MEGA-CITY LAW: PIRATES OF THE BLACK ATLANTIC 4
(COMPLETE CASE FILES VOLUME 4 PROG 201)
Out of the frying pan, into the…tentacles of a giant mutant octopus. Mmm…calamari.
Okay, that’s not how the saying goes, but Judge Dredd certainly finds himself fending off more tentacles than your average anime, as the mutant sea-beast Captain Skank calls mother comes to Skank’s rescue.
These tentacles are particularly savage as each has its own carnivorous head. Dredd hacks his way through them with a stray cutlass (having lost his Lawgiver pistol in the first onslaught), but the sheer number threaten to overwhelm him until he severs an electric cable – electrocuting both Captain Skank and his monstrous ‘mother’ (while Dredd is protected by his suit’s insulation).
Meanwhile, his fellow Judges have taken the pirate base. Firstly, Dredd releases the captured Mega-City scientists and Jenno Matryx confesses that she built the warheads as Skank would have killed her and her colleagues. Dredd is not impressed – “And now millions are dead. You had a hard decision to make, Citizen Matryx. You made the wrong one. Take her away”. I tend to agree with Dredd on this one.
Secondly – and more fundamentally for the future – it was a Sov plot all along!
As Dredd is musing what could have led Skank to launch the attack on Mega-City with no conceivable benefit, Judge Giant recovers some sort of remote control from Tuskarosa – a remote control for Captain Skank! Although that begs the question of how Skank seemed to act independently of Tuskarosa just last episode – did Tuskarosa forget to push the button or something? Anyway, the plot thickens when Tuskarosa’s mutations are revealed to be artificial – and surgically removed to reveal…Nikita Kramm, one of the Sov-Blok’s top agents! Although I suppose that Soviet red star tattooed on his forehead is a bit of a giveaway…
As Dredd returns to Mega-City One, the death toll is four million and counting (somewhat small fry for one of Mega-City’s epic disasters). As Dredd informs the Chief Judge and Mega-City Security Council (somewhat misnamed for Mega-City One’s Security Council, rather than the suggestion of something like the United Nations Security Council) – “The Sov-Blok thought they could hit us through Skank without retaliation”. Ominously, Dredd intones “As I see it, there’s only one course of action to take now” and Chief Judge Griffin agrees.
No, it’s not all-out nuclear war but something of an exchange in equivalence. That afternoon, a Justice Department craft arrives in Sov-Blok airspace and lowers a coffin. Inside is of course Nikita Kramm and also “a curt note” from Dredd himself – ready when you are, reds!
Soon, the top-ranking Sov Judges meet to discuss their lack of options – “What can we do? We are not ready for a full-scale war – not yet!”. And so the Sov Judges agree – “They must be appeased. We must make a…gesture!”. And that gesture is detonating one of their own ten-megaton warheads in East-Meg One.
Hmm, not exactly détente. And the old Cold War looks like getting hot in the future – or again, given there’s already been the Atomic Wars. There’s that ominous emphasis by the Sov Judges that they are not ready for full scale war…yet. And Dredd too urges that Mega-City One will need to look to its defenses – “Sooner or later, the Sov Block will feel strong enough to strike again. Then the solution may not be so simple!”. Try sooner rather than later, Judge Dredd. Indeed, next volume…
TO BE CONTINUED – WHEN A LAWMASTER GOES HAYWIRE!