"A Golem is the ultimate expression of the Cabbala, Jewish Mysticism. It is the creation of life from that which is not alive. It is an imitation of the creation of Adam from dust. The creation of a Golem is a long, complex procedure in which the alphabets of the two hundred and twenty one gates are recited over the lifeless body. Finally the chem is inscribed on it’s forehead. The chem is the Hebrew word ‘emeth’- aleph-mem-aleph-tav. Emeth means ‘truth’. To destroy a Golem, it is only required that you obliterate the first letter of the chem, leaving ‘meth’ – mem-aleph-tav – which means death. It is not for nothing that the Jews are the eldest children of the Book.
"The most famous Golem was created by Rabbi Judah Loew. It is known
as the Golem of Prague. In those days, Jews were subject to regular, vicious
pogroms. Rabbi Loew created this Golem to help protect his people. At this
it was very successful, saving many of the Jewish people of Prague from
the clutches of the Christian soldiers and the threat of the Blood Libel.
But, soon after, the Golem became dangerous and difficult to control. No-one
knows why this should be, but Rabbi Loew was visited by a deputation. They
asked him to do something about the Golem. There are several different
endings to this story. Some have Rabbi Loew destroying the Golem completely
by the removal of its chem, others have it being only temporarily deactivated
and laid to rest in the tower of the synagogue. Still others have it escaping
like Frankenstein’s monster to roam the land. Of course, it’s just a story.
As you and I both know, Ms. McQuillan, there are no such things as Golemim."
Returning to consciousness was a long, slow journey.
Before he was aware of his surroundings, he was intimately aware of his physical self. He could feel his bones slowly knitting together, his internal organs repairing and rebuilding themselves, his flesh growing over the tears and gashes in his body. That was the problem with an ability to heal – it had compensations – not dying as easily being the major one – but it demanded something in return.
Slowly, memory returned Who he was, where he was and why.
Tom Rosetta groaned, a mixture of agony and anger .
A quiet, dull rumble, that may have been speech in a language he didn’t understand, that he only became aware of after its cessation, stopped.
"Our unwelcome guest returns to us," said a low, grating voice.
Tom’s eyes flicked open. Oh God, even that hurt. He looked around and groaned again. He was in serious trouble. Surrounding him on three sides were dozens of Golems. He was held in a horizontal position by two Golems, one holding his arms, the other his legs. At the far end of the room stood the Golem which seemed to be in charge – the one with the cracked symbols on its forehead.
This was like the time that he had been captured by the CrimeArmy. How did he get out of that one again? He couldn’t quite remember, his head was still too fuzzy.
"I have come across your kind before," said the Golem Leader, "I have killed several of them. Those who presume to attack my body and thus commit the act of pride by attempting to over-ride the will of the Lord."
Oh great, a bloody religious nutter. Just what he needed. This would take some diplomacy if he was going to get out of this with his hide intact.
"Let me go, you big clay sod, or I’ll turn you into a bloody ashtray!"
"You and your allies have angered me and have thus angered the One. For this I shall destroy you all."
The Golem held up a small box. Tom gave a start of surprise when he recognised it as his signal device. Delicately for such a large creature, it pressed a button on its face. A small red light started to flash. The Golem stood and looked at it for a few moments and then closed his fist around it. There was a small electronic squawk and a fizz of electricity. The Golem opened it’s hand again and dropped the crushed machine to the ground.
"Now we shall wait for your friends," it said, quietly.
The rest of the Golems silently turned to face the tunnel entrance.
Linda was sitting at her desk, going over the notes she had made during her interview with Doctor Rensie the previous day. She was close to deciding that it had been fairly pointless. Most of the information she had managed to get out of him was too general to be of any use. Still, at least she know knew about the history of Golems, or Golemim, as he referred to them. Actually, she knew more about Golems than she really wanted or needed to know. With a bit of work, she could probably have a go at making one herself. She wasn’t as sceptical as Doctor Rensie was about their existence. After all, she’d fought one. Doctor Rensie was just one of those cynical old stage magicians who think they have seen everything done on stage, and think that it’s all done with mirrors. Hell, if he saw her fly, he’d probably ask to see the wires. He’d probably have a pretty good explanation for where they were, as well. Still, one good thing had come out of it. She’d got a lot of information out of him about performers who use their super powers in their acts without becoming heroes or villains, like that Arachno-Man, Porter? No, Parker. Something like that. Maybe she could write an article about that for one of the Sunday supplements.
She sighed, took a sip of her tea and returned to her notes.
"I call this emergency meeting of the Lawful Union of Britain to order on Thursday the twenty fourth of June, nineteen eighty two. I, Miracleman, am in the chair. Also in attendance are Young Miracleman, The Ooze, Android Andy, who is performing a back-up of his memory, and The Talon. Not in attendance are Captain UK who has taken a temporary leave of absence, Vendetta who seems to have tendered her resignation and Tom Rosetta. I called you all here to inform that we have received a signal from Tom. It appears that he ran into trouble whilst in the Underground system. We managed to get a partial fix on his location. We need to get down there and help him."
"Again?" said The Ooze, leaning back in his chair, gently dripping on to the floor, " this is exactly like that time when he decided to take on the CrimeArmy single-handedly."
"We all have to make allowances for our more impulsive members," Young Miracleman said.
"More idiotic members, you mean," The Ooze retorted, "Anyway, what about Captain UK? Do we have to go in there without her? What do you mean, she’s taking a temporary leave of absence? Have the two of you had an argument, Dick?"
"Linda is… er… using her journalistic contacts to follow up other leads," Miracleman interrupted, "Dick will talk to her and they’ll join us at Oxford Circus."
The Ooze gave a gentle, sarcastic snort.
Dick stood and, with a nod to the others around the table, left the room.
"As for the rest of us, these are our tactics…."
"Come on, you tosser, a fair fight. Just me and you, none of this religious rubbish!"
The Golem stood and looked at Tom, impassively.
"Your attempts to annoy me are futile. I am filled with the His Love and His Love prevents me from killing you like the insect you are."
Tom swore loudly.
"If I had a pound for every tin-pot so-called super villain who called me an insect five minutes before I stuffed their heads up their backsides, I’d be a very, very rich man. And anyway, I thought your whole plan was to kill me."
"I only destroy those who have turned away from the One, True God. I kill only heathens and non-believers and sinners. Those who are true believers will love me and applaud my actions. I want you alive to see your friends come unto me. Then, you and they will be given the choice of joining my Holy Work or being thrown into the deepest pit of Hell."
"What the hell are you talking about? What about all those people on Oxford Street? They can’t all have been sinners?" Tom was astounded. It was trying to justify itself? It wasn’t just its forehead that was cracked.
"They were breaking the Sabbath. It is forbidden to work on the Sabbath," it said, "They were eating unclean food. They were all sinners. Anyone who does not follow the law as set down in the Holy Commandments and held in the Torah is an unbeliever and shall die. This is what the Lord desires. For he is a vengeful God. He sent the flood to cleanse his Creation and now He has sent me."
"You are completely insane. Totally and utterly. God has sent you as his personal psychotic killer to cleanse the world? What are the clean going to do? Act as gravediggers for all the rest?"
"God will provide a new world, a clean world for them."
"Well, he’s going to have to, because things are going to get a bit bloody unhygienic if you kill all of the unbelievers."
"All unbelievers shall die. Those who worship graven images, those who refuse to accept that there is no God but God, fornicators, adulterers, men who lie with men. Any who refuse to follow the words of the Torah shall die."
"Well, I don’t covet my neighbour’s ass, but he’s got a BMW that I quite… Wait a minute, adulterers? Are you telling me that you killed that MP, what’s his name… Johnson? Jackson? No… Jameson. Yeah, Mark Jameson. You crushed his skull for screwing around? Jesus, you’re worse than a bloody lawyer."
"He was an adulterer. He was in a position of authority. He needed to be made an example to show others the error of their ways. For, although Yahweh is a vengeful God, He is also a forgiving God. If His children repent of their evil ways and come back to Him and beg His forgiveness, He will accept them in to His arms and His love."
"Oh God, just kill me now and get it over with," Tom spat his words
at The Golem. If only he could persuade the tosser to come closer, he was
sure he could break free of these two who were holding him. Then he’d wipe
the stupid, impassive features of its stupid, impassive face. He’d give
it a complete face lift. He’d lift it right onto the bloody ceiling.
Linda was taking a break and having some lunch when the doorbell rang. Dick was standing on the step, dressed in jeans and a jacket. Linda caught a glimpse of his scarlet uniform underneath the jacket.
"Richard? Hi, come in. Is everything okay, you look worried," she said. She opened the door a little more and motioned for him to enter.
He went into the living room and sat on the edge of an upright chair. Linda followed and sat opposite him. For a few moments, they sat and looked at each other, the atmosphere growing more tense as the time passed and neither said anything.
"Linda…" Dick started to speak.
"Dick…" Linda interrupted, "sorry, go on."
"No, sorry," said Dick, hurriedly, "you were saying."
"No, no. You first," Linda insisted.
He took a deep breath.
"Linda, we’ve got a problem," he started.
"We? Who? Me and you or the LUB?" Linda asked. She wasn’t sure why, but she was feeling defensive. Maybe it was because she wasn’t sure if she was speaking to Dick or to Young Miracleman. The mix of ordinary clothes and his uniform was odd. He never dressed like that, it was always one or the other.
"The Union," Dick said, "Tom’s missing. We think he may be in trouble."
"When did this happen?" Linda was concerned, although not too worried. Tom had been in these situations before and had always managed to get himself out of it.
"He’s been missing since yesterday. We got an alarm call a couple of hours ago and MM sent out a general alert. Didn’t you get it?"
"I turned the signal device off," Linda said, shortly.
"Sorry?" Dick asked, "you turned the signal device off? Why? I mean, how could you?"
"At the moment, I don’t want to know about it. I’m trying to get on with my life without superheroics," Linda said, "Look, I don’t think this is going to be a permanent retirement. It’s just that I’m feeling happier and less stressed out than I have been since I got these powers. What Jen said really got to me. I need time to think about it all."
"But, what about Tom? He could be in serious trouble," Dick said, sounding upset, "Don’t you care?"
"Richard, of course I care. I love you. The Union is almost family, but, I can’t keep do it at the moment. Look, you know Tom as well as I do. He’s always doing this. He goes off investigating something and gets himself into a bit of trouble. As soon as he comes across something he thinks he can’t handle, he hits the panic button calling us all in. Then he realises that he can handle it by himself and, by the time we get there, he’s cleaned everything up and we stand around looking stupid. This will be exactly the same."
"But, he might be going up against some of these Golems. I mean, these things killed Prez. Tom could be in danger," Dick argued.
"You and Michael will be able to handle it. You both have more power than I do. I won’t make much difference to the final outcome," Linda told him, "look, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll turn my signal device back on. If you get into trouble, call and I’ll come at top speed."
Dick nodded and stood up. He saw that this was as much as he was going to get from her.
"I’d better go, then," he said.
"Do you want to leave from upstairs?" Linda asked.
"Okay," he said, unzipping his jacket and dropping his jeans to the floor.
They went upstairs and Linda pushed the sash window open wide.
"I’m sorry, but I just can’t come," Linda said.
"I understand," he said.
Linda pulled his face to hers and gave him a long, slow kiss.
"Good luck, Young Miracleman. I’ll see you soon," she said to him, softly.
He looked at her, smiled a gentle smile and flew out through the window.
Linda looked at the scarlet streak flying away from her and sighed. Why
did she feel that she was going to lose him? Had she gone to far?
The heroes were standing outside the entrance to Oxford Circus tube station when Dick landed gracefully next to them.
Michael sent a questioning glance towards him, which he replied to with a swift shake of his head.
"Girlfriend not doing as she’s told?" The Ooze asked, mock-innocently.
"Oh, shut up," Dick told him, tired of his jokes and insinuations.
"Okay," Michael said, "let’s get down there."
The five heroes pushed through the tape that blocked off the entrance. They were stopped by a scream of a jet engine. They turned and saw the midnight blue figure of Vendetta land heavily in the middle of the street.
"Jen?" Michael said, "What are you doing here?"
"I got the alarm and worked out you’d be coming here. Sorry I couldn’t make it to the meeting, but it took me this long to work out an excuse to get out of school."
"But… What about your resignation?"
"I’ve thought about it. Yes, you’re all a bunch of fascists, but you can’t help that. It’s what makes you such bloody good heroes. I decided that Jim would want me to keep doing this, if only to try and get you lot to lighten up a bit. Besides, I was so BORED!"
Dick grinned at Jen’s speech.
"Let me be the first to welcome you back to our little party, Vendetta," he said.
"Thanks," she said, "so, are we going to go and kick some Golem backside, then?"
The group of heroes entered the tube station, feeling happier. They
felt that they could overcome anything that was thrown at them now.
The tube station was as utterly silent. The only noise came from the six heroes scuffing their feet on the dusty ground and the occasional skittering noise of rats running.
"Which way?" Vendetta whispered.
Looking around, Miracleman spotted the section of board that Tom had pulled away and pointed.
To make more room for the six of them, Miracleman and Young Miracleman tore the entire section of board down.
"Everyone, keep together. Andy, switch on your chest light, but keep it low, I don’t want to alert anyone to our arrival. Jen, Dick. You two fly at the ceiling. Ooze, be prepared to transform into your acid form. Talon, you’ve got better night vision than any of us, take the point," Miracleman spoke swiftly and authoritatively. This was what he could do. He knew that as a chairman he was only partially effective, but, as a task force leader, no one could beat him.
The band moved into position and made their way down the tunnel.
Linda sat at her desk, staring at her typewriter. She had attempted to start to write an article about Golems five times now and each time the attempt had petered out after the first paragraph. She took a sip of her tea and started again.
The Golem is a creature of myth that may have just come to life. This is not a complete surprise, however, in a world where we are regularly confronted with beings that appear to have come from the darkest depths of myth.She paused again, read what she had written. Read it again. And again. Useless.
She knew that she didn’t need to be, but she couldn’t help it. She was worried about Tom. He would be alright, she knew he would be. She kept telling herself this over and over again. He would be fine. She picked up the signal device that sat next to the typewriter and checked that it was still switched on. No, it hadn’t magically turned itself off and the batteries were still okay. But, if he was badly hurt or even, God forbid, died, she knew that would be it between her and Richard. He might forgive her, but she wouldn’t be able to forgive herself. Damn him for doing this. Why did Tom make everything so bloody difficult? Well, it would serve him right if he was hurt. Maybe it would teach him not to cry wolf so often.
With a sudden burst of anger, she picked the typewriter up in one hand and threw it out of the open window. It landed in the middle of the street and smashed to pieces.
"Damn!" she yelled.
She got up and went outside.
"Damn! Damn! Damn!"
Bending over the remains of the typewriter she saw that she had done it this time. It was going to take a lot of work to persuade this to type anything ever again. She picked it up and looked down as ‘t’ fell to the floor, followed by the ‘p’, ‘r’ and ‘e’. Well, that romance novel she always meant to write would be a total non-started without the ability to type ‘pert’. Or tripe.
"Had a bit of an accident, dearie?"
Linda started in surprise and span around. Standing on the curb was Mrs Fitzgerald from next door. She was at least ninety, deaf and senile. She never, ever remembered Linda’s name.
"Er… yes, I have, Mrs Fitzgerald," Linda said, "I lost my temper with this damn machine."
"You shouldn’t swear, dearie, it’s not pretty for a nice young girl
"Sorry, Mrs Fitzgerald."
"Well, no harm done. Now, must get down to the Post Office. Cash my pension. Then I’ll get myself a nice bit of steak of dinner."
"Lovely, Mrs Fitzgerald."
The old woman tottered down the street, muttering to herself.
"Ms. McQuillan," said a voice from behind her.
Linda jumped again and span around. Doctor Rensie stood behind her, smiling gently, his hair and beard sticking out in all directions, his yarmulke perched on top of his mass of hair. His blue-grey eyes shone with a gentle light.
"Doctor Rensie?" she said in shock.
"Can we go inside for a few moments?" he asked.
"Of course, please come in," she said.
They went inside, Linda cradling the remains of the typewriter in her arms. She dumped it in the hallway and Linda showed Doctor. Rensie into the living room. He sat down comfortably in the chair that Dick had taken earlier.
"Captain UK. I have need you. Your friends will also have need you shortly. Come with me."
"What do you mean? I don’t know what you’re talking about," she spluttered.
"Come now, Ms. McQuillan. I knew it when I first met you. I have seen a great many things. I recognised your power. I have seen it before many times," he said, softly, "you have the power that Gawaine held when I first met him. He was the first of a long line of men and women who have held this power. The power that must be used in the defence of the Land. Gawaine told me about the choices you are given, between the sword and the amulet. Myrr told me more when we met. I know you. I know the choices you have had to make. Believe me, I know about difficult choices. When you chose the amulet you chose to abandon the life of comfort and ignorance that most people have. You know this, you have just forgotten for the moment."
"Who are you?" Linda asked, equally annoyed at this intrusion and awed by the depth of his knowledge.
"Who I am is unimportant. Suffice it to say that I am experienced in the ways of this world and the ways of the Cabbala. So, please, Ms. McQuillan, there is not much time left. Come with me."
She sat and looked at him, thoughts racing through her mind. Then, she walked out of the room. Doctor Rensie sat back in the chair and picked up a copy of that days Daily Investigator.
A few minutes later, Linda returned, dressed in her red, white and blue uniform.
Doctor Rensie looked up and smiled gently at her. Then he stood up and went across to the wall. Placing his finger to the wall, he drew two interlocking triangles on the wall. A Star of David, Linda realised. His finger left a glowing trail on the wall. When it was complete, the wall inside the Star disappeared in a blaze of light. Doctor Rensie motioned towards the shining star.
"Ladies first, Ms. McQuillan?" he said.
It was difficult to fight in near total darkness. Golems had appeared without warning, dozens of them swarming out of a side tunnel. The first member of the team to be taken out was Android Andy. He was the most obvious target, with his chest light shining gently. His head was separated from his body swiftly and efficiently. He fought on until a Golem stamped on his head, crushing it and cutting off the impulses controlling his body.
The next to be lost was The Talon. His night vision enabled him to shout out warnings and directions to the rest of the group. He laid about him with his taloned hands, lopping off Golem limbs here and there. However, he was simply overwhelmed by sheer numbers. He was calling out a warning to Vendetta when a Golem managed to get through his defence. The first blow whipped his head around, knocking him off his feet and spattering blood on to the walls of the tunnel. Then another Golem and another started to pound his body. Valiantly, he started to rise again, managing to lop off a hand of one Golem. It wasn’t slowed, using the stump as a club to beat him back down again. Falling back to the ground, he landed with arms outstretched. One of the Golems deliberately lifted a foot and stamped down on his clasped fist. The crunch of shattering bones echoed out over the battle, followed by a scream completely different from his Hawk Scream battle cry which had heralded the start of the fight.
The Ooze found himself to be effective, but only on a single Golem at a time. He would hurl himself at his opponent, transforming his body into highly acidic slime. The Golem would quickly succumb, often helping him by attempting to strike him while he was attached to the its body. This didn’t hurt him, but it often succeeded in knocking chunks off itself. His final attack saw him throw himself onto a Golem head. It quickly started to melt, blinding it, but not stopping it. It staggered back and forth, tottering out of the side tunnel into the main passage. Directly into the path of oncoming tube train. There was barely time for him to utter a single, short, descriptive expletive before it hit the Golem showering clay and acidic slime around the tunnel.
The two Miraclemen and Vendetta were slowly herded backwards down the tunnel. All any of them could see was the occasional bright flash from Vendetta’s power blaster and the vague outline of the seething mass of Golems. Strangely, they were not being seriously hurt any more. As long as they moved backwards down the tunnel, they only received an occasional punch or kick from the crowd. But, if they showed any sign of deviating from this path, then they would be subject to a rain of blows that made even Miracleman start to wilt.
So it was that the three were brought into the presence of the Golem Leader. Both Miracleman and Young Miracleman were battered, bruised and bleeding heavily. Vendetta’s armour was seriously dented and her visor was a spider web of cracks.
"Hi, guys. Glad you make it," Tom said, trying to cover his relief at seeing them, "I have to tell you, this Golem is a great host, for a psychotic, religious nut made out of clay. But I think that I’d like to go home now. So, if you could just dismantle him for me, that would be great. Thanks."
The Leader lifted Tom by the throat and shook him like a rag doll.
"Silence," the Leader said, "You have made your choice clear."
Tom hawked and spat, a glob of bloody phlegm hitting it in its face. It hurled Tom across the chamber. He hit the wall with a crunch of bone and slumped to the floor unconscious. It turned to the trio.
"I shall give you the same choice that I gave your friend. Either join me in my Holy Work in the name of the Lord, or perish as an unbeliever."
"We’re not here to negotiate," Miracleman said, "we’re here to stop you."
"You misunderstand me," the Leader replied, "this is not a negotiation. This is a simple statement of your choices."
"I think that they have a third choice, Golem."
The voice echoed around the chamber. The Leader looked around, searching for the voice.
"No!" it said, its voice rising from its normal low, rumbling cadence, "You may not interrupt now on the eve of my rise to glory in the name of God"
The wall behind the Leader suddenly started to glow and a Star of David shone out in the middle of it. Linda flew through the centre of the shining star and stopped, hovering, surveying the scene. Doctor Rensie carefully stepped through and down onto the floor of the chamber.
"You are not doing this in the name of the One," Doctor Rensie said, sternly, "you are doing this because you are a faulty automaton. I was wrong to assume your destruction all those years ago when Masked Man and I hunted you down for what you did in Whitechapel."
"Those whores deserved to die, they were abominations in the eyes of the Lord!"
"That is for the Lord to judge. You are not His tool, you are a tool of evil!"
"No, Ahasuerus, you are wrong," the Leader said, "It is pointless to try to stop me now, I have grown in power since last we met.
Doctor Rensie pointed at the Leader and spoke a short, Hebrew word. The Leader shuddered and jerked. Suddenly, Doctor Rensie gave a grunt of pain and collapsed.
"As I said, I have grown in power since last we met," it repeated, "Do you see now? I have the God-given power and strength to overcome any obstacles. Now, I shall destroy your pawns, Ahasuerus, as an example to you. It will not be an example that you will have long to contemplate before your own death, however."
"Shut up," Linda said, quietly and calmly. She flew at the Leader, knowing what she had to do.
Almost absently, the Leader reached out and plucked her out of the air. It smashed her to the ground and then pulled her tightly to itself in a bear hug.
"You wish to be the first to die? You wish to avoid seeing the doom that shall befall your allies?" the Leader asked.
"I needed to get good and close to you," Linda said, "this isn’t your fault. You can’t help what you are doing."
The Leader started to squeeze, pushing the air out of her body. Linda, black spots starting to float in front of her vision, focussed on the grim, blood and phlegm spattered visage before her. Gently, almost affectionately, she put a hand to the Golem’s forehead and rubbed the phlegm into its forehead, erasing the first of the symbols that were written there. It slowly toppled forwards.
For a moment no-one moved. Then, Miracleman and the two other heroes span around and attacked the rest of the Golems. It took them a few moments to realise that they were not being attacked in return. The Golems were standing stiff and still, not moving whilst they were being reduced to powder.
"Save your energy. It is not necessary to destroy them," Doctor Rensie told them, slowly sitting up, "they were not real Golemim. They were mere animated statues, created by the Golem. Once the flow of Cabbalistic energy was ended, they reverted to their original states."
The Leader suddenly started to move. Young Miracleman started to move towards it, then stopped as it fell backwards, revealing Linda underneath it.
"Well, thanks for the hand," she said, sarcastically.
"Linda!" he said and ran across to her, hugging her tightly.
"Does this mean you’ve made a decision?" he asked, eagerly.
"Well," she said, looking at Doctor Rensie, "let’s say that I was reminded of my responsibilities."
The others also turned to look at Doctor Rensie.
"I think we deserve an explanation, sir," Miracleman said to him.
"I am afraid that I am unable to give you one," he said, "I must leave now."
"Now just hold on a minute," Miracleman said, moving towards him, but he quickly faded from view.
"Spread out, he won’t be able to get away easily," Miracleman said.
"Michael," Linda said, wearily, "leave it. Let’s just find the others and go home."
Tired to the core, the four heroes trudged back up the tunnel, carrying
the unconscious Tom.
Epilogue 1 – July 1982
"I call this meeting of the Lawful Union of Britain on Wednesday the seventeenth of July, nineteen eighty two. I Miracleman, am in the chair. Also in attendance are Young Miracleman, Captain UK, Vendetta, Tom Rosetta, Android Andy and The Ooze. Not in attendance is The Talon who is still recovering from his injuries sustained in the recent Golem incident. I trust that everyone else is feeling better?"
"I’m fine, thanks, MM," said Tom Rosetta, looking every bit as healthy as he ever did. That was the other problem with a healing power, you never, ever got any decent scars.
"Well, I’m pretty much okay, although I think I left some of my bio-mass in those tunnels," The Ooze said, "I’m still working to get back to my optimum weight."
"I have reviewed the reports of the incident in the tunnels," Android Andy said, "and I have integrated them into my memory banks."
"I’d like to say something," Linda said, standing, "I… I want to apologise. I feel terrible for not being there when I should have been. It’s my fault that you were all so badly hurt. I just want you to know that it won’t happen again. I’ll not turn my back on you again."
She sat down again and put her head in her hands. There was a moments silence before Dick went across to her, hugged her and kissed her gently on the lips.
"I think I speak for all of us," Tom said, "when I say that it doesn’t matter what you did beforehand. You came through in the end. You stopped the Golem."
He stood and started to clap. Young Miracleman quickly followed suit,
all of the others joining in.
Epilogue 2 – August 1982
Linda lay in her bed, half listening to ‘Book At Bedtime’ on Radio 4 and thinking about the evening she had just spent with Richard. Suddenly, the phone rang. Smiling, expecting it to be Richard, she lifted the receiver.
"Hello," she said, softly.
"It is I, Ms. McQuillan," Doctor Rensie said, " I have something to tell you."
"Who are you? The Golem knew you."
"Indeed, Ms. McQuillan. I was there when Rabbi Loew made it. But, as I told you, something was amiss in its creation and the creature became a danger to all. Then I was in the deputation sent to Rabbi Loew to demand that he do something about it. My real name is Ahasuerus. Some call me the Wandering Jew. Does that answer your question?"
"I… I think so," Linda said.
"Anyway, I have had a dream about you. I receive them occasionally. It was a precognitive dream, a prophecy if you will. Like all prophecies since the time of Moses and before, it is not exactly clear to what it refers. However, it is obviously for you and it is to you that I now deliver it."
He paused, thinking and then continued.
"I saw an ending. It was as if everything ceased to be. Over it all stood three figures. One was a man dressed in a uniform like your own, another was a beautiful but cruel, white-haired woman. The third was the central figure - a crooked man. In one hand he held a glass of wine that was first red then it was white. In his other hand he held sparkling red and yellow stones. Then I saw you, flying through the air of an Earth that was not this Earth on a mighty crusade. Then I saw you falling into darkness. Make of this what you will, but be prepared. Farewell, Linda McQuillan, Captain of this United Kingdom, I do not think we shall meet again."
There was a gentle click as he put the phone down followed by a buzz.
Linda McQuillan did not sleep that night.
Well, there it is, after all this time the completion of my first story for MV1. I have to apologise for the delay, things just got on top of me over the last few months and, unfortunately, writing was one of the things that got neglected. I know that there was a few people who were waiting for this, I hope that it was worth the wait. Please let me know – I’ll try and persuade Neil to let me post them in the Crusaders letter-col if and when he gets that started up again.
I know that Neil has previously announced a Technet series to be written by me, but, as things have gone, I have decided not to write it. I have no intention of leaving MV1 behind entirely, however. I have a few one offs planned for Mighty World of Marvel, when I get some time to write them. I’m also in very tentative discussions with Neil for a Lawful Union of Britain/Crusaders crossover that may or may not get further than this. Neil will, I am sure, keep you updated on this one! Anyway, thank you for your support and patience. I’ve really had fun writing this homage to one of the best Marvel UK comics to have ever been published. Now, is there any chance we can get Alan Moore to write a sequel to this one….?
You know, for a guy who doesn't read Brit comics (I didn't even read Excalibur - too silly for me), I find myself /loving/ this series. I want it to be more than three issues. I want it to be an ongoing. I want it to have five hundred thousand issues and I want them all written by tomorrow so I can read them all until my head /explodes/ with joy.
Well, okay, maybe the exploding head would be a bit much. But, man, this stuff is GREAT! I find myself caring about characters I've never heard of, like Tom Rosetta - and I /know/ he's gonna get the stuffing beat out of him, but I don't /care/, I want him to /win/ because he's a great character, even if I only see him for a few paragraphs.
Am I getting my point across here? This is GOOD STUFF!
-Shawn-Thanks Shawn, I really appreciate this – your letter really meant a lot to me, and served as encouragement (as well as a guilt trip – I had to get this finished, Shawn’s head might explode and I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.) I’m glad you enjoyed it so much – I had a lot to live up to, following in Alan Moore’s very large footsteps and also spinning off from Neil’s Crusaders story, which, I personally, think is some of the most accomplished fan fic I’ve ever read. All I can say is, sorry it’s not going to be any longer!
I finally had the chance to read your Captain UK stories from the CrusadersAnnual and the first two issues of the mini-series. I recently picked upsome reprints of the original Alan Moore stories and your tales neatly fill in the blanks from that epic. I'm eagerly awaiting the final issue of the mini-series.
Bob GThe whole point of this series was because I wanted to know more about Linda’s exploits before the Fury and Sir James came on to the scene. It was loads of fun fleshing out characters that were only seen in one or two panels. The real problem came with Miracleman (nee Marvelman) – I tried to avoid writing him as the Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman MM and come up with a different (although I don’t think it’s as good) version which would fit in better with the traditional team of superheroes. Please let me know how you think I did.
A plea from the author…
If anyone should happen to come across a copy of Issue 1 of the X-Men Archives – Capt. Britain reprints could you let me know, please. I desperately need it to complete the series and it seems to be like hens teeth!
Thanks very much,
Well, that about wraps it up for this series. I just have to, once again, thank Jean Rogers for her editorial efforts and encouragement – visit the new, improved Shadow Gallery and to thank you for reading the series. Thanks.Stephen