Excalibur’s headquarters. The team (without their recovering teammate, Nocturne) is gathered around a holographic image of the mystery enemy who recently attacked them – the strange warrior who calls himself Albion. Sage summarizes that what they see is what they’ve got. He has Captain Britain’s height, weight and physical structure. He wears a variant of his costume and exhibits much the same power. The fact that he seems to have bonded with Lionheart suggests the Captain Britain Corps, but why are their uniforms so different from Brian’s? And if he is a Captain, why does he consider Captain Britain an adversary?
Brian recalls that he chose Kelsey Kirkland – Lionheart – as his successor the same way he was chosen, by offering her a choice between a sword and an amulet. She chose the sword … fight first, talk later. Those who choose the amulet hold to the opposite course. They’ll fight as a last resort.
Dazzler points out an obvious question. Why does he think Kelsey is the only one who ever made that choice? For all anyone knows, there could be a whole other corps of Captains who chose the sword over the amulet.
Brian is astonished at the idea. In all the time he’s worn the uniform, he never once thought of that. The corps is so huge. He supposes that they simply took the status quo for granted. Sage remarks that everything has a balance: life and death, good and evil, light and dark. The questions are… is Albion alone and is he a rogue?
Elsewhere, Albion trains Lionheart in battle. Though she is new to her role, he notes with satisfaction that Kelsey never makes the same mistake twice and is determined not to yield. While he bests her, he admits that she has come farther faster than he expected.
After training, she asks him why his uniform is like hers. They’re a lot like Captain Britain’s and yet different. The two men are so alike… Albion disagrees. They are as far apart as two men can be in concept and execution. Does he know him then? Kelsey asks. He knows of him, Albion replies. He supposes she could say, same origin, different choice….
He comes from another Earth, the broad pattern of history is the same. But their war that began in 1914 did not end in 1918. A hundred years later, it was still going strong, had spread across the entire world. He was a ranger captain. They were tired and starving, dressed in rags, using weapons they’d scrounged from the dead. Victory was just a word. It didn’t have any real meaning. They would fight because that was what they did. Until the day they died. And then the war was over. He was caught in an explosion.
However, he found he wasn’t dead. Instead, two floating figures were standing before him, introducing themselves as Roman and Merlyn. They offered him a challenge. Merlyn pointed to two objects hanging from a tree, explaining that his world was wounded, mayhap unto death. They offer a choice. The Amulet of Right and the Sword of Might. His challenge is to choose one as a hallmark. The Captain immediately goes for the sword. Roma is horrified, Merlyn intrigued. The energies in the sword change the man. In an instant, he is consumed and reborn as Albion.
Roma, however, remarks that this was not the choice they expected. They seek those who follow the path of the amulet, for whom the weapon is a last resort. They must reclaim the powers he has manifested.
Furious, the newly born Albion demands to know how they dare tease him with such a gift, then snatch it away. This world’s been at war for his lifetime, his father’s and his grandfather’s. It’ll likely never end until all of humanity is slaughtered. These powers change that. They give them a chance, they give them hope! But she would condemn them? How dare she?!
Roma stays adamant. Their obligation is not to his world but to all the worlds of the omniverse. Albion challenges her to kill him then but he swears that, before she does, he will bury the blade in her heart!
Merlyn suddenly holds his daughter back. Albion spits at him not to do him any favours. Roma warns her father that Albion is dangerous. This is wrong. Beginning to emit an eerie light, her father remarks that his is the will that rules. This creature is human and mortal and utterly alone. His world may just need the sword. Let him go. The decision is his and Roma will obey.
Turning to Albion, he warns him that the gift is unique. He should not waste it. As they begin to vanish in the light, he tells him farewell and tells him to hold on to what wisdom he has. It may yet save him. Roma instead remarks that her father makes a mistake and she aims to correct it, but Albion has Merlyn’s blessing… for now. Both sigils represent unimaginable power. The sword is grounded in destruction, the amulet in reason. He will use his gift to take lives. That is its nature and his. She cautions him to take care, lest it cost him his very soul.
A little later, the enemy troops find him. Thinking little of his fancy-dress, they attack. Without a word, he kills them all easily. Standing on their corpses, he vows that this isn’t over. However long it takes, wherever his quest leads him, he will find Roma and claim full vengeance… not only for his world, but for all the innocents she’s abandoned to their cruel fates.
Albion continues his narration. When he returned to his base with uniform and sword, he was met by laughter. What is a sword against modern weaponry? Then he went into battle and showed that his blade could cut through steel. That was just the beginning. In the air, on land, at sea… nowhere was safe any longer for their enemy. Albion led his troops and, though the war wasn’t ended in a day or even a year… the end did come… after they cleansed the entire world.
And then they had to stock of the little that was left. No cities worth the name, just trash heaps of rubble. Precious little transport, precious little to transport. After a century of global combat, most of the world’s farmland had been destroyed, the oceans poisoned or stripped of fish. The medical corps tried its best. But their skill was repairing battle wounds. They had far less experience with disease. They weren’t killing one another anymore in battle. But still they were dying of starvation and disease. An Albion could only weep in despair and rage, as his courage and strength were useless against these enemies.
Elsewhere, a warlord in his fortress furiously lashes out at certain purple inter-dimensional merchants that they had promised him victory. The merchants point out that they provided the tools. What he does with them and how well he employs them is his concern. Can’t blame the vendor if the opposition comes up with a better officer. The warlord demands they give him something new. Disgusted at the word “give,” one of the merchants suggests in a whisper that perhaps this is a good time to close shop. Another one reminds the warlord that his army no longer exists. The warlord insists that there is still a chance. That moment the roof caves in as Albion comes through.
He’d busied himself, scouring the world for the last remnants of the enemy, those who were living a wealthy life among the poor and starving. He would show them the same mercy they had bestowed on the rest of the planet.
He turned his bodyguards’ number against them. They were more used to massacring helpless captives than any kind of real fight. Trying frantically to get Albion, they only cut down their own men. Albion’s sword does he rest.
The warlord comes at him with a blade of his own and manages to disarm Albion. He mocks the hero, asking what chance he has without his weapon. The sword is nothing, Albion replies. He is the weapon! Holding his foe’s swordarm with one hand he hits him with his other.
In a room next to that one, the alien slavers decide to leave through a dimensional gate. However, when it is activated, instead someone comes through from the other side – a member of the Captain Britain Corps.
The Captain quickly takes care of them and drags one of the slavers with him for questioning. He tells his captive to stop complaining. His kind is wanted throughout the pan-dimensional schema. From the looks of things, he’d bet, they’ve been pillaging this poor world for generations. Fun’s over now.
He exclaims when in the next room over a heap of corpses he beholds Albion holding the warlord by his throat. The warlord pleads for mercy. And the Captain calls to Albion to spare his life in the name of the Captain Britain Coprs. Never! Albion replies as he decapitates his foe.
Calling him a monster, the Captain attacks and beats Albion into a wall. When his foe loses his mask, the Captain stops in surprise, as before him he sees the face of “Lord Captain Brian Braddock.” Albion uses his foe’s confusion and counterattacks brutally. He’s about to kill him, when under his foe’s torn uniform he sees a familiar amulet. Grabbing him by the throat, Albion orders the Captain to explain to him where he has the amulet from. Was it given to him by Roma?
Later, Albion and his men question the slavers. Their speaker claims they are humble traders and mean him no harm. Albion replies that he wants explanations. Who are the Captains? What is their purpose? Why did he attack the traders? The trader is taken aback when he sees Albion’s face, then gathers his wits and claims that the Captains are despotic warriors who terrorize the decent people of the omniverse. Before he can continue his tale, Albion decapitates him and orders the next trader to tell him the truth.
The slaver explains that he is a member of the Captain Britain Corps, their enemies. They claim to be the defenders of all the dimensions of crosstime.
A long night later, Albion has his answers. The following morning, he takes his captives and goes to see what is on the other side of the doorway. The Captain – in chains – asks for his understanding and forgiveness. He made a mistake, thinking him the enemy. Albion snarls that he fights to protect his people and his home. How does that make him the villain? The Captain admits that he doesn’t know. Perhaps it has to do with the nature of the amulet and its relationship with the sword. Albion is the only one he knows of who made that choice. When he saw him, when Albion killed that man, he acted without thinking. He couldn’t help himself. He made a mistake. Yes, he did, Albion agrees. And beheads him. And now he’s paid for it.
Turning to his men, he announces that today they take this world for their own. They shall strip Roma of her precious Captains, and then her champion Brain Braddock. Henceforth, the future belongs to them.
So, what’s next? Lionheart asks. They fight, they win, Albion states simply. They are but claiming what is rightfully theirs. Roma’s Corps of Captains has but become a shadow of their former self. The time has come for him to face her champion and fulfil the destiny he has proclaimed for himself.
That moment, the butler announces that his guests have arrived, namely Agent Scicluna of Black Air and the evil X-Men from another dimension.