins to scream as from out of his skin tiny versions of him burrow out. Jaspers turns his attention to Vixen herself.
Frightened, she stutters that she has a proposition. A proposition? Jaspers mocks. Isn’t she a little too old to be propositioning people? He reaches for her. Suddenly, she changes, as her bones start to flow and contract and his hands kept getting nearer and bigger. She has been turned into a real vixen and, if she remembered, how she would very much like to scream.
A rooftop in London. The sirens still howl. It’s England. Not that you’d ever know. The sky is torn, the landscape is raped and raw. The night is curdled with nightmares.
Brian Braddock slowly, deliberately puts on his gloves and his helmet before flying into action. It’s still his country.